Monday, March 31, 2003

Poem for Monday

Old Men Playing Basketball
By B.H. Fairchild

The heavy bodies lunge, the broken language
of fake and drive, glamorous jump shot
slowed to a stutter. Their gestures, in love
again with the pure geometry of curves,
rise toward the ball, falter, and fall away.
On the boards their hands and fingertips
tremble in tense little prayers of reach
and balance. Then, the grind of bone
and socket, the caught breath, the sigh,
the grunt of the body laboring to give
birth to itself. In their tolling and grand
sweeps, I wonder, do they still make love
to their wives, kissing the undersides
of their wrists, dancing the old soft-shoe
of desire? And on the long walk home
from the VFW, do they still sing
to the drunken moon? Stands full, clock
moving, the one in army fatigues
and houseshoes says to himself, pick and roll,
and the phrase sounds musical as ever,
radio crooning songs of love after the game,
the girl leaning back in the Chevy's front seat
as her raven hair flames in the shuddering
light of the outdoor movie, and now he drives,
gliding toward the net. A glass wand
of autumn light breaks over the backboard.
Boys rise up in old men, wings begin to sprout
at their backs. The ball turns in the darkening air.

I discovered this yesterday in the 'Poet's Choice' column by Edward Hirsch in The Washington Post Book World, always one of the highlights of my Sundays.

I am very, very, very swamped. My editors appear to have no appreciation for the fact that things they can do in two hours will take me four hours or more because I am new to the system and it takes me at least twice as long to check and double-check things they can take for granted because they've been doing the same things for more than three years. Also, British English comes naturally to all of them whereas I have to realise that the colours of my neighbourhood require consonants and vowels that just look wrong to me. My kids have half-days of school tomorrow and Wednesday which is just going to make my time crunch that much worse.

You know what pisses me off? People who expect feedback on their fic when they haven't bothered to feedback the last four or five things I've written. Yeah, maybe they weren't all in your favorite fandom but if you expect me to make time for your stuff you could at least give me the same courtesy. I don't care if you don't read every word I write but then don't expect me to read let alone comment on every word you write, okay? Life is too short...

Sunday, March 30, 2003

City on the Edge of 'The Dead Zone'

When that show is good, it is just SO good. I mean -- tonight's episode was entirely predictable. Two minutes in you could guess the major crisis and the inevitable outcome. I simply didn't expect to have my guts wrenched inside out in the course of watching it unfold.

Anthony Michael Hall is just amazing. And it was really neat to see him onscreen with Ally Sheedy again. But really all the casting this week, stunt and non-stunt, has been excellent. And except for one single sexist, homophobic episode that made me want to hit Michael Piller with a brick and ask him what the hell he was thinking, the storylines have been universally thought-provoking, chilling at times...very Classic Trek.

Poem for Snowy Late-March Sunday

The Hour After
By Sharon Olds

The hour after, when we gaze and doze
and gaze, feels like the central hour
of my life -- the joy before it may be
too enormous to be carried out
into the world. Sometimes we tell each other
things: I want to go inside
your eyes, and dwell. Last night, you held
your eyes open, long into sleep, so I could
swim and swim, I feel filled, still, with that
circumnavigation. I thank you
for your seeds, we smile, I am honored to receive them.
I love for you to know me, I whisper,
to see that knowing deep in your gaze.
Every time we open our eyes
we are married, all the time we doze
we are married -- and every minute of the day
apart, married as if it could be physically demonstrated.
Early in the hour of knowing,
I had exclaimed, suddenly, kneeling between
your legs, and looking up, a moment,
It's like affection! It's very much like
extreme affection! And you'd smiled and softly
laughed. Who knows what it is like,
the play of love, foreplay, gazeplay,
dozeplay, and the play at the center like precious
work. It is like making something --
making what's there visible
and audible. We cry out, we sing,
and then for an hour it is there in the room,
the song. I look into your eyes as if I had been
parted from you for a long time or
were to be parted from you for an endless time.

That's right, I said snowy. Never mind that it's in the 40s and will melt as soon as it stops coming down so hard that it doesn't have time to melt before adhering to the cars and the wood of the deck. Yesterday it was 70 degrees and there were rainbows; today we have a snow shower.

I keep rereading The Unswept Room and I keep crying. pointed out that it is probably a mistake to think of Olds' poetry as strictly autobiographical, even though it is overwhelmingly in the first person, overwhelmingly consistent and overwhelmingly in line with the known factual details of her life -- in this volume she points out the ways in which she plays with reality, for instance in a poem in which her adult daughter, visiting a concentration camp, calls her mother in a rage and says furiously that the poet claimed in a poem that she was a Jew and she isn't so how could she do that -- so we get, on the one hand, the fiction of her Jewishness, yet on the other hand we get the provable fact of her poem about feeling like a survivor, which is in one of Olds' previous books.

I first read Sharon Olds my sophomore year of college in a women's poetry class that changed my life on so many I have literally been reading her for half my life, I have known the narrator of the poems for half my life. Reading about her husband falling out of love and leaving her is as upsetting as if it had happened to one of my friends. Worse even, because I know more intimate details about the narrator of these poems than I know about most of my friends.

Am now officially working as a news writer for Trek Nation. This will severely curtail my play time, I'm afraid, though it will greatly assist my financial situation so it can't be helped. If I owe you notes or betas or comments or fic, I apologize in advance, but April is going to be a very poor month for me for communication!

Susan Faludi in the Times on how Bush betrays the cowboy charter he apes...

Frank Rich on the media war and showbiz standards...

Maureen Dowd utters the following brilliant lines: "We're stunned to discover that the local population treats our well-armed high-tech troops like invaders. Why is all this a surprise again? I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam, but didn't they, like, read about it?"

From , the wonderful news: if I were a David Bowie film character, I would get to make love with Catherine Deneuve!

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Saturday, March 29, 2003

Rainbow Over Baltimore

Took the kids to the Maryland Science Center to see the Shackleton exhibit and IMAX. Both were excellent, though I got all choked up reading about how they had to shoot and eat their beloved dogs. Thought I was a pervert for having an overwhelming urge to slash Shackleton and Worsley, then saw the movie and watched them dancing with each other to "keep morale up among the men" and decided that in fact there is not enough RPS about famous dead explorers lost for years on end with lots of sturdy sailors for company.

It drizzled on and off and occasionally poured this afternoon, so we didn't bring the camera. So naturally, when we left the museum in the late afternoon, the sun was shining through the haze and there was a spectacular rainbow stretching across the harbor from behind the aquarium to the hills above the carousel by the science center. I really wish I could illustrate it here.

We had wonderful crab soup and salmon in a restaurant in Harborplace overlooking the water and watched the Coast Guard ships patrol it. The temperature hovered near 70 all day. Tomorrow they are threatening us with snow when the front moves through. At least maybe that will clear out the pollen!

In the Stuff and Nonsense department, made me very happy by blaming me for her Bashir/O'Brien story, "Not A Love Song". And has the Aragorn/Boromir/Arwen archive Dying In His Name up and running.

