Book Reviews: Mysteries and Comics, Some German

Arturo Toscanini
When I was young, I kissed my first woman and smoked my first cigarette on the same day. I have never had time for tobacco since.


Dead Woods
I’ve mentioned before that the Germans have taken over for the Swedes when it comes to the mystery genre’s European contingent, but I have to say that, compared to their Scandinavian almost-neighbors, these read a lot more like American. And just like in the last German mystery, something from the past relates heavily to this crime.
This story takes place in Hamburg, though in the suburbs, with very few forays into the city, so you don’t need to imagine much here, except at the end. Also easy to imagine are the detectives, who are not typical cops at all, with Lina barely five feet even sporting a punk haircut, and Max much more usual in look but not demeanor. Both are very likable, much more than the others in the department, who are more typical.
Other than one plot point about another murder which I found rather obvious, I enjoyed both the story and the dialogue, though at times it felt a little padded. The ending is a sea chase in heavy rain, which felt a little overdramatic but didn’t hurt the story.

The Fuse Volume 2: Gridlock
This graphic novel starts with a race between sci-fi snowmobiles in space around a floating station, televised though illegal. When they come across a dead racer, the plot takes off.
Despite this being second in a series, the world-building, or rather the description of such, is excellent; don’t feel like I need to see the first to get it. Also interesting was watching a crime scene investigation, now so usual on TV, in micro-grav. And despite the sci-fi setting we’ve got typical police detectives, with the typical hard-bitten banter, though with a German accent; funnily enough, one of the narc cops is obviously French. Lawyers, corporations, and slums also feature, just like Earth. And there’s regular shuttle service, so it’s not too far away; Mars is also mentioned a few times as possibly the Australia of its time, as in prison.
The plot flows from murder to drugs to terrorism and back. I don’t know if each issue has different writers, but at the beginning there was a lots of clichés in the dialogue. It also annoyed me that it took me a while to realize why the lead detective called her black male partner “Marlene,” but that’s just me. A blurb called the artwork “stark,” and that’s a good description, except from me that’s not a compliment. Still, overall it’s a fun read, a well-done mystery for a graphic novel.

As seems common now, I’m coming into a series other than at the start, this one being the third about a female FBI agent in the Pacific Northwest. This entry starts with a literal blast, an active shooter in a mall, with the agent cowering weaponless, trying to protect a friend who was shot, and coming face to face with the shooter, who doesn’t find her worth shooting.
There’s a major plot point that if I mention will be a big-time spoiler, so I’m finding it hard to write about the story. So I’ll instead talk about the characters, which are well-drawn, especially the lead and her lover, and the dialogue, which was serviceable but not a big deal. There’s a curious scene where the agent is having problems and cures a coming nervous breakdown with sex. The worst move done by the otherwise smart FBI agent is going to check the stakeout, where she’s seen by the bad guy, which not only confirms the trap but allows him to follow her.
The story ends with a chase scene in a hardware store. I’m not all that familiar with those places, but I do remember some aisles are built up, usually with heavy machinery, with various levels and such. I would have hidden up there; like Khan in the second Star Trek movie, this bad guy wouldn’t have likely thought in three dimensions.

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover graphic novel
This is officially called “The Primate Directive,” which got a surprised snort out of me; nice play on words. The original Enterprise crew finds out the Klingons—original Klingons too, not Worf-like—are conquering another dimension and go there, which turns out to be the Planet of the Apes, of course, Earth in the future. Even Spock is surprised by the talking simians. Of course they run into Colonel Taylor, who still wants to wipe out all those damned dirty apes, but Kirk’s applying the Prime Directive, so he gets mad and beams up to the Enterprise, running amok on the ship. For the Klingons we get that brilliant bastard Kor as the puppetmaster.
As I prefer it, the faces are faithfully drawn, even the simians. There’s a lot of backgrounds with gorgeously drawn crew women in miniskirt uniform, which I have no doubt Kirk appreciates, and Cornelius and Scotty get along famously.
A pleasant enough diversion, especially if you’re a fan of both, or even one.


