Monday, March 05, 2007

Cities At Night


Saturday I received a nice rejection note from the Christian Science Monitor which said that they didn't take religious poetry, but to send more. I'd sent them two poems, my ONLY two poems that even vaguely fit the criteria the editors lay out in Writer's Market. "We do not want things about the bleakness and sadness of life. Nothing violent or sexual. Please be life-affirming." If this was a poker game, I'd be down to almost nothing. But I've been thinking about the idea of what is life-affirming. Sitting next to a woman on a plane determined to talk despite my determination to put my head in a book, I finally gave in. Do you think Nicole Kidman is that white or do you think it's make-up? she asked about an ad for Chanel 5 in Oprah's magazine, and so it began. She had a King James Bible in one hand, glass of wine in the other and told me the story about the Detroit dude who hacked up his wife. They found notes from him to the babysiter, she said. Damn, I found notes from my husband's women for years. He was a dog and now I'm divorcing him. They'd been married for twenty-five years. I expected deep grief to inform her talk, but it did not. I have a friend now, she said. That I see from time to time. I've been knowing him for a long time, but not in the new way. I thought of new self-help tome -- Don't Hack Up Your Spouse -- Get A Friend!
The woman went on to say that nobody could understand why she'd finally snapped after putting up with his infidelities for years. A woman at church, she said. The last straw. She gave the devil his due, told me that he'd always brought his check home every two weeks and mowed the lawn. He was, by way of these actions, a good father in her book. And I'm thinking that it's strange what will bring you to your breaking point. One of my friends found out that her husband had a mistress because he'd charged the mistress's abortion to her American Express bill. She'd been with him while he detoxed from heroin three times. If you know anything about what this is like -- sweats, vomiting, cramps, insomnia and wanting to die, die, die, you know how much she loved him. By time three, you'd think her love for him would be dead. But the American Express bill did it. Don't leave home without it, the commercials intone, and he didn't. She didn't hack him up either -- she got a divorce. I'm trying to figure out how to write something about this, but I'm guessing that the Christian Science Monitor won't be taking it. I might have to resort to nature, but let's face it -- I'm much more comfortable in a world of wine, Bibles, American Express bills, and cities at night than I ever will be walking around outside where anything can happen, but mostly nothing ever does, at least not that I notice running from my house to my car in the cold.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Any decent kind of world, you wouldn't need all these rules." John Updike
Cocktail Hour
Drinking novel suggestion: the Rabbit series by John Updike -- these four novels and one novella rank among my favorites of all time!
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!
35 days until The Sopranos airs!

9 comments:

the walking man said...

Well that's one of the things my wife never had to put up with, charging aomeone's abortion to her credit card. She would never put my name on her credit cards.(I have a gasoline card) which isn't fair because I put her name on what used to be my sears card, but then she confiscated those cards like they were hers.

I did buy a chain saw at sears too, just the right size for a little cut up job...but then I bought it for her so she could trim the fucking mulberry tree in the back yard, so she took control of that too. The tree and the trimming, and the saw.

So that just goes to prove that even after 24 yrs. whats hers is hers and what's mine is hers (except my casino losses, the winnings follow the other rule)

I think I am most comfortable in a world at night day noon midnight because It's all mine anyway. ohhhh yeah one more thing if you're still running through the cold to get to your ar either your still a texan or you haven't realized that unless it's in the single didgit temperatures it ain't cold.

Inspector Clueso said...

Zees Christian Science Monitor does not take zee God poems, eh? Yet zeh vant more, eh?

Rodney Dangerfield said...

Nice gun earing, Michelle. Shoot me with your love gun, if you know what I mean.

Charles Gramlich said...

Just takes one straw to break the camel's back.

Herman Northrop Frye said...

I haven't read a lot of Updike, Michelle. But my cursory perusal of his corpus has revealed that marital infidelity is one of his major themes, especially in the "Rabbit" series. To me, Updike explores the concept of adultery more on an intellectual level, rather than on the visceral, gut-wrenching level on which it exists in the real world, when the moral relationship between a married couple becomes more than a shade off bubble.

Cardinal Spellman said...

Dear Michelle,
It's so splendidly ironic when you write: "I'm trying to figure out how to write something about this...." I love your blogs dealing with mature subject matter.

Carmella Soprano said...

What broke the camel's back for me was when Tony's ex-goomah, that slut Irina called me at home and told me not only about Tony's fucking her but her one-legged cousin too. That phone call at my home was the last straw.

Susan Miller said...

A motorcycle. I divorced mine because of a motorcycle. Sure, there's obviously more of a story there, but it makes me smile now to think I did it because of a motorcycle.

the walking man said...

Life affirming---they want pieces that are life affirming?

Ok motherfucker
I woke up
breathing
this morning.
That affirms
I still
have a
fucking
ass life.

Would they accept that?