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Molly Arden
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My pleasure. I thought someone might object to Mr. Stern. Gladly, I seem to have slipped that one through. -M.
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When votre ami Molly Arden says "Alors! J'adore le français!" or if I, on a brille pomme jour I say "English, I abhore!" -- it is not that I am unpatriotic. I am un Américain fier -- enorme, you might say. However, when je regarde THIS video of Valérie Rouzeau balancing an assiette de bonbons -- golden sugary fondre of language and then poem and sound and all of it and done so deliciously -- I feel like weeping. Let's all commit to use two or three languages to express ourselves. A tout le moins. Follow the English text as she reads it in French and see if you don't fall in l'amour avec her mouchoir. Someone get Molly a hanky. Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Molly's taking time tonight to slip off her flats, shake down her hair, have that extra glass of ______ (what the hell, I'm not driving). Let's take some time tonight. I'll take out my bag and finally show you all those little trinkets I've been collecting. We'll both lean in when we laugh. Pretend that you made me a desperately delicious dinner -- probably something in a pasta -- and that now we're going to linger over the last bits of the day with some wine and get chatty. You'll tell about the time that you regret and I'll show you something I don't show people unless I'm very, very tipsy. Here. Here are some of the things. First, hum this song to me during dinner and you've got THIS linguist before I've even seen the bread. love. love. love. love. Some advice is good. Like when to "quote". And when not to. Then, we'd probably giggle over some confessions. Like how Mollys swishy in the drawers, wet bottomed, shamefully besotted for the golden-throated (ahem) Howard Stern. And speaking of him always calls to mind my favorite entendre in Shakespeare. Twelfth Night's, Malvolio: By my life, this is my lady’s hand: these be her very C’s, her U’s, and her T’s; and thus makes she her great P’s. What a crass man! (Shakespeare) But, so TRUE! Who has not glimpsed a hand and thought, "So thin! Too bad..." or "Who knew? How interesting!" If Stern has come up, I'm sure sucking it is not far behind. And before I turn you down that one last time -- yes, I'll finish the bottle, but no, none of that for me tonight -- I'd love to share one about being specific. It fits as a happy ending to our evening. The article - not yours. Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Une merveille du ménage, en effet! On all points, absolument. -M.
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In order to arrive at what you do not know you must go by a way which is the way of ignorance. In order to possess what you do not possess you must go by the way of dispossession. In order to arrive at what you are not you must go through the way in which you are not. from T.S. Eliot’s “East Coker” The guts to face the unknown, to willingly embrace an air of innocence, is simultaneously strange but exhilarating. For the poet, heavily reliant upon reflection and observation, to cease interaction with thoughts, information, or feelings is a disquieting prospect. This state of release often creates a void. A void of prickled spine crookedness, a void where you write and write until you just lay down and stagnate in undiluted emotions, a void of isolation, a hungry void of total submission. For many of us, it is this void which we loathe and crave. Writers have identified it with different names: aboulie, melancholy, receptivity, mania, depression. Keats named it “negative capability”, Eliot dubbed it “objective correlative”, Rilke likened it to an illness. Many contemporary writers often refer to it as a “mania” or “depression”. Is it insanity, an episode, or a condition? I’ve had writer friends who’ve explained it away with minutia – busy time of year, deadlines, too much wine, seasonal sadness. A doctor I dated (I almost wrote “hated”!) – a psychotherapist – spent months carefully detailing the length and quality of the sun’s rays and their probable effect upon my poet's brain mental state; my lack of wearing sunglasses in bright light being responsible for the horrid open feeling that left me incapable of answering his calls but wanting to lick his gentle skin both day and night. No matter what you term it, any writer who’s experienced it knows it when they feel it. As a writer, I have spent much of my writing time “stripping down” and far less time actually writing. It is no small task. It demands sacrifice; it has robbed me of possessions that define me, patterns of thought that are my own, a body of knowledge I have tended. It is a complex challenge to create a vacuum where, as a solitary entity, I expose myself to the rawness of life’s experiences. Each writer has different requirements, different methods. I punctuate these lean seasons of “void” by sliding clean sheets on the bed, scrubbing out the sink, stacking all the laundry neatly in rows. It’s an attempt to plan ahead for the weeks of disarray, the crumbs in the sheets, the days spent in bed, the possibility that there will be times when lifting a pencil will be more bothersome a task than raising a thought. Writing effects severe alterations to our rational, factual, thinking, ordered lives. Under the right conditions, writers discover words that capture the seemingly unknowable, or the known in all new light. Writing from within the void requires absolution of normalcy within daily life;... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Jim Cummins! Mon Dieu! You too? -M.
Molly likes it when you like, DL. Coo Coo, mon croque-en-bouche.
Mr. Bonhomme de neige really said it all, "Je Chaude!" and when you're the hottest et mal you're never zero. N'est-ce pas?
