April 12, 2016

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poetry Postcard 34: High Anxiety

Everyone is talking movies this morning. Poetry postcard 34 takes us back to a classic comedy, High Anxiety. The film is Mel Brooks's homage/send up of Alfred Hitchcock films including Vertigo and The Birds.

If you can't get enough of the 85th Academy Awards -- Who's wearing who?! Which films were snubbed?! -- stop by The Pretty Cripple. Magdalena is (virtually) rolling onto the red carpet with her pet chihauhaus dressed for the occassion.

Maybe it's being a mom of teens, or maybe it's just being focused on writing and teaching, but I did not see a single one of the Oscar-nominated best films. (I did watch the charming short Paperman, a winner last night, on Youtube.)

High Anxiety is one of my all-time favorite movies. It's up there on my husband's list also.

Rob and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last summer. (The year of brass and nickel. We received neither.)

This skyline of San Francisco took me back to our honeymoon:


We spent the first half of our trip on Maui. We were rained out on Mount Haleakala, missing the spectacular sunrise, and enjoyed a luau seated with two women celebrating their divorces.

Then, we had a few days in San Francisco. Rob and I have great memories of the trip, including the audio tour of Alcatraz. But that wasn't the only unhoneymoon-like event of our vacation.

One of the oddest: We stayed at the Hyatt Regency where Mel Brooks filmed High Anxiety (1977). 

That brush with movie history was the inspiration for postcard poem # 34.

Honeymoon and High Anxiety

At first, it was fun to pretend
you were Mel Brooks and I
Madeline Kahn, a femme-fatale
at the same hotel where Brooks
was acrophobic, clung to hallway doors
that faced the Hyatt’s gaping atrium.
We knew about anxiety,
married five days, your wallet lost
in a rental car, my surprise
at just how cranky a person with
low blood sugar can be, an affliction
unassuaged by my steadfast love.
Only something plain would heal you−
turkey on rye, hold the mustard.
You woke with a fever
and dreamed of the devil.
Below our window a man in drag
stood at the cable car turnaround,
swinging his handbag at the sky.
It was not a starry-eyed beginning,
all our phobias laid bare.

Laura Shovan

After making it through that trip intact, it’s no wonder we’ve had the fortitude to stick together all these years. All of this seems funny now. We've weathered far more difficult periods in our lives, always together. For that, and to Rob, I am very grateful.
Another adventure, 21 years later -- hiking Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.
Postcard Information

Back: The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, as seen from the Oakland shore with San Francisco’s lighted skyline in the background.

−Published by Smith News Co., 75 Williams Ave., San Francisco 24, Calif.−
Natural Color Post Card Made in U.S.A. by E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis.-EAY

If you’ve never seen High Anxiety, it’s a must. Here is the original trailer, including a great view of the Hyatt’s iconic atrium.


Tabatha said...

Awww! Love that photo of you guys in Scotland! Great poem. You cover so much, with honesty and good humor.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Tabatha. I appreciate your note. (I was too lazy to dig up a wedding photo -- ha!)

Anonymous said...

I have never seen the movie.
Love your poem.

Unknown said...

Great post Laura. I am a Mel Brooks junkie and that movie is amazingly hilarious. Thanks for the blog shout out. It is really nice seeing couples married for so many years. Congrats.