Maybe this is why I didn’t post anything last week. Maybe my heart had turned to ash, okay?
Landsakes–there’s been ever so much-and-so many goings on, just generally speaking, that one scarcely knows where to dive in!
For example, we could talk about Scott Lee Cohen, the embattled former Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Illinois:
If by “embattled” you mean “hoist by your own petard”, and if by “hoist by your own petard” you mean “police records”.
Because if Illinoisans do one thing right, it’s ensuring–via the democratic process!–that only the most hilariously untoward individuals are placed in a position of potential power.
COHEN: I’m a pawnbroker who assaulted my ex-girlfriend with a knife!
CITIZENS OF ILLINOIS: Cohen for President!
Ugh, embarrassing! Embarrassing. Illinois, I can’t take you anywhere.
MY ROOMMATE, THE NIGHT THIS STORY BROKE: [cheerfully.] Well, the national media doesn’t seem to have picked it up yet!
That same night, I was reading a poem on a webby-site. The poem was about the death of a father. In the comments section below the poem, another reader spoke of how his own father had died; of how the poem moved him. The poet responded: “Thank you.” That is the perfect circle.
I read this to my roommate, and she told me a story.
Several years ago, she sang in a choir. The choir had some sort of show, which took place on two consecutive evenings. There are other details to the story, but the important detail is this.
On the night of the second performance, their conductor congratulated them on their performance of the previous evening. Then he told them that a man–an audience member–had approached him, that night before, and explained that his wife had died some months ago; and that as the man listened to their singing that night, it was the first time that he had been able to forget his grief.
That is everything.
On February 8, the space shuttle Endeavour [what’s up with that “ou” spelling? That is traitorous, treason-talk spelling] took off for the International Space Station.
They–the astronauts–have attached what’s basically a new room to the space station. The room is known as
Though its technical name is
[This is not a joke]
After this, there will be only four more manned shuttle launches. President Obama’s proposed NASA budget does not allow for the continuation of the Constellation program, which was developing the next generation of spaceflight vehicular na-na. The plan is to develop such things with the monetary support of the “private sector”.
I am a fan of the private sector. But I am nervous. Some of the space glamour has been stripped from life, it feels like.
[And I know that there are other ways to channel our monies in the here and now and Earth-bound, and who am I to take food from the mouth of a starving baby, but? But. There is merit in exploration and knowledge, in discovery. It strikes me right to the heart to think that these concepts will somehow continue down a long, downward slide of devaluation. I think there is room for all of it, food for babies and cylindrical space nodes alike. Once I fix my Whole World Calculator, I will set things to rights. I promise.]
Also, do you want to see a manned space vehicle soaring through the hushed, sparkling outer reaches of the universe with a Doritos ad on it?
I gave you sorrow to hang on your wall
Like a calendar in one color.
I wear a torn place on my sleeve.
It isn’t as simple as that.
Between no place of mine and no place of yours
You’d have thought I’d know the way by now
Just by thinking it over.
Oh I know
I’ve no excuse to be stuck here turning
Like a mirror on a string,
Except it’s hardly credible how
It all keeps changing.
Loss has a wider choice of directions
Than the other thing.
As if I had a system
I shuffle among the lies
Turning them over, if only
I could be sure what I’d lost.
I uncover my footprints, I
Poke them till the eyes open.
They don’t recall what it looked like.
When was I using it last?
Was it like a ring or a light
On the autumn pond
Which chokes and glitters but
It could be all in the mind. Anyway
Nothing seems to bring it back to me.
And I’ve been to see
Your hands as trees borne away on a flood,
The same film over and over,
And an old one at that, shattering its account
To the last of the digits, and nothing
And the blank end.
The lightning has shown me the scars of the future.
I’ve had a long look at someone
Alone like a key in a lock
Without what it takes to turn.
It isn’t as simple as that.
Winter will think back to your lit harvest
For which there is no help, and the seed
Of eloquence will open its wings
When you are gone.
But at this moment
When the nails are kissing the fingers good-bye
And my only
Chance is bleeding from me,
When my one chance is bleeding,
For speaking either truth or comfort
I have no more tongue than a wound.