Friday, March 16, 2007

State of the Union March '07

Well, the first quarter is done. I turned in my little project for class last Wednesday at the Celtic Knot in E-town. The Celtic Knot… if I had a dollar for every bar in Chicagoland with “Celtic” in the title I’d be able to afford a drink at any of these overpriced, glorified dives.

My classmates don’t seem to be the big drinkers I thought they might be. Yes, a few knocked ‘em back, but I had finished two tasty Danish beers by the time most of them were done nursing their first round. And the teacher, a nice enough chap, took his sweet time with a black and tan, which he specifically asked to be three-quarters amber and one-third Guinness. He has a book coming out, which seemed to be preoccupying him, so some of the students played kiss-the-ass by trying to come up with a suitable title to something they have not read. I thought best to stay out of that. The last time I suggested a book title was to a girl I knew at DePaul who wrote lousy poems about “the liberation of my CUNT.” I told her to call the book “Empty Calories.” I thought it was an insult—what’s more useless than that? Dolt that she was, she thought it perfect. I hope somewhere there’s a chapbook with that title in the dustbin of the fake literary world.

Sour grapes? Maybe.

Anyway, I ended up getting pulled in and suggested a twist on an Anne Sexton poem, telling him to call his book “In Celebration of Your Uterus.” Finally, after weeks of trying to crack his stony façade, I managed to raise a dry smile. This is poetry—it doesn’t have to be serious or scholarly all the time. It should be full of all the stuff of life, including the odd laugh here and there.

Of course I ended up sitting next to the one person I dislike. If mi niña were there she would have found a way to throw something in her drink. Alas… Perhaps the biggest annoyance came when I was looking over a classmate’s anthology of favorite poems. I mentioned that I liked Sharon Olds and complemented her on her choice. My enemy heard this and said something like, “you only like her because she writes about sex!” Just hearing that word come from this hated creature was nearly enough to banish all thoughts of sexual congress from my mind for the remainder of the evening, maybe longer. I wanted to turn to her and tell her that not only did I like Olds because she is a good writer but that I have probably read more poetry than she has ever heard of. I have certainly written better poetry than this twit ever will.

That aside, it was a nice night, even if my classmates tend to lack in the drinking department. NU may not offer grand evening paying tribute to Bacchus (as Roosevelt did) but there’ll surely be a lot of chances for pretentious poetry readings and backslapping bullshit. I’m paying for this? What have I done?

Other news:

Rushdie and Lethem were in town giving readings and signing books. I missed them both. The Secret Chiefs 3 and the Pogues… didn’t go to either show. Mono is coming; I have to see them if for no other reason than to reestablish myself in my own eyes. Missing these events makes me feel my years. I grow old… trousers rolled… do I dare to eat a peach… all that Prufrock shit. Think I’ll curl up this weekend with a bottle and my advancing age and sit in the rafters and fucking ruminate.

Kiss kiss, homies.