Take the I Out
By Sharon Olds
But I love the I, steel I-beam
that my father sold. They poured the pig iron
into the mold, and it fed out slowly,
a bending jelly in the bath, and it hardened,
Bessemer, blister, crucible, alloy, and he
marketed it, and bought bourbon, and Cream
of Wheat, its curl of butter right
in the middle of its forehead, he paid for our dresses
with his metal sweat, sweet in the morning
and sour in the evening. I love the I,
frail between its flitches, its hard ground
and hard sky, it soars between them
like the soul that rushes, back and forth,
between the mother and father. What if they had loved each other,
how would it have felt to be the strut
joining the floor and roof of the truss?
I have seen, on his shirt-cardboard, years
in her desk, the night they made me, the penciled
slope of her temperature rising, and on
the peak of the hill, first soldier to reach
the crest, the Roman numeral I--
I, I, I, I,
girders of identity, head on,
embedded in the poem. I love the I
for its premise of existence--our I--when I was
born, part gelid, I lay with you
on the cooling table, we were all there, a
forest of felled iron. The I is a pine,
resinous, flammable root to crown,
which throws its cones as far as it can in a fire.
Last weekend it was no mail, and today it's been no cable -- I'm signed on to AOL over the phone line to post this, hence only the one photo. My day involved lots of replanning anyway --
We also watched "Assignment: Earth" so I can retro-review it; I'd put off this last episode of the original series' second season because I didn't have the third season and was somewhat in limbo about whether my editor was sending it to me or what, so I finally just asked him whether he wanted me to buy it myself and put it on my next invoice which he said was fine. Amazon.com delivered it in two days even though I didn't pay for rush shipping, so now I have all three seasons of classic Trek, on the very same day The Digital Bits announced that Paramount hinted at Comic-Con that they would be remastering and rereleasing both the original series and all the original movies in HD. I don't really care, though: I never bought them on VHS, was content with my six-episodes-to-a-tape homemade tapes for decades, and I am just delighted to have them on DVD at all considering that no amount of remastering is going to make the matte paintings and static shots of rockets look any more real. Somehow it seems fitting for there to be static around the Earth the Enterprise is orbiting in 1968. We also watched some of the special features -- the Red Shirt Diaries are great -- and I put on my aging and decrepit videotape of the first and second season blooper reels for the kids, with such classic moments as McCoy trying to kiss Kirk on the bridge and Nimoy staying in character and raising his eyebrow every time before cracking up.
One of my favorite things for sale at the Smithsonian, in honor of both the rocks and minerals collection and the insect zoo in the Museum of Natural History, is "InsectNside" Amber Candy, in which hard candy encloses actual dead bugs. Cockroach Cluster anyone?
Hopefully Friday morning I will have my cable back and will be able to read and answer comments and stuff -- I can't even e-mail because AOL won't let me use my own smtp and I don't want my AOL screen name attached to all my mail.