In "Poetry makes a comeback?"

Some people just seem to exist, as opposed to live, in a foggy drift. I am so glad that’s not me!
I am certainly so glad I have such thumping zest for life. The way I dig into life like a bowl of hot Texas chili with sour cream and shredded sharp cheddar—I’m so glad
I have such a pulsing intuitive grasp of how short and precious life is and how we are impassioned clay and each incredible diem is there to be carped
so therefore I skim speedingly over the waters of life alert to every flick of fin and super-ready to jab my osprey talons into the flesh of whatever sensation swims my way not fretting for a second about any other plump fish in the sea
and so for example when I see young couples groobling moistly at each other’s burger-fed gamoofs I certainly don’t waste my time with any type of envy, I’m just like Yeah you kids go for it!— Meanwhile I am going to listen to Let It Bleed LOUD and totally rock out with all my teeth bared!
Man, it’s so great not to be the type who falls asleep watching baseball and wakes up with Cherry Garcia on my shirt. I figure I am at least as alive as Little Richard was in 1958 and it’s such a kick!
Does it get tiring? Well sure, occasionally, but who cares? I embrace the fatigue, I KISS it till it flips and becomes defiantly voracious vim
and when I read that line in Wallace Stevens “being part is an exertion that declines” I’m like What in heck is that old guy talking about? -- Mark Halliday

Nice to hear from you, Granma! September, The First Day Of School My child and I hold hands on the way to school, And when I leave him at the first-grade door He cries a little but is brave; he does Let go. My selfish tears remind me how I cried before that door a life ago. I may have had a hard time letting go. Each fall the children must endure together What every child also endures alone: Learning the alphabet, the integers, Three dozen bits and pieces of a stuff So arbitrary, so peremptory, That worlds invisible and visible Bow down before it, as in Joseph's dream The sheaves bowed down and then the stars bowed down Before the dreaming of a little boy. That dream got him such hatred of his brothers As cost the greater part of life to mend, And yet great kindness came of it in the end. II A school is where they grind the grain of thought, And grind the children who must mind the thought. It may be those two grindings are but one, As from the alphabet come Shakespeare's Plays, As from the integers comes Euler's Law, As from the whole, inseperably, the lives, The shrunken lives that have not been set free By law or by poetic phantasy. But may they be. My child has disappeared Behind the schoolroom door. And should I live To see his coming forth, a life away, I know my hope, but do not know its form Nor hope to know it. May the fathers he finds Among his teachers have a care of him More than his father could. How that will look I do not know, I do not need to know. Even our tears belong to ritual. But may great kindness come of it in the end. --Howard Nemerov

Questions About Angels by Billy Collins Of all the questions you might want to ask about angels, the only one you ever hear is how many can dance on the head of a pin. No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge. Do they fly through God's body and come out singing? Do they swing like children from the hinges of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards? Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors? What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes, their diet of unfiltered divine light? What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall these tall presences can look over and see hell? If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole in a river and would the hole float along endlessly filled with the silent letters of every angelic word? If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume the appearance of the regular mailman and whistle up the driveway reading the postcards? No, the medieval theologians control the court. The only question you ever hear is about the little dance floor on the head of a pin where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly. It is designed to make us think in millions, billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one: one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet, a small jazz combo working in the background. She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over to glance at his watch because she has been dancing forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

As a windbag myself, I feel a bit like the bad guy here.

In "A Caspian sea monster 310 feet long and weighing up to 540 tons"

Wow, those are great pics! They look steam punkish and Giger all at once.

In "Poetry makes a comeback?"

Oo, just catching up on all the scrumptious pomes i've missed. Here's a weird one for Mum's Day. Tomatoes A woman travels to Brazil for plastic surgery and a face-lift. She is sixty and has the usual desire to stay pretty. Once she is healed, she takes her new face out on the streets of Rio. A young man with a gun wants her money. Bang, she’s dead. The body is shipped back to New York, but in the morgue there is a mix-up. The son is sent for. He is told that his mother is one of these ten different women. Each has been shot. Such is modern life. He studies them all but can’t find her. With her new face, she has become a stranger. Maybe it’s this one, maybe it’s that one. He looks at their breasts. Which ones nursed him? He presses their hands to his cheek. Which ones consoled him? He even tries climbing onto their laps to see which feels most familiar but the coroner stops him. Well, says the coroner, which is your mother? They all are, says the young man, let me take them as a package. The coroner hesitates, then agrees. Actually, it solved a lot of problems. The young man has the ten women shipped home, then cremates them all together. You’ve seen how some people have a little urn on the mantel? This man has a huge silver garbage can. In the spring, he drags the garbage can out to the garden and begins working the teeth, the ash, the bits of bone into the soil. Then he plants tomatoes. His mother loved tomatoes. They grow straight from seed, so fast and big that the young man is amazed. He takes the first ten into the kitchen. In their roundness, he sees his mother’s breasts. In their smoothness he finds the consoling touch of her hands. Mother, mother, he cries, and flings himself on the tomatoes. Forget about the knife, the fork, the pinch of salt. Try to imagine the filial starvation, think of his ravenous kisses. --Stephen Dobyns,

