By Mary Karr
I opened up my shirt to show this man
the flaming heart he lit in me, and I was scooped up
like a lamb and carried to the dim warm.
I who should have been kneeling
was knelt to by one whose face
should be emblazoned on every coin and diadem:
no bare-chested boy, but Ulysses
with arms thick from the hard-hauled ropes.
He'd sailed past then clay gods
and the singing girls who might have made of him
a swine. That the world could arrive at me
with him in it, after so much longing--
impossible. He enters me and joy
sprouts from us as from a split seed.
"In this 13th year of the column, I am delighted to announce our new steward -- a writer variously described as 'a spitfire' and 'an inspiring teacher' -- the incomparable Mary Karr," writes The Washington Post's Book World editor, Marie Arana, in an afterword to Poet's Choice on Sunday. "Karr is the author of four books of poetry, the most recent of which is Sinners Welcome. She is the Jesse Truesdale Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University and the author of two bestselling memoirs, The Liars' Club and Cherry. It is a pleasure to welcome her to this page."
Finally it feels like spring is coming! Sunday was much warmer than Saturday, so after younger son got home from Hebrew school and we had lunch, we went to the Brookside Gardens conservatory's early spring show, which consists of many orchids, camellias, jasmine, flowering bulbs and hanging flowering plants. It was colorful and bright and not at all crowded in the greenhouse, while outside, geese and ducks were pairing off in the grass and it was sunny and warm. On the way home we stopped at Petco for cat litter (plus peeking at lizards and hamsters) and Michael's (for a frame for younger son's spotted owl project, which he wants to save and hang in his room).
Watched Quest for the Lost Ark on The History Channel -- we'd seen a Digging for the Truth episode about the Lemba tribe and this one had some of the same theories about what the Ark of the Covenant would have looked like and whether it might have ended up in Ethiopia or Zimbabwe. Then watched 300 on Cinemax out of a perverse sense to see if I thought it was as bad as I suspected I would; I must admit that it was actually...far worse. Wow, The Other Boleyn Girl is looking like an awesome historical biopic right now!
I should start by saying that the washed-out video game look doesn't do a thing for me and I laughed greatly at the pecs. There should be a 300 muscle-counting drinking game, except that people would be too drunk to see before the first half-hour had passed. The stilted dialogue made me snort a lot, as did the clouds of doom and dramatic musical wind of prophecy. And the oliphaunts, and the Easterlings...excuse me, the Persians! This movie wanted to be The Lord of the Rings starring Gladiator, but knew it didn't have it in it, so instead the director had to exaggerate the violence and macho posturing. Lena Headey looks hot -- that's how you can tell a good guy, the bad guys are all ugly or distorted -- but she's so much better in the so much less gratuitous The Sarah Connor Chronicles, for which I will probably now have a new appreciation. Poor Faramir never gets to fight in the big battles. And the voiceovers, "There's no room for softness in Sparta," as Leonidas goes off to war in his leather underwear and meets up with the Thebans in their S&M fetish gear to defeat the jewelry-wearing Persians... *snickering*
Oh, I actually watched Saturday Night Live this weekend for the first time in years because I'd seen a clip of the Clinton-Obama debate parody and was really hoping they'd do some more, which they did and delighted me: eviscerating media types who suck up to Obama while treating Clinton alternately like a stupid girl and a conniving bitch. Right now I really can't stand to listen to Clinton OR Obama, and it helps when McCain shows up on the news and I remember that I actually like both of them, but the double standard garbage to which Hillary is subjected nightly makes me want to scream. It's not out of affection for her or fondness for her campaign style, and it's not wanting the press to be as malicious to Obama either, because if both Democratic candidates have been chewed up before the convention, I'm terrified it could give McCain an edge. Why is the press going so ridiculously easy on him, anyway?
Anyway, Amy Poehler does a hilarious Hillary and there were a couple of other classic moments, from Rudy Giuliani saying he thinks he lost the nomination because when he hosted SNL he appeared in a dress to one of the guys playing Diablo Cody opposite host Ellen Page with overly cutesy dialogue to a skit about how the pirates in Peter Pan always get distracted from piracy at the first sign of singing. So that was lots of fun.
Happy Birthday beeej and celandineb!