Horse in the Cage
By Stanley Plumly
Its face, as long as an arm, looks down & down.
Then the iron gate sound of the cage swings shut
above the bed, a bell as big as the room: quarter-
moon of the head, its nose, its whole lean body
pressed against its cell . . .
I watched my father hit a horse in the face once.
It had come down to feed across the fence.
My father, this stranger, wanted to ride.
Perhaps he only wanted to talk. Anyway,
he hit the ground and something broke.
As a child I never understood how an animal
could sleep standing. In my dream the horse
rocks in a cage too small, so the cage swings.
I still wake up dreaming, in front of a long face.
That day I hugged the ground hard.
Who knows if my heartbroken father was meant
to last longer than his last good drunk.
They say it's like being kicked by a horse.
You go down, your knees hug up.
You go suddenly wide awake, and the gate shuts.
Again Daniel had robotics until mid-afternoon, so we had a quiet morning; read the paper, did some more sorting of stuff to be given away, listened to Adam play the keyboard when he got home from Hebrew school. We picked up Daniel and headed downtown with the intention of seeing an exhibit on glass at the Smithsonian's American Art museum, but there were huge mobs around the MCI Center and convention center following the inauguration rehearsal in the morning, so we headed instead to the Mall and the recently reopened National Museum of American History, where we saw many items we hadn't seen since the museum closed for renovation, such as:
This silk taffeta dress belonged to Mary Lincoln and is on display in the new First Ladies exhibit.
When I was young, this was my favorite item in the Smithsonian -- the miniature fish tank in the doll house.
As an adult, I'm very happy that the Gunboat Philadelphia is back on display, though the exhibit hall about early American naval growth is still closed.
Also back on display: a 1914 Underwood typewriter...
...an oyster plate that formerly resided in the White House, I believe from the service of the Rutherford B. Hayes administration...
...and C-3P0, or at least the costume worn by Anthony Daniels in Return of the Jedi.
We saw only the beginning of the Eagles-Giants game and the end of the Steelers-Chargers game, though we listened to much of both on the car radio, but perhaps that was a good thing since every team I rooted for this weekend actually won! And I got my invitation to my oldest friend's annual Super Bowl party today, which is something I always look forward to. We watched some Arrested Development in the early part of the night, then put on the Golden Globes at about the halfway point. So as usual I have nothing to say about the clothes parade or the TV awards, except that I am delighted John Adams has won pretty much everything for which it has been nominated in every major ceremony.
I liked the Spielberg tribute, not that he really needed another and certainly not as young as he is; I guess he's uncontroversial enough and successful enough to get the lifetime achievement award already. I don't know if it was the best line of the night since I missed the beginning, but my favorite was Colin Farrell's upon learning that he had beaten Javier Bardem, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson and Dustin Hoffman: "They must have done the counting in Florida." Personally, I can't believe the Woody Allen movie won -- this and Sideways have convinced me that I really want to be a man and have a mid-life crisis and have amazingly gorgeous women fall all over me -- and I really love Kate Winslet but I think she really should not drink so much before she may have to make speeches.
And I didn't see The Wrestler, so I can't evaluate his performance, but I feel certain that if Rourke hadn't fallen so low, he wouldn't be flying nearly so high -- acting awards are rarely about one single performance unless it's something utterly astonishing like Forest Whitaker's Idi Amin, they're the result of media courtship and good stories, and it irritates me that Rourke is being rewarded for having a comeback instead of dropping dead like the also-rewarded Heath Ledger, when consistently wonderful actors like Langella (and DiCaprio, really) get overlooked again and again because of their failure to perform a fabulous wreck-and-return. Fellow onetime bad boy Colin Farrell went home holding a trophy, which I have less of a problem with because he's been consistently good for a while now, but what a crock that Michael Sheen didn't even get a nomination.