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The Little Review
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Poem for Wednesday, Lotus Blossoms, All-Star Game


A Score for Tourist Movies
By Mary Austin Speaker

If music plays with film
then film is an illustration
of music's movement.
Snap, blast, sever, sever, stop.
Even the dog twitching his ears.

If islands nestle in the ocean,
and a statue rises above the pilgrim,
then we are standing on a cliff
and the pilgrim has reached her goal.
The light is as pale as the back of her hand.

If the dancers twitch arrythmically
their dance is only partly kept.
At twenty-four frames per second,
film makes a lonely memory.
They sway staccato, staggered, stretched.

If drums repeat the pace
of film's slip through the gate,
then the song's refrain
retells film's fades and cutaways.
Even its night-quiet darks.

If horns evoke an antique joy,
lens flares and close-ups send
their renderings into red relief.
How has mankind managed grief?
Light, noise, movement, breath.

If blood is to the body
as film is to the camera,
if film is a flat and lucid eye,
if light is a perishable gift,
then the night is the gate of the dark.

If light falls away with always
then film is a parcel of rest.
Panoramas, linked and strung
as castle-steps, lawns, the fine
iron bars of the castle gate.

If drums pace the beat of blood
and film is the speed of the rattle
of breath, then the dancers have
truly escaped us. We slow
as they quicken. We go and go.

--------

It is twelve million degrees in the DC area, though I am trying not to complain too much because I understand that it is twelve million degrees in New York, London, Miami, etc. (I am jealous of the people going to Comic-Con not only because they might get to see Hugh Jackman but because it is more than ten degrees cooler in L.A.). I have no energy in this much heat, so I did work and folded laundry (shut up, I am allowed to sing along to Les Mis when one son is visiting his girlfriend and the other has headphones on) and only went out for two quick shopping stops.

For the first time this summer I saw fawns in the neighborhood during my early-evening walk (the heat made an afternoon walk out of the question) -- a deer with two babies in the woods! Plus there were four bunnies who seemed more disturbed by lawn mowers than the heat. We had tacos for dinner, then watched the All-Star Game which we are glad the AL won, as much as we cared. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (which allegedly broke The Daily Show last night) were both hilarious tonight. Here are some of the many hundreds of lotus blossoms at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens:















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