Monday, December 9, 2019

Zero as a Paradigm

  • I could claim I remembered yesterday was James Tate's birthday but reporting from the breakfast lounge of the Holiday Inn Express higher priority and not true, I did *not* remember it was James Tate's birthday but it *is* true my reporting from the Holiday Inn Express *would* be in a post that remembered yesterday was James Tate's birthday
  • Days I wake up, more of them, less time between them, stunned by and furious at my anger at anyone, everything, mostly me, though today not because I forgot James Tate's birthday yesterday though it doesn't help, yesterday was not dark, I'll not document today's blark



A CLEAN HIT

James Tate

A bomb had exploded down the street. I got dressed and
walked down to see what happened. The Whalen's house had
been flattened. But Hal and Rebecca were standing in the street,
apparently unscathed. Everyone in the neighborhood was pouring
our of their houses and into the streets. "What the hell happened?"
I said to Hal. "We were in the garden, thank god, when this
plane flew over. The next thing I know, the house explodes to
smithereens," he said. "It must have been some kind of accident,"
I said. "Well, I voted for this president. They shouldn't be
targeting me," he said. "Friendly fire," I said. "What the hell's
that?" he said. "They mistook you for somebody else," I said.
"Well, they shouldn't be bombing in this neighborhood, I don't
care who they thought I was. Children and old people live here,
and dogs," he said. "I'm sure you'll be getting a letter of apology,
and maybe a new house," I said. "It's lucky I didn't have a heart
attack," Rebecca Whalen said. Joe Mizelle walked up. "That
sure was a clean hit. No collateral damage whatsoever," he said.
"How do you know they didn't mean to hit your house and just
accidentally hit mine?" Hal said. "Jesus, I hadn't thought of
that. But I haven't done anything wrong. I voted for him, even
though I think he's a shifty bastard," Joe said. "Everything we
had is gone," Rebecca said, whimpering into her tissue. "When it
cools down, we can sift through the wreckage," Hal said, comforting
her. "I'd be glad to lend a hand," I said. "Maybe your silverware
survived, if it didn't melt in the heat," Joe said. Other neighbors
had gathered around and were whispering amongst themselves. "This
is the price we pay for our protection." "Thank god we live in a
democracy." "I'm sure they know what they were doing." "I'm going
to write my congressman." Hal turned to me and said, "Maybe I
am guilty. Maybe I did do something to deserve this. It's hard to
remember, on a day-to-day basis, everything you've said and every
little thing you've done. I can be kind of a free spirit sometimes.
I probably brought this on myself. And someone filed a report on
me. Oh god, I don't want to think about it, it's awful." "Listen,
Hal, I still think it was a mistake. It happens all the time.
Those reports pass through so many hands, by the time they reach
the top somebody has gotten the wrong address," I said. "All the
photographs and all the precious mementos of the children that can
never be replaced," Rebecca sobbed. "One of your boys works for the
government, doesn't he?" Joe said. "He's just a clerk in Washington,"
Hal said. "Still, I wouldn't rule him out," Joe said. "You're
beginning to irritate me," Hal said. The neighbors were drifting back
to their homes, their curiosities satisfied. Joe, too, turned
and left, but not before adding, "I was just trying to interject a
little humor. Sorry, no offense intended." Hal failed to dignify
this with a reply. The three of us stood there staring at the smouldering
rubble in silence. "Well, you're welcome to stay at my place," I
said finally. Hal looked at me as if to measure my trust. Then he
said, "This wasn't our real home. We have a secret home where we
keep our valuables. Nobody knows its whereabouts, not even our
children. There was nothing in there but junk. I figured they'd come
sooner or later. And they didn't get the car, so we'll be fine.
Rebecca, here, just had to put on a little show for the neighbors.
You can't trust most of them, if you know what I mean." We shook
hands and embraced. Then they got in their car and were gone forever.
I memorized their license plate number - 357 O19 - for good luck.
               


  
                              
POEM TO SOME OF MY RECENT POEMS

James Tate

My beloved little billiard balls,
my polite mongrels, edible patriotic plums,   
you owe your beauty to your mother, who   
resembled a cyclindrical corned beef   
with all the trimmings, may God rest   
her forsaken soul, for it is all of us   
she forsook; and I shall never forget
her sputtering embers, and then the little mound.
Yes, my little rum runners, she had defective   
tear ducts and could weep only iced tea.   
She had petticoats beneath her eyelids.   
And in her last years she found ball bearings   
in her beehive puddings, she swore allegiance   
to Abyssinia. What should I have done?   
I played the piano and scrambled eggs.   
I had to navigate carefully around her brain’s   
avalanche lest even a decent finale be forfeited.
And her beauty still evermore. You see,
as she was dying, I led each of you to her side,
one by one she scorched you with her radiance.
And she is ever with us in our acetylene leisure.
But you are beautiful, and I, a slave to a heap of cinders.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

