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Fiery Steeds: An Argument Against Suicide

A little dog, a warm bath, and a daylit dappled spray of color — is this not enough? And I thought, well no, not for her. This woman had a tragic story, she took her own life, this muse of Bonnard, subject of Nude in Bathtub, which you can find in Pittsburgh now, a city that needs it. But I was wrong, I misremembered. One of Bonnard’s models did end up a suicide, but this is not her but his wife Marthe, or the memory of Marthe (he painted her for nearly half a century but never let her age on canvas; she was a reverse Dorian Gray). The name of the dachshund I do not know. But I trust it lived as one with the Tao, seeking neither to extend nor extinguish its life, eating, sleeping, barking, playing, pooping little poops and, ultimately, achieving all the immortality that art has to offer.

I’ve thrown away most of my life now and I doubt I will ever get back to Pittsburgh to see this painting. But maybe. There is always some hope. It just gets smaller over time.

On the last full day of my friend Nathaniel’s life I went to see an exhibit at UVA’s art museum. By the time of his funeral the weather was beautiful, but that day, which was a Sunday, it was cold and rainy and I probably would have just stayed home if it hadn’t been my final chance to see the exhibit. But what exhibit was it? I cannot remember. Looking it up online I can only find this: Fiery Steeds: French Romantic Studies by Carle Vernet from the Ritzenberg Collection. That show did in fact close on March 14th, 1999, but it rings not the faintest bell for me and I don’t see why I would have been interested in horse pictures by some Frenchman. Maybe there was something else there that has eluded my googling. It is unnerving not to be able to remember. I remember remembering everything from that time. I remember when life was memorable, and now that it isn’t, why can’t I at least get to remember when it was? Must all turn to cloud?

I did not invite Nathaniel to come with me, though he was at home in the house we shared. I saw almost nothing of him that day. Our paths crossed in the kitchen at some point and he told me that he had finished one of the books I had given him for his birthday the previous week, Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines, and that he had liked it. That copy now sits on my downstairs bookshelf next to the other book I gave him, Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful, which he never got to read. I think he really would have liked that one too. Or disliked it in an interesting way. I also gave him the double CD of Sun Ra’s singles. After he died I took that back too, but later I loaned it to somebody and the discs were returned warped and unplayable, so right now I am listening to it on Spotify. I did a really good job with his birthday gifts that year. At least that’s something I don’t have to regret.

It was a couple years later that I took my first trip to Pittsburgh. That was also on a Sunday, Memorial Day weekend. We had two carloads of people driving from Charlottesville to see a big noise show there. It was just something to do, an adventure. After the show and a stop at Denny’s — where I first learned of the existence of the dish “Moons Over My Hammy” and therefore also of the song “Moon Over Miami” — we drove straight back. If Nathaniel had stuck around maybe he would have been with us, he might have enjoyed it. For a long time I would have thoughts like that. I hated that he was missing out on all the cool things that went on after him, that he did not get to see what happened and who turned up, to delight in the world’s display. I hated that I did not get to share experiences with him, did not get to hear what he thought of things. There was never anyone whose opinion I valued as much as his. He had a great gift of appreciation, a critical flair, a cool romantic intelligence that frayed to some freaky edges. And he was my friend.

The last book he read was Songlines. The last movie he watched was Withnail & I, a laserdisc that I had checked out from the library and put on in our living room that Saturday night, though I am not sure that counts because I think he was asleep for most of it. The last album was Blood On the Tracks, which I could hear coming from his room late into the night, played two or three times. Some of us measure our lives with these things but the measuring must come to an end someday.

It is getting late and I do not think I have time to get to that argument I promised you. I have gotten distracted. Not that it matters. The fiery steeds of our fates will carry us where they will regardless. Won’t they? That night I was lying on the living room couch reading a book. I heard Nathaniel in the kitchen. And I had a thought, just a little thought, like the thousand little thoughts you have in a day– maybe I should go talk to him. But I did not move. The moment passed, he went back into his room and started playing the Dylan album. And I never had the chance to see or speak to him again.

That moment is the one I regret more than any other in my life. It was a jewel of inestimable value, I had it in my hands, and I let it slip through my fingers. And ever since it has been too late.

My Dark Materials

After a brief interregnum, the war against The Authority has resumed.

