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

Poem for Tuesday


Civilization
By Carl Phillips


There's an art
   to everything. How
the rain means
   April and an ongoing-ness like
   that of song until at last

it ends. A centuries-old
   set of silver handbells that
once an altar boy swung,
   processing . . . You're the same
   wilderness you've always

been, slashing through briars,
   the bracken
of your invasive
   self. So he said,
   in a dream. But

the rest of it--all the rest--
   was waking: more often
than not, to the next
   extravagance. Two blackamoor
   statues, each mirroring

the other, each hoisting
   forever upward his burden of
hand-painted, carved-by-hand
   peacock feathers. Don't
   you know it, don't you know

I love you, he said. He was
   shaking. He said,
I love you. There's an art
   to everything. What I've
   done with this life,

what I'd meant not to do,
   or would have meant, maybe, had I
understood, though I have
   no regrets. Not the broken but
   still flowering dogwood. Not

the honey locust, either. Not even
   the ghost walnut with its
non-branches whose
   every shadow is memory,
   memory . . . As he said to me

once, That's all garbage
   down the river, now. Turning,
but as the utterly lost--
   because addicted--do:
   resigned all over again. It

only looked, it--
   It must only look
like leaving. There's an art
   to everything. Even
   turning away. How

eventually even hunger
   can become a space
to live in. How they made
   out of shamelessness something
   beautiful, for as long as they could.

--------

From this week's New Yorker.

The invitation order is finished, the guest list has been converted into an Excel document (*insert bloodcurdling screams here*) and exported to the web site that will in turn send them to the invitation printer to be put on the envelopes, and the table cards are underway -- by which I mean penguin graphics have been obtained and we have moved on to the phase where we see what looks best with which font. That plus the sheets/towels being washed plus Adam being driven to his tennis lesson were all I accomplished on Monday, plus getting tutoring sessions with the rabbi moved so they don't conflict with the tennis lessons. (You all should probably brace yourselves for an increasing number of entries like this over the next couple of months, just so you're warned.) I am not really crabby but here, have some Maryland Science Center crabs anyway:















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We were going to watch the first part of David Copperfield, which we recorded last night when it was on public television, but older son took so long in the shower that we decided we might as well wait till the second part airs so we can watch them on consecutive nights and found Nim's Island on cable instead. I don't always like Jodie Foster -- truth be told, I often loathe her even more than Gwyneth Paltrow -- so I didn't pay much attention to this film and I had either overlooked or blocked out the fact that Gerard Butler is in it too. We all enjoyed it, even the kids who initially rolled their eyes; Adam liked the lizards, birds, and sea lion, Daniel liked the science nerd appreciation. And I shall refrain from commenting on AIG, SyFy or any other abbreviated idiocy because, well, I'm sleepy and I don't want to get mad or start laughing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day if you're Irish, and happy March Drinking Day if you're not!
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