Book Reviews: War, Worrying, Seattle, and Star Trek

Last time it was a sprained ankle that kept me at home reading all day (websurfing not included). This time it’s a possible torn knee ligament that’s got me zooming through my booklist. I don’t think this is what people mean when they say “I wish I had more time to read.”

Yesterday is Dead
Former reporter now detective leaves San Francisco for his old hometown of Seattle to help an old buddy who thinks he’s in danger. Then his ex-wife shows up, and he meets a Bohemian painter who wants him to do more than pose nude. . . why must life be so complicated? he sighs.
As it turns out, this is another old novel now being re-released, I assume for the first time in electronic form. As someone who’s spent a lot of time in Seattle, there were some niggling moments of wondering, but when you have the hero be a veteran of the Korean War it’s pretty obvious. Another note later about Hong Kong about to be handed over to the Chinese confirms this took place in the late 90s. On the other hand, for once, this doesn’t really get in the way of the story, which is a pretty good if not great hard-boiled detective novel of the kind I used to devour years ago. 4/5

Star Trek: New Visions Volume 2
As often happens with these comic books/graphic novels/painty stories, this is a collection of previous releases. . . except this isn’t as much of a painty thing as the others. I remember the old photobooks, some of them Star Trek, taken right from the episodes, but in this circumstance the “art” is actual photographic faces or bodies of the characters badly added to background drawings. I didn’t find this visual Frankenstein appealing, especially since the body positions at times look somewhat unnatural.
On to the stories. The first one, involving quite a number of guest characters from the original series, is frankly horrible. In addition to reading like a bad fan fic with pictures, it begins with the character speaking aloud to himself, even when around other people, instead of the more traditional thought bubbles. Considering in later stories this is not present, it makes the mistake all the more glaring, but really, there was nothing that could have saved this story. 1/5
The second story is a callback to Captain Pike’s Enterprise, and brings back Number 1. It also makes great use of Scotty, and though in the end the story was rather bland, it was magnitudes better than the first. 3/5
Thirdly is a short piece about Spock’s former fiancée, dedicated to her actress, who recently passed. Too short to really opinionate.
Lastly is a sequel to the Doomsday Machine, picking up right where that left off. Like the second it’s not really much of a story, barely more than an idea, with too much of a coincidence at the end of three million years to make it anywhere near believable. 2/5.
In the end this was quite disappointing, even if got better after the disastrous start. Not-so-simple math tells me it all comes out to a 2/5.

The Worrier’s Guide to Life
Hilarity starts right away with fetuses worrying about their looks and body types, including pierogi, broken slinky, and badly drawn dolphin. Then there’s the ye olde video games like Harpsichord Hero and William Burke, Tomb Raider. And I’d give anything to meet the Un-Tattooed lady, pierced ears or not.
A lot more hits than misses, even for a guy who had no idea why some female things were funny. So I’d imagine it would be even funnier to women, especially those who would identify with the author, if not admit it. Though it isn’t too obvious, I surmised she was British from a few of the drawings. I also surmised that this might be a weekly, or even daily, comic-strip-like deal, and a little research proved it was, so you can continue to enjoy it after devouring this quick read, as I will. 5/5

History of War in 100 Battles
Despite how relatively short each chapter is, it takes a while to read through. And this isn’t like most books of its kind where half of it is taken up by notes and bibliography.
With my preferences it was obvious “Deception” was going to be my favorite par—Trojan Horse, anyone?—and it was. Overall there were two types of occurrences that made me enjoy this: finding out about battles I was unaware of, and reading a new version, sometimes with a completely different take, of those I did know. The author must be commended for including not just the ancient world, such as Greece and Egypt, but something as out of the box as the fall of Tenochtitlan to the Spanish in the 1500s. A must read for fans of history who know that war isn’t always won by superior numbers. 5/5

