Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Was muss ich tun?

By remaining in the theater, we are willing them to die. Their deaths happen by our seeing them, so if we were to leave the theater, they would in fact survive. Haneke practically begs us to walk out. Staying forces us to realize our full moral bankrupcty.


Zbigniew Herbert and Contemporary America High American Capitalism as Equivalent to Stalinist Realism, but with the Illusion of Choice. That's not what the article is about, but come this weekend, I'll write about it.

Fantastic Discussion of American Politics and the School of Quietude

Counter-Revolution of the Word

There are far too many isms and ists and ideologies and iconoclasts and erasures and als in these discussions. Poetry differs from politics in that the main concern is not power. A wing of language poetry falls into this trap. The institution of writing as a business doesn't know its in it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


For Three Hours Tonight I Sat With My Dog Before Having to Put Him Down

I Was Never Good to My Dog Until I Had to Put Him Down

10:30pm 3/24/08

Lately to find him in the corner, panting against a wall,

as if he were trying to prove he still had breath,

a jellied string of blood and snot from his nose, fluid stiffening

in the lungs, across the eyes like wax, paw-scratching

to push a cement truck off his snout, and some odor

that must have been his organs, purple cankers.

That he could have survived is not in doubt. You know,

assuming we know the affected area, it can be treated—but…

said the balding, butternut-squash-bodied doctor…at his age…

And in the veterinary’s Exam Room #1, the dog’s arthritic hips

tested the tile, needing to stand instead, just to breathe

and drooling bungee cords stretched to their maximum point

before needing to whoosh back up in heavy tongues of air or


Something in us that is neither human nor inhuman looks

at suffering, always for life, prefers even its briefest,

most fragile grace. Even while convulsing, the heart

murmurs, a noticeable beat. But torn.

If you could put him on the table. There will be two shots.

Hold him there. The first will numb him. There you go.

Then the second. Steady his body. Help him

lie down. Sometimes breath is held by the lungs

then suddenly released.

The doctor turned away, picking up the Y of the stethoscope,

measuring the heartbeat. Three times, picking the metallic ear up

and listening again. His eyes left and right, seeing what he could

hear. Nothing. Everything’s stopped now.

Would you like a moment by yourself with your dog?

No, I said, patting the black shag of his belly. And waited

for the doctor to leave, to press my lips against the hair-perm

crinkle of his ear, saying bark baby, bark

Monday, March 24, 2008

THE MORE YOU KNOW (cue: rainbow)

James' guess:

My guess is that both were inspired by the Age of Exploration and the "discovery" of the New World, and that each represents the last work in its respective author's oeuvre.

James, the first part of your sentence is close to the right answer, but I think it's more true of The Tempest than Amerika. Kafka wrote Amerika in the '20s, which is just a little after the Age of Exploration. You are right though that both are the last works of the authors, but that is not what I was thinking of when I posted this.

Both works were written about the New World even though both authors never had a chance to see it. It's a testimony to imagination in general and to the belief in a notion of America as imaginary.

This struck me recently because I have always struggled with divorcing my fiction from nonfiction.

I was going to write a longer answer, but the muse ran away.

Also, a little 411- The Tempest is the only play by Shakespeare that he wrote from scratch. All of his other plays were retellings of known histories, myths and folklore.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Two Poems Worthy of Memory

You Mustn't Show Weakness

You mustn't show weakness
and you've got to have a tan.
But sometimes I feel like the thin veils
of Jewish women who faint
at weddings and on Yom Kippur.

You mustn't show weakness
and you've got to make a list
of all the things you can load
in a baby carriage without a baby.

This is the way things stand now:
if I pull out the stopper
after pampering myself in the bath,
I'm afraid that all of Jerusalem, and with it the whole world,
will drain out into the huge darkness.

In the daytime I lay traps for my memories
and at night I work in the Balaam Mills,
turning curse into blessing and blessing into curse.

And don't ever show weakness.
Sometimes I come crashing down inside myself
without anyone noticing. I'm like an ambulance
on two legs, hauling the patient
inside me to Last Aid
with the wailing of cry of a siren,
and people think it's ordinary speech.

- Yehuda Amichai

Shine Perishing Republic

While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening
to empire
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the
mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots
to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence;
and home to the mother.
You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly
long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
shine, perishing republic.
But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening
center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there
are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant,
insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught – they say –
God, when he walked on earth.

- Robinson Jeffers

because i'm drunk and i can't sleep


what do shakespeare's the tempest and kafka's amerika have in common in terms of genesis/ relationship of work to author?

(will post the answer when sobered up if you haven't already guessed)