Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tinfish Retro Chapbook #10 (of 12), _the gulag arkipelago_, by Sean Labrador y Manzano


The gulag arkipelago, by Sean Labrador y Manzano, $3 from Tinfish Press

The tenth installment of our Retro Chapbook Series offers up Sean Labrador y Manzano's three sestinas, “Death to All Drug Traffickers,” “Male Order,” and “Mycorrhizal.” Manzano's imagination roams from Longinus to Marcos, baseball to Martial Law, passports to Sin, pineapples to puddles. Substitute Manzano for Ashbery in the following sentence by Joseph Conte (from Unending Design: The Forms of Postmodern Poetry), and you've got the gist of his use and abuse of the sestina: “Ashbery's renovation of the sestina form is extensive and complete--he knocks layers of old thematic plaster off the brick walls of structure.” Manzano knocks off (as it were) layers of plaster to reveal a wobbling foundation of totalitarianism and diaspora. He writes that, “The roots of my 'Gulag Arkipelago' originate with how the Spanish used the Philippines as a penal colony. Similar to Australia.”


Sean Labrador y Manzano was born in Tripler Army Hospital aka The Pink Palace. Went to Likelike Elementary School, Aliamanu Middle School and Waipahu Middle School. Father was stationed at Pearl Harbor, then Barber's Point. In the 1920s, his Manong Pio, imported to the plantations of the Big Island—began the surge of Manzanos into Hawai`i. His work has appeared in Conversations at a Wartime Cafe (http://www.mcsweeneys.net/columns/conversations-at-a-wartime-cafe) and in many other venues.


from “Death to All Drug Traffickers”


sports not operated by drug traffickers, the Senator fancied Jim Rice leading
the American League in home runs, fancied Wade Boggs' batting average, fancied drafting
pitchers. In line Scouts are returning mamasans and tias seeking to fill billets in cloisters

and parlours. There are headhunters recruiting for phlebotomists or chambermaids,
pious and ornate. Sometimes among them are tourists, returning and new. In between
this silent line and the carousel revolving with boxes belonging to drug traffickers

and boxes not belonging to drug traffickers drift unclaimed, waiting
to be claimed is the customs agent. In between the carousel housed
by the terminal that exists and the waiting world negotiated by Sin,

is the customs agent.

Asked about his cover design (above), Eric Butler wrote the following: "It's a pretty literal reading, though an abstracted rendering: The Gulag Archipelago is, of course, a name stolen from the book about the Gulag labor camps in the USSR. So the figures on the cover are all people, the ones with the diagonal lines are officers, and the ones without are laborers. Everyone in a totalitarian system, of course, is oppressed and thus carry themselves with their heads bowed, refusing to stand out (oppression always relies on facelessness). And their uniform shape shows both their anonymity and similarity; the difference between 'us' and 'them' is always so invisible and arbitrary."

And here is our list of Retro Chapbooks.  You can have them all for $36.  Design by Eric Butler and printing by Obun, Honolulu.  Simply go to our website, click "purchase" and go to near the end of the list on 2co.com.  Or send checks to us at Tinfish Press, 47-728 Hui Kelu Street #9, Kane`ohe, HI 96744.  Please include $1 handling for each item.

12: Tim Yu's 15 Chinese Silences (forthcoming)
11: Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi (forthcoming)
10: The Gulag Arkipelago, by Sean Labrador y Manzano
9: Thou Sand, by Michael Farrell
8: One Petal Row, by Jamie Gusman
7: Yours Truly & Other Poems, by Xi Chuan, trans. Lucas Klein
6: Ligature Strain, by Kim Koga
5: Yellow/Yellow, by Margaret Rhee
4: Mao's Pears, by Kenny Tanemura
2.: Tonto's Revenge, by Adam Aitken
1: Say Throne, by No`u Revilla

There's so much amazing poetry in the Pacific region.  This series provides just a small slice, but it's  highly nutritious and tasty.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Walter Mosley, Game Six, the Seven Sins of Memory, and Mother Loss

