Fishing On the Susquehanna In July
By Billy Collins
I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.
Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure--if it is a pleasure--
of fishing on the Susquehanna.
I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one--
a painting of a woman on the wall,
a bowl of tangerines on the table--
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.
There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,
rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.
But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia
when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend
under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandanna
sitting in a small, green
holding the thin whip of a pole.
That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.
Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,
even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.
Loved this New York Times editorial, "The Rush to Wedlock Politics".
The Rush to Wedlock Politics
Published: July 2, 2004
The Senate Republicans' maneuver to stage a hurried, red-meat floor debate for President Bush's proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is nothing more than low-grade political mischief. The majority leader, Bill Frist, has opted to trash Senate procedure and bypass proper consideration in the Judiciary Committee to revive the Bush amendment, deservedly moribund for months. It is expected to come up barely a week before the Democratic presidential convention, perfect timing, as Bush partisans read their calendar, for pandering anew to their right-wing base.
In truth, the amendment has been generating all the Capitol momentum of a lead balloon. It is languishing far from the two-thirds' Congressional approval needed to send it to the states for consideration. Many politicians and an increasing number of other Americans, even those opposed to gays' marrying, find the idea of amending the Constitution to deny rights to a particular group of people objectionable. The proposal's fate was nowhere near settled in the Judiciary Committee, which by tradition is a prime incubator for constitutional change.
The amendment had been slated for consideration after the election, at the earliest. But with their slender majority power increasingly threatened, G.O.P. strategists clearly hope to squeeze some Democrats — Senator John Kerry included — who are wary or nuanced about the issue to provide attack-ad scripts for the campaign.
Senator Frist concedes that there are not enough votes for passage. But he insists that heterosexual marriage is under such attack that there's an urgent need to leap directly to a debate. "Every day I put it off, more people get married," Dr. Frist said in explaining the sudden rush. Imagine, more people getting married before they can be constitutionally discriminated against.
Going to eat lunch, browse tarot cards and see Prisoner of Azkaban with my mistress. Shall be back this afternoon with squee.