The Day I Saw Barack Obama Reading Derek Walcott's Collected Poems
By Yusef Komunyakaa
Was he looking for St. Lucia's light
to touch his face those first days
in the official November snow & sleet
falling on the granite pose of Lincoln?
If he were searching for property lines
drawn in the blood, or for a hint
of resolve crisscrossing a border,
maybe he'd find clues in the taste of breadfruit.
I could see him stopped there squinting
in crooked light, the haze of Wall Street
touching clouds of double consciousness,
an eye etched into a sign borrowed from Egypt.
If he's looking for tips on basketball,
how to rise up & guard the hoop,
he may glean a few theories about war
but they aren't in The Star-Apple Kingdom.
If he wants to finally master himself,
searching for clues to govern seagulls
in salty air, he'll find henchmen busy with locks
& chains in a ghost schooner's nocturnal calm.
He's reading someone who won't speak
of milk & honey, but of looking ahead
beyond pillars of salt raised in a dream
where fat bulbs split open the earth.
The spine of the manifest was broken,
leaking deeds, songs & testaments.
Justice stood in the shoes of mercy,
& doubt was bandaged up & put to bed.
Now, he looks as if he wants to eat words,
their sweet, intoxicating flavor. Banana leaf
& animal, being & nonbeing. In fact,
craving wisdom, he bites into memory.
The President of the United States of America
thumbs the pages slowly, moving from reverie
to reverie, learning why one envies the octopus
for its ink, how a man's skin becomes the final page.
I had a lovely belated birthday lunch with Vertigo on Thursday at Tara Thai -- we were both pretty busy through December -- and afterward I did some shopping, bringing my new colorful bag that she gave me to Charming Charlie's post-holiday sale (with $5 paua shell necklaces and $7 necklaces with ceramic owls) and to Target (with less exciting shopping like laundry detergent). Did I mention that as of 2012, my state has instituted a five-cent tax on disposable bags not only for grocery stores and pharmacies but everywhere, so while I am used to bringing bags with me into the food store, I am totally unaccustomed to remembering them at clothing stores? I am completely in favor of the tax but I need to make myself remember the bags at places like Charming Charlie!
I believe the Silly Tarot Project is pretty much finished and now I need to decide how to present it -- it's electronic like my Barbie Tarot, not a physical deck like my Star Trek Tarot. Daniel had belatedly gone to lunch with my mother because he didn't get out of bed till well after noon, and Adam stayed after school for tech, so it was just me and the cats for a while before Paul and everyone showed up by dinnertime. We watched the 2007 telefilm of A Room With a View, which was disappointing in every way -- cast can't compare with the 1985 movie, sets not as intricate, and worst of all a terrible framing story stuck on to tell us what happened to Lucy and George after the Great War, which violates both the letter and spirit of the novel.
Here are some photos for Ethel King in particular of the Winterthur exhibit With Cunning Needle, exploring the history of embroidery in the New World and including the Plimoth Jacket (here shown with its reproduction cap and a linen jacket marked with the pattern for embroidery.