Covfefe or not covfefe, that is the question. Whether it is Tumblr in the mind To sling the Tweets like arrows And grasp outrageous fortunes, Or to Snapchat against a sea of troubles And by Instagramming, end them. To lie, to cheat, no more And by a cheat confessed To say we end the outbreak Of the thousand natural Probes the Press is heir to-- Tis a consumation devoutly to be wished To belie all cheats-- be blessed-- Ah theres the rub-- For of those cheats and threats The leaks have come, Uncovering our evil toil With neither rest nor pause. There's the handshake that brings calamity From years of hard-pressed strife. For who would bear the editorials of the Times, The Wiki-leaking wrongs, the proud man Comey’s notes, The pangs of alt-right love, the law’s delay, The insolence of ethics, and spurns That patient merit of the trade imbalance takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare Putin? Who would Bernies bear, To grunt and sweat under a global life, But that the dread of something after threats, Some Montenegran country from whose bourn No contract returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those deals we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus Saudis do make cowards of us all, And thus the NATO hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with a pale cast of wroth, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard in golf carts take their ride, And lose the name of action.
So wesot meself On flinder-blotting bums Und gazed decrepit On a pile of mums.
Wisbejebeter mene than eye Have clemed this peye Und stroud aboot With wildbeseeming eyne Ownaley to evere fynde Nort niver immer blont A slimmer yok of Peece o mynde.
Rubricandleabras glot the nyte Und underbole the twexted Wented blaqueness of myne seyte As doon de derkened pooles Alle foolshe mene flocke To damneden embress Or smelle goatflesh hump In foulesh deathley blyte
So wesot meself On bum-blotting cinders Whilst the flames licket Sins uff me flinders.
A loud noise woke me up from a vivid dream this morning. I was acting in a movie, and saying this: "I think both of us know what's in this pizza and chocolate-mint cake. Have you told you your flock yet Pastor? --And who are you?-- the Pastor asks. "Oh, excuse me, I am Klaus Werner from the Vienna Institute of Shadenfreude, we met at last year at the conference in Prague."
I used to want to be a poet too. But I found out there's so much more in just opening up my own back door and screaming nonsense at the night-- immense, and dark, and hid from sight-- This is all I ever need to do.
Eco's The Prague Cemetery is a dismal book whose protagonist is a proud anti-semite, a forger of documents, a murderer, a despiser of women and idealists, a remorseless scoundrel by all counts, but one who possesses the faintly redeeming quality of a sensitive palate. To Eco's credit his "ugly" protagonist seems to have been invented purposefully to embody humanity's most sceptic attributes in a single character so that his interplay with Eco's favorite-themed historical events and philosophical movements might take on some, if only fictional, deeper meaning. Perhaps to say that, though this man could not exist, he stands as a marker for the multitude of evil men that must have played countless smaller but similar roles in order for history to unfold as it did. In this outing he has created the human form of "pure concentrated evil" rather than the lump form forund in the movie Time Bandits. I am not an Eco scholar by any means but I am fearless in asserting that in some ways Eco's works read together like a single palimpsest-- repeated, erased, and re-written themes. It is hardly a pun to say that nobody echoes Eco like Eco. I expected that near the end the protagonist would confess, in one of his multiple identities, to be Jewish himself. This did not occur. Perhaps it was intended to be ironic that even in his professed hatred he exemplified the Merchant of Venice far more than he realized. Both the intial setup of the story and the end of it are cleverly mediated through the first-person narrator who has suffered a loss of memory and is trying to discover his own identity even as the reader must do so through his written words. Of Eco's last book Numero Zero: it reads like the "treatment" version of the usual Eco novel, as though it were a sparse and undeveloped chapter of Foucault's Pendulm, but is focused rather on yellow journalism and the last days of Mussolini. (Spoiler) After the reader hears the plan put forth by the editor of a "fake" magazine to let it be known that he will expose the evils of the rich so that the rich will "buy him off"-- well, by then Eco's readers already know how well that will work out! I will miss Umberto Eco, and I have strong doubts that the empty places I left on my shelves for his future books can be equally filled by books from another.
Music. Have I discussed in the past this unshakeable feeling I have regarding both writing words and music, that I am attempting to do these things at a distance, but not actually doing them? As though observing a war going on in the trenches safely from a helicopter? By thinking about them in such a remote and consciously intellectual way, that I am kept from doing them in a pure way? That, to trot out Hamlet, everything I do feels to be "sicklied o'r with the pale cast of thought" to the point that what should be revealed is hopelessly obscured? Imagine, if you will, a color camera with a permanent yellow filter over the lens, or, someone who merely wishes to squeal with joy but instead produces several pages of Eco-like prose in their heads while rejecting the effort it would take to write it all down. Or someone who believes art is like a rabid dog to be poked cautiously with a stick and then run from in terror.
Music. Listening to music without analysis comes close to describing how I think creation ought to feel. But it doesn't. There is a palpable physical activity in creation. It is no secret to me that I prefer to be passive rather than active and that the act of creation takes me out of my comfort zone. But music reaches up to me from below and beguiles me, cajoles, tempts me to engage. And if I do engage, it teases, hides, is gone. Music for me is the mystical voice that rides above the line-- the flying, broken, melodies that leap out of Chopin, or moments in the Ravel Quartet in F that defy my ability to find them in the notations. Music analysis is not entirely useless, but it seems also that it falls short of finding the true music, and at best merely describes the conditions under which the music occurs. True, with analysis I can learn to hear different things in the music, but I fear that adept knowledge might indeed damage the naive appreciation I had and make it impossible to find that ever again. But my train of thought suggests to me that fearing such an outcome might be unfounded. I am certain that music contains aural illusions the same way that visual material creates optical illusions. Knowing how to construct the illusion does not help one understand the experience of the illusion. The experience of the illusion is more tied to the unknown hard-wiring of the brain and is inscrutible. But that part is the true music to me. So, perhaps I can live to a grand old age trying to ferret out what is happening in my brain when I listen to a Bach fugue, while gratefully failing to do so. In the meantime I will have all the fun of trying.