The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday


Liar
By Archilochos
Translated by Brooks Haxton


Swept overboard, unconscious in the breakers,
strangled with seaweed, may you wake up in a gelid
surf, your teeth, already cracked into the shingle
now set rattling by the wind, while facedown,
helpless as a poison cur, on all fours, you puke
brine reeking of dead fish. May those you meet,
barbarians as ugly as their souls are hateful,
treat you to the moldy wooden bread of slaves.
And may you, with your split teeth sunk in that,
smile, then, the way you did when speaking as my friend.

--------

"We remember overall novel plots or isolated sentences. A movie character or balletic leap haunts you. A tune may stick in your head. These are fragments," writes Mary Karr in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Only a lyric poem -- committed to memory in language we all use -- can be activated anytime, anywhere, yielding an artistic experience in its entirety. Pinned in a subway car with arms at your sides, you can call up a poem and enter a cathedral of words that anoints you again in your singular passions. And great poems keep moving in us forever." 7th century B.C. writer Archilochos supposedly wrote the above after being denied a friend's daughter's hand in marriage. "The resulting curse, 'Liar,' still sprays like seawater on your face...notice that the liar's torments -- strangling, puking, etc. -- keep him from speaking any further falsehoods."

It was a rainy, not-very-eventful Saturday around here in which we went out mostly to do chores; we had thought about going to Great Falls to see the swollen Potomac River, which is apparently close to jumping its banks in places, but after a tornado watch and hail in the afternoon, we scrapped that idea. Plus we'd left the National Parks pass in the minivan, which was at the Toyota place having the oil and filters changed, and we didn't pick it up till dinnertime. So we just stopped in necessary stores and cleaned up around the house a bit. I was pleased to see on Space.com that Earth may have a twin orbiting our neighbor Alpha Centauri, because I am a nerd like that.


My cats wanted me to share some additional photos of their very difficult lives so that people understand their misery and woe. Sometimes, for instance, they are fed ten minutes late and become so weak that they can barely lift their heads.


Here, for instance, you can see Rosie being indignant that apaulled would rather type on the laptop than pay full attention to her. She settles for sinking her claws into his jeans and refusing to let him get up to get tea.


Daisy, however, couldn't care if she is being ignored in favor of a Game Boy so long as she gets to sleep on the comforter. She does insist on kneading any blanket or thigh she plans to sleep on for a good five minutes with her paws before lying down, however.


In fact, Daisy is willing to sleep in the same spot even without a comforter. Cinnamon, however, insists on keeping watch.


These are their most common positions when they are all in the living room and no one is using the computer on the desk: Rosie on the sofa pad on the back of the couch behind the laptop, Daisy on the loveseat, Cinnamon on the back of the love seat peering out in case any birds or squirrels are threatening the neighborhood.


dementordelta, who indulges me in all my various vices, gave me some handmade Barbie clothes including a Dracula costume for Ken and devil costumes for his boyfriend and girlfriend. I had to commit the wicked and cruel act of locking cats out of the room so I could take this photo, since they wanted to chew on the horns.


When they were allowed in, Rosie and Daisy insisted on sleeping on the plastic bag that the costumes had been in. Cinnamon came over to see what the excitement was about -- see top photo -- but concluded that it was not worth fighting Rosie and Daisy for some plastic twisty-ties and a bag too small to hide in.


From beeej, not a surprise at all:



You Belong in London



You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.

And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

</center>

Daniel is spending the evening waiting for the release of Super Smash Bros Brawl -- his best friend's father took them both to the mall, which has a tournament and party from 10 p.m. to midnight when they'll start distributing the preorders. It's like a Harry Potter book release party to him...or actually more like waiting to get the Wii on the morning it first came out. We watched The Secret of NIMH with Adam, who had read the book it is loosely based on, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, in school; the animation was nice but there are lots of changes from the book, which I don't remember all that well (we figured son would like it anyway because it's about animals outsmarting the humans who are trying to exploit them).

Then with one child asleep and the other out, we watched V for Vendetta, which we hadn't managed to see previously. I'm not sure whether I think it wasn't a very good movie but I enjoyed it anyway or whether I think it was a pretty good movie but there were some things I really hated about it. It's definitely more thought-provoking than the Matrix sequels and a whole lot of mediocre dystopian sci-fi, and the acting is all vastly better than the material, even John Hurt as a seething, scheming Big Brother (a lovely casting joke, that). The things I really disliked are so Phantom of the Opera that I feel like I can't even complain, really, because I love Phantom of the Opera in all its paternalistic softcore D/s glory.

There was some stuff I loved -- the comedy routine with the bananas, dueling Chancellors and terrorist musical comedy with the entertainer announcing that in penance he expected to have to make some kind of apology, do some boring fundraiser "and in the meantime our ratings will go through the roof" -- it would have been much more plausible had that happened, really, because most of the people we see live in nice middle-class comfort where one gets the impression that there isn't activism because TV keeps them complacent, not because of fear.

I just couldn't root for V; he is using Evey just as surely as the government is using the police and everyone else, and on top of his sadistic methods, I don't find the glossy masked terrorist any more appealing than the sleazoid political party leader. He has a good sense of humor, sending Guy Fawkes masks to everyone, but the whole " a revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having" speech is undercut when in the end he doesn't tell Evey that they won, so there's no need for the destructive fireworks. There is no Parliament, at least not one that means anything in this High Chancellor's dictatorship, so why blow up the Houses? How does that give anyone hope rather than a belief that there's no difference between the criminals in power and the criminals blowing shit up? Ultimately it turns into a big anarchy-fest that doesn't impress me.

Going downtown Sunday for my mom's birthday if we can tear sons away from the Sacred Object, as Daniel is calling the video game! Aigh!
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