The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

What if God
By Sharon Olds

And what if God had been watching when my mother
came into my bed? What would he have done when her
long adult body rolled on me like a
tongue of lava from the top of the mountain and the
tears jumped from her ducts like hot rocks and my
bed shook with the tremors of the magma and the
deep cracking of my nature across -
what was He? Was He a bison to lower his
thundercloud head and suck His own sex while He
watched us weep and pray to Him or
was He a squirrel, reaching down through the
hole she broke in my shell, squirrel with His
arm in the yoke of my soul up to the elbow,
stirring, stirring the gold? Or was He a
kid in Biology, dissecting me while she
held my split carapace apart so He could
firk out my oblong eggs one by one, was He a
man entering me up to the hilt while she
pried my thighs wide in the starry dark -
she said that all we did was done in His sight so
what was He doing as He saw her weep in my
hair and slip my soul from between my
ribs like a tiny hotel soup, did He
wash His hands of me as I washed my
hands of Him? Is there a God in the house?
Is there a God in the house? Then reach down and
take that woman off that child's body,
take that woman by the nape of the neck like a young cat and
lift her up and deliver her over to me.


Whenever I am really stressed out, I go looking for spiritually uplifting stuff, which today led me to this rather bizarre but interesting Esoteric Theological Seminary web site, which has imperfect yet compelling essays on Hebrew goddesses and some dialogue about Goddess creation myths and some of the Holy Blood, Holy Grail/Woman With the Alabaster Jar stuff on Mary Magdalene. This and Yahoo's Jewitchery group have been terrific this past week (while the Conservative movement is debating the gay rabbi issue, it is nice to get a reality check on the differing geographical, social, political and theological slants of the twelve tribes, who couldn't even agree on a single name for the One God).

In other news, I have found a way to have privacy at my computer! And am contemplating living on the moon, though I'll believe it when I see it and will undoubtedly be too old to consider it when it happens. (apaulled says next thing you know, we'll be putting our nuclear waste on the moon, and then bam, Space: 2099!) Plus I read that the tests to determine whether there was life on Mars might have been negative because of the iron, because those same tests say there is no life in a riverbed with lots of iron ore, so we need to go back to Mars ASAP and find some other way to test. Okay, yeah, this is a very esoteric entry so far, so have some holiday cheer:

Santas at the bar at Phillips Restaurant in Harborplace.

There were at least a dozen of them milling about, maybe in preparation for the Parade of Lighted Boats later.

We had no idea whether there was a Santa convention or competition or what, but it was an amusing sight to see them all in there fortifying themselves.

Phillips also had a gingerbread house and nutcrackers and various other holiday decor.

Evening entertainment was, needless to say, POTC: Dead Man's Chest, which apaulled got at Best Buy because they were giving out an extra DVD with more featurettes and photos...those movies are never, ever going to get old. We watched the bloopers, which were regrettably short but I'm still happy they were there, and found an Easter Egg about coconuts, but we haven't looked at the real features because we wanted to watch the movie. And then, it being Tuesday, we watched what looks to be the last new Boston Legal of the season -- the Christmas party episode. In which Denny and Alan very nearly have a row, Alan must defend white supremacists and Denny goes to court to try to stop a girl (who reminds me of a girl I know in real life) from killing herself via anorexia. The cases this week were actually rather grounded except for the monumental crack storyline -- a woman who wants to sue God because her husband was hit and killed by lightning -- which ends up being an excuse to bring back Clarence aka Clarice, which makes me happy and gives Claire something to do. And now that she has taken over the bitchy young lawyer position for which I had feared they were grooming Denise, Denise can be quite touching being unable to resist the case of a woman who thinks death is not fair even though Brad is right there objecting.

