Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Great Falls Views

By Joan Retallack
9 Enigmatic Quatrains / 3 Stealth Couplets


the feminine subject &/or
dispossession &/or
the posthuman &/or
are(n’t) we all postracial yet? &/or

the lure of technocracy &/or
freedom to fail &/or
an imaginary racism &/or
the fanaticism of the apocalypse &/or

a biography of ordinary man &/or
the feminine subject &/or
general theory of victims &/or
intellectuals and power &/or

the insurrection of the victim &/or
classification struggles


clint eastwood’s america &/or
spike lee’s america &/or
alfred hitchcock’s america &/or
steven spielberg’s america &/or

martin scorsese’s america &/or
foucault now &/or
derrida now &/or
rancière now &/or

nancy now &/or
xenofeminism &/or
narcocapitalism &/or
why philosophize? &/or

playstation dream world &/or
persons and things


human dignity &/or
dream notes &/or
abstracts and brief chronicles of the time &/or
the feminine subject &/or

old women in bloom &/or
the art of freedom &/or
eve escapes &/or
zero’s neighbor &/or

philosophical introductions &/or
five approaches to communicative reason &/or
the triumph of religion &/or
networks of outrage and hope &/or

search engine society &/or
a history of silence


"When the [Polity Books catalogue of Literary and Cultural Studies: New and Recent Titles] turned up in my mailbox, I was struck by syntactic similarities from one title to another," Retallack told Poets.org. "There was something oddly, delightfully, playful about all those declarative phrases promising so much, so baldly competing with one another." The poem felt like it went with my evening academic TV viewing.

My Monday was very quiet after my weekend, which I'm sure I needed since I practically fell asleep while waiting for photos to upload. It was a day of laundries and sweeping the deck and the kitchen and doing all the things that did not get done Saturday or Sunday. We took a walk in the late afternoon when it got a little cooler, and I did not eat a lot because I am recovering from all the restaurants of the weekend. 

We watched the pre-finale of The Republic of Sarah, then we watched the last couple of episodes of The Chair, which I found very depressing. It made me glad anew that I left academia, especially the University of Chicago, but it doesn't make me feel validated to be reminded that so many terrible situations especially for women have scarcely changed. Looking over the river from the other side of Great Falls on Saturday: 








Monday, August 30, 2021

Poem for Monday and Glenstone Visit

We Came to America
By Faith Ringgold
We came to America,
Every color, race, and religion
From every country in the world.
Some of us were here
Before the others came.
And some of us were brought in chains,
Loosing our freedom and our names.
We came to America
Every color, race, and religion
From every country in the world.
We traveled from our birthplace
By boat and by plane.
Some of us came running from injustice, fear, and pain.
We came to America,
Every color, race, and religion
From every country in the world.
We brought along our joyful songs,
Our stories wise and true.
Our music colored the air,
Beautiful sounds and patterns everywhere.
Our joyful dance now freed our pain,
Gently, like soothing rain.
Our food, our fashion, and our art
Made America great.
We came to America,
Every color, race, and religion
From every country in the world.
In spite of where we came from,
Or how or why we came,
We are all Americans,
Just the same.


 I had an awesome Sunday to wind up my weekend. Tracey and Ceanna came over in the morning and we went to Glenstone, where we saw almost all the artwork currently on display, though we didn't visit the library or either of the cafes. The wonderful Faith Ringgold exhibit is still on display, Split-Rocker is still in full bloom, and we got to see frogs, grasshoppers, and even a skink in the various ponds and water courtyard. Plus the weather cooperated, it wasn't ridiculously hot, and it was quite pretty in the woods. 


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When we left Glenstone, we stopped at Cava for a late lunch, then Tracey and Ceanna left for New York and came home to feed our neglected cats. A bit later, we went out to Giant and the vegetable stand to get provisions (they were completely out of cat litter though). I was completely stuffed from eating three meals out in a row, so I had yogurt for dinner, and I am pretty tired, so we had a lazy evening watching Legends of Tomorrow, Wellington Paranormal, and part of the Wicked concert on PBS. 


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Greetings from Wolf Trap

My awesome busy Saturday with Paul, my college roommate Tracey, and her longtime friend Ceanna, visiting from New York: brunch at Ireland's Four Provinces in Falls Church, a walk at Great Falls and Matildaville, bubble tea at Eden Center -- the largest Vietnamese-American commercial center on the East Coast -- in Seven Corners, hanging out in Tracey and Ceanna's hotel, dinner on the grass at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (proof of vaccination required to enter, masks required in the Filene Center), the wonderful Amythyst Kiah, the incomparable Brandi Carlile. Huzzah! 

