Mar. 25, 2005

Upon My Offering Her an Easter Chocolate, My Wife Screams that She Won't Let Me Make Her Fat

by Gaylord Brewer

FRIDAY, 25 MARCH, 2005
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Poem: "Upon My Offering Her an Easter Chocolate, My Wife Screams that She Won't Let Me Make Her Fat" by Gaylord Brewer, from Exit Pursued by a Bear. © Cherry Grove Collections. Reprinted with permission.

Upon My Offering Her an Easter Chocolate, My Wife Screams that She Won't Let Me Make Her Fat

Later, it may occur to me
that inside a door frame is, they say, safest
place structurally during a tornado,
other than any available underground.

And later, after the night perhaps,
when earth's sun shines on a cold spring morning
and the house is quiet,
I will reflect inconclusively on what I've done
and what I may deserve, and whether I am a villain.

But for now, a punishing moment
when a woman turns in a chair
to a man extending a candy egg held on the axis
of thumb and forefinger and subtext

explodes, for that moment I weave
a bit foolishly on the threshold of an open passage,
blinking carefully, drunk,
absolutely and silently indefensible
as the existing universe that I can perceive

narrows to a radiating point,
then, widening, takes the shape of a glove
crafted for life's work, one that may slap, caress,
or close quickly to a fist, as the hand desires.

Literary and Historical Notes:

On this day in 1960, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the unabridged version of Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence, was not obscene, and could be sent through the U.S. mail. The ruling was unanimous. One judge asked, "Should a mature and sophisticated reading public be kept in blinders because a government official thinks reading certain works of power and literary value are not good for him?" A British court issued a similar verdict shortly afterwards. During the wave of publicity that accompanied the litigation in 1959-1960, over 6 million copies of the book were sold. Unfortunately, D.H. Lawrence did not benefit from it: he'd been dead 30 years.

It's the birthday of novelist and poet Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, born in Brooklyn (1941), author of Buffalo Afternoon (1988), The Golden Rope (1996), and The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat (1997) and other books.

It's the birthday of Gloria Steinem, born in Toledo, Ohio (1934). Her childhood was spent traveling with her parents in trailers—she didn't attend school regularly until she was 12. In 1971 she helped found the National Women's Political Caucus, and edited the first issue of Ms. magazine.

It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Flannery O'Connor, born in Savannah, Georgia (1925). She once said that the climax of her life occurred when she was six: newsreel cameramen came to her farm and shot footage of her with a chicken that walked backwards. Her first novel, Wise Blood was published in 1952. Shortly afterward, she was stricken with lupus, the disease that had killed her father when she was 12. She moved back to live with her mother on a farm in Milledgeville, Georgia. There she wrote A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Other Stories (1955), The Violent Bear It Away (1960), and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965).

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




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