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The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
Poem for Friday 
Friday, 13th February 2009 12:02 am

A Library Of Skulls
By Thomas Lux

Shelves and stacks and shelves of skulls, a Dewey Decimal number inked on each unfurrowed forehead. Here's a skull who, before he lost his fleshy parts and lower bones, once walked beside a river (we're in the poetry section now) his head full of love and loneliness; and this smaller skull, in the sociology stacks, smiling (they're all smiling)—it's been empty a hundred years. That slot across the temple? An ax blow that fractured her here. Look at this one from the children's shelves, a baby, his fontanel a screaming mouth and this time no teeth, no smile. Here's a few (history)—a murderer, and this one—see how close their eye sockets!—a thief, and here's a rack of torturers' skulls beneath which a longer row of the tortured, and look: generals' row, their epaulets on the shelves to each side of them. Shelves and shelves, stacks stacked on top of stacks, floor above floor, this towering high-rise library of skulls, not another bone in the place and just now the squeak of a wheel on a cart piled high with skulls on their way back to shelves while in the next aisle a cart filling with those about to be loaned to the tall, broken-hearted man waiting at the desk, his library card face down before him.


That poem makes me think of a couple of Doctor Who episodes. I don't have a lot to report except that my eBay seller quickly replaced the Xena DVDs that didn't work in my set, Daniel brought home the cheesecakes we bought to support his school choir, Adam discovered how to create an origami heart valentine on the internet, and my Valentines are all purchased. I didn't accomplish much today besides the bare essentials, but hey, the kids got picked up, the dishes got washed, the Star Trek episode I need to review got watched, and the cats did not starve to death -- though according to them, the latter was a near thing.

IRIS, one of NASA's earliest sounding rockets, used for test flights between 1960 and 1962.

The 1959 Javelin, one of NASA's largest sounding rockets...

...and the 1965 Nike-Tomahawk, smaller but steadier.

The Thor Delta, jointly built by the US Air Force, using the Thor ballistic missile as a first stage to launch weather satellites and communications craft.

This is the Delta Shroud, mounted on the launch vehicle to protect satellites during the launch, and a Delta third-stage engine which carried solid rocket fuel.

An Apollo spacecraft model capsule made for crew training, very similar to the Apollo crew module that took astronauts into space.

And here is a model of Goddard with a model of one of his rockets.

Since I was testing my new Xena DVDs, I put on "The Xena Scrolls," which had been on a dud disc (as was "A Day in the Life" so obviously these needed to be replaced ASAP). Gabrielle as Indiana Jones never gets old, but I must confess that I have trouble taking my eyes off Ares, particularly now, wondering what Kevin Smith would have been doing if only. And Next Gen's "First Contact" remains terrific. And I can't decide who's side I'm on in the Shepard Fairey-AP lawsuit; I certainly don't think the AP is entitled to compensation or to block the use of Fairey's image, but as someone who regularly finds her photos snitched and manipulated without any credit, I do think photographer Mannie Garcia is entitled to have his name on the credit for the poster.
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