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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Poem for Saturday and Fair Goats

The Goat and I
By Robert Service
Each sunny day upon my way
A goat I pass;
He has a beard of silver grey,
A bell of brass.
And all the while I am in sight
He seems to muse,
And stares at me with all his might
And chews and chews.
Upon the hill so thymy sweet
With joy of Spring,
He hails me with a tiny bleat
Of welcoming.
Though half the globe is drenched with blood
And cities flare,
Contentedly he chews the cud
And does not care.
Oh gentle friend, I know not what
Your age may be,
But of my years I'd give the lot
Yet left to me,
To chew a thistle and not choke,
But bright of eye
Gaze at the old world-weary bloke
Who hobbles by.
Alas! though bards make verse sublime,
And lines to quote,
It takes a fool like me to rhyme
About a goat.


I have a busy weekend ahead so I had a lot to get done on Friday, most of which I even finished. Friends from New York are going with us to a concert Saturday night and were driving down today, so we messaged and made some plans, and I watched this week's What If...? again with my friend in London, which was awesome (not even the episode as much as getting to watch it with her across five time zones). We had a massive thunderstorm that shut down my computer and some clocks, then we had dinner with my parents. 

When we got home, we watched Red Joan, based on a story I thought I knew; the acting was much better than the script, which tried to have it both ways making the main character guilty as hell of treason but, I guess, sympathetic because she was manipulated by others (since you can't trust Jews or Commies) and adultery is okay in a historic context (if it's true love), maybe? Not my favorite. Then we watched the first few episodes of The Chair, about which I'm reserving all opinions till I see how things are resolved! County fair goats: 







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Friday, August 27, 2021

Poem for Friday and Repaired Locks

By E.C. Belli

I’ve been cradling the heavy cat in the half-dark
For an hour
She likes how I make her feel
And I like her—
I was mean to the dog
And now he’s dead
Well, not mean
Cold in moments
He could have used the warmth
I could tell and still did nothing about it
And so here I am
Which I am accustomed to
And anyhow I am happy
To pay for such horrors, such ill manners
Of my character
Even if I do blame you for it—
How can I empathize with anything
When I can’t remember empathy
And you are the only mountain
For miles all around
I’ve had to learn to be kind again
To uncoil my tendrils into the light
Sometimes I pretend you are not a person
But a stone (how could I love
people again, if I didn’t?)
And I warn them: Little Ones,
Don’t learn from stones
They are too still
They are too sharp
Sometimes in the moonlight
They whisper terrible things


 I didn't get a lot done Thursday but that was fine -- I moved my usual Wednesday lunchtime chat to Thursday since I was seeing relatives yesterday, so I spent a couple of hours talking to my high school friends about kids, work, the Delta variant, gardening, and what we're watching on TV these days. Paul and I fit in a walk (under threat of a thunderstorm) between a Pokemon raid and dinner (vegetarian souvlaki and Greek potatoes). 

Then we watched this week's episode of Fantasy Island from Tuesday before my usual Thursday night chat group, only four of us this week and most of us own Nirvana's Nevermind so I guess we're perverts? Then we watched some baseball, which for a change went well for the Orioles though not so much for the Nationals. Here are some photos of the new lock fittings in the C&O Canal at Great Falls, plus one of the old ones for comparison: 








Thursday, August 26, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Catoctin Visit

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Fle fro the pres, and dwelle with sothefastnesse,
Suffise thin owen thing, thei it be smal;
For hord hath hate, and clymbyng tykelnesse,
Prees hath envye, and wele blent overal.
Savour no more thanne the byhove schal;
Reule weel thiself, that other folk canst reede;
And trouthe schal delyvere, it is no drede.

      Tempest the nought al croked to redresse,
In trust of hire that tourneth as a bal.
Myche wele stant in litel besynesse;
Bywar therfore to spurne ayeyns an al;
Stryve not as doth the crokke with the wal.
Daunte thiself, that dauntest otheres dede;
And trouthe shal delyvere, it is no drede.

      That the is sent, receyve in buxumnesse;
The wrestlyng for the worlde axeth a fal.
Here is non home, here nys but wyldernesse.
Forth, pylgryme, forth! forth, beste, out of thi stal!
Know thi contré! loke up! thonk God of al!
Hold the heye weye, and lat thi gost the lede;
And trouthe shal delyvere, it is no drede.

