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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fast Day 161 June 29 2010 {Visit to D.C.}

Visit to D.C.

It was hot in D.C. Some record setting days.
I remember Europe and the heat
when ten thousand died;
the Change comes on apace,
like a broken line within the Gulf.

Memorials abound here:
signposts between the quick and dead.
G20 tightens belts...
and the noose
around our necks,
memorial noose of Saddam who died
amid the jeers and curses recorded
by cell phone photographers.

Kids, don't buy that house yet!
Give it 2 years!
The world  shredded like tea,
read the future from the leaves
left within the broken china cups
from your wedding registry!
Pick-up-pieces generation!
Chips of broken china, like
White Haven's broken mausoleums of desire;
tombstones arrayed like single-
family houses along Old Georgetown Road.

The day before he died, Uncle Leonard
was cookin' up a storm, and he called
everyone he knew to come and eat
johnny-cakes and green bacon 
he learned to make in the lumber camps
up in the Pontiac, Quebec.
Now we eat corn cakes with butter and salt...

Georgetown's Hogwarts tower looms above
the zero mile marker of the C&O canal,
where the water gate still sits unused.
There are too many memorials in D.C.
I feel like a wraith of history,
eating copper and broze,
drinking limestone and steel,
until I vomit weaponry of gold.


on returning from DC and Georgetown and Bethesda.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Welcome to Luli, a new friend. I suppose now I shall have to actually work on my Portugese, no longer playing the dilettante of language. And I welcome her in the week of a poem on Fritz Lang's Metropolis - which is a bit much. I really don't know what to make of some of this stuff. It's almost like there's a scull full of crew and coxswain pulling at the metaphorical oars in the simile waters of the rhetorical Isis where the bumps race of Eights Week is always a-running... as it were. But poetry is not really "poetry", your grandmother's poetry, the "poetry" we learned in elementary schools: it is a launching pad to the universe, and Emily Dickinson put on the chains of rhyme and meter... to be free!... whereas some of us speak unfettered, but the only result is our enslavement.

Words are friends and companions. They are not mournful teachers and dons; they are not forbidding priests and stern Savanarolas...  If a word is a mighty tree, we climb it. If a word is a sea, we swim in it. If a word is a soft bed, trail forward lightly and invade a lover's delight-space !

Fast Day 160 June 26 2010 {In the Gardens of Metropolis}

The New Tower of Babel in Metropolis

In The Gardens of Metropolis

Between the hands of labor
and the head of tech a chasm dwelt
awaiting some tree-like paroxysm
of nature: a mediator to intercede -
to plant itself within the yawning gap
left fallow within the gardens:

first the kabbala of Rotwang
gave a fruit - the largest of the family,
colour pale next to wall,
colour red next to sun,
set in clay and sprung to life,
a golem like narcissos,
obedient to a malady of Hel
where an entire branch of
a summer day will die;
the fruit has a bitter kernel.

second the living and dying god
given to excessive growth as is seen
in maiden plants set in new made borders,
saddle-grafted onto old root stock:
October - bane of Freder - the time
to disburden a tree of fruit
and whip him with a light birch broom,
the straight switch, or the sturdy cane
to remove decaying leaves
to encourage wood's ripening
and maturation of blossom-buds
in next year's spring...
if spring does arrive!

third mutation yet unimagined!
a forcing garden to compel
by artificial means a cultivation
of fruits unnative to these climes;
in houses built of metallic mixtures,
as iron cased with copper, which
produce expansive force unequal
which tends to break
the hothouse glass
in consequence of a twisting
and a torsion
and a racking
in the bars wrought-iron...
so do machine men:
iron boys and iron maidens,
try to gather rosebuds,
but all is liable to rust!

Brought on by viewing the most recent and updated version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis on the night of June 19 2010.
Posted early since I'll be traveling to D.C.

Lang and Thea von Harbou, the writer, told a tale of society where there was antagonism between the hands - labor - and the head - technology & administrative science. It was a tale based on the history of the Industrial Revolution and the Technology revolutions leading into the 20th century. They saw that there must be a mediation between the head and hand, which would be the mediator, yet also the heart, even though "heart" and "mediator" were distinct entities in the film.
The possibilities were first: a type of medieval mysticism and Kabbala applied to science, Rotwang, the inventor, who had sacrificed his right arm in order to create a perfect android, a machine man or robot. He now wore a prosthetic arm covered by a dark glove, foreshadowing Dr. Strangelove, and Lionel Atwill as the village chief of police in Son of Frankenstein.
Second: a Christianity which was based totally upon the mediation of the dichotomy, seemingly leaving out all other doctrines. The Mediator would be an real man, Freder in the movie, and he would come forward in the fullness of time - apparently - and the golden age would be reached. Of course, a good deal of the City, particularly the workers' quarters, would have to be destroyed before this occurred.
Third: a surprise ending, which is actually what happened in Germany. The Mediator's followers became the Men at the dock at Nurnberg, and in the glass case in Tel Aviv.

