Archive for December, 2010

The Seed King

December 28, 2010

Down there on the beach—
look at that dog—
its gait, its ebbing strength.
For sure, that’s the ancient Seed King,
here to anoint the Chosen One
before he dies. Imagine that,
the disappearance, verily, into
the heart and bowels of an
anointment could be made real
right here today. Simple as day
turns to night. Imagine that, in
our seed, his icy phlegm…

…for, it is written, he carries our seed
as though preservation and salvation
were pond and ice for children to
slide and skate upon…
He bringeth salvia for the child who
cannot return home for dinner and who is
frozen there, still in his diapers, who is soon
to become the new Seed King.  Get it?
The child who is looked at so fiercely by
the other kids and who can’t know—
can’t know him well enough
to try to pet him before he dies…


Second Solstice (Solace)

December 20, 2010

This time, he thought, it could be St. Lucy
herself out there and not
our vision of her. Winter’s sunrise could be
her last breath strung out along the ocean rim—
who scant seven hours
herself unveils…
—and not a group of solemn winter friends,
and not the sun’s addiction to the summer.
You do not need life to have movement.
The Geminids will pass across the sky tonight.
The mass for this day is as ripe
as earth’s oldest, ripest melon.
Perhaps a second of solace, he thought. That’s all.

Yet our hydroptic earth remains
a thirsty earth, a dropsical,
gasping-for-life-as-if-it-were-air, earth.
The lights St Lucy lights are like space debris.
It can die up there too, you know,
the second solstice.
But here we must whisper.

Luminescence Sentenced

December 4, 2010

talking, in Eternity
—Elizabeth Bishop

The more she thought about that nice old couple, how
they had seemed to be suspended inside
a bioluminescence of their own back there,
at the back of the bus
—limned in the moonlight, as it were—
the more Terry Tory had seemed to be inside a  kind
of moon herself—inside its luminescence—though
she’s not a ’bio’ anything and  it’s not like our moon at all,
but rather like a moon with craters so alive
with mineral nutrients—and hydrogen and oxygen—
that an extremely complex form of plant life had
evolved, one so complex that it could ‘talk’,
so intricate that the earth scientists were forced
to conclude that most of this plant communication
as it was formed among the ‘meta-roots’
—which is what they O so misleadingly called the neuronal cells—
should qualify as poetry, and, moreover,
a poetry that had created its
own mimetic production of reality (sine qua none
of poetry), not a poem, that is,  that is just a reality,
but a reality that is both capable of duplication  here,
and rich enough for duplication there,
to be written down here (as we do it),
or swarmed over (the meta-roots seem to sway) there,
and rich enough to generate mimetic doubles on
its/their own, you know, like consciousness does , or like
Terry and her sister Tranci, the  twins, in fact,
of all things, hence the moon and its twin, hence
the bio-moon with its great verdurous reality,
where, it is to be hoped, another bioluminescent pair
at the back of  some other bus and in some other sentence,
in some other ‘swarm’, if you will, but still in one
another’s moonlight—bathed in the stuff—will talk for
some time together there, and interrupted only by
that other bus, the bus that only will take you one at a time,
which will come soon, we all know it,
but will not  come tonight,  not for Terry,  not for
our nameless couple, and not even for that moose
the bus driver picks out in his headlights and stops—
for this all happened many years ago—
a moose that is Luminescence Transcendent,
or at least seems to be so there in the moonlight,
there in the  headlights,
there in the light of Terry Tory and
Tranci Tory, about to join both moons as they pass overhead,
both shinning their eerie lights,
both reflected from the sun and from their own strange source,
both luminescence sentenced and luminescence swayed.


Adorning the Rock (4)

December 2, 2010

Adorning the Rock (1)
Adorning the Rock (2)
Adorning the Rock (3)

Twisted, stooping, polymathic Z

When we last saw Wallace Stevens he was in a bar, in a bad mood. Indeed, late style might be thought of as bringing a bad mood (and the bar) to the process of creation.  Anyway, Uncle Wallace is in a Blarney Stone in downtown Hartford, seventy years later. After some prefatory grumbling he writes this monster of a sentence, which I have taken the liberty of copying out without the line breaks:

The meeting at the edge of the field seems like an invention, an embrace between one desperate clod and another in a fantastic consciousness, in a queer assertion of humanity: a theorem proposed between the two—two figures in a nature of the sun, in the sun’s design in its own happiness, as if nothingness contained a métier, a vital assumption, an impermanence in its permanent cold, an illusion so desired that the leaves came and covered the high rock, that the lilacs came and bloomed like a blindness cleansed, exclaiming bright sight, as it was satisfied , in a birth of sight.


The meeting at the edge of the field seems like an invention.

A long sentence has the advantage of ordering information. You get to show the reader the relative importance to be placed on each and every clause in the story. The periodic sentence is the mother of long sentences. Here’s Ann Radcliffe in Romance in the Forest:

While he was declaring the ardour of his passion in such terms, as but too often make vehemence pass for sincerity, Adeline, to whom this declaration, if honourable, was distressing, and if dishonourable, was shocking, interrupted him and thanked him for the offer of a distinction, which, with a modest, but determined air, she said she must refuse.


She said she must refuse.

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