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

Poem for Monday


Applesauce for Eve
By Marge Piercy


Those old daddies cursed you and us in you,
damned for your curiosity: for your sin
was wanting knowledge. To try, to taste,
to take into the body, into the brain
and turn each thing, each sign, each factoid
round and round as new facets glint and white
fractures into colors and the image breaks
into crystal fragments that pierce the nerves
while the brain casts the chips into patterns.

Each experiment sticks a finger deep in the pie,
dares existence, blows a horn in the ear
of belief, lets the nasty and difficult brats
of real questions into the still air
of the desiccated parlor of stasis.
What we all know to be true, constant,
melts like frost landscapes on a window
in a jet of steam. How many last words
in how many dead languages would translate into,
But what happens if I, and Whoops!

We see Adam wagging his tail, good dog, good
dog, while you and the snake shimmy up the tree,
lab partners in a dance of will and hunger,
that thirst not of the flesh but of the brain.
Men always think women are wanting sex,
cock, snake, when it is the world she's after.
Then birth trauma for the first conceived kid
of the ego, I think therefore I am, I
kick the tree, who am I, why am I,
going, going to die, die, die.

You are indeed the mother of invention,
the first scientist. Your name means
life: finite, dynamic, swimming against
the current of time, tasting, testing,
eating knowledge like any other nutrient.
We are all the children of your bright hunger.
We are all products of that first experiment,
for if death was the worm in that apple,
the seeds were freedom and the flowering of choice.

--------

It was a ridiculously warm December Sunday -- nearly 70 degrees -- and our original plan was to drive down to the Botanic Gardens, but apparently a great many other people had that idea because traffic and parking were extremely congested. So we headed across to Pennsylvania Avenue, then up to National Geographic's Explorers Hall to the wonderful Whales - Tohora exhibit, which examines whales from their evolution from land mammals. The first part of the gallery has dozens of skeletons of whales and their ancestors, mostly bones found in the South Pacific; then comes a section on how whales use sonar and the different kinds of hunting and digesting of the different kinds of whales; and finally there's a section on whales' interactions with people, with items made from whale bones and ambergris, a history of whaling, and a display on how human changes in the environment are affecting whales. There's great stuff for kids -- a life-size model of a blue whale heart that you can crawl through, a short film showing how sperm whales hunt giant squid, and lots of interactive exhibits to "design" an ideal whale and learn how Maori culture appreciated whales.


No photos were allowed inside the Whales exhibit, which is on loan from a museum in New Zealand.


These photos are from the entrance, which introduced the importance of the animals to Maori islanders and the global ecosystem.


Animal sculptures were also on exhibit. Here is a tree frog from the front of the building...


...and, inside, a mountain silverback gorilla.


Some drive-by photos: Here is the Capitol Building with a crowd playing out front near the Christmas tree.


The clock tower on DC's Old Post Office Pavilion, now a mall and eatery.


The side of the J. Edgar Hoover building, celebrating the FBI's 100th birthday.


And the Newseum, also celebrating the anniversary with an exhibit, displaying the First Amendment permanently on its side.
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In the evening we went to the annual family Chanukah party at my cousin Stephanie's house, which I always love because I get to see relatives I see too rarely and some of their friends whom I've known since I was a child -- two of my cousin Debbie's friends used to come to the beach with us when I was younger than my kids are now, so I've known them for longer than any of my own friends. I had a blinding migraine by the time we got home from DC and was afraid for a bit that I wouldn't be able to go, or that I would have to leave early if I did, but Imitrex saved me after an hour or so of incoherence and I even felt well enough to eat the salmon, latkes, salads and fabulous desserts.

Then we came home to celebrate the last night of Chanukah, having twice gotten a glimpse up River Road in the direction of the flooding -- the road is still closed near where we live, with the asphalt clearly missing in large areas. We were happy to learn that the Ravens had put themselves into the playoffs and the Eagles had knocked Dallas out, even though the Redskins lost their season-ender. Older son got I Can Has Cheesburger? and the last season set of Futurama, younger son got a penguin game and a manga novel, everyone was happy!
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