Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Must Post Now



The Hand That Puts Fish on the Saucer Has Changed, Too

That's Jess, who I never write about. She's younger than Sarah, older than Fleabus, eight, nine maybe? She's smart but bitter, resents Sarah and Fleabus and Stanley and Rose and Napoleon, torments Sarah since Sarah's old and is the only cat that can't kick Jess' ass. She doesn't meow or purr, she gacks and hisses. She walked up to me last night while I was reading and, for the first time ever, or at least since the last time that I've forgotten, made a please love me sound. You may or not have noticed, but I am making a conscious effort to be more tolerant towards all and everything that always piss me off, it's pissing people off; I'm not going to do the research, but I bet I say motherfucking crackers much less recently than I used to when I used to say it repeatedly every day. I picked her up, put her in my lap, rubbed her ears, she has beautiful green eyes. Stanley jumped on the sofa next to us, Jess hissed, ripped open a two inch gash in my right thigh leaping away.  

Here's Napoleon this morning in our dogwood tree.


Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Die - you can't do that to a cat.
Since what can a cat do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Rub up against the furniture?
Nothing seems different here,
but nothing is the same.
Nothing has been moved,
but there's more space.
And at nighttime no lamps are lit.

Footsteps on the staircase,
but they're new ones.
The hand that puts fish on the saucer
has changed, too.

Something doesn't start
as it's usual time.
Something doesn't happen
as it should.
Someone was always, always here,
then suddenly disappeared
and stubbornly stays disappeared.

Every closet has been examined.
Every shelf has been explored.
Excavations under the carpet turned up nothing.
A commandment was even broken:
papers scattered everywhere.
What remains to be done.
Just sleep and wait.

Just wait till he turns up,
just let him show his face.
Will he ever get a lesson
on what not to do to a cat.
Sidle towards him
as if unwilling
and ever so slow
on visibly offended paws,
and now leaps or squeals at least to start.

Monday, February 6, 2012

By the Clanking Behind His Descent

I was going to watch helmetball at this guy's place but I did have to work and I did (do) have a fever so I didn't watch helmetball. I was in the car driving to buy club soda and clementines when I heard Ken and Barbie Countrysinger professionally harmonize the horrible "America the Beautiful" and punched another station in before somebody sang the more horrible National Anthem. I saw twoots on twatter re: Super Bowl because you follow everything or nothing on twutter, I take it from twuuter the militantly homoerotic and IN YOUR FUCKING FACE PATRIARCHAL PATRIOTISM is still profitably mandatory. I think I did everybody a favor by not watching the Super Bowl by myself. Great sentence, fine metaphors abound.


One last reiteration for this year: In no order other than I'm going down the left blogrolls first, here are, as best I remember, the new additions since the last BAD: Nothing to Say and Saying It, Tom Clark, From Wine to Water, Stalin's Mustache, (Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography, SOUTH/SOUTH, Written Word, Spoken Word, Departure Delayed, Your Man for Fun in Rapidan, Though Cowards Flinch, Big Bald Bastard, Leftwing Nutjob, Indiscriminate Dust, Anarchurious, I Ain't Drunk, Just Drinking, The Aboniblog, Pied Cow Blog, diary von davidly. Check them out. Be Kind.


Linda Gregorson

When love was a question, the message arrived
in the beak of a wire and plaster bird. The coloratura   
was hardly to be believed. For flight,

it took three stagehands: two
on the pulleys and one on the flute. And you   
thought fancy rained like grace.

Our fog machine lost in the Parcel Post, we improvised   
with smoke. The heroine dies of tuberculosis after all.   
Remorse and the raw night air: any plausible tenor

might cough. The passions, I take my clues
from an obvious source, may be less like climatic events   
than we conventionalize, though I’ve heard

of tornadoes that break the second-best glassware   
and leave everything else untouched.   
There’s a finer conviction than seamlessness

elicits: the Greeks knew a god
by the clanking behind his descent.
The heart, poor pump, protests till you’d think

it’s rusted past redemption, but
there’s tuning in these counterweights,   
celebration’s assembled voice.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And it does a dissolve into the look of a soccer field after a game—the last three or four players walk slowly away, their shin-guards muddy, their cleats caked, one player dragging a net bag full of soccer balls— the players seem to have known what it was all for yet now they look somehow depleted and aimless there at the field's far end

Saw that after the Chel$ki v Wrong United game today, and I'm reminded: Fuck helmetball. Right United's home opener five weeks from last night. I can't wait. Promo vid better with enhanced 102 fever app, yo.

