Me gusta bloguear cuando estoy un poco borracha

This in honor of the fact that (a) in 1991 I got a B.A. in Spanish language and literature and (b) there is a shortage of Spanish teachers in the U.S. and (c) hoy me preguntaba si podría enseñar español aunque casi no hablo español desde hace 1991 (mil novocientos noventa y uno). ¿Porqué no?

Also, because after a long day of errand running I found myself in the former red light district of town just at rush hour. I thought, “why put myself into this traffic again?” and instead went to one of my favorite restaurants here, one where I customarily celebrated the submission of grades with some colleagues. Not this year — and not ever again. So why not? And had a great meal. And a few drinks.

Fish, Veracruz-style

It was one of those meals I’d have loved to have shared with Mr. Armitage. Fresh salsas; ceviche; pescado a la veracruzana; two margaritas with salt. Mmmmm. For a man who really likes food, this would have been a superb meal, from the look to the smell to the texture and feelings on the tongue — the sour, crunchy vegetables, the soft fish, the salty capers and olives, the slightly chewy rice, and of course the booze that’s so cool and citrusy going down and then moves right back up to the brain. Mmmmm. Mr. Armitage, I’ll be your woman who really likes food. You’d have loved this meal. And you’d really have loved to have been eating it with me!

Ceviche, Mexican-style.

And so I was feeling really loosey-goosey when I got back — I did wait until I was road-safe — and started reading poetry into my computer. Well, really I was reading to Mr. Armitage. Don’t ask me why I thought I should start reading him poems. No idea. Next time I should probably have a michelada instead; they’re a little less potent than margaritas.

First: the poem that sold me on the Spanish language. Mr. Armitage, this poem is so beautiful it just makes you want to crinkle up inside! We read it in my fourth semester of Spanish instruction, as a reward for learning tons and tons of verb conjugations that are only used in archaic sources or in Spain (never along the U.S.-México border where I studied, hence we spent a semester learning things that most people we knew would never ever say or understand if they heard them). The professor said that just reading this one poem would make all of the torture of learning those verbs worth it. He may have exaggerated. It is a pretty poem, though: Soneto X, by Garcilaso de la Vega. Here’s a native speaker reading it, and here’s me reading it, just a little drunk:

The text:

¡Oh dulces prendas, por mí mal halladas,
dulces y alegres cuando Dios quería,
Juntas estáis en la memoria mía,
y con ella en mi muerte conjuradas!

¿Quién me dijera, cuando las pasadas
horas que en tanto bien por vos me vía,
que me habíais de ser en algún día
con tan grave dolor representadas?

Pues en una hora junto me llevastes
todo el bien que por términos me distes,
llevadme junto el mal que me dejastes;

si no, sospecharé que me pusistes
en tantos bienes, porque deseastes
verme morir entre memorias tristes.

[Servetus rough prose translation — the poet ruminates on some things he’s found that remind him of a dead lover — the “you” of the poem is both the woman and the souvenirs of hers that he sees: Oh sweet guarantees, found through my misfortune, sweet and happy when G-d wanted it so; You are together in my memory, and conspirators with her in my death! Who would have told me, I saw myself in the past hours in such gladness because of you, that some day you would have to appear again to me with such serious pain? Since, in one hour together you took away all the good that you gave me bit by bit, take away the sickness that you left me. If not, I will suspect that you put me in such happiness because you wanted to see me die among sad memories.]

Then I thought, hey, why privilege the Spanish-speaking readers? I should also read a German sonnet into the machine as well (warning: questionable language). This is just funny. Mr. Armitage, if you knew German, you would think this poem was really funny!!!!

Here’s the text:

Materialien zu einer Kritik der bekanntesten Gedichtform italienischen Ursprungs (Robert Gernhardt)

Sonette find ich sowas von beschissen,
so eng, rigide, irgendwie nicht gut;
es macht mich ehrlich richtig krank zu wissen,
daß wer Sonette schreibt. Daß wer den Mut

hat, heute noch so’n dumpfen Scheiß zu bauen;
allein der Fakt, daß so ein Typ das tut,
kann mir in echt den ganzen Tag versauen.
Ich hab da eine Sperre. Und die Wut

darüber, daß so’n abgefuckter Kacker
mich mittels seiner Wichserein blockiert,
schafft in mir Aggressionen auf den Macker.

