Who's and whose. It's and its. Bear and bare. See grammar. See grammar rollover and play dead...it happens, especially in the train of thought sometimes with the best and busiest of writers. Don't sweat it. That's why professional editors fit into the communication community quite nicely (and of course, being human they occasionally miss errors; more frequently these days it seems, as Paige attests). Self-editing is important in the case of casual writing for those who can bear it, but the attempt at frank thought by others less diligent is often more important, unless of course one runs smack up against a GRAMMAR NAZI. But be careful as you don that suit. You might be surprised to find that homophones are just the beginning of what a true grammar nazi is keen to enforce. I recall an assignment in junior high was given to look for errors in the local newspaper and other media of the time. I was hooked. Still delight when I find the errors. Of course, I never take personal offense anymore, and you'll get over it. Mere trifles. I did, and I was smug if not frosty about this and so much other sheet music when I was youngbut I do congratulate those of you who still care about how you present your thoughts, and am not suggesting you change any of your linguistic insights. Just thought I'd trot out my own grammar nazi among familiar minds for old times' sakeplease forgive any errors that remain in this text, even as I attempted to perfect my script.
It was a bright day until someone asked the meaning of life, not in the form of a question, but in the form of a meme. Seems my good friend Mike Twigger, as is his way, reposted a rather humorous image with its own text superimposed. In other words, that image to the left of this paragraph. What follows next is a matter of interpretation of what seemed a fairly straight forward riff on scientists, what they know, and how they play it. Then out came the bunny rabbits one by one, doing the bunny hop.
I say, "Good One!"
Laura Waldron then pipes in, "So it's right to force unwanted pregnancies on women?"
Never one to succumb to tired old fiddlesticks, I retort, "Is it right to force unwanted hangovers on young males? Stretching an argument into something else is easy..."
Laura then has the audacity to relieve me of my sensitivities, "Yeah, what does a guy's hangover have to do with a woman's body? Stay on subject."
Now this was just plain vulgarity to my ears. Stay on subject? After she'd jumped from that image to forcing unwanted pregnancies on women?
But Twigger takes her bait. I mean, how long can one argue Laura's point? Argue it into the ground? It's already in the ground. Dead and buried. I have my view. You have yours. Nuff said. But Twigger weighed in. "I agree as a Christian [that] life starts at conception... therefore the baby should have as much right as the mother... although if it affects the mothers health then yes abortion should be available and safe. I believe there should also be surrogate mothers who could carry the baby to term if the real mom didn't want the child."
Well, that last point was interesting. Taking fetus from one oven to another. But that argument about saving the mother's life in a crisis over the life of the fetus has always left me a bit cold and unconvinced. However, Laura responds to Mike before I have the chance to build anything on that small piece of well-treaded ground, "Surrogate mothers expect to get paid. Unwanted pregnancies leads to the birthing of unwanted children which leads to said children being neglected and abused. Speaking from experience here."
Damn interesting comeback. I suppose she now prefers that she'd had been aborted. Now, that's a revolutionary statement, if truly believed by its speaker, which I strongly doubt. But I leave that alone for now. Instead I stay on my original course and her first point once removed, that is staying on topic, or at least the topic she wanted to rehash, "Hahahaha. Laura. I knew you would say that. You took my bait. So to recap. What does determining a living cell found in the womb of a pregnant woman to be life have to do with forcing unwanted pregnancies on women? You, Ms. Waldron, jumped the shark, first."
Her reply was simple. She was catching up. "Because of what the meme implies. Duh. And its so obvious that its a pro lifer meme."
Well, it was time to wrap all this together in a neat package before I could return to her most recent jewel. Is life more important than a wretched childhood, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, my dear, and perhaps one day you will realize it. Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is what I said next, "I call that a bunny hop. Memes can lead anywhere. Like, uh, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar can lead some of us to think well, duh, sometimes, life is just life. End of story. Nothing about abortions or a right to choose or baby names or rapists or regret or sex with your daddy. Besides Laura. If you drink too much, just expect a hangover. Complaining about it or slicing and dicing about how you got that drunk doesn't change anything. You're stuck with the hangover. How you deal with it is the almighty gift of initiative. But then, sometimes bunny hops just get a bit off the beaten path, don't you think? THAT was my point to you at the top of this thread. The question wasn't guess a meme, it was about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media who should know better. That's a meme that begins and ends with the information as it was given. We now see where taking unauthorized bunny hops can lead.
