The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Tuesday and Mount Vernon Festivities


Styx
By Dana Levin


You put a bag around your head and walked into the river.
You

walked into the river with a bag around your head and you were
never dead

game on the banks of your
mental styx

for the double
audience

of smoke—

               —

You pressed a coin into his palm and stepped across the water.
You

stepped across the water with a hand on his arm and he was
silent and kind as you
               shoved off, toward the smoky coils

of the greek-seeming dead—
You’d been trying to sleep.

Found yourself here
in the mythocryptic land—

The river

               —

had widened to a lake. You were anchored
in the shallow boat

by his faceless weight—
And on the green shore you could see their vapored

residue, how they could
smell it, those two―if you

slit your wrist you could make them speak.

If you

               —

slit your wrist you might be able to sleep.

Grief.
Grief.
Handing you back

your coin.

--------

Monday was quiet but less frustrating than Sunday night, when Comcast stressed out the northeast with DNS problems. Our internet came back on a few minutes before midnight, thankfully, though I was too tired by then to try to catch up on an evening's worth of e-mail about cyber sales, which is probably just as well since I really did no shopping...I bought a few beads from an online seller, but those were very inexpensive in the first place. As usual at the start of the week, I had lots of laundry to fold and was debating between watching The Life Before Her Eyes (for which I've been spoiled, so I knew it would be depressing) and Leap Year, and I made the mistake of asking myself, "How bad can a road movie set in Ireland with Amy Adams be?" and thinking it must at least be superficially enjoyable. Why is it that filmmakers believe they can perpetuate stereotypes about the Irish that would never be tolerated if they were about Jews, Haitians, et al? As much as I've liked Adams in a handful of movies, I've disliked her so much in others that she's no longer on my list of actresses I wish would be cast instead of Gwyneth Paltrow. Some of her film choices are simply terrible.

Otherwise, it was a quiet day. I keep discovering that hypoallergenic gold-tone earring wires break more easily than all others -- does anyone know why that is? Tomorrow I have to go out and buy some more, if the weekend crowds at Michael's and AC Moore haven't bought everything in the stores. It was chilly but nice out, so I took a long walk, since it's supposed to rain a lot on Tuesday and we already have a flood watch. In the evening, in honor of Leslie Nielsen who will be very much missed, we watched a bunch of Police Squad episodes, which were all hilarious ("He shot Twice twice?" "No, he shot Twice once.") Then we watched part of the 49ers-Cardinals game, but given the Redskins' pathetic performance on Sunday, I have given up on NFC for the season -- at least the Eagles lost too. (We haaaated last night's bird-killing Simpsons but since I couldn't post yesterday let's just block it out.) Here are some photos from Mount Vernon on Sunday, where holiday festivities are already underway, including a rare tour of the third floor and cupola which is too hot and close most of the year for the estate to allow visitors to visit:


Adam greeted Aladdin the Christmas camel, visiting for the third year to represent the camel George Washington brought in one year to impress his grandchildren. This camel is very friendly and slobbered on my hand as well as Adam's, though he also tried to suck on the foot of a little boy who had worn Crocs against his parents' advice, thus causing much screeching and parents unable to keep from snickering and saying, "If you'd worn shoes and socks, this would never have happened!"


This is Apple, the national Thanksgiving turkey "pardoned" by President Obama on November 24th. He and his brother Cider will live at Mount Vernon from now on.


The grounds at Mount Vernon have been set up for evening events at which firelight and warmth around the camel and turkey are evidently desirable.


Costumed staffers were making chocolate -- consumed as a drink in Washington's day -- in a tent near the camel's temporary enclosure.


The formal dining room inside the house (where no photos are permitted) and in the outside kitchen have been set up to reflect the winter holidays, with desserts like a miniature tree of crabapples, a cake shaped like a hedgehog, and whatever pastry is seen here.


Each year for the past few, former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier has constructed a miniature gingerbread Mount Vernon.


Here is a marzipan camel by the back porch of the mansion, resting on what appears to be a bed of coconut straw.


Mesnier was visiting the gift shop this weekend, autographing his books All the Presidents' Pastries and Dessert University.
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