Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Were Mankind Less Transfixed by Its Own Importance, It Would Be Harder to Be Happy

Thursday Night Pints were Tuesday Night Pints, moved again at my request - tonight we pick up Planet at National, she's spending KC's post-midterms long-weekend with us, and YAY! - so no D; he plays high stakes bridge every Tuesday, claims he's a grandmaster. We talked - K and L and special guest C, sitting alone as only those who give up teaching for deaning do, invited over. Good guy! - about our kids and college, my kid especially since I'm the only one currently playing, K eight years away, L and C done.

Eventually Occupy comes up. C asks me, does this help or hurt your man Obama, and I said, it has been a couple of years since we talked. He thinks, K said to C, nodding at me, Obama's worse than any Republican can be because he can do what Republicans can't. Well, sure, said C, that's why he'll be reelected. Did you hear, I asked, that Glenn Beck told his listeners to withdraw all their money from banks, that the violent American Left will attack Wall Street next week, that we - you and me - want to guillotine the rich. What's the what in your Stringtown, Blegsylvania, K asks me. Bemusement, I said. Wist. Wry smiles that involuntarily deepen to muscles that haven't smiled that deeply in decades when remembering the last time we daydreamed ourselves as revolutionaries. You're talking about you as the galaxy again, L said. As I got up to get L a ridiculously priced scotch, C said, this is about nothing more than protecting your stake. Everything is negotiation, I said. Galaxies.

UPDATE! Just heard - RIP Bert Jansch:


Marvin Bell

Live as if you were already dead.
                          Zen admonition
1. About the Dead Man and Food

The dead man likes chocolate, dark chocolate.
The dead man remembers custard as it was, spumoni as it was, shave
          ice as it was.
The dead man talks food with an active tongue, licks his fingers, takes
          seconds, but has moved on to salads.
It's the cheese, it's the crunch of the crunchy, it's the vinegar in the oil
          that makes a salad more than grass.
The dead man has a grassy disposition but no cow stomach for flappy
          leaves and diced croutons.
The dead man remembers oysterettes as they were.
He recalls good water and metal-free fish.
Headlights from the dock drew in blue claw crabs by the bucketful.
A flashlight showed them where the net lay.
If they looked bigger in the water than in the pail, they grew back on the
It was like that, before salads.
The dead man, at the age he is, has redefined mealtime.
It being the quantum fact that the dead man does not believe in time, but
          in mealtime.

2. More About the Dead Man and Food

The dead man's happiness may seem unseemly.
By land or by sea, aloft or alit, happiness befalls us.
Were mankind less transfixed by its own importance, it would be harder
          to be happy.
Were the poets less obsessed with the illusion of the self, it would be
          more difficult to sing.
It would be crisscross, it would be askew, it would be zigzag, it would be
          awry, it would be cockeyed in any context of thought.
The dead man has felt the sensation of living.
He has felt the orgasmic, the restful, the ambiguous, the nearly-falling-over,
           the equilibrium, the lightning-in-the-bottle and the bottle in shards.
You cannot make the dead man write what you want.
The dead man offers quick approval but seeks none in return.
Chocolate is the more existential, it has the requisite absurdity, it loosens
          the gland.
The dead man must choose what he ingests, it cannot be anything goes
          in the world the world made.
So we come back to chocolate, which frees the dead man's tongue.
The dead man is every emotion at once, every heartbreak, every falling-
          down laugh riot, every fishhook that caught a finger.


  1. Link thanks.


    Christ, if people did start guillotining the rich (an effort I applaud, emotionally; and one which I pale at, tactically) the last thing that would happen is a movement of liberals leftward.

  2. Liz? I'm not in the mood for that level of palpable sexism this morning.

  3. Time to bust out some Pentangle, much better for the soul than reading the day's fresh rehash of old fuckery, which I'll do anyway, probably, dammit.

  4. Thanks for the link. Complicity is being over-analytical and/or having impossible-to-meet expectations, and therefore not being able to, like, do stuff?

  5. It was your observation on the motives of many of the protesters. Speaking on for me, my complicity is that I'd be protesting to protect what I already have, not protesting for what others never had.

  6. Understood. At least you are honest about it. my complicity, then, is the one in my first comment.

    It's really the seeming lack of self-awareness on the part of the protesters that bugs me more than some theoretical failure of some theoretical test on "Marxist" virtue or whatever. I know I suck! I really need to STFU and get down there, huh?

    In other news Tea Partiers are dumb 'n' stuff.

  7. In other news Tea Partiers are dumb 'n' stuff.

    If you're part of our corporate media, this hypocrisy flows the other way. And they control the megaphones.