Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Renewal

Having used every subterfuge
To shake you, lies, fatigue, or even that of passion,
Now I see no way but a clean break.
I add that I am willing to bear the guilt.

You nod assent. Autumn turns windy, huge,
A clear vase of leaves vibrating on and on.
We sit, watching. When I next speak
Love buries itself in me, up to the hilt.

-James Merrill

Saturday, October 24, 2009

East Coker

Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

-T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"American children are fattened more efficiently than any other children in the world."

So far, Parks and Recreation has been mostly ho-hum. I watch it because I'm lazy and it's on near enough to 30 Rock for me to give it some respect. Last Thursday, however, it finally lived up to its promise. The episode, "Sister City," was about a visit from a delegation of Venezuelan Parks Department Officials to the show's home of Pawnee, Indiana. Fred Armisen, perfect as usual, played the supremely patronizing and entitled head of the Venezuelan delegation. ("We thank you for this container of sap, and the bag of garbage....") but the entire cast was excellent. There were at least a dozen laugh-out-loud moments (the relationship between the two interns was particularly great). It's starting to seem as if the show is hitting on all its cylinders. Check it out.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I've recently joined a subscription DVD service called Film Movement. For about 100$ a year, I get one obscure foreign movie (and accompanying short) sent directly to my house every month. I don't have to return them; they're mine to keep. That means that if I want to watch Munyurangabo, the story of a young Tutsi who steals a machete from a market in Kigali, or Spare Parts (the synopsis for which begins "Embittered widower, Ludvik, spends his nights transporting illegal refugees in his van from Croatia, across Slovenia, and into Italy")--eight or nine or thirty times in a week--well, who's going to stop me? (Besides my wife.)

I watched my first selection, Gigante, last week. The story of a lonely, heavy-metal loving security guard whose work monitoring the video surveillance at a soulless, Walmart-esque grocery store in Montevideo suddenly grows meaningful when he develops an unrequited love for one of the cleaning staff, Gigante is the first movie I've seen set in Uruguay.

Gigante was solid--not mind-blowing, but certainly worth my time. (Although can I just say that I'm officially tired of stories about people watching other people. Yes. I get it. We're all watchers. We live in a hypertextual miasma of disconnected emotions and pixellated love. Blah blah blah....Baudrilliard.... blah blah... Art in the Age of Mechanical... blah blah.... [stabs self in face with pen]....)

Point is: it's a tired conceit. Rear Window was working with the same ideas fifty years ago and in ways that were far more interesting and complicated than the subsequent imitations. (Interesting trivia: originally Rear Window was also supposed to be set in Uruguay, but they had to move it back to the States after the unions complained about the poor quality of the beaches in Montevideo.)

Where have I gone? Oh, I know. Gigante. Basically worth my time. The subtlety and precision of the actors as well as the overall sweetness of the story (love triumphs; faceless corporations everywhere agree to give out bunny rabbits to all employees once per day) kept me involved. Also, I get to listen to some Biohazard. And that can never be bad.

So, I'm excited. Film Movement. Check it out.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yesterday in LA

I met yesterday somehow (how) not one but two
actual poets. In Los Angeles. Well actually I met
only one—the other was her husband—but still.
What are the odds? Slim, I says,
slim. And now, again, my thoughts turn to poetry
as the corn stalk thinks of sunlight
dozing in its dark seed cell.