Notes on Reading

All good reading is re-reading.

–something I used to say to my freshman composition classes

when I was an adjunct with CUNY at several colleges

 

I am preparing a return to a nearly long delayed re-read of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. That is my current narrative prose fiction. I am also planning a return trek through Montaigne’s Essays, one I had started as soon as I picked up a copy of the complete Montaigne, the Everyman edition . . . not that long ago, but I do forget how long ago it was . . . and I do recall that I had already bought a copy of an edition of selected essays by Montaigne, translated by Florio . . . that John Florio from the 16th century, which would have made it the edition Shakespeare had read . . . and there is evidence from the plays that Shake most likely read Montaigne . . . I cannot recollect if this was actually last year, the buying of the Florio translation . . . was it last summer and not this past spring, as I imagine the day when I bought it at Community Books in Park Slope, sunny and warm . . . that could have been October, around my birthday, which seems pretty much what I might have done . . . buy the Florio translation there for my birthday, a gift from me to me . . . so my narrative prose for now will be Sterne and Tristram and my expository prose will be Montaigne as my drama will be a re-read of one of the plays I picked up at the strand in old copies of the Yale series . . . I have been reading as I was reading toady, from Leopardi’s Canti . . . a bilingual edition published by FSG, translated by Jonathan Galassi . . . the poetry I presume I will be currently reading . . . I do have to get at Ashbery’s translation of Rimbaud’s Illuminations . . . the year is nearly two thirds past . . . those copies of Yale Shakespeare I love . . . those small hardcover editions . . . the art book I should be reading . . . continuing to read is the book entitled The Nude . . . Kenneth Clark? Yes, a study in ideal form . . .

 

A Journal Note [poem]

 

Without coffee,

my morning is

terrible,

has become my cliche.

 

To believe her bridge too classical,

she insisted I should know . . .

 

What was it that I should know

about her,

through her, not her,

She becomes me

in my mind––

I should look at the pictures

painted on Greek vases,

She suggested,

having said that one of her teachers

had said,

and so then

what should I?

The question is to do or not to make

the eye knows

what it sees,

I wonder?

 

We pause to look

at a variety of vases

among the collection

of Greek pottery

at the Met.

 

She and I walking together

apart,

her profile too classical,

 

I thought about how

I was supposed to

say I imagined

her having

said to herself

she said that no one

she knows

has her nose,

the line of her profile . . .

 

beautiful I knew

I saw I thought later,

seeing her seeing

me, I watched her

obliquely, the mirror

has become

motifs falling headlong

into her eyes

waiting

for her to arrive having taken

our table

in the corner,

on the banquet . . .

the mirrors at right angles

above us sitting

side-by-side,

not across from one another

as all the solipsists

in the room do . . .

something smaller this time,

I imagine holding her

hand playing as we play,

hand in hand,

a stone, into the waves,

I re-collect,

another pebble

I put in my pocket,

what would it mean to be-go,

wverything between . . .

what it says

to be-gone,

to be-come,

to be-have.

Theme in Variegation [3 poems]

“Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who have never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words”

Addie Bundren, As I  Lay Dying,

William Faulkner

 

1: A Space to Fill a Lack

 

More to be,

what I repeat

is not what

I am.

 

What I think

I become

is not what I

come to have been . . .

 

Not to be is not

to be––

whenever I am,

I am not . . .

 

What I become . . .

 

words alone are nearly

a lone.

 

What we say

we have said,

all saying,

repeating,

I know nothing given

but what is received.

 

2: Getting Ready to Stay Dead

 

Leaves in the fall fall–

another kind of tautology–

not exactly how mops mop . . .

 

Truth beseeches; lies do not.

Lying is action;

Truth is being.

 

I imagine myself another man;

I imagine you the same woman.

It does not work out.

 

I feel guiltier and guiltier

in the thickening silence––

I see me the same

 

With sounds

I have come to be familiar––

I wish I could say

 

What I know I mean,

the terror in speech––

I imagine you another––

 

Other than who

you have been . . .

I wish I could say

 

What should be said

without words,

or so we think

 

We can imagine

a better world

in silence . . .

 

Who or what you could come

to be––

what is it I say

 

About how we are?

