The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

By Michael Collier

Dangerously frail is what his hand was like
when he showed up at our house,
three or four days after his death,
and stood at the foot of our bed.

Though we had expected him to appear
in some form, it was odd, the clarity
and precise decrepitude of his condition,
and how his hand, frail as it was,

lifted me from behind my head, up from the pillow,
so that no longer could I claim it was a dream,
nor deny that what your father wanted,
even with you sleeping next to me,

was to kiss me on the lips.
There was no refusing his anointing me
with what I was meant to bear of him
from where he was, present in the world,

a document loose from the archives
of form -- not spectral, not corporeal--
in transit, though not between lives or bodies:
those lips on mine, then mine on yours.


Another from this week's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Dreams and imaginings of the afterlife embody how much we owe to the past, and how strongly or deeply we feel about it," writes Robert Pinsky, who explains that the title of the poem above is a Tibetan word "denoting an intermediate state between lives or incarnations" and notes "the sexual component of this mediation or intermediation." (Collier, who was my poetry professor at the University of Maryland, is also in this post and this one -- nice to know Pinsky likes him.)

Sunday while apaulled took the kids to Rockville Science Day at Montgomery College, I went with vertigo66 to celebrate Beltane. I've never done that with a group before that I was part of instead of mostly an observer, and it was quite lovely and low-key -- no actual acting out of the Great Rite or jumping the bonfire, but there were penis and breast-shaped cupcakes! When I told my kids where I was going, my older son, who has just read The Da Vinci Code, wanted to know if I was going to a sex rite. Heh. (Older son has devoured that, Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress and Deception Point in about two weeks, and I am trying to figure out what books to get him next...these are really his first "adult" novels and I can't figure out what follows logically from here for a 12-year-old.) The First Pagan Church always has lots of good food and beeej was there and we did lots of chatting about Gerry Butler and other fannish subjects.

Younger son had a birthday party at Shadowlands (the laser arcade place) in the evening, so the rest of us had leftovers. In the evening we watched The West Wing, which made me very happy by being a CJ episode -- the last CJ episode, I guess. I have always been sympathetic to CJ/Danny since my friend Anrie got me to beta a story set during the attempted assassination arc, but everyone I knew from J/C fandom for the most part had gone directly for CJ/Toby angst which never did a thing for me -- CJ is the coolest woman in the world, she should be with, if not the coolest man, then at least a man who adores her and is not going to put his own agenda ahead of hers all the time and isn't bringing a hundred demons in with him. And I am sorry to say that when Andie declined to remarry Toby when he wanted her and the house and the babies, telling him that he was too sad, I totally understood her perspective even though I felt so sorry for him...Toby doesn't want to get rid of those demons, they keep him company and I couldn't live with that and neither Andie nor CJ should have to.

But now that we are never going to get the story of whatever it is in their pasts that they don't talk about and can't risk triggering again, I want to see more of it! I didn't much like Santos' "You owe it to your country" bit with CJ, he could have told her how absolutely essential he considers her and given reasons rather than the pressure routine. So is it over between Will and Kate because he's going to go to Oregon and she's going to stay in Washington? I don't really care one way or another, am just curious if we'll get any kind of resolution there, since it's been pair-off city for everyone else.

After that, and some emergency homework completion by sons who had only just remembered that they had work to do, we watched the end of Tristan and Isolde, which I liked as much as the first part -- again more King Arthur (both the Bruckheimer film and the legend) than the story as I've read it, but I found it more satisfying than love potions and nasty old King Mark turning on Tristan.

In the morning my younger son is playing Thomas Edison at a "wax museum" performance so I need to get to sleep, but I was just howling at Betty Bowers on The Da Vinci Code (parody Christian site, certain to offend someone, likely to offend Baptists and Catholics in particular). Her fashion analysis of the Pope alone had me wiping my eyes. Below, pictures of Whistler's Peacock Room from yesterday:

Whistler's "The Princess from the Land of Porcelain" has the place of honor above the fireplace.

These are the fighting peacocks that represent Whistler and his patron Leyland.

The ceiling is painted in a peacock-feather motif.

Here are some of the more placid birds and porcelain.

And while you're back here:

Who Should Paint You: Roy Lichtenstein

Larger than life,
your personality overshadows everyone in the room.
A painter would tend to portray you with a bit of added flair!

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