An Ancient Woodland Indicator Called *Dark Dog’s Mercury*

Rose River Loop, Shenandoah National Park, yesterday with Earthgirl, an old favorite, saw bears first two times but none yesterday, not even scat on the trail, we only saw one beech out of thousands that still had ochre leaves, lordy, the light




  • The television set in the breakfast lounge of the Holiday Inn Express in Woodstock Virginia Sunday morning is tuned to CNN, the first lounge in three or four not tuned to the Weather Channel
  • Woodstock in Shenandoah Valley, northern end, between Harrisonburg and Winchester, good for access to Shenandoah, Massanutten, and George Washington hiking
  • Edinburg, five miles south, home to Sal's Italian Bistro, a family run restaurant in an old general store that makes good pizza (me) and great eggplant parm ( Earthgirl), Woodstock our current Virginia base of hiking-operations
  • One mother asks her kid if he wants sir-rup, another asks her kid if she want sear-rup
  • UPDATE! Dave? Dave's alive? or, *this* is why I keep cemeteries at the shitty blog, to see the awakened zombies!
  • All I want to do is hike with Earthgirl




  • On the television set in the breakfast lounge of the Holiday Inn Express in Woodstock Virginia tuned to CNN I just saw for the first time Pete Buttigieg move and speak and *this* is the fuck our sociopath overlords want to run in 2020 after Biden dies of stroke and our overlords assassinate Bernie?
  • Today in motherfucking Democrats
  • UPDATE! The head of Center for American Progress endorses Boris Johnson, or: crackers earn contempt, Democrats earn hate
  • Harvesting the blood of the poor, or: Our Sociopath Overlords Are Vampires 
  • Maggie's weekly links
  • I now know how to say Death to the Either/Or in Deustch: Schluß mit entweder/oder
  • Meanwhile at my twice Alma Mater and employer, John Thompson University, which can't raise a penny for new library but got $50M for an upgrade to the football field at a basketball school
  • Head yapping now on CNN tells me Cory Booker is SURGING! especially vs Sanders 
  • I vouch for Black Leopard, Red Wolf, I'd loan you mine but I gave it to SeatSix who, since he's said nothing since, hasn't read it or tried and hated it
  • The cusk of the matter, or, me too, adding, I thought I'd think about it more than I have
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links 
  • Dogs Are Shakespearean, Children Are Strangers, or: Delmore Schwartz, born 106 years ago today
  • Thirty-nine years ago tonight I was lying in bed with my equally tripping girlfriend when WGTB (from John Thompson University) announced during mic break this guy had been shot, yes, this is the John song I always post






WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE
 
Forrest Gander
 
As grains sort inside a schist
 
An ancient woodland indicator called dark dog’s mercury
 
River like liquid shale
 
And white-tipped black lizard-turds on the blue wall
 
For a loss that every other loss fits inside
 
Picking a mole until it bleeds
 
As the day heaves forward on faked determinations
 
If it’s not all juxtaposition, she asked, what is the binding agent?
 
Creepy always to want to pin words on “the emotional experience”
 
Azure hoplia cockchafer, the caddisworm, the bee-louse, blister beetle, assassin bug
 
The recriminations swarm around sunset
 
When it was otherwise quiet all the way around
 
You who were given a life, what did you make of it?

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Lurch from Metaphor to Metaphor

Links until tomorrow's report from the breakfast lounge of a Holiday Inn Express in Woodstock VA with perhaps a photo from today's hike in George Washington National Forest, I'll let you know what's on the television and spare you until at least Monday a png of my reignited love affair with Number Two pencils, here's Fleabus in a box for the happier of three fine metaphors abounding in this post (four counting the use of the Hudgins' poem again):










PRAYING DRUNK

Andrew Hudgins

Our Father who art in heaven, I am drunk.
Again. Red wine. For which I offer thanks.
I ought to start with praise, but praise
comes hard to me. I stutter. Did I tell you
about the woman whom I taught, in bed,
this prayer? It starts with praise; the simple form
keeps things in order. I hear from her sometimes.
Do you? And after love, when I was hungry,
I said, Make me something to eat. She yelled,
Poof! You’re a casserole!—and laughed so hard
she fell out of the bed. Take care of her.
           
