Tossed Amongst Branchless Trees:

Beckmann, Self-portrait with red scarf, 1917

Errorists join me! We will start “Mal-Quota”—an organization for error extremists. Eclectic eccentrics, I think of small-town peoples. From The eclectic magazine of foreign literature, science, and art, Volume 33 by Harry Houdini Collection (Library of Congress), John Davis Batch: “Oh wavering and new-fangled multitude!” he continues. “Is it not a wonder to consider the inconstant mutability of this uncertain worH! The common people always desiring alterations and novelties of things for the strangeness of the case; which often turneth them to small profit and commodity . . . What hath succeeded all wise men doth know, and the common sort of them hath felt. Therefore, to grudge or wonder at it surely were but fohy; to study a redress, I see noi how it can be holpen, for the inclination and natural disposition of Englishmen is and hath always been to desire alteration of officers.” Then, “How perennial is the English character!”

Music eats. Music eats me. I have been eaten by music. Erik Satie must’ve sat a lot; Phil Jackson sitting on a “rising chair” on the sidelines—this type of sitting? In Satie’s Memoirs of An Amnesiac, he explains, in strange detail, his “working habits” (jeu d’esprit) titled, THE MUSICIAN’S DAY:

“An artist must organize his life. / Here is the exact timetable of my daily activities: / Get up: 7:18 A.M.; be inspired 10:23 to 11:47 A.M. I take / lunch at 12:11 P.M. and / leave the table at 12:14 P.M. / Healthy horse-riding, out in the grounds: 1:19 to 2:53 P.M. / More inspiration: 3:12 to 4:07 P.M. / Various activities (fencing, reflection, / immobility, visits, / contemplation, swimming, etc. . . .) 4:21 to 6:47 P.M. / Dinner is served at 7:16 and ends at 7:20 P.M. Then comes / symphonic readings, out loud: 8:09 to 9:59 P.M. / I go to bed regularly at 10:37 P.M. Once a week (on Tues- / days) I wake up with a start at 3:19 A.M. / I eat only white foods: eggs, sugar, scraped bones; fat / from dead animals; veal, salt, coconuts, chicken cooked in / white water; fruit mold, rice, turnips; camphorated black / puddings, things like pasta, cheese (white), cotton salad / and certain fish (without skins). / I boil my wine and drink it cold mixed with fuchsia juice. / I have a good appetite, but never talk while eating, for fear / of strangling myself. / I breathe carefully (a little at a time). I very rarely dance. / When I walk, I hold my sides and look rigidly behind me. / Serious in appearance, if I laugh it is not on purpose. I / always apologize it nicely. / My sleep is / deep, but I keep one eye open. My bed is / round, with a hole cut out to let my head through. Once / every hour a servant takes my temperature and gives me another. / I have long subscribed to a fashion magazine. I wear a / white bonnet, white stockings and white waistcoat. / My doctor has always told me to smoke. Part of his advice / runs: ‘Smoke away, my dear chap. If you don’t someone / else will.’”

All of this coming from the great minimalist. Minimalism, like Beauty, is only “skin deep.”

Relying on government is like relying on technology. Dishonest computers & ill-filled oil spills, wizened, wiseless & blown to wherewithal. I find more reliability in a sewing machine, the bubblegum that I pop that echoes stickily in a hallway, a spiral-bound notebook full of scribbles, a fading flashlight, a split rubberband, John Lee Hooker's post-war blues, &c.

The Whole comes apart in a possible progress. I want to dine in due time without thinking of eating rhymes as a food source for good times, in the meantime, Sviatoslav Richter plays the piano, sounding so fine. Don DeLillo: “My voice isn’t part of my body. It’s what comes out of my body when I speak. It’s the air which by some miracle we are able to shape into the sounds we wish to make.” Just like that.

I would have probably laughed at Mahler had he screamed at me like he would his musicians. I would’ve kept playing the tune; he would’ve needed me, he would have missed me had he kicked me out of the symphony.

