September 5, 2007

Soft silly music is meaningful magical

Piet Mondrian, Trafalgar Square, 1939–43

Time Forks Perpetually Toward Innumerable Futures In One of Them I Am Your Enemy
-- Frank Stanford

I am going to die.

Friends who made good,
Friends who did not,
I am going
Down into the Egypt of your sex,
The lands of your mystery and death.

Do you still want me
To find you
Somebody to love?

I cruise through the delta of your love,
Paradise on Sunday,
Cold as ice on Monday.
A hundred pounds of it on the tongs,
A butterfly at the center.

Going home I cross the bridge
And throw a bottle out the window,
Hit all my friends in the head.

The crickets under the straw
Like old folks spitting in a paper sack

Now my life the Sphinx
Laid by slaves,
My death the promised land.

A light rain falling, a split tongue
And sad eyes, no lie,
Itve got you by the tongue.

I park my Cadillac outside your temple of madness.
You are worshiped there.

Look at your face, swollen from sleep.
Are you waiting for me
To unwind you from your last clothes,
Do you want me
To bury my long ship in your heart?

Your lineage like gravesites for the stars,
Way stations for great dreamers.

There is a six foot rattlesnake
Asleep in the birdhouse.
Are you taking crumbs to the warblers tonight?

Death is an isthmus, you can get there on foot
But love had made its island.

What of the young?
I hunt them down,
Good winds in the desert,
Blue eggs in the junipers.

Tell it:

There is a fear without age or Christ
That goes through us
Like moonshine in a coil.

There is a stranger
You see more and more of
Every year, he is silt in the riverbed.
And the water tables of your mystery
Rise to their final levels,
The spitting image of your death.

If you leave a girl of your own,
Tell her to run off with your enemy's son.
If you have a son
Tell him to run off with your enemy's daughter.
And if you have no enemies, inquire of me,
Your troubles are just beginning.

Fair Trial
-- Frank Stanford

The undertaker went his bail
And the chauffeur lent him
A jacket to wear
A sea blue tuxedo
It was all he had that would
Fit him
And all his friends
Showed up
Not that they carried any weight
In the town
But they came
To give him soul support
Because they knew
He didn't have a whore's chance
In heaven
You can't touch
The wife of the Law
And expect to get away
With it hell
The paper's bound to be against you

Antidote for Popculturemania
-- Ed Sanders

from America: A History in Verse, Part 2

Clement Greenberg's essay
"Avant-garde and Kitsch"
came out in the Partisan Review that fall [1939]

in which he almost chants his disrespect for
Kitsch "the epitome of all that is spurious
in the life of our times"

Kitsch which "changes according to style but
remains all the same"

Kitsch which "lies to the minds of artists"
so that they will bend under Kitsch's
profit-batty pressure

(not to mention Stalin's official Kitsch
which ate the soul of mad Odessa's paintbrush)

Go read it.


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