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Forty-Five
By Hayden Carruth


When I was forty-five I lay for hours
beside a pool, the green hazy
springtime water, and watched
the salamanders coupling, how they drifted lazily,
their little hands floating before them,
aimlessly in and out of the shadows, fifteen
or twenty of them, and suddenly two
would dart together and clasp
one another belly to belly
the way we do, tender and vigorous, and then
would let go and drift away
at peace, lazily
in the green pool that was their world
and for a while was mine.

--------

Another from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. Carruth "could orchestrate a symphony from plain American speech," writes Mary Karr, who calls the poem above "one of the tender love lyrics he assembled during his late marriage to poet Joe-Anne McLaughlin Carruth." Hayden Carruth "was ours for a while, and the green world was greener for his words," she adds. The poem is from Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995.

I keep wanting to write "Poem for Wednesday" on Boston Legal night because I'm not used to it being on Mondays. I did little today besides fight with Shutterfly -- one of my photo book codes has disappeared out of my account, as has the free shipping I was supposed to have till October 15th, so I am rushing to finish my trip book before it gets any closer to that date lest my other book code should disappear as well. And I need to start thinking about making holiday cards and calendars and all the things we usually give as gifts. So except for some craft stuff with Adam and homework with older son, it was not an eventful afternoon.


A piglet born at the county fair wallowed in the mud during Harvest Days at the Agricultural History Farm Park.


His brother was there as well. At one point he used the smaller piggie's head to wipe his bottom.


There was also a calf near the dairy exhibition.


Sheep awaited their turn to be on display...


...in a herding exhibition by local sheepdogs.


There were also several types of goat, including this floppy-eared variety...


...and these with smaller ears and horns.


Some of the goats were in the model farm for children to practice plowing, herding, etc.


Watched Terminator and Heroes with the kids, as is going to be our Monday routine till Fox cancels the former for its blah ratings...hey, Boston Legal gets higher numbers, think they'll pick it up when ABC drops it? I'm glad we got a bit more backstory on Derek in Sarah Connor but sheesh. Don't any of the people in the future have a life that's worth showing beyond fighting? Couldn't we see more bonding with Kyle and less of the guns? Tired as I am of Sarah As Mom stories (which everyone seems to agree she sucks at, even though it's her job -- there is an essay in this, full-time motherhood on T:SCC as recipe for self-definition as failure), the scenes with the little boy were a nice break from the all army, all the time stuff. The Wizard of Oz parallels were well done, too, and such a happy change from the Armageddon stuff! Though I figured all along that Martin would find out about the terminators and we'd find out he was going to die saving John...yup.

Heroes is holding my interest better this season than last season but I also have moments where I think my kids shouldn't be watching it at all! The nastiness of Claire cutting up Peter, when the whole world knows that Hayden and Milo are supposedly dating, and he's her uncle on the show...I'm sure someone is having an orgasm over it as OMG hot incestuous bloodplay just the way they did with Peter/Nathan previously, but it really repulsed me. At least we had an antidote in sweet nerd Sylar, I mean Gabriel. And the new Niki, whose name I keep forgetting so I call her Cindy McCain. My favorite moment, though, was after Ando's passionate defense of Hiro to Angela, Hiro's proud addendum: "What he said."

But of course BL was my favorite hour of the evening, despite the extremism of Denny's pro-gun stance (I agree with Carl: Denny doesn't have Alzheimer's, he uses "Mad Cow" as an excuse to do whatever he wants. The episode starts with Jerry having a drink with Denny, hoping Denny will support him in becoming a partner even though Denny thinks he's a weird guy. On the way out, a mugger approaches and pulls a gun. Jerry turns over his wallet; Denny warns that the mugger doesn't really want to shoot a white big shot on the eve of Barack Obama's election, then reaches for his wallet and instead pulls his own gun, shooting the mugger in the knee and both feet. Alan is annoyed that Denny shot three times when once would have done the job, and as he's expressing this, the cops arrive to arrest Denny for carrying a concealed weapon.

Alan is ready to represent Denny, but Denny doesn't want him; as Shirley reports, he wants Angelina Jolie, but will settle for Carl representing him because Carl is less anti-gun. And Denny thinks Jerry should close. Alan doesn't have time to fret because Joanna the sexual surrogate arrives to ask for his help: her ex-husband is suing for sole custody of their 10-year-old daughter, saying that her job makes her unfit mother. The husband's lawyer, Emma, calls Joanna a disgusting pervert who has sex with strangers, while Alan counters that the daughter is doing well and tries hitting on the lawyer. Joanna witnesses this and tells Alan that his language is sexually aggressive; she thinks he's losing the ability to connect in a non-sexual way to women.

