A Tenant at Will
By Stuart Dischell
I no longer live on Linnaean Street
Where I watched the others going to work
As I drank coffee and smoked a pipe,
Inventing my current existence.
I was not bothered by the phone much.
No credit cards and little to bank.
My typewriter had just gone electric.
Nights I returned after drink and talk
To the punctuation of the white spark
On the trackless trolley wire.
And the slow-moving populace of summer
And the naked sub-lessee
In the lamplight flossing her teeth
Whether I looked or not were there.
Honks and voices and stereo speakers.
Those were the windows of that life.
Some faced a courtyard, the others a street.
I would like to visit who lives there now,
See how my face remains there framed.
From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post Book World. "There's a deep sweetness in the way that Stuart Dischell, a romantic poet with a funny bone, returns to the past in his three books...approaching the treacheries of one's own past, the hard turning wheel of time lost and found and lost again. We're going to the erotic underground -- the underworld -- of a male psyche, and it's as if he's sending regards ("be well, dig safe") as we enter the danger zone where necessary but potentially hazardous psychological work always gets done."
Aish.com has an unexpected and fascinating article on "Shrek's Mazel" as the film was written by a man who was raised a Reform Jew ("which for me basically meant the paintings of Chagall, the Holocaust, and trees in Israel" -- my G-d that rang bells, one after another, for me), converted to Christianity under friendly pressure from missionaries, discovered Jewish spirituality from an Orthodox friend and is now traditionally observant himself. "A main theme [of Shrek 2] is a definition of love that I heard from a rabbi: 'What's important to you is important to me.' At the meetings with Dreamworks executives (many who are Jewish), now and then I would mention that this is a traditional Jewish idea. It's really a basic theme of the film, and I'm proud to have helped steer things in that direction," he said. It never would have occurred to me to think of that as a particularly Jewish teaching, and reading his explanation of why was quite intriguing. This is why I read Aish.com even though their Israeli politics and mine are on opposite ends of the Jewish spectrum.
My sons both got attendance awards from Hebrew school. This is really something of an achievement even if it sounds silly, as 98 percent of the parents are perfectly willing to let their kids miss week after week for sports, whereas we always make our kids go for the first hour or the last hour or as much of the class as possible, and we need to have a serious discussion about soccer vs. Jewish education for next year. (See above re: Chagall, the Holocaust and trees for Israel.) The prizes were box seats at a Frederick Keys game today, each with additional tickets for parents, so we are going with my parents to see minor league baseball, which I often enjoy more than major league baseball. It is cool and somewhat overcast and looks to be a perfect day for it.
Dilemma: Next weekend we have Orioles tickets with my in-laws, the one big game we are likely to see this season. Due to the rain yesterday, my son's bat-a-thon and team pictures have been rescheduled for the exact same time as the opening pitch, an hour and a half away. Do we pressure him to go get his picture taken with his team, or to miss it to let the family together enjoy the not-inexpensive day in Baltimore? Or do we simply present the facts to him and let him decide (which with my older son invariably means fifteen changes of mind, and it's quite possible that he'd tell us to give away the Orioles tickets, then change his mind and cry bitterly)?