Saturday, January 18, 2020

Meditation 14


The right wing commentator opines, we must forget what the enablers said 20 years ago; it’s their job to defend the president, not to tell the truth. Formalism is one tool of the fascist state, narcissism another, the formalism of the Self as a real entity, not the lousy abstraction theologians make of it. Parents cringe at poetry seminars, I read in the paper, which do nothing to make their children marketable. My students note a similarity between poetry and advertising, but it costs less to jump straight into the pun as a lever of desire, rather than an expression of it. What does it mean, that the GDP of Bhutan is happiness? That it’s a poor country, I wager. The smile is symbolic, and everyone knows symbols govern poems and poems govern nothing (or make it happen). Better to learn the art of serving the rich, who have transcended art. As Steve notes, this is not a diary, nor can it be parsed for any metrical value. We make art on the rebound, but we haven’t yet hit bottom. Will you write more books, my friend asks, saying she has but one more book in mind. She’s not afraid to die, she says, as the phone connection unravels. The tapestries of friendship are what remain; we say the word “love” to one another more than ever before to ease the pain of bullying at every level. Why climb the rungs, when each frames another act of cruelty? I cannot begin to imagine the stations of hell in Dante’s university: the dictates of purity demand that you speak only with delicacy inside your own office. Do not tell a student what might be reported as critique, even if that word has other currency. Or you might find yourself walking toward averted eyes, or freshly turned backs. She wants to kill me, one says, meaning not in the literal sense, but in one every bit as painful. The artist is she who believes her metaphors are true. It’s not that they want another truth, because truth is beside the point. They want a weaponized sentence system that will take out the anti-aircraft of evidence-based arguments, burn the tender feeling in the latest psalm read in church. Do not condemn anyone for their bad acts, because you are capable of the same. Instead, attend to your own nave and altar. Then pun on them to expand your range! My new glasses distort less, correct the astigmatism in my left eye. Your eyes are very different, the doctor said, that’s why it’s so hard to correct them. If you need glasses, you don’t work through the bad habits that damaged your vision. But who needs correction if there’s a buzzer on your chest to signal fastball or change-up, curveball or slider? Astrophil and Stella must have their title stripped. The sonnet’s all fake news, there’s no market for its rhymes or limp sentiments.

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