COOKING! guessed it! you are The
Rock, the most electrifying wrestler in sports
entertainment! you also a good singer too -
hehe! Finisher: People's Elbow, Rock Bottom
href="!/"> What Famous Wrestler Are YOU?!
brought to you by Quizilla

Poem for Saturday

As the Living Are to the Dead
By Pattiann Rogers

A sweet orange, peeled and sectioned,
lies on a plate atop a limestone
boulder covered with lichen
rosettes. A fossil of marine shell,

as if it were a stone heart, holds
and keeps deep inside the central
gravity of that rock. Grit and gravels
are contained, for digestion,

in the living gizzards of all
chickens—Cornish, Leghorn,
Yokohama. Such stones grind
even in the horny-lined gizzards

of fierce fighting gamecocks.
A purple-belled jellyfish drifts
along the sea with the current
of the Gulf Stream; its fair,

poisonous tentacles gracefully
snare and enclose a small prey high
above the motionless rock canyons
of the ocean floor. Within

the calcareous reef-skeletons
of coral catacombs, the surf
alternately advocates and declines.
Some people warm themselves

in winter by burning the black
rock of mortal bodies in the small
braziers of their homes. Tonight,
light from living and dying

stars is the only light shining
on the far-mountainside rocks
scattered across the cold other
side of the fully sun-lit full

moon. On certain spring mornings,
granite headstones speak, luring
many people to place cut May flowers
before their still stone stations.

You are a lion. You're brave and strong and are
usually the leader. You tend to be a bit bossy
at times and for that you end up getting in
most of the fights in your group. Don't worry
too much about it though, your friends still
enjoy you're company.
What's your inner animal?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, March 28, 2003

Poem for Ashinae

Where the Sidewalk Ends
By Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.


The Friday Five:

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?
Talking to my cousin Felicia who had just had a baby boy, her first child.

2. What one person touched your life this week?
My husband, whose birthday was Monday.

3. How have you helped someone this week?
I stopped one of my friends from doing something nasty to another. It's a small thing, but it could have been very ugly.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?
I need to learn the Trek Nation database.

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?
Clean my sons' bathroom.

So have a great birthday Ashinae!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Poem for Thursday

Golden Oldie
By Rita Dove

I made it home early, only to get
stalled in the driveway-swaying
at the wheel like a blind pianist caught in a tune
meant for more than two hands playing.
The words were easy, crooned
by a young girl dying to feel alive, to discover
a pain majestic enough
to live by. I turned the air conditioning off,
leaned back to float on a film of sweat,
and listened to her sentiment:
Baby, where did our love go? -- a lament
I greedily took in
without a clue who my lover
might be, or where to start looking.

I wanted to be the B-52s' "Revolution Earth," or the Beatles' "Revolution," but I suppose this will do:

What revolution are you?
Made by altern_active

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Poem for Wednesday

For Rhoda
By Delmore Schwartz

Calmly we walk through this April's day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn...)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(...that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn...)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn...)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(...that time is the fire in which they burn.)

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
                No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.


Because this HAS to be good news, gacked from :

What Flavour Are You? I am Chocolate Flavoured.I am Chocolate Flavoured.
I am sweet and a little bit naughty. I am one of the few clinically proven aphrodisiacs. Sometimes I can seem a little hard, but show warmth and I soon melt.
What Flavour Are You?

And gacked from who also makes me think about Arwen a lot:

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I kept Aragorn. Who will you keep?


Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Poem for Tuesday

Sonnet XX
By William Shakespeare

A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion,
A woman's gentle heart but not acquainted
With shifting change as is false women's fashion,
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling:
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth,
A man in hue all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created,
Till nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she pricked thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

A-Z gacked from :

A - Act your age? Nope. When I was young I acted older, and now I act younger.
B - Born on what day of the week? Sunday.
C - Chore you hate? Cleaning toilets. Would rather go to the dentist.
D - Dad's name? Roy.
E - Essential makeup item? I'm allergic to almost all makeup. Can't brush my hair without conditioner, if that counts.
F - Favorite actor? John Cassavetes.
G - Gold or silver? Silver, except sometimes in my ears where I'm allergic to anything that tarnishes.
H - Hometown? Washington, DC.
I - Instruments you play? Piano, recorder, a bit of guitar.
J - Job title? Freelance writer.
K - Kids? Two.
L - Living arrangements? Townhouse with husband, kids, two cats.
M - Mom's name? Linda.
N - Number of people you've slept with? Go fish.
O - Overnight hospital stays? Three. Twice in childbirth, once for hernia surgery as an infant.
P - Phobia? Claustro.
Q - Quote you like? "Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace." -- Amelia Earhart
R - Religious affiliation? Jewitch.
S - Siblings? One younger sister.
T - Time you wake up? On an ideal day, between 9-10 a.m. Ideal days are very rare.
U - Unique habit? Pulling a random Tarot card out of a deck to help unblock creative writing.
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat? Broccoli. Much as it pains me to have anything in common with George Bush, he's right about this one thing.
W - Worst habit? Procrastination.
X - X-rays you've had? Teeth. I had ultrasounds when pregnant but I don't think I've ever had another x-ray.
Y - Yummy food you make? Kraft Macaroni and Cheese right out of the box.
Z - Zodiac Sign? Sagittarius.

pointed me to this interview with Alfonso Cuaron on 's page. Put a big smile on my face: "The evil Voldemort is very similar to Saddam Hussein. Or George Bush. They're really the same. I believe George Bush and Saddam Hussein should go to a desert island together and relax. It would be a love affair, like in Y Tu Mamá También. And then there would be no war." (Maybe I will not doze off during repeat viewing of third Harry Potter movie as I almost did during second.)

And frabjous day, a quiz from :

You are Sir Robin, a knight on the quest for the
Holy Grail. You are very passive and cowardly
though you deny being so, and are accompanied
by a troop of annoying minstrels who are later
eaten (with much rejoicing).
Which Monty Python's Quest For the Holy Grail
character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, March 24, 2003

Poem for Monday

The Shooting of John Dillinger Outside the Biograph Theater, July 22, 1934
By David Wagoner

