Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

01 April 2005

Cigarettes and carrot juice.

So yesterday I went to San Francisco with my pal Cynthia and hooked up with my homeslice Sutton and we ate orgasmic sushi in Japantown and then went to see W. S. Merwin and Adrienne Rich read poetry at a Unitarian church. It was fabulous. I got swept along in a river of language and felt dizzydrunk when it was over, and I got Merwin to sign my old battered copy of The Miner's Pale Children, and then I went to the bathroom and the evening's presenter, Robert Hass, came up to the urinal next to mine. "There's a poster out there inviting pagans to a weekly meeting," he groused, apropos of nothing. "What's the point of having a Christian church if you're going to have pagan meetings?" Well, sez I, it's not exactly a Christian church. It's kind of an everybody church. And say, I sez further, about two years ago you were up in Santa Rosa on a stage with Billy Collins. Remember that? You judged a poetry contest and you picked my poem, and I got to get up onstage and shake your hands and say my poem to a whole bunch of people. It was cool. So we shook hands again and he asked me how my writing was going and I asked him how his writing was going, and then someone interrupted us to get him to sign a book and that was that. I peed next to Robert Hass. Cool, cool, cool.

Then Cynthia and Sutton and I decided to be really crazy and go to the Metreon and wait in line for two hours for the midnight showing of Sin City. Having taken in some high culcha, we headed straight for the low. And let me tell ya: low, low, LOW. I had no idea what I was getting into. I can handle stylized violence just fine, but when ... I was about to give a spoiler here, but decided against it. Some exceptionally grisly things happen. Like, way, way, way beyond anything I've ever seen before. Dismemberment and cannibalism are not my favorite subjects, even when it's Elijah Wood doing the dining. So I had to leave halfway through, and made it to the bathroom before I passed out and crunched my face on the floor. I tried to find a place to lie down after that, but the Metreon security guards were unsympathetic.

Sin City is getting rave reviews, and it pretty much deserves them because it's, I have to admit, an excellent movie. But you should know going in that it's also exceptionally ugly. Unrelentingly ugly. Unbelievably repellent, disgusting, relentless and horrifying. It takes a very strong stomach, which I apparently do not have. Word to the wise.


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