Though here's the point of this post:


In no order other than I'm going down the left blogrolls first, here are, as best I remember, the new additions since the last BAD: Nothing to Say and Saying It, Tom Clark, From Wine to Water, Stalin's Mustache, (Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography, SOUTH/SOUTH, Written Word, Spoken Word, Departure Delayed, Your Man for Fun in Rapidan, Though Cowards Flinch, Big Bald Bastard, Leftwing Nutjob, Indiscriminate Dust, Anarchurious, I Ain't Drunk, Just Drinking, The Aboniblog, Pied Cow Blog, diary von davidly. Check them out. Be Kind.


Mark Halliday

It would have been dark but not lugubrious. It would have been
fairly short but not slight. It would have contained a child
saying something inadvertently funny that was not said by my daughter,
something strangely like what your daughter or sister said once
if you could remember. The child's voice flies across
a small parking lot where, in one of the cars,
a man and a woman sit listening to the silence between them.
The child's voice probably hurts them momentarily
with a sense of beauty apparently very possible
yet somehow out of reach. In the missing poem this is
implied, conveyed, transmitted without being flatly said.
And it does a dissolve into the look of a soccer field
after a game—the last three or four players walk
slowly away, their shin-guards muddy, their cleats caked,
one player dragging a net bag full of soccer balls—
the players seem to have known what it was all for
yet now they look somehow depleted and aimless there
at the field's far end; and a block away on a wood-grainy porch
the eyes of a thin woman sixty-three years old search the shadows
in each passing car, as the poem recalls what she wants to recall.
Hours later the field is dark
and the hills are dark and later even Firehouse Pizza has closed.
In the missing poem all this pools into a sense of how much
we must cherish life; the world will not do it for us.
This idea, though, in the missing poem is not smarmy.
Remember when you got the news of the accident—
or the illness—in the life of someone
more laced into your life than you might have thought;
the cool flash of what serious is. Well,
the missing poem brings that. Meanwhile not seeming like
an imitation of Mark Strand or Mark Doty or Mark Jarman!
Yet not like just another Halliday thing either.
Instead it would feel like a new dimension of the world,
the real world we imagine. With lightness!
With weight and lightness and, on the hypothetical radio,
that certain song you almost forgot to love.

But I Do Not Know and Do Not Know and Clutch On

Good news/bad news: 102 degree fever. Hate the sore throat, love the dreams. Better news: just bought three tickets to see Magnetic Fields in Philadelphia on March 7, smack in the middle of Planet's Spring Break, the three of giving ourselves a holiday in the middle of Meh. While Planet and I are psyched about the show (and I still have three tickets available for the Magnetic Fields show in DC on Monday April 9 - though there is horrible news: motherfucking DeVotcka is opening, fucking shoot me - if anyone wants to go with us), Earthgirl is excited most about Van Gogh Up Close at the Philadelphia Museum of Art ($30 a pop: holywhathtefuck).


Wislawa Szymborska

that means not all.
Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting the schools, where one must,
and the poets themselves, there will be perhaps two in a thousand.
but one also likes chicken noodle soup,
one likes compliments and the color blue, one likes an old scarf,
one likes to prove one's point,
one likes to pet a dog.

but what sort of thing is poetry?
More than one shaky answer
has been given to this question.
But I do not know and do not know and clutch on to it,
as to a saving bannister.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You Asked for Nothing, Why Don't You Share It

Stanley's butt has been professionally shaved by our new vet and balm applied to the rubbed raw skin about the pucker; he's embarrassed and uncomfortable in a much improved way. Rosie has (has had) a collapsed nostril and inflamed lymph nodes, a testament to the shittiness of our previous vets, the ones under whose care Rudy died in his sleep. The new vet, who has a giant cat named Shardik (yes, that Shardik, she confirmed), dosed Rosie with antibiotics and gave us hairball dissolvers to help end Rosie's diarrhea. The walk in the woods afterwards was wonderful.

Thanks for the Kind mentions of me and others by those participating in Blogroll Amnesty. As always, if you are Kinding me and me not you, please email me, and as always, thanks for reading. Regular programming resumes tomorrow, or not.