Chicago ran a fever of a hundred and one that groggy Sunday.
A reporter fried an egg on a sidewalk; the air looked shaky.
And a hundred thousand people were in the lake like shirts in
     a laundry.
Why was Johnny lonely?
Not because two dozen solid citizens, heat-struck, had keeled
     over backward.
Not because those lawful souls had fallen out of their sockets
     and melted.
But because the sun went down like a lump in a furnace or a
     bull in the Stockyards.
Where was Johnny headed?
Under the Biograph Theater sign that said, "Our Air is
Past seventeen FBI men and four policemen who stood in
     doorways and sweated.
Johnny sat down in a cold seat to watch Clark Gable get
Had Johnny been mistreated?
Yes, but Gable told the D.A. he'd rather fry than be shut up
Two women sat by Johnny. One looked sweet, one looked like
     J. Edgar Hoover.
Polly Hamilton made him feel hot, but Anna Sage made him
Was Johnny a good lover?
Yes, but he passed out his share of squeezes and pokes like a
     jittery masher
While Agent Purvis sneaked up and down the aisle like an
     extra usher,
Trying to make sure they wouldn't slip out till the show was
Was Johnny a fourflusher?
No, not if he knew the game. He got it up or got it back.
But he liked to take snapshots of policemen with his own Kodak,
And once in a while he liked to take them with an automatic.
Why was Johnny frantic?
Because he couldn't take a walk or sit down in a movie
Without begin afraid he'd run smack into somebody
Who'd point at his rearranged face and holler, "Johnny!"
Was Johnny ugly?
Yes, because Dr. Wilhelm Loeser had given him a new profile
With a baggy jawline and squint eyes and an erased dimple,
With kangaroo-tendon cheekbones and a gigolo's mustache
     that should've been illegal.
Did Johnny love a girl?
Yes, a good-looking, hard-headed Indian named Billie Frechette.
He wanted to marry her and lie down and try to get over it,
But she was locked in jail for giving him first-aid and comfort.
Did Johnny feel hurt?
He felt like breaking a bank or jumping over a railing
Into some panicky teller's cage to shout, "Reach for the ceiling!"
Or like kicking some vice president in the bum checks and
What was he really doing?
Going up the aisle with the crowd and into the lobby
With Polly saying, "Would you do what Clark done?" And
     Johnny saying, "Maybe."
And Anna saying, "If he'd been smart, he'd of acted like
     Bing Crosby."
Did Johnny look flashy?
Yes, his white-on-white shirt and tie were luminous.
His trousers were creased like knives to the tops of his shoes,
And his yellow straw hat came down to his dark glasses.
Was Johnny suspicious?
Yes, and when Agent Purvis signalled with a trembling cigar,
Johnny ducked left and ran out of the theater,
And innocent Polly and squealing Anna were left nowhere.
Was Johnny a fast runner?
No, but he crouched and scurried past a friendly liquor store
Under the coupled arms of double-daters, under awnings,
     under stars,
To the curb at the mouth of an alley. He hunched there.
Was Johnny a thinker?
No, but he was thinking more or less of Billie Frechette
Who was lost in prison for longer than he could possibly wait,
And then it was suddenly too hard to think around a bullet.
Did anyone shoot straight?
Yes, but Mrs. Etta Natalsky fell out from under her picture hat.
Theresa Paulus sprawled on the sidewalk, clutching her left foot.
And both of them groaned loud and long under the streetlight.
Did Johnny like that?
No, but he lay down with those strange women, his face
     in the alley,
One shoe off, cinders in his mouth, his eyelids heavy.
When they shouted questions at him, he talked back to nobody.
Did Johnny lie easy?
Yes, holding his gun and holding his breath as a last trick,
He waited, but when the Agents came close, his breath
     wouldn't work.
Clark Gable walked his last mile; Johnny ran a half a block.
Did he run out of luck?
Yes, before he was cool, they had him spread out on dished-in
In the Cook County Morgue, surrounded by babbling people
With a crime reporter presiding over the head of the table.
Did Johnny have a soul?
Yes, and it was climbing his slippery wind-pipe like a trapped
It was beating the inside of his ribcage, hollering, "Let me
     out of here!"
Maybe it got out, and maybe it just stayed there.
Was Johnny a money-maker?
Yes, and thousands paid 25¢ to see him, mostly women,
And one said, "I wouldn't have come, except he's a moral
And another, "I'm disappointed. He feels like a dead man."
Did Johnny have a brain?
Yes, and it always worked best through the worst of dangers,
Through flat-footed hammerlocks, through guarded doors,
     around corners,
But it got taken out in the morgue and sold to some doctors.
Could Johnny take orders?
No, but he stayed in the wicker basket carried by six men
Through the bulging crowd to the hearse and let himself be
     locked in,
And he stayed put as it went driving south in a driving rain.
And he didn't get stolen?
No, not even after his old hard-nosed dad refused to sell
The quick-drawing corpse for $10,000 to somebody in a
He figured he'd let Johnny decide how to get to Hell.
Did anyone wish him well?
Yes, half of Indiana camped in the family pasture,
And the minister said, "With luck, he could have been a
And up the sleeve of his oversized gray suit, Johnny twitched
     a finger.
Does anyone remember?
Everyone still alive. And some dead ones. It was a new kind of
With hot and cold drinks and hot and cold tears. They planted
     him in a cemetery
With three unknown vice presidents, Benjamin Harrison, and
     James Whitcomb Riley,
Who never held up anybody.

From, Adrien Brody's speech (and, for anyone interested, Michael Moore's speech -- I have mixed feelings as I think the more subtle protests were probably better received and therefore more effective, but I certainly support his right to speak without the orchestra playing him offstage). Boy do I wish we could have heard Roman Polanski's speech via satellite from wherever he is...

Gacked from many people, not in any particular order,
10 Things That Turn Me On:
1. watching men kiss
2. earthy erotic poetry
3. straightforward, non-angst-ridden, pleasure-focused kink
4. The Hunger
5. people who can laugh during sex without it getting ridiculous
6. Avery Brooks' voice
7. dominant feminine women
8. Bible slash
9. men with beautiful hands
10. the smell of cinnamon on someone's skin

You Are A Changeling
Take the World of Darkness Quiz
by David J Rust

Vampire Score: 2 / WereWolf Score: 8 / Mage Score: 9 / Wraith Score: -6 / Changeling Score: 13

It's my husband's 38th birthday. Must go plot.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Sleepy after Oscars

Adrien Brody is my new boyfriend. Though I bet I am going to be sharing him with LOTS of other people.

Am happy that Renee lost and feel badly because I should be glad that someone won rather than that someone lost. But while I could have been happy for Julianne or Diane and wouldn't have cared if it was Salma and didn't care that it was Nicole, I didn't want Renee. But hey, CZJ owned that movie. And for awhile it seemed like no one noticed.

TTT got a couple of awards which is all I was hoping for or expecting, so am glad there. And I got my .5 seconds of Louise Fletcher in the Oscar winner montage and another .5 seconds of her actually onstage with lots of other Oscar winners and looking great! Onstage with Anjelica and Jack and Chris Walken and Martin Landau and Susan Sarandon who was awfully subtle protesting but at least she flashed the peace sign. So am happy!

And speaking of Chris Walken, I'm very sorry he didn't win but at least he looked like he was enjoying the show. Though not as much as Jack Nicholson, who always looks like he's enjoying the show. He should always be front and center. (And I love Steve Martin suggesting Jack is gay...god, trying to think of a Nicholson character I could slash...nope, not happening...)

From , this delightful surprise:

Remus and Sirius
Which Harry Potter Characters Are You The Child Of?

brought to you by Quizilla

Lyrics for Sunday

Blowin' in the Wind
by Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yesterday since it was gorgeous we took the kids to Huntley Meadows to see the wetlands in near-flood. Saw lots of huge snapping turtles, some smaller turtles, scattered waterfowl and a handful of bugs but it was apparently too early for frogs or snakes in significant numbers though we heard occasional croaking. The beaver and muskrat were apparently asleep, too.

Remind me not to write DS9 for again -- I got one stinkin' comment. Even my friends didn't bother to read it! And, you know, it wasn't terribly good and it had some het, but I thought it might still be interesting than the fifteenth EW/DM story in a week. Ah well, must seek out a Trek forum when I get the urge to write Trek!

Frank Rich on "They Both Reached For the Gun" -- Roxie and Dubya that is. No wonder Chicago, which is supposed to be our escapist movie for the year, seems so dark and relevant to me.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Poem for Saturday

The Lost Pilot
By James Tate

for my father, 1922-1944
Your face did not rot
like the others--the co-pilot,
for example, I saw him

yesterday. His face is corn-
mush: his wife and daughter,
the poor ignorant people, stare

as if he will compose soon.
He was more wronged than Job.
But your face did not rot

like the others--it grew dark,
and hard like ebony;
the features progressed in their

distinction. If I could cajole
you to come back for an evening,
down from your compulsive

orbiting, I would touch you,
read your face as Dallas,
your hoodlum gunner, now,

with the blistered eyes, reads
his braille editions. I would
touch your face as a disinterested

scholar touches an original page.
However frightening, I would
discover you, and I would not

turn you in; I would not make
you face your wife, or Dallas,
or the co-pilot, Jim. You

could return to your crazy
orbiting, and I would not try
to fully understand what

it means to you. All I know
is this: when I see you,
as I have seen you at least

once every year of my life,
spin across the wilds of the sky
like a tiny, African god,

I feel dead. I feel as if I were
the residue of a stranger's life,
that I should pursue you.

