jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


Today on the train I am doing something I rarely do. I am reading. Usually, I am looking, but this book I got on Sunday has been sitting quietly but with great gravity that has finally pulled me to it.

At the next station people get on, people get off, and there is jockeying and pushing all around. I raise my head in irritation at the disturbance and look around for the first time. Seated in front of me is a large young woman who doesn’t really merit a second glance. She looks like so many other people, with big cheap earrings, a dark hoodie, vari-colored extensions woven into her hair. But fuck me, she’s reading Virgil’s Aeneid.

I am properly chastened, and delighted, of course to have my assumptions punctured. And so I return to my reading. The words are a hard perfection revealing a tender, messy warm humanity and by page five I am gasping, wiping my eyes at the sheer hopelessness, sheer hopefulness, and I am punctured yet again.


Blogger remue-menage said...

Arma virumque cano .....

I sing of arms and a man - driven by fate from the shores of Troy

I read The Aeneid (in Latin) in High School, and re-read it along with the Georgics in college

it is in my marrow

the power of words. for me everything is language - whether it be the mathematical language of differential equations mapping the propagation of a wave or the physical language of art (displayed in a ravishing fashion rigvht here) or sex

the architecture of the human brain turns everything into overlapping systems

8:18 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I beg to differ. I think amazing complex brains see the inter-realationships. Others just compartmentalize and never see the interplay.

I confess to not ever having read most of the Classics. I was impressed that she was, hell, never mind in the original!

2:04 PM  

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