Friday, May 11, 2007

Fantastic news!!!!!!

Well, yesterday I finished laying all the uncut tiles (well, not the ones that are to go under the cabinet under the north {north by northwest, actually [the streets are tilted a bit here so they don'd have a strictly north-south alignment]})wall.
So now I've got to spend the day cutting tiles so I can get the space under the refrigerator, the cabinet we already have, and especially the stove, finished and grouted so I can move them back enabling us to walk through the kitchen and, more importantly, heat up food.

Coffee can be done in the microwave, but it's not the same.

You never get intimate stuff like this from Jeremy Denk or Ilkka Talvi, do ya?

I'm getting nervous about monday's class. Fooling aroung in the kitchen keeps me from writing (meets the legal definition of) music.
I'm paying this guy to help me pretend to be a composer, the least I can do is bring some new outrage to class.
He has two pre-teen boys at home, so probably the fact that I don't break anything (except certain rules of harmonic decency) makes for some kind of relief for him.

Speaking of co-incidence....

....sorry to run off like that, I just heard the garbage truck and had to rush out and put out my can.

More stuff you don't get anywhere else.

What co-incidence? I forget.

Oh, yeah.

Just when I need it to cut tile for the kitchen, a tenant leaves a tile cutter when she moves out. What luck, eh?
Of course a tile cutter sufficient to the task can be had for $89.00 at Lowes and the cost of preparing the house for a new tenant and the lost revenue amounts to several thousand but,what the hay? I like to be thankful for small blessings, no matter how expensive.

I mean whattim I gonna do about it now?

Which is my philosophy about my SSO adventure
Which is my philosophy about my relationship to whatshername and Jesus.

So, now I've got to go and plug in the tile cutter and find out that it doesn't work.

I'll tell you about the Union Hotel and the Annie Oakley room later.

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Blogger butch said...

THE LONLINESS OF A LONG DISTANCE TILER: Man, you are really becoming smooth and open with your reflections --and you're right; we do not, definitely do not get this action on ANY other blog site. You are the one and the only, and FEEL FREE TO LAUGH has begin to swell in stature, including intense in-depth research, politics, and poetry.

Your great wooden house perches on the edge of your street like a teradyktal, ready to launch itself out over Rainier Ave, to fly over to Mercer Island and pelt those rich bastards with old lumber and bricks and moss. Hell, there is no way any wall or floor in your domicle could be plumb, or truly any direction.

You are so right about perked coffee versus microwaved heated up variety. My mother-in-law makes up huge vats of coffee, and then pours the inky stuff into quart jars and keeps in in her refrigerator. She pours out a cup when she, or guests, want some, and always heats it up in the microswave; and it is nasty stuff.

I love your phrase,"bring a new outrage to class." That certainly sums up much of what you do, and who you are, sir. From your apple crate and PC pipe instruments, to those lovely violins that you carve up like symphonic pumpkins in your basement --someone somewhere is always asking,"Doug Palmer, that man does one outrageous thing after another; which outrages me and my mother-in-law, who doesn't even know him." How many people are in your Composition class?

Are you making reference to some kind of electric tile cutter, some power tool? I always though you used a tile cutter that is shaped like a fat lemon slice knife; sharp as hell with a wooden handle. Power screwdrivers, power fingernail clippers, what the duece is next; power nosehair clippers?

Much of the SSO Adventure, "The Story" is like blood under the bridge; and yet look at the mileage you get from your own outrage? So, in fact, you are doing something about it; riling up your readership on a regular basis for one thing.

Ah yes, the Union Hotel and the Annie Oakley room. They sound like somewhere Richard Brautigan may have spent some time while writing TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA.


3:17 PM  
Blogger butch said...

Just living in, or near Tacoma, what we who grew up on the hard streets of Seattle used to call,"The armpit of the Northwest," blessed with the Tacoma Aroma [which has been cleaned up and eradicated by the way] --I grow a bit giddy when I realize I am inhabiting some of the space that Richard Brautigan tred before WWII, as a child. I found some more data on him; a nice crisp Bio:

Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) was born in Tacoma, Washington. His father was a laborer, his mother a housewife. Although he never went to college, Brautigan was poet-in-residence at the California Institute of Technology in 1967, the year before he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He had begun to write poems as a teenager and later told an interviewer that he wrote poetry for seven years in an attempt to learn how to write a sentence.

Brautigan's early books were published by small presses in San Francisco, beginning in 1957 with the poems in The Return of the Rivers and later including Please Plant This Book, a volume of seeds in a handsome envelope printed in 1968 by Graham MacKintosh. In 1965 Grove Press published his first novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur, a playful satire on the hippie lifestyle in the manner of a Stephen Crane Civil War book. Trout Fishing in America (written in 1961 and published in 1967), a collage-like book of loosely linked stories, was described by the critic Robert Novak as "Brautigan's Hemingway book, a kind of 'Big Two-Hearted River' as seen through the disillusioned eyes of a flower child." This work sold more than two million copies and established his reputation as the voice of a generation.

In his last published novel, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away (1982), Brautigan apparently modeled the narrator after himself as the twelve year old, unsettled by the absence of his father and the frequent moves from town to town in the Pacific Northwest with his mother. The book's dark mood suggests the recurrent depression from which he suffered. In 1984 Brautigan committed suicide, like Ernest Hemingway, with a single gunshot wound to his head.

I have now finished reading your selected Brautigan work, TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA. It really blew me away, very Vonnegut-like, with a touch of Norman Mailer, and a dash of Kerouac, and a spraying down from Ginsberg. William Burroughs must have licked his bony faggy lips when he read it, green with envy. I read where they think that Brautigan might have been much more than eccentric; he was probably schizaphrenic; which helps to explicate his highs and lows, severe depressions, and suicide. Kind of a cross between Eddie Poe and Ken Kesey don't you know?

Hey, I'm glad you enjoyed the DVD I loaned called REEFER MADNESS. I stumbled onto some cool literature from the 1930's that compliment that mad perception:

Marijuana, a stalk of which is shown above, is contributing to our alarming wave of sex crime, according to many police officials. The weed can be easily recognized by its seven-bladed, saw-tooth leaves. It grows in stalks from 3 to 8 feet high. THE sprawled body of a young girl lay crushed on the sidewalk the other day after a plunge from the fifth story of a Chicago apartment house. Everyone called it suicide, but actually it was murder. The killer was a narcotic known to America as marijuana, and to history as hashish. It is a narcotic used in the form of cigarettes, comparatively new to the United States and as dangerous as a coiled rattlesnake.
How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can be only conjectured. The sweeping march of its addiction has been so insidious that, in numerous communities, it thrives almost unmolested, largely because of official ignorance of its effects.
Here indeed is the unknown quantity among narcotics. No one can predict its effect. No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a philosopher, a joyous reveler in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer.
That youth has been selected by the peddlers of this poison as an especially fertile field makes it a problem of serious concern to every man and woman in America.

