Sunday, September 30, 2007


  • 13:43 Homestead Farms to pick fruit and see the goats and sheep. #
  • 22:58 Watching 'Snow Cake.' This is a really good movie...too bad so few people saw it. #
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Poem for Sunday

By Adrienne Rich

Cold wit leaves me cold
this time of the world Multifoliate disorders
straiten my gait Minuets don't become me
Been wanting to get out see the sights
but the exits are slick with people
going somewhere fast
every one with a shared past
and a mot juste And me so out of step
with my late-night staircase inspirations my
utopian slant

Still, I'm alive here
in this village drawn in a tightening noose
of ramps and cloverleafs
but the old directions I drew up
for you
are obsolete

Here's how
to get to me
I wrote
Don't misconstrue the distance
take along something for the road
everything might be closed
this isn't a modern place

You arrived starving at midnight
I gave you warmed-up food
poured tumblers of brandy
put on Les Barricades Myst¿rieuses
-- the only jazz in the house
We talked for hours of barricades
lesser and greater sorrows
ended up laughing in the thicksilver
birdstruck light


From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "Personal emotions -- impatience, affection, discomfort of illness, pleasure in food or music, feeling old or angry, sorrow and exhilaration -- are not necessarily diminished by political or social context. On the contrary, the context can make the feelings mean more," writes Robert Pinsky. "That is why Adrienne Rich's poetry has enduring importance...there's a grown-up, wise charm in the comedy of the self here: 'late-night staircase inspirations' are the equivalent of staircase wit: the what-I-shoulda-said that comes to one on the stairs after leaving the party. Those inspirations, like 'my utopian slant,' are not disavowed by the wry laughter."

Pinsky feels that Rich's political passions "take on conviction from her ability to place them in a particular life, at a specific time. The poem, addressed to a particular person, describing a splendid particular moment 'in the thicksilver/birdstruck light' also suggests something more general: the poet's allegorical invitation to us readers, with directions for approaching the poet's work: 'Here's how to get to me.' It is part of the pleasure, and the point, that the directions change with time: like the poet, an alert reader adapts and takes fresh routes to the destination."

I posted several Adrienne Rich poems back in 2002-3, when I first got on LiveJournal and started posting poetry, but I seem to have neglected her once I got my favorites up there. I have a kind of ambivalence with Rich: she was extremely influential for me and lots of other poets I love, and at the same time sometimes I read particularly her prose and it's like we're on different planets despite being Jewish and female and pro-gay rights...she talks about her sons like men are from some other planet, and I understand that her marriage ended terribly and maybe was never good but I just don't get that, it makes me think of that Sharon Olds poem where she comes home from the women's poetry slam and watches her son asleep. Anyway, I must dig out some more Rich favorites from back before her definition of "compulsory heterosexuality" started encompassing pretty much every woman who chooses to live with a man.

After Daniel got back from working at Hebrew school, we spent the afternoon at Homestead Farm in Poolesville. We picked some more apples -- Homestead has more varieties, including Gala and Granny Smith -- and got some stuff in the farm store, plus we looked at the pumpkins and went to see all the animals -- Homestead has goats that climb onto elevated platforms, plus cows, pigs and a variety of fowl. On the way home we went by the Seneca Schoolhouse but it was closed, so we just looked at it from the outside.

We stopped at the library before it closed to get some books for Adam for school and some travel guides to help plan our trip west next summer, came home, watched the Terrapins beat Rutgers, had fish sticks and I put on Snow Cake, which I expected most other members of the family to ignore, but they all watched. That is really a terrific movie and I am not just speaking as an Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver's unsentimental, funny, hopeful and sad without being a big overblown tragedy. And all the acting is terrific. It's on DVD now, so everyone can see it!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Get Critical Update

TV Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Neutral Zone"


  • 13:46 McGillion as Scotty? Now THAT would be fun! #
  • 16:58 Aww! Daisy is asleep half on top of Rosie, who looks dubious but is putting up with it. #
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Poem for Friday

