Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Libertine

After I met certain social and professional obligations in London in 2002, I had a week to myself, and decided to update Chaucer and take a train to Canterbury. The train stopped in Rochester. Canterbury has many bookstores and I bought The Works of the Earl of Rochester. He’s a great poet with the views and vocabulary of Larry Flynt. I look at his long poem on dildos and it still seems like a misprint; how could someone writing in 1675 use a vocabulary which I regarded as echt twentieth century?

The Libertine, a Rochester bio-pic, stars Johnny Depp as Rochester and John Malkovich as Charles II. God all-fucking mighty! Before our eyes, Johnny Depp dies slowly and graphically of alcoholism and syphilis.

The gods, by right of nature, must possess
An everlasting age of perfect peace;
Far off removed from us and our affairs;
Neither approached by dangers, or by cares;
Rich in themselves, to whom we cannot add;
Not pleased by good deeds, nor provoked by bad.
-- Rochester after Lucretius

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The goddess Llorraine

I’m sleeping when unexpectedly Ben and Diane mount the stairs. “What are you going to do here?” I ask.

“Play Scrabble,” says Ben. They are in grade ten.

That seems sufficient, and I immediately return to sleep. Fifteen minutes later I awake to great silence. I investigate. Ben and Diane are lying on Ben’s bed talking.

“You’re not playing Scrabble,” I say, and transform myself into host and chaperone.

I pass this via phone to the goddess Llorraine. We finally meet and go for brunch. Brunch includes limitless quantities of any of four beverages. Lllorraine orders one of each, drinks them, and says, “Ben is fucking Diane.”

“No, he’s not,” I say.

“You are hopelessly naïve,” she says.

“Waiter!” I call. “Check, please!”

“You’re angry,” she says.

“No,” I lie.

“Don’t you want dessert?” she asks.