Then Miss Liberty and all her tired, her poor, her huddled masses came a knocking with a link that is supposed to prove something to me, again having nothing to do with the original laugh track at scientists and the media. "Oldest, largest, and only statewide Pro-Life organization in Texas. I don't think I came to any false conclusions or BUNNY HOPS. I think youhoweverare trying to be contrarian with me and it won't work as I'm the biggest contrarian I know. You may want to make the meme about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media and make it this deep thing but it was intended to be an attack on Women's CHOICE, on the rights to our bodies, and if women don't fight this attack on us, then what's next? Making rape legal? See you can say its an orange all you want but the truth is, it's an apple."
And she really thinks she's clever, parroting these threadbare statements. After all, apples and oranges in her arguments would be the same because they are both fruits, or to her point, designed to keep women away from the authority over their own bodies. But I press on, "You want to know what's next? Simple. You framed it yourself, in so many words. The question stated: is your own wretched childhood more important than the non-existence from which you were spared, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, dear contrarian," adding, "I refuse to fall for retread handbook. You stretch a simple question about the origins of life into a parade of boogie men without once mentioning the predominant track of using abortion on demand as a high dollar, high risk prophylactic."
"I also refuse to accept you binary proposition. Death is all around us. I can do little about any of it. I take no religious or political position on abortion except to dig further for the truth wherever I find it. But I do find its current practice vulgar and self-serving. If you, Laura Waldron, are so wise as to assign policy binaries on every swirling detail you are fortunate to be able to observe, I dare suggest that you are indeed better off having been born even though you may have experienced a shoddy childhood, rather than to have been neutralized as a thriving embryo. Frankly, this is a tiresome and well-documented argument you make. I found freshness in precisely the point that the image and caption Mike posted made clear, and nothing else, since as I say, if I want an abortion debate there are infinite other places to find one that an ironic Facebook post. The fact that you ran in to make it something else on the basis of a tired meme was your prerogative I suppose, but it certainly isn't the only meme attached to the meaning of life that makes stellar commentary useful and exhonerating. In other words, I write for my own reasons, and you and your transitional memes have nothing to do with it. Lastly, I trust my sarc has not exceeded but merely equaled yours towards me, tat for tit, apple for orange, squeezed or simple peeled, for I would never want to make you feel stupid."
To be continued, if Laura Waldron has more to add. With kind regards to its awesome powers of community, nevertheless King Facebook is not my home. There are reasons for that, also, but I'm sure the usual meme would not suffice, but for sake of shortness of breath, let's just agree that it does (whatever that might be).
Sweet is the revenge that lies low for a quarter, just to halve the impact and doubleth thy forgiveness one fair apple to the next. Then we can talk of oranges, the P.I. and the azimuth of the infamous cirling return, where even the unlearned know a straight line when they see it...
...yes, when they know it, touch it, smudge it, recycle it, mix it, integrate it, nix it, bury it, junk it, kink it, mash it, describe it, lick it, hunt it, nick it, favor it, spoil it, suck it, trash it, pool it, race it, fake it, bend it, skirt it, agitate it, arm it, highlight it, track it, sack it, flatten it, extrapolate it, measure it, seed it, keep it, check it, click it, whack it, pop it, finger it, poke it, register it, forget it, erase it, seduce it, increase it, grab it, market it, nuke it, appeal it, loop it, win it, clear it, educate it, irrigate it, irritate it, masticate it, sweat it, drag it, report it, support it, post it, float it, flavor it, torque it, jack it, pack it, surprise it, smote it, stab it, crack it pull it, push it, smack it, suggest it, sink it, disarm it, flag it, rip it, emasculate it, rewrite it, tighten it, choke it, read it, slap it, cut it, slice it, nose it, lose it, wipe it, kick it, steal it, inflate it, climb it, hold it, rhyme it, blow it, soil it, give it, charm it, choose it, hack it, wing it, wag it, squeeze it, eat it, work it, confuse it, compute it, type it, stereotype it, punch it, forsake it, repeal it, threaten it, reject it, trust it, hose it, wreck it, portray it, smash it, betray it, emphasize it, peg it, chuck it, supersize it, navigate it, inhabit it, feminize it, pirate it, save it, swallow it, juice it, hook it, shelve it, salvage it, handicap it, buck it, book it, articulate it, swear it, love it, color it, marry it, flip it, seize it, raise it, break it, police it, kill it, mark it, rule it, school it, fool it, outsource it, voice it, match it, hang it, swing it, fuck it, verify it... so that we each get a taste of the good life.
And we understand that we have no need of extenuating concrete or abstract nouns, when we know all the action resides with the verbs no matter what nouns exist, or don't exist. The most common metalanguage to name this concept is nominalization.