Buying a Star
By Jane Shore

An ad on the radio says that you can buy a star.
Call the toll-free number, charge it
to your credit card, and they'll send you
a parchment certificate of authenticity
and constellation chart with your actual star circled,
mapping your province of gaseous darkness, fire and ice,
over which you can rule, like the Creator.
The summer we got married, remember the night
we wrapped ourselves in blankets
and lay on our backs on the hood of our Toyota,
watching the meteor shower?
For an hour, we lay so still--
a husband and wife side by side
atop the stone lid of a medieval sarcophagus.
Beneath us, the damp grass
shivered with crickets and, above,
quick as eye blinks,
meteors streaked across the sky.
Every few seconds we'd see one die.
There! there! in the upper-right-hand-corner--
no martgage, no upkeep, no perpetual care--
there we are! buried in darkness, flashing,
then out.

For Howard


Another day without much excitement. Throat is not better but at least is not worse. Tongue is about the same, which is disturbing! Kitten is adorable (see below). Kids are very loud. My only major venturing-forth was to a local toy store that is having a 20% off sale, in search of Chanukah presents but all we ended up buying were a series of dragon books for Adam. I had my 2008 calendars for relatives' holiday gifts delivered from Shutterfly and they looked so awesome that I worked on a poster for Adam of himself with penguins and another for me of the Chalice Well and magical English places. Need to come up with an idea for a poster for Daniel -- there was a time it would have been trains, but these days it's computers and video games and I don't have photos of that!

We wake from our nap!

We get into a POUNCE! position!

We chase a glittery fish!

We LEAP for it if necessary!

We jump onto the couch to bat at it!

We become slightly sleepy when someone sits next to us!

We fall asleep, not in a cat bed which would be too easy, but pressed against the violin case!

Trek news has been moderately entertaining -- Patrick Stewart wanting to do Doctor Who, Paul McGillion a front-runner to play Scotty (also Poseidon's Vogel in the running for Kirk), George Takei saying he doesn't sweat any bad things that happen to his Heroes character because he expects to bounce back. Watched the Smallville season premiere and sat there thinking, "This isn't really very good, why am I enjoying it so much?" and then realized in the final moments -- no Lana! I also loved evil!Clark offering himself to Lex in lieu of Lex helping the real Clark whom he can't have: "What's more important to you, Lex, destroying me or solving the mystery of Clark Kent?" Hee, and Lex hesitates and is lost. It's too soon for me to know whether I care about any new characters; I was just relieved to see John Glover's name in the opening credits!

And it's pouring rain. Hopefully breaking today's heat for a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Corporate Idiocy, Again

Congratulations, LiveJournal -- in turning on beta testing for your stupid new "Look, I Can Get a Pepsi Layout!", you seem to have killed all Smooth Sailing layouts with any custom changes...and possibly other styles, I can only speak for my own broken journals and my friends'. Could you please stop dicking around with things before you have them functioning, making changes without warning your users, turning on people's auto-payments and little things like that? I'm a permanent account holder and I warn people away from LJ/6A.

Corporate Idiocy

Dear Verizon, Thank you for letting us know about the existence of Txt4Choice by blocking pro-choice text messages requested by users. (I see that you quickly reversed yourselves after reviewing your "dusty internal policy" aiming to protect subscribers from unwanted messages.) You still claim to block messages from any group "that seeks to promote an agenda or distribute content that may be seen as controversial or unsavory to any of our users"? Helpful to know. I assume that means I had better not count on you to deliver sex catalogues, and you will be blocking the Republican Party? Anyway, next time you try to lure me away from T-Mobile, I'll remember to stay with my current plan. In the meantime, I am pleased to know that I can now get NARAL messages via text...something NARAL itself had somehow failed to mention on its e-mail list.


