Sunday, December 10, 2017

Just a Couple of Drifters on This Planet of Some Odd Billions Customers



  • James Tate's birthday was Friday past. He would have been 74.
  • Normally I would have posted his standard Egoslavian birthday post, but Gass' death.
  • Today is Olivier Messaien's birthday. He was born 109 years ago today.
  • Earthgirl had museum and lunch plans with a friend yesterday, and it was snowing so no disc golf w Dr Z or solo hike for me, so I got to the book and clothes purge I've promised Earthgirl.
  • We be donating shit away - we're downsizing.
  • Found that old Tate up above, the first I owned, bought in the 2nd Story on Old Georgetown back when there was a hardware store at the corner of Wisconsin and Old Georgetown in Bethesda.
  • I don't play My Sillyass Deserted Island Five Game with poets (or novelists) though Tate (and Gass) have permanent seats. 
  • Tate poem below from Viper Jazz, the first Tate poem I read, why I bought the book.
  • The she who made me feel like fungus and died in her room when I died in mine was standing next to me when I first read the poem in the bookstore.
  • Also found $75 in old Barnes & Noble gift cards, so I've preordered the new Richard Powers (and I'll forget, so one day this coming April I'll be pleasantly surprised).
  • Also ordered two used paperback copies of The Tunnel, if you want one, and ask nice, and I like you, I'll send it to you.
  • As always, I don't ask that you finish any book that I send you, only that you give it a fair shot.
  • Also, a replacement of Gass' On Being Blue in the beautiful NYRB edition.
  • Gass's death: not sadness - if offered a lucid run into my 90s right now, I'm buying - but love.
  • Tate's birthday is also the anniversary of Lennon's assassination, so where I was, w this, my favorite Lennon song, at above post.





DISEASE

James Tate

We were just a couple of drifters
on this planet of
some odd billions customers
open all night. She was always
loving and attentive
but made
what I considered
an abnormal number of morbid references,
so that at times I felt like a fungus.
Meanwhile we drank and smoked
and listened to country music.
She died in her room
and I died in mine.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Vast and Protean, Unimaginably Hungry












From The Tunnel, read out loud if you can, if you want:


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Their Deeply Incised Letters Always a Problem

  • Two short excerpts from The Tunnel. Rest in Peace, William Gass.

The other large carton unpacked in the same way - box into box - but the feeling it gave me was the opposite of that suggested by the endless nest of Russians dollies it otherwise resembled, for what I was opening was a den of spaces which now covered the floor near my feet. It was plain that every ten-by-ten-by eight container contained cubes which were nine by nine by seven, and eight by eight by six, and seven by seven by five, and so on down to three by three by two, as well as many smaller, thinly sided ones at every interval in between, so that out of one box a million more might multiply, confirming Zeno's view, although at that age, with an unfurnished mind, I couldn't have known of his paradoxes let alone have been able to describe one with any succinctness. What I had discovered is that every space contains more space than the space it contains.

  • Please read out loud if you can, if you want. Think Gass didn't when he wrote it?

I built, of blocks, a town three hundred thousand strong, whose avenues were paved with a wine-colored rug and decorated by large leaves outlined inappropriately in orange, and on this leafage I'd often park my Tootsie Toy trucks, as if on pads of camouflage, waiting their deployment against catastrophes which included alien invasions, internal treachery, and world war. It was always my intention, and my conceit, to use up, in the town's construction, every toy I possessed: my electronic train, of course, the Lincoln Logs, old kindergarten blocks—their deeply incised letters always a problem—the Erector set, every lead soldier that would stand (broken ones were sent to the hospital), my impressive array of cars, motorcycles, tanks, and trucks—some with trailers, some transporting gas, some tows, some dumps—and my squadrons of planes, my fleet of ships, my big and little guns, an undersized group of parachute people (looking as if one should always imagine them high in the sky, hanging from threads), my silversided submarines, along with assorted RR signs, poles bearing flags, prefab houses with faces pasted in their windows, small boxes of a dozen variously useful kinds, strips of blue cloth for streams and rivers, and glass jars for town water towers, or, in a pinch, jails. In time, the armies, the citizens, even the streets would divide: loyalties, friendships, certainties, would be undermined, the city would be shaken by strife; and marbles would rain down from formerly friendly planes, steeples would topple onto cars, and shellfire would soon throw aggie holes through homes, soldiers would die accompanied by my groans, and ragged bands of refugees would flee toward mountain caves and other chairs and tables.

Every Night I'm at My Telescope