Thursday, April 29, 2010

I’ve got mail

A postcard arrives. It is for me, which is exciting.

Recently my wife turned 35 (at least that’s what we tell the children), one child turned eight and the other turned six. There have been many parcels and cards for all three – loads and loads of parcels and cards for everyone, every day. But not one for me. Nothing for me but bills. Until today – when a postcard arrives.

It is addressed, somewhat peremptorily, to STRATFORD in upper case, the street address in title case, CAMBRIDGE in upper case again. There is no signature. Curious.

The picture on the other side is the one above: a small boy dressed up as a cowboy. Curious.

I have no interest in cowboys, or in small boys for that matter. Why would anyone send me a picture of one dressed in this fashion? I can’t help wishing that the small boy in the photo had a dog with him, as all small boys should, because then it would be a cowboy dog.

But wait – there is a caption. It reads: “C K Stead, c1939”. So this is a promotional postcard for CK’s new book, South-West of Eden: A Memoir, 1932-1956. Curiouser.

And there is a hand-written message. It reads:
Sleep with one eye open when you slumber
Every little sound just might be thunder
Thunder from the barrel of his gun.
Curiouser and curiouser. Research (i.e. Google) reveals that these lines are from the fifth verse of a Bob Dylan song, Billy 4, on his soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. I have never heard this song and have no idea what any of this means or who this postcard is from. Could it be from K of Henderson? Could it be from a mysterious international beauty – Swedish, Russian, Tuareg, who knows? – intent on luring me from my rural fastness? Could it be. . .? My mind races with possibilities.

When my wife comes home from work I show her the postcard. She says, in that deflating way wives have, “That’s from Peter.”


Danyl said...

South-West of Eden?

Stephen Stratford said...

Hey, VUW academic guy, don't come here with your fancy po-mo lit-crit theories deconstructing the text.

CK went to Mt Albert Grammar. And Mt Albert is, I guess, south-west of Mt Eden. I can't quickly confirm the volcanoes' relative location on a map, but that's how I remember them and he wouldn't say it if it wasn't so.

What's east of Eden these days? Meadowbank and Glen Innes.

Chad Taylor said...

Did you get the head in the box that I sent? Rural mail is so fucking slack.

Helena Handcart said...

Hey, it beats the two frozen possums couriered to my-friend-the-former-Fair-Go-producer.

Stephen Stratford said...

Chad, still waiting on the head in the box. You got track-and-trace on that?

Whose head is it, movie guy? Alfredo Garcia's? Gwyneth Paltrow's?

Helena tells me that is a true story about the frozen possums, and they weren't that frozen by the time they got to Fair Go. Eww.

Chad Taylor said...

It's not Gwyneth. She's suffered enough.

Stephen Stratford said...

I guess, being married to that guy from Coldplay and all.

Chad Taylor said...

If she dumped him he might come up with a lyric.

The head belongs to Roland:

Stephen Stratford said...

Thanks for the link - I didn't know about that performance. Great song.