Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Illnesses We Contract Are Chronic Illnesses

At my uncle's post-funeral lunch yesterday at Meloni's (last wainscotted and ceiling tiled in the 70s) in Uniontown I overheard Elric saying something pro-Hillary, something apostate Sanders, something fuck Donald Trump and his legions to our cousin Kirk (no really, people can vouch that's his name, this is not a sillyass Star Trek allusion (though the chance it could be is what makes me smile)). 

The service was in Republic (photo above taken by SeatSix, cropped and squared and dyed and by me, photo below taken by Planet, cropped and squared and dyed by me), the town my dad is from. The funeral home (last wainscotted and ceiling tiled in the 70s) must be running out of customers, even if it serves the entire Redstone Township community from Allison to Ralph.

I was talking with Kirk's mother when she needed turn to talk to her daughter when I overheard Elric and Kirk's conversation and turned my attention back to my aunt when she turned hers back to me. We talked about life and agency and Kind when agency is lost in loved ones to aging's indignities and disabilities. Our responsibility for making choices to ease the decline knowing nothing cannot stop the inevitable, and there are times to accede to the inevitable if not rush the inevitable.

  • Root Boy Slim was born 72 years ago yesterday.
  • I think I would have kept my mouth shut and not inserted myself into Elric and Kirk's conversation even if I hadn't been talking about life and death with my aunt. The election is solely deciding which monster you prefer to manage the decline and what kind of decline you think best. The decline is inevitable.
  • When narratives go bad. Fine metaphors too.
  • Clinton delegates fight to keep planks against fracking, TPP, and prosecuting Wall Street assholes, plus reject a plank calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and genocide in Gaza out of Democratic Party platform.
  • Village asks, can Hillary change being Hillary
  • Preparing for a major war with Russia.
  • American Blowback.
  • This: i'm just going to say that the idea that you have a hundred heavily armed police at the protest against police violence specifically to 'protect' protestors (which everyone is saying all the time) is really very not honest, though the police gathering was itself not violent, one supposes. but bristling with the tools of violence. they are there to control and intimidate protestors, and out of fear. and if you're in that march and the body armor, long guns (and eventually, robot bombs) etc are there too, and they're saying they're there to protect you, your question is going to be 'protect us from what?'
  • Can't keep calm.
  • The increasingly unstable United States
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • Timed instants.


D.A. Powell

soon, industry and agriculture converged
                        and the combustion engine
sowed the dirtclod truck farms green
                                  with onion tops and chicory

mowed the hay, fed the swine and mutton
                      through belts and chutes

cleared the blue oak and the chaparral
                                    chipping the wood for mulch

back-filled the marshes
                        replacing buckbean with dent corn

removed the unsavory foliage of quag
                                 made the land into a production
made it produce, pistoned and oiled
                              and forged against its own nature

and—with enterprise—built silos
                            stockyards, warehouses, processing plants
abattoirs, walk-in refrigerators, canneries, mills
                                                                & centers of distribution

it meant something—in spite of machinery—
                      to say the country, to say apple season
though what it meant was a kind of nose-thumbing
                                           and a kind of sweetness
                      as when one says how quaint
knowing that a refined listener understands the doubleness

and the leveling of the land, enduing it in sameness, cured malaria
as the standing water in low glades disappeared,
                                                       as the muskegs drained                              
typhoid and yellow fever decreased
                                  even milksickness abated
thanks to the rise of the feeding pen
                         cattle no longer grazing on white snakeroot

vanquished:    the germs that bedeviled the rural areas
                                                       the rural areas also
vanquished:    made monochromatic and mechanized, made suburban

the illnesses we contract are chronic illnesses:    dyspepsia, arthritis
            heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, asthma
                           chronic pain, allergies, anxiety, emphysema
                                       diabetes, cirrhosis, lyme disease, aids
            chronic fatigue syndrome, malnutrition, morbid obesity
hypertension, cancers of the various kinds:    bladder bone eye lymph
                     mouth ovary thyroid liver colon bileduct lung
                               breast throat & sundry areas of the brain

we are no better in accounting for death, and no worse:       we still die
we carry our uninhabited mortal frames back to the land
                      cover them in sod, we take the land to the brink
          of our dying:    it stands watch, dutifully, artfully
enriched with sewer sludge and urea
                                             to green against eternity of green

hocus-pocus:    here is a pig in a farrowing crate
                                     eating its own feces
human in its ability to litter inside a cage
                        to nest, to grow gravid and to throw its young

I know I should be mindful of dangerous analogy:
          the pig is only the pig
                         and we aren't merely the wide-open field
                                    flattened to a space resembling nothing

you want me to tell you the marvels of invention?    that we persevere
that the time of flourishing is at hand?    I should like to think it

meanwhile, where have I put the notebook on which I was scribbling

it began like:
                     "the smell of droppings and that narrow country road . . ."

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