Jan. 7, 2002

The Face in the Toyota

by Robert Bly


by Louis Simpson

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Poem: "The Face in the Toyota," by Robert Bly from Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems (Harper Flamingo) and "Ed," by Louis Simpson from Collected Poems (Paragon House).

The Face in the Toyota

Suppose you see a face in a Toyota
One day, and you fall in love with that face,
And it is Her, and the world rushed by
Like dust blown down a Montana street.

And you fall upward into some deep hole,
And you can't tell God from a grain of sand.
And your life is changed, except that now you
Overlook even more than you did before;

And these things come to bury you,
And you are crushed, and your parents
Can't help anymore, and the woman in the Toyota
Becomes a part of the world that you don't see.

And now the grain of sand becomes sand again,
And you stand on some mountain road weeping.


Ed was in love with a cocktail waitress,
but Ed's family, and his friends,
didn't approve. So he broke it off.
He married a respectable woman
who played the piano. She played well enough
to have been a professional.
Ed's wife left him . . .
Years later, at a family gathering
Ed got drunk and made a fool of himself.
He said, "I should have married Doreen."
"Well," they said, "why didn't you?"

It's the anniversary of the first little bit of motion picture that was made. In 1894, Thomas Edison Studios filmed a comedian named Fred Ott sneezing.

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook debuted on this day in 1896, written by the woman called "the mother of the level measure," Fannie Merritt Farmer.

On this day in 1927, the first transatlantic phone service was installed, allowing telephone customers to call from New York to London for the first time.

"Buck Rogers," the first American science-fiction comic strip, debuted on this day in 1929, as did one of the first American adventure comic strips, "Tarzan."

It's the birthday of German-American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, born in Solingen, Germany, in 1830, and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Bierstadt went abroad in his 20s to study painting. He was a student in Düsseldorf, Germany, and in Rome in the 1850s. Returning to the United States, he joined a survey team in the American western frontier in 1859 and sketched the majestic landscapes he saw there—the Rocky Mountains, Yosemite Valley, the Merced River. He then settled to work in a studio in New York City and created huge realistic panoramas based on his sketches of Western scenery.

It's the birthday of Saint Bernadette, born Marie Bernarde Soubirous, in Lourdes, France (1844). She saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, instructing her to have a chapel built at the Grotto of Massabielle, where healing waters from the spring would perform miracles for the sick.

It's the birthday of cartoonist Charles Addams, born in Westfield, New Jersey (1912). He's best known for his macabre humor and the Gothic settings of his cartoons, which regularly appeared in The New Yorker.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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