Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Requiescat in pacem

Molly Ivins made it possible for me to survive leaving Austin and Texas in some of the darkest, hardest, loneliest and most homesick days of my life. I took her first book with me, Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?, and her words made me actually miss Texas politics, while I was laughing so hard about it my sides hurt and my eyes watered.

I always meant to send the book back to Austin to ask her to sign it, after a newspaper article said she'd do so happily. Now I still have my memories of her, and her wonderful words. Maybe someday somebody will publish all those words in one set, so we can keep them forever.

It's literature, pure and simple.

I really didn't think it would bother me this much. But I'm gonna miss her. She's the one who taught me to tell people who asked how I was, "Fine as frog hair." And then grin, real big, the way you're supposed to.

I am really gonna miss her. We all are.

The AP "obituary" is here. This one is better. More as I find them.

Before I go to bed, I have to add this. It's making the rounds, but I got it from Scout Prime:

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"
Can I get an "Amen!"?

I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral
for you have it over a troop
of artists—
unless one should scour the world—
you have the ground sense necessary.

See! the hearse leads.
I begin with a design for a hearse.
For Christ's sake not black—
nor white either — and not polished!
Let it be whethered—like a farm wagon—
with gilt wheels (this could be
applied fresh at small expense)
or no wheels at all:
a rough dray to drag over the ground.

Knock the glass out!
My God—glass, my townspeople!
For what purpose? Is it for the dead
to look out or for us to see
the flowers or the lack of them—
or what?
To keep the rain and snow from him?
He will have a heavier rain soon:
pebbles and dirt and what not.
Let there be no glass—
and no upholstery, phew!
and no little brass rollers
and small easy wheels on the bottom—
my townspeople, what are you thinking of?
A rough plain hearse then
with gilt wheels and no top at all.
On this the coffin lies
by its own weight.

No wreathes please—
especially no hot house flowers.
Some common memento is better,
something he prized and is known by:
his old clothes—a few books perhaps—
God knows what! You realize
how we are about these things
my townspeople—
something will be found—anything
even flowers if he had come to that.
So much for the hearse.

For heaven's sake though see to the driver!
Take off the silk hat! In fact
that's no place at all for him—
up there unceremoniously
dragging our friend out to his own dignity!
Bring him down—bring him down!
Low and inconspicuous! I'd not have him ride
on the wagon at all—damn him!—
the undertaker's understrapper!
Let him hold the reins
and walk at the side
and inconspicuously too!

Then briefly as to yourselves:
Walk behind—as they do in France,
seventh class, or if you ride
Hell take curtains! Go with some show
of inconvenience; sit openly—
to the weather as to grief.
Or do you think you can shut grief in?
What—from us? We who have perhaps
nothing to lose? Share with us
share with us—it will be money
in your pockets.
Go now
I think you are ready.
--William Carlos Williams

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