In the next wake,

I hold you up.

 

I stand behind you.

A piece of colored glass,

wave-worn smooth,

 

Cracked shells are tiny,

all of them spread

in a wide array

 

On the rough sand

of the surf

beneath my feet.

 

I skip another stone.

You are,

I say;

 

Therefore,

I am

[. . .].

 

3: Another Dark Voicelessness

 

Wet sands.

Your feet disappearing

in the soft of the sands

below the tumult

of the surf.

 

I sink

as I try to stand

up-right.

 

I watch you

watching them,

the waves.

 

I see you totter.

You do not stumble as I do

Thinking I want to reach out to you.

 

Giving is what I receive,

I think I am able

to imagine today,

 

Another desire

for which I have lost the word

before having found it.

In the Name of the Dreamer

I dream a dream where in the dream I have dreamed you are dreaming of having put away a dream for a rainy day, another time when Death might visit.

I recall having reminded you that you had remembered having been told by someone I had never met that rain in a dream is a purgation image.

It does not rain in my dreams, I tell you. There are no incidental images in poems as there are none in dreams, as everything in the frame of a film adds up to make meaning.

I searched for you in other dreams I had never told you anything about. I have wondered if we do not confuse looking for Death with looking for God.

I LOOK FOR YOU IN MY DREAMS

I look for you in my dreams, she says (he imagines).

When aware, I walk in them alone, unaware . . .

I persist in trying

to reach out

to touch you . . .

all around me

silhouettes moving

about.

 

I want no more

than to find you

waiting for me

in my dreams,

he imagines she says,

 

I say, wondering myself how you said

you dreamed of me

before having met me, 

or so I imagine you asking me 

how I could have escaped from your dreams . . .

 

Wait for me, as I have for you

without ever having known you––

it’s the least you could do, no?

she asks, as I have, as you do.

A Representation of the Human

Prefatory Remarks

‘A’ and ‘the’ are more than determiners, what we in English call the indefinite and definite articles . . . both of them are morphemes, smaller units of meaning as would be the -ly suffix in English, a derivational morpheme changing, for instance, the adjective ‘true’ to the adverb, ‘truly.’ An inquiry is not identical with the inquiry, and for explanations other than the simple grammatical function of either the indefinite or the definite article.

 

What is Human, Anyway?

The character Hamlet is one of the foremost representations of the Shakespearean model of overhearing oneself think, which is what Shakespeare reveals best or fore mostly in his dramas; that is, what is presented uniquely in his characterizations.

Characters never quite listened to themselves in literature before Shakespeare–that is not a gross overstatement. There is something unique in his characterizations. There is some use of interior monologue in Chaucer, but it is not quite the same as we find in Shakespeare, not quite reaching the same level or intensity of articulation, a course the self follows in the process of thinking, the latter not randomly passing images in the mind, but an articulate process of listening to one’s thoughts. This interiority, as in what is mentioned afore, interior monologue, differs from later uses of stream of consciousness in literature, which might have more in common with montage in film. But back to Shakespeare, but is coextensive with Shakespearean interior monologue, not always presented in soliloquy . . . sometimes soliloquy is a form of aside, not exactly the same thing as interior monologue,  but just as representative of layering the consciousness.

Harold Bloom devotes a whole book to the entirety of Shakespeare and what Bloom calls the creation of the HUMAN–yes, Bloom identifies Shakespeare as having a place of primacy in our civilization’s notions of Selfhood . . . all the linguistic/cultural variations (variegations?) included.

Hamlet’s interior-ness is a major part of this, of what Hamlet uncovers, discovers, recovers . . . the use of soliloquy as interior monologue is our legacy of how to be humane, how to engage this humane-ness. Is it not what we do in the mirror–and is this not a derivative of Shakespearean drama as much as what we sometimes assume, Shakespearean drama derived from simple military practices. But then the history of the mirror would be an interesting endeavor for literary expression, if not solely the historiographic.

We must note well Olivier’s use of voice over for Hamlet’s To be or not to be in his film version of HAMLET, just what the character Hamlet is actually  engaging, when on stage the actor must deliver the lines aloud.

