Sunday, June 6, 2021

I Cling Like a Cicada to the Latticework of Memory

Two days ago a twitter account which may or not be Evan Dara, an Evan Dara proxy, or, once was speculated, Thomas Pynchon, tweeted out news of an out of the blue new Evan Dara novel published and available via evil empire, there's a reason every post but two a year tagged My Complicity, now in my hand

I bought it reflexively, I didn't stop to think that I like but don't love the previous Dara's or stop to think don't buy from Bezos, within the past year I've done it with the new Ishiguro (was OK but largely forgotten now) and the new Vollmann (sucked, sucked) and the new Krasznahorkai (yay!). 

And I posted above photo reflexively (and leave up after acknowledging I took the photo to post reflexively) because once upon a time in my imagined Stringtown a new Dara novel would be a major event, but no, it's not and never was. Dara must know and plays obscurity as purposeful rather than inevitable, something I'm constitutionally incapable of convincingly pretending to justify my deserved obscurity

Meanwhile, cicada songs (they did start slow, are in full voice now), Upper Rock Creek Trail, as we crossed Muncaster Mill Road cars stopped at the crosswalk to let us pass but a big red GMC pick-up with - you'd never guess - a white guy driving, blew past the stopped cars and nearly killed Earthgirl, motherfucking white men gonna kill us all (thinks this motherfucking white man)

What, exactly, is the system we're fighting?
UFOs are for fertilizing military budgets
Lost and foundGood daily duhJune 31st! dammitThis fuckThis fuckNormalizing random searches
How to stop overthinkingI'm not joking
Capitalism and the ecology of disease
Maggie's weekly linksUntold runesNon-object artDark anthropocentrism
Intelligent ForestWoman in the woods
Where I live's geological events
{ feuilleton }'s weekly linksA pioneer of decolonial poetry I haven't heard of which reminds me of my issues with works in translationTimelessness - on Muriel Rukeyser


Henri Cole

Born, I was born.
                               Tears represent how much my mother loves me,
shivering and steaming like a horse in rain.
                                                         My heart as innocent as Buddha's,
my name a Parisian bandleader's,
                                                            I am trying to stand.
Father is holding me and blowing in my ear,
                                                                  like a glassblower on a flame.
Stars on his blue serge uniform flaunt a feeling
                                                             of formal precision and stoicism.
Growing, I am growing now,
                                       as straight as red pines in the low mountains.
Please don't leave, Grandmother Pearl.
                                                                      I become distressed
watching the president's caisson.
                                                 We, we together move to the big house.
Shining, the sun is shining on my time line.
                                                                           Tears, copper-hot tears,
spatter the house 
                                when Father is drunk, irate, and boisterous.
The essence of self emerges
                                                  shuttling between parents.
Noel, the wet nimbus of Noel's tongue
                                                                       draws me out of the pit.
I drop acid with Rita.
                                         Chez Woo eros is released.
I eat sugar like a canary from a grown man's tongue.
                                                                                  The draft card torn up;
the war lost.
                        I cling like a cicada to the latticework of memory.
Mother: "I have memories, too.
                                                           Don't let me forget them."
Father: "I'm glad the journey is set.
                                                                  I'm glad I'm going."
Crows, the voices of crows
                                             leaving their nests at dawn, circle around,
as I sit in a gold kimono,
                                             feeling the subterranean magma flows,
the sultry air, the hand holding a pen,
                                                                      bending to write,
Thank you,
                      Mother and Father, for creating me.


  1. 1/that's a good looking video of woodland trail with cicada soundtrack

    1.5/i saw cicadas for the first time on my sidewalk today - those orange dots are a colourful touch

    2/speaking of woods, i was much impressed with "woman in the woods", the autobiographical essay by sandra steingraber in orion that you linked to

    2.2/one commenter there - the only one of half a dozen with an unambiguously male first name - wrote that the piece leaves one with the sad fact that progressive thought has no chance against the passion of human ignorance - i disagreed, and perhaps my disagreement will be posted although it has not been so far - saying that "no chance" should be changed to "an uphill climb"

    2.4/i did not point out that steingraber's piece has the subtitle a study of resilience in does and other female creatures - another implicit rebuttal of the fellow's pessimism

    2.7/i was reminded of the following which i posted at my apparently inactive eponymous blog a decade ago:

    Elise Boulding wrote, in 1995, "Fred Polak was one of the first thinkers to call attention to the atrophy of our capacity to visualize a wholly different future. His Image for the Future (1953) was written for a Europe paralyzed by the experience of World War II. According to Polak, the human capacity to create mental images of the 'totally other' - that which has never been experienced or recorded - is the key dynamic of history. At every level of awareness, from the individual to the macrosocietal, imagery is continuously generated about the not-yet. Such imagery inspires our intentions, which then move us purposefully forward. Through daily choices of action, individuals, families, enterprises, communities, and nations move toward that which they imagine to be a desirable tomorrow.

    "Polak points out, however, that historically alternating waves of optimism and pessimism about reality roll through time, as do alternative views about the end of the world. Sometimes humans are seen as partners with God or Nature, other times as helpless objects of supernatural action. In Polak's reading of history, optimism about reality combined with a utopian sense of human empowerment set in motion a powerful dynamic. Utopian optimism has characterized the Western worldview of recent centuries - but not of the last few decades. In eras when pessimism combines with a sense of cosmic helplessness, the quality of human intentionality declines and, with it, the quality of imagery of the not-yet. Societies in that condition live bounded by the present, with no social dynamic for change available to them. This is our situation in the post-World War II Western world.

    "My own lifetime of 75 years, and my reading of history, has shown me over and over again that no matter how bad things are, the human race has been there before - been there, and found a way past destruction. It is finding the way past destruction that makes imaging so important."

    For a limited time only, through a combination of circumstances that may not be repeated, you can download without charge Elise Boulding's translation and abridgement of Polak's book, albeit with frequent minor misspellings due to the OCR process

  2. I'm so curious what made Dara at one point a major event for you despite never really being blown away by his novels?

    1. Was like a new album by a band everyone thought major, plus there was the suggestion it WAS new Pynchon. It was a small stringtown of people, and nostalgia requires me to insist new novel releases by hot authors one did seem a big event, but since everyone else was reading him like a signaficant important author I treated it like a major event too

    2. Ah, okay that makes sense. I'm still in the big event context with Dara but I can relate to that with almost all music releases that I used to feel happily smacked by.