Friday, June 30, 2017

Poem for Friday and Great Shiplock Park

Close Encounters
By Marcus Wicker

I was a real cute kid. Ask anybody. My father
likes to tell a story about a modeling scout

who spotted us out midday shopping
at the Briarwood Mall. Imagine five-year-old me,

all sailor stripes & junior afro, doing a full pull-up
on the magazine kiosk: Got any Keats? No doubt

something I’d heard watching Jeopardy
with granny, but it mattered not

to the tickled pink lady. Oh, you’re just soooo
sweet! What a cutie-sweet! she decreed, handing dad

her flowery card. It wouldn’t stop there.
My 10th birthday, whole neighborhood invited,

I strutted down the stairs in a white sports coat
like, Look, folks. In case you’re wondering,

I’m the host! My mother told Mrs. Holbrook
He was born full-grown with a briefcase. As I’m sure

you will be, little sewn seed, undone. Future me.
Dear son, the defacing starts much later.

After desegregation sparks the awkward clutch
of Coach clutches on campus busses, but before

the riots in Baltimore. It started a few days before
I turned thirty, Invisibility. Home from teaching

the sons & daughters of Indiana farm hands
it’s ok to write poems, same briefcase slung

tired across wrinkled linen, you’d have thought
I accosted her—Maria—when I stooped down

to pluck my mother a pair of magenta tulips   
from her own thriving garden, & she shrieked

Why are you staring at my lawn! Maria who
used to slide teen-me a twenty to occupy her

daughter in the playpen while she grabbed
a bottle of Bordeaux from the basement

before the real nanny arrived. She must have seen
straight through me, into the distant past, alternate

reality when your grandparents’ neighboring
residence would have been a servants’, & I

in that moment, for the first time, unsaw her.
As primer. A kind of manila cardstock

I’d failed to imprint. Son, sometimes this happens.
It happens in gated spaces when you look like

a lock pick. See the 44th president. Scratch that.
It happens in gated spaces, as the lone

locksmith. & if I’m being honest,
the happy way things are going between

me & E., you may well resemble him.  
Don’t count yourself precious. Truth is,

too soon, you will bend down to rob a few
bright blossoms from your own land &

look away from the earth
to make certain you haven’t been ogled.

This phantom guilt applied to a nape
through the eyes of every blind Maria,

here’s the key: try not to let it die.
Now run to the closest mirror, quickly

remember how sweet the fleeting love.


I got to see Alice and Avery again on Thursday! They came over in the morning and we went to the mall after a stop at the park for a Pokemon raid...which we won, though it was only a Magikarp. Avery had McDonalds, Alice had Cava, and I had Mirch Masala for lunch, then we did a little shopping -- primarily GameStop for Avery and Sephora for me and Alice (where we got awesome samples of Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille eau de parfum, which tragically we will never be able to afford). When Avery had enough, we came back to the house to pet cats.

After Paul got home, we ran out to Giant to get cheese for the bread he had found earlier in the farmer's market and had that for dinner (plus a chocolate croissant, also from the farmer's market). Then we watched The Tailor of Panama because Cheryl and I felt like a Geoffrey Rush movie after Genius (and I didn't have The Banger Sisters and she didn't have The Book Thief). Adam watched too. From the archives, Richmond's Great Shiplock Park, former site of the Confederate Navy Yard and the Trigg Shipyard:










Thursday, June 29, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Catoctin Farm Trail

Driving Through
By Mark Vinz

This could be the town you’re from,
marked only by what it’s near.
The gas station man speaks of weather
and the high school football team
just as you knew he would—
kind to strangers, happy to live here.

Tell yourself it doesn’t matter now,
you’re only driving through.
Past the sagging, empty porches
locked up tight to travelers’ stares,
toward the great dark of the fields,
your headlights startle a flock of
old love letters—still undelivered,
en route for years.


We may have gotten the van back from the dealer Tuesday night but I forgot that Adam needed it to get to College Park all day Wednesday, so I still had no transportation! The good news is, more chores got done and some things got cleaned and sorted in the kitchen that probably haven't been pulled out since we moved in, but tomorrow I am definitely getting out of the house and walking in a park! Adam had a good day; after work with his lab partners, he had dinner with one friend and hung out with some others, and tomorrow someone is picking him up from work to work on an app.

We watched part of the Nationals game after dinner, but because Cheryl and I were excited about The Greatest Showman trailer, which stars Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams among others, we got in the mood to watch Deception since both of them are in it (along with Ewan McGregor, who is always a pleasure as a nerdy accountant). It's not a very good movie and I like the alternate ending a lot better than the theatrical one, but it's hard to look away from Hugh and the Nationals won even without us watching. From Catoctin last weekend, the Browns Farm ruins:









Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Poem for Wednesday and Snowglobe

On Being an Artist
By Noelle Kocot

Saturn seems habitual,
The way it rages in the sky
When we’re not looking.
On this note, the trees still sing
To me, and I long for this
Mottled world.  Patterns
Of the lamplight on this leather,
The sun, listening.
My brother, my sister,
I was born to tell you certain
Things, even if no one
Really listens.  Give it back
To me, as the bird takes up
The whole sky, ruined with
Nightfall.  If I can remember
The words in the storm,
I will be well enough to sit
Here with you a little while.