The studio was UFA, by the way, which may or may not explain my sign in my other blog about OK, UFA!

Hel   deceased mother of Freder, beloved of Rotwang. Also name of the Norse goddess Hel, a goddess of some of the dead.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fast Day 159 June 19 2010 {Catamarans a Voiles-Etoiles...}

Catamarans à Voiles-Étoiles
dans le Golfe du Mexique

Les télescopes de MM. Green & Cook
étaient d'une grandeur considerable;
mais celui du Docteur Hubble était
encore beaucoup plus grand.
La mort d'une planète, deja agée,
d'un rang supérieur, nourricier de Galaxie,
présenta a la Science belle occasion
de connaître les cérémonies funèbres
dans les signes du zodiaque,
tout en disant:
Never, never shall we cease to long
for the Earth, not returning, exiled
upon the Euxine Sea; no delicious
homecoming sweet nostalgia;
prodigal we are in debt to Death.

an experiment.
title:  Sailing Catamarans of Stars in the Gulf of Mexico
meditation on technology and our lives.


The telescopes of Misters Green and Cook
were of considerable size,
but that of Doctor Hubble was
even larger.
The death of a planet, already quite old,
of a high rank, nourisher of Galaxy,
gave Science a perfect occasion
to observe the funeral customs
in the signs of the zodiac,
all the while saying:
(the rest in English...)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fast Day 158 June 12 2010 {Lawnmower Meet}

Lawnmower Meet

We crossed the wide Mississippi
riding our John Deere mowers,
like Farnsworth in Straight Story;
malachite green fields doubtful,
dotted with a hiatus of machines,
whirring gestures spinning,
a herd of residential
zero-turn lawnmowers
looming like phantoms in the night air:
we boiled water for coffee
and we baked our bread
and spit the fish we caught
in the waters of the wide Mississippi.

I've been at my parents and there was no computer access; they seem to take a Luddite stance against them, although singing fishes and other such oddities hold no fear for them. It is also hard to get a cell phone signal unless you get in  the car and drive a bit.

pictures won't load this AM... Blogger problem.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fast Day 157 June 5 2010 {Empty Seats at a Reception}

Empty Seats at a Reception

So ill my brother grew,
he could not attend the wedding feast
and so I sent Hakeem to search
the hungry, thirsty, and the poor.

Hakeem, whom I had met
last night, who'd journeyed from afar,
went into the early rain to search
for poverty to feed in Grosse Pointe.

Tradition says we share
the wealth and blessings on us bestowed,
parceling out in our finer detail
the general bulky benefits of grace.

All the prophets as one
in opinion and in holy writ
could not conceive the modern day:
in Grosse Pointe no poor were found!

We gave it to Solanus,
good father to himself hand out
to all the poor in all Detroit;
we all need loaves and fishes.

I couldn't get near my computer to post this until now.
The wedding was history relived:  great pageantry and warfare with weapons of silk and lace, with a great number of distinguished generals and their ladies posing for daguerreotypes. Pomegranate grenades lit the night sky.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Welcome to a new friend, Claire. Now there's a fine name, my daughter's middle name and that of mathair mo croidhe  ( "Mother Macree" ); I like to use mathair mo croidhe for "mother-in-law", which is a term that is ungainly and belongs strictly to people with the minds of lawyers. It means "mother of my heart". For me own mother, I just say "mother of my ___ ( whatever organ seems appropriate for our relationship at the time!).
So the name of mathair mo croidhe is Claire, too. She has gone, but her presence is still here, as well as her fine name, which resonates in the choir of her family in Quebec and Ireland.

I welcomed Dana twice, so I'm recalling one of them. Actually, as I look at them, the second one was not much of a welcome or anything: just a mumbling about whether I had done it or not. So it didn't count, I guess. So I'm restoring it. Unless he wants to send it back for a store discount.

It is early this morning, and I have a distinct sense of eternity & art, as well as the propinquity of time; time seems like a rider on a horse who will reach down and pull us up behind them, to ride wildly into the rest of the history that stretches out ahead of us.
I feel good.