Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday commute clxiii: The walk

Cynical counsel soiled the land again
today, as the President of the United
States teased the People with bon-bon
treats of temporary mercy for his fav-
orite whipping-boy, his captive con-
stituent without papers. Yes. His own
constituents are all persons subject
to the equal protection of our laws.

He does not understand this. He does
not understand anything having to do
with his Office. For each reluctant
day we share or suppress conscious-
ness of this affront, its cost, its
ignominy in humanity's helpless wit-
ness, his fattening on the nation's
humiliation is protected by no law,
but by a Party which claims, lions
in secured cages, to find no wrong.

The path through this wilderness re-
veals itself as a caravan, correct-
ing disbelief and passive torment.
An internal migration, overdue, is
under way, approaching clearing.

     After hard rain the eaves repeat their beads,
     those trees exhale your doubt like mantled tapers,
     drop after drop, like a child's abacus
     beads of cold sweat file from high tension wires,

     pray for us, pray for this house, borrow your neighbor's
     faith, pray for this brain that tires,
     and loses faith in the great books it reads,
     after a day spent prone, hemorrhaging poems,

     each phrase peeled from the flesh in bandages,
     arise, stroll on under a sky
     sodden as kitchen laundry,

     while the cats yawn behind their window frames,
     lions in cages of their choice,
     no further, though, than your last neighbor's gates
     figured with pearl. How terrible is your own

     fidelity, O heart, O rose of iron!
     . . .

The Gulf and Other Poems
  The Walk
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969©

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Origins of Wednesday lxxxvii: Close calls we have known

    One can just hear the guffaws
    of the actuarily deprived, at
    the sight of this antiquarian
    call box, stuffed full with a
    single listener, not a speak-
    er button to be found. On the
    other hand the luxuriant sup-
    ply of cord permits a grovel-
    ling on the paving for spills
    of coins and pencils and oth-
    er accessories of documenting
    a purchased conversation. The
    closest call of this type I'm
    aware of, this week, was that
    escape from lunch at the Ex-
    active Mansion to work a deal
    to bail its tenant out. Wrong
    way to exit that predicament;
    on the other hand, nice save.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday nibbled sleeve ii

Have you noticed? Our satirists
are doing their best to beat
more dust of hilarity from the
grounded magic carpet of the
New American Government. But an
appetite which has expired is a
tough one to appease; and one
can't be sure it's the fault,
say, of Alexandra or Gail that
evidently even they have seen 
the corpse. If the first duty
of a menace is to be credible,
the first one of despotism is
to hold the pose for Voltaire.

Heaven knows, Palm Beach always
had been somewhat thus. A com- 
munity founded by migration is
never going to resemble one in
place before rails. More and
more the pretenses of the NAG
recall ever more loudly this in-
teresting tardiness in its path-
etic fumblings for greatness, as
if it were just noise and steam.

And yet, earnestness claims per-
haps the heaviest toll. The four
dollar magazine cover of the week,
suspiciously possibly of the year,
is not of a ruinous goon, but the
gathering of reluctant faces, all
bearing a set and sodden stamp of

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Insatiable deformity

The Speaker of the House has described
the proposal of a "wall" sealing the
Mexican border as an "immorality." To
be fair, she has also gone on, to ob-
serve its inevitable futility, never
going so far as to describe it as the
monument to cynicism many say it is.

Or is it. Is it, rather, only the most
grotesque expression politically feas-
ible today, of an insatiable compulsion
to inflict humiliation and pain, already
market-tested in two years in power and
another in purloining it. The pretended
constituency was never satisfied by the
rape of the Treasury or even of the land.
It wants a final solution, though, in a
gold standard all its own. Human life.

If there is anyone who believes that the
achievement of a showy, wasted erection
is where this manipulation will end, he

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A voter's guide to the evening's farce

The police chief of Sycamore Springs
sidles up to an open hamburger joint
at the town rail station:

Give me a cup of coffee and 2 aspirins.

The wondrous Nora Charles, in full up-
per East Side couture, approaches him:

Hello, Mr MacGregor. I'm so glad you're

Always glad to see a member of the
Charles Family ...

There's a man here. I want you to
arrest him.

But what for?

Does it have to be for something?

Oh, ho, no! No, you just pick out
anybody at all, and I just put him
in jail for life.

But he's trying to leave town . . !

Look, Mrs Charles. I can't arrest
anybody unless they do something,
to get arrested! Get that? They
gotta do something!

I think you're being very tech-
nical, Mr MacGregor!

Nora Charles stalks off, stage right.

Make that 4 aspirins.

One resists raising hopes for any
resemblance between a Presidential
address on the greatest crisis to
affront a Christian nation since a
slave discovered the underground
railway, and a miracle of wartime
scripting from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,
but there we are. The Fates have
summoned our Buchanan, nay, our
Andrew Johnson, to guide us toward
the great panic they knew would

Richard Thorpe
Robert Riskin
Dwight Taylor
The Thin Man Goes Home
MGM, 1945©

Monday, January 7, 2019

Much agit, no prop

 It was Gérard, someone reminded us last evening, 
 who advanced a notion so captivating to our lit-
 tle band, as to engage even the Republicans' be-
 loved general population. Oxford and Cambridge 
 have their dueling wine tasting teams, Laurel 
 and Hardy their slapstick slaps, Jekyll and Hyde 
 their Susan Collins. Why shouldn't we have a twit-
 ting society, for contestants who get up from the 
 wrong side of the bed, to spend the day refuting 
 themselves? It could only elevate our name for wit, 
 and make us all illustrious. Alas, an unknown de- 
 fect in this fad, was that it had already worn out.

 Gérard then proposed a game of chance, but with
 the twit still at large, nobody was taking any.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday nibbled sleeve

   Why, of course, Martin, I believe
   you, I suppose. But, what strikes
   one as uncanny, even for him, is
   how he could have known that some
   speak Russian in Ukraine. My dear,
   this would explain so many things.

Jaguar E-Type
  Eagle Speedster