The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Wednesday


The Big Sleep
By Philip Schultz


    The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is
    diversion, and yet it is the greatest of our miseries.
    —Pascal.

On Turner Classic Movies Philip Marlowe
is grimacing at the slinky beauty
of the woman who will become
the wife of the actor playing him.
The man playing me, up at three this morning,
worrying about the cost of private school,
health insurance, and the slow grinding
away of his savings, is wearing
bleaching molds because a stain chart
listed his smile as second to worst.
On CNN quaint dioramas of Baghdad,
the Sudan, and Gaza depict recent forms
of human misery. Is there a chart
that measures our ignorance and vanity?
On PBS philosophers are debating what
Nietzsche meant by our desire to create
beyond ourselves the purest will.
The sexual fire in the amber eyes
of the woman Lauren Bacall is playing,
perhaps? On the Western Channel
the whiteness of Joel McCrae's teeth
has survived dust storms, chewing tobacco,
and his character's nostalgia for
the brutality of his tiny moment. Some believe
we've consumed our originality,
that our diorama will depict nothing.
On the Disney Channel all fifty-six signers
of the Declaration of Independence
are shouting about the indignity of domination
for everyone except perhaps those
tending their fields and children.
Did the man playing Nietzsche grow weary
of trying to grow happiness out of pure will?
Hat over heart, the man playing my father
stood perpendicular to his exhausted,
uneducated, immigrant shadow, weeping
to our national anthem. A man stood for something,
he said. Did the actor playing Marlowe
understand that Marlowe stood for nothing?
On the History Channel men and beasts
are being slaughtered by machetes, explosions,
and hangings, their swollen, mystified bodies
falling into ravines, dropping to their knees
screaming for their mothers and God to save them.
It's three in the morning and everywhere
around me the silence stands for nothing
and even the god playing God wants to sleep.

--------

From this week's New Yorker. Sometimes several weeks go by where I think all the poems they publish are very mediocre and I don't know why I bother with them, but then the come out with one that really rings my bells like this one.

I had lots of plans for Monday, but Rosie was sick from 3 a.m. on, so I got very little sleep and then decided around 10 a.m. that it was time to call the vet, since she not only hadn't eaten her food but was showing no interest in trying to steal Cinnamon and Daisy's food (usually she heads in the kitchen to look for more food mere seconds after throwing up). So I took her to the vet, who wanted me to leave her for a couple of hours so they could get some fluids into her and do a more thorough exam than merely concluding that she yowled when someone pressed on her belly -- something I could have told them anyway. They said she would probably be ready to go home by 6 unless they found some reason she needed to stay, so I ran out to Office Depot to get address labels for holiday cards, then came home and spent the rest of the afternoon working on our family 2010 calendar now that Shutterfly is finally having a buy one, get the rest for half price with free shipping sale.

The vet said she thinks Rosie has pancreatitis, though apparently it's hard to diagnose without a sonogram, which is both expensive and time-consuming (they couldn't work it in today, though they'll do one tomorrow if she isn't keeping food down by then). Her CBC was normal except for an elevated liver enzyme which the vet suspected was from the pancreas pressing on the liver. She gave her antibiotics and an anti-nausea medicine, and sent us home with more medicine that we must give her twice a day orally (joy). Since Daisy was due for her rabies shot, we brought her with us to pick Rosie up, so now we have two cats who think we are evil and cruel. Meanwhile I have not heard back from my doctor about my tests, but the calendars have been ordered and the holiday address labels are a work in progress, so I will just try to catch up on everything else over the long weekend.


Some of the last color of autumn was visible over the weekend at Huntley Meadows Park.


There's still some green in the water, but the trees, cattails and grasses are mostly a dull brown.


Cattail fluff was blowing off the plants to seed the ground (and in some cases the water).


Most of the red we saw came from berries rather than leaves.


The warm weather had brought fish to the surface, however...


...and we've seen woolly bears sunning themselves nearly everywhere we've gone this fall.


Adam rescues caterpillars when he finds them on walkways so they don't get stepped on.


The beavers were not out while we were there, but evidence of their handiwork was all around us.
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