The animals have come down from the hills
and through the forests and across the prairies.
They are American animals, and carry with them
a history of their slaughter. There's not one
who doesn't sleep with an eye open.
Out of necessity the small have banded
with the large, the large with the large
of different species. When dark comes
they form an enormous circle.
It's all, after years of night-whispers
and long-range cries, coming together.
To make a new world the American animals
know there must be sacrifices. Every evening
a prayer is said for the spies who've volunteered
to be petted in the houses of the enemy.
"They are savages," one reported,
"let no one be fooled by their capacity for loving."
When I was young and we were poor
my mother showed me a ring some old love gave her,
and said, "I'll have your birthstone set in it."
And said, "Don't ever lose it. The jeweler
offered to sell me half-glass, half-emerald,
but I'm giving you the real jewel."
I wore it as if she had given me the world.
I had no notion of what things cost.
I thought she'd love me if I could be good at last,
but I never was. When I thought I knew her face
I told her I realized that stone was glass.
She blushed, and said the jeweler must have lied.
I looked in books to find out how to feel.
Then, holding them cheap, I tried an exchange of rings.
My new one tested real.
And on I went, and learned to recognize
the faintest glimmer of pure green
in a hand's clasp, or a pair of eyes,
and out came carats of green from a guarded mine
in grateful exchange, and back came green in turn.
When I looked again I was grown,
and my fingers were decked with rings, and still more green
exchanges came, and we dropped them on the ground
as our hands filled and boxes filled,
and they roll and shine as far as I can see.
Dazzled I walk the world my mother gave me,
whose stony streets are paved with emerald.
"If you can breakfast together," the gods said,
(we've made up a little game) it will always be morning.
We've dammed back the tides of time and set a table
where the balked sea would whelm over with no warning."
Our beds were so far from each other that when I woke,
growing more ravenous with every scream,
I could not tear you with just an untouching voice
away from the lavish banquet of your dream.
Wanting the prize, fearing the dark water,
fighting the greedy senses, I tried to wait.
But as I sat starving the gods piled higher and higher
platters of fragrant temptations, and I ate.
Swimming and diving through the deep salt years,
wondering what you might be going to receive,
holding your breath, eyes stinging, feeling your way,
you came to the table I could not bear to leave.
But you'd grown gills from the long, passionate journey.
Smiling, you sit at ease on the gods' game-ground,
and in tender aqueous light of early morning
eat a late breakfast of sea-weed where I drowned.
(Victory Parade, New York City, February 1919)
We trained in the streets: the streets where we came from.
We drilled with sticks, boys darting between bushes, shouting-
that's all you thought we were good for. We trained anyway.
In camp we had no plates or forks. First to sail, first to join the French,
first to see combat with the shortest training time.
My, the sun is looking fine today.
We toured devastation, American good will
in a forty-piece band. Dignitaries smiled, the wounded
settled back to dream. That old woman in St Nazaire
who tucked up her skirts so she could "walk the dog".
German prisoners tapping their feet as we went by.
Miss Flatiron with your tall cool self: How do.
You didn't want us when we left but we went.
You didn't want us coming back but here we are,
stepping right up white-faced Fifth Avenue in a phalanx
(no prancing, no showing of teeth, no swank)
past the Library lions, eyes forward, tin hats aligned-
a massive, upheld human shield.
No jazz for you: We'll play a brisk French march
and show our ribbons, flash our Croix de Guerre
(yes, we learned French, too) all the way
until we reach 110th street and yes! take our turn
onto Lenox Avenue and all those brown faces and then-
Baby, Here Comes Your Daddy Now!
From "American Smooth", by Rita Dove
Why you look good in every color!
the dress lady gurgled, just before
I stepped onto the parquet
for a waltz. I demurred:
we were in a country club,
after all, and she-fresh
from Fort Lauderdale (do people
actually live there?) with five
duffle bags' worth of ball gowns,
enough tulle and fringe and pearls
to float a small cotillion-
was only trying to earn a living.
For once I was not the only
black person in the room
(two others, both male).
I thought of Sambo; I thought
a few other things, too,
unmentionable here. Don't
get me wrong: I've always loved
my skin, the way it glows against
citron and fuchsia, the difficult hues,
but the difference I cause
whenever I walk into a polite space
is why I prefer grand entrances-
especially with a Waltz,
that European constipated
The dress in question was red.
That's going to be fun, picking through the gazillion things I've saved over the years, deciding what to keep & what not to. bleah. That's the main reason I didn't do this before.
Funny, the thought of losing all those fics in the past would have upset me. But we've lost so many archives over the years & geocities...other sites...and we're still here, having fun (or vegging out with a blank stare as the computer glows at me...it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble, at least).
I think what I really miss the most is the non-fandom comms-the photography comms, the art, the animal photos (the cute ones!!! gah, too many oddities leaping out at me, no thanks!), the gardening ones...I did have many other things to talk about. Books, music, history...so much of that has died at lj & never seemed to start up at dw due to it being used as back-up.
Well, we'll have to give it a shot, won't we? I actually have a camera now. It may take me a while to learn to use it, if I don't just end up regifting it to someone. But I did want to start taking photos & uploading them...no promises. I have many naps to take before I get around to actually leaving the apartment, blinking in the unaccustomed sunlight, and snapping a flower pic. Many naps.
and on that note, I should go to bed. But I won't.
I stuffed some chicken breasts with this Greek cheese (manouri?) that's similar to feta, without the acidic tang to it. Poured pesto all over it, and topped it off with diced tomatoes. Baked them & shortly before they were done, tossed some walnuts on so they'd toast.
It smells amazing. I'm waiting for it to cool so I can dig in.
Pesto is good stuff. You can do so much with it. Next time, I think I'll get some angel hair pasta & use it on that instead of marinara.
For anyone interested:http://realpestilence.dreamwidth.org/
I also have pinterest, tumblr, facebook & twitter accounts, all of which I've been using more than here lately. You can always email me, too, if inclined.
As soon as I can figure out how to get the stuff from here to dw, I'll be doing that. It's been so long since I've done any techy-posty things, I've forgotten much of what I knew; and I've never transferred posts before. So...tips would be welcome.
Won't say goodbye, because I'm not turning the lights out yet...and I wanna make a sappy farewell address when I do. :)
This is a supernatural series where all kinds of ghosts, spirits, hauntings, etc, have suddenly burst out of control and the only ones who can both see the manifestations and have the most control over the psychic powers necessary to fight and exorcise them are children. You lose the powers as you age, you see. So there's a time period where young kids, teens, and maaaaybe early twenty-somethings are running the show.
Lockwood & Co is an investigative agency with three agents who appear to be mismatched. Quirky personalities, damaged backgrounds, and very real danger help drive the story along; and Lucy, the pov character, is pragmatic, phlematic, and more than a little blunt. There's a good bit of humor in these novels, along with the genuine creepiness.
Thankfully, the characters are young enough that there's no romance as yet. An inkling of unrealized attraction, maybe, and eventually genuine caring. The focus is on the cases they're working, and only secondarily on each other.
I just found out the fourth in the series is out now. I'll have to see if I can get it via the library. :D#1
-The Screaming Staircase#2
-The Whispering Skull#3
-The Hollow Boy