Last night, or well about two this morning, I realized I had left my flank open in another part of the Internet (a long story; I needed to unfollow a certain Twitter account before local parties connected me with past subversive mischief). On top of that my left iliacus was swearing, shouting and throbbing, not from anything I did in the gym but from extreme housecleaning, leaving me without a single pain-free sleeping position, so as long as I was going to lie there sucking in a sharp breath every time I shifted my weight I decided to get up and solve the Twitter problem. It would give a speedball of aspirin, calcium citrate and Zyrtec time to kick in. Try this sometime for cruel muscle pain, as long as you don’t mind being a little stoned.
My chiropractor, Dr. Bill, tipped me off to the gimmick of using a little straight distilled spirits to rush a mix like this into your system — oddly, as he is an abstainer, but he is usually on the money. I took down a liqueur glass and instead of the brandy he likes to recommend, poured up the prescribed two tablespoons of Ouzo, which I had bought to make a traditional holiday salad dressing cherished by my engineer’s family.
Sicilian olive oil
Shake together in proportions that make sense to you and drizzle onto a salad garnished with pomegranate seeds and Feta.
I fired up the computer, thinking of Robert Graves:
Here is ouzo (she said) to try you,
Better not drowned in water,
Better not chilled with ice,
Not sipped at thoughtfully,
Nor toped in secret.
Drink it down (she said) unclouded
At a blow, this tall glass full,
But keep your eyes on mine
Like a true Arcadian acorn-eater.
You will never get some things across to people who think poetry is an affectation or a frill: there in my damp nightshirt (it hurt enough to make me sweat, at moments) I could think, not of the nerve being squeezed till my breath was shallow, but of Graves and Greece and acorn-flour and the oaks of Dodona, so that when I threw the glass back I was a true Arcadian too, at least for a lightning moment. And now I have written this so that nothing was toped in secret, just for symmetry’s sake.
I took care of business on line, then leafed through Graves’ New Collected Poems till the gong checked in, and went back to bed.