Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outline of 26 Chapters: IX

IX. The State of Nature and Society
Plato's Athenian Stranger could not pluck children from their parents,
start a colony of adolescents and toddlers.
One never can.
Succession is the problem of political philosophy.

So he gave them private property:
he let them sacralize their fear and their desire.
One must defer to the shape the matter can take.

War starts with society, not nature,
because society makes clear our inequality,
whether it was natural or not.

What does it matter what you are, whether you are stronger or smarter, if you do not think you are or if you do not think it matters, or if you cannot bring your superiority to effect? What makes war is not the feeling of weakness or the feeling of strength, but the feeling that our strength is unjustly weakened, unrecognized, suppressed, supplanted, castigated, dishonored, turned to someone else's benefit.

The Americans were free and secure; they risked everything to fight the British. They won, and their cause was just. A million Haitians were held in brutal captivity, and their revolution is justly decried. Even in these times we often overlook slave revolts when placing History's retroactive Medal of Honor on confused and particular events.

Montesquieu spoke to society's spirit oppressed by the moral power of the Church, yearning for this world and all its goods. The Church was like Fortune, the man of spirit the ship on the waves, and the winds, 'alone and afraid in a world we never made'--
the life of man, timid and atrocious, diffident and vainglorious.

We can make a new temple, a new supermarket, a strip mall, new songs, new chains, the opinion of security.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Outline of 26 Chapters: I-VIII

I. On the Noble
That the noble is no longer an externality (not understood to be), but a passion-- a feeling or opinion-- a confusion of the order of things, fundamentally? Masked knights avenging the honor of the divinity (Mary not divine). Weak spirits. Alternative: the feeling of one's strength, the feeling of security.

II. On the Author of This Text
A Northman corrupted. Afraid of being thumo-eidetic, of Christian dorkiness and love of order, wants to feel deeply and so does.

III. On the Composition of This Text
No intentional heresies. A spirit of frustration. Philosophic liberty: the opinion that one exercises his will. It's all deterministic? Doesn't that make one 'not sweat' just as much as providence, just as much as chance?

These 26 chapters were composed in a spirit of wastedness, not having firm resolve that it was the best or most necessary course of action, a feeling their author never had. They are only an outline, not to say a plan.

IV. On the Sacred
The Assyrians called their gods by the place where a statue or idol of that god was located. Ishtar of Babylon, Ishtar of Arbela, Ishtar of Ninevah. The Babylonian man carried a god with him at all times, on his cylinder seal. Besides its patron, it carried some symbols for other deities. This is admirable. Their temples contained their gods; they bore marks of respect for other gods.

Just so should we moderns bear our god with our property; just so should we feign respect and deference, though not honor, for idols. They cannot hurt us: there is no need to smash them. Ours is a spiritual religion: we worship the Holy Spirit that is in us and in our church. Perhaps it is even in those idols? At any rate we should not act as if, transformed into spiritual beings, we might be corrupted by statues and images. Have we not come out of the desert? Is it still a question of what is buried at Schechem?

V. On Property
It is less natural to compel a man to shave his face or change his expression than it is to compel him to change his belief or give voice to his support for the policy enacted. Nevertheless, he is able to do the former without shame, or at least without inner terror. Politics speaks to the deepest soul by its inclination, it wounds a weeping heart, seeps into the marrow; all fibers perspire with blood.

The constitution of America is in our hips, Kendall said. Very well, let us keep it there. But do not compel us to dance, as Plato did. When you praise community and ancient civic virtue and man's natural sociality, do you not realize that you insult our grandeur? We are all kings: we act all over the universe. We do not need to go into secluded rooms in order to give vent to our vice, but buy and sell it in the marketplace, in an invisible marketplace. Are you really prepared to admit that your life and happiness belong to Germany or Cyrus or Québec?

Our small souls, thinly spread out, will not destroy sacred temples. We do not have the power to hurt them, nor they us.

VI. On Our Ancient Mores
Let us be sure to distinguish ourselves from the Romans. We have our own maxims of government; we have our own ancient mores. We are moved much more by religion and by examples of past things. We are the savage who was found in the forests of Hanover and lived in England: we feel our own weakness and we feel our strength.

VII. The Idea of Perfection
No more best regime, no more kingdom of heaven. We no longer can go back to the woods, whether to live in accord with 'true needs' or to seek out a different king. We cannot pick up our houses but we can move at will. If we were perfect, then the world would end.