To this effort I intend to give the better, albeit smaller, portion of myself. I will not cease from Mental Fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, till we have built Jerusalem, in Virginia’s green & pleasant land. Probably somewhere in the vicinity of Bumpass. Some say Short Pump but I say Bumpass. We must keep a wary distance from Goochland, Goochland and its Gooches, and keep close to Mineral, Cuckoo, and Beaverdam. But these are mere details, and not mine to decide. Obviously Short Pump is a great shopping destination.

My job will be here, on this blog, as a blogger, blogging. Doing the unpaid, unrewarded, unwanted and unnecessary work of occasional feckless posting. It’s just my part of the Great Work ahead of us. For too long we have been layabouts, popinjays, queer plungers and, in some cases, oracular mountebanks. It was fun while it lasted. For days upon days, blurred and unbroken, I drifted through my home, first looking at one wall, then another, sometimes the ceiling, waiting out the hours until fitful sleep brought me to the brink of terror. No more! No more soft pageantry on the road to death. No more mint chocolate chip ice cream in the shower. No more imaginary podcasting while searching for lost treasures in the fridge. No more forgetfulness of Being or lapsed membership in the Triple-A. Our country has found its leader, regained its footing, and is once again ready to take up arms in the fight of all against All. The call has gone out to patriots everywhere, the call for keyboard warriors strong and true. I must answer that call.

So keep an eye on this space, fellow warriors, for strategic lessonry, tactical tips, and morale-boosting bravado. To begin with, I’d like to suggest the cucumber. Cucumbers make the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal. They are so refreshing! I like the lengthwise cut, but you can go with the moony discs if you prefer. Why not add some cukes to your next meal?

Our storm has come, storm of fire, storm of steel. Our Enemy above shall not long endure, freedom will prevail!

Exit Meatball

Meatball died the other day. Everybody said he was a good cat.

It has been eight years since I last saw him, eight years since I wrote the last Meatball post here (you can see them all by clicking the tab above, labeled “Meatball”). About a year and a half ago I received word from Ariel, who first brought him to Charlottesville, that he was alive and well, living not far from where I grew up in Northern Virginia. But for all their lordly languor, cats burn hot with life, and never for too long. So news of his death was no great shock. I am sure many were surprised he was still alive, before he died. Even when he was quite young he had an air of maturity about him, and I remember my own surprise, early in our acquaintance, when learning of his youth. Though he did enjoy some kid stuff that gave tell, like scampering up trees and that somewhat regrettable goth phase.

But though the news was no shock, our last meeting long ago, and though I had no expectation of ever seeing him again, Meatball was a pal of my mine, and he cannot pass unmourned.

We live in a time when people can barely even pretend to tolerate other people. And dogs have lost all credibility. They are like uncannily wholesome characters from a ’50s sitcom, all “Gee!” and “Howdy” and “Woof! Woof! Guess who? I’m a dog!” Who can believe in dog’s love? Who feels worthy of it? Or thinks that anyone could really be so happy to see you? Who among today’s humans can help but be suspicious, thinking the dogs are just mocking us with their affection, that when we are gone they go wild, masturbating with our shoes and committing obscenities with our toothbrushes and selling all our sensitive data to Russian hackers? But cats we can believe in. In our terrible loneliness we can reach out to their glorious solitude. You say to a cat, “It’s just you and me buddy,” and it is always true.

Meatball passed through the lives of many people. A few he graciously allowed to feed him. His natural home was the neighborhood, his natural role the hunter. Litter box? Hell, the whole world was his litter box. D.H Lawrence wrote, “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.” Meatball was an American cat, and matched that description well enough. But he was also soft to the touch, and sometimes all he wanted was for someone to pet him. He was a cutie and people were glad to see him.

When I think of Meatball I think of windows. I already told the one story in “Meatball Memories,” when he came into my room through the open window. But there was also something from back when I first met him, the brief period when we were both living at Fort Summit. Two or three times at least, after spending the whole night out, he would come home at dawn, jump up on my windowsill, and cry out to me through the screen until I woke up and fetched him in. Much later, towards the end of his stay in Charlottesville, I remember being over at the house on Graves Street that had been his house, to the extent that he was housed at all. But at this point he had officially been moved to another place, not far away but beyond his usual territory. He did not accept the move and kept coming back. He was back that night but not allowed inside, so he just stood at the the window, looking in at us. I went over and put my hand on the glass and from his side he rubbed against that spot, as if rubbing against my hand. Not just for moment, he kept doing it, pressing the side of his head and neck against the windowpane. Like a prison visit in a movie, but without the phones, so I don’t know if he was purring.

