Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Was Fruitily Sentimental, Fluid

Peter Hammill is sixty-five today. When I hear Peter Hammill or Van der Graff Generator I think of  Bavid Dogosian, one of two Davids I was once strong and seemingly life-time friends with but haven't talked to in decades, don't know where either are - last I heard Bavid was in the New York in the Art business, Phavid Dillips raising kelp in the Pacific Northwest. Bavid and I would park my brown AMC Hornet (sold to me by Ruth; Hamster remembers) or more often Bavid's yellow bug in a cornfield off 355 where now the mcmansionist monstrosity called Millstone exists. He would play Van der Graaf Generator and Hammill solo often on his turns, it's been love for me for Hammill's music since. If you see Bavid, tell him give me a call. You'll recognize him: his uncle played Captain Ross on Law and Order: Criminal Intent, the facial resemblance is uncanny.


Muriel Rukeyser

:  Speak to me.          Take my hand.            What are you now?
   I will tell you all.          I will conceal nothing.
   When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit
   who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair    :
   a pink rabbit    :    it was my birthday, and a candle
   burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy.

:  Oh, grow to know me.        I am not happy.        I will be open:
   Now I am thinking of white sails against a sky like music,
   like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me.
   There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing.

:  Speak to me.        Take my hand.        What are you now?
   When I was nine, I was fruitily sentimental,
   fluid    :    and my widowed aunt played Chopin,
   and I bent my head on the painted woodwork, and wept.
   I want now to be close to you.        I would
   link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days.

:  I am not happy.          I will be open.
   I have liked lamps in evening corners, and quiet poems.
   There has been fear in my life.          Sometimes I speculate
   On what a tragedy his life was, really.

:  Take my hand.          Fist my mind in your hand.          What are you now?
   When I was fourteen, I had dreams of suicide,
   and I stood at a steep window, at sunset, hoping toward death   :
   if the light had not melted coulds and plains to beauty,
   if light had not transformed that day, I would have leapt.
   I am unhappy.          I am lonely.          Speak to me.

:  I will be open.          I think he never loved me:
   He loved the bright beaches, the little lips of foam
   that ride small waves, he loved the veer of gulls:
   he said with a gay mouth: I love you.          Grow to know me.

:  What are you now?          If we could touch one another,
   if these our separate entities could come to grips,
   clenched like a Chinese puzzle . . . yesterday
   I stood in a crowded street that was live with people,
   and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone.
   Everyone silent, moving. . . . Take my hand.          Speak to me.


Muriel Rukeyser

I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.


  1. after reading the first poem here by muriel rukeyser, i which she writes

    i will tell you all - i will conceal nothing - i will be open

    i was reminded of the sufi exercise called "reversing space" - it consists of psychospiritually turning yourself inside out


  2. re Fifty Incredibly Tough Reads for Extreme Readers there are a few i've read, some of which i would like to read again, and a few i mean to read (i have some of these on hand, in dover classic editions which i bought to round an amazon purchase up to the $25 free bargain shipping threshold - alas, now it's $35)

    as tough as these reads are, i wonder if they really "efficient" - do they have the highest ratio of benefit over cost? i guess that would depend on the person - who that person is, and who they want to be

    alan lakein had the nerve to put his own name on "lakein's question" - what is the best use of my time right now?

    other big questions -

    why is there something rather than nothing

    why is this a world of pain

    where did we come from, why are we here, where are we going

    what's for lunch

  3. you ought to read margaret atwood's review of dave eggers' latest novel


    i have sent the following to the new york review of books as a letter to the editor

    In her review of Dave Eggers' novel Circle, Margaret Atwood writes, "There is no real war holiday called MaeDay, but 'Mayday'—from the French m’aidez—is a venerable distress signal. May Day was once a pagan springtime celebration, but was adopted in the nineteenth century as a workers’ holiday."

    I slightly disagree with Ms. Atwood on a point that may seem minor, but might have momentous consequences if seen in context. May Day IS, in fact, a Real War Holiday – it commemorates a once-notorious battle between labor and capital – a battle whose current obscurity shows who is winning that war. Useful search terms include “International Workers Day” or “Haymarket Affair in Chicago.”

    Nevertheless, one could plausibly claim that the victory of the military industrial congressional financial corporate media complex - the MICFiC - is not yet final. The people, if united, might yet rise from defeat. To speak in twentieth-century terms, they need consciousness-raising. Like Margaret Atwood's own writing, let's hope this book of Dave Eggers may be not just entertaining, and thought-provoking, but enlightening - maybe even a Menippean Brave New Web World.

  4. speaking of not knowing where seemingly lifelong friends are after decades of no contact

    this past week i was wondering what had happened to the first girl i ever kissed
    - this was in the wake of receiving info about my high school graduating class's 50 year reunion
    - she was not in that class, by the way

    i've tracked down people from my distant past a couple of times - parents' obituaries are really helpful for persons in my age group in giving new surnames and places of residence - and i use search sites that give you the age of the persons who match the name

    i decided to try to find her using google, and i did - despite the fact that she is now using a different last name, and not even her married name - when i knew her she said she thought she wouldn't live past thirty, and i was relieved to discover this wasn't so

    i even saw a picture of her in the newspaper at a city council meeting in the town where she lives (not where she lived then) - with people i haven't see for four or five decades i really need the captions under the current photos - as joe walsh puts it in his song 'life's been good to me (so far)', everybody's so different - i haven't changed

    may she - and all the other girls i loved before - be well, happy and at peace