Sunday, October 20, 2019

Quick Sunset Wrench

  • Someone who lives in Michigan asked me to please live in Michigan too
  • close, please, the same street even, there's a lot, three acres, not for sale yet, would be two doors down, but...
  • I said yes
  • she the only reason I'll move to Michigan, not grandchildren who don't exist
  • though the day-to-day best sunsets I've ever seen is a good pitch


Josephine Miles

This gray board fence turns blue in the evening light
And the sycamores reign down upon it their diadems,
And blue and green batter in wood and stems
The stems of light
Their green and golden gems.

At once, out of a million years of energy,
All turn to flesh,—board, gate, and branch—
With that quick sunset wrench
Which seems like chance,
Out of the fashion of an entropy.

If then the flesh is yours, as now it is,
I have lost yard, sunset, and all
Into a mild greeting, and I call
The sunset to your thought, to tell it is
Parent apparent to your rich apparel.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Out Here on Cottage Grove It Matters

The television in the breakfast lounge of the Comfort Inn in Chelsea Michigan this morning tuned to ABC's Good Morning America but no one is watching at 6:50 as a testy exchange between the breakfast lounge staffer and a motherfucking ice soccer dad over the lights erupts. Breakfast doesn't officially start until seven; I got here at 630 and asked the staffer if I could drink coffee and type in the dark until seven (permission grudgingly given), but motherfucking ice soccer dads and their incredibly assholish motherfucking ice soccer fucking sons turning on lights and, worse, toasting bagels and pouring cereal and, o my fucking god, pouring batter into the waffle maker before BEFORE SEVEN O'CLOCK! has the staffer furious. Best morning coffee in a Chelsea Michigan's Comfort Inn breakfast lounge ever.

  • We hiked the Waterloo Recreation Area yesterday, wonderful
  • A new friend asked, Michigan? My daughter lives near Chelsea, the closest town with a decent hotel, I realize I write as if (a) you know what I mean and (b) get what's up if you don't and (c) give a damn
  • View from the backporch of a house in Hell Michigan

  • True, Hell
  • We had dinner last night at Veg-O-Rama in Ypsi, when you go get the fried cole slaw burger with masala fries with a side of tofu chicken wings, yum
  • Eventually we'll have grandchildren in Michigan, we're doing due reconnaissance, we'll live the warm half the year there, the cold half where we are now
  • We looked at five houses, saw the inside of four, all old and moldy and no (the one inside we didn't see is the house with the above view from the back porch, I assume it stunk (though the outside was gorgeous))
  • Here is the view from the front yard of the stinkiest, oldest, ickiest

  • We'd consider knocking the house down and putting up a small modular but this one in a private lake community and my son-in-law's parents both warned us again private lake communities (and the real estate agent concurred)
  • As I type this the clusterfuck continues apace, twitter equally a-giggle with Hillary Clinton's almost announcement she will be the Democratic 2020 nominee and videos on repeat of Trump is his piss-diaper 
  • The new Krasznahorkai, I blame me, I'm back on the marcel, every novel I start sends me running back to Marcel 
  • Yes, I've post the below Ashbery before, often
  • Psst - I don't want to live in Michigan


John Ashbery

Out here on Cottage Grove it matters. The galloping
Wind balks at its shadow. The carriages
Are drawn forward under a sky of fumed oak.
This is America calling:
The mirroring of state to state,   
Of voice to voice on the wires,
The force of colloquial greetings like golden
Pollen sinking on the afternoon breeze.
In service stairs the sweet corruption thrives;
The page of dusk turns like a creaking revolving stage in Warren, Ohio.

If this is the way it is let’s leave,
They agree, and soon the slow boxcar journey begins,   
Gradually accelerating until the gyrating fans of suburbs   
Enfolding the darkness of cities are remembered   
Only as a recurring tic. And midway
We meet the disappointed, returning ones, without its   
Being able to stop us in the headlong night
Toward the nothing of the coast. At Bolinas
The houses doze and seem to wonder why through the   
Pacific haze, and the dreams alternately glow and grow dull.   
Why be hanging on here? Like kites, circling,   
Slipping on a ramp of air, but always circling?

But the variable cloudiness is pouring it on,
Flooding back to you like the meaning of a joke.
The land wasn’t immediately appealing; we built it
Partly over with fake ruins, in the image of ourselves:
An arch that terminates in mid-keystone, a crumbling stone pier   
For laundresses, an open-air theater, never completed
And only partially designed. How are we to inhabit
This space from which the fourth wall is invariably missing,   
As in a stage-set or dollhouse, except by staying as we are,   
In lost profile, facing the stars, with dozens of as yet
Unrealized projects, and a strict sense
Of time running out, of evening presenting   
The tactfully folded-over bill? And we fit   
Rather too easily into it, become transparent,   
Almost ghosts. One day
The birds and animals in the pasture have absorbed   
The color, the density of the surroundings,   
The leaves are alive, and too heavy with life.

