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The Little Review
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Poem for Wednesday, Brookside Butterflies, Now You See Me


Tale of Two Cities
By Mark Jarman

Sick as it approaches, sick as it departs.
In fall the hulks of burned out houses stand unrazed.
In winter bearded with fire truck ice they stand unrazed.
The ice cream maker, the piano tuner, the ceramist and tile engraver,—
The belovèd craftsmen turn up killed at their work places.
And the river, stingy, greedy, shrinks and enlarges.
And bumper stickers protest how people like it here. The hated city.

And the loved city? Only at a distance can it be loved.
How else do those mean little squares and boulevards sprouting their haystraw weeds
Become the Champs-Elysées and Princes Street, except in memory?
Shadowy byways and alleys, wildflower chain linked lots
Where a lover turned and smiled and did more than kiss,
And corners where small hilarities gathered, teasing,
But singing in unison,—these map happiness.

The hated city. The loved city. The same city.

--------

Today's Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets, about which the poet says, "The place I describe here is a composite of cities I have called home or had to call home...it is possible to hate and love the place you are from." More of Jarman's commentary is in Body and Soul: Essays on Poetry.

I have nothing to report but chores -- mostly laundry, though I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to organize photos that have been lying around un-organized since about 2007 (kids' school photos, our last big trip that we actually printed photos from instead of putting together a Shutterfly book), then I gave up because there is so much in the kitchen and basement that needs to be sorted but I need input from other members of the family before I can get rid of a lot of stuff. *coughs* We can' work on the big things that need fixing, like the carpets, till we get rid of enough stuff to move things around. Otherwise, I figured out how to do various things on my new phone (for some reason my photos are importing upside-down even though they appear on the phone right-side-up) and signed various school forms for Adam, who has somehow gotten a cold the last week in August.

We had pasta for dinner because Adam has a scrimmage on Wednesday, then watched a copy of Now You See Me that a friend with studio connections got in advance of the DVD release; other than its limited women's roles -- two decent characters not defined by their sexuality but no real interaction between them, and there easily could have been -- I liked the magic quite a bit. Generally I like Mark Ruffalo in most things even when he's playing an utter creep, whereas I don't much like Jesse Eisenberg even when he's NOT playing an utter creep, but they have entertaining chemistry playing riffs on characters they've played in lots of other movies, and Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Morgan Freeman are pretty much always entertaining though they're also playing pretty close to type. Here are some photos from Brookside's butterfly exhibit early this month:















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