Thursday, February 04, 2010

colds, headaches, crime, and poetry

my students apparently brought enough germs to the classroom to make me sick, too, so i had to stay home from work for a couple of days. blah.

at least i had time to read a novel that managed to give me nightmares two nights in a row - "menschenteufel" (which translates as "human devil") by marcus rafelsberger. i am not normally a fan of crime novels, but i was curious, as rafelsberger is an old schoolmate's husband. quite well-written, but then i don't have much to compare it to. but it certainly held my attention! a bonus was that the book is set in vienna, and therefore i repeatedly came across places i know. i am now ready to begin another jasper fforde novel - yay!

another book i just (re-)read is jayne pupek's poetry collection "forms of intercession". if i had to sum up the book in one word, it would be: brave. it's been a while since i read a book of poems that confronted me with so much beauty and so much unpleasantness - in short: everything human. pupek doesn't stop where others might not dare to go, and that makes her stand out. there are poems that i've returned to four, five, ten times - and i am sure will go back to again. it's as if they grabbed me by the throat when i first read them, and have not quite let go. while the best way to learn about life is still, well, living it, but books like pupek's come a close second.

my muse probably didn't want to catch my cold and has been quite for a few days, but before she took that time-out, we created this (not decided on the [sub]title yet):

Thulium (Tm)

       I swear I'm only human, wishing I could disappear
       -- Amelia Curran, "The Mistress"

This is what happens when gods get drunk:
You start a conversation and ice is left to melt

in fancy drinks. Hours later, three hasty kisses
and the cold metal of his ring against your cheek.

By then it's already too late for the promise
you made to yourself: this ends right here.

The first time, you make butterflies dance
on the blanket. You measure time in heartbeats

and the cooling of sweaty limbs. Months later,
it's pale green sheets and the ticking of a clock

that translates as judgement - wrong, sad,
wrong, sad - and stirs the beginnings of loathing,

rushes the slow dying of love. Gravedigger
you call yourself, late at night, when you wake

from dreams that are part of the high price
you pay. Gravedigger. And you are digging deep.

You have 69 random words in your pockets –
for a love letter, for a note of farewell.

The one word that's missing is hope. The gods
who tempted you are fast asleep. Like him

in that other place, where your mind can't go,
which you'd still know by its scent: routine, love,

and lies. Your shadow sleeps between them,
but that doesn't comfort you. When this is over,

there won't be any sympathy, just as there are
no gifts: you are the beggar, you are the thief.

song of the day: breathe (2 am) by anna nalick.

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