Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Results just in

Can't leave MS Bones out in the cold. Results of my Dante's Inferno test:

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished me to the Second Level of Hell!

Here is how I matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory Moderate
Level 1 - Limbo Low
Level 2 High
Level 3 Moderate
Level 4 Very Low
Level 5 Very Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis Very Low
Level 7 Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus Low

"You have come to a place mute of all light, where the wind bellows as the sea does in a tempest. This is the realm where the lustful spend eternity. Here, sinners are blown around endlessly by the unforgiving winds of unquenchable desire as punishment for their transgressions. The infernal hurricane that never rests hurtles the spirits onward in its rapine, whirling them round, and smiting, it molests them. You have betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite for pleasure, and so here you are doomed to remain. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are two that share in your fate."

Betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite.

"Fire in his eyes...smoke coming out of his nose..."
(Carroll Ballard's The Black Stallion)

You'll find it here.

"Intesi ch'a così fatto tormento / enno dannati i peccator carnali, / che la ragion sommettono al talento."

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

TK's "Two Sense"

Two names you go by (besides your given names):
1. "Mom"
2. "Mrs. Baby"

Two things you're wearing:
1. Warm sock booties (it's chilly tonight)
2. A red woolen sweater I purchased from an Irish woman I worked with when I lived in Boston; she went home for Christmas holiday and purchased it for me.
Two longest car rides:
1. Month-long cross-country trip with my family the summer I was 14 years old. One of the best vacations of my life.
2. New Jersey to Florida trip when I was a child. (We spent Christmas in Miami to visit my cousin; I was excited that someone could actually go swimming on Christmas day. This was in the days before I lived in Texas and found out it is no big deal at all.)
Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Singing and Painting (they go together).
2. Kiss my son's forehead. (By the way, I just read Pat's answers and found out we both wrote the same thing down!)
Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. Another large canvas (30 by 40 inches); for some, it's the smell of a new book. That's nice, too, but nothing beats looking at a blank canvas for me.
2. To have a dinner party with good friends; it is one of my favorite things. (OK, I could have listed it above, too...maybe I could sing that Julie Andrews' tune and continue to list all my favorite things...)
Three animals you have or have had:
1. Blue, the blue heeler wonderdog.
2. Rick, the sweetest parakeet you could ever meet.
3. Kariel, a beta fish: my son's first pet.
Three things you ate today:
1. Oatmeal, raisins, honey, and cinnamon.
2. A brownie.
3. Communion: bread and wine.
Two things you are doing tomorrow:
1. Seeing my therapy clients.
2. Continue birthday preparation for my son.
Two favorite holidays:
1. Christmas.
2. Halloween (only through the eyes of my son, since he loves bats and decorating for Halloween).
Two favorite beverages:
1. My "Happy Juice." (No, it's not alcoholic!) It's 365 Organic Orange Peace Mango Juice, and once the grocer said they were going to out indefinitely; luckily he was mistaken.
2. Hot apple cider, with all the mulling spices.

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Tagged Up

By invitation, I offer:

Two names you go by (besides your given names):
1. Mr. Dillard. (At the Institute, we are all called by someone else's name; usually, they get the gender right.)
2. "My liege." (This student has his 'A' already.)

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Less beard than yesterday.
2. Incense flung at St. Paul's Episcopal Church this morning. (Much to Walden's chagrin.)

Two longest car rides:
1. Cambridge, MA to Jackson, MS. (post graduation)
2. Austin, TX to Moscow, ID (the Christmas pilgrimage, leaving New Orleans for life in the Palouse Empire.)

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Drive across town in cold grey wintry weather, with really good jazz on the radio. (Guess where I've been?)
2. Cross-country drive with Tina and Walden, listening to Lemony Snicket read Lemony Snicket; sorry, Tim Curry).

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. Thanksgiving break to be extended another, say, four weeks. (What a whiner!)
2. A really good new read. (Sorry, Brontes: it ain't happenin'.)

Three animals you have or have had:
1. Blue, the blue heeler wonderdog.
2. Sophie and Lucia, brindled mahogany bullmastiff and blue Neapolitan mastiff, respectively (sorry, they were a package deal).
3. Thunderheart, the amazing red bullmastiff baby boy.

