By Tony Hoagland
And I look at the student with his acne and cell phone and phony ghetto clothes
And I think, "I am asleep in America too,
And I don't know how to wake myself either,"
And I remember what Marx said near the end of his life:
"I was listening to the cries of the past,
When I should have been listening to the cries of the future."
But how could he have imagined 100 channels of 24-hour cable
Or what kind of nightmare it might be
When each day you watch rivers of bright merchandise run past you
And you are floating in your pleasure boat upon this river
Even while others are drowning underneath you
And you see their faces twisting in the surface of the waters
And yet it seems to be your own hand
Which turns the volume higher?
Had a low key last-day-of-Labor-Day weekend yesterday shopping for newly discovered school necessities -- why do they tell you to buy a 3" binder beforehand, then announce that your child will instead need 1" binders for various subjects? Otherwise, had dinner with my parents who couldn't understand why my children, who wanted nothing more than to stay home and play games and chill out, were respectively sullen and rambunctious, and made some small effort to get them to clean their rooms. Today younger son has a periodontist appointment -- we are going to have to take out a line of credit on the house just to pay for his teeth -- and I have a pile of articles to write.
I finished reading The Truelove (a much better title than Clarissa Oakes, I think, since the latter is both a spoiler and less symbolic than the former), started The Wine-Dark Sea, am wondering whether Jack has any children who are Polynesian royalty. Even though I don't think she should get a book title, Clarissa is a wonderful character and I loved watching her open up to Stephen -- what a horrific life, and I found O'Brian's treatment of her entirely sympathetic. He managed to make his point about why captains would loathe having a woman on board without making the woman in any way unsympathetic and indicating all the reasons the double standard itself was problematic.
And a gratuitous twilight spiderweb from in front of my in-laws' house this weekend.