Code Name: Infamy
From the beginning it’s obvious that this is not the first of the series, as the main characters are deposited in this story as though the audience is already familiar with them. In general this didn’t have much of an effect, though at the start it made for a little rough going. . . yet I’m sure fans of the series would be annoyed if there was a bunch of exposition they’d already heard, so it cuts both ways.
This is a story of a crazy Nazi general who can’t accept the failure of WWII and goes to the Japanese to help him get his revenge on the US before Japan goes under as well. The heroes are OSS agents whom, as mentioned above, seem to have been through adventures before, considering their rapport. It’s obvious that the author is a aeronautics buff even before reading his bio-blurb at the end, as we have plenty of fliers here, including early aircraft-carrier-based planes. There’s a new submarine as well, not to mention nukes.
The best parts involved the personal moments of the heroes, from the carrier pilot having doubts about his ability, or will to continue fighting, to one of the OSS officers meeting a prostitute in Chile and instantly falling in love, to their little hot tub party on Iwo Jima. They made up for the awkward feeling at the beginning of how I’m supposed to already know these people.
3.5 rounded up to 4/5


Mozart non-opera and opera

Despite severe exhaustion from the volleyball day at Northridge, I valiantly headed out to A Noise Within for Figaro; it helped that all I had to do was cross the street to catch the bus. It also helped that I’d already paid for the ticket, otherwise I might not have tried it. Bus almost zoomed by me, maybe because it wasn’t expecting to pick anyone up, considering there was only one person aboard. Very rare. Driver told me I shoulda used my flashlight, but it wasn’t until walking back that I remembered I had a flashlight with me. Two actually, but why quibble? After that a couple got on, she Indian with a British accent, he hippie from South Philly, and on an almost-empty bus they sit right behind me and subject me to such inanities. . .
Okay. Off the bus, I walk down the length of the bus station, then cross the small road, and I’m at the back door of the venue, first one there. Unfortunately there’s a late rehearsal, so the audience is dark and they’re not letting anyone in just yet for fear of someone going splat. By the time they open there’s a dozen people and I don’t feel special anymore. Also didn’t feel special when I had the row all to myself and someone else came by, but oh well.
Tonight’s production of Figaro is the same plot as the famous Mozart opera, just no singing. And it’s in English. The only music we get is during scene changes, and it’s a rock version–heavy on electric guitar–of Mozart’s music. The main characters are on first, Figaro and Suzanne, but it isn’t till the Count comes out–dressed in what a stylish 70s rocker type might be sporting–that things really take off. Later there’s a scene where he takes off the long wig, and yeah, definitely changed not just the actor’s appearance but his whole mojo; we would not have believed all that bombastic entitlement from the meek accountant-like guy underneath.
Though the play is witty and sarcastic, what really sells the comedy is the body language, particularly by Suzanne. The character doesn’t have much grace, sitting with her legs spread and shoulders slumped, especially opposed to the mincing high-heeled steps of the Countess. But later in the play, when the roles are reversed, the maid has to fix the countess’s body language, slumping her shoulders and spreading her legs rather forcibly. All small touches, but add up to a lot of funny, the best being when Figaro has to describe what’s in a letter and Suzanne is behind the count giving him huge pantomime hints. . .
If you’re at all familiar with the plot, you know it’s about Figaro coming up with grandiose schemes and not realizing how clueless he is; Suzanne’s gonna be the one wearing the pants in that family. Everyone’s got their own ploys and scams, and for a while it’s hard to keep all the tangles clear in your head, but of course since it’s a comedy everything will work out fine in the end. . .
I had told myself that if I wasn’t having fun by halftime I would leave, thereby catching the last bus home. But it was so good I stayed, and then had to walk for an hour, as I said already exhausted from the previous day. Strangely enough, only one person passed me, and that was outside the Taco Bell. Two bikes overtook me, but other than that it was actually a pleasant solitary walk which left me with plenty of time to think. . . except with my senses attuned to the extra dangers darkness brings, I didn’t think of much anyway.

Sorry, UCLA gymnastics. Far too exhausted to trudge across town on Saturday. Gonna miss you and your amazing smile, Elette.

