Magazine | May 19, 2014, Issue

Poetry

ONE LIVED AND ONE DIED

Young men and cars offer

the joy of coming of age

with the risks of tragedy.

There is the monstrous injustice

of the death, banal statistical

references, and life goes on.

And the loss goes on. It does not end.

Prayer and afterlife, meaning beyond

anything a parent, or loved one,

or considerate passerby, can suggest

have their value, and comfort.

See the pain in a different way,

with a deeper understanding,

within the heritage of experience

each soul builds as life goes on.

Fine. Even helpful. The loss remains.

It is immutable, irreconcilable,

full of a despair suffering a

random, heartless god, or none,

nothing, just the void of death.

But it is the loss that is the void,

not the death; courage can come

from it, cultivated in memory

or little rituals of remembrance

as a survivor’s stiff duty, possible

by the edge of love that is not

some stepchild of despair,

that is a force of its own.

As to the young man who lived,

the car destroyed, walking away

with barely a scratch, another

car, another year, another day;

there is no answer to that, either,

only the great, inexplicable

mercy of a second chance.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Using Race

Each time the federal government of these United States comes close to emerging from its eternal psychosis on the question of using a crude system of racial classifications to condition ...
Politics & Policy

Liberal Slumlords

When Donald Sterling, the notoriously racist billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was caught on tape saying hateful things about African Americans, it sparked a torrent of news coverage, ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

All-American

In “Among the Euro-Weenies,” a classic report on European attitudes toward America in the 1980s, P. J. O’Rourke describes going to dinner in London. “Your country’s never been invaded,” sniffs ...
Politics & Policy

Old School

I’m, like, digging Charles Murray’s new book, which grew — at the suggestion of his colleague Karlyn Bowman — out of in-house tips on grammar and usage for super-smart kids ...
Country Life

Into the Woods

Every month I get a haircut; every decade my property gets a tree cut. This was a regular feature of old-time husbandry, as reflected in fiction or correspondence where one ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Courses to Success A professor in college once told me that the first step in choosing your career is deciding whether you prefer to spend your life working with people, things, ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ The latest scandal lesson: When you’re talking to a mistress a quarter your age, be sure to be decorous. ‐ Speaker John Boehner said that the reason his House Republican ...
Athwart

Hashtag Diplomacy

From the Twitter account of State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, April 2014: “The world stands #UnitedforUkraine. Let’s hope that the #Kremlin & @mfa_Russia will live by the promise of hashtag.” From ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

ONE LIVED AND ONE DIED Young men and cars offer the joy of coming of age with the risks of tragedy. There is the monstrous injustice of the death, banal statistical references, and life goes on. And ...
Happy Warrior

Bigots by Birth

If you’re like me — a hominid American with external gonads and a melanin ratio that gives your epidermis a pinkish hue — then I’ve got some bad news for ...

Most Popular

Culture

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More