Friday, September 5, 2014

Change, Move, Dead Clock

My distress about Isabel and Teresa, coupled with my guilt about my parents, opened onto larger questions about my fraudulence; that I was a fraud had never been in question - who isn't? Who wasn't squatting in one of the handful of prefabricated subject positions proffered by capital or whatever you wanted to call it, lying every time she said "I": who wasn't a bit player in a looped infomercial for the damaged life? If I was a poet, I had become one because poetry, more intensely than any other practive, could not evade its anachronism and marginality and so constituted a kink of acknowledgment of my own preposterousness, admitting my bad faith in good faith, so to speak. I could lie about my interest in the literary response to war because by making a mockery of the notion that literature could be commensurate with mass murder I was not defaming the victims of the latter, but the dilettantes of the former, rejecting the political claims repeatedly made by the so-called left for a poetry radical only in its unpopularity. I had been a small time performance artist pretending to be a poet, but now, with an alarming fervor, I wanted to write great poems. I wanted my "work" to take on the United States of Bush, to shed its scare quotes, and I wanted, after I self-immolated on the Capitol steps of whatever, to become the Miguel Hernandez of late empire, for Isabel and Teresa and everyone everywhere to read my poems, shatter storefronts, etc. This was a structure of feeling, not an idea, which made it harder to dismiss, and I felt it more intensely in direct proportion to its ridiculousness.

 - Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner.

So I owe you some links, but Farrokh Bulsara was born 68 years ago today so I spent part of last night listening to Queen, I'm in a novel I'm digging because the nameless fuck narrating reminds me of me (see above), and last night a friend tweeted the word gravediggers which of course made me immediately think of the above Avengers episode, so - I'm sorry - fuck link-fishing for clusterfuck aarghduh, though I want to note that I goaded a friend into breaking his blogfast, he provides bleggalgaze, travelog, and Elkin, plus this friend wrote the fictional writer, the fictional reader and this friend asks an earnest question and  Dave gifs you a dog in a pickup plus a new toy. But I have aargh: some fucker(s) deleted the of the _udrey _artman song, Tie Your Mother Down, that - longtimers can vouch for the story and for the version - I've used for years for Freddie's birthday. Still, because I love you, have another Avengers b/w Emma Peel episode, then a poem, then another b/w Emma Peel episode. You're welcome.


Weldon Kees

Change, move, dead clock, that this fresh day
May break with dazzling light to these sick eyes.
Burn, glare, old sun, so long unseen,
That time may find its sound again, and cleanse
Whatever it is that a wound remembers

After the healing ends.


  1. speaking of good faith and fraudulence, as does the quote from lerner's novel, supra


    In church last Sunday the minister shocked
    the whole congregation by telling us that we were
    all lazy and selfish and venal and that we were
    all hypocrites and didn't give a damn about the
    poor. He was shaking he was so mad. He said
    we didn't deserve the Lord's love and forgive-
    ness. He said we could rot in hell for all he
    cared. That's when I threw my hymnal at him.
    Many of the women were sobbing rather loudly,
    but I could see plenty of the men had had more
    than their full and were ready to do something
    about it. A bloodthirsty lynch mob was forming
    in the aisles. I know these men, they're good
    citizens, good fathers and husbands, who take
    their religion seriously, but if you mess with
    them they'll kill you. The minister, seeing
    the fire in their eyes, broke out laughing and
    assured the congregation that he'd just been
    kidding them, having a little fun with us.
    A little nervous laughter started to build and
    it broke loose into a collective roar that
    couldn't be stopped. We all agreed later that
    it was the best sermon he had ever given and
    we loved him more than ever.

    ----James Tate

    and speaking of the literary response to war, as lerner also does ---

    just as i asserted earlier that tate's 'shroud of the gnome' is a response to the gnostic text 'hymn of the pearl', i claim that tate's poem here owes much to mark twain's 'the war prayer' - although the sermon topic here is not mass murder, but merely indifference to the plight of the poor

  2. Who is Ben Lerner? And why he is creeping into my consciousness?

    [Hey! That's pretty good. I might tweet it.]

  3. When I first read the above quote, I thought it said "opened onto larger questions about my flatulence". Wouldn't that have been better?

    The notion of of the fraudulent self is fairly a old-fashioned concept. I mean, German Nationalism recruited the Weimar disjecta by promising them greater authenticity—Aryanism, Volks. Identity. Culture. Heritage.

    It seems like the wrong question to ask—unless you are consciously attempting to pull a fraud a la Bob McDonnell who felt Xn morality should only be implemented covertly. He didn't run on anti-abortionism, raping women with sticks (vaginal ultrasound probes, that is), homophobia. No, he purposefully put on a false front face of compromise and gentility. His mask was a conscious one, and was in fact authentically who he was to the public.

    You are who you are. You do what you do. You feel the way you feel. You think the way you think.

    Much of the 19th Century was given over to trying to uncover the forces that influenced those things: evolution, society, subconscious urges. But they all ignore the salient point: we as humans are embeds in time (you can quote me on that). We become who we are only in contexts very like those Darwin, Marx, & Freud identified. We are not universal souls, atemporal unities—any of those quaint ancient (quancient) notions. We are not different (in the poetic as opposed to the political sense) from the choices we make. Nothing we do is fraudulent. What we do defines us—regardless of influence and context: these are merely the variables in the equation, or, rather, on second thought, they are the constants and we the variables in the equation of our lives.

    It (fraudulence, authenticity, identity) feels like an idea whose time has come and gone. Why does it still plague Lerner's protagonist? And, by extension, the persona whose ego slaves over this shitty bleg?

    Some free philosophy there. You're welcome.

    Love, as always!

    1. Why do I love Jim bunches even when I don't understand a word he says?

      Alsotoo: fucking reedlicker love. Disgusting. I mean, what actually happens if an alto marries an oboe and they reproduce? Still and all, best song/relationship combo EVar.

    2. i was surprised to discover how many times 'quancient' appears on a google search even though it is new to me

      with regard to fraudulence as 'an idea whose time has come and gone' - i think i disagree