Saturday, March 17, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Terracotta Army

By Samiya Bashir

if this is a game then we have made it, unknowing,
to the final four. unlikely underdogs. spectators turned
to suspect sport. anti-athletes. out of shape beyond reason.

at season’s height we fight for a limited audience. few dancers.
fewer cheers. down by 30 and our coach m.i.a. we, foolish, dribble.
each bounce-back brings a stranger. can’t call us for traveling because

we ain’t going nowhere. instead, we trade terrified looks. search
for the pass but no one stays open for long. even if we knew what to do
to pull this through we’ve got two other teams waiting, impatient, to take us out.


My Friday morning was fairly quiet, just getting things done. In the afternoon, apart from being summoned to a Lugia raid, I worked on house stuff and fixed a bracelet with a loose charm. We had dinner with my parents and watched this week's Blindspot (pretty good) and Agents of SHIELD (not bad though not as good as the best of this season).

Now we're watching the crazy UMBC-UVA basketball game. I'd been fine with the idea of Virginia winning the big dance, but I am very excited to see a Maryland school, and a 16th seed, about to knock the top seed out of the tournament for the first time in history! Meanwhile, here are some photos from the VMFA's Terracotta Army exhibit earlier this year:









Friday, March 16, 2018

Greetings from Rockville Pike

Extreme quickie, Cheryl was here and we spent all day shopping -- first World Market and Pier One for home stuff, then lunch at Bagel City, then what was supposed to be a quick stop in Target but we discovered that they had die-cast Marvel mini figurines plus big foam Thor's hammers on sale for $5 and were doomed, then what was supposed to be an even quicker stop at AC Moore for split rings but we discovered that all their nautical decor was half price. Then we came back here with chocolate hamantaschen picked up at Bagel City and ate them while watching all the Thor: Ragnarok extras (best moment in gag reel: "I feel like we're going to kiss. It's so sweet." Also, Cate Blanchett apparently has the biggest potty mouth of the cast.) After Cheryl went home, there was much basketball on and I did a bunch of cleaning up! Here is one picture of a happy family member, more tomorrow!


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Poem for Thursday, X-Files, Prospect Park Zoo

By Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Your names toll in my dreams.
I pick up tinsel in the street. A nameless god
streaks my hand with blood. I look at the lighted trees
in windows & the spindles of pine tremble
in warm rooms. The flesh of home, silent.
How quiet the bells of heaven must be, cold
with stars who cannot rhyme their brilliance
to our weapons. What rouses our lives each moment?
Nothing but life dares dying. My memory, another obituary.
My memory is a cross. Face down. A whistle in high grass.
A shadow pouring down the sill of calamity.
Your names wake me in the nearly dark hour.
The candles in our windows flicker
where your faces peer in, ask us
questions light cannot answer.


Half my afternoon and evening got derailed talking to people on Facebook (in some cases people I didn't know) about the student walkouts, gun control, and politics in general, so I will keep this brief. It wasn't a super exciting day anyway apart from the fact that, using $20 in bonus bucks from my Sears credit card that I didn't have to spend any money to get in the first place, I got us a new toaster oven, since the heating element in ours hasn't worked right in ages and the handle was kind of melting off.

We had chili pie for dinner in honor of Pi Day, unfortunately while we were watching the very bloody start of this week's X-Files with Rose who had stopped by to see us and the cats (I still liked it better than last week's terrible witchcraft story, in part because vampire stereotypes bother me less and in part because of the shippiness). The didactic Designated Survivor always suffers by comparison afterward. Here are some photos from last fall at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn with Adam:









Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Poem for Wednesday, Rise, Green Spring Gardens

Ba Doi Gorge
By Hồ Xuân Hương
Translated by Linh Dinh

A gorge, a gorge, and yet, the same old gorge.
Praise to whoever has gouged out this scene:
A lurid cave with a stubby arch,
And rich green boulders covered with algae.
Now the stiff wind blows, shaking pine branches.
Dew-drops dripping from willow leaves.
You who are virtuous, or saintly, who hasn't tried,
Even with weak knees, exhausted feet, to mount it?