Everything makes sense when you're Catholic. That level of precision is unbecoming of a free man, that detail, that priestly, clerical devotion to curlicues and caveats. The thumos of the nerd has no call to such divine names. At least monks were quiet; at least they do not conceive or generate.

VIII. On the Body
Montesquieu only restated what Machiavelli had said more eloquently, impetuously throwing in remarks about peoples who are irrelevant, revolting, or worthless: he clumsily conflates republics with monarchies and spends a whole chapter describing how the Tartars controlled China by mixing Tartars and Chinese in their troops and in their tribunals. Everything is constraint and flattery for this noble man; everything is the body. Who else would... why else ascribe such value to despotism, or criticize the motive of fear? Spiritual creatures do not run away from bodily harm as if it is the worst thing a man can suffer. They are harmed; they inflict harm; they are punished; they punish.

This great philosopher, who laughs at pious and devoted people who wept with joy when they learned they could call Mary "mother," prides himself on having taken the mother's place. He would be a fleshy Zeus, and have us consecrate his anonymous and asexual mountain goddess-child, call her Love, make this unnaturally fashioned statue holy and surround her with lush lands and swift streams and birds she'll rule, to be visited by travelers from around the world, and pierce their vanity.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chapter 148: On the Theme and the Author

Bendy byrds backed spectacularly and chirping,
extirpating gracefully:
all glared when gloating,
all shared a sense that the even tenor had been disturbed,
and that he sensed something peculiar and exciting
which, for them, could never be,
and though he couldn't say,
they believed him, and so some loved,
but usually there was contempt.

What rough-jeaned jackal jokes senselessly
and ogles polished surfaces which must
shape warm, fluffy balls,
only a twist of fringe here and there
to distinguish them?

Someone said he is "blogging about sex
and relationships." I
certainly am doing not that,
for while finer forms elude me,
I have my byrds to boil down
and they're bare to beauty.

Chapter 147: Let no one ungeometrical enter

boxes put on triangles-
those rigid lines reverberate
crisp and logical; therefore
clear the area of confusion;
therefore truth can't be a woman,
can't curves undulate liltingly
to leave slippery impressions
of some stop stepped over.

therefore i'll build a castle
to contain those wooden horses,
my cassandra, calling the names
of wandering rivers and heroes
in chilling particularity
to cut abstract truths that cut.

Chapter 146: On Marvels

I hear that in Rome the women carry monkeys around like babies. They feast their eyes on unseemly things, on inhuman things, they become like beasts of the field.

I am a centaur in a field of unicorns, perpetually contracting my haunches, glaring at pearly manes, drunkenly spilling their drinks and damaging their dainty drawers. You would not believe it if I told you how much I have drowned in that summer wine for many years before the resurrection of Christ, which has not happened, which will have happened, and which has always happened.

In Peru they fatten their children in order to eat them, or they once did, or they will again.

The Vikings reached America but they thought it was Hell. The Spanish reached America and they thought it was Heaven.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chapter 145: On the strength of prejudice


"One can never leave the Romans; thus it is that even today in their capital one leaves the new palaces to go in search of the ruins; thus it is that the eye that has rested on flower-strewn meadows likes to look at rocks and mountains." They thought the Alps were ugly, with that mud and snow and frigid water and whirling wind where Hannibal took his elephants to die. Now Rousseau finds a manufacturing plant where he hoped to commune with nature. Soon we will find the opposite; we will long for the productive smoke of the industrial but find only rusting rods with weeds and flowers growing out of them. Hideous nature, which provides almost worthless materials-- man and God do the work, and rivers run into the sea, and oceans always meet the shore. Do you not think that this, too, will be forgotten?

Chapter 144: That advanced civilization precedes known history

It is likely that only a moment ago planes and trains coursed the earth bearing strange symbols now long forgotten, effaced and supplanted. I am like the traveler who set foot in Egypt, glanced at the Pyramids, and headed back home. We are an island people, we are a garden people, we are a desert people, we are a mountain people, waiting for the dove to return with an olive branch. Ashed and iced over, we build dams and dykes and did not wait for providence any more; it does do much to sweat about these things, though in five or six thousand years no one will remember how drunk you got, what games you played, how she smiled and how you felt. Those things are for mankind forever.