Hamlet is thinking to himself, is engaging in a dialectic of his own selfhood, something like essaying his humanity . . . Shakespeare would have read Montaigne, we can assume certainly. The Florio translation of Montaigne was available already for a couple of decades before Shakespeare’s earliest plays. It’s still one of the better translations of Montaigne over the last nearly 500 years.

Do not forget that Hamlet only thinks aloud for the audience to hear him–there was no other method on the Elizabethan stage. There are lines Hamlet could only be delivering to himself while observing his Uncle Claudius praying; he is clearly not speaking to the audience–although I do not restrict this as an interpretive method of presentation. A contemporary stage might choose to use audio devices for voice-over in the scene.

There is a dialogic Self in Shakespeare’s conception of the Self; it is expressed with/by/for an interior heteroglossia–yes, the self is heteroglossic as it is also plural, what Milton called the many selves Self, and what Montaigne models in his essays as extended dialectic . . . see F. Rider’s THE DIALECTIC OF SELFHOOD IN MONTAIGNE.

 

Post Script

Many objections to this notion of primacy in a western traditional understanding of Selfhood are rooted in objections chiefly levied against anything White or Male or European being relevant to any person not White, not Male, not European . . . but the objections deny a broadest possible comprehension of diversity, of a truly multicultural understanding of various and varying notions of Self, of personhood . . . simply because what we should call humanity is not restricted to a hyper localized interpretation/understanding used to stand instead of a more diverse or in place  of multiple comprehensions of our humanity is not to say it loses all validity as a competing notion of the human for others not of its cultural matrix to choose, this Euro-centric, as detractors will name it, under . . . standing of humanity . . . and all understand is just that, a first principle of architecture, to stand under, that is, to be post to lintel.

But then notions of liberty as we have articulated them for two and half centuries here in America have come to represent Liberty for all everywhere, at least in the possibilities for self-determining societies, for a rallying against any and all imperialisms and colonialisms (often mistakenly understood as White only or white European only) . . . perhaps we should then reject Democracy for being too Greek and our notions of Liberty for being, at least residually, if not more greatly, too 18th century. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights both should be rejected within this logic for both of them being too White, too male, too Euro-centered . . . and in our own overarching contempo-centrism, simply too old . . . ; or, as I heard in response to Charlottesville, maybe we need to rethink these old laws that do not pertain to now . . . as if the First Amendment was the cause or the support or the raison d’être of what transpired at Charlottesville.

 

Land’s End, by Jay Ruvolo

What is Land’s End? What does it signify, say, symbolize, mean?

Land’s End is not only the end of land at the edge of the sea, but the edge of everything we stand on. And we do stand on the edge, at the brink, the cup always over full, spilling over itself, of course, a matter of course, you and I standing at a precipice, at the margin of a cliff–and cliffs do have margins as they have edges, as they have extremities–the extreme, the boundary of what? Land’s End is the opening of the abyss.

What then must I say of my time at land’s end on the very extreme of the South Fork? The ocean’s edge is land’s end, yes; but then there is also something primordial about this edge, this between the land and the sea, what we have crawled out of, the depths of our beginning, the deep within us–yes, the ocean is a metaphor for the soul, a metaphor for the unconscious, it has its correspondence with history and time as well. History and time are not rivers, but oceans . . . the surf, the currents, the eddies, the tides, what else have we of oceans relevant to this that I am speaking of, about, within . . .

There is an emotional vertigo when faced with the sea–of course there is. We are calmed and thrilled at the same time, no? We are then, though, horrifically–what are we horrifically? There is supposedly a moment of calm right before death when drowning–yes, there is this, I imagine, I have heard–who knows for sure?

The edge of the known and the unknown, this is Land’s End.

Land’s End: Poems is by Jay Ruvolo; Jay Ruvolo is a poet, a thinker, a teacher, a human being.

Jay Ruvolo is also Publishing Editor of The Falling Leaf Review,  issuu.com/fallingleafreview.

The poet lives in New York City.

The poet is from NYC, having been born in NYC.

