Saturday, October 19, 2019

Out Here on Cottage Grove It Matters

The television in the breakfast lounge of the Comfort Inn in Chelsea Michigan this morning tuned to ABC's Good Morning America but no one is watching at 6:50 as a testy exchange between the breakfast lounge staffer and a motherfucking ice soccer dad over the lights erupts. Breakfast doesn't officially start until seven; I got here at 630 and asked the staffer if I could drink coffee and type in the dark until seven (permission grudgingly given), but motherfucking ice soccer dads and their incredibly assholish motherfucking ice soccer fucking sons turning on lights and, worse, toasting bagels and pouring cereal and, o my fucking god, pouring batter into the waffle maker before BEFORE SEVEN O'CLOCK! has the staffer furious. Best morning coffee in a Chelsea Michigan's Comfort Inn breakfast lounge ever.

  • We hiked the Waterloo Recreation Area yesterday, wonderful
  • A new friend asked, Michigan? My daughter lives near Chelsea, the closest town with a decent hotel, I realize I write as if (a) you know what I mean and (b) get what's up if you don't and (c) give a damn
  • View from the backporch of a house in Hell Michigan

  • True, Hell
  • We had dinner last night at Veg-O-Rama in Ypsi, when you go get the fried cole slaw burger with masala fries with a side of tofu chicken wings, yum
  • Eventually we'll have grandchildren in Michigan, we're doing due reconnaissance, we'll live the warm half the year there, the cold half where we are now
  • We looked at five houses, saw the inside of four, all old and moldy and no (the one inside we didn't see is the house with the above view from the back porch, I assume it stunk (though the outside was gorgeous))
  • Here is the view from the front yard of the stinkiest, oldest, ickiest

  • We'd consider knocking the house down and putting up a small modular but this one in a private lake community and my son-in-law's parents both warned us again private lake communities (and the real estate agent concurred)
  • As I type this the clusterfuck continues apace, twitter equally a-giggle with Hillary Clinton's almost announcement she will be the Democratic 2020 nominee and videos on repeat of Trump is his piss-diaper 
  • The new Krasznahorkai, I blame me, I'm back on the marcel, every novel I start sends me running back to Marcel 
  • Yes, I've post the below Ashbery before, often
  • Psst - I don't want to live in Michigan


John Ashbery

Out here on Cottage Grove it matters. The galloping
Wind balks at its shadow. The carriages
Are drawn forward under a sky of fumed oak.
This is America calling:
The mirroring of state to state,   
Of voice to voice on the wires,
The force of colloquial greetings like golden
Pollen sinking on the afternoon breeze.
In service stairs the sweet corruption thrives;
The page of dusk turns like a creaking revolving stage in Warren, Ohio.

If this is the way it is let’s leave,
They agree, and soon the slow boxcar journey begins,   
Gradually accelerating until the gyrating fans of suburbs   
Enfolding the darkness of cities are remembered   
Only as a recurring tic. And midway
We meet the disappointed, returning ones, without its   
Being able to stop us in the headlong night
Toward the nothing of the coast. At Bolinas
The houses doze and seem to wonder why through the   
Pacific haze, and the dreams alternately glow and grow dull.   
Why be hanging on here? Like kites, circling,   
Slipping on a ramp of air, but always circling?

But the variable cloudiness is pouring it on,
Flooding back to you like the meaning of a joke.
The land wasn’t immediately appealing; we built it
Partly over with fake ruins, in the image of ourselves:
An arch that terminates in mid-keystone, a crumbling stone pier   
For laundresses, an open-air theater, never completed
And only partially designed. How are we to inhabit
This space from which the fourth wall is invariably missing,   
As in a stage-set or dollhouse, except by staying as we are,   
In lost profile, facing the stars, with dozens of as yet
Unrealized projects, and a strict sense
Of time running out, of evening presenting   
The tactfully folded-over bill? And we fit   
Rather too easily into it, become transparent,   
Almost ghosts. One day
The birds and animals in the pasture have absorbed   
The color, the density of the surroundings,   
The leaves are alive, and too heavy with life.

A long period of adjustment followed.
In the cities at the turn of the century they knew about it   
But were careful not to let on as the iceman and the milkman   
Disappeared down the block and the postman shouted   
His daily rounds. The children under the trees knew it   
But all the fathers returning home
On streetcars after a satisfying day at the office undid it:   
The climate was still floral and all the wallpaper   
In a million homes all over the land conspired to hide it.   
One day we thought of painted furniture, of how   
It just slightly changes everything in the room
And in the yard outside, and how, if we were going
To be able to write the history of our time, starting with today,   
It would be necessary to model all these unimportant details   
So as to be able to include them; otherwise the narrative   
Would have that flat, sandpapered look the sky gets   
Out in the middle west toward the end of summer,   
The look of wanting to back out before the argument   
Has been resolved, and at the same time to save appearances
So that tomorrow will be pure. Therefore, since we have to do our business   
In spite of things, why not make it in spite of everything?   
That way, maybe the feeble lakes and swamps
Of the back country will get plugged into the circuit   
And not just the major events but the whole incredible
Mass of everything happening simultaneously and pairing off,
Channeling itself into history, will unroll
As carefully and as casually as a conversation in the next room,   
And the purity of today will invest us like a breeze,
Only be hard, spare, ironical: something one can
Tip one’s hat to and still get some use out of.

The parade is turning into our street.
My stars, the burnished uniforms and prismatic   
Features of this instant belong here. The land
Is pulling away from the magic, glittering coastal towns
To an aforementioned rendezvous with August and December.   
The hunch is it will always be this way,   
The look, the way things first scared you   
In the night light, and later turned out to be,   
Yet still capable, all the same, of a narrow fidelity   
To what you and they wanted to become:   
No sighs like Russian music, only a vast unravelling   
Out toward the junctions and to the darkness beyond   
To these bare fields, built at today’s expense.

1 comment:

  1. 1)speaking of tv at breakfast time, we had a somewhat less entertaining time than you did today, but it was not completely without incident, in a mild sort of way

    it was after nine thirty am, and we were watching abc - they had an animal show on, with an unseen female narrator, whose voice reminded me of the hostess of another saturday am show on the same channel, whose last name is something dutch, but which i couldn't think of right away

    2)with my google experience, i soon found her full name - rachel reenstra

    Rachel Reenstra is an American comedian, actress, and celebrity wildlife conservationist from ... Michigan.

    Reenstra is a graduate of Hope College, and holds a master's degree in spiritual psychology.

    her high school and college education were in Holland, MI - not quite as notable a name as the town you mentioned, but still evocative

    2a)neither ms reenstra's wikipedia entry, or her own home page, gives any information about her private life

    2b)i know much more about tulsi gabbard's private life, for example, than i do about rachel's - which may be appropriate, i guess, as tulsi is offering herself as a candidate for president

    i like both of them, from what i've seen on tv -

    2c)and speaking of tv, cnn's smerconish's web poll this am was along the lines of 'is it ok for hillary to call tulsi and jill stein russian agents' - 58% said no it wasn't, 42% said yes it was

    2d)tom steyer had an ad on cnn while we were watching there - i think he'd be a better president than trump, and if he is the nominee i will vote for him

    2e)meanwhile, an old friend has just sent me a lot of stuff from judicial watch on russiagate/spygate from the trumpista perspective

    2f)truly we live in a world of radical contigency