Ich tick nicht, was das Arschloch motiviert.
Ich tick es echt nicht. Und wills echt nicht wissen:
Ich find Sonette unheimlich beschissen.

[Servetus’ rough prose translation — to appreciate this poem fully it may help to keep in mind that it’s written in the form of a sonnet — : “Materials for a critique of the most well-known poetic form of Italian origin”: I find sonnets so very shitty, so narrow, rigid, somehow just not good; it honestly makes me really sick to know that someone who writes sonnets, that he has the guts to do this kind of stupid crap even today, just the mere fact, that some guy does this, can really spoil my whole day. I’m a little crazy about it. And the wrath about it, that such a fucked up shyster gets in my way by means of his wanking creates aggression in me against the guy. I don’t get what motivates that asshole. I really don’t get it. And I don’t really want to know. I find sonnets incredibly shitty.]

And then, I thought, hey, what about all the English speakers? So I decided I’d read Mr. Armitage a sonnet by Shakespeare, one of the ones in which the poet begs the object of his affection to reproduce so that his beauty can survive. DO NOT ask me to translate this into Spanish or German, I’m still too drunk.

Here’s the text:

Sonnet 13 (William Shakespeare):

O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer yours than you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give.
So should that beauty which you hold in lease
Find no determination: then you were
Yourself again after yourself’s decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold
Against the stormy gusts of winter’s day
And barren rage of death’s eternal cold?
O, none but unthrifts! Dear my love, you know
You had a father: let your son say so.

[Servetus’ rough prose translation: Yeah, Mr. Armitage, I want  you to have a baby. Seriously. The thought that you wouldn’t pass on those genes? A bit horrifying, to be quiet frank.]

Apologies for all the languages I butchered here. I did my best but I’m not a native speaker, and I’ve got no training on how to read Shakespearean sonnets. (You should hear me read French … bwahaha!)

oh, and Mr. Armitage — you are more beautiful than a Shakespeare sonnet. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more handsome and more sexier. And, ok, more temperate, too, as it was 99 degrees Fahrenheit here today. Hope it’s cooler than that wherever YOU are. Don’t forget to have a child, ok?

OK, tomorrow back to sober Servetus.

Ahora me voy a casa. ¡Hasta mañana!

~ by Servetus on June 4, 2011.

56 Responses to “Me gusta bloguear cuando estoy un poco borracha”

  1. Yo creo que si, porque no? Si eso es lo que quieres hacer. Take your time to think about what you really want to do.

    You’re right, RA is more beautiful than any poem 🙂

    Good luck with your move!


    • It would be a relatively easy job to get, especially in the Great White North. I would enjoy teaching language, not sure I would enjoy the fatigue of teaching school. 🙂

      He is so beautiful 🙂


  2. Holy smokes, Servetus, you are really lit. You sound like I do after snorting Wild Turkey. We used to make ceveche a lot when my husband brought home fresh halibut. I had a friend who once lived on Ponapei (?) (out in the Marshalls somewhere )and she and I got up a fisherman’s wives cookbook with ceveche in it.


    • I think this was with tilapia (I’d guess anyway). The pescado a la veracruzana was red snapper, which I gather we’re not supposed to eat any more because it is over fished.


  3. Very impressive. Do languages come to you easily? My mom had an ear for it. She wanted to be a linguist but it wasn’t in the cards for her.

    I’ve often mused he should have a kid, just to pass on those genes. And I suspect he would make a good father.


    • I think I’m pretty good at them for someone who didn’t start till she was 18, and I like them a lot. But I don’t think I’m really gifted. I have a hard time remembering details — I need to live somewhere in order to master a language, out of habit.

      I feel now obligated to clarify, in case anyone else was confused, that I stand by my position that Richard Armitage should do whatever the h*** he pleases with his life. However, he does create the impression of being someone who’d be a good father. Though I read his statements about reproduction as quoted in the press as quite ambivalent.


