Wednesday, June 02, 2010


A friend of mine was telling me at lunch he was in kind of a bad mood, and writing haikus. I asked him if one was

f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck
f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck
f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck this

I am so eloquent in verse.

It was little flip, but it made me laugh. I'm in a good mood, though, and this beatiful piece of writing popped into my head for some reason - the MFK Fisher essay Borderland, in which she talks about roasting tangerines on a radiator in France. I think it's pretty well-known, probably because it manages to be so sensual and have a such a specific sense of place. It's gorgeous, so enjoy if you haven't read it. Thanks to this google books link, you can read the whole thing.

After you have put the pieces of tangerine on the paper on the hot radiator, it is best to forget about them. Al comes home, you go to a long noon dinner in the brown dining-room, afterwards maybe you have a little nip of quetsch from the bottle on the armoire. Finally he goes. You are sorry, but -

On the radiator the sections of tangerines have grown even plumper, hot and full. You carry them to the window, pull it open, and leave them for a few minutes on the packed snow of the sill. They are ready.

All afternoon you can sit, then, looking down on the corner. Afternoon papers are delivered to the kiosk. Children come home from school just as three lovely whores mince smartly into the pension's chic tearoom. A basketful of Dutch tulips stations itself by the tram-stop, ready to tempt tired clerks at six o'clock. Finally the soldiers stump back from the Rhine. It is dark.

The sections of the tangerine are gone, and I cannot tell you why they are so magical. Perhaps it is that little shell, thin as one layer of enamel on a Chinese bowl, that crackles so tinily, so ultimately under your teeth. Or the rush of cold pulp just after it. Or the perfume. I cannot tell.

There must be someone, though, who understands what I mean. Probably everyone does, because of his own secret eatings.

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