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The Little Review
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Poem for Thursday and Pierce-du Pont House


Nude
By Valerie Martinez


Is she lying there where light falters
   in rectangles of brown and bone
as maiden? Is she courtesan, sister,
   slave, wife, student? Has she been paid
to recline so, falling asleep
   like a creature in the afternoon sun,
ankle a point of light piercing?
   Is she somehow nothing of these—
new and capacious in sleepy defiance?
   Against history, then, so the eye
for once suffers amnesia. She is not
   desire, not mother, not even bits
of negative and positive space, color
   and shadow. No, not animal.
Is she meek? Is she fearsome then?
   Where does the mind’s eye wander
in this numb space? Is this her new redolence?
   She does not exist on the side
of any boundary, nor in the definitive,
   nor for the man’s eye upon her
nor the woman’s field of esteem.
   And while there is all this limiting,
all this blinking out and blanking,
   something enormous fills the landscape,
pure abundance. So it is
   with all we give away at great cost:
paradise rushes toward emptiness.

--------

I woke up feeling like crap from my flu shots (I'm told that it's likely the seasonal flu shot that left me aching and exhausted, not the swine flu shot), so I had a very lazy morning. Then gblvr called, also feeling terrible because she has an ear infection, and we decided we really needed to recuperate in front of the television watching Karl Urban in Hercules and Xena -- first "Green-Eyed Monster," the Cupid episode, then a bunch of Caesar episodes, and then a bunch of funny episodes we decided we were simply in the mood for like "Deja Vu All Over Again," "Soul Possession," and "Yes, Virginia, There Really Is a Hercules." I believe the profound consensus is 1) Karl Urban is hot, 2) Lucy Lawless is hot, and 3) it's no accident that every man on the show who can't have Xena fantasizes that she'd be on top if he could. Also, the history on this show makes Merlin look practically faithful to its sources by comparison, but we couldn't care. The fact that Xena considered what so many stories (including the life of Jesus) would be like, not even if they were feminist but simply if women were considered a significant part of the equation, more than makes up for various silly things on the series. And Hercules is just endless goofy fun.


This is the exterior of the Pierce-Du Pont House at Longwood Gardens, bought from the Pierce family in 1905 by Pierre du Pont along with the property so he could save the adjacent trees.


The house is now open and admission is included when one visits Longwood Gardens, which du Pont created to protect the land from developers.


A video about the history of the property is shown in the library...


...which overlooks a beautiful conservatory with fountains, decorated at this time of year for the winter holidays.


The curving foyer staircase has photos of the du Pont family and some of their steamer trunks decorating it year round.


Du Pont married an older cousin with whom he was involved in rebuilding Delaware's public schools and working on Longwood's extensive plantings.


This is one of the fountains in the conservatory...


...which has a large Christmas tree as its centerpiece in December.
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Older son got his PSAT scores, which were very good, and if we lived in any of 47 of the 50 states, he'd pretty much be guaranteed to be a National Merit semifinalist. Since we live in Maryland, which along with Massachusetts and New Jersey requires higher scores than the rest of the U.S., we must wait and see -- price of excellent public education here. Most of the rest of the news today was, well, news: Washington Wizards star player Gilbert Arenas being suspended indefinitely (possibly forever) for being a jackass bringing guns into the Verizon Center and allegedly threatening a teammate, the Mayor of Baltimore announcing she'll resign to avoid going to jail and losing her pension any further distraction for the city, the Holocaust Museum shooter dying in prison much more peacefully than the guard he murdered, Senator Dodd announcing his retirement, etc. We watched neither the GMAC Bowl nor the People's Choice Awards (I don't need to see Twilight win anything), but a bunch of the latest Robot Chicken release -- DVDs worth owning just for the action movie remake of Gone With the Wind ("Frankly, my dear, I don't give a Van Damme"), the scene where Dorothy's sidekicks melt the Wicked Witch of the West by peeing on her, and the Yellow Submarine parody in which everything is blamed on Ringo's acid trip.
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