By Michael Collier
I was waiting for the frequency of my attention
to be tuned to an inner station — all mind but trivial matter,
wavelengths modulated like topiary swans on a topiary sea,
and not quite knowing where the tide would take me.
In the darkness where I kneeled, I heard whispering,
like dry leaves. It had a smell — beeswax, smoke;
a color — black; and a shape like a thumb.
That’s when the door slid open and the light that years ago
spoke to me, spoke again, and through the veil,
an arm, like a hand-headed snake, worked through,
seven-fingered, each tipped with sin. What the snake couldn’t see,
I saw, even as it felt what I felt or heard what I said.
Then along my arms boils and welts rose, on my back
scourge marks burned. I counted nails, thorns.
In my mind, inside my own death’s head, I could hear: "Please,
forgive me. Do not punish me for what I cannot be."
That poem creeps me out and I'm not sure I'm reading the Christian imagery the way the poet (or at least the narrator) intended but I love the horror of the arm coming through the veil with the Seven Deadly Sins. Is that the one with the nails and the thorns or the one represented by the snake asking for forgiveness? I was in the mood for something dark from watching The Winter Guest while folding laundry...I wasn't going to buy it on DVD since I have it on professional VHS and had burned it to a homemade disc but then I heard there was a really long interview with Alan Rickman about how the play came about and why he wanted to direct the movie, so of course I had to see that. I am glad they changed the play's ending so far as the two little boys are concerned -- it's ambiguous in the movie, no reason to believe anything irrevocable happens, and, you know, poor ickle Sean Biggerstaff! I didn't end up actually watching the whole movie, just certain parts and then all the extras -- interviews with Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson (mostly about working with one another and what their family is like) and some brief footage of the filming itself.
Otherwise not much of importance to report; took older son for Bar Mitzvah tutoring and wandered around the building looking at the new art that's been installed since the expansion last year, discovered that younger son's friend had left his jar of caterpillars at our house, not very tightly sealed, and had a brief caterpillar chase before all were retrieved and put outside, got in trouble with kids for reckless disposal of caterpillars not belonging to me. Wrote articles on the Boston Legal renewal and official Trek gaming site by Bethesda Softworks, which is located close enough to where I live that I feel like I should call them up and ask if I can have a tour or something, except I think they're just the licensees/distributors and the games were actually made by Mad Doc Software which is somewhere on the west coast. Right now there is a lot of shrieking at the TrekBBS about all the women killed off on J.J. Abrams shows this week that I don't watch, and someone speculating that in Trek XI, Crusher, Troi, Kira, Dax, Janeway, Torres and Seven will all die trying to save the men they love...does not make me feel great about Abrams. And I won't see M:I3.
There were reproductions of the gliders they used for test flights, all built to exact specifications and flight-tested, mostly by US military officers...
...and demonstrations of aerodynamic principles...
...and simulators where kids could use their hands and feet to try to stay aloft and see their progress on screens.