New York School (NaPoWriMo Day 21)

(Fair warning: If you read this poem out loud, you might have to wash your mouth out with soap.)

Remember that time you went with me on a business trip, George?
We stayed in Midtown right in the middle of all the New York madness.
You slept in while I went to meetings in the Fox News building, then
you got up and went walking in Times Square and got bird shit on your good
linen shirt. Fucking bird. Fuck you, you fucking bird! you kept shouting
at the sky. Well, I don’t know. I wasn’t there, maybe you didn’t shout, but
I would have expected you to shout at the fucking bird.
Whole place smells of garbage and shit, especially in summer.
Who would want to live there? A nice place to visit but…
And remember we went to shows? 9 to 5 with that woman from The West Wing—
you know, the tall one. I hear she might be gay but I think they just say that
because she’s tall. It was OK, but not as good as the movie. I mean Dolly is a hoot,
not to mention Lily and Jane. Oh boy, listen to those names—“Dolly and Lily and Jane.”
Is that generational or what? And then we went to see August, Osage County—
that was before anyone knew what it was, before Meryl and Julia had to go and turn it
into a bigass movie. Better on stage. Had that guy from Northern Exposure—
what was his name?—and Phylicia Rashad, that football players’ wife—you know,
the one who played Mrs. Cosby. And after the show we wandered around
Times Square and the neon lights were so bright I expected to run into fucking
Bob Fosse around every corner. And before the show we were eating dinner
at that famous Italian place and the service was so goddam slow we had to gulp
our wine on the way out. I mean it was a weeknight and not even busy.
And I’ll never forget standing in line at the cheap ticket place and the girl
in front of us with blue hair and her boyfriend with magenta and how they were
pierced all over the fucking place and thank god they kept their clothes on
because no one needs to be seeing that. And as we walked past Bubba Gump
and David Beckham hocking underwear on a billboard you said Don’t tell me
he ain’t packin’—that is just not natural.


Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a “New York School” poem following this recipe. Now I need to go sanitize my keyboard.

The Lusty Month of May

After several days of mugginess, the weather was gorgeous today. Sunny, blue sky, mid-70s with low humidity and a gentle breeze. The kind of weather that makes you want to strip your clothes off so you can feel nature on your skin. The perfect May day.

There’s something about spring that gets the senses going, something that encourages the wildness of youth, something that causes us to yearn for mischief. Why did we evolve to be frisky in spring?

I’m too young (young, I say!) to have seen the original Camelot on Broadway, but I’ve always loved the Lerner and Loewe musical. When I was younger (even younger, I say!) I ordered a cassette tape (yes, cassette tape—I was much, much younger!) of the Broadway version, and it arrived with someone other than Julie Andrews in the role of Guenevere. I promptly demanded the shop return it and get me the right one.

Today I’ve been listening to “The Lusty Month of May.”

(Incidentally, the dress Andrews wears at about 0:10 looks remarkably similar to my wedding dress—but my husband did not look anything like Robert Goulet, I swear. He swears.)

Julie Andrews has such a sweet, light distinct voice. Poor Vanessa Redgrave, who was cast as Guenevere in the movie version, could not possibly live up to Andrews’ range and skill. Some viewers find Redgrave to be “sexier” than Andrews, and perhaps she was. But Andrews’ perky, cheery demeanor and pixie haircut lend her an innocence that contrasts with the naughty humor of the song’s lyrics.

Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It’s here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear!
It’s May! It’s May!
That gorgeous holiday
When ev’ry maiden prays that her lad
Will be a cad!
It’s mad! It’s gay!
A libelous display!
Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes,
Ev’ryone breaks.
Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!

Now, let’s get back to the weather. Really I have to say that low humidity is key to the perfect naked May frolic with a beau. My question is, why does that point never get made in song lyrics? How about…

A lovely day with low humidity
helped me lose all my timidity.

No?? 🙂