Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Dream at Bethel

Quiet now, but for camel’s tongues,
lopping fat and sticky in the young

desert night, big wind in the black backdrop
of sky, crickets and their ancient legs, log-pops

from my small fire. Cool on my feet,
this breeze after two days walking since trees

of my village waved their shaggy good-byes. My wool socks
stuffed in boots, I relax; put a smooth rock

under my head, start to dream the dreams of my life:
I can fly like hawks, have green-eyed wives

from the east, am a sailor with a swift ship,
fish, kingdoms under me, then this:

a ladder leaning into clouds, bright like sun-high noon,
quick as raindrops, up and down, angels, soft as moon.

Then a whisper comes sliding too, down the ricket of the bars,
promising health, wealth, good luck, descendants like the stars.

The fire is dim as voices when the drop
of my leg wakes me. Blinking, I prop

on an elbow and look around for stairs, an unnatural
hint of spirits, but see only my bearded camels,

some lights on a hill from town, my boots, provisions.
I think better of my strange vision.

At breakfast I splash oil on my pillow rock—
it seems holy still—and get ready to walk, pack

everything, give the camels some straw,
call the place Church, to remember what I saw.























Poetry

Variety of hells

Hell: the inescapable presence of God
endured in the permanent absence of him.

A hell where your name is forgotten.
Worse, the hell that remembers you.
Every rotten scheme your hands laid plan to.

Then, a hell for omissive sins.
All what you meant to do though couldn’t.
How you intended to love, but didn’t.

A hell for revenge songs and ridicule.
A hell where despair is winnowed by fire.
A hell that burns away desire.

Hell of all hells: I harrow for your ghost.
But we abide eternities apart.
That’s the hell of the heart.







Film

Sensual morality play

Latino cinema has a long tradition of tweaking the Catholic Church for its supposed hypocrisy, involvement in secular politics and manhandling of sexual issues. Thirty-nine-year-old Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel now joins in with her own rants on the rigidity and absoluteness of Catholic doctrine, especially as it pertains to children.
Film

The Dark Knight

As a boy, I was a slave to DC Comics. When the new issues of Superman, Batman, Action, Adventure and World’s Finest hit the stands, I was off to the drugstore to purchase and devour a fistful of 12-cent comics. It was a ritual that continued for many years, until I finally moved on to sports biographies.
Poetry

The reconfiguration of grand dreams

                                    —near Biertan, Romania

Confusing, how the landscape stumbles—
there is sky beyond this sky, a backyard
of chickens, a broken dog. Ambition,
like green fields, slows upon autumns
and the few ancient trucks. Work earth,
plow and hoe, bent over the soil again.
Years of this sameness. Years of the white sun.

To marry a girl was the one thing. The other,
talk—long into nights out past the river.
Sometimes three of us found ourselves there.
We shared what we had, even failures
we’d carried in our coats. In that certain dark,
nothing but compassionate days, when our tilling
turned the ground to wider orbits, to order.

A village closes upon itself. The road’s rise
toward Copsa Mare is the firm hand urging.
Doorways are boundaries children learn
to respect. Someone, born to it, swells within
his father’s isolation, painting his barn
a fierce yellow. Hay in the lofts. I know
how surely we fall to ourselves in this world.