Happy Pi Day! This will be a quickie as Adam has stopped by, after seeing The Fifth Element at the theater with Maddy and her friends, to pick up his new credit card and to try to repair his laptop which did not like the most recent combined updates to Ubuntu and Windows or something like that. Adam got to tour NASA Goddard's Hubble telescope facilities with other interns and to see the James Webb Space Telescope exhibits, so he was pleased. My day was relatively unexciting until dinnertime anyway besides a walk in the park, since I had a bunch of cleanup chores to do online and off. Paul made Vietnamese veggie black pepper beef and caramelized pork for dinner, which Adam ate late when he arrived while we watched the end of Black Lightning.

Adam had the misfortune of arriving in time to see the first episode (and last one I will watch) of Rise, which has all the faults of the later seasons of Glee with none of the charm of the early seasons -- basically it's the story of a white guy who's bored with his career as a high school English teacher, so he gets the assertive Hispanic woman who runs the theater program booted in favor of himself because what's important when you're a high school teacher is being self-satisfied and never telling your wife your plans in advance, whether it's working far more hours that will impact her career or bringing home a foster kid to stay with your family for a while. Here are some more photos from Green Spring Gardens, all flowers this time:









Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Poem for Tuesday, Tulip Fever, Green Spring Gardens

2 A.M.
By Dorianne Laux

When I came with you that first time
on the floor of your office, the dirty carpet
under my back, the heel of one foot
propped on your shoulder, I went ahead
and screamed, full-throated, as loud
and as long as my body demanded,
because somewhere, in the back of my mind,
packed in the smallest neurons still capable
of thought, I remembered
we were in a warehouse district
and that no sentient being resided for miles.
Afterwards, when I would unclench
my hands and open my eyes, I looked up.
You were on your knees, your arms
stranded at your sides, so still --
the light from the crooknecked lamp
sculpting each lift and delicate twist,
the lax muscles, the smallest veins
on the backs of your hands. I saw
the ridge of each rib, the blue hollow
pulsing at your throat, all the colors
in your long blunt cut hair which hung
over your face like a raffia curtain
in some south sea island hut.
And as each bright synapse unfurled
and followed its path, I recalled
a story I'd read that explained why women
cry out when they come -- that it's
the call of the conqueror, a siren howl
of possession. So I looked again
and it felt true, your whole body
seemed defeated, owned, having taken on
the aspect of a slave in shackles, the wrists
loosely bound with invisible rope.
And when you finally spoke you didn't
lift your head but simply moaned the word god
on an exhalation of breath -- I knew then
I must be merciful, benevolent,
impossibly kind.


Not an eventful Monday, just editing and laundry and uploading the photos I never got to last night while working on the Shutterfly book -- of course Shutterfly extended the coupon a day, but if I'd counted on them to do that, I'm sure they wouldn't have and I'd have had to wait till I had another free coupon to print the book I worked on for so long! It was chilly but nice out compared to south of us, where a bunch of snow fell; we had a tiny bit of precipitation but not even sleet, so after hanging out with Maddy at lunch and driving her to work, I went to the park, enjoyed the fresh air, and raided Rayquaza with friends.

After learning that Maryland had only received a fifth seed in the NCAA women's tournament, which is awfully low (at least they get to beat Princeton), we watched Tulip Fever, which has a great cast -- Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger -- but couldn't decide whether it wanted to be historical, contemporary, witty, or dramatic so felt rather uneven, though it was gorgeous to look at. Then we caught up on Blindspot, which was completely brilliant -- Groundhog Day meets The Breakfast Club by way of the sadly now canceled Limitless! From Green Spring Gardens yesterday, an overview:









Monday, March 12, 2018

Greetings from Green Spring Gardens

Extreme quickie as I had a Shutterfly coupon expiring at midnight and spent all evening working on a photo book; I half-watched Timeless, which I'm delighted to have back, but don't quiz me on details. We watched Penn secure a spot in the NCAA tournament early in the day, then went to Green Spring Gardens, where the turtles were in hiding on this cooler afternoon but the geese and many flowers were in evidence, then we came home and watched the NCAA selection show during which both our aforementioned alma mater and UMBC got pretty much impossible first round games. Here is one photo from the gardens:


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Poem for Sunday, Brookside Spring, Justice League

By Leigh Lucas

for Wiley

His words are tomatoes
and panties. Mine are
a little harder to admit.
He tells me: I know it may
surprise you, but deep down
I’m really insecure.
His poetry’s a parrot in a
dollar-sign sack. Mine’s a child’s
hand in a fat grip on a fat crayon,
puncturing crate paper.
Be gentle, dear.
You have to say it sternly.

