Sunday, August 06, 2023

CREAMY FOREHEAD

One of the great things about living in the coastal part of the Bay Area is that we don't get as boiling weather-wise as those poor shmoes in Stockton, Modesto, Flagstaf, Miami, Milan, Rome, or Syracuse. Where it's very hot. Having looked at the weather predicted for tomorrow, I know that I shall not go naked. You're glad, I'm glad.

Nor will I ponce around in the buff after my apartment mate has left for work. In fact, it has been ages since anyone saw me nude, and I can't remember the last time I saw myself that way in the hallway mirror. Maybe at some point I should pop out the bathroom, flash myself, go "oh good lord nobody wants to see that", and hurry back into the bathroom.

Normally, the only way I see myself with bare flesh showing is in the bathroom mirror over the sink from the collarbone up, reason being that if one cannot see the area to be shaved, one ends up with a neckbeard. Logically then, America's building contractors do their bit to prevent male scruffiness. Women, being often considerable shorter than men, will worry excessively about their foreheads.

At least, I think that's the case. My apartment mate is three-ish inches shorter and has an exceptionally nice forehead. Naturally I am often reminded of a poem by Wang Wei (王維 'wong wai'; 699 - 759).
王維 :洛陽女兒行
洛陽女兒對門居,才可顏容十五餘。
良人玉勒乘驄馬,侍女金盤膾鯉魚。
畫閣朱樓盡相望,紅桃綠柳垂檐向。
羅帷送上七香車,寶扇迎歸九華帳。
狂夫富貴在青春,意氣驕奢劇季倫。
自憐碧玉親教舞,不惜珊瑚持與人。
春窗曙滅九微火,九微片片飛花瑣。
戲罷曾無理曲時,妝成祗是薰香坐。
城中相識盡繁華,日夜經過趙李家。
誰憐越女顏如玉,貧賤江頭自浣紗


It contrasts those fancy stylish Luoyang ladies with the simple beauty of a poor southern girl washing cloth by a stream in the last line. "Who pities the girl from Viet (Southern China) with a brow (顏 'ngaan') like jade, poor and lowly at the river washing silks". Note that 顏 ('ngaan') is glossed as originally referring to what a teen girls' magazine would describe as the T zone, which is the area between the center of each eyebrow starting at the bridge of the nose and continuing to the middle of the forehead. Nowadays it simply means countenance.

誰憐越女顏如玉,貧賤江頭自浣紗。
[- 'seui lin yuet neui ngaan yiu yuk, pan jin gong tau ji wun saa' -]

I've always been quite fond of Wang wei's verses. There's something about the way he phrases things that just strikes me. No, I've never been to Luoyang, and didn't live during the Tang dynasty. I discovered Chinese poetry when I was living in North Beach mere fragrance distance away from the Caffè Trieste.

Which the scribbled illustration above probably reminds you of.



My apartment mate, just in case you didn't know, is Cantonese American. Canton province is 粵 ('yuet'), which is a homophone of 越 ('yuet'; Viet), the ancient term for everything south of the great river all to the way down to tattooed screaming savage territory.

Read The Vermillion Bird, by Edward Schafer for more on that.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

No comments:

Search This Blog

STAY WITH ELECTRIC

Some drugs to which people become addicted, which may necessitate incontinence pants, also induce a high quotient of gibberance. Especially ...