Monday, January 1, 2018

O Garbage Men, the New Year Greets You Like the Old

  • George's New Year's song, as always. I always loved George most.
  • Future Sky.
  • 2018: what to do about the Duh.
  • I mean here. There's nothing to be done about it in the world.
  • (The things I can't write about here I still can't write about here. Or there.)
  • (Or...)

  • When black is white.
  • In search of Grace.
  • Normally the gag would be to say I must be 101st, but the numbers prevent me.
  • Thinking about corvids.
  • I've updated the blogrolls, by which I mean I've moved the moribund to one of the Moribund cemeteries. 
  • Reminder - I do this so I see you're alive when you float to top of the dead.
  • The Geography of Poverty changed vendors, I think, doesn't update on blogrolls, hasn't for months, but there's new stuff there, it's worth visiting regularly. I've left it where is was in under New Here.
  • A New Year's resolution.
  • Thanks everyone for reading. As always, if there's someone or someplace you think I should be reading please let me know. As always, if you are Kinding me but me not you, please let me know.
  • Year's End


Philip Appleman

(the way bed is in winter, like an aproned lap,
    like furry mittens,
    like childhood crouching under tables)
The Ninth Day of Xmas, in the morning black
outside our window: clattering cans, the whir
of a hopper, shouts, a whistle, move on ...
I see them in my warm imagination
the way I’ll see them later in the cold,
heaving the huge cans and running
(running!) to the next house on the street.
My vestiges of muscle stir
uneasily in their percale cocoon:
what moves those men out there, what
drives them running to the next house and the next?
Halfway back to dream, I speculate:
The Social Weal? “Let’s make good old
    Bloomington a cleaner place
    to live in—right, men? Hup, tha!
Healthy Competition? “Come on, boys,
    let’s burn up that route today and beat those dudes
    on truck thirteen!”
Enlightened Self-Interest? “Another can,
    another dollar—don’t slow down, Mac, I’m puttin’
    three kids through Princeton?”
Or something else?
A half hour later, dawn comes edging over
Clark Street: layers of color, laid out like
a flattened rainbow—red, then yellow, green,
and over that the black-and-blue of night
still hanging on. Clark Street maples wave
their silhouettes against the red, and through
the twiggy trees, I see a solid chunk
of garbage truck, and stick-figures of men,
like windup toys, tossing little cans—
and running.
All day they’ll go like that, till dark again,
and all day, people fussing at their desks,
at hot stoves, at machines, will jettison
tin cans, bare evergreens, damp Kleenex, all
things that are Caesar’s.
O garbage men,
the New Year greets you like the Old;
after this first run you too may rest
in beds like great warm aproned laps
and know that people everywhere have faith:
putting from them all things of this world,
they confidently bide your second coming.

1 comment:

  1. a)speaking of The Ninth Day of Xmas, as appleman does -
    missus charley's nephew-in-law was ready to take down the christmas tree the day after, and seemed interested to learn that the 12 days of christmas song is anchored in an event in the traditional church calendar, the arrival of the magi on epiphany

    b)speaking of faith, as appleman does when referring to the confidence the people of bloomington have in the garbage men's second coming of the year - here's another poem by him, from his Five Easy Prayers for Pagans:

    O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie,
    gimme a break before I die:
    grant me wisdom, will, & wit,
    purity, probity, pluck, & grit.
    Trustworthy, helpful, friendly, kind,
    gimme great abs and a steel-trap mind.
    And forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice -
    these little blessings would suffice
    to beget an earthly paradise:
    make the bad people good
    and the good people nice,
    and before our world goes over the brink,
    teach the believers how to think.

    c)and speaking of how believers think, i was impressed (but not in a good way) by the homily i heard in minnesota on christmas eve - the priest stressed how the religion whose rite we were enacting was not just about treating people well - "that's just table manners" - it was about the real presence of christ in the bread and wine on the altar, and about the eternal life we are promised after death

    the priest was proud of the powerful magic he was peddling

    i found his viewpoint disquieting - to me, it seems more moral and more miraculous to treat fellow beings humanely simply because they are your fellow beings [what doris lessing called "substance-of-we-feeling"]*, rather than because you're going to get something wonderful out of it


    i guess, despite my years of practicing catholicism, i remain at core the boy who got a perfect attendance pin for sunday school at first parish (unitarian) in framingham, massachusetts

    q. who knows if it's good or bad?
    a. compared to what?