So now the window is shut, shuttered, and barred forever. In that field of the imagination called life, mine and maybe yours, another beloved is lost for all to come, kept only in memory. I will cherish him there. He was a good friend, an admirable badass, and soft to the touch. To Meatball!

(yet even now the legend grows, of the ghost cat that haunts the street of Graves)

 

 

Mocks Nix

Melville Un Flic

If I were a New Yorker I probably would have gone with Mocks Knicks, but I am not a New Yorker and care nothing for that team or any of their teams, except the Lizards, who are unfailingly crispy with the rock but really a Long Island outfit.  (I do like that the word knickerbocker has been kept alive.) Mox Nix looks good to me. I have no interest in Nicks. Machts Nichts makes it seem like you don’t know it’s not correct German but an American bungle or, some think, jazzy improvement. I learned the phrase from my parents, who met in Germany. Did I ever use it myself? I can’t remember. I know I said “I don’t care” a lot as a child. “Mox nix” would have been a lot more charming but, for that very reason, perhaps inadequate as a form of self-expression. It does not sound sullen. I think of it as a cheerful phrase although the meaning of “makes no difference” can, in some circumstances, be a bit of a downer. For example, as the answer to the question “Should I attempt CPR?” “Machts nix, Mensch defunkt.”

Some of us are mox nix people, with an instinctively positive reaction to the shrug of whatever, while others are not. Almost all of the problems of the world are caused by those others, and nearly as many solutions. We mocks nixers just let go and live and then let go and die. None of this should be thought to have anything to do with the image above, which is from Melville’s Un Flic, and was chosen for its Contemporary Resonance. I have an untweeted tweet, which is the sweetest kind of tweet, and it goes like this: The real tragedy is how predictable this year’s Halloween costumes are going to be. I kept it to myself because I refuse to underestimate the human imagination and the skills of American crafters. And yet we will never be as chic as the French in our efforts to simultaneously protect public health and personal identity.

Happy Bloomsboxing Day!

“Nurse the hangover, eat the potato, read simple prose.”

So goes the traditional advice for Bloomsboxing Day. I have not followed any of it. The Green Spot whiskey I drank had worn off by the time I turned in, sad to say, and I woke up this afternoon as fresh as an Irish Spring commercial  The potato has evaded the pot. Instead I ate a couple of tuna fish sandwiches, brownies with ice cream, and a usual assortment of snacks and palate amusers: a slice of Camembert, a few dark scrapings from the rutabaga barrel, a skink too slow in its escape from being caught and skewered,  five grapes, a carton of Meat-On-The-Bottom brand yogurt (lamb), a few unconsecrated communion wafers spread with a tapenade just on the edge of spoilage, a few unconsecrated communion wafers spread with Nutella (which in some quarters is actually thought to count as a form of consecration superior to that provided by the Church), and a couple of handfuls of peanuts washed down with black cherry soda. The Camembert was stolen from an attorney, as per custom, but not by me.

For prose I have been reading Kathryn Davis’s The Thin Place, and although the writing is not what I would call difficult or complicated, it is not simple. Most of the sentences are quite straightforward, such as “Once Andrea managed to grow a blue Hubbard squash the size of a manatee, but did that constitute happiness?” You will not break your brain on anything in this book (so far in my reading) except maybe trying keep the characters and their relations straight. But it asks for a slow, relaxed, and very attentive reading, or else Kathryn Davis’s brilliance will be spilled to waste. And if you don’t believe me about her brilliance, believe the greatly brilliant Penelope Fitzgerald, who wrote “Kathryn Davis is brilliant” right on the back of the book, though she died a full six years before its  publication, an uncanny fact not unreminiscent of some of the elements of the story itself. And Anne Patchett blurbs “Davis, God bless her, assumes her readers are intelligent people who are interested in what they are reading.” (But I saw Anne Patchett not long ago in Charlottesville, right before the world shut down all happiness, and she was as super-nice as you would expect and even more, which does make her suspect as a blurber, so you might be better off just trusting the not super-nice me, although that is not quite relevant here, as, apart from the asking for a blessing from God (who has clearly already blessed Davis with genius and the patience to use it), the blurb is not so much nice as simply accurately descriptive, and in fact warns off the unintelligent readers Davis, like all writers, needs to buy her work if she has any hope of making a living at it.) Davis does not put you through an exhausting, maddening, invigorating course of mental athletics in the manner of Joyce, but her novel shouldn’t to be read by a less than a fully engaged reader, which I believe takes it out of the category of simple prose. It may be some of the best writing of our time.

