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

Poem for Thursday


Coming Close
By Philip Levine


Take this quiet woman, she has been
standing before a polishing wheel
for over three hours, and she lacks
twenty minutes before she can take
a lunch break. Is she a woman?
Consider the arms as they press
the long brass tube against the buffer,
they are striated along the triceps,
the three heads of which clearly show.
Consider the fine dusting of dark down
above the upper lip, and the beads
of sweat that run from under the red
kerchief across the brow and are wiped
away with a blackening wrist band
in one odd motion a child might make
to say No! No! You must come closer
to find out, you must hang your tie
and jacket in one of the lockers
in favor of a black smock, you must
be prepared to spend shift after shift
hauling off the metal trays of stock,
bowing first, knees bent for a purchase,
then lifting with a gasp, the first word
of tenderness between the two of you,
then you must bring new trays of dull
unpolished tubes. You must feed her,
as they say in the language of the place.
Make no mistake, the place has a language,
and if by some luck the power were cut,
the wheel slowed to a stop so that you
suddenly saw it was not a solid object
but so many separate bristles forming
in motion a perfect circle, she would turn
to you and say, "Why?" Not the old why
of why must I spend five nights a week?
Just, "Why?" Even if by some magic
you knew, you wouldn't dare speak
for fear of her laughter, which now
you have anyway as she places the five
tapering fingers of her filthy hand
on the arm of your white shirt to mark
you for your own, now and forever.

--------

Today older son came home with his interim reading grade report, which miraculously he did not lose in a sewer or have stolen by some other student, though there were a couple of grades so terrible that they required parental interrogation, and when asked he claimed that the TEACHER had lost his assignments and therefore given him zeros on them. I'm buying this about as much as I bought the missing report card stories and am tearing out my hair -- we've tried being understanding and helping with the work, we've tried being punitive and taking away privileges, we've tried having outside people try to figure out if there's something bothering him affecting the work, can only conclude that we are going to have to hover over him and make sure the homework is in fact getting done which seems to me 1) condescending and not good for his self-esteem, and 2) encouraging poor study habits because he knows one of us will keep tabs on when things are due for him. But if his grades drop too much he could put his placement in the program in jeopardy. Where's the line between being neglectful and too much intervention?

Most of my day not involved with scolding my son over his interim report was taken up with fangirly things, so I shall fangirl. perkypaduan and I went to beeej's for our usual Wednesday Highlander ("working from home" such a wonderful concept), and I got to see Roger Daltrey Wears Hats, When Duncan Met Methos and the first half of the much-discussed Dark Quickening, hee! I shall make myself unpopular and admit that thus far at least I preferred the first two to the latter, though in fairness we fast-forwarded through all the motorcycle scenes in "Methos" because we just didn't care, leaving only "Adam Pierson" ("Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod...have a beer. Mi casa es su casa." Greatest introductory line I can think of.) Such a remarkable case of love at first sight, in a guy who's had 5000 years to practice!

I am totally in love with "Methos" and would even sit through the Richie scenes to watch it again, which fortunately a certain someone (*shags helens78*) has made possible for me. I did like "Star-Crossed," particularly the flashbacks, but since Fitz is a chef and there are all these scenes with people cooking lobster and such, I ended up eating far too much of beeej's shrimp cocktail and bean dip and she may be thinking what a pig I am! (Well, her kitten snuggled me at least, heh.) I should probably wait until seeing "Deliverance" before trying to analyze "Something Wicked," but the WTF Native American tie-ins weren't really doing anything for me, though I must admit that chivalrous!Duncan should grin like evil!Duncan more often and I want Methos to come save him.

Anyway, after all this fun, I came home and dug out my copy of Maureen Russell's Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide, which I had told beeej that she could have, but now I might make her wrestle me for it because I am enjoying it so much more this time through, having actually seen the show (I interviewed Maureen for AnotherUniverse.com when the book came out, but though we squeed and giggled like fangirls over slash and stuff, I really knew nothing about Highlander!) I did, however, remember this exchange from the book:

Russell: How did you feel about Methos getting his first on-screen Quickening?

Peter Wingfield: I thought that the homoerotic overtones of that scene were undeniable. I laughed hysterically for several hours. When they were staging it, setting up all this stuff, and we were talking it through and they were talking to the effects stuff, saying things like, "Into Duncan's eye and out and in through Methos' mouth" or something, I thought, "Man, what are you, crazy? What are we doing?"

Russell: I wondered if you noticed...

Wingfield: Did I notice? Why do you think I'm on all fours at the end? Yes, I was fully aware of it. I was a consenting adult. You'd have to ask Adrian if it was good for him. I had muscular spasms in my arms for days after that, holding that heavy weapon for such a long period.

    --Maureen Russell, Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide, Warner Aspect, 1998, pp. 112-113.

So, I mean, forgive me if I am besotted with these guys. *g*

In television news from this evening, Smallville did not thrill me -- I like Lois better than Lana, but I still don't really like her, it's sort of a lesser of two evils thing, and there has not been nearly enough Lionel or Lex of late, though what screen time Lex has is worth every breath -- not only do we get to see him worried about Clark, but he's allowed to be a little het this season so long as he does it with Genevieve Teague. Best line, Lex to Genevieve: "Maybe you should get together with my father and write a parenting book...it'd be a bestseller." Bwahahaha!

Then there was The West Wing, which confirmed my sense that nothing will ever make me like Amy Gardner even though I really try to give her a break, because she is stuck being the writers' version of a nightmare feminist who gives all women involved in women's rights a bad name, since the only good feminist is one like CJ or Donna who is so willing to suck up to the Bigger Agenda all the time and only give lip service to women's issues when some guy on the show is already there. So it is necessary for me to believe that Josh picked Amy because he's really gay and in denial, and needed to be dating a woman he had an excuse for never wanting to be with because she's just so damn unpleasant in every regard, and oh Donna please come back and replace the pod person in your body! At least Josh and Matt do so much flirting that I am satisfied even though I can't look at Will and the fragmenting of the staff is starting to distress even me who has been saying I thought it was better this way for the show. Favorite line: Matt to Josh on Amy: "You think I care about your dating life?" After that whole "Everything I do, I do it for you" moment, um...yes. *g*

So has anyone got any ideas why my TV-connected DVD player would play VCDs created from MPG files with Roxio but will not play VCDs created from AVI files with Nero? The ones in the computers will play the VCDs, but the PBC seems to be screwing up for some reason on the DVD player, which recognizes the disc and says "PBC ON" but then sticks at 00:00 on the clock and won't play the recording. I want to do that There's been an accident, and my memory's been wiped. I have no recollection of who I am. Tell me about myself. What do you know about me? What kind of person am I? What are my likes and dislikes? How did we meet and how long have we known each other? Is there one thing in particular that stands out about me? Tell me who I am. meme and you can make shit up if you want but only a few people even wanted to wake up in bed with me so I've no idea whether anyone will want to tell me who I really am, or make something interesting up!


A follow-up to my cat post of the other day: Cinnamon in the kids' bathtub, not even having waited for someone to rinse the foam out of the bottom after someone's bath. The event that immediately followed, of course, was Cinnamon leaping out of the tub, running downstairs and spending half an hour licking her wet tail and glaring as if one of us had caused this condition.
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