Still a bit tired–losing an hour made it worse–but more than game Sunday morning to head out to real opera, if you can call it that. As usual went early, and as it turned out the bus downtown had to take not just one but two detours, missing Union Station, heading off a block away from the house–probably no longer there–where I spent the first seven years of my life. Ended up at the central library after another detour, due to some gathering in front of City Hall, then had to wait some minutes for it to open so I could hit the restroom. Not only that, but the little old Asian lady sitting next to me on the bus stole my water bottle! What is the world coming to?
At least I catch the subway right in step, and even with the detours I’m pretty early when I step into the sun of North Hollywood. Earlier I’d googled–can’t believe that’s a real verb–restaurants but couldn’t find anything that my taste buds and allergies could take. There was some diner nearby, but it was closed. After catching a pure vanilla at Coffee Bean, I set off down Lankersheim toward Universal, walking and walking and kept walking till I finally found a burger place about a half hour later. Had thought about eating there in the air conditioning, but instead figured I’d eat while waiting for the bus. Nope, something ornery in my mind said go ahead and walk by while eating, which is difficult when you have a burger, fries, and a drink to deal with and only two hands. If they’re right about evolution, how come we don’t have an extra hand sticking out of the chest or something? (old joke)
Finished off the fries just in time to get in line for theater, where my ticket was found with no problem, once the guy realized my last name wasn’t Franklin. A cute Orion slave girl handed me a program, then I gave my ticket and was led–not just given directions–to a small hutch on the left side, where there were five seats in two rows–combined. Instantly the two ladies in the three-seat row, Portland and Ruth, pronounced me their new best friend, so there was a little bit of chatter as I tried not to listen to their conversation when they weren’t including me. At the last moment two guys, one in an original pilot command shirt, sat in the two-seat row in front of us, so no leg-stretching allowed after all.
Finally it gets going, with the Star Trek theme, including “these are the voyages,” played by the orchestra in the pit. . . but just when you think they’re gonna launch into the main song it instead turns to the Mozart, which got a chuckle.
Instantly we get Captain Belmonte, played with relish, ham AND cheese, by Brian Cheney. His credits show he is indeed an operatic tenor, but I doubt he’s ever done anything like this. Not that the singing is out of his wheelhouse, but the sheer. . . Shatner-ness cubed of his performance. . . it’s actually shocking that anyone could out-Shatner Shatner, but then his many aside glances to the audience proves this is well past anything that pretends not to be farce. . . and I mean that in a good way! Later on he plays a certain “Scottish mechanic,” and that accent is, again, something he’s never done in his opera career before. . . I hope. But the contenders for his biggest laugh are the barrel rolls and when he works in an “Oh my!”
Once the Klingons come out he hides in front of a rock to spy on them, which is good because the Klingons are singing in. . . well, Klingon! Even the supertitles say “Some Klingon. . . more Klingon.” At this point Belmonte calls for the Universal Translator, and order, such as it is, is restored. Nice touch.
The Spock is named, just like in Mozart’s version, Pedrillo, which makes it fun when the bimbo pronounces it wrong later. Constanza–a name as close to the original as you can get without actually using it–is the Uhura, whom Belmonte has fallen in love with; not something we ever saw in the show or the movies, though considering Kirk’s reputation, not out of the question. But easily my favorite character is the Orion slave girl; in the original the character was simply called Blonde, so it makes sense here she’s Blondie. Her Brooklyn bimbo accent is so perfect; she plays ditzy so well that when she sings operatically it’s almost shocking. She gets a great stealth joke where she complains that people are trying to get the “slave” part of the name out, but traditionalists back in Orion–most of them below the belt, in the South part–are resisting. I think the only reason they made the Orion Slave girl a major character was for the obvious–saw it coming a kilometer away–“It’s not easy being green” line.
Gotta say, these are some wimpy Klingons, though to be fair they were wimpy Ottomans in the original too. The chancellor is easily toyed with, and even the cruel Osmin gets played with by Pedrillo, Blondie, and even the captain. He does have a really funny chuckle, though. It didn’t occur to me that these are Next Generation Klingons interfacing with original series Federation until the end. But then, considering even the laser burn effects were cheesy–I’m hoping purposefully so–everything just fit together in an outrageous and hilarious way.
And nothing was more out there than the recreation of Kirk’s battle with the Gorn! Even the conductor in the orchestra put got into it, throwing Belmonte a rock as a weapon in the middle of battle. But since we didn’t have time for him to rediscover gunpowder, Belmonte pulls out his phaser and Indiana Jones’s the Gorn to oblivion. BeeTeeDubya, as I was walking out of the place I saw that the Gorn was actually a pretty brunette, without the Gorn head that is.
Can’t have the thing end without a redshirt showing up! And of course getting his head chopped off right away. No rescue there. Then we get the main four singing about how they should be escaping, not singing, and of course get captured. Those of you familiar with the Mozart, it ends the same way here; those who don’t, find out by going to see it somewhere.
The whole thing was so over-the-top they needed oxygen masks and Sherpas, but again, it was all in good fun with only a couple of eye rolls.
After all the bows we get a tribute to Leonard Nimoy, as it should be.
Well, that was simply awesome, though my own pleasure was somewhat mitigated by my eyes going watery throughout. Thought it was due to the darkness and my still-new glasses, but once outside on the way to the subway–just two blocks away, convenient–the nose went runny too, so I took an allergy pill with a Gatorade I had to buy off the street, since you might recall my water bottle was stolen earlier. Yeah, like Chekov’s gun. . . and not the Star Trek Chekov!
Three nights ago, after the Northridge day, I was thinking how dark it got coming back from North Hollywood; this time the sun is still high, thanks to daylight savings. Too bad, I like the dark. . .