A long period of adjustment followed.
In the cities at the turn of the century they knew about it   
But were careful not to let on as the iceman and the milkman   
Disappeared down the block and the postman shouted   
His daily rounds. The children under the trees knew it   
But all the fathers returning home
On streetcars after a satisfying day at the office undid it:   
The climate was still floral and all the wallpaper   
In a million homes all over the land conspired to hide it.   
One day we thought of painted furniture, of how   
It just slightly changes everything in the room
And in the yard outside, and how, if we were going
To be able to write the history of our time, starting with today,   
It would be necessary to model all these unimportant details   
So as to be able to include them; otherwise the narrative   
Would have that flat, sandpapered look the sky gets   
Out in the middle west toward the end of summer,   
The look of wanting to back out before the argument   
Has been resolved, and at the same time to save appearances
So that tomorrow will be pure. Therefore, since we have to do our business   
In spite of things, why not make it in spite of everything?   
That way, maybe the feeble lakes and swamps
Of the back country will get plugged into the circuit   
And not just the major events but the whole incredible
Mass of everything happening simultaneously and pairing off,
Channeling itself into history, will unroll
As carefully and as casually as a conversation in the next room,   
And the purity of today will invest us like a breeze,
Only be hard, spare, ironical: something one can
Tip one’s hat to and still get some use out of.

The parade is turning into our street.
My stars, the burnished uniforms and prismatic   
Features of this instant belong here. The land
Is pulling away from the magic, glittering coastal towns
To an aforementioned rendezvous with August and December.   
The hunch is it will always be this way,   
The look, the way things first scared you   
In the night light, and later turned out to be,   
Yet still capable, all the same, of a narrow fidelity   
To what you and they wanted to become:   
No sighs like Russian music, only a vast unravelling   
Out toward the junctions and to the darkness beyond   
To these bare fields, built at today’s expense.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Dog, a Survivor, Was Dead

The television in the breakfast lounge of the Comfort Inn in Chelsea Michigan is tuned to a local Detroit morning's news show, the station showing clips from Trump's rally in Dallas last night as well as mentioning Mulvaney's comments in yesterday's presser. It is 6:10am as I type this, I am the only person in the breakfast lounge. The station quickly segues to coverage of tonight's crucial Michigan 4A football game between Farmington v North Farmington, interviewing both head coaches in the hour I sit here. Below, Lake Erie from Seat 12A Southwest flight 1322 yesterday.


Claudine Rankin

I was listening for the dog
when the locks were pried open.
The man was dead. The dog, a survivor,
was dead. It happens
more often this way.
A disease left
untreated; the body,
in confusion, gives in.
The bomb breathes its fire down
the hallway, the son comes back
in pieces; the body,
in confusion, gives in.
The grief is a planet. A dust ring.
A small moon that’s been hidden
under my pillow, that’s been changing
the way my body moves this whole time.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Backwash of the Rotors

There will or won't be reports from the breakfast lounge of the Comfort Inn in Chelsea Michigan tomorrow and/or Saturday and/or Sunday, if yes I'll let you know if the TV is tuned to the Weather Channel


Tom Clark

The god of war assured King Arsounas, “Do not be fooled by words. No life is taken. Know that no one was ever born, nor does anyone die.” In the violent mini-eternity of the warrior, combat is conducted according to a ritual formal as song: no one is ever born, no one can ever die. The left-handed rockabilly guitarist whose left arm was severed by an RPG round at Dak To has come back to life in a part of my body that died long before we started to patrol this part of the river of eternal woe. His life is mine though I never lived it. The violent backwash of the rotors is crimsoned by a fine aerosol spray of blood while a loudspeaker amplifies the goddess’ excited laughter.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I Had the Happy Idea to Call Myself Happy


Mary Szybist

I had the happy idea to suspend some blue globes in the air

and watch them pop.

I had the happy idea to put my little copper horse on the shelf so we could stare at each other
all evening.

I had the happy idea to create a void in myself.

Then to call it natural.

Then to call it supernatural.

I had the happy idea to wrap a blue scarf around my head and spin.

I had the happy idea that somewhere a child was being born who was nothing like Helen or
Jesus except in the sense of changing everything.

I had the happy idea that someday I would find both pleasure and punishment, that I would
know them and feel them,

and that, until I did, it would be almost as good to pretend.

I had the happy idea to call myself happy.

I had the happy idea that the dog digging a hole in the yard in the twilight had his nose deep in

I had the happy idea that what I do not understand is more real than what I do,

and then the happier idea to buckle myself

into two blue velvet shoes.

I had the happy idea to polish the reflecting glass and say

hello to my own blue soul. Hello, blue soul. Hello.

It was my happiest idea.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Nothing in that drawer

  • Leaving momentarily for beloved Sugarloaf, yesterday was beloved Potomac from Blockhouse


Rod Padgett

Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.