Three things you ate today:
1. A slice of iced pound cake for the St. Paul November birthday people. (You Reconcilers, chill; we were just visiting for incense; Rec is definitely home.)
2. Communion wafer and Episco-port wine.
3. A slice of pumpkin pie. (I'll eat better for dinner; I can smell the amazing soup.)

Two things you are doing tomorrow:
1. "Going" "back" "to" "school."
2. Kissing Tina's and Walden's foreheads before I "leave" "for" "school."

Two favorite holidays:
1. Christmas.
2. Dia de los muertos.

Two favorite beverages:
1. Armenian coffee.
2. Edwards Aquifer water from the childhood wells at El Rancho Doce Robles.

I tag: The Turtle Empress.

There is no rhyme nor reason for the picture, except that the book is one damn fine read.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

sendin' me excitations...

At poemhunters.com., the "Top" "500" "poets": Neruda at 1, "Shel Silverstein" at 5, Herbert Nehrlich (you remember Herb, with his 2734 poems in the databank) at 202, just before hometown girl Naomi Shihab Nye. Henry and his puppeteer are AWOL, nowhere to be found. Henry & JB send this one in, anyway, for your consideration.

Dream Song 123: Dapples my floor the eastern sun, my house faces north

Dapples my floor the eastern sun, my house faces north,
I have nothing to say except that it dapples my floor
and it would dapple me
if I lay on that floor, as-well-forthwith
I have done, trying well to mount a thought
not carelessly

in times forgotten, except by the New York Times
which can't forget. There is always the morgue.
There are men in the morgue.
These men have access. Sleepless, in position,
they dream the past forever
Colossal in the dawn comes the second light

we do all die, in the floor, in the morgue
and we must die forever, c'est la mort
a heady brilliance
the ultimate gloire
post-mach, probably in underwear
as we met each other once.

This, for lagniappe; I don't think A. R. made the the Top 500 cut either. Must needs have room for Wilson, Brian and McKuen, Rod. Let this one hit you anyway, hymn of hymns:

The City Limits
by A. R. Ammons

When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold
itself but pours its abundance without selection into every
nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider

that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but
lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider
the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest

swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,
not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider
the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue

bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped
guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no
way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider

that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then
the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the

leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark
work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.

(of the deepest cells...)

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A Thanksgiving Feast

painting by Larry Rivers
McNay Art Museum


Eating Together
by Li-Young Lee

In the steamer is the trout
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,
brothers, sister, my mother who will
taste the sweetest meat of the head,
holding it between her fingers
deftly, the way my father did
weeks ago. Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.


from The Man Moves Earth
by Cathy Song

The man moves earth,
the woman sweeps air.
Together they pull water
out of the other,
pull with the muscular
ache of the living,
hauling from the deep
well of the body
the rain-swollen,
the flame-tipped,
the milk-fed—
all that cycles
through lives moving,
lives sweeping, water
circulating between them
like breath,
drawn out of leaves by light.


Pig Song
by Margaret Atwood

This is what you changed me to:
a greypink vegetable with slug
eyes, buttock
incarnate, spreading like a slow turnip,

a skin you stuff so you may feed
in your turn, a stinking wart
of flesh, a large tuber
of blood which munches
and bloats. Very well then. Meanwhile

I have the sky, which is only half
caged, I have my weed corners,
I keep myself busy, singing
my song of roots and noses,

my song of dung. Madame,
this song offends you, these grunts
which you find oppressively sexual,
mistaking simple greed for lust.

I am yours. If you feed me garbage,
I will sing a song of garbage.
This is a hymn.



by Paschal Murat Booker
after Antonio Machado

At night when I sleep
Singing, the illusion bends
As if the fountain swims
Between my hearts.
When I die, does the river flow,
Is water yesterday’s green dream run empty,
Or is new life
The rest of what you drink?

At night when I sleep
Singing, the illusion bends
As if the cold joins
Straight to my heart
And the sadness below
Is made from Ichiban
With the old ways
White and sweet and tempting.

At night when I sleep
Singing, the illusion bends
As if the sun’s ardent light
Pierces my heart.
When strength pretends to be
A heat red and hungry
A sun vanquished by shadow
And made fast by night.

