God the Broken Lock
By David Rivard
I've died enough by now I trust
just what's imperfect or ruined. I mean God,
God who is in the stop sign
asking to be shotgunned, the ocean that evaporates even
as we float. God the bent nail & broken lock,
and God the hangnail. The hangnail.
And a million others might be like me, our hopes
a kind of illegal entry, a belief in smashed windows,
like breaking & entering into a concert hall,
the place my friend & I crawled into an air shaft, & later
fell asleep. After breakage
there is always sleep.
We woke to gospel hymns from the dressing room
below, songs commending
embrace to the fists, & return to the prodigal.
And hasn't my luck always been a shadow, stepping out, stretching?
I mean I trust what breaks.
A broken bone elicits condolence,
and the phone call sounds French if the transmission fritzes,
and our brains--our blessed, desirable brains--are composed
of infinitesimal magnets, millions of them
a billionth-of-a-milligram in weight, so
they make us knock our heads against hard walls.
When we pushed through the air vent,
the men singing seemed only a little surprised,
just slightly freaked,
three of them in black tuxes, & the fourth in red satin,
crimson, lit up like a furnace trimmed with paisley swirls,
the furnace of a planet, or of a fatalistic ocean liner
crisscrossing a planet we've not discovered yet,
a fire you might love to be thrown into.
That night they would perform the songs half
the country kept on its lips half of every day.
Songs mostly praising or lamenting or accusing some loved one
of some beautiful, horrendous betrayal or affection.
But dressing, between primping & joking about
their thinning afros, they sang of Jesus. Jesus,
who said, "Split a stick, & you shall find me inside."
It was the winter we put on asbestos gloves, & flameproof
stuck our hands in the fireplace, adjusting logs.
Jesus, we told them, left no proof of having sung a single note.
And that, said the lead singer, is why we are all sinners.
What he meant was
we are all like the saints on my neighbors' lawns--
whose plaster shoulders & noses,
chipped cloaks & tiaras, have to be bundled
in plastic sheets, each winter, blanketed
from the wind & the cold. That was what he meant,
though I couldn't know it then.
Another by David Rivard, the poet from yesterday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. This is why I love that column so much: I discover wonderful poets I'd never heard of.
It was not a really good day, as you've probably gathered. Yesterday evening I had noticed that Aragorn seemed pretty sluggish and hadn't eaten much all day -- he was not interested in a yogurt drop, which is unlike him -- and he was not sleeping in his usual spot in the corner even though the cage was cleaned a couple of days ago, which was more alarming, but he didn't seem to be giving us the in-pain look that Ham the hamster had in the hours before he died three years ago. When I checked on him after posting last night before going to bed, he wasn't moving but it was one in the morning so I tried not to worry about him. This morning he was stiff. I don't know exactly what happened -- what's odd is that Boromir sometimes scrapes his big belly on his wheel and then gnaws at his fur, making himself bleed, and he did this a couple of weeks ago so badly that I was afraid he would get an infection or that he had a tumor. But he seems all right now, though a little discombobulated; he and Aragorn usually slept in adjacent corners of their cages and got up and sniffed noses regularly and he's sort of sat sulking in his corner all day, not gnawing on cardboard or anything.
Older son did the brave face routine, but younger son (whose gerbil Aragorn technically was, though they both lived in the kitchen and we all took care of them equally) was absolutely disconsolate for a couple of hours. He refused to come outside at first when we held the gerbil funeral in the backyard and then lay on the floor crying and kicking and refusing to talk to anyone. When his grandparents arrived he was somewhat distracted, plus a friend of his stopped by and they discussed video games for a little while. But every few hours he would suddenly get quiet and then burst into tears. (Mother-in-law is knitting a stuffed penguin for younger son which was small consolation today, but she brought it to work on and show him the pieces.)
We went to Great Falls (the Maryland side, opposite the last set of pictures) to walk out to the islands, since it was a gorgeous day; there were geese pairs in the canal and many kayakers taking advantage of the relatively low water in the Potomac River, even the upper rapids where we have never seen people kayaking before. And I discovered that my cell phone can access Yahoo's sports pages from the C&O Canal towpath and get basketball scores. *g* Of course my in-laws insisted that we had to come home at halftime so we could watch the end of the UConn-GMU game, which was fantastic -- I know I have been complaining about the surfeit of basketball but really, that ending could not have been more exciting and it ended the way I wanted even though my father-in-law put his Huskies hat on top of the TV.
We were originally going to go out for Mexican food for hubby's birthday with his parents, but Rio Grande was mobbed so we ended up at Red Rock Canyon Grill, where I had a caesar salad with grilled salmon that was so good I hardly have words for it. (In-laws had crab cakes and said those were very good too -- must keep this in mind as they are a lot cheaper than many of the seafood restaurants, even though my hair now smells like pit fire; last time I had the chicken that's supposed to be their specialty but really good grilled fish is one of my favorite things.) We walked around the lake at Rio a bit, then came home, watched the aftermath of the Villanova game, had birthday cake and said goodbye to in-laws. And then we watched The West Wing, which is moving into its endgame. I read somewhere that the final episode leaps several years into the future, which bums me out -- I was hoping for a TV movie a couple years down the line set just about then -- but I have a new fantasy, given that I am assuming Leo can't become vice president if Santos wins, since John Spencer has died. I want Santos to beat Vinick, then make Vinick his Secretary of the Interior or something and make C.J. the VP.
I don't really see how Toby can NOT go to jail at this point without some major compromising of his principles. I believe him when he said he didn't get the information from David, CJ or Leo, but that narrows the list of suspects to...well, Bartlet, who MUST have had some idea what Toby would do with the information, and whose rant about how Toby isn't a hero from months ago seems rather disingenuous if he was in fact the source, or Abby who likely knows whatever Jed knows but I just can't see that happening after she's not been around all season, and I had thought maybe it was Andie based on some committee knowledge or something but evidently that's not the case. What am I missing? Toby really cracked me up with his plan to trick or treat as Julius Rosenberg and putting the Yankees cap on his happy Oriole fan children (sorry, Toby, but I am completely with Andie on this one), and he also broke my heart: I agree with Andie, his brother would want him to lie, and spare himself and his kids and the election. I can't even imagine where this is going to go.
The Bon Jovi stuff was fine until they ran the Sprint ad with Bon Jovi concert footage...then it just felt like cheap commercialism, and made me irritated with the Santos campaign. Matt plays clarinet! Hahahaha! Blow, Matt, blow...oops, actually that was the advice I wanted to give to Josh at the end when Matt had stormed off and was counting to ten to calm himself down. Yeah, I saw the preview, I know we're likely getting Josh/Donna at last and that's all to the good, but I really thought it would help everyone if instead of talking, Josh yanked Matt's trousers down and sucked him off first. I'm sure Helen would have understood. *snerk* Hey, she dressed her son as Harry Potter for Halloween!
Can't believe March will be over before the week is. Wow. I need a day to de-stress and decompress, and Monday night older son has a special two-hour fencing class so it probably will not be till, like, Friday...