Sunday, June 3, 2018

They Ask Me If I've Ever Thought About the End of the World, and I Say, "Come In, Come In, Let Me Give You Some Lunch, for God's Sake"

  • That's old, I thought of it while writing this.
  • I'm back on Murnane. Daily dose of focus.
  • Murnane writes no dialogue, all is monologue.
  • UPDATE! Hamster was given Murnane, the short fictions, for his birthday, let's see what happens next.
  • The de la Pava, it's brilliant, topical, angry, complex, sloppy and loud, full of dialogues, makes me aware (I miss Thursday Night Pints) (I don't miss Hillaryite Colleagues) I'm suspicious of dialogue, +.06% more than I suspect monologue.
  • The Murnane is about Murnane's memory of the light off a stained glass window 55 years ago (and other foundational memories), the de la Pava about the clusterfuck that is contemporary America.
  • The Murnane is exact, precise, each word weighed, the de la Pava is a fucking hot mess.
  • The de la Pava more pertinent, innit? Now, about that stained glass window.


James Tate

They ask me if I've ever thought about the end of
the world, and I say, "Come in, come in, let me
give you some lunch, for God's sake." After a few
bites it's the afterlife they want to talk about.
"Ouch," I say, "did you see that grape leaf
skeletonizer?" Then they're talking about
redemption and the chosen few sitting right by
His side. "Doing what?" I ask. "Just sitting?" I
am surrounded by burned up zombies. "Let's
have some lemon chiffon pie I bought yesterday
at the 3 Dog Bakery." But they want to talk about
my soul. I'm getting drowsy and see butterflies
everywhere. "Would you gentlemen like to take a
nap, I know I would." They stand and back away
from me, out the door, walking toward my
neighbors, a black cloud over their heads and
they see nothing without end. 


  1. 0)i've read tate's poem before - this morning i looked up

    1)if the visitors in tate's poem are jehovah's witnesses, i am reminded of the last time i had such visitors at my door - i recited the 'prayer of st. francis' to them - the theistic version, not my edited version for humanists

    2)if they are mormons - more likely - then i recall my amusement at seeing 19-year-old young men wearing name tags saying 'elder'

    1. In Brussels I made an elder and his underling hurry in another direction when they saw it was me again, not being aware, I don't think, that I saw them see me. Upon our first meeting in the streets, the underling enthused upon hearing about my new European adventure, to the silent disapproval, I think, of elder number one. I ran into them at a bus stop days later and made them have to wait for the next bus, what with my keeping them engaged in conversation non-productive. The third time was the charm I'll forever feel was one of life's worthy accomplishments.

      BTW: A nifty gallery street in Brussels, a town I found otherwise rather depressing, is the setting of one of Aickman's shorts.

  2. I was in the tiny town of Altus, Oklahoma. In the local library I did what I sometimes do. I judged a book by it's cover. It didn't hurt that the jacket cover was by Edward Gorey, though I didn't know him either from Adam at the time. Painted Devils turned out to be a revelation. It led me to The Wine-Dark Sea, another collection of his short stories, the last sentence of one of which I used as my very first screen saver on my very first computer: "So far from replying, she dissolved into the darkness and silently shut the door."

    1. In 1983, I found a hardbound copy of one of the Amphigorey books (first or second, I'm certain) on a friend's shelf with one of Gorey's drawings of a bat, all by itself on a left-facing page. It was singular enough to make me think, "That's not a bat; it's a pig, in a bat suit."

      This led to my doing a series of drawings and the (relatively unknown) re-kajiggering of the traditional, Twelve Days of Christmas, featuring a Pig done up in a Bat suit, and always ending with the line, "And a Pig in a Ba-a-at suit." This sounded much better, and kept the beat, when sung in German ("Und ein Schwein ins Fleder-maus Kostum").

      Oddly, I've never been able to find that same Gorey drawing of the Pig-Bat, no matter how many editions of Amphigorey (1972), Amphigorey Too (1975), or Amphigorey Also (1983) that I browsed in used bookstores from San Francisco to Boston. I put it down to quantum computers changing the very fabric of memory and spacetime and reality. Or, you know, maybe not.

    2. Now that is one fine tale. For every swine a costume! is one fine promise.
      Also BTW: I likewise found a German translation of the Painted Devils collection and the effect was remarkably the same as it had been in English. That is, those memories of having read exactly this or that passage resonated as, or more clearly than any other re-reading I had done.

    3. For every swine a costume: While not strictly an American tradition, it's become an art form among some, here. And, in various parts of Europe, so many have emulated us. All are now free to be 1933!

      But: by wearing their "Inner Swine" in public, it does make them easier to see.