At least then you would have only one woman in the family aiming for your head next time they pick up a Louisville Slugger. You’re outnumbered buddy, and this ain’t China…
That brings us nappily to the "n" word. In a process called juncture loss, the "n" has wandered back and forth between the indefinite article and words beginning with vowels over the history of the English language, where for example what was once a nuncle is now an uncle. The Oxford English Dictionary gives such examples as smot hym on the hede with a nege tool from 1448 for smote him on the head with an edge tool, as well as a nox for an ox and a napple for an apple. Sometimes the change has been permanent. For example, a newt was once an ewt (earlier euft and eft), and in the other direction, a napron (meaning a little tablecloth, related to the word napkin) became an apron, and a naddre became an adder. The initial "n" in orange was also dropped through juncture loss, but this happened before the word was borrowed into English. Props to Wikipedia for juicing the jam I was having on toast with Richard Nix, the pirate flag and number twenty-two...
Okay, dude, say I, “Let’s hope she doesn’t become so bright she thinks she’s an artist…”
With a beating heart ancient cold to starry eyed zoology students, weather-crunched cracks in the sidewalks of America, and all this dead language I still must bury, I suppose this concrete noun is as good a dump as any. This writer has nothing but the utmost respect, and can boldly admit to hoisting a torch for well-placed zingers and pickups of nearly every load I can carry, although I'd be hard pressed to name one outside the '84 Chevy Scottsdale monster block, all-black & chrome short bed Mauler I steered up and down the I-95 corridor for about six years until its transmission finally cringed out, needing an obscene over-priced overhaul for such a shiny truck, bleeding me dry. Voices in my head now school me in strange German accents, "You've only got yourself to blame." Laughter, my response, laughter borrowed from another era, another purse I used to have. Nice touchthat personal Airplay technology, my own 18K track streaming like magic through high-woof Pioneer speakers scattered about Die Librahausen on InkFlower Hill. I am indeed never alone. And just in the nick of saints everywhere, into my depraved decaying eardrums the secret programmer comes, this time as Rotersand, and I have nothing but instant amusement for that lyricYou've only got yourself to blamebut I don't dally to dissent. "That wonderful machine was programmed to fail," I retort. A mere 78K on the odometer, never went four-wheeling. Never clocked her out. Junker, whore on lemons. Loved her while she clawed my road, my straight-away road like an iced-out black-lipped steampunk, DRI and Motorhead slamming naked eardrums and tapedeck against the walls of the leather cab like homeboy sailors about to trade life for a watery grave, but I ain't sentimental about static scrap metal that refuses to scream down the naked road, that won't buck the screaming naked wind, that won't deliver the screaming male naked, the same naked, naked as he came in, ink optional, and now it's high naked time for her to meet her makerthe spirit of the whale, naked. Sentimental. I could be, but I ain't. I'm no seized up gearhead. Get the drift?
Nothing is a very important aspect of our concept of something, anything, everything, and the lines of demarcation which separate us all, bring us together, ignore us in the end, so don't fear, just don't neglect to trace one's own importance back to nothing. Have a good day, Robert.
I think this could have been more strategically written, "Good thing Regan turned out cute, or Ita would be in BIG TROUBLE right now..." At least then you would have only one woman in the family aiming for your head next time they pick up a Louisville Slugger. You're outnumbered buddy, and this ain't China...
You say when you read stories about how some children are not going to be very bright adults, you think, "that's less adults my daughter will have to compete against and it brings a smile to my face." Okay, dude, say I, "Let's hope she doesn't become so bright she thinks she's an artist..."
Soup's boiling on the glasstop. Slice, then dice the leftover roast into rosy chucks, making a tomato-vegetable based brew, with lots of juice, always lots of juice. I can't seem to drum this "lots of juice" meme into the wife's head. She's clearly no cook, will tell you that herself in an English Fog, nearly completely illiterate in the kitchen even as she's about to reach retirement age. Lots of juice. That's why they call it soup, silly. Best part of the soup, if it's done right, I tell her. That's what my Pops always said, and I've lived long enough to realize how right he was about that one thing, at least. Yes dear, that's cabbage. And potatoes, peas, corn, carrots, okra, green beans, onions, oregano, black pepper, and a little red to curl your toes. Carrots? Oh come on, baby, it'll put hair on your chest, as the Pops used to tease my sister when we were growing up. Illiterate. What can I say? She's not really a literal bean counter, only a metaphorical one, a bean counter more comfortable shoveling numbers and slinging hash about whether her company, Always & Forever, is currently still in the red or in budgetary black. She'll be home soon. I'm surprising her. Always love to catch her off guard. Love is that way. Always spotting the cracks in the sidewalk. The potholes in the street of any relationship requires everyone to lend a skill, apply the requisite pitch, and mix in some jolly good cement.
