Sunday, February 19, 2006

Delicate and Indisposed

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I can't believe I'm sick again. This is my second cold since the beginning of the year, and once again, I am totally immobilized by it. Just when I was getting my strength back, and back to at least an hour of hard cardio and an hour of seriously good weight lifting every other day (I was even using the 20 lb. weights for shoulder presses, chest flies and bicep/triceps, and back up to 90 lb. one legged leg presses, which might not seem like much, but really is, if you consider that I'm only about 5') BAM! back to bed.

I blame this in part on the gym, which is, after all, a hot, sweaty, petri dish, and probably not the best place to be exerting myself and taking huge gulping breaths. I also blame my students and colleagues, who, obviously, can't help breathing when they talk to me, or pass me in the hall, passing along their various germs and viruses. I also blame my new upstairs neighbors and their one year old, who clomp around at 6 every morning, prompting me to sleep with a fan on for the white noise. It was already too dry and hot in my radiator-heated apartment; with all that dry air flinging around the bedroom while I try to sleep, how could I help but catch another cold?

But mostly, I blame Sara Teasdale, the neuresthenic, famously delicate lyric poet who I've been writing about for the past several weeks. The more I try to figure out her version of idealized femininity, the more I seem to perform it. And so I sit here on a brilliantly sunny Sunday morning wrapped in blankets, listening to early, way-over-orchestrated Ray Charles, dreaming of princesses while I try to get my head into Teasdale's impossibly precious landscapes, tapping delicately at my laptop's keys, with a snowy-white siamese cat curled up in my lap, head resting on the warmth of the keyboard. And while I've always been reluctant to describe Amy Lowell as butch, she's looking tougher and tougher in her determined pursuit of, and ardent love for, beautiful women, compared with poor pitiful Sara, who, poem after poem, volume after mind-numbing volume, glories in weakness and unrequited love.

A Maiden

Oh if I were a velvet rose
Upon a red rose vine,
I'd climb to touch his window
And make his casement fine.

And if I were a bright-eyed bird
That twitters on the tree,
All day I'd sing my love for him
Til he should harken me.

But since I am a maiden
I go with downcast eyes,
And he will never hear my songs
That he has turned to sighs.

And since I am a maiden
My love will never know
That I could kiss him with a mouth
More red than roses blow.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sfrajett said...

Wow--this poem really immortalizes passive-aggressivity as the highest of feminine traits. Yikes! I always wondered how that happened, and you've found a great clue here.

1:38 PM  
Blogger dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

Damn you, Teasdale!! Your poetry is like the bird flu, or cholera. Or, well, like a vampire that sucks the life force from unsuspecting tiny athletic scholars.

mxnnng (certainly, this word exists somewhere in the hip-hop or snowboarding lexicon)

10:43 PM  

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