J.R. Monterose

Frank Anthony Monterose Jr. (“J.R.” is simply a corruption of the Junior) is a native of Detroit, where he was born in 1927. He is not, however, a Detroiter by any other token than the accident of birth, for before he was old enough to talk, let alone blow a horn, he was transplanted by his family to Utica, N.Y., which has been home base ever since.

J.R.’s musical studies were centered mainly on the clarinet; he had very little formal saxophone training. The first great influences were Coleman Hawkins and the late Chu Berry; but “the real inspiration that decided me to take up tenor seriously rather than clarinet or alto was, believe it or not, Tex Beneke.”

J.R. was still in his early teens when his extra-scholastic musical experiences began to broaden, all the way from the Utica Junior Symphony to a nearby strip joint. Meanwhile he was learning a few things about modern harmony. “Most of my influences in learning chord changes were piano players. I dig pure harmonies; I’m for the Bud Powell school. Sam Mancuso, a guitarist and pianist with a real natural talent helped me find the way.”

After working with various territory bands in 1948 and ’49, J.R. caught his first taste of the big time, in a somewhat distilled form, when he was invited to tour with an orchestra led by the late Henry “Hot Lips” Busse in 1950. “There was some good young fellows in the band,” he recalls, “and once in a while there was an opportunity for a few solo bars.” But after a long tour that wound up in California he felt sated with enough shuffle rhythm to last him for the rest of his life.

Back home, he worked locally around Utica and Syracuse through most of 1951 before spending six months with Buddy Rich–“That was when Buddy had a big band, with Davey Schildkraut, Allen Eager, and Philly Joe Jones playing second drums. But you just don’t get enough blowing to do in a big band. After six months I was drugged with my own playing, and I went back home and spent the next couple of years working in little joints but with good men.”

The next opportunity to display himself came in the Claude Thornhill band. Again, there were distinguished colleagues, among them Gene Quill and Dick Sherman, but again there was the frustration of big band limitations, and after a couple of months he decided he couldn’t make it. Next came a steady gig for a solid year at the Nut Club in Greenwich Village with Nick Stabulas, under a liberal arrangement that allowed him to send subs in anytime he liked. This offered him chances for gigs with such intrepid modern jazzmen as Teddy Charles and Charles Mingus. “I learned something from those associations; I didn’t go about it the same way they did, from studying; I got it all from listeneing, but I guess I was doing what they wanted and they seemed to dig it.”

–LEONARD FEATHER, from the liner notes,

J.R. Monterose, Blue Note.

Baudelaire On The Flowers of Evil

“You know that I have always considered that literature and the arts pursue an aim independent of morality. Beauty of conception and style is enough for me. But this book, whose title (Fleurs du mal) says everything, is clad, as you will see, in a cold and sinister beauty. It was created with rage and patience. Besides, the proof of its positive worth is in all the ill that they speak of it. The book enrages people. Moreover, since I was terrified myself of the horror that I should inspire, I cut out a third from the proofs. They deny me everything, the spirit of invention and even the knowledge of the French language. I don’t care a rap about all these imbeciles, and I know that this book, with its virtues and its faults, will make its way in the memory of the lettered public, beside the best poems . . .”

—Baudelaire

Woolf and Craftsmanship

Words, English words, are full of echoes, of memories, of associations—naturally. They have been out and about, on people’s lips, in their houses, in the streets, in the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today—that they are so stored with meanings, with memories, that they have contracted so many famous marriages. The splendid word “incarnadine,” for example—who can use it without remembering also “multitudinous seas”? In the old days, of course, when English was a new language, writers could invent new words and use them. Nowadays it is easy enough to invent new words—they spring to the lips whenever we see a new sight or feel a new sensation—but we cannot use them because the language is old. You cannot use a brand new word in an old language because of the very obvious yet mysterious fact that a word is not a single and separate entity, but part of other words. It is not a word indeed until it is part of a sentence. Words belong to each other, although, of course, only a great writer knows that the word “incarnadine” belongs to “multitudinous seas.” To combine new words with old words is fatal to the constitution of the sentence. In order to use new words properly you would have to invent a new language; and that, though no doubt we shall come to it, is not at the moment our business. Our business is to see what we can do with the English language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question. —from “Craftsmanship,” an essay delivered as a lecture on the BBC, April 20th, 1937

