Saturday, September 17, 2016

How the Left 'Members Another "Consumer"

Box on a desk
Next to a castle of glass
That they bought from the airport
The price on the back

Shelves overflow
With photographs and bones
A museum of someone
That will never be known

Pennies for thoughts
That cost a mountain of debt
Rusting in bottles
They’ll never come to collect
They’ll never come to collect

And you were sure that you could keep it all
Off in a tower where there’d always be space
And you were sure that if you read it all
You would eventually come across your own name

Daffodils hanging off a rearview of lies
You keep your foot on the pedal
And you can’t see outside.

Boxes of novels
Fill all the seats and the trunk
There’s barely room for a driver
In this treasure chest of junk

And the tower is crumbling
And you are thinking of running
From all these years of commitment
To keep this dead garden growing
To keep this dead garden growing

And you were sure that you could learn it all
And if you did than you would always be safe
And you were sure that you could use it all
To build a fortress they could never take

It’s got to be around here somewhere
Maybe you’re really going mad
Maybe it’s buried in the old school
Maybe you never really

And now you’re starting to look
A little like someone in a book
You’ve tucked yourself inside
Your body pressed and dried

Fairies and princes
And the story doesn’t change
He keeps on slaying the dragon
She’s still chained to the cage

And it’s time to retire
But you can’t give up the title
As the head of collections
For these dead letter files
As the head of collections
For these dead letter files

And you were sure that you could keep it all locked
And all the nice dark things would never get lit
And you were sure that you could keep them out
And you were sure that you could keep yourself hid

It’s got to be around here somewhere
Maybe it’s under mom and dad
Maybe you wrote it in your diary
Maybe you never really
It’s got to be around here somewhere
Maybe you gave it to your son
Maybe it’s time you just admit that
Maybe you never really had
A past worth passing on.
... and other fallacies of the "perfectionist" future trap.

14 comments:

FreeThinke said...

Live and laugh and love and lie;
Dance the reeling midnight though,
For tomorrow we may die,
But, Alas! we never do!


~ Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

FreeThinke said...

A disparaging view un-American
Gives much joy to the chronic contrarian.
If it’s hostile and dark,
His heart sings like a lark,
But laments when it touts what is Aryan.


~ Ilse Koch Buchenwaldheimer

FreeThinke said...

STERN PRACTICAL ADVICE from a WELL-KNOWN LYRIC POET

________ Provide, Provide ________
 
The witch that came (the withered hag)
To wash the steps with pail and rag,
Was once the beauty Abishag,

The picture pride of Hollywood.
Too many fall from great and good
For you to doubt the likelihood.

Die early and avoid the fate.
Or if predestined to die late,
Make up your mind to die in state.

Make the whole stock exchange your own!
If need be occupy a throne,
Where nobody can call you crone.

Some have relied on what they knew;
Others on simply being true.
What worked for them might work for you.

No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard,
Or keeps the end from being hard.

Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide!

~ Robert Frost (1874-1963)

FreeThinke said...

________ SIMPLE GIFTS ________

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'
tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

It will be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.

To turn, turn will be our delight,

'Til by turning, turning we come round right.


'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,

'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,

And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,

Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,


'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,

'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

It will be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.

To turn, turn will be our delight,

'Til by turning, turning we come round right.


'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,

'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",

And when we hear what others really think and really feel,

Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.


'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,

'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

It will be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.

To turn, turn will be our delight,

'Til by turning, turning we come round right.



~ Elder Joseph Brackett (composed 1848)

FreeThinke said...

______________ SOLITUDE ______________

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!


~ Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Trevor Armbuster said...

What is the message in that depressing poem? Is it just an elaborately dreary way of saying, "You can't take it with you?" Or worse that it wasn't worth having in the first place?

At any rate things are depressing enough without dwelling on stupid ideas that tell us most of our lives are not worth living.

That's what I dislike most about the crap that came to us in the past century. Most of it is anti-life, and an implied invitation to commit suicide.

We're here, whether we like it or not, and the only thing we can do that makes any sense at all is to try to make the best of whatever comes our way.

FreeThinke said...

If you're truly eager to find life bitter, utterly hopeless and dominated by dejection, Richard Aldington may be the poet for you.

PART ONE

__________ CHILDHOOD __________

I

The bitterness.
the misery, the wretchedness of childhood
Put me out of love with God.

I can't believe in God's goodness;
I can believe
In many avenging gods.

Most of all I believe
In gods of bitter dullness,
Cruel local gods
Who scared my childhood.



II

I've seen people put
A chrysalis in a match-box,
"To see," they told me,
"what sort of moth would come."

But when it broke its shell
It slipped and stumbled and fell about its prison
And tried to climb to the light
For space to dry its wings.


That's how I was.

Somebody found my chrysalis
And shut it in a match-box.

My shrivelled wings were beaten,
Shed their colours in dusty scales
Before the box was opened
For the moth to fly.



III

I hate that town;
I hate the town I lived in when I was little;
I hate to think of it.

There wre always clouds, smoke, rain
In that dingly little valley.

It rained; it always rained.

I think I never saw the sun until I was nine --
And then it was too late;
Everything's too late after the first seven years.


The long street we lived in
Was duller than a drain
And nearly as dingy.

There were the big College
And the pseudo-Gothic town-hall.

There were the sordid provincial shops --
The grocer's, and the shops for women,
The shop where I bought transfers,
And the piano and gramaphone shop
Where I used to stand
Staring at the huge shiny pianos and at the pictures
Of a white dog looking into a gramaphone.