I’m a comma that is hooked next to your imposing punctuation. My vowels hide behind tonsil towels, like bowels hiding behind hours.

From The Memoirs of Sir Thomas Fmvell Buxton:

“One of my neighbours is a very ill-tempered man; he tries to vex me, and has built a great place for swine close to my walk. So, when I go out, I hear, first grunt, grunt, squeak, squeak; but this does me no harm. I am always in good humour. Sometimes to amuse myself I give a beggar a guinea. He thinks it is a mistake, and for fear I should find it out, off he runs as hard as he can. I advise you to give a beggar a guinea sometimes, it is very amusing. The daughters are very pleasing. The second son is a mighty hunter, and his father lets him buy any horses he likes. He lately applied to the Emperor of Morocco for a first-rate Arab horse. The Emperor sent him a magnificent one; but he died as he landed in England. The poor youth said very feelingly, that was the greatest misfortune he ever had suffered; and I felt strong sympathy with him. I forgot to say, that soon after Mr. Rothschild came to England, Bonaparte invaded Germany. ‘The Prince of Hesse Cassel,’ said Rothschild, ‘gave my father his money; there was no time to be lost; he sent it to me. I had 600,000/. arrive unexpectedly by the post; and I put it to such good use, that the Prince made me a present of all his wine and his linen.’”

Such texts, whoa’d and slow’d down. “Sl-sl-slow down!” Certain texts make me feel coo-coo-cuckoo'd by the companion of fretting. My throat had a miscarriage! Words are stuck! My tongue has steeped, apparently kneaded like claygunk. Recently, I wrote a poem titled, “Love Stakes Me”:

Within the shadows of my mind, there,
with marching feet & chanting rhyme,
are the long-legged haunts of Loves fled
in extraordinary melodies of time, an air

unfastened by memory’s reeling—drenched
& restless like noisy quarrels clenched.
I pause, unlike hours, flattering love’s despair
with a grateful heart; my mind’s vocalist defined.

Influenced by W.B. Yeats, I wrote this in solitude while (I think) eating sandwiches. Also, at the same time (not influenced by Yeats), I overly-pondered:

I sit here
& ponder

a better poem,
a better

dream for a better

The ants that are

upon the white wall
in front of me

near the hole
in the wall

near the door
knob’s lock;

They are the poem;
this poem.

This-this-this is not
a poem.

I thought: “axed you a question while I waxed poetic sessions, no answers and no confessions.” Hmm, why am I starving? “I just ate.” The other day, a seventy-five year old man spoke to me of what they called he sd The Old Army. He was a partaker of it. He sd that back then they could kick you In the g. maximus & get away with it. Back then they owned you completely. I thought later that it was perhaps like a shadow following the body & now the times have changed. Times are changing like posters on walls. Idols & icons torn away. Replaced with newer ones before & after the quinceaños. Smoking-gun evidence. Military-disarray & fruit punch laws. Thus the body at this point leaving its shadow behind or it is the shadow leaving its body behind? Either way it springs for safety & drips like oil, like secrets unfolding in a diary entry & then there was a conversation of a conversation about anger: He sd, What is the point of getting angry? Getting mad is much worse than the problem.

Lately, I have felt shifted away from all humanity. The sounds of my Arctic, a silent monster, a roaming of unity, an attraction of latitude, perhaps. I have to experience the excitement of a dynamic landscape: the flora, the fauna, the heart and what is not there; a Plato ratio.

Brunelleschi would have awe’d over the architectural domes in my heart.

The camera continues to try and maintain supremacy. I cut it off worse than a one-liner or a two-timer. Constabel: “I always sit till I see some living thing; because if such appears, it is sure to be appropriate to the place.” Inappropriateness would have certainly been to merely shut one’s eyes and imagine living things? The sense in this? Nearly absurd. Beautifully. It could be like a “folk saying.”


Adamitically Frumpled.

The photographer Walker Evans, in a 1974 Polaroid portrait shot by John Benson

1 comment:

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