*

Flaneuse Oblique; Va. Woolf and Advice to a Young Poet

[S]ummon all your courage, exert all your vigilance, invoke all the gifts that Nature has been induced to bestow. Then let your rhythmical sense wind itself in and out among men and women, omnibuses, sparrows—whatever come along the street—until it has strung them together in one harmonious whole. That perhaps is [the writer’s] task—to find the relation between things that seem incompatible yet have a mysterious affinity, to absorb every experience that comes your way fearlessly and saturate it completely so that your poem is a whole, not a fragment; to re–think human life into poetry and so give us tragedy again and comedy by means of characters not spun out at length in the novelist’s way, but condensed and synthesised in the poet’s way–that is what we look to you to do now. But as I do not know what I mean by rhythm nor what I mean by life, and as most certainly I cannot tell you which objects can properly be combined together in a poem—that is entirely your affair—and as I cannot tell a dactyl from an iambic, and am therefore unable to say how you must modify and expand the rites and ceremonies of your ancient and mysterious art—I will move on to safer ground and turn again to these little books themselves. —from “A Letter to a Young Poet,” 1932

THE FALLING LEAF REVIEW is now a Semi-annual on the Solstices

The Falling Leaf Review, published on ISSUU.COM/thefallingleafreview has shifted its publication schedule. It is currently a Semi-annual published each Solstice. Look for it in the upcoming week. It is still a literary review with fiction, essays, poetry, commentary, photos and art. Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo.

Cultural Cholesterol [short fiction]

Why would any critic worth his intelligence, his aptitude, his acumen, want to belong to a school of criticism that would have him as one of its shining star members?

How you receive personal criticism from another, let us say, a friend, or a colleague, perhaps a supervisor–this latter one you must always be wary of, supervisors always using what you do well against you–and anyway, how you receive criticism has little to do with the Criticism we spell with a capital ‘C,’ or at least the kind we should spell with a Capital ‘C’ because it is this Criticism that was once an art, or so say we who are of the mind that there is such a thing as criticism that is literary and not only Literary Criticism far too un-literary, perhaps too dense not because of intellectual heights gained, but because of what we used to call bad writing, that is, before we decided in our pedagogy that that was too elitist, and by being too elitist, utmost have also been too male and too white, but this white we talk about in America has too little to do with persons like myself, who could call himself, as I do, a Non-White Caucasian (and that will be explained later, perhaps sooner or not) . . . what other questions are there belying our fate as people too systematically undereducated to understand that semi-literacy is never literate enough to manage civilization, never a Democratic one, if education is going be pervasively less than what most could achieve, mainstreaming the idiots only lessened what the cram at the top would think, a hope against hope whereby we tried to democratize the literary or what should be (yes, should be) called literature, as if that could opened to any Tom, Dick or Henrietta? Yes, Criticism was once a literary endeavoring both ways we could mean that. It has since become more . . . what some would like to think is scientific, but it remains more likely that it has become more scientized, which certainly is not the same thing, not even similar, if you will as I do, desire is the thing now? Another question yet follows another question and so on in perpetuity–answers are required, but all we do is respond beside the point, tangents always lead us infinitely far from the circle. The delusions about science, the received ideas, the dogmas of what should from now on be called criticism with a smaller case ‘c,’ yes, what is it about it or from it that we can hold onto–what is it about the critique of literature that differs from your mother’s criticism of how you conduct yourself, how you dress, how late you stay put on a Saturday, and we are talking when you are an adult, not an open toothed teenager? Is it really as different as we would like to say, at least those of us in the Academy–or should that be Academies, yes, those of us in the Academies of Higher Learning–is that what we have, what we engage, what we get at in University–hierarchies are everywhere omnipresent, the metaphysical collateral in some ways of existence with the physical, but then that should not lead us further into our attempts to disband with metaphysical thinking because higher learning is higher when up is good and down is bad, not a Marxist critique, but simply an extension of the metaphors we live by minute to minute, more folk than people, more personal than tribal . . . or is what I am trying to say just a deference to an older outdated notion of hierarchy?

