When a Poet Reads to You from His Most Recent Plubished Collection of Poetry

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How Gary Taylor Has Become a Prime Enemy of Western Civilization [a short story]

He speaks. And what he says . . . to say what he says or to bite his tongue and thereby end all discourse on the facts of Shakespeare–funny coming from one who imagines that facts are not possible to discern? That is not what he imagines, is it? But he does equate facts, facts and more facts with factory made things; yes, facts are made and being things made, they are fictions, if you follow the course I am running here.

How is it that a man like and unlike other men his age–and he is like them and he is not like them which has nothing to do with how much he dislikes them, too many of them. This age or another age–what age is this that we find ourselves in? And yet to the question, once more my brothers. Close the gap.

Do we find ourselves in an age or with an age, all about us this age and yet that one there, not here as is now: of all the unities of time and space, the oneness of the two; here now, not there then.

Which one is it? This one here, that one there? More questions. Inquiries abound. Any other before is there . . . only now is here, and here is now.and  time is not an ocean, I have said before, again before as everything in regression of time is less.

Every age that has ever been has been in each age, which is an awkward way of saying that everything that has ever been thought has been thought in each age by at least someone somewhere at some time . . . yes, how is it–what?

What was I trying to say?

Graphing is another expedition, how so the matter of this making when all about me I hear in my head echoing the methods of others who could not hold my pen–no, they could not hold a pen to me, to mine, what gives life to thee–when I am old I will take down these books of mine and slowly read what I have written or more pretentiously, what I writ–writing is a writ of habeas corpus in a way, no? I wrote, I wrought, and I have wrought well, long and hard and arduously. Thousands and thousands of pages of essays, stories, vignettes, reports, letters, notebook entries, journals, emails, memos, poems; and then there are the novels and novellas. I read so much contemporary trash, not because my selection process is challenged, but because so much of what is written today is crap.

Yes, every thought that has ever been thought has been thought by someone somewhere in every time throughout all of history and before what we think we call history.

Here we are now discoursing on Shakespeare–and we–why we? We is awfully pretentious, is it not? I have discoursed on him (should I say Him, a hymn for Him, I have–I cannot say now how many times–sung his praises, lifted up my voice, my pen . . . a pen, a pen, a kingdom of praises for this pen). And the discourse for scholars on Shakespearean discourse has reached–what does it reach, what do they reach for, teach us in their stretching, for all that I know they may not even stick out their hand to take down his book and slowly read.

Do we read anymore? To read or not to read. Hamlet is a prophet of our contemporaneity–no, for all of modern history. The religion of the book–what book, all books being one book; the Holy Literary.

Nonetheless, all discourse only one or another way of going astray? Dis-course, of course. Discourse, discourse, my Shakespeare for dis-course. 

I have veered off course herein; every essay is a wandering through a woods? Make a path and others will follow.

He announces, this man not so unlike other men; he pronounces, his name, other names, no names, what names are there, everything to be named or not to be named, that is Adam’s question . . . and until the last syllable,. silly bells ringing our their rhythm, their rhyme, their reason or mine?

He bellows with a bombast reminiscent–he cannot–he does not–say of what it reminds him. To come to mind again; do you kind? I mind what you say even when I do not mind the meaning or the intent. To be mindful, you know means something other than to mind when to mind is to take offense? I do take offense to Gary Taylor, he might say after me, following or imitating . . . me, of course. Let us now discourse on me?

Analogies he needs not indulge, he thinks, does not say to himself exactly, although these words would find agreement with him, almost as if he could say that he would not have minded if he were the one to say them.

He is at the bar in a Bar on Saint Mark’s in the East Village–he has had a bone to pick with Gary Taylor’s closet or latent elitism, something he has said he has suspected for many years now. He goes on to say, “Gary Taylor is a twit. I can’t say that he’s an asshole, but an academic twit” caught dripping, he would say,  “in the residue of a particularly insipid kind of political correctness, a nearly virulent type of iconoclasm that accompanies this, advocating, ironically, a kind or renewed anti-bardolotry that had once been discredited, the kind of the latter anti-bard arguments” that find themselves peculiarly elitist in their effect. What say you, you Post-post Structuralist twits?