  4. Wow only two margaritas– you’re gonna have to come see me in North Carolina- my average night out is usually 3-4 beers and 3 shot of tequilla straight up- you need to build up some tolerance! LOL
    can you do Italian too!
    sì, Richard è un uomo molto bello. Se ottengo mai lavorare con lui gli darò una chiamata.

    hope you have the asprin unpacked


    • I’m outta practice because in this town you always have to drive home after.

      Sadly, cannot do Italian, but if you send me a recording of yourself reading a poem in Italian to Richard Armitage I will be happy to post it.


  5. Wonderful: Robert Gernhardt is one of my favourite contemporary poets and I just love this sonnet – apparently it has become a standard text in German schools…
    and I’m also most impressed: when I am a bit tipsy, reciting poetry – and in foreign languages at that – is definitely the last thing I am capable of 🙂


    • I can pretty much only bring myself to recite poetry when I am drunk.


    • Oh, and should have said: I love Gernhardt, too. Was introduced to him by my exSO, who practically has his entire oeuvre memorized.


  6. Thank you for those wonderful poems, Servetus. Even your tipsy recordings, especially your typically nasty German contemporary one, which I can judge, were brilliant. So don’t hide your language skills. I especially loved the de la Vega one, oh so romantic and sad. But the implications and side effect you get out of the Shakespeare sonnet are endearing. (Would a petition help, what do you think? <;o)))


    • aaaaaw. Thanks.

      It’s a topos of those sonnets apparently (I remember this vaguely from intro to British lit in college) that the poet is so infatuated with his subject that he begs the subject (uncertain) to reproduce. It’s present in a few others as well, I believe.

      Somehow I think a petition might not have the desired effect. I was thinking last night in my tipsy haze that maybe we could just ask him to donate to a sperm bank. Then at least some anonymous women could benefit.

      And yes, that IS a joke 🙂


      • I love the joke factor of your comment, Servetus ;o) in contrast to someone anonymous. I don’t even think RA himself could be offended, though I still pray he does not read the blogs. (At least I write mine as if and in hope that he does not.)
        In reminiscense to his new role I specially entered my altered smiley <;o) with his little dwarf hat <;o) (= Smiley Knubbelnase with dwarf hat <;o)
        So I hope everybody understands that I do not really want to send a petition to RA ;o) Whoever still thinks otherwise shurely goes into a deep cellar to laugh. (Sorry for the translation of a German proverb.)


  7. No es mala idea. Podrías comenzar enseñando nivel básico de español mientras te da tiempo de recuperar al 100% tu nivel anterior.

    Actually some of those conjugations are still used by Spaniards in their usual language. When I arrived to Spain when I heard them talk sometimes I felt as I was listening to old novels or poetry. *hehe*

    If you like to blog when you’re drunk, you should drink for often, it’s a lot of fun for us readers :P.

    OML 🙂


    • Pensaba tambíen: yo podría empezar con niños, con canciones por ejemplo, entonces podría paser un verano en una escuela méxicana para extranjeros y más tarde podría enseñar a adolescentes. Vamos a ver.

      The Spanish dubbing of Robin Hood is entirely in these verb forms — I didn’t know if that was the script trying to sound medieval, or if that was actual Castilian speech. The guy who does Vasey lisps like CRAZY.


  8. I’m thinking loaded Servetus may be my favorite of your personas, lol!


    • 🙂 If you like RL Servetus … just wait till she’s a little drunk!!

      It helped a lot yesterday, I have to say. I need to get it in now because I won’t be doing much of it at home 🙂


      • I grew up United Methodist with a heavy dose of Bretheren so I know what you mean. When I moved home to take care of my teetotaler grandmother she gave me a package that my grandfather had left when he died and that she had not touched. It was a fifth of Jim Beam, his favorite bourbon, with a note that said,”If your grandmother followed my instructions and gave this to you you’re probably going to need it.”


        • jazzbaby…I am still hooting over your comment!! That’s got to be the funniest and sweetest gesture and note EVER left by a grandfather!!!!! Can’t stop giggling. I don’t drink either other than my prescribed red wine at night, but baby have there been times when a fifth sounded like a good idea. Then the morning after, I could honestly say that I felt like I’d been on a 3 day cheap drunk…one of my mama’s fav sayings for feeling like heck!


          • My grandmother could be a little much at times. I had a roommate once who refused to let her speak to me until she apologized to me because she’d said something mean to me. My grandfather, luckily, had her number.