[Cardinals players react to David Freese's game-winning home run in Game Six]

Yesterday we threw a party. I had long wanted to watch Game Six (click for the box score) of the 2011 World Series (best game ever) as art rather than as an adrenaline-pumping, jumping-off-a-cliff, heart-wrenching event, or what it had been on October 27. So we broke out the World Series box of DVDs, an early present for the kids (believe that if you will!), and began our trip down memory lane. Soon it proved to have as many trips and falls as memories, and the afternoon became an exercise in trying to remember what had happened when. When Diane broke out the thread from our then-live Facebook feed (off the Cardinals Hui) and began reading back my reactions to the game then as we watched it now, which is now then, things got complicated.

It didn't help that the live feed in Hawai`i had been knocked off the air for at least half an hour during Game Six, leaving us to scramble to find the game on the radio, but none of us could remember which innings were those we had not seen. It didn't help that we remembered certain heart-stopping events: Matt Holliday and Rafael Furcal failing to catch a ball in short left field; David Freese missing a routine pop-up, which ended up rolling off the top of his red cap; the Rangers' pitcher missing first base with his foot, even as he caught the ball. But we simply could not remember where in the game's narrative they occurred. An inning would begin and we would say, "oh this is when really bad stuff happens," and then the inning would end happily enough. An earlier inning would have started and we would have forgotten, say, that Lance Berkman hit a home run. We were like a jury that knows a crime was committed, even that the principals were there, but can't for the life of them figure out what really happened or if the defendant is guilty or not.

"I know what you said now," Diane would report from her Facebook thread. "But I can't say!" (There were kids in the room.)

She continued: "this is where my boss wrote to say he assumed I was watching the Cardinals (lose)."

"This is when Sangha started slamming doors downstairs."

"And now you're saying you can't pick Radhika up from soccer because the game is still going."

I've always thought communal readings of poetry were best, because so many minds come to the poems from various points in the time-space-line that meaning accrues. The same process helped us put together what we had seen a mere two months ago. The suspense that had built up during the game on 10/27, especially at moments when the Cardinals were down two runs with two outs and two strikes on the batter (they are the only team to come back twice from such deficits), transposed into suspense over what we remembered and how well we remembered it.

Then the last innings unfolded. We remembered those better. David Freese's triple, Lance Berkman's hit, David Freese's walk-off home run, those we could summon up without the video, the conversation, the Facebook thread. Suspense over. The Cardinals pushed the Series to seven, we felt good about the states of our memory, and my husband declared that if we put the DVD of Game Seven in tomorrow, he thought the Cardinals had a pretty good chance of winning.

David Schacter is a psychology researcher, professor, writer who has had a lot to say about what happened yesterday afternoon. I've been reading his books, first The Seven Sins of Memory (2001), in which he categorizes our typical memory problems (like tip of the tongue syndrome, absent-mindedness, lack of name recall and many more), then explains how these sins are actually advantages. Many of those advantages seem to have to do with hunting and gathering, but still. I'm now reading his earlier book, Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past (1996), which should help me remember some of the material better. In order to remember, he claims, we need to create complicated contexts around the information we want to remember, or we need to feel emotional pulls to those moments that stick. Names are hard to remember, because they are context-free; we remember someone's story, if not their name, but we do not remember their name while forgetting their history. Our brains erase events we don't need to remember (if we're lucky, we remember the crucial events) but leave traces of what did matter. And so, Freese's "idiot play," as he called it later, remains in our minds, but without the sense of what inning we were in, except that his error occurred somewhere in the middle of the game. And his walk-off homerun is seared into our memories, even though the fact that there was a 3-2 count on him was remembered only by 12-year old Sangha. Diane said, "I thought he just walked up there and hit it out right away!"

