a poem for Wednesday

At some point, I'll get around to reading the Poetic Edda. Then, I can share some neat story that ties together Odin and poetry (he's the god of the poets) and the fact that Wednesday is named after him. Or maybe I could tell you about my conversation with my brother in which he argued the second half of the "Poetry is Necessary" bumper sticker must have been missing. According to him, the neccesity of poetry is somewhat questionable.

But. Instead of doing all that, I'm just going to share a poem from Anne Carson on this Odin's Day. I think it's beautiful. And it's almost true. Or is it true? I can't quite decide.

My Religion

My religion makes no sense
and does not help me
therefore I pursue it.

When we see
how simple it would have been
we will thrash ourselves.

I had a vision
of all the people in the world
who are searching for God

massed in a room
on one side
of a partition

that looks
from the other side
(God’s side)

but we are blind.
Our gestures are blind.

Our blind gestures continue
for some time until finally
from somewhere

on the other side of the partition there we are
looking back at them.
It is far too late.

We see how brokenly
how warily
how ill

our blind gestures
what God really wanted

(some simple thing).
The thought of it
(this simple thing)

is like a creature
let loose in a room
and battering

to get out.
It batters my soul
with its rifle butt.

Part of growing up

Growing up sometimes means some really unpleasant things. It means paying taxes to register your vehicle. It means working full-time. It means big decisions. It means responsibilities. It means grappling with the exceptionally frustration experience of, to steal a phrase, finding someone interesting who's interested. It can really be a whole string of yuckiness.

But, it also means that you can eat McDonalds whenever you want and you can buy yourself Super Mario Galaxy 2 at the drop of a hat. These don't necessarily make up for the rest, but they sure don't hurt, either.

I bid 9 no trump

A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I learned how to play bridge. It may come as no surprise that my secret identity, that of a middle-aged woman, loves the game. However, I just learned that my shaky understanding of scoring had a major hole in it. If one team wins a game, BOTH teams start over at zero with new under the line points. (don't worry, that's not to make sense to you unless you score bridge). Also, it's pretty ridiculous, this scoring thing. I mean, seriously: look at my crib sheet.

And, as best as I can tell, that's the simplest way to present it. But, even still, it's so delicious.

by any other name

I have a very common first name. Pedestrian, even. No really, it's been in the top ten in the US since WWII. Since I grew up around a bunch of other people with this name (among other reasons), I go by a shortened form of my name. A shortened form that is not really all that common this side of the Atlantic. To make matters more confusing, it is a homophone and its spelling is not readily apparent.

Here's what this is leading up to though: giving my name as restaurants. Whenever I have to put my name on a wait list, I hesitate. For much longer than is normal. Should I give the host(ess) my nick name, even though it usually throws them off and/or launches me into a conversation I'm sick of having? Oh and requires me to spell it and/or suffer a look of “what the...?” Do I give them my given name? If so, do I go with the full version that only my little brother uses or the typical American short form that I was called until I was about 18? In this pause, of course, I start feeling all silly and awkward, because, really, how hard is it to COME UP WITH YOUR OWN NAME?!?!

Of course, I could also use an alias. But, I know I would make a terrible spy, as I've tried the alias thing only to have forgotten the name I gave. It's not so pleasant having someone come up to you and saying, “Excuse me, aren't you the name we've been calling for three minutes?” And that really nails the coffin. Oh, I'm too dumb to even know my own name and then I can't recognize it.

My last name would be an option, but I have this annoying tic of always giving my last name, spelling it, and then giving it again. It comes from my father. Well, obviously my last name comes from my father. But I mean this style of providing it. Specifically from hearing him provide his name over the phone. I guess Philip Larkin is not lying, after all.

So, here's what I'm getting at. If ever I go to dinner with you: take charge. give your name. I've got other neuroses to focus on, thank you very much.

Alea Otterson III

You know, I spend a lot of my time feeling like I really am a snappily-dressed sea otter trapped in a human's body. So, my sister's gift of the print above for me? It's totally perfect. I now need to find an appropriate frame, which will be quite a task. Do you see how trig he is? I'm sure he'd be offended if I skimped on his housing.

Also, the artist, Ryan Berkley, writes really clever descriptions of his works. Check them out here.