He walks sidewalks, knowing he will step here on a
crack, there stumble on a clump of grass, tomorrow
he will get a job, next week knock up
his wife, the child will be ill-favored,
spiteful. She will grieve, but for
him there is no disillusion.
Gods such as he
know all but
I mean, it was awfully convenient,
that he was always an outsider:
Jew among Nazis, foreigner among Americans.
Suspicious, when you think of it,
that he used his tie as a belt,
that he was so spiritual in a vague way—
God does not play dice—
like he never really belonged here.
Yet unlike with Diana and Elvis, nobody wanted
to beatify him, maybe because he didn’t die young.
Suppose the whole light-speed limit was a ruse,
a way of keeping us here in the solar system.
He had to invent a whole improbable physics
to go with that: light beams bending, time warping.
Do you really believe that?
by Mary Turzillo
Taro finds a sea turtle
belly-up, helpless, tormented by thugs:
he rights it, cradles, gives it back to the sea.
Another sea turtle, immense
as from woodcuts of monsters devouring Kyoto,
walks out of the tide, finds Taro
But Fisherman Taro, doused with sea-spittle
Come, come with me. The huge turtle
named Ryujin, sea kami,
tows him to ocean's root:
a palace refulgen
with kanju, chrysoberyls that make the tide fall.
and manju, alexandrine plates that make the tide rise.
The kanju are scales
the manju also
The palace is a dragon.
In its deepest coil, Ryujin presents
Princess Otohime. My daughter.
the turtle you returned to the sea.
Otohime's beauty sponges away Taro's recall
of fishing and Miyagi, his home.
Taro, Otohime's consort now,
lives in a palace. It stirs now and then,
scales as chrysoprase, corundum, coils serpentine.
Ryugoju, seabed, origin, center,
coils jealous around princess and fisher.
Taro yearns to see his mother.
Otohime (salt tears) agrees, gives him a box. Do not open.
He forgets to ask why.
ready to sleep years, centuries, aeons,
Taro walks inland,
finds Miyagi's streets
buzz with cars, light-blaze, women in brief skirts.
have you heard of Taro, the fisherman?
Urashima Taro? Yes.
A legend. Walked into the sea
to rescue a turtle. Never returned
but his footprints on the beach were lined with jewels.
Taro asks of his mother.
That was long ago, they say.
She has been dead three centuries.
He sinks down.
All he knew is the dust of burnt offerings;
he is wayfarer in an arid, metallic land.
Bereft on a city curb,
he remembers the box
It will bring back my world.
an echoing dragon sea-heart opens
The dragon's jewel-scales flex. First the kanju,
call the sea back to the dragon
so the tide sinks,
and folk wonder has the sea abandoned us?
The dragon flexes again
and his belly-scale manju rippl
and the water rushes inland.
All is awash, lights put out,
temples cars people crushed
as an anthill engulfed
until finally the vat opens
where the folk grow electricity,
with billion-jellyfish poison
and, not having sea turtle shells,
folk tumble, sicken, and die.
The sea washes Taro back
to the palace-dragon,
which coils, then yawns.
The princess closes the box.
But no man
can live three hundred years
Taro ages and fails, blood staining salt water. He dies.
The princess weeps.
The dragon, flood-weary, sleeps.
"Tohoku Tsunami" first appeared in Lovers & Killers, Dark Regions, 2012
My poem "Going Viral" (originally in Star*Line: http://www.sfpoetry.com/starline.html) has been translated into Polish, by the brillant Mariusz Leś, and with a wonderful illo! Have a look:
We saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows last night. I rate it much higher than many of the critics, and here's why.
I loved the use of classical music. The Don Giovanni scene cutting back and forth from three different simultaneous action sequences was amazing, and how cool that Prof. Moriarity can sing Schubert. One thing maybe some critics didn't get was the way we saw the fight scenes as they played out in Holmes' head, and then how they played out in reality -- much like the way he played chess. I think some viewers -- and even critics -- didn't get this, and found it confusing.
I liked the fact that the supporting characters, especially the women, were not idiots. Mary Watson was shown helping the police with Moriarity's code, for example. I wish I had a copy of the script -- I would love to know if the chess game was "real." My husband said the notation they were using was an anachronism. but I thought it was period. I loved the stop-action in the forest scene where "Little Hans" was making holes in trees and maybe in people, too. Splendid acting on the part of all six of the major characters. The nude scene with Mycroft was hilarious, and further developed Mary's character -- she didn't scream or faint, just kept her eyes averted in bemused shock.
The plot was fired out in relentless speed -- but it all made sense if you payed close attention. (Apparently some critics weren't paying close attention.) I think this was an intellectually demanding movie -- if you missed a trick you could get lost. Your mind had to move quickly enough to follow Holmes' and Moriarity's reasoning. Loved it. What more can I say?