bless me Father

I come from a long line of martyrs and pilgrims.

I know that doesn’t excuse the mistakes I’ve made, but it does go a long way to explaining what super-ego self mandate I have rattling around my brain on a day to day basis.

In fact I can say that I come from a long line of Martyrs and Pilgrims. Capital letters.

Because, yes, some of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower.

In fact, Clint Eastwood and I share a common ancestor that come over on the Mayflower: William Bradford.

So howdy, cos.

the-outlaw-josey-wales.jpg

It was that thought (plus a gift membership to ancestry.com from my parents on Christmas 2018) that prompted me to see if I could connect myself to Cousin Clint.

I have yet to be successful in my endeavors, but I have fallen down a couple rabbit holes in the meantime.  Curiouser and curiouser. I will let you know when I finally machete my way back to Plymouth Rock, Massachussetts.

BTW that is probably my favorite Western but I would also include some modern movies that as Westerns even though they aren’t normally listed as such.

Okay, rather obviously…

But also this film.  Double crossed by lovers and friends, saving a heart-of-gold prostitute and her dog, asking for a specific amount of restitution, no more and no less. Plus all the fancy people complain about you ruining their fancy clothes. That’s a Western, no doubt.

And, let’s be honest, I’d rather be related to Clint Eastwood that Mel Gibson any day.  Even if it means that this gorgeous bit of manliness is a (very) distant cousin.

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Very very very distant. Except I wouldn’t mind it if he were a little bit closer. Wink wink.

Anyway, in general terms, my family is hella Protestant. So far away from Orthodox that they found themselves in one of those crazy homegrown religions that only America seems to be able to pull off with the requisite amount of WTF.

Even the French and Irish ancestors that I do have weren’t Catholic.  I am descended directly from the Huguenot (i.e. French Protestants) founders of New Paltz, New York, and all my Irish ancestors who emigrated through North Carolina and then on down to Mississippi were Ulsterians (i.e. Irish Protestants) from Londonderry.

In fact, I am descended directly from a man who was burned alive in England circa early 1600s simply because he held on to an English translation of the the Bible for a few hours, hiding it in a barrel of beans, before someone more famous was able to retrieve it.

Still, I grew up in Arizona, so I have no beef with Catholics.

Unless it’s Friday and all they are serving is fish.

Back when I was working with  my dad as a summer job, all the other assistants were Catholic women and they would always say things like… “No, I don’t go to to bingo anymore. I gave it up for Lent.” And if I wanted to get an epic laugh from them, when they asked me something like… “Are you still dating so-and-so?”  I would respond, “No, I gave that up for Lent.”

Oh, irony. You’re the bacon of all humor. You make everything better.

I say this by way of introduction to my newest poem.  Juliet is a tragic figure for so many reasons other than just falling in love with the wrong guy.

 

She is risking so much more than Romeo, in part because of rigid Catholicism.

You might think, oh it’s so sad that he gets banished from Verona. But what would happen to Juliet if her parents find out that she went behind her parents’ back to marry the son of their worst enemy, and EVEN WORSE she isn’t a virgin anymore?

If  you want to know what would happen to her (in some cultures, even today, she might be burned alive in an honor killing and those who killed her would be hailed as heroes), then all you have to do is read the text of the play.

After calling Juliet “carrion” and “disobedient wretch” and “baggage” and “tallow-face”  he says his fingers are starting to itch, and then he offers these chilling words:

[If] you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend; And [if] you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets, For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee.

That first part is very very very disturbing. Sounds like prostitution. Which it kind of is.

Juliet pleads with her mother who says, “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word: Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.”

Even her Nurse, who egged her on and enabled her secret marriage, turns on her and that’s when Juliet decides to talk to Friar Lawrence and ask for help, any help. She is desperate enough to fake her own death, and when she realizes that Romeo is dead and she wants to join him, she grabs a knife from his belt and says, “Oh happy dagger!”

Personally I like Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 version of the play with its Miami turf war motif.

In this poem, however, I try to make Juliet less tragic.  In this version, she already knows who Romeo is because she’s seen him in church, and he cut quite the figure.

She is also very frank about her sexual desire for him. Because girls should have the right to lust as much as boys, and not be punished… or even killed… because of it.

BTW, this is a form of poetry called a blazon.  Basically it is a head-to-toe cataloging of all the beautiful parts of the beloved. It’s a style that Shakespeare used frequently.

Romeo

I remember the Mass
when I first saw that ass.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

his breeches were so tight,
I didn’t sleep that night.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

his codpiece held a bulge,
lead my mind to indulge.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

his shirt was in fashion,
and that evoked passion.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

his cheeks pink as a rose,
made me forget about clothes.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

his chin could cut marble,
my thoughts it did garble.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

his hair had such a curl,
made me glad I’m a girl.
bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

tonight is the soirée,
will he come, who can say?
help me, Father, for I’m in love.

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