“Taylor has become one of the most sophisticated of the neo-anti-bardists–bardolatry not being something I have ever sponsored; not the way it had been used politically by schools, a pedestaling of Shake that kept him distant concurrently with offhandedly praising him, much the way many religionists keep their God–praised and remote, especially from their hearts,” he pauses. Eternal Liberty; I’m with Keats when it comes to reading; Bloom, too, I could say. Yes, as much as Bloom would say he himself was Johnsonian, I could say that I am Bloomian? I am a Bloomian Shakespeareanist?

Now is the fall of my discontent, made gloomy winter by contemporary cultural studyists making or mocking bad social science instead of literary criticism, which was never in itself always good reading . . . (you are following me, are you not. I am beginning to think that I am only talking to Literature majors, or those who have done Graduate work in literature).

“Mr. Taylor’s devotion to Marlowe’s having authored parts of the Henry VI plays smacks as much from the old argument that Shake could not have written his plays, given his schooling, but must have been written or largely rewritten by someone of a university education, someone like Marlowe or Middleton, even, this later Elizabethan being one of Taylor’s chief sponsorships.” I too have been Marlovian–I, myself, had advocated for Marlowe as an undergraduate while everyone else was talking Shakespeare. Ah! To be different; to be unique; to be in the minority opinion. Just as great as Shake. Will in the world did learn a lot from Marlowe.

He pauses. That is, the man pauses as I too pause–and who am I to this other you read here, hear here, is here filling out places in the text–every text has texture, you know. I have said this many times before now in my life: Don’t be fooled by the flatness of the page or the overt linearity of the words in lines. 

Do you hear what I hear? I know seeing is believing, but what about hearing? Is it too believing?

He said, or is it he says?

“When I was an undergrad, any professor who taught Shake in the university always said that Shake did not invent the forms or the stylistics within which he worked; it was always insisted that it was Marlowe who was the Tudor theater revolutionary. I don’t even object to Marlowe being credited with co-authorship in the very early written or wrought Henry the VI plays, having gone through my own Marlovian period as an undergrad, announcing at times that I preferred Marlowe to Shakespeare–never Middleton, though. However, Middleton did have a sound and crediting reputation from Elizabethan scholars and the professor’s of Shake at my college. Especially in grad school, you would have come faceto face with the reputation of Marlowe and Middleton–maybe Taylor laments that Middleton does not have the rep that Shake has among the public, or more specifically, the troglodytes Taylor teaches in Florida, not to say that everyone from State University’s are trogs, but the way we have systematically undereducated in America, there are far too many undergraduates who have been left unprepared or under-prepared for universoity learning, most exactly by how elitist schools prior to college have become, basing all pedagogy on a pedagogy of failure where cream will rise to the top. Now that’s elitist. and how I just do not trust anything Taylor puts his hands on or has his fingers in–reading him is like taking a proctological exam. “

He does not pause. He is not kind. But you do not need me to say that. I say that because I do know that there are enough readers who cannot help but confuse character and narrator and then narrator with author; author with man is another debasement.

“Advances in electronic technology have not added to our ability to read; textual scholarship and the ability to read and analyze and compare texts I do not imagine has gotten much better or far superior, in fact of my own sense, I imagine it probably has gotten worse. The alphabet is the technology that has helped literacy and is the only technology a reader needs to employ in reading–and I do not imagine that the ever increasing degradation of standard reading from what we once understood to be hierarchically arranged higher literacy and what we now should call general and pervasive alphabetics even on university campuses has become anything less than appalling.

“Yes, PhDs like Taylor must champion Oxford educated men in a grotesquely politically correct attempt to debase the old favorite of the old ivory tower. Of course Taylor will insist that Middleton must have revised a couple of Shake’s plays; no one can say that this Lord or that Lord wrote what so many have examined and have found enough consistencies to say that they have been authored by a single author. I do not imagine that anyone as hyper politicized as anyone from one or another grotesque branches of cultural study political correctness like Taylor could have less of a political axe to grind with tradition than those from the Ivory Tower allegedly had axes to grind for a conservative tradition.” He pauses. He hesitates, mumbling unintelligibly, as if he were going to speak, but no. He stops. He pauses however long you think he should pause before beginning again without appearing to have spoken in one stream. Disjunction continuity should be apparent, even if there is no disjunction in rhetoric.

