Opera Night at Caffe Taci
By Adam Kirsch
No curtains here, no chandelier to raise;
She takes the low stage and begins to peal
Long airs of anguish, to distracted praise
From the gourmands of opera and the meal.
She wears the helium shoulderpads of dresses
Sold in a suburban bridal shop,
Rigid in velvet, while the waitresses
Lounge at their ease in cottons from the Gap;
Whatever third-rate coach she studied with
Could not undo the mannerism that
Half-shuts her eyes and splays her lipsticked mouth,
The cartoon mincing of a marionette.
It's all just as it should be. For the crowd,
The sensual pampering and dignified
Consumption; in return she is allowed
To sing, gauche and ignored, beatified.
Another from "Absence, Opera, Beans, Dreams", a selection of verse from new collections published in The Washington Post Book World's poetry issue the week of April 20th. This one is from Kirsch's Invasions, published by Ivan R. Dee.
Daniel was still recuperating from his upset stomach on Sunday morning and Adam was fed and entertained at the Hebrew school's birthday party for Israel, so those of us at home had a quiet morning and a relatively small lunch before deciding it was too gorgeous a day not to go out somewhere. Since Daniel was feeling much better, we went to Lake Whetsone Park in Gaithersburg for our annual look at the goslings produced by the goose colony there (previous years here and here). Lake Whetstone also has a great blue heron colony at the top of the tall trees in the center island, plus ducks and ducklings, cormorants, turtles, cardinals, red-wing blackbirds, barn swallows living under the boardwalk and many other animals. Adam found a caterpillar that accompanied up on our walk for a while on his arm. It was gorgeous and cool in the woods and there were birds singing everywhere.
For dinner Paul made jacket potatoes with chicken tikka masala -- Daniel doesn't eat that anyway, so he didn't mind having plain chicken and noodles -- then we all watched Doctor Who's "The Poison Sky" which I liked much better than its prequel for a whole lot of reasons. Much of it was little things -- that momentary glimpse of Rose on the viewscreen when the Doctor is addressing the Sontarans, Donna's mother whacking the car window with a hammer when the Doctor's sonic screwdriver wasn't saving her father (and then Donna whacking the Sontaran with a hammer later, yay for practical solutions!), the eye-rolling and mass exodus by his peers at the nerd genius's Moonraker posturing, the Doctor saying "Are you my mummy?" when ordered to wear a gas mask, Donna smacking the Doctor after he gets teleported back from his attempted martyrdom, the Doctor saying he knew clone!Martha wasn't the real deal almost from the start -- but I was also happy to see the English fight back rather than waiting for the Doctor to rescue them. And the preview for next week, hee! Is the blonde daughter Susan's mother from the First Doctor era, and is she Four and Rowena's, Eight and Grace's, Nine and Rose's, Ten and Reinette's...? Who else is blonde, since my knowledge of Companions has some giant holes? I don't suppose she could be Sarah Jane's; we'd know if Sarah Jane had had a child before Luke.
Then we watched The Tudors, which surprisingly dropped the opportunity to suggest that Anne had Catherine murdered -- I was so sure she was going to convince her brother or someone to poison Catherine, since she's talked about wanting her and Mary dead so often. But I was really glad they didn't go that route, even though they offered no explanation why Catherine died so young, apart from a broken heart. They're back to Henry being over Thomas More's death and turned on by Anne (son, who was in the room reading, asked why Henry liked to be choked during sex; I had no good answer immediately ready), so even though Jane Seymour is very pretty, it's not clear to me how they're going to work Henry into the murderous frenzy necessary to bring her to her well-known end.
I'm trying to find decent coverage of the British election, because our press isn't covering it for shit and the UK press is presuming more knowledge of British party politics than I have. Yesterday at the Sheep & Wool Festival, I told my mother-in-law that I wished someone was covering the Zimbabwe election controversy instead of garbage like Barbara Walters' love life, and a Muslim woman patted me on the back and said she was glad to hear someone who cared about real issues and then started lecturing about Rachel Corrie's foundation and the situation in Gaza. I almost bit my tongue off not arguing point for point...