I saw the seven words, then it finally registered with all the synchronicity of a lighted odometer turning over from all nines to all zeroes. This was it! The riddle had been solved! In ill-considered black and white here before me, written three days earlier, on my mother’s 48th birthday was the culminating stroke of this freaky name-change operation thing I had charted for months with soft sell handshakes and strange grimaces to any new person who happened to meet me.
And I took the name Gabriel Thy...
The Howell House was clean and active, even upscale I suppose one could say, secure and nearly two-thirds geriatric. My mother lived four floors above me up on the sixth floor of the 18-story building. She was on staff as the senior citizens coordinator and bookkeeper, and I occasionally helped her out with some of the more confined and colorful patrons doing odd chores for them. I was anxious to tell her of my discovery, although I could hardly expect her to understand the impact this fresh twig of myth and reality would have on me, Richard, the eldest of her seven children. It was her birthday and we were to have dinner together. I was bursting with excitement but I was understandably challenged by a mother's sense of her own naming rightsto bring the gift of reason to the dinner table that night.
How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one’s business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
As it was written on the page, the nameGabriel Thywas not given but was taken. This seemingly minor detail concerned me for a quite a while, not in a truly bothersome way, but as a nuisance, like a flapping scarecrow in a field of errors. Having taken this name was it no longer a gift? But when someone gives you a nickel, don’t you take it and perhaps slip it into your own pocket? Such were the subtleties of bible and literary scholarship, and so it was with my own problematic gestures.
I was thoroughly bewildered. The name was certainly an odd one, a very special one. I liked it, approved of it, but without a doubt it certainly had a very pretentious ring to it. I was not at all certain I in good faith could take it. And what would I do with it? The cornpone religiosity, the in-your-face God-component of the now prophetic name-change operation, self-fulfilling and otherwise, was obvious to me. But I was sure others would laugh me right off the sidewalk. What about those who already knew me as RSNa right interesting vintage acronym already, particularly when pronounced Risen or risin as in...Christ is risen! How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one's business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
Having finished with ecclesiastical literature, about this time I had also finished reading, was presently reading, or would very soon be reading the herded vapors of Gide, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Miller, Darwin, Kerouac, Nietzsche, Castaneda, and Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, A Metaphorical Fugue on Minds and Machines in the Spirit of Lewis Carroll, the latter, a landmark ransom for me, among others. But I would not wholly give up the ghost. I clung to every shred of hope massaging my investigations that God would clear me for landing his understanding, that each and every one of the moderns were wrong in their denial of deity, dead wrong in their intemperance in disparaging the creative power from without, even as they worshipped the creative power within whether it be DNA or environmental advantages. Time and time again I found the writers complaining not against Christ but rather against the wretched incarnations of the church, its scavengerlike methods poisoning their minds against all of the burlier forms of theology and the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jesus of Nazareth. Still I persisted just as I persist today.
And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I don’t remember my mother’s initial reactions to my telling the tale of the harbinger bringing forth her son a new name. Not then, not there. She in all likelihood, since I don’t specifically remember her response, sighed and said something along the lines of, “That’s interesting, son,” while thinking to herself that this was just a passing artistic phase or something or another and to follow form she’d share no words either of encouragement or of any personal horror. She’d always thought of herself as somewhat of a mystic, but was not easily persuaded that any such thing would rub off onto her children. So I use the words "not then, not there" simply because there was no mindjarring quarrel I recall from that Sunday night, and shortly thereafter, speaking both epistemologically and chronologically, things begin to shift into place with great importance.
The name was mine to take. That much was had been chanced upon, had been written, had arrived in a happy circumstance. There was no doubt in my mind that this was living theatre, that I had been given an emblazoned word of prophecy in Corpus Christi, and it was fulfilled here in Atlanta because I had stayed the course. But I also intuited that there were certain terms involved, certain measures and quotas to be filled, certain spiritual hoops to be jumped through in order to discern whether or not this was this real McCoy. Because it was my understanding that I’d come to this earth through the wondrous body of a woman, was named by that same woman, had bullishly married and was now irreparably separated from another woman once twice my age, it was preserved in my mind and reinforced by circular logic that if this name change was truly from God, my doubts could only be dispelled if endorsed by a woman. And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I was working three hours a day downtown delivering pizzas and sandwiches on foot to the downtown Atlanta highrise luncheon crowd. I saw many faces and shared a quick grin or a few words of friendly chat, but my social importance was next to nothing. When I had a few dollars to spare I’d occasionally dip into a rather eclectic pub down Peachtree Street a few blocks from the Howell House for a pitcher of cheap suds, but knew only a few guys, the bar maid, and maybe one woman superficially at best. The happy hour crowd was always buzzing with a spattering of high profile cultural scooters including the nucleus I later grew to appreciate individually as an art curator, a couple of attorneys, an old hippie or two, a librarian, a couple of salesmen, a science fiction aficionado, a banker, a copywriter, an amateur actress, a faux cubist painter, a few struggling musicians, a chess champion, and a CDC technician.
