Friday, November 8, 2013

Not What Is Understood, Presumably, and It Diminishes Us in Our Getting to Know It

I haven't posted any of Earthgirl's art in awhile, have a recent piece. I haven't posted any of Planet's art in a while, here have this:

I haven't posted any of my stuff here or the other place recently. I haven't wanted to. I'm actually not unhappy with recent work, just haven't wanted to post it and - this is the weird part - beyond this sentence haven't wanted to post what I've written about why I don't want to post it here here. Though of course I have, just not directly. Have an old photo of mine of Rosie in a tunnel:

  • Liberals should stop and frisk Bill de Blasio. Also, Charlie's leaving the google collective for an outpost in the WordPress quadrant, so rebookmark if you're so inclined.
  • Fuck these google guys.
  • This week in water.
  • I haven't followed MLS this year, not surprising considering my United withdrawal, but hearing that Gax and Metros and that fucking lime green team in Seattle have all crashed out of MLS's stupidass playoffs pleases me.
  • Literature without style.
  • Ashbery and the Pragmatist Sublime.
  • The summation of Ashbery's great theme (or, more precisely, my favorite of Ashbery's themes) is this line from the poem below (the most posted poem, I'd bet, on this shitty blog): It hurts, this wanting to give a dimension/To life when life is precisely that dimension.
  • Posted because it's the first time I've thought about or seen mentioned James Merrill in a decade. He never sang to me, but once he was a big deal.
  • Greyhoos' excellent Lou Reed post.
  • Joni Mitchell turned 70 yesterday. Here's a cascade. I like her music a lot but don't love it unto a Holy Day.
  • Yoko Ono is a bad dancer.
  • Have a pop song! features the late Faye Hunter (of Let's Active fame) recorded in the months before her recent death:


John Ashbery

It was snowing as he wrote.
In the gray room he felt relaxed and singular,
But no one, of course, ever trusts these moods.

There had to be understanding to it.
Why, though? That always happens anyway,
And who gets the credit for it? Not what is understood,
Presumably, and it diminishes us
In our getting to know it.

As trees come to know a storm
Until it passes and light falls anew
Unevenly, on all the muttering kinship:
Things with things, persons with objects,
Ideas with people or ideas.

It hurts, this wanting to give a dimension
To life when life is precisely that dimension.
We are creatures, therefore we walk and talk
And people come up to us, or listen
And then move away.

Music fills the spaces
Where figures are pulled to the edges,
And it can only say something.

Sinews are loosened then,
The mind begins to think good thoughts.
Ah, this sun must be good:
Doing a number, completing its trilogy.
Life must be back there. You hid it
So no one could find it
And now you can't remember where.

But if one were to invent being a child again
It might just come close enough to being a living relic
To save this thing, save it from embarrassment
By ringing down the curtain,

And for a few seconds no one would notice.
The ending would seem perfect.
No feelings to dismay,
No tragic sleep to wake from in a fit
Of passionate guilt, only the warm sunlight
That slides easily down shoulders
To the soft, melting heart.


  1. Posting this for Charlie - it showed up in my email box but not in comment moderation:

    a) a bit to my surprise, i enjoyed yoko's 'bad dancer' video very much

    b)joni mitchell - the last time she and i were in the same room was in cambridge, ma in 1969 - the young woman with whom i attended this concert went on to run for lieutenant governor of michigan in 1982 - on the workers league ticket, not to be confused with the socialist workers party, which was also on the ballot (and got 50% more votes)

    c)speaking of singers of a certain age, i heard on the radio today that it is bonnie raitt's 64th birthday - well worth watching is her official video of "right down the line", which, through its choice of couples depicted, is clearly propaganda for 'marriage equality'

    d) said video is "dedicated to gerry rafferty, with love" - writer of the song in question, his career was crippled and life cut short by alcoholism - as i wrote on youtube, (and if i don't quote myself, who will?) in the comments to The girl's got no confidence - Gerry Rafferty (lyrics)

    Now, after Gerry has passed on, I see this song is a kind of spiritual autobiography. No, he wasn't a girl with a law degree - but he was someone who read the Gurdjieff books (and Ibn Arabi), with much talent, who accomplished much - but never lived up to his potential, or found the happiness he longed for, because of his lack of "confidence" . He drank to find a way around his pain, but there is no way around - only a way through. May peace be with you, sweet boy.

    bonnie, on the other hand, as she told craig ferguson earlier this year on the late late show, found sobriety 26 years ago - they were chatting about australia - bonnie never went there during her 'partying' phase, while craig has never been there since he got sober, but an incident there helped him to see he needed to - he was in a bar at nine a.m. having a few beers 'to take the edge off' - the barmaid said, 'gee, you drink too much, don't you?' - if a barmaid says that to you in a bar that's open at 9 a.m., it's probably true, he realized

    i see, reading a bit more about bonnie raitt, that she was at radcliffe college at the time joni gave the concert i went to - maybe she was in the audience as well (or maybe not)

  2. First, the quote from Ashberry is insightful, not only about Ashberry but poetry, for me. Maybe I might even begin to think I could someday get it.

    Second, Just Wow with The Big Believe! Where the Holy Hell did you find that? It's love is what it is.

    Now to the important stuff: Thanks for the EG & Planet pieces. I'm digging EG's sensitivity to color & P's feel for form.

    Oh, et merci bien pour la linkage! Crook & Liars found a couple from that series and exploded my readership for a couple days. I feel like I'm onto something.

    And finally, you're missing the BIG news of the day: the former Klingon General & Emperor Martok was elected to the Ulysses Town Board in upstate NY Tompkins County. I mean, come the fuck on, dude! You're slippin'! Talk about grist for your 'sillyass Star Trek allusion' mill!

  3. Thanks for sharing the art. Damn y'all are talented.

  4. Love love love the Earthgirl work.