From Behind the Bush Sometimes Someone Still Unearths Rust-Eaten Arguments and Carries Them to the Garbage Pile

Dinner last night with Earthgirl's bestfriend and husband, very decent and Kind people, rote Democrats and supportive Obamabots. I went to dinner promising myself I'd not initiate a political discussion nor much more than nod and uh-huh if it was introduced by others: I knew that if an awkward silence fell on the conversation I could always reintroduce some discussion re: our respective daughters' freshman second semesters in college that would fill fifteen minutes. I kept the promise to myself, but when one of them said, I think it's important that Obama keep Iran from getting the Bomb even if it means war, I thought about saying, why shouldn't Iran have a nuclear weapon, it's surrounded on 360 degrees by nuclear weapons, American and surrogates, Iran's desire for a nuclear weapon beyond reasonable: by the same logic that those who have the weapons don't want Iran to have the weapons it would be lunacy for Iran to not want the weapons to discourage those who have the weapons from using them against Iran, and then I.... had another bite of excellent salmon nigiri. Other topics arose; more sushi was eaten.

Then I woke up this morning and read the motherfucking Park Police raided McPherson just before sunrise. In two hours I take Stanley and Rose to the vets to get their butts shaved and hopefully get advice on a better diet than Iams or Science Diet (that will no doubt cost double) that doesn't give them the runs that sticks to their hair. And then I'm going to go get lost in the woods.

Links tomorrow, or not. Remember, this is Blogroll Amnesty Weekend. Please scroll the blogrolls and click on something you've never read before, and be Kind yourself. Have another Szymborksa poem.


Wislawa Szymborksa
Translated by Joanna Trzeciak

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
reasons and causes,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Apologies to Chance for Calling It Necessity

Why are you in such a good mood, L accused me at Thursday Night Pints. It's true, I said, the past month's bad mood's been lanced, at least until it's back. I told them that United just signed a new designated player, an Albanian striker named Salihi (with the potential for lame Salahi jokes!) and suddenly, sullen just two weeks ago at United's offseason lassitude and the doom it suggested, I'm giddy at the idea of a front five of Salihi (if he's as successful at United as he's been everywhere else) and De Rossario and Boskovic and Pontius and Najar, it fills me with rubeful ruby rubyness of Baal-taunting optimism! Then I told them I got my 35th high school reunion summons last week - no, of course I'm not going, I said - then told them that just a couple of hours before meeting them I discovered this new Magnetic Fields video, then I told them an inside joke I won't share here that's had me laughing in awe at Serendipity ever since. OK, said D, you're buying tonight. Happily!


Wislawa Szymborksa
Translated by Joanna Trzeciak

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity. 
My apologies to necessity in case I'm mistaken. 
Don't be angry, happiness, that I take you for my own. 
May the dead forgive me that their memory's but a flicker. 
My apologies to time for the quantity of world overlooked per second. 
My apologies to an old love for treating a new one as the first. 
Forgive me, far-off wars, for carrying my flowers home. 
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger. 
My apologies for the minuet record, to those calling out from the abyss. 
My apologies to those in train stations for sleeping soundly at five in the morning. 
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing sometimes. 
Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing in with a spoonful of water. 
And you, O hawk, the same bird for years in the same cage, 
staring, motionless, always at the same spot, 
absolve me even if you happen to be stuffed. 
My apologies to the tree felled for four table legs. 
My apologies to large questions for small answers. 
Truth, do not pay me too much attention. 
Solemnity, be magnanimous toward me. 
Bear with me, O mystery of being, for pulling threads from your veil. 
Soul, don't blame me that I've got you so seldom. 
My apologies to everything that I can't be everywhere. 
My apologies to all for not knowing how to be every man and woman. 
I know that as long as I live nothing can excuse me, 
since I am my own obstacle. 
Do not hold it against me, O speech, that I borrow weighty words, 
and then labor to make them light. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Moment He Walked on the Stage My Tail Began to Wag

New Magnetic Fields. *!!!* May not be safe for work.

I, the Dog of My Master


Wislawa Szymborksa
Translated by Clare Cavanaugh and Stanislaw Barancak

There are dogs and dogs. I was among the chosen.
I had good papers and wolf's blood in my veins.
I lived upon the heights inhaling the odors of views:
meadows in sunlight, spruces after rain,
and clumps of earth beneath the snow.

