Marie: “Pardon me all to hell”

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Last night, my last living grandparent died. It was not unexpected when it finally happened but was somewhat sudden in that the end came about quickly. I don’t have a lot to say about it; we were not close, she lived far away, and I didn’t really know her. I didn’t/don’t really know much of that part of the family.
But this, I suppose, is sad. I feel a certain sadness for her children, as it’s difficult to lose a parent (undoubtedly). It’s hard to come up with words about a woman I didn’t really know. When the other grandparents died, it was devastating, but I was really close to them.
I was not close to this grandmother; she was virtually a stranger. What do you say about someone whom you never really knew, whose life was defined by getting married and having children when she was a child herself and whose later life was pretty much dominated by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
I have small, incomplete memories of Marie, the distant grandmother who died, from the way my late grandfather pronounced her name, a rushed “Mree” (usually sneering or yelling), to the giant pancakes or the homemade loaves of bread she used to make.
I seem to recall that she had a crush on the late James Garner, circa Rockford Files time, which came to mind not so long ago when Mr Firewall told me about an episode (“The Empty Frame”) he had caught in reruns (yes, they are still showing Rockford in some parts of the world). The best parts happen at 42:15, when Rockford exclaims, ‘Pardon me all to hell!’
Immediately thereafter (42:30) when the episodes ‘villains’ discuss their failure to adhere to their initial socialist/hippie principles:
“Hey, David, will you knock off that stale 60s rhetoric? You’re looking at the new Jag, she wants a Kenzo wardrobe, I’m sick and tired of hearing about the pigs up on Gorki Street and the storming of the Winter Palace!”
“I’m not buying a new Jag; I’m buying a paramilitary vehicle…”
“We all sold out the day she got her first 50-dollar haircut and you and I said we liked it!”
I only saw her a handful of times in my life; the most memorable was in the early 80s. I recall that she bought some candy bars one evening, and my brother and I begged for one before bed, and in her very West Virginia way of speaking, she smiled and said, “I reckon we can have one tonight…”.
And that’s about it. May she rest in peace.

fingers of a year

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Untitled
Nadia Tuéni
Oh Nocturnal weavings,
the Voyagers of the Orient count your courtesies
upon the fingers of a year.

The wind and its allies
open themselves up just like a woman.
And all speaks of all.
The sounds I imagine are rivers or sobs.
Oh night sun as free as death,
as at that instant when each observes the other.
That is why I have stolen away underneath my tongue a land,
and kept it there like a host.

Original

O Nuits élaborées
les Voyageurs d’Orient comptent vos politesses
sur les doigts d’une année.

Le vent et ses alliés
s’ouvrent tels une femme.
Et tout parle de tout.
Les bruits que j’imagine sont rivière ou sanglot.
O soleil de la nuit libre comme la mort,
on dirait cet instant où chacun se regarde.
Aussi ai-je enfermé sous ma langue un pays,
gardé comme une hostie.