THERE was the young girl, for instance, who leaped to her death. Her story is typical. Some time before, this girl, like others of her age who attend our high schools, had heard the whispering of a secret which has gone the rounds of American youth. It promised a new thrill, the smoking of a type of cigarette which contained a “real kick.” According to the whispers, this cigarette could accomplish wonderful reactions and with no harmful aftereffects. So the adventurous girl and a group of her friends gathered in an apartment, thrilled with the idea of doing “something different” in which there was “no harm.”Then a friend produced a few cigarettes of the loosely rolled “homemade” type. They were passed from one to another of the young people, each taking a few puffs.
The results were weird. Some of the party went into paroxysms of laughter; every remark, no matter how silly, seemed excruciatingly funny. Others of mediocre musical ability became almost expert; the piano dinned constantly. Still others found themselves discussing weighty problems of youth with remarkable clarity. As one youngster expressed it, he “could see through stone walls.” The girl danced without fatigue, and the night of unexplainable exhilaration seemed to stretch out as though it were a year long. Time, conscience, or consequences became too trivial for consideration.
Other parties followed, in which inhibitions vanished, conventional barriers departed, all at the command of this strange cigarette with its ropy, resinous odor. Finally there came a gathering at a time when the girl was behind in her studies and greatly worried. With every puff of the smoke the feeling of despondency lessened. Everything was going to be all right — at last. The girl was “floating” now, a term given to marijuana intoxication. Suddenly, in the midst of laughter and dancing she thought of her school problems. Instantly they were solved. Without hesitancy she walked to a window and leaped to her death. Thus can marijuana “solve” one’s difficulties.
The cigarettes may have been sold by a hot tamale vendor or by a street peddler, or in a dance hall or over a lunch counter, or even from sources much nearer to the customer. The police of a Midwestern city recently accused a school janitor of having conspired with four other men, not only to peddle cigarettes to children, but even to furnish apartments where smoking parties might be held.
A Chicago mother, watching her daughter die as an indirect result of marijuana addiction, told officers that at least fifty of the girl’s young friends were slaves to the narcotic. This means fifty unpredictables. They may cease its use; that is not so difficult as with some narcotics. They may continue addiction until they deteriorate mentally and become insane. Or they may turn to violent forms of crime, to suicide or to murder. Marijuana gives few warnings of what it intends to do to the human brain.

THE menace of marijuana addiction is comparatively new to America. In 1931, the marijuana file of the United States Narcotic Bureau was less than two inches thick, while today the reports crowd many large cabinets. Marijuana is a weed of the Indian hemp family, known in Asia as Cannabis Indica and in America as Cannabis Sativa. Almost everyone who has spent much time in rural communities has seen it, for it is cultivated in practically every state. Growing plants by the thousands were destroyed by law-enforcement officers last year in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, Michigan, Maryland, Louisiana, Illinois, and the attack on the weed is only beginning.
It was an unprovoked crime some years ago which brought the first realization that the age-old drug had gained a foothold in America. An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home they found the youth staggering about in a human, slaughterhouse. With an ax he had killed his father, his mother, two brothers, and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze.
“I’ve had a terrible dream,” he said. “People tried to hack off my arms!”
“Who were they?” an officer asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe one was my uncle. They slashed me with knives and I saw blood dripping from an ax.”
He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called “muggles,” a childish name for marijuana.
Since that tragedy there has been a race between the spread of marijuana and its suppression. Unhappily, so far, marijuana has won by many lengths. The years 1935 and 1936 saw its most rapid growth in traffic. But at least we now know what we are facing. We know its history, its effects, and its potential victims. Perhaps with the spread of this knowledge the public may be aroused sufficiently to conquer the menace. Every parent owes it to his children to tell them of the terrible effects of marijuana to offset the enticing “private information” which these youths may have received. There must be constant enforcement and equally constant education against this enemy, which has a record of murder and terror running through the centuries.

THE weed was known to the ancient Greeks and it is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. Homer wrote that it made men forget their homes and turned them into swine. Ancient Egyptians used it. In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason. The members were confirmed users of hashish, or marijuana, and it is from the Arabic “hashshashin” that we have the English word “assassin.” Even the term “running amok” relates to the drug, for the expression has been used to describe natives of the Malay Peninsula who, under the influence of hashish, engage in violent and bloody deeds.
Marijuana was introduced into the United States from Mexico, and swept across America with incredible speed.
It began with the whispering of vendors in the Southwest that marijuana would perform miracles for those who smoked it, giving them a feeling of physical strength and mental power, stimulation of the imagination, the ability to be “the life of the party.” The peddlers preached also of the weed’s capabilities as a “love potion.” Youth, always adventurous, began to look into these claims and found some of them true, not knowing that this was only half the story They were not told that addicts may often develop a delirious rage during which they are temporarily and violently insane; that this insanity may take the form of a desire for self-destruction or a persecution complex to be satisfied only by the commission of some heinous crime.

IT would be well for law-enforcement officers everywhere to search for marijuana behind cases of criminal and sex assault. During the last year a young male addict was hanged in Baltimore for criminal assault on a ten-year-old girl. His defense was that he was temporarily insane from smoking marijuana. In Alamosa, Colo., a degenerate brutally attacked a young girl while under the influence of the drug. In Chicago, two marijuana smoking boys murdered a policeman.
In at least two dozen other comparatively recent cases of murder or degenerate sex attacks, many of them committed by youths, marijuana proved to be a contributing cause. Perhaps you remember the young desperado in Michigan who, a few months ago, caused a reign of terror by his career of burglaries and holdups, finally to be sent to prison for life after kidnapping a Michigan state policeman, killing him, then handcuffing him to the post of a rural mailbox. This young bandit was a marijuana fiend.
A sixteen-year-old boy was arrested in California for burglary. Under the influence of marijuana he had stolen a revolver and was on the way to stage a holdup when apprehended. Then there was the nineteen-year-old addict in Columbus, Ohio, who, when police responded to a disturbance complaint, opened fire upon an officer, wounding him three times, and was himself killed by the returning fire of the police. In Ohio a gang of seven young men, all less than twenty years old, had been caught after a series of 38 holdups. An officer asked them where they got their incentive.
“We only work when we’re high on ‘tea,’” one explained.
“On what?”
“On tea. Oh, there are lots of names for it. Some people call it ‘mu’ or ‘muggles’ or ‘Mary Weaver’ or ‘moocah’ or ‘weed’ or ‘reefers’ — there’s a million names for it.”
“All of which mean marijuana?”
“Sure. Us kids got on to it in high school three or four years ago; there must have been twenty-five or thirty of us who started smoking it. The stuff was cheaper then; you could buy a whole tobacco tin of it for fifty cents. Now these peddlers will charge you all they can get, depending on how shaky you are. Usually though, it’s two cigarettes for a quarter.”
This boy’s casual story of procurement of the drug was typical of conditions in many cities in America. He told of buying the cigarettes in dance halls, from the owners of small hamburger joints, from peddlers who appeared near high schools at dismissal time. Then there were the “booth joints” or Bar-B-Q stands, where one might obtain a cigarette and a sandwich for a quarter, and there were the shabby apartments of women who provided not only the cigarettes but rooms in which girls and boys might smoke them.
“But after you get the habit,” the boy added, “you don’t bother much about finding a place to smoke. I’ve seen as many as three or four high-school kids jam into a telephone booth and take a few drags.”
The officer questioned him about the gang’s crimes: “Remember that filling-station attendant you robbed — how you threatened to beat his brains out?”
The youth thought hard. “I’ve got a sort of hazy recollection,” he answered. “I’m not trying to say I wasn’t there, you understand. The trouble is, with all my gang, we can’t remember exactly what we’ve done or said. When you get to ‘floating,’ it’s hard to keep track of things.”
From the other youthful members of the gang the officer could get little information. They confessed the robberies as one would vaguely remember bad dreams.
“If I had killed somebody on one of those jobs, I’d never have known it,” explained one youth. “Sometimes it was over before I realized that I’d even been out of my room.”

