Friday, June 23, 2017

Sharing secrets

  The tourist season doesn't end,
  it only gets pre-empted.

  A friend just forwarded a re-
  view copy of a pretty splashy
  superbook of his, due in Novem-
  ber, which naturally has the
  unsociable effect of making one
  squirm to discuss it too soon.

  Now by e-mail, can you stand it,
  another friend announces he and
  his wife expect a child in Nov-
  ember, which pretty well margin-
  alizes news of lesser exploits,
  and just as Summer is beginning.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Take a likely aviator

The natural solicitude of mankind,
for the health and happy-headedness
of the aviator, has been manifested
here before, not so much as a pay-
ing of dues or prayer for safe pas-
sage, as a recklessly ill-concealed

Just as in that underlying case, of
discovered cause, we encounter the
aviator under duress again, and pon-
der his vulnerability to this fate.

Take a demonstrably credible aviat-
or, and make an utter hazard of
his haircut, belch fumes from his
face, while bleaching out its tex-
tures and concealing its ornaments.
And still men clamor to go flying.

Josef Krovina x Ivan Kassa

Donny Thump-Thump warms his flock

The other day, exploiting this illus-
tration, the theory of the well-reg-
slated militia was discussed, to keep
tabs on the new government. That gov-
ernment's neglect of this phrase, in
its rapture to bear arms, need not in-
hibit rational people from collaborat-
ing in their defense, as a bucket brig-
ade of evidence carriers. Last evening,
over a modest salad of cold chicken,
frisée, and the usual binding and dec-
orative elements of a late Spring gar-
den in the mid-Atlantic, I undertook
my share of this chore by watching a
dvd unfurling Felipe Cazals' Canoa
(1976), inspired by the facts of a
small town's descent in the state of
Puebla, into a night of ill-regulated
militancy. I could have been at a rally
of Donny Thump-Thump's, but as I say,
I was detained by chicken salad.

I could have heard the rally's prefig-
urement, in a season of broadcasts and
postings from alt Right Hell; I could
have witnessed the inventions of one
great, revolting lie about a President's
birth, or catalogued the depredations
of a strip mall pizza parlor against
the faithful and the innocent. I don't
know; don't such lambs of god ever con-
sider chicken salad?

I could have thrilled to the snarl-
ing orator, his orange-tinted self,
exhorting acts of violence he dared
not name too often in one place, but
left no doubt of in his wake. I might
have steadied myself to look chanting
hordes right in the face, beneath his
nodding, beaming countenance, and its
louchely bloated grin. I had chicken
salad to get through, and agrarian
travelers as itinerant terrorists.
All of modern Mexico knows exactly
what I might not have learned, had
I gone to Donny Thump-Thump's rally.
I had to see what he means, to know
what he says. I had to see what he
meant that day he descended by his
gaudy escalator, to save our souls.

Felipe Cazals
Tomás Pérez Turrent
Alex Phillips. Jr.
  A Shameful Memory
Conacine/STPC, 1976©

ii  Andrei Tarkovsky
      Polaroid print, undated

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Real government, real men

Sixty minutes into Costa-Gavras'
Cold War thriller, State of Siege,
a sexy masked terrorist interroga-
tor guides a captive CIA advisor of 
a repressive South American régime
to the core of his character's il-
lusions. Their dialogue now returns
to life in the nature of the new
American government, and tends to
make one sentimental for the music
of Mikis Theodorakis. Who restores
the state of mind of a nation to
grotesque alternatives, first em-
bodies one for seduction's sake.

Tupamaro: A policeman might become a 
revolutionary and vice-versa ..

Captive: Not a true policeman.

Tupamaro: Do you belong to a specific

Captive: Yes, in a way. Our vocation
is to uphold order; which means, that
we do not like change. We're conserva-

Tupamaro: Here, many become cops out of
hunger, not by vocation.

Captive: Yes, but they become policemen,
while others, out of hunger become thieves.

Tupamaro: You think hunger gives you the

Captive: I believe, that a man, a real man,
always has a choice. Don't you?

Tupamaro: No. We don't believe in real men,
[sir]. We believe in men, and their right
to equality.

Captive: I believe in those things.

Tupamaro: No, you do not. You accept in-
equality, you defend privilege. Actually,
what you believe in is ownership. 

Captive: What do I get out of it?

Tupamaro: The illusion that you're one of
the bosses, when in fact you're an errand

We accept that this is why the new government
sustains its unbroken partisan commitment to
the President's incompetence and instability,
given the vanishing opportunity he presents to
win the repressive alternative, of battles it
has lost before, and must surely lose again -
on the strength of a collage of ante-bellum
white male fetishes, crumbling before our eyes.

