Thursday, April 15, 2010



1426, "shadow, shade," from M.Fr. ombrage "shade, shadow," from L. umbraticum, neut. of umbraticus "of or pertaining to shade," from umbra "shade, shadow," from PIE base *andho- "blind, dark" (cf. Skt. andha- , Avestan anda- "blind, dark"). Many fig. uses 17c.; main remaining one is the meaning "suspicion that one has been slighted," first recorded 1620; hence phrase to take umbrage at , attested from 1680.

Umbrage is found
under your left wing
over my left hip
in your left eye
through my left ventricle
past your left tonsil
into my left ear
it's comfort changed my life


I love the word umbrage. I didn't mean to post the meaning to assume you were ignorant, but I didn't know it had two meanings. To take offense and to offer shade. It interested me so much that I wrote a short poem and I seldom write short poems. Love is that feeling though of being defined in two fashions. It does offer shade and comfort and then just when you are feeling so comfortable you can close your eyes and drift off you are waiting for a phone call or wishing for someone to be closer and you are on the other side of umbrage. I get angry with myself for wanting. Is that insane or what? that we are driven to be angry with ourselves because we don't have enough of something that brings us such joy? Umbrage.

Then today I am speaking with someone who often offers me the shade and he says, "It's amazing to me that you say in a few words what someone is feeling in their whole heart." I write that off as lazy often enough. Even when I am writing it never feels like work but I have yet to write a short story in such a long time, the poetry seems easier.

Someone, a new someone in my life asked me to do something I didn't want to do. I tried, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I carried the anger around for a few days, thinking that perhaps I was being selfish or even prudish. Finally after a week, I wrote about it, I wrote the green mermaid poem, I put it out there in a poem, the anger that can be love. Ultimately I decided to do what was best for me, what made me feel comfortable int he hopes that if love was the word kicking around that it would be alright. Men are supposed to look out for women, friends for one another and I am spoiled I have the best friend in the entire world and if she wanted something from me and I felt reticent, she'd drop it like a hot rock. I am hard on Cds, men and mostly myself. When will we learn to love ourselves better?

Now on to Yates...

Yates, over educated and under appreciated would probably best describe his life. I found him recently and was touched by revolutionary road. It always charms me when a journalist (I am quite fond of journalists) writes the great American novel and revolutionary road is one of these works. April Wheeler is a piece of all of us. She's sad and she's hopeful and she's fragile. Yates served in the army during WWII and after being in France and Germany found himself back in New York, writing. In April, Wheeler could tell the world that love has so many forms. People can damage themselves to love someone else, to make them feel happier, more secure and when we do this, when we sacrifice ourselves, the deck of cards falls all around our feet. To love is to be selfish to maintain who you are, to save yourself from the fall so there is something left there to love and appreciate.

Yates' story the Canal was published in the New Yorker. It's a short story about a couple at a dinner party and two men who find out they both served in the war and one who is very anxious to recount his tales there and the other quite reticent. It's a wonderfully sad read for one of those rainy days when you want to welcome the blues and dance with them a little. I think I am caught in his realism because I have been reading the life of Balzac and his realism is quite moving and follows the path of his life. I wonder though if realism carries so much sadness you can only take it in little doses. I am posting the Johnny Cash song hurt because I think it's realism is quite moving as well. If you find Yates and want to drop me a note about your thoughts, feel free.



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