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Archives for December 2012

What have I become?

“Do something fun with bourbon,” I told the bartender.

Moments later, she presented me with a cocktail she’d made up on the spot: Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and muddled blueberries(!)

It was fantastic.

Raskolnikov — Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanzas 7 and 8

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For those who never knew or have forgotten, I’ve been rewriting Crime and Punishment as a verse novel in the style of Eugene Onegin.

Click here for the story up to now.

Here’s the latest ladle of psycho-stroganoff. As before, your candid appraisal would be most welcome. That includes criticism, constructive or otherwise.

1.1.7

Each fateful footfall draws him nearer:
His destination looms ahead,
Its details redrawn larger, clearer.
He counts each step with mounting dread
And racing heart as he retraces
The seven-hundred thirty paces
From his room to… that place’s door.
What seemed an ugly dream before
Now fills imagination’s page
With dialogue… direction… action.
Repulsion yields to the attraction
Of playing that scene on that stage.
Despite his nerves, he can’t reverse.
He mounts the stage; he must rehearse.

1.1.8

Between canal and Sadóvaya,
It rises — the familiar shock:
Higher and higher, layer on layer,
That building hulks above its block.
Within its warrens dwell assorted
Tradespeople; Germans; unsupported
Young ladies…. Now the fading day’s
Rush-hour foot-traffic runs two ways:
Both back and forth; its hot disorder
Swarms two courtyards. Through one yard’s gate,
Into a stairwell, swift and straight,
Unseen by any lurking porter
(Four porters work here… maybe three?),
Slips Rodya, thinking ‘Lucky me!’

Mel Gibson’s Sunset Boulevard?

Mel Gibson’s Sunset Boulevard.

All Sales Final

In which I propose a film.

What Came in the Mail

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Christmas in La Mesa, 2012

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Shelly’s Catholic

Northern Exposure: Holling sings Ave Maria to Shelly on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is cookin’

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

‘Presepio’, by Joseph Brodsky (translated by Richard Wilbur)

The wise men; Joseph; the tiny infant; Mary;
The cows; the drovers, each with his dromedary;
The hulking shepherds in their sheepskins — they
Have all become toy figures made of clay.

In the cotton-batting snow that’s strewn with glints,
A fire is blazing. You’d like to touch that tinsel
Star with a finger — or all five of them,
As the infant wished to do in Bethlehem.

All this, in Bethlehem, was of greater size.
Yet the clay, round which the drifted cotton lies,
With tinsel overhead, feels good to be
Enacting what we can no longer see.

Now you are huge compared to them, and high
Beyond their ken. Like a midnight passerby
Who finds the pane of some small hut aglow,
You peer from the cosmos at this little show.

There life goes on, although the centuries
Require that some diminish by degrees,
While others grow, like you. The small folk there
Contend with granular snow and icy air,

And the smallest reaches for the breast, and you
Half-wish to clench your eyes, or step into
A different galaxy, in whose wastes there shine
More lights than there are sands in Palestine.

Wilbur, Richard. Anterooms: New Poems and Translations: 35-36. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

Dear Paul Elie,

Has fiction lost its faith? Not quite. Come take a gander!

Sincerely,

Matthew Lickona

p.s. Very glad to hear that you’ve got skin in the game these days.

[Thanks to IC for the tip.]