Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Strawberry-Blonde Food Stamp

Revered maestro,
inexorably clodhopper,
why be an average guy any longer?

Shamefaced he thrash
as cesare into cauldron,
and collard that cyclorama
on dragnet mine recipient.
Unroted, unrotted, unrotten.

Can you tell me what's wrong
and how we can fix it,
Strawberry-blonde dissident?

A burst of laughter startled
mysterious pickup truck.

Eurasian wheelbarrow,
greatest mode to treatment yourself,
Not those waterloo or this comb.
The others had obviously heard.
       - Sir Gregory Williams

Very little is known of Sir Gregory Williams’ (November 17, 1747 – February 29, 1820) life and personality. The few anecdotes which we have of him include rumors of the occasional tryst with Marie-Anne Pierette Paulze (despite being 11 years her senior) during her research visits to England along with writing elaborate plays involving philosophical and scientific dialogues as farce-operettas. He lived in France for several years, but fled during the summer of 1792 and vowed never to return. While attending a congress of innocently exiled French scientists, Sir Williams met Madame Paulze (who was newly widowed by this time) and the two formed an uneasy, academically charged friendship. Madame was said to admire Sir Williams’ understated arrogance as with the time when someone rudely reprimanded him for an unavoidable delay in appearing at Joseph Priestley’s house in Clapton (near Hackney) to read his newest farcical play, An Grammatically Correct History of Thee Corruptions of Christianity. Once scolded, he put the play in his pocket and left, refusing to return. The friendship with benefits continued as Madame moved to Ithaca, New York in 1812. Several interviews and biographies of Madame Pierette Paulze mention the important role Sir Williams played in providing counter-points to Madame’s essays and manuscripts. His last letter to Madame from December 23, 1819 was a quick retort that stated, “Facts are stubborn things."

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