Sunday, December 17, 2017

What Does the Rodent Say to the Glass Shard?

That is a New England lead cat door-stop circa 1850 given to us last night by my future son-in-law's mother when we had her to dinner. The door-stop's a foot tall and at least twenty pounds. Now guarding our fireplace. Our reputation as crazy cat people Kindly rewarded.

I didn't forget yesterday was this guy's 247th, I just waited until today to:


John Ashbery

Then I reached the field and I thought 
this is not a joke not a book 
but a poem about something—but what? 
Poems are such odd little jiggers. 
This one scratches himself, gets up, then goes off to pee 
in a corner of the room. Later looking quite 
stylish in white jodhpurs against the winter 
snow, and in his reluctance to talk to the utterly 
discursive: “I will belove less than feared ...”
He trotted up, he trotted down, he trotted all around the town. 
Were his relatives jealous of him? 
Still the tock-tock machinery lies half-embedded in sand. 
Someone comes to the window, the wave is a gesture proving nothing, 
and nothing has receded. One gets caught 
in servants like these and must lose the green leaves, 
one by one, as an orchard is pilfered, and then, with luck, 
nuggets do shine, the baited trap slides open. 
We are here with our welfare intact.
Oh but another time, on the resistant edge of night 
one thinks of the pranks things are. 
What led the road that sped underfoot 
to oases of disaster, or at least the unknown? 
We are born, buried for a while, then spring up just as 
everything is closing. Our desires are extremely simple: 
a glass of purple milk, for example, or a dream 
of being in a restaurant. Waiters encourage us, and squirrels. 
There’s no telling how much of us will get used.
My friend devises the cabbage horoscope 
that points daily to sufficiency. He and all those others go home. 
The walls of this room are like Mykonos, and sure enough, 
green plumes toss in the breeze outside 
that underscores the stillness of this place 
we never quite have, or want. Yet it’s wonderful, this 
being; to point to a tree and say don’t I know you from somewhere? 
Sure, now I remember, it was in some landscape somewhere, 
and we can all take off our hats.
At night when it’s too cold 
what does the rodent say to the glass shard? 
What are any of us doing up? Oh but there’s 
a party, but it too was a dream. A group of boys 
was singing my poetry, the music was an anonymous 
fifteenth-century Burgundian anthem, it went something like this:
“This is not what you should hear, 
but we are awake, and days 
with donkey ears and packs negotiate 
the narrow canyon trail that is 
as white and silent as a dream, 
that is, something you dreamed. 
And resources slip away, or are pinned 
under a ladder too heavy to lift. 
Which is why you are here, but the mnemonics 
of the ride are stirring.”
That, at least, is my hope.


  1. Agree on Beethoven's music. I can stand some of the chamber music as well as the piano sonatas.

    1. It's true of Shostakovich and Messiaen and Brahms and everyone else too for me - I just want piano, or at most cello & piano sonatas.

  2. 1)that's a handsome cat doorstop

    2) the sudden drop in the number of people I follow, though I've not unfollowed them myself, is weird. How the fuck does that happen?

    How do I remove all my followers from Twitter without blocking them?

    Nila Kalaialakan, Helping Struggling Readers at Nursery School (2015-present)
    Answered Dec 18 2016

    We recently had this question from a customer using Twitter and we were surprised to find that it’s not as straightforward as it may seem and the answer (as of the time of this post) is really a hack. So we thought we’d post it up here to help out other Twitter users who wish to remove followers without blocking them.

    The best way to do this is to log into your Twitter account and go to your Followers.
    ~Find the person you want to remove.
    ~Now open their full profile in a new browser tab, you’ll need to access it in a minute.
    ~Back in your original tab with your follower list click the on the user drop down button and select Block @username.
    ~Now they’re gone as a follower, but wait -- you may not want them to know you’ve blocked them.
    ~Remember the other tab we opened with their profile in it? Refresh it.
    ~Now click on Unblock and the user will no longer be blocked by you.
    ~Go back to your followers and refresh, you’ll see they’re still not there.
    Congratulations, you’ve successfully deleted a follower without blocking them. It’s a hack and a workaround which hopefully will be rectified by Twitter soon.


    2a)on a personal note, i was told today that someone had followed me on twitter - apparently they like my recounting of an old joke from epidemiology class, adult age groups - the four categories

    i)young adult
    ii)still young
    iii)not so young
    iv)you look wonderful

    3a)i still enjoy ensemble and orchestral classical music - in fact, within the last week i enjoyed listening to part of a harp concerto on the car radio (composer: alwyn)

    3b)and on the other hand also within the last few days i discovered on youtube a one man band - overdubbed - cover of the cream song 'what a bringdown' - the lyrics, which i'd wondered about before, appear - they are abstruse references and private jokes, punctuated by occasional very practical questions -

    i liked it - both the original song, and this rendition - a great deal - tastes differ, of course - one commenter finds this version 'too slow'