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The songs float in the ether, remnants of tunes carried to my ears. To hear fragments of such things as an adult is haunting in itself, like poetry, like electricity, like wind, snow, heat.

Family Movie Night has turned from features such as The Incredibles (I think everyone but me knows the entire script by heart) to somewhat more grown-up titles. Of course, the kids have their own viewing of almost anything they want nowadays and LOTR marathons abound on long weekends.

Last Friday night, before Paul’s long trip to Deustchland (which we affectionately call Deustchland über Alles), we had the pleasure of exposing the children to their first Coen Brothers’ movie, Raising Arizona.

While I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count and was aware of the song Ed (Holly Hunter) sings to Nathan Jr., I don’t think I ever paid as close attention as I did this time around.

Down in the Willow Garden:

We all sing strange lullabies to our babies, usually not knowing where they come from. I don’t know any murder ballads by heart, but I still sing All the Pretty Little Horses to my girls. It is a haunting tune, also sung in a movie—Silkwood—with Meryl Streep singing it to Cher as they swing on the front porch at night. That was the first time I paid close attention to it and was compelled to hunt down the lyrics (before the Internet!!!).

Even I didn’t have the heart to sing about the babies’ eyes being pecked out and I still don’t. My kids know the words as we have them in a few different songbooks. I suppose, then, mine has been a sin of omission.

There’s a tendency to make the lyrics of some songs more palatable, a revisionist move and one of the casualties of the Politically Correct movement that overtook everything about 25 years back. In children’s lullabies, it is a sign of our inability to cope with the underlying spirit of certain eras. Music IS history.

Here’s a book that bothers me (click on the link, okay my pets?). At first glance, it seems to be inclusive and embracing, I suppose because the people pictured are African American, but it actually robs the history right out from us. Cake is shown and butterflies come around (you’d need a copy in hand to see all of the pages). While some verses of the song cannot be attributed to slaves, some of them tell us what undoubtedly the slaves were not allowed to say in plain English, the code hidden in the words that tell it like it was. This is one way slaves communicated right under the noses of Whitey—through imagery and innuendo. Music was a survival tool and helped to convey information that helped people travel north to Canada (often coded as Canaan in spirituals) via the network of the Underground Railroad. To be able to sing one’s pain (which was more often couched in the stories of struggle from the Old Testament*) in a non-religious text was even more complex, as we can hear in the original lyrics to All the Pretty Little Horses. I cannot abide by the happy pictures in the book. The melody gives it away—it is a mournful song, of grief and sorrow—and the happy characters do not tell the story that the song is trying to tell us.

Read the afterward to the reconfigured lyric in Sylvia Long’s book of Hush Little Baby. The zeitgeist of political correctness was swallowed hook, line, and sinker by this author. While I find the new lyrics sweet and the illustrations quite pretty, to fear that our children learn EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW FROM ONE LULLABY’S LYRICS displays an immense hubris. To forget and sweep under the rug the richness of our folksong heritage is a crime. It is revisionist and points to our lack of ability to trust our parenting to have mettle and our children to have backbones.

As songs traveled and shifted across the ocean and up and down our country, words changed places within songs, jumped to other songs, were added and left behind. This is WHY they are folk songs—they belong to the people. The words may have been written down at times, but more likely not. To publish a book with revised lyrics is an entirely different matter. It is no longer a folk song. In this instance, it is the author’s whim. I wouldn’t mind so much if the original lyric was presented somewhere in the book, but her ENTIRE point is that the original lyric is–gasp–DANGEROUS to children.

Next two flicks on the docket for Family Movie Night? Rushmore and Down by Law and we all know about the songs in those.

Another one I used to sing to my babies. Let’s not shy away from death either. God bless Elizabeth Cotton.

*Wade in the Water is not just the story of struggle that harkens to the Jews in the Bible, but also contains the very symbolic language to which I also refer in this post. For instance, the colors that the “children” wear may have been worn by people helping the slaves cross north at different stops along the way. But you already knew that, right?

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I have not seen every film that Viggo Mortensen* has been in, but I have seen the three in which he appears buck naked. I know you know Eastern Promises, but I bet you can’t name either of the others.