The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
This circle of soon to be regulars was still small at the time of the White Crow writing. All of them knew me as Richard, slightly weird and chalked up with an armload of library books. Keep in mind of course that when I introduced myself to someone, that was the last mention of a name-change operation, the line was dead until the next stranger was introduced. I didn’t go around like some enfilading riflemouth spraying people with some nonsense line in search of attention. In fact I was often quite self-conscious when introducing myself. Within a few days (three, four, five?) however I was to meet a young woman four or five years older than me named Kathleen Baker, a woman whose more delicate features were overshadowed by the liberal contours of her body. She weighed over 300 pounds, sang classical music with the voice of a monk, and immediately seemed to enjoy the nimble dispatches my wit invested among the afternoon mélange. Thinking again as I write this, perhaps I hadn’t told my mother of the Gabriel Thy transmogrification after all, not then that night of her birthday, for whatever reasons I now forget, because with each ascendant memory, in fact, as I am thinking about this concentratedly for the first time in many years, it seems that Kathleen Baker’s were the very first ears to hear the entire mess of fish from beginning to end, sans of course, the still confidential part about needing a woman to validate the transition (part of the test is to not publicly reveal all the details but to allow the truth to unfold according to God’s will and not mine), and that she energetically embraced the novelty of what she was hearing and resolved at that very first meeting to call me Gabriel, Gabriel Thy, enough said. And so in that unorchestrated off the cuff fashion this woman became the first person to know me only as Gabriel Thy, not Richard Nix.
Yes, that was it. She listened to my poem and she approved. Mother would learn only later, and now I recall another event which I shall get to shortly. That afternoon at the Stein tavern I did however note my apprehension at appearing far too pretentious for these cynical hobbyhorse times by dubbing myself Gabriel Thy. I was a nothing, a fledgling writer, a seeker after an illusive and much debated truth, caught within the mechanical web of all breeds and conjugation of fact and fantasy, and yet despite my busy faith and rote exhilaration, I could not call myself a christian because quite frankly I couldn't fathom exactly what the word meant anymore, if indeed I ever did. There were so many conflicting versions of the title that I just preferred to leave it alone, to let the scavengers pick the bones clean if need be.
Little did I know at the time that even as I in all seriousness was changing my name thousands of others were performing a similar operation. The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
Names like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious became the norming curve for acceptance into this thriving cult of nothingness. My own name mutation, void of applause or record deals, shock value or normalcy, was a serious matter, referencing everything I earnestly believed about the nature and signature of the Creator, flagging for all to observe, his will for me and mankind. To understand this name would take time for me as I experienced what surely would be a new direction in destiny. The easy part was over. Onto the Directed Path of God’s dotted line I was willing to sign, but where, and how?
My anxiety with these problematic questions did not evaporate with the introduction to Kathleen. I still begged in my spirit for more validation.
Afraid of demons with scratchy voices,
eat your vegetables, carve your meat,
take your vitamins, drink your success,
I see you've eaten everything on your plate
except Yahoshua pushed to a corner
sanitized, sold with lies,
what a simple shame
this incubus of your hate,
this collective exampleyou cheat
from bank to bakery to butcher to color
making your choices, icing on your cake,
never the twain to meet.
Cross-breed my gasoline my corn, fuel donkey
bake your bread, your cherry tree disguise
working in office of twelve daughters
a day, long hours in point, bigger
higher, longer, thicker, richer,
faster, smarter, safer
meaning it's not this way
but that, unauthorized tongue, you say
what you read is authorized and perfect,
but you, still armed, RU authorized,
made perfect just because someone else
unauthorized and not perfect
broke a crowd long ago?