As Cardinals fans, this mattered deeply to Diane and me. Why should it matter to anyone else? Pull the google map lever a bit and consider that a lifetime of watching baseball games becomes an anchor to autobiography. My former colleagues Arnie and Phil sat behind Bryant and me at a Cardinals-Padres game at Aloha Stadium in 1998 and told each other their stories by way of which games they had seen, and when. Arnie, as Arnold Edelstein, later wrote a review-essay in Biography about the autobiographical nature of being a baseball fan, about the way the dry numbers in a baseball encyclopedia evoke memories for him of his father's death. See Biography, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1991, pp. 272-275 (Review). Pull the lever out further and further, and you get to the point where memory and autobiography begin to fail; you get to dementia, where I spent years, obsessively watching my mother lose hers. You get to the place Walter Mosley began from when he composed the marvelous novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (2010). Famous for his detectives, Mosley has written a book in which the primary search is for memory. A significant part of the plot involves the fantasy of recovering lost memories--a pact with the devil for memory, but also for quicker death--but that's not the part of the book that I will remember, if my emotions have anything to say about it.

Ptolemy Grey is 91 years old. He still lives on his own in an apartment full of his past (read trash, read disordered papers, read hoard), full of present day insects and rodents, without a working toilet or bath, and in a mind inhabited by the paranoias, fears, and confusions of dementia. Mosley taps into the horrible poetry of this condition; Grey's internal monologues are beautiful, even as they make us fear for his safety. Grey turns help away, gets attacked regularly by a drug addict, lives in a stew of time that is at once the misprisioned present and a wash of past events that enter his frame like a tide, and then fall back. (These monologues reminded me of ways the depressive mind confronts the world, also in a wash of memories and fears and blind-alleys.) He tries to stay in the present by playing his radio loudly, but dares not turn any knobs lest he lose the stream and not be able to recover it. These sounds he sets against the babbling of his uncontrollable memories:

"So his memory became like secrets held away from his own mind. But these secrets were noisy things; they babbled and muttered behind the door, and so if he listened closely he might catch a snatch of something he once knew well" (12).

Ptolemy is a time-traveler with no need for a time-machine; his brain's disorder gives him a free, if often, terrifying ride through the past-as-present. That Ptolemy is an old African American man means that his memories are often traumatic; his childhood mentor was lynched, a little girl burned to death in a house. History has not been kind. His memories, as we say, are "bad." And his present includes the death by drive-by shooting of his great-nephew, Reggie, the man who cared for him and his failing memory.

The only way to solve the mysteries in the book is to give Ptolemy back his memory, if only for a time. As in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, there's gold involved, a real treasure that Ptolemy must shelter from rapacious relatives and entrust to the young woman who comes like an angel to save him. This makes for exciting reading, but Ptolemy himself is less interesting as a cogent character. The tragedy of the book's ending (layered within the comedy of its certitude, its completion) brings back the poetry of Mosley writing Alzheimer's through Ptolemy, whose memories are again as grey as his matter, as his memories:

"He held out his hand and the girl who reminded him of birds singing took it into hers just like he thought she would. He signed and maybe she asked a question. The music became a sky and the words the man on the television was saying turned into the ground under his feet. One was blue and the other brown, but he was not sure which was which. Everything glittered and now and again, when he looked around, things were different. Another room. A new taste. The girl always returned. And the door that was shut against his forgotten life was itself forgotten and there were feelings but they were far away." (277)

Walter Mosley talks about his mother's dementia here, and how it influenced his writing. Or watch:

Mosley's description of the person with Alzheimer's in this clip is compelling because it does not separate that person from the rest of us, but shows how the loss of memory is a shared experience. Failing to remember Game Six is not dementia, but falls on the continuum between total recall (itself a fiction) and total lack thereof. Hence, Mosley: "My experience of people in dementia is that a lot of their personality, a lot of their knowledge, a lot of their experience is still there but there’s not a direct connection that they can just reach out and get it and then bring it back. There’s a word, they know there’s a word, but they don’t remember what that is. There’s a word that describes something. There’s a thing that they have to do, there’s something that’s very important. It’s almost there within the range of their mind and they have to sit there and go through a really convoluted process of thought and memory to try to retain that—to regain it. And sometimes they can and sometimes they can’t." The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is a beautiful, tender portrait of dementia. One of the best I've read.

