The world registers you not at all.
the world registers you not at all.
The world regards you less favourably
than a fly-trap a flea.
Going through life putting your case
is like being butter gone through putting your case
to the hot knife.
I’ve just finished “South Wind” by Norman Douglas. Delightful novel but almost impossible to sell it to people… I suppose there are novels you just have to wait until one day when you’re 83 you meet some bum like you who happens also to have read it and naturally neither of you bring it up.
Six or seven years ago I brought up a stack of books to our bookshelf from the recycling room of our apartment building in Vancouver. One was a volume of short stories by the cockroach D.H. Lawrence, and now I’ve decided to read it. All DHL’s trademark chest-beating and chimplike masturbation and excrement-flinging, and my God how does anyone read him with a straight face. Two axioms to which I can now attest: anyone who says “I can’t recall” in an interview can recall very well, and D.H. Lawrence was a suicidal onanist.
(I was already aware of both, but now I can attest to them).
This is the first hotel I’ve stayed in where a calculator is provided. Neatly in the top-right corner of the desk, like 1981. I assume this isn’t special treatment. Or should I assume it is, in the “exalted” sense of “special”? Or dare I say it, in the retarded sense?
I’m wondering whether to break open the can of wiener-meat in brine. Hotel rooms are great nullifiers of potential. I expect I’ll leave it as it is, pristine. The wiener, not the potential.
Some men in the gym
reek of perfume
parade pompadour or perm.
summon some men, sum men,
(some on men), some omen. Amen.
I’m just sitting here writing nonsense, because why not. Did I tell you, I’ve decided not to eat meat on this trip? Well I have. But I’ll still eat fish, because fish are vegetal. And prawns and so forth. So far it’s going very well. I’ve survived two whole days in the company of people I would otherwise have consumed.
I might ramble on a bit more in a minute. But bye for now.
I am in my spiritual blogging home, Atlanta airport. It used to be Houston, but now it’s Atlanta. Is there any difference? A gnat’s fart.
They are both dreamlike palaces of wonder.
Why are there never any attractive people in airport lounges? Is there a secret lounge for the good-looking? Does some unsuspected digit in my Skymiles number mark me out as one of the unhandsome?
Why are there so many unsightly moustaches here?
And always one – it’s a constant – unshutoutable voice. Talking about workflow or wine.
I’m reading a splendid novel. I’ve spent the last three weeks reading a dreadful novel. Bad novels are like uphills, they take forever… you finish it and then you have a novel you enjoy, a downhill, and it’s over in a flash.
I’m part of that stream of little dots hurrying across the earth, back and forth. I am on a manifest. I’m a denizen of airportlandistan and all my worries are temporarily suppressed.
Who in the night
with her encircling arms affords respite
from all that ails and makes me antsy?
Who with her breasts clad in only a skimpy nightie
could lure Adonis away from Aphrodite,
inevitably into inconstancy?
Whose nymphic nose,
when crinkled in amusement, throws
my mind into fresh fancies?
Who has the loveliest limbs?
The presence of whom makes the holiest hymns
into mere fritinancy?
To whom do the galaxies
somersaulting in celestial trapeze
fail to compare in elegance? See
To whom is this poem addressed?
To the one I love best
and with the utmost extravagancy:
to you, Nancy.
Come, tell us of your travels.
The Oort Cloud, overlooking
an ample river, and a bright boil
exerting the merest pull.
Boys who’ve played marbles
know the inordinate, shocking
doings of spin and gravity.
Some unsuspected lesser deity
dealt you the fateful hand.
You were to visit the Capital,
peopled thickly with chimeras:
rocks, gas, and cameras.
Henceforth an exile from your land,
companions, map. It all
materialised: the swollen Kuiper Belt,
Pluto’s six moons, the gilt
surface of Haumea, the deep
and dauntless emptinesses where
time treads reluctantly,
dissembles like a truant or escapee.
If you could sleep,
what dreams you could dream there:
what permutations, acts
of rude geometry; what facts
your dreams might bear out or rewrite.
Gas giants looming like aunts
at the wedding of a far cousin;
moons and rings carousing,
reflecting any-coloured light
lancing awry and askance,
kneaded and woven and skewed,
as you too start to come unglued,
careening sunward, shedding
your shell with increasing speed,
integuments flayed by the solar wind.
to a wheel, locked onto a heading
utterly daring, utterly decreed.
You lose more skin
to asteroids, then Mars hoves in-
to view, no people yet.
Earth simmering nicely.
Earth’s moon, one of the dullest,
but also the fullest,
refulgent, swollen with a vague threat
as you pass precisely
200,000 kilometers away.
The kind of thing people say,
no meaning to it.
Venus approaches, the star
begins to burn your face, fire
is something one ought to admire
from afar (this you intuit,
diminishing, uttering an au revoir
to every planetoid you’ve passed).
Rope yourself to the mast!
Mercury is gone, the last world!
Charged particles are eating you alive!
Is this not how all things come forth?
In a fiery birth
like a ball hurled
with an indomitable drive
into an unsteady soup?
As I fledge, shriek, and swoop,
I’m inclined to agree,
being lobstered by your damned Sun,
a lambent quavering streak
etching itself across your sky.
For you I have only just begun;
but I have seen people kissing,
sticking knives into each other, wishing
upon me errantly,
calling me a portent, telling their young,
calling me a god,
allowing themselves to be overcome and awed
by me. Me! Apparently
a snowball flung
by a snowman in a snowfield has meaning.
OK. Don’t wait up for our next convening.
I was startled to learn today that Chinua Achebe was a man.
Snow buries all cars on our street.
Mailboxes. For sale signs.
It’s whipped into waves and wrinkled lips
and in it cars carve lanes.
Visiting neighbors is fun: you leave
your kids in front of Looney Toons,
act like clowns,
insert them into beds, heave sighs.
Snow blocks out footprints.
Yes, if things had been otherwise
it would have been all caviare and quince
and we’d have traversed
Jupiter and Saturn and their moons.
Instead we set foot in snow
blown into deceptive dunes.
Snow will fall. All will be well. All
will be obliterated; all will be over.
The snow comes down like the down of a plover
being eviscerated discreetly by an owl.
The snow is falling all over.
The photos look so natural, your mum
and I both fall in love with you anew:
seeing the dumb
conjunction of our genes
rendered so skilfully. We could never do
so fine a job. It means
the world to us, this proof brought home from school.
Of course, the original was rather cruel:
a jagged streak of snot
scything across one cheek, four missing teeth
implying that you’d got
into a recent fray,
and a bruise above your nose and a sneer beneath.
But thanks to Photoshop, it’s all OK.