Friday, March 25, 2011

25. “I want to get embarrassed / so much.”

The fact of this blog is that nothing would ever happen here if it could not happen all of a sudden.  The prohibition against liking and not-liking is already super-difficult given how prone I am to glee, admiration, and effusion, also dark glowering and contempt.   Someone says, “I can never tell if I would like the books” and I say well, yes, that is the point here, to do nothing to encourage or discourage the commerce, to be the anti-internet, no barely meaningful erection of thumbs, no linkability, zero PR. 

 What then, would an industry and a product make of this?   It should  be pretty useless here, like weeds. 

So then, the problem of love.  Everything comes down to the problem lately.  This one is not in the text: this is me, the reader, with the paltry and fundamental reason I read.  To share, for a moment, any other person’s head. Also, for  a moment,  to be relieved of this one.  Am I then finally just that romantic? I don’t even want to say what book this is a review of.    I will return to it, and better equipped, again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

24. “Do you know anything about the patrolled green areas?”

I live near the cows and also some cowboys, also the patrolled green areas, also near, what we call for lack of a better word, the land.  My love of life, also.  And poems are the earth’s dreams; but for a moment forgettable, not quite deadly, leaked up, at night, from a fissure. And, as Raul Zarita tells us,  Purgatory began with his other cheek's laceration.  This is more agreement than anything, or rather, there is perfect sense.  It is a similar dereliction to know that none of the critical forms could help me with this:

Have you seen those infinite pastures extend themselves
where the cows fleeing disappear
reunited    weightless  before them? 

“Between poetry and love, we would not required the mediation of words.” 


Ortega Y Gasset said:
“Life is, in itself and forever, shipwreck. To be shipwrecked is not to drown. The poor human being, feeling himself sinking into the abyss, moves his arms to keep afloat. This movement of the arms which is his reaction against his own destruction, is culture — a swimming stroke.... But ten centuries of cultural continuity brings with it — among many advantages the great disadvantage that man believes himself safe, loses the feeling of shipwreck, and his culture proceeds to burden itself with parasitic and lymphatic matter. Some discontinuity must therefore intervene, in order that man may renew his feeling of peril, the substance of his life. All his life-saving equipment must fail, then his arms will once again move redeemingly.

Consciousness of shipwreck, being the truth of life, constitutes salvation. Hence I no longer believe in any ideas except the ideas of shipwrecked men.”
The cow, the stockyard, also.

Monday, March 21, 2011

23. “my brutish ennobling & anti-ennobling fires”

There is a problem with names, I think.  I don’t like to write them, though I know full well why we should.  It is also just knowing the burden of my own name, or rather the burden of seeing its repetition: how then to burden another person with this uncomfortable situation of existing as a someone in particular, defined by all that? Or rather, not only to write the name, but also to do something to it and, as a consequence, its bearer? To love, or something even more or less? 

Lauren Levin’s chapbook Keenan:, from Lame House, 2011, is up against this problem:

. . . .Don’t worry, 
your name won’t represent your actions:

in fact, I’m writing people’s names less
the more I know them. 
The book is full of names, names on a number of its pages, and named a name, and so I guess it is a book also full of the problem of knowing people and needing to name them, or finding the condition of knowing and naming another insufficient.  Even to presume to know another person, or want to,  is a limitation, like definition or diagnosis:  “And isn’t diagnosis horrible? / gluing all the people in here.”   
But moreso than the problem of names, and also the problem of knowing, is the problem of what happens when we dislocate ourselves into another: that untrustworthy condition of wanting, very much “to feel you with tone” and also “some words I can sense the obsession in” and

you the whole essence of someone whose transposition onto the idea
    of its essence becomes a dull flush rising to       my lid
            and back,           at the movement of this to yourself,
               how one person has stroked recapitulation,
If we cannot trust, not even barely, the naming of a person (“the real names are a flamboyance of a lived thing, not what I hear”), and we know this other only through a kind of hopeful and gluey limitation like diagnosis, what then are we when we have leaked into another, and our thoughts are there with that other, either hoping to own or become him or her or indulge in a process of extreme empathy also (empathy's own) “pervy memory”: what then, to trust?  

Or rather, I should back up, to the very first page of the poem, on which the last line sums these failures: “my ideology of non-empathy is a claim to non-elegy.” That is, I think, there is in this the problem of desire like how desire so often makes an empathic error: not empathy at all, but (for my own lack of a less used-up term), projection.   Loss then (or not getting exactly what, or who, we want or think we have wanted) is less valorized than prodded here, and the specifics are made big:  “the way I like to read about anyone / who could be being us.” 


(For most of the time I was writing this, Hazel was sprawled out in the middle of the bed, in a manner she described as "like an otter in the sea."  She said, "Anne, you must use in that review the word 'mirror,'" and while 'mirror' is an entirely appropriate word to use to understand this poetry, I have failed in finding an easy place for it.  So rather, you, dear reader, must think of the word "mirror" at some point while thinking of the problems herein.)