Toward the end of our party yesterday, I remembered two Cardinals games I watched on television in Washington, DC in June. I was in Virginia because my mother was dying--she died on June 14, 2011--and, oddly enough, the Cardinals were also in Washington to play the Nationals. On the night my mother died, friends took me home with them and I asked them to turn on the Cardinals game. They did. The Cardinals were ahead, but not for long. They must have put Ryan Franklin in to save the game, and they ended up losing in a rout. No, I call up the box score and it was Batista that night who took the fall. (For a very different rendering of that evening, see this post.) The next night I visited Kyle Semmel and Pia Moller in Bethesda. We watched another game. The Cardinals lost again. Losing and loss drove on twin rails those two days, though I encountered a couple who loved the Cardinals on the Metro trains both coming and going on that second evening. Only in September, when I went to a game in Philadelphia, did the Cardinals win for me in person--though they did so after Al Filreis drove us away from the stadium. They won that game in 11, after blowing a lead with two outs in the 9th. It was a foreshadowing, even as those earlier games had seemed a foreshortening, a kick in the stomach after the far far more significant mother-loss.

Note: In trawling the web for images of David Freese, I found this audio of his game winning home run off the BBC. The sonic dissonance is delightful.

Friday, December 9, 2011

On Synchronicity

In early November, I was in Chicago, having lunch with my friend Tony Trigilio, who teaches at Columbia College. Before his cat, Shimmy, died, she and Tony wrote a brilliant blog in the cat's voice--about everything from Donald Rumsfeld to Gertrude Stein and the pope. Then the other day I was driving on the H-1 toward the university off-ramp in Honolulu. I found myself behind a small SUV with a Columbia College-Chicago sticker on the back. I thought vaguely of Tony, Chicago, and lunch. We both exited, but I lost the other car. As I drove up University Avenue into Manoa, I found myself behind a car whose license plate read SHIMMY.

It had happened again. A website devoted to Carl Jung's ideas (many of which you can pay for) tells me that "the term synchronicity is coined by Jung to express a concept that belongs to him. It is about acausal connection of two or more psycho-physic phenomena." Or, as Rod Serling notes, "There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition."

This chance event, which connected me back to a moment a month earlier, is hardly earth-shaking, but it joins a long list of such events that I've noticed in recent years, more and more as I grow older and coincidence becomes less coincidental, more personal. A friend tells me she also notices synchronicities but doesn't talk about them much, since such perceptions are thought to indicate an unbalanced mind. Under "apophenia," The Skeptic's Dictionary reports: "
Those of us who have had the pleasure of spending some time with a person having a psychotic episode have often been asked to see the significance of such random things as automobile license plate numbers, birthdates, and arrangements of fallen twigs." I remember being told about a man with psychotic bi-polar disorder who thought of Robert F. Kennedy every time he saw white socks, which he remembered RFK wore. What's unbalanced about that?

I've got the license plate covered, I guess. And the automotive thread runs deeper than Shimmy's plates. A few years ago I was teaching Catch-22 in my American Literature Since the 1950s course. In that book, you may recall, there is a "man in white" in the military hospital who lives inside a cocoon of bandages, or swaddling clothes, his one leg in traction. No one quite knows if he's still alive, and so he gets yelled at, teased, and otherwise used as a foil for Joseph Heller's arch wit. On the way home from class one day, going the other way on H-1 from where I saw the sticker the other day, I needed to merge into the right lane to get closer to the Likelike exit lane. So I looked over into that lane. I saw an ambulance such as I'd never seen before, like a long station wagon with windows in the back, through which I could see . . . someone lying on a cot covered in white sheets, with one leg up in the air.

That semester took an odd turn for the synchronous, even as I nearly drove off the road after spotting the man in white. (I exaggerate for effect, having learned that from my mother, but more on her in a bit.) Let's just say that our readings of Maxine Hong Kingston and Toni Morrison featured episodes of amazing synchronicity. The week of China Men found me at a lawyer's office with a Chinese graduate student trying to stay in the USA. The week we read Morrison an email appeared in my box from a man in Alabama who was writing the memoirs of his time working for Stokely Carmichael (and who wanted publishing advice from me, of all people). The students starting finding the readings in their worlds, too.

