The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

The Gallery
By Andrew Marvell

Chlora, come view my soul, and tell
Whether I have contrived it well:
Now all its several lodgings lie,
Composed into one gallery,
And the great arras-hangings, made
Of various facings, by are laid,
That, for all furniture, you'll find
Only your picture in my mind.

Here thou art painted in the dress
Of an inhuman murderess;
Examining upon our hearts,
(Thy fertile shop of cruel arts,)
Engines more keen than ever yet
Adornèd tryant's cabinet,
Of which the most tormenting are,
Black eyes, red lips, and curlèd hair.

But, on the other side, thou'rt drawn,
Like to AURORA in the dawn;
When in the east she slumbering lies,
And stretches out her milky thighs,
While all the morning quire does sing,
And manna falls and roses spring,
And, at thy feet, the wooing doves
Sit perfecting their harmless loves.

Like an enchantress here thou show'st,
Vexing thy restless lover's ghost;
And, by a light obscure, dost rave
Over his entrails, in the cave,
Divining thence, with horrid care,
How long thou shalt continue fair;
And (when informed) them throw'st away
To be the greedy vulture's prey.

But, against that, thou sitt'st afloat,
Like VENUS in her pearly boat;
The halcyons, calming all that's nigh,
Betwixt the air and water fly;
Or, if some rolling wave appears,
A mass of ambergris it bears,
Nor blows more wind than what may well
Convoy the perfume to the smell.

These pictures, and a thousand more,
Of thee, my gallery doth store,
In all the forms thou canst invent,
Either to please me, or torment;
For thou alone, to people me,
Art grown a numerous colony,
And a collection choicer far
Than or Whitehall's, or Mantua's were.

But of these pictures, and the rest,
That at the entrance likes me best,
Where the same posture and the look
Remains with which I first was took;
A tender shepherdess, whose hair
Hangs loosely playing in the air,
Transplanting flowers from the green hill,
To crown her head and bosom fill.


Had a quiet Tuesday as promised, as I had a bunch of work to do and a bunch of chores that I ignored on Mother's Day. The consolation of folding lots of laundry is that I can do it in front of the television, and A Fish Called Wanda was on Comcast's On Demand, so I spent two hours in a good mood while sorting far too many pairs of white socks, watching Kevin Kline sniff his own armpits and John Cleese parade around naked with a pair of knickers over his face. I also went over to the development next to mine, where dementordelta, gblvr and I saw goslings in the grass on Monday. There were no geese out in the open, but I did see this:

This great blue heron was standing at the water's edge, waiting for an opportunity... fly over the pond and dive...

...returning with a treasure.

I didn't even realize there were fish this size in the pond.

The heron, however, gulped it down in a single swallow...

...and was soon headed back to the water's edge to try to do it again.

It was a pretty quiet afternoon otherwise. Took younger son to Hebrew school for his last Tuesday class of the semester, which means final Hebrew exam and class party with tons of junk food. It was also the last Ledo's Pizza night to raise money for the elementary school, and since son is graduating which means this is our last Ledo's Pizza night ever, we got Buffalo Chicken and Hawaiian pizzas for dinner. Oh, and I must thank both mamadracula, who sent me several souvenirs from the touring Pre-Raphaelite exhibit from the Delaware Museum of Art, and mrkinch for sending me a Rachel Pollack book that I got several days ago, put under son's class photo that I needed to scan and didn't rediscover till I actually got around to scanning the photo...sorry and many thanks!

Boston Legal did one storyline that made me smile, one storyline that really made me cheer -- I had an argument with my parents a couple of months ago where I didn't articulate the things Alan was saying nearly as well as he did -- and one storyline that was a bit too much over the top crack, but in the end it knew it was over the top crack and had a reason for being so that was actually poignant. I thought it was the season finale, but they did a "next week" coming attraction which made me happy until I realized that older son's school award ceremony is that night and I may not be home in time.

The major political storyline about illegal immigration is the one that starts out looking like crack, when Brad and Denise's wedding is interrupted by the arrest of the priest for harboring an undocumented woman and her US-born son. Alan agrees to represent him and comes up against a real asshole of a prosecutor, who gets an immigration and naturalization cop testifying about the $30 billion allegedly spent to educate, medicate and track down illegal immigrants that could have been used to feed the homeless (when Alan objects to this political hogwash, the judge silences him). The woman in question has been a model citizen who pays taxes and is a volunteer at her son's school, but the immigration cop declares that the son is only the meal ticket because "it's what they do, they come over here and drop babies" so those babies can grow up US citizens and then bring their parents. Alan says he wants to take a moment to let this racism resonate before he reminds the cop that his client didn't let anyone into the US illegally; he merely provided beds for a woman and child who might otherwise have starved on the street.

