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

Poem for Sunday


Cell Song
By Etheridge Knight


Night Music Slanted
Light strike the cave of sleep. I alone
tread the red circle
and twist the space with speech

Come now, etheridge, don't
be a savior; take your words and scrape
the sky, shake rain

on the desert, sprinkle
salt on the tail
of a girl,

can there anything
good come out of
prison

--------

From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, a column by Mary Karr about her first poetry treacher, "a rusty-handed Mississippian...whose first collection was printed while he was still in jail, where he'd come under the tutelage of Gwendolyn Brooks, grande dame of black American letters." Her favorites of Knight's poems "show how a prisoner's affliction can push him painfully inside himself. Like Dickinson, whom he loved, he often uses capitalization and line breaks to startling effect. Then, the voice shifts, as he chastises himself for self-pity."

Our chore for Saturday was getting everyone haircuts, so we bracketed that activity by going to the movies and then to a concert. The kids wanted to see The Dark Knight, but we overruled them and took the family to I Want To Believe, because if I was going to sit through a movie with murders in it, it was going to have Mulder and Scully. And while I could go on about plot holes and potentially squicky sexual politics in the latest X-Files installment, they did not make a dent in my enjoyment of the film. I still have unabashed love for Dana Scully, and I Want To Believe is very much a Scully episode -- medical-based, Catholicism as a theme, no aliens mentioned, a plot that hinges on her faith and her admiration for Mulder's passion even when she can't share his beliefs. This is one of my unswervable 'ships and I loved seeing them working together on a case like this without the fate of the world at stake.

Plot is never why I watched XF -- I could probably work myself up about the pedophile's victim who wants to put his husband's head on the body of a woman to save his life and the gratuitous deaths of female agents, but that would require making sense out of the organ-stealing scheme and figuring out why the guy who was dying was the one who attacked the first agent and things that may not in the end make any more sense than the alien mythology ultimately did. I would much rather be grateful for Scully returning to a career where she is the progressive, open-minded one at a hospital run by people who want to leave things in God's hands, where she is with Mulder on her own terms and forces both of them to rethink their relationship...oh, and I'm not going to pretend I wasn't also delighted to see Bush picked on, and a gratuitous Skinner/Mulder snuggle (not my pairing but I like filmmakers who are willing to play to all their fan bases).

We packed a picnic and went to Potomac Overlook Park to see Laurie Rose Griffith and Peter Mealy, who were the perfect complement, really, to Mulder and Scully -- they're married, longtime musical partners, and they convey not nail-biting passion so much as two people who seem to really know each other well. (They're also pretty honest about relationship stuff -- Peter wrote a song called "Hard Times in the Middle" that starts, "We had a slight misunderstanding/It might have sounded like a fight/Maybe I was too demanding/Maybe you were even right.") In addition to a bunch of Peter's other songs, they did some Paul Simon ("Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard"), Bob Dylan ("Shelter from the Storm"), Dave Matthews ("Two Step" as bluegrass folk song), Peter Gabriel ("Solsbury Hill" as African folk song), plus two songs I love from their CDs, Bruce Dalzell's "Tocoi Light" and Susan Graham White's "Anchor." We had to sit in the rain for about 20 minutes, but then the sky cleared and it was a beautiful evening. The bathrooms are located in the park's nature center, which pleased the kids because in addition to the birds and bats we could see in the sky, there are lots of animals inside.


Peter Mealy, Laurie Rose Griffith and Kent Ippolito performing at Potomac Overlook Park.


It rained at the beginning of the concert, which didn't seem to put too much of a damper on this kid's birthday party.


The park's nature center is open late on concert evenings...


...with displays of stuffed examples of local animals...


...plus many live animals, including at least five snakes (garter, corn, rat, copperhead and rattlesnake) and this box turtle.


The walk from the parking lot to the nature center has a display of the relative distances of the planets like the one on the National Mall leading to the Air & Space Museum. (Pluto isn't a planet here, waaah.)


The concert went on using the solar-powered stage till well after sunset, with bats flapping in the evening sky as it darkened...


...and though it stopped raining early on, even after the interval, you could see the water in the air.
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On Sunday we are going to visit Paul's parents in Hanover!
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