Questions do beget questions–the emphatic mood is useful in conveying what I mean to say that might find resistance when said–I used to say, have said before, will say again and again, herein, of course, my hypocrite reader–you imagine yourself otherwise? Yes, and there is no difference between the two kinds of criticismI have mentioned above, the one off the lips of another interpersonally communicating something meant to help, or cut, as so often we assume when the personal is aimed interpersonally, no? What do we say when we are not ready for hearing something less than flattering, I say, and I have a tendency to almost respond in kind to flattery, although self-flattery is willingly accepted, I have no aversion, but then I am measured, I say, yes, I am precise and accurate and void of all hyperbole when I do, and of course hubris never enters my self-criticism, no. Self criticism to be self critical is criticism in the truest sense of performing critique–no? Yes? Maybe? What then should I say in face of there being dissent against my opinions–nothing. I must assess what we might call positive and negative aspects, traits, manners–and the matter of our manners, of my manners–not just when or if I say please or thank you  . . . manner in art and manners in a person are not the same, so let me say that I am using manners in both senses or either, here and now, then and there . . . I do not want to continue this tract, but let me say that Susan Sontag was correct in her diary entry–how long ago, now? Decades ago? Yes! Correct was she when she said that most literary criticism is “cultural cholesterol.” Oh! Yes, cultural cholesterol. Fabulous, no? Pithy, yes. Clogged arteries of thinking, a kind of heart disease of the mind? Yes, of course–but what is a matter of course in this–is there a map to trace the coming and going of such imaginary existence?

She said that criticism was a “reactive indignation,” and I had to suffer much of that when I was in graduate school–toomany critics writing beside the point, if we can say that literature has a point, that the literary is a mode of observation, a mode of understanding, a mode of being critical, thus of articulating responses and answers to questions raised, perhaps themselves arising out of the endeavor we would have called literary, should still call literary, although not as it is practiced today . . . meaning? Well, meaning, yes, that most critique is only reactive, and especially so when the subject is literature, which for too long has been absented from criticism, literary criticism, the latter phrase having more than one meaning, yes, criticism that is literary has also waned, faded, disappeared from the scene, what scene, this skena that is the world . . . but how? All the world is a stage, and all the world of criticism is a stage, what scenes are made, are put in place, every action staged? Yes, merely players, all of us wearing how many masks, and I am talking of the one’s outside and nothing of the one’s inside, the Self of many selves, you could say as I have said as Milton did say; the scene now skena, a stage.

Yes, of course, we have come to say a lot about how criticism should be, some of us, at least, that is we who are still concerned for literature, the literary; however, just as many and just as often those who disagree completely to partly with whatI am saying. Yet, as I have said now for decades, who does not know that literature is a branch of Epistemology, a way of knowing, a way of determining what is known, what could be known, what knowledge is, the limits therein of knowledge, of knowing–but the, I should begin with I know nothing to be able to determine all of that; yes, I should not end with I know nothing. And we do, with the latter, and parade around proudly proclaiming, I know nothing.

I am not going to get into how we have abandoned Knowledge or the inquiry of knowing. Where was this going? A thousand words, or toward an understanding of Sontag’s remarks about the criticism of literature–everything is autobiography, of a kind, of a sort–what then are the differences between kind and sort, is an ‘assortment’ equal with an ‘akindment?’

I am not specifically referring to book reviews, although they at times can be called literary criticism because they fulfill the criteria necessary to be called thus, but also because there are themes when the review is teething to capture the appropriate conscience for everything literary . . . it does become an example of literary art . . .that opens another can of beetles.

As Sontag said, “Most notions about literature are reactive — in the hands of lesser talents, merely reactive”; and as I must add, “especially Post Structuralist critique.” The latter was born of a seething resentment of everything literary by those who loathe anything related to what too many, in their minds, have called Western Civilization. Yes, that mouthful is worth the chew. Hard to swallow? It seems that it is not too difficult to get around a thousand words to say something about something, and not what we are supposed to do when we see something on our subway platforms . . . a kind of persistence of paranoia, keeping us ever perpetually alarmed, no? Yes? Maybe? Otherwise? What would it take for us to imagine how all of these are correct? But back to literature and the literary not necessarily the same . . . only in the United States can we call what we call literature be thought to be literature . . . a brochure explaining an exhibit is literature, here, and we wonder why we have such a degraded sense of what literature is and what literary energy is, then we could say, literary power . . . what is literary study, literary criticism, for a couple of instances in inquiry that must arise in this greater line of questioning, no?

