Saturday, October 5, 2013

In the Meantime, in the Regular Weather of Ordinary Days, It Sometimes Happens that a Man Has Changed So Slowly that He Slips Away Before Anyone Notices and Lives and Dies Before Anyone Can Find Out

  • Jim's mention of WFMU DJ Frank O'Toole in comments put O'Toole's signature show-ender in my head all day yesterday and into this morning, I just finished a section of Sebald's Austerlitz in which Austerlitz, talking about his upbringing as an adopted child in Wales, riffs on the physical sensation of nostalgia, and I get a physical charge of nostalgia every time I hear that Nelson Riddle song. It's the song, not the show. I don't remember watching Route 66, ever, my father and mother must have watched it when I was too young to know what was going on on-screen, but the music? Boom.
  • On Miriam Carey's temper.
  • Fred Hiatt senses chance to destroy Social Security, urges Obama to cave.
  • Which has been the plan all along. 
  • Avedon Carol's obamapostasy.
  • Pain is not a dolphin: on misunderstanding analogies.
  • Dear Moron Tool at the Gazette: 270 goes nowhere near Potomac. It's called Rockville.
  • Nighthawks: on dreams.
  • An incoherent list of books!
  • Krasznahorkai, for those of you who do. I picked up Seiobi Down Below this past Tuesday at Politics and Prose, it's after the Sebald (it's working; more later, or not) and the Coover (and maybe the Pynchon, what the fuck; more later, or not).
  • September Song part one.
  • September Song part two.
  • Woke up with Zoviet France in my head:


Marvin Bell

As simply as a self-effacing bar of soap
escaping by indiscernible degrees in the wash water   
is how a man may change
and still hour by hour continue in his job.   
There in the mirror he appears to be on fire   
but here at the office he is dust.
So long as there remains a little moisture in the stains,
he stands easily on the pavement
and moves fluidly through the corridors. If only one   
cloud can be seen, it is enough to know of others,
and life stands on the brink. It rains
or it doesn’t, or it rains and it rains again.
But let it go on raining for forty days and nights   
or let the sun bake the ground for as long,   
and it isn’t life, just life, anymore, it’s living.
In the meantime, in the regular weather of ordinary days,
it sometimes happens that a man has changed   
so slowly that he slips away
before anyone notices
and lives and dies before anyone can find out.


  1. You know, I don't think I ever knew where his bed music was from. Nice pull!

    After you posted about Coover's Brunist sequel, I immediately ordered it from Amazon. Got an email a week or so later saying it was delayed. And I quote:

    "Coover, Robert "The Brunist Day of Wrath"
    Estimated arrival date: March 28, 2014 - April 01, 2014"

    Don't hold your breath.

    Also too I didn't think Austerlitz had any sections. There seems to be no paragraph breaks. Or at least that's the impression I get every time I open it and put it away. I need a chance to come up for air when I read.

    1. "Passages" would be a better term than sections. I just finished the passages of Austerlitz's writing block and depression. I'm quite kaboomed.

      Yeah, I saw that re: new Coover. Vollmann has pushed release of his latest Dream from late this year to 2015.

  2. the first line of marvin bell's poem reminded me of a line in the last stanza of

    The Mad Gardener's Song

    Lewis Carroll

    Gary Bachland has written a setting for mezzo soprano or baritone and piano (2005)

    He thought he saw an Elephant
    That practised on a fife:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A letter from his wife.
    'At length I realize,' he said,
    'The bitterness of Life!'

    He thought he saw a Buffalo
    Upon the chimney-piece:
    He looked again, and found it was
    His Sister's Husband's Niece.
    'Unless you leave this house,' he said,
    'I'll send for the Police!'

    He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
    That questioned him in Greek:
    He looked again, and found it as
    The Middle of Next Week.
    'The one thing I regret,' he said,
    'Is that it cannot speak!'

    He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
    Descending from the 'bus:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Hippopotamus.
    'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
    'There won't be much for us!'

    He thought he saw a Kangaroo
    That worked a coffee-mill:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Vegetable-Pill.
    'Were I to swallow this,' he said,
    'I should be very ill!'

    He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
    That stood beside his bed:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Bear without a Head.
    'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing!
    It's waiting to be fed!'

    He thought he saw an Albatross
    That fluttered round the lamp:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Penny-Postage-Stamp.
    'You'd best be getting home,' he said,
    'The nights are very damp!'

    He thought he saw a Garden-Door
    That opened with a key:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Double Rule of Three:
    'And all its mystery,' he said,
    'Is clear as day to me!'

    He thought he saw an Argument
    That proved he was the Pope:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Bar of Mottled Soap.
    'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,
    'Extinguishes all hope!'


    a couple of footnotes -

    1) the 'banker's clerk" verse the metastasizing of the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate - see the work of Michael Hudson) from its proper role as a facilitator of the real economy (a banker's clerk, riding a bus - a functionary, on the same level as the rest of the society) to its massively overgrown size, consuming not just its own lunch, but everyone else's

    2) here's something i wrote in october 2008

    She thought she saw a candidate
    Who'd put an end to war.
    She looked again, and found it was
    The Same Game as Before.
    "If that's the way it goes," she said,
    "Then what is voting for?"

  3. your dog with googs.. is nice beside the primitives- way behind me.. .

  4. Thanks for these comments, Charlie, they are much appreciated.

    Scubadog will make frequent appearances at the other place, a.