By Katha Pollitt
Coffee and cigarettes in a clean cafe,
forsythia lit like a damp match against
a thundery sky drunk on its own ozone,
the laundry cool and crisp and folded away
again in the lavender closet-too late to find
comfort enough in such small daily moments
of beauty, renewal, calm, too late to imagine
people would rather be happy than suffering
and inflicting suffering. We're near the end,
but O before the end, as the sparrows wing
each night to their secret nests in the elm's green dome
O let the last bus bring
love to lover, let the starveling
dog turn the corner and lope suddenly
miraculously, down its own street, home.
We spent Father's Day with my in-laws visiting ships in Baltimore, a perfect day for such an activity since the longest day of the year wasn't overly hot and the waterfront was beautiful. Cisne Branco was visiting Baltimore from Brazil, and had brought her own band, which was playing jazz in front of Harborplace. We visited her first, then walked around to the USS Constellation, whose crew recently finished restoring her wardroom and officers' quarters, and its partner the Baltimore Maritime Museum, which includes the USCGC Taney, the submarine USS Torsk, the Lightship Chesapeake, and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse (which no longer stands at Seven Foot Knoll but in the Inner Harbor). The schooner Lady Maryland and Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat Mildred Belle were docked just below the lighthouse.
We had dinner at Blu Bambu, an Asian fusion restaurant chosen by Adam (pretty good, very inexpensive), where we had hoped to eat outside but couldn't find a table out of direct sunlight, which ended up being just as well because there was a fire in a nearby outdoor trash can that sent smoke billowing all over the area for a couple of minutes. Then we walked back around the Inner Harbor toward where we were parked, stopping for a couple of minutes to look at the tall ships again and to listen to Elvis impersonator Jesse Garon who was performing in the amphitheater between the Light Street Pavilion and the Pratt Street Pavilion. After we sent my in-laws off to visit friends in Annapolis who have sailed down from New England, we came home to watch Merlin on American TV.
The restored 1854 USS Constellation seen from the relatively new Brazilian ship Cisne Branco.
Cisne Branco brought her own band, which played Latin-style jazz and pop music.
My in-laws and kids enjoyed the summer solstice on deck in the sunny harbor.
The Urban Pirates ship Fearless was cruising the harbor, plundering and pillaging...well, actually giving free rides for Father's Day.
We visited the USS Torsk, a World War II-era sub built in Portsmouth and credited with sinking three Japanese ships in the Pacific...
...and the Coast Guard cutter Taney, where conditions were nearly as cramped as on the submarine.
Lady Maryland was docked near the lighthouse. Her pink-and-green trim is immediately recognizable.
In the evening, there was a free concert by a performer we'd seen as Elvis on the beach at Ocean City a couple of years ago.