Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Last Mistaken, Ecstatic, Accidental Bliss, the Blind Happiness That, Bursting, Leaves Upon the Palm Some Soap and Water—

A week ago today I was in Edinburgh; it feels like a year ago. During the trip I paid enough attention to The Clusterfuck to know nothing extra-clusterfucked that day but made a successful effort to not pay much attention to any particular day's particular ratfucking by clusterfuckers of us littles or that day's clusterfuckers ratfucking each other, which is their favorite, in fact only, game, the ratfuckers.

Ladies and gentlemen, your president, Mr .06% Less-Shitty. Sure, the particulars of this ratfuck may or not be true, but do you still harbor doubt that it would be true if the motherfucking clusterfucker thought it in his ratfucking interest?

Well, that's how I reengage The Clusterfuck. I'm looking for a word, not pre-nostalgia or preemptive melancholia or post-historic, to describe the sensation of knowing The Clusterfuck's path and cataclysmic cost, if not the precise timetables - I always mistakenly think in kabooms, not the slow and bleak bleeding out, but I'm a romantic - of the inevitable miserable end game. Suggestions solicited!

Wait! A week ago today I was in Edinburgh, the best day of the trip, I sought out and walked to a Hearts' store and bought a hat and a scarf and didn't think of The Clusterfuck once in that hour except of course I did whether I was aware of it or not.


Randall Jarrell

Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical
Food-gathering flocks
Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James,

Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise
If that is wisdom.
Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves
And the boy takes it to my station wagon,
What I’ve become
Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.

When I was young and miserable and pretty
And poor, I’d wish
What all girls wish: to have a husband,
A house and children. Now that I’m old, my wish
Is womanish:
That the boy putting groceries in my car

See me. It bewilders me he doesn’t see me.
For so many years
I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me
And its mouth watered. How often they have undressed me,
The eyes of strangers!
And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile

Imaginings within my imagining,
I too have taken
The chance of life. Now the boy pats my dog
And we start home. Now I am good.
The last mistaken,
Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind

Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm
Some soap and water—
It was so long ago, back in some Gay
Twenties, Nineties, I don’t know . . . Today I miss
My lovely daughter
Away at school, my sons away at school,

My husband away at work—I wish for them.
The dog, the maid,
And I go through the sure unvarying days
At home in them. As I look at my life,
I am afraid
Only that it will change, as I am changing:

I am afraid, this morning, of my face.
It looks at me
From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate,
The smile I hate. Its plain, lined look
Of gray discovery
Repeats to me: “You’re old.” That’s all, I’m old.

And yet I’m afraid, as I was at the funeral
I went to yesterday.
My friend’s cold made-up face, granite among its flowers,
Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body
Were my face and body.
As I think of her and I hear her telling me

How young I seem; I am exceptional;
I think of all I have.
But really no one is exceptional,
No one has anything, I’m anybody,
I stand beside my grave
Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.


  1. Of course dead Americans can help. It's almost lunchtime and soylent green would spice up this styrofoam of salt masquerading as ramen.

    The Big Shrug?

  2. Soylent Green is spicy?

    I always figured it would be kind of bland.

  3. I am blessed with an unsuccessful life. The aching loneliness of having enough does not afflict me.