If I was more
like someone who wrote about
ripe red underthings, I might
feel safe enough to keep only
a thin layer of spandex
between me and the gory, between me
and immaturity, and words like womp,
the sound the villain makes
when he’s flung against the drywall.

Instead, I write about How I’m
Feeling, and wanting
superpowers, and actually think:
I wish my boyfriend was Batman.
That’s a real thought that I have.
This last decade, this in-between

place, became hard to stomach
the moment I realized that you
are the poem I’ve been trying to write.

I don’t have the velocity for
sleeplessness, nor the power
to create fire from a spark.
I don’t want to be saved.
I just want to know a hero.


It was a really gorgeous day on Saturday, which I hate to gloat about considering how many people are still digging out from snow and there may even be snow south of us tomorrow night. But it wasn't very cold and there was very little wind, so after a bunch of morning chores, we went to Brookside Gardens, where the geese and ducks are pairing off and the turtles come out to enjoy the sun. We saw daffodils, asters, crocuses, snowdrops, lenten roses, and the first apricot blossoms outside, plus a bunch of more exotic flowers inside the conservatory, and we drove around the athletic fields to the indoor sports facility we'd never seen before.

After dinner, we watched Justice League, which is now streaming and we somehow missed it in the theaters. I liked it better than Batman v. Superman, though not by much -- it had a couple of better actors but it also had at least four more fight scenes, and not even loving the Amazons made me want to see one more battle involving them. My favorite moments were throwaways like the Metropolis Daily News headline, "Did they return to their planet?" over photos of Superman, David Bowie, and Prince. The Flash was too snarky yet not funny enough. Diana and Arthur are both great, but there's too much Batmansplaining and too little believable human emotion.









Saturday, March 10, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Art Cats

By Sandra Simonds

I'm a witch who lost all her powers, then
   in place of my powers, I got the coiled beauty
of seashells and sleeping infants. The coiled
beauty of eardrums, and the sound wave
of bells. The bells! This is the country of clouds.
       The molten body, the Floridian pinks,
       and centuries of sand dollars examining
the arcing waves. New territory
of interiority and I'm in the middle of this.
   White like a negative belt.
I am an airless thing. When I get high, I get low.
           But I’m real and airless and love you.


I had lots of dumb chores to do on Friday, so most of my day was unexciting, though I stopped at the mall to get my mother a birthday card and wound up doing a Rayquaza raid with a mother and adult daughter from Wheaton, new to the game, who were looking forlornly for someone to join them (I caught Rayquaza with no help, so it was all good, and I caught a very high level wild Blastoise right near the mall so that was fun!). Also, I got a free Blu-Ray copy of Thor: Ragnarok because the special edition Target shipped me had the exclusive little book glued into its pocket so that the pocket had to be damaged to remove it, and since they're sold out and couldn't ship a new one with the book, they gave me a refund instead.

It was my mother's birthday, so we picked up my parents at their house, then picked up Adam from his apartment and went to Kapnos in College Park. The food is exceptional -- we shared tyrokaftari, melitzanosalata, dolmades, maroulosalata, saganaki, kolokithokeftedes, plus the meat eaters had lamb and chicken, then we also shared baklava, chocolate mousse, and some kind of crumbly apple cobbler with ice cream -- and it's nice to have new restaurants in College Park! After we dropped off Adam and then my parents, we came home and watched Agents of SHIELD (so much better this season). Here are some photos from Richmond of the VMFA's recent exhibit of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen cats through Nouveau, Deco, and Modernist phases: