Saturday, July 26, 2003

Amanda has arrived in port.
I've gotten rid of only one of the Red Devil adverts above.
Solace for a poet after reading Plato's Republic X

"We must bear in mind that the arts do not simply imitate the visible but go back to the reasons from which nature comes..."
"There's something unwholesome about flying a kite at night."
Marge Simpson
Visit the kids to read new poems.
I've been reading Hidden Injuries of Class which has inspired new thoughts about those questions I posed some weeks back.
For anyone interested in swimming in the Annisquam River this week. High tide can be found here. A time table for trains to Gloucester can be found here. I can be found by clicking above.
Swimming has also been known to occur at Half Moon Beach (see also: the cover of Butterick's Guide the Maximus Poems), Pavillion Beach, pools, & quarries.
"When it comes to quarries I'm known to swim."
Good luck to Jim & others playing Wiffleball{TM} in NYC tomorrow.
Good night!
Amanda is home!


Thursday, July 24, 2003

{This post has been redacted...}

Unfortunate Sport Content {sorry}:

The Celtic Football Club.

End of Sport Content.

I had forgotten about my weblog for a few days. (My last post--as you can probably see--was :42:54 into Tuesday, nearly 60 hours ago.) In that time I have talked about the ghost city more than I have visited it. Perhaps there's a danger in that too. Thank you Gerrit, Mike, & Mark for returning me to thoughts of the soft city, as I look out of the school window & am mindful of topography & friendships just across the cut. The soft city is, perhaps, a form in my mind--one that takes on new contours in dreams--but it's marks are found in the buildings, on the land, in the people I encounter in the hard city. This is why I agree w/ Mark that the soft city does not die w/ us--at least not immediately, but perhaps not ever. Our marks remain along the paths we've traced. Poems are, of course, a mark we leave. One w/ special properties.

Talking w/ an other poet after John Wieners passed away, I declared, as if it needed stating, that I thought John's poetry would last, that it would be read for years. I based this on the fact that I've had great success teaching his poems to high schoolers. More success w/ his poems than w/ anyone else except perhaps Blake or Yeats. Why these poets? I'm not sure. Many poets & poems I love {or tho't kids wld like or have work'd for other teachers} haven't yet yielded powerful experiences in the classroom. But back the conversation w/ the poet, I was almost immediately embarrassed at what I'd said. **Of course** John will be remembered, read, etc. That's how I interpreted the look I received. It was not a harsh look. It was in fact quite sympathetic but suprised that such a thing even needed to be sd. Or perhaps I was projecting something, or merely misinterpreting the look & stance.

Whatever the case, I know that I see Boston & other locales differently--my soft city has been affected--by John's poems {how can I not think of "Billie" when I see a sign for Revere Beach!?!} & the stories Jim Dunn has told me about John. John in his life traced paths around the city that we too sometimes have traced, are tracing, and will trace. Sometimes a few steps. Sometimes we follow him--separated only by time {only?}--for entire city blocks, perhaps matching him turn for turn. & his is but one soft city though one many of us care about deeply--even if we never knew him well.

Thinking about John's Boston has not only sent my mind into speculation about the Boston of others--Gerrit, my grandparents, Amanda before I knew her & while I've know her, many of you including friends now elsewhere--but I'm also mindful of Ulysses. Is it a form of false consciousness for me to be moved by walking along Gardiner Street, retracing the path of Leopold & Stephen? Or to visit the land upon which Joyce set the nighttown episode {though what is on that land has been greatly changed? What I am *remembering* is a fiction? Or are Joyce's own tracings of this land first w/ his feet & eyes & then w/ his remembering mind *enough*? I don't want to dismiss this question by saying it doesn't matter, what I felt I felt & can not change, etc. I {like Mike C. in a different way} want to grapple w/ this. I'm not explaining myself well & must get around to eating sometime soon but I could perhaps put it this way:

I'm somewhat haunted at the moment by Mike County's question: "Why should the closing of a supermarket make the eyes water?" When the supermarket goes part of our physical connection--standing in that supermarket picking out foods for dinner as John may have done--is gone. The ground remains & we may recall the paths he traced while standing on the ground but the connection is less vivid; what we physically experience through our immediate senses is now less like what John may have sensed while on the spot.

