As I’m sure you’re all breathlessly awaiting news of my, well, whatever it is, well, the fever’s up and the rash is spreading. And yes, I’m going to the doctor. Even though the last time I went I wound up getting drugged and lanced in a rather personal place, I’m sucking it up and going back. (So far the rash hasn’t spread anywhere I couldn’t show my mother. Or any place I might have already shown your mother. ::ducks:: Yes, folks, I’ll be here all year. Tip your servers.) The writing is still coming along and there will be a story out on Thursday, one way or another.
In the meantime, I’ve been stuck on a bit from one of Infinite Jest‘s footnotes. Orin Incandenza, a punter with a gifted leg who plays for the Arizona Cardinals (which, in the future, doesn’t just involve playing football, but such things as parachuting into the stadium dressed as a Cardinal… hopefully, my beloved Detroit Lions don’t get any such ideas…) makes the observation that most of Emily Dickenson’s poetry can be sung to “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and then proceeds to sing a bit. (“Because I could not stop for death/ He kindly stopped for meeeeeeee…”) Go ahead. Pick a random Dickinson poem. It doesn’t work for all of them, but it does put a rather odd spin on them…
“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.
The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.
I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I
Could make assignable, — and then
There interposed a fly,
It does get stuck in your head after a while, doesn’t it?
Thinking about this got me thinking about my first influential Weird Al experience. (There’s a phrase that probably doesn’t get typed very often… but it should, damnit. It should.) Okay, like a lot of young boys in the 80s I got into him because of “Eat It” (which, curiously, hit #1 in Australia, a country where “Beat It” ony hit #2) but it was his singing of “The Brady Bunch Theme Song” to the tune of “The Safety Dance” that really planted the seeds of reverent parody in my head. This was long before mash-ups became the meme du jour in the early Aughties. (There’s only one of those I still listen to, and only because it puts an unjustly famous American “Punk” Band in their proper context.) And if you read through a lot of lyrical poetry, it’s amazing how well it all fits.
That’s your Poetry Monday post for today. Me? I’m going to finish this story, slather myself in cortisone, freebase Benadryl, and hope this rash or reaction or bug or whatever goes away soon, while singing “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island Theme Song. It’s a sailor thing.