Next, confession—the dreary part. At night
deer drift from the dark woods and eat my garden.
They’re like enormous rats on stilts except,
of course, they’re beautiful. But why? What makes
them beautiful? I haven’t shot one yet.
I might. When I was twelve, I’d ride my bike
out to the dump and shoot the rats. It’s hard
to kill your rats, our Father. You have to use
a hollow point and hit them solidly.
A leg is not enough. The rat won’t pause.
Yeep! Yeep! it screams, and scrabbles, three-legged, back
into the trash, and I would feel a little bad
to kill something that wants to live
more savagely than I do, even if
it’s just a rat. My garden’s vanishing.
Perhaps I’ll merely plant more beans, though that
might mean more beautiful and hungry deer.
Who knows?
                I’m sorry for the times I’ve driven
home past a black, enormous, twilight ridge.
Crested with mist, it looked like a giant wave
about to break and sweep across the valley,
and in my loneliness and fear I’ve thought,
O let it come and wash the whole world clean.
Forgive me. This is my favorite sin: despair—
whose love I celebrate with wine and prayer.
                    
Our Father, thank you for all the birds and trees,
that nature stuff. I’m grateful for good health,
food, air, some laughs, and all the other things
I’m grateful that I’ve never had to do
without. I have confused myself. I’m glad
there’s not a rattrap large enough for deer.
While at the zoo last week, I sat and wept
when I saw one elephant insert his trunk
into another’s ass, pull out a lump,
and whip it back and forth impatiently
to free the goodies hidden in the lump.
I could have let it mean most anything,
but I was stunned again at just how little
we ask for in our lives. Don’t look! Don’t look!
Two young nuns tried to herd their giggling
schoolkids away. Line up, they called. Let’s go
and watch the monkeys in the monkey house.
I laughed, and got a dirty look. Dear Lord,
we lurch from metaphor to metaphor,
which is—let it be so—a form of praying.
        
I’m usually asleep by now—the time
for supplication. Requests. As if I’d stayed
up late and called the radio and asked
they play a sentimental song. Embarrassed.
I want a lot of money and a woman.
And, also, I want vanishing cream. You know—
a character like Popeye rubs it on
and disappears. Although you see right through him,
he’s there. He chuckles, stumbles into things,
and smoke that’s clearly visible escapes
from his invisible pipe. It makes me think,
sometimes, of you. What makes me think of me
is the poor jerk who wanders out on air
and then looks down. Below his feet, he sees
eternity, and suddenly his shoes
no longer work on nothingness, and down
he goes. As I fall past, remember me.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

It Has My Photograph in Its Soft Pocket

  • So I woke up with this Pylon song in my head so go to youtube to find and - ! -  must sit through a Mike Bloomberg campaign ad first, do you know he's gonna raise taxes on billionaires and fight climate change! Shazam, he's got my vote!
  • If you don't want Bernie Sanders up by 20 on November 1 2020 to see all the assholes of every tribe freak the fuck out you're no fun











REUNION
 
Charles Wright

Already one day has detached itself from all the rest up ahead.
It has my photograph in its soft pocket.
It wants to carry my breath into the past in its bag of wind.
      
I write poems to untie myself, to do penance and disappear
Through the upper right-hand corner of things, to say grace.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sinks into Dementia, Proving Narrative Passé

  • I saw the video of Joe's story time, hairy legs and kids in his lap, was reminded last night of this Joe *Before* Dementia hit single on Black-American sexuality and AIDS (watch HRC agree with Biden at the end of the video)
  • (I know someone with dementia, what I've read, what I've been told, what I sense is the person distills into who he or she genuinely is, and in my one anecdotal case that's wonderfully true)
  • This is new, our overlords deciding they want a dementia-addled evil soul as Puppet of the United States rather than a lucid evil soul from either party







                       
HOTEL LAUTREAMONT

John Ashbery

1.
Research has shown that ballads were produced by all of society
working as a team. They didn’t just happen. There was no guesswork.
The people, then, knew what they wanted and how to get it.
We see the results in works as diverse as “Windsor Forest” and “The Wife of Usher’s Well.” 
                  
Working as a team, they didn’t just happen. There was no guesswork.
The horns of elfland swing past, and in a few seconds
we see the results in works as diverse as “Windsor Forest” and “The Wife of Usher’s Well,”
or, on a more modern note, in the finale of the Sibelius violin concerto.
              
The horns of elfland swing past, and in a few seconds
the world, as we know it, sinks into dementia, proving narrative passé,
or in the finale of the Sibelius violin concerto.
Not to worry, many hands are making work light again.
        
The world, as we know it, sinks into dementia, proving narrative passé.
In any case the ruling was long overdue.
Not to worry, many hands are making work light again,
so we stay indoors. The quest was only another adventure.


