Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Trouble With Mermaids

I am planning to go see the Coney Island Mermaid parade on Saturday. My daughter Natalie and several friends are already turning yards of green and blue glittery spandex into tails, fins, and artfully placed seaweed.

Yes, it is a totally campy event. The interpretation of sea life is incredibly broad. Some go burlesque, others literal, some whimsical, sweet, many funny, there are dedicated groups performing street theatre, bands, and inventive use of used subway cards and plastic bottles. This year I expect to see some oil-glopped birds and spewing BP rigs marching as well.

I mentioned I was going to the parade to an intellectual friend.

"You like, uh... mermaids?" Said in the voice of someone who just doesn't get it. That ellipses of disappointment. Somehow it is assumed that writing poetry makes me prefer reading literary criticism over attending a parade. Give me the parades.

Even in Provincetown, the Fairy Parade, with all it's tawdry winks and nudges, was pure magic to the little kids waiting to be noticed by the entrancing beings who glided by aglitter. I am sure small kids and big will be awed at the mermaid parade. I may even get a poem out of it.

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