Sunday, July 08, 2007

Melville: a memoir

Melville: person and place.

Person: Herman. Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick. 1819-1891. His birth and death years are eerily numeric mirrors of one another. My death by this reckoning will be in 2038 at age 55. Alas.

Place: Melville. Melville Ave. I live on this road. Rather, I should say, I live to the side of the road. In a house. Part of a house. There are four bedrooms, all with bedding on the beds and clothes in the closet. Never before, since the initial requisition of Melville as an LDS habitation, has anyone been alone-in-Melville. Until now. I have become its sole occupant. 3 out of 4 are away. The probability of this event occurring is exceedingly low. No one has ever been alone-in-Melville. Before moving here I decided to take the role of Queequeg, in Moby Dick. I will be brave, and go down with the ship. Alas. I alone must bear this burden, for no one will ever again be alone-in-Melville.

(It may be that I am mistaken and someone has been alone-in-Melville before. It is quite likely, actually, especially during last Christmas. Somebody had to be the last to leave, and the first to come back. But I'd rather be overly dramatic and pretend that no one has ever been alone-in-Melville so that I may die in peace.)

Moby Dick was published in 1851, one year after the Scarlet Letter. It is semi-ridiculous that I remember when the Scarlet Letter was published. But there are worse things. It's no wonder I remember, however, since I have used Hester Prynne as a fake name for years in various contexts...and it was only last week that I was thinking about writing a poem entitled, Arthur Dimmesdale: man or mineral? I did not write it, however (all mankind may thank me later), and I probably never will. Mostly I chose not to write it because I couldn't remember his first name, and until I looked it up 1 minute ago I couldn't think of anything but Richard. Therefore I will write this (horrible) poem instead:

Richard Dimmesdale: Man or Mineral?

A man would not
I fear
under that name
such a silly name

mineral, definitely
a name
is inspired--
Rock of Death!

Rock of Death
jumps from the scaffold
and splats.

He didn't weigh very much after all.

1 comment:

kt said...

you are correct about alone-in-Melville (specifically, last Christmas). You must recall that I am in fact local. And so I was alone-in-Melville for several weeks. You are only alone-in-Melville for a week.

And it's summer.

And you have a car.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.