Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life!

On Christmas morning, Tammy snuck a present onto my desk which turned out to be a mix CD with the following poem:

Merry Happy

I know your eyes in the morning
sun. Every streetlight reveals

the picture in reverse. I've been thinking
out loud again & again

& again & again. Feel the city
breaking. If I could touch your body

before this river becomes an ocean.
And fall on my face on somebody's

new mown-lawn. Come on baby
I'm tired of talking. Dancing at discos,

eating cheese on toast. Was it suddenly
I was lost in the lakes and the shapes

that your body makes? You've been
as constant as a Northern Star. The brightest

light that shines. Feeling your sweet
face, buckets of moonbeams

in my hands. That's where it's at.
I think there's something

you should know: Summer nights
and my radio. That's all we need, baby.

This poem (which rocks!) is actually a cento, which is a poem comprised of lines from the mix CD she made me. Here are the songs on the CD:

1. "Stayin' Alive," by Bee Gees
2. "Faith (Remastered 2006)," by George Michael
3. "A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)," by Junkie XL
4. "Merry Happy," by Kate Nash
5. "Pumpkin Soup," by Kate Nash
6. "How Deep Is Your Love," by The Bird and the Bee
7. "Again & Again," by The Bird and the Bee
8. "Lasso," by Phoenix
9. "Your Rocky Spine," by Great Lake Swimmers
10. "Freedom! '90 (Remastered 2006)," by George Michael
11. "Daydream," by The Lovin' Spoonful
12. "That's Where It's At," by Sam Cooke
13. "Nightswimming," by R.E.M.
14. "Right Down the Line," by Gerry Rafferty
15. "Summer Nights," by Van Halen
16. "Pretty Persuasion," by R.E.M.
17. "Let Go," by Frou Frou
18. "Buckets of Rain," by Wendy Bucklew
19. "Let's Do It Again," by The Staple Singers
20. "Little Ghost," by The White Stripes

An awesome mix! And while I was listening to this awesome mix (for like the 3rd time) on my way up to grab the boys in Ohio, I decided to write a response poem for Tammy's birthday, which is on December 29.

I can watch a sun set

You, I cannot judge. I know all the games you play,
because I play them too. You can tell by the way I use

my walk. The fear of getting caught, the recklessness
of water. Forever is a long, long time when you've lost

your way. Heaven knows I was just a young boy, and
the mountains said I could find you here. You said it,

and you wrote it down: You might overlook your heart
beating fast and knowing time will pass but hoping

that it lasts. Goddamn, I've been dreaming since I woke
up today. Don't you know I like the smile on your

fingertips, the way you move your hips, that cool way
you look at me? I'm the only one that sees you.

Leave your things behind, your confusion. You know the door
to my very soul. This is my way of telling you

this is stupid and perfect. I just want your kiss,
sweet love in the midnight. The moon is low tonight.

*****

Since Christmas was last week, I figured now was the perfect time to unleash my Top 10 Christmas Movie/Special list. After all, we're all getting together tonight at my father-in-law's house to celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve. We're a little late and a little on time.

Here's my Top 10:

10. Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. Sentimental favorite with awesome music.

9. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This is my favorite of the Rankin/Bass specials, but I love them all, whether it's The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman, The Year Without a Santa Claus, or even the wacky Rudolph's Shiny New Year (a good one for tonight actually).

8. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. So many great scenes in this movie and quotes: "Don't throw me down, Clark."; "Merry Christmas! Shitter was full."; and my favorite "Squirrel!"

7. Miracle on 34th Street. This is one of the classics. A man who may or may not be Santa Claus. And it has Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood.

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Any Christmas special narrated by Boris Karloff has to be special, right? Well, this one is.

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Everyone knows what a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree looks like, and Linus Van Pelt gives a great speech on what Christmas is all about. Plus, this is a Christmas special in which not one gift is given (though many are requested and desired) outside of a Merry Christmas.

4. A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens wrote the essential Christmas story. How many versions of this story exist now? As far as movies go, I love nearly every version, including that cool 3D one that's in theaters now. If you haven't checked it out yet, the Mr. Magoo cartoon version is actually very exceptional.

3. A Christmas Story. Even after this movie played on our television for 24 straight hours, I still love this tale about Ralphie and his coveted Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle. From decoding radio commercials about Ovaltine to receiving major awards (aka, electric sex in the front window), nothing says Christmas like this movie...well, except I like these other two movies just a tad more.

2. Love Actually. Actually, most (maybe all) Christmas movie/special lists exclude this movie, though I'm not sure why. Maybe because it has an R rating. But if you're in the mood for an adult Christmas movie, this is a great one. Multiple plot lines, lots of love, and an ending that makes me tear up.

1. It's a Wonderful Life! The. Best. Movie. Ever. Made. Not only is this a wonderful Christmas movie; this is a wonderful story on how to live one's life. George Bailey always does the right thing, and even when times turn darkest, he thinks of the welfare of others above his own. And then, he gets the mind-sobering gift of seeing what the world would be like without him.

Two bonus Christmas movies: Die Hard and Gremlins.

*****

Since it's New Year's Eve, here's my favorite New Year's Eve movie: When Harry Met Sally.

*****

Great news: I'm going to be the Featured Poet over at The Academy of American Poets discussion forum in January. I'll be answering poetry-related questions on the following topics from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesdays there:

Week 1 (1/6): Writing
Week 2 (1/13): Revising
Week 3 (1/20): Publishing
Week 4 (1/27): Marketing & Other Topics

Check it out by going to the www.poets.org site on the dates above or post a question anytime during the month, and I'll pop in to answer it.

3 comments:

Jessie Carty said...

so much great stuff here! i love how your poem uses lines from songs but in a subtle way and it is awesome that you included Love Actually. My husband and I went to see that in the theater on a cold day without much in the way of expectation and it was SO good!

S.E.Ingraham said...

Just discovered you here via Poets.org (go figure) and will return there post haste but couldn't leave without mentioning how neat it was to find someone else who loves "Love Actually" - me too...good taste will out, or is it blood? Never mind. Don't know if I added my thanks for November's yeoman task you did Robert - if not, thanks! See you over at the other site. Nice blog here incidentally.

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/How_The_Grinch_Stole_Christmas-tickets looking forward to it.