Shirley talks Alan into taking the white supremacist case, saying it was one of Edwin Poole's -- a woman who wants custody of her sister's twins because the girls are budding country music stars being raised according to arch-conservative values. When Alan asks what his motivation is, he and Shirley agree that if he wins, she will dress in a bunny suit, though he must do the same if he loses (as if he'd mind). Shirley doesn't mention that arch-conservative means the opposite of everything Alan stands for, and when the girls sing for him -- a song about how America's sons and daughters must push the black, yellow and brown men aside -- she plays innocent. The parents were raised to deny the Holocaust and blame recent immigrants for all the problems in the US, as was the sister, who says that she has recovered. The lawyer for the opposition (played by Michelle Forbes aka Ro Laren SQUEE) is using national security as a reason for wanting to deny the parents custody, saying that white supremacists are much more likely to grow up and commit hate crimes or become Timothy McVeigh. Alan argues that national security is now used as an excuse for everything from reading people's phone transcripts to getting ahold of their bank records, and this case is about a family with well-fed, well-cared-for children...not a threat to national security. "Leave this family alone," he says, and the judge sees it his way, though when the girls sing "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" to him, he tells them that Michael was a gay Jew from Mexico.

Paul expects Denise's case to implode and puts Jeffrey on it with her and Brad when Jeffrey suggests he can beat summary judgment, but the three of them argue incessantly and Jeffrey suggests telling the judge to kiss his ass, rehearsing the phrase for Brad's benefit until Denise intercedes. The woman bringing the suit agrees that she just wants to give voice to her rage at God for taking her husband away in the middle of a cell phone conversation. When Clarence -- whom Claire has hired but refuses to allow to dress as Clarice in the office -- learns the details of the case, he suggests suing the cell phone manufacturer, who ultimately agree to settle for $75,000 to avoid the publicity of a suit suggesting that cell phone use during storms may be dangerous. Claire learns that Clarence has a law degree but doesn't have the confidence to practice, which she promises to change. [Side note: Clarence should join Jerry's practice.]

Denny has a case brought to him by a friend who's a waitress: her daughter has anorexia but considers herself pro-ana and is very pleased that her modeling career has taken off since she started starving herself. The girl's lawyer is also pro-ana, calling it a lifestyle choice and pointing out that the girl has good grades and has never been in trouble, though the girl stopped menstruating a year ago. Denny doesn't exactly make a great impression in court -- he says he likes chubby sex and when the girl says that 30 years ago, homosexuality was considered a mental illness as anorexia is now, he says exactly -- but when Alan suggests that they critique each other's closings, he says he's tired of having prove himself to Alan. The lawyer is vicious to the mother, accusing her of being the sort of control freak that anorexics are often labeled. Denny retaliates by calling to tell the girl that her mother is in the hospital, which is true, but the mother is not a patient...she is visiting a girl who is dying of anorexia and wants her daughter to see. The opposing lawyer threatens to have Denny disbarred and the mother, afraid of losing daughter to "a ridiculous stunt," asks Alan if he could take over the case. He gets an arrest warrant for the girl, saying that her pro-ana web site directs underage girls to diet pills without prescriptions and an arrest will likely ruin her modeling career, and will her lawyer represent her for free if there are civil suits? The girl and her mother end up reconciling.

At the annual Christmas party, Shirley shows up in the bunny suit and Alan suggests doing what rabbits do best, but when Denny sees Alan kissing her, he rushes over, butts in and kisses Shirley himself. "The slobber you just got came from his mouth," she tells Denny, pointing at Alan. Denny has brought Bella as a guest and when Bethany arrives with a present for him, she sees them dancing and storms out. Alan is about to get Shirley to dance with him when Jerry with a present for Alan: a painting of himself as the Mona Lisa! He shows Shirley, who gives it the thumbs up. Meanwhile Jeffrey tells Brad that they should put aside their differences in the name of peace on earth, goodwill toward men and all that, which makes Brad say he knew Jeffrey was a liberal. Out on the balcony, Denny says Shirley didn't quite taste the same and Alan reminds him that it was his saliva involved -- "We finally exchanged bodily fluids" -- which makes Denny make faces. Moreover, Denny knows about the warrant Alan served his client's daughter and confronts him about it. Alan says he came up with the idea and thought Denny would resent the assistance, but Denny says he is bothered that Alan kept the truth from him and that the woman who asked him to take the case did not trust him. However, adds Denny, "I know your heart's in the right place." Besides, "How can I be mad at anyone who gets Shirley to dress like a rabbit?" Alan agrees that she is a goddess and wonders whether he can have her for Christmas, but Denny tells him no. Still, they wish each other a Merry Christmas.

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