  • 16:33 Just watched 'Elizabethtown' -- not a great script but WTF is up with anti-Orlando reviews? He's delightful. #
  • 22:04 Bionic Woman -- not bad, but not sold on it yet either. #
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Poem for Thursday

I Live Where the Leaves Are Pointed
By Cate Marvin

at my head and my heart, knife-tips green
in a gasoline-doused garden. From the tire
store behind the house, leering mechanics
glaze my window with saliva. I sit at the end
of the couch and point my finger angrily,
wag it in the face of forever. I sit back on
my haunches and sniff the air. Please note:
the earth is no less sulfur than usual. It’s not
nothing I’m waiting for, not as if there’s no
reason I’ve done my hair at last. If I weren’t
waiting, why would I be so impatient?
I don’t drink whiskey to relax.
And there is someone I wouldn’t mind seeing
dead. But when I comb my hair and stay
up all night, it’s not as if I’m trying to meet
someone. The days can travel without me.
The landlord can mow the lawn in shifts,
his pink face an obscene balloon caught
by the noose of his collar—I’ll sleep through
the motor. And you can bet my dreams bloom
stranger than hallucination. I take my life
like this. Poems grow from my skull while
vines creep the tire store wall: slowly, certainly.
When they made soap, they had me in mind.


Still feeling yucky, and my tongue has a black spot on it which cannot be a good thing! Googling indicates this could be anything from a fungal irritation to a virus to scurvy to a deadly cattle disease (am hoping it's probably not the latter but I tend to assume the worst). Bleh. Slept a lot, and watched Elizabethtown which has piles of actors I like -- Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Jessica Biel, Gailard Sartain and -- people who feel it necessary to tell me that you think Orlando Bloom sucks every time I mention his name, would you please skip to the next paragraph? The screenplay is quite mediocre and self-indulgent but the acting is without exception better, and Orlando's all-American accent is no phonier than Kirsten's Southern one (and better than Paul Bettany's accent in Firewall which I forgot to mention I watched the other day...another movie with many actors I like, Bettany, Harrison Ford, Virginia Madsen, Alan Arkin, Nikolai Coster-Waldau, and a mediocre screenplay with unbelievable conclusion).

It was Daniel's fourteenth birthday, which didn't particularly thrill him as of last night as what he most wants is Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Wii which doesn't come out till December, but we got him a math calendar, some Futurama on DVD, The Mad War on Bush and a WizKids Pirates at Ocean's Edge deluxe set like the one we got for 's son (Adam is now very envious), so he is happier now. Also, he went to the first meeting of the web design club at school at our urging over his protests and discovered that he knows more html than most of the other kids, so he feels good about that. We had dinner with my parents -- Chinese food and Nubian chocolate roll, both his requests -- came home and watched The Bionic Woman which was entertaining enough but reminded me more of La Femme Nikita (with gratuitous shaking camera effects and endless rain) than the original Bionic Woman and made me miss Lindsay Wagner training in the sunlight in the forest.

Pumpkins at Butler's Orchard last weekend.

The red apples are only beginning to come ripe, though there are plenty of Golden Delicious... this cluster waiting to be picked...

...and this illicitly eaten apple discarded in the orchard, now the property of the bees.

The raspberries cover the range from not quite ready for picking to overripe and squishy.

This field of pumpkins will likely be picked over by a school group or weekend visitors on a hay ride.

Though these berries will probably be eaten before pumpkin season really starts.

I see that Bush announced this week that childrens do learn. Remind me again who voted for this...oh, never mind.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


  • 00:12 Heroes -- I still don't like Nathan, even if he is doing his mom. Journeyman -- I like the soundtrack better than the show. #
  • 17:30 Sort of awake and feeling icky but my mother brought me chicken soup. #
  • 23:44 Hee hee, Denny and Alan watching each other pee! #
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Poem for Wednesday

Lying My Head Off
By Cate Marvin

Here's my head, in a dank corner of the yard.
I lied it off and so off it rolled.
It wasn't unbelieving that caused it
to drop off my neck and loll down a slope.
Perhaps it had a mind of its own, wanted
to leave me for a little while.