Pick up tree to follow me,
prepare, verify gnosis to name
the claim, the value, the power
ride, sit, walk, fly, win, thin
must be a better way to stalk
barely sure you can cut it
that shame you claim you lost
generations ago, look it's back
got the knack, took me back
moving from palace to shack
better to be seen not heard
in lion's jaw, days of old
breaking dove, the bird
the very meaning
of my word...
urge may take or leave dot women
drunk before malicious identity
essential pedestrian shakes
against pagan blue vision
rock shadows beat to boil
burn and beauty shock
black rust dream lilies
old men crowded minds
cancel this stop
a spoiled fuss
two years ago free agency
she sweats as she pockets
below the previous rail
to standardized poverty
a typographical error
the deliberate cinema
we can't discriminate, silk
soft asphalt, hard styrofoam
reloading ten eligible goals
not on my highway says Ned
just easier leaves eyeball
rolling upscale bouncy
seekers without likes
to cowering experts
drowned in fact
an addiction to friction
abundance of ordnance
always in the airspace
progressing past pulse
draft free weight
spend up girls
purchasing resistance care
vague trust critical zones
education irreducibly slow
we digital tongues
ignore the door
The following excerpts are from an essay cast by poet Marjorie Perloff as excerpted in Nothing to Say & Saying It, the online blog by John Gallaher.
Language poetry, together with its related ‘experimental’ or ‘innovative’ or ‘oppositional’ or ‘alternative’ poetries in the U.S. and other Anglophone nations, has often been linked to the two Steins—Gertrude Stein and Wittgenstein (as I myself have argued in Wittgenstein’s Ladder), to Guillaume Apollinaire and William Carlos Williams, the Objectivists and New York poets, Samuel Beckett, the Frankfurt School, and French poststructuralist theory. Those who denigrate Language poetry and related avant-garde practices invariably claim that these are aberrations from the true lyric impulse as it has come down from the Romantics to such figures as the most recent Poet LaureatesRita Dove, Robert Pinsky and Stanley Kunitz. But laureate poetryintimate, anecdotal, and broadly accessible as it must be in order to attract what is posited by its proponents as a potential reading audiencehas evidently failed to kindle any real excitement on the part of the public and so decline-and-fall stories have set in with a vengeance. Great poets, we read again and again, are a thing of the past: a ‘post-humanist’ era has no room for their elitist and difficult practices. Accordingly, the main reviewing media from the Times Literary Supplement to the New York Times Book Review now give ‘poetry’ (of whatever stripe) extremely short shrift.
"The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work."
But what if, despite the predominance of a tepid and unambitious Establishment poetry, there were a powerful avant-garde that takes up, once again, the experimentation of the early twentieth-century? This is the subject of the present study. Designed as a manifesto, it makes some of the polemic claims we associate with that short form even as it suffers from its inevitable omissions. Because I am here interested in foundational poetic changes, I shall have little to say about many of the poets who have been most important to me and whom I have written about again and again over the yearsEzra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens, Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, George Oppen and Lorine Niedecker, David Antin and John Cage, John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara.
‘To imagine a language,’ said Wittgenstein, ‘is to imagine a form of life.’ This book studies such key poetic ‘imaginings’ both at the beginning of the twentieth century and at the millennium, so as to discover how their respective ‘forms of life’ both converge and cross.
: The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work.
: "Let us undermine the bourgeoisie." So Ron Silliman ends his contribution to "The Politics of Poetry" symposium in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E 9/10 (October 1979). Writes Gabriel Thy in response to Silliman: "Better as discard than trump. It's no accident the truck feeds millions, ignoring the silly man crammed with errors."
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dreamand not make dreams your master;
If you can thinkand not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kingsnor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is moreyou’ll be a Man, my son!
The mainstream media keeps trying to make Sarah Palin irrelevant and within the NYC-Washington Corridor she is exactly that. But the highbrow mainstream media might want to put down their lattes and New York Times and embrace the concept that Palin is still relevant. Her words and endorsements will matter in the 2014 Midterms. And beyond? Who knows.
David Brody | The Brody File
My friend with the Mexican mustache, savvy art collector and former Mike Gravel campaign strategist, José Rodriguez, could not contain his glee that he had gotten another whiff of the Sarah Palin meme, and so rushed right in to let me know how beneficial to the nation she would be should she stretch her wings to fly right at the old bastards who are in cahoots in destroying the economical sustainability of this nation in the long run, just one of their many political sins, "Cruz Palin 2016! Please help make the GOP irrelevant."
I had to capitalize and punctuate his words to meet the standards of this punk rock blog. You must understand, I have always been a grammar Nazi, having fought at least two underqualified English teachers in junior and senior highschool right straight to the revolt of the class when they tried unsuccessfully to assert their ignorance over what I knew to be true. I would walk away with a F in Comportment and a visit to the principal's office on my final day of Eighth Grade with an A in scholarship. That story I tell elsewhere, so I'll just flash my hall pass to get on with this one. So. Later, in the Tenth Grade, I refused to reread Huck Finn as I had read that book silly a dozen times as a grade schooler on summer break on my own, instead cutting up in class, clown and resident know it all, but was woefully prepared for the more sophisticated written essays of the highschool finals, so to my surprise I turned in an empty page. Still, Miss Harris, whose fiancée, was just starting out on the PGA tour, and who had only come to Glynn Academy as a sub after Christmas holidays to replace the beautiful young but tough Mrs. Mayhew who took a leave of absence to have the baby she'd been carrying long before the first September bell of the school year 1970-71. Mrs. Mayhew was also my first Negro teacher. I liked her. She was deliberate, adjudicated, serious, temporate, friendly, charming, but when analyzed as a complete package suggesting woman in charge who knew her place she was as tough as nails, as I said.
