Friday, February 4, 2011

My AWP: The Wall, Lincoln & Washington, a reading of awesome proportion, a chance to boo the Heritage Fdn thimk tank

Wednesday night's reading at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. was great. Wonderful editors (Reconfigurations' Scott Howard among them), blessedly attentive audience (fellow readers A.J. Patrick Liszkiewica and Daniel Tiffany among them) and a venue sympathetic to the written word and serving up tasty dishes. Swift in-city passage provided by D.C.'s Metro. That's one impressive subway system.

Then Thursday. While everyone else was at AWP, I saw three monuments. My goal, since it was built, has been to see The Wall, the Vietnam War memorial. As I approached I liked that the grass was brown and trees stripped down like old cars. There were ducks grazing on pond murk and the water was more restful in a Siddhartha kind of way than the Hudson. I don't know why.

And there it was, sunk into the ground and of it, the simplest, most elegant and most easy to overlook monument I know of. I cried as I read names on each light-reflecting stone, not that my reaction means anything compared to the huge number of death in that war, but there you have it. Maya Lin's design is genius, the tribute is raw and meditative.

I also went to the Washington Monument, that spindly stunning obelisk with views of 30 miles. He was a good man, George Washington. Seems to have been humble and craved peace. Quotations of his were inside. And also  the memorial for Lincoln, our secular saint. The very famous statue is larger than life in one sense, but not really. 

I walked r/t, most of it on pebbled concrete, wearing fancy leather boots. I was wearing the fancy leather boots, alas, and not the concrete. The weather was gorgeous.

Shortly after I started out I passed the Heritage Foundation on Massachusetts Avenue. It's a conservative thimk tank, where Rush Limbaugh and thimkers like him thimk. I stood in front of the little building that looks like a realtor's office in Connecticut and booed. A lower life-form both noxious and bilious scurried off.

Passing by both Houses of Fools and various and assorted housed bureaucracies, I got a sense of how impossible it is to get anything accomplished. It's so big. Like soooooooooooooooooooo big.  I did see a few men in fifties CIA-chic, but most everyone else was jogging. I was in a business park, essentially.

Maybe by next year I will be AWP-ready. For me, a solid reading, new friends, two presidents I can truly admire and The Wall sufficed.

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