Dining Rooms Don’t Dine (A Discussion on Health Care in America)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 512

“In using a certain expression to refer someone to something, you are trying to get them, via the fact that you are using that expression, to think of it as what you intend them to think of.” from Kent Bach’s “What Does it Take to Refer?”

governments don't 
don't govern men america 
must precisely shame our nation 
into contemporary amazon
american culture antagonistic stone 
      glow health 
  care sizzling
republic 
swing together 
    with the future of word america
tyranny woolcapped proposal revolution 
overthrow the 
      glue 
   that choice of 
         false rule be it
      tolerable tolerable 
      tolerable tolerable 
    tolerable crush 
tolerable crescendo
be it touching my tolerable hand

from Percival Everett in “The Art of Fiction No. 235”

Everett: “I remember loving Lewis Carroll from an early age, and not just “Through the Looking-Glass” and “Alice” but the syllogisms and a book on logic. And then I remember quite well, early on, reading something I thought I shouldn’t be reading, Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage”, which I got from my father’s shelf. I think I was nine. It was fun because I didn’t think I was supposed to read it. As I look back, I think that it’s reading, probably even more than writing, that I find important. Reading is subversive because you necessarily do it by yourself. Which is why books scare people like Donald Trump. What’s interesting to me is that the poor people who identify with Donald Trump, they think of themselves as unlucky rich people. If things had just gone differently, they would be rich, too. The system has worked against them. It’s the same reason people play the lottery. Overnight you could wake up rich, and that’s an exciting thing. What you can’t do overnight is become educated. That requires a lot of work, so that’s not a goal. It’s something to fear. But that’s exactly why I find books so important. I don’t care what people read. If they read anything, then they might read something else. I just want to participate in making a different culture. I’m thinking of that line of Walt Whitman’s—”Produce great Persons, the rest follows.” It sounds flip when you just say it, but it’s true. That’s not to say that people are bad, but I want a readership that wants to read things because the work is difficult, not because it’s only fun. I want the fun to be in figuring it out. That’s what reading is all about, and to me writing is really just an extension of reading. But there, enough of my soapbox.”

Read the entire interview in The Paris Review.

Hypovolemic Fantasy, Eros, Alone

Wikipedia Poem, No. 502

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“Evening of a day in early March, / you are like the smell of drains / in a restaurant where pate maison / is a slab of cold meat loaf / damp and wooly. You lack charm.” James Schuyler

   verbing hot 
        and heavy
like a 
lover's 
    wet mouth
after dark
       n u 
  my mirror body itself
comes 
   separated 
        skin from skin from skin from 
   skin 
torn from skin 
like peeling paint 
 from skin from 
skin from skin from skin 
from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin 
from skin ripped from a 
turtle's 
          shell 
         
  yr mirror 
body 
itself
comes 
paint 
       from a turtle 
   shell 
   the 
shell fear 
is blood hard
is that 
 i peeling separates
      skin from skin from his liquid from 
from skin from a turtle's shell 
the 
mirror yr mouth
after 
dark
n u fear 
the blood is 
blood coming  
  comes hot 
and 
heavy has come
like peeling paint 
from a 
turtle's 
shell 
 
    the illness 
like paint-like   
    skin from a 
        turtle's shell 
        the 
shell 
        peels
separating
     skin 
from 
skin from a turtle's shell

Hezutsu Tōsaku (1726-1789)

affluence

Affluence—define it as:
pickled greens,
rice for supper,
nice wine, one bottle,
modest but never empty

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Source: Sato, Hiroaki, and Burton Watson. From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. Print.

Handheld Halo (Drinks with Mitch)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 475

Mitch

“The Dark One threw me a glance like a dagger today. / Since that moment, I am insane; I can’t find my body.” Mirabai (trans. Robert Bly)

          drunking 
          out 
          pretty 
      along 
      the hand 

      scratching 

        out 
  pretty along the baptist?
    no is it 
krishna then?
is 
it 
mirabai 
or the baptist?
    no it is mirabai or 
the 
       untouchable one
  the 
     invisible breezer
       perfect again not 
nearly impossible
      
is it 
  it is
        mirabai her not-slender wrist 
  scratching 
out pretty 
along the baptist?
        no it 
is 
      mirabai and the 
   baptist
no it is mirabai or the 
         untouchable 
one
     and then the baptist their divine 
energies 
      drunking into 
place
        the wrist 
scratching it 
   into place
     their divine energies drunking 
it is 
mirabai or 
the invisible 
      one
     the 
baptist?
no it is krishna
is 
it blue-faced like st. john the baptised 
no is it placed
      into this divine energy
safely

 

‘Another variation of formlessness’

“Isn’t the most profound education the one that was afforded me at my childhood elementary school, the one that divides the ink sharply between thought become Letter and drive turned into splotches and blots? How will those who begin with the darkish gray on the palish gray of computer screens manage? Without the slightest inkblot? Won’t they think that thought is just another variation of formlessness, that the intellect is just a thin additional coat of gray over the gray of drive, and drive a mere stripping of the gray of the intellect?

Everything in the world is the result of a creative and careful dosing of black as it is projected onto the formidable invariability of white. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this, and sooner rather than later, will never learn anything.”

— from the essay “Chalk and Markers” in Alain Badiou’s “Black”.

Mary Ruefle

think like that
no like that

sniff around a burrow
don’t hunt birds

think like this
no like this

raccoons yes groundhogs
yes opossum definitely yes

think for yourself
no not like that

not the robin though
nor the house sparrow

here give me the controller
let me have a go at it

nor the half dozen finches
gathered near the volkswagen

put your hands up
don’t move a muscle.

Two a Rhythm of the Mind

bike-sm

“6. Greek mathematicians did not think one was a number because the concept one did not involve number. To them, two was the first number. And the hybrid marriage of one, which was not a number, and two, which was, begot three, the second number. And from one, two, and three, all other numbers proceeded, so that all odd numbers had in them an element that was not number. This is why Plato said that the leap from one to two was the leap to rationality.

Leonard Bernstein, speaking of music, said that two was a rhythm of the body and three was a rhythm of the mind. This has been contested by people who say that three is a rhythm of the body and two a rhythm of the mind. Not everyone has weighed in on this subject. But it seems intuitively right, doesn’t it? To say that there is a groundedness in the symmetry of twos, off which threes seem to play, seem airier.”

Robert Hass, from “A Little Book on Form”

Sappho

Wikipedia Poem, No. 428

brid2TA-sm

“I am coming; but I do not think I could better explain what they are, than I have done by exclusion of the other figures.” Socrates via Valéry

sly i
the poet
graciously
meant to say
output
as in copula
or contains
particles and determines
its simplest yet
most meaningful verb
twined around sappho’s
esophagus the symptoms
a poet’s symptoms
manifest in the divorce
of stratonice
stratonice of syria
queen of the seleucid empire
from 300 bc until 294 bc