The woman harbored by the priest has been offered a green card to testify against him, which he encourages her to take. She says that the priest took her in while looking for other options for her to stay legally and explains that in Mexico there was no work, no food, no way to keep a family together. The priest himself testifies that he understands all the problems with illegal immigration in the big picture but says he didn't have the luxury of looking at the big picture: he was looking at a desperate woman with a child. He cites the tradition of "breaking laws" for religious men like Martin Luther King, Jr. and asks the prosecuting attorney when was the last time he was starving.

The prosecutor closes with more blather about our country robbed of its resources by illegal aliens, saying the priest is not helping those who suffer but reallocating the suffering to Americans. Alan picks up the defense with a very familiar story about how his great-grandfather came to the US from Scotland at 13 and said that his arrival was the happiest day of his life. He asks what it means to be America now, since immigration is not just an issue but how the country as we know it was created. Banks, phone companies, health insurance companies woo people like this woman who pays taxes and is not only contributing but vital to the US economy. What's criminal, he concludes, is that the jury is there to punish the priest instead of coming up with a way to help the woman and child. It's brilliant, but it isn't enough, and the priest is found guilty. Alan promises an appeal but the priest adds that the beauty of his job is that he can do it anywhere, even prison.

Brad and Denise's abortive wedding is played for laughs, first as Brad orders his military buddies to help secure the church, then when he demands a wedding before a laboring Denise can give birth so their child won't be illegitimate. When the hospital chaplain proves to be busy with a plug-pulling, he calls Claire and asks for a minister, a ship captain, a rabbi, anyone who can marry them. He learns that there is a judge in the hospital with gout who can legally marry them; it turns out to be the senile blah-blah judge, but that's not a problem for Brad, even after the judge asks about the doctor with her hand in Denise's vagina. The ceremony is performed while Denise pushes (without an epidural, since that's what Brad wants), and the moment it's over, she gives birth to a girl whom the judge proclaims messy and protests that he thought babies came out cute. (He also doesn't understand why Brad would want to cut the cord, since you don't circumcise girls.) Brad is instantly infatuated with his daughter even after Denise asks whether she looks just a little bit like Jeffrey Coho, and they proclaim their love for one another.

Then there's the duck case, which is the true crack storyline of the episode. Shirley asks Jerry to represent a woman facing eviction in a pet-free building for keeping a duck, which she claims is her emotional support animal, like a service animal for the blind. The duck stops her from having panic attacks. The landlord accuses the duck of walking around quacking at people, which the duck in fact does, and adds that the woman isn't sick and the duck isn't medicine. Just then Denny comes in with a shotgun and shoots at the duck. Jerry is triumphant by coming up with dozens of building code violations against the landlord, who agrees that the duck can stay, but the duck dies of heart failure which Shirley believes is a consequence of having been shot at.

So Shirley goes to see Denny, who is already acting even more insane than usual...for one thing, he has had the Stanley Cup brought to the office and is attempting to engrave his name on it, claiming that Bobby Orr won it for Boston because Denny loaned Bobby his lucky jock strap. Shirley tells Denny that his gun fetish is getting old and embarrassing, and will not be tolerated -- not just by the other partners, she means by her, and this is a warning that she will fire him. Reluctantly Denny explains that there was a time when there was a line at his door and people wanted him on their cases, but now nobody wants him. The firm is full of young lawyers, while for himself and Shirley, it's all almost over: "We're old." Shirley says that she will choose how to feel about herself, but Denny says he can't stand the idea of sitting in his office acting his age. When Brad comes with cigars to announce that he and Denise have named their daughter Bradley, Denny gives him a gag cigar that blows fireworks.

Alan asks Denny how his heroes would solve the problem of illegal immigration; Denny says that Tom DeLay would want to test new drugs on them, while Dick Cheney would just shoot them. Then he explains that Shirley tried to fire him, which he thinks is because she's in denial about getting old. Denny doesn't understand how youth rule this country when the old have all the money, but Alan points out that the young have more tomorrows in front of them -- something money can't buy. Denny sighs that happiness is right there on this balcony and Alan smiles that Denny reduces everything in life to "you and me." Denny invites Alan to drink from the Holy Grail, a.k.a. the Stanley Cup, and they are enjoying their scotch from the vast bowl when Denny accidentally knocks it off the balcony. He laments that he killed the duck and dropped the Grail all in the same day, and they skulk off balcony together to survey the damage.

And as for Jerry Falwell...sorry, I can't muster one iota of regret, as one of those feminist queer abortionists who helped make 9/11 happen by causing Jerry's narrow-minded bigoted raging God who hates women and homosexuals to turn His contempt upon America. I rest secure in the knowledge that, if the heaven Jerry believes in really exists, I'll never see him again because I'm going to Hell, whereas if there is any justice in the universe, I'll never see him again because he's the one going to Hell. Hate is hate, in Whoever's name you're preaching it.

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