Friday, November 1, 2013

("Mere Protocol"? - More Like a Second Backbone!)

  • Holyfuck, listen to my new obsession. 
  • Aesthetics, morality, politics, and disaster.
  • The Kafkaesque world of data mining.
  • Auto-pilot
  • Sirota brings the duh.
  • Hillarian inevitability: campaign against Obama's legacy from the right. Of course. And with that I hearby proclaim I suspend the use of the terms Hillarian inevitably, motherfucking Clinton, and motherfucking Clintons (which means they won't be mentioned at all) from this blog NOT because those terms aren't completely valid but because they are (though I allow myself this one last Fuck the Clintons, the two of them the perfect symbol for all that's fucked in American politics).
  • Should be easy until 2016, then, probably not so much, though there's an obvious way to guarantee there's not talk of them in 2016 on this blog, executed on my end.

  • Reminder (to me): field-recordings, music, poems, aargh-free links if links at all, one weekend post, tomorrow.
  • BRT!
  • CCT!
  • Did you know new water-heaters cost $2600? It's true!
  • Wolfson's has closed! (h/t SeatSix). I mean, it's been years since I was inside, but there's always been a Wolfson's on Diamond Avenue.
  • Scharpling's show on Tuesday night's on WFMU never worked for me - I don't want to hear talk on the radio - but news of his retiring Best Show is noteworthy if for no other reason that it, by far, raised the most money during marathons.
  • Fabio played an hour-and-a-half tribute to Lou Reed yesterday, but listen to the show for the two Meredith Monk pieces.
  • Fifteen problems.
  • Sebald, for those of you who do. I confess I have not felt compelled to pick up another since finishing Austerlitz, though that's more a matter of enthusiasm for other stuff than never-minding Sebald.
  • Joyce Carol Oates v Robert Frost.
  • Auden and ecopoetry.
  • In Evidence: 3.
  • New Eno interview.


Tom Sleigh

Wiretaps and tapes, concealed
bugs and mikes,
                           intercepted letters
full of passionate declarations, contradictory
                           how attached he’d grown
to the subject’s documents, revising and rearranging
the influx of intelligence
with a sentiment, he acknowledged, almost
                           like love: he felt
the cool gray eyes of his superiors
trained on him, rebuking him
                           for swerving, for letting
himself go—such tender obsession
occasioned by the file!
                           Not quite the professional style
he or the Agency expected…
But such official loyalties
                           seemed mere protocol to this!—
what was wrong with him,
                           he wondered, that he construed
the documents to make the subject
seem a hero,
                           a bastard whose sole patrimony
was a pair of shoes and a rusted sword
left by an unknown father beneath a stone?
And yet his exploits in the tabloids,
the headlines screaming,
                           were these heroic
different in kind from the rumors,
                           of a rape, a murder?
—But to have met undisguised the devouring monster!
To have escaped the twisting tunnels of the maze…
On balance, for such a life,
                           the hero’s reputation wasn’t bad:
think of the opportunities for evil
                           a man of such qualities must have had!
How well he knew him—an essential innocence
that followed impulse, blind
to protocol, not noticeably more kind
                           than he was cruel.
But to stamp Case Closed and cease
                           gathering intelligence,
to give the hero up, almost, he admitted,
like a lover…:
                           such limits the hero
unknowingly transgressed!
And the Agency, cold-blooded where
                           limits were concerned (“mere protocol”?—
more like a second backbone!), committed
                           to keeping order, could not afford
such sentiments—the Chief of Security
felt an awful pang: that the work of intelligence
                           should lead to this…
He leaned back in his chair and sighed:
                           a forged genealogy certifying
that the hero’s father was a king; a mutual
assistance pact
                           to aid in taking back the usurped crown:
he could see them now, the wind
blowing lightly, the two of them sweating
as they climbed the cliff, discussing
                           the terms, exchanging information,
                           how would his own face look
staring down across the sea
                           as he gestured earnestly toward
some island, saying,
                           “According to our sources,
the tax revenues…”
                           And then, edging
the hero closer to the cliff, pointing
                           out the harbor, he’d push.

1 comment:

  1. re joyce carol oates vs robert frost - having read a fair amount of oates's stuff (not recently) i think it is probably fair to say, as mick jagger said of keith richards, that she's "not a happy person"

    although i agree with what keith said about sir mick's knighthood - that he should have held out for a peerage; and that letting one of "that family" [the royals] near you with a sharp stick, let alone a sword, is problematic

    in a youtube snippet i saw, keith also said he was reading barzun's "from dawn to decadence" - did you know barzun died just a year ago at the age of 104?