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Punch counter punch

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a perfect two-snake pattern from the WaPo headline writers ]
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As patterns go, this one is hard to beat:

Source:

  • Washington Post, John Roberts counterpunches the counterpunching president
  • **

    As you may have gathered, the human propensity for patterning is an enduring interest of mine, and my collecting of such things as ouroboroi, parallelisms, paradoxes, moebius formats and mirrorings is effectively a small pattern language study after the example of Christopher Alexander‘s Pattern Language. Mine, drawing its materials from verbal and visual exemplars rather than architectural ones, perhaps reveals more about the workings of the human mind, aka consciousness.

    The “outer world” has yet to catch up with the significance of these studies..

    **

    At a time when my worldly goods in book form consisted of fifty or so over-thumbed, used science fiction paperbacks and one hardback — I no longer recall what it was — I won a minor poetry prize of $50 and decided it was better to splurge it on one thing I’d really treasure than to dribble it away, a coffee here, a sandwich there.. much though I like my coffees.

    Henbce, for about $45, I aacquired my copy of Alexander’s book — hardback #2!

    An I Ching for the West! Nobel-worthy! A Master’s Masterpiece!

    Princes & saws DoubleQuote

    Monday, November 19th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — not exactly a knife (or sayf) to a gunfight, but .. ]
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    Here:

    **

    The obvious MBS DoubleQuote is with Jared Kushner, as in the Medium article, Two Princes: Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman. Prince Hamlet offers a third and more ambiguous choice..

    When the wind is southerly, Hamlet [Act 2 Scene 2] says, I know a hawk from a handsaw — but tell me, who knows whence [John 3.8] the wind blows?

    Donne Dylan DoubleQuote

    Monday, November 19th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the supposed world-shape — real, imagin’d, or foggy with scattered insights ]
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    Here:

    **

    Two to my mind great poets of the language on the world-shape.

    The first, John Donne, brilliantly stands astride the ancient metaphysical and modern scientific understandings of world-shape with his stunning, succinct corners of the round earth — he’s familiar to the point of ownership with both traditions, at a time when the ancient was ceding way to the modern..

    The second, Bob Dylan, shuffles anonymously among us at a no less fraught time of anguish as to realities, sings unsure of what’s what or which — a coin toss, a twist of fate..

    bard’s wyrd.

    War like posture and other metaphors

    Monday, November 19th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing the search, plus mckibben & a touch of dylan as a sunday surprise ]
    .

    First a chyron, based on Trump’s words:

    Fascinating article: The Dawn of the Intra-Family Political Attack Ad

    In August, Glosser published an essay in Politico magazine chiding his nephew by sharing the family’s own immigration story as Jews who fled the shtetls of Eastern Europe. “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew,” Glosser wrote, “an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”

    Is House of Cards a poem, then?

    Doug Stamper is the dog.

    In the opening moments of Netflix’s House of Cards premiere episode from 2013, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) hunched over a dog that’d been injured by a car. “There are two kinds of pain,” he said into the camera. “The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this require someone who will act, who will do the unpleasant thing, the necessary thing.”

    He then broke the dog’s neck. “There,” he said. “No more pain.”

    In the final moments of the final episode of House of Cards—which occurs in a truncated season made after Spacey left the show due to allegations of sexual misconduct—the president, Claire Hale Underwood (Robin Wright), cradles her dead husband’s henchman, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), in her lap. She has just stabbed him in the belly with a letter opener after he nearly slit her throat with it. Underwood puts her hand over his mouth and nose and tells him that everything’s going to be okay. His eyes close. “There, no more pain,” she says. Her eyes flick toward the camera. The credits roll.

    Some sort of rhyming is going on here, clearly, but does the poem mean anything?

    That “rhyme” is a DoubleQuote, really — a thought-rhyme if you like, and on a technical film-making sense a clever twist to end on. Not so much a synchronicity or coincidence, more a twist of authorial fate.

    **

    Twists of fate, eh? And tangled up in blue? Here are two recent Dylan pieces to note:

  • New Yorker, Bob Dylan’s First Day with “Tangled Up in Blue”
  • New Yorker, Bob Dylan’s Masterpiece Is Still Hard to Find
  • **

    Bill McKibben, with a s game / play metaphor that derives its strength from the topic, not from the metaphoric play:

    In the face of our environmental deterioration, it’s now reasonable to ask whether the human game has begun to falter—perhaps even to play itself out.

    That’s from How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet — see also THE END OF NATURE.

    Early and late, McKibben has been one of the voices crying that the wildness is shronking — from within the shrinking wilderness..

    Wilderness / wildness yes, that’s deliberate..

    **

    & by way of a Sunday surprise, here’s some extraordinary music for whenever you need extraordinary, need music — twists of tangled blue fate included:

    A poem for our night & times, by Carolyn Forché

    Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — Halloween greetings, and a pre-midterm reminder of what demagoguery brings ]
    .

    The box is a box of Halloween humor, a slight thing and entirely innocent, designed to delight with a nostaligic frisson on Halloweens past.. Spooky Halloween Feel Boxes for Adults: Put your hand in — preferably with eyes averted or blindfold — and feel, as in touchy-feel..

    Among the sensations you are invited to feel.. cold spaghetti.. worms in a fishing box.. you get the idea.

    **

    My first association, when I saw a pointer to this article was the Gom Jabbar in Dune — a box containing pain, increasing pain. Should the candidate withdraw his hand from the box, he dies by cyanide needle, and the only means of survival is the ability to overcome instinct, which Paul Atreides manages by recitation of the Litany against Fear:

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

    **

    Here’s the movie version:

    **

    Black boxes..

    The very idea of boxes filled with feelings is, to my mind, a fine one to explore, in humor, as in the New Yorker piece, or in deadly earnest, as in Frank Herbert‘s masterpiece, Dune.

    **

    But then, reading Colin Stokes and Ellis Rosen‘s NYorker humor piece, I came inevitably to this image:

    I said inevitably, perhaps unavoidably would have been keener to the point. I couldn’t avoid my second association.

    **

    That second association was to Carolyn Forché:‘s prose-poem The Colonel from her second volume, The Country Between Us.

    On reading her poem itself again after so many years, after reading it aloud to audiences on various occasions, after one miraculous night in the early eighties when I heard her read in LA, after reading her American Poetry Review piece about the experiences inn Al Salvador that lead to this particular poem and others — The Memory of Elena with its unforgettable paella among them — that second and more powerful association was to:

    The Colonel

    What you have heard is true. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man’s legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck themselves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.

    **

    Shattering.

    Humor has darkened to tragedy — tragedy does not suffice to speak of this horror — the box of touchy-feelies has become the Colonel’s grocery sack spilled on the floor, dried apricots are dried peach halves — despite the differences, the associative leap was, for me, inevitable.

    And far too All Hallows Eve appropriate for comfort..

    Far too apt for the upcoming midterms, too..


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