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A Poem A Day: The Consolations of Sociobiology

The Consolations of Sociobiology

by Bill Knott

(to JK)

Those scars rooted me. Stigmata stalagmite
I sat at a drive-in and watched the stars
Through a straw while the Coke in my lap went
Waterier and waterier. For days on end or

Nights no end I crawled on all fours or in
My case no fours to worship you: Amoeba Behemoth.
—Then you explained your DNA calls for
Meaner genes than mine and since you are merely

So to speak its external expression etcet
Ergo among your lovers I’ll never be…
Ah that movie was so faraway the stars melting

Made my thighs icy. I see: it’s not you
Who is not requiting me, it’s something in you
Over which you have no say says no to me.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

11 months ago- 32
Me:So what are you going to do with the rest of your day?
Student:Go home and go on Tumblr.
Me:What! It's so beautiful out, go play outside.
Student:Meh.
Student goes home, gets on Tumblr.
I go home, get on Tumblr.

Musings

I’m reminded this morning of a scene from one of my favorite TV series in which two characters discuss meaningful writing. One argues that intimacy is meaningful, and the other that nothing could be more trivial, that the only thing to ever bring meaning to life is death.

For whatever reason, death imbues a lot of my thoughts lately; I feel it distinctly when it ebbs into casual conversation, I feel it when the world stops for a moment and seems shocked, truly, that we are capable of that most final crime. I try to be objective. In cases like the Boston bombings, I worry about sensationalism. But am I the one in the wrong when I scoff at those who act so affected by “tragedy” on the news? How could anyone sensationalize death? Why is not every death a momentous occasion to be marked? Everything we do revolves around the empty skull we’ve come to see at the end of the road. The feeling inside me to create a life comes from my fear. The words we choose, the clothes we wear, and the people we fall asleep with at night all stem from that black seed. It’s the only weapon we have, the only song we write. Have you ever noticed the camps that arise when we discuss death? When we discuss the dead? You can go no further than death, despite the fact that most humans believe that you can, actually. Bringing death into a conversation ends it for a lot of people, who’d rather not be reminded of it. Sometimes I consider myself one of those people. It’s hard for me to conceive of much besides those whom I keep close to me. Other people are usually just that, and their triumphs and failures remain their own. Death to me is sometimes romantic, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes, rarely, really, so painful to think about I can’t concentrate.

I hear some people, usually many years ahead of me, talk about death like a neighbor, who quietly and rationally visits their friends. The absurdity of death has somehow eluded them, its sharpness dulled as it inches closer into view. I like this, I like the frankness and the physiology, and I want to understand death as a process. Sometimes I really do, too. Sometimes the biology is so simple and the oneness I feel with nature, animals, and every soul that ever lived is indescribably euphoric. But other times, not. The late David Rakoff described his reaction to his cancer spreading and the possibility of amputating his arm in a similar way:  

In the evenings, with my bloodstream a sticky river of Ativan, wine and codeine, it all feels eminently doable.

In the cold light of day, however, unable to carry a chair to move it into a corner, for example, what I’m about to embark on feels a little bigger and harder.”

When I was a little girl I’d do this trick. I’d close my left eye, keeping the right open. I’d turn both eyes toward the left, searching for what was behind it, in the very back corner. The blackness gave way to something else. It was the absence of color, of everything. I asked people about it, adults, but naturally they brushed me off. In a way, that complete nothingness is what death has come to represent to me. I think I’ll always find that more comforting than some spooky notion of the afterlife, but then again, what is the joy of living but the mystery?

The One Thing You're Not Supposed To Do | This American Life

 

1 year ago

Marengsterta

So, here is a photo of the most delicious cake on the planet: 

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There are several variations of púðursykursmarengsterta (brown sugar meringue), usually the distinguishing trait is what goes on top: chocolate, caramel, various fruits, but I digress. Up until two days ago, this cake was a mythical beast only forged behind closed doors in my grandmother’s kitchen. I knew it tasted like nothing else I’d ever eaten and that it was perfect every time. Somehow, light but dense, flaky and chewy, rich, satisfying, but never so much so that I didn’t want more. I had no idea what it was made of. Then this happened: 

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Clearly this is not the best picture (it was in the refrigerator at the time) but what I will say is I could not believe that I had created something with my own hands that even slightly resembled in taste, texture, and appearance the elusive treat. It was GOOD. Really good. I think I might get into baking, but I may have given myself a bit of false confidence with this one, as I assumed it was monumentally difficult to make and was in reality incredibly simple. Oh, and if anyone wants some, there’s a tupperware in the fridge with its remains. Or I’m happy to solicit requests to hone my technique.

***for posterity, here is the remaining portion***

This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. For good measure, listen to this afterward, one of the most poignant things I’ve ever heard.

howshegotover:

THRENODY
DOROTHY PARKER
from ENOUGH ROPE, 1926

Lilacs blossom just as sweet
Now my heart is shattered.
If I bowled it down the street,
Who’s to say it mattered?
If there’s one that rode away
What would I be missing?
Lips that taste of tears, they say,
Are the best for kissing.

Eyes that watch the morning star
Seem a little brighter;
Arms held out to darkness are
Usually whiter.
Shall I bar the strolling guest,
Bind my brow with willow,
When, they say, the empty breast
Is the softer pillow?

That a heart falls tinkling down,
Never think it ceases.
Every likely lad in town
Gathers up the pieces.
If there’s one gone whistling by
Would I let it grieve me?
Let him wonder if I lie;
Let him half believe me.

No words. Or too many.

howshegotover:

THRENODY
DOROTHY PARKER
from ENOUGH ROPE, 1926

Lilacs blossom just as sweet
Now my heart is shattered.
If I bowled it down the street,
Who’s to say it mattered?
If there’s one that rode away
What would I be missing?
Lips that taste of tears, they say,
Are the best for kissing.

Eyes that watch the morning star
Seem a little brighter;
Arms held out to darkness are
Usually whiter.
Shall I bar the strolling guest,
Bind my brow with willow,
When, they say, the empty breast
Is the softer pillow?

That a heart falls tinkling down,
Never think it ceases.
Every likely lad in town
Gathers up the pieces.
If there’s one gone whistling by
Would I let it grieve me?
Let him wonder if I lie;
Let him half believe me.

No words. Or too many.

Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my own familiar name


Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

At the little jokes we always enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me


Let my name be ever the household word that it always was

Let it be spoken without effort 


Without the ghost of a shadow in it 


Life means all that it ever was

There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind 


Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near

Just around the corner

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Henry Scott Holland

Sometimes it’s ok to get preachy ;)

(Source: lucidty, via ilovecharts)

DELICIOUS SMOOTHIE

I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast for a few months now and I’m constantly changing up their content based on what’s in my refrigerator. Today’s was particularly delicious and might I add…nutritious?  

3 handfuls tender spinach

2 broccoli florets

1 small apple

1/4 cup frozen pineapple

1/4 cup frozen berries

1/2 banana (frozen, tastes like ice cream)

1/2 cup water

BLEND BLEND BLEND YUM YUM YUM. Dan still refuses to taste them but one of these days I will win him over. 

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