The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

The Hunch
By Kevin Young

She wore red like a razor --
cut quite a figure

standing there, her
slender danger

dividing day
from night, there

from here. Where
I hoped to be is near

her & her
fragrant, flammable hair --

words like always
entering my mouth

that once only gargled doubt.

You see, I been used
before like a car...

Between us
this sweating, a grandfather

clock's steady tick, soundtrack
of saxophones sighing.

It's been too long --
a whole week

since love burned
me like rye. I had begun

to see the glass
as never empty

& that scared me.

She fills me
like the lake

fills a canoe --
no rescue -- & to swim

I never learned how.


From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "Kevin Young has written a book, Black Maria (an old term for a police wagon or a hearse), that lovingly uses the hyper-metaphorical tough-guy style of classic American detective fiction and movies," Pinsky writes. "Part of his subject is male loneliness and selfishness, and connected to that subject are all sorts of poses and stereotypes. The book's protagonist is part Raymond Chandler, part Muddy Waters, and the poems unearth the emotional realities behind the old detective-story vocabulary of alibi and alias, suspect and saloon, gunsel and hideout, as well as the movie vocabulary...Young helps us think about the language, stereotypes and psychology of actual feelings by alluding to their stylized presence in books and 'B' movies. The mingling of parody, tribute and insight befits the word 'allusion' -- originally meaning not learned reference but any playing with language -- which comes from the same root as 'ludic' and 'ludicrous.' Young, in this book's serious cultural play, braids the ludicrous and the profound."

I will just come out and say this, in case anyone wants to unfriend me for being a dork or having bad taste: I thoroughly enjoyed Eragon. I readily admit that every single reason for this is a shallow one. It rips off every fantasy movie and book I have ever loved, a few I merely liked and even some I didn't like much at all, from The Sword in the Stone to Dragonheart with unhealthy amounts of The Dragonriders of Pern, The Earthsea Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars thrown in. It has scruffy Jeremy Irons as a good guy and sleazy John Malkovitch as a bad guy. It has a boy growing up to discover his inner gayness desire to be a hero that takes him away from potential female love interests. It has a wizard who looks like the love child of Wormtongue and Lucius Malfoy and acts like The Wicked Witch of the West, only without the broom. It even has Bavmorda's castle dungeons from Willow, which is really amusing because Willow is itself already derivative of every mythological fantasy source under the sun!

Despite scathing reviews in the local papers and, from what I understand, most of the national ones, the theater was packed on this gorgeous 60-degree Saturday afternoon, and although the crowd was quite lively and chatty during the movie ("Hey! Where's the second sun setting after Biggs, I mean Luke's cousin, I mean ERAGON's cousin left, and doesn't 'Uncle Garrow' sound a lot like 'Uncle Owen'"), everyone seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. It was like "Spot the fantasy allusion!" Plus anyone named "King Galbatorix" obviously enjoys very kinky sex with the wizard he keeps getting close enough to kiss (a guy who played Hitler in a TV movie, which by definition means he deserves to be melted). And while I agree with The New York Times reviewer on Friday who said that the tussling among the cousins shrieks of subtext, so do all of Brom's attempts to initiate Eragon into manhood...err, dragonriding. His sword is huge! And turns red when his magic is particularly potent!

Look, I'm allowed to enjoy the homoerotic subtext, given that the only women worth mentioning in the film are 1) the ostensible heroine, who spends a big chunk of the movie either in a swoon, in need of rescue, or both; 2) the daughter of the leader of the rebel alliance, who is not as lucky as Princess Leia in that her father is not dead, so instead of getting to lead the rebellion she just does his bidding; and 3) a dragon, who is definitely among my favorite magical beasts but even she's gooey-eyed over Eragon and sadly I must also agree with the Times reviewer that his charisma is not quite...well, he looks okay with his shirt off, but he reminds me of Daniel Radcliffe three movies ago when you could see him straining to act. Djimon Hounsou he is not, even when Djimon is saddled with really painful dialogue. At least in this fantasy universe, the Easterlings are good guys and the bad guys are mostly white boys like the hero, even if it doesn't make sense that the Easterlings are rebels against King Dominatrix.

I'm not claiming that this is a great movie, just that if you go in expecting adolescent-targeted fantasy rather than The Fellowship of the Ring, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised. I may as well confess that I enjoyed it more than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, given that Eragon is under two hours long which means that both potential bad CGI battle sequences and potential bad speeches are kept thankfully short. I'm sure I'll see it again on DVD for the magnificent cinematography if nothing else...I must find out where in Hungary and Canada it was filmed!

Younger son's scheduled violin recital was cancelled at the last minute because of a flu outbreak at the nursing home where they were going to be playing...they might try to reschedule it next weekend, but we are going to my in-laws' Friday night and, given that we are already missing my cousin's Chanukah party, are not likely to reschedule for a one-hour performance. I think he would be more bummed out if he had not played a solo Friday in the school recital. Since our afternoon had opened up unexpectedly, we walked around the lake at the shopping center to Target so younger son could get headphones for the MP3 player he got for Chanukah (none of us are fans of ear buds), then walked back slowly since there were carolers and afterward a guy singing Beatles songs while someone else played keyboards in the central area with the fiberglass Christmas trees. By then we were all hungry, so we went out for Middle Eastern food, and since we were already halfway there, we drove through Gaithersburg to Seneca Creek State Park's Winter Lights festival:

Penguin Cove. Need I tell you which display was younger son's favorite?

Also from Penguin Cove, penguins on a sled or motorcycle or something. *g*

A raccoon in the woods.

Remus Lupin howling at the moon. Okay, actually I suppose it's supposedly just an ordinary wolf, but this is my caption!

A fisherman and his reflection on the lake. (Sorry about the blur...I only had the little Nikon with me, it was very dark and the van was moving!)

And the entrance to Teddy Bear Land. The used to have holiday music playing in the park on a low frequency, but since they no longer do, we put on the local pop station that's all holiday music in December, so I am officially totally sick of "Jingle Bell Rock" and it's not even Christmas week!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, cruisedirector sent to me...
Twelve beaches drumming
Eleven aquariums piping
Ten gerbils a-leaping
Nine vampires dancing
Eight runes a-milking
Seven boardwalks a-swimming
Six himalayas a-mountaineering
Five fe-e-e-eminist mothers
Four tall ships
Three impressionist painters
Two pirate ships
...and a gloriana in an epic poetry.
Get your own Twelve Days:

Our other activities for the day included going to Barnes & Noble so older son could use a gift card to get a set of The Simpsons on DVD, going to Circuit City to look for replacement styluses for younger son's Nintendo DS (with no success as the DS Lite uses a different stylus -- augh), going to Staples to get paper and various other school supplies, stopping for foodstuffs, etc. Then we came home and lit the menorahs for the second night of Chanukah -- apaulled gave me Courage & Patience & Grit, Great Big Sea live in concert on CD and DVD, and younger son got the Happy Feet soundtrack and I am under orders to rip both for his new MP3 player! So I had better go!

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