The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Friday


Ancestors
By Cesare Pavese
Translated by Geoffrey Brock


Stunned by the world, I reached an age
when I threw punches at air and cried to myself.
Listening to the speech of women and men,
not knowing how to respond, it's not fun.
But this too has passed: I'm not alone anymore,
and if I still don't know how to respond,
I don't need to. Finding myself, I found company.

I learned that before I was born I had lived
in men who were steady and firm, lords of themselves,
and none could respond and all remained calm.
Two brothers-in-law opened a store--our family's
first break. The outsider was serious,
scheming, ruthless, and mean--a woman.
The other one, ours, read novels at work,
which made people talk. When customers came,
they'd hear him say, in one or two words,
that no, there's no sugar, Epsom salts no,
we're all out of that. Later it happened
that this one lent a hand to the other, who'd gone broke.

Thinking of these folks makes me feel stronger
than looking in mirrors and sticking my chest out
or shaping my mouth into a humorless smile.
One of my grandfathers, ages ago,
was being cheated by one of his farmhands,
so he worked the vineyards himself, in the summer,
to make sure it was done right. That's how
I've always lived too, always maintaining
a steady demeanor, and paying in cash.

And women don't count in this family.
I mean that our women stay home
and bring us into the world and say nothing
and count for nothing and we don't remember them.
Each of them adds something new to our blood,
but they kill themselves off in the process, while we,
renewed by them, are the ones to endure.
We're full of vices and horrors and whims--

--------

Ahh, the joys of parenthood. It was report card day in our county. Our younger son came home with a perfectly reasonable if imperfect report card -- notes that all the Bs would have been As if he had just handed in his work -- and promised to be more efficient in the future since in most cases he had done the work and just forgotten about it or done it sloppily and never done a final draft. Our older son came home without a report card and a story about how -- get this -- an older kid had tripped him and stolen it. Not quite buying this story, I called the vice principal to see if we could get another copy and to find out his grades. To make a long story short, he has since amended his tale to claim that he accidentally dropped the report card in the gutter where it got ruined and no kid ever tripped him, but, since I repeated his story to the vice principal, and since the school has a zero tolerance policy on bullying, he has to go talk to her in the morning anyway about the "incident."

Do I need to punish him any further for lying? (I think we're still being lied to -- I'm positive that report card is in a trash can, not the gutter.) He knew full well, with reason, that he was going to be barred from playing GameCube until that one C has come up, so just barring him from video games, which would have happened anyway, does not seem censorious enough. I am far more pissed off about the bullshit than the C and he needs to know that he is NOT going to get away with lying to us. Right now I am waiting to see how unhappy he is tomorrow, because the Vice Principal can be terrifying when she wants to, and I am betting SHE reads him the riot act on having made up a story about someone bullying him which was not true.

Things that made the day better, even though it was Thursday and I woke up too early and had too many carpools in the afternoon: Snow for about eight hours, with almost nothing sticking to the roads because it was above freezing but the trees beautifully iced in fat white puffs and the sky falling down in flakes. gblvr not running away screaming while I was geeking out in a bookstore over a $3 Star Trek page-a-day calendar and scaring the booksellers. My father breaking the silent treatment with a five-word emphatically annoyed e-mail. Finding the editors of TrekToday and TrekWeb respectively quoted by E! Online and USA Today in their coverage of Enterprise's cancellation. But the most sigificant event was replacing my cell phone after four years (for the past many months, the voice mail signal was perpetually on). Now I need someone to come walk me through the steps for downloading Harry Potter music as the ring tone so I can continue to scare people in malls everywhere.

State of the Union: turned off, nothing to say that others haven't said and better. Linked from several people but worth repeating: plaidder's "Zero Tolerance", on the "gay" SpongeBob controversy and the real implications for what our children are being taught. As for Joe Lieberman: you asshole, how could anyone who calls himself a practicing Jew vote for an Attorney General who supports torture?

Ah well, from psu_jedi via jenwrites, two people I met in fandom and then discovered I really like in real life so fandom must be good for something: If you read this, post a memory of me. It can be anything you want -- good or bad. Then post this to your journal and see what people remember about you.


Minerva McGonagall by mamadracula. (Posted with permission: please feel free to link to this entry but don't repost or hotlink the illustration.)


I am not going to post again on the issue of recs; everyone's journal is his or her own, and everyone should put what he or she wishes in it, and I will make my own decisions about what to read or not to read regardless. I do want to note, though, that when I post a piece of art by a friend like the above or when I ask people to welcome a new writer into a particular fandom, it should be taken as exactly what it is: a celebration of that person having produced something I enjoy, with absolutely no implications about quality in relation to any other fic or art. You will never see any sort of master recs list here.
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