I had a decent home and people on call,
I was fed, washed, groomed,
and taken for lovely strolls.
Respectfully, though, and comme il faut.
They all knew full well whose dog I was.

Any lousy mutt can have a master.
Take care, though - beware comparisons.
My master was a breed apart.
He had a splendid herd that trailed his every step
and fixed its eyes on him in fearful awe.

For me they always had smiles,
with envy poorly hidden.
Since only I had the right
to greet him with nimble leaps,
only I could say good-bye by worrying his trousers
      with my teeth.
Only I was permitted
to receive scratching and stroking
with my head laid in his lap.
Only I could feign sleep
while he bent over to whisper something.

He raged at others often, loudly.
He snarled, barked,
raced from wall to wall.
I suspect he liked only me
and nobody else, ever.

I also had responsibilities: waiting, trusting.
Since he would turn up briefly and then vanish.
What kept him down there in the lowlands, I don't know.
I guessed, though, it must be pressing business,
at least as pressing
as my battle with the cats
and everything that moves for no good reason.

There's fate and fate. Mine changed abruptly.
One spring came
and he wasn't there.
All hell broke loose at home.
Suitcases, chests, trunks crammed into cars.
The wheels squealed tearing downhill
and fell silent round the bend.

On the terrace scraps and tatters flamed,
yellow shirts, armbands with black emblems
and lots and lots of battered cartons
with little banners tumbling out.

I tossed and turned in this whirlwind
more amazed than peeved.
I felt unfriendly glances on my fur.
As if I were a dog without a master,
some pushy stray
chased downstairs with a broom.

Someone tore my silver-trimmed collar off,
someone kicked my bowl, empty for days.
Then someone else, driving away,
leaned out from the car
and shot me twice.

He couldn't even shoot straight,
since I died for a long time, in pain,
to the buzz of impertinent flies.
I, the dog of my master.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Combination of Rain and Sunshine Always Finds Me Defeated, and Then Other Causes Come Along, Seeking Attribution

While I recognize now and turned cutter in response to how my rube has been manipulated with my gleeful consent by American tribalism in the service of capital for the past four decades, and while I accept that any suit elevated to POTUS serves at capital's and nothing but capital's behest, still:

Motherfucking crackers. I didn't say it would be easy, much less possible, to rid myself of the joy! of hating motherfucking crackers even if I accept the kayfabe that my hating motherfucking crackers works directly against my interest in pissing off motherfucking capital. Here's kayfabe: my effort at rejecting the insidious charade of tribalism while moving towards a more universal kind, at this early stage, involves me hating my old team more, not hating the other team less.


John Ashbery

No one noticed that it was midnight out.
The tools to make the tools were forthcoming.
It wasn’t so much that we were afraid of farting
as that other thieves had gotten wind of his maladdress.
She was startling in her new headdress.
Oodles of trolls performed the funeral litany—
hey, it wasn’t their turn at the foc’sle, so why
be perturbed ahead of time, and too late? The factory
whistle blew and released all the workers inside
who came crowding down along the pavement.

As though walking on stilts people blew up in amazement
like pieces of trash a wind desultorily lifts,
then returns for no visible reason. We were all tired
and happy, plodders on life’s great thoroughfare.
None of us were in it for the long haul, but paradoxically
all of us were, we just didn’t know it yet. But when I
looked over at her I could see why they meant sadness,
not from any bereavement, but growing like a stem
in otherwise barren ground. Oh, sure, there was plenty of majolica
on buffets in those days, chafing dishes with lids
to be lifted and then put back again. There were mild
pools in the woods far from any stream, and ant-size
buggies patrolling the slopes. Good thing for you
it was too. That they were there. Or just on the threshold
of being, like a dream. I told you not to be a gnat
about things, that sooner or later worrying would grow up
to become part of experience. It was just that you
seemed to believe me when I wasn’t being especially serious.

That, and the tens of revolutions to come. I say,
shall we go inside? The combination of rain and sunshine
always finds me defeated, and then other causes come along,
seeking attribution. Meanwhile if he matriculates
in one to ten years, who’s to say I’m not stodgy either?
It was all we could do, her and I, to keep from laughing
at his strife. Meanwhile the fire burned bright.
The maids grew petulant.
But I don’t care, really, none of us could
as long as time brings up the rear, placing a napkin,
folded just so, over the era and whatever it
thought it was up to. Now, doesn’t that make a lot of sense?