In Defense of Marriage by Olena Kalytiak Davis - My favorite book of Ms. Davis's poetry... *IN DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE* By Olena Kalytiak Davis Marry the black horse stuck Dumb in her humble corral. Marry...
At night. Late. Quiet. Alone. In bed. I ponder the daylight world of color, shadow, music, plants, people. They don’t seem real in the darkness. They seem like a drug trip. I think, “Maybe this is what death is like; awareness without stimuli, as if the world were a long ago dream.”
Lately, as I lie in the darkness, I ponder Marit Larsen. I want to be Marit Larsen when I grow up.
Because she’s young, rich, healthy, intelligent, talented, beautiful, famous... Okay, I’m intelligent too, and I’m talented too (not widely appreciated for it, but talented nonetheless). But I’m also soooo old; I don’t know what my first sixty years were about, and I don’t know what to do with my last twenty. If I were Marti Larsen, life would be soooo good. Or not. I’ll admit it; I don’t know her; I just know about her.
I saw Edie Adams in an old movie last week, only I couldn’t remember her name. I just knew that I knew her. Turned out she was the woman who did the Muriel Cigar commercials in the ‘60s. Women don’t come any prettier. Then, she got old and not so pretty. No, not so pretty at all. Grace Slick was the same way. I feel cheated when women do that. Women create life—right? So what the hell are they doing getting old and dying? I expected better from them.
I worshipped them (the pretty ones anyway) from my earliest memories. It could even be that my earliest memory is of a woman who visited my family, and with whom I wanted to sleep so I could absorb her magic. I wasn’t allowed, and I screamed in protest. There it was, infinite joy right in front of me, and I couldn’t have it. I didn’t know about sex, but I knew that the universe could be mine if only I could press my body against hers in the lonely darkness.
Now, Peggy won’t sleep with me (I snore, I kick), but Peggy can’t give me eternal bliss anyway, so I can live with it. The only women who have that power are the ones who exist solely in my imagination—even though they’re based on real people. Nothing kills a good fantasy like having it come true.
I continue thinking as I lie in the darkness: Okay, if I could be Marit Larsen, what would that look like? Well, I couldn’t just be me in her body; I would have to be her, and this means that EVERYTHING that is, was, or ever will be me would be destroyed. Would I still do it? No. I wouldn’t. I say to myself:
“She too will die. I know that. I look at her, so young, so full of life; but, no matter, she will grow old, and she will die, and then she will be no more. Odds are, it will happen forty years after my death, but what is forty years in the scheme of things?”
Still, she looks like a goddess. I know better, but the little boy in me can never completely give up the old fantasies. Reality is simply too hard to look full in the face. Yet, in the wee hours, I DO look reality full in the face, if only because I can’t turn away. I hate the wee hours.
The thing that is both sad and grand is that I have at least rationally given up on magic. Women can make me feel damn good, but they can’t save me; they can only distract me. Why is such knowledge grand? Because to look to women for salvation was a heavy burden to lay upon human flesh. Men sometimes kill when their goddesses fail them.
When I was young, and I knew guys that were old and rich, I envied them because I knew they could get women that I couldn’t. Now that I’m old (and not really rich, but not poor either), I too could get women that I couldn’t have gotten on charm alone when I was young; but I don’t want them. Funny that I ever thought I would.
Now, even if I could get them on charm alone, I wouldn’t know what to do once I had them. I could fuck them, for a while longer anyway, but what would we talk about? Funny I should keep coming back to that. Peggy and I can talk about 38 years of shared experiences, or we can talk about the years that we didn’t share but that we did both experience. Marit Larsen is a 26-year-old Norwegian.
Me: “So, Marit, did you ever see that mermaid statue thingy in Oslo?”
Her: “Herregud!!! What is it with Americans and geography? The Little Mermaid is in Copenhagen. Me and my Mom saw it a long, long time ago, like in the 90’s.”
Me: “I first saw it in a book in the 50’s.”
Her: “Wow! My parents weren’t even born yet.”
Me: “Hey, I’ve got some DVDs of Have Gun Will Travel. Do you want to watch them?”
Her: “What kind of music do they play?”
Whatever shot I might have ever had at Marit Larson is gone. Watch her video. Try to see her as I see her. She looks angelic, but she’s not an angel. I know that, really I do.
P.S. For best results, double click on the video to watch it on the YouTube site.
Posted by Snowbrush