The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Saturday


Ode on Periods
By Bernadette Mayer


the penis is something that fits into the vagina
so's the tampax or sponge
therefore Aristotle never thought of women at all
the penis like a tree fits into mouth, hands and asshole too
it can be the subject of an academic poem
disguised as a sloop, catapult or catamaran's mastpole
never the monthly menstruation will she
belie tradition's bloody demagoguery enough
to appear in the rough in a poem in a monthly
I dream I had a deep cut on my finger
filled with a delicious tofu cake
and when you took off your clothes your penis
was among them hanging by a cord on a hook
I took it down hoping its disassociation from being
would not thus prevent its manly erection from existing
and therefore I tried it out and it went well
such as license as mine perhaps made it swell independent
I think the world is all fucked up in many ways (see footnotes)
and one of these is the apparent interdiction in dumb poetic tradition
of speaking of and being heard on the glories of sublime menstruation

I first got my period when I was twelve the day my father died
at least I knew what it was, some girls didn't then
we were told you can't go swimming but don't you wanna have children
so much for confessionalism
I won't call on the moon like in a real poem
or anthropology or the bible or talk about being untouchable
or power etc. I've nothing at all to say but to exercise
my freedom to speak about everything

now that poems've got everything in them
even rhetoric and dailiness plus the names of things again
including flowers like the spotted touch-me-not
so inviting to hummingbirds
and I'm writing one
I'd like to mention or say blatantly
I got my period today
probably like nobody
certainly in the nineteenth century ever did
and if you really wanna know
most of us you know
all get ours on the same day no kidding
and we talk about it frequently and peripatetically
Alice with Peggy Peggy with Marion Marion with me me with Anne
Anne with Alice Peggy with me Grace with Peggy Marion with Grace

So Friends! Hold the bloody sponge up!
For all to see!

--------

apaulled and I both had to get work done this morning ("Wink of an Eye"), but he took the afternoon off and we met his parents for a picnic at Gambrill State Park, the first of our annual trip to several South Mountain-area parks where the leaves change spectacularly right around now. In Frederick County, there seems to be a magic altitude where most of the leaves turn yellow rather than brown -- this is true on Catoctin and at Cunningham Falls as well -- and at this point in October there is a fabulous assortment of yellow, gold and green with some red maple and even redder ivy mixed in. It was surprisingly cold and windy up near the summits; we had dressed for the mid-60s and sunny we had at home, and spent most of lunch shivering because we hadn't brought warmer jackets. But once we started hiking, we warmed up.

We generally start at Gambrill on High Knob, near the top of the mountain with a view of Frederick to one side and Middletown to the other with South Mountain in the distance, because it has a large picnic area, a trail along the summit and a tea house which regrettably is almost always booked for some event. From there we go to Washington Monument State Park, on the border of Frederick and Washington Counties with views of Boonsboro and Frederick and spectacular skylines and bird-watching. And then we go to Gathland, the ruins of the home of the Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend a.k.a. Gath, where he built an arch to honor Civil War correspondents just off Crampton's Gap where Union and Confederate forces clashed days before the Battle of Antietam. The crest of the mountain was also a major Underground Railroad route towards Pennsylvania, and it's very near the Ceres-Bethel AME Church and cemetery, built in 1870 by freed slaves. There are photos from previous years tagged here -- the leaves and light are never exactly the same.


The Civil War Correspondents' Arch at Gathland, just past the crossroads where the Civil War armies fought.


The teahouse at Gambrill on High Knob, with large stone fireplaces and a huge balcony overlooking the valley below. There are also several covered picnic tables, which is where we ate.


The Washington Monument, made from local stone brought from Boonsboro to sit atop South Mountain in honor of the first president. The Appalachian Trail crosses the summit right past it.
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We came back to have dinner with my parents, then watched Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica and were disappointed to discover that Sci-Fi will apparently be showing Threshold from now on in marathons on Mondays...I thought it was going to be a Friday night regular thing! We will see if I stick with Galactica now that it's not the hour between two shows I want to watch. It is still hard for me to resist Lucy Lawless and Mary McDonnell, but I really loathe the Starbuck storyline (the aspects of it that appear to be resolved for the moment have not made me in any way forgive the way it was written) and although I liked Jamie Bamber in the Hornblower movies, I haven't warmed up to his Apollo. I have no such problems with Tennant's Doctor, however; if we had to lose Eccleston I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have had take over the role. Though I maintain that it is really Rose who makes the show for me.

I love the Doctor's sense of humor -- "I'm the Doctor and I just snogged Madame de Pompadour!" and his insisting that he should get to keep the horse ("What's a horse doing on a spaceship?" "Mickey! What's Pre-Revolutionary France doing on a spaceship?") because he let Rose keep Mickey (who was right about the tin dog thing, hee!) The theme of this season seems to be that the Doctor is fated to lose everything, even Rose, so there's a kind of poignancy every time he looks for some way not to get too attached to her, to let go a little here or there. But somehow it moves me more when she always manages to get past her split second of potential jealousy and find things to like about any woman they meet, whether she's the Doctor's former companion or a possessed girl or a Queen or in this case a King's clever, beautiful, cultured, sensitive mistress with whom the Doctor is as smitten as whoever wrote this episode, which has both the positive and negative aspects of Mary Sue storytelling...positive in that Reinette is clever, beautiful, cultured, sensitive, etc., negative in that the evil aliens want to possess her by cutting her up to get at her brain. It's what always happens when writers put their favorite historical heroes into science fiction...Abraham Lincoln got killed on Star Trek, Amelia Earhart got gooey over Fred Noonan on Voyager.

Anyway, I am curious why the evil aliens appear to be wearing those particular masks (do they just resemble the one from V for Vendetta or was I supposed to be thinking of Guy Fawkes?) and I like Rose comparing Madame de Pompadour to Camilla, and the fact that Louis XV is really rather a prince where the Doctor is concerned. The ickiness of a ship using human organs to run machinery is just...ewwwww. And I LOVED the drunk Doctor singing "I Could Have Danced All Night" and fretting that he may have invented the banana daquiri many years too early. His dialogue with Reinette is wonderful when he's trying to sort through her memories (obviously aroused by some of them) and she shoves her way into his thoughts -- "A door once opened may be stepped through in either direction" -- must remember that when thinking about Legilimency. *g* "There comes a time, Time Lord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance." And then, to Rose, "The monsters and the Doctor...it seems you cannot have one without the other," to which Rose responds, "Tell me about it." There are two wonderful moments where Rose asks whether first Reinette is all right when she finds out what the aliens have in mind for her and then whether the Doctor is all right when he learns that Reinette died before he could get back to her, and Reinette is far more honest: she admits that she's very afraid "but you and I both know, don't wen Rose, the Doctor is worth the monsters." Whereas the Doctor will only offer, "I'm always all right." When in fact it's rather the opposite.

There appears to be no new thefridayfive or fannish5.
fridayfiver: Twisting in my Head
1. Have problems sleeping?
Rarely. My problem is more waking up.
2. Last dare accepted? I don't remember, but I'm sure it was to write some particular kink or other involving some particular characters or other in fanfic.
3. Last dare given? To son, to join the Shakespeare Club at school.
4. Are you free with your feelings? Probably too free some of the time.
5. Tell us a lie: I have the willpower to resist that marzipan that's sitting in the kitchen.

Son has a soccer game smack in the middle of the afternoon Saturday. The bad news is, this means we can't go on any long trips, but the good news is, hopefully we can go see The Prestige.
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