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Tonight’s entry begins in the small closet in the upstairs hall. There, a bag of shameful confirmation is knotted evidence of a ritual I’ve practiced since my teens. It’s difficult to discuss without the risk of sounding horribly shallow, it might be only a poet who would recognize the significance of the ceremony involved in selecting an annual summer wrapper. This ritualized spring rebirth of the self is made by way of spandex, nude lining, underwire, a few pieces of hardware. Usually it’s one suit a year, on an indecisive year, maybe two. Always a careful combination of separates crafted into one complete experience. Fold over boy short bottom snug on the hips and a twist front scoop bikini top calls I’m ready for the waves, ride me. The low rider bikini bottom with a swing top tankini suggests golden toes this summer. Glamour ruched bottom and with string bikini top together say I’m open to starting that new manuscript and stopping the nonsense with the panties. The combining is as critical as the pairing of two shoes. Who would step out of the house in a mismatched pair of Dana Buchman flats? Coordinate a Courrèges mini with a 49ers jersey? It’s unrepentant. The next consideration is a careful selection of color – chosen, I imagine, as a parent might choose their child’s name. One year a tonal “Slate”, suggests sophistication; I am above the garish clatter of the beach. The next, an “English Rose” portends a straw bag bearing a mid-century Romance novel, a hank of bread, slices of cucumber, then “Brackish Swale”,” Yearling Gold”, and last year’s miserable “Pale Milk”. I thought men would find me lap-able, woman: creamy. It was a sheer disaster. Color is the first definition of the season. Although each winter it seems like the days will never get warmer or longer, they do and the JCrew swim catalogue always arrives with its pages stiff as crocus stems. This year, Easter evening was lingering and warm and hovered on the edge of daylight for a long time. Smoke from the neighbor’s lamb cookout came through the screen; people laughed on a lawn far down the busy street. I lounged on the sofa, the catalogue splayed on my lap. It was time to commit to the seasonal suit. I drew myself as a circle on the edge of catalogue’s slick page. From my circular self I drew radial arms: a wind-swept explorer who vacationed in cotton at the Ocean, a black sheep, tipsy daughter/sister combo at the family reunion, a bronzed sizzle-girl dripping in champagne and oil, in love with my skin, half-drunk with sun, a dull guest lecturer at the obscure Polish undergraduate writing program, fighting freckles and essays. I longed to touch upon the body’s assets, as well. It had been a good year in the gym. Could I brave a two-piece? Was I a two-piece woman? One had to consider age. I drew another line to the circle, connecting me to my... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Molly is barely under her own dress today. The teeth in her mouth biting air, the teeth in her zipper biting hair. Twisted tired. Too much time in the tub tonight. Maybe it was that small thimble of gin (and then agin) Je besoined just a petit puddle to dit what je need to ecrite in mon lettre pour mon hot piment. Pour. Poor you. Mon coco, my chou, Today, our neighbor left a cake (de beurre) on the doorstep. In the rain. Stoop, troops. Seal six, steal sex. It’s ashes, asses, all fall down. Fingery mess. Ring me round the rosey, something about a candlestick, a baker, my butcher’s a maker. I’ve never pulled out a plum . Confections, confessions. I ate wet cake. Nous avons le beurre et l'argent du beurre, M. Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
How right you are, Karen! Hands are almost always the best tool, almost always. -M.
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House Guest The sad seamstress who stays with us this month is small and thin and bitter. No one can cheer her up. Giver her a dress, a drink, roast chicken, or fried fish it's all the same to her. ( from “The House Guest” by Elizabeth Bishop, 1968) Molly’s never been a very accomplished guest. For me it’s like being lost in a foreign country --disenfranchised, compartmentalized into Samsonite carry-ons, exhausted, dizzy from hunger with an upset tummy. I am an insatiable know it all who’s every desire is, at all times, to be in tight command of my every presence. To be a guest is to be lost on a straight driveway at the end of a pleasant cul-de-sac. Lacking bearings toward home or the airport. Chances are you came in on directions from a GPS and will leave reliant upon commands procured from this same device. I’ve often stayed at a place for days without knowing more about where I am than a vague “south” or “Western Pennsylvania”. How odd to be directed to a shop or attraction by hosts who use hand signals and begin their instructions with “you’re the end of the driveway”. You are at their mercy. A disagreement during dinner might result in misdirection. What if they refuse to give you directions at all? Like a baby waiting for its mother at the end of a long day at the sitter’s, you’d sit and weep, calling for someone to pick you up and carry you home to your warm bed, please! Speaking of warm, who of us has not spent the night in a bitter guest room unable to locate the extra blanket that was earlier referred to as “in the chest” or “in the closet” and after stormy searching is found to be in neither? “Who turns off their heat at night,” you’ll mutter, making a mental note to return the favor if these lovely friends ever grace you with a visit. It’s possible you’ve wondered where the fuck they keep their toothpaste while trying desperately to brush garlic dressing from your tongue with a dry toothbrush. Ever gotten turned around on an excursion to the bathroom (after a glass of wine or two) and found yourself -- a full-grown adult taxpayer, voter, and driver of a car -- lost in the vast confines of a relative’s house? How many despicable meals will you eat? How many of you will settle your soft cheeks into cheap poly/cotton sheets, the staple of guest beds the world over? Why is this same bed’s pillow always older than the host’s dining room table? The physical pain of a pleasant visit should make you rethink ever leaving the comforts of “home” ever again. An evening with a friend’s well-intentioned Chicken Picatta exposes you to the possibility of tenure in a strange bathroom, clutching a roiling gut while cinching your ass in a vain attempt to spare yourself the auditory embarrassment of ill health in the face... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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May 12, 2011