            • Did he ever!!! It was the opposite in my family. My grandma was THE sweetest little old lady..always smiling. Grandad was the Hard to Handle type. Still miss both of them tho. And your roommate sounds like my type of gal!


  9. Mwahahaha!! That German sonnet is so funny! And I may be wrong, but I think it has even a double volta, after line eight, and another one after line twelve.

    I love sonnets. Shakespeare, Donne (“Death be not proud” is simply wonderful) and of course Spenser (“One day I wrote her name vpon the strand/ but came the waues and washed it away”).Lovely, lovely, lovely. Then there’s Gerard Manley Hopkins, and, call me sentimental, “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke…

    And yes. Richard should pass on those wonderful genes. But well, men! Their biological clocks tick differently, don’t they?


    • Hey, as long as he can find someone fertile to procreate with, he’ll be fine. No need to rush it for him. I have lots of male colleagues here who married younger women, men who are having first children at 45 or older. Unfortunately I cannot volunteer myself. My reproductive years are nearly over, and I don’t want to become a mother at this point 🙂

      Love sonnets, too. They are great in every language. Like Trakl, for instance, although he get soppy, and do you know the Stefan George translations of the Shakespeare sonnets? to DIE for.


  10. Most people get pissed off when their own parents needle them about having children, and you think you have the right to dictate life altering personal decisions to a person you have never met? Who the hell do you think you are?


    • Oh common… lighten up…


    • Thanks, Arlington Heights, IL. You missed, I think, both the joke involved (see tag “silliness”) and the topos of the buzzed blogger. I’m sorry that the post offended you. However, always remember, if you disagree or are upset: a soft answer turns away wrath.


  11. Don’t forget to have a child – LOL!!

    A friend who was childless by choice once wore a t-shirt with a pic of a crying woman on the front. The woman says “I can’t believe I forgot to have children!”

    Hopefully RA won’t forget as I agree that he seems like he’d be a great dad.


  12. Oh, Sev you are so talented. You are able to do things buzzed, I couldn’t do on my best day. G-d love you.


  13. You should worry about getting your own life straighted out instead of telling complete strangers what to do with thiers.


    • This is not disagreement about the sentiments or the validity of the post, this is ad hominem attack. Your IP address is now blocked.

      [I’m approving this because sometimes I think people don’t believe the level of abuse I take from complete strangers for writing this blog. 🙂 So now everyone can see.]


  14. RA has to have a younger partner or he can resort to either IVF, donor eggs, surrogate Mom and/or other sorts of medical advancement in this field. I think Anthony Quinn fathered a child in his 70s.

    it would be better if he’ll have one/them sooner than later so he can play with them. I’d love the sight of seeing him pushing a pram!(what a thought).

    With all our love & best wishes to him.


  15. You are indeed talented, Servetus. An ear for languages, definitely. I loved listening to both versions of the romantic,melancholy de la Vega poem. You know… it somehow really sounds very different read by male and female voices, to my ear, and no, I think not because one of you is not a native speaker. But what do I know? Only the effect that comes over to me as I confess that I don’t speak Spanish though I keep threatening to try to learn.

    I feel that Mr Armitage should do whatever he wishes with his life. Of course he should, but yes, I think those genes should be passed on some day.However, unlike women, he has plenty of time. I feel sure that, should he do so, he would indeed be a good father.

    I am sorry to hear that you experience abuse for writing this blog, which I enjoy enormously and as an added benefit I learn a lot from you too.


    • ladyj: thanks. I do think there’s a real difference when this poem is read by a man, esp because it’s supposed to have been written from a male perspective.

      Thanks for the positive strokes. I get 1-2 angry messages a week, either left as comments, or directed at my email. It’s great to experience the community support, though, which makes it worth the hassle.


  16. Usted es una muchacha muy talentosa e inteligente (y ainda multilingüe). No presta atención a quien probablemente ha celoso de ti.
    Que Mr. A será un gran (y guapo) padre algún día, no tengo duda. 🙂


  17. The German poem was a great treat for this reader!


  18. I would have loved to have learned another language but never had the opportunity I’m afraid. I’m fairly good at copying accents so who knows, I might have been able to pick up another language too. I would love to see Mr A have a child – or children – for his own sake and I’m positive that nothing anyone wrote in a blog would for one moment influence him one way or another. I’m also just as certain that was NOT your intention when you wrote that you wanted him to have a baby and I’m at a loss why anyone could think otherwise.

