Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 2: Winter Solstice, Elizabeth Alexander, "Equinox"

Okay, I am tired.  I'm not going to belabor this post.  I have a poem from Elizabeth Alexander for you.  I chose it because we are approaching the winter solstice, and the poem is about the vernal equinox.

That's it.  Saint Marty out.  Expect something more substantive tomorrow.


by:  Elizabeth Alexander

Now is the time of year when bees are wild
and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants
in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.
I have found their dried husks in my clothes.

They are dervishes because they are dying,
one last sting, a warm place to squeeze
a drop of venom or of honey.
After the stroke we thought would be her last
my grandmother came back, reared back and slapped

a nurse across the face. Then she stood up,
walked outside, and lay down in the snow.
Two years later there is no other way
to say, we are waiting. She is silent, light
as an empty hive, and she is breathing.

Solstice at Stonehenge

December 2: Green Heron, Christmas Essay, My Wife's Night

I positively ruined the dinner of a green heron on the creek last week . . .

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this evening.  I've been working on my Christmas essay for most of the day.  Just finished it about fifteen minutes ago.  Like Annie Dillard ruining the dinner of the green heron, I ruined my wife's night by waking her up and making her listen to me read my essay.  She kicked and screamed and whined for about five minutes.

Now, I have to give it a rest.  I'll read it a few times this weekend to a few people.  By the time I record it next Wednesday, I will probably have changed it about 50 times.  Small things.  A word here.  A sentence there.  A paragraph every once in a while.

So, to sum up:  Saint Marty has finished his Christmas essay, and Saint Marty's wife is an annoyed green heron.

Just because it's funny.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1: Book Club Food, Elizabeth Alexander, "Butter"

It's Book Club night at my house.  My wife is in the kitchen, whipping up some barbecue chicken dish.  Soon, our dining room table will be full of all kinds of delicious treats.  Chili and shrimp and cheese curds.  Oh, and we'll talk about a book, too.

Tonight's literature of choice is The Boys in the Boat.  The food of choice remains to be seen.  I'm sort of leaning towards the cheese curds.

But Saint Marty is always up for something new, as long as it has a lot of butter in it.


by:  Elizabeth Alexander

My mother loves butter more than I do,
more than anyone. She pulls chunks off
the stick and eats it plain, explaining
cream spun around into butter! Growing up
we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
butter melting in small pools in the hearts
of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
than gravy staining white rice yellow,
butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
butter the lava in white volcanoes
of hominy grits, butter softening
in a white bowl to be creamed with white
sugar, butter disappearing into
whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
butter melted and curdy to pour
over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
the good old days I am grinning greasy
with my brother, having watched the tiger
chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
Mumbo and Jumbo’s children despite   
historical revision, despite
our parent’s efforts, glowing from the inside
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.

December 1: A Ghost, Christmas Essay, a Ghost Story

Scenes drift across the screen from nowhere.  I can never discover the connection between any one scene and what I am more consciously thinking, nor can I ever conjure the scene back in full vividness.  It is like a ghost, in full-dress regalia, that wafts across the stage set unnoticed by the principle characters . . .

Like Annie Dillard, I've been a little haunted these last couple of weeks.  It always happens to me during the holiday season.  Some people call it nostalgia.  Others, sentimentality.  It's the urge to look back at past Decembers.  The Ghost of Christmas Past travels with me.  A lot.

As my two Constant Readers know, I always write a Christmas essay for my local Public Radio station.  I've been doing it for close to ten years now.  The process of composing this little reflection involves a great deal of conjuring up of ghosts.  Last year, my main Christmas ghost was my sister who had just passed away.  The year before that, my essay focused on my brother, who died in May, 2014.  Ghosts abound, wafting through rooms in front of me.

Let me tell you a little story.  You can decide if it's a ghost story.

For the last couple of weeks at work, I've been thinking about my dead sister.  She used to be the director of the place.  Her former office is right down the hall from my desk.  In the morning, when nobody else is around, I sometimes think I can hear her voice.  It doesn't scare me.  It makes me a little sad.

Well, this past Monday morning, I came into the office around 6 a.m., my normal time.  Nobody else was there.  As I came to my desk, I noticed two DVDs.  Russell Crowe movies.  They were just sitting in front of my computer keyboard.  My sister was a huge fan of Crowe.  She owned every single movie that he made.

Over the week, none of my coworkers has confessed to leaving them for me.  They're still on my desk.  I expected somebody to say, "Oh, did you get those movies of Sally's that I borrowed?"  Nothing.

Now, of course there's a whole plethora of reasonable explanations.  However, I prefer the unreasonable.  The otherworldly.  I think my sister sent me a little message, just to let me know that she's watching over me and my family.

I'm nearly finished writing this year's Christmas essay.  I worked on it for another five or six hours today.  Maybe when it's done, I'll feel a little less haunted.  Or not.

The Ghost of Russell Crowe Past will still be with Saint Marty.