Friday, March 16, 2007
Halyards and Pigeons
The cab drops me at the curb east of Union Station;
in the Mass Ave circle, the halyards of state flags clank
against the metal flag poles; I watch the drama of three
gold eagle-topped stars and stripes furl and flow
above the station forecourt by the cab line
set against the lemon-cloud afternoon sky. Wish
I had a camcorder to record the scene, saunter
across the street; a gaggle of girls giggle past; am I
the butt of their amusement? Atop of the marble globe
on Columbus's statue, a male pigeon struts for a female;
I think of new chicks; a brief flutter of wings:
they mate. There! The act's done!
Christopher T. George
And before there was spring, which might or might not be coming -- the magnolias and daffodils, crocus and snowdrops say it is but still wet snow is expected today (!) -- one from a couple of weeks ago:
I take shelter under the arcade
of Union Station; light snow slants
in and wets my face. Above the station
doors stand marble centurions, mailed
and armored, fit for Valhalla with winged
helmets. In a dusky window I see
a Hispanic busboy spread a crisp white
table cloth in the America Restaurant.
Later, I sip a Scotch and water,
my train hurtles into the heartland.
I watch snow cover rough pasture
and bison bend their backs
to tufts of straw, chowing down
as if it's their final meal.
Christopher T. George
Well, it must be Spring because my co-editor Jim Doss and I are about to release the Spring issue of Loch Raven Review. Issue will be up in the next several days. Check us out at http://www.lochravenreview.net. This issue features poetry by Penny August, Sandy Sue Benitez, Jason Biederman, Gary Blankenship, Bob Bradshaw, Jared Carter, Jim Corner, Susan Culver, Adam Elgar, Allen Itz, Thomas Jardine, Charles Levenstein, Sabyasachi Nag, Michael North, David Nourse, Stuart Nunn, Kathy Paupore, Kenneth Pobo, Don Schaeffer, S. Thomas Summers, Ron Wallace, Marceline White, Wiltshire; interview with Charles Levenstein by Christopher T. George; translations of Hugo Ball by Jim Doss; an essay by Gary Blankenship; fiction by Charles Levenstein and Oliver Murray; and reviews by Jim Doss and Christopher T. George.
Another piece of news is that there will be a Loch Raven Review Reading upcoming at 8:00 pm on Friday, May 4 at the Load of Fun Gallery at 120 W. North Ave. in Baltimore. Sponsored by Load of Poetry and Julie Fisher at http://www.poetryinbaltimore.com/news.php. We will feature a number of the fine local and out of town poets we have published such as, hopefully, Annie Bien, Dan Cuddy, Jim Doss, Christopher T. George, Morgan Lafay, Michael North, and Alan Reese. Open mic follows. For more info., call 443-418-4762 or email julie©poetryinbaltimore.com. Driving directions at http://www.loadoffun.net/Directions.html
Monday, March 05, 2007
Here is the address of my new Flickr site where you can see other photographs that I have taken recently. The photo immediately above are merry-go-round animals on a carousel on the Mall near the Smithsonian Castle, Washington, D.C., this past week.
Each morning, I come in on the MARC train from Baltimore to D.C.'s Union Station (top), and then travel by Metro to L'Enfant Plaza. If I have time, I find it a special delight to walk through the Smithsonian gardens and look at the plants and shrubs and birds before getting to work about 7:30 A.M. This early schedule enables me to leave in the afternoon around 3:30 P.M. for the trek back to Baltimore.
Immediately as I ascend the elevators from the Metro I can see the white dome of the U.S. Capitol away to the east and then I walk west and north, past the white modern Federal Aviation Administration building, with its hanging model of a biplane in the lobby.
Then I cross Independence Avenue to the gardens, first passing up the winding walk on the east side of the red brick Chinese-influenced Arts and Sciences Building dating to the era of the U.S. Centennial, 1876 -- there were exhibits in the building at the time of the anniversary. I walk past the front of the building until I come toward the famous "Smithsonian Castle" (middle photo).
The Castle is the original building of the Smithsonian Institutions and was built between 1846 and 1855. The building is erected in what the Americans call "brownstone" but what I would refer to as red sandstone, so it reminds me of the native rock around my native Merseyside and so makes me feel good to see that warm and friendly stone!
Located inside the north entrance of the Castle lie the remains of James Smithson, in a marble sarcophagus in an alcove by the front door. Smithson was an eccentric English scientist and philanthropist who never visited the United States. He was born in 1765 with the birth name of James Lewis Macie, the illegitimate son of Sir Hugh Smithson (later Sir Hugh Percy, Baronet, 1st Duke of Northumberland, K.G.) and Elizabeth Hungerford Keate.
When Smithson died in Genoa, Italy, in 1829 he left a lavish fortune. His heir was his nephew, Henry Hungerford Dickinson, son of his half-brother, but Smithson stipulated that if that nephew died without children (legitimate or illegitimate), the money should go "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." True to form, Dickinson indeed did die without heirs in 1835, and Smithson's bequest was gratefully accepted in 1836 by the U.S. Congress. Interestingly and intriguingly, the reason for his generous bequest to the people of the U.S. and the world is unknown.
The eccentric Englishman's vision has enabled the world's public to enjoy what is truly one of the most splendid museums on the planet -- and even better, it's all for free!!!! You can read up more on the Smithsonian museums by following the link through the title above. Also at http://siarchives.si.edu/history/exhibits/historic/castle.htm are more historic photos of the Castle itself. Enjoy!
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Bamboo Growing Inside a Big Glass Front
I smoke a cigar outside
the Marshall Federal
D.C. reflects in its five-
story atrium, with its
bamboo: seagulls swirl
the majestic grandeur
of Union Station
and epic statues that
take no prisoners
--meanwhile, in Bagram,
a suicide bomber tries
to blow up Vice President
Dick Cheney. I remember
on Halloween how
a man disguised
as a banana navigated
the metal detectors
to the guards' laughter.
Christopher T. George
Follow the link through the title for more on the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building and its unique architecture.
Posted by Christopher T. George at 12:47 PM