Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jean Simmons (1929-2010)

Requiescat in pace. I enjoyed her especially in this underrated comedy.

Five alternative sonnets


Oldening ici. Under the moony stars and the dark metropolitan ceiling. Memories exist, of V------- and her nose, her subversive belly. For the plupart of tiempo we mope most joyfully. Do not go grumbling into that good night.


I will salute you presently as my sovereign queen. I shall praise your name, your chevelure, and your purple socks. I shall venerate your thermostat. I shall keep an eye on Lucky. I shall leaf through your shelves, blunder through your busses, and bow to your ever-youthful smile. Let anthems be composed in praise of your wristwatch. Astral benedictions, monastic vigils! For the glance of your eye is the wine of astonishment, and the beacon of your silence a luminous serenity.


Next week there shall be "missives" in the mail. Next Thursday, there shall be weather in Portland. At five o'clock, at Kip's Cafe, Canadians shall polka. They shall drink Labatt's and perform acrobatic karaoke. The quislings shall swoon for the love of country matters. And knowledgeable fiends shall scatter biases and blisses. Dedalus and Cranly shall take their argument to the threshold of the rosy-fingered Dawn, and the precincts of hankering and hunger shall breathe in a deep, deep peace.


Afterthought. The sabbath of the ordinary. Cynthia's minimal gestures. There is a light and it never goes out. To coin a pretty plagiarism. Radiance and shelter, life's jolie surmises. Wally spoke French, and the lingo of Insurance. It's an owl's brow of a night. Now I lay me under much blanket and beaucoup de quilt, it being a great frost. Sally Tomato complains of no snow. Just like the old man in that sarabande by Gordon and the crew.


My love is like a presidential press-conference that's newly assembled in March. My love is like the soundtrack to Peter's Friends, not forgetting the coffee-jingle. All my psalters are crumbling like mad. Gymnastic shouts go echoing down the corridors of dreams. Oh, my love is lovely. Oh, she's a brick, she's the ace of spades, she's the water-spider in my stream of consciousness. She suspends my disbelief, and that right early. Oh, she weigh much pound but give me gallons of joy. She's my health, my hope, my jeux-de-mot, ma jouissance. A frowsty old hag she is not. She's my cloister, my marketplace, my violet iris, my cedarwood chest. She's a deck that's most fairly stacked against me. She's a wayward young sprite, she's my heart's delight, she's my glorious and shapely ampersand.



Under the main
empathy nest
skeltonic thoughts


Asterisk mine
prohibit dense
ruminant gloom


Doubting the word
insists on sight
achieves his proof


Slumber impends
let us renounce
busyness haste


Psalmody weighs
so glorious so
easy so light


Friday, January 22, 2010


Deb sees bed,
not as level, sat on.
Merton, not R.E.M.!
Ee-ya! procedure Meru décor payee!
Maniac, roll Lorca in a.m.!
Yahweh mayhem? Meh. Yam hew hay.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book meme

(via Steven & TSO)

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
Not sure. I'll say Seamus Heaney's Field Work, since early '85.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you'll read next?
Currently reading the poems of García Lorca. Just finished rereading Kenneth Koch's Making Your Own Days, next to read hopefully Koch's collected poems.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?
I tend not to read books that everyone likes.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?
Beowulf, maybe.

5. Which book are you saving for "retirement?"
I've been retired since my twenties.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

7. Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
Interesting aside. I like the prosy appendages to big books.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Tom More in Love in the Ruins?

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
Not really.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
Has to be the seventeen books, including four by Mary Oliver, that I got from Mom's neighbor C.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
Either Dylan Thomas's Collected Poems or Marianne Moore's Complete Prose.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?
Auden, maybe?

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

15. Used or brand new?
Oh, used when possible, but I hanker these days for a mammoth book of poetry that I may have to purchase new.

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
This is an easy one. Breakfast at Tiffany's.

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?
I don't know -- The World According to Garp?

19. Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?
Dylan Thomas makes me hungry for sonic richness that is more delectable than any gastronomic delight.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?
For a while, it was Marianne Moore.

Three Improbable Tales


I weigh a zillion kilograms and have a bright blue stomach. I eat Metropolis for breakfast, heavily salted. I sleep sixteen hours a day and plot bank robberies by night. I am older than the Pilgrims, than Columbus, than the Battle of Hastings. I have travelled to more than fifty different galaxies in the past three minutes alone. I compose barbaric symphonies with the heat and fatal force of an erupting volcano. All of this is true.


Sometimes I sleep in the library between the companionable bookshelves. The gal who writes for the Monitor records my every snore, she copies my somniloquent mutterings. She can even see my dreams. I dream of stupendous herds of buffalo roaming the ravaged plain. I dream of Glastonbury monks chanting psalms in Old Church Slavonic. I dream of the Littleton Pizza Palace and its cataclysmic jukebox.


O age fifteen and a half! You were so joyful and red, unlike age twenty-four, dark purple and serious! And I salute you, age thirty-seven, die-hard realist of recalcitrant whiskers! Who can forget age seventy-six, when we spoke nothing but Portuguese under the branches of anxious elms? And zowie! the boundless vigor of a hundred and nine, when we drank Charles Dickens martinis till the silver stars blushed, to celebrate our mastery of calculus!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Questions for today

Do I stop in Cambridge on the way to Chelsea?

Do I stop in Chicago on the way to Santiago?

Do I stop in a whiskey emporium on the way to the hamburger joint?

Do I pay a visit to the peach-pit museum on the way to the boob-job gallery?

Do I stop at the French library on the way to the Mandarin newsstand?

Do I perpetrate nonsense as someone asks for directions to the nearest polling place?

Do I sip black coffee as my denim-clad galpal shouts, "Myocardium! Pre-Raphaelite!"?

Do I make a thousand-smackeroonie withdrawal from the mackerel-scented ATM?

Do I proclaim to the blogosphere that, yes, it is snowing again?

Do I zip when the President zaps? Do I live in Wrentham and drive a pick-up truck?

Do I give a rat's patoot about the Golden Globes?

Do I visit my friends at Seacrest and mumble Zen koans at tea-time?

Do I campaign for clear green skies and turbulent purple oceans? Do I take to the airwaves 24/7 with my nutball ideas?

Do I go through the shoeboxes in my closet and search for a metric converter?

Do I bemoan the laxity of modern morals? Do I ever give it a rest?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

NFL team names in Latin

Here. New England's name is rather lame in Latin (I mean, insufficiently different from the English). San Francisco rocks! I think Buffalo's team-name should be spelled "Guglielmi" -- or am I thinking in Italian instead of Latin?

Via Peony.

Funny title

And weirdly unselfflattering. Spotted in a used bookstore yesterday:

The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni.


Yes, quite.

The Jury Box

New blog from MCNS (of Irish Elk). Cheerful Republicanism from the bluest of blue states.

I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut

"To You" -- an early poem by Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), at the Poetry Foundation website. With audio!


En las últimas esquinas
toqué sus pechos dormidos,
y se me abrieron de pronto
como ramos de jacintos.

In the farthest street corners
I touched her sleeping breasts,
and they opened to me suddenly
like spikes of hyacinth.

(from "The Faithless Wife," trans. Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili)

:: :: :: :: ::

Los relojes se pararon,
y el coñac de las botellas
se disfrazó de noviembre
para no infundir sospechas.

The clocks ceased to strike
and the bottles of brandy,
to arouse no suspicion,
wore the mask of November.

(from "Ballad of the Spanish Civil Guard," trans. A. L. Lloyd)

:: :: :: :: ::

From The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca (New Directions, 1961), pp. 70-71, 90-91.