Monday, April 30, 2012

Poem for Monday and Quileute Exhibit

Directions for Lines that will Remain Unfinished
By Sarah Messer

Line to be sewn into a skirt hem
held in my mouth ever since the unraveling

Line beneath a bridge
for years without hope I stretched my arms into the river searching for you

Line to be sent to the cornfield
history is a hallway of leaves.

Line written for electric wires
your voice inside the no history, sitting still

Line for future people
inside the work, only my empty teeth

Line from Maharaj
Presently you are in quietude. Is it on this side of sleep or on the other side?

Line that cannot be read because of its darkness
impossible walk under weight of honey
away from your hands that break me in half

Line addressing President Lincoln
when the handle and blade are gone, what remains
of your axe?

Line to be run over by a lawn mower
afraid of everything and to be of no use.

Line for a distant midnight dog-pack
because I can never speak it

Line to be sewn into a shirt collar
the streak of your finger across the hood of the car

Line for a stone growing old
a sunburst that lands inside a flower

Line written only with your mouth
desire is a trick ghost

Line for the garden weeds
slowly I am nearer to you

Line describing the better qualities of monsters
are we afraid of what we wished for?

Three lines written for bears
inside cells, water, trees, I am meaningless
darkness and light wind like breath on fur
I carry the circling cities inside me

Line for a leaf blown into the hair of the Master
seeing you, I want no other life

Line for a mouse
to die like that, held in your hands


The weather Sunday was gorgeous and Adam was tied up most of the day -- first working at Hebrew school, then striking the set of Legally Blonde at school -- so Paul and I went downtown. The rose garden and regional garden in the National Garden were open and we visited the last day of the Orchid Mystique exhibit in the conservatory of the US Botanic Garden, then we walked to the National Gallery of Art, thinking we were going to see the last day of the Ito Jakuchu exhibit of Japanese bird paintings. But there was an hour-plus wait just to get in, so instead we went to the exhibits of Picasso drawings and Castiglione drawings.

There were ducklings in the fountains outside the National Museum of the American Indian, though we were worried for a while because the mother duck got out and waddled all the way out to the pond with four of her babies in tow, not realizing that the other three hadn't been able to jump up out of the fountain and were swimming around peeping frantically for nearly twenty minutes before one of the lazy drakes flew over squawking and apparently chased her back to get the rest of her babies. Inside the museum we went to see the exhibit on the Quileute Nation, put together in response to the fact that they're portrayed as werewolves in Twilight based on a legend that the Quileute descend from wolf ancestors.

The National Museum of the American Indian has some replica props from the Twilight films...

...including Emily's shell and paddle necklaces, the dream catcher that Jacob gives Bella, and a drum that hangs on Emily's wall.

The exhibit also has hundred-year-old wolf headdresses for elite Wolf Society ceremonies...

...and children's artwork from 1907 of children playing at the ceremony.

This child's pencil illustration, also from the early 1900s, shows Wolf Society members in aprons with deer hoof rattles on their ankles and headdresses like the ones seen above.

This Volkswagen Beetle, named Vochol, was decorated by Huichol craftsmen from Mexico with millions of glass beads and fabric. It's on display till May 10th.

And here are the ducklings that live right outside the museum.

Adam came home for dinner and we watched Harry's Law -- quite political this week, a date rape case in which a woman drugged a man and a hazing case in which an entire band was being tried for one student's death -- then the second half of Birdsong, which was well-done but I didn't love, and the second episode of the new Upstairs Downstairs which is still very engaging though I don't like any of the characters as much as I liked Downton Abbey's at this stage. Cats are conspiring to make me sleepy, so that's all the news from here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poem for Sunday and Legally Blonde

August Rain, After Haying
By Jane Kenyon

Through sere trees and beheaded
grasses the slow rain falls.
Hay fills the barn; only the rake
and one empty wagon are left
in the field. In the ditches
goldenrod bends to the ground.

Even at noon the house is dark.
In my room under the eaves
I hear the steady benevolence
of water washing dust
raised by the haying
from porch and car and garden
chair. We are shorn
and purified, as if tonsured.

The grass resolves to grow again,
receiving the rain to that end,
but my disordered soul thirsts
after something it cannot name.


Got home late so this will be a quickie. We had a nice day with Adam. After lunch we went to Brookside Gardens, hoping to see goslings. We did not, just adult geese, but two of them were engaged in an epic romance -- a goose followed us to the door in the deer fence, decided not to follow us through, then walked parallel to us the entire way around looking for a hole in the fence while a goose in the pond on our side was honking urgently until the other goose finally found a way through and they were united. We also saw frogs, turtles, swallows, and lots of robins.

