Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Giant Killer and One-Eyed Wonder

An observer still high on sedation (cataract surgery) opens an eye to the sights flashing by on a glowing rectangle in the room:

President Obama is at Ground Zero, a hero, not for his efforts to save the most vulnerable Americans from Republican deficit slashers, but for killing one old man, the nation's symbolic dragon for a decade.

In Washington, a beaming Vice-President Biden is with a roomful of people pretending to find common ground on budget cuts, John Boehner with his perpetual scowl and Eric Cantor, whose every effort to smile comes out as a smirk. Lots of luck on that one.

In South Carolina, Fox holds its first GOP primary debate, which turns out to consist of Ron Paul, with his Dr. No act on everything, along with four other guys who look like they just came in to get out of the rain. If that's all they've got, cancel the election. A one-eyed President won't cut it.

The experience recalls a 1994 movie, "Blink," in which the heroine, blind since childhood, has her vision restored and then experiences "retroactive hallucinations," a syndrome in which the newly sighted sometimes "see" things hours, or even days, after they actually happen.

In our current political world, the one-eyed may truly be kings, but look out for flashbacks from now until a year after next November.

Update: A new CNN poll shows somebodies and nobodies in a tight pack for the GOP nomination, as the poll director observes "name recognition alone is not enough. Otherwise one of the best known candidates, Palin, would not be stuck in fourth place. Trump and Palin, with the highest name ID, also have the highest unfavorable ratings."

Familiarity breeds contempt?

Update Update: Backtracking is the GOP order of the day as someone named Tim Pawlenty apologizes for approving a cap on greenhouse gases when governor of some state or other, opening the way to attack Mitt Romney as the health care reformer in some other state. It's all beginning to look like an old silent movie of a ragtag army marching backward at high speed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I take it you've just had cataract surgery. I really enjoy your blog and find myself agreeing with your opinions. Here's a poem about cataract surgery you might relate to. Best wishes, George.

Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/
Cataract op


It felt so adult, at 83, going by myself to the hospital,
getting on the bus like others (all the young) headed for work
through the morning Manhattan streets
carrying umbrellas and newspapers, disappearing into subways,
lining up at carts for a (careless, cholesterol-rich) paper bag breakfast.

When the bus pulled up at the stop,
I got out and walked in, calm,
like I remember in the war flying into combat
with maybe a touch of nerves, but no great anxiety,
more like excitement.

Then it all went efficiently, the procedures of pre-op,
as I was passed from station to station, each technician doing his job,
like once the squadrons of silver bombers
in wing to wing formation roared through the crystal sky,
each of the crew busy, me at my desk with my instruments
calculating our course and noting in the log
wind drift and speed and altitude,
courteously calling "navigator to crew ... ,"
to read out our position and estimated time of arrival.

Our goal of the misson that day was the Ruhr,
a land of mines and furnaces, with a cataract of thick black smoke
rising from the factories cranking out anti-aircraft guns
like the ones lobbing up the deadly black bursts at us.

Now I was being wheeled into the hall outside the operating room
where I joined a line of gurneys waiting their turn at the laser,
as the squadrons in stately procession wheeled
in a wide circle around the city, lined up for the bombing run,
as the flak peppered the air thickly under us.

Finally, the moment, my moment—
and I was moved into the operating room under a spotlight,
my eye taped open, but my mind alert
as the surgeon went to work, the oh-so-delicate work, with his instruments ...

and the earlier moment—our squadron's turn.
We headed in tight formation right into the midst
of the bursting antiaircraft shells,
the bomb bay doors opening with a grinding whine.
Our wings were rocking perilously close to the neighboring planes,
while the pilot fought to keep the heaving plane on course

over the bulls eye of the target below,
and I too was busy, shards of flak rattling off the aluminum walls around me,
my hand jiggling as I recorded in my log
the burning buildings, planes going down, the exact time of...
bombs away—

now to get out of here!

It was over so fast. The nurse was already taping up my eye
and I was wheeled back into the corridor feeling happy,
as on that day of the mission, we turned on a wing
and wheeled west toward home
with the late sun lighting up the heavenly landscape of clouds,
brighter than I had ever seen it before.


EDWARD FIELD
MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry

Volume 7 / 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Edward Field
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission

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