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Archive for the ‘Verse’ Category

Kneeling breast feeding mother - Paula Modersohn-Becker, date unknown

Kneeling breast feeding mother – Paula Modersohn-Becker, date unknown

When the breast withers away to a vanishing point, other oral and maternal values are also drying up and atrophying; when the breast spouts forth again, these values are also returning.

By no accident, the most admired poem among American intellectuals in the 1920s was T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; although actually dealing with his adopted country, England, his symbols spoke very eloquently to American sensibilities also. The withdrawal of the breast is suggested in Eliot’s images of wandering in the desert, of thirst, of the failed crops in the land rules by an impotent king, of sterility in general. The most famous of Eliot’s images– e.g., “lilacs out of dead land,” “The Hanged Man,” “the Unreal City,” “the corpse you planted last year in your garden,” “rock and no water and the sandy road”– all revolve around the theme of life struggling to survive without nourishment. The final section, in the mountains (breast symbols, according to Freud), brings the promise of rain and renewal. If all poets seek to summon the mother goddess in her guise as Muse, Eliot in a very real sense is calling for her to appear as wet nurse.

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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billy-joel-didnt-start-the-fire

Press play & sing along.

Barack ObamaBeyoncé,
Matthew McConaughey,
Lena Dunham, Boko Haram,
Bill deBlasio

Polar Vortex, Richard Sherman,
True Detective, Immigration,
Pete Seeger, Derek Jeter,
Maya Angelou

Neil deGrasse Tyson,
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Battle in the Ukraine,
and Malaysia’s missing plane

Colorado’s legal weed,
Daft Punk’s got a Grammy,
Malala Yousafzai,
Donald Sterling, goodbye!

 

(more…)

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Like many Writer-Americans who ambled through late adolescence after 1957, I had my Jack Kerouac phase. I’d spend days drinking cheap port wine straight from the bottle, and nights shuffling stoned around the villages of lower Manhattan (though instead of jazz, my soundtrack was early-2000s garage rock revival & disco-punk). My copy of The Dharma Bums is probably more underlined than not-underlined. I considered Big Sur to be, along with Philip K. Dick’s VALIS and Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP, one of the most fascinating portraits of a man’s mind spinning out of control.

I never got around to criss-crossing the country, but I still hope to, someday.

While I’m not quite as enamored with Kerouac as I was back then, I don’t think he deserves all the bile his haters often spit upon him. Those haters like to toss up that famous Capote quote, how On the Road “isn’t writing, it’s typing,” as if that’s all the proof they need to dismiss Jack’s work. Sure, the guy could’ve used a stronger editor in some spots, to better shape his spontaneous riffage, but that’s more his editor’s fault. And anyway when Jack was on, he wasn’t just hacking shit. He was painting new shades of America’s soul in music and poetry, chill and exuberant and tragic and subversive.

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Dr. Korchek’s glorious love letter from Steven Soderbergh’s Schizopolis. Happy Valentines.

Dear Attractive Woman Number Two,

Only once in my life have I responded to another person the way I’ve responded to you. But I’ve forgotten when it was or, even if it was in fact me that responded.

I may not know much, but I know that the wind sings your name endlessly, although with a slight lisp that makes it difficult to understand if I’m standing near an air conditioner.

I know that your hair sits atop your head as though it could sit nowhere else.

I know that your figure would make a sculptor cast aside his tools, injuring his assistant who was looking out the window instead of paying attention.

I know that your lips are as full as that sexy French model’s that I desperately want to fuck.

I know that if I could, for an instant, have you lie next to me, or, on top of me, or sit on me, or stand over me and shake, then I would be the happiest man in my pants.

I know all of this and yet, you do not know me. Change your life. Accept my love. Or, at least let me pay you to accept it.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeffrey Korchek

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Lynn Tomlinson’s clay-on-glass animation of Emily Dickinson’s haunting “I heard a Fly buzz– when I died”:

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

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A partially-animated presentation of Edward Gorey’s twisted abecedarium The Gashlycrumb Tinies:

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A computer reads Amy Lowell’s macabre poem “After Hearing A Waltz By Bartok”:

But why did I kill him? Why? Why?
In the small, gilded room, near the stair?
My ears rack and throb with his cry,
And his eyes goggle under his hair,
As my fingers sink into the fair
White skin of his throat. It was I!

I killed him! My God! Don’t you hear?
I shook him until his red tongue
Hung flapping out through the black, queer,
Swollen lines of his lips. And I clung
With my nails drawing blood, while I flung
The loose, heavy body in fear.

Fear lest he should still not be dead.
I was drunk with the lust of his life.
The blood-drops oozed slow from his head
And dabbled a chair. And our strife
Lasted one reeling second, his knife
Lay and winked in the lights overhead.

And the waltz from the ballroom I heard,
When I called him a low, sneaking cur.
And the wail of the violins stirred
My brute anger with visions of her.
As I throttled his windpipe, the purr
Of his breath with the waltz became blurred.

I have ridden ten miles through the dark,
With that music, an infernal din,
Pounding rhythmic inside me. Just Hark!
One! Two! Three! And my fingers sink in
To his flesh when the violins, thin
And straining with passion, grow stark.

One! Two! Three! Oh, the horror of sound!
While she danced I was crushing his throat.
He had tasted the joy of her, wound
Round her body, and I heard him gloat
On the favour. That instant I smote.
One! Two! Three! How the dancers swirl round!

He is here in the room, in my arm,
His limp body hangs on the spin
Of the waltz we are dancing, a swarm
Of blood-drops is hemming us in!
Round and round! One! Two! Three! And his sin
Is red like his tongue lolling warm.

One! Two! Three! And the drums are his knell.
He is heavy, his feet beat the floor
As I drag him about in the swell
Of the waltz. With a menacing roar,
The trumpets crash in through the door.
One! Two! Three! clangs his funeral bell.

One! Two! Three! In the chaos of space
Rolls the earth to the hideous glee
Of death! And so cramped is this place,
I stifle and pant. One! Two! Three!
Round and round! God! ‘Tis he throttles me!
He has covered my mouth with his face!

And his blood has dripped into my heart!
And my heart beats and labours. One! Two!
Three! His dead limbs have coiled every part
Of my body in tentacles. Through
My ears the waltz jangles. Like glue
His dead body holds me athwart.

One! Two! Three! Give me air! Oh! My God!
One! Two! Three! I am drowning in slime!
One! Two! Three! And his corpse, like a clod,
Beats me into a jelly! The chime,
One! Two! Three! And his dead legs keep time.
Air! Give me air! Air! My God!

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