By Jane Shore
Your absent name at rollcall was more present
than you ever were, forever
on parole in the back of the class.
The first morning you were gone,
we practiced penmanship to keep our minds
off you. My fist
uncoiled chains of connecting circles,
my carved-up desk, rippled as a washboard.
A train cut you in half in the Jersey marshes.
You played there after school.
I thought of you and felt afraid.
One awkward a multiplied into a fence
running across the page.
I copied out two rows of b's.
The caboose of the last d ran smack against
the margin. Nobody even liked you!
My e's and f's travelled over the snowy landscape
on parallel tracks — the blue guidelines
that kept our letters even.
The magician sawed his wife in half.
He passed his hand through the gulf of air
where her waist should be.
Divided into two boxes, she turned and smiled
and all her ten toes flexed.
I skipped a line.
I dotted the disconnected body of each i.
At the bottom of the page,
I wrote your name. Erased it.
Wrote it, and erased again.
It has been a nice, satisfying Friday, and though things were a bit rushed in the afternoon and early evening, everything that had to get done did, so all in all I must rate it a good day. Had lunch with miriya_b at the Noodles & Company on Rockville Pike (their yellow curry soup is wonderful), wrote a review of "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" -- not a particularly positive one, I'm afraid -- and talked to George Takei, who made up for having to postpone me an hour by talking to me for almost twice as long as originally scheduled, on everything from the recent US elections to whether William Shatner can sell out any further to his wish that the animated Star Trek episodes had taken better advantage of the visual medium to his wanting to see Daniel Radcliffe in Equus (oh hush, he played the psychiatrist in Equus onstage last year...oh fine, actually George's comment on Daniel was, "He's really going to bare his...soul!") I interviewed him several years ago when Mulan came out and his one request was that we not talk about Star Trek, so this time I got to ask questions I had to stay away from then like how he'd like to see Sulu's arc resolved. Sweet!
Speaking of Harry Potter, I did not watch any of the clips on leaky_cauldron because we're going to see Happy Feet in less than 24 hours so we'll get the preview then, but I did have to peek at the Bellatrix photos because I think I always thought of Helena Bonham-Carter in the role. (My Narcissa, regrettably, is Grace Kelly, which ain't gonna happen on film.) Am expecting unnerving mobs at the movie theater -- sounds like Casino Royale might be worth seeing on the big screen, even though I didn't see any of the Brosnans on the big screen and the last Bond movie I really, truly adored was The Spy Who Loved Me, which I saw with my father when I was in elementary school -- but it has to be better than the PS3 mania, right? (Heh, John Edwards, Wal-Mart patron extraordinaire.) They used pepper spray at a local mall but at least we didn't have Wisconsin-style riots.
Currently older son has plans to sleep over his best friend's house Saturday night so the friend's mother can drive them to Best Buy at 6 a.m. and they can get in line to get a Wii with Bar Mitzvah money (he literally received two gifts that were not cash and both of those were Judaica art collectibles, so we figure he's entitled to buy himself something). I can't figure out whether this excursion plan is overly optimistic or completely unnecessary, but since the mom has agreed to supervise the entire thing, I figure it's not my problem! Younger son was offered the chance to go to a 9 p.m. showing of Happy Feet on opening night with his best friend, but we nixed it because of the hour...we already have the tickets for Saturday, anyway.
fridayfiver: Wait while I twist your fate
1. What is your nearest lake or river? The Potomac River.
2. Do you believe in heaven? I don't believe that death is the end of life. Beyond that I don't have a clue what "heaven" is, except that it's not any of the things I've heard it described or characterized to be.
3. What's your lucky number? 11, the date of my birth.
4. Ever know anyone who appeared on a game show? I know someone who won a great deal of money on one.
5. Charades: good times or lame? Been years since I played, so I associate it with good times, but I could see it getting tiresome pretty quickly.
thefridayfive: Oh Internet, how we crave thee
1. How much time do you spend on the Internet daily? My computer is generally online for about 14 hours a day. Of that, I spend perhaps three hours actively doing things that involve the internet, though I suppose I could do things like answer e-mail offline.
2. What are your favorite 3 websites? The ones I visit the most often are imdb.com, dictionary.com and google.com. The ones I visit for pleasure most often are probably aeclectic.net, sacred-texts.com and poets.org.
3. Do you eat at your computer? *puts down glass to type answer* Frequently.
4. Pick one and why - Reading the news online or in a newspaper? Online. Much easier to skim headlines and download what I want to read in detail later.
5. How many people are on your instant messenger buddy list? 52 on Yahoo, 117 on AIM, 15 on Google Talk, a preposterous number on Jabber now that my LJ friends list shows up there. Of those, I speak to perhaps four more than once a week.
If aerobics help prevent brain shrinkage, can someone please explain the appeal of Richard Simmons to me? Have just spent an hour looking at proofs of my son's Bar Mitzvah album. I had comments on nearly every page and suspect the photographer (chosen and hired by my mother before I was consulted) is going to gripe about all the changes I requested but tough. I know what I like when it comes to photo layouts.
From the tower of Udvar-Hazy the night of the Halloween Air & Scare event, a view of a plane landing at nearby Dulles Airport.
In the main hangar, a Republic P-470 Thunderbolt. The silver plane in back is the Enola Gay, center of a big controversy at the Smithsonian about what manner of documentation should accompany the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Down the educational corridor, you could drive your own Mars rover! (Because it was Halloween, there were Martians as well.)
A fully automated R2-D2 built by a local robotics group, the Washington, DC R2-D2 Builders Club.
I liked both Doctor Who and BSG better than last week's, though I am very frustrated we have been left with a cliffhanger on the former before the Thanksgiving hiatus -- oh cruel! The latter part of "The Impossible Planet" reminded me of Stargate: Atlantis for reasons I can't quite explain beyond the archaeology...the Doctor needs Rodney to help figure things out, obviously, and John to work the alien technology, heh. Though of course my favorite part of the episode was the Doctor talking about his dread of having to settle down with a house and a mortgage and Rose suggesting that they share. And she kissed his faceplate when he went out into the depths! ("See you later." "Not if I see you first.")
I was confused for a good part of "Hero" believing everyone had already seen the things we were shown in flashback and I was supposed to know already what secret Adama was keeping from Daniel and everyone else, but I gather that was all news to the audience as much as it was to Roslin, his son, et al? I think the major difference between this show and a lot of other dystopian sci-fi I've been ambivalent about is that the acting here is just superb; even characters I don't like much, even in storylines I find exploitative or silly, even what could be trivial throwaway moments are just so well-played. If Babylon 5 had had this kind of talent instead of Boxleitner...oops, someone is sure to unfriend me for saying that but his performances were often the reasons entire episodes didn't work for me
Big hugs to dementordelta.