And so, a challenge, my pets. Which is the other movie in which Viggo appears fully naked? Yes, that’s full frontal nudity, though I suppose in slo-mo you’d get an eyeful in Eastern Promises.

I have a couple of hints if no one gets this in a day, but the internet being what it is, I suspect y’all will come in lickety split with your answers.

(DISCLAIMER: As usual, there aren’t any prizes for contests on twinklysparkles. The challenge of sinking your teeth in should be reward enough)

I usually hate these compilation vids, but this was done professionally and it’s not bad, not bad at all. This guy’s got a pair of solid brass balls, just the kind of acting we Americans like best.

Behold the beauty of Viggo:

(yes, I wanted the little kid to shut up in that scene from The Road, too. I thought this was about VIGGO)

Another thing, when someone says she (he?) has a crush on Aragorn, here is my response:

*Hubby’s nickname for the Vig-Meister? Vigorous More Tension, of course

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I just saw Speilberg’s Lincoln with the whole family.

Yes, Daniel Day Lewis is great as usual, but what’s with all the clothes?

I never once heard him say no matter where you go, I will find you

It’s quite a turnaround from statements like there are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking, let alone anything like this iconic American speech

This is not a man, this is a king.

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1. I did read a bunch of my poems last Friday night. It was fine.

What do you want to know? I love reading out loud. I love reading in front of an audience. I love to talk. I love to be on stage. Is any of this a surprise?

2. I did see The Master last Saturday night.

What did I think? I loved it. I loved it while I watched it. I loved Freddie Quell. I love the name of the character Freddie Quell. I love the pun Fred Equal. I feared him. He seemed real to me. He seemed like people I’ve known. He seemed like ignorant, violent, scary men I met about a hundred years ago in Ohio and beyond when I was still drinking.

I thought the script was brilliant. I thought the lighting and visual compositions were brilliant. I thought the acting was brilliant. I sucked it all in, I drank it all up (like Daniel Plainview I drink your milkshake?). I liked the tension. I liked being manipulated. I liked that it was disturbing and hard to watch.

I liked the questioning of any human following anything or anyone who thinks they know more than anyone else. I liked that it explored, through character alone, certain ideas about ego and need and projecting outside of oneself what one can’t own or see in oneself. Denial. How some egos need constant feeding regardless of whether the food is bullshit or not. To constantly externalize and point a finger at someone who seems worse off than we are keeps us feeling superior, keeps us from owning our own shit (usually fear and anger). Scapegoating.

I thought it was pretty damning of modern psychology while at the same time coming out of a time when we all assume its merits. People were prepared to see something damning about cults or Scientology or L Ron Hubbard, but since I went into the movie not expecting that at all and since I am fairly ignorant of L Ron, I made a freer association with it being about relationships between therapists and “patients.”

Did Joaquin Phoenix go too far in his portrayal? Would it have been more effective, less distracting had he not? Just a question. I waver on the answer because in many ways he seemed completely believable. His physicality, the intersection, a la FM Alexander, between the way a disturbed body is inseparable from a disturbed mind was right up my alley.

Yes, Amy Adams’ character was almost more scary than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s or Phoenix’. I was ready to doubt her but she was very, very good. Creepy, controlling. Wow.

I love that almost all the scenes were interior scenes (not unlike most of There Will Be Blood) and that outdoor scenes were usually under porches or overhangs of some kind. SO FUCKING AWESOME! The vast outdoor scenes were in either of 2 places: the beach (wet sand) or the desert (dry sand). What does it mean? I have no idea. I liked the cramped feeling of the interiors, I liked the huge, windowed room that Dodd is in at the end of the movie. Why is the Fisherman’s Memorial on his desk at the end? This appeared to be a reproduction of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ guy. The sea, the beach, the sand, the ocean. Ships. What does it all mean to Quell? The sand woman.

It was odd, it was difficult, it was imperfect, but hell am I glad someone is out there trying, stabbing, attempting to give us something real and intense and troubling.

