Friday, May 22, 2009

Generous Times

The other night the Last Amazon and I were discussing poetry and music – don’t ask why - I am still not sure how it came up. I recited part of an Earle Birney poem I was forced to memorize in grade 12. Literally decades after the event and these four lines are still stuck firmly engraved in the recesses of my mind. Of course, it probably didn’t hurt that I was publicly chastised in the classroom for suggesting the Birney poem contained ‘homoerotic imagery’. Frankly, it seem rather self-evident to me and when I tried to justify my reasoning, I was tutted and hissed all the way to the principal’s office. What can I say – it was seventies. I can’t remember the name of the poem but it went like this -
There are better ways to catch a god,
who is feeling gay and girly,
then tickling with a fishing rod,
among the short and curly

The Last Amazon agreed there was a strong element of homoerotic, but then again, she shares not just my DNA but my poetry dyslexia. Anyway, as smart and savvy as the Last Amazon is, there are still things she shares in common with most of her peers – this blind belief that her generation just invented not only sex but sensuality, bawdiness and vulgarity. Some would suggest it is the arrogance of youth but I prefer to think of it as the wonder of first discovery.

Anyway, this lead to a whole discussion of the bawdiness in songs and I mentioned the Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel. She didn’t believe me when I recited how it started, so tonight’s song for her. Read ‘em as Cohen sings along and pay up the $10 we bet Kikibird, and take this as your life mantranever bet against your mother.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.

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