At night when I sleep
Singing, the illusion bends
To gods who hold
The pain in my heart.


I Ask My Grandmother If We Can Make Lahmajoun
by Gregory Djanikian

Sure, she says, why not,
we buy the ground lamb from the market
we buy parsley, fresh tomatoes, garlic
we cut, press, dice, mix
make the yeasty dough
the night before, kneading it
until our knuckles feel the hardness
of river beds or rocks in the desert
we tell Tante Lola to come
with her rolling pins we tell
Zaven and Maroush, Hagop and Arpiné
to bring their baking sheets
we sprinkle the flour on the kitchen table
and it is snowing on Ararat
we sprinkle the flour and the memory
of winter is in our eyes
we roll the dough out
into small circles
pale moons over
every empty village
Kevork is standing on a chair
and singing
O my Armenian girl
my spirit longs to be nearer
Nevrig is warming the oven
and a dry desert breeze
is skimming over the rooftops
toward the sea
we are spreading the lahma
on the ajoun with our fingers
whispering into it the histories
of those who have none
we are baking them
under the heat of the sun
the dough crispening
so thin and delicate
you would swear
it is valuable parchment
we are taking out
and rolling up in our hands
and eating and tasting again
everything that has already
been written
into the body.

(a poem for Tina's Armenian Thanksgiving)


“I was passionate ...”
by Lal Ded (Lalla)

Translated by Jane Hirshfield

I was passionate,
filled with longing,
I searched
far and wide.

But the day
that the Truthful One
found me,
I was at home.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Glory train passed through him...

"Court & Spark"

Love came to my door
With a sleeping roll
And a madman's soul
He thought for sure I'd seen him
Dancing up a river in the dark
Looking for a woman
To court and spark

He was playing on the sidewalk
For passing change
When something strange happened
Glory train passed through him
So he buried the coins he made
In People's Park

And went looking for a woman
To court and spark

It seemed like he read my mind
He saw me mistrusting him
And still acting kind
He saw how I worried sometimes
I worry sometimes

"All the guilty people" he said
They've all seen the stain
On their daily bread
On their christian names
I cleared myself
I sacrificed my blues
And you could complete me
I'd complete you

His eyes were the color of the sand
And the sea
And the more he talked to me
The more he reached me
But I couldn't let go of L.A.
City of the fallen angels

Heathen man that I am, I came late to Ms Joni. All the glorious acoustic Joni of the early albums, the voice a little too tinny for my taste (bad mixing?), (blasphemy alert): “Both Sides Now” a song I could never abide, all mixed up with a Judy Collins version with vibrato I still cannot abide. I know, I know: come Judgment City (see: Albert Brooks), I will have to account for such impoverished and lunatic taste.

Heathen man, bless his corrupted soul, is ever in need of the hook. “Court and Spark” were that hook: album and song. We were rock and rollin’ now, with hints of the jazz to come, and Heathen Man was ever a jazz-ish fiend. So: “Court” and “Free Man in Paris” took me, finally, down the dark Joni ladder. Such exuberant desire, the ache in her voice, singing “city of the fallen angels,” stringing the last two words out into longing heartache, and, from “Free Man,” no surprise the lyric that sits atop “View My Complete Profile” on this here blog.

Still, she faded: I was still not quite there. Came back up the ladder. Stumbled, eventually—back, as it turned out—upon For the Roses, all appearances of a frat gig with her CSN buddies, Stills’ guitar longing into her longings, her lovely naked ass out over the Pacific, and the Christmas carol joy and whimsy of “Barandgrill,” which might as well have been Rivendell, for all its tiny magic: “And you want to get moving / And you want to stay still / But lost in the moment / Some longing gets filled…” I scratched the mess out of that vinyl pizza.