Had no vehicle, spent pretty much all day in the house, got bunches of chores done including rearranging stuff in my bedroom all morning after some culprit (I cannot identify which one) knocked down a massive previously-well-balanced stack of Barbie dolls and jewelry, sorted laundry, took a couple of walks because it was gorgeous out, and spent the entire rest of the day trying to finish a Shutterfly book of Seattle photos before our remaining coupon expired at midnight.

At first I thought my computer was slow, but not even Paul's much newer computer could make it work. Life lesson I should have learned from the last time: do not count on Shutterfly working on a day there's a big coupon expiring. Otherwise, not an eventful day, only got out to pick the van up in the evening! Adam, who watched the last episode of Genius with us, gave us an adorable (he says tacky) snow globe from Greece plus some herbs that made it through the airport:


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and Gridiron Glory

Wide Receiver
By Mark Halliday

In the huddle you said “Go long—get open”
and at the snap I took off along the right sideline
and then cut across left in a long arc
and I’m sure I was open at several points—
glancing back I saw you pump-fake more than once
but you must not have been satisfied with what you saw downfield
and then I got bumped off course and my hands touched the turf
but I regained my balance and dashed back to the right
I think or maybe first left and then right
and I definitely got open but the throw never came—

maybe you thought I couldn’t hang on to a ball flung so far
or maybe you actually can’t throw so far
but in any case I feel quite open now,
the defenders don’t seem too interested in me
I sense only open air all around me
though the air is getting darker and it would appear
by now we’re well into the fourth quarter
and I strongly doubt we can afford to settle for
dinky little first downs if the score is what I think it is

so come on, star boy, fling a Hail Mary
with a dream-coached combination of muscle and faith
and I will gauge the arc and I will not be stupidly frantic
and I will time my jump and—I’m just going to say
in the cool gloaming of this weirdly long game
it is not impossible that I will make the catch.


I had no vehicle on Monday, since Paul took one to work after dropping Adam off at NIH and the other was waiting to be seen by the Toyota dealership, so Alice and her son Avery very kindly came to visit and take me out! We went to the Original Pancake House (I had no pancakes, I had eggs and hash browns), then to Cabin John Park to walk around. Avery convinced me to try a Pokemon Go raid against a Flareon that was way too big for the two of us to take down with no one else participating, and I still need potions to heal my Omastar and Kabutops, but it was fun being in a raid with someone else! I spent the rest of my spare time finishing a Shutterfly photo book about one of our Seattle trips, no thanks to Shutterfly whose site did not want to allow me to upload photos at a reasonable speed.

When Paul and Adam returned, we went out to Giant and did chores I couldn't have done with no vehicle, had tacos for dinner, and watched the second-to-last episode of Genius since Adam missed it due to traveling. We then watched the final inning of the almost-amazing end of the Nationals-Cubs game, during which the Nats went from 5-0 to 5-4 but could not manage to win the game! From one year ago today, here are photos from the Virginia Historical Society's Gridiron Glory football exhibit, including several items belonging to Richmond's own Willie Lanier like his Super Bowl IV ring, and far too many uniforms and artifacts of the Washington Redskins (who now do their spring training in Richmond), for which I apologize but they were my team growing up and I knew my dad would appreciate this:









Monday, June 26, 2017

Greetings from Catoctin

Just got home a bit before midnight with Adam, whose flight back from Greece was delayed but he is here! We spent most of the day with Paul's parents and David in Thurmont and at Catoctin National Park, having lunch at Simply Asia, then walking an easy flat trail around farmhouse ruins now in the woods, then having ice cream, before stopping for kitty litter on the way home and the van's GET ME TO THE DEALER ASAP light coming on which we will deal with tomorrow since tonight we took the car to pick up Adam. A few photos, more tomorrow:







Sunday, June 25, 2017

Poem for Sunday and Hanover Visit

By Timothy Steele

Our jet storms down the runway, tilts up, lifts:
We're airborne, and each second we see more—
Outlying hangars, wetlands with a pond
That flashes like sheened silver and, beyond,
An estuary and the frozen drifts
Of breakers wide and white along a shore.

One watches, cheek in palm. How little weight
The world has as it swiftly drops away!
How quietly the mind climbs to this height
As now, the seat-belt sign turned off, a flight
Attendant rises to negotiate
The steep aisle to a curtained service bay.


We spent most of Saturday in Hanover with Paul's parents and brother David, whom we will see again tomorrow for lunch on our side of the MD-PA line this time. Other than bad traffic on the way north, we had a nice day: lunch at Lu Hibachi Buffet, walking around the Utz Factory Store and Yesteryear Antique Center of Hanover, hanging out at their house looking at various family members' trip photos on the computer.