After dinner we dropped Adam off at school to get ready for tech, then an hour later we went to see the school production of Legally Blonde. It is one of the silliest musicals I have ever seen, with dozens of clunker lyrics and no particularly memorable songs, but everyone in the cast could sing very well, the dance numbers were clever, and the tech was EXCELLENT *waves to Adam*. Here are a few photos, including son's friend Daniel as gay European pool boy Nikos. Adam is under the staircase in all photos that include it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Poem for Saturday and Fuzzy Goslings

We Dogs of a Thursday Off
By Alberto RĂ­os

The wine of uncharted days,
Their unsteady stance against the working world,

The intense intoxication of nothing to be done,
A day off,

The dance of the big-hearted dog
In us, freed into a sudden green, an immense field:

Off we go, more run than care, more dance—
If a polka could be done not in a room but straight

Ahead, into the beautiful distance, the booming
Sound of the phonograph weakening, but our legs

Getting stronger with their bounding practice:
This day, that feeling, drunkenness

Born of indecision, lack of focus, but everything
Forgiven: Today is a day exposed for what it is,

A workday suddenly turned over on its back,
Hoping to be rubbed.


We had gorgeous weather on Friday, I suppose to make up for the rain we're supposed to have Saturday. I had a whole boatload of work to do, including a review of Deep Space Nine's not-very-impressive "Second Sight", but I managed to get in a walk and see chipmunks.

While Adam was doing tech at school in the evening, my parents took us out to Plaza Azteca for dinner since their original plan was to go visit my great aunt, but she was exhausted and resting. We watched this week's Nikita, then some baseball until Adam came home and requested some Arrested Development, so I am giggling.

Here are a few more photos of the goslings at Lake Whetstone:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poem for Friday and Ginter Flowers

Dear Empire [these are your temples]
By Oliver de la Paz

Dear Empire,

These are your temples. There are rows of stone countenances, pillar after pillar. As if walking through a forest filled with alabaster heads: here, the frown. The gaze. The luminous stare.

Smoke from the incense curls, shapes itself against the archways, rubs against the grooves of the columns. Only a few men press their heads to their hands.

Outside, archeologists excavate a stone torso. Bound in coils of fraying rope, it rises before us, pulled upwards by a backhoe. Its form momentarily hides the sun, though as it sways, the light strikes our eyes. Saying yes. Saying no.


I had to do a bit of shopping Thursday, so while I was out I stopped in Tuesday Morning, where I discovered that many of the items in the Tuesday flyer are not actually out till Friday, and in Tiara Galleries, where I discovered that the new Vera Bradley camera bag is not really big enough for a DSLR and a decent-sized lens. So I didn't indulge myself except in a box of note cards that I bought for the box more than the note cards, since I am now one of those horrible people who e-mails thank you notes more often than I write and mail cards. Some of you might get these cards for Christmas next year!

CISPA passed the house, which sucks. Adam stayed late at school for a rehearsal for Legally Blonde, so I folded laundry while watching an Arrested Development episode and took a walk through the neighborhood woods where I saw three bunnies. We discussed Freud with Adam over the dinner table, then we watched the mediocre DS9 episode "Second Sight" and this week's Awake, which was great -- family stories that were kind of predictable but well acted, and a big cross-world storyline that was also kind of predictable but still a good development on the series. Here are some photos from Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem for Thursday and Lake Animals

A Meditation in Seven Days, Part IV
By Alicia Ostriker

For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. -- Isaiah 2:3-4

Here is another story: the ark burned
The marble pillars buried, the remnant scattered

A thousand years, two thousand years
In every patch of the globe, the gentle remnant

Of whom our rabbis boast: Compassionate sons
Of compassionate fathers

In love not with the Law, but with the kindness
They claim to be the whole of the Torah

Torn from a whole cloth
From the hills of Judea

That rang with praise, and from the streams
That were jewels, yearning for wholeness, next

Year in Jerusalem, surely, there would be
Milk and honey, they could see

The thing plainly, an ideal society
Of workers, the wise, the holy hill flowing

Finally with righteousness --
Here they are, in the photographs of the 1880s,

The young women with their serious eyes
Their lace collars and cameo brooches

Are the partners of these serious young men
Who stand shaven, who have combed their hair smoothly