Apologies to all you Blue-ists out there, but “Hejira” is the masterpiece. 1976, Jaco’s lush, rounding bass lines, Pat Metheny’s lyric sensibilities, Wayne Shorter’s saxophones aching right along, note for note, with Ms Joni. This was a vision, its cold stark snowy Canadian beauty out of another world entire. If truly pressed, this just might be the disc I retire with to my desert isle. Joni is all a-tempest here: Prospero, Miranda, and Caliban (“Furry Sings the Blues,” growling “I don’t like you…”). The loveliest of lovely title track: “So now I'm returning to myself / These things that you and I suppressed,” and ”I'm porous with travel fever / But you know I'm so glad to be on my own / Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger / Can set up trembling in my bones…” And “Song For Sharon,” as if Joni took Alice Munro (sister cold north alchemists) out for a long lingering longing walk through the “miles of aisles”: “And the power of reason / And the flowers of deep feeling / Seem to serve me / Only to deceive me…” I wore that black Frisbee out.

She cut me loose with Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, and I stayed gone a long time, eight years, until, sitting in the hazy fog of a local DJ’s house in jacksonmisissippi, I heard “Chinese Café” from Wild Things Run Fast. Heart beat fast, I had to have that, too, but still, Scorpio sister and I went our separate ways in the years and hejiras to come, so much so that when the very recognizable Norah Jones sang her ragged and lower-pitched “Court and Spark,” it took ‘til after the first Herbie solo to realize just where he and Norah had taken me. The morning was far too dark and beautiful and cold to want to brave the crazed inanities of the Institute: it were time for “settin’” thirty-one years back on the cold November evening Joliet Street porch, windows open, Joni’s lines lighting up the chapel-quiet darkness of the block.

The Joni Letters is full of surprises beyond Ms Norah: a cool, prim, pin-striped Tina Turner on “Edith and the Kingpin,” with this funky whispering guitar-jive undertow; a lovely instrumental deconstruction/reconstruction of “Both Sides Now,” leaving the song blessedly near-unrecognizable; the sweet girl-child voice of Corinne Bailey Rae on “River.” Critics have lauded Luciana Souza’s take on “Amelia,” but it rings flat for me, though I love Hancock’s ever-present searching, here and throughout the album, old friend running in and out and up from the water, crying, “here, and here, and here,’ gems and gems and gems of beach glass.

And I went running down a white sand road
I was running like a white-assed deer
Running to lose the blues
To the innocence in here
(Refuge of the Road)

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wonder if Nancy Sinatra had some...

Ms Rigby, from her 5/02 Alaskan "tour":

...I strapped on snowshoes and did some walking, learned about breakup in every slush-filled parking lot and even caught a glimpse of Mt. McKinley over 200 miles away...

[I saw a sign in Soldotna advertising "Adult Breakup Boots $12.99" and decided that was one type of footwear I could really use in my life. The next morning I woke up and wrote this song:]

Breakup Boots (A. Rigby)

I'm wading in and I don't like it
But it's that time of year again
Yes it's April coming round
When it all starts melting down
And there's nothing I can do to stop it happening

Most of the time I'm well-protected
I move along from day to day
But the winter was so raw
I'm a victim of the thaw
And I'm gonna have to get myself through this some way

So I'm putting on my breakup boots, I'm putting on my breakup boots

Where is the sympathy I need right now?
I look around, I don't get none
I guess everybody deals
With the way that losing feels
When it's over and it almost hurts to see the sun

So I'll go out, I'll act like this is good
I know the seasons gotta change
And I'll hold my head up high
Cause it's way too wet to cry
Hey I'll be alright but I might look a little strange

Cause I'm putting on my breakup boots, I'm putting on my breakup boots

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

There Are Many Blessings...

...to be thankful for, on this loveliest of grey days, grey canvas splashed with the insane yellow of zexmania (Wedelia or Zexmania hispida)flowers in the street: out of grey, neon birth. Herbie Hancock's CD River: The Joni Letters: oh my Lord, the album is exquisite, and will need a post of its own, after I stop wearing a hole in it. The chill chill chilly morning this past week when I stumbled upon it on the way to school, bless our local jazz KRTU, Ms Norah Jones giving us "Court and Spark" from my Scorpio big sister. Lush and subterranean is Ms Jones with Mr Hancock. More later. Promise.

It's darkened here again: the Friday night bachelors were out and about this grey beauty-day: the lovely Ms Tea has returned from her Austin jaunt, the Letters are on one last time before pizzas are homemade and we all settle in for the latest Fun Police incarnation that is Ocean's 13.