Now I am looking forward to doing something that has a chance of becoming a Bloomsboxing Day tradition: watching a silent film. It just feels right for the day, doesn’t it? I will be starting Fritz Lang’s Spies. It is 150 minutes long so I am not so sure I will be finishing it.

After what may have been a disappointing Bloomsday, given current conditions, I hope that you at least enjoyed a pleasant Bloomsboxing Day. Next up we have Juneteenth and then Father’s Day. The mid-June holiday season is a crazy time for us all. Just remember: 1) you are an adult and you don’t have to take any shots you don’t want to; 2) facing up to Ulysses, slavery, and paternity all in one week is rough, you might want to take a few shots; 3) don’t drink anything you wouldn’t like to sip; 4) if you don’t drink you might want to try exercise or meditation, just remember that you are an adult and you don’t have to do any exercise or meditation that you don’t want to; 5) if you are not an adult I am so, so sorry that your youth has been ruined.

 

Bloomsday Eve Letter

Dear ______,

 

“There comes a time in the life of every man when his thoughts turn to his final Bloomsday.”

Is it that time for me yet? I haven’t done anything with my life but stuff my brain and drink Coca-Cola. Is that all there will be? I won’t ask this about you, I can’t believe there is a final anything for women. Death is such a male thing, that kind of drama. So puffed-up and vulgar and ultimately stinky. Look at the poems of Emily Dickinson: you never really believe she could die, it’s just a flirtation. You know she’s still out there. While Walt Whitman has definitely gone to ground, he’s under our bootsoles for sure, just take a look. Sylvia Plath… well she is dead, very. So I guess at least suicide can take the ladies, though commoner among men. I won’t speculate as to why.

What I mean by all that is that it is so good to be back with you, even in my imagination, on one side of this communication, in this particular situation. Bloomsday Eve! Yay. But what kind of Bloomsday in 2020? No, let’s give a cold shoulder to The Times. We love them not. We laugh at them. We laugh and we mock and they cannot touch us. Remember how it used to be? We never cared for the times, we just had our times. But that was long ago.

Bloomsday is a card that I take out of my pocket once a year to look at and it says YOU ARE ALIVE. But from year to year I never know if it will still say that. Maybe tomorrow it won’t, and I will realize that I have already had my last true Bloomsday. News of my demise would not surprise me.

But no one ever said that you could meet Bloomsday without apprehension, anxiety, melancholy, and terror. The unhappiness of the day is unique to the day and to be cherished for itself. But then that breaks like a fever and leaves you somewhere else, not usual but remembered and maybe where you belong. Joyce and Proust both wrote, each in his own way, to the same effect, although Proust lost out by not creating a plausible holiday. Both give readers an experience that loosens the shackles of time. Not through transcendence but the heightened imminence of literature, pushed on beyond what any before them imagined possible. Have I written that before? I probably have, but I will repeat it, because this is not a lesson or an entertainment but a letter of the heart, and the beats have to keep coming even if they sound the same.

Did I say before that Joyce was just a child playing with the doo doo of his pedestrian imagination? The reader comes along and sees him and says I can do that too how amazing! What a dumb thing to keep reading Ulysses when the whole point is that you could be writing Ulysses, or the whole point is you could be living Ulysses, or that you already are. See all the tricks Joyce uses, all the experiments he conducts, the high voltages and chemical baths he applies to poor Bloom & Co. And yet they always come out whole, these common Dubliners, these pedestrians, himself. His genius can never exceed the ordinary. It can only show us the ordinary.

Bloom endures, Stephen’s future is always ahead of him, and the stream of Molly’s consciousness is as ephemeral as the Milky Way. Time has no dominion here. Is it making or memory? Memory and imagination: the ways reality shows through the scrim of time. Do the memories of this Irishman mean more that yours or mine?

