The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday and Capitol Cruise

Old Boy
By A. Van Jordan

      (Park Chan-Wook, 2003)

If one rainy night you find yourself
leaving a phone booth, and you meet a man
with a lavender umbrella, resist
your desire to follow him, to seek
shelter from the night in his solace.
Later, don't fall victim to the Hypnotist's
narcotic of clarity, which proves
a curare for the heart; her salve
is merely a bandage, under which memories
pulse. Resist the taste for something still
alive for your first meal; resist the craving
for the touch of a hand from your past.
We live some memories,
and some memories are planted. There's
only so much space for the truth
and the fabrications to spread out
in one's mind. When there's no more
space, we grow desperate. You'll ask
if practicing love for years in your mind,
prepares you for the moment,
if practicing to defend one's life
is the same as living? You'll
hole up, captive, in a hotel room
for fifteen years and learn to find
a man within you, which will prove
a painful introduction to the trance
into which you were born. Better
to stay under the spell of your guilt,
than to forget; you've already released
your pain onto the world; don't believe
there's some joy in forgetting.
There's no joy in the struggle to forget.
And what appears as an endless verdant field,
only spreads across a building's rooftop;
your peaceful sleep could be a fetal position,
which secures you in a suitcase in this field.
A bell rings, and you fall out of this luggage
like clothes you no longer fit. Now what to do?
You remember when you were the man
who fit those clothes, but you've forgotten this
world. Even forgotten scenes from your life,
leave shadows of the memory,
haunting your spirit
until, within a moment's glance,
strangers passing you on the street,
observe history in your eyes. Experience
lingers through acts of forgetting,
small acts of love or trauma
falling from the same place. Whether
memory comes in the form of a stone
or a grain of sand, they both sink in water.
A tongue—even if it were, say, sworn
to secrecy; or if it were cut from one's mouth;
yes, even without a mouth to envelop
its truth—the tongue continues to confess.


We had tickets from a local deal for a boat ride on Capitol River Cruises, and since they were going to expire after the long weekend, we picked Adam up after a morning race in Gaithersburg and took the kids to Georgetown and rode on the Nightingale down past the major DC monuments. It was pretty hot but there was a nice breeze on the Potomac and lots of people to watch waterskiing, paddleboating, and canoeing as we passed. We were in the front part of the boat, which at first I thought might get too hot from the sun, but the views were great and we got lucky in that a train went over the old bridge just as we passed under it.

The Nightingale just before we boarded, with the Kennedy Center in the background.

The Washington Harbour complex (not to be confused with National Harbor across the river in Prince George's County) from which we cruised.

The Watergate hotel and one of the actual water gates through which Rock Creek Park joins the Potomac River.

Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Lincoln Memorial.

One of several waterskiiers we passed.

The US Capitol behind one of the waterside parks.

A train crossing the old bridge with the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial in the background.

And my kids, forced to pose for a calendar photo.

In the evening Adam went out with friends and the rest of us watched the season premiere of Doctor Who. I know that many people get irritated at my failure to adore Moffat and his version of the show, so if it's just going to upset you, don't read about how badly I miss RTD and how utterly bored I am with the show, with Eleven, with Amy and Rory, with Daleks...I no longer even remember why the Daleks are back but I don't care, I mean, I knew that Oswin was either dead or a Dalek all along, an "I'm so very sorry, [name of this week's female]" story -- sure, Moffat will rewrite her tragedy into some other tragedy the way he did with River, screwing with time and space, but really I can't feel anything about anyone after all the jerking around.

Amy and Rory...of course, fix the woman and you fix the marriage, tell us he adores her and gave her a divorce for her own good, Ibet the Doctor finds a way to give her a baby for him because that is what makes you a real woman -- well, along with nobly giving up your man or dying for your man -- we learned that in the Library episodes, where what afterlife!River really wanted was babies and Miss Evangelista couldn't have a brain and be pretty at the same time. But that's Moffat: Sally Sparrow's friend didn't mind being sent back in time and losing everything because eventually she had a husband and babies, and even if Reinette never got a baby she had a King and the Doctor, isn't that an awesome life? The Doctor carrying Amy as damsel in distress is the perfect logo for the current generation.

We watched the first two episodes of Copper afterward -- we had missed them because of Political Animals -- and though I thought it was very well put together, the acting and filming and much of the dialogue, it's not really my thing (even more violent than Boardwalk Empire, so I doubt I'll be sticking with it.

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