Book Reviews: All Kinds of Genres

Secret Kindness Agents
Like the previous book I read in this category, this is a fascinating account of how given the right incentive and drive you can get teenagers to do something that will benefit not just them, but those around them. Written by their teacher, who came up with most of the objectives and plans, but it’s especially intriguing when the kids come up with the ideas themselves. Wish it had been longer, but what there is here is gold. 5/5

The Cana Mystery
In a previous review I mentioned that the very next book I picked up–electronically–also involved Saint Malachy’s Prophesy of the Popes; this is it. It concerns the Jars of Cana, which supposedly–being an atheist, I haven’t read much of the Bible–is where Jesus turned water into wine. Everyone’s looking for a message hidden in them, of course.
As usual in these stories, the rich powerful bad guys will do anything they can to get their way, so there’s a lot of killing, especially innocents, which never fails to annoy me. From an archaeology story it becomes a chase story, through numerous places in Egypt before ending up in Malta.
There was one part I particularly enjoyed: having studied the Battle of Milvian Bridge, it was intriguing to read a more personal–though of course fictional–account of the behind-the-scenes that led up to Constantine marching into Rome, rather than the cut-and-dried military history. Particularly captivating was Maxentius, the unpopular ruler of Rome at the time, being told that the enemy of Rome would fall in the battle; it never occurred to him that HE might be the enemy of Rome.
All in all, a good but not great thriller to wile away some hours. 3.5/5

A Spacious Life
I try to not have expectations, but I couldn’t help think this wasn’t going to be for me. . . or else I was setting myself up for a happy surprise. Thankfully the latter happened. Stories from an attractive lady growing up in Australia while trying to become a better person through Buddhism. I assume she is showing these examples of what worked for her in building such a spiritual life in order for the reader to do the same, but a lot of them seem difficult for the ordinary Joe to attain. . . which I guess is a roundabout way of saying this woman is pretty special. The greatest thing about this book is her sense of humor, especially when self-deprecating; the best way to put it is she entertains me as she’s enlightening me, even if I can never hope to attain her spirituality. 4/5

Star Trek: Shadow of the Machine
There are some things to like here, but not that many. I expected this to be like the episode “Family” from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in a lot of ways it is, as all three threads–Kirk, Spock, Sulu–dealt with family. I wish I could say what made me not like this as much as I thought I would, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it; perhaps I am comparing it too much to the STTNG episode. The most intriguing parts were Kirk’s family in Iowa. 3/5


Book Reviews: Here’s Another Four

Star Trek Volume Nine: The Q Gambit
Yes, here’s another compilation of a series of comic books. Unlike the Previous “City On the Edge of Forever,” this is a completely new story featuring Q and the new movies Kirk and Spock and etc. Also here are Picard, most if not all of the characters from Deep Space Nine, the Cardassians, the Dominion, and most adorably Keiko O’Brien being a badass; I was dreading the appearance of Archer, but neither that show nor Voyager made the cut, which is probably a good thing, as Kirk would have been far too distracted by 7 of 9. What basically starts as an attempt by Q to take Kirk down a peg goes into a fight for the future of the universe—albeit in an alternate timeline—between the last remaining Prophet and the Pah-Wraiths. The final solution, I will admit, was quite elegant, but in general the writing and plot didn’t do much for me; there’s one point where Kirk gets beaten by a rifle butt to the jaw and all he says is “Ow.” The artwork, on the other hand, is well done, though it’s weird seeing Q in original series uniform. . . 3/5

