Monday, April 22, 2019

Rustling in the Azaleas

Last photo from this trip to Chicago (because there will be more trips to Chicago, and soon) from the end of the Navy Pier, I had three hours to walk Chicago Sunday morning by myself, lordy.

Iggy born 72 years ago yesterday, April 21, Robert Smith born 60 years ago yesterday, I didn't forget, I sat in the Breakfast Lounge of the Comfort Inn in Chelsea Michigan yesterday morning - I am typing this sentence Sunday morning, April 21, in the Breakfast Lounge of the Comfort Inn in Chelsea Michigan, the TV tuned to CNN reporting on the Sri Lankan attack while hyping Monday night's Democratic debate - and quickly decided I wanted (want, not wanted, since I am typing this sentence Sunday morning) to leave the Chicago post at top.

Because the world continued while I was ignoring it:
First photo from home last night, I got out of my car and called for Napoleon, he came running and screaming from the backyard, and while we were away our azaleas go kaboom:


Mary Karr
Stare hard enough at the fabric of night,   
and if you're predisposed to dark—let’s say   
the window you’ve picked is a black
postage stamp you spend hours at,
sleepless, drinking gin after the I Love   
Lucy reruns have gone off—stare
like your eyes have force, and behind
any night’s taut scrim will come the forms   
you expect pressing from the other side.   
For you: a field of skulls, angled jaws
and eye-sockets, a zillion scooped-out crania.   
They’re plain once you think to look.
You know such fields exist, for criminals
roam your very block, and even history lists   
monsters like Adolf and Uncle Joe
who stalk the earth’s orb, plus minor baby-eaters   
unidentified, probably in your very midst. Perhaps   
that disgruntled mail clerk from your job
has already scratched your name on a bullet—that’s him   
rustling in the azaleas. You caress the thought,
for it proves there’s no better spot for you
than here, your square-yard of chintz sofa, hearing   
the bad news piped steady from your head. The night   
is black. You stare and furious stare,
confident there are no gods out there. In this way,   
you’re blind to your own eye’s intricate machine   
and to the light it sees by, to the luck of birth and all   
your remembered loves. If the skulls are there—
let’s say they do press toward you
against night’s scrim—could they not stare
with slack jawed envy at the fine flesh
that covers your scalp, the numbered hairs,   
at the force your hands hold?


  1. City walking is second only to country walking. I too had several hours to explore on my recent (very first) trip to SanFran. Walked and walked, took tram, had lunch, walked some more, snapped some snaps, walked, had a beer, and walked some more ad lib. Glorious!

  2. 1. that's a nice photo of the lake

    2. that's a good-looking cat

    3. the wikipedia article about poetess mary karr says 'A third memoir, Lit: A Memoir, which she says details "my journey from blackbelt sinner and lifelong agnostic to unlikely Catholic," came out in November 2009. The memoir describes her time as an alcoholic and the salvation she found in her conversion to Catholicism. She describes herself as a cafeteria Catholic.'

    4. the wikipedia article on cafeteria catholicism says 'Some notable Catholics have either been explicitly associated or identified with the term. Politician James Carville, a Democrat, has been described as "the ultimate cafeteria Catholic". Carville said, "Everybody in some way or another takes what they want. The real thing is how we treat each other." Author Mary Karr, a convert from agnosticism, was also reported to have been a dissenter of some Catholic teaching. Having been a feminist since she was 12, Karr is pro-choice on abortion and she supports the ordination of women to the priesthood. British actress Patsy Kensit said in an interview with The Guardian that she is an à la carte Catholic, though appreciative of "all the pomp and ceremony" of the church.'

    5. spouse and self participate in the choir of a local catholic church, and more than one of our fellow choir members have indicated they don't agree with ALL the official positions, although no one has used the term 'cafeteria catholic' to describe themselves

    6. i am not a fan of james carville but sometimes he says something sensible

    7. speaking of the 'pomp and ceremony' of the church, at the easter vigil mass we got as ceremonious and pompous as we ever do at our local parish - i enjoy the singing in latin, but this year in particular the incense really annoyed my throat

    8. in reading about related concepts, i discovered the term nicodemite, usually used pejoratively - despite the fact that the biblical character is a good guy

    9. 2f)i also encountered Moralistic therapeutic deism (MTD) - 'a term that was first introduced in the book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005) by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton:

    God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
    The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
    God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
    Good people go to heaven when they die.