The Women Who Loved Elvis All Their Lives
By Fleda Brown
She reads, of course, what he's doing, shaking Nixon's hand,
dating this starlet or that, while he is faithful to her
like a stone in her belly, like the actual love child,
its bills and diapers. Once he had kissed her
and time had stood still, at least some point seems to
remain back there as a place to return to, to wait for.
What is she waiting for? He will not marry her, nor will he
stop very often. Desireé will grow up to say her father is dead.
Desireé will imagine him standing on a timeless street,
hungry for his child. She will wait for him, not in the original,
but in a gesture copied to whatever lover she takes.
He will fracture and change to landscape, to the Pope, maybe,
or President Kennedy, or to a pain that darkens her eyes.
"Once," she will say, as if she remembers,
and the memory will stick like a fishbone. She knows
how easily she will comply when a man puts his hand
on the back of her neck and gently steers her.
She knows how long she will wait for rescue, how the world
will go on expanding outside. She will see her mother's photo
of Elvis shaking hands with Nixon, the terrifying conjunction.
A whole war with Asia will begin slowly,
in her lifetime, out of such irreconcilable urges.
The Pill will become available to the general public,
starting up a new waiting in that other depth.
The egg will have to keep believing in its timeless moment
of completion without any proof except in the longing
of its own body. Maris will break Babe Ruth's record
while Orbison will have his first major hit with
"Only the Lonely," trying his best to sound like Elvis.
On a 100-degree Sunday, we got a slow start, watching the season finale of Doctor Who early while I folded laundry before my father took Adam out to play tennis for a bit. I liked it well enough -- like this entire season, it felt slick and superficial and very nicely made, but left me feeling nothing besides a kind of pleasant hope that since nothing was really terrible, maybe it might get better in a little while. Thing is, Smith has now has as many episodes as Eccleston to impress me and...well, let's just say he's no Eccleston, and for what it's worth, Moffatt is no RTD.
Nile penguins, hahaha, and I love fearless young Amelia opening the Pandorica, not afraid to run away from relatives and to touch alien technology. But later we learn it's because she's as damaged as the Earth history that permits penguins to live in Egypt -- she's lost so many people, she doesn't even know to grieve for them, she cries without understanding why she cries, and nothing seems to touch her much emotionally. Rose was so much a creature of emotion -- those devastating scenes with the sole surviving Dalek and with her brought-back-from-the-dead dad in "Father's Day," back when the series followed its own rules, when he had to die again to set everything right, when she couldn't touch herself as a baby without wrecking the whole world.
Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated...New New Who doesn't follow any rules at all. Amelia and Amy can meet without dragon-aliens tearing apart the world because the universe is already destroyed, except it isn't. I never mourned for Ianto on Torchwood because I'm so sure they'll bring him back when they feel like, to manipulate the audience if for no other reason. I don't like the fact that when people ask for a ridiculous miracle, they always get the Doctor, just as River Song predicted...I must remember that next season when inevitably they turn her into a villain or diminish her somehow, that if she kills him at least she'll be stopping him from yet another messianic salvation of everyone and everything.
Ah, River. I loved her standing up to the Dalek, no mercy, and at the same time I couldn't help thinking that deep down I wished she were more like Rose, who not only faced entire fleets of Daleks but knew that sometimes one needed to be saved just as a reminder of what humans and Gallifreyans alike are not. "Your girlfriend isn't more important than the whole universe" -- Matt Smith is still no David Tennant even when he's trying to do David Tennant, and none of this can hold a candle to the emotional knots of the Doctor ready to risk the universe to save Rose. And to think I wondered whether Rose was worthy -- after a full season, Amy is still Peggy Sue Got Married. She and Rory are perfect for each other because they're both really, really good at waiting. Otherwise Amy is still the great kisser who likes Greco-Roman mythology and Rory and oh where is Martha when the world needs saving?
At least River will be back, probably in some other recycled storyline; this one went from the DNA restoration a la "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" (is Amy now a perfect recreation of herself with no scars or anything?) then the Star Trek: The Next Generation finale with the anomaly working through time in several eras at once, and finally it's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the Doc's memories getting erased backward, except there's none of the same desperate sense of clawing to keep one great passion alive. I can't believe I'm saying this, but not only is Matt Smith is no David Tennant, he's no Jim Carrey, either. Well, I'll never be as angry as I was about "Children of Earth" because I just don't really care about Eleven.
Anyway, after laundry and lunch we went out for some more of Montgomery County's Heritage Days, beginning with getting lost on the way to an observatory, then heading for Art of Fire because we all love glassblowing. It was very, very hot in the studio, but we got to watch a martini glass created from molten silica, always an amazing process. Afterward we went to Butler's Orchard thinking we might pick blueberries, but as soon as we got out of the car, we dropped that idea and went to the air conditioned farm market for our fruit instead.
We watched a martini glass being produced from a blob of molten glass on a rod...
...to this finished product which was then removed from the rod and put in the annealing oven.
I wish I could afford the wooden lighthouse models encasing kaleidoscopes....
...though I also love the tiny thumbnail-sized glass animals, particularly the puffin.
The guard cat was on duty, nibbling on the hands of any visitors who petted for too long.
Produce at Butler's Orchard, some grown on the farm, some grown elsewhere locally, and some flown in, all labeled with its place of origin...
...plus lots of jams, jellies, sauces, mixes, dressings, syrups, and other condiments.
Our evening entertainment consisted of the last two episodes of The Tudors, which in most ways is even more preposterous than Doctor Who, yet I'm going to miss it...well, not the battle scenes or the torture scenes, though I am sort of grateful that we got to see up close just how despicably Henry behaved toward the end of his life, allowing torture and executions almost at random because he couldn't be arsed to work out principled positions -- the show's final scrolling notes observed that his elder daughter is remembered as "Bloody Mary," yet the series treated her more sympathetically than any other popular entertainment I can remember and her executions were less arbitrary than her father's.
I'm not sure how I feel about the flashbacks with the dead wives -- yet another cheap way of bringing back characters who shouldn't be there, though at least in this case it's clearly Henry's own desires and fears. Interesting that he says he really can't love Elizabeth because she's so much like Anne, and that Elizabeth herself is so clear-headed and dry-eyed when Henry sends her away with the sobbing Catherine and Mary because he knows he's dying; she's so clearly the strongest of his children, and like him more than her mother. I'm sorry The Tudors begins and ends with Henry, because it would be interesting to see this production's take on Seymour and Catherine and Mary and Elizabeth in the years to come, though since they made Lady Jane Grey's birth an impossibility several seasons back, I'm not sure how they'd move forward. Ah well, next we get Jeremy Irons in The Borgias, which will probably be even more ludicrous historically and I won't be able to look away.