Widely published in academic and creative writing, former college president Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler has seven poetry chapbooks (with another in press) and three full-length collections published (with another in press). One story appears in Del Sol’s Best of 2004 Butler Prize Anthology; a novel will soon join her novella and short-story collection. She won the 2009 overall award of the San Diego City College National Writer’s Contest and Wayne State’s 2008 Pearson Award for a play on the Iraq wars. She has traveled around the world five times, writing all the way, and works as a writer and an editor.
In the Land of Virtuals
Good morning, My Fellow New Yorkers!
Your favorite Virtual Columnist, googolnth.com, salutes you, as per usual.
Well, My Fellow New Yorkers, not since President Clinton moved the capital back to NYC have so many worms been a-crawl in the Big[gest] Apple of them all!
None of you is ignorant of the upcoming nuptials between the grandsons of President Clinton and Former President Jimmy Carter—our Rodham and Oscar, better known as “Rod” and “Oz.” They’re both as handsome as John-John, as sweet as defunct Coney Island’s cotton candy. All of us knee-jerkers love them.
But, hold on, My Fellow New Yorkers, I’m revealing this A.M. a HITCH IN THEIR GET-ALONG that’s threatening the world’s most hyped wedding. Only those who oppose all Light-in-the-Moccasins and deem these nuptials a crime against the whole holy institution of hitching will rejoice. If the ceremony is held, and I’m not saying it positively won’t be, it will be in Vermont, which, five years ago, strengthened its law on same-sex marriages to give them equal standing with the dull old kind. For, My Fellow New Yorkers, as progressive and non-Bible-thumping as we are, we haven’t torn down the gates of our Troy and let in GroomSodom and BrideGomorrah. (I speak figuratively, as per often, for I don’t mean to imply that great city of the Outstate, named though it is for Homer’s own and the home itself of Uncle Sam.)
No, something has far further fouled these nuptials. Even I am shocked and googol-eyed, as per unusual/never.
This sordid tale has come to me sordidly. But as I’m your vessel, My Fellow New Yorkers, so I must conduit even scummy water. You’d not have it otherwise. What has been poured upon me comes directly from the mouth of one of the would-be nuptialeers and the ears of his therapist. Trust me, as always; my source is impeccable if not beyond reproach. NYC (Fifth Ave.) still holds the world record for the greatest number of shrinks, and the competition has driven some over the edge. After the requisite soul-searching, I determined to proceed as vessel must.
This tangle’s origin is a classic case of WOMAN SCORNED. Cast your minds back to the far-away days when flowers weren’t in bloom, lions ate lambs for the hell of it, and dinosaurs and Mighty Hunter-Killers roamed the universe’s great cities. The greatest Hunter-Killer was our own mayor, Rootin’ Tootin’ Rudy-the-Victim-Killer (Take-Your-Wife-by-Surprise-in-Public) Giuliani.
Imagine learning from the Cyclops Television of your imminent departure from GracieMansion, Hitchment, and the role of First Lady of New York. Imagine receiving this triple whammy just after you’ve sacrificed stardom in The Vagina Monologues to stand by YOUR MAN. What would you do? Undergo a sex change into a Hunter-Killer? Pagh! That way lies stooping, and the House of Hanover is constitutionally prevented from stooping.
No, My Fellow New Yorkers, you are Donna the Role-Player. You grace the master bedroom of Gracie one last graceful time. Your part is Donna the Tearful; you cannot slay with words at the penultimate moment your prostrate mate whom only his prostate could have brought low. He lies wounded. You extend not the coup de grâce but the hand of grace, gracefully, to relieve him.
If you relieve him, at said moment, of something else, who would know? Ask yourselves, My Fellow Hunter-Killers, were you to be hit where hitting most hurts, like our former Mayor G, below the G String, would it not be of colossal worth to you still to sire a child? Even if you didn’t know you had sired, wouldn’t you take comfort that you could have, though so afflicted? Behold, My Fellow New Yorkers, the American Dream as purveyed by Long Islander and Brooklynite Walt Whitman (loony-Democrat-cum-nominal-Republican-cum-homosexual and fellow newspaperman). Mayor G jetted his seeds upon the land in Whitmanesque (and Former-President-Clinton?) fashion:
Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
. . . always sex,
Always a knit of identity . . . .
