Homage to Sharon Stone
By Lynn Emanuel
It's early morning. This is the "before,"
the world hanging around in its wrapper,
blowzy, frumpy, doing nothing: my
neighbors, hitching themselves to the roles
of the unhappily married, trundle their three
mastiffs down the street. I am writing this
book of poems. My name is Lynn Emanuel.
I am wearing a bathrobe and curlers; from
my lips, a Marlboro drips ash on the text.
It is the third of September nineteen**.
And as I am writing this in my trifocals
and slippers, across the street, Sharon Stone,
her head swollen with curlers, her mouth
red and narrow as a dancing slipper,
is rushed into a black limo. And because
these limos snake up and down my street,
this book will be full of sleek cars nosing
through the shadowy ocean of these words.
Every morning, Sharon Stone, her head
in a helmet of hairdo, wearing a visor
of sunglasses, is engulfed by a limo
the size of a Pullman, and whole fleets
of these wind their way up and down
the street, day after day, giving to the street
(Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA)
and the book I am writing, an aspect
that is both glamorous and funereal.
My name is Lynn Emanuel, and in this
book I play the part of someone writing
a book, and I take the role seriously,
just as Sharon Stone takes seriously
the role of the diva. I watch the dark
cars disappear her and in my poem
another Pontiac erupts like a big animal
at the cool trough of a shady curb. So,
when you see this black car, do not think
it is a Symbol For Something. It is just
Sharon Stone driving past the house
of Lynn Emanuel who is, at the time,
trying to write a book of poems.
Or you could think of the black car as
Lynn Emanuel, because, really, as an author,
I have always wanted to be a car, even
though most of the time I have to be
the "I," or the woman hanging wash;
I am a woman, one minute, then I am a man,
I am a carnival of Lynn Emanuels:
Lynn in the red dress; Lynn sulking
behind the big nose of my erection;
then I am the train pulling into the station
when what I would really love to be is
Gertrude Stein spying on Sharon Stone
at six in the morning. But enough about
that, back to the interior decorating:
On the page, the town looks bald
and dim so I turn up the amps on
the radioactive glances of bad boys.
In a kitchen, I stack pans sleek with
grease, and on a counter there is a roast
beef red as a face in a tantrum. Amid all
this bland strangeness is Sharon Stone,
who, like an engraved invitation, is asking
me, Won't you, too, play a role? I do not
choose the black limo rolling down the street
with the golden stare of my limo headlights
bringing with me the sun, the moon, and
Sharon Stone. It is nearly dawn; the sun
is a fox chewing her foot from the trap;
every bite is a wound and every wound
is a red window, a red door, a red road.
My name is Lynn Emanuel. I am the writer
trying to unwrite the world that is all around her.
I am so, so, so behind today, even though I got some stuff done that had to be done...post office, laundry detergent, gift for friend, phone calls, discovery that Hot Topic gift cards cannot be used online but must be phoned in with all the attendant delays. esteven, ashinae, mamadracula and helens78, stuff is on the way and I am very sorry for the delays!
So I will only write quick notes rather than reviews of entertainment yesterday. Let me start by saying that despite having nearly completed a Ph.D. in English, I am not at all a fan of the English novel (I do Renaissance drama and American modernism and popular culture) and have actually never finished reading Vanity Fair. So I feel no guilt whatsoever in saying that I loved the movie, which I am sure differs from the novel in many significant ways but to me were all to the good. I'm sure Becky was too much a feminist heroine for Thackeray's times and I'm sure the parallels between the conditions of women, the working class and the colonized were far too simple, but I enjoyed seeing a mainstream movie in which those issues were addressed at all, and in terms of the visuals and performances, I was thrilled. Witherspoon, Purefoy and Byrne were all marvelous and there was wonderful detail in the costumes and sets. I thought the film managed a nice balance of not apologizing for Becky when she was a bitch while at the same time depicting all the social and economic reasons for her to have become one.
I could say more, but will undoubtedly get ranted at by people who are upset that the film made no effort to be the book, whereas that is precisely what I enjoyed about it. It's rare for me to resent a film for not being the book anyway, unless it cuts out what I consider to be the defining characteristics of one of my favorite characters or something drastic like that, and I felt like most of the changes in Becky were rather favorable to her (and Crawley improved greatly). So let me just say that if, like me, you have no problem adoring the film of The Great Gatsby even though its heavy-handed symbolism and use of Mia Farrow have almost nothing to do with the novel, you will certainly not have any problems enjoying Vanity Fair.
Then, since I already had 1812 and Jack Aubrey's London on the brain, we watched First Invasion: The War of 1812 on the History Channel. I will admit that I was biased before ever seeing it by this New York Times review which focuses on the distortions in the program, particularly in order to draw parallels with 9/11. "According to the documentary's view of the war, the fledgling republic perseveres against the enormous odds stacked against it by the powerful British military and its own disorganization...it does see the war as an inspiring lesson for Americans in a time of crisis...leaving out large portions that would show American conduct in the war in a less successful and less glorious light. In the end, as much as anything about the war that is its subject, 'First Invasion' teaches a lesson about the uses to which history can be put." I will admit that I thrilled anyway when the USS Constitution was shown blasting the HMS Guerriere, which had been pressing American sailors, and I always enjoy hearing about the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner because that's local history. But, you know, we burned York before the British burned Washington.
In other news, chrismm posted a wonderful fake ad that Bush might run if Jesus were his opponent. And if my life was a sci-fi show, it would be a hit!
gblvr! I still owe you lunch! Now must go write about the Shatner Emmy! (The aforementioned Sharon Stone won one as well.)