Monday, June 05, 2006


Caprice in Yellow

Out of Tallien: A Brief Romance (Frederic Tuten), probably a perfect book: “feeling invisible pushed him to wanting to hear the privileged world squeak as he twisted the rope about its neck.”

And: “Around him buffoons, clods, idiots, vulgarians, soup slurpers, calculators to the dime of pay to housecleaners; those who bark at waiters and insult chambermaids; sycophants of no special charm, toe-steppers at cocktail parties who neglect to apologize because you are of no particular power or fame, parasites who eat your dinners and bad-mouth you at another’s evening table; idea horses, modeling the latest intellectual fashion . . .”

Everything I read points to the present moment, its bankruptcy and tawd.

Miles Davis to John Lee Hooker: “John Lee, you the funkiest man alive. You sound like you buried up to your neck in mud.”

Don Covay saying “soul is total vocal freedom.”

See, too, Ferruccio Busoni: “All composers have drawn nearest the true nature of music in preparatory and intermediary passages (preludes and transitions), where they felt at liberty to disregard symmetrical proportions and unconsciously draw free breath.”

Bobby “Hoochie Man” Rush on the need for American poetry to return to rhyme:
She used to wear dresses down to her ankle—
Now she wear ’em so short you can see her twinkle.

A willful misreading of “Double Influence” (or, “Wit at a Venture”):
The killing eye, the blessing lip
That shews the art of Love,
Is but a poor and thirsty sip
Our burning hearts to prove.

(The errant eye, the bluffing lip
That shews the love of Art
Is but a poor and thrifty Fib
Our wrecked careers to start.)

How the history of dodgy Age (early twenty-first c. American poesy) needs be writ (a commencement for the Fishes):
There is an old English Proverb, That Truth must not be utter’d at all Times, nor to all Persons; and that is the reason, I suppose, why Men of late publish their Sentiments in Masquerade. We have already seen the Parables of the Bear-baiting, and the Magpies; now give me leave to present you with that of the Shark and the Herring-Pond, since after Four-footed Beasts, and Birds, Fish comes next in course.

There was a Time, when the scaly Inhabitants of the Ocean were divided into several Empires, Kingdoms, Commonwealths and Provinces; each watry Nation being subject to their respective Sovereigns, even as ’tis here on the Land.

Among the rest, the Shark reign’d over the Gudgeons; he a voracious, cruel, tyrannical Fish; they silly, tame, weak, despicable Animals, cut out for Slavery and Contempt. This Shark, or King of the Gudgeons, was the worst of all his Race; for he would enter into Leagues with other Royal Fishes, his Neighbours, only to render them the more secure, whilst he amass’d up huge Treasures by Oppression of his Subjects, and rais’d great Armies, with design, to rush suddenly upon his Friends and Allyes to bring them into Contribution and Slavery.

He had one potent Neighbour, who was an Emperor among the Fish, and had many Princes subject to him. The Shark bore a great spight to this Imperial Fish, and often invaded his Territories, and made great Havock and Devastation among his Subjects; for he would come on the suddain, (as ’tis the nature of that sly Fish,) and snap off a whole Limb, or Branch of the Empire, together, at a Mouthfull; and this at such time as they were all in Peace, and never dream’d of any such Usage. And to shew that he absolutely design’d the total Ruin of the Imperial Fish, and all his Dependants, the Shark sent Ambassadors to the Whale, a mighty Fish; and who had the largest Dominions, the strongest Armies, and richest Treasury of any Royal Fish in the Ocean: A proud Fish also, proud as Lucifer; for disdaining all Earthly Emblems, he wore the Moon for his Crest, and styl’d himself the Shadow of God. To this terrible Whale, I say, the Shark sent Ambassadors, and made private Leagues with him, against the Imperial Fish, persuading him to send Armies to invade the Imperial Territories. Thus whilst the Imperial Fish was buried on one side, in defending himself and his Empire against the Incursions of the Whale, the Shark takes the Opportunity; and breaking all his Treaties of Peace, leaps suddainly into the Bowels of the Empire, plundering, murthering and desolating all, wheresoever he came.

Yet the Shark, not content thus to ruin the Imperial Fish, sets upon another King among the Scaly Nations, that was a near Relation, Friend and Allye of the Imperial Fish: He sends Armies, and invades the Territories of this King also, who was called the Sea-Bull; lays waste his Dominions, leads his Subjects into Captivity, and does him all the Mischief that his Malice, Ambition, Covetousness and Pride could prompt him to.

Thus begun the Poetry Wars . . .
(Suggestions for clarifying linkages sought and accepted.)