Wednesday, July 26, 2023

He Says He Doesn't Feel Like Working Today

I am in Maine with L. Best two weeks of our year. Above, Bartlett's Landing, Mount Desert Island, half hour before sunset yesterday. Hiking starts today.

We are both symptom-free but still testing positive for covid, thanks to those who've asked, concerned. Today's hike will be gentlest we know, Petit Manon, five gentle mile out and back to adirondack chairs overlooking Dyer Bay, L paints, I read or don't read and write or don't write

No plans for this space as in I will or I won't do this or that though I've promised myself whatever I do or don't do not explain (he types while explaining that Lambchop is the official house band of Jeff's Vacations as reason for the below which always washes over me and makes me cry with joy and peace) (he types while mentioning that John Ashbery is the official house band of Jeff's head (and there will be the traditional Ashbery birthday post day after tomorrow)):


John Ashbery

He says he doesn’t feel like working today.
It’s just as well. Here in the shade
Behind the house, protected from street noises,   
One can go over all kinds of old feeling,
Throw some away, keep others.
                                             The wordplay
Between us gets very intense when there are   
Fewer feelings around to confuse things.
Another go-round? No, but the last things
You always find to say are charming, and rescue me   
Before the night does. We are afloat
On our dreams as on a barge made of ice,
Shot through with questions and fissures of starlight   
That keep us awake, thinking about the dreams
As they are happening. Some occurrence. You said it.

I said it but I can hide it. But I choose not to.   
Thank you. You are a very pleasant person.   
Thank you. You are too.


  1. 1/after starting to listen to the lambchop song posted here i looked up the lyrics

    2/i wondered about the song title and hypothesized it might refer to the new international version translation of the bible - anxiety about existential issues in the face of aging is clearly an important lyrical theme here

    2.2/that lambchop's most recent released studio album is titled 'the bible' strengthened my suspicion

    3/at naked capitalism today there is a link to an article about robert bellah, one of whose main concerns was religion and its role in society - he wrote much about the 'axial age' - "a term coined by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers. It refers to broad changes in religious and philosophical thought that occurred in a variety of locations from about the 8th to the 3rd century BC." [wikipedia]

    4/incidentally this morning, i learned that sheep meat is age-graded as lamb, hoggett - two years old, and mutton - i had not encountered this word before as a reference to meat, but as the surname of the family owning the farm where babe the sheep pig resides in the fantasy film of that name

    5/the way things are is a repeated phrase in that film, and at one point farmer hoggett - portrayed by james cromwell - sings to the little pig a verse written by jonathan hodge, set to a tune composed by camille saint-saëns