The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Entry in an Unknown Hand
By Franz Wright

And still nothing happens. I am not arrested.
By some inexplicable oversight

nobody jeers when I walk down the street.

I have been allowed to go on living in this
room. I am not asked to explain my presence

What posthypnotic suggestions were made; and
are any left unexecuted?

Why am I so distressed at the thought of taking
certain jobs?

   They are absolutely shameless at the bank --
   you'd think my name meant nothing to them. Non-
   chalantly they hand me the sum I've requested...


"For a while, Wright's phone message was, 'At the sound of the gunshot, leave a message,' which effectively terrified the casual caller into hanging up," recalls Mary Karr, who met Wright in Boston's academic circles two decades ago. "The poems he wrote then were darkly hilarious in their paranoia," she explains in Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "In 'Entry in an Unknown Hand,' the staccato rhythm of the prose stanzas mirrors the mindset of a self-anesthetized guy lifting his head to make self-consciously pained statements in mock-oracular tone."

We spent Easter Sunday in Baltimore, where the weather was glorious and where we met Paul's parents and his middle brother's oldest stepdaughter for the afternoon. Noelle is in visiting from college, since she couldn't afford to fly home to L.A. We had tapas for lunch at La Tasca, which was a big hit with everyone but Adam, who didn't realize that the shrimp would come with their heads attached. He was unexpectedly upset by this and didn't want to eat anything even after we moved them away, although I had brought home leftovers from a tapas restaurant near home and he ate everything, even the squid which neither my husband nor older son would touch. So he was cranky as we walked around the harbor to the National Aquarium.

Once inside the aquarium, though, we all had a good time. It was less crowded than usual, even though there were divers in the central ray and shark tank and a new dolphin show since the last time we were there, focused on how dolphins learn from play and what people can learn from their playful interactions. (There is a new dolphin, a four-month-old baby born at the aquarium, though they also lost a dolphin last week who had been ill for a long time). There were many new birds in the Australia exhibit and the flying foxes were peeking out. And the puffins were active and there was no crowd in front of the exhibit window.


We got home late and didn't eat much dinner after the big lunch. Watched John Adams, which is still very enjoyable -- a sea voyage! A sea battle! Little John Quincy Adams having to be brave! And then France, where Benjamin Franklin says, "Paris requires a certain amount of indecency." And proves it. You know how everyone but me loves Rodney McKay because he's supposed to be such an awkward, brilliant, lovable dork? That's how I feel about Adams, who is actually far more unattractive, arrogant and socially inept the way Giamatti portrays him, but who is never self-absorbed or prone to fits of masculine anxiety -- Franklin suggests that Adams should take a mistress for the educational possibilities of the boudoir and Adams is horrified, hee. And Adams telling his son to be brave when he's about to cry over his scattered family is completely adorable.

I restrained myself from singing the "Nah Nah Nah Nah" song to Duke fans and UConn fans because Maryland didn't even make the NCAA tournament, but now that Georgetown (my father's alma mater and my least favorite team) is gone as well, I can barely hold back! What a weird year though -- I usually pick who I'm rooting for by who I'm rooting against and which local teams are doing well, and with North Carolina still in the tournament, George Mason gone and Virginia Tech left out, I suppose I might be stuck lamely supporting UCLA out of apathy about the rest.

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