Monkey R.I.P.

Yesterday, Monkey, aged about nine years old, beautiful and mysterious beloved feline companion of Marianne Shaneen, surrendered his earthly tenure.

We will miss him.

Dream this morning I’m standing on a high hill in a city with Drew in the far future. The sun had got much smaller and closer to the earth, and it orbited once every few hours, giving a kind of time- exposure effect to the light as it passed over the fabulously overbuilt city whose buildings were in the shape of twists and circles and strange sharp angles.

Married now for two full days. Marianne had asked if we had done anything special the night before our wedding — no — Gary fell asleep early and I read the New Yorker — having just come home from a spa (gift certificate courtesy of Annie Hollowell) treatment that included having my entire body vigorously scrubbed with something like sandpaper by a Korean woman who could have been a wrestler had she chosen a less benevolent vocation. The dead skin came off in gray rolls; I may as well have been a snake.

Up early the next morning, the sky cool and cloudy, we ate flax waffles, gathered our necessities (license, metallic pink heart-shaped ring boxes, passports) and got ourselves out the door (chilly!) and on the F train in time to go meet Mitch and Marianne at the little chapel at the Brooklyn City Hall, where on the steps a man was hawking bouquets of white and purple plastic roses and informing us that he was a photographer as well. One of the guards downstairs hassled me for standing in the wrong place. “Why are you standing here?” “I’m getting married. I’m waiting for my witness.” “Could you just move over there, ma’am.” Still not satisfied, he made me wait behind the glass door. Turns out Marianne and Mitch had already gone upstairs, both of them dressed up and looking gorgeous. A moment of overwhelm before going into the office. I walked in crying, “Am I smudged?” — a stupid bridal moment. Plunge. Everyone jolly, brimming with jokes. In the waiting room we talked about Guy Maddin. Then a middle-aged woman (but what am I?) who looked like she could have been anyone’s elementary school teacher unlocked the chapel and told us we could go in.

More laughter! A room in the shape of a half-circle. Behind the podium, a giant screen made of round welded pieces of stained glass in 70s colors. Super kitsch! Everything else institutional: a sign reading “Do Not Throw Rice. It is Extremely Dangerous.” A row of plastic seats along the back where Marianne and Mitch sat beaming and looking a little like they were going to crack up.

Turns out the elementary school teacher was the officiator. Turns out she had a very warm sort of gravitas; I had the sense that she liked her job.

No sooner had we joined hands before her than zip! zip! we’d exchanged rings and said I do, I do, and we got pronounced and whoosh, we were outta there. That was the most blindingly efficient bureaucratic transaction I have ever experienced in my life.

It went so fast that Marianne didn’t have a chance to get her video camera to work, so the precious moment is preserved only in our fallible memories. I do, however, have a marriage certificate, addressed to (??!?)Mr. and Mrs. Gary Sullivan, to prove that it actually happened.

Out the chapel’s back entrance (we all loved that there was a “discreet” back entrance — for who knows what kind of alarming situations!), everyone high and giggling, wandering around Brooklyn Heights looking for more breakfast. Gary and I shared fresh strawberries and I helped myself to Marianne’s challah French toast and bacon.

M. & M. admonished us to go do something fun on our first day of married life: “Go to Atlantic City! Gamble like there’s no tomorrow!”

Instead we ended up picking up our drycleaning, dallying, eating lunch at La Moutarde in Park Slope. I went to my dance class.

Then… Gary and I met at Film Forum to see the new cut of Godzilla, which to my surprise is a cinematographically stunning film (shots of wind blowing through trees, of the tiled roofs of fishing villages, of bubbles moving through water) whose depth of message left me utterly moved. It was the last reaction I had expected from Godzilla (although, granted, my emo reaction could have been colored somewhat by the fact that not only had I just got my period, but it was also my wedding day). The audience laughed a lot at the so obviously fake special effects. I laughed too, but you know…

I didn’t think the effects were cheesy at all. I didn’t take them as an attempt towards a simulacrum of reality. I saw in them a worship of the miniature

and they were infused with the sadness of the destruction of the miniature. (After all, the Lilliutian scale models through which the guy in the rubber suit playing Godzilla tromped had been clearly lovingly assembled by some sort of fanatical team of hobbyists.)

Japan is all about “the miniature.” Smallness of scale a necessity for survival in cramped quarters. Keeping order and sanity through the elevation and cultivation of tininess. Godzilla is the reluctant (and pathetic) destroyer, awakened against his will by the machinations of The Large. The Axis of Large, if you will.

I could only think, watching this film, what it must have felt like to be Japanese and to see this film when it was first released, the memory of the bombs and the firebombing and the senselessness of the war (from the point of view of at least some civilians of the time, I would imagine) still fresh and awful. It reminded me of the time my butoh teacher hypnotized us into experiencing the bombing of Tokyo and then had us dance through the aftermath — that stunned, bereft, numbly furious feeling.

I didn’t know, because I had never seen it before, that Godzilla is a beautiful and highly effective piece of antiwar propaganda. How could someone watch this film and listen to the auditorium full of schoolgirls in it singing hymns of mourning and still have any interest at all in waging a war?

That’s a rhetorical question. War is here. Is. Has been. Was. Will always be?????

And as for me, I’m just… married…!

Imagine my amusement at my horoscope in Sunday’s SF Chronicle:

CAPRICORN (December 21-January 19): Mars generates a moment of truth where up close and personal partnerships are concerned. We’re talking serious contracts here — already an ongoing issue in your life. If you’re not hammering out details now, you will be. Mr. Macho is a force to be reckoned with in your one-on-one house. To think of all that energy. With serious Saturn there, too, a Capricorn could end up married.

Restaurant recommendations sought!

Where should Gary and I take our parents?

We never go to fancy places, so we’re quite ignorant in this area.

Limitations: my mother will only eat plain food — roast chicken or grilled fish OK. Nothing, alas, too spicy or ethnic (with the exception of Japanese).

They’re staying in Tribeca, so somewhere there or in Soho or one of the Villages would be good.

Quiet atmosphere desirable so we can talk.


Douglas Rothschild gave an engaging talk at the Zinc Bar tonight in which he put forward the not very disputable premise that we are living through a history loop that repeats the major elements of the Third Reich.

I’m hoping that Drew, who was taking notes, will give a more complete report on this talk.

I have issues with Douglas’ conclusion, though, that we *ought* to, subversively, imbue our poetry with subversive content. Didactic/subversive content.

I say that not just because I like poetry to give the effect of a kind of rarefied hothouse bordello/hamam/jungle, though that is true, or because I experience it often as a kind of flight of consciousness away from banality and even fact into perspective-giving absurdity or outrageousness. These are merely my preferences, and I acknowledge them as such.

It’s just that, and here I parrot Gary, poetry has to be interesting. That’s its primal directive. Any other “ought”, to me, raises alarums. Or no, let me rephrase that. Poetry can be boring, but it has to be boring in an interesting way.