Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
What did we really learn from Eliot? I mean, we learned a tome, but all of it was wrong. So what singular gem that holds up did he leave us embroidered in braille on his trouser hem? This center piece in the puzzledox parabox of the universe I'm in (you're in here with me. watch your hands. redheads and my husband aside): There will be time.
There will be time.
Life is long.
There will be time, there will be time.
Redheads, real or imaginary. If you want some of my honey, bunny, better paint your head red.
At Poetry Brothel's I always bring presents for redheads. A polished stones. A pearl. An Advil. Whatever seems appropriate. It's a trick to get them to kiss me. Sue me. I like them. Real, dye, or imaginary.
There is going to be a Poetry Brothel tonight at the Back Room. Maybe you like life a little dirty. Maybe there are crumbs of poetry down your shirt even now. So you'll join us tonight, we will be high not on life but on essentially legal substances, being used in ways slightly at odds with their stated directions. Poetry will be said that will hurt your poor ape heart and bruise your knuckle-eyed head. How could we have lost so much and ended up aloft in bounty, riding what used to be the purple sage but is now a delightful settee? I do not know, but I am glad that it is you and me. Seriously. I don't care if anyone shows up, but I do hope you drop by. I am going to lounge around lasciviously and tell people important secrets.
I love you. Don't kill yourself. For those of you who can't make it, I'll see you in your dreams.
ps ok i wrote this post for the Best American Poetry site and then put it here too, and having done so i have to add that the Fonz, also, can kiss me. yes, i know he is fictional. haven't we discussed this? seriously though come tonight and drink and have poetry with delightful people. it is always different and always, in hindsight, perfectly reasonable.
Monday, May 10, 2010
When you study the history of science you find out things you might not want to know. What you find out makes it difficult to believe the things everyone around you believes. Because people believe a lot of things and you have learned that most of what people believe, in any time period, in any place, is a kind of nonsense.
Look. After germ theory was very well discovered, explained, and used to change real outcomes in the real world, it took a good four decades to convince people. Some of the most trenchant deniers were the most educated people. We can look back now and see.
Maybe you think doctors and nurses would all say: "Thank goodness, finally, something that actually works!" Instead, the new theory felt so threatening to everything these people had spent their lives doing, teaching, writing, and believing, that it was too painful to turn away from all the details of the medical world before bacteriology. The world just had to wait for them to die off. Florence Nightingale radically changed the world through a belief in cleanliness and order, through her work, for the first time in the history of history, armies did not lose more men to sickness and infection than to sheer physical damage. Yet when germ theory came around she denied it. For decades. Died still wittily deriding the idea.
The role of self interest as a real loud voice at the table of truth, even in these most obvious examples, goes unnoticed by the person trying to figure out the world (isn't everyone living in the world trying to figure it out?).
Think about the things we have invested in too much to reconsider. Consider first the cases in which we are right to do this. We have invested a great deal in learning to use the English language. Whether or not the writing on the wall is in Chinese, it makes good sense for us to stick with what we’ve got. There are cases where we should start changing and are ready to do so: We’ve got a lot invested in books, and we are trying to step back and see what changes might be bearable. Oil. Big agriculture. Those of us interested in reconceiving the world do manage to do so in some impressive ways, no question.
Still, it is worth saying clearly. There are things we believe that are not true. There are ways we behave that are holdovers: We keep jumping over where there used to be a pothole.
After a while, a person asks her or himself, Where is different? Where is life? And in those moments it is useful to remember that one answer is: To the right of where you always go. Under the puddle into which you do not want to step, and then to the left. Where you are strong, instead try weakness. It can be salutary to self-suggest that everything youve saids been sort of wrong.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Poem of May 5, 2010
Fireworks and fertilizer
in Time Square
an SUV where no car should be
smoking a little.
A vendor sees, tells a cop
on a horse.
The other way it might have played
was that the bomb
went off and fifty-seven people
died, millions heartbroken.
All of them wished so hard
it hadn’t happened
that the world bent back
like a twig and snapped
to this world,
where it didn’t happen.
Have a cocktail or something.
I’m going to drink champagne.
Fireworks and fertilizer
and a man on a horse.
It's very strange.
--Jennifer Michael Hecht