February 13, 2009

they say tomorrow will never arrive
though I've seen it end a million times

Lisa Yuskavage, Pond, 2007

On a Footnote in Plato's Symposium
-- by Sarah Hannah

I suppose we're mad for loving footnotes--
The promise stowed in a tiny number
Proudly flagging the quotation
"to lay up glory immortal forever"--
And In the drive past text to precipice,
We plummeted past pulp and typeface,
Seeking a source, a proprietor at bottom,
But instead found only "A line of poetry
Of unknown origin," and in chagrin
Convinced ourselves we knew--
At least that it was human, and didn't someone
Of that fellow race say something once
About dust, vis a vis issuance and return--
But when, exactly, where? And that chap gone
Unnamed as well, laid up forever
In his own annotation; we sought him
At that shore, below the legible horizon;
We dug through cool leave of like color,
And of nothing found we knew a bit more.

-- by Kimberly L. Becker

I call you out into the yard
to look at the eclipse.

We have always stood
between ourselves and happiness.

Uncle Jim
-- by Peter Meinke

What the children remember about Uncle Jim
is that on the train to Reno to get divorced
so he could marry again
he met another woman and woke up in California.
It took him seven years to untangle that dream
but a man who could sing like Uncle Jim
was bound to get in scrapes now and then:
he expected it and we expected it.

Mother said, It's because he was the middle child,
and Father said, Yeah, where there's trouble
Jim's in the middle.

When he lost his voice he lost all of it
to the surgeon's knife and refused the voice box
they wanted to insert. In fact he refused
almost everything. Look, they said,
it's up to you. How many years
do you want to live? and Uncle Jim
held up one finger.
The middle one.


Blogger Justin Sirois said...

“And In the drive past text to precipice,
We plummeted past pulp and typeface,”

The language of this piece is stunning.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous YogaforCynics said...

My but that middle finger is the body's second most expressive digit....

As for footnotes, I've long been a fan of Nabokov's Pale Fire, where the footnotes really are the point...and, I've seen William Blake's marginal comments on largely forgotten books anthologized with only enough of the original texts to give a sense of what was being commented upon....

Love the Pond painting...somehow found my way to your blog for the first time a couple of days ago and bookmarked it. Now that I get a better look (accidentally wrote "bitter look" and changed it), I expect I'll be back....

3:10 AM  

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