   2.
In any case, the ruling was long overdue.
The people are beside themselves with rapture
so we stay indoors. The quest was only another adventure
and the solution problematic, at any rate far off in the future.
           
The people are beside themselves with rapture
yet no one thinks to question the source of so much collective euphoria,
and the solution: problematic, at any rate far off in the future.
The saxophone wails, the martini glass is drained  
                                                
Yet no one thinks to question the source of so much collective euphoria.
In troubled times one looked to the shaman or priest for comfort and counsel.
The saxophone wails, the martini glass is drained,
and night like black swansdown settles on the city.
        
In troubled times one looked to the shaman or priest for comfort and counsel.
Now, only the willing are fated to receive death as a reward,
and night like black swansdown settles on the city.
If we tried to leave, would being naked help us?


   3.
Now, only the willing are fated to receive death as a reward.
Children twist hula-hoops, imagining a door to the outside.
If we tried to leave, would being naked help us?
And what of older, lighter concerns? What of the river?
                
Children twist hula-hoops, imagining a door to the outside,
when all we think of is how much we can carry with us.
And what of older, lighter concerns? What of the river?
All the behemoths have filed through the maze of time.
            
When all we think of is how much we can carry with us
small wonder that those at home sit, nervous, by the unlit grate.
All the behemoths have filed through the maze of time.
It remains for us to come to terms with our commonality.
          
Small wonder that those at home sit nervous by the unlit grate.
It was their choice, after all, that spurred us to feats of the imagination.
It remains for us to come to terms with our commonality
and in so doing deprive time of further hostages.


   4.
It was their choice, after all, that spurred us to feats of the imagination.
Now, silently as one mounts a stair we emerge into the open
and in so doing deprive time of further hostages,
to end the standoff that history long ago began.
           
Now, silently as one mounts a stair we emerge into the open
but it is shrouded, veiled: We must have made some ghastly error.
To end the standoff that history long ago began
must we thrust ever onward, into perversity?
           
But it is shrouded, veiled: We must have made some ghastly error.
You mop your forehead with a rose, recommending its thorns.
Must we thrust ever onward, into perversity?
Only night knows for sure; the secret is safe with her.
         
You mop your forehead with a rose, recommending its thorns.
Research has shown that ballads were produced by all of society;
only night knows for sure. The secret is safe with her:
The people, then, knew what they wanted and how to get it.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Brittle on Both Sides, No Lying

Fleabus at least fifteen best we calculate, at dinner last night seeing the niece I beat to claim Fleabus at another holiday family dinner reminded me to remind you she's still the best cat ever more than ever









BOOK OF ISAIAH, PART 1

Anne Carson

Isaiah awoke angry.
 
Lapping at Isaiah’s ears black birdsong no it was anger.   
 
God had filled Isaiah’s ears with stingers.
 
Once God and Isaiah were friends.
 
God and Isaiah used to converse nightly, Isaiah would rush into the garden.
 
They conversed under the Branch, night streamed down.
 
From the sole of the foot to the head God would make Isaiah ring.   
 
Isaiah had loved God and now his love was turned to pain.   
 
Isaiah wanted a name for the pain, he called it sin.
 
Now Isaiah was a man who believed he was a nation.
 
Isaiah called the nation Judah and the sin Judah’s condition.   
 
Inside Isaiah God saw the worldsheet burning.
 
Isaiah and God saw things differently, I can only tell you their actions.
 
Isaiah addressed the nation.   
 
Man’s brittleness! cried Isaiah.
 
The nation stirred in its husk and slept again.
 
Two slabs of bloody meat lay folded on its eyes like wings.   
 
Like a hard glossy painting the nation slept.
 
Who can invent a new fear?
 
Yet I have invented sin, thought Isaiah, running his hand over the knobs.
 
And then, because of a great attraction between them—
 
which Isaiah fought (for and against) for the rest of his life—
 
God shattered Isaiah’s indifference.
 
God washed Isaiah’s hair in fire.
 
God took the stay.
 
From beneath its meat wings the nation listened.   
 
You, said Isaiah.
 
No answer.
 
I cannot hear you, Isaiah spoke again under the Branch.   
 
Light bleached open the night camera.
 
God arrived.
 
God smashed Isaiah like glass through every socket of his nation.   
 
Liar! said God.
 
Isaiah put his hands on his coat, he put his hand on his face.
 
Isaiah is a small man, said Isaiah, but no liar.
 
God paused.
 
And so that was their contract.   
 
Brittle on both sides, no lying.
 
Isaiah’s wife came to the doorway, the doorposts had moved.   
 
What’s that sound? said Isaiah’s wife.   
 
The fear of the Lord, said Isaiah.   
 
He grinned in the dark, she went back inside.