THEREIN lies much of the cruelty of marijuana, especially in its attack upon youth. The young, immature brain is a thing of impulses, upon which the “unknown quantity” of the drug acts as an almost overpowering stimulant. There are numerous cases on record like that of an Atlanta boy who robbed his father’s safe of thousands of dollars in jewelry and cash. Of high-school age, this boy apparently had been headed for an honest, successful career. Gradually, however, his father noticed a change in him. Spells of shakiness and nervousness would be succeeded by periods when the boy would assume a grandiose manner and engage in excessive, senseless laughter, extravagant conversation, and wildly impulsive actions. When these actions finally resulted in robbery the father went at his son’s problem in earnest — and found the cause of it a marijuana peddler who catered to school children. The peddler was arrested.
It is this useless destruction of youth which is so heartbreaking to all of us who labor in the field of narcotic suppression. No one can predict what may happen after the smoking of the weed. I am reminded of a Los Angeles case in which a boy of seventeen killed a policeman. They had been great friends. Patrolling his beat, the officer often stopped to talk to the young fellow, to advise him. But one day the boy surged toward the patrolman with a gun in his hand; there was a blaze of yellowish flame, and the officer fell dead.
“Why did you kill him?” the youth was asked.
“I don’t know,” he sobbed. “He was good to me. I was high on reefers. Suddenly I decided to shoot him.”
In a small Ohio town, a few months ago, a fifteen-year-old boy was found wandering the streets, mentally deranged by marijuana. Officers learned that he had obtained the dope at a garage.
“Are any other school kids getting cigarettes there?” he was asked.
“Sure. I know fifteen or twenty, maybe more. I’m only counting my friends.”
The garage was raided. Three men were arrested and 18 pounds of marijuana seized.
“We’d been figuring on quitting the racket,” one of the dopesters told the arresting officer. “These kids had us scared. After we’d gotten ’em on the weed, it looked like easy money for a while. Then they kept wanting more and more of it, and if we didn’t have it for ’em, they’d get tough. Along toward the last, we were scared that one of ’em would get high and kill us all. There wasn’t any fun in it.”
Not long ago a fifteen-year-old girl ran away from her home in Muskegon, Mich., to be arrested later in company with five young men in a Detroit marijuana den. A man and his wife ran the place. How many children had smoked there will never be known. There were 60 cigarettes on hand, enough fodder for 60 murders.
A newspaper in St. Louis reported after an investigation this year that it had discovered marijuana “dens,” all frequented by children of high-school age. The same sort of story came from Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, Colorado — in fact, from coast to coast.
In Birmingham, Ala., a hot-tamale salesman had pushed his cart about town for five years, and for a large part of that time he had been peddling marijuana cigarettes to students of a downtown high school. His stock of the weed, he said, came from Texas and consisted, when he was captured, of enough marijuana to manufacture hundreds of cigarettes.
In New Orleans, of 437 persons of varying ages arrested for a wide range of crimes, 125 were addicts. Of 37 murderers, 17 used marijuana, and of 193 convicted thieves, 34 were “on the weed.”

ONE of the first places in which marijuana found a ready welcome was in a closely congested section of New York. Among those who first introduced it there were musicians, who had brought the habit northward with the surge of “hot” music demanding players of exceptional ability, especially in improvisation. Along the Mexican border and in seaport cities it had been known for some time that the musician who desired to get the “hottest” effects from his playing often turned to marijuana for aid.
One reason was that marijuana has a strangely exhilarating effect upon the musical sensibilities (Indian hemp has long been used as a component of “singing seed” for canary birds). Another reason was that strange quality of marijuana which makes a rubber band out of time, stretching it to unbelievable lengths. The musician who uses “reefers” finds that the musical beat seemingly comes to him quite slowly, thus allowing him to interpolate any number of improvised notes with comparative ease. While under the influence of marijuana, he does not realize that he is tapping the keys, with a furious speed impossible for one in a normal state of mind; marijuana has stretched out the time of the music until a dozen notes may be crowded into the space normally occupied by one. Or, to quote a young musician arrested by Kansas City officers as a “muggles smoker”:
“Of course I use it — I’ve got to. I can’t play any more without it, and I know a hundred other musicians who are in the same fix. You see, when I’m ‘floating,’ I own my saxophone. I mean I can do anything with it. The notes seem to dance out of it — no effort at all. I don’t have to worry about reading the music — I’m music-crazy. Where do I get the stuff? In almost any low-class dance hall or night spot in the United States.”
Soon a song was written about the drug. Perhaps you remember:
“Have you seen
That funny reefer man?
He says he swam to China;
Any time he takes a notion
He can walk across the ocean.”
It sounded funny. Dancing girls and boys pondered about “reefers” and learned through the whispers of other boys and girls that these cigarettes could make one accomplish the impossible. Sadly enough, they can — in the imagination. The boy who plans a holdup, the youth who seizes a gun and prepares for a murder, the girl who decides suddenly to elope with a boy she did not even know a few hours ago, does so with the confident belief that this is a thoroughly logical action without the slightest possibility of disastrous consequences. Command a person “high” on “mu” or “muggles” or “Mary Jane” to crawl on the floor and bark like a dog, and he will do it without a thought of the idiocy of the action. Everything, no matter how insane, becomes plausible. The underworld calls marijuana “that stuff that makes you able to jump off the tops of skyscrapers.”