Path of No Resistance
A self-help book by Garret Kramer, it espouses the philosophy that looking from within is more important than living your life according to outside criterion. It’s intriguing when he notes “There is no connection between performance and positive thinking,” which will no doubt set some people howling. There are examples from sports as well as real life, things everyone can relate to. Plenty to think about here—though that’s exactly what he doesn’t want you to do—with some ideas that might work, but I’m not convinced. . . yet. 3.5/5

Brave Girls
A tome on female empowerment by Stacey Radin, Psy.D. {Doctorate of Psychology? Never seen that}. It postulates that the best age for women to learn how to succeed is the middle-school years, or I guess what’s now referred to as “tweens.” Being a male in his 40s with no kids, I am the ultimate outsider here, but on the other hand, as someone who has many more female friends than male, I found some of the ideas fascinating. I am, on the other hand, somewhat of an expert on dog training, and to find that having girls take care and, more importantly, advocate for puppies is a glorious idea. I would also imagine there’s quite a degree of satisfaction for everyone involved when they realize how much they are advocating for themselves as well. I found it opened my eyes to things I’ve never thought about, and I enjoyed it so much I might look for a way to help Unleashed, especially if there’s a chapter here in El Lay. 4/5

Mark of Cain
A police novel by Marcus Hünnebeck.
It seems there are a lot of female police detectives in Germany, according to the books I’ve read recently, and all of them are emotionally damaged. For some it’s divorce, others lost their families in some way or other, and most are self-destructive. This book is a prime example of that. The writing is enjoyable enough, but there’s absolutely no attempt at anything new here; it’s completely by the numbers. The plot “twist” at the end makes me think more soap opera than mystery, as that’s where it had been used and overused. In the end I was left dissatisfied. 2.5/5


Book Reviews: Another Trio

This is the result of being on a reading tear over the holidays. Not having a family means I might not get many presents, but at least no one bothers me. . .

Death of the Courier
A serviceable British/Spanish drug-smuggling mystery by Raymond Bailey, though there really isn’t that much mystery to it, with the reader being told almost everything. There also wasn’t much new as far as the drug smuggling went; it would most likely be quite familiar to Americans who read or watch crime stories, at least till the introduction of sniffer dogs. For me it was most interesting finding out about the way the current police departments in Britain work; reading about Sherlock Holmes over 100 years ago, or even watching the series today, doesn’t quite do it justice. And who knew anything about the Spanish secret police. . .

The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice, by Waverly Curtis
I thought the conceit of talking animals would get old quickly, but it provided plenty of laughs, especially Pepe the Chihuahua, whose snark is definitely worse than his bite. As you might imagine with talking animals, this falls squarely in the genre of lighthearted mystery, so I didn’t take it too seriously–i.e. I didn’t try to figure out who the killer was beforehand. . . although that might be due to too many characters to keep straight.

City on the Edge of Forever
This is a series of comic books, like the Battlestar Galactica I reviewed earlier.
I’m not quite sure what to think of this. Having read the original Harlan Ellison script that was subsequently hacked by Star Trek writers, the idea of seeing it come to visual life, even in 2-D, was exciting. And it was well worth the read, but I have to admit some of the visuals left me disappointed. Not being an artist, I have no idea how hard it is to draw faces realistically, but Kirk and Spock–as well as Joan Collins–are incredibly well done. It was the imaginary stuff that didn’t have the oomph I was hoping for, particularly the Guardians of Forever and the City itself; even Beckwith wasn’t very impressive. Still, it’s well worth the look, especially if you come in without knowing anything about the episode, or about Star Trek, for that matter.


Poetry Tuesday: Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day

Okay, it’s not April, but I was watching Star Trek: Generations and remembered how much Ailsa loved that line. . .

Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn …)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn …)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(… that time is the fire in which they burn.)

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

by Delmore Schwartz