Saturday, June 15, 2013

Reading adirondackly

Extract the day,

they say: my pines are happy
to give shelter, planks, and
scent. I think I said this as
a child, comfy in their tent.
What matter: now, I'm not a
child, I play with them in 
trust; countless climbing
fallings never blaming them
for lust.

I 'wake to scents of bacon
o'er their embers as I steep,
I dine on sizzling fishes hid
within their lapping keep; as
reading adirondackly, I 'low
my heart to leap.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pricing sweaters, one by one

  Their wearer hits
  the shower, aware
  of a gesture of ol-
  factory compassion,
  shrugging get off,
  alert, to his toss
  of textures privil-
  eged to breathe as
  he has done. Where
  is a price for any
  sweater set, which
  strikes that tumb-
  led incarnation of
  its native, tauten-
  ed frame, as we ig-
  nore the epithets
  invented to defame? 

Listening at the Monteleone ii

           I believe I think,
           I want to ask. Yet
           what I want, is to

  She materialised soundlessly. Her eyes 
  fixed on me with a gentle questioning 
  look which I came to remember as having 
  belonged to my grandmother during her 
  sieges of illness, when I used to go to 
  her room and sit by her bed and want, so 
  much, to say something or to put my hand 
  over hers .. Now it was she who stood next 
  to my bed for a while. And as I drifted 
  toward sleep, I wondered if she'd witness-
  ed the encounter .. Nothing about her gave 
  me any sign. The weightless hands clasping 
  each other so loosely, the cool and believ-
  ing gray eyes in the faint pearly face .. 
  I felt that she neither blamed nor approved 
  .. No. Wait. She seemed to lift one hand 
  very, very slightly before my eyes closed 
  with sleep ..

Tennessee Williams
Vieux Carré
  Part One, Scene Two
New Directions, 1979©

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Listening at the Monteleone

In the last year of her young
life a strikingly beautiful
woman finds herself in the old
Hotel Monteleone, perusing a
guide to the port city downriver
from her native Minneapolis,
on a journey unaccompanied ex-
cept by her hostess, a friend
of the family. She is ill, but
her inscription in the endpa-
pers is firm, and continental.
Her name is Dorothea; her father
was a young teacher at Heidel-
berg, her mother, surviving far
beyond her, was of the third gen-
eration of the territory's first 
fortunes. Family legend had it
that he died of consumption in
Paris, on the young couple's
honeymoon. Now, I reason this
out, more probably: there may
well have been no marriage, as
her conception took place, de-
spite all precaution. Her father
may well not have died. Yet she
became beautiful, even accept-
ing her position in society; 
then, redeeming the cherished, 
missing fatherentered into
a second marriage, to a boys' 
school teacher. If I do hold
her in my mind, it's not for
having met her. It's for be-
ing left my eyes.

'Old New Orleans' has been
compiled chiefly from an-
cient notarial acts, in ev-
ery case the history of each
old home has been searched
through these conveyance rec-
ords to establish original 
ownership and the year of ac-
tual building. Therefore, if
blame for blasted tradition
is to be attached to anyone
it should be placed on the
shoulders of the notaries of
a century or more ago who set
down in their sear and yellowed
files the actual transactions ..

  To steal a glance and, anxious, see
  Him slipping into transparency -
  The feathered helmet already in place,
  Its shadow fallen across his face
  (His hooded sex its counterpart) -
  Unsteadies the routines of the heart.
  If I reach out and touch his wing,
  What harm, what help might he then bring?

  But suddenly he disappears,
  As so much else has down the years ...
  Until I feel him deep inside
  The emptiness, preoccupied.
  His nerve electrifies the air.
  His message is his being there.

Stanley Clisby Arthur
Old New Orleans:
  A History of the Vieux Carré,
  Its Ancient and Historical Buildings
Harmanson, 1936©

J.D. McClatchy
Mercury Rising
  Mercury Dressing
Knopf, 2011©

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raising a puppy, but writing for others

I believe I probably snaffled
this unseasonal portrait from
blr has long been registered
in the adjacent panel, Context.
Of all the works in progress
at this page - that is to say,
of all the deferred projects
that hold the most promise -
the renovation of that frame
of reference is on one's mind.
It bears listings I simply ad-
mire, without habitual consul-
tation, and it lacks listings
which would further justify
its name. 

Derek's tumblr is less contex-
tual here than I wish it were,
but there is consolation for
most readers of rmbl, that it
has its own existence. Derek
has found a rare style of tum-
blring, circumventing a form's
inherent rejection of texts,
for which he obviously cares
a great deal.

