Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Clouds of glory

April 4, 2020

On Facebook, Bob Richmond reported returning to his mother’s copy of Page’s British Poets of the Nineteenth Century, to muse on a favorite passage of hers from William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”. In the passage he posted about on Facebook, this excerpt:

Not in entire forgetfulness
And not in utter nakedness
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home

Ah, immediate clang for me: the Sacred Harp (1991 Denson revision), 480, Redemption (words and setting by John T. Hocutt, 1959), with the chorus:

Oh, His blood was shed that we might live
With Him when life is o’er,
And upon the clouds of glory ride
Safe to that peaceful shore.

I’ve long been moved by the idea of riding upon those clouds of glory, and now it seems that Wordsworth is the source of the phrase — here, and in other places as well.

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Eel-eater and his kind

February 24, 2020

From Facebook friends, hot herpetological news. From Reptiles magazine, the story “Rainbow Snake Seen In Florida’s Ocala National Forest For First Time Since 1969” by John Virata on 2/20/20:

quoting from a Fish and Wildlife Research Institute posting from 2/19:

A Rare Sighting! Tracey Cauthen recently reported stumbling upon a ~4 ft Rainbow Snake, Farancia erytrogramma, while hiking in the Ocala National Forest.

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love nest

February 20, 2020

(The text veers into sex of a number of varieties, including hard-core mansex, with references in very plain terms to both female and male sexual parts, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

In one scene of the 1998 gay porn flick Logan’s Journey, the protagonist Logan spends a night in a cheap hotel called El Nido. Two young men in the adjoining room have noisy ecstatic sex with one another, culminating in enthusiastic flip-fucking. The film is set in a gorgeous mountain-West landscape, where there are plenty of Mexican Spanish speakers.

Nearly every one of these details is relevant to understanding what it might mean for the hotel to be called El Nido (Sp. ‘The Nest’). The name is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of potential interpretation — of literal meanings, fresh metaphorical understandings, conventional metaphorical understandings, conventionalized slang, allusions to all sorts of cultural practices, transfers of conceptual frameworks for heterosex to mansex, all of this in two languages and a number of (sub)cultures.

Some of this was surely intended by the makers of the film — this particular El Nido is a love nest — but much of it is mere potential, wisps of penumbral interpretation in that cloud, visible to some viewers but not others, and barely within focus to many of those.

Out in the far reaches of my consciousness, there appeared the Spanish phrase su pajarito en mi nido (lit. ‘his little bird in my nest’) — or better, su pinga en mi nido (‘his cock in my pussy’) — and I was seized by a pointed desire to be fucked (alas, only in my imagination) by the Cuban American pornstar Damien Crosse, who grew up in Miami — even Miami, as it turns out, is relevant in all of this, as is the fact that Crosse favors porn scenes that are both fully democratic sexually (well, remember the flip-fucking) and also affectionate (Logan’s Journey is a love story). And then there’s the more obvious stuff, with the little bird in a nest.

Eventually, there will be poems, and a Cubano-inflected song, about encounters in love motels and lounges.

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Basil Ratburn

February 10, 2020

Back at the end of January I noted briefly on Facebook that the January 25th coincidence of Robert Burns’s birthday with the new lunar year — the Year of the Rat, specifically — meant that this year 1/25 was the celebratory day of Basil Ratburn. Crossed swords and groans.


(#1) Basil Rathbone (on the left) as villain — rat — crossing swords with Errol Flynn in the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood (you are allowed an adolescent snicker on crossing swords — and in fact those snickers have a basis in reality, in the term swordplay referring to body practices between men; see the Swordplay Bonus below)

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Revisiting 42: stalked by a giant anthropomorphic squirrel

February 1, 2020

When we last saw Mr. Peanut (in my 1/13/20 posting “Just one peanut”), he was tortured by nightmares of being buried alive by an anthropomorphic squirrel:

(#1)

That squirrel has now come alive in a giant toothy form and is stalking the Mr. Peanut of the Apocalypse on the city streets, in this David Sipress cartoon (from the February 3rd New Yorker):

(#2)

Entertaining. But much funnier when you know that the cartoon is exquisitely topical: Mr. Peanut has in fact just met his death (though not as the prey of a giant squirrel), and will be mourned at the Super Bowl tomorrow.

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Three little digits

January 22, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, another little exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.) Wayno’s title: “Number, Please”

No doubt you recognize the speaker as Satan / the Devil / Beelzebub, but the cartoon will still be incomprehensible unless you know that there’s a particular three-digit number that’s sometimes said to belong to Satan.

Pursuing this topic on my man Jacques’s birthday, today, will lead us, through a favorite verse of his, on a circuitous route passing through a mysterious British village, Chicago, and Santa Monica, on its way to the Big Gay Village, where men hug, spoon, and screw. (There will eventually be a content warning. I’ll warn you when the screwing is imminent.)

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Rent Spikes / Stoke Dread / By the Sea

January 19, 2020

That’s the head:

Rent Spikes
Stoke Dread
By the Sea

The subhead:

Coney Island Businesses
Fear Being Priced Out

The story is that increases in rents have promoted anxiety on the part of seaside business owners on Coney Island.

This from the national print edition of the NYT on the 15th (p. A19), story by Aaron Randle.

A story I have then playfully travestied:

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At the rim of the Mournful Valley, singing

January 16, 2020

(About other things as well, but centrally about my life, which some readers might just find annoying and want to avoid.)

January 16th today. At the very rim of the Mournful Valley. From my 1/21/15 posting “Antonio Soler and the Mournful Valley”

Not long ago, WQXR [NYC FM radio station specializing in classical music] played some keyboard sonatas by Padre Antonio Soler, a favorite composer of mine since my student days at MIT but one not especially widely known. That tweaked bittersweet memories of those days in Cambridge MA, especially powerful at this time of the year, in what I’ve come to think of the Mournful Valley of Mid-Winter, in between January 17th, the anniversary of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s death ([in 2020, the 35th anniversary; she died at age 47]) and January 22nd, my man Jacques Transue’s birthday ([in 2020, his 78th]; Jacques died in 2003) — and with celebrations of love, for Valentines Day, very much in the air.

In the context of the Mournful Valley, VDay is definitely bittersweet. On the one hand, I’ve been alone since 1998, when J went into a dementia care facility. On the other hand, VDay is Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s birthday, and that makes the holiday a very big thing.

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The images quilt

December 15, 2019

The last in a set of four; the linguistics quilt, from the 19th, is its predecessor. As before, a 12-panel composition (roughly 6 x 3 ft) made of old t-shirts of mine, assembled into a quilt by Janet Salsman, with the collaboration of Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and Kim Darnell (and photos by Kim).  This time, t-shirts with images that have pleased or entertained me:

(#1)

Now the 12 panels individually, by row (R) and column (C).

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The existential question

October 11, 2019

In today’s Zippy strip, Zerbina and Zippy contemplate their existence — ever an issue for self-aware cartoon characters:

(#1)

How do we know we exist? And if this perilous sort of existence, created in the mind and (literally) at the hands of an artist, fails to be validated by those in the outer, non-cartoon, world, are we nothing but a dream (sweetheart)?

Perhaps a concern for all of us, but especially pointed for cartoon characters. Who will speak for them, especially now that Mad Magazine is gone?

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