Counting What the Cactus Contains
By Pattiann Rogers
Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they'll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.
Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
And sunsplit. Whistle
Of the red-tailed hawk at midnight, rush
Of the leaf-nosed bat, the soft slip
Of fog easing through sand held in tandem.
Counting, the vertigo of its attitudes
Across the evening; in the wood of its latticed bones--
The eye sockets of every saint of thirst;
In the gullet of each night-blooming flower--the crucifix
Of the arid.
In its core, a monastery of cells, a brotherhood
Of electrons, a column of expanding darkness
Where matter migrates and sparks whorl,
And travel has no direction, where distance
Bends backward over itself and the ascension
Of Venus, the stability of Polaris, are crucial.
The cactus, containing
Whatever can be said to be there,
Plus the measurable tremble of its association
With all those who have been counting.
Poem because, if the weather holds, we are going Saturday to Rock Creek Park day where we will see owls and hawks and a variety of reptiles at the talks there. It is so gorgeous out right now, cool and clear, but we are supposed to have rain moving in by late Saturday! We had major rainstorms last night which caused problems all over the region but my particular corner was spared, no power outages or anything...so I thought. Now I know that it is too dangerous for me to eat at one particular diner with gblvr, however; last time I did so, the wind knocked a lamppost down on my then-new van, and today, although there was almost no wind, a big tree came down across the major cross street from where I live, taking a bunch of electrical wires with it and causing a blackout of several hours while the power company untangled them, plus a traffic nightmare when I went to pick my son up from the bus! Though it could have been lots worse (and was last time, I am not really complaining), I am not sure it is safe for me to have lunch at that diner again!
Unfortunately my attempts to shoot the downed tree through the windshield while driving were hopeless, but this is what the traffic looked like for several miles down this two-lane road.
I did get the pleasure of seeing gblvr and neotoma and meeting twistedchick, so it was a good lunch! Because of the lack of electricity, I did not finish all the work I intended to do this afternoon, though I did write a quick and thoroughly uninspired review of "For the World Is Hollow, And I Have Touched the Sky", which I just could not find anything exciting to say about. It's not a real stinker of an episode but I sometimes think those are easier to watch -- they have humor, even if it's not intentional! But in the evening I got Doctor Who back, so I have absolutely no complaints where science fiction television is concerned. It's not the same without Eccleston but it's also still enjoyable with Tennant, which is all I really care about. I am not going to talk much about it here because I got so fed up with all the people who'd already seen the episodes coming in and leaving little "just you wait" digs last time around -- unlike, say, Sharpe and Hornblower, where I always felt like I could talk in present time even though half the world got to the party before me -- but I am going to note a couple of favorite moments just for my own reference later.
Like the Doctor quoting Elton John's lyrics from The Lion King, with which we were singing along before he'd finished and identified the source, and then saying, "Very Arthur Dent"! I liked "The Christmas Invasion" better than "New Earth", which seemed choppier than most of last season's episodes and actually felt longer than the special. I'm ambivalent about the Doctor bringing down Harriet Jones, because I don't think her demonstrating Torchwood's capabilities was so utterly unforgivable given what she had just been through...though it did rather undercut the very best line, when she said to contact the US president and please use her exact words: "He's not my boss and he's certainly not turning this into a war." Whoo! My son and husband (and my husband's two brothers and their father) all have A+ blood, so that was a little freaky, which I guess was the intention because everyone knows someone with A+ blood. Oh and poor Mickey, doomed to keep losing Rose (yeah, yeah, until he doesn't, because someone is sure to go and say something like that), fighting battles against a possessed Christmas tree with a chair. The only line that really jumped out at me from "New Earth" was "There are better things to do today than dying," sort of an anti-Klingon attitude that makes me smile, but the horrible cat-nurses in the Vincentian headpieces and the tiresome Oldest Woman and the Matrix imagery didn't really excite me. I missed Eccleston more during that episode than the Christmas one.
1. What's the last thing you broke? An already cracked bowl in my kitchen sink.
2. What's the most expensive thing you've broken? The back of my car, when I thought the woman in the car behind it had gestured to show that she was waiting for my parking spot but she pulled forward right as I started to back out.
3. Do you consider yourself clumsy or graceful? Clumsy. Not horrible klutz, but certainly not graceful.
4. How much money do you have in your wallet right now? gblvr can vouch for this -- about fifty-five cents.
5. Someone asks for change while you're walking down the street -- what do you do? Usually give him or her some, if I have any on me. I keep meaning to compile a list of phone numbers of places that help the homeless/unemployed so I can give that to people along with change for the phone.
thefridayfive: The Boob Tube and You(Tube)
1. What TV show(s) do you find yourself watching the most? Doctor Who now that it is back on! Over the course of the past couple of years, Smallville. Over the course of my life, the Star Treks.
2. What if any TV shows do you own on DVD? All of the original Star Trek, Space: 1999, Dawson's Creek, Sharpe and Horatio Hornblower if the latter two count. Five of six seasons of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, a couple of seasons of Smallville, The Simpsons, Monty Python's Flying Circus and various animated series belonging to my children; themed collections of The Next Generation plus the first and last seasons of Deep Space Nine; the first seasons of Boston Legal and Doctor Who awaiting more; the first season of The West Wing and a few random episodes recorded at home.
3. Can you name your favorite TV show theme song (I would encourage you to make a phone post and sing it to us)? I am not singing it but due to the nature of this journal I had probably better claim "The Love Boat" -- tempted though I am to say "Faith of the Heart" and listen to people cry! *g*
4. Have you ever been on TV and if so for what? I narrated portions of a BBC documentary on Mystical Washington, DC.
5. What is your favorite YouTube video (feel free to post a link)? My son's Bar Mitzvah slide show I suppose -- I haven't seen many! I was happy to find the original Pocahontas ending there.
fannish5: What five questions would characters in your fandom ask an advice columnist?
This has already been written so well that I shall simply link to Neelix's Online Advice Column!
Sending birthday wishes to my college roommate and pie to dementordelta, and must go sleep!