After my mother died this summer, I wrote about what happened later that evening in this blog post:

Ellen took me home with her and Steve. They & Max asked about my father. I offered history: Michigan farm, auto plant, air force (when it integrated, he knew Tuskegee airmen), IBM, Western Union. Ellen said, Jerry Lawler. Jerry Lawler! My father's Irish friend, office roommate of Col. Dudley Stevenson, Tuskegee airman. Steve called Jerry; we explained the coincidence. He darted off to find a letter. Please, do you mind? I'm looking. Dear Jerry, the letter read. My father's voice, Irished. Jerry, you never put yourself above others, gave credit to them & did not take it. The experience of an Irish immigrant. Martha & Susan join me in wishing you a long & enjoyable retirement.

Not too long after, I got a Tinfish order from a Korean-American woman in McLean, Virginia, who lives very near the road my mother lived on for well over 30 years (and I for some of those). The other day, I met a Korean-American poet new to Honolulu, and found that she grew up in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the small town north of Pittsburgh where my mother was born and where she attended Allegheny College. I don't know what to make of this. Gestures from the beyond, happy coincidences, random chance events that attach to the velcro of personal experience? The question "what do they mean?" might be part of the answer, in fact. These events are not results (as in effects that follow causes) but triggers.

While the meaning of these events remains mysterious, their forms and processes do not. These are poetic links, poetic forms. Perhaps I write the way I do because the world is structured in this way. Or perhaps the world is structured in this way because my work in poetry has trained me to see it so. These are instants that contain meaning, though I'm hard pressed to say what these meanings are. Their message may have more to do with the making of meanings than in any stable meanings themselves. Making is usually more interesting than what is made, is it not? I find comfort in hearing my father's voice on the evening my mother died; I enjoy meeting unlikely people from the place where she was born and near where she died. But is comfort in itself meaning-full? Or does it come from a brief brush against what just might be meaning? The world's wit putting two things together that never seemed to fit before? The notion that the world itself generates meaning, that it's not all our minds? I just don't know. Nor does it bother me over much. I'm not Thomas Hardy, though I do appreciate his coincidence-laden books more now (at least in my memory of them).

I suppose that half the fun is in following the synapses, the lightning flashes, and then detaching from the meanings that arrive. As an adoptive mother, I often resent the discussions about "who gets what from whom," as if DNA were a certain marker of such qualities as humor or sense of direction or love for ketchup. But then again, I enjoy moments when I realize that my daughter's utter lack of a sense of direction is like my mother's (if she turns left, go right), or that my son's sweetness resembles my father's. Meaning is a guide, but it doesn't get us anywhere certain. Except perhaps on H-1 at rush hour, looking for more random chance events to occur.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gerard Genette do the narrative police in different voices; or, the 2011 World Series DVD

[Our Cardinals shrine, October, 2011, with Tortilla]

The St. Louis Cardinals clinched the Wild Card on the last day of the regular season, September 28; they won the World Series exactly one month later. During those four weeks, I watched almost every pitch of every game they played; when my husband, Bryant, and son, Sangha, were home, they did, too. Our daughter, Radhika, watched a lot of it, and had to find a ride home from soccer during Game Six because darkness fell during the baseball game and we would not leave our television screen. (If you're wondering about this detail, night games occur during the afternoon in Hawai`i.) So "watch" is too weak a word; I lived and died on every pitch. I screamed on some of them, and my son slammed doors downstairs in his room on others. When games got terribly stressful, I could hear Sangha outside hitting a ball with his own bat, doubtless imagining a good outcome for our Redbirds. October was the "baseball research" month of my sabbatical; if any administrators are reading this, the rest of my sabbatical was devoted utterly to my writing and research, I promise you that. Well, except for this earlier post . . .

