Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poem for Tuesday

By C.K. Williams

Face powder, gunpowder, talcum of anthrax,
shavings of steel, crematoria ash, chips
of crumbling poetry paper—all these in my lockbox,
and dust, tanks, tempests, temples of dust.

Saw-, silk-, chalk-dust and chaff,
the dust the drool of a bull swinging its head
as it dreams its death
slobs out on; dust even from the scoured,

scraped littoral of the Aegean,
troops streaming screaming across it
at those who that day, that age or forever
would be foe, worthy of being dust for.

Last, hovering dust of the harvest, brief
as the half-instant hitch in the flight
of the hawk, as the poplets of light
through the leaves of the bronzing maples.

Animal dust, mineral, mental, all hoarded
not in the jar of sexy Pandora, not
in the ark where the dust of the holy aspiring
to congeal as glorious mud-thing still writhes—

just this leathery, crackled, obsolete box,
heart-sized or brain, rusted lock shattered,
hinge howling with glee to be lifted again . . .
Face powder, gunpowder, dust, darling dust.


From this week's New Yorker.

The only real excitement of my Monday was taking Adam to the orthodontist to get his bracket fixed after it came loose from eating a blackberry seed over the weekend. The orthodontist is in a local mall, and I had a Bath & Body Works coupon, and that awesome-smelling Sweet Fig & Argan lotion from the Morocco line was half-price, which is 1) great because it meant I could buy some and 2) terrible because it means it's going to disappear already. I got the kids bubble tea, took them home for lunch, then sent them to the pool, where they waited out a thunderstorm playing ping pong under the tent enclosure. And I did laundry and thrilling stuff like that.

We just finished watching the 1998 film of Les Miserables with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush, which I hadn't seen because it didn't get very good reviews when it opened and no one ever said "Hey, you've got to see this," but Paul figured the kids might be interested since they like the cast (also Uma Thurman and Claire Danes) and we just subjected them to the musical. I really enjoyed it a lot -- obviously it's very abridged, and there was quite a bit missing that I'd rather have seen included (Eponine, for instance) with some other scenes trimmed down, but Neeson and Rush were both terrific, Thurman was very good -- Fantine is really a thankless role, she has to be weak and fragile and at the same time tough and determined, and then she's dead -- and I liked Claire Danes better than I often do.

Here are photos of the bunnies and groundhog that live in the field behind my in-laws' house, along with field mice, stray cats, and lots of birds. I do not believe the groundhog is Maximus, whom I photographed regularly in 2004 -- this one is darker and a bit wider. The solo bunny sat outside in the shade under a tree all day, but the three bunnies appeared later and chased each other and jumped over each other with the groundhog nosing in the background, until one of the cats showed up and everyone flattened against the ground nervously. (The cat left them all alone, being busy prowling after something on the hillside.)

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