The influence of gaslight or electric light on the growth of paraheliotropic trees

bonebrushing the edges of the res interna (upper transcend)

Month: April, 2009

Classical vs. Ultramodern

I seem to have taken a classical turn of late, epitomized by Keat’s Ode, I suppose; let’s not forget that the purpose of electric light on heliotropic trees is to explore the effect of the ultramodern on the human soul, not to sink into the comforting memory of safe and easy Apollonian art, Yeats’ gold Byzantium. Cacaphony, the riots at the Rite of Spring, Spring Theory, and Deep Time and History, the Screams of Car Accidents outside my New York window, the High Definition Apocalypses contained and controlled by the 25-hour TV/Internet newscycle, the coming obsolence of newsprint, digital ink and digital paper, dine and dash mentalities, the New Socialism, the New President, Generation Y growing up and taking our seat on the crazy water ride, water slide, Hunter S. Thompson and David Foster Wallace with a solipsist gun in their mouth, Nihilism and Optimism, Walt Whitman Old and New, the End of Discourse, the Twist of Rhetoric, out-of-work lawyers, fierce beggars, venereal disease, electronic dance music, headphone parties, studio apartments, teenagers sending naked pictures of themselves with their ubiquitous high resolution cell phone cameras, the iphone and the Xbox, headstands and summersaults, psychadelic mushrooms, the 2nd largest city in Vermont, nationalized singing talent show, fat and endless bandwith, three word poems, the new haiku, automatic wordcounts, waterboarding with the American flag, Chrysler is bankrupt, Pig Flu, many lives, heat death of the universe, canceling the moonbase, the speed of light, the relativity of time, brane cosmology, brain surgery, positive and negative externalities, death and taxes, consumer space travel, bankruptcies and great recessions, 2nd act repeats, Karl Marx’s comeback, culture industry collapsing back on itself, a million chittering cells organize and then disorganize, organism then individual, what is law, what is the law, break the law, and scofflaw, information wants to be free, who said that, says Time Warner, a hacker you idiot, the Whole Earth Catalog, and he was right and you were wrong, charge what you want, toll-roads and advertising, the colonization of the human mind, a new kind of fascism, the freedom to starve, absolute poverty, disease, a warming planet, antarctica is melting, polar bears are drowning, trees are getting greener, and the city’s getting hotter and the worm is winding tighter, there are snakes on the plane, Lost is the island of Atlantis, the Garden of Eden is in Bahrain, every fall I put on my Jewhat and go sing in Sumerian, I know where we come from, I don’t know where we’re going, but maybe caves, 30 million Chinese people still do it, if I’m one in a million that means there’s a thousand of me in China, twist and shout, new souls — Before Sunrise and Before Sunset — and don’t trust anyone over thirty unless they’re already dead (Death makes one reliable) and you can’t change the future because the future is what will happen and and and conjunction junction what’s your function — putting words together and that’s my function and television is ubiquitious and computer screens are ubiquitous and cell phones and coffee shops and restaurants and Walmart and the fear of stinking death is ubiquitous – my father had a dog once he was called Ubi, he was the Ubiquitous Dog, because he kept showing up, what’s that supposed to be, profound or something, does the writer in my head make me a schizoid paranoiac? No, I doubt they’re after me, the Black Helicopter Police have bigger fish to fry than me, those Right Wing Crazies, Those Fascist Yahoos, lock up your children the homosexuals are coming, God hates butt-sex, but how does he feel about tit-sex? Unclear. Blowjobs? Blowjobs are ok if the person giving them has a vagina? Why? What does a vagina have to do with a blowjob? An interesting argument, I have there, Young Lawyer. Oh, go, there is studying to do, and more handstands and tumblesaults and summersalts and airplane rides and yogurt. Go, go, go, go, keep going, Ponyboy, stay yellow, Chicken, where we’re going we don’t need roads — oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh.

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Walpurgis Night

Ancient childhood memories of seducing fear.

Ode on A Grecian Urn, by Keats

John Keats

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed leged haunts about thy shape
Of dieties or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirits ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the tries, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor even can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal– yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou has not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young,
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowfuland cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
TO what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest brances and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation wase,
Thou salt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’sts,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,–that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

Anecdote of the Jar, by Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens (lawyer)

I placed a jar In Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Interesting Times

Swine Flu and the Great Recession. Suddenly history is relevant, with talks of 1919 and 1929 and 1939 on the horizon? The War is over, and we got the best President ever – we got hope and maybe change — Jerry Garcia is playing on my Xbox. I’m standing on my head in the 21st Century, learning the Law of Evidence (“I’ve got an objection –“). Sitting on a couch. Sitting in a room. Smooth like a rhapsody. My several masterpiece. The mediation of communication. Sentences without verbs. The verb is implied — the ontalogical verb, the predicate noun, the substance dancing, the music of the strings. Nothing is lost. Everything old is new again. Yeats. Sailing to Byzantium. Gilded birdsong, delighting endless lines of Emperors, lost names of Bzyantium, stretching through the halls of memories.

Why do I fear graveyards but love bookstores? Why do I shun disease but love history? Am I looking for the part that remains? The internet, strange tool, new medium (new message), good news? slouching bethlehem, do the best lack conviction, are the worst the most passionate, can I jump up and down on the limbs of great trees flying up to heaven and then back down to human arms?