Or it was scared and detached itself
from the stalk of my neck as a lizard's tail
will desert its body in fright of being caught.
The fact is, I never lied. The fact is,
I always lied. Before us, we have two mirrors.
At times, they say, one must lie in order

to survive. I drove by the house, passed
it several times, pretending it was not
my own. Its windows were red with curtains
and the honeyed light cast on the porch
did not succeed in luring me back inside.
I never lied. I drove by the house,

suckling the thought of other lovers
like a lozenge. I was pale as a papery birch.
I was pure as a brand new pair of underwear.
It will be a long while before I touch another.
Yet, I always lied, an oil slick on my tongue.
I used to think that I was wrong, could

not tell the truth for what it was. Yet, one
cannot take a lawsuit out on oneself.
I would have sworn in court that I believed
myself and then felt guilty a long time after.
I hated the house and I hated myself.
The house fattened with books, made me

grow to hate books, when all the while
it was only books that never claimed
to tell the truth. I hated him and I hated
his room, within which his cloud of smoke
heaved. I disappeared up narrow stairs,
slipped quick beneath the covers.

My stomach hurts, I told him, I was tired.
I grew my dreams thick through hot nights:
dear, flickering flowers. They had eyes
which stared, and I found I could not afford
their nurture, could not return their stare.
Meanwhile, liars began their parade

without my asking, strode sidewalks inches
before my doorstep. I watched their hulking
and strange beauty, their songs pregnant
with freedom, and became an other self.
I taught children how to curse.
I bought children gold pints of liquor.

I sold my mind on the street.
I learned another language. It translates easily.
Here's how: What I say is not what I mean,
nor is it ever what I meant to say.

You must not believe me when I say
there's nothing left to love in this world.


Bleh...still feeling terrible. Went to the doctor, was somewhat surprised to learn it's not strep because it's entirely in my throat and extremely painful when I talk and swallow, which is how I remember strep from my childhood, though I've had no fever...also no other cold or viral symptoms except having no energy. My mother felt so sorry for me she brought over leftover chicken soup and matzah balls from Rosh Hashanah. Adam, at least, seems to feel much better, went to school today without incident and was only moderately tired this evening.

Since I couldn't concentrate, I watched The Queen on cable in the afternoon and indulged my crush on Fictional Tony's so bizarre that Stephen Frears of The Hit, The Grifters and My Beautiful Laundrette made a movie so adoring of the Queen and making Blair look so good...I kept thinking that if anyone had made a movie that made Bush look so good, I'd have been revolted, and wondering about the distance at play for American viewers of this movie and our guilty relationship to royalty. My good friend in London not only does not get my crush on Fictional Tony but why I get off on his crush on HRH in the film.

Boston Legal is back! But it's so different with Claire and Denise gone, and Brad a guest star and Carl Sack in Paul Lewiston's chair. I like both new women (Saffron Burrows mmmmm) but I'm a bit tired of Alan being as libido-first as Denny, and thinking with his id; for once it would be nice if he hit on the new guy and simply tried to relate to the new girl. Of course, there were still great moments, particularly between Alan and Denny: "Your face is robust, it has character, you've got that twinkle in your eyes," Alan tells Denny when Denny confesses that he's been going to prostitutes because he's afraid no one will want him anymore, and Carl comes in while they're embracing. And later, Gloria is jealous that Alan wants to bail Denny out from his prostitute bust more than he wants to be with have a baby, which I deeply and sincerely hope he turns down in a rational manner rather than just cheating her away.

Denny does not like Carl, and doesn't even realize Carl is his competition for Shirley. When Shirley tells Denny there's a new sheriff in town, Denny retorts, "I'm the sheriff! You've seen my spurs!" and warns carl that says every time someone counts him out of the game, he surprises them. "Surprise me," Carl retorts and proceeds to make the firm miserable, terrorizing Jerry and Clarence, particularly the latter after seeing him as Clarice performing on YouTube. Why Shirley puts up with this crap for as long as she does is beyond me. She's distracted -- getting sued by Stanford for rescinding a promised donation to study greenhouse gases when she learns that Exxon Mobil has also donated $100 million -- plus Carl has stupidly tossed a murder case at a just-out-of-law-school new recruit who's in way over her head.

