Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

A communion of tools

Each time I visit, my father gives me
The things that are sold from weekend driveways—
A painting, old golf clubs, assorted books.
Before it’s too late, he says, repeating
That caution bimonthly for nineteen years
Because the Bible says threescore and ten.

But lately, they’ve been practical, these gifts,
Things requiring muscle, as if some part
Of him might enter me through communion,
Transubstantiation happening when
I take these things in my hands, receiving
His body and blood in the church of work,
Believing I will take it through my hands,
That forgiveness will follow when I fill
His role as oldest, feeling him return
In the useful things lifted one morning,
The rake and clippers, the shovel and hoe.

Beside the porch, this afternoon, his gifts
Are clustered like possibilities raised
By numbers—a sickle, a pick, a scythe.
“One last thing,” he says, waving me inside
Where I imagine vacuum cleaner, broom,
A year’s-stiff mop, following his shuffle
Until, in his bedroom, he says, “Not these.
Just look,” showing me nail file and tweezers,
Cuticle scissors, the small implements
Of grooming left behind by my mother,
What he won’t part with, flexing those scissors
With finger and thumb, ready to receive.



Film

Desperado

Though atmosphere-heavy and plot-light, and obviously pushing Brad Pitt for a “he’s doing serious art here” Academy Award, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford turns out to be a mesmerizing look at the final months of a gun-toting desperado.
Poetry

St. Lazarus

He knit him self up, a cable-stitch of skin.
Pushed his left eye in its socket, then his right.
Cracked the knuckles in his fingers (now so thin!).
Raised him self from the dirt and stood up right.

Lazarus, Lazarus, don’t get dizzy.
Lazarus, Lazarus, now get busy.
Mary’s weeping, Martha’s made a cake,
Jesus is calling at the graveyard gate.
Your closest cousin, happy you are dead,
Eyes Martha’s sheep and Mary’s empty bed.

He licks his lips and wags his muscled tongue.
Flexes each foot till the warm blood comes.
Turns from the darkness and moves toward the sun.
A step. A shamble. A dead-out run.

Poetry

What we heard on Christmas Day

Silence like early morning, like indigo
Deepening at the bottom of the sea.
For hundreds of years.

No voice to say this is the way.
Or tomorrow, he comes. They raised
Their questions, rose each morning, found

No answers. Unless you count
Wait. But after the hush
Of prophecy, the long line of law,

Exile centuries ago just a bitter aftertaste
In their empty mouths, sting
Of dust on their ribs dulled, almost imperceptible,

A baby wailed. And if you listened close,
You knew your ears did not deceive you.
He had entered the ebony tomb

Of Earth, loosening at last his long-held tongue,
The star a halo of song blaring overhead,
God is not dead, nor does he sleep.









Film

Call of the wild

Fashioned from a book by Jon Krakauer, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild is an elegiac film about Christopher Johnson McCandless, who, upon graduating from Emory University in 1990, set out, without notifying his family, to live as elementally as possible in a manner inspired by Thoreau, Tolstoy and Jack London.