REPORTS from various sections of the country indicate that the control and sale of marijuana has not yet passed into the hands of the big gangster syndicates. The supply is so vast and grows in so many places that gangsters perhaps have found it difficult to dominate the source. A big, hardy weed, with serrated, swordlike leaves topped by bunchy small blooms supported upon a thick, stringy stalk, marijuana has been discovered in almost every state. New York police uprooted hundreds of plants growing in a vacant lot in Brooklyn. In New York State alone last year 200 tons of the growing weed were destroyed. Acres of it have been found in various communities. Patches have been revealed in back yards, behind signboards, in gardens. In many places in the West it grows wild. Wandering dopesters gather the tops from along the right of way of railroads.
An evidence of how large the traffic may be came to light last year near La Fitte, La. Neighbors of an Italian family had become amazed by wild stories told by the children of the family. They, it seemed, had suddenly become millionaires. They talked of owning inconceivable amounts of money, of automobiles they did not possess, of living in a palatial home. At last their absurd lies were reported to the police, who discovered that their parents were allowing them to smoke something that came from the tops of tall plants which their father grew on his farm. There was a raid, in which more than 500,000 marijuana plants were destroyed. This discovery led next day to another raid on a farm at Bourg, La. Here a crop of some 2,000 plants was found to be growing between rows of vegetables. The eight persons arrested confessed that their main source of income from this crop was in sales to boys and girls of high-school age.
With possibilities for such tremendous crops, grown secretly, gangdom has been hampered in its efforts to corner the profits of what has now become an enormous business. It is to be hoped that the menace of marijuana can be wiped out before it falls into the vicious protectorate of powerful members of the underworld.

BUT to crush this traffic we must first squarely face the facts. Unfortunately, while every state except one has laws to cope with the traffic, the powerful right arm which could support these states has been all but impotent. I refer to the United States government. There has been no national law against the growing, sale, or possession of marijuana.
As this is written a bill to give the federal government control over marijuana has been introduced in Congress by Representative Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. It has the backing of Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau, who has under his supervision the various agencies of the United States Treasury Department, including the Bureau of Narcotics, through which Uncle Sam fights the dope evil. It is a revenue bill, modeled after other narcotic laws which make use of the taxing power to bring about regulation and control.
The passage of such a law, however, should not be the signal for the public to lean back, fold its hands, and decide that all danger is over. America now faces a condition in which a new, although ancient, narcotic has come to live next door to us, a narcotic that does not have to be smuggled into the country. This means a job of unceasing watchfulness by every police department and by every public-spirited civic organization. It calls for campaigns of education in every school, so that children will not be deceived by the wiles of peddlers, but will know of the insanity, the disgrace, the horror which marijuana can bring to its victim. And, above all, every citizen should keep constantly before him the real picture of the “reefer man” — not some funny fellow who, should he take the notion, could walk across the ocean, but —
In Los Angeles, Calif., a youth was walking along a downtown street after inhaling a marijuana cigarette. For many addicts, merely a portion of a "reefer" is enough to induce intoxication. Suddenly, for no reason, he decided that someone had threatened to kill him and that his life at that very moment was in danger. Wildly he looked about him. The only person in sight was an aged bootblack. Drug-crazed nerve centers conjured the innocent old shoe-shiner into a destroying monster. Mad with fright, the addict hurried to his room and got a gun. He killed the old man, and then, later, babbled his grief over what had been wanton, uncontrolled murder.
“I thought someone was after me,” he said. “That’s the only reason I did it. I had never seen the old fellow before. Something just told me to kill him!”
That’s marijuana!

Marijuana, Assassin of Youth was originally published in The American Magazine volume 124 number 1 (July 1937).

Which brings us back to one of the premier Beat potheads that ever breathed in and out with Mary Jane:

Haiku Ambulance
Richard Brautigan

A piece of green pepper
off the wooden salad bowl:
so what?

Wow, read this, and dig it Doug. Here is a great article that draws all the howling raving lunatic gay drunken junkie Beat poets together, with a nice epilogue through line that is dedicated to Richard Brautigan:

Beat Inc. and the Dignity of Richard Brautigan
by Darran Anderson (betabandido) Nov 17, 2002 1:44 PM

Of all the literary movements of the 20th century the Beat Generation occupies the most untouchable position. They are still so hip that any criticism takes on the form of heresy. For fear of appearing square they are allowed to get away with murder.

The movement was never quite a movement to begin with; more a ragged group of hopeless romantics and scoundrels united by vague quasi-Buddhistic concepts, potent sexism, Rimbaud-esque spontaneity, intellectual snobbery and a jazz tinged bohemianism.

Undoubtedly there are glimpses of utter genius; Ginsberg’s “Howl” is a modern epic of immense scope and beauty, Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, when read as a demented Joycean autobiographical collage is superb and several of Kerouac’s journeys of travel and homoeroticism are worth accompanying him on.

Yet step beyond these early works and the myth begins to crumble.

Keroauc was the first to break. Petrified of the too-muchness of life he retired to the security of living with his mother and cut off all ties with the outside world. Sadly it was the beginning of a path that saw him compromise and reject all that he had stood for, stumbling into alcoholism and right wing conservatism. He emerged from his self-enforced exile on two notable occasions. One was on a talk show, bloated and bitter, where he drunkenly attacked and denounced all the youthful adventure and awe and passion the world had loved him for, in one of the saddest pieces of television footage. The second was when he was at a last party with his soul mate Neal Cassady and the young writer Ken Kesey; Keroauc, furious that someone intended to burn the stars and stripes, rescued the flag and left in acrimony. A disillusioned man he died when his cirrhotic liver could no longer function. He was found on his hands and knees vomiting blood, which he later drowned in after twenty-six transfusions.

Ginsberg never quite lived up to initial expectations, scribbling “Kaddish” and “Death to Van Gogh’s Ear” in the shadow of “Howl”.

Burroughs’s infamous queer, junkie, wife killing William Tell and self-styled “outlaw” joined Ginsberg in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and released a series of gradually diminishing works, self-consciously avant garde and strangely devoid of any sense of humanity.

All three were safely assimilated into the mainstream by becoming characters in advertisements for large companies; Ginsberg did an ad for Gap and Burroughs, despite believing that advertising was a form of social control and materialism a destructive form of madness, did a Nike ad (both thus endorsing the beatific joys of sweatshops and third world slavery).

When Keroauc’s turn to sell out and do a Gap ad came, he at least had the excuse of being dead. One beat writer (Ferlinghetti) somberly saw entering the academy and the advertisements as the last nail in the counterculture’s coffin. This served to prove Marcuse’s theory that the dominant capitalist mainstream has an enormous capacity to ingest its dissident elements thus defusing the danger of their message. The establishment did not swallow all of them however.

