Friday, May 26, 2017

Freshman numerals

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
I assimilated that char-
acter of life from those
who went through it, who
lent scope and shape, to
a degree, to my own time.

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
Not through rhetoric but
through experience, some
spontaneous recognitions
affix themselves through
him to my understandings.

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
Not through rhetoric and
experience except in the
present in America, with
its harshnesses gathered
through time as if those
freshman numerals belong
to a jacket gone missing.

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
He means to sharpen vow-
els as consonants, fork-
ing us himself with pon-
iards of thrilling male-
volence, a jackboot mor-
on to soothe indignation
and deny reconciliations.

Not that this means he's
not an inexhaustibly use-
ful fool in his own sabo-
tage. Just as Republican
sages planned to exploit
his frailties, they show-
ed themselves as darken-
ing their own tidy name.
Oh, my. The scheme is up
in smoke; their embraces
of each other nullify it.

Geoff Brown
Worker in a tire shop

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Achieving Thursday: learning from pictures

This excellent photograph, said by
our internet sources to come down
to us from the many-rivered vicinity
of Richmond, Virginia in the 1950s,
documents the adjustment in disposi-
tions we associate with a departure.

There has been a change, which will
play itself out through layers of
revision of this palpable bond, we
might not expect to see visibly ex-
panded, but we see its consequence.

To take a moment to take it in, has 
been to learn to govern projection 
of the self upon the data received,
but also to resolve to discover it.

It is the practice of citizenship,
whose mastery urges itself upon us
as an elementary discrimination now,
between sentiment and plain evidence.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Origins of Wednesday L: Look away? ii

         The Secession war? Nay, let me call it the Union war.
         Though whatever call'd, it is even yet too near us -
         too vast and too closely overshadowing - its branches
         unform'd yet, (but certain,) shooting far into the fu-
         ture - and the most indicative and mightiest of them
         yet ungrown. A great literature will yet arise out of
         the era of those four years, those scenes - era com-
         pressing centuries of native passion, first-class pic-
         tures, tempests of life and death - an inexhaustible
         mine for the histories, drama, romance, and even phil-
         osophy, of peoples to come - indeed the verteber of
         poetry and art, (of personal character too,) for all
         future America - far more grand, in my opinion, to the
         hands capable of it, than Homer's siege of Troy, or 
         the French wars to Shakespeare.

 But I must leave these speculations,
 and come to the theme I have assign'd
 myself to. Of the actual murder of
 President Lincoln, though so much has 
 been written, probably the facts are 
 indefinite in most persons' minds ..

Walt Whitman
Complete Poetry
  and Collected Prose
    Democratric Vistas
Justin Kaplan
The Library of America, 1982©

David Cole
The New York Review of Books
May 23, 2017©

J.D. Crowe, drawing