Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brain VS Body

It's 4:00 where I live. That's morning time, not a much more appropriate afternoon time. My body (despite its incessant sickness--which may or may not be allergies, I'm not sure anymore) will not sleep anymore. I woke up at 3:45 and laid there wanting to get out of bed but telling myself that that's not what I wanted to do. So my body and my brain had a fight that went like this:

"Can we get up now?"
"I'm hot."
"Stick a leg out of the covers."
"Now my leg is cold but the rest of me is still hot. This is worse."
"You're right, it is worse. Put it back."
"Putting it back!"
"Go to sleep. People sleep at this time. Unless they're cooler than you and have yet to be asleep and even they are going to be in bed soon."
"I think I have to potty."
"You do not have to potty."
"I'll bet Jamie's online right now and you could chat with her via the interwebs."
"You think Jamie's online at what I estimate is probably 7:00 pm on a Saturday in her part of the world? You think she has nothing cooler to be doing at that time? Surely you don't know Jamie that well."
"Well, Brain, lucky for you I don't know Jamie as well as you do."
"Maybe something fun happened on Facebook since we went to bed 5 hours ago."
"No, I think I do have to potty."
"Yeah. You do. Dagnabit."

That is how--in ordinary Libby fashion, the body beat the brain.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Lovely Shall Be Choosers

Because when I Googled "The Lovely Shall Be Choosers", I couldn't find this poem anywhere. So I scoured the library and checked out The Poetry of Robert Frost: All Eleven of His Books--Complete (Copyright 1967). I know I can't be the only person on the planet who has an interest in this poem and was completely dumbstruck to find that the interwebs had failed me for, what could potentially be, the first time ever. That being said, I have wonders about two different things.
Wonder Number One: When you search for The Lovely Shall Be Choosers, will this blog show up?
Wonder Number Two: Is this some sort of copyright infringement or something and that's why it's so impossible to find? Damn, I sure hope that's not the answer.
Anyhow, I give you the fruits of my three-day-search.

The Lovely Shall Be Choosers

The Voice said, "Hurl her down!"

The Voices, "How far down?"

"Seven levels of the world."

"How much time have we?"

"Take twenty years.
She would refuse love safe with wealth and honor!
The lovely shall be choosers, shall they?
Then let them choose!"

"Then we shall let her choose?"

"Yes, let her choose.
Take up the task beyond her choosing."

Invisible hands crowned on her shoulder
In readiness to weigh upon her.
But she stood straight still,
In broad round earrings, gold and jet with pearls,
And broad round suchlike brooch,
Her cheeks high-colored,
Proud and the pride of friends.

The Voice asked, "You can let her choose?"

"Yes, we can let her and still triumph."

"Do it by joys, and leave her always blameless.
Be her first joy her wedding,
That though a wedding,
is yet--well, something they know, he and she.
And after that her next joy
That though she grieves, her grief is secret:
Those friends know nothing of her grief to make it shameful.
Her third joy that though now they cannot help but know,
They move in pleasure too far off
To think much or much care.
Give her a child at either knee for fourth joy
To tell once and once only, for them never to forget,
How once she walked in brightness,
And make them see it in the winter firelight.
But give her friends, for then she dare not tell
For their foregone incredulousness.
And be her next joy this:
Her never having deigned to tell them.
Make her among the humblest even
Seem to them less than they are.
Hopeless of being known for what she has been,
Failing of being loved for what she is,
Give her the comfort for her sixth of knowing
She fails from strangeness to a way of life
She came to from too high too late to learn.
Then send some one with eyes to see
And wonder at her where she is,
And words to wonder in her hearing how she came there,
But without time to linger for her story.
Be her last joy her heart's going out to this one
So that she almost speaks.
You know them--seven in all."

"Trust us," the Voices said.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On Grown Men and Adolescence

A man fifteen years older than me with an early-Whitman beard and a terrible pair of glasses is unsettling while the same situation and ten years younger is, god, infinitely sexy. What is that about? I wonder if I'll always feel that way. When I'm fifty, will I still be drawn to the unshaven or is it only hot when you're thirty? I think, at this point, we're just milking the end of our adolescence. I'm happy to let it take as long as possible, though. I don't really want to move it along.

I think the thing of it is that the beard, the shoes with holes, the half-drunken charm tell me something that the clean-cut, polo-and-chinos gentleman does not. He says, “I'm your other. I feel things and I'm eager to explore exceptionally tactile sensations. I am 'one of the roughs, a kosmos, disorderly, fleshly, and sensual, no sentimentalist, no stander above men or women or apart from them, no more modest than immodest.' I may imagine a completely different version of you than what really exists—but I will never ask you to listen to David Crowder.” He is much more charming a few drinks in and it's hard to say no to that. I think at a certain point in your life, it's important to allow yourself to fall for charm as long as you know that's what you're doing. Unfortunately, that generally happens at particularly young points and those are the most dangerous times.

That other guy, now, he's unpredictable. He's scary. I don't know how to read someone who doesn't feel things in the same ways that I feel things or isn't afraid of marriage. I don't know how to talk to someone who hasn't at least been interested in reading Whitman even if he's not willing to don the follicle commitment (read the metaphor). That other guy is already married, anyway, and has been for years.

There are these two boys sitting a few tables away from me. They're having some sort of an accountability meeting/ bible study. I feel terrible for eavesdropping—I'm a bad person, but then I think maybe they shouldn't be having a fairly loud meeting in such a public place. I'm not wrong. When they first sat down, the talk mostly centered around girls, which is to be expected where two or more are gathered. How girls are temptresses and how it's not their fault that they're getting boners every time they brush up against one. Fair enough. I felt really sad for them, right then. The truth is that, nope, it's not their fault that they're experiencing inconvenient and embarrassing erections at the worst possible moments. It's simply a terribly horrific part of growing up with a penis. It sounds too simple, but I'm pretty sure that's what it is. I can't imagine being forced to wear your arousal on your sleeve, so to speak. But what's worse than the embarrassment is the shame and the hatred that has to come alongside of it in some circles. The poor boys. They're praying for the wrong things. They're hoping to never get an erection again but really all they want is to wake up in the morning and not hate themselves over something so elementally biological. Being a teenager is impossible but it gets better. Throwing adulthood on top of a mountain of childhood—who could blame you for being utterly speechless.

When we're seventeen we think that we should know better by now but really we have nearly two decades of being a kid lightly covered by a blanket of a brand new interest in understanding ourselves. In retrospect, being the adult overhearing these kids' conversation, it's half encouraging and half heartbreaking. I want to tell them that they will always be confused. There are no answers that will end the questions, so don't expect them to stop. Questions breed questions. But the last thing I would ever want is for them to stop. Continue to wonder. Continue to wander. Continue to be open to honesty, little brothers. Continue to look upon yourselves with as much grace as you would offer to your friend across the table.