Do you ever think of those early days here in Charlottesville? I remember sitting down on the linoleum floor of the kitchen at some party, not too drunk to stand, just wanting to rest awhile, to get down a little closer to the ground, the steady holding thing.  And was it you who sat down next to me? Who appeared? You know I can write better than to say “like an angel”, that I would never use that word, but it was exactly like that, the way you appeared, like an angel, the word came from that moment and only then flew back to Bible times, then forward to treacle and slow-wits, ruined. But really it was just you, then. When you sat beside me.

If only I could remember tomorrow. Or imagine it like a memory. Maybe this is as close as I can come, a Bloomsday tomorrow. What is the path to an unfearful future, that I could cherish as much as memory and imagination? To meet the future as if its fulfillment were a promise not a threat. Like it was the morning before that party.

Now I just do this, put one word after another, into the future, towards you.

It looks like it will be a cool and cloudy day tomorrow, maybe some rain. It won’t be the same as an ordinary year, walking around town. Who will I give a potato to?

I hope you are doing okay. Obviously cancer and prison are both bad things, not to mention the news about your dog, but to look on the bright side, it is better to suffer these sorts of things concurrently rather than consecutively. No, really, I hope you are well, and I’d rather hear all about that than go on and on about Bloomsday again. But maybe you like that?

Happy Bloomsday,

A.S.

 

 

Kafka Days, Kafka Nights

“There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you.”

— Franz Kafka

Reader, I have tried it, it is true.

Popular Ejaculations Explained

People often ask how it came to be that certain words of a sexual nature, burning with sacred fire and dedicated to the glory of God as they are, became adopted as terms of abuse among English speakers. It is really a quite fascinating subject and I would like to present a few of the basics of it here. For more information please consult your librarian.

I think we’d best start with go fuck yourself. What is the foundation of this expression, the mental ur-text? Might it be, and yes it is, go kill yourself? Sad to say, that abhorrent sentiment is found quite often among English speakers, not only Americans but also Canadians, Australians, and even some Trinidadians and Tobogonians. Let us place ourselves in the mind of an angry man for whom this vicious thought, from some dark and fetid place in his nature, has arisen and is seeking expression. In his rage he starts with the go. A fine word, a safe word, no harm done yet. But now there is no stopping, the fatal word is next. He is horrified at himself. What a monstrous thing to say! And what if, God forbid, the target of this abuse has suicidal tendencies? No, this cannot be! The mind recoils, with furious energy. It shoots back across its semantic space all the way to the opposite extreme, to the most wonderful thing it can imagine, fuck. “Go…  FUCK yourself!” he shouts, in a convulsion of strange conflicting passions.  What victory! Here is man at his finest, tempted by the devil but shouting him down by rejoicing in God’s greatest gift. Evil conquered, sweetened away by a spoonful of fuck.

Of course this reminds us of our usual use of fuck as a balm for our daily round of hurts. Stub your toe and fuck! you shout, as a reminder of the blessings of life. Sadly, this mantra can sour for the lonely.

Now we can move on to the use of common genital terms and we see the same thing. Tempted to address someone in a terribly cruel way — as a parasite on the working class or Christ-denying fistula provoker — once again the mind recoils, in this case to the glory of manhood, and the fellow is called a dick or prick or big hard pillar of glistening man-meat. Or, in the case of a woman, we may call her a cunt, after her special place of holy joy, that rubyfruit jungle from which none who enter wish to return. We find a very interesting phenomenon among the English, notorious for their polite and gentlemanly nature. So considerate is the Englishman that when roused to anger he will often call another man a cunt. “I say, ho, you there, you irksome bounder, scurvy dog, you… eh… eh… CUNT! Most glorious of God’s creations! O the humanity!” Such a thing you might hear in any English pub after a few rounds have been served and tempers warm.

I will not go into the Briton’s use of the word bloody here, suffice to say it refers to menses, the cycles of life, and the divine fertility of Woman.

To call a person a pussy is a quite different matter. Contrary to what many believe, it does not come from that term of endearment for the female genitalia. Rather, it is a direct, recoilless reference to the pussy-cat, or, you might say, scaredy cat. As a cat lover myself I do find this usage a little offensive. It is true that your typical puss will choose prudence over valor nine times out of ten. But anyone who has ever seen a mama cat defend her kittens from a ravenous fox or junkyard dog will never confuse a pussy with a wimp.