I felt so sorry for Quell by the end, he was so ground down. Tragic. The song that Dodd sings to Quell near the end of the movie was heartbreaking. The scenes where characters sing in the movie are some of the most stark and touching.

The final sex scene was also very touching to me. Beautiful, tense. I felt like Quell was finally redeemed a tiny tiny bit. Until the last shot of the movie. Then, not sure. More ambiguity.

I could say more and more and more. And c’mon. Real naked women’s bodies. Is someone taking notes? THANK YOU, PT Anderson. Thank you. Any movie needing to show a naked woman should use this as a guide. Quit fucking us up for chrissakes and show real bodies.

3. I have so far submitted to 17 different journals in 17 days. I have not hit a roadblock. I have hit a reality block. What am I learning in my 30 days/30 submissions? I don’t have enough really good (excellent) poems to submit to the journals that I want to submit to. So I’ve changed my plan a bit. I will still be submitting to 3 more journals/presses; 2 of these submissions will be chapbook-length manuscripts. Then? I’ll wait for rejections (presumably) or acceptances (hope). And now I need to write and edit more. Editing some of the poem images/starts that I have. Go back and hone. Finally admit that some things will NEVER be poems. Plan B, which was originally Plan A: start a writing workshop by the end of January. I’ve got 4 other writers lined up. Would like to add a few more, but time will tell. I’ve known I need this from the start of this blog. The need is not gone. There is a gap in my writing and it is support and feedback from other writers.

4. I am still bleeding, but have almost stopped as I am on progesterone now. The yunnan baiyao didn’t work so I have to go straight pharmaceutical for a while. I will see an OB/GYN this week. I am anemic as fuck (okay, not as fuck, but close). I am trying to ride my bike and hike, but I am breathless and gasping for air; more than that, my energy is subdued. I am tired when I move my body. No yoga, but maybe next week.

Apparently, I am one of those women with rebellious hormones. I don’t know why, but it seems I always have been. I am ready to stop. I am ready to never bleed again. I wasn’t before, I love my bleeding and my period and my hormones, but I can’t do this much longer. I can’t bleed out like this any more. Please. Does this make any of you uncomfortable, this talk of female blood? Get along little dogies, get along.

SO, here’s a crazy thing. I just read 20 minutes of poems and made a video in my iPhoto.

You get a private, twinkly reading. Good luck. You will need it more than I did!

P.S. I tried to make the video private on youtube. I am not sure what that means. I think you can still watch it here, but maybe can’t click through. And now that I see it here on my blog, I look sort of freaky and small. I’m haunted. I told you that the other day.

X O, twinkly

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Even if I end up not liking this movie in any way or for whatever reason, THIS is a trailer, my friends. All trailers should be this interesting. All trailers should leave one wanting more at this fever pitch. I almost don’t want to ruin it by seeing the movie. I used to not care for Joaquin Phoenix, but he won me over in Walk the Line. I can’t say too many people are this compelling on screen, this immediately. He is both larger than life and completely familiar and credible. Amazing. Maybe next weekend if I’m lucky.

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This may be the best Wes Anderson ever. There will be no review, but I will tell you a few things that I loved.

raccoon patch (badge?) of the Khaki Scouts

the canoes

the tents

those dark green canvas tents we had to use when I was a kid at summer camp in Charlevoix, Michigan and how they would not repel water when it rained

the smell of mildew (actually hate this, but it’s a stark memory; the first time I smelled it was at summer camp)

Edward Norton’s character

the two lead actors

Bill Murray’s face

Bill Murray’s naked belly

Billy Murray’s hair

the inside of the sheriff’s trailer (SO MUCH!)

smoking

Gogol Bordello (oops, that wasn’t in the movie)

the Benjamin Britten, Hank Williams, Mark Mothersbaugh, et al, soundtrack

the Burnell family (okay, you don’t know what that means or who they are, but trust me, they belong in this post)

growing up in the 1960s and 70s and how much Wes Anderson seems to understand this about me

death

the repeated motifs of death and loss and love in Anderson’s movies

recognizing the Ocean House at Watch Hill near the end of the movie

crisp writing

attention to detail

clear vision

trusting the audience’s intelligence

I went to the movie having seen a trailer for it only once and that was a few months ago. I recommend the same. In fact, you shouldn’t even be reading this post.

