Ruin and Beauty
By Patricia Young
It's so quiet now the children have decided to stop
being born. We raise our cups in an empty room.
In this light, the curtains are transparent as gauze.
Through the open window we hear nothing--
no airplane, lawn mower, no siren
speeding its white pain through the city's traffic.
There is no traffic. What remains is all that remains.
The brick school at the five points crosswalk
is drenched in morning glory.
Its white flowers are trumpets
festooning this coastal town.
Will the eventual forest rise up
and remember our footsteps? Already
seedlings erupt through cement,
crabgrass heaves through cracked marble,
already wolves come down from the hills
to forage among us. We are like them now,
just another species looking to the stars
and howling extinction.
They say the body accepts any kind of sorrow,
that our ancestors lay down on their stomachs
in school hallways, as children they lay down
like matches waiting for a nuclear fire.
It wasn't supposed to end like this:
all ruin and beauty, vines waterfalling down
a century's architecture; it wasn't supposed to end
so quietly, without fanfare or fuss,
a man and woman collecting rain
in old coffee tins. Darling,
the wars have been forgotten.
These days our quarrels are only with ourselves.
Tonight you sit on the edge of the bed loosening your shoes.
The act is soundless, without future
weight. Should we name this failure?
Should we wake to the regret at the end of time
doing what people have always done
and say it was not enough?
Busy busy day and my cable was down for about six hours in the middle of it! It was field day at my younger son's school, so all I worried about was that he remember a water bottle. Then, midway through the morning, I noticed, sitting on the kitchen table, the project on which he has been working for the last several nights, which I thought was due today. I panicked, rushed over to the school with the project, was told by the office that my son was on the blacktop eating a post-activity popsicle, ran out to tell him I had brought the project...and was laughed at by him and his friends as the dratted thing wasn't due until Friday. Now I have another demerit against my name in the "Stupidest Mother Ever" column and he does not even seem to believe that I should get bonus points in the "Good Mother" column for trying to make sure the thing was turned in on time! Hmmph.
Then in the evening -- after giving my Cinderella Man preview pass away to perkypaduan -- I went to my older son's school awards ceremony, which I had been dreading based on similar ceremonies from my own youth in which kids in the honors program, on the speech team, etc. were asked to stand in their seats for five seconds while the teachers droned on for three hours about the kids selected for special honors. As it turns out, they had all kids come up individually for each award, which meant that my son got to be onstage shaking the principal's hand twice, for the chorus triumph at the district and state festivals and for making the honor roll all three previous quarters, plus they moved through the list very quickly by holding all applause until the end, so that the whole ceremony was only about an hour and a half, with some of that being performances by the jazz band and chorus (graduating eighth graders only, but my son knew all of them so it was nice for him to hear them at a public performance). It was really quite enjoyable and I feel even guiltier about my not really wanting to have to sit through it. My son is quite happy with his certificates and ribbon and now his chorus teacher knows that he's an honors student and his math teacher knows that he sings.
I consoled myself about not seeing CM at the local premiere by watching Russell on Charlie Rose on PBS, Movie Real on A&E and in New York premiere photos courtesy totallykate which involve Jennifer Connelly. *g* I have watched more about boxing this week than in the previous 35+ years of my life. Charlie Rose in particular was entertaining, as Russell, Ron Howard and Paul Giamatti were all there and kept interrupting each other and giggling, plus they all had really interesting things to say about the film. I was bummed that Charlie did not ask Ron any questions about the film's politics, considering that I felt that some of the lines in the movie sounded like direct jabs at the Bush administration over repeating the mistakes of the Hoover administration, but maybe Charlie decided after the Viggo Mortensen incident that it was just not worth discussing politics with celebrities -- I only watch the show when someone I really like is on so I don't know what he does normally! Or maybe Ron asked him not to and Charlie said sure. I am quite sure that the reason Russell's new album was flashed onscreen and "One Good Year" was played over the credits had to do with Russell's conditions for making an appearance, no matter how friendly and unscripted it all seemed. At least he's trying to sell music, not an image of himself as Katie Holmes' boyfriend...
ETA: Russell was on The Daily Show and I missed it! If anyone knows where I can find a torrent of this or The Tonight Show, I will be very very grateful. My last two reliable TV torrent search sites no longer exist!
I had a discussion in this journal earlier about my friends list policy on people who post anti-choice screeds, and I locked it because it was sort of targeted at two particular people on my friends list who recently posted such things...though they seem not to have noticed, as they have neither commented nor unfriended me, which means that I must still make the choice to unfriend them first. I have no idea why this makes me so uncomfortable, considering that listening to people rant about baby murderers makes me far more uncomfortable and sparked the post in the first place. I realize now that it was stupid to lock my post since my whole point was to tell people not to friend me if they are planning to post anti-choice statements on a regular basis, but I don't want to unlock the post without the permission of everyone who commented there, since a lot of people said rather personal things. So what I'd like to do is ask anyone who posted anything that they don't want read not only by my friends list but by anyone else who reads this journal if they would be willing for me to screen their comments -- is that okay? Or should I leave the whole post locked and reproduce what I said in the comments here, since people commented in the first place with the understanding that the post was locked? Man, I bungled this.
And on a related subject, since it came up in so many comments to that post, here is a vastly oversimplified, limited few paragraphs roughly outlining the Reform Jewish position on abortion. It does not speak for all Reform Jews, nor for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, nor for all Reform Rabbis, but that is partly the point: the issue concerns individual women and families and doctors and spiritual leaders, and there really cannot be a monolithic policy that will take into account all the issues that come up in making such decisions. I feel very strongly that my rights as a Jewish American are violated every time a conservative court backs an initiative to restrict women's access to health care or establishes it as a crime to offer a woman medical assistance that she needs. My religion may not be clear on the ethics of abortion in all cases but it is very clear on it being a matter for individuals, and it both scares and infuriates me to be told that the members of my religion should not be permitted to practice our own theological, moral and ethical beliefs. If we can't have separation of church and state at this most basic level where our physical bodies are concerned, what hope is there when it comes to defining our own families or educating our own children? (ETA from cybermum: on Judaism and abortion.)
vertigo66 tagged me for my six current favorite songs. Since we all know I suck in this regard, I shall admit that three are Russell and three are October Project: "I Miss My Mind," "One Good Year" and "Land of the Second Chance" by Mr. Crowe and "Always a Place," "See With Different Eyes" and "The Mind's Eye" by Emil, Julie and Marina. Write me if you want samples and don't know where to look. *g* Also, two different people tagged me for the book meme but I am hiding except from two questions. The most recent book I bought was Longitude and the one I am reading now is The Well of Lost Plots, sequel to the last book I read which was Lost in a Good Book. Quote of the day from it: "All of the punctuation has been stolen from the final chapter of Ulysses...perhaps the thief thought no one would notice as most readers never get that far into Ulysses."
From the wildly overgrown flower garden in front of the high school where they held the middle school awards ceremony.