The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

When the Snake Became a Man
By Garret Keizer


When the snake became a man,
he couldn't stop swallowing
one rat after another until
he became so large he couldn't
constrict his prey. He hired
a number of smaller snakes
not men or barely so to strangle
the rats for him and a surgeon
to make an opening in his tail
over which he wore a velvet hat
when not extruding his meals.


When the elk became a man,
he found he wanted longer horns
and took it as a sign from God
that horn-grow cream appeared
around the same time as his wish.
He dipped the tips of his antlers
faithfully into the jars, having
first glued their bottoms to his sink—
it was just too awkward otherwise.
Soon his rack became so high
he could not raise his head
so bought a titanium crane
that followed him on little wheels,
took pictures, and sorted his socks.


When the whale became a man,
it was really no big deal, the whale
already a Sea World celebrity,
people used to seeing him in a tux.
The orca bit would have to go,
of course, the cant about his not being
such a killer. No, he liked to kill
well enough, it was his culture
and he wasn't going to be ashamed
of it any more than werewolves were
of theirs. He thought he'd write a song.


When the man became a man,
his dog became despondent,
having been a man himself
for quite some time. "A fine
thing to do at our stage of life,"
he said. Best friends with the man
for many years, he understood
the strange things likely to happen
when a man became a man.
The TV would go for one thing
and who knew what else after.
He wasn't about to wait around
and watch the transformation.
He packed up his bones
in their matching bone cases,
dusted off his real-estate license,
and headed down the road.


Another from this week's New Yorker.

As is becoming our Thursday morning habit, I got up very early with younger son to see what was new on Superpoke Pets (his best friend has one now, and his best friend's older sister, and I think he has about 400 more friends overall than I do). So we bought our sunny porches and quaint gardens, then he went off to school and I had breakfast and tried to wake up for real. I went to lunch with twistedchick, which started out a bit of a disappointment when we discovered that the Vietnamese restaurant where we had intended to eat had moved, but we ended up at a Japanese restaurant I'd never tried before which had superb teriyaki and very good, unusual sushi -- I had a Jambalaya Roll, which consisted of shrimp, crab meat, creole spices and some crunchy sort of rice inside sticky rice and seaweed. The portions were enormous and I took almost half a meal home for younger son, who complains because he loves sushi but since we are the only two members of the family who do, he doesn't get it as often as he'd like.

We had dinner with my parents on Thursday because they're visiting my sister and her family on Friday, then came home in time for Smallville, though I am completely lost since apparently I missed major relationship developments for two couples on the show when I missed last week's episode...clearly, since I have not managed to track down the video online, I need to read the summary at Television Without Pity. After that we watched "The Drumhead" which I need to review and which I had remembered as one of Next Gen's better episodes -- it's held up superbly and I only wish I had watched it during the Bush administration. Both kids appreciated it too -- older son drawing comparisons with 1984, which he's been reading in English class, younger son drawing comparisons with the treatment of minorities. I just ordered the fifth season for review since I'm almost at the end of the fourth; lots of great episodes there, too.

Arch Stone, collected in Southeastern Pennsylvania, from the Suiseki exhibit in the Asian Collection at the National Arboretum.

Water Pool Stone, also from the collection of Jim Hayes. Those are tiny models of birds perched on it.

Slope Stone, from South Central Pennsylvania, from the collection of Sean Smith.

Mountain Range Stone, Renzan-seki, from Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Near Mountain Stone, Kinzan-seki, from Eastern Pennsylvania.

Double-Peaked Mountain Stone, one of Jim Hayes' finds from Southeastern Pennsylvania... featured on the exhibition poster.

They are on display adjacent to the bonsai. This is a Dwarf Japanese Juniper -- look at the wonderful curves in the bark.

I'm too tired to wait and see whether Duke and Memphis are actually going to get knocked out of the tournament. Will find out in the morning!

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