A Few Encounters With My Face
By Edward Hirsch
Who is that moonlit stranger staring at me
through the fog of a bathroom mirror
Wrinkles form a parenthesis around the eyes
dry wells of sadness at three a.m.
The forehead furrows in a scowl
a question mark puzzled since childhood
Faint scrawl of chickenpox and measles
broken asthma nights breathing steam
Hair thinning like his grandfather’s
all those bald ancestral thoughts
The nose a ram’s horn a scroll
as long and bumpy as the centuries
Greed of a Latvian horse thief
surprised by the lights
Primitive double chin divided in two
a mother and father divorcing
Deep red pouches and black bags
a life given to sleeplessness
Earnest grooves ironic blotches secret scars
memories medallions of middle age
It would take a Cubist to paint
this dark face splitting in three directions
Identify these features with rapture and despair
one part hilarity two parts grief
I am cranky because I got a speeding ticket -- the kind you get anonymously in the mail from a camera. I can see exactly where I am in the photo: at an intersection near my house where I have just turned right, sharply because there is construction on both sides of the street. There are potholes, too. You can see the construction signs in the photo. It is difficult to drive AT the speed limit in this particular intersection due to the condition of the road, let alone ABOVE the speed limit, and the ticket doesn't say anything about the speed limit being lower due to the construction -- it says I was going 11 miles over the usual speed limit there. I am so certain that this could not be the case that I am tempted to go to court with my own photos of the intersection and ask someone to explain to me how anyone COULD have been speeding while making a right turn through that intersection, but the last time I challenged a ticket (in Chicago, where the guy in the left lane on Lake Shore Drive was going about 75 while I was going 45 in the middle lane but I was the one who got pulled over), I was told that the machines never get the wrong car. Sigh. I really needed that $40.
Otherwise I have pretty much no news. I hate John McCain, I hate his campaign, I want to throw up every time the news replays people yelling "Kill him!" at his rallies and him not shouting them down, expressing revulsion and saying he'd rather not represent attitudes like theirs. I am intrigued by the shark immaculate conception but it would be a much happier story if the shark hadn't died during a physical before the baby could be born. I did laundry, I sent a ridiculous number of Halloween gifts on Facebook, my beloved spouse brought home Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull after dinner so we all watched that -- I felt exactly the way I did before about it, that it's a great movie for the first hour and a letdown at the end -- and now I am watching Jon Stewart in hysterics because he's playing McCain's "new" stump speech yesterday alongside his convention speech and they're the same damn speech, with Fox News commenting on how new and different it is. My in-laws have had to relocate in the San Fernando Valley where they are visiting their middle son because of the fires. Hope everyone else out there is breathing okay.
Here, some photos of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC:
Happy birthday, vertigo66!