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My Danish Love, or an Ode to Vodka

So wild and frosty is she thought to be.

And she brings fire to my lips, it is true.

Yet so gently she waits, not far from me,

ready for the days when my soul turns blue.

It may be shameful to covet her kiss,

so sharp and full of the fire of white nights.

Yet I am drawn to that cold, smoky mist,

to ease my pain, and to renew my might.

I take care not to love, need her too much,

but I have no wish to hide in the dark.

The world’s pain she dulls with her burning touch,

and there is no harm, in a one-off lark.

I feel guilty to use her so simply,

still, the Danes have taught me to drink deeply.

 

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Like this sonnet? Check out the rest of the book.

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General

“Nothing” is Worse

Well, same to you!

Well, same to you!

I’ve been thinking about insults.  The wherefores and the whys don’t belong on the Internet.

There’s so many unflattering things to call people: a liar, poison, a moron, an asshole, a prick… but nothing comes even close to calling someone a vagina, be the insult pussy or cunt.  Nothing.  Or “no-thing” in Shakespearean English.

The implication of such an insult is that the person it’s directed at is weak, powerless, doesn’t know their place….  They’re all ridiculous.  Think for a minute about what a vagina is capable of, and tell me it’s weak.  Then think of how fragile a penis is.  (I’m just saying.)

Also, how many women check to make sure their vagina is still there?  I didn’t realize it was a thing for guys to make sure their junk was still attached in the morning, or after a coma, or an accident, but I’ve come across enough popular culture references to assume it must be a thing.  Anyway, maybe that’s because the vagina, despite the “wandering womb” nonsense from the ancient Greeks, is not something women usually get hysterical (hah) over the fear of losing.

Anyway, I could go on in greater detail about why “vagina” is a stupid, sexist insult, but in theory most of us know that already.  Yet the insult remains.

When we’re angry with someone, we tend to go for any weaponry available (the time that thing ten years ago happened, etc.) and not necessarily analyze the impact of the weapon chosen.  (Gee, that sounds vaguely like history.)  For those who know not to use vagina as an insult, but aren’t sure what else packs the sting of calling someone the vilest word in the English language (cunt)… I don’t know what to do, either.  My goal is to find something else equally pleasing to the tongue that’s still insulting.  Qualities are good (like poisonous), though, of course, insults are in and of themselves undesirable.

But if we get away from ugly, senseless insults, we might edge more towards intelligent arguments.

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“Now is the winter of our discontent…”

So begins the dialogue of my favorite Shakespeare play ever… Richard III.  Also probably one of my favorite characters, ever.

The other day I read a Yahoo! article that took on a CSI: Roses tone and  detailed Richard’s death, from the wounds that probably didn’t kill him, to the blow on the back of the head that probably did, to the spiteful dagger through the backside after his death.  Quick, it asserted, but terrifying.  Probably nothing like the ending of Ian McKellan’s movie, where Richard dies smiling.  Cheeky bastard.

But that is Richard, as Shakespeare characterizes him.  Wicked, a wizard with language, blessed with acerbic wit, and full of self-loathing.  There is something about a villain who hates himself that the reader/viewer finds very appealing… it makes him (in this case Richard) seem approachable, especially in comparison to the saintly Henry Tudor.  I admit, I identify to a point with Richard… I have a decent way with words, admittedly though I am not an orator, I can have a biting tongue, and for years I cringed away from my reflection in the mirror.  When my now fiance first told me that he was interested in me romantically, I got off the phone and started, unfortunately, to quote the scene after Richard successfully woos Lady Anne.

“Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
Myself to be a marv’lous proper man.
I’ll be at charges for a looking glass
And entertain a score or two of tailors
To study fashions to adorn my body.
Since I am crept in favor with myself.
Shine out fair sun, until I have bought a glass,
That I may see my shadow as a pass.”
And then I fell downstairs.
I took it as an omen that I should not be Richard, and with a lot of unkingly words, picked myself up.  And just as well, for whether one believes the Bard and Saint Sir Thomas More, or not, the last English king to die in battle maintains an evil reputation.  The discovery of his makeshift, undignified grave even showed that he suffered from scoliosis– that part of the play and More’s history not being pure propaganda after all.  Go figure.
Historical debates aside, though, Richard III is still one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters, and what a lucky day for historians when he was discovered!  As the morbid poem that immediately popped up on the Internet goes, “Roses are red, smothered nephews are blue. I’d wait 500 years under a car park for you.”  Definitely not Shakespeare, but not bad.
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