Why don’t you know the offspring of this moment of connubial grace? To-Be-Former-First-Lady-of-New-York Donna had held her peace before. “Is she trying to pretend she’s Sarah, blessed by God when it’s ‘ceased to be with her after the manner of women’?” “Is she a witch” [as all belle dames are sooner or later called]? She knew what you’d say, you see.
Strong women are Stereotype-Slayers. They can hold secrets to their bosoms as lovingly as Cleopatra her asp. What if the precious G-Sperm were gathered like the Golden Fleece by our female Jason to be united with her own egg and that of her husband’s Goliath-of-Record? Couldn’t Hillary have so brooded-hoarded for a similar revenge-taking? Far better than spilling seeds against a dress. Moreover, does not H follow G just so surely as day follows night?
Was this deed pursuant to a late-night bitch session, conceived in howls of laughter, and perpetrated by the Old Girls’ Network? Most likely. Was this deed to be the Vagina Monologue of all Vagina Monologues? Undeniably. Whatever, the child is born. In the bare face of homunculus, as Lawrence Sterne has shown, most pranksters quail. Apparently, most pro-abortionists, too.
What to do? To go public as Mayor G lies flailing and failing under the knife, the drips supposed to defend against The Big C, and The [looming] Big D is unthinkable. And verily, D must follow C. Madame Hanover would have found all her public sympathy sapped. More to the point, Lad Lazio’s star would have been forthwith exalted in the east, and there would have been no room in the end for Senator Hillary. As it was, all of us remember the cartoons of Hillary as Queen Kong throwing Lad Lazio off the EmpireStateBuilding, slamming him against the Statue of Liberty, etc. (but never shooting him). The pundits would have run palpably pungent, to wit: “What do you get when you cross Giuliani and Donna-Hillary? A Vagina Monologue à trois.” But I retort, “Just more of your favorite sport—Whitewater shafting.”
What to do with the child? Put it out to pasture with a lineage the equal of its own (peanuts notwithstanding). Put it out to pasture with America’s Greatest Bleeding Hearts. Did it occur to the ladies that the choice of the Carters was rich beyond compare? Former President Jimmy cast the heart’s very desires as SIN; Former President Bill denied the body’s very acts to be SEX as he understood it.
An emissary would have been needed. Perhaps Hillary’s great mentor, Marian Wright Edelman, whose very name bespoke Children's Defense, was appealed to to appeal to Amy and Rosalyn. Though appalled, doubtless, this standup lady would have been appealed to by the child’s plight. It’s unlikely the conundrum was ever presented to squeaky-clean Jimmy. No, leave him to write, happily, another collection of poems honoring his coming grandchild. If he discovered the truth, he could blame poetic license. I believe, My Fellow New Yorkers, this sweet man went to his grave serene. “Don’t ask—don’t tell” was not for him. I believe this the only instance in which his good wife withheld anything from him. Pax vobiscum.
Meanwhile, back in the Apple Orchard, Senator Hillary secured herself against the crimes her former husband’s flesh had been heir to. Carpetbaggers make the wildest patriots. But think. She named her daughter Chelsea; she came to NYC well before her senate race to dedicate a monument to Eleanor Roosevelt (whom you also vilified). The Clinton name has been entrenched here forever. Think. If her rival-come-lately was “made in New York,” she was predestined. Another case in point: Rod and Oz recently re-opened, in SoHo this time, the Pfaff’s Cellar where Whitman and other artists congregated until the Civil War dispersed them. Predestination right here in our city, My Friends! Speaking of which, whose idea was it to name Oz “Oscar,” as in Oscar Wilde?
What many of you couldn’t forgive Senator Hillary for, My Fellow New Yorkers, was her systematic reclaiming of the Clinton name. Some say she tried to transform all NYC into Castle Clinton. Not only was its name apt, but its history was rich for her taking: fort where no guns were ever fired in anger, garden, theater, concert hall, processing center for immigrants, aquarium, ticket office for the Statue of Liberty. Not to mention Clinton Street and the fact that the “Café on Clinton” is more popular than ever after all these years.