My head cocked toward the sky,
I cannot get off the ground,
and, you, passing over again,

fast, perfect, and unwilling
to tell me that you are doing
well, or that it was mistake

that placed you in that world,
and me in this; or that misfortune
placed these worlds in us.

From , the alphabet movie meme:
AAmadeus - for the music alone, but also just superbly done
BBob Roberts - Tim Robbins skewers politics with music
CCrimes and Misdemeanors - Woody Allen's tragicomic masterpiece
DDangerous Liaisons - the most stylish film ever made
EEvita - have always loved the musical and Madonna is wonderful
F - The Fellowship of the Ring - do I really need to explain?
GThe Grifters - creepy mod-noir and Anjelica is phenomenal beyond belief
HHair - Let the sunshine in and stop the war
IThe Indian Runner - gripping, haunting and superbly acted
J - Joe vs. the Volcano - an underrated, hilarious, uplifting film
KKiss of the Spider Woman - Stunningly powerful, gutwrenching
LThe Lion In Winter - History, Hepburn, amazing dialogue and acting
MThe Maltese Falcon - everything noir is and should be
NThe Natural - because I love the dream of baseball with a passion
OOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - the script, the acting, Louise Fletcher
PThe Princess Bride - I am not left-handed!
QQueen Christina - My favorite Garbo
RRear Window - Hitchcock, Grace Kelly and humor, an irresistible combination
SStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - the best of the big-screen Treks
TTempest - Mazursky's film with Cassavetes, Rowlands and Sarandon, a masterpiece
UUnforgiven – one of few Eastwood movies I really like
VVertigo - Hitchcock wraps obsession and pathology together
WThe Wizard of Oz - because who can forget it, ever?
XXanadu - because yes, I do love Olivia and ELO
YYoung Frankenstein - Mel Brooks' masterpiece, one of the funniest movies ever
ZZelig - another Woody Allen masterpiece, the fiction of history

Fascinating Bill Keller op-ed piece on why Colin Powell is the wrong secretary of state for Dubya, even though Keller and I both agree that Powell is one of the few members of the Bush cabinet who actually listens to reason...

and an op-ed piece on the hypocrisy of the U.N. which I found myself unhappily agreeing with a lot of, even though my major issue -- the screaming hypocrisy toward Israel -- is never addressed.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Ten Songs I Am Embarrassed To Love

Gacked from . This was far too easy. In fact the hardest part was cutting out the other 80 or so songs I am embarrassed to love.

1. "Top of the World," The Carpenters
2. "I Made It Through The Rain," Barry Manilow
3. "The Best of Times," Styx
4. "Steel Bars," Michael Bolton
5. "Songbird," Barbra Streisand
6. "America," Neil Diamond
7. "Celebration," Kool and the Gang
8. "Still," The Commodores
9. "Magic," Olivia Newton-John
10. "Too Much Heaven," The Bee Gees

Took the Citizenship Quiz and am ashamed to admit I missed the number of amendments to the Constitution; just couldn't remember off the top of my head. At least I still got an A-.

Poem for Friday

By Catherine Anderson

She slides over
the hot upholstery
of her mother's car,
this schoolgirl of fifteen
who loves humming & swaying
with the radio.
Her entry into womanhood
will be like all the other girls'--
a cigarette and a joke,
as she strides up with the rest
to a brick factory
where she'll sew rag rugs
from textile strips of kelly green,
bright red, aqua.

When she enters,
and the millgate closes,
final as a slap,
there'll be silence.
She'll see fifteen high windows
cemented over to cut out light.
Inside, a constant, deafening noise
and warm air smelling of oil,
the shifts continuing on...
All day she'll guide cloth along a line
of whirring needles, her arms & shoulders
rocking back & forth
with the machines--
200 porch size rugs behind her
before she can stop
to reach up, like her mother,
and pick the lint
out of her hair.

Friday Five

1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be?

Jesus Christ. I desperately want to hear directly from his mouth what he said.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?

I always wanted to live in Star Trek's future, with peaceful coexistence among the inhabitants of hundreds of cultures and instantaneous communication and a library computer that could access anything ever written anywhere. And you know, technologically, in some ways we've come close to creating that future. And in other ways I believe less that it's possible now than I did when I was a child.

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?

There are a lot of places I've always wanted to live for a year -- Britain, Israel, the South Pacific. But permanently? In spite of everything I wouldn't want to leave the United States. I just want America back the way it was meant to be, moving forward instead of backward.

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?

Mulan in the Disney film. She rocks.

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?

Yeesh, I have no idea! I mean, Lee Remick and Grace Kelly were both gorgeous but if I looked like them I wouldn't be me.

You see the world in Red, Green, and Blue
Red/Green/Blue: To you, the world is logical. Everything happens
for a reason, life is scientific. You like to
find solutions. I doubt you needed to take this
quiz in order to realize this.
What color do you see the world in?
brought to you by Quizilla

Am still on the Isle of Denial. Therefore, things that make me smile:

Aragorn/Boromir angst by ...

Really lovely drawing of Sean Bean that a fan sent ...

And of course I don't ever read RPS but if I did I would have howled aloud at "Ink Stains" by .

, you still have to send me those URLs. And -- my second VCR broke! I need help! And , I love know why. You too, .

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Poem for 3/20

Tug O' War
by Shel Silverstein

I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.


pretty boy
You Are The Pretty Boy
href="">What Type Of Gay Man Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

This is good to know though pretty darned hilarious considering that I don't own any glitter and couldn't tell you what anyone is ever wearing. The wonderful from whom I grabbed it said she'll tape the Dawson's Creek marathon for me while we're in Europe next month. Must come up with something very, very nice to do for her. Finding nude pics of Ian Somerhalder that she hasn't already seen seems unlikely; anyone got Tom Welling's phone number?

And gacked ages ago from :

1) Five nicknames you've had.
Jolly Green Midget, Love Bear, YCD, Queen of Sap, fangirl.

2) Five books you've read recently.
Forever by Pete Hamill, Sharpe's Victory by Rachel Murrell, Summerland by Michael Chabon, Caravaggio by Leo Bersani, Stalking Elijah by Rodger Kamenetz.

3) Five quirky facts about you.
I'm under five feet tall, I collect Tarot decks even though I don't believe in divination, the first three boys I ever kissed were all named David, I once memorized the entire Periodic Table of Elements, and I have no idea how to program my own VCR.

4) Five people who have influenced your life.
My father's mother Sylvia, my college roommate Tracey, my freshman English prof Maureen, and .

5) Five things to which you're looking forward.
The war ending, going to Europe, having lunch with , The Two Towers extended edition DVD, and working on schmoopy fic over the weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Poem for Wednesday

A Divine Image
By William Blake

Cruelty has a Human heart
And Jealousy a Human Face,
Terror, the Human Form Divine,
And Secrecy, the Human Dress.

The Human Dress is forgéd Iron,
The Human Form, a fiery Forge,
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd,
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

Gacked from , my very favorite of the series:

The only book which doesn't take place in Narnia at all, per se, you're the story of a voyage to find the end of the world and hopefully the Seven Lost Lords (remember Rhoop!). You contain some of the most unique people and places and beautiful descriptions of the whole series.
Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

More on <i>Caravaggio</i>

Have decided I need to talk about the movie, not the kiss...though really the movie would be worth watching just for the kiss. It's quite good, much more entertaining than I was expecting; having seen other Jarman films, I expected it to be more of an intellectual struggle to follow the drama, but it's quite emotionally gripping and some of the visuals are incredibly striking -- and I don't just mean Sean Bean wearing next to nothing.