Something like Deconstruction becomes a dog whistle for those who feel they can no longer be a part of a tradition that they imagine would have marginalized them if they had not rested intellectual and academic hegemony from the previous bearers of a tradition all Post-Structuralists then had to lambast as fake, or so the individual psychologies go into the mentality that has bred a hatred of literature, a hatred of the literary, a dismantling of all that has ever gone into literacy, being literate; thus creating systems of under-education–entrenched at all levels as it is, leaving paths clear for Power to become even more Powerful and Money even more monied, each trading in the other with the other . . . in is interesting to note well that Trump is not the originator of calling previous hegemonies fake.

We have become like the fool who chases the devil in the forrest of Truth and Law and cuts down all the trees of Law and Truth to get at Him, the Devil, only to find that the devil turns to face this fool who no longer has a stick of Truth or Law between him and the devil. Good luck, my hypocrite readers, fools and their folly follow one after the other, another foolish enterprise, we could say, as do I, often–one thing I do know is that many times, whatever it is that seems agreed upon by many, by more than simply a general consensus adding into a majority is this, I’m against it.

I hope in this–by this–you have gained something we might have called at one time in a past now under a scrutiny handled by lesser investigative talents, imbeciles with a magnifying glass, yet only after destroying all the charts and tables and categories of investigation and learning that have gone before and no longer bear any accumulation? What then am I saying here? Everything is both fiction and autobiography while still fulfilling generic requirements of genre, which is kind of gender, if you understand what I am driving at with that analogy? I don’t find dismay in what is asserted unless or until it becomes iconoclastic, the latter always more and more savage in proportion to the degree (the depth) of ignorance of those who have assumed they are smart enough, learned enough, educated in a way that would allow them to add to the body of knowledge and not perpetuate a mood where Doubt becomes the highest wisdom and anyone who knows anything is as suspect as anyone intelligent must become in any Totalitarian society, especially one like ours–the Soviet Union had only its ideology to protect and keep pure, we have ever increasing profits engendered by greed and contempt, a reforming of Power Oligarchies in the image of Democracy. Fools and their folly.

 

 

Some Months at a Glance [poem]

Septem, Octo, Novem, Decem. Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten in Latin. The last three letters forming the final syllable of all month names is -ber. Yes, Septem ber, Octo ber, Novem ber, Decem ber.

Yes, October is consistent with September, November and December.

So, there! All you Octemberists can stop it now.

Cross Dressing Genre [Short Fiction]

What would it mean or could it mean, if I were to present this text as an excerpt taken from among papers found in a briefcase without identification, without any evidence by which we could ascribe authorship–thus the writer would remain unknown, except to those who insist they can tell gender by diction, by syntax, by rhetorical strategies gleaned from reading . . . but then this gleaning would be something akin to superficially skimming pages, which Melville warns us all great writing is meant to deceive, as he had ascribed to Hawthorne’s texts. That is, Hawthorne’s writing is meant to deceive the superficial skimmer of pages. Yes! I agree, but then you ask, Who are you? Yes, who am I? Who are you to assume you know more than you can? Unless you are able to make the case, defend your position with a bit more than your saying so makes it so.

Moreover, nevertheless, if the text were presented so, we could then assume that perhaps we would find out who he or she was if we were to publish this–of course, the pretext would be that someone might find out that his or her piece has been published and then claim it. I might say that it was one of the more interesting pieces found among the papers in the briefcase.

I could also add that the case is leather, brown . . . what then? A bit worn, old, perhaps not treated or taken care of as others might their leather shoes or jackets or even other cases of other men or women; but then cases like these often get the lesser of attention when a person is inclined to attend to anything they own that is made of leather. The briefcase, I could say, was found by me . . . but why would I say this? Why all this pretense for a story written and published in an online literary journal or blog? Yes, short fiction published as flash fiction? This text as expository fiction, perhaps?

