Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Time to think seriously of wintering

   I haven't thought to mention
   this, but if it weren't for
   California's sudden fashion,
   a hundred years ago, as a
   pleasant place for a winter
   residence, I'd not have been
   brought into this world, to
   a later generation, as a na-
   tive of that same impression.

   Now, as I think of winter-
   ing in my own time, I have
   to weigh the shock the place
   precipitates, as an unbeara-
   ble levitation in litheness,
   against everyone's endurance
   of the same crisis. 

   Everyone says, Oh, go ahead,
   be strong. Nobody, they re-
   mind me, encouragingly, has
   any water to swim anymore.

   But you know, I've long held,
   the elements alone are not to
   blame for California. It only
   seems to be spoiled, to feel
   the specific gravity of one's
   place of birth as the natural
   state. Is there such a thing?
   It's not for me to worry about.
   It can be resisted, as you see
   in this conjecture. But it can
   not be distrusted. Ask Rubens.

   Siblings, age 13 and 9. A point
   spread structuring the natural
   state, is a place of origin of
   enduring specific gravity. At-
   testing to and testing that im-
   pression, the goldfinch dances
   on his ribbon, undistrustfully.


Peter Paul Rubens
Albert and Nikolaus
Collection Lichtenstein

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday commute cxv: What is this 'head-over-heels' thing?

    Harmless prerogative of
    the day, laid aside for
    language and everything
    else to be topsy-turvy;
    an egalitarian oxymoron
    for which we'd be up in
    arms to find corrected;
    a sort of nosedive gen-
    uflection without known
    excuses, permission, or
    cause; metabolic or ap-
    ostolic, we cede it the
    right of way, as if ex-
    pecting to climb aboard
    or maybe just practice.

A hypothesis for Mrs C

I'm mulling over a hypothesis in favor of Mrs C. 
Heretofore, I have thought it - no - prayed that 
it would be plausible, to wait a bit after the 
Republican convention, to see if the nominee were 
educable toward the Middle, and not an out-and-out 
drooling boor of bigotry, corruption, stupidity, 
and revolting machismo.

The known candidates for that nomination have now 
ruled this out.

And what Mrs C needs, is an alternative so desolate 
of reason and so animating of vulgar stupidity, as 
to motivate a vote despite herself.

My evolving hypothesis is, treachery trumps insanity. 
I could well see a reasonable observer, calculating 
the range of Mrs C's assured betrayals of her prom-
ises, as less repulsive and far less dangerous than 
what we can trust our confessing fascists to do. It's 
an analysis which concedes, her vaunted competence is 
a useless disguise of her habits, but that these may 
emerge almost as trifles.

It isn't that we haven't seen this before. In 1964,
an unsavory nominee, illuminated by scandals, suc-
ceeded in tempting the opposition Party to nominate
its worst, whom he could directly denounce as a rant-
ing, raving demagogue. That Lyndon Johnson went on to
pursue in the most lingering way, the very militarism
advocated apocalyptically by Barry Goldwater, was not
the fault of the electorate. It had not seen a fraud
ever rise so high, or run so deep. Even then, Johnson
had been insulated by seducing unthinkable opponents.

Against this precedent, however, works a longevity
of national focus on Mrs C, which Johnson eluded in
his essentially insider career. It is hard for many,
now, to regard a Panzer division as overcompensation
in response to la belle dame sans merci of arresting
assertions of prerogative. I doubt that her appeal in 
2016 will be as strong as Obama's was in 2008; I doubt 
that any exhilaration of awarding her luck in gender 
can be compared to humble pride in electing a rarity, 
a reasonable politician. Unexpectedly, her emergency 
may be emerging as her opportunity. She needs to be 
cast as the safe harbor, but possibly now she can be, 
not for her promises, but for theirs. They create the
emergency she needs, and it's a doozy.

     And this is why I sojourn here,
     Alone and palely loitering,
     Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
     And no birds sing.

John Keats

Friday, November 20, 2015

Potter, painter, candlestick maker

   I will not deny
   a complete iden-
   tification with
   the socks. I am
   not unknown for
   gray sweatsocks
   and I'll not al-
   low that renown
   to be marred by
   imitators, how-
   ever versatile.

   Smeared, I sup-
   pose; molded in
   all likelihood,
   but not disfig-
   ured, actually.

                         Too hot, too hot!
                         To mingle friend-
                         ship far is mingl-
                         ing bloods .. 

William Shakespeare
The Winter's Tale
  I, ii, 108 - 109
The Arden Shakespeare
J.H.P. Pafford, editor
Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1963©

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our gun creeps are out en masse

Not the wielders of guns
but their idolators; not
out in the outdoors, but
exposing themselves with
social media, less as a
dorm of helpless twinks,
than as twigs fermenting
in the dank undergrowth.

They claim to speak for
a nation great and, can
you stand it, fearless.

They call for a cartoon
kind of carnage, fanta-
sy obliterations, sala-
cious sufferings, you'd
think they'd had by now.

I suppose the first law
of defaming lust, is to
pursue its misdirection.
Or was this why we read
The Bacchae in daylight?

        A racket of jackdaws, the serrated call
        of a falcon as I walk out onto the lake.

Robin Robertson
Sailing the Forest
Selected Poems
  Signs on a White Field

i   Daniel Hasselberg, photo
ii  Tim Heatherington, photo

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the language of Robin Robertson

Poet, translator
of the most re-
cent edition of
The Bacchae cit-
ed above. 

  I climb to the seeing rock
  high over the pines; a blown squall
  of rooks rises and settles like ash.

             I saw the hay marry the fire
             and the fire walk.
             The sky went the colour of stone.


Robin Robertson
Sailing the Forest
  Selected Poems
  The Language of Birds
    [vi, vii]
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014©

ii  Evgheny Mokhorev, 2004