BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
If we haven’t done it ourselves, we’ve known people who have, it seems: taken a vacation mostly to photograph a vacation, not really looking at what’s there, but seeing everything through the viewfinder with the idea of looking at it when they get home. Wendell Berry of Kentucky, one of our most distinguished poets, captures this perfectly.
Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.
I sometimes get the feeling that it is far too late to whip it at all, much less to whip it good.
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I love writing poems about the most ordinary of things, and was envious, indeed, when I found this one by Michael McFee, who lives in North Carolina. How I wish I’d written it.
How well its square
fit my palm, my mouth,
a toasty wafer slipped
onto the sick tongue
or into chicken soup,
each crisp saltine a tile
pierced with 13 holes
in rows of 3 and 2,
its edges perforated
like a postage stamp,
one of a shifting stack
sealed in wax paper
whose noisy opening
always signaled snack,
peanut butter or cheese
thick inside Premiums,
the closest we ever got
to serving hors d’oeuvres:
the redneck’s hardtack,
the cracker’s cracker.
There are now only two episodes remaining in season three. While I still enjoy the show, I’d prefer it go its own way rather than draw too much from the comics. My fear is that Kirkman has too much say on the direction of the story. I can appreciate him wanting to retain control over his creation, but I wasn’t too impressed with the comic. Maybe I was prejudiced by the fact that I watched the show before I started reading the series, but the characters on the show seem far more developed than in the comic. Then there’s the fact that the most interesting character on the show (Daryl) didn’t even originate in the comic.
So I’d prefer that once they wrap up the Prison/Woodberry showdown, they move on to something that isn’t related to the comic. Sure, that might anger some of the fans of the comics, but they seem to get angry anytime an episode doesn’t have enough scenes of Michonne hacking up zombies with her sword. And quite frankly, the zombie fights are some of the least interesting things about the show. The interesting stuff is watching the characters try to hold on to their humanity in a world that gone to hell.
Today I was thinking about the Twilight Zone episode starring Dick York as a guy who gained the ability to read people’s minds after a coin he tossed to pay for a newspaper landed and stayed balanced on its edge. I’m not sure how exactly that would grant one telepathic powers, but I’m going to assume that Serling knew what he was doing and not worry about it too much. Naturally, York’s character spends quite a bit of the episode listening in on the thoughts of the people around him. And when he hears them, they sound just like the voices of the people to whom they belong.
From what I can tell, this is the standard way that mind reading is represented. But I think there might be a slight problem with it. While it doesn’t seem all that weird to suppose that we would imagine our thoughts sounding like our voice, I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume they would sound the same. I suppose they might sound something like our actual voice, but as anyone who has heard a recording of himself can tell you, the way we imagine our voice to sound doesn’t usually match exactly how our voice really sounds.
So there you go.
You know, this post sounded much cooler in my head.