Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Moonless Nights Spent on a Raft

    Pink moon last night, spectacular sky, I've deleted four bullets written before last night's walk with Earthgirl on the lessons surveillance capitalism learning from mass teleworking and the gigazillions of bytes being harvested and analyzed (I wish I had claimed a work laptop as offered, for instance), last night was April 7, Spring here in Maryland already at April 25, my azaleas two days from exploding


    John Ashbery

    On the secret map the assassins   
    Cloistered, the Moon River was marked   
    Near the eighteen peaks and the city
    Of humiliation and defeat—wan ending   
    Of the trail among dry, papery leaves   
    Gray-brown quills like thoughts
    In the melodious but vast mass of today’s   
    Writing through fields and swamps
    Marked, on the map, with little bunches of weeds.   
    Certainly squirrels lived in the woods   
    But devastation and dull sleep still   
    Hung over the land, quelled
    The rioters turned out of sleep in the peace of prisons   
    Singing on marble factory walls   
    Deaf consolation of minor tunes that pack   
    The air with heavy invisible rods   
    Pent in some sand valley from
    Which only quiet walking ever instructs.   
    The bird flew over and
    Sat—there was nothing else to do.
    Do not mistake its silence for pride or strength
    Or the waterfall for a harbor
    Full of light boats that is there
    Performing for thousands of people   
    In clothes some with places to go   
    Or games. Sometimes over the pillar   
    Of square stones its impact
    Makes a light print.
    So going around cities
    To get to other places you found   
    It all on paper but the land
    Was made of paper processed   
    To look like ferns, mud or other   
    Whose sea unrolled its magic   
    Distances and then rolled them up   
    Its secret was only a pocket
    After all but some corners are darker
    Than these moonless nights spent as on a raft
    In the seclusion of a melody heard   
    As though through trees
    And you can never ignite their touch   
    Long but there were homes
    Flung far out near the asperities   
    Of a sharp, rocky pinnacle
    And other collective places
    Shadows of vineyards whose wine   
    Tasted of the forest floor
    Fisheries and oyster beds
    Tides under the pole
    Seminaries of instruction, public   
    Places for electric light
    And the major tax assessment area   
    Wrinkled on the plan
    Of election to public office
    Sixty-two years old bath and breakfast   
    The formal traffic, shadows
    To make it not worth joining
    After the ox had pulled away the cart.

    Your plan was to separate the enemy into two groups   
    With the razor-edged mountains between.
    It worked well on paper
    But their camp had grown
    To be the mountains and the map   
    Carefully peeled away and not torn   
    Was the light, a tender but tough bark
    On everything. Fortunately the war was solved   
    In another way by isolating the two sections   
    Of the enemy’s navy so that the mainland   
    Warded away the big floating ships.   
    Light bounced off the ends   
    Of the small gray waves to tell   
    Them in the observatory   
    About the great drama that was being won
    To turn off the machinery
    And quietly move among the rustic landscape   
    Scooping snow off the mountains rinsing
    The coarser ones that love had   
    Slowly risen in the night to overflow   
    Wetting pillow and petal   
    Determined to place the letter
    On the unassassinated president’s desk
    So that a stamp could reproduce all this
    In detail, down to the last autumn leaf
    And the affliction of June ride
    Slowly out into the sun-blackened landscape.


    1. The world is ending! Or, the sky is falling! Take your pick, flip a coin, make a prediction. Here's a thought - the world is always changing. The engine driving change is called entropy. Leave it to Beaver doesn't live here any longer. I have no idea of what life will be like AP (after the pandemic) or even if I'll be alive to see it. After all, every time I get on the internet (which I'm doing less and less of) it's hammered into me from all quarters that I'll likely be dead in a few weeks. And it's not exactly like life here in the United States of Anarchy was ever a wondrous and marvelous thing. Many predictions would make you believe that life AP will be so terrible that the lucky people are the ones who died of the virus. I have no idea at all what life AP will be like. And I don't think anyone else knows for sure either.It may very well be true that the worst of the worst will happen. Widespread starvation, draconian measures by the government, exploding crime rates, riots, and so forth.

      Failures and blame are prominent topics. Blame Trump, or you might blame Obama for his two faced lying bullshit and not giving us Medicare for all and for helping creating the conditions for a Trump presidency. The real culprit is capitalism and its ferocious appetite for destruction of the biosphere, and it's the same capitalism that has failed abysmally under the onslaught of the pandemic. It's an glaring fact that other much poorer nations - some laboring under US sanctions - have done a much better job of containing the virus than we have here in the United States of Anarchy.

    2. Picard is worth a couple of bucks to see Sir Patrick's last ride, and for the nostalgia. The writing is WAY better than that for the other current series, which makes my brain hurt, a lot.

    3. 1)that's a good looking photo of the sky

      2)i read the letter from wisconsin - i don't recall spending any time in wisconsin but i took an airplane from the dc area to duluth minnesota for a visit christmas before last so chances are i have been in their airspace - the state sounds nice from the description - and i enjoyed the co-authored song about the state

      2a)i just read the cnn story headlined "Supreme Court decision to allow Wisconsin vote during pandemic 'boggles the mind,' Ginsburg says" - notorious rbg wrote 'While I do not doubt the good faith of my colleagues'

      i wonder what she meant by that - maybe she and i have different definitions for 'doubt' or 'good faith' - were i to have written such a phrase it would have been a lie

      2b)growing up as an army brat i didn't really have a home state, let alone a home town - i now live in montgomery county, maryland and am pretty content with the county, and our state's governor, although a republican, is a reasonable man handling the current crisis in a way that makes sense

      if i am granted canadian citizenship by descent - the application is in, and i will get the ruling in about a month unless an unforeseen delay occurs - which seems likely, actually - i have a hope of moving to my ancestral province - nova scotia - after my spouse retires - i have watched the provincial level corona virus briefings twice this week and have formed a good impression of the province's premier and chief medical officer -

      a couple of semi-surprising things i learned this morning about the premier, stephen mcneil -

      he is a businessman without a bachelor's degree - as a young man he repaired refrigerators for a living

      he is six feet seven inches tall

      or not 2b)the deferred consumption intended to finance spouse and self's taking off to the great white north was to a substantial extent in the form of equities, and so the value in dollars is rather less now than it was a few months ago - there comes a point at which a dream deferred becomes a dream denied

      we'll know more later

      3)bernie supporter benjamin studebaker seems like a bright young man - i intend to read his reflections again and reflect on them myself

      4)you never know when something surprising might happen