Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Sedentary Militia

We built these postal districts
over the bones of the dead
because we didn't recognize them
until remote control
returned them to us
as eye-stuffing but static ritual--
Frank McHugh & Capucine,
Alec Baldwin & Bart the Bear,
rolling bones in the alley
behind was it the Archimedes Club,
The Old Flag Inn, The Ambassador,
The Outrigger, The Diner's Rendezvous?
Not even the sky uninterrupted
by their clacking sound
as the old machinery broke down,
& town stopped being "town"
& the mountains got filled in
with mile after mile of drywall scrim
through which a poltergeist chopper
but not an untainted breeze could pass.

Cold was the heather
& colder was the weather,
colder still the reckoning--
Gulliver burgers & brown soup
over hashmarked bohemian rice
not far from where the very air
was unpacked & rendered
of its rhetoric, passed out
in the park for pigeon peas,
a yard of rotting pillow straw
ripped from home plate & turned
from the foot of Woodland
toward the bus stop.

don't miss Lang's mighty 1933 Testament of Dr. Mabuse on TCM tomorrow night 2300 PST...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Socialist Review Style Guide

Turns out syndicalisation
doesn't work any better for wooly bears
than verbal warnings or
white stripes worked for us;
the road these nutdrop noons
is just the warmest place around
as well as the hardest--
twenty feet of good Akenhead with a slight tilt
covered in shit and shiny shells
courtesy of Mr. Blue October here--
& even when they make it over the line
the berm is not permanent,
and the fuckraking leafblowers
papercut the air into orange froth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

& then of course there's Bubble from AbFab...

thanks Boing Boing for a couple of great law links--

Project Posner

"Richard Posner is probably the greatest living American jurist. He has sat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago since 1981, and written several thousand opinions during that time..."

& the very extensive
priceless Silliman

"At The Socialist Review, we knew what it was, and discussed it at length, tho it was never written down anywhere...."

Monday, October 09, 2006

So much of L' Orphee
plays in that grim middle-aged way
poor Spicer never lived to see
that its almost like I know better:
ie Jean Marais is how we're
supposed to look on the INSIDE
& those hoopleheads at the Cafe
rioting over Johnny Ray
as Mrs. Mills tinkles the 88's
& the Hugo Boss bike cops drop their skates--
what Martian could have predicted an Elvis
emerging from that thin Hugenot mess?
& why do the youngsters blame me?
Don't their radios get the CBC?

Don't really feel like piling on with the huzzahs greeting Scorsese's latest--Damon and Decaprio are merely adequate and Nicholson is indulged to little effect (role should have gone to enforcer Ray Winstone, who can plausibly manage physical intimidation, well out of Nicholson's range always) & o I'm already sick of the perfect patterns of CGI exit wounds and the endless parade of golden oldies BUT Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin are worth the price of the ticket and then some. Baldwin is a reliable hoot, but Wahlberg tucks the movie up under his arm and walks off with could feel the audience perk up every time he was on screen...
for those beltway enthusiasts alienated by the increasingly brazenheaded pronouncementness of "The Note"SHOWDOWN '06: The Washington Monthly is a good roundup. Bush at 33!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How He Was: Samuel Beckett's Lives

"After the War, Beckett volunteered to work as part of a Red Cross mission to the shattered town of Saint-Lô. As usual, Knowlson has the edge over Cronin in the abundance and variety of the testimonies and materials on which he is able to draw. But again, the very thinness of Cronin's fabric lets some of the bony edges poke out that are pillowed by the profusion of circumstance in Knowlson's account. Knowlson alludes only in passing to the 1946 broadcast that Beckett made for Radio Eireann about his experiences at Saint-Lô, asserting blandly that it shows how deeply the experience affected him. Cronin does not flinch from showing us the possibly self-defensive, but still shocking frigidity of that broadcast. Only a knowledge of the humanity of Beckett's later explorations of the inhuman condition could rescue the insufferable, sarky high-mindedness of stuff like this:

What was important was not our having penicillin when they had none... but the occasional glimpse obtained by us in them and who knows, by them in us (for they are an imaginative people) of that smile at the human condition as little to be extinguished by bombs as to be broadened by the elixirs of Burroughs and Wellcome - the smile deriding, among other things, the having and the not having, the giving and the taking, sickness and health, (qtd. in Cronin, p. 352)

Was the attainment of this sardonic rictus really more important than penicillin? One is tempted to respond to this outrageous assertion in words like those that close Beckett's own story 'Dante and the Lobster': It Was Not. The most emphatic sign of humanisation in the writing that Beckett was already doing in Watt by this time would be the ethical dilapidations it wrought (not least with the meddling power of the comma) on the stifled, self-regarding composure of sentences like the above..."

Samuel Beckett in Wisden's Cricketer's Almanac

"Samuel Barclay Beckett, who died in Paris on December 22, 1989, aged 83, had two first-class games for Dublin University against Northamptonshire in 1925 and 1926, scoring 35 runs in his four innings and conceding 64 runs without taking a wicket. A left-hand opening batsman, possessing what he himself called a gritty defense, and a useful left-arm medium-pace bowler, he had enjoyed a distinguished all-round sporting as well as academic record at Portora Royal School, near Enniskillen, and maintained his interest in games while at Trinity College, Dublin..."

Beckett In Berlin, January 1937--(notebook quoted in "Damned to Fame" James Knowlson 1996)

"I am not interested in a "unification" of chaos any more than I am in the "clarification" of the individual chaos, and still less in the anthropomorphisation of the inhuman necessities that provoke the chaos. What I want is the straws, flotsam, etc., names, dates, births and deaths, because that is all I can know....Meir says the background is more important than the foreground, the causes than the effects, the causes rather than their representatives and opponents. I say the backgrounds and the causes are an inhuman and incomprehensible machinery and venture to wonder what kind of appetite is that can be appeased by the modern animism that consists in rationalising them. Rationalism is the last form of animism. Whereas the pure incoherence of times and men and places is at least amusing."