By Henri Cole
For many years I wanted a child
though I knew it would only illuminate life
for a time, like a star on a tree; I believed
that happiness would at last assert itself,
like a bird in a dirty cage, calling me,
ambassador of flesh, out of the rough
locked ward of sex.
Outstretched on my spool-bed,
I am like a groom, alternately seeking fusion
with another and resisting engulfment by it.
A son's love for his mother is like a river
dividing the continent to reach the sea:
I believed that once. When you died, Mother,
I was alone at last. And then you came back,
dismal and greedy like the sea, to reclaim me.
There are no fans in my house! And, Tuesday at least, no repairmen! So I went out to lunch with vertigo66, went to Target for thrilling things like deodorant, a new towel to replace Daniel's that somehow landed in a puddle of bleach, and a replacement pillow. Then came home, drove Adam to Hebrew school and folded all the laundry that didn't get folded last week when I was folding every towel, washcloth and rag in the house after the flood. I was recording Ken Russell's Gothic during the laundry, which I haven't seen in more than a decade, and forgot how much I enjoy it despite its flaws as a film -- Natasha Richardson, Julian Sands, Gabriel Byrne and Timothy Spall as Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and John Polidori -- the genesis of Frankenstein, Prometheus Unbound, Don Juan and The Vampyre all in a single night.
This bald eagle for instance is on loan from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A screech owl, the newer arrival of two, the other being a little brown one...
...a great horned owl in the room with the historic living exhibit...
...and a barn owl near the entrance to the nature center. There is a barred owl outside as well, and a turkey vulture.
Caught up on articles on the two Spocks -- Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy -- for TrekToday. Semi-caught up on correspondence (though don't write me a cranky note if I still owe you one, please). Went over laptop stuff with apaulled and tennis lessons stuff with Adam and my father who wants to play tennis with him. Played with poor deprived cats who were not allowed to suffocate themselves in the Target bags but had them taken away. And watched Boston Legal, which started with some marvelous Bush-bashing and ended with some more unrealistic decisions of the sort that we would get if only judges in the real world were written by David E. Kelley, but sadly, they are not. And the ending was shattering...I'm still trying to figure out how to calm down about it.
The Bush-bashing arises from a case where a general who's an old friend of Denny's announces that he wants to sue the military after being fired over the don't ask, don't tell policy. Denny on Bush: "I keep waiting for him to do something right, but you can't expect a leopard to change his stripes." It takes him quite a while to get over his freakout that someone who has seen him naked is gay, so Shirley does most of the legal work, which gets particularly entertaining when they get the Senator Craig judge -- the one who has sex with men and has paid therapists to make these urges go away but who insists that he is Not Gay. Alan can't do any courtroom work because being around Lorraine has caused his word salad to return, even though they're having spontaneous sex regularly, as Carl finds out when he walks in on them.
Meanwhile the Mexican cock-fighter returns, this time because his ex-wife is suing for custody of their 10-year-old son because the father has the boy involved in bullfighting, also claimed to be a popular sport in Mexico. The case is given to new girl Katie and new-new girl Whitney (who comes in and demands that Carl give her a job). The judge is appalled watching bullfighting tapes, but Whitney argues that if parents are going to let children ride horses and play football and ice hockey, this isn't that much of a stretch. The translating nun gets to say things like, "I would love to be in the ring with that big horny bull!" Katie argues that the judge should not bring her own cultural assumptions to bear -- the English once believed they should make such decisions for the whole world too -- and the judge says that while they can call her a cultural imperialist for finding bullfighting disgusting, this should be worked out between the parents, so custody should remain joint.
The don't ask, don't tell case lets Shirley shine making the sorts of arguments Alan usually gets to make (while the judge says things like, "I am not now nor have I ever been member of the Homosexual Party.") The general complains that the military is now taking ex-cons, but not gays, even though sodomy is no longer illegal; the army argues that the Clinton administration put the policy in place and you don't change policy in a time of war. Shirley points out that not one current US presidential candidate from either party is challenging the policy and points out that except for Turkey, every member of NATO allows gays to serve. The judge asks her to stop insulting the United States but Shirley says the United States should be ashamed and so should the judge.
Meanwhile, Shirley has problems at home. Carl wants her to move in with him, thinks she won't because she has control issues and promises that if she gets mommy pangs, he'll let her spank him. Denny overhears this and sees them kissing; he is devastated and cries to Alan that he thought Shirley still loved him. Shirley says she does and will always love Denny, but he's had no trouble feeding his loins in her absence and if he really loves her, he'll want her to be happy, even if she's not with him. "I don't love you that much," Denny says petulantly, then says he's glad she's happy and tries to slip her the tongue to make her even happier.
Denny thinks the solution is to take Alan fishing but Lorraine interrupts his plotting, wishing to speak to Alan alone, to which Alan replies that Lorraine can say anything in front of Denny and Denny helpfully adds, "We're married." After the judge finds for the general, saying he finds Shirley's attack on the US to be disgusting but suggesting that people not be who they really are to be even more disgusting, Denny admits that he knows he's homophobic and asks Alan whether Alan understands himself nearly so well, like why he can't talk to Lorraine. Actually, says Alan, he does. When he was fourteen, his father had a friend whose lawn he used to mow. He watched her by the pool naked. One day she offered him a glass of water, then invited him into her bedroom in classic Mrs. Robinson style. "I love this story," says Denny. "What a wonderful childhood." "I was fourteen," Alan says again. "It was statutory rape." Then he tells Denny that Denny is the first person he's ever told.
As near as I can tell, Denny then appears to panic. He tells Alan that he should open up to Lorraine and tell her -- Denny promises not to be jealous, and he actually seems to mean it. Denny thinks everyone needs someone, and Alan says, "Well, I've got you." To which Denny says that Alan can tell him anything, and he wants to hear the story again. This is quite possibly the ickiest and also the most real and telling moment in the four plus years of this series -- Alan confesses to Denny that he was the victim of a sex crime that has undoubtedly shaped all his relationships with women and is probably why he is missing what he described to Jerry as "the love gene," and the only way Denny can deal with the facts and the implications of Alan having shared something so intimate is to try to make light of them. I hope they deal with this in some real way and don't just drop it, because it explains so much about Alan.