Neal Cassady (“the side burned hero of the Snowy West” -On the Road) continued on a path of exploration with LSD before one night wandering onto a deserted Mexican railroad, intending to walk fifteen miles to the next town. He fell asleep on the way, wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. The night was filled with frost and then rain and he was found the following morning beside the tracks in a hypothermic coma, and died in a hospital later that day. His last words were "Sixty-Four Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty-Eight," supposedly how many railroad ties he had counted before his death. It leaves the conclusion that his fictional alter ego “Dean Moriarty” (On The Road) had asked so much of him that he had killed himself living up to the legend. It was burn out or sell out.

You are left with the feeling that this movement, so incandescent with genius at its birth, never became what it could have, should have been and eventually mutated into all that it had opposed. For every one of their libertarian masterpieces there are a thousand lesser works diluted of enthusiasm and imagination and for each of their glory years there are decades of silence or worse self-renunciation. Even those writers operating on the Beat fringe like Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson faded into lazy self-imposed obscurity after the magnificent One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Once it petrified the powers that be by being a libertarian and radical counter-culture. What it became was an apathetic cosmetically-radical luxury for fashionable middle class students to entertain themselves whilst delaying their entry into the workforce.

The thing with the Beats is that it shouldn’t matter if they are not all they are cracked up to be, writers rarely are, and the movement could through its eventual self destruction appear a glorious disaster, a literary James Dean that flickered out in the midst of some youthful passion. Where it becomes a problem is when their self-mythologizing eclipses greater literary talents. One of those lurking in their shadows goes by the name of Richard Brautigan.

Brautigan was an outsider amongst a gallery of outsiders and was possibly the most remarkable of the lot. And the shocking thing is his works, almost ceased to exist.

There have been many cases when the world has or almost has been deprived of important literary works. Kafka wished for his entire output to be destroyed as he wasted away with tuberculosis, thankfully a friend, who covertly went against his wishes, preserved them. Others were not so fortunate. Byron’s journals were burnt for fear of their explosive content; namely admission of the act of sodomy at the time carried the death penalty. Sylvia Plath’s final diary documenting her decline into depression and suicide was destroyed by her ex husband Ted Hughes in an act that to this day threatens to cause riots and effigy burning amongst her cult of admirers. And in an act of literary crime the works of Richard Brautigan remained unpublished since the sixties. You could walk into a bookstore and find the complete ramblings of the other Beats clogging up the shelves and yet searching for Brautigan was like rummaging for the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Thankfully the publishing press Rebel Inc. realized the insanity of this neglect and resurrected his work. It is not difficult to see what is so remarkable about his writing. There is a cool obscurity about him, like a book version of the Velvet Underground or the Beta Band; all the more overwhelming because few people know of it. People horde knowledge of him and ration it out to those whom they think are worthy, operating like a guild of alchemists, possessors of secret powerful knowledge. It is the stuff of knowing glances, winks and Masonic handshakes. I cannot say that he doesn’t deserve mainstream recognition, rather the mainstream doesn’t deserve him for he eclipses it.

He writes of apparent non-events. It aspires not to be a manifesto or a treatise but simply enjoyable stories that are close to life. This is something I envy of him. His lack of pretension makes his work all the more profound than those who proclaim brilliance, those that shout it from the rooftops. He trusts his readers enough to tell them a story rather than to preach or teach. In the Confederate General of Big Sur he mentions a wealth of other writers i.e. Nietzsche, Babel, Steinbeck, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Henry Miller- not in the belief that he is educating the reader but that he is suggesting sublime paths that the reader might consider taking. Sometimes he writes so emphatically and with such trust that rather than reading the book seems to talk, to develop a dialogue with the reader.

In his introduction to the Confederate General Duncan McLean comments, “I don’t know much about Richard Brautigan as a person. In fact I think I only know one thing about him and I wish I didn’t know it.” This of course is the fact that Brautigan killed himself in the early 1980’s with a .44 caliber gun in one hand and a bottle of liquor in the other. Why the act is so unthinkable is because it goes seemingly unannounced, where others gave hints, clues to suggest they were toying with the idea, Brautigan does not. There are no “to be or not to be” questions pondered here. A reader, blissfully ignorant to the fact he killed himself, would probably think he was still living a life of elderly hedonism out in the Mojave Desert or in the backwoods of New Orleans. Suicide is unthinkable for one reason because his books are filled to the brim with humor. From the unlikeliest of sources he conjures images of missing eyebrows, a symphony of frogs that are only silenced by the cry “Campbell’s Soup,” the incompatibility of the Bible with electricity and the remarkable figure of Lee Mellon. It should be remembered that the border between comedy and tragedy is as difficult to define as the borders of territories at sea or in deserts. Comedy is best when it is self-deprecating, when it allows us to laugh at our fears and anxieties but it does not, cannot remove them. Like all other intoxications humour is a distraction, a temporary reprieve from the unbearable. The private lives of the world’s greatest comedians are enough to remind us of the fact that primates grin when they are petrified and as a desperate attempt to defuse dangerous, traumatic situations.

Another reason why it is so hard to believe he killed himself is that his outlook on life is not bleak or nihilistic but rather is life affirming, a celebration of all that makes life worth living; sex, friendship, intoxication in all the forms sung by Baudelaire. This is constantly reiterated in his work, which like all real “magic realist” works, hints at the immense potentials of life and the extraordinary that lies beneath the mundane. Writing of impossible imagination and stunning beauty is often juxtaposed with events of the most everyday, the way epiphanies of beauty occur in life; the Southern accent that reads German philosophers and insists on quiet “when a man reads the Russians”, the daring cavalry attacks on the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a hand resting on the crack of an ass like a bird on the branch of a tree, a bird that sings when you are impotent. Reading Brautigan, a stoner with the soul of Blake or Whitman, reminds you of the Oscar Wilde quote that seems to define “Magic Realism”; “We are all in the gutter but some of us are watching the stars”.

Some examples are worth simply reading without commentary:

“Night was coming in, borrowing the light. It had started borrowing just a few cents worth of light but now it was borrowing thousands of dollars worth of light every second. The light would soon be gone, the bank closed, the tellers unemployed, the bank president a suicide.”

“The whiskey went well. I wish I could have offered the stars a drink. Looking down upon mortals, they probably need a drink from time to time, certainly on a night like this. We got drunk.”

“What a wonderful sense of distortion Lee Mellon had. Finish that slice of bread. That thing I was holding in my hand never had anything to do with a slice of bread. I put my hammer and chisel aside and we went up to the truck.”