We have a beauteous week of no school ahead: are we ever blessed.

And then this, from the crazemoid Mr Berryman:

My idea is this: The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business. Beethoven’s deafness, Goya’s deafness, Milton’s blindness, that kind of thing. And I think that what happens in my poetic work in the future will probably largely depend not on my sitting calmly on my ass as I think, “Hmm, hmm, a long poem again? Hmm,” but on being knocked in the face, and thrown flat, and given cancer, and all kinds of other things short of senile dementia. At that point, I’m out, but short of that, I don’t know. I hope to be nearly crucified.

Read the whole Paris Review interview here. Should be caviar and borscht, plenty yummy.


Can't say I'm exactly there with Brother Ivan's take on luck. I'll take zexmania in the street. But, I'll read Mr B even at his wackiest. Especially at his wackiest.

Nearly crucified?

Peace, out.

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In the Blinks section: Amy Rigby's Diary. AR is Wreckless Eric's current partner in crime, living the post-50 used to be a rock "star" (to borrow from the Unnecessary Quotes matron) vagabond life in France. I was about to say that I have no clue how I stumbled upon these good people, but I do: Wreckless wrote the song that "soundtracks" (sorry again, "UQ" Matron) Maggie Gyllenhaal climbing onto Will Ferrell's nerdy lap in "Stranger Than Fiction." After a few different grabs at the man's music, I'm still not a fan, but I like his wayward mind. As for Amy, I like the mind and the music. Count me as an anonymous friend of both.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

While We're At It...

Unregenerate peace-patroller am I, and proud of it. Check out (in the blink links) either Influx or Chrysalis for the link to that little quiz. If you want to know what movie you are, check here: http://similarminds.com/movie.html. Apparently I am still a power-code mafioso, just masqeurading as a slacker. Que lastima. Anybody else notice the inconsistency? Have mercy.

And here I thought I would have been "The English Patient" or "Pride and Prejudice" (as Elizabeth Bennett, naturally).

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Skeedly Beeka Gookity Woop

“I can’t remember: is we be cherubim or seraphim?”
“I hates to tell you, Brother Victor, but we be neither.”
“I climbed all the way up here for that?”
“I’d a told you sooner, BV, but you did seem to be enjoying.”
“All expectation, my brother, all expectation.”
“I am heartily sorry, Brother Vic. I’m afraid I mistook expectation for exultation.”
“Mistook ain’t the half of it, Brother Thomas. Makes you think I want to sit on clouds and exult? I seen better in the hill country—hell, I seen better from the water towers of Roswell County.”
“Indeed you have, BT, indeed you have. Can’t argue with that. But—”
“This ‘but’ better be a good one, Vic.”
“Don’t I know it. The thing is, we ain’t got a pair a wings to get our bony asses through these gates anyway.”
“What do you mean by that, O my brother? Got my wings right…right…right…Where the hell you put my wings, Victor?”
“Didn’t touch your wings, Tom. That was all you.”
“All me what?”
“It was all you what left them on that Tuscan wall.”
“Hell you say. Florence?”
“Don’t I wish.”
“New Orleans.”
“Hardly Tus—”
“Exactly what I tried to tell you, Tom. You were having none of it. ‘Tuscan walls!’ you cried out in that courtyard, chicken wings in your gullet, votives all up and down the broken wall. Called the waiter over, chewed his ear with your greasy lips, swore your wings was misplaced, asked—”
“Asked what could I do to show my obeisance. That’s enough, Thomas. I remember now…damn.”
“They was mighty good wings, though, Vic.”
“Ones I hung on the wall, or the ones I was sucking down?”
“Does it have to be either/or? Not like we’re that sulking Dane, now is it?”
“I guess not, Tom. Damn, that was one hell of a good sauce. Serious righteousness, not a damn thing sulky in the least.”
Brother Vic surveyed the white fleece all abounding, looked down at the golden ladder rungs at his feet. Thomas’ eyewear was foggy and wet.
“Hell of a fine wall that was, Tom.”
“As sure as Ms Stefani paints her lips glory-red, o my brother. It was a fine wall indeed.”
“You think they’re still—”
“I have no doubt. You was the only one thought they was misplaced. I’d say Garden of Eden, no matter where they be hangin’. As pretty on your back as they’d be in Tuscany, ain’t give a damn where you cast it.”
They were halfway down before a one of them spoke.
“Just the same—”
“Just the same what, Brother Vic?”
“My original question. It’s still got me squanderin’.”
“Well, Brother Ray give it to me this way: forget the cheeky babies. Cherubim be the janitors of God, the near ones, the familiars. Seraphim be the ones in the expensive box seats at the opera.”
“Nothin’ against that Luciano, but when the hell did he ever sing anything as good as ‘Minnie the Moocher’?”
That took another twenty rungs to answer.
“I’ll get the mop and bucket, Cab.”
“You just do that, Eulalia, while I roll up these sleeves and pants.”

