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

Poem for Tuesday


Death
By Bill Knott


Going to sleep, I cross my hands on my chest.
They will place my hands like this.
It will look as though I am flying into myself.

--------

Another from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World about Bill Knott, who left a comment on my LiveJournal post last night noting that all his poetry is available in his blog. "His poem 'Death' almost celebrates dying as parcel of the poet's dreamy hermeticism, that need to turn inward...Knott, who still produces some of the finest American experimental verse, became a cult figure partly through a suicide hoax in 1966." The poem appears in Knott's Selected and Collected Poems.

I got to spend the afternoon with dementordelta! We went out for Lebanese food, then went to look at art glass and jewelry at Appalachian Spring before stopping at a Hallmark store to look at Halloween bats, Barnes & Noble to look at calendars, and Target to look at more Halloween stuff. Then we came back here to watch this season's first two Sarah Jane Adventures, because we both discovered Ronan Vibert independently last week and concluded that he was Alan Rickman's love child, and he's in both parts. And then we watched the first episode of the new BBC Merlin series, which has Eve Myles and Anthony Head as well as lots of hot young men; we didn't like the evil women=ugly women paradigm, but otherwise we really liked gay young King Arthur.


A sheep model and a sheep at Dancing Leaf Farm on the Countryside Artisans tour last weekend.


The yarn sold here is produced on the farm from these sheep, among others.


Here for ethelking are some of their gorgeous skeins of yarn...


...and some of their sock projects...


...and dyed unspun wool...


...and more yarn and completed projects.


Knitters were working outside in the gorgeous October sunshine.


And so were the sheep.
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After dinner, we watched Heroes, which entertains me so much with its Oedipus complexes and insane parenting! It's so much more fun this season than last, though I'm not sure if it's actually good. I feel like there must be inconsistencies with what we know about the senior generation, and the time travel has me hopelessly confused about who knew what when, but who cares when we get scenes like Mommy-loving Sylar saving a screaming Angela from psycho Peter! Then then there's Claire's mom and her adoptive parent issues, and Claire's very overinvolved dad, and poor Nathan and Nikki/Jessica/Tracy/who the hell is Barbara with every parent wanting their child to be special. The whole show is like a cautionary tale about overambitious parents and overachieving offspring. No gifted and talented programs for you, kids!

And of course I watched Boston Legal, and I must say that while it held my interest through the end, it really let me down. I prefer Denny's superficial, skanky, boob-grabbing misogyny to the construction of Alan's issues with women, which requires every woman he meets to be psychopathic, sociopathic, or just plain horrible so he and Denny can end up chastely in each other's arms. It's like bad slash, the kind where women have to be vilified as an excuse for two men who otherwise appear to be heterosexual to turn to each other.

At the start of the episode, Alan is having a sleepover with Denny and Denny's teddy bear when pounding on the door wakes them. It's Phoebe, the recently anointed great love of Alan's life...far too recent for me to take seriously, at least, it's not as though they brought back Tara or someone in whom we're invested. Her husband, a cardiologist, was arrested for murdering one of his nurses, with whom he had an affair long ago. He had visited her recently but Phoebe says that on the night of the murder, he was home with her. During this conversation, Denny's penis is setting off a blood flow monitor that Alan finds very distracting even when it's vibrating rather than crowing. He's not happy when it vibrates for the blonde judge, either.

The D.A. is making the case a media spectacle, which Alan keeps bringing up in court. In private, the husband, Robert, claims the affair lasted only a couple of weeks and he broke it off because the nurse, Isabel, was unstable. Alan finds Robert unconvincing. Denny suggests that he deliberately blow the case so he can be with Phoebe and then advises Alan to get out -- if he wins, she goes home with her husband, and if he loses, she'll never forgive him. But Alan seems compelled to find out exactly why Phoebe is with this man, so he visits the coroner, who tells him while Denny's crotch vibrates for the dead girl that at first the death looked like heart failure but then he found a needle mark and traces of a drug that would have disappeared not long after.