And even though the Brautigan mentality to women is occasionally clichéd he avoids the traditional Beat “means to an end/sperm receptacle” school of thought and displays a brave and haunting romanticism. “We went away with each other like small republics to join the United Nations” and “her lips parted and I ran my fingers gently along her teeth and touched the sleeping tip of her tongue. I felt like a musician touching a darkened piano”-for anyone who has ever been in love such lines are almost painfully beautiful.

It is easy to be hypnotized and delighted by the sad delirious beauty of Brautigan’s writing. And yet there are darker undercurrents, as there always are in humour that aspires to truth and knowledge. The book is littered with jokes; indeed it’s one of the only books to make me wake myself up laughing, having remembered some line mid-dream. And yet when the book is finished there is one scene, one chilling instant that haunts the reader; the moment when bugs stare out at the narrator from a burning log. It is at this point that Brautigan’s real life connects like electricity to the book. The drinking binges, the electro-shock therapy, his refusal to utter a single word to his mother, his need for "some tranquility . . . a little more distance between the frustrations and agonies in my life" hidden through the book like elements in the air, at this point make themselves known.

Duncan McLean in his introduction to the work suggests, as an explanation of his suicide, that the bugs are Brautigan looking out at us, his readers. I’d go further and say the insects represent all of us, Brautigan’s vision of a doomed humanity living on borrowed time. This is not to say that this is a hopeless tragedy rather we are liberated in a sense as our actions and relationships are all the more profound and precious because we are running out of time. Life ends in tragedy so the rest of it might as well be a comedy for there is nothing to lose. And I bet those bugs scuttling around that burning log, staring out at Brautigan, have no other options than to tell each other jokes.
And hey, Lane Savant, you still haven't told me if you have read any Gary Snyder?


3:44 PM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Well, organized crime has no trouble controlling the marijuana market now.
I wonder if maryjane hasd anything to do with the instigation of the war in Iraq?
Someone somewhere is on something.
Odd coincidence about Snyder; In a cabin at lake Quinault, there is a little log book that people can leave comments, (I left a waltz once) there was an entry that was very much like if not identical to one of the Snyders you mentioned.
So, to answer your question, maybe I have and maybe I havn't.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

the tile cutter is a little table saw arrangement with a diamond encrusted blade. You saw through tiles like you saw through wood. It works, and most of my cut tiles are cut. As soon as I get the tiles under the reefer, stove, etc, I will move them back and do the rest.

9:43 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Well, hey Lane, speaking of Gary Snyder, since he wrote over 20 books, and is a Zen master and environmentalist, I guess he certainly could have stayed at Lake Quinalt Lodge. Melva and I eat in the Roosevelt Room there for fancy meals. We have never stayed there, or at Klalock or the lodge at Crescent Lake. Perhaps one day. But this would be a fine opportunity to drop in some more poetry, some of Snyder's just to spice things up, and keep it all rolling and juiced:

How Poetry Comes to Me

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light

Axe Handles

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own
A broken off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with--"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature" -- in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see Pound was an axe
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

Hay For The Horses

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
--The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds --
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

For All

Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.

And how does poetry come to any of us? It comes to me in imagery, vivid and seething, and I struggle to find the language to support the iconography. At work, at the office, my window faces American Lake there on our 400 acre campus. We have a nesting pair of eagles that have lived there for over a decade, and sometimes they land in the tall firs just yards from my window, and they teach their young to fish. Just a glimps of those majestic scavangers makes me want to put pen to paper, and fingers to keyboard. Or travel, all those blood red rock canyons throughout Utah, the mere sight of the Grand Canyon, or Monument Valley, or the Black Canyon on the Gunnison. Mine eyes have seen the glory, and the words churn up in me like a swirl of gas after a thick cheesy greasy pizza; and I must expell it. And yes on hiking and camping trips, sitting around a fire, staring into the sky so full of stars they overwhelm you, dazzle you, or a full moon, or the sunset on the ocean drenching the clouds with 37 flavors of gold, red, orange, and yellow. Or standing in the forest, with wet moss and cedar bark spanking the hairs of your nostrils, while the wind plays a sonata in the branches over your head, or the sight of a bear, or a coyote, or a cougar, when you did not expect to; or how your wife looks sometimes when she emerges fresh from her shower and you ache to touch her and complicate her preparations for depature, or any song by the Beatles, or a well written play, or a well directed film; or back in the day when a V8 was part of my life, that rumble of glass packs and four barrel, that sense of tremendous power under your ass; or the cat playing with a dust bunny on a window sill bombarded by shafts of sunlight streaming through lace curtains beyond leaded paned glass, or how the sunlight illuminates the colored jars and glasses and vases your woman puts in the sills, or the sound that children make at play, especially their laughter, or the smile your first grandson gives you, or just Spring itself, that magnificent time of gestation when every plant is ablase with blossom, and the air is full of pollen, and a new hatch of insects --God, I could go on, but my daughters have just arrived to celebrate Mother's Day, and I have to get Melva out of the garden, and into the shower so that she will be presentable when we take her out for Thai food on her day.


3:42 PM  
Blogger butch said...

Couldn't get to sleep last night, so I sat rereading my Richard Brautigan. You really have started something in my life, Dougie. I read his novella, WATERMELON SUGAR, which is like reading HARRY POTTER meets Timothy Leary who was bitch-slapping William Burroughs, who was dogging Beatrix Potter, who was going down on Jack Kurouac. In a tiny tidy way, Brautigan has created a whole land, a bizarre landscape near the town of ideath, where everyone, all 375 inhabitants live in a Town Hall that has several rivers and some forest within it, and they all have outlying shacks too, for their privacy. The protagonist has no name (very existential), and the land used to be ruled by talking tigers, the last pair of which ate his parents while he ate his mush when he was 9 years old, and before they left they helped him with his arithmetic. He is trying to write a book, but he is not sure what it is about. The main structures in town are the Watermelon Works, where clothes and lumber and curtains are made from watermelon sugar. There is a deep river that runs through the town, and they bury their dead in glass tombs at the bottom of the river, covering the death robes with firefox so that the coffins light up at night. Fat trout linger near the lit coffins. There is a place on the edge of town, called the place of Forgotten Things, that stretches on for over 1 million miles, with huge piles of unknown items, and strange books that the populus gather just to burn. Most of the items they pick up in there are alien. They have no idea what they are. Put there are some bad people who live in filthy shacks near the gate to the land of Forgotten Things, and they take many of the items, and render them down to whiskey, and after a time, the brew drives them mad. They have a Trout Hatchery in the town, and it doubles as the mortuary and dance hall. Every day the sun shines in a different color. Gray and red and yellow and green and blue and some others. Everything is drenched in those colors on that day. I think Thursdays were the gray day. So all the watermelons picked on those days would be the color of the day, as would the lumber made into shingles and fence posts.