They are writing pamphlets together, which describe
In many little stitches the word shalom

They have climbed out of the gloomy villages
They have kissed the rigid parents goodbye

Soon they will be a light to the nations
They will make the desert bloom, they are going to form

The plough and pruning hook Isaiah promised
After tears of fire, of blood, of mud

Of the sword and shame
Eighty generations

Here in their eyes the light of justice from Sinai
And the light of pure reason from Europe


A variety of forces conspired to give me a headache on Wednesday (pollen, weather, time of month, sleeping terribly because a cat made my foot fall asleep and I woke up with a horrible cramp that I had to walk around to get rid of) so I had a pretty quiet day. I got a lot of work done but I only went out to take a walk, because the weather was so gorgeous that not even a headache or pollen could deter me. Adam biked all around the area, then to the mall with a friend, where they ran into my mother who took them to dinner, so Paul and I had pierogis by ourselves.

Then we watched Midnight In Paris which is some of the most self-indulgent tripe I have ever seen, even by Woody Allen standards. THIS got award nominations? I've read Mary Sue fic that was less pretentious and annoying and the women may have slightly more agency than Bella Swan but they're even more shallow. Okay, Owen playing Woody is kind of amusing, he does it better than Branagh did and I can JUST hear Woody saying his lines ("I wasn't anti-social," "He's a pseudo-intellectual"). I felt sorry for Rachel McAdams being cast as Scarlett Johansson only without any likeable personality.

I did get a kick out of Hemingway talking like he writes, but wow, I'm reminded of all the sexist men in Modernism at the University of Chicago and I see the high canon hasn't changed any since I fled grad school. Here are some more animals from Lake Whetstone over the weekend, including green herons, a frog, and many turtles:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poem for Wednesday and Gaithersburg Goslings

Marriage Song
By Tony Hoagland

God said (and already you can tell
I’m making this up),

Let this woman and this man
Be joined together

In front of the sea and the grass
And the trees who don’t care

He said, Let them make
A gate in themselves

Through which the other can pass
And may the gate never be closed

So they can feel the truth of being entered

And the loneliness of being
Imperfectly misunderstood —

Now go, God said,
Into the country of love

Change it with your experiments
Don’t be intimidated Enjoy your skin

Impress me
Make something grow

For your bravery merely in undertaking
This impossible task

I make you a special loan called Time
No, don’t bother to thank me now —

You can pay me back as you go


The sun came out on Tuesday and I even got to enjoy it. I had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with , whom I hadn't seen in a month since she went to England over spring break -- she brought me tea in a Diamond Jubilee tin and a magazine with Colin Firth on the cover and an article about the Queen Mum inside -- then I took a walk around the lake at Washingtonian and discovered that, although I know they try to get rid of goose eggs so they don't have too many Canada geese pooping on the grass, they missed at least one, because there was one fluffy gosling being guarded by eight adults, including two of the white domestic geese raised in a Canada goose family several years ago.

I came home to take Adam to tennis, but he decided that he wanted to bike to tennis, so instead I took a walk around the neighborhood which is nice and green and looking summery after all the rain. Eventually Adam and Paul came home and we had dinner, then watched Glee, on which I liked the Whitney Houston music and every scene Santana was in and couldn't really have cared about anything else (I think Emma has replaced Rachel as my least favorite female on TV). Then we watched a Titanic special on Planet Green that we'd actually never seen before on what sank the ship (spoiler: water). Here are some more goslings from Lake Whetstone last weekend:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poem for Tuesday and Birds in Rain

By Walt Whitman

        From a talk I had lately with a German spiritualist

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form—no object of the world.
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space—ample the fields of Nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold—the embers left from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring's invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.


My Monday was very quiet. I got a lot of work done and ventured outside very little, since it rained all day -- which we still needed, after so many weeks without. Adam neglected to tell me that he was going home after school with his girlfriend, so I had all three cats begging for attention until he and Paul both got home. Lots of birds came to hang out under our deck overhang even though the bird feeder is almost empty, so I saw quite a bit of this:

After dinner we watched Sunday night's Once Upon a Time, which I found kind of uneven; I love Rumpelstiltskin but everyone in the modern era pales compared to their fairy tale equivalents, particularly the colorful, complicated ones. Then we watched this week's Smash, which had great music but on which I kept waiting for something they showed in a preview to happen -- I guess that's going to happen in a future episode, like, opening night five minutes before Uma Thurman is due on stage, that's my bet.