So what works? Clarence's speech about how the lawyers at Crane, Poole and Schmidt don't want to be at a normal law firm like their miserable law school colleagues but to be happy and confident being themselves. Denny singing "You Are My Sunshine" to Shirley, a sad and beautiful moment witnessed by Carl. Carl watching Alan and Denny watch each other piss (!!!!) so they can talk prostate and penis health (!!!!)...excuse me, I really need to go rewind that scene and watch it again. And then Alan, inspired by Clarence/Clarice's triumph performing a number from Hairspray with someone he met in a shyness support group, dressing up in his girl group dress complete with makeup and turning Denny on, though they are both quickly distracted by thoughts of Shirley in a cheerleader outfit.
They talk about how much they love their lives -- sex in elevators, saving the environment and dressing in drag as a nightcap -- yep, Clarence certainly knows what I love about Crane, Poole and Schmidt!

Know how I keep seeing deer when driving home from my parents?

They are getting more and more brazen!

They are crossing people's yards and eating ornamental plants...

...and having adorable fawns, who are also going to have trouble finding places to live now that there are housing developments where there was once woods.

And they have demon eyes when one uses flash to take their photos!

Wednesday is Daniel's fourteenth birthday. He had a slight meltdown tonight about not being able to come home and play video games because his evil parents insisted that he can't miss the first day of his one extracurricular. Augh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


  • 00:17 Bleah, horrible sore throat. Need sleep. #
  • 12:03 Still feeling horrible. Good thing I have a doctor appointment tomorrow anyway, because I think I need a throat culture. #
  • 15:54 @helens78 Am soo tempted to have them using lard instead of icing/frosting/whatever (that's my joint fic, would NEVER have asked there, ... #
  • 15:55 Still have sore throat. Am loving Pandora though--awesome women vocalists they picked off Vienna Teng & Indigo Girls. #
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Poem for Tuesday

A Windmill Makes A Statement
By Cate Marvin

You think I like to stand all day, all night,
all any kind of light, to be subject only
to wind? You are right. If seasons undo
me, you are my season. And you are the light
making off with its reflection as my stainless
steel fins spin.
On lawns, on lawns we stand,
we windmills make a statement. We turn air,
churn air, turning always on waiting for your
season. There is no lover more lover than the air.
You care, you care as you twist my arms
round, till my songs become popsicle

and I wing out radiants of light all across
suburban lawns. You are right, the churning
is for you, for you are right, no one but you
I spin for all night, all day, restless for your

sight to pass across the lawn, tease grasses,
because I so like how you lay above me,
how I hovered beneath you, and we learned
some other way to say: There you are.

You strip the cut, splice it to strips, you mill
the wind, you scissor the air into ecstasy until
all lawns shimmer with your bluest energy.


Have been home all day with a raging sore throat -- the only reason I didn't go to the doctor on Monday for a throat culture is that I have an appointment for a physical on Tuesday and I don't have a fever, which I keep being told means it's not strep. But I can't remember ever having a cold or allergies where my throat hurt this much, yet my nose, sinuses, etc. are completely clear. It's not a terribly fun feeling, anyway. I also slept badly because of the mountain-climbing game -- I am the mountain, Daisy is the climber, and when she gets tired of climbing she flops down on my chest or arm or whatever's handy for a nap complete with very loud snurging purr -- so am not much use. Wrote articles on how Vulcan, Alberta wants to host the Star Trek premiere and how Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens have writing jobs besides writing William Shatner's books, the latter of which took a long time. Watched a fandom wank that literally left my jaw dropping open.

Also watched the Heroes season premiere, which had some stuff I liked a lot, , like Suresh's conniving speaking engagements that draw him the attention of the alchemist, played by the cranky jeweler from The Grifters -- I love that guy and I love his power! I was briefly hopeful that Nathan grew a spine as well as a beard in four months, but his brush-off of Claire sure seems to indicate otherwise -- woe is me, it's still all about me -- and I'm going to be very unhappy if Mr. Nakamura is dead! I'm also not sold on the storyline with Hiro and the jerky white guy Japanese hero; I gather Hiro will have to take over his life and be the hero, which Star Trek has already done a couple of times (Kenzei is so Zephram Cochrane, even needing a pee). Also watched Journeyman which was very well acted and quite engrossing until I realized that each episode's time traveling is apparently going to be self-contained while the family soap opera is the arc, which seemed like sort of a letdown. I still like it much better than anything else NBC has had on after Heroes, though!

