Days of Me
By Stuart Dischell
When people say they miss me,
I think how much I miss me too,
Me, the old me, the great me,
Lover of three women in one day,
Modest me, the best me, friend
To waiters and bartenders, hearty
Laugher and name rememberer,
Proud me, handsome and hirsute
In soccer shoes and shorts
On the ball fields behind MIT,
Strong me in a weightbelt at the gym,
Mutual sweat dripper in and out
Of the sauna, furtive observer
Of the coeducated and scantily clad,
Speedy me, cyclist of rivers,
Goose and peregrine falcon
Counter, all season venturer,
Chatterer-up of corner cops,
Groundskeepers, mothers with strollers,
Outwitter of panhandlers and bill
Collectors, avoider of levies, excises,
Me in a taxi in the rain,
Pressing my luck all the way home.
That's me at the dice table, baby,
Betting come, little Joe, and yo,
Blowing the coals, laying thunder,
My foot on top a fifty dollar chip
Some drunk spilled on the floor,
Dishonest me, evener of scores,
Eager accepter of the extra change,
Hotel towel pilferer, coffee spoon
Lifter, fervent retailer of others'
Humor, blackhearted gossiper,
Poisoner at the well, dweller
In unsavory detail, delighted sayer
Of the vulgar, off course belier
Of the true me, empiric builder
Newly haircutted, stickerer-up
For pals, jam unpriser, medic
To the self-inflicted, attorney
To the self-indicted, petty accountant
And keeper of the double books,
Great divider of the universe
And all its forms of existence
Into its relationship to me,
Fellow trembler to the future,
Thin air gawker, apprehender
Of the frameless door.
Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World on Sunday. Pinsky believes Constantine Cavafy's appreciation of human failings and vanities are at the heart of human dignity, and says it reminds him of Dischell's "jaunty, comic, American version of something similar."
The nice thing about not going on vacation when scheduled is that with the calendar cleared, it's possible to sleep late and do spontaneous things. Today, for instance, we went down to the National Zoo to see the cheetah cubs, born in November and only on display to the public from 12-2 each day. We got there right at noon and waited in line for about half an hour, but it was chilly and the babies were apparently already tired and cold; they spent all of the time we were there climbing over and under their mother, who sat with her back to the crowd and occasionally cast a beleaguered expression over her shoulder. They are completely adorable, though we did not get to see them chasing one another and doing other active kitten things! (See the zoo's photo gallery for more adorable pictures.)
Since we were at the zoo, of course we also went to see various other animals: the giant pandas, who were being hilarious trying to lick honey out of milk crates; the reptiles, just because we love them; the lions, which were making an amazing racket (one male and one female had been placed in the same enclosure, presumably for mating purposes, but the male spent the whole day pacing, roaring and huffing quite loudly, so that he could be heard from quite a distance away); and we timed our visit to the small mammal house so that we could see the Asian otters being fed fresh fish, which makes them extremely hyper (they were behaving like kittens as well!)
As we left, it began to flurry, but none of the snow stuck. Still, we came straight home, made spaghetti and watched Horatio Hornblower: The Mutiny because I'm at about that point in Lieutenant Hornblower and was so very much in the mood for it. Then I also watched Highlander's "Timeless" because I just had to see Duncan in a dress in The Taming of the Shrew. My first episode without an onscreen Quickening! I think I was supposed to be paying more attention to the Methos love story, but it felt too Mary Sue-ish to me and I liked the temperamental pianist a lot better. Does she come back?
What a nice, quiet day it has been, email-wise. Not one single note calling me a sellout, a slanderer or a bad fan. Someone must have called off the dogs. I wrote my weekend Trek articles a bit belatedly tonight and spent so much time cropping the zoo pics that I wrote nothing else! I feel like a slacker. And I'm horrified about Hunter S. Thompson, without knowing details yet.
The snow that's supposed to hit New York, for which we cancelled our trip, is apparently going to stay north of DC; the accumulation for Armonk and Rockland county is supposed to be 4-7 inches overnight and another 1-3 in the morning, with a couple of inches sticking as far south as Delaware, but it's supposed to be 54 degrees and rainy here! Ah well, we are thinking haircuts and maybe a movie for President's Day, though if either one will require getting anywhere near shopping it might not be worth it. Tomorrow I'll post the pandas being adorable and other excitement but for tonight, big and little cats!
Is this not the ultimate beleaguered mommy picture? *g*
And another angle on the kitten pile, because who can resist?
The other cheetahs, meanwhile, were off in different enclosures looking for entertainment. Does it seem cruel to put the zebras within easy sight of a cheetah who can't get at them, like waving a steak in front of someone's nose?
This one slept in an annoyed, twitching cat curl while the line to the cubs went snaking past.
And in other big cat news...he wasn't interested.
No, really. Not interested.
I mean it. This is as close as they got to hot monkey sex while we were there.
And fridayfiver, because I still haven't done it.
A hair raising experience...
1. Describe the last time you were frightened: Yesterday. My home address is relatively easy to find, and there are some real nutcases in the world who will take their anger out on any available target.
2. What does your hair look like? Brown slowly going gray, curly, thin in texture but deceptive because of the curls, ranging from somewhat messy to incredibly messy nearly all the time.
3. Have you ever dyed your hair a new color? No. Only with temporary highlighting gel for Halloween one year, and that was gone before I went to bed.
4. Do you like heights? I don't like heights with no railing in front of me. With a railing, I love them.
5. Girl Scout cookies, candy bar sales -- what's the worst fund raising you've had to do? I wasn't a Girl Scout past Brownies and never had to sell candy bars. We had to sell candles in seventh grade, magazines each year in school...I never made much effort at this kind of fundraiser so none of them were terrible. The worst now is when both my kids have wrapping paper/candy/magazine drives at once, at Hebrew school AND public school! How much wrapping paper are we ever going to use?