That was the story. The DVD that arrived in the mail the other day is discourse. Who knows why the moment when Prof. Michael Levenson unveiled this distinction by way of Gerard Genette and Seymour Chatman, was so memorable to this poetry person during her muddled graduate school career? I don't remember much more than that distinction (see this entry on Genette's narratology for all that's been lost to me over time), but I'm thinking of it now as I consider the move from the postseason to its memorializing by MLB Productions, as narrated by Jon Hamm of St. Louis. The 2006 video was narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, whose intonation on "they had forgotten what it meant to be a member of the St. Louis Cardinals" was as perfect as Pavarotti's . . .

By now, the 2006 DVD has re-organized my memories of most of what happened that year. But 2011 is still so fresh in my mind and recently adrenaline-drenched body that the DVD works against memory, like backwash. To mix metaphors from flood to drought conditions, it feels like sandpaper between the synapses; I want to resist its intrusions, even as I watch it (again). Of course it leaves stuff out. That it provided me the occasion to teach Radhika the meaning of "foreshadowing," when Nelson Cruz is shown running for a fly ball during practice, many hours before he failed to rein in Freese's 9th inning triple in Game Six, is gravy, but not meat. Where suspense was most acutely constructed over time--strike, ball, ball, strike, then what?--the DVD replaces these acuities with the single pitch, delivered in super slow motion, heightened by music. Yes, David Freese (it's almost always David Freese) gets that crucial hit, but the drama's contrived rather than lived. My memory still lives in that present tense of mid-October, but the DVD wants it to abstract itself, become historical time, lose immediacy and then recover it through gimmicks. Not yet!

There's the matter of the squirrel. The squirrel did not simply author an odd event; s/he was a mythological being. (When Tony LaRussa suggested that the squirrel was female and was hanging out with Jason Motte's male glove, he was corrected by the tortoise, but more on this in a bit.) While there is a clip of the Busch Stadium squirrel running across the plate between Skip Schumaker and Roy Oswalt of the Phillies (this was the NLDS) we don't get the aftermath of that famous moment (prefigured when the squirrel ran behind third base the day or two before). First, here's the squirrel in action. It does not run, it leaps, all four legs sailing through the air:

First, Oswalt freaked. Second, the squirrel became a cult figure, emblazoned on rally towels and shirts, made into stuffed animals waved by fans at the stadium, covered in the St. Louis media.
The squirrel was captured when the teams went to Philadelphia, and taken to a park, so that he never again appeared on national television. Third, the squirrel acquired a twitter feed. It was not so good a twitter feed as Jason Motte's glove, Sir Glovington A. Wilson, which was not so good as Allen Craig's tortoise, Torty Craig's feed, but it was a twitter feed nonetheless.

Torty Craig's last tweet warmed this poet's heart: "'The shell must break before the bird[s] can fly.'" - Alfred Lord Tennyson | Our have flown to the greatest of heights. " But throughout the playoffs, TortyCraig wrote stories about the Cardinals' clubhouse, stories that moved in backwards order of his tweets (what say you to that, Gerard Genette?). The mystery of his authorship consumed a good deal of my time. I assumed he was outfielder Allen Craig (or Master Allen, as Torty called him), but sometimes he tweeted just after Master Allen hit a home run. I thought I'd busted him, calling out one of the Vivaelbirdos.com writers (who is studying for his MFA), but word came back, via Aaron Belz, that DanUpBaby had denied authorship. Aaron wrote a piece on Huffington Post about Torty Craig. Aaron, himself a Cards fan-poet-tweeter, knows poetry when he sees it: "Like a poem by Ezra Pound, it's compact, strange, and manic. Other tweets are downright absurdist: 'Sometimes Jason Motte's glove joins our conversations. That is to say that Jason & his glove talk & Jason & I talk. I can't hear his glove.' Welcome to the 21st century, we guess."

