Thursday, March 17, 2016

Contain the Remains of His Beloved Head

  • That's ▲ partially a response to my guilt over disloyalty to old tablet by my too sloppy love of new tablet, though I actually cut this page out of old tablet for square, so I honor old tablet by returning to old tablet but desecrate old tablet to make this poem. Fine metaphors abound.
  • First wash over here.
  • Now you know why I stopped the constant wishing for Obama to have to pick a potential swing Scotus in an election cycle. I understand the political logic - motherfucking political logic gives Obama cover for picking the Corporate-approved motherfucker he would have picked all along, would have chosen now with a filibuster-proof Democratic majority Senate.
  • Bernie approves of the Corporate-approved motherfucker. See above.
  • A Bernie pep-talk. He's dead, Jim.
  • Fred Hiatt says ignore democracy to save democracy.
  • The worst of all worlds.
  • The Washington Post is very upset you fucking peasants aren't respecting the kabuki.
  • Trump breaks kayfabe - that's his appeal.
  • We are already ruled by monsters.
  • Meanwhile, in Berlin.
  • In the Fun House.
  • Disaster capitalism & Syria.
  • The responsibility of radicals.


Mary Ruefle

The last time I saw father alive he was using
a black umbrella, closed, to beat off some pigeons
hanging outside the marble portals of a museum.
We were visitors, walking very slowly, so father
could stoop and examine everything. We had not been
in the museum, but were resting on its steps.
We saw it all—the fountains, the statues, the parks
and the post office. Cities are made of such things.
Once we encountered a wedding coming out of the cathedral
and were caught in a shower of rice; as the bride
flicked her veiled head father licked his little finger
and in this way saved a grain. On the next block
he announced he was going to heaven. But first let’s
go back to the hotel and rest, he said: I want my mint.
Those were practically his last words. And what did I want
more than anything in the world? Probably the ancient Polish
recipe for blood soup, which was finally told to me
in an empty deli in a deserted mill town in western Massachusetts
by the owner’s mother, who was alone one day when I burst
in and demanded a bowl. But, she said, lacing her fingers
around a jar of morello cherries, it requires one cup of
new blood drawn from the goose whose neck you’ve just wrung
to put in the pot, and where in these days can I find
anything as fresh as that? I had lost track of my life
before, but nothing prepared me for the onslaught of
wayfarer’s bliss when she continued to list, one
by one, the impossible ingredients I needed to live.
We sat at the greasy table far into the night, while
snow fell on the locked doors of the church next door,
dedicated to St. Stanislas, which was rumored to be
beautiful inside, and contain the remains of his beloved head.


  1. as i did a couple of weeks ago with mary ruefle's poem "milk shake", i wondered if this one could be autobiographical - specifically, i looked to see - is there a church, in a western massachusetts mill town, dedicated to st. stanislas (alternate spelling stanislaus) with the remains of his beloved head?

    st stanislaus church in a western massachusetts mill town - check; relic of his head, no

    besides not having the head of the saint, the st stanislaus church in adams,massachusetts has another distinction,beyond its handsome brick building at 25 hoosac street - it was closed by The Man, and re-opened due to People Power - i quote from the wikipedia entry:

    Founded in December 1902, it is one of the Polish-American Roman Catholic parishes in New England in the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts. On January 1, 2009 was closed by decision of the Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell of the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts. After 1,150 days of parishioners sitting in vigil, it was announced on February 18, 2012 that St. Stan's would reopen on Palm Sunday (April 1) 2012. The church will have one Sunday Mass, all Holy Days of Obligation, weddings, funerals, and baptisms upon request. St Stan's now serves as a mission of the Blessed John Paul Church in Adams.

    the town also has a museum dedicated to american suffragette susan b. anthony

    my virtual visit to adams was interesting, but having tried twice to see if ruefle's poems are actual reminiscences, i now conclude that they are carefully constructed fictions - i doubt, for example, that she ever asked for or was told the recipe for blood soup

  2. and speaking of remains, and of massachusetts, you may recall longfellow's lines "dust thou art, to dust returneth/was not spoken of the soul"

    last night i heard a 79 year old man recite the entire poem which contains those lines - which he had learned in high school - on the other side of the world from massachusetts - he is a filipino (not that there's anything wrong with that - several of my acquaintances are filipino)

    i told him that the author, longfellow, is my cousin, which is true

    to prove that this elderly (but still active) man remembered this poem which he had learned over sixty years ago, and that i have common ancestors with its author, i hereby adduce the actual text of the poem:

    A Psalm of Life
    By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

    Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream!
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
    Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
    And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
    Be a hero in the strife!

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
    Let the dead Past bury its dead!
    Act,— act in the living Present!
    Heart within, and God o’erhead!

    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

  3. Thank you for the stone sculptor link. Wonderful. And until I realized halfway down the page that there was an English version of the story, I enjoyed trying to use my poor French.

  4. Thanks for the Jack link (nothing to do with jerky & bigfoot)! Landru contacted & may be in/around ATL some upcoming. Yeah!