I will not spoil the ending but I am going to spoil some of the plot points so if you think you can track down a copy and don't know the life story of Caravaggio and want to come to it a virgin, don't read any further than the pretty picture. (Note: all photos from the BFI book on Caravaggio by Leo Bersani; you can get it relatively cheaply at Powells Books.)

Caravaggio is told from the artist's deathbed in flashbacks. He's in exile after having done A Very Bad Thing, which is hardly a secret but I won't mention it here. The film deliberately draws attention to the fact that it's a reconstruction of history, not actual history; there are bicycles, trucks and typewriters in this Renaissance. I get a kick out of thinking of it as RPS (like Mrs. Brown or even Being John Malkovich -- it's all a matter of who's creating the fiction, isn't it?). The storytelling is slow and methodical; for instance, there's a long scene with a gymnast who's posing for the artist, showing off unnatural-natural body positions; that same character also has a monologue about perverted sex at aristocratic parties and later attends a party in the catacombs with rotting skeletons all around, the visual symbolism is quite heavy.

Anyway, what people want to know: Sean Bean plays Ranuccio, a fighter and part-time whore whom Caravaggio spots in a pub and invites to pose for one of his religious paintings that's giving him trouble. (The Church does not come off at all well; Caravaggio's sodomy and a friend's possible murder conviction are both ignored as long as the Pope and cardinals are happy with the work.) Michel -- short for Michelangelo, Caravaggio's first name -- and Ranuccio have a strange, twisted erotic relationship complicated by the fact that Ranuccio is in love with Lena, who ends up abandoning him for a nobleman so that her child (and presumably Ranuccio's) can be brought up wealthy. That kiss takes place right after Ranuccio stabs Michel in the side after a staged fight that Michel assumed was already over; he smears his blood over Ranuccio's face and says "Blood brothers," and Ranuccio kisses him. The blood-brothers idea comes up again later in an even creepier context.

There's not a great deal of physical contact between the two but there's a lot of smoldering gazes and uncomfortable looking-away when anyone else is watching. Lena accuses Ranuccio of being in love with Michel, which he denies -- says it's just for the money -- but even between Lena and Ranuccio, coins are used as erotic aids, so that's a loaded statement. My read on it is that Michel loves Ranuccio, which he says, but while Ranuccio isn't averse to sex with Michel, he loves Lena. And while Lena has a lot of affection for Michel and likes sex with Ranuccio, she's first and foremost a pragmatist; whoever has the most money will win her.

The core emotional relationship is between Caravaggio and his mute assistant, Jerusaleme, who is rather jealous of Ranuccio and wants to usurp his place in Michel's painting and his affections. He's not jealous of Lena despite the fact that Michel kisses her to make Ranuccio jealous. Actually, I can't decide whether he's only interested in Lena from an aesthetic point of view and as a way to Ranuccio or if he's genuinely attracted to her; he is devastated to lose her, but his grief seems detached, like mourning for the Madonna of his painting rather than someone he knew well.

The scene everyone here has probably seen screen-capped at The Compleat Sean Bean is where Michel gives Ranuccio coins to pose for him, and Ranuccio, who's accustomed to hiding stolen jewels and coins in his mouth, keeps putting them there until he's got a mouthful of gold and Michel comes up to him with one more coin between his lips to see if Ranuccio will take it from him with his own, which Ranuccio does. There's also a scene at the party in the catacombs where Caravaggio traps Ranuccio with his knife, upon which he has placed a ring that he ends up putting on Ranuccio's finger in a parody of a wedding.

I'm afraid to say more for fear of spoiling the entire movie...

Poem for Tuesday and Headlines

From War Is Kind
By Stephen Crane

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die
The unexplained glory flies above them
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom--
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift, blazing flag of the regiment
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die
Point for them the virtue of slaughter
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Kristof in the Times on lessons from the Trojan War for Gulf Wars II: Clone of the Attack...

Krugman on the wars we can expect with Syria and Iran next...

...and the only piece of good news I could find in the paper this morning, on the failure of Bush's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic wildlife sanctuary.

Also, because smiles are necessary, a forward from a friend from the March 7 issue of Entertainment Weekly (which I read, but I missed because I have no interest in Daredevil), filmmaker Kevin Smith discussing Daredevil II and the need for a new villain: "Matt Damon would be hot. America wants to see the inevitable: Ben Affleck and Damon making out."

And pointed out by , The Very Secret Diary of Dubya!

Monday, March 17, 2003

Poem for Monday

Love In Blood Time
By Sharon Olds

When I saw my blood on your leg, the drop so
dark and clear, that real arterial red,
I could not even think about death, you
stood there smiling at me,
you squatted in the tub on your long haunches
and washed it away.
The large hard bud of your glans in my mouth,
the dark petals of my sex in your mouth,
I could feel death going farther and farther away,
forgetting me, losing my address, his
palm forgetting the curve of my cheek in his hand.
Then we lay in the small glow of the
lamp and I saw your lower lip
glazed with light like liquid fire
I looked at you and I tell you I knew you were God
and I was God and we lay in our bed
on the dark cloud, and somewhere all we did, the
blood, the pink stippling of the head, the
pearl fluid out of the slit, the
goodness of all we did would somehow get
down there, it would find its flowering in the world.

Took me until today to read yesterday's New York Times, due to sleeping late and a Purim carnival and then hiking with my children and parents along the banks and across the footbridges of the very swollen Potomac River at Great Falls in magnificent spring weather. Had quite a lovely afternoon; saw some old friends at the carnival and my younger son escaped a collapsing moonbounce and then I came home and made a concerted effort to finish birthday fic that ended up being hopeless. So I want to recommend these editorials on the by-now-inevitable war, by Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman respectively.

Also had hysterics after discovering on the LOTRgossip list that Dark Horizons started an item about Hidalgo not really being based on a true story with the following quote: "Viggo Mortensen riding a bucking bronco (is that what they're calling Orlando Bloom these days?) is one of the big releases this October..."

Gacked from with inevitable results. (Hope you are feeling better sweetie!) And hey, look, it's Real Janeway from before the haircut! So maybe it's not so bad...

You are Captain Janeway
Voyager's Captain, Katherine Janeway.

Star Trek Voyager Crew Test
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Poem for Sunday

What are the consequences of silence?
By Bhanu Kapil Rider


Red Canna, I see you. Edge of. What I saw: a flower blossoming, in slow motion.
Not specific enough. Okay. No. Cannot. Red Canna, I veer into you. I am not in
one straight line. Red Canna, I see you. 1904. The University of Arizona Museum
of Art. Opening in slow motion: are you okay? Are you okay? Can you hear me?
(I can't)

That's how it begins: impenetrable.

The book of two words I happen to see, out of the corner of my eye, on a wall. Such

These words took years to arrive.

Yesterday: after aborted attempt to see the new bugs IMAX movie at a Smithsonian surrounded by police and protestors, we drove across the river to Alexandria and visited places George Washington slept and the Torpedo Factory artists instead. Beautiful waterfront, beatiful weather. Felt vaguely bad not to be joining the protestors but I understand some more idiotic things were said about Israel and the Palestinians so maybe it's just as well that I was not there. More details later as I have to go get dressed...

