Friday, January 30, 2009

Dog and Space-Time

Dog intuitively understands Einstein’s concept
of space-time. There is a round

space contained by the hard plastic bowl
and it takes time before it is filled

with crunchies. Too much time, usually.
When a shadow passes over the bowl

the hole of it turns black, and if crunchies arrive
then they are swallowed up. Once a worm

was wriggling in the bowl, though it’s usually
slugs. Dog yawns and wonders fleetingly

how long it will take this event to reach Alpha
Centauri. He wonders if it will bend

along the way. But largely he wonders
when master will get his scrawny butt

home and fill the bowl again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dog and the New Day

Dog stands at the entrance of the new day.
Infinite it stretches.

Successive silent shivers ripple through his body
though he sits still as a statue.

Dog inhales deeply the rarified air, every fiber
of his body alert. The scent of so many things –

the little poodle, the fat beagle, automobile
exhaust, bacon frying, the cold pure mountains of the north,

the nether reaches of inner and outer
space. Dog’s body tenses – electrical stimuli sent

via his olfactory nerves through his mighty brain to triggers
in the soleus, quadricepts, gastrocnemius, intensifying,

swarming, starting to surge. Hunching
invisibly, Dog leaps forward, legs stretching

into the impossibly clear biting air,
legs flashing, pounding the asphalt, head

raised, open to the world until
GACK!!! the choke collar sets and stops him cold.

Dog flips head over tail
nearly taking the master (caught staring at clouds as usual)

out with him. Staring up from the pavement Dog
gags, tongue lolling out the side

of his mouth and thinks the day
does not look so infinite anymore.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Patrick McGoohan Dead


My childhood robbed not only of Santa Clause, but now The Prisoner. Life is SO unfair.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


As Jon Stewart said, why couldn't they have called this something more positive, like Certainty? Well there is a reason.
I'm here to recommend all Catholics and former Catholics see this movie, which bludgeoned open up a large memory bank for me. I attended a parish school very similar to St. Nicholas, late 50's to early 60's (the movie is set in 1964), except mine was in Chicago, not Brooklyn. St. Catherine of Sienna. Mostly Irish and Italians. I was an altar boy through at least the seventh grade. Then off to an all-boys Catholic high school.
The plot of the movie involves a possible molestation of a young altar boy by a new priest Father Flynn (played to perfection by Phillip Seymour Hoffman who I've admired ever since Magnolia). Meryl Streep, the closest iconic star we have to Katherine Hepburn plays the accusing principal of St. Nicholas, Sister Aloysius Beauvier. Just to see actors of this caliber face off is worth the price of admission, but conflicts and lines of tension abound, as do the uncertainties: Gender - Nuns, the teachers are hierarchically inferior to the priests, monsignors, and bishops. Progress - Flynn is a "new" affable, open and welcoming priest who is trying to make St. Nicholas more, pardon the insidious phrase, user-friendly; Sister Beauvier is strictly old school, and believes in a strict discipline, pencils over pens, and absolute decorum. Racial, class, theological and philosophical divisions also rear their heads, or rather their banners, since the movie is too short to explore any of these in detail.
There are two weaknesses to my mind: the issue of child abuse by priests seemed to be informed by contemporary knowledge and beliefs rather than the morays of the late 50's, early 60's. Abusing priests had not yet been "outed" and they were either ignored or not recognized. Secondly, in thypical Hollywood overkill, the kid (Donald Miller) that Flynn was suspected of abusing was the first black student in the school, and I'm sorry but that's just too damned convenient.
The film is best at its grittiest. Go see it with friends and plan to have a drink afterwards. Lots to discuss here.