Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poem for Wednesday and Boston Penguins

Miss October
By Rachel Loden

If I have to be a playmate
In my time on earth
I want to be the girl
Of drifting leaves, cold cheeks

And passionate regrets.
I think Hef loves October best
Because although he cannot
Say so, he is this close

To death. December
In its stealth has hung
Long spikes of ice
Around his sagging ears, his

Sex. So in October
I'll be the centerfold of gay
Pretense, the girl who says
We're at our blondest

And most perilously beautiful
Right before we check out
Of the manse.
Soon all Hef's dreaming

Will be ash, his favorite pipe
And smoking jacket,
Last vial of Viagra
Safely under glass

At the Smithsonian.
When my shelf life here
Is done and all the damp
Boys stealing glimpses

At the newsstands
Are old men, I want them
To remember how many

Are gone, how many rooms
Stand empty, shutters
Drawn, the last girls slipped
Away in bright October.


"'Miss October' began in annoyance and ended somewhere entirely else," writes Loden in Poet's Choice. "Hugh Hefner's E! Entertainment television show The Girls Next Door debuted around the time of its writing, and (in clicking channels one night) I was treated to images of a then near-octogenarian Mr. Hefner indefatigably flogging the program in his robe and slippers...'Miss October' (very unusually) emerged in a single fit of scribbling, precisely the wet and glossy piece you'll find below." The poem appears in Loden's new book Dick of the Dead.

My Tuesday was all about catching up from the weekend -- unpacking, laundries, phone calls, appointments (a couple had to be moved due to the kids' exam schedule this week), e-mail, that kind of excitement. I needed to run out to a couple of stores, and discovered that it was an incredibly beautiful day -- brilliant sunshine, temperatures in the 50s. After the snow and sleet in Massachusetts the morning we left, this was not exactly a disappointment.

Speaking of Massachusetts, however, the election result was a big disappointment -- I know there are many fiscal conservatives in that state but how could they have elected someone who is anti-gay, anti-choice (even for rape victims), and anti-health care even for the poorest citizens to Teddy Kennedy's seat? The only news I liked today was the discovery of a temple to Bastet in Egypt (my cats woke me up to present me with a dead mouse, alas). Speaking of Egypt, though, we watched PBS's Nova: Riddles of the Sphinx in the evening, which was fascinating, then the History Channel's How The Earth Was Made: Everest, which was too, and more fun than the news.

Little Blue penguins at the New England Aquarium in Boston on Saturday.

Happily bathing African penguins...

...and tufted Rockhoppers.

Adam with an Emperor penguin statue outside the aquarium...

...and a brass Little Blue penguin on a bench on an upper floor.

Here are some of the Rockhopper penguins swimming.

And some of the Little Blue penguins bonding while waiting to be fed.

This keeper gave a talk on the aquarium's penguins and introduced us to some of them while the occasional penguin tried to bite the straps on his underwater boots.

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