The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

Deal or No Deal (for ENGL 4714 CRN 16937)
By Nikki Giovanni

My class is not sure
That I should apply to
Deal or No Deal

They think I am lucky
After all
I am teaching

They know I am smart they are
For example

They don't want to see me
Make those greedy mistakes
And push beyond
The envelope

The banker is neither friend
Nor foe
He's a machine
To think you can beat him
Is to think you will win
At Vegas or love

But I persist

My dream is a red dress
Above my knees
High-heel red sandals
And me coming over the top
The music booming
Hi Howie I will say
With a lovely smile

I don't want to play the game
I want to be it

They were born forty years after me
Yet I am younger

I know you cannot go
Through life
Unless you are willing
For love or money
To make a fool
Of yourself

Where else does the ecstasy


"I said to my class that I wanted to go on 'Deal or No Deal' since I have figured out what you need to do to be successful," writes Giovanni in Poet's Choice. "They all said, 'NO! You will embarrass yourself.' My response was, 'If the only time I am embarrassed is by this television show, I have led a charmed life!' Ecstasy is about risk. Deal!" The poem appears in her new book Bicycles, which Giovanni says is "a book about love mostly, but also loss. Bicycles are about trust and balance, though we do fall sometimes."

After breakfast at the very nice breakfast buffet in our hotel, we drove through Brooklyn to Coney Island and the New York Aquarium. It was both bigger and more impressive than I was expecting -- we go to lots of aquariums and the ones in Baltimore, Boston, Mystic and Monterey get a lot more press, but this one is the perfect size for a visit of only a couple of hours and has a lot of nice features, like African penguins in an outdoor enclosure without floor-to-ceiling glass and with visible nesting holes, plus a sea lion show, a baby walrus, a shark-and-ray tank that also contains loggerhead and hawk-billed turtles, a touch tank, lots of fish and amphibians, and a decent cafeteria where we grabbed lunch before going to visit my uncle in Brooklyn.

He was looking much better than the last time I saw him -- in the hospital last summer -- and it was nice to be in that part of Brooklyn, where my grandparents lived for many years. It was colder and much windier than Saturday, but not rainy, so we walked a bit on the boardwalk by the aquarium to see the Coney Island Amusement Park -- which we thought had closed permanently but apparently is opening for the season on Sunday -- and in Brooklyn where there were many Jewish families out walking together after Shabbat services. We left for home in the middle of the afternoon and arrived in time to see most of Michigan State's inspiring win over UConn and Villanova's lamentable loss to UNC.

The penguin colony at the New York Aquarium at feeding time.

Kulusiq, the mother walrus, swims while her baby Akituusaq plays with a plastic shovel on the rocks above.

One of three divers cleaning the coral reef.

Osborn the sea lion gives one of his trainers a kiss during the sea lion show.

The boardwalk and beach at Coney Island...

...and the now-closed amusement park.

The pretty lobby of the building where my grandmother lived in Brooklyn for all the years we visited her there. I'm pretty sure the last time I was in the building was in 1986.

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, always an inspiring sight on the way home from Brooklyn.

More tomorrow -- travel has made me very sleepy! And older son is still in New York, coming home Sunday with his school group!

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