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Friday, November 09, 2007

A Heap of Berryman

From Berryman's "Eleven Addresses to the Lord" in Love & Fame:


Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake,
inimitable contriver,
endower of earth so gorgeous & different from the boring Moon,
thank you for such as it is my gift.

I have made up a morning prayer to you
containing with precision everything that most matters.
'According to thy will' the thing begins.
It took me off & on two days. It does not aim at eloquence.

You have come to my rescue again & again
n my impassable, sometimes depairing years.
You have allowed my brilliant friends to destroy themselves
and I am still here, severely damaged, but functioning.

Unknowable, as I am unknown to my guinea pigs:
how can I 'love' you?
I only as far as gratitude & awe
confidently & absolutely go.

I have no idea whether we live again.
It doesn't seem likely
from either the scientific or the philosophical point of view
but certainly all things are possible to you,

and I believe as fixedly in the Resurrection-appearances to Peter and to Paul
as I believe I sit in this blue chair.
Only that may have been a special case
to establish their initiatory faith.

Whatever your end may be, accept my amazement.
May I stand until death forever at attention
for any your least instruction or enlightenment.
I even feel sure you will assist me again, Master of insight & beauty.

[This poem does not bowl me over, though I was struck by the collection of "addresses" from a man who was a collossal mess, carrying a colossal burden of years and grief upon his back. I like "this blue chair," while I am less devotional in my theology. But, perhaps I've not carried enough on my back. As big a colossal mess as the novelistically brilliant Mr Barry Hannah spoke of his own post-operative experience of Jesus in the room when he was in a quagmire of terrible illness. It seems to me that these experiences from the least likely apostles bear a powerful witness: these boys ain't talkin' faith, they be talkin' conversation and visitation, pure and simple. Aunt Martha and fried chicken on the stoop.

"Less devotional in my theology": that's an odd statement coming from me, since I am nothing if not devotional in my theology: devotional is about all I've got, when it comes to theology. Perhaps not devotion to a Master, but certainly devotion to Mary and Yemaya and all their sisters. The ladies come in for a much better time of it from me than the holy gents. Neither has come in for the kind of screaming harangues I have lobbed God-way or Christ-way. In my worst of days, I have demanded miraculous intervention as proof of their whereabouts, while from Mary I demand nothing: she needn't prove anything, and quite frankly, I expect nothing from her anyway. This is not an insult: it is a statement of faith, of abiding presence: there is no quid pro quo: the chattering head is turned off: the heart and body simply know Mary is here.

I'm not sure what all this bit of ramble was meant to be, in the first place. I was moved, as I sat in the parking lot of the Thousand Oaks biblioteca, and read JB's broken addresses to his Lord, moved because I had not known of his reaching, in broken damaged praise, to the inimitable contriver.

It's been 30 years since I first hefted JB's Recovery off a bargain table at Waldenbooks in North Star Mall. I'd not met him during my four year journeyman's survey of English & American Lit, instead the predictable ones: WW, ED, WBY, EP, TSE, WCW, WS: Hart Crane was the "obscure" one for me, though hardly obscure. It would not have helped to have found Berryman any sooner: when I did find him, I missed the point entirely, though haunted by his flight from the towering bridge in Minneapolis. Recovery spoke, because I was laboring as a psych tech at the time, amidst broken souls also clamoring for bad coffee in the dark mornings outside Villa Rosa.