A hundred generations of Bedouin could not hack them to pieces, could not put the stones to better use, certainly could not figure out their purpose, and we still cannot. Is it possible that we are only returning there, that we will leave ourselves behind like they did, without ever even becoming gods? We were trying to make our computers smaller but we should make them as big as the stars.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chapter 143: On poetry

Poetry is a way for us to tell the truth vaguely, not to tell the deepest truth. The deepest truth cannot be told, cannot be said, cannot be imaged, and those who imagine to have read deep into metaphor were meeting only their mind, reading their own book and their own love. What new temples? If you will not live with knife in hand then lie down with the sheep and do not protest when you are slaughtered. I could imagine

Our common endeavor is a ship-
but who is steering it?
And fortune is the wind
which catches the sails
which are curled up at the edges
and thick and discolored
like venerable paper.
And what are the waves?
Perhaps they are fortune,
and the wind, providence,
or is nature's beneficence
in the churning deep?

but these leave out the truest thing; most sure to hand is not a spyglass or a quill. He who carries the knife is most immediate, but isn't the knife itself a metaphor for everything? One writes with it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chapter 142: On the city of man

It tears it to pieces but they float when they know they're unmoored. Natural law is the floor, and natural right the stars. We can build the stairs to take us there. Where I lay down in green pastures, where you know and I know you know and so I follow, that's the best. We did not sit down and weep, at least for very long. Isn't this what you wanted?

Man is man is labor is the man who has rights. The felicity of this life consists not in the repose of a mind satisfied, but one decried and questioned and laid to rest at the end-- the only end there is. That is all you know on earth. This world is the only world there is, and in this world, there is nobody but the vulgar. Does that mean we live in another world? Was I only lying just then when I said there was only one? Was Machiavel? Was Moses?

Let us say that there is light. And let us say that we can make a division between what we can know and what we cannot, from the world of our senses and the world of things-in-themselves. Let us leave things-in-themselves to-themselves. Let us grant them their obscurity. Let us call what we can know knowledge, and what we cannot know not-knowledge. Do not try to return to that chaos, that confusion. We have left it and we can say that it is good. Isn't this what you wanted? We certainly are not going to return to living in tents.

These plants produce berries which produce these plants which produce these berries which we eat and leave in the earth. After its kind, after their kind. Bur our kind? Well, you have been so kind as to allow us to consider what that shall be. That alone separates us from the animals. Were we any less procreative when you had implanted principles in us, leading us to you? It seems as if these were only to pull us out to sea.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Chapter 141: On the overthrow of all things

I haven't yet decided if the pelican is a suitable image for earthly love. I could still-- there's still time to begin my ministry but were they not so cruel to Him he could not have ruled so many hearts so mildly, so atrociously. Like a bonsai, the frivolous follies must be lopped, those frills and thrills so fleeting that make it such easy wood to chop, that is uprooted by the waters. Love is not love which alters... never shaken, so Shakespeare says, so one does who is free.

"The good or ill accidents of life are very little at our disposal; but we are pretty much masters of what books we shall read, what diversions we shall partake of, and what company we shall keep." So Hume, favoring delicacy of taste to delicacy of passion, which never satisfies, which makes one riotous, slavish, tyrannical. Despotism of the soul, like despotism of the state, makes us despots in the overthrow, and that religion which replaces another entrenches itself all the more in its past submission the more it makes the name of the one before forgotten. A fortunate thing that the Church used Latin, that Dante wrote in Italian before he was superseded.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chapter 140: That all things recur

Edify, for heaven makes men
meet each other to replace one sect
and one language with another.

Always floods, always universal,
always mountain men and one alone
who can speak to El Shaddai.

Beware, for the ancient names remain
by accident, and strong enough to kill Virginia.

There is always a bigger bird of prey.

la natura... muove per sé medesima molte volte, e fa una purgazione...
acciocché gli uomini, sendo divenuti pochi e battuti,
vivino più comodamente, e diventino migliori.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chapter 139: On Apollo


APOLLO!

Roll your fingers over the string
and pull me back from the edge of life
where limits look like visions
of shields, triple-implicated
in casting mortal destinies.
What did you want with Daphne?
and what could I do with her?

