Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Poem for Wednesday

By Sarah Manguso

One says Hello to the other and the moment falls from the other moments like a pebble from dark space, and again, Hello, calling to the other as if falling onto the other from dark space, and after some hours the word itself is like the small sounds we make when we touch each other with our mouths, and Hello, Hello, and now, if one wanted to greet the other, to say I greet thee, to separate the sound of the call from the other sounds, which are not calls to the other but to the space from which the pebble falls and into which time moves in all possible directions and we do not, one could not.


"I moved into a cabin in the foothills of the White Mountains in order to isolate myself, 11 years and several hundred miles from the memory of my 1995 diagnosis with the neurological disease chronic idiopathic demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy," writes Manguso in last week's Poet's Choice. "Thus separated from my actual life, I thought I would be able to remember it clearly enough to write about it. During this vacation someone else cooked and delivered my meals. I ate, slept, walked, swam. The rest of the time I functioned as a memory machine, remembering and writing. But then, in the middle of my vacation, I fell in love, and life recommenced. I had to move forward and look backward at once. The past and present interacted...this prose poem, a love poem, is about the summer that I lived and wrote in the present and the past."

My Tuesday was all about catch-up chores, enlivened by the Michael Jackson memorial which we watched on CBS once we realized that TV Guide was going to run scrolling TV listings throughout and CNN was going to talk over the mourners even more than Katie Couric. CBS ran commercial-free for more than two and a half hours, to their credit, though I am still utterly flabbergasted that this event is being treated like Princess Diana's funeral -- even if none of the really vile allegations about Jackson and little boys are true, how so many people can go on about the Christian saintliness of a man who gave alcohol to minors and called it "Jesus juice" is completely beyond me. I get his importance to Motown and to African-Americans in a broader sense, but come on -- MLK Jr.'s children, and Sheila Jackson Lee using a funeral as a bully pulpit, while Michael's much-altered body is cradled in a golden coffin? Farrah Fawcett, who died the same day, expended her comparatively low-key celebrity power on drawing attention to domestic violence and cancer research...where's her public outpouring of mourning?

Fort Sumter seen beneath the bowsprit of Belle Poule at Harborfest in Charleston the weekend before last.

French sailors aboard the Belle Poule.

A sailor climbing in Europa's rigging.

The USS Yorktown docked permanently at Patriot's Point, across the river from Harborfest.

The schooners Pride of Baltimore and Spirit of South Carolina beneath Charleston's Ravenel Bridge.

Another visitor from our area, the schooner Virginia, which we've seen in various ports closer to home.

Here are Belle Poule and Etoile with Romanian barque Mircea and Russian barque Kruzenshtern in the background at right.

On shore, there was a pirate encampment with a lovely view of the setting sun.

We had dinner with my parents, since we hadn't seen them in two weeks, then we watched the new Sci-Fi show Warehouse 13 (I can't call it "SyFy" -- sorry, it's like if CBS suddenly decided it wanted to be "See B.S." yet be taken seriously). I recognized the lead actress from Slings & Arrows and the male lead looks a bit like a less pretentious David Boreanaz, and with a show like that, I figured the chemistry between the leads is as important as the plot (because let's face it, X-Files had some very stupid plots). And I did like the leads, though I did not much like the storyline -- I really detest woman-crazed-by-neediness stories whether they involve vampires, ancient artifacts, or just typical stereotyping -- I can forgive Sanctuary-type CGI filler backgrounds but they had better get better plots than this one. Even so, it held all our interest for its two hours and I'm pretty sure we'll watch again next week.

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