Mar. 17, 2001

Mikey Likes It

by Ginger Andrews

SATURDAY, 17 March 2001
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Poem: "Mikey Likes It," by Ginger Andrews, from An Honest Answer (Story Line Press).

Mikey Likes It

the way I wait on him
hand and foot, wash his hair
most mornings, fry up hashbrowns
mend his work jeans and in general
act interested even when I'm not.
Mikey likes back rubs, "Renegade" reruns,
race cars, fishing poles, guns,
beef jerky, and a beefed-up truck.
He doesn't do dishes or yard work. He forgets
my birthday and doesn't bring me flowers.
No candy. No sweet talk. But I know
he loves me. He pays the bills,
gives my grown boys bear hugs
and money when he sees a need.
Once he charged a new set of tires
for my sister's old car
because she's alone and poor.
If you need a place to stay,
Mikey will give you our key.

Today is Saint Patrick's Day. He was born in what is now Wales around the year 385. At 16 the boy was carried off to Ireland as a slave, and worked there as a shepherd for 6 years before being told, in a dream, how to escape. He boarded a boat back to England but returned to Ireland to spread his newfound Christian faith among the druidic natives. When he did return—by this time called Patrick—he explained the concept of the Christian trinity by holding up a shamrock.

In New York city, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, first held in 1762, begins today at 11:00 in the morning. The parade starts at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, moving up Fifth past St. Patrick's Cathedral at 50th Street, past the official reviewing stands, on north to 86th, where they turn right and continue east to First Avenue. Over a million spectators line the route. Since 1838 the event has been sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

It's the birthday of 'cyberpunk' writer William Gibson, born in Conway, South Carolina (1948). His books include Neuromancer (1984—it won the science fiction Hugo Award), Count Zero (1986), and Virtual Light (1993).

It's the birthday of novelist and children's writer, Penelope Lively, born in Cairo (1933). She won the Booker Prize with Moon Tiger (1987). Her other novels include Treasures of Time (1979—National Book Award), Perfect Happiness (1983), and Cleopatra's Sister (1993).

It's the birthday of ballad singer (Nathaniel Adams Coles) Nat 'King' Cole, born in Montgomery, Alabama (1919). Early in his career he was known as a jazz pianist, but it was his singing that brought him commercial success—with such songs as "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (1943), and many other vocal hits.

On this date in 1913, at the International Exhibition of Modern Art, at New York's 69th Regiment Armory, the scandalous Armory Show opened. One painting in particular, by Marcel Duchamp, created a furor. The figure in the painting looked like a hooded robot, whose 20 or so successive positions in sequence made it look more mechanized than human. If Duchamp had chosen to call his painting something like "Study in Motion," it probably wouldn't have gotten much publicity. But he chose to call it "Nude Descending the Staircase," and it made him famous in America.

It's the birthday of author and illustrator Kate Greenaway, born in London (1846) famous for her drawings of an idyllic world of quaintly dressed children who play and sing in flowery meadows.

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




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