Did I mention I later ran for Senior Class President at another school from which I in two years would graduate, on the platform to bring a junk food canteen to campus? An idea that has become the contemporary norm but is now frowned upon just like it was back then at the front of the caloric revolution, an idea of freedom of choice, of brief respite, of the mouth-watering zest that sometimes is just a little bit more satisfying and attention-grabbing than the traditional wares of zealotry...
At the end of the first quarter of fifth period Mayhew English, we got our report cards. I was pleased I had received an A in Scholarship, but was stunned when I saw a B in Effort. I also received an A in Comportment, but it was the B in effort which startled me, as rumors soon circulated that I had received the only A in that fifth period class, and that she had only given out four A's across the five classes of sophomore English that she taught that semester at Glynn Academy, located in Brunswick GA, Glynn County along the famous "marshes of Glynn" made memorable by some romantic long-bearded mid-19th century minor poet named Sidney Lanier, for whom the nearby grade school where my youngest brother, John, now also a painter but always a woeful student, was attending.
I recall the class had mostly been rote memorization at that point, no essays, just spelling and a rehash of grammar studies we were forced to memorize year after since since we were first taken from group tables and put into individual desks like the big kids we would become.
Yo Rodriguez. Palin's not running for anything, but Cruz will take a bite out of that left-wing biscuit of you'rn...or put another way, I'm sure he'll step right up to announce without a drop of insincerity, "I'll be your Huckleberry. Seems I recall a chief strategist, a mutual friend of ours I'll just call Paul, declaring on the same night he announced he was considering a run on the Green ticket for Governor of New York state as we were all sweating over dinner at the 14th Street Busboy's & Poets in the summer of '08, that destroying the Democratic Party was at hand, and favorable. What a tangled web...and what strong, large memories some of us have. While yes, some just have large mammaries. And others, not that it matters on the golf course have neither."
Funny, as a ballplayer, I was often diagnosed as an over-achiever, capable of great moments, and of carrying a lackluster team far beyond its means only to crash at the last moment. Second place, not third, or last, or in the middle but second place was the recurring theme of my competitive life. Second most econonomic cab driver after just a few weeks on the job. Second most productive and accurate surveyor after being given my shot at party chief with my own crew. Race through dominating the regular season only to lose in the playoff finals to a team we'd slammed by large margins several times already. This was my luck, my meme, my path to the stars. Never quite the top dog, always stuck in the doghouse at number two, and I don't like the way that sounds.
However, after turning in a blank sheet of paper in response to twelve analytical questions, no multiple choice here, sitting in the same desk in the same classroom where I had achieved a rare A only to get a B in effort, you could have knocked me over with a feather when a few days after that school year had ended, and the final report cards were mailed, and I opened that envelope with great trepidation, I discovered to my amusement that Miss Harris had capitulated to my commanding spirit,and had given me straight A's across the board, including the course final. Deportment, Effort, Scholarship. All A's.
If Mrs. Mayhem's intuition had presaged the Miss Harris teacher-student debacle, the Miss Harris scourge would presage the coming generations, although let's face it, student punks were a dime a dozen at least since the times of the Greeks. Did I mention I later ran for Senior Class President at another school from which I in two years would graduate, on the platform to bring a junk food canteen to campus? An idea that has become the contemporary norm but is now frowned upon just like it was back then at the front of the caloric revolution, an idea of freedom of choice, of brief respite, of the mouth-watering zest that sometimes is just a little bit more satisfying and attention-grabbing than the traditional wares of zealotry, an idea I also picked up at Glynn Academy, an historical school founded in 1788, had sported the first "rest area" I had ever seen (although I'm sure large urban highschools in other warped regions of the country were even back then in the very first year of forced integration in the south), an entirely different breed of failure and excess freedom running rampart apart from my own small town observations, aptitude, and media-crunching misapplications. But as I learned somewhere in the finer thills of Huckleberry Finn via the aristocratic airs of the cinematic flair that a tuberculosis sickened Doc Holliday, who hailed from Valdosta GA we should not forget, one should first write about what one knows as long as you include lots of links because the following generations will know nothing about any history that preceded them until it affects them more than a poorly formed sentence from the gangrened mouth of their hanging judge.
