“Ghosts” is the most eloquent poem I have ever read about vanishing things. She also gives great dignity to cows–one of those “invisible” animals whose suffering we’d rather not know much about.
Have you noticed?
Where so many millions of powerful bawling beasts
lay down on the earth and died
it’s hard to tell now
what’s bone, and what merely
The golden eagle, for instance,
has a bit of heaviness in him;
moreover the huge barns
seem ready, sometimes, to ramble off
toward deeper grass.
near the Bitterroot Mountains:
a man named Lewis kneels down
on the prairie watching
a sparrow’s nest cleverly concealed in the wild hyssop
and lined with buffalo hair. The chicks,
not more than a day hatched, lean
quietly into the thick wool as if
content, after all,
to have left the perfect world and fallen,
helpless and blind,
into the flowered fields and the perils
of this one.
In the book of the earth it is written:
nothing can die.
In the book of the Sioux it is written:
they have gone away into the earth to hide.
Nothing will coax them out again
but the people dancing.
Said the old-timers:
is the sweetest meat
Passengers shooting from train windows
could hardly miss, they were
Afterward the carcasses
stank unbelievably, and sang with flies, ribboned
with slopes of white fat,
black ropes of blood—hellhunks
in the prairie heat.
falls soft as the fall
of moccasins. Have you noticed?
how the immense circles still,
stubbornly, after a hundred years,
mark the grass where the rich droppings
from the roaring bulls
fell to earth as the herd stood
day after day, moon after moon
in their tribal circle, outwaiting
the packed of yellow-eyed wolves that are also
have you noticed? gone now.
Once only, and then in a dream,
I watched while, secretly
and with the tenderness of any caring woman,
a cow gave birth
to a red calf, tongued him dry and nursed him
in a warm corner
of the clear night
in the fragrant grass
in the wild domains
of the prairie spring, and I asked them
in my dream I knelt down and asked them
to make room for me.
Summer school starts next week and I am supposed to be reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s book “The Sixth Extinction” and although I know it will be a well-researched, well-written book, I am avoiding it because I am happy right now in a state of forgetting. Forgetting that we are living through a mass extinction by remembering fragments of a movie I just watched: “An Unmarried Woman” from 1978. I am still channeling the weird chunky aesthetic of that time—how many things seemed woven and hippie,(chair backs, art objects) and also oddly preppy—women’s tailored jackets and miscellaneous plaids mixed with futuristic (silver picture frames and lamps). All of these designs carry emotions—hope for the future, a belief in tradition, in the safety and humble things of earth, and my own adolescent memories of art teachers who struggled to make me understand the horizon line and the mothers of friends, women who to my eternal befuddlement had once loved The Beatles, but by the late 70s embraced Anne Murray or Kenny Rogers.
I am thinking of how old movies return one to lost parts of the self. I remember how the red marquee letters spelling AN UNMARRIED WOMAN rose above the Daniel Webster Highway as my mother and I drove south to Massachusetts and how the red words made every movie seem like a potential scandal like THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH and I remember thinking, “What is it that unmarried women actually do?” Now I know that answer has something to do with cats and volunteer work, but then it felt drenched in sex.
I sure am excited to see the James Ensor show at the Getty Center. The Getty seems to have taken a really “rock and roll” approach to this exhibit, even creating this “edgy” video that reveals the Belgian painter as both a genius and a bad ass.
1. Meet the humble and truly weird sea pig.
2. This great white encounter in Sydney Harbor looks pretty fake, but it’s still fun to watch.
3. How much do you know about whale vaginas? How much do you want to know?
4. Texas Teen Survives “Bump and Bite.”
5. Ancient Sea Creatures “rowed their way to prey.”
So beautiful! A powerful argument against keeping these animals in captivity.
Please sign this petition to ask Groupon to stop offering deals to the circus and to SeaWorld.
We’re all well-versed in the evils of SeaWorld by now, but in case you didn’t know, this is how Ringling Brothers starts training its elephants. (Baseball bats and lit cigarettes are not pictured)
Now for something uplifting: Click here to see Sunder the elephant in his beautiful new home!
I so prefer the low-tech Batman to the chiseled existential angst of the latter day ones. I also love the thump of Batman’s fist against the hollow rubber body of the shark.