Alan admits to Phoebe that he doesn't think a jury will believe her testimony and that he doesn't either: he doesn't think she'd forgive her husband for having an affair, she never forgave Alan. She insists that it's different when you have a family. "Don't you think I want to believe he was guilty?" she demands, saying she's still angry over the affair. (At this point I typed, "She did it." And I really miss Phoebe the bitchy kick-ass lawyer; Phoebe the obsessed wife and mom is a huge letdown.) There's lots of testimony against Robert, from Isabel's mother who says he threatened her when she threatened to tell his wife they were sleeping together again to a neighbor who says he saw Robert's car in her driveway the night of the murder, though everyone agrees that sleeping with lots of married men was Isabel's hobby.

Alan doesn't think that Robert should testify, since he'll get defensive talking about the affair and Phoebe will be more believable saying Robert was home the night of the murder. Denny does a wonderful job cutting to the chase: "You're guilty as sin. You don't fool us. You won't fool the jury." Alan warns Phoebe that she is now their entire defense -- she must establish reasonable doubt -- and she had better do a better job convincing a jury that she's telling the truth than she's done convincing him. On the stand, he asks Phoebe about the night of the murder, which she at first describes as mundane, but then she freezes up when Alan asks if her husband ever left the house. The judge won't give him a recess as she continues to cast doubt on her husband. Out of the courtroom, Denny says she planned this -- to put her husband away and have Alan there to comfort her -- but Phoebe claims that she realized she could be arrested for perjury and then her children would lose both parents. Suspicious of her motives, Alan visits Robert in prison.

With Phoebe back on the stand, Alan says he admires her honesty, then asks why she ever offered to testify when as a spouse she had the privilege not to. And then he asks if she has a personality disorder, if she ever pulled a knife on her daughter and other things he evidently learned from Robert. (At this point I wrote down, "He did it and they're working together to cast doubt.") After all these questions, each of which she denies, Alan accuses he of using her insulin needles to kill Isabel and adds that she didn't just frame her husband, she buried him, and used an ex-boyfriend to help. Phoebe says that her husband is the sick one who has concocted this fantastic tale about her so he can get away with murder. Every time the judge's gavel bonks, Denny's penis buzzes.

The D.A. calls Phoebe's testimony a stunt, saying that Alan is trying to distract the jury from the overwhelming evidence against Robert. Alan counters that whether Phoebe suddenly chose to cast doubt on her husband from the stand or plotted it for weeks, there's just as much evidence against her as there is against Robert -- she killed the mistress and framed her cheating husband in the process. The verdict comes back: not guilty. Robert thanks Alan, who asks if he really believed she never left the house. In comes Phoebe, who says that she didn't ever leave the house. Nor did she threaten her child with a knife or any of the rest; she and Robert made that up together when Alan said that she wasn't convincing as her husband's alibi. If she's arrested now for the crime, Robert can always set the record straight since he's protected by double jeopardy. Because Robert never testified and Phoebe never lied -- she denied every accusation Robert planted for Alan to throw at her in the courtroom -- there was no perjury. Then she apologizes, but reiterates what she's been saying all along: that protecting her family was her top priority.

So, to ask a stupid question, if Phoebe was so obsessed with protecting her family that she'd have overlooked the affair, why did Robert kill Isabel in the first place? His wife had already forgiven him for it! The story makes no sense except to give Alan yet another woman in his life who has trampled on his trust and used him horribly. Naturally he goes back to bonding with Denny on the balcony, wishing they could turn them in. Denny says they should, then get disbarred and go fishing. Denny believes that a person only has one true love, and Alan's true love is Denny: "We may not have sex, but ours is an affair of the heart and we do spoon well." Alan asks for a sleepover, but when that makes Denny's penis blood flow monitor vibrate, he takes it back and makes some stretched analogy between the case and The Wizard of Oz, which inspires Denny to reveal that he once had a dream about sex with Dorothy and Lullaby League girls. Denny decides he should give Bethany a call, which makes his penis buzz again as the Lullaby League music plays.

Sometimes I really feel like it's not Alan or Denny who alternately objectifies and vilifies women, but David E. Kelley. Except he created Shirley, too.
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