In truth, the poems only began to speak in volumes last year, as Henry's rhythms and lusts and obsessions and derangements and desuetudes began to make a deranged and holy sense to me, my own linearity having fallen away long ago. The Dream Songs are in their own way, say, a Book of Uncommon Prayer.]

Dream Song 26:

The glories of the world struck me, made me aria, once.
—What happen then, Mr Bones?
if be you cares to say.
—Henry. Henry became interested in women's bodies,
his loins were & were the scene of stupendous achievement.
Stupor. Knees, dear. Pray.

All the knobs & softnesses of, my God,
the ducking & trouble it swarm on Henry,
at one time.
—What happen then, Mr Bones?
you seems excited-like.
—Fell Henry back into the original crime: art, rime

besides a sense of others, my God, my God,
and a jealousy for the honour (alive) of his country,
what can get more odd?
and discontent with the thriving gangs & pride.
—What happen then, Mr Bones?
—I had a most marvellous piece of luck. I died.

And the sublime:

Dream Song 4:

Filling her compact & delicious body
with chicken páprika, she glanced at me
Fainting with interest, I hungered back
and only the fact of her husband & four other people
kept me from springing on her

or falling at her little feet and crying
'You are the hottest one for years of night
Henry's dazed eyes
have enjoyed, Brilliance.' I advanced upon
(despairing) my spumoni.—Sir Bones: is stuffed,
de world, wif feeding girls.

—Black hair, complexion Latin, jewelled eyes
downcast ... The slob beside her feasts...What wonders is
she sitting on, over there?
The restaurant buzzes. She might as well be on Mars.
Where did it all go wrong? There ought to be a law against Henry.
—Mr. Bones: there is.


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"For" "Sheer" "Fun"

Check out my new "blink" for The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Goofy, sometimes sublime.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Lost Pilot

by James Tate

for my father, 1922-1944

Your face did not rot
like the others--the co-pilot,
for example, I saw him

yesterday. His face is corn-
mush: his wife and daughter,
the poor ignorant people, stare

as if he will compose soon.
He was more wronged than Job.
But your face did not rot

like the others--it grew dark,
and hard like ebony;
the features progressed in their

distinction. If I could cajole
you to come back for an evening,
down from your compulsive

orbiting, I would touch you,
read your face as Dallas,
your hoodlum gunner, now,

with the blistered eyes, reads
his braille editions. I would
touch your face as a disinterested

scholar touches an original page.
However frightening, I would
discover you, and I would not

turn you in; I would not make
you face your wife, or Dallas,
or the co-pilot, Jim. You

could return to your crazy
orbiting, and I would not try
to fully understand what

it means to you. All I know
is this: when I see you,
as I have seen you at least

once every year of my life,
spin across the wilds of the sky
like a tiny, African god,

I feel dead. I feel as if I were
the residue of a stranger's life,
that I should pursue you.

My head cocked toward the sky,
I cannot get off the ground,
and, you, passing over again,

fast, perfect, and unwilling
to tell me that you are doing
well, or that it was mistake

that placed you in that world,
and me in this; or that misfortune
placed these worlds in us.

[Thanks to San for the tip...]

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Friday, November 02, 2007

100 more


Back again, the cave, blowing the pre-buddha minds of the un-initial. Who is not? We all initial in the same ways as the morning's sounds: it’s a visceral grind, a seeking for truth in the gutters of nonsense, the gutters of Annapurna, the gutters of Bombay. My father’s feet in the streets of Lahore, the whores of Lahore fading in memory, but not the body’s vault of uninterrupted play. I could fade, he could fade, but not the beauty of red desire as she flies the morning streets, hers the prayer of the sensate, the nerve endings of sacred flight.

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100 words


[grant this] lovelorn the distance blazed: pursuit of the bond, between lines of olfactory demarcation: I am respite I am rain I am after the dreams of your heart. If you grant this missive, I am yours: All Souls of desperation, the blood simple of misinterpreted flight. Sing: devas of the night: sing low, sing loud, sing with the very wingspan of your eternal sight. Song for the morning, here in the morning cave, morning coming on, but not quite the morning of your mourning’s ancient mornings. Would it twere the later mornings of this afterlife of afterburning afterbirth after.

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