Chapter 138: One stanza too many



Prosaically comfortable in verse
well-ordered and in infinitely
satisfactory factory,
turn, strike! no?
plates of being
benignly palatable;
their decadent odors confirm
canticles of divine perfection

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chapter 137: New modes and orders

all men desire to acquire, the tuscan said, exiting the ciminian forest. but the lady of heaven lacks nothing and has no means of procuring; she's a receptacle, entirely permeable, no warrior or whining wimp wishing for goods and services to be granted.

kill the sons of brutus, do not enter the order you have founded. but she is the order she has founded: there is no deterioration, no decay, no loss of virtue and no maintaining by perpetual conspiracy. A religion lasts 1667 to 3000 years, or forever.

nothing's sacred but what numa made so; blessed is the womb-fruit, the signs and wonders, the phantasms in air. the chicken-men and the priests don't know what it's good for. arms and all the epiphenomena of arms.

the man in the tree could see a long way off, a great distance, and the men on the boats casting their nets could see for leagues on the still water with their hearts at peace, and even the great persecutor... whereas doubts and confusions and genuine attempts at resolution lead to war and institutional solutions for the passions of men.

i have read much about ancient things and have long experience of modern things but there is only one new thing.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chapter 136: That ancient names are difficult to extinguish

the blister on my finger has not yet healed
that we earned by passion quickly cooked.
and i breathe heavily this cold waiting
with nails burned out and picked
from the grey ashes, flame that flickered,
stretched across the wood, caressed it
with something like love, then died,
inexplicably to be stored in covert coals,
somewhere to ravage a weathered hand
or be carried to a beach and dugout pit
and dropped on little wisps of hay
or callous driftwood, or they may inspire
little saplings to be hacked down
and bubble up their precious fluid
to choke on. or just hide and spring back
to life with little breaths and twigs,
not to blaze, to die, to burn, but
to radiate with an inner fire
and be reflected.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chapter 135: On hunting

grind down the gravest connotation
finer than the finest flour, so that
it just slips through their fat fingers;

barbs that shock the roofs of mouths
where we live and live well, make meek
with chocolate and honey;

precious vessels unstained, with new wine
what many winters have seasoned, unfilled,
all these bottles burnish with smooth cloth

and rudely stack with the big, burlap sacks
all the byrds you've got by hunting,
necks brkn and feathers delicately pluckd.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chapter 134: That waiting for the opportune moment is correct or not correct depending on the times

at year's end, undo stiffness stuffed
into stained and stinking sausages,
strung-up. what grimy gristle would fall out,
bubble over from dozens of dozing weeks
of evaporating fermentation,
festive paper streamers, curled up
like maggots made slow by sealed decay?
from loop to loop unbuckle, bleed out
bellicosity already ancient, foul, small:
a little dribble-drab upon the floor.
splat! pop! boom! they slip slickly
from their casing, gathering steam and go
plop anticlimactically on the floor,
like fireworks.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chapter 133: On tragedies involving children and women

Once more of the lord far-shooting
let my heart sing.


What of the twisted serpender who lets his hart sing
and long for long, lingering tendrils
while he clasps to lumps and logs and longs
for likenesses of his proud deception?

A baby girl, a bouyant byrd, born of flesh and form
through compressed dreams comes to see sight sought
and shivers, shuddering at the shadows of her fancy.

When the bough breaks,
float-fluttering
to the bower she flies.

Chapter 132: A reflection


when i walked on untrod snow i thought of you
and just the navel of the orange I nibbled
crept upon me as I traveled.

Come, hither, Calliope pure of voice.

Box

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chapter 131: Continuation of the same subject

In bowers byrds assemble scores
for first-date bedroom rock,
strew flowers far from the east of eden
for fairies to flaunt their feathers:
forget ecstasy, enter squawking fancy,
deceive the wholesomely diurnal,
dry your dirty dirty eyes
that dug down deep; now die,
debating destiny,
or floating flight embrace,
wings of byrds wonderfully entwined,
asexual, angry angels
borne aloft on their piney pinions,
ascending on a sunbeam.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chapter 130: On draining the swamps and bringing lands together


That swampsink corruption hints
of sweet organization,
of synapse layered over,
a thousand connections
lying ready to be dried
and cleaned, and correlated;
but then that fantastic elder stink
would give way to wonder
and wasted wanting,
worthless curls,
winding back
to one
cold
pt.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chapter 129: Note on the composition of this text

I've derived words in their dreaming being
when like wax they're white and whittled,
waiting to be outworn and witted.

How? Only seeing with the sun's slight seeming,
skimming shimmer's sheen and surface-preening,
when light just right
comes clean on my machine.

All fuzzy depths microbial
beaker's booming retreat bespeaks,
but barely etched out like candor--
in the candy cotton forgotten.

