Mia You

HARVARD WIVES 

Prelude


I saw the best minds of my gender destroyed

           by marrying Harvard professors, starving
intellectually repressed, well-dressed, willing
themselves through one reception after
           another, looking for the wine bar and
hoping for a phone call from the babysitter
at home, perfumed
           perverts or primadonnas
                           or parenthetical asides
reciting from memory the abstracts
           of their husbands’ latest publications and examining
           red lipstick on napkins in search of something
wholly their own,
                                  who wonder at woodland
            etchings posed on dining room walls,
                                                                              who ponder
the etymologies of gazebo and drone,
                                                                  who debate the U.S.
            intervention in Syria with Stephen Greenblatt and Steven
                    Pinker based on what they’ve all read in The New Yorker,
who chase peas across heirloom dining ware while dreaming
           of youth and solitude and the exhilaration
                    of reading Allen Ginsberg and not having
                                                                                 to say anything about it,
                                                        who wander
             the dim lit alleyways
             of the imagination too
             sordid for scholarship
             or scrutiny or even the
             Pusey stacks and
                                                         ask for another glass of water.
I saw their rage rubbing stains, clearing plates.
I saw their silence as they listened
to the husbands of other women.
I saw their grace in rising from the table
           and felt the silent shudders of laughter
that keep us               
                            from exposing
our own!





I Introductions

 
Anne Bradstreet is a Harvard wife.
Abigail Adams is a Harvard wife.
Eliza Farrar is a Harvard wife.
Eliza Follen is a Harvard wife.
Elizabeth Tillman James is a Harvard wife.
Mary Ann Connelly James is a Harvard wife.
Catherine Barber James is a Harvard wife.
Alice Gibbens James is a Harvard wife.
Dorothy Pilley Richards is a Harvard wife.
Adrienne Rich is a Harvard wife.
Susan Sontag is a Harvard wife.
Masako Owada is a Harvard wife.
Mary Magdalene is a Harvard wife.
Homi Bhabha is a Harvard wife.

 

 


II Small talk

“When did you return from ________?”
“I know the greatest little restaurant in ________.”
 “Are ________ and ________ in school now?”
“Do you speak ________ and ________ with them at home?”
“What is ________’s latest research about?”
“You know, I’ve always been interested in Byzantine ________.”
 “I saw his essay in the ________ Review of Books.”
“What do you think of what’s happening in ________?”
“This reminds me of something I read in The ________ last week.”
 “Well, ________ Krugman thinks that ________ is not going to last much longer.”
“So, are you still ________ these days? Do ________ get some ________ to
yourself?”
“________, I know, I probably drink ________ glasses a night.”
“Will you excuse ________ while my eyes ________ over, and I write this ________
in my head?”
“Does your ________ keep his ________ open during office hours?”
“Is it true you were his ________ student and broke up his ________ marriage?”
“Do you ever ________ which of the three ________ scholars you’d fuck, ________
or kill?”
“Are you ________ yourself under the ________ to remind yourself ________ are
other kinds of pain?
“Is it really ________ you have a ________ degree from ________?”
“Is it true you haven’t left your ________ in ________ days?”
“Do you find ________ reciting ________ in Old ________ when he put his
________ into your ________?”
“________ ________ ever ________ ________ ________ a plumber?”

 

 

 

IV Would you like more wine?

1.
Botanic Gardens Children’s Center – $2642/mth
Harvard Yard Child Care Center – $2340/mth + parent class time 2hrs/wk
Oxford Street Daycare Cooperative – $2146/mth + parent class time 2hrs/wk
Peabody Terrace Children’s Center – $2629/mth
Radcliffe Child Care Centers, Inc. – $2678/mth
Soldiers Field Park Children’s Center – $2678/mth
 
2.
Average listing price for houses in Cambridge, MA – $1,124,147
Average price per sq. ft. – $553
Average mortgage payment in MA – $1204/mth
 Average apartment rent (cost per bedroom) – $1,314/mth
 
3.
A week of groceries from the Fresh Pond Whole Foods – $379.68
A week of groceries in Chad, as seen in Time Magazine – $1.23
An issue of Time Magazine at the Fresh Pond Whole Foods – $5.00
 
 4.
As part of your relocation benefits, The Board and Trustees of Harvard University will provide a low-interest loan for your new Cambridge home’s mortgage. The University also will take 50-percent of the house’s appreciation when/should you sell it. And should you transpire before your mortgage has been paid fully, The University will become the primary beneficiary of your life insurance.
 
 5.
We’re so glad you’re here. Please sign here:

 

 

Comments

Mia You was born in Seoul, raised in California, and currently lives in Utrecht. She is the author of I, Too, Dislike It (1913 Press, 2016) and Objective Practice (Achiote Press, 2007). Her new poetry manuscript is called Festival.

Max Urai

De auteur wil de volgende personen en instanties bedanken voor hun hulp bij de totstandkoming van deze roman.

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Anne Marijn Voorhorst

 In het Westfield Forum ruikt het niet naar urine maar naar
    parfums van alle bezoekers, plus die die er te koop zijn, plus die van de zangeressen die
    door Les Halles galmen

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Cookie Mueller

Twee mensen – Baltimore – 1964

Vertaling: Lars Meijer

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Peggy Verzett

bij het nawoord van het voorwoord
drijft groteske badeend in het park

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Thomas Tidholm

Vanuit de ruimte kun je zien hoe over de aarde wolken en
        onbeheerde ecosystemen tevoorschijn worden geveegd.

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Rozalie Hirs

kus de afwezigheid van kennis gedoemd tot waarheid
werkelijk open en wendbaar als een ziel onherroepelijk

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Willemijn Kranendonk

Luister naar de woorden
van de Grote Godin

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Alara Adilow

Infecties

Ik sluit mijn ogen, schuif de nacht

in een boot op het stadsplein.

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Marie Kessels

Deze tekst is een voorpublicatie uit de roman ‘Levenshonger’ van Marie Kessels.

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Obe Alkema

Vier van de eenenveertig aberraties die tezamen ‘Epoque’ vormen.

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