Mar. 9, 2001

Criss Cross Apple Sauce

by Thomas Lux

FRIDAY, 9 March 2001
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Poem: "Criss Cross Apple Sauce," by Thomas Lux, from New & Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin).

Criss Cross Apple Sauce Criss cross apple sauce
do me a favor and get lost
while you're at it drop dead
then come back without a head

my daughter sings for me
when I ask her what she learned in school today
as we drive from her mother's house to mine.
She knows I like some things that rhyme.
She sings another she knows I like:
Trick or treat, trick or treat
give me something good to eat
If you don't I don't care
I'll put apples in your underwear . . .

Apples in you underwear — I like that more
than Lautreamont's umbrella
on the operating table, I say to her
and ask if she sees the parallel.
She says no but she prefers the apples too.
Sitting on a bench
nothing to do
along come some boys - p.u., p.u., p.u.

my daughter sings,
my daughter with her buffalo-size heart,
my daughter brilliant and kind,
my daughter singing
as we drive from her mother's house to mine.

On this date in 1959, the Barbie Doll was unveiled at the Toy Fair in New York City. Over a billion Barbies have been sold since then.

It's the birthday of novelist Keri Hulme, born in Christchurch, New Zealand (1947) — known for her first novel, The Bone People (1984).

It's the birthday of Mickey Spillane, the pen name of Frank Morrison, born in Brooklyn, New York (1918), the author of crime novels featuring Mike Hammer, 'the one-man police force.'  His books include I, the Jury (1946), Vengeance Is Mine (1950), Kiss Me, Deadly (1952).

"I have no fans.  You know what I got?  Customers.  And customers are your friends."

It's the birthday of composer Samuel Barber, born in West Chester, Pennsylvania (1910), neo-Romantic composer famous for his "Adagio for Strings" (1936) and the opera Vanessa (1958 — libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti).

It's the birthday of Vita Sackville-West, born in Kent, England (1892).  She was one of the "Bloomsbury" writers, but was better known for her weekly gardening column than for her poetry and novels, which include The Edwardians (1930), and All Passion Spent (1931).

"I have come to the conclusion, after many years of sometimes sad experience, that you cannot come to any conclusion at all."

On this day in 1864, Ulysses S. Grant, who had never been to Washington, D.C., in his life, was made commander of all the Union armies. His popular nickname, 'Unconditional Surrender,' matched his initials, U.S.

"I know only two tunes.  One of them is 'Yankee Doodle,' and the other isn't."

It's the birthday of railroad developer Leland Stanford, born in Watervliet, New York (1824).  He moved out to California, went into business, and entered politics.  He was elected Governor of California in 1861, about the same time he joined the new Central Pacific Railroad, where he served as President for the rest of his life.  He freely used his elected position to build up his railroad, and earned tremendous profits for himself.  In 1885, he used some of his money to found the school that bears his name: Stanford University.

It's the birthday of explorer Amerigo Vespucci, born in Florence, Italy (1451) — who explored the coast of South America and discovered the Amazon River.  It was he, Amerigo, who gave his name to the New World: America.

On this day in 1274, St. Thomas Aquinas, 49 years old, died after being knocked from his donkey when it trotted under a low tree limb.  Legend has it that the donkey died of regret.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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