In a more modest test of bal-
ancing, I think it is under-
stood, by readers here, that
I have undertaken the respon-
sibility for raising a puppy.
I do what I can to distrib-
ute his exercises and dev-
elopment with other people,
but at the end of the day,
this duty is mine. Among my
motives for turning to this
page, I have never deceived
myself that duty is one of
them, as much as responsib-
ility may figure underneath,
from time to time; and among
my motives for raising a dog
well, I do not suppose that
companionability can carry
the sense that it does in
social comment. I do won-
der, though, how seamless-
ly a religious kind of car-
ing informs the one task,
very universally, and the
other almost not at all,
even less with affection.

Thorny is but a name I gave
my puppy. At the same time,
I'm urged to publish above
the fold, an exchange from
another entry, and because
the matter remains so wide-
ly discussed, I've agreed.
Companionship and responsi-
bility, facets of one ped-
igree, display their common
lack of austerity, all over
again; and many will say,
one should be ashamed.  

No, a shower will not get you off of the grid, although now that I think of it, giving up the right to privacy is a small price to pay to ensure more accurate google searches. I like my search engine to know that when I type "redmugbluelinen" I am looking for poetry and pictures rather than Bed, Bath, and Beyond. And if Uncle Sam is reading your blog, (which he almost certainly is), then he knows that not only does a gentleman not dine in restaurants - but he also refrains from eavesdropping an entire nation.

_ _ 

You come here in obvious good faith but possibly lightly equipped with information in the subject at issue, and the mode in which you frame it leads to infamies of conduct of the very greatest moral consequence, for which there always exist various appetites of great energy. I'm terribly sorry to draw a distinction in the midst of such sympathy, but I did not cite the right against self-incrimination as an equal little snow cone to the Everest of privacy. I cited it because thousands of persons throughout British history, the precursor nation of this one, suffered under State compulsion and were hacked, quartered, immolated and sent to their mothers in dustbins for failing to incriminate themselves and, very often, others. When Google or Bank of America or your employer does it, it's naughty. When the only power on earth of the sovereign competence to compel your death does it, it is against an inheritance of liberty which no one has the moral right to squander.

The “I have nothing to hide” school of moral self-management, by the way, is, against a power which is inherently fallible at best, not merely negligent for oneself, but antisocial in the most reckless degree. We do not measure our virtue with pride, without corrupting conduct enacted in our name. Such is the legacy of the tragic panic which has governed American society, through waves of serial Awakenings, since Massachusetts was invented. Such is the seductive pressure on us all, today, that we roast and hack our martyrs all over again, and extinguish the rights of Americans unborn. That we may be ignorant of how we do it has been the simplest of all deceptions, when that we do it remains, in the numbers of the latest Pew poll, revoltingly popular.

But this is not eavesdropping. It is populist usurpation, the elevation of the crowd to a very high place. Even in that crowd, we have friends, and can possibly find ourselves, unwittingly.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Almost skating shirtlessly, almost swimming tidelessly

    Sometimes one
    can hardly
    tell the tale 
    of the shadow 
    from the act.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Did you ever wonder, what good a shower could do?

Over the weekend, while waiting for the shower, I read (as we all did) all the usual suspects on the American president's latest arguments in favour of neglecting the due process of law under his protectorate - I mean, neighbourhood gossips do it, and it's all the same thing. By and large, our wits were in accord, Douthat blaming us all for using communications in the first place. 

I forget whether I made it to the shower, but I can recall wondering what the point would be. Oh, I must have done. I have a dog to walk.

Leonard W. Levy
Origins of the Fifth
  Amendment: The
  Right against Self-
Oxford University Press, 1968©

Sunday, June 9, 2013

By what can one be taught

 What causes me most
 shame is always the
 same thing, casual-
 ness of expectation.

 I am taught by love
 but it is mine, for
 the treasures of my

                  .. Her eyes
        in their wilderness gather fishes,
        dreaming salmon leap over cheekbones
        into the hot spring of her blood
        and her lips, wet with the flavor
        and the subtle scales, glitter
        against the horizon ..

Frank O'Hara
Poems Retrieved
  A Greek Girl at Riis Beach
Donald Allen, editor
City Lights, 2013©

Photo, Laurent
Leica M-3, 90mm Elmarit f/2.8
1/100 sec at f/4.0
Morning open shade
Kodak Ektar Pan

A Virginian in New York

Belmont Park
June 9th -

every June 9th,
while there is time

Canon, loose

      The Lord gives everything and charges
      by taking it back. What a bargain.
      Like being young for a while. We are
      allowed to visit hearts of [others],
      and go into their bodies so we feel
      no longer alone. We are permitted
      romantic love with its bounty and half-life
      of two years. It is right to mourn
      for the small hotels of Paris that used to be
      when we used to be. My mansard looking
      down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
      and me listening to the bell at night.
      Venice is no more. The best Greek islands
      have drowned in acceleration ..

Jack Gilbert
Refusing Heaven
  The Lost Hotels
  of Paris