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The Little Review
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Poem for Friday and Lewis Ginter Gardens


From Honey to Ashes
By Geoffrey G. O'Brien

What follows is terms and classifications, the West
Of speech congratulating itself within
A system so complex there's no way not to be
Effective. Just as they had planned the streets
On either side are lined with all that's needed,
Storefronts whose glass returns a look
Filled with the contents it displays
(Mannequins, organics, mobile phones)
Making even moving sitting still, an embrace
Above anything that's so. Cuts and clouds
Drift south across the far part of the sky
From adventure to instruction, so where
There is only the mildest threat of showers
You see a shape and then a story, parody
Of the private life of the world.
And what was promised to the mind of the hearer
In transformation remains away, ideal
Portrait there is a certain pleasure in reading
As buffer against what today sends tomorrow.
It's like forgetting that part of childhood
In which one learned to do everything
From the pages of a book not unlike
A painting, but a painting with motion
In its idle depths, down where dusk meets
Foreclosure and the clouds charge out
Into the gift of seeing them forthrightly
Pass by a thing that might have happened, public
Pleasures that progress, the horizon, etc.
Always more or less just starting out
Its day, though it would be better to call it
A grouping sent down through suffering
To sunset, signed in the same place by night
To win over the jury in advance; it's a painting
Of the burning of a book whose content is
Colors, lights, flowers, fragments of bone
Taken from the wound, from greater and lesser
Distances, to tell the bad from the good,
Buy the evening's groceries in every sense.
What follows is seven dominated days
Of the week ready to bind with really anything
At all, your thoughts as you come forward
Out of the haze like sun through a curtain
Or go to sleep so as to be of further use—
You would like to choose between them
But aren't these one and the same task?

--------

I did a bunch of running around on Thursday and only got two out of three laundries folded, but son said his could wait, anyway. I had to return something at Target and pick up laundry detergent, I had to get a couple of other things on Rockville Pike. I stopped at my parents' house because I had asked my mother to dig out a children's book that I had thought of while discussing Maurice Sendak the other day (Miss Jaster's Garden by N.M. Bodecker) and we ended up looking at old photos that had belonged to Aunt Shirley, whose birthday would have been Friday. I inherited a gorgeous Native American eagle pin that we were guessing was probably bought at the Thunderbird Shop in Rehoboth Beach, where we used to stay with Shirley and Paul when I was little, so it's a wonderful souvenir.

Adam spent most of the evening practicing for the US government A.P. exam next week, though we all had ravioli together and discussed political idiocy. I had a great walk in the neighborhood and saw three deer, two bunnies, several chipmunks and one turkey vulture that flew off when it saw me. Evening TV involved a mediocre DS9 episode and a fantastic episode of Awake, which Zap2It says is definitely going to be canceled along with Harry's Law, which makes me very sad -- the former as much as the latter, I think, even though I don't like the procedural aspects much. Here is some more scenery from Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden in Richmond:















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