Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Do Not Underestimate Objects!

  • Infinite Jest, p 394. Click, yo. I spend too much time in the woods to think rocks don't have lives. I was first sheepishly incapable of subject object subject before defiantly incapable of subject object subject, but things have rights too.
  • The Defense of Europe and in the unlivable land.
  • The global architecture of wealth extraction.
  • Why doesn't anyone ever mention what a motherfucking moron Hillary Clinton is? It's entirely possible she's as dumb as she is mendacious.
  • How to be POTUS for Dummies.
  • The Masochist's Coffee Pot.
  • Yesterday and today I have been and will be at an HR seminar on management skills. One of the two Billy Mays selling product reminds me of my Aunt Hattie. I'm sitting at a table w a friend who distressingly DIGS! this advertisement, a former peer now supervisor who stated on introduction she is at seminar to learn how to supervise former peers, and two colleagues from tech services who seem good souls for the fuck I know but who I've never and would never reveal my defiant incapability at subject object subject explanations for my management of thralls success.
  • What if they held a massive document leak and nobody came?
  • I won't finish Infinite Jest for months - no time, bad eyes, my C.D. Wright obsession, the new/last thing, woowee - but if I finished Infinite Jest tonight the novel my head tells me I start tomorrow is Karamazov, just to see what happens.
  • And it all comes back. Billy Mays and Billy Mays ham a scene that makes me remember a key rationale for my laziness and ambitious lack of ambition.
  • Alice Coltrane.
  • Fell asleep listening to, woke up with Coil in my head.


C.D. Wright

I know the adjective can be a nuisance, and the adverb clumsy. I am a touch sick of the poetic inflation around prepositions. I would prefer that conjunctions were less visibly functional. Articles can clutter. The verb works the hardest. It should be the best paid. And I know the fifteenth letter O is the best of all: O my black frying pan. O my fallen arches. O my degenerating fibroids. O what's the point. O little man at the foot of my bed, please don't steal my pillow.


  1. LIFE

    A little fount upwells
    On some snow-soilèd hill;
    In infant lustihood
    Leaps down a glancing rill.

    A white gleam streaks the plain,
    The stream a channel graves;
    And a dead element
    Is conscious as it raves

    And spurts in wilding shout,
    And frets the rival course;
    Or frowns---this too is youth---
    In leaf-browed pools of scorn.

    A crystal river flows
    Thorough the haunts of men---
    Alas for purity,
    For stainless origin!

    A turbid mild expanse
    Moves or moves not at all;
    And nearer calls the deep,
    And sweeter grows the call.

    A cloud-wraith flakes the sky,
    Fresh risen from the sea;
    And youth and age are past,
    And soul again is free.

    ---Vagaries, Charles Granville, 1915, London

    1. I am much struck by the resemblance between this poem and Thomas Cole's 1840 series of paintings "The Voyage of Life", which is one of my favorites at the National Gallery of Art.


      In the paintings, the human is traveling ON the stream, whereas in the poem the soul IS the stream - but otherwise the parallelism is quite close.

      The term "dead element" could use a little unpacking. Here's an illustrative passage from Greek Orthodox theology:

      The universe consists of two elements: the dead and the living one. Strict laws of physics govern the dead element. The essence of its activities are reduced to the formula: "Cause and effect." It contains masses of "matter," mainly in its coarse, almost wild form, and physical "energy."

      So our poet is pointing to the seeming paradox (from one perspective) of consciousness and emotions - the ability to have lived experience, to feel joy and sorrow, desire and loss - in something physically made of matter and energy, which is part of the physical world. Suffusing the entire poem is the idea that the soul enters the world we know by participating in the body's life, and then at the end leaves it behind. This also is the theme of Cole's suite of paintings.

      I feel a bit uncomfortable about this "dualist" way of looking at things, and were I more familiar with Wundt's panentheistic perspective I would attempt to argue for William Blake's view: "Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age."

      In any case, all these old poems and paintings are a prelude for my pointing to a particular song which I discovered late last night on YouTube, searching for something to soothe my worried mind:


      It is an "unplugged" version of Steve Winwood's 1987 hit "Higher Love" - sung by his daughter Lilly, with piano and background vocals provided by the proud papa. The words are by Will Jennings (whose Wikipedia bio is also worth reading) -

      Think about it, there must be higher love
      Down in the heart and in the stars above,
      Without it, life is wasted time.
      Look inside your heart, I'll look inside mine

      Things look so bad everywhere
      In this whole world, what's fair?
      We walk blind and we try to see
      Falling behind in what could be.

      Bring me a higher love
      Bring me a higher love,
      Bring me a higher love
      Where's this higher love, I've been thinking of?

      Worlds are turning and we're just hanging on
      Facing our fear, standing out there alone
      Oh a yearning, and it's real for me
      There must be someone who's feeling for me
      Things look so bad everywhere

      In this whole world, what's fair?
      We walk blind and we try to see
      Falling behind in what could be

      Bring me a higher love
      Bring me a higher love,
      Bring me a higher love
      Where's this higher love, I've been thinking of?

      I will wait for it, I'm not too late for it
      Until then, I'll sing my song
      To cheer the night along

      I could light the night up with my soul on fire
      I could make the sun shine from pure desire
      Let me feel the love come over me
      Let me feel how strong it can be

      Bring me a higher love
      Bring me a higher love, oh
      Bring me a higher love
      I could rise above for this higher love.