Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Lüger Hovered Lightly in Its Glove

Bad busy, good busy: too much stuff to do I don't want to do, but more importantly, I finished Littell's The Kindly Ones and need a day or six months to digest that bloat. I've never hated a novel I loved so much or loved a novel I hated so much. I can't stop thinking about it. It's ludicrous and compelling and repellent and complex and messy and horrifying and hilarious and utterly vital. I can't help wondering if Littell read Barth's Sotweed Factor, modeled Thomas Hauser off Henry Burlingame. Probably not. Littell invokes Moby Dick, yo. And Blanchot, for all of you who moisten at the name Blanchot. Anyway, the novel is preoccupying most of my moments of free thought. Rereading scheduled for 2013. No new novel will be started for the foreseeable future. Anyone want my paperback? Email me. More later. Or not.

Meanwhile, buy me an Amtrak ticket to New York, put me up in a decent hotel and buy me a center row ticket for this:

  • Yes, I'll probably return to BLAWG! but hope to leave it here for now: BMPTHNX! to friends who've aimed folks this way of late. I truly appreciate the Kind. More later, soon, probably.
  • BTW, some new reads in blegrells left and right.
  • Gaithersburg High School. Hey! we should go walk through it one more time before they tear it down.
  • Rock snot!
  • ICC!


Anthony Hecht

Composed in the Tower before his execution
These moving verses, and being brought at that time   
Painfully to the stake, submitted, declaring thus:
“I implore my God to witness that I have made no crime.”

Nor was he forsaken of courage, but the death was horrible,   
The sack of gunpowder failing to ignite.
His legs were blistered sticks on which the black sap   
Bubbled and burst as he howled for the Kindly Light.

And that was but one, and by no means one of the worst;   
Permitted at least his pitiful dignity;
And such as were by made prayers in the name of Christ,   
That shall judge all men, for his soul’s tranquility.

We move now to outside a German wood.   
Three men are there commanded to dig a hole   
In which the two Jews are ordered to lie down   
And be buried alive by the third, who is a Pole.

Not light from the shrine at Weimar beyond the hill   
Nor light from heaven appeared. But he did refuse.   
A Lüger settled back deeply in its glove.
He was ordered to change places with the Jews.

Much casual death had drained away their souls.   
The thick dirt mounted toward the quivering chin.   
When only the head was exposed the order came   
To dig him out again and to get back in.

No light, no light in the blue Polish eye.
When he finished a riding boot packed down the earth.   
The Lüger hovered lightly in its glove.
He was shot in the belly and in three hours bled to death.

No prayers or incense rose up in those hours
Which grew to be years, and every day came mute   
Ghosts from the ovens, sifting through crisp air,   
And settled upon his eyes in a black soot.


  1. It's a synchronous day, Jung is young again. My first comment draft for The House of IOZ mentioned Mark Rothko as an example of what others find "artistic" but I find fraudulent... which comment I scratched out... only to find Feldman referencing Rothko here. I better go play some lottery numbers rapidamente.

    Melville's writing in Moby Dick strikes me as that of a very flamboyant RuPaul or Waylon Flowers & Madam. "Oh honey I'm SOOOOOOOO over the top!" Not my cuppa but I see why it's liked. Bartleby was a bit better, IMO. I prefer not to read Moby Dick.

  2. Heh! I would need check the Earth's orbit if we agreed on Rothko and Moby Dick to see if we're spinning off into space!

    Flamboyant? Try *Confidence Man* or, especially *Pierre*.

    And just because I don't believe in book religions doesn't mean I don't hanker for a Book.

  3. Loathe Moby Dick. Not as much as Dickens or Hemingway though. I always thought it was a boy-book.

    Yay! ICC. Fast trip for a minion.

  4. Heh! I would need check the Earth's orbit if we agreed on Moby Dick to see if we're spinning off into space!

    I'm neither pro- or con- ICC since it's too late to be anyway. Not something I'll use much one way or the other - where it goes I'd get to the old way anyway. It is a shame for people who homes and property lost half their value when they plowed the motherfucker through their back yard.

  5. Yeah, progress is always a shame. But most of the route was public land. And I'll cut a trip from 45 minutes to about 25. Which pleases me. And I'm self-centered when I want to be.

    This is what happened in Maryland today that matters. http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/22/marriage-md/

  6. Link thanks, sir, though always feel out-of-place with my substancelessness, heh.

    Never really took the time to listen to Feldman, though unfortunately, the dominant noise now is Obama's Cleveland talk they slapped up on the lounge TV, the volume turned up.

    Enough procrastinating on the internets, time to go win the future.