      Therfore, thou Vache, leve thine olde wrechednesse;
Unto the world leve now to be thral.
Crie hym mercy, that of hys hie godnesse
Made the of nought, and in espec{.i}al
Draw unto hym, and pray in general
For the, and eke for other, hevenelyche mede;
And trouthe schal delyvere, it is no drede.


Paul's Aunt Jean and Uncle Bob visiting his parents in Hanover from Boise, Idaho on Tuesday and Wednesday, so after a morning of work and chores, we went to meet them all for lunch in Thurmont. It was the first time we'd been at Simply Asia in two years and were happy it had survived the pandemic, though there were only two other people in the restaurant and our waitress said they were looking for more staff. The food there is always great and it was great to see Jean and Bob. After they headed back to Hanover, we went to nearby Catoctin Mountain Park and walked to the Hog Rock overlook, which goes by boulders, flowers, and lots of trees. We weren't very hungry for dinner after such a big lunch, so we had eggs and muffins. 

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Then we watched What If...? which was darker than the previous two, so I didn't love it as much for that reason, but there were so many MCU easter eggs that made me howl! Spoilers: Natasha in the truck kicking ass like Steve in the elevator, and working with Betty Ross! Coulson's huge crush on Thor, admiring his hair, saying he's gorgeous, calling him Muscle Beach, sniffing him -- between that and Coulson's Steve-love password, is he canonically bisexual? And so much Loki, who does a mean Nick Fury, but will be spread pretty thin as the rightful king of Jotunheim who's also fully accepted as crown prince of Asgard and ruling Earth -- in a universe where Thor is dead and Sif loves him, I wouldn't think he could be bothered with Earth. 


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and Fair Babies

Quiet Calf
By Paul Casey

Wring us out, stretch us taut upon the gray bone frame
Scrape us down lunellum-thin as the wide moon blade

For we are codex and caesar, the offspring of mechanical gods
Inflections pressed in virtual folios we are to each cow its calf

Carry the jasmines; the saffrons of our time, calcite prophecies
emblazoned in the cockled ranges, gilded in continental divides

Under a fallen pejeng moon white buffalo spirits pound to crush
the hard harmonics of history in us, down to a form of raw time

They amplify the faded velleities that cling to its valley walls
as calligraphy the word (and true consort of vellum) - elegant

to pen as alfalfa - is all flair and flourish in the nourished nib's
unending congress. In streams of ink-song, tear-strewn tendrils

fall from the gyre-eye drumhead skies, the bodhrans and banjos,
timpanis weave, interleave our celebrations, the flint of our lives

Bear too the wildfire children tapping céilís on the counterhoop
absorbed in the patience of elm, loose-bound for gatherings yet

to come. Flexed, each breath is an age of song deep-stitched
into wrinkled silence, where cockleshells pucker from under

ancient sand. Outroam the Runicus quiet one, deliver whole
these few sweet heartbeats, these glimpses of humanity


Tuesday, like Monday, was hot and uneventful, apart from a couple of Pokemon raids, some neighborhood bunnies and woodpeckers, and my Tuesday night Voyager group, which was missing Patti and Vicki but had Deborah join us this week, so that was lovely. Plus we watched "Flashback" -- the episode with Sulu and Rand set during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country -- and that was quite fun too. 

We also watched the return of Supergirl, which was not enthralling, but knowing that this is the end of the final season makes me want to see it through, at least until Katie McGrath and Julie Gonzalo are on other shows. And that was about all the excitement. Here are some photos of the calves born at the county fair this year; the little brown one, Mr. Liberty, was born to Independence, who was also born at the county fair, in 2017! 

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Fair Raptors

The Owl
By Edward Thomas

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved;
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill,
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, as in I went.

And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.


Monday was muggy and uneventful. I had some writing to do, lots of photo stuff to catch up on after the weekend, plus laundry, cleaning up after cats, etc. In the afternoon, I watched this week's What If...? with a friend in London, which it's enormously fun to be able to do! Then we took a walk and had veggie cheesesteaks for dinner. 

We watched this week's Republic of Sarah (I like her much better as an idealistic politician than a know-it-all sanctimonious friend and relative) and now I'm watching The Pacifier because it was there and I'd managed never to see it before -- it's ridiculous and enjoyable, even passes the Bechdel Test. Wild bird rescue at the county fair: 






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