How dull and greasy and grey and sordid it was!
On wet days -- it was always wet --
I used to kneel on a chair
And look at it from the window.


The dirty yellow trams
Dragged noisily along
With a clatter of wheels and bells
And a humming of wires overhead.

They threw up the filthy rain-water from the hollow lines
And then the water ran back
Full of brownish foam bubbles.


There was nothing else to see --
It was all so dull --
Except a few grey legs under shiny black umbrellas
Running along the grey shiny pavements;
Sometimes there was a waggon
Whose horses made a strange loud hollow sound
With their hoofs
Through the silent rain.


And there was a grey museum
Full of dead birds and dead insects and dead animals
And a few relics of the Romans -- dead also.

There was a sea-front,
A long asphalt walk with a bleak road beside it,
Three piers, a row of houses,
And a salt dirty smell from the little harbour.


I was like a moth --
Like one of those grey Emperor moths
Which flutter through the vines at Capri.

And that damned little town was my match-box,
Against whose sides I beat and beat
Until my wings were torn and faded, and dingy
As that damned little town.


(CONTINUED)

FreeThinke said...

PART TWO

IV

At school it was just as dull as that dull High Street.

The front was dull;
The High Street and the other street were dull --
And there was a public park, I remember,
And that was damned dull, too,
With its beds of geraniums no one was allowed to pick,
And its clipped lawns you weren't allowed to walk on,
And the gold-fish pond you mustn't paddle in,
And the gate made out of a whale's jaw-bones,
And the swings, which were for "Board-School children,"
And its gravel paths.


And on Sundays they rang the bells,
From Baptist and Evangelical and Catholic churches.

They had a Salvation Army.

I was taken to a High Church;
The parson's name was Mowbray,
"Which is a good name but he thinks too much of it --"
That's what I heard people say.


I took a little black book
To that cold, grey, damp, smelling church,
And I had to sit on a hard bench,
Wriggle off it to kneel down when they sang psalms
And wriggle off it to kneel down when they prayed,
And then there was nothing to do
Except to play trains with the hymn-books.


There was nothing to see,
Nothing to do,
Nothing to play with,
Except that in an empty room upstairs
There was a large tin box
Containing reproductions of the Magna Charta,
Of the Declaration of Independence
And of a letter from Raleigh after the Armada.

There were also several packets of stamps,
Yellow and blue Guatemala parrots,
Blue stags and red baboons and birds from Sarawak,
Indians and Men-of-war
From the United States,
And the green and red portraits
Of King Francobello
Of Italy.



V

I don't believe in God.

I do believe in avenging gods
Who plague us for sins we never sinned
But who avenge us.


That's why I'll never have a child,
Never shut up a chrysalis in a match-box
For the moth to spoil and crush its brght colours,
Beating its wings against the dingy prison-wall.



~ Richard Adlington (1892-1952)

FreeThinke said...

I don't believe in God, he wrote.

And there I believe is the core of Adlington's dismal, warped, self-defeating view of life. That and what-must-have-been exceedingly bad parenting.

And yet, the bloke lived to be eighty years of age, and stayed married to fellow poet "H.D." (Hilda Doolittle) for many years.

Now I want to learn more about this character and the life he actually led as a mature person. His pictures show him to have been a rather handsome chap.

Perhaps Adlington was just another of myriad semi-sadistic souls who get their kicks from doing their level best to make others feel miserable? A very "Modern Post-Moder"phenomenon, apparently.

-FJ said...

It is the melechonia of our age that keeps us "miserable".

FreeThinke said...

MELECHONIA? or MELANCHOLIA?

I looked, but couldn't and a definition for the former.

Though I indulged in it frequently when young, I was brought up to believe that Self-Pity was contemptible –– as condition that most be fought to a standstill if one ever hopes to have a fulfilling life.

-FJ said...

Really? Because most people I know are clinging (with MUCH SELF-PITY) to their pathetic insipid lives out of a fear of losing whatever miniscule 'surplus' salaries they are drawing from their meaningless mid-level corporate "careers". The entire economy of Western Civilization is in a death spiral because no one has the balls to attempt to break the cycle of corporate dependency and strike out on their own.

ps - sorry for the mis-spelling.

FreeThinke said...

Fortunately for me I am not "most people," FJ. I saw what that meant at a very early age and determined I would do my best to avoid it.

One pays a high price for that, but at age seventy-five I believe it was worth it.

Perhaps I was kist plain lucky, but I believe more than mere luck had to be involved.

FreeThinke said...

And now a uniquely American view of childhood from a set just my age that is not dissimilar to that of the dismal British imagist Richard Adlington.


_______ Child Development _______


As sure as prehistoric fish grew legs
and sauntered off the beaches into forests
working up some irregular verbs for their
first conversation, so three-year-old children
enter the phase of name-calling.

Every day a new one arrives and is added
to the repertoire.
You Dumb Goopyhead,
You Big Sewerface, You Poop-on-the-Floor
(a kind of Navaho ring to that one)
they yell from knee level, their little mugs
flushed with challenge.
Nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out
in a pub, but then the toddlers are not trying
to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack.

They are just tormenting their fellow squirts
or going after the attention of the giants
way up there with their cocktails and bad breath
talking baritone nonsense to other giants,
waiting to call them names after thanking
them for the lovely party and hearing the door close.

The mature save their hothead invective
for things: an errant hammer, tire chains,
or receding trains missed by seconds,
though they know in their adult hearts,
even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed
for his appalling behavior,
that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids,
their wives are Dopey Dopeheads
and that they themselves are Mr.
Sillypants.


~ Billy Collins (1941-)