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Engaging Venus
By Estill Pollock


Oboes quail-cry. The music leans into a risen ether.
Low notes rupture, a softness
of flesh on razor wire. Are you listening?

The shape of your pulse is made and handled.
It supports the roof. The lawnmower chugs with it.
The universe spills across the table.

I suggest blue to match your eyes, blue paler
than the late sky’s crust of blue, a lateness of blue
engaging Venus: a held breath and then the night.

Money counted into stacks, wobbly coin chimneys
anticipate the city where I died. I lose count
of the cities, conquer karma, goldfish-suns.

We ride up-country. The map is in my head.
The snow swirls. Which way now? Each shadow
longs for a name, hangs hawkish in the wind.

The mind is changed, courted. I confess the stars
in my care have disappeared; nothing else of interest.
Pinwheel galaxies trail a ghostly light, bright bangles snuffed.

I walk the streets, wear sandwich boards: the world’s end
signed in bright red letters. You imagine escaping, require
directions, the road out, remember loud years laughing.

From rusted oil drums teepee pallet planks stick out,
smoulder. Zombies drink from carrier bags. A pager peeps,
the air crackling, tracks you here.

Fields burn. Smoking stubble stinking as it blackens.
Field-hands man the firebreaks: one man asleep,
sinks in an ocean, hears no blazing birds.

Suitcase on the landing, the house folded with the shirts,
life is full of such extravagance. A house not there
and still these rarefied excursions: whatever next?

--------

The themes of this entry will be cats and Boston Legal, so if both those things bore you, you might as well skip it. [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan and I went to the mall to get my key duplicated so she can get into my house and bond with Rosie and Cinnamon while I am in England, ate at the new Mediterranean place in the food court and looked at tchotchkes (I bought such very important things as a penguin pencil for younger son, a "Video Games! Why Waste Technology On Medicine?" magnet for older son, and a pair of goofy $6 rainbow-colored earrings for me). Then we came back here, neglected the aforementioned cats who were demanding food, and watched the fishing and spa episodes from last season's BL (the one where Alan says he and Denny are lovers and they sleep together, and the one where Denny explains to their manicurists that they like to go fishing together a la Brokeback Mountain). When BL is good, it is very very good, and when cats are bad, they are...


Do not believe this innocent face.


THIS is what this beast is plotting to do.


A few months ago, it was whining to drink out of the sink...now this.


Not even repeated flashes from the camera distract her.


And when she finally gets up out of the bowl, what does she want? To drink out of the sink!


Had a bit of carpool chaos since younger son got out of Hebrew school at the same time older son got off the late bus because he stayed for chorus rehearsal. [livejournal.com profile] apaulled picked up Ledo's Pizza because it was a fundraising night for the school, and my stomach is apparently quite annoyed with me for eating it. So I was rather distracted during the new BL episode, though I liked all three storylines and was bummed that Denny's argument with Bethany about Israel got such short shrift. Megan Mullally gave a very entertaining performance as a woman who might have been guilty, innocent or temporarily insane, she played her as such a chameleon, so when she turned out to be a true psychopathic killer, I was quite disappointed Alan didn't find a way to put her away for life. He really has had no luck with girlfriends at all, has he? And there wasn't even a happy ending with Denny...he turned down a sleepover. Oh, Alan, you break my heart.

Still, it's a very colorful story, with Alan accosted by a hysterical bride covered in blood and accused of murdering the groom. When Alan brings her a change of clothing in prison so her dress can be admitted as evidence, we find out she's a lawyer, they dated at a previous firm, her fiance was a wigmaker killed by his own shears and the "Bloody Bride" claims she blacked out. (Was she on The Practice while Alan was there? Can't find it on Megan's resume.) Meanwhile Denny is going to rehab because he said something bad about Jews and Bethany left him -- because of course rehab is what one does when one makes an ethnic slur -- and Claire is visited by Jerome, a client thrust upon her by the court accused of stealing a cell phone, whose case she must urgently does not want to address. He doesn't have a suit or tie and the trial is that very day, so Claire asks Brad to lend Jerome his jacket and tie. This leads to a priceless moment when Denise, who is absent for most of the episode, looks nauseous as she realizes that she's having a baby with a man who wears a clip-on tie.

Alan doesn't really believe for a minute that Renata is innocent, though her story -- that she's really a failed attorney named Sarah who bought Renata's identity while Renata ran off to marry some guy in Alaska -- is so implausible that he checks it out. He also has fun with all the witnesses for the prosecution, making one potential groom sound like a distracted jerk and another like a drug-crazed moron. His closing, as usual, is brilliant, getting the entire courtroom to look at the door with the suggestion that he has the real killer about to step through...but Renata doesn't look, and Alan knows it's because she already killed the real one, then killed the fiance who was dumping her. It's pretty close to cracked, but his passionate evidence that there's reasonable doubt is still kind of rousing.

Still, it's much easier to feel good about Claire's case. Her client comes to court wearing his wedding tuxedo, the only suit he owns, and seems guilty as hell -- he was using the stolen cell phone when he was arrested. But she argues that he might have mistakenly believed the phone was his when he took it -- he had the same one, though his ring was SpongeBob, not Beethoven -- and since he's not being charged with possession of stolen property and there's no evidence he intended to steal it in the first place, he's not guilty...which the judge buys so far as to say that Jerome got lucky and let him off. Jerome apologizes to Claire for threatening to mess with her for not taking his case seriously, and then, in a really lovely moment, promises to go straight now that she had gotten him a second chance. "I have you to thank, in case you ever wonder whether you made a difference in somebody's life," he tells her. It's so nice to get such a lovely lawyer moment for someone other than Alan.

Denny's argument with Bethany stems from the fact that she told him he was anti-Semitic for questioning Israel's policies, which he doesn't think is fair. He explains to Shirley that he's not a bigot -- he grew up not knowing who was who, not noticing people's races or religions -- but Shirley says his insensitivity lies in not knowing how important those things can be to other people. Bethany concedes that Denny is not a bigot but he doesn't seem to get that Israel is a country the size of New Jersey, surrounded by other countries that want to destroy it bcause of its religious faith, and Denny can't just toss out the history of persecution and threat of future persecution when looking at Israeli policies focused on survival. During the final minutes with the cigars, Denny asks Alan whether Alan thinks Israel overreacted in Lebanon and Alan says he does, but one could also look at Israel's response in comparison to the US response to 9/11 which involved an aggressive war in a country not even involved. Denny calls Alan a communist for this, but Alan points out that while Jews will tell other Jews that Israel may have been wrong, non-Jews can't possibly comprehend the sense of persecution Bethany was talking about.

Whoever wrote this has it spot-on, at least as far as I'm concerned as a Jew, and I really wish this had been a bigger storyline. Instead it's a segue into Denny concluding that it's not his fault that he can't understand Bethany's objections, to which Alan can only agree, "It's not your fault," which makes Denny so happy that he asks for a sleepover. Alan says not tonight, Denny calls him a tease, Alan asks why they can't ever have an intimate conversation without it turning into an opportunity for a sleepover, and Denny's feelings get hurt. They agree that they're not going to speak to each other, then, though of course they're discussing even the terms of that in the end.

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