Adam came home from school feeling terrible, took an hour and a half nap on the couch, so I hope we are not both sick. Bleh.

Monday, September 24, 2007


  • 13:13 Testing LoudTwitter! #
  • 14:13 Going to pick apples despite raging sore throat. #
  • 16:02 Apples and raspberries and Halloween treats! Lovely Mabon! #
  • 00:17 Bleah, horrible sore throat. Need sleep. #
  • 12:03 Still feeling horrible. Good thing I have a doctor appointment tomorrow anyway, because I think I need a throat culture. #
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Poem for Monday

The Pet
By Cate Marvin

I rode him through the village, smiling.
He tossed his tasseled mane in distress.
The villagers took his gesture as vanity,
and made no attempt to rein him back.
Camped at night by stream and fire,

he seemed to think stories were in order.
The ghoulish tales that twisted out his mouth
no longer frightened me. On leaving,
I'd taken on a certain complacency. Later,
he'd characterize my silence as merely

mean. But what is mean about a mouth
that, having no stories, claims it can provide
no flower for the ear, no wine for the wind?
I tried: I told the tale of him, which he
(the version being mine) was not much

interested in. But all of us; the fattening
moon, the yewey trees, the sharp-toothed
stars who combed their glowing backs against
the sky like cats; we laughed. And now
that I had left, where would I take him?

He was vehicle and, as such, responsibility.
He was deadening, tiresome, and necessary.
I made ourselves a home and kept him gently
as a pet. Visitors often wonder aloud,
How do you manage to keep such a creature

inside? The floors are stained with his keep.
I tell them my heart is huge and its doors
are small. Once I took him in he grew. Now
I cannot remove him without killing him,
which, frankly, I have never wanted to do.


I woke up with an even worse sore throat than on Yom Kippur, not helped by having been used as the mountain for a mountain-climbing kitten at insane hours of the night, so didn't get out of bed till after 9 and was slow to get anything done in the morning. When Adam got home from Hebrew school, we decided to go pick raspberries and the first of the season's apples, though there's no Red Delicious yet. It was over 80 degrees despite being the equinox and a beautiful day to be outdoors, but there are pumpkins coming ripe and the Butler's Orchard store is all decorated and stocked for Halloween, so it was a lovely afternoon.

Came home, had dinner and busted a gut laughing at The Family Guy Star Wars episode, which delightfully had several references to Airplane ("I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you." "And Leia's getting laaarger!")and several other pop culture icons of the era in which the first movie came out as well as more modern stuff (Dirty Dancing! WTF!) I am hoping the strap-on joke went over my kids' heads but they got Obi-Wan's lightsaber perking up when Luke showed up! Then we watched the season premiere of Shark, which was well-done but I don't know if it's going to be enough to make me put off watching Brotherhood until its Wednesday airing once that comes back next week. Wrote up an interview with Jeri Ryan in which she said she didn't think Jessica and Sebastian would date, which is a relief because when I heard she was pregnant, I worried that they were going to get together in a rush so they didn't have to hide her behind a desk.

We have been keeping Daisy in our bedroom when we go out but letting her have the run of the house when we are home. Somehow she managed to trap herself in the basement bathroom where the litter boxes reside and we didn't hear her whining pathetically for half an hour! She survived this trauma and is now sprawled on the couch mewling to get her chin and belly stroked. Or maybe she is mewling about the Redskins' collapse against the Giants...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


  • 18:05 Off to break the fast...well, didn't fast, but off to see relatives and old friends! #
  • 11:27 Horrible raging sore throat. Waah. #
  • 11:39 Testing LoudTwitter! #
  • 12:03 Moving users from my other twitter account here because I read this one everywhere and that one nowhere! #
  • 12:34 Testing to see if phone is twittering! #
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Poem for Sunday