What a world, what a beautiful world, Shakespeare Watcher at the center of it all, he’s dead too, wrote it best, about the King and the Bunghole, Beevis and Butthead when I was young, South Park its dark reflection, everything reflected, the same old in and out, from a greater perspective our lives are all identical, I believe that the topology of existence is similar, I believe that what it feels like to be me is what it feels like to be you, or a bat for that matter, I believe that our qualia are close.

Cannot be proven. Why be good? Why do anything? Why not curl up into a corner, and watch the glass melt back into sand? Mouse run through the kitchen. My blood clutches to little molecules of oxygen, thirsty, jealous — an electric guitar — a digital representation of Apollo’s lute doubled back over and over again — we did not invent music, we discovered it — we did not invent law, we discovered it — we must love one another and/or die. Auden said that. Changed it to reflect deep sadness. MP3s — as much music as you want, but — quality is not quite the same. I live on an island, in the 21st century. Down at the bottom of this island, they are filling in a hole. Trying and failing to repair what was lost.

“What do I have in my pocket?” My mind is an archeolgical dig. Tel-Gezer. The Lost City of Troy. Does Helen stand on the walls? Do all these losses stir in me an unspeakable wrath, a rage to move Myrmidons, the deep secret desire to have my name known and repeated even after I return to dirt. Filth of the world clinging to me, clinging to us. I clean the walls of this apartment. Is is godly. It is godly. There are things we can do. Things we can do to change. We can clean. We can hold ourselves together. Oh, I am a river, overflowing my banks. I am a river, overflowing my banks. Bob Dylan you singer, you Shakespeare, what wonderful stories you told, what a wonderful way with words, sweet assonance there —

One day on my walking through this island of Manhattan, I will find a door leading into a basement, and when I open the door, I will be blinded by deep impenentrable light, and behind the light there will be a garden stretching to infinity and I will walk through the door and –

A certain madness — call it mermaids. Mermaids of the Hudson. The deep waters press close here. Close here. Close here. Close here. Here. There. The Sun sets, behind the palisades of New Jersey. The Statue of Liberty is still green. I am and I am not the center of the universe. My eyes look out on the world — but from where do they look? I twist in the twilight evening, and my song of is like a wind-chime, betraying both my location and the nature of the wind.

when I paint my masterpiece

Bob Dylan

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble
Ancient footprintss are everywhere
You can almost think that you’re seein’ double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish stairs

Got to hurry on back to my hotel room
Where I’ve got me a date with Bottichellis niece
She promised that she’d be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece

Birches, by Robert Frost

by Robert Frost

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust–
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows–
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches

This is Water, by David Foster Wallace

Thoughts on “This Is Water” (aka Kenyon Commencement Speech 2005) by David Foster Wallace:

1) The Terrible Master & The Wrong Way to Think
2) This Is Water
3) Self-Centered Default / Adjusting Yourself to Be Other Focused
4) Choosing What To Think About
5) Making Sacrifices
6) This Is Water

http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html

Walk Today – New York City, Chelsea & West Village

walk 

Tell me what you saw:

I saw hundreds of people splayed out on the grass of Hudson River Park. I saw a child running behind his father, mother, and sister in a stroller; he was drinking orange soda, his parents told him to save some for his sister; he did. Hippie chicks and Hipster chicks and girls in bikinis. Old Man with a cane shuffling. A couple in front of me, holding hands. A little kid on a little bike in the bikelane. Dangerous. Light across the water of the Hudson River. Water lapping at a piling of rocks. Chelsea Piers. A huge street fair on 10th or 9th Avenue in Chelsea. Printing shops. An independent bookstore. The biggests bookstore in the world, with science fiction, mythology, poetry, literay criticism, philosophy, and new releases. Broadway. Union Square Greenmarket. Sunglasses. Glass bowls sold by a white dreadlocked man. A sign that said “Going to California Tomorrow,” in front of a table of wares. A woman with a clipboard asking me if I’m registered to vote in New York City. No, I say. Crowded masses outside the Strand Bookstore, going through the dollar books. (Leavetakings of the Dead, I imagine). Too frustrated to fight the crowds. Phone calls from an upset Sugarplum. Walking behind a girl in a purple skirt. She turns right into the East Village. I turn left on 8th St. College students walking around. Washington Square Park. Sun in my eyes. Waiting at the corner to cross 6th Avenue. Past the sex shops and IFC theater. Bela Fleck has a movie playing. Crowded. Man selling books drops a cart, the masses stream around it. Joe’s Pizza. Two cheese slices and a bottle of coke for seven dollars. Walking past the deli, then a cafe, then a gelato place. Cross the street. Triangular park with large fountain in the middle. Learned recently this is new landscaping. People sitting. Elegant. Cross the street. Winston Churchill Park — full, first time I’ve seen it so. 6th Avenue. Restaurants have tables outside, full. Girl and her boyfriend in front of me. She’s wearing a tshirt and exercises pants. He’s wearing a buttoned shirt tucked into plaid shorts. King Street. I turn, and the sunlight is brilliant in my eyes. As I head into my apartment, a neighbor comes out past me, a girl — I cannot see her for the brightness.

Total Walk: 4.5 Miles.
Total Bookstores: 4
Total Time: 2.2 hours, w/ stops.
Total Purchases: $7, dinner.

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