By Catherine Doty
Your friends won't try to talk you out of the barrel,
or your brag to go first, which has nothing to do with bravery.
And you're so hungry to earn their love you forget
to claim first your, perhaps, last look at this mountain --
crab apples hanging sour in the sun, abandoned Buick,
a favorite place to play, dismantled and weathered
and delicate as a voting booth. Instead you dive straight away
and headfirst into darkness, the steel drum that dusts you,
like a chicken part, with rust. Looking out, there's nothing
to see of your friends but their calves, which are scabby,
and below them the filthy sneakers, shifting, shifting,
every foot aching to kick you off this cliff.
Their faces, you know, are blank with anticipation,
the look you see when they watch TV eating popcorn.
They're already talking about you as if you're gone,
as if you boarded a bus and roared out of earshot,
when one foot flashes forward and launches you.
You know as you feel that first solid slam you are lost.
The barrel changes shape with each crash to earth,
as you will later, assuming and losing lives, but this
is so true now: ankles flayed to the bone, cracked ribs
and crushed mint, the brittle, pissy sumac. Right now
the pin oaks are popping in their sockets, the hillside
wears your shoes, clouds pleat and buck. You know, of course,
that no one's going second, and friends who tell this story
will use the word idiot, rolling their hands in the air,
but you know you know what your life is for now and rise up,
and just about scalp yourself on that tree limb above you,
another thing you couldn't possibly know was coming,
another which, like your first breath, was not your idea.
Not much to report, as I spent Thursday getting all manner of work done so that Friday I can go to an early showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with gblvr, vertigo66, perkypaduan and neotoma. This was not easy as my cable was out all morning and part of the afternoon, so I posted TrekToday articles as quickly as I could (fairly nice if self-aggrandizing recollection of Michael Piller by Ron Moore, for which I do not fault Moore overmuch because pretty much every recollection of Piller I read by a former Star Trek insider could be described as self-aggrandizing except perhaps Wil Wheaton's), and Patrick Stewart reviving A Christmas Carol in London where I really wish I could go see him. Watched and started writing up "Errand of Mercy" to post after the movie, since I doubt I will be coherent about Star Trek when I want to talk about Harry Potter; also watched Smallville, which was, as is so often the case, bad but entertaining.
First off, any episode in which Lionel brings Chloe flowers must be classified as OMGGUILTYPLEASURE -- ever since she first worked for him snooping around about Clark, I have a secret vice there, and now that she's a grownup and not a virgin it's worse. And Lionel warning Lex that he doesn't want to wind up an eccentric like Howard Hughes -- am now imagining The Aviator with Michael Rosenbaum and am very entertained. The Jonathan-and-Martha scenes were pretty excruciating, and I include the scenes where Clark is with them in that, even if I did howl at "A Kryptonian is teaching history at Central Kansas University?" Clark telling his mommy that she is his heart and soul struck me as cloying, not moving, and Jonathan trying to bond with his super-son at the end while Clark angsts about having been gullible...well, if only he'd watched Buffy he would have known to spike Spike right away. Does anyone know any spoilers about who Jor-El is going to kill? Is it going to be some big copout thing where someone dies and comes back to life a la CPR, or should I start worrying about the one major Smallville character who's outside comic book canon?
Anyway, speaking of Spike on a spike and Kal-El the vampire slayer, I really hope this is not the end of James Marsters on the series because I have so enjoyed him! He can appear as the professor whose place the alien Fine obviously took, since I don't see how he got a job so quickly after coming to Earth otherwise. So if Lionel knows that someone at CKU can run at the speed of light, does that mean that Jor-El is still inside him? He's the other character most expendable if comic canon is to be maintained, which scares me...the only thing is that I can't really see Clark sobbing over his cold dead corpse. "I have no interest in your little baubles and trinkets, Lex" -- mwahaha! And taunting Lex over not being able to find his toys, something I am sometimes tempted to do to my kids when they lose things that were the very most important things in the world to them until they got distracted by the next shiny. I melted when Lex took Lionel's face in his hands and told him he was changed by the meteor shower (eesh, I just typed media shower) though Lionel clearly has all his memories of Lex's mental institution stay...but can he no longer play the piano, was that the point of that bit at the end?
ETA: As beeej points out, one of the nicest things about this episode is that no one mentions or even THINKS about Lana. So much so that I didn't even think about the fact that she was completely absent! Whoo!
I came totally unblocked today on a holiday gift exchange I need to write, with only one problem...the draft I have is nearly 6,000 words plus notes, could easily be 30,000 before it's done, and it ain't going to be done by the deadline at the end of this month even if I neglect all my other holiday gift exchanges and everything else. What should I do -- leave an anonymous note asking the intended recipient if she would mind unfinished but long and plotty fic with an IOU? Ask the person running the exchange whether I can give the recipient something unfinished or whether I should drop out? Just drop out, and write it in my own time so I don't stress about it? And on a completely unrelated note, as I asked ldybastet, would Snape/Trelawney/Lupin/Squid fic be abbreviated Stupid?
...and had broomstick races (one of these was a Firebolt and the other a Nimbus 2001, I forget which was which). The owl was one of the party favors.
And look! Shiny!