Love the Contagion
By Cate Marvin

Quest the contagion, funnel much muck
through your hands upraised and cupped,
pour river-brack down your throat, pick
your scabs with loving glee. Love your

master of pestilence, conqueror of white
clothes: mud prints, paw prints, germs
not even the physician knows. Eat through
a muskrat's lair, divine the grub's slumber

beneath rotting leaves, take the lot, crush
it in your bare hands. Look at the moon
for its holes, narrow your eye at its skin
until you find its pores, squint your eyes

at the filthy sun and run toward the flavor
factory where the cherry stench hangs
above the highway, the machines that cast
that bright net of scent into the polluted air:

its mix of chemical so thick your breath
trips as if you're inhaling jello. Lap at its
stickiness, run your rough hands through
your own gnarled hair. Repel the lover,

cast his grace at broken ground. Wear
your lover's indiscretions like stickpins
in your apple hat: rotting skin, dry as dust,
ample-sliced, a great old pie atop your head!

Be the world. Do not deny our fascination
lies in its filth, the maggot's sweet diet.
Marvel at the corrupt! Make disgust your
lust and cast your fresh pain to the trash!


"Cate Marvin begins her exhilarating, fierce new book with a poem in that tradition of embracing the foul with the fair," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. Comparing Marvin's work to that of Gerard Manley Hopkins and William Butler Yeats, Pinsky adds, "Like her predecessors, Marvin exults in a powerful music of tumbling consonants and linked sounds...the sounds of these lines, a buoyant, imperative music, have their counterpart in the similarly buoyant images: for example, the 'apple hat' that is 'a great old pie atop your head,' adorned with hatpin-betrayals." By contrasting opposites, the details of corruption and the injunction to embrace it, "opposed or contradictory energies must be combined, when the goal is, as Marvin says in the last stanza, to 'Be the world.'"

Have done my best to atone, which is not easy at a shul with over 3000 members, all of whom seemed to be packed in for the family service in the main sanctuary -- two women I went to high school with (they were cheerleaders) were sitting within two rows of where my parents insisted on sitting, always as close to the bimah as they can get. I think they have some deluded idea that this will give us and my kids a greater sense of intimacy and belonging, rather than the greater sense of having something shoved down our throats that I get every year during the High Holy Days. Had a better time at the friend of my parents' with whom we always break the fast (not that any of my family were fasting), where we see several other long-time friends, some people I grew up with and their children. And, you know, there are bagels and whitefish and kugel and cherry blintzes and mandel bread.

My circle is celebrating Mabon on Sunday but I had thought we were going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival and said I wasn't coming, though now for several reasons we are not going to the RenFaire this weekend (the biggest one being that we don't think it's a good idea to leave the kitten alone for 10 hours so soon). I kind of wish I was going to the Mabon celebration, because it is so much easier for me to get spiritually grounded celebrating hearth and harvest than listening even to Pirates of the Chasid-i-m, The Prequel, in which pirates Frozenpants and Guildengolden learn from Captain Greybeard -- a title the senior rabbi clearly resents, as he denies that there is any gray in his beard -- not to judge people by their appearance. He threw in some references to Jena, which I appreciated as the family service is usually quite apolitical, but given how involved this rabbi has always been in civil rights, I wish he was as passionate about trying to find a solution for the children in Gaza.

Rosie attempts to point out that her bed has been taken over by a kitten.

You can see how intimidated Daisy is...not.

This is Rosie's opinion of how the cat bed should look.

This is Cinnamon's opinion of how the loveseat should look...

And this is Rosie's opinion...

...but this is Daisy's opinion, and Daisy is winning at the moment.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Poem for Yom Kippur

How Divine is Forgiving?
By Marge Piercy

It's a nice concept
but what's under the sculptured draperies?
We forgive when we don't really care
because what was done to us brought unexpected
harvest, as I always try to explain
to the peach trees as I prune them hard,
to the cats when I shove pills against
the Gothic vaults of their mouths

We forgive those who betrayed us
years later because memory has rotted
through like something left out in the weather
battered clean then littered dirty
in the rain, chewed by mice and beetles,
frozen and baked and stripped by the wind
til it is unrecognizable, corpse
or broken machine, something long useless.