Today I'm taking the family to a Purim carnival at the kids' Hebrew school. Not sure what lessons to take from the story of Esther -- that it is a woman's duty to be beautiful and submissive if it's for the good of her people? Never really liked Esther even if she was brave. Always rooted for Vashti, the queen who died for her disobedience. Prefer to read the tale as modified version of Babylonian myth of Ishtar and Marduk, not anything religious, which is very easy to do since God and Esther seem not to have chatted much anyway.

Boy I talk about politics and religion an awful lot in my fluffy fic LJ. Dangerous combination, huh?

And from :

Self-Righteous Martyr Krycek!
Self-Righteous Misunderstood Martyr Krycek!
Boy howdy! You're such a martyr! Poor self-
righteous and misunderstood Krycek, you're an
unsung talent in the X-Files world. Mulder is
an idiot and a creep, Scully's just as bad, and
the only reason the whole world hasn't
collapsed by now is because of you. You've made
incredible self-sacrifices in order to maintain
the balance of good and evil and save the day,
and it's about time the rest of the characters
knew about it! Usually when you have sex with
Mulder, it's because you're being forced, but
don't let that stop your writers from making
you a god in the sack. After all, as perfect
and misunderstood and maligned as you are, it
just makes sense that you'd be pure sex on
legs. You're perfect, Self-Righteous and
Misunderstood Martyr Cliche Krycek!
What Slashy Krycek Cliche Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Poem for Saturday and Random Thoughts

Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet
By Tony Hoagland

At this height, Kansas
is just a concept,
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn

no larger than the foldout section
of my neighbor's travel magazine.
At this stage of the journey

I would estimate the distance
between myself and my own feelings
is roughly the same as the mileage

from Seattle to New York,
so I can lean back into the upholstered interval
between Muzak and lunch,

a little bored, a little old and strange.
I remember, as a dreamy
backyard kind of kid,

tilting up my head to watch
those planes engrave the sky
in lines so steady and so straight

they implied the enormous concentration
of good men,
but now my eyes flicker

from the in-flight movie
to the stewardess's pantyline,
then back into my book,

where men throw harpoons at something
much bigger and probably
better than themselves,

wanting to kill it,
wanting to see great clouds of blood erupt
to prove that they exist.

Imagine being born and growing up,
rushing through the world for sixty years
at unimaginable speeds.

Imagine a century like a room so large,
a corridor so long
you could travel for a lifetime

and never find the door,
until you had forgotten
that such a thing as doors exist.

Better to be on board the Pequod,
with a mad one-legged captain
living for revenge.

Better to feel the salt wind
spitting in your face,
to hold your sharpened weapon high,

to see the glisten
of the beast beneath the waves.
What a relief it would be

to hear someone in the crew
cry out like a gull,
Oh Captain, Captain!
Where are we going now?

First of all, killed me with fic last night after I was already dead for other reasons, and I forgot not to drink five cups of full-strength, non-decaf tea at the Chinese restaurant where my husband and I had excellent orange-peel shrimp after my parents volunteered to watch the kids, so I did not fall asleep until after 4:30 a.m. and I am completely brain dead.

Also I discovered yesterday that I had labeled Thursday's poem "Poem for Friday" -- sorry about that, it has been corrected.

So I finally saw Caravaggio. I'd read the BFI book on it, and seen lots of photos, and read 's summary of it, but I still somehow had no idea how gay it would be. I mean, it is SO gay. Sean Bean is SO GAY. *gasping for breath* I am sure that at some point I will have intelligent things to say about it, because it's an utterly fascinating film, both in terms of fictional biography (I am tempted to call it Caravaggio RPS) and in terms of cinematography, but right now I can't get past the fact that Sean. Bean. Is. So. Gay.

Also, I bought the new Vanity Fair with The Slashiest Cover Ever. And Walking To Canterbury: A Modern Journey Through Chaucer's Medieval England, which I want to read before getting to London.

and : Packaging and mailing them. You may worship me when you get them. Because I am:

Evil henchman
The evil henchman.
Grow a spine, grow a brain, and get out of dodge.
That's the only way you're surviving this one.
href=""> What fantasy stereotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, March 14, 2003

Poem for Friday

From The Prophet
By Kahlil Gibran

Let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depth of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but
rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul."
Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path,"
for the soul walks upon all paths.

Roger Morris on the previous consequences of the U.S. meddling in Iraq. Fascinating history lesson.

Gacked from everybody. Pretty true. And I WAS born in December.

What month should you have been born in?
this quiz was made by Erin

Somehow woke up overtired despite over 7 hours' sleep.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Poem for Thursday

The Teacher
By Hilarie Jones

I was twenty-six the first time I held
a human heart in my hand.

It was sixty-four and heavier than I expected,
its chambers slack;
and I was stupidly surprised
at how cold it was.

It was the middle of the third week
before I could look at her face,
before I could spend more than an hour
learning the secrets of cirrhosis,
the dark truth of diabetes, the black lungs
of the Marlboro woman, the exquisite
painful shape of kidney stones,
without eating an entire box of Altoids
to smother the smell of formaldehyde.

After seeing her face, I could not help
but wonder if she had a favorite color;
if she hated beets,
or loved country music before her hearing
faded, or learned to read
before cataracts placed her in perpetual twilight.
I wondered if her mother had once been happy
when she'd come home from school
or if she'd ever had a valentine from a secret admirer.

In the weeks that followed, I would
drive the highways, scanning billboards.
I would see her face, her eyes
squinting away the cigarette smoke,
or she would turn up at the bus stop
pushing a grocery cart of empty
beer cans and soda bottles. I wondered
if that was how she'd paid for all those smokes
or if the scars of repeated infections in her womb
spoke to a more universal currency.

Did she die, I wondered, in a cardboard box
under the Burnside Bridge, nursing a bottle
of strawberry wine, telling herself
she felt a little warmer now,
or in the Good Faith Shelter,
her few belongings safe under the sheet
held to her faltering heart?
Or in the emergency room, lying
on a wheeled gurney, the pitiless
lights above, the gauzy curtains around?

Did she ever wonder what it all was for?

I wish I could have told her in those days
what I've now come to know: that
it was for this--the baring
of her body on the stainless steel table--
that I might come to know its secrets
and, knowing them, might listen
to the machine-shop hum of aortic stenosis
in an old woman's chest, smile a little to myself
and, in gratitude to her who taught me,

put away my stethoscope, turn to my patient
and say Let's talk about your heart.

The below makes no sense whatsoever if you read my fic. Gacked from a number of people, most of whom are also "not evil":

Beautiful Person
You are anything but're a compassionate,
loving person who would give the clothes off
your back to a friend in need. Keep on being
wonderful, and kind, our world suffers from the
lack of such people as you.
Are You Evil?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Poem for Wednesday

Seals at High Island
By Richard Murphy

The calamity of seals begins with jaws.
Born in caverns that reverberate
With endless malice of the sea's tongue
Clacking on shingle, they learn to bark back
In fear and sadness and celebration.
The ocean's mouth opens forty feet wide
And closes on a morsel of their rock.

Swayed by the thrust and backfall of the tide,
A dappled grey bull and a brindled cow
Copulate in the green water of a cove.
I watch from a cliff-top, trying not to move.
Sometimes they sink and merge into black shoals;
Then rise for air, his muzzle on her neck,
Their winged feet intertwined as a fishtail.

She opens her fierce mouth like a scarlet flower
Full of white seeds; she holds it open long
At the sunburst in the music of their loving;
And cries a little. But I must remember
How far their feelings are from mine marooned.
If there are tears at this holy ceremony
Theirs are caused by brine and mine by breeze.

