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Journal, Day Five

By Erin Belieu

This is a glorious red-letter day because JUDE DRANK OUT OF A JUICE BOX USING A STRAW!!!!

The context for this is that he has a major speech difficulty due to a birth injury—it left him unable to move his mouth and tongue properly. Forming words and chewing and swallowing have been his major battle for years. Especially rounding his lips (just try talking sometime without being able to pucker up—it ain’t easy). But he works with a wonderful speech therapist several times a week and today, after practicing so hard at it for such a long time, he was able to finally do it—drink through a straw! Wow! I burst into tears I was so happy and we all cheered and jumped about. Jude is deeply pleased with himself and has been doing a Mick Jagger strut all over the kitchen, like, “That’s right. I’m bad, ladies. Check me out!” He’s definitely a Rock-God in training.

Life is sweet.

Speaking of rock gods, Josh Bell just sent me a really funny poem spoken in the voice of Motley Crue’s Vince Neil. It’s funny, but it’s also really smart and strange. How does he do that? The last several times I’ve taught the grad workshop, I’ve brought in Josh’s “Epithalamion Ex Post-Facto” (from his book No Planets Strike) on the first day to show the student’s what they have to reach for, as far as the best of the younger poets goes. I find it sets the bar nice and high.

His poem reminded me of this poem I’ve had clunking around in the back of my head for a while—ever since seeing Aerosmith in concert two years back. I can’t help it—I love those guys—the homoerotic pimp drag, the guitar-as-phallus shtick. At the end of the concert four huge canons rose up from the corners of the stadium and shot white streamers and confetti all over the crowd—such a brilliant lack of metaphorical subtlety—it was awesome!—the first album I ever owned was Aerosmith’s Rocks. My Grandpa Wes took me into a music store when I was maybe 7 and asked them for the loudest album they had. That’s what they gave us. So we took it home and put it on my little record player—the kind where the turntable starts spinning when you open the top—and cranked it up! Then my mother came in and threatened to pitch it out a window so we went out and danced in the garage—

I miss all that late 70s sex and excess in rock-n-roll (well, miss it in the way someone does if they were a kid when all the adults were having all that thoughtless pre-AIDS pre-family therapy fun)—I dig Wilco and Morcheeba and OutKast etc., but I grow nostalgic for the big, nasty stadium concerts of ye olden days. And doesn’t everything you write have a secret soundtrack behind it?—my forthcoming book was channeled through Aimee Mann’s “Bachelor #2” and the re-mastered reissue of AC/DC’s “Back In Black.” I was trying to write a book that would make you weep and bang your head simultaneously—

So I’ve ended up enjoying this more than I thought I would—maybe keeping a journal isn’t so bad if you imagine talking to a good friend—and those of you who’ve sent me emails responding to things, that’s been awfully nice of you—I love to get email other than work stuff and sketchy stock tips—but I encourage you to post your comments here—maybe we could all get a real conversation going. I hope so—

Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, February 17th, 2006 by Erin Belieu.