Monday, October 23, 2006

Your guillotine, entre guillemets

Overheard at Caffe Strada

"Oh, I just loved it. You have to see it! I mean, Marie Antoinette, she was a really COMPLICATED person. People can be so BLACK and WHITE, y'know! They don't really stop to imagine what it's like from the other side. She was so young! And so beautiful. You have to see it. The costumes are amazing. And the OPULENCE. And she has the most beautiful children. These BLONDE, BLUE-EYED children."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My friend and mentor Deborah Tall passed away Thursday night. She was far too young. I hope to write something about her writing and her life here at a later date, but I have mostly silence to say right now.

This is from her memoir/lyric essay _A Family of Strangers_, just out from Graywolf:

We race after spray trucks during mosquito season, see who can be ghosted in the white mist of DDT.

We follow around my father as he spritzes the scrawny rose bushes to protect them from the beautifully iridescent Japanese beetles.

A nearby chemical plant makes us gag when the wind blows our direction.

From every angle, we are hemmed in by identical pale gray rooftops.

Walt Whitman is the name of a seven-lane bridge across the Delaware.