Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hello darling. Sultry out, crack of thunder just now, brooding clouds. Minutes pass. I scan an article on Salon about how unnatural monogamy is to the human species, since the "dawn" of man. It unaccountably depresses me. I start to brood. I think about how promiscuity is promiscuity, whether one is straight or male. (And I do differentiate promiscuity from not being strictly monogamous.) I think about how before I met D and got married I did my share of playing the field, for a decade serially monogamous relationships of varying duration with occasional encounters (in between, never at the same time, I don't think) of ridiculously brief duration. All ages ago. Torrential rains come from the west. The blinds are getting wet. I close the windows. I google a couple of old flames. Feel a little dyspeptic - no, not because I'm Remembering Things Past but maybe that last bite of delicious crab cake after lunch was one bite too many. One of the old flames no longer wears a beard and he's 30 years older but yeah that's him. "Dr. and Mrs....." Wonder if he's still married to the fiancée he was engaged to all the while he was seeing me. (And this was back in college!!!) Heartened to read an eloquent response to silly article in Salon that to internally war against sleeping around is also as old as the dawn of man (whatever that is) due to our inherently conflicted natures. And that many women prefer essentially (if not necessarily exclusively) monogamous relationships, and view separation of love from sex as hollow, and that that's evolution at work too. I feel somewhat cheered by that. Rain ends. Glad I didn't bother watering. Sun comes back out. I open the windows again. Google another guy I really liked, the only (new) guy I ever fell for during my marriage, not that anything ever happened, I didn't do anything, he didn't, it was entirely in my head - but he was My Type. Discover he's left his position. Somehow am not surprised though of course don't know circumstances but can take a guess. Let's see, that he has ideas, and principles, and an understated, naturally elegant way, plus integrity --- all those fantastic qualities - perhaps worked against him. (?) Wild guess. Jerrice is on with Women of Note. I'm glad she's playing a lot of broody French songs, and what's on now - what language is that - is it Hebrew? All these compoundings of broodiness - like the piling on of double negatives - they're turning into positives - I'm starting to feel oddly cheered. I like that Mabel and David at least sometimes sported together. He was really into her. They helped each other's careers. He traveled a lot but he scheduled his visits home for when she wasn't fertile. (And this is before she was trying to have Austin Dickinson's baby, I think.) Did I mention that she wasn't a nutjob? Maybe let's not use the term nutjob. How about champion opportunist and manipulator? And yet, not all bad. She was one of the few readers of Emily's poems who understood their genius. She learned to typewrite (a new word in the 1880s), and set about, after Emily's death and with the active acquiescence of sister Lavinia, to type up the poems from Emily's loopy, crabbed barely comprehensible hand [that's me talking - I tried to read a few of her short lines at the NYBG library exhibit and gave up, could hardly make them out]. Mabel was a huge champion, for not entirely selfless - and yet not entirely selfish - reasons. She set about the project with professional determination and rigor (enlisting husband who sorted through Emily's scraps of paper) and was instrumental in getting the first volume published, which - to the surprise of major publishers (such as Houghton Mifflin) who'd declined her entreaties - was instantly a surprise bestseller. Editors such as Higginson just didn't get Emily's discordant phrasing & jarring punctuation. Mabel met with Higginson who hemmed and hawed. Mabel, a performer who at the piano could and did sing like a bird in the hopes of enticing various prey, proceeded to read aloud, apparently in a very musical, natural, compelling way where the sound & sense came through, a number of Emily's poems and Higginson saw the light. Her outfit perhaps helped. Lyndall Gordon describes Mabel, at that fateful meeting with Higginson, as (let's see, page 258, brethren) "moulded in a corset perfectly judged between womanly yield and ladylike tightness, she leant a little forward in performance mode..." Wow. I read that sentence over a couple of times. I consider my own outfit, possibly on me more womanly tightness and ladylike yield...

I don't understand it, not really. How did I get here? Up in the aerie with an ice filled glass, typing away, about to launch, full of love and kisses for you summering on the Cape like an aristocratic or bourgeois laze-a-bout. I love you anyway, even if you were always a scoundrel with your charming smile and wood boat. Oh wait - no, sorry darling, thinking of someone else entirely for a moment. Being a local female poet has its compensations. Love you - You. Dashes upon dashes and improbable Caps, all over you dearest, bearded (or not?) loveable You || --- Yeah///

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