Saturday, July 17, 2010

Poem for Saturday and DC Earthquake

No Place Like Home
By Stephen Cushman

My ocean's the one bad weather blows out to.
To face the other, waves all driven
by prevailing winds, I have to turn
my back on my family. May they forgive
this westward spree, my losing my head
to ravens that ride the thermals in circles,
to the shrub-covered bluffs of coastal scrub
and chaparral, to coons in the avocado trees;
may they not worry that I see signs
warning Great White Shark Area,
Rutting Elk May Be Aggressive,
and Hazardous Surf, or that one night two
quick earthquakes burped through the ground;
and may they repeat, when I return
slightly burned from the land of poppies,
all the lessons they ever taught me
about odination in the ordinary.


My Friday began with a bang when Paul and I were shaken awake by the earthquake near Gaithersburg a couple of minutes after 5 a.m.. It made our street rumble and our metal railings clatter, though it didn't knock anything off our shelves. We had trouble falling back asleep after that, particularly since the cats were crazed and kept jumping on the bed, so I was a bit sleepy and woozy for the rest of the day. I wrote a review of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Descent" -- both parts -- which may not be my most coherent, and I waited for the roof repair people to return and caulk around the chimney and fan, which they did in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Daniel slept late and played Shin Megami Tensei in between bouts of chatting with friends, Adam worked some more with Apophysis and went to pool, I looked for more information about the 18th century ship discovered at the World Trade Center site this week, we all had dinner with my parents, and we watched Fame -- the original film, not the TV show or the remake, which turned up on cable. I hadn't seen it literally in decades and enjoyed it enormously, not just from a nostalgia standpoint, but because although it has dated in some ways (the Broadway posters alone stamp a decade on it, not to mention the boom boxes and oversize headphones and lack of laptops), in other ways high school in general and the study of dance, drama, and music in particular have changed very little. And I must note that I have little use for professional golf, but John Daly's assorted pants at the British Open should win a trophy.

A sculpture of ants on a log is one of several depicting insects in the courtyard of the National Geographic Explorers Hall.

The giant model shark is on the other side of the building, facing the street.

This is the famous elephant in the rotunda of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Paul, who is a foot taller than I am, took this photo of the Hope Diamond, removed from its well-known white diamond setting for its 50th anniversary at the Smithsonian.

This is the Smithsonian's giant squid -- probably the one that figures in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, though as you can see it is no longer in the annex at College Park but in the Natural History museum.

Looking at the Capitol Building from the Folger Shakespeare Library... has an excellent view of the Statue of Freedom on top.

And this is the flea market near DC's Eastern Market.

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