The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

By Thom Gunn

You are already
asleep. I lower
myself in next to
you, my skin slightly
numb with the restraint
of habits, the patina of
self, the black frost
of outsideness, so that even
unclothed, it is
a resilient chilly
hardness, a superficially
malleable, dead
rubbery texture.

You are a mound
of bedclothes, where the cat
in sleep braces
its paws against your
calf through the blankets,
and kneads each paw in turn.

Meanwhile and slowly
I feel a is it
my own warmth surfacing or
the ferment of your whole
body that in darkness beneath
the cover is stealing
bit by bit to break
down that chill.

You turn and
hold me tightly, do
you know who
I am or am I
your mother or
the nearest human being to
hold on to in a
dreamed pogrom.

What I, now loosened,
sink into is an old
big place, it is
there already, for
you are already
there, and the cat
got there before you,
it is hard to locate.
What is more, the place is
not found but seeps
from our touch in
continuous creation, dark
enclosing cocoon round
ourselves alone, dark
wide realm where we
walk with everyone.


ribby read a retrospective on Gunn, who died a year ago this month. In it, Clive Wilmer talks about "Touch," which Gunn wrote in the late 1960s, "which I think is his masterpiece. It's about going to bed with somebody and you get into bed naked, but as if it had a sort of layer protecting you against contact. And then gradually the warmth of contact breaks through that and you become human."

My work hate mail is back to...well, hate mail, now that people are back at work themselves and not writing from their personal addresses. In the Enterprise review round-up this week I didn't include Jammer because, frankly, I've stopped checking his site particularly on weeks where we have more than eight reviews to include already, since his are pretty much never done within a week by the time the roundup is posted. He gave "Bound" one star and called it one of the worst episodes ever. I also pretty much never include Cinescape since they don't review every episode and when they do it tends to be a preview short, not a full review, and they rather liked "Bound." So over on the BBS I am now getting bashed for 1) obviously choosing only negative reviews, as I left off Cinescape, even though it is noted by the same people that I 2) left off Jammer, who thought the episode sucked like a sucking thing. I wish people would decide whether I am guilty of gross negligence or a deliberate and evil attempt to sabotage Enterprise by citing only bad reviews...

My day elsewhere involved packages, kids, late afternoon sun serving as a distraction, fighting with dreaded amnesia!fic that is going to be a long scary mess and must be finished by July 16th (of course I wrote the climax first), fighting with even more dreaded fic that I dare not even name, neither the title nor the fandom and certainly not the pairing as seleneheart may unfriend me, going to CVS to get shampoo and discovering that they have little pirate ships too, rearranging my bookshelves to make room for the Patrick O'Brian biography by Nikolai Tolstoy that my friend from London sent me since I never found it while I was there, trying to make my son do his spelling, writing a couple of articles including a really fun one about Star Wars and Star Trek simultaneously coming to a halt in May and the attendant fan angst, having to let son #1 stay up till nearly 11 because he is supposed to observe the moon for science class and things like that. In other words, I have no other exciting news. *g*

The five questions meme. My questions are from gblvr.
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I reserve the right to repeat questions if a lot of my flist wants to be interviewed!

1. What is the worst vacation you've ever been on? When I was in high school, my parents drove me and my sister to various places in New York and Connecticut, partly to look at colleges -- the Finger Lakes, Wesleyan, etc. My parents are impossible to travel with under the best of circumstances (she likes it 90 degrees, he likes it 60; she likes to stop every 20 minutes, he would drive straight through), but that year in particular they were grousing and putting me and my sister in the middle of everything, and my sister finally snapped and bitched at my father, who took it out on my mother, who complained to me that I always took their side just by refusing to speak up for her. I decided I hated car trips and really probably hated travel and was never doing it when I was older, since I did not have my own room to hide in at the end of the day; I had not realized at the time that not everyone's family vacations were like that. I sometimes regret not doing a semester abroad in college, but I was extremely protective of my private space and not being at the mercy of other people's schedules then, and it took me years to get over that.
2. Have you always liked to take pictures, or is it only recent? Extremely recent. Photography used to be a very expensive hobby, and my sister took a few classes and I was never that impressed with what the emphasis seemed to be -- taking a hundred pictures of the same item and spending hours developing them. Even when we traveled, I generally let apaulled take most of the photos. It's only since I've known a little about Photoshop and had a digital camera that photography has really interested me as more than a very occasional thing.
3. When did you start writing? I don't remember a time when I didn't. I had poetry in my elementary school newspaper in fourth or fifth grade. I wrote a "novel" in sixth grade (it was about time travel and my Mary Sue character's name was my Hebrew name). I kept diaries on and off throughout my childhood. The scary thing is that I think most of this stuff is still in a drawer in the closet in my childhood bedroom at my parents' house. *g*
4. Did you want to have a girl, or are you happy that both your kids are boys? I really don't think I ever cared one way or the other: I wanted healthy babies, and I have never regretted in any way that either of my kids is who he is. In theory I liked the idea of having a girl and I enjoy spending time with my nieces, but I think that if I had a really girly-girl who wanted nail polish birthday parties and expected me to know what kind of designer jeans she was supposed to wear, I would be in big trouble (one of my friends has one of those, even though she is nothing like that). Our kids are both interested in a lot of geeky stuff like we are and they're good travelers and non-whiners, while my sister's girls are none of those things, so I imagine I have more fun with my boys.
5. If you could only have one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be? Those big chocolate patties with mint fluff inside that you can only get at really good homemade candy stores, like in New England.

One of my last photos of England, taken through the window of the plane. I need to get that Above Britain book; I love looking at things from the air.
Tags: britain 05

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