The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday

My Century
By Alan Feldman

The year I was born the atomic bomb went off.
Here I’d just begun, and someone
found the switch to turn off the world.
In the furnace-light, in the central solar fire
of that heat lamp, the future got very finite,
and it was possible to imagine time-travelers
failing to arrive, because there was no time
to arrive in. Inside the clock in the hall
heavy brass cylinders descended.
Tick-tock, the chimes changed their tune
one phrase at a time. The bomb became
a film star, its glamorous globe of smoke
searing the faces of men in beach chairs.
Someone threw up every day at school.
No time to worry about collective death,
when life itself was permeated by ordeals.
And so we grew up accepting things.
In bio we learned there were particles
cruising through us like whales through archipelagoes,
and in civics that if Hitler had gotten the bomb
he’d have used it on the inferior races,
and all this time love was etching its scars
on our skins like maps. The heavens
remained pure, except for little white slits
on the perfect blue skin that planes cut
in the icy upper air, like needles sewing.
From one, a tiny seed might fall
that would make a sun on earth.
And so the century passed, with me still in it,
books waiting on the shelves to become cinders,
what we felt locked up inside, waiting to be read,
down the long corridor of time. I was born
the year the bomb exploded. Twice
whole cities were charred like cities in the Bible,
but we didn’t look back. We went on thinking
we could go on, our shapes the same,
darkened now against a background lit by fire.
Forgive me for doubting you’re there,
Citizens, on your holodecks with earth wallpaper—
a shadow-toned ancestor with poorly pressed pants,
protected like a child from knowing the future.


Had a lovely lunch with beeej but my stomach has been mad at me ever since. Cannot be coherent (not much to report anyway -- younger son had big homework projects requiring shoeboxes, Lego dioramas and cotton ball clouds; I started writing up "Where No Man Has Gone Before" after watching tonight because I have an insane day tomorrow with school honors assembly in the evening; I have decided that ldybastet and I should collaborate on The Very Worst Crackfic Ever Written; older son sent me a paper he needed printed out with a note that said, and I quote, "ive atached anuther document i need u 2 print. i hope dady gets mor blak ink sune." -- can I deny him the use of IMs, text messaging and the internet for the rest of his life?)

It has been a day when nothing I have done has been quite good enough for anyone, anyway. So instead of attempting a real entry, I shall dump a bunch of Russell Crowe Cinderella Man Squee Links promised to a certain bad influence and then go watch Russell on Charlie Rose on public television, if I can keep my head up that long. Entertainingly worshipful article at MSNBC; full version of Mirror article being excerpted everywhere as Russell saying his fighting days are over and "I cannot understand how I managed to cope without getting cuddled this many times a day"; Canoe has all the blah blah Russell wouldn't let me share his gym griping; and Postcards from the Pug Bus has a rather hilarious though totally fictional "news" story on how Crowe smells, what Zellwegger said about it and what Bettany said about it ("When I did my brilliantly eccentric turn as John Nash's invisible roommate in 'A Beautiful Mind'...On the other hand, when I turned in my vastly overlooked performance as the ship's doctor in 'Master and Commander'...")

If anyone has found photos of Christian Bale and Gerard Butler together at the Tokyo premiere of Batman Begins, will you let me and Kim know here, please? *g*

My in-laws got this wall hanging at Ten Thousand Villages, made from an old oil drum. I just love it -- the Tree of Life motif and all the birds...

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