Friday, October 3, 2014

"The part I knew, I saw as a neighbor"

I met Willem de Kooning on
the fire escape, because a
black kitten lost in the
rain cried at my door, and
after the rain it turned
out to be his kitten.

     Later, I saw in some Greek temples
     contradictory forces operating pub-
     licly at full speed. Reading the Il-
     iad, the poem at the height of reason
     presented the irrational and subjec-
     tive, self-contradictory sweep of ac-
     tion under inspiration. I had missed
     the point in [talks with de Kooning].
     The question Bill was keeping open
     with an enduring impatience had been
     that of professional responsibility
     toward the force of inspiration. That
     force or scale is there every day here
     where everybody is. Whose responsibil-
     ity is it, if not your own? What he
     said was, "All an artist has left to
     work with is his self-consciousness."

  Next week, the Library
  of America will publish
  an indispensable reclam-
  ation of contemporary
  writings from the heart
  of mid-20th Century art.
  Here, Edwin Denby is re-
  constituting the evolu-
  tion of his friend's art
  from the germinaton of
  its conceptual rudiments.
  I do not know a more ex-
  citing project in art
  history than the volume
  which has lately fallen
  into my hands. We are
  closer than neighbors,
  to such wonderful things.

Rudy Burckhardt
The Flat Iron

Art in America
  1945 - 1970
  Writings from the
  Age of Abstract Ex-
  pressionism, Pop Art,
  and Minimalism
Library Classics of the
  United States, 2014©

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Some Service


   Coming to terms with the reality
   that an agency charged with the
   protection of the President would
   shove him into an elevator, any-
   where, with persons unknown, much
   less persons unscanned for contra-
   band, even if known? This doesn't
   happen. Is there a coming to terms
   with a little slack for negligent
   homicide, against the holder of an
   already unstable and excessive pow-
   er over the lives of several hundred
   million ostensibly free people? It
   makes more sense for the Secret Ser-
   vice simply to toss him down the 
   shaft, relying upon wings of angels.

   At a minimum, I don't see why we can
   not be conditioned by episodic stunts
   of higher visibility, imperiling our
   plans and disrupting our commitments,
   to wean us all of illusions of trust,
   to say nothing of the fallacy that a
   limit exists, to how power stupefies.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Has anyone else lost Canada?

I certainly hope no one
else has suffered my con-
fusion, bordering on dis-
may, at the sudden loss
of an entire dominion 
from one's circulation.
And such a stalwart has
Canada been - to all of
us, I'm sure - that to
go without its sighting
in one's Stats can be a
shock. Just as readily,
thankfully, Canada re-
sumes its vaunted place. 

Origins of Wednesday viii: the sowing harvest

We've been out again
  on the backroads,
buying things. Here's
  a permanent harvest:
an apple and four cherries
stenciled on a chair-back,

the arm-wood glowing,
  so human,
from within, where the
  red paint's
been worn away by 
  how many arms
at rest. Polished and

by the blue table and
  the windows
that frame the back gar-
it's a true consolation,
necessary, become this

through its own wearing
by use, festive with its
fruit. Anything lived into
  long enough
becomes an orchard.

              I love the brooks 
              which down their 
              channels fret

              Even more than when
              I tripped lightly
              as they

Mark Doty
My Alexandria
  The Wings
T.S. Eliot Prize
op. cit.

William Wordsworth
Intimations of Immortality
  from Recollections of Early
Poetry Foundation, 2014©

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Flat earth foreign policy

  Just in time to fuse those fis-
  sures wrought by globalisation's
  compulsory collisions of socie-
  ties once suspended in some au-
  tonomy, the voices of its deep-
  est-vested interests have begun
  to draw up lists of approved re-
  ligions, to insulate its hypoc-
  risies from creeds of violent
  resistance. It's not about mod-
  ernity, it's about impunity, the
  promised land of justification.

  No one can profess to be embar-
  rassed to find an American pres-
  ident leading the way to selec-
  tive orthodoxy; but that it has 
  to be an American president, ex- 
  poses the source of the strain.