When the great bull withdraws his rod, it glows
Like a carnelian candle set in jade.
The cow ripples ashore to feed her calf;
While an old rival, eyeing the deed with hate,
Swims to attack the tired triumphant god.
They rear their heads above the boiling surf,
Their terrible jaws open, jetting blood.

At nightfall they haul out, and mourn the drowned,
Playing to the sea sadly their last quartet,
An improvised requiem that ravishes
Reason, while ripping scale up like a net:
Brings pity trembling down the rocky spine
Of headlands, till the bitter ocean's tongue
Swells in their cove, and smothers their sweet song.

Fic Recs Crossposted From :

On mailing lists this morning, Nadja Lee's wonderful and sad "When Love and Duty Collide" and BrallaQueen's "Age Difference" (will both presumably be archived at Library of Moria and FellowShip at next updates).

told me to read href="" target="linked">"The Summons at the Library of Moria. Aragorn's haunted, Boromir comes back, tragic events ensue, it's quite unexpected and really wonderful.

PlasticChevy has finally finished href="" target="linked">"The Captain and the King" over at and her own site. I still grind my teeth every time Gilly Sue is mentioned but there's enough A/B in the final chapter to make up for everything (Arwen might as well not exist in this universe) and her writing and research are extraordinary. Go set aside a block of time to read it!

Beryll posted a wonderful A/B story from Arwen's point of view, "What Might Have Been," this morning on LOTR_Adult_Fiction. It's not up on Of Elves and Men yet but I'm betting it will show up on her web site first anyway!

Gacked from -- should I worry?

Come get your fortune read!
Created by ptocheia

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Poem for Tuesday

The Unknown Citizen
By W. H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

I'm sure many of us first discovered that poem in junior high school. On an equally serious note, Kristof in The New York Times on the disastrous situation about to unfold for the Kurds if Turkey agrees to let the U.S. make war from its borders.

It's SNOWING again. I can't believe it.

The wonderful has been posting links to Japanese LOTR fan art over at . Here are two of my recent favorites from this site: Aragorn and Boromir, hugging and thumb-wrestling!

Speaking of , everyone here knows I don't read RPS, right? Good. Because I just had to have this quiz in my LJ (gacked from ), and am rather amused that the quiz writers can't seem to tell the difference between the actors and characters anyway...

They're the two men. They've got something to bond
over, and they've got something in common. You
love seeing the camaraderie and the
href=""> Which Lord of the Rings RPS pairing is your favourite?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, March 10, 2003

Poem for Monday

Discovered yesterday in The Washington Post Book World 'Poet's Choice' column by Edward Hirsh:

Night Owl
By Michele Wyrebek

You are nearing the land that is life.
You will recognize it by its seriousness.

-- Rilke

Driving my bad news the back way home
I know I'm in the land that is life
when I reach my favorite stretch of road -- fields
flat and wide where corn appears soon after
planting, the soil tilled, night-soaked
and crumbled into fists.
Ferguson's barn is somewhere
at the end of this long arm of tar
and as I near it, something grazes the back
passenger-side door, luffs parallel to my car --
a huge owl on headlight spray floating,
holding night over the hood to see
if this moving thing is real, alive,
something to kill -- then gliding in
close as if to taste glass.
The road levitates, buffeted on a surf
of light, the fog-eaten farm disappearing
as I ride into starlessness, cells conspiring
so I am bright-flecked and uplifted -- is this
what it feels like to be chosen -- to be taken
under the wing of something vast
that knows its way blindly?

Am reading:

' GoldenEye story for , "For James"
's Bean Drabbles
's A/B-A/F story for , "Never Forget"

And gacked from Lanna, with amusement and much hope that certain people won't make any comments:

What's YOUR sexual fetish?
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Sunday, March 09, 2003

Poem for Sunday, Fic, Icons

By Sarah Arvio

One said to me tonight or was it day
or was it the passage between the two,
"It's hard to remember, crossing time zones,

the structure of the hours you left behind.
Are they sleeping or are they eating sweets,
and are they wanting me to phone them now?"

"In the face of technological fact,
even the most seasoned traveler feels
the baffled sense that nowhere else exists."

"It's the moving resistance of the air
as you hurtle too fast against the hours
that stuns the cells and tissues of the brain."

"The dry cabin air, the cramped rows of seats,
the steward passing pillows, pouring drinks,
and the sudden ridges of turbulence. . ."

"Oh yes, the crossing is always a trial,
despite precautions: drink water, don't smoke,
and take measured doses of midday sun,

whether an ordinary business flight
or a prayer at a pleasure altar. . .
for moments or hours the earth out of sight,

the white cumuli dreaming there below,
warm fronts and cold fronts streaming through the sky,
the mesmerizing rose-and-purple glow."

"So did you leave your home à contrecoeur?
Did you leave a life? Did you leave a love?
Are you out here looking for another?

Some want so much to cross, to go away,
somewhere anywhere & begin again,
others can't endure the separation. . ."

One night, the skyline as I left New York
was a garden of neon flowerbursts--
the celebration of a history.


My Icons

badgirls: The wonderfully evil Kai Winn. When her gods ignored her, she went out and got herself new gods! She also had hot sex with the villainous Gul Dukat, regularly dissed Sisko and got away with condescending to Kira. Plus she tried to have her rival assassinated the very first time we saw her. And she was played by Louise Fletcher, thus allowing me to indulge my Mama Dracula fantasies.

slashdirector: I became a Cruise Director during a brief bit of silliness on the Robert Beltran fan message board on America Online during Voyager's first season, so I figured I should have an icon with Julie from The Love Boat and all her men. If anyone has ever slashed Fred Grandy, particularly since he began his career as a political right-winger, please send it on.

loveboat: Same theme, different icon. This is my most generic icon, which I attach to gratuitous fan fiction posts that don't fit into some other category for which I already have an icon (LOTR, Trek, etc.) I wish the image capture were clearer and that you could really see the boat.

firstamendment: Unfortunately I couldn't get my cheap GIF animator to put this together slowly enough for people really to have time to read the amendment, but during one of Ashcroft's volleys last year I decided I needed to display it in some form anyway. I stole the last frame, "The First Amendment: it's not just a good idea, it's the Law," from an old .sig of 's.

flamingjune: Originally I wanted all my icons to be artsy rather than to reflect my cheesy entertainment preferences. We see how long that plan lasted. This is my one remaining artsy icon, that I use every morning with poetry posts -- Frederick Leighton's "Flaming June." I think the eroticism gets lost when the painting is reduced to this size but it's still very pretty. And she's not a waiflike Victorian girl or anything annoying.

spockslash: At one point when it seemed like every single post I was making had to do with slash, I decided I needed an icon with this slogan. I used to use one with Aragorn with a big sword with exactly the same slogan. I've been through several LOTR icons since then, but this has stayed my Classic Trek icon pretty much since I've been on LJ, though sometimes I think I should revert to K/S from "Requiem For Methuselah."

devilviggo: Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer in The Prophecy. If any Devil could make me do anything, he would look like this. This is both my "Devil's Advocate" icon when I'm arguing and my "oh my god Viggo is hot" icon when I'm drooling over him. It's also the icon I use with any religious-themed post, even though I do not, technically, believe in the Devil. Let me put it this way: I get along with Lucifer a hell of a lot better than I get along with FundamentalistGayBashingWomanHatingWarmongering!Jesus.

abslash: I've had an icon with this designation since I got my LJ, though the icons have changed regularly; this is just the latest incarnation, inspired by some of the artwork by Shepherd Moon and the Theban Band. It's supposed to be Aragorn and Boromir but if you want to look at it as Viggo and Sean, that's your business. *g*

frodofailed: I received the original, large version of this joke uncredited via e-mail so unfortunately I have no idea whom to credit for it. It neatly combines my affection for LOTR and my terror of the man in the White House.

warnothealthy: I tend to rotate my political buttons so they don't get stale; a couple of weeks ago I had Viggo in an anti-war shirt, a couple of weeks before that I had a patriotic pacifist button. I have this slogan with a slightly different picture on a button from the late 1960s, inherited from a family friend who protested the war in Vietnam, and I like the historical connection as well as the message.

