By Thomas James
For our own private reasons
We live in each other for an hour.
Stranger, I take your body and its seasons,
Aware the moon has gone a little sour
For us. The moon hangs up there like a stone
Shaken out of its proper setting.
We lie down in each other. We lie down alone
And watch the moon's flawed marble getting
Out of hand. What are the dead doing tonight?
The padlocks of their tongues embrace the black,
Each syllable locked in place, tucked out of sight.
Even this moon could never pull them back,
Even if it held them in its arms
And weighed them down with stones,
Took them entirely on their own terms
And piled the orchard's blossom on their bones.
I am aware of your body and its dangers.
I spread my cloak for you in leafy weather
Where other fugitives and other strangers
Will put their mouths together.
From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post Book World, a column on James, who published only one collection of poems in his lifetime, Letters to a Stranger. "Its poems are shapely and well fashioned, as if the poet had tested his demons by submitting them to the rigors of a formal control. This is a poetry of crisis -- feverish hospital rooms, painful emergency wards, nervous open fields. These intimate poems, which present themselves as 'letters,' are generally addressed to someone who is deeply removed and almost impossibly inaccessible: a remote reader, a blind cousin, a dying god." Hirsch says that the voice in the poems, "painfully lonely and filled with longing," has haunted him for more than 20 years, and deserves to be remembered.
A relatively quiet Saturday: I wrote in the morning, posted a couple of articles in the evening, and spent the rest of the day with my children, who had a friend over for dinner and whom we took to the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum's 15th Annual Model Train Display. We used to go every year because our older son and my father-in-law are both very into model trains, but we missed it last year (though the photos below are from the year before last because I forgot my camera today, to my great regret). So I have no photo of the sleigh out front, nor the model circus train with the car with live goldfish swimming in it.
This is just one of the larger outdoor trains, the Coca Cola train going around the side of the station. The kids love to jump back and forth over the tracks and make arches by standing over them as the trains are passing, and the poor people who work there try to stop them. There are also demonstrations outdoors of how to build, design and repair tracks, and inside there's a wonderful display where a train around a Christmas tree in a dollhouse goes out and around a winter wonderland and mountain display.
While I have you behind the cut, some quizzes. This one from beeej, and so true, except for the beer since I scored zero on the drunk cat rating:
| You scored as Couch Potato Cat. Decorative pillow? No, that'd be you sitting on the couch, even still. Hmm. . . I'm guessing you have Web TV.|
Which Absurd Cat are you?
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And this one from shayenne, sparing you the graphic, because some of the questions are pretty bizarre.
What Social Status are you?
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Tonight I had several loads of laundry to fold so I got my husband to watch Proof with me while I did so, since I had not seen it in months (fileg, thank you again!) Hugo Weaving's character in that film, Martin, may be the saddest person in any film I have ever seen, and yet it's so oddly optimistic in the end just by remaining open-ended...if I loved Russell Crowe for no other reason, I would love him for this movie and the way Andy giggles and looks at Martin. I now have a bunny gnawing at me about learning braille and having sex with a blindfold on. Help!
I am going to the Redskins game in the afternoon with my father and my son, great seats, first regular season game I will ever see at FedEx Field; we used to go to RFK often in my youth but tickets are so ridiculously expensive now that I would only be going if someone gave them to us as a gift, which is the case now. The Giants are almost as terrible as the Redskins so it could be a close game, or just an awful one -- the Toilet Bowl, as my father always calls the worst game of the year (not to be confused with the Superbowl or Fiesta Bowl). Wish us luck!