Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Music

Sound alternatives

While heavy on processed drums, the disc makes for compelling listening. The young women, products of China’s top orchestras, perform with ancient instruments such as the gu zheng (a zither with up to 25 strings), pipa (four-stringed lute) and dizi (bamboo flute).
Poetry

Object lessons: Glue

“It did what I wanted it to do,”
said my sister of the carefully composed
little book of old family photographs
she’d arranged with sheer vellum slips
between the pages,
“so they could see through to the old
faces, maybe circle them, write things,
mostly gather round close and remember
because the book is small.”
Their knees would almost
have to touch.
Poetry

Praise prepositions

Going down the list: after against among
around, I think how trivial they are,
how low their self-esteem,
how like safety pins they merely connect.
Prepositions are the paid help we’re not allowed
to talk to, the maids in black uniforms
who pass hors d’oeuvres at parties.
Or rather, if we could laugh together,
they would be the forbidden joy
leaping like sparks between us.
Who can survive without connection?
All winter, green waits for the sun
to wake it from its nap and so we say
sunlight lies on the grass.
Even the simplest jar connects—jar
under moonlight, on counter, jar in water.
Imagine prepositions in the Valley of Dry Bones
stitching the femur to the heel,
the heel to the foot bone. And afterwards,
they got up to dance. Between, beside, within
may yet keep the chins and breasts
from tumbling off Picasso’s women.
If I could, I would make prepositions the stars
of a book, like the luminary traveling the navy sky
the night sweet Jesus lay in his cradle,
pulling the nameless, devious kings
toward Bethlehem, and us behind them,
Film

The abortion lady

Writer-director Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake is about a real-life figure jailed in England in 1950 for administering abortions. The film’s point of view is pro-choice.
Poetry

Search engines

We’re here to gather evidence, to find
The DNA—or at least to lift the finger-
prints of Deity. A treasure hunt
With clues craftily concealed, but there
Nevertheless. If clouds drifting dreamily
Across the moon’s congested face won’t do,
Or waves that threaten passion in the
Higher sense, beyond a Category
Five, make you shrug, consider numbers,
Counting to infinity. Boot up
Your Apple, and see how many zeroes it
Can prophesy. Click a remote: note
How mice, unwired, can still point
To sites unmentioned in the manual.
Divide three into ten, and claim eternity.