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April 20, 2013: To A Sad Daughter, Michael Ondaatje
To A Sad Daughter
All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
—all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.
When I thought of daughters
I wasn’t expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say ‘like’
I mean of course ‘love’
but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.
One day I’ll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.
I don’t care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don’t be fooled by anyone but yourself.
This is the first lecture I’ve given you.
You’re ‘sweet sixteen’ you said.
I’d rather be your closest friend
than your father. I’m not good at advice
you know that, but ride
until they grow dark.
Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
—but that is greed.
And sometimes I’ve gone
into my purple world
and lost you.
One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
—all those possible worlds!—
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.
I cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don’t care
but I’ll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever.
If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don’t recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon’s
yellow suburban annunciation.
in his frightening mask
More hockey: February, Margaret Atwood
On this day in…
2011: Staying After, Linda Gregg
2010: Dream Song 14, John Berryman
2009: What We Kept, Megan Alpert
2008: Please Take Back the Sparrows, Suzanne Buffam
2007: It Happens Like This, James Tate
2006: Tantalus in May, Reginald Shepherd
2005: September Song, Geoffrey Hill
Mae Whitman understands me.
My favorite show is Friday Night Lights. It just has a similar tone of being really honest and straightforward and raw. You really see the real stuff coming out and that’s invaluable for me as an actor. I love to be able to watch people doing stuff like that.
AVC: At what point in the process of making Parenthood did you start watching Friday Night Lights? How did you tell Jason Katims that you had started?
MW: Oh my God, such a good question. Most of my other castmates had watched it already or were in the middle of watching it while we were shooting, and I couldn’t do it because I knew from the reaction—Dax Shepard is one of my best friends, and he just couldn’t stop talking about it. It was a huge deal. Occasionally he’ll wear a Panthers shirt he loved it so much, and I just knew that I didn’t have it in me. I don’t even watch that much TV because I have an addictive personality as far as movies and stories and that stuff is concerned. I just give everything I have to it. I knew that I didn’t have the emotional capacity to get so invested that all I would want to do is come home every single second and watch Friday Night Lights. I was like, “I’m not ready to give that part of myself yet.” I probably I started watching it last year, I guess, and have tried to go super slowly because it’s my biggest fear. I still have four episodes left, and I’m riddled with anxiety. I need to start therapy afterward because I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it when there aren’t any more. So I’ve been really trying to dole them out slowly. And I held off for the longest time waiting for all the East Dillon stuff to happen because Matt Lauria was on [Parenthood] and I was like, “I think the second that I see Matt Lauria on this show, I’m going to become even more obsessed with him than I am now and it’s going to be terrible. I won’t even be able to look at him. I’ll just be blinded with excitement about it.” So I waited to start that until we finished this last season. That can’t be right—it must have been close to the finish. I thought that it was just so good. And I did become unhealthily obsessed with Matt. “I can’t believe I was kissing Luke Cafferty this whole time, and I didn’t even know it!” [Laughs.] I love it so much. It is my favorite show in the entire world. No doubt about it.
AVC: With the final episode hanging out there, you’ll have no idea how those emotions could have affected your performance in this season’s Parenthood finale.
MW: It’s true. It’s probably for the best. I probably would have gone blank being that close to him. Like, “I have nothing to say to you. Get out of here.” So I’m glad I held off.