The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday and Neighborhood Teens

The Book of the Dead Man (Vertigo)
By Marvin Bell

Live as if you were already dead.
—Zen admonition.

1. About the Dead Man and Vertigo

The dead man skipped stones till his arm gave out.
He showed up early to the games and stayed late, he played with abandon, he felt the unease in results.
His medicine is movement, the dead man alters cause and consequence.
The dead man shatters giddy wisdoms as if he were punching his pillow.
Now it comes round again, the time to rise and cook up a day.
Time to break out of one’s dream shell, and here’s weather.
Time to unmask the clock face.
He can feel a tremor of fresh sunlight, warm and warmer.
The first symptom was, having crossed a high bridge, he found he could not go back.
The second, on the hotel’s thirtieth floor he peeked from the balcony and knew falling.
It was ultimate candor, it was the body’s lingo, it was low tide in his inner ear.
The third was when he looked to the constellations and grew woozy.

2. More About the Dead Man and Vertigo

It wasn’t bad, the new carefulness.
It was a fraction of his lifetime, after all, a shard of what he knew.
He scaled back, he dialled down, he walked more on the flats.
The dead man adjusts, he favors his good leg, he squints his best eye to see farther.
No longer does he look down from the heights, it’s simple.
He knows it’s not a cinder in his eye, it just feels like it.
He remembers himself at the edge of a clam boat, working the fork.
He loves to compress the past, the good times are still at hand.
Even now, he will play catch till his whole shoulder gives out.
His happiness has been a whirl, it continues, it is dizzying.
He has to keep his feet on the ground, is all.
He has to watch the sun and moon from underneath, is all.


From this week's New Yorker. Bell's last book was Mars Being Red.

Daniel did not have to go to school on Thursday because he had no final exams -- he has statistics on Friday, after which he may or may not have a lunch date with his girlfriend, meaning that I may or may not have to pick him up at 10 a.m. or noon or whenever he decides he needs a ride -- so after spending an hour of my morning trying to get him out of bed before noon, which finally happened at, oh, 11:45 a.m., I took him to Bagel City for lunch, which had been the bribe that finally got him moving. I am not really complaining, because not only did I have a yummy cinnamon-raisin bagel with world-class walnut-raisin cream cheese, but they had packages of mint meringue cookies, one of my favorite sins (and not even very sinful since they're only like 30 calories each so you can eat four of them and rationalize that at least you didn't have an Oreo).

Paul came home with a PCI IEEE card for Adam's laptop to see whether that would enable him to use the camcorder we currently own (which can only export video via firewire) instead of wanting to buy an expensive new one for his birthday, but we tried the card both on his laptop, which runs Windows 7, and on mine, which runs XP, and neither of us could get it to recognize the camera. (I can get my desktop to import video using the same cable, so I know the cable isn't the issue.) This all took place around shuttling Adam to his last tennis lesson of the season and back, so I lost pretty much the whole afternoon and evening to fighting with drivers and trying to figure out where in heck I put that four-pin to four-pin cable that would allow me to hook the camcorder directly to my laptop without needing a card.

The good news about the tennis schlepping is that when driving past the neighborhood next to ours with the pond, I saw two Canada geese and five goslings waddling on the hillside and pulled onto a side street to say hello. (I hope no one is tired of gosling photos; as you can tell from the pics, they're all in the teenage-dinosaur stage and will soon be adults, so we're practically out of gosling season anyway.) I have no TV report for the evening since we watched the Star Trek episode I need to review this week (an unimpressive Crusher mystery that I barely remembered), then an Orioles-Yankees game with a much better outcome than Wednesday night's, so here are the cuties:


It's my half-birthday. Do I get half a cake or half a DVD or something?

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