Finally, we come to the asshole. This is a particularly interesting case. If we follow our principle of recoil to the good, and I think we must, the popularity of asshole as term of abuse indicates a far kinkier, queerer, or at least fecal-friendly body politic than many would suppose. And indeed, historically we find that the rise in the linguistic use of the asshole is quickly followed by a rise in its ecstatic use. In calling a person an asshole one reveals not just anger, but a secret source of joy.

I hope you have enjoyed this short but penetrating introduction to a deep and convoluted subject, and learned a little something about our beautiful language, and maybe even more about yourself. God bless!

Rev. M. Hugh Spackman, D.D.

Critics Are People Too

Here are a couple of quotes I like from critics I like. I thought I would place them here on the blog as knick-knacks, objets d’art, souvenirs of my travels in reading that I can share with my guests in hopes that they too might enjoy them, uniting us in a bond that may provide some solace as we move forward into the cosmos as it endlessly expands and slowly grows cold. I have similar items, but physical, pick-upable, in my physical home, but no guests ever come, so they just sit and wait and gather the dust. At least now I have an explanation and excuse for their loneliness, which is nice. [Note to future readers: Woof. This is a reference to the isolating conditions of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, before the virus mutated and annihilated all of humanity, save for the remnant that escaped into human-canine hybridization. You can skip ahead a few months to the posts “Please God Please” and “Goodbye” and “Huh, Still Here” and “No More Bloomsdays” and “One More Bloomsday?” and “Dogmonster of Indian Flats” for more details.]

Richard Brody is my favorite contemporary film critic. Even after reading him regularly over many years I never know quite what to expect from him. His judgments are so idiosyncratic and yet never seem merely perverse or whimsical. Few critics are so like the best creative artists in their steadfast pursuit of their own unique aesthetic vision. If he has been a little less interesting over the past few years than before, maybe a touch more crassly moralistic, I blame the times. And he can write some very striking sentences. Like these three, that follow a discussion of how just a few minutes of a great movie, or book or piece of music, will ring out with its greatness, the part holding holographic the excellence of the whole. The first sentence alone gives you so much to think about, but then he hits you with the second and the third and it’s like a micro version of  the Alexander Nehamas book Only A Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art, which is very good but takes considerably longer to read than this:

Synecdoche is the fundamental experience of art, the sense that a random fragment contains a lifetime of experience and suggests the depth of a soul. That’s because this is the fundamental experience of life—no one knows anyone completely, and no one comes in at the start. But the person you see for an instant and can no longer live without, and whom you can imagine spending a lifetime getting to know, is pretty much what makes life worth living.   Richard Brody

Michael Hofmann is a poet and translator as well as critic and it shows in his playfully exacting care for words. This beautiful contraption of a sentence comes from his essay collection Where Have You Been?, one of my favorite books of the last decade. The link actually takes you to a slightly different version, with the final parentheses spun off into its own sentence, presumably by some misbegotten editor now awaiting the postmortem torments of the syntactically damned. It come from a review of Thomas Bernhard’s Old Masters. Freumbichler was Bernhard’s grandfather, a “totally obscure Austrian writer.”

It seems probable that the ‘re-evaluation of all values’ (Nietzsche) required to make one a writer took place very early in Bernhard’s life, when he decided that Freumbichler was not a talentless wastrel who made life miserable for everyone around him (which seems to me a view with much to commend it), but a misunderstood genius whose every word was worth recording; and by the same token that the world was not mostly a dim and well-meaning sort of place, higgledy-piggledy and inefficient but broadly correct and, in any case, hopelessly set in its ways, but a sinister and perverted global conspiracy that produced only deformed individuals and institutions and that should be opposed and exposed every step of the way, ideally by a grand, insouciant, terrifying, and old soliloquist (and the greatest of these, somehow, is old: master is good, but old is better, in age only is our salvation, and Bernhard, alas for himself, did not live to be old).   Michael Hofmann

 

Foootloup, a New Weet

Griffiths, Alan

For Slother Terparium

Splendorn with velvets opalescent
Squibbed, like some vast loblolly perpindiculate
Pawpaws underfoot,
pooped in summer sun, rot-flesh orgasmic
Stankly wet
Dead now we die more
Deader and deaden
Downward dogs die and float away
pluck
break
weep