What illuminates the new government's betray-
als of these voters is his hunger to run any
errand to be petted as a boss. What brightens
the exposure of his Congressional conspirators
is the very same errand. All over again, des-
pair is premature. They make themselves real.

Franco Solinas
Pierre-William Glenn
State of Siege
KG Productions, 1972©

Fairfield Porter
Calm Sunrise

Friday, June 16, 2017

Suppose it were Friday cxxv: Calder at the moment

    Like a face crossing a mirror
    at the back of the room, Eros
    moves.. He never looks at you
    from the place from which you 
    see him. Something moves in
    the space between. This is the
    most erotic thing about Eros.

Anne Carson
  The Bittersweet
  What is this dialogue about?
Princeton University Press, 1986©

Dominik Sadoch

Alexander Calder

Whitney Museum
Calder: Hypermobility
An exhibition, June 9 - Oct 23
New York

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Likely stories come again

  One could sense we were on somewhat soggy
  ground when young Trump denounced the tak-
  ing of Shakespeare, relevantly, repeating
  these learned admonitions on the heels of
  another shooting spree. Of course convul-
  sive exhalations reign just now, such that
  soon enough a séance is bound to be called
  by some Calpurnia of the Right, to exploit
  the hour by demanding forgiveness of mis-
  rule. Why should opportunism lack for in-
  dignation's mask, with all that practice?

Arthur Garfield Dove
Sun on the lake
Museum of Fine Arts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Origins of Wednesday lii: And the green?

         Ow. In fact ouch.
         I was just bothering over
         these torpid interpretations you see
         when, blessed by the grass, I understood the signs
         in the round. I felt dated,
         much as my contemporaries did.
         The clouds noticed.

         To be off and running
         the distance of a hilltop from old frame
         buildings without whose lens no one
         seems to understand. Nor can they
         move inside when the season decrees sheen:
         black yet morbid at the sunflower's
         peaked center. Yes you know I
         was saying that too. Blank testicles.

         Sometimes if we listen without noticing
         at the packed city's center other oblongs allude
         to what the hotel dissipates.
         There were onions at the triangular coated
         basin at the center of all aligning
         and shy tempests attuned to cottage
         meanderings - I mean, save me,
         I might not have candle power
         to unstring meritable hoops. I say,
         have we no thin power rotting
         in English kitchens for the duke's children
         to inherit like insecure boats
         too distant from the onyx horizon?

  Is it just me or
Harper Collins, 2009©

Alexandra Leblans

Souffleur de glace

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Strategies of falsehood

O sentiments sitting beside my bed
what are you thinking? of an ebony vase?
of a pail of garbage? of memorizing Whitman?
You are leaning on my elbow backwards.

What are you doing, my darling sentiments?
You are indeed bored. Can it be that I'm asleep?
Shall you stride on the shingle with an oar
in your hands, or beach my heart, my barnacled?

You would let me lay in bed all day,
free to drown in your wing-beatings as you fled
past and past my glazed, teary-from-the-breezes heart,
which is not going to open up and look out any more.

The great project of the new American government, to pulverize humane society into anomie through every pore of its apparatus, relies on sustained pummelings of humiliation by every available means. This afternoon, one of its pluperfect practitioners of vitriol, chosen for those qualities to be Attorney General of the United States, will carry out that task before every camera in the country, that can be conducted to the Senate. Again the beating will be inflicted, to cushioning huzzahs of Republicans on the dais, and especially from Rubio, to be rewarded soon with a crushing blow to relations with Cuba. What this nation can be conditioned to tolerate is written well enough in that revolting legacy of the Cold War; this new American government is but a sentimental monument to a transparent continuity.

So many of its rhymes are audible clarions of one reflex after another, tempered and tested for decades in demagogy's cauldron here, that I don't know why we aren't collecting this literature more meticulously as we go. But we do have another, incalculably more prolific in its tributaries than this procrustean lode of manipulation and force. As the poet Kenneth Koch wrote in The New Republic, "In its music and its language and in its conception of the relation of poetry to the rest of life, [O'Hara's] is a poetry which .. changed poets and others, and which promises to go on moving and changing them for a long time to come."

Refreshment rises to occasion, not to custom. Given the occasions mounted by this government, I shouldn't wonder that this language will do it in.  

Frank O'Hara
Donald Allen
  Dolce Colloquio
  Poetry, May 1970
University of California Press

Ryan Matthews

Kees Scherer
  Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon
  at MoMA

Matthias Lauridsen

Pier, 1950s, anonymous