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February 03, 2010


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My dear Mr. Chaucer, in November you shared a poem I just read. My comment for that one: It was good you gave a mention to Town and Country. It's good also about the children's furniture stores and nice orthodontist offices like once were on Peterson Avenue plus don't kid yourself new ones are still sprouting left and right. But now I don't know what it is but I think just about shmattes. So just asking, When someone is not polite, is it well to say oy?

you think only about shmattes? and does this cause people to be impolite?

Sadly it's the impoliteness that brings the shmattes.

Who is this Professor Chaucer? Where are the shmattes of yesteryear? Ah, the Paris of Pantagruel. I have read it now three times et chaque fois la meme chose bien qu'il n'ya pas possible a traverser la meme fleuve. And this is true and has nothing to do with Dowager's Hump, admittedly a dread condition that would get Sartre himself to belch out an oy.

When someone is not well . . . . I’m thinking . . . not to be a yente, and please forgive me for shlepping away from the original humorous subject, but may I share a recipe for a certain style of chicken soup I learned in the last century from the poet Sisskind’s kind mother? You can serve it with a big oy veysmir to help a person feel better! As a matter of fact, I prepared it last night! Ingredients: a can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, ½ finely chopped onion and 1 finely chopped celery stalk, a ½ small can of corn drained (retain the water in the can), and sweet basil that can be from a jar.. First, sauté ½ finely chopped onion and celery in as little butter as possible. Prepare the cream of chicken soup (using the water from the can of corn plus low fat or skim milk). Add the onion and celery and ½ small can corn to the soup. Season with sweet basil to taste. Goes good with finnan haddie.

Note to Sylvie (with promise this is the last time I'll digress from main topic and allow my enthusiasm to get the best of the remains of my better judgment)re Sartre belching an oy: You may already know that Jean Paul Sartre was Albert Schweitzer's young cousin. I believe it was in his autobiography Out of My Life and Thought that Albert Schweitzer wrote of wheeling Sartre around in a baby stroller (that is, when Sartre was a baby)and Sartre whining even then.

I don't think Sartre was ever a baby. Are you sure it wasn't the other way around?

Although Professor Leo Tard has argued that the birth of "Sartre" was an event in the history of "Sa[r]tire," this is a metaphysical trick in the Heidegger-meets-his-shadow-in-the-alley sort of way, a nonstarter. Yet the wall-eyed schoolboy at the Ecole Normale Superieure might have employed the deferral of meaning argument. Thus to be born in an age appropriate mise-en-scene. "Aber die Welt ist Arm, der Man ist schlecht. Da hat er eben leider recht." "Naturlich hab ich leider recht." Didn't go Columbia for nothing, Professor Chaucer.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

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Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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