Usually when I get insomnia, I just try and meditate, to slow my brain down, and I get about 1 hour of sleep, and barely drag through the day. But last night, after reading Brautigan for 4 hours, and getting 2.5 hrs. of sleep, I feel good this morning. Probably something spiritual or medicinal about reading Richard Brautigan when you can't sleep. It doesn't work that way, for some reason, when I read Philip Larkin poetry, or even Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen.

I want to thank you, Dougie, for re-entering my sphere, for reinserting your presence in my life. Even though, perhaps, we will not socialize that much, although we might, still thanks to the absurdist reality of cyberspace, thanks to your need to ventilate, or have something to do, our blog site has become the highlight of my day; reading it, and responding to the crystals and particles of wisdom and wit that you toss about like dandelion chaff.


7:19 AM  
Blogger butch said...

For some reason I was suddenly thinking of Texas, and San Antonio, and the Alamo, and a great speech John Wayne gave in the 1960 film, playing Davy Crockett:

Davy Crockett: Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat - the same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step or his first baby shaves and makes his first sound as a man. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. It was like I was empty. Well, I'm not empty anymore. That's what's important, to feel useful in this old world, to hit a lick against what's wrong for what's right even though you get walloped for saying that word. Now I may sound like a Bible beater yelling up a revival at a river crossing camp meeting, but that don't change the truth none. There's right and there's wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you're dead as a beaver hat.

For a wide release Hollywood movie, this one did have some good writing, and some touching moments. There have been over a dozen movies made about the Alamo, and it is always hard to watch Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie get butchered by that scoundrel Santa Anna.


8:50 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Confucious say:

Man who stand on street corner
With hands in pocket,
Not crazy,
Just feeling nuts.

He also said:

Woman who fly upside down
In airplane surely will
Have hairy crack up.

Confucious also said:

If there be righteousness in the heart,
There will be beauty in the character.

If there be beauty in the character,
There will be harmony in the house.

If there be harmony in the house
There will be order in the nation.

If there be order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

I watched some CNN this AM while wolfing down some VA coffee in the BRU dayroom, and "W" is still dueling with Congress about giving us a pull out date in Iraq. History will not be kind to the likes of George W. Bush.

26 more people died in Baghdad this morning, 2 GI's. Of course how many people died on the mean streets of Chicago, Detroit, or New York City? I guess it is all just a matter of perspective. Still it gauls me to think of such a waste of our youth, using up their life and limbs like bringing a truck load of chickens to a cockfight.

China was civilized when Europe was barabaric, and America was a wet dream in explorer's heads. Confucious said a lot of good stuff, and we all, Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Bhais, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, need to pull our eyes off of our particular prophets, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, and the Krishna --and turn our gaze on the greedy peckerwoods who are manipulating our gas prices, poisoning our air, pushing drugs off on the youth who are not in the military.

If I was not such a lazy turd, I would become an activist or something.


11:49 AM  
Blogger butch said...

In that article dedicated to Brautigan, there is a mention of poet Sylvia Plath. She was a controversial poet of the late 50's and early 60's, who shut herself in the kitchen when she was in her 30's, and stuck her head in the oven, committing suicide. I must be a terrible poet. As much as my life sucks, having to work for the man's dollar, and my health issues --I still find plenty to be joyful about, and to be interested in. Here is some of her poetry:

Sylvia Plath - A Life
Touch it: it won't shrink like an eyeball,
This egg-shaped bailiwick, clear as a tear.
Here's yesterday, last year ---
Palm-spear and lily distinct as flora in the vast
Windless threadwork of a tapestry.

Flick the glass with your fingernail:
It will ping like a Chinese chime in the slightest air stir
Though nobody in there looks up or bothers to answer.
The inhabitants are light as cork,
Every one of them permanently busy.

At their feet, the sea waves bow in single file.
Never trespassing in bad temper:
Stalling in midair,
Short-reined, pawing like paradeground horses.
Overhead, the clouds sit tasseled and fancy

As Victorian cushions. This family
Of valentine faces might please a collector:
They ring true, like good china.

Elsewhere the landscape is more frank.
The light falls without letup, blindingly.

A woman is dragging her shadow in a circle
About a bald hospital saucer.
It resembles the moon, or a sheet of blank paper
And appears to have suffered a sort of private blitzkrieg.
She lives quietly

With no attachments, like a foetus in a bottle,
The obsolete house, the sea, flattened to a picture
She has one too many dimensions to enter.
Grief and anger, exorcised,
Leave her alone now.

The future is a grey seagull
Tattling in its cat-voice of departure.
Age and terror, like nurses, attend her,
And a drowned man, complaining of the great cold,
Crawls up out of the sea.

Sylvia Plath - Love Is A Parallax
'Perspective betrays with its dichotomy:
train tracks always meet, not here, but only
in the impossible mind's eye;
horizons beat a retreat as we embark
on sophist seas to overtake that mark
where wave pretends to drench real sky.'

'Well then, if we agree, it is not odd
that one man's devil is another's god
or that the solar spectrum is
a multitude of shaded grays; suspense
on the quicksands of ambivalence
is our life's whole nemesis.

So we could rave on, darling, you and I,
until the stars tick out a lullaby
about each cosmic pro and con;
nothing changes, for all the blazing of
our drastic jargon, but clock hands that move
implacably from twelve to one.

We raise our arguments like sitting ducks
to knock them down with logic or with luck
and contradict ourselves for fun;
the waitress holds our coats and we put on
the raw wind like a scarf; love is a faun
who insists his playmates run.

Now you, my intellectual leprechaun,
would have me swallow the entire sun
like an enormous oyster, down
the ocean in one gulp: you say a mark
of comet hara-kiri through the dark
should inflame the sleeping town.

So kiss: the drunks upon the curb and dames
in dubious doorways forget their monday names,
caper with candles in their heads;
the leaves applaud, and santa claus flies in
scattering candy from a zeppelin,
playing his prodigal charades.

The moon leans down to took; the tilting fish
in the rare river wink and laugh; we lavish
blessings right and left and cry
hello, and then hello again in deaf
churchyard ears until the starlit stiff
graves all carol in reply.

Now kiss again: till our strict father leans
to call for curtain on our thousand scenes;
brazen actors mock at him,
multiply pink harlequins and sing
in gay ventriloquy from wing to wing
while footlights flare and houselights dim.

Tell now, we taunq where black or white begins
and separate the flutes from violins:
the algebra of absolutes
explodes in a kaleidoscope of shapes
that jar, while each polemic jackanapes
joins his enemies' recruits.

The paradox is that 'the play's the thing':
though prima donna pouts and critic stings,
there burns throughout the line of words,
the cultivated act, a fierce brief fusion
which dreamers call real, and realists, illusion:
an insight like the flight of birds:

Arrows that lacerate the sky, while knowing
the secret of their ecstasy's in going;
some day, moving, one will drop,
and, dropping, die, to trace a wound that heals
only to reopen as flesh congeals:
cycling phoenix never stops.

