By Allen Grossman
(Forsaking the lagoons of bridged Atlantis)
To the mid-Atlantic ridge
where are the crazed
Magnetic fields and roped sheets, and stains
(The disordered fabric of the volcanic
Bed chamber) and the gigantic vermicular
and stare upon the great
Principle of the solid world—the original
Go down, for down is the way,
And grapple one stone syllable
Of all that frozen love's discourse
Onto an iron dredge
and on it rise
(Borne on the enormous weight of its desire
For light and the air)
until it explodes
Upon the deck amid the astonished crew.
Then empty out the nets disposed about
Your person, and fill them with the pieces
Of that one vast syllable
and carry them
To Cahokia in East Saint Louis, where
My father was born who is dying now
(He was an honest man—mute as stone)
Place them on the top of Monk's Mound
(Go you. I am his son. I have no words.)
Them off like a siren.
My children were not happy about getting up this morning to go to the orthodontist, but they recovered when we walked through the mall in which the dental office is located and learned that the GameStop had just received a new shipment of the Wii Fit. More than $100 poorer (because I'm told you have to get the balance board cover, the battery charger, etc.), we came home with it and two happy kids, though I insisted that they eat lunch and go to the pool before playing it because a thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon and swimming counts more to me as "real exercise" than Wii Fit, though now that I have tried the aerobics for two minutes I may revise that opinion. The good news is that I have a Wii age of 33; the bad news is that the Wii says I need to lose 30 pounds to get my BMI to where it should be. Not that this is news to me.
While the kids were at the pool, I stopped at CVS to get a DVD case, then came home and recorded a whole bunch of movies to send with my parents to my uncle who is going to be in rehab for several months. Most of them I burned without watching beyond the first few seconds, but I sat down and watched Eastern Promises, which yet again reminded me that I hate David Cronenberg films with a passion. Maybe I shouldn't call him a misogynist, since his men are at least as screwed up as his women and never idealized virgin-whore figures (unless Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers counts because both of him fits the mold better than monstrous female Genevieve Bujold). But I really don't think it's any more possible to criticize the glorification of violence against women by fetishizing it than it is to mock a character for homosexual tendencies because that character wants to watch Viggo Mortensen have sex when Cronenberg's camera wants to do exactly the same thing.
I felt like I needed a shower after Eastern Promises, so instead I put on pretty, inoffensive Becoming Jane, which I thought my uncle would like since he generally enjoys Austen adaptations more than I do and which proved to be the perfect antidote...lots of actors I like including a long list of women (Anne Hathaway, Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, Anna Maxwell Martin, Lucy Cohu whom I only discovered because of Ballet Shoes), James McAvoy playing a cross between his Atonement and Last King of Scotland characters but appealing, a dramatic mix of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility with more pleasant parental figures, family loyalty that doesn't make your skin crawl, Ireland doubling for the English countryside, and sheep. I can't say Becoming Jane was brilliant, but I enjoyed it a lot!
Any bad news for Karl Rove tends to make me happy, so although it's largely token at this point, thank you, House Judiciary Committee, for finding him contemptible...that is, in contempt. I also wave a fond *cough* farewell to Ted Stevens -- another pro-life politician down on corruption charges, darn. As for Ehud Olmert, I don't know enough about the charges against him to have an opinion on their validity but I hope his successor intends to put a stop to new settlements in the West Bank.
Twilight at Devil's Tower from in front of our cabin at the end of June. The RVs are northeast in the campground, but people in tents can stay right at the base of the tower.
Here's our cabin a bit earlier when the sun was up, with my laptop in the shade created by the minivan.
This was the view around the back of the cabin of the Belle Fourche River.
The base of the tower itself is surrounded by evergreens, boulders, fire-damaged tree stumps...
...thick grasses, thistles, and other wildflowers...
...climbers preparing to ascend above the treeline, which requires a permit from the park office...
...and prairie dogs, who live on both sides of the road approaching the visitor center from the entrance to the park.
But nothing really steals the show from the main attraction.