In the terse summer's fleeting
succession, you undressing,
I closely remember mine.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Chapter 128: Provisional proem for a post-apocalyptic epic

Only Urania now crashes, feet-first,
into Mount Helicon where I aspire
from Parnassian grottoes oft to drink--
lie, conversing of erotic Bacchus
and melancholy philosophy old,
dream-dealt and by dreaming forgotten,
in an ecstatic union system told.

Down inside that darling crystal dollop
suspended between chaos and the air,
ambitious leisure pious litigates
equality elevated earnest,
convenience of conviction, coldly cast,
a thousand thousand flowers, and no weeds.

Calliopean Calypso, reveal
how in future days the master comes,
much welcomed; the relief of man's estate;
warm bodies; hated cruelty banishéd;
the life of man, collective, clean, pleasant,
brutish, and soft (all other time is war).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chapter 127: On Dante's Inferno




dreamy white hellscape--
its cotton word daggers deprevate
so softly, so serene--
that fiery rain like snowflakes
eats out the heart of me
to spill love on the hot sand
in milky desolation:
send these messengers like byrds,
angels to excavate popes
trapped for eternity in potato soup

Chapter 126: On the memory of anger

Let byrds feign devotion
to summer girls in flower dresses
who tell how ox-headed ginger boys
are so sweet and so silly.

Deign to inform us now, then,
in spells of sandpaper satin,
of mem'ry's whistle description
of melting fairy phantoms.

How can crumbled crumpets reign
and a bubble's aerial impression
left on china chipped and cracked
still so serenely sway?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chapter 125: Real reflections on the grace of God

I approach these bright tombstones
and the eye is opened to His elegance
under rattling suffering mask
where visions of icy destiny
disperse, larklike at morning--
but they remain tall shadows,
mighty shards rowed up like teeth
chattering in a chilly sunfield
oceanic and unobscured:
to die watching white weather
wash bloodshade away to stick to
sticks and scabby prickle patches
and panic, forever shivering,
or glow, witnessing that wonder
patiently enduring retribution
funereal; I'm already forgetting
darkening spheres of light
lost in underwhelming lucid night.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Chapter 124: On frustration

As when the water pools up
in a depression, stagnant-
seeming impotent, but
slowly filled by an unknown
source; it gathers its power
unseen and unexpected; it breaks
through to traverse every
channel; so Ike Davis, halting,
hacks down an entire forest.

Would white-knuckled byrds
wonder at such a clamor?
They are not weary of the wide skies
or the low-flung orchards;
even timid lumberjacks
cause their ranks to swell,
and when they swing as well.

Chapter 123: Pericles, Prince of Tyre

I spent half a day enveloped in a cloud
matching all my rain imaginings,
tit-for-ill-adviséd-tat
and fell out again,
naked and wet,
on familiar shore.

All my byrds were there;
they pumped my head with steam,
and, as in a dream, I returned
to viscous and not vicious youth
when I pressed between the Bible and the board.

Ike remained, but his doubt was overlain
with the freshest flowers-- or so,
in that stormy light,
did they appear.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chapter 122: In response to a look that I was given

I didn't bake my byrds for you,
and I was looking through the glass
at rolling grass in a tight red skirt,
not making muffins in your hair.

I don't wing worries woefully, like you,
wishing to be ven'rable and kind;
but wear white whiskers when it suits me,
and swim incautiously and blind.

Here, everyone's an Isaac;
they keep Harvey haltingly to heel,
imagining abruptly taking off
so as finally to feel.

Chapter 121: On speculative philosophy and the poverty of a psychology

Philosophers love Love:
they're free of lower passions;
unless, like lovers,
they love to love flowers
and grapefruits and coffee grinds
as semblances of seeming,
or authentic beings being,
radically individuated,
or universally sublated.

"I want you to Be,
and Think, and Drink in
all the fullness of your dreaming
right Here, and Now,
because I'm Dying,
and I'll really die if I do not."

Chapter 120: On the pontificate

Let byrds fight fiercely,
for fixing and affixing all affliction
in coagulating flocks.

Niese to need to know when
to collapse helplessly on the floor
and arise to congratulate yourself
on doing barrel rolls.

Only one or two are recked--
the rest redeemed, like cardinals
or robins or the last of the doves
to see you viciously emerge.

