Brokeheart: Just like that
By Patrick Rosal
When the bass drops on Bill Withers'
Better Off Dead, it's like 7 a.m.
and I confess I'm looking
over my shoulder once or twice
just to make sure no one in Brooklyn
is peeking into my third-floor window
to see me in pajamas I haven't washed
for three weeks before I slide
from sink to stove in one long groove
left foot first then back to the window side
with my chin up and both fists clenched
like two small sacks of stolen nickels
and I can almost hear the silver
hit the floor by the dozens
when I let loose and sway a little back
and just like that I'm a lizard grown
two new good legs on a breeze
-bent limb. I'm a grown-ass man
with a three-day wish and two days to live.
And just like that everyone knows
my heart's broke and no one is home.
Just like that, I'm water.
Just like that, I'm the boat.
Just like that, I'm both things in the whole world
rocking. Sometimes sadness is just
what comes between the dancing. And bam!,
my mother's dead and, bam!, my brother's
children are laughing. Just like—ok, it's true
I can't pop up from my knees so quick these days
and no one ever said I could sing but
tell me my body ain't good enough
for this. I'll count the aches another time,
one in each ankle, the sharp spike in my back,
this mud-muscle throbbing in my going bones,
I'm missing the six biggest screws
to hold this blessed mess together. I'm wind-
rattled. The wood's splitting. The hinges are
falling off. When the first bridge ends,
just like that, I'm a flung open door.
"My whole life I’ve had to work it out through the body—by which I mean poetry too," Rosal told Poets.org.
Tuesday was no more exciting around here than Monday apart from continuing magnificent weather that made me not want to do anything but take walks and see the bunnies and deer and enjoy it. I got some boring stuff done, but the only real entertainment didn't arrive till late afternoon when Amazon.com delivered my Blu-Ray of Noah, whose special features I have not had time to watch yet. Younger son was out with friends from a hike in the morning through lunch and dinner and he is still not home, so I don't even know what he was doing.
We were talking about going to see Signature's production of Sunday in the Park With George, though it's kind of expensive, so we figured we'd get the DVD of the original Broadway production out of the library and see if that inspired us one way or another, so we watched that in the evening. Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters are wonderful in it, as is the supporting cast -- what a treat to see Brent Spiner singing again -- and there are many lovely, creative staging decisions in that initial presentation, plus a lot of visual humor.
The Orioles won! And speaking of Baltimore, here are some photos from the National Aquarium's relatively new Blacktip Reef, which replaced the big shark-and-ray exhibit in the central main floor tank; in addition to blacktip sharks, the beautiful (though hard to photograph because of lighting) reef has rays, puffers, wrasses, unicornfish, a three-flippered sea turtle, even Dory and Nemo (which are apparently now the scientific names of blue tangs and clownfish even among kids who don't otherwise speak English):