So we shall walk barefoot on walnut shells
of withered worlds, and stamp out puny hells
and heavens till the spirits squeak
surrender: to build our bed as high as jack's
bold beanstalk; lie and love till sharp scythe hacks
away our rationed days and weeks.

Then jet the blue tent topple, stars rain down,
and god or void appall us till we drown
in our own tears: today we start
to pay the piper with each breath, yet love
knows not of death nor calculus above
the simple sum of heart plus heart.

You started to write some free verse about your road trip, but it got sort of short circuited. Bring it on big boy; nothing like a little poetry to clear the phlem on the soul.


11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Glenn:
You asked "Anonomann" (Germans use 2 ns in Mann) some questions in one of Stella's earlier blogspots. Here are some answers:
1) I do not write poetry, but the "Lovely Librarian" has given me some of hers, but as they are all "intimate" she does not want me to share them (understandably).
2) I enjoyed the saga of Sir Lane and (his shoulders aren't broader) "Anonoman"(sic; see above). Maybe the incident is what caused Catbert to resign her lofty status in the loft of the Cuckuck's nest!! Something must have caused it, for she is now doing her Catbert work for the Paramount organization in Seattle.
3) Thanks for the list of all the greats (and lesser) who were born in the same year as said Anonomann; he ,however, will never make that hallowed list; why "Who's Who in America" and "W.W. in the World" still list him is a mystery to him; he has never bought that item (no place on his crowded bookshelves).
I asked Lane how you have the time to write such long entries in his blogspot, and he says you "cut and paste". My lack of said computer savvy should be ground enough to get me thrown out of the "Who's Whos", so could you please cut and paste this item and send it to them; I don't know how to cut and paste; "cutting and running" are more my line.
4) They are not on your list, but the "Seattle Times" issues of August 17 list several born on that date (though not this computer-illiterate) some are:
Maureen O'Hara (1884)
Robert DeNiro (1961)
Sean Penn (1944) (great company!!)
Tennis player Jim Courrier (1934).

6:14 PM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...


7:22 PM  
Blogger butch said...


August 17th is the magic day I see. Here is a more complete list of people who were born on that day.

1473 - Richard, Duke of York (d. 1483?)
1562 - Hans Leo Hassler (baptised), German composer (d. 1612)
1578 - Francesco Albani, Italian painter (d. 1660)
1601 - Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician (d. 1665)
1629 - King John III of Poland (d. 1696)
1768 - Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, French general (d. 1800)
1786 - Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and soldier (d. 1836)
1794 - Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, German priest (d. 1849)
1828 - Jules Bernard Luys, French neurologist (d. 1897)
1844 - Menelek II of Ethiopia (d. 1913)
1863 - Gene Stratton-Porter, American author and naturalist (d. 1924)
1866 - Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, 6th Nizam of Hyderabad (d. 1911)
1866 - Julia Marlowe, English actress (d. 1950)
1873 - John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (d. 1946)
1882 - Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood producer (d. 1974)
1887 - Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born American activist (d. 1940)
1887 - Charles I of Austria (d. 1922)
1890 - Harry Hopkins, 8th United States Secretary of Commerce (d. 1946)
1890 - Stefan Bastyr, Polish aviator (d. 1920)
1893 - Mae West, American actress (d. 1980)
1896 - Leslie Groves, American military engineer (d. 1970)
1904 - Leopold Nowak, Austrian musicologist (d. 1991)
1904 - Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician (d. 1984)
1911 - Mikhail Botvinnik, Russian chess player (d. 1995)
1913 - W. Mark Felt, American Watergate informant
1913 - Rudy York, American baseball player (d. 1970)
1914 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (d. 1988)
1920 - Maureen O'Hara, Irish actress
1926 - Jiang Zemin, Chinese politician
1929 - Francis Gary Powers, American U-2 pilot (d. 1977)
1930 - Glenn Corbett, American actor (d. 1993)
1930 - Ted Hughes, English poet (d. 1998)
1932 - V. S. Naipaul, West Indian writer, Nobel Laureate
1933 - Eugene F. Kranz, American space exploration executive
1935 - Oleg Tabakov, Russian actor
1938 - Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian Muslim cleric
1939 - Luther Allison, American musician
1943 - Robert De Niro, American actor
1943 - Dave "Snaker" Ray, American musician (d. 2002)
1948 - Rod MacDonald, American musician
1951 - Alan Minter, British boxer
1952 - Nelson Piquet, Brazilian race care driver
1952 - Guillermo Vilas, Argentinian tennis player
1953 - Judith Regan, American book publisher
1953 - Kevin Rowland, Irish musician (Dexys Midnight Runners)
1954 - Eric Johnson, American guitarist
1955 - Richard Hilton, American heir
1956 - Gail Berman, American film executive
1957 - Robin Cousins, British figure skater
1958 - Belinda Carlisle, American singer
1958 - Kirk Stevens, Canadian snooker player
1959 - David Koresh, American cult leader (d. 1993)
1959 - Jonathan Franzen, American author
1960 - Sean Penn, American actor and director
1962 - Gilby Clarke, American musician Guns N' Roses
1964 - Colin James, Canadian musician
1966 - Rodney Mullen, American skateboarder
1968 - Ed McCaffrey, American football player
1969 - Donnie Wahlberg, American actor and singer
1970 - Jim Courier, American tennis player
1970 - Rupert Degas, English actor and voice artist
1970 - Oyvind Leonhardsen, Norwegian footballer
1971 - Jorge Posada, Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player
1971 - Uhm Jung-hwa, South Korean singer and actress
1972 - Ken Ryker, American pornographic actor
1975 - Giuliana DePandi, Italian-born American television personality
1976 - Scott Halberstadt, American actor
1977 - Thierry Henry, French footballer
1977 - Tarja Turunen, Finnish singer
1977 - William Gallas, French footballer
1978 - Vibeke Stene, Norwegian singer (Tristania)
1979 - Antwaan Randle El, American football player
1979 - Marcus Patric, British actor
1980 - Lene Marlin, Norwegian singer
1980 - Keith Dabengwa, Zimbabwean cricketer
1980 - Jan Kromkamp, Dutch footballer
1982 - Melissa Anderson, American professional wrestler
1983 - Dustin Pedroia, Major League Baseball player
1984 - Dee Brown, American basketball player
1986 - Rudy Gay, American basketball player
1986 - Tyrus Thomas, American basketball player
1988 - Erika Toda, Japanese actress
1990 - Rachel Hurd-Wood, British actress
1990 - Colin Bates, American actor

1:23 PM  

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