Emma testifies that mom's sex job is hurting her daughter, and when Alan objects to "sex job," saying it makes him giggle, the judge threatens to shut him up, which inspires him to ask her to spank him. The father doesn't want his daughter being told that it's okay to be sexual with people you don't know, let alone for money, though Alan argues that he should be happy to have a trained professional to counsel their daughter in an era when most parents don't talk to their kids about sexual responsibility. Joanna says that her goal is to train people in intimacy, not sex per se, since a lot of men hate women on some level. Alan takes that comment personally and orders her not to unsettle him if she wants to win. At dinner, he tells Denny about flirting with the judge and asks if they're sexist -- they objectify women incessantly -- but Denny demurs, "I'm Denny Crane, no man is my equal, let alone a woman." That said, Denny claims that they both love women, all women, even the fat ones, and women like being objectified anyway.

Meanwhile, the police testify that Denny had eight concealed weapons, including a propane device that would allow him to fart and turn his butt into a blowtorch, though the same cop is also forced to admit that if Denny had not had a gun, he would have been robbed or possibly killed during the mugging. Denny testifies that he didn't shoot to kill and jokes that if they enforce a restriction on guns, he's sure criminals will obey, but when it comes to the law, the Constitution depends on what Supreme Court says and the Supreme Court depends on President, so right now, with a VP who likes to hunt, he has a Constitutional right to shoot a bad guy in the knee. Afterward Carl tells Shirley that he thinks Denny probably rigged his own PET scan. Alan interrupts to ask Shirley if she finds him terribly sexist, which makes her laugh and ask him how he's enjoying her cheerleader outfit.

The judge in Joanna's case interviews her daughter, asking if she knows what her mother does for a living, which the daughter defines as helping people with problems with sex and trust. The daughter also says that Joanna coaches her soccer team and stops her from playing too much Guitar Hero. Emma closes by saying that she's a professional woman but doesn't have sex to get a paycheck, citing state laws that parents are supposed to see to a child's moral welfare, but Alan counters that Americans are so insanely conflicted about sexuality -- women can model Victoria's Secret clothes in a mall but not breastfeed -- that Joanna provides a necessary service. The judge interrupts to say that she's heard enough, both parents will continue to share custody; Joanna may be unconventional but she's not unfit.

Denny visits Jerry to say that lawyers who get him off tend to make partner, though he also says that if Jerry does a good job, he can insure that every American will have the security of carrying a gun. After the DA makes the expected case about the U.S. being a nation of laws that Denny broke, the fact that no Supreme Court ruling has overturned the state's right to restrict concealed weapons, and the statistics on the number of people killed by guns each year -- "Do we really need another Virginia Tech to realize this is an epidemic problem?" -- Jerry gets up and waves off the "cost in human life jingle," as he calls it. He testifies about the brilliance of the current Supreme Court, which has tossed out the first 13 words of the Second Amendment with all that pesky militia stuff: "Law serves our ideologies." Jerry adds that Denny is a real American, "flag on his lapel, gun in his pants, he shoots bad guys. Human life is simply no match for a gun." Carl is horrified that Jerry just sent Denny to jail, but Denny beams, for only an appeal to the Supreme Court will get Massachusetts' law about concealed weapons overturned.

Sadly for Denny, he is found not guilty, though he tries to appeal his acquittal. On the balcony with Alan, he says he wanted to be a martyr to the cause. Alan admits that he owns a gun, but he has problems with people owning assault weapons. When Denny says he's shocked that Alan is pro-gun because he's a liberal, Alan snaps that he doesn't see why someone must be a pinko girl if he likes guns and also favors gun control. This shocks Denny even more, since the "girl" comment is sexist. Alan agrees: he'd vote for a woman president, but part of him sees a woman as "a human mitten designed to keep my cockles warm on a winter night." Denny laughs at this, saying it's cultural, biological and fun to think that way. He thinks men go dead as they age from trying to be politically correct instead of being the animals they are. He assures Alan that when they're old, they'll sit on a park bench and say, "Look at the rack on that one," and they will never be lonely. When Alan worries that their walkers will be confiscated, Denny says, "I've got my gun."

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