Bill died in an NYC hotel à la Nelson Rockefeller soon after Hillary took her oath of office in Federal Hall on the site where Washington took his and the first Congress convened. Some claimed he (Bill; not George) had been an EFF [Erectile Fast Function] addict, ultimately dying of cirrhosis of the groin. Some carped when she buried him in Saint Paul’s Chapel under the pew Washington sat in while NYC was still the capital and we were considered behind Philadelphia in culture and Brotherly Love. One wag claimed Bill couldn’t be placed in Arlington because he was too known. And when the Hillarazzi caught her kneeling at his grave, some swore she wasn’t praying but gloating. Anyhow, that photograph is now more famous than Eisenstaedt’s sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square at the end of WWII.
Oh, My Fellow New Yorkers, judge what she did for Bill by what it’s meant to us. We were a city of art collectors and gallery owners. Hillary reminded us that Bill had one of Childe Hassam’s flag paintings in the Oval Office, and Hassam is one of ours. Her own Oval Office is chockablock with photographs by Annie Liebowitz, Nan Goldin, and Cindy Sherman. She founded the New YorkSchool, II, while she was our senator, seeding it with Artists-in-the-Apple. O.K., to hire on, you agree to produce one worthy painting or sculpture of Former President Clinton. Big deal. A certain Brooklyn museum is still glad Hillary rode into town. So she had statues of Bill placed in Union Square next to Washington’s and added to the bronzes on the Mall in Central Park. So she put Bill, rising as a phoenix, alongside Paul Manship’s Prometheus over the ice rink at RockefellerCenter, with two more of him inside and four in the UN park on the East River. Be consoled by applying critic Robert Hughes’s summation of the sculpture in front of the TimeLifeBuilding: “T--- on a pedestal art.” (Excuse the blanks. You’ll remember that Yours Truly is never scatological.)
Which reminds me: Senator Hillary got us an additional airport, the William Jefferson Clinton, “WJC” for short, “WC” for short-mean. I remind you that we already had Flushing Meadows. You’re just sour-graping the WJC’s BMU section for VWP’s. That’s the “Beam-Me-Up” wing for “Very Wealthy Persons,” names courtesy of Rod.
So Washington Heights is now Clinton Heights; the Abyssinian Baptist Church’s Calvin O. Butts helped her freely with the change; she didn’t have to kiss buttocks, as you claim, then or since. Which is why all the enemies. Columbus Circle is now Clinton Circle; Museum Mile, Clinton Mile. She didn’t rename the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and that’s where Rod and Oz met learning how to cut stone to help in the building project. Besides, it was Rod who opened the Bill Sax Jazzeria in Greenwich Village, not her. When Martin Scorsese gave his parents roles in his films and did that documentary about them, you didn’t fuss, even when the Genoveses threatened to close the Fulton Fish Market unless they got equal time.
You’re crying “Enough already!” in your Park Slope microbrews, which President Hillary serves in the White House. Drink to this one. Prior to her, we could claim one president, our former Governor Chester A. Arthur, the most obscure of them all.
Some of you say “Hillary’s Bill Follies” is the new Ziegfeld on the block, but you can’t deny what this woman did for us (and her own tormented soul). New York now has more public facilities, even if they are of the portable persuasion, than good scents. She credits Rod with the idea. She revivified the subway system, repairing the stations at Times Square, 72nd Street-Broadway, and 59th and building that long-deferred new line under Second Avenue. You hissed at the “Hillary Line,” but you couldn’t derail her. She had Rod re-design the plastic Metrocard so we’d view it more as a subway token and made us all queer enough to tolerate metrics. With Hillary as our engineer, we adopted/adapted magnetic levitation. Some of you were outraged by the fallout for our dearly beloved, albeit funky, hincty, and tarty, Greenwich Village. But think now, My Fellow New Yorkers, had we not all known, for some time, that it would take a village to move us onward? And GV, as it’s now called, isn’t really lost. Some of you anti-techies are just pissed that Hillary magleved the Global Venue for Savaged Children atop it. (I turn a deaf ear to those who’d drop the d.) GV’s merely gone “underground.” Hillary’s children’s center hovers above it like Swift’s floating island of Laputa. The idea (more culture for us!) came, she said, from reading Gulliver’s Travels to Chelsea and then Rodham. She did it her way. To expand LincolnCenter, we tore down the Hell’s Kitchen tenements remembered in West Side Story. We razed Penn Station, too. Moma bought out the old Dorset Hotel and the brownstones behind it to expand. Senator Hillary kept the old and gave us the new. She earned her nickname, “B.G.,” right here in NYC. Included in the wedding music, if the nuptials nup, will be “Oh What Big Government Can do.” As you know, Oz wrote the music; Rod, the lyrics.