When eventually we got home, we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner while watching Doctor Who (too long a setup but great payoff) and Orphan Black (I love the Hendrixes so much). Adam will soon be on his way home from Greece, probably to his regret but we will be happy to see him. And I participated in a successful Pokemon Go raid and have three Pokemon in gyms at the moment! A few photos:







Saturday, June 24, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Kayaking Crab

You Wouldn't Say Goodbye,
By Cleopatra Mathis

so now you come back as both substance
and shadow. You aren't even a woman now,
the soul beyond female and male, or something
comprising the two. But I'm bound
by human image. I look into the sea
and only find myself, the same me, limited to flourish and sweep.
I want to see you again, the woman-you,
the one I spoke to here in letters, and you held on to them
for your husband to return afterward, their messages
turned back on their owner with the indifference of mirrors.

You who wouldn't speak of dying,
what am I to think—that love was enough?
The understood as plain
as this ocean stretching before me, or the mote I ignore
floating in front of everything I see?
The sacred is one step away from the profane,
you said that once, as if I'd asked the question.
There's no answer out there in the miles of choppy water,
not one white wave to follow in. But the eye
is never what it seems, its matter separate
and distinct, the cornea a transparent rigid shell,
while the body languishes in its ropy
strands of tissue, entirely perishable.


Running late, was working on a photo book and working on plans for various weekend and later-in-the-summer trips. I had a nice day: lunch with Karen and Angela at Lebanese Taverna, a bit of shopping at the Container Store since I was over there, figuring out how the new Pokemon Go gyms work (at one point I had four Pokemon in gyms, a record for me, which made me happy and probably means the hardcore players are all annoyed that middling people like me can actually enjoy themselves).

We had dinner with my parents and watched the beginning of the Nationals game, which turned out to be a good enough game after starting badly that we watched all the way to the end when the Nats won in the tenth (as opposed to the Orioles who lost by ten runs without having to go into extra innings, ha). Since I'm running late, going to PA tomorrow to see Paul's family, and since Adam went kayaking in Greece, here is a photo from last summer kayaking in Delaware's Assawoman Bay of a crab swimming by my paddle:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Poem for Friday and Cat vs. Purse

By Barbara Guest

In the past we listened to photographs. They heard our voice speak.
Alive, active. What had been distance was memory.    Dusk came,
Pushed us forward,   emptying the laboratory   each night undisturbed by

      In the city of X, they lived together. Always morose, her lips
soothed him. The piano was arranged in the old manner, light entered the
window, street lamps at the single tree.

      Emotion evoked by a single light on a subject is not transferable to
photographs of the improved city. The camera, once
commented freely amid rivering and lost gutters of treeless parks or avenue.
The old camera refused to penetrate the unknown. Its heart was soft,

      Now distributed is photography of new government building. We are
forbidden to observe despair silent in old photographs.


Thursday was a chore day, but, except for folding laundry, mostly fun chores. I was buying stuff in craft stores and framing photos and hanging things and in my spare time I was working on a Seattle trip Shutterfly book since they kindly had a freebie coupon ("YIPPEE" if you need it).

We watched the end of Long Strange Trip, which was sad. There were bunnies eating the grass outside and cats fighting over cardboard boxes and purse straps inside and really that's all the news, besides the Orioles losing to Cleveland again and the NBA draft happening but I didn't pay attention.








Thursday, June 22, 2017

Poem for Thursday, Washingtonian, The Zookeeper's Wife

By Joseph Fasano

If tonight the moon should arrive like a lost guide
crossing the fields with a bitter lantern in her hand,

her irides blind, her dresses wild, lie down and listen to her
find you; lie down and listen to the body become

the promise of no other, the sleeper in the garden
in its own arms, the exile in its own autumnal house.

You have woken. But no one has woken. You are changed,
but the light of change is bitter, the changing

is the threshold into winter. Traveler, rememberer, sleeper,
tonight, as you slumber where the dead are, if the moon’s hands

should discover you through fire, lie down
and listen to her hold you, the moon who has been away

so long now, the lost moon with her silver lips
and whisper, her body half in winter,

half in wool. Look at her, look at her, that drifter.
And if no one, if nothing comes to know you, if no song

comes to prove it isn’t over, tell yourself, in the moon’s
arms, she is no one; tell yourself, as you lose

love, it is after, that you alone are the bearer
in that changed place, you alone who have woken, and have

opened, you alone who can so love
what you are now and the vanishing that carries it away.


On Wednesday morning, while Adam was at the first day of the computer conference that was his excuse for going to Greece though he still got lunch overlooking the sea, Alice came over and we went to Ted's Bulletin for homemade pop tarts and milkshakes (well, and also eggs for me and bacon for her and hash browns for both of us), all of which were great. Then we walked around Washingtonian Lake, saw the geese, stopped in Charming Charlie and Kohl's, and I found out she's never seen Master and Commander so I know what we're doing next time!







In the afternoon I did more cleaning and organizing, stopped at CVS, and did my PT exercises. We had chick'n with pineapple for the summer solstice, then we watched The Zookeeper's Wife, which I really can't say that I liked -- way too many horrible things happen to people and animals alike, though it's bizarre to me how many people have an easier time with Nazis murdering Jews than with Nazis shooting camels. Chastain is pretty good but they've made her up to look much too perfect too much of the time; the zookeeper himself makes a more memorable impression.