We forgive those whom their own machinations
have sufficiently tangled, enshrouded,
the fly who bit us to draw blood and who
hangs now a gutted trophy in a spider's
airy larder; more exactly, the friend
whose habit of lying has immobilized him
at last like a dog trapped in a cocoon
of fishing line and barbed hooks.

We forgive those we firmly love
because anger hurts, a coal that burns
and smolders still scorching the tissues
inside, blistering wherever it touches
so that we bury the hot clinkers in a mound
of caring, suffocate the sparks with promises,
drown them in tears, reconciling.

We forgive mostly not from strength
but through imperfections, for memory
wears transparent as a glass with the pattern
washed off, till we stare past what injured us,
We forgive because we too have done
the same to others easy as a mudslide;
or because anger is a fire that must be fed
and we are too tired to rise and haul a log.


I spent most of Friday trying to maintain the peaceable kingdom among three cats not yet used to one another. Cinnamon has decided that she is no longer afraid of Daisy, which is good as she is no longer hiding in the basement, but it means that both Rosie and Cinnamon make their displeasure known when Daisy wanders anywhere they consider their territory, which is pretty much the entire house. So I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor petting one cat with each hand while another glared from across the room.

Wrote a review of "Conspiracy" (great beginning, bad bad bad ending) and the site columns (Poll: would you want to be buried in a Star Trek coffin?), then had dinner with my parents, who were going to Kol Nidre services (we, on the other hand, were coming home to watch Doctor Who, though I had seen "Utopia" on a computer screen over the summer, having been unable to wait for the three-part season finale). Then watched the Weekend at Bernie's episode of Flash Gordon again because it was there and the cats were all sprawled in the living room so there was no compelling reason to move!

: And that's the trouble with me
1. Who do you look up to?
Madeleine L'Engle.
2. What is the last thing you cleaned? My bathroom floor, which currently has a litter box.
3. Do you measure with a ruler or do you eyeball it? Eyeball unless it's really important to measure accurately.
4. What do people compliment you on? How committed my kids are to environmentalism and animal welfare.
5. What is behind you? At the moment, a kitten with a stripey tail.

: Randomly Friday Five
1. Did you write a list to Santa when you were little? Do you write a Christmas present wish list now?
Considering that I'm Jewish, no and no.
2. What are the top 10 things on your list this year? People not treating Christmas like a universal global capitalist holiday, an end to the war in Iraq, a Democratic president in 2008, peace in Darfur, clean energy, legal gay marriage, federal protection for reproductive rights, homes for every child in foster care, homes for every animal in shelters, an end to restrictions on free speech on the internet. Oh, and I kind of want a laptop to enjoy the latter.
3. What are the three (or 1, 2, 4, 5) best presents you ever received as a child and why? A typewriter (yes, I am that old), a necklace that my grandparents got as a reward for volunteering at Deborah Hospital, a trip to New York to see Cats on Broadway.
4. What are the top 5 movies you think everyone should see and why? The Lion In Winter, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Dangerous Liaisons, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World. Because they're the first five awesome movies I thought of.
5. Which comes first, success or happiness? Or, to think of it a different way, does happiness follow success or are you only successful when you acheive happiness? Are they even necessarily related? Happiness IS success.

: What five fannish topics would you like to see more people discuss or write meta about?
It's fine with me if people want to slam one another in Fandom Wank, but when the wank takes over fandom as a whole, it's really no fun for those of us for whom the wank are not what it's all about.
2. How come our characters are better at conflict resolution than a lot of us are?
3. If people feel it necessary to rant, it would be nice if the ranting were about things like flagrant racism in the real world rather than theoretical racism in fanon.
4. How women writing slash sometimes say more misogynistic things than men writing Penthouse Forum fantasies.
5. Why do people read kinks that squick them, then complain in comments that the kink squicked them?

Canoes and kayaks...

Garden waterfall...

A closed chestnut...

An open chestnut...

A spiderweb...

...and the farm across the lake.

Services tomorrow. I expect that as usual I will be sinning in my thoughts in the middle of atonement. Sigh.