Did we really care that Staten Island seceded in protest? We’d already used up every dab of its garbage-dump space. Not just because of his namesake, Billy J., old Tom Jefferson is spinning in his grave. He thought all of New York was a cloacina, a “sewer of all the depravities of human nature.” Hillary’s nixed that.
Mayor G was considered a control freak, but Senator Hillary was just a health nut who tried to get us to melt our pots. Even today, Soup Nazi, Jr.’s most popular offering is “Hillary Nut Soup with Bill Paté on Pumpernickel.” She lowered the crime rate, too, by applying a technique of Ancient Turkey, at the suggestion of Rod and Oz, and solving much of our racial friction. She shifted the races around. Put Dutch, Filipinos, and Indonesians here; they’re simpatico. If Blacks and Jews won’t mix, try the former with Yemenites. Throw Italians and Russians together. The Republicans claim Hillary started the Mafia-to-Mafiya transfer, but it predates her. (So the Genoveses roared again and moved to Jersey. BrightonBeach straightened right up into card-carrying hard-liners. Better BB than Fire Island.) Nobody was dissed, just displaced. They were given incentives, including centers to teach interpersonal skills and English and jobs beyond “swimming the Yellow River” [Rod-Oz-ese for driving a taxi]. If they wanted to be in “Hybrid Community,” that was arranged; Rod and Oz will live there after the wedding (if there is one). You accused her of making a hash of the Melting Pot, but she had a 93.2% success rate. What ultimately served as her catapult to the presidency, though, was the hard-won passage of her comprehensive health-care plan throughout New YorkState. If it could work here, could it not work across this land? Wasn’t the AIDS cure part of her legacy? As President, doesn’t she have cancer research as a top priority? (I can already imagine the jokes once my news WEB-dances across the screens on your dinner tables.)
But who has told Young Oz his relation to his fiancé’s grandmother and at such a juncture? Apparently his adoring adoptive mother, Miss Amy. As I have it, her parents both being beyond tongues’ wagging, she felt Oz had a right to know. Can you blame her? You woke up today believing our strangest intersection the corner of Waverly Place and Waverly Place. Wrong! What we have right here in NYC is a severe perversion of being-my-own-grandpa. Rod is President Hillary’s grandson. Oz is at least her half-son, assuming that Donna Hanover is his other half-mother. Right now, it’s Ms. Hanover who brings a bit of normalcy to the mix. She used to work for Good Housekeeping and cable’s Food Network, after all. Still, you can see why Amy told all before the wedding. Incest rears its ever-ugly head, though there would seem to be extenuating circumstances. There could also be a weak gene for cancer inherited from Oz’s ostensible father, Mayor G. A whole lot of DNA tweaking will be going on. Oz and Rod probably think they’d be better off over the rainbow about now. But these sweet young things will find a way, and President Hillary will help them.
So hey, be sanguine, My Fellow New Yorkers! Whatever happens, we’ve had some good news here. Our ruling house is being put in order at last. Royalty, My Fellow New Yorkers, royalty. After all his history of roughneck, brawling nights, Uncle Sam has emerged with his own garter. I mean, My Fellow New Yorkers, we’re now from the House of Hanover. No one will ever shut the door on us again. Moreover, once this news is out, the Vagina Monologues will be revived—on Broadway—and will still be running when Rod is President and Oz, First Lady.
Yours, as per usual,
Virtual Columnist googolnth.com
Unclaimed and untamed by the still-non-virtual-hence-troglodytic
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