    I hope you will have a really nice day tomorrow.


    • Supposedly learning a second language is a guard against the various brain ailments of aging — so it’s probably never too late, Teuchter.


  19. Dear Servetus,
    I enjoy very much following your blog, it is funny & intelligent, and a real pleasure to read. Thank you!


  20. You have a nice voice.


  21. My four years of Spanish have reduced me to this – me encanta la poesia y tu lees muy bien.

    I’ve been pondering doing a post on Armitage/Macfadyen/Rickman reading poetry. Delicioso.


    • Do it: there’s a wonderful recording of Rickman reading “my mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” and at least one other poem on youtube.


  22. Love all your posts, sober and otherwise
    Man’s long lasting fertility has always ticked me off. I hope medical advances give my daughter more choices. I live in a part of the country where having children after 30 is still viewed as odd, so DH and I are geriatric parents, but I would not have changed a thing. In fact a baby in our 40’s would be a welcome addition.


  23. Mi inglés es tan impresentable, que prefiero darte las gracias en castellano por incluir en tu blog este soneto de un poeta al que adoro “casi” tanto como a Mrs. Armitage. Es muy agradable que, a personas cuyo idioma nativo no es español, les guste nuestra poesía. ¿Conoces a los contemporáneos?. Si te apetece practicar el idioma leyendo poemas, te recomiendo a Ángel González, de la generación del 50.

    Un beso y gracias de nuevo.


    • Estoy alegre, que tu escribes en español — creo que leen aquí muchos hispanoparlantes — y mil gracias por las buenas palabras. ¿Como fuera posible que no me gustarían los poemas de Garcilaso de la Vega? Voy a buscar las obras de González.


      • You are very kind answer me in Castilian, so I try respond you in my “horrible” English.
        A lot of Spanish people consider Garcilaso poems too much pompous. I thik about this matter that the problem is the way of recitation. If you read it slow and gentle it is lovely.

        I sed you a poem by A. González. I daren,t to translate it into English. I hope you understand it. He wrote it during the 60’s, when the Espanish society was govern under the General Franco dictatorship and the freedom and civil rights, even the romantics and the sexual relationship was cut and reduce. Now is very different. Luckily.

        Inventario de lugares propicios al amor

        Son pocos.
        La primavera está muy prestigiada, pero
        es mejor el verano.
        Y también esas grietas que el otoño
        forma al interceder con los domingos
        en algunas ciudades
        ya de por sí amarillas como plátanos.
        El invierno elimina muchos sitios:
        quicios de puertas orientadas al norte,
        orillas de los ríos,
        bancos públicos.
        Los contrafuertes exteriores
        de las viejas iglesias
        dejan a veces huecos
        utilizables aunque caiga nieve.
        Pero desengañémonos: las bajas
        temperaturas y los vientos húmedos
        lo dificultan todo.
        Las ordenanzas, además, proscriben
        la caricia ( con exenciones
        para determinadas zonas epidérmicas
        -sin interés alguno-
        en niños, perros y otros animales)
        y el «no tocar, peligro de ignominia»
        puede leerse en miles de miradas
        ¿Adónde huir, entonces?
        Por todas partes ojos bizcos,
        córneas torturadas,
        implacables pupilas,
        retinas reticentes,
        vigilan, desconfían, amenazan.
        Queda quizá el recurso de andar solo,
        de vaciar el alma de ternura
        y llenarla de hastío e indiferencia,
        en este tiempo hostil, propicio al odio.

        I too adore Richard Armitage. Very much. Soo much.


  24. […] into my computer a few weeks ago, I got many nice comments from Spanish-speaking readers, including a suggestion of a modern Spanish poet to love — Ángel González Muñiz — and the text of a poem. It’s a really […]


  25. […] still my go to drink in a pinch. I’m no goody-two-shoes: as readers of this blog know, I love alcohol, especially beer. I love how it affects me. Occasionally I’m frightened by how much I love […]


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