By Tony Hoagland
This year Marie drives back and forth
from the hospital room of her dying friend
to the office of the adoption agency.
I bet sometimes she doesn't know
what threshold she is waiting at --
the hand of her sick friend, hot with fever;
the theoretical baby just a lot of paperwork so far.
But next year she might be standing by a grave,
wearing black with a splash of
the little girl just starting to say Sesame Street
and Cappuccino latte grande Mommy.
The future ours for a while to hold, with its heaviness --
and hope moving from one location to another
like the holy ghost that it is.
From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post Book World. Hoagland, writes Hirsch, "has a smart and sassy way of thinking about America in his work. He is one of the few poets self-consciously trying to come to terms with -- to find a way to think about -- the apparent omnipotence and inescapability of the mass culture that surrounds us like a sea." Because of this, we're at a distance from genuine feeling: "Thus a lovely summer night becomes the 'Commercial for a Summer Night.'" A student tells him that "America is for him a maximum-security prison// Whose walls are made of Radio Shacks and Burger Kings, and MTV episodes/ Where you can't tell the show from the commercials," and he wonders "if this is a legitimate category of pain,/ or whether he is just spin doctoring a better grade."
I'm in Pennsylvania, with plans to go to the Renaissance Fair (perkypaduan tells me that this one has falconry, unlike the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and ithilwen tells me not to miss the glass-blowing). Hopefully it will be another lovely day. The weather this evening has been gorgeous, not too warm and we had beautiful sunset colors. And guess who I saw, plumping up for the winter?