“In the spirit of having another pint of ale, Death to Taylor, Long Live Shakespeare.”

I too loved Marlowe as an undergraduate English major.

I too made argument for the greater-ness of Marlowe, at times.

(More greatliness?)

I wish I knew. I wish I could wish I knew, wishing as well that I could know what I have known and what I have not known–now that’s too much: for anyone to wish that he knew what he did not know, that he knew what he has not known, what he had not known at a time before another when he knew not what he knew . . . I have forgiven myself, for I certainly knew not what I was doing too many times.

[A SHORT STORY]

When is the Question? I Think You Know the Answer

Prefatory Remarks

He says what he says, saying things as he tells people things, the things he thnks he needs to say, things he imagines he should say, what thinking and imagining have in common he has not considered in too long he would say if he remembered, what memory has to do with saying what we say what he says what I say he does say, to say or not to say; he speaks to others and to himself; he talks to himself; he talks to others; he has conversations with himself; he imagines he has conversations with others. I say, “You do not think enough about what it is that you do when you read.” I tell you that you do not think enough about what it is that you do when you read. To read or not to read, I recollect the question, the font on the page before me, seeing it as I do looking out the window now this morning on the mothers taking their children to school, some by hand and others not by hand, having the ability, I do, to see them walking and this page too, a page of text with the title, “To read or not to Read,” that would have been a question, seems now to be a question that our freedom and our democracy hinge on, no?

The After-preface

“Did you order it, or are you cheap?” He asked. He paused. He waited. There was no reply.

“If you ordered it, did you read it–or have you only superficially skimmed the pages as so many people in America lurking about to be made great by a billionaire-pedophile-greedy-son-of-MOLOCH must have this morning skimmed the sport’s pages of the great yellow tabloid press?” He asked.He paused. He waited. There was no reply.

“Our grandfathers are rolling over in their graves that we have become stupid enough to watch FOX news, more heinous than the infotainment of mainstream television news; rolling over in their coffins that we have become stupid enough to listen to Trump for as long as many people in America seem to be listening to him,” he said. He paused. He looked out the window. He waited. He waited some more. There was no reply.

“Why would I imagine that there would be a reply to anything I have here said,” he said aloud. He paused. He audibly took a breath, nothing as usual. He looked to the ceiling and the light and shadow contrast made by the lamp behind him at the table with his laptop Mac opened.

Nothing more. The rain on the air-conditioner still in the living room window taps pitter pat, pitter pitter pat, he imagines saying—imagining he says, you see, only imagining, you understand.

“The fact that I get few to no comments about my writing or on my actual websites other than insipid LIKES on FACEBOOK only shows me that most people I know or have known suck, and that virtually all of them are frightened, full of shit, narrow-minded philistines. And that’s me being kind.” Perhaps he has been hasty. Perhaps he does not have enough information;perhaps he has not considered enough and has been mistaken in his views, Facebook really does not face anything; nothing comes at us on Facebook dead on, straight away, directly in sight. Everything comes at us from the oblique. It is a great deception, Facebook; it is one of the great horrendous lies we live; it is one of the great enablers of pedants and philistines; it is the first and last tool of sloganists and their slogans which are always in better service of the narrow and narrowing politically conservative views, themselves more knee-jerk than any of their pronouncers have ever been able to convince me the Liberal position anywhere at any time has ever been.

I think he has meant to tell all those who have ever been his friends to go fuck themselves for not supporting literacy, intelligence and art,  although he really does not hope they die soon. Why would he hope that, the latter, I hear you ask? I have no patience for literalists any more than I do religious fundamentalists–whether they are reading Holy Koran, the Holy Gospels, Holy Torah, or my friend’s websites or book of poems.