The world is a very strange place. Not unlike the movie Tombstone.
Anvil Booker was no guarantee,
Nimrod's son, wide awake, my generation,
not what you wanted, not now not here
coy, once upon a time nickels and dimes
one way or another one of these days out of time
Mrs. Brown's lovely daughter,
broke paperback writer,
only a pawn in their game, swallows peppermint twist
open all night, parade of the horribles,
Nadine Brown put 'em on the glass
like old fashioned love songs
"My brain is hanging upside down, neat neat neat"
a few observations, sunspot backyard garden party
forsaken fragments of fresh flesh must of got lost
met privately with their lawyers, guns, and money
fortunate son sitting to my right in submission,
no sanctuary, superstition, surrender,
none but the brave,
Mrs. Robinson snatches Mr. Tambourine Man,
and the one they called Mr. Integrity. Ooh la la. Each other's bad company,
girl gone wild, night moves, sultans of swing, mother and child reunion
only the good die young in Oliver's army,
Mother's little helper not faking it,
one man's a gang, one headlight.
One tin soldier on the sea of Galilee,
Arial Sharon still in his coma after seven
years of plenty, on the road again,
one way out, not a trillion dollar golf game
peace minus one, pay you back with interest
one step into the light, one of us, Obama's presidential rag
people who died, peeling back the foreskin of liberty
for the piano man Pee-ro Juan Valdez Sam Quixote
parasite host, pump it up, it's a political world.
Private Idaho went M.I.A.
planet earth 1988, police story pretty vacant,
plastic bag, picture this, get a grip on yourself
perpetual personality, the pied piper,
please push no more, the power genocide
gunpoint affection, this year's prophet
get back, get down, get ready, get up,
golden shower of hits, going going gone
get your body beat, get off, harvest
halfway to crazy said Avil,
the happiest days of our lives,
hate to say I told you so
growing up the children
of dust, groom's still waiting.
The church of the holy spook,
cigarettes and citizenship
packed into an old blue chevy van,
made it to oh Atlanta and back then died
after that singular trip from Corpus Christi,
sold it back to the same gypsies I paid on eggshell.
Elvis is everywhere, a field of opportunity
Eli's coming, eminent domain, embryo dead, Elvis on velvet,
fire on the mountain, flowers on the wall, civil war
face to face, remarks Eve, of destruction, Ezra's Cantos
fake friends fading fast, long as I can see the light
pipes Anvil, looking for a leader lost in America,
a brutal planet, every picture tells a story,
every grain of sand fighting in the streets,
Cleveland rocks, Detroit City falls,
drops into the night, city baby
attacked by rats coast to coast
cold professional, common people
coal miner's daughter, glory days
claw at idiot wind,
as somebody screamed give peace a chance,
others bellowed they would go down fighting,
same fate, no regulation, no legislation
prepared the goon squad, the goody two shoes
troops of tomorrow, red shirted radicals,
the queen of the silver dollar,
rabbit fighter, punk rock girl, the righteous ones,
or the green shirts of the green green grass of home
for the grinder, the grey seal.
Richard hung himself,
the rhythm of the rain was
a major contributor. Famous last words,
return to sender. Over my head. Pablo Picasso
never had to paint it black, use magnum force,
just his lyin' eyes, mandolin wind,
and maybe I was a golf ball,
quips Anvil, adding
Massachusetts was his favorite nation,
miles from nowhere when you live in sweet home Alabama
especially when the Medicine Jar
still owned Maybelle's guitar.
Now it has always been mate,
spawn and die (probably of mind games)
so the show must go on,
but things smell a bit fishy,
Shirley, should I stay or should I go?
The silver dollar forger is a Shi'ite punk,
Master Jack, you know Sister digs the sharpies;
Modern Romans haven't a clue, have no momentum
again miles from nowhere when Michael rows
the boat ashore itchin' for action,
the memory of Mesopotamia not lost
in the air that I breathe
the age of consent
blindhammer in bikini
red between the lines
or the defenders of the faith,
deep one perfect morning
because the night principals
of the death & resurrection show,
are dedicated followers of fashion
moving in stereo,
ignoring my back pages no matter who you are
as the age of quarrel plus outsider sacks
our comfortable lives. Anvil
with his never say never
lonely teardrop Mike Twigger ax
admires the question.
Why are you so paranoid, they accuse. Anvil's quick
to point to territorial pissings, then indigestion.
[ 2013, Lovettsville ]
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""