Monday, March 18, 2013

Infinite Finitude

So I moused twice for WFMU this marathon, once early then once again when Yo La Tengo, for the eighteenth straight year, played three hours of requests in exchange for donations. I asked them to play their favorite Guided by Voices song (I am curious what it is) but they never got to it. No big deal, I think, they got hundreds of requests. Saturday, I get this email:

Hey Jeff,

   When we were cleaning up the mess we made of the Berlin studio at 5 pm German Standard Time, there was band-wide dismay when we uncovered your generous pledge that somehow was overlooked amid the chaos.  We all hope you'll accept our apology.  We hate to let any request go unacknowledged (that's why they invented medleys), and especially a Mouse.

Ira, Georgia and James

Love. Also love for WFMU, which made their goal. If you gave, thanks.


Thom Gunn

Nothing remained: Nothing, the wanton name
That nightly I rehearsed till led away
To a dark sleep, or sleep that held one dream.

In this a huge contagious absence lay,
More space than space, over the cloud and slime,
Defined but by the encroachments of its sway.

Stripped to indifference at the turns of time,
Whose end I knew, I woke without desire,
And welcomed zero as a paradigm.

But now it breaks—images burst with fire
Into the quiet sphere where I have bided,
Showing the landscape holding yet entire:

The power that I envisaged, that presided
Ultimate in its abstract devastations,
Is merely change, the atoms it divided

Complete, in ignorance, new combinations.
Only an infinite finitude I see
In those peculiar lovely variations.

It is despair that nothing cannot be
Flares in the mind and leaves a smoky mark
Of dread.
               Look upward. Neither firm nor free,

Purposeless matter hovers in the dark.


  1. I wonder if Daniel Coffeen was referring to your generous eyes, BDR.

    And this Thomas Gunn poem, a reorientation.

  2. I've got a couple of double copies of Gunn down in the basement. Once I find them I'll send them your way. His *Moly* is probably one of the four or five poems I've posted most often, btw....

    And no, I doubt Daniel knows this blog exists.

    1. Thank you! I'll look forward to receiving them. So lovely of you.

      If that second statement is true, his loss. He describes himself as a "rhetor."

      The other day--the Bakker v. OOO, specifically Levi Bryant, thing. Bakker could have gone after anyone in philosophy with his BBT disqualifier, Zizek for instance. He must think Levi's the bigger trophy.

    2. Also, I meant to say that your offer to send poetry is especially sweet as I'm reading the copy of The Recognitions you sent me last year just now (after a couple of false starts). I'm only four chapters in but it's fun to be on the lookout for his use of the word "recognitions." I'm going to enjoy looking back and connecting those dots at the end of the first read. (Sorry to be so prolix this morning.)

  3. tml;dr?

    Link thanks. Illness is eerily like furrin policy.

    There's a reason Grizzly Adams paid his bills in person.

    If the playoffs started today, DCU!

  4. I was just working on my own version of this post.

    Maybe I'll stick to pictures instead...

  5. The YLT Mangle The Classics album is lots of fun.

  6. Feedly = good.

    Trashing liberals by mentioning them in the same phrase as CNN = bad.

    Anybody more concerned about rapists than rapers = lower than slug slime.

    1. I've downloaded Feedly, will play with, so far so good.

      Fair enough on CNN. *Liberals* changed to *assholes*, at least in the post. Rimshot-noise. Cheap heh.

      One aspect (which was not intentional when I posted) of the Steubenville incident is that the very same self-surveillance I accuse myself of is what brought the charges against the rapist motherfuckers (I was reminded subsequently of the details of the case). That they thought taking photos and posting as boasting is as horrifying as the rape they thought they were entitled to. The whole incident reeks of horrible metaphors abounding.

    2. Missing an *almost* , second to last sentence, between *is* and *as horrifying* my apologies.

  7. So, YLT is not a fan of the Oxford comma. You never said how their concert went.

    Beets => YESSSSS!

    1. We saw the first acoustic set and then needed to leave - Earthgirl doesn't do mosh-pits well. Too bad, but no worries, they'll be around again soon (in fact are, opening for Belle & Sebastian at Merriwether Post this July - that? will be a game day decision).