The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday

The Bridge, Palm Sunday, 1973
By Alfred Corn

It avails not. time nor place—distance avails not...
                        —Whitman. "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

The bridge was a huge sentence diagram,
You and I the compound subject, moving
Toward the verb. We stopped, breathing
Balloonfuls of air; and noonday sun sent down
A hard spray of light. Sensing an occasion,
I put my arm on your shoulder, my friend
And brother. Words, today, took the form of actions.

The object of the pilgrimage, 110 Columbia Heights,
Where Hart Crane once lived, no longer existed,
We learned, torn down, the physical address gone.
A second possible tribute was to read his Proem
There on the Promenade in sight of the theme.
That line moved you about the bedlamite whose shirt
Balloons as he drops into the river, much like
Crane's death, though he wasn't a "bedlamite";
A dreamer, maybe who called on Whitman and clasped
His present hand, as if to build a bridge across time....

We hadn't imagined happenstance would lead us next
To join with the daydreamers lined up before
An Easter diorama of duck eggs, hatching
Behind plate glass. The intended sentiment featured
Feathered skeletons racked with spasms of pecking
Against resistant shell, struggling out of dim
Solitary into incandescence and gravity, and quaking
With the shock of sound and sight as though existence
Were a nervous disease. All newborns receive the same
Sentence—birth, death, equivalent triumphs.

Two deaf-mutes walked back the same but inverse way,
Fatigue making strangers of us and the afternoon
Hurt, like sunburn. Overexposure is a constant
Risk of sensation and of company. I wondered
Why we were together—is friendship imaginary?
And does imagination obscure or reveal its subject?
The ties always feel strange, strung along happenstance,
Following no diagram, incomplete, a bridge of suspense....

Sometimes completed things revisited still resonate.
I'm thinking about Crane's poem of the Bridge,
Grand enough to inspire disbelief and to suspend it.
The truth may lie in imagining a connection
With him or with you; with anyone able to overlook
Distance, shrug off time, on the right occasion....

If I called him a brother—help me with this, Hart—
Who climbed toward light and sensation until the sky
Broke open to reveal an acute, perfect convergence
Before letting him fall back into error and mortality,
Would we be joined with him and the voyagers before him?
Would a new sentence be pronounced, a living connection
Between island and island, for a second, be made?


Spent most of today with family -- talked to one of my cousins in California, took the kids to the dentist (older son ended up having two baby teeth pulled to make room for the adult teeth that need to fit in so he can avoid braces, younger son had orthodontist checkup and got brackets reglued), bought them a replacement Sonic game since one of their friends messed up the game they had already, according to them, by scratching the disc, which it's as likely that they scratched themselves -- fortunately the price had dropped significantly -- had in-laws over early and chatted with them while rushing through articles on George Takei discussing coming out with and Avery Brooks being in the new Rambo movie. (The death of an Indian movie star caused my husband's company's Bangalore office to be closed today.)

Then I went to dinner at my parents' with family, in-laws, perkypaduan and friends of my parents'. As usual I ate way too much -- matzoh and haroset, salad, gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzoh balls, chicken marsala, potato latkes, carrot souffle, fruit, chocolate covered macaroons, flourless chocolate roll and I don't even remember what else. Lots. *G* Passover is by far my favorite eating holiday of the year, even though I have issues with the theology in general and my parents' Haggadahs in particular -- neutral gendered language for the Almighty, at least, but it has the traditional Four Children (the wicked child gets told that he deserves to be left to rot in Egypt) and the traditional spin on the plagues ("the Egyptians brought them upon themselves with their wickedness" -- why are the sins of the ruling class passed on to every member of the society?) As you can see I am bad at tradition for its own sake. But overall a very nice day.

A few more photos from my baseball afternoon Tuesday. Here, kids go up and come down the big inflatable slide!

And here they wait for a turn at the speed toss (where nearly all of them did better than Dick Cheney throwing ceremonial pitches).

During the pre-game festivities, fighter jets fly in formation over RFK Stadium. (People asked why I used my Redskins icon yesterday; the Redskins played at RFK during most of the years I have lived in DC, and I still think of it as "their" stadium, even though they play at Fed Ex Field now!)

This is a shot with the 28-80 lens from our seats of Alfonso Soriano running the bases after hitting the Nationals' sole home run in their home season opener.

And this shot, taken with the telephoto, shows the ball flying foul off the bat. Now, the ball was probably not traveling very fast since it was popping up and headed above the stands, but I was impressed that the lens caught it so close and so clearly anyway.

Thursday apaulled is taking the day off and we are going to Winterthur and Longwood Gardens on the Delaware-Pennsylvania border, plus the Delaware Museum of Natural History and maybe one of the other museums, depending on our timing. So I will be out all day! But you can tag or txt me and I will see how my MDA does replying off the highway. *g* Happy Maundy Thursday to those celebrating, and happy second Seder to those having one!

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