This was the announcement I was given by my computer when I tried to open a browser yesterday morning. First time it ever happened but it seems reminiscent of the times in which I’m told I can’t do something unless I’m the administrator. Anyway, I restarted the computer and have not yet been told again of my lowly status.
It seems to be a suitable mantra for the new administration.
Alastair wrote a great review of the book, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. I’m about halfway through – it’s excellent. At any rate, I came across a quote from Anna Akhamatova, whose poetry I recall reading a little of in my 20s. Reading some it now has left me speechless:
“Terror fingers all things in the dark,
Leads moonlight to the axe.
There’s an ominous knock behind the
A ghost, a thief or a rat…”
“You are no longer among the living,
You cannot rise from the snow.
A bitter new shirt
For my beloved I sewed.
The Russian earth loves, loves
Droplets of blood.”
It is time to pick up a copy of this book.
Mother and Son
After the arrest,
not a word is said of her,
and he is sent away
to an orphanage
he eventually escapes,
a stowaway on a steamer
that brings him back,
lice-infested in tattered clothes
with a rash that makes the skin crawl.
After his return,
he’s told she’s away on business,
and he is sent back
until another escape
finds him living in the ventilation shaft
of a railroad station
outside of which he begs and steals.
After being caught,
the orphanage where he returns
has lost all patience
and sends him to a military school
where they discover
a problem with his heart,
and he is forced instead to work
in a factory breathing in toxic fumes
and eating wallpaper paste to stave off hunger
until he flees at night
across the Gulf of Finland.
In the middle of the night
you sit together
and though they stand
you are calm in each other’s presence
as they try to make sense of the world
like that inhabitant of the isle
where are you soon to dock.
“Everything is perfect in the universe – even your desire to improve it.”
I saw this quote today and took objection. Perhaps, I do take things too literally. If the universe was perfect, why would we have to improve it? And perhaps more importantly, why would our desire to improve it be perfect? Are we superheroes? Chances are our desire might be less than perfect – even I daresay imperfect.
Of course, the whole point is to connect your desire to perfection. It buys into the whole self-help (a misnomer if there ever was one) industry worth an estimated $11 billion. Yes, people are even getting rich off our desire to feel better about ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for feeling better about ourselves, provided we’re attempting to be decent human beings.
Does Donald Trump buy self-help books? Nah, but he’ll peddle them in a second if he thought he’d make a buck. Should Donald Trump feel good about himself?
His appearance must have put the
hiring committee off
as did his accent
and place of origin.
All the questions put to him
No, not suitable at all.
Days you never knew.
The farm they grew up on.
The dust and hazy summer afternoons.
The bridge you crossed
and on a New Year’s Eve
The planes that now land and take off.
There is so much you didn’t know.
You think about this all
as you read about
a life you hardly knew.
He intricately mapped his way
about the ancient streets
But when he lost
what had meant the most,
he could no longer find his way
among the shadows.
In theological circles
I imagine there is a word
for lack of grace.
Having put away my robes,
I am no longer privy to it.
Certainly this is how
he appears to me.
Someone like an
famous for his lack of décor.
If everyone believes
what they’re told,
then they have entered childhood,
which is fine while it lasts,
but weren’t we advised to put away such things
when we were older?
is not what it’s cracked up to be,
and my desire to be reformed is
I will say without a straight face
marginal at best.
So find me a peasant
who has learned not to read,
and let him do his best
to develop in me
a fashion sense
Mutiny of the Bounty
Exhaustion set in from the very start.
The professor expounds on autopilot.
meant not to enlighten but confound.
All across the room
A mutinous crew of bounty.
Continents of Design
the size of which
so as not to encounter
those whose unlucky spins
put an end to the happy day
they were expecting.
Bails of hay on farm fields rolled.
Bleak whiteness obscured
one’s sense of place.
Snuck in the trunk
where ice machines rattled and shook,
along the highways heading west
to the dusty old cattle ranch
with its large log creaky fence;
the simple kitchen
with its bourbon-breathed cook
who fed you cookies and milk;
the fool’s gold glistened in the sun
as you climbed to a top
where you could touch the clouds.