Chapter 119: On roots

Again on the theme of byrds and baby-blues
and dripping sweet satin exchange:
when wonderlands on wheels would be poised,
parked vigilantly in grammar greens,
undiscover the circulatory system
so thickly rooted, so grimly grasped,
but elevated by lash and luster
to a floating carpet canopy.
Would you build a bed into a tree
just so that you could enjoy, easily,
and every once-in-a-while
the sense of leaves falling on you?

Chapter 118: On weeds

Could you keep a Catholic byrd contained?
They can't cuckoo outside the playground.
If you listen dearly for the sound
of drumming clearly on the Mount,
out of the chair and into exodus repeating
you will hear Bible verses in bloody collared shirts:
"You are Paco, and in this washed-out sunsphere
I institutionalize drearily all my fantasies
for Fun and Youth Group giggles."
Carrying my Cross to the Mall and Tower,
you promise to give me everything,
even when that Britney song is on,
even skin and sauce and a sexy surfeit season,
but I must travel through a mountain underground,
a ravine and rain and smoke-choked reason.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chapter 117: That it is better to be feared than loved

It takes two to conspire
but only one to execute.
Discovering new continents
for conquerors.
Two hearts to break one,
a multitude of scientists
to prevent procreation,
a family of bears
collaborating on porridge
and a swarm of bees
ruled monarchically.

Some lesser lions could mate
well with weaker females,
but who would have it?
Nietzsche said a lot of things
about women and society,
but the Florentine said it best
when he put the impetuous
before the perfect.

Chapter 116: Return to the question of education and regime change

In the shadow of your purple ink
I cower, covertly questioning
dots and loops of lacy remembrances
left lazily all over the crazy floor,
and you in the door looking listless,
lingering to acquire all my eagerness
and excavate artifacts for semblances
to adapt and assimilate artfully.
I'll let you list me, then; I could never
be contained in your courtly columns.
To think that those thorny figures could ever
add up to erotic appreciation!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chapter 115: On magnanimity

I mash sinister ministers like potatoes,
but I'll allow their obtuse offerings
to fly by harmlessly,
unless they get too close:
then I'll strike,
but struck by argument,
I'm close to useless.
I can only be prime minister
or the secretary of state,
but those positions are taken,
so I'll outshine my minor league compatriots
in Buffalo or Las Vegas.

Chapter 114: On prophecy and destiny

Apollo roars from ominous Delphi's
remote and porous residence,
procuring opaque intelligence
for Lydian kings and Tyrian traders
stocking flow'ring roots from foreign lands
and keeping rivers' flowing tables
with microscopic data collection, aggregated
and combined with unwitting self-election
and common-sense explanation (for cooking
lambs and turtles in a brass cauldron)--
Gods are limits, non-transcendent:
airy drunkenness reveals what pride conceals
in a more intoxicating emanation,
namely phusis, nomos, and their interplay
to reveal how small a thing man is,
how permeable his body and his spirit
(this is far from Feuerbee's matrix)
(why are we still not anthropologists?),
and how terrible is his creepiness.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chapter 113: On commercial vanity

I don't recall ever having read a book
while making love, or listening to Less than Jake
while making stencils for artsy vandalism.
I don't remember ever knowing anyone
while being known to be an assassin
or a caretaker of tea-drinking neophytes
wandering too far into the island,
taking the promise of freedom too seriously.
I do remember being a pirate and a clumsy conqueror
sitting on heaps of booty, gotten so easily
and valued as little, or as weightily
was it won, and piled as deeply,
or spread thin as a covering for toast
and so transparent as to disappear forever,
finding me there again, or nevermore to be reminded
of singing Journey in the shower while composing
a dissertation on how to lose gracefully
or examining all the intentions and meanings
when dreaming of edifices crumbling into the ocean.

Chapter 112: That one often may escape more easily by falling to earth than by soaring aloft among the clouds

I have had all the
accoutrements
of toxic inhalation
exhumed
whence friends wished them to be
interred, forever--
I think they have a power,
more than to choke and
stupefy.
Black wings may be lighter than
airy elevation,
or greenbelt density, or
sweeping success.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chapter 111: Poetry saves

You can ride the waves to safety, but not to truth;
Well-seeming images wash out impurities:
there's nothing slicker than a dolphin's back,
but nothing more sinister or ambiguous.
Scents simmer in Arion, without sense
for how similes shimmer tendentiously
and mendaciously meander over roots and paths
more finely and frustratingly forked.
His lyre blooms and flowers when it kills,
not when it stoops and sings and bows;
or he is dead already, and the poet lies:
on some sandy shore he is wept forever.