{Such erasures often, however, give us imaginative space though. We can--as poets--imagine a link between what was & what is or respond to the change in some other imaginative manner. Yesterday Gerrit confirmed for me that the Gloucester "Green" so important to the early settlement is now the main rotatry in town--Grant Circle--& part of the state highway system making it in someway not quite Gloucester anymore {or at least not exclusively *Gloucester* since the land belongs to the state too}. Obviously the implications are quite interesting. One could construct a response (a poem, etc.?) on those grounds, so to speak.}

So back to the Joyce question {I need to eat so I won't even get into the interwoven tracings of the Wandering Rocks section of Ulysses!}: marks of Joyce's soft city--born from the hard city: the topography, buildings, etc.--can be found in _Ulysses_. Or to put it another way: Ulysses_ is constructed upon a soft city which is itself based upon the hard city {Dublin} that any of us might visit. There are remnants still of Joyce's soft city & *all* of Joyce's soft city was founded upon the *ground*, though buildings may be gone. We feel closer--is this false?--by waking upon that ground & better still visiting places which might bear a more physical resemblance to his hard city. Thereby we hope to reconstruct {& even experience ourselves!}--as best we can--Joyce's soft city. Out of the intersection--the meeting--of the created city/the creator's soft city/& our own encounter w/ the hard city perhaps a new soft city is born.

This is a form of intimacy, no? A connection we might make w/ someone we've never known. Perhaps this is a non-electronic ghost intimacy? but not entirely spectral because there is an aspect of the experience that is physical... {Also, Is the intimacy false because it is not quite physically true & somewhat *imagined*--an act of creation? I don't **at all** think so but I do want to avoid self-delusion.} To return to Mike's question: we are saddened--we feel a loss--when the possible {or actual} site of an experience of intimacy--a supermarket, say--is destroyed.

I could go on about how I have been overwhelmed w/ sadness while visiting certain places--churches, say--because of a sudden feeling of loss {not necessarily loss of a person--as in a cemetery--but loss of a former version of oneself/someone else {though this might be seen as a form of losing a person} or loss of hope, belief, beauty, etc.

Again, thank you--Gerrit, Mark, and Mike--for starting these thoughts.)

I started this long ago. Now I will eat.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Speech at the intersection of soft cities--in my kitchen {& around the pool table} in Gloucester on Saturday at the Grand Cafe in Somerville on Sunday--has sated my desire to write more {for the time being} about Bodas de Sangre. The gossip/arts section of the ghost city's near daily newspaper got scooped by scuttlebutt in the soft city. In other words, the play was brilliant but I'm all talked out.

{Warning: sports content.}
More brilliance: Pedro (the other San Pietro) & co. beat the Jays 9-4 yesterday. Friend Ben got tix off ebay so I was able to be there to watch the boys in red hose finally give Sr. Martinez a bit of run support.

Tomorrow Glasgow Celtic plays Manchester United in Seattle. There are now **four** Celtic supporter clubs in the Boston area. {At last check only Ontario has more & now w/ a new club in Salem maybe we've equalled the northern bhoys too.} Why didn't they play here? {Or in Ontario.} Guess they're expanding their supporter base... Regardless, I'm excited football is back. The first match that counts {a Champions League qualifier against a Lithuanian team} is next week. Start singing...
well it's a grand ole team to play for/& it's a grand ole team to cheer/& if/you know/you're 'istory/it's enough to make a heart go/fuck-the-Rangers/we don't care what the animals say/what the hell do we care/for we always know/that there's gonna be a show/& the Glasgow Cel'ic will be there/will be there/will be here/there/& every fuckin' where/for the Glasgow Cel'ic will be there.

After the Red Sox game yesterday,
{Sports content ended...}

picked up books at the Book Annex:
*The Selected Poems of Paul Blackburn
*Sweeney Astray, Seamus Heaney
*The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson {Have three different selected poems but no collected; I'd been looking for a used copy in good shape for nearly a year}
*Mexican Poetry: An Anthology, ed. Paz, trans. Beckett {Yes, that Beckett! I found a copy in Northampton earlier this year but didn't buy it. Then later in the winter I wanted to read it. Ach!}
*Poems and Antipoems, Nicanor Parra
*The Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid (Vol 1 & 2)

& there was more I wanted to buy but didn't. Fiscal restraint? Hardly.

I was very happy to read the poems Mark posted on his weblog. {See sidebar for link. Some time soon I'll have to memorize how many hyphens are on either side of the 0. Is it ten?} I was a bit depressed, for various reasons, & Mark's poems provided surprising beauty in the movement of the human mind. A kind of dance, no? What poetry does that few other things can. Thanks Mark.
Mike County is moving to Gloucester.
Excellent conversation at Patrick & Ariane Doud's house Saturday night between Patrick, Ariane, Mitch Highfill, Zac {no "h"} Martin, Gerrit Lansing, and this reporter. {Gowan Doud made a few good points too.} The wide ranging conversation had two tethers: the (a)morality of humor & forgotten/overlooked/underappreciated poets/writers of the 20th century. Comments?

I'm off to meet a friend at the train station...