I do write and publish short essays, others I have called fictional essays, whatever have I in words to express  the matter and manner of crossing boundaries, perhaps the way that some might cross their dressing . . . the only time I have come close to cross dressing is when a woman I had met many, many years ago asked to wear a pair of panty hose while we did it, the appropriate patch cut out . . . ad she had a clean pair in an unopened packet for me to wear because she said she liked the feel of the nylon rubbing against her inner thighs  . . . moreover one’s dress is always a matter genre, no? But again, what if I were to say that this piece was found, then published with authorship anonymous? Another question we pause to answer, what do I swear to when writing . . .

Faith has its uses, I’ve been told. I have had occasion to be in agreement, others to be in disagreement, flip-flopping, as we say, from one to the other, another game of hop-scotch played with what? Is it the Truth that I am playing hop-scorchers with . . . something else? What else is there to say about this faith in our politics because I am losing that fast? I use to think that the genius of America was for politics, but maybe I should have said government. They are not one and the same thing, are they? Of course they are not. What is it about these things we think that we frame as matters of course–are they as self-evident as we imagine them to be? Do not take heed from this and run away with your increasing doubt . . . imagination is quite necessary for the rational mind, for any pursuit of Truth, any scientific investigation which is a reference the method and not what we have restricted sense we assign to the word ‘science.’

I have no faith in our politics–I am not certain what kind of faith I have in God. I do have faith in The Constitution, and I am fairly religious about that, and that religiosity is bifurcated: I am religious in the traditional sense which rules our contemporary notions about how religion is and what expectations we are to have about how it has existed and what role it has played in our civilization and other civilizations; that is, what being religious means and how it functions in behavior, even its use in the connotations we apply to attitudes and behavior apart form what might strictly be called religious; and religious in the sense captured by its etymology, which is from the Latin re-legere, or to relink, that is, to reconnect, and with what? You do ask, I know. Reconnect with the One, the True, the Origin . . . and that is our Constitution.

American is an idea not an ethnicity, which is part of our success, I have a prejudice in believing.  But faith of this kind for our politics, or should I say, our politicking, no!. I have no faith for human intelligence, either, at least in general, and more specifically, for our contemporaneity. Today is not the best of times, nor the worst of times; yesterday was not the best of times, nor was it the worst of times; tomorrow will not be the best or the worst. There are an infinite number of shades of gray between black and white. I do not wish to live on a checker board any more than I want to think on one, like one, with its rule being my regulation. All of these are true, but that does not mean today is not really, really bad, nor does it preclude that we have been backsliding for a long time, politically, governmentally, in the maters of our freedom and the access to them thereof an ensuing problem.

I remember many of my Italian student-visa friends from university—and there were enough of them, not too many and certainly not only a couple. They asked me many questions, but the the most frequently asked question was not Why are Americans so under-educated, so under-read, so stupid? No. This was not what they asked, even if it is what too many conservative-minded Americans today might think they asked. No, this was not it. The most frequently asked pejorative was, Why are American liberals so stupid? And that I saw and continue to see–which is not, as it so often amounts to in American idiocy, a flip of the coin on the side of conservative. No. Conservatives are always going to be as conservatives are, have been, yes, will be. This is the given of their politics. It always verges on Reactionary, unfortunately as oftentimes does Liberal in its extreme, too often being the flip side of intolerant, confusingly and collaterally becoming too tolerant of intolerance. But it is the horror of how insipid America Liberalism was and has remained that is one of the first causes in how totalitarian our bourgeois capitalism has become. And it has. Stop confusing Capitalism for Democracy, stop thinking they are mutual and contingent.

But then we’re baboons—no, really, we are, when we are not at best being chimps, yes, chimps at best most of the time. This is that 98% sameness in our DNA we share with them. In the shadow of the simians, we are. Where would our opinions be without Jane Goodall and her tireless observations?

Human is choice, as I have said before this, how many times? Too many to count. This too is becoming a motif of mine: pointing out that I repeat myself and how I do the repetition, repetition, repetition

Just look at human history, though, if you doubt what I have said; just look at our current events. Can you imagine that we are not only a little better than chimps? All, most, still too, too many if not all or most whenever we are required be something more than the solipsists we are most persistently.

Anonymous