You can see a lot more of my icons here.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Poem for Saturday

Odysseus to Telemachus
By Joseph Brodsky

My dear Telemachus,
                                The Trojan War
is over now; I don't recall who won it.
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland.
But still, my homeward way has proved too long.
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon,
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.

I don't know where I am or what this place
can be. It would appear some filthy island,
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs.
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other.
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son!
To a wanderer the faces of all islands
resemble one another. And the mind
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons,
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears.
I can't remember how the war came out;
even how old you are--I can't remember.

Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong.
Only the gods know if we'll see each other
again. You've long since ceased to be that babe
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks.
Had it not been for Palamedes' trick
we two would still be living in one household.
But maybe he was right; away from me
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions,
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.

Somewhere I once read a contemporary poem narrated by Circe to Telemachus. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Anyone have any idea where I might find it?

This morning I very much enjoyed:
's essay on the Rohirrim and Beowulf
's Tucker/Reed Enterprise fic
's Aragorn/Boromir LOTR fic, again

Today for my mother's birthday I am going to Mount Vernon with my husband and kids, my parents and both my uncles. Last night we had dinner with all of the above, plus my father's aunt and uncle. The last time I spent any time with all these people in the same room was at my wedding, where I was notably distracted by about a hundred other people; before that, it was at my grandmother's funeral. And before that...I can't even remember actually. So it's actually quite nice having all this family around, though it's too bad for my kids that my father's brother doesn't have his son with him on this trip.

Will reply to the dozen e-mails I am late on tomorrow!

Friday, March 07, 2003

Poem for Friday and Political Ranting

Memorial Day for the War Dead
By Yehuda Amichai

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now
the grief of all your losses to their grief,
even of a woman that has left you. Mix
sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history,
which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning
on one day for easy, convenient memory.

Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread,
in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."
No use to weep inside and to scream outside.
Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding.

Memorial day. Bitter salt is dressed up
as a little girl with flowers.
The streets are cordoned off with ropes,
for the marching together of the living and the dead.
Children with a grief not their own march slowly,
like stepping over broken glass.

The flautist's mouth will stay like that for many days.
A dead soldier swims above little heads
with the swimming movements of the dead,
with the ancient error the dead have
about the place of the living water.

A flag loses contact with reality and flies off.
A shopwindow is decorated with
dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white.
And everything in three languages:
Hebrew, Arabic, and Death.

A great and royal animal is dying
all through the night under the jasmine
tree with a constant stare at the world.

A man whose son died in the war walks in the street
like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."

This morning I am asking myself the question: Would it be worth having a little war if it would guarantee that Bush would lose the next election? And thinking maybe, except there are enough idiots in this country that there's no guarantee he'd lose no matter what happens. And am disgusted with myself: should not be thinking about whether it would be worth trading foreign lives to protect American civil liberties, freedom of expression, environmental protection, reproductive rights, a fair judicial system, etc. Can't believe it's my president posing the biggest threat to world peace and democracy since...I won't say it. You know, Bush is making me recall the good old days of Reagan, the last time I seriously thought about the world ending in nuclear holocaust because of something my own president might do.

Yeah, I'm oversimplifying. I'm also scared. Krugman in The New York Times: 'Why does our president condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials? Has 'oderint dum metuant' really become our motto?' So reads the resignation letter of John Brady Kiesling, a career diplomat who recently left the Foreign Service in protest against Bush administration policy. 'Oderint dum metuant' translates, roughly, as 'let them hate as long as they fear.' It was a favorite saying of the emperor Caligula, and may seem over the top as a description of current U.S. policy. But this week's crisis in U.S.-Mexican relations — a crisis that has been almost ignored north of the border — suggests that it is a perfect description of George Bush's attitude toward the world."

(Nicholas Kristof's column was good too. And Tom Brokaw's is interesting.)

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Poem for Thursday

By Rita Dove

Just when hope withers, the visa is granted.
The door opens to a street like in the movies,
clean of people, of cats; except it is your street
you are leaving. A visa has been granted,
"provisionally" -- a fretful word.
The windows you have closed behind
you are turning pink, doing what they do
every dawn. Here it's gray. The door
to the taxicab waits. This suitcase,
the saddest object in the world.
Well, the world's open. And now through
the windshield the sky begins to blush
as you did when your mother told you
what it took to be a woman in this life.

's questions for this meme:

1. What scent is anxiety?

2. What does peace sound like?
A waterfall, a campfire, the first movement of Mozart's Concerto For Flute and

3. What does sunshine taste like?
Key lime pie.

4. What color is joy?
Really intense violet-purple, the sky just at dusk.

5. What does jealousy feel like?
Swallowing whole a very hot pepper that gets stuck in your throat.

And my questions:
1. What flavor is your favorite song?
2. What color is your favorite television show?
3. What's the scent of frustration?
4. What does a bad romance sound like?
5. How does anticipation make your skin feel?

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Poem for Wednesday

An Excerpt From 'The Gardener'
by Rabindranath Tagore

Hands cling to hands and eyes linger on eyes: thus begins the record of our hearts.
It is the moonlight night of March; the sweet smell of henna is in the air; my flute lies on the earth neglected and your garland of flowers is unfinished.
This love between you and me is simple as a song.

Your veil of the saffron colour makes my eyes drunk.
The jasmine wreath that you wove me thrills to my heart like praise.
It is a game of giving and withholding, revealing and screening again; some smiles and some little shyness, and some sweet useless struggles.
This love between you and me is simple as a song.

No mystery beyond the present; no striving for the impossible;
no shadow behind the charm; no groping in the depth of the dark.
This love between you and me is simple as a song.

We do not stray out of all words into the ever silent; we do not raise our hands to the void for things beyond hope.
It is enough what we give and we get.
We have not crushed the joy to the utmost to wring from it the wine of pain.
This love between you and me is simple as a song.

I keep forgetting to mention it, but

I LOVE and and the goodies they have sent me!

Zasjah is feeding my Pre-Raphaelite and Sean Bean addictions, and Cinzia is feeding my Viggo and Araboro addictions. Could I be any happier?

I know that C.S.I. is the highest-rated show on TV most weeks. But I cannot fathom why. Can anyone explain?

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Poem for Tuesday

Sonnet 30
By William Shakespeare

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

In honor of this, gacked from :

Shakespeare Obsession
Shakespeare Obsession
What's Your Obsession?
brought to you by Quizilla

One article that had me raising my eyebrows, by a columnist I usually like, because I am not clear on his point on "God, Satan and the Media" -- so, like, if enough Americans believe that Creationism is true, we should speak of it as if it is true? How about if a majority of Americans believe that the world is flat? Or that God wants us to kill all the infidels? I'm all in favor of not dissing Jesus -- it's not Jesus' fault if a good many of His followers are hypocritical assholes. But that doesn't mean that I won't call them hypocritical assholes whether they invoke His name or not.