Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Music

Sound alternatives

The British band Delirious has always been smart, drawing comparisons to U2, Radiohead and Blur. With the album The Mission Bell, the band shoots for added lyrical depth and force. “Our God Reigns,” a key-of-D dirge built around spare acoustic guitar, keyboards and thunderous percussion, may be the hardest-hitting piece, tacking issues like abortion and the AIDS pandemic. (“My Chinese take away/ Could pay for someone’s drugs.”) “Love Is a Miracle” alternates between smoldering, soulful verses and wide-open, gospel-flavored choruses, while “Paint the Town Red” rocks as hard as anything Delirious has ever cut.
Poetry

Friday

I am imagining the soldier
who drove the nails,
clambering around or across
the body, straddling and stretching
to reach the hands,
trying to avoid seeing
the face and eyes,
ignoring the eternal life line
dividing the palms
from fingers down to wrists,
glimpsing the lips
moving silently,
mouthing words not meant
for ears to hear;
And I’m wondering
how many keepers of reliquaries
claim to own those nails,
or perhaps even the letter home
written by the nailer
or some other soldier ordered
later to do his duty
and pull them out.
Poetry

Full Crow Moon

After a while, one starts thinking in that language,
dreaming in that language, as well as speaking in that
language
, and the behavior becomes different.
                                                            —J. J. Jameson

Wind cannot change the dark, late March,
                                                            when the strip of soil
along my fence goes soft, ready for seed.
From morning sky, a promise of heaviness.
Clouds curl like smoke, cigarettes you ask for
                                                            the day they fly you,
bound, to Dedham. So I plant orange flowers, and yellow,
whose petals trap sunlight, beacons lining the walk
from garage to house. In my dream,
                                                      you tell me

you have one more thing to do
before you can come back: prune trees before sap rises,    you say,
no pain, no ooze, the firs sleep

beyond memory. From my angle of repose, do I see
                                                         a branch blown upright
or a hawk at rest in his hunt, moon melting
layers of gold on new grass? In an orange hard hat
you swing the cherry picker. The bandit raccoon
                                                            crosses a network
of roofs yard to yard. In the alley, the grinder lops wood
into sawdust. “As long as I go to heaven,
that’s all what counts”—your answer to my fear
                                                           of awakening

to my heart chained to a wall.
Meanwhile, the storm comes slate-grey while monarchs    weave
among unbloomed sunflowers.







Film

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

You might expect that a movie with the teasing title The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada would deal with issues of redemption and resurrection. The film does brush up against themes of spiritual rebirth at times, but it is primarily concerned with friendship and the decision to honor the sanctity of friendship even after death.
Poetry

Triptych for Taran's broken heart

            Plow

At the first cut the earth does not thank the blade.
Is it rape then?—the bite of steel, its point
incalculably harder than dirt, its mark
the hiss of death, the metallic taste of sorrow.
And what does the earth cry, its tangle of root
a living shroud rent by force? Memory
longs to preserve what has already grown.
The furrow is wet with tears, brown heart exposed,
underworld of worms and slugs prey to birds,
dreamless of deep new roots, of shade:
the palm tree of Deborah, towering crown of green.

            Harrow

The ravaging is not yet complete.
Jeremiah’s voice rages against Yahweh’s
violation, at first petulant and then violent
in return. It has always been so.
Sixty discs slice the remaining sod,
merciless, efficient: vestiges of cover
criss-crossed into oblivion. Blind stalks
mourn the loss of the sun, overturned
into darkness, food for the coming reign.
There is a quiet loss, the peace of death—
stillness in the wake of wrath.

            Seed

The thunder god is always the god
of heaven and of death. Rain and death
both bring life, black earth signifying
a bed, a womb for golden seeds dropped
from the mouth of the god, for a cause
not one’s own. Is there a more tender bliss
than the sweet swelling, the burst seed?
Tendril roots uncoil, the seedling unfurls—
moon-pale shoots beneath green and gold.
The seed takes possession, the violated
earth sings, the rich strains reach heaven.