I loved going over the fine flaws in the film with Hubby afterward. I love knowing that the flaws don’t matter, even the more gross ones, because its heart, its heart, its heart is in the right place and we trust Wes Anderson.

My kids being at the movie, sitting behind us, getting the movie. Getting it and asking to see it again, asap.

The trailer for Sleeper that was played before the movie because Amherst Arts Cinema will be doing a Woody Allen retrospective this summer. Knowing how shitty his last movie was in spite of people falling all over themselves saying how great it was and what a return to form. How shitty his new movie looks even though I’ve never been to Rome. BUT BUT BUT, I am trying to trust that his old stuff will please, oh god, please, stand the test of time so I can go to see some of those movies again on the big screen, what a gift, I hope I hope I hope. We used to watch several of these films at home when we still had a VCR player. We had about 5 of his really good films. I remember that Hannah and Her Sisters was busted and wouldn’t play anyway. What to do with all of this waste, this plastic, this human folly? But I digress….

the little plastic record player that is featured in the film and is built and folds into its own case so cleverly. You already know I didn’t have one of those growing up, remember?

C’est tout, mes petites….

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My wireless mouse is possessed (or maybe it just needs new batteries)

One of our credit cards is cursed by Satan (but they all are, really. who am I kidding?)

A friend told me once that poker is a man’s game, women can’t play it. He was a poet, but apparently not in his assessment of poker and gender. Then again, I can’t play poker.

Last night, I had no singing voice to speak of (that’s funny, don’t you think?)

maybe all of the batteries are tied up in vibrators

but probably not. and vibrators don’t really get tied up, not in the literal sense

Do electric razors work well? That’s all I remember my father ever using. He also shaved with powder. Is that unusual?

I still have a tin container of Pepsodent tooth powder. I loved the taste of Pepsodent when I was a kid. It tasted like Beeman’s gum.

I remember something on the Beeman’s package when I was a kid, something about it aiding digestion. Does anyone else remember this?

This is not a quiz.

OH OH OH I was going to announce something, but now I forget

I had a roommate in college who referred to orgasms as THE BIG “O”

I know that’s common parlance, but I never took to the phrase

editing my poems is hard

sometimes things that are hard are good and I suppose I can admit that editing is hard in a good way

I have never seen a movie with Mae West or WC Fields in it. Do you think in 60 years anyone will have?

I used to like this quote by Mae West: my right leg is Christmas, my left leg is New Year’s, why don’t you come up between the holidays and see me some time?

Not everything is about sex.

I got kind of excited when I clicked on the image for the google doodle yesterday, the one with the zipper. What did I think was gonna be under there anyway? What is wrong with me?

I flipped off somebody while I was riding my bike the other day. The driver hadn’t moved over on one of our cruddy Amherst-has-some-of-the-highest-taxes-in-Western-Mass roads which features abundant potholes and no shoulder and that was probably scarier than flipping him off. But I was crying and shaking anyway. I wonder when the last time before that was that I flipped someone off (besides joking)

I’ve had a rough week in some ways, in other ways not. I know I’m privileged, so it’s not that. Ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys, life and death

One of my favorite movies (in the top 125 maybe?) is called The Opposite of Sex, but I don’t think too many folks saw it. It’s not Herzog or anything, but it’s really good. It starred Christina Ricci when she was still zaftig and strange. The flick gets twinkly bonus points because it features a birth without a lot of bullshit medical crap. Like the Sean Penn movie Indian Runner. That one even shows the baby’s head crowning; it is a true, non-medicalized homebirth. Good stuff and you get to see Viggo Mortensen naked. He does not look very tall. He looks like he’s about 5′ 8″, but I don’t really know. When Viggo Mortensen is running around naked, you don’t really care about height any more.

Did you see Grizzly Man? You should. It was great.

The only card game I was ever good at was euchre. In high school and college. I have always thought that this means I am only good at a simpleton’s game.

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