The DVD leaves out the poetry, the mythology, the tweets, time's chronological passage into suspense and sometimes nauseating anxiety (as during Game Six of the World Series, when the Cards came back not once but twice from being two runs down with two outs and two strikes on the batter, only to win on Freese's walk-off home run in the 11th inning). It replaces real time angst with sentiment, the sometime tedium of the game with constant action, lives in the climax and denouement without really touching the narrative arc (do I have this at all right, oh prose writers of the world?). So what does it offer, aside from the nostalgia we yearn for and now have?

It gives us Lance Berkman's shoes. I kid you not. The most beautiful moment of the DVD comes when Berkman (late of the evil Houston Astros) comes up in the 10th inning of Game Six. The Cardinals are down by two, again, and there are two outs, again; Nolan Ryan has risen from his seat in his black coat and is nearly smiling. The Rangers are about to win the Series. But Berkman has not yet gone down two strikes. He has not yet hit the ball into center field to tie the game--again--and he has not yet looked at the camera (sans playoff beard) to say, "there was nothing in my head, nothing." He is at the plate. But we don't see him there when the camera shows us his shoes, toes pointed toward the plate from the left side (his better side), cleats metallic gray against dull dirt. We see his red and oh so carefully polished shoes. This image is worth the price of admission. It is the image of suspense, in the course of a seemingly endless game, but it is also the image of love--time spent--for the game. Time we do not see went into shining those shoes. Time we do not feel went into the selection of those shoes. Nobody else's shoes were so bright. Berkman later tells us that these at-bats go quickly. But that's his temporal field. For us, the moment was excruciating, and the DVD embraces the moment, holds it longer than it should, but winks at us, too, bright light flashing off red leather.

Here, discourse earns its cleats, trumps story, if only for a moment, and then David Freese hits his famous 11th inning shot to win the game, send the Series to 7, and we're back in the land of serious nostalgia, men in white and red romping across the field of view, Freese throwing his helmet down between third and home, celebrants leaping, tearing off his shirt, the all-too-quick return to cliche (alas only Berkman and the losing Rangers' players evade baseball cliches in the film, Berkman too clever and the Rangers' too disappointed to utter the obligatory "team efforts" and "we came to play baseballs").

Five years from now, the red shoes will have trumped Game Six's suspense as it was lived in real time. But for now, the playoffs and the Series are embodied memories, still capable of jump-starting my nerves. Besides, the full set of games is on order--being shipped as I write this--and I'm planning a Game Six party for just after Christmas, after Sangha knows what plot I've been hatching for his Christmas morning. The party will happen in real time, the game in realish historical time, and the result--however well foretold by the archive--will seem as astonishing then as it seemed in late October. I can believe the Cardinals won the Series, but I still cannot believe they won Game Six.

Neither could the New York Times, for three minutes during Game Six. They put out an article with this bold headline: HAPPILY REWRITING TEAM HISTORY, which chronicled--in what they thought was historical time--the victory of the Texas Rangers over the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. How do we characterize the narrative stance of the writer of this deluded paragraph?

Now there will be new pictures, iconic shots that will live in Texas sports lore. The Rangers blew the lead with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth before Josh Hamilton's two-run homer in the top of the 10th. It lifted Texas to a rollicking 9-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, and shook the Rangers' status as the oldest baseball franchise without a championship.

No, there will be but one photograph, and this is it. No, wait, let me play you the video, in time:

For a while, my office computer was out of time. I'm on sabbatical, so I don't go in often, but every time I did, I'd turn the computer on and it would be stuck in September, 2011. The New York Times headlines were in that month, and so was the St. Louis Cardinals' home page. Jaime Garcia was pitching, and the Cards were chasing the Braves for the Wild Card. It was as if none of what I've just written about had happened. It was as if Kenny Goldsmith were teasing me with a conceptual month-before-the-Cardinals-won extended grab from every screen on the computer. Turned out the "work off-line" function had been turned on. When I unchecked the box, I was given back my present tense. Back in the world in which the Cardinals are 2011 World Champs, I feel a bit like Wordsworth crossing the Alps. Sublimity comes after. But not via DVD.

Game Six Forever.

[With thanks to the Cardinals facebook hui and farewell to LaRussa, if not quite Pujols. RIP Bob Forsch.]