Two old poles were walking down the street When one says to the other, I think we should form our own splinter group.

What He Thought by Heather McHugh For Fabbio Doplicher We were supposed to do a job in Italy and, full of our feeling for ourselves (our sense of being Poets from America) we went from Rome to Fano, met the Mayor, mulled a couple matters over. The Italian literati seemed bewildered by the language of America: they asked us what does "flat drink" mean? and the mysterious "cheap date" (no explanation lessened this one's mystery). Among Italian writers we could recognize our counterparts: the academic, the apologist, the arrogant, the amorous, the brazen and the glib. And there was one administrator (The Conservative), in suit of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide with measured pace and uninflected tone narrated sights and histories the hired van hauled us past. Of all he was most politic-- and least poetic-- so it seemed. Our last few days in Rome I found a book of poems this unprepossessing one had written: it was there in the pensione room (a room he'd recommended) where it must have been abandoned by the German visitor (was there a bus of them?) to whom he had inscribed and dated it a month before. I couldn't read Italian either, so I put the book back in the wardrobe's dark. We last Americans were due to leave tomorrow. For our parting evening then our host chose something in a family restaurant, and there we sat and chatted, sat and chewed, till, sensible it was our last big chance to be Poetic, make our mark, one of us asked "What's poetry? Is it the fruits and vegetables and marketplace at Campo dei Fiori or the statue there?" Because I was the glib one, I identified the answer instantly, I didn't have to think-- "The truth is both, it's both!" I blurted out. But that was easy. That was easiest to say. What followed taught me something about difficulty, for our underestimated host spoke out all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said: The statue represents Giordano Bruno, brought to be burned in the public square because of his offence against authority, which was to say the Church. His crime was his belief the universe does not revolve around the human being: God is no fixed point or central government but rather is poured in waves, through all things: all things move. "If God is not the soul itself, he is the soul OF THE SOUL of the world." Such was his heresy. The day they brought him forth to die they feared he might incite the crowd (the man was famous for his eloquence). And so his captors placed upon his face an iron mask in which he could not speak. That is how they burned him. That is how he died, without a word, in front of everyone. And poetry-- (we'd all put down our forks by now, to listen to the man in gray; he went on softly)-- poetry is what he thought, but did not say.

In "A vast trove of comics and other splendid illustrations, all in glorious high resolution."

A smorgasbord, sir!

In "Poetry makes a comeback?"

That last one was scary, scary, Granma! Now i'm going to have to leave the light on.

Waiting for the Barbarians What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum? The barbarians are due here today. Why isn't anything going on in the senate? Why are the senators sitting there without legislating? Because the barbarians are coming today. What's the point of senators making laws now? Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating. Why did our emperor get up so early, and why is he sitting enthroned at the city's main gate, in state, wearing the crown? Because the barbarians are coming today and the emperor's waiting to receive their leader. He's even got a scroll to give him, loaded with titles, with imposing names. Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas? Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts, rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds? Why are they carrying elegant canes beautifully worked in silver and gold? Because the barbarians are coming today and things like that dazzle the barbarians. Why don't our distinguished orators turn up as usual to make their speeches, say what they have to say? Because the barbarians are coming today and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking. Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion? (How serious people's faces have become.) Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly, everyone going home lost in thought? Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come. And some of our men just in from the border say there are no barbarians any longer. Now what's going to happen to us without barbarians? Those people were a kind of solution. --by C. P. Cavafy Translated by Edmund Keeley

In "Nanowrimo season"

Yes! We are told to make good use of our writing time and write like the Dickens but the secret is not "carpe diem" but "carpe dente". Seize the teeth!

"got around" --> "go around"

@Neddy - I know that feeling. It's happened to me in every one of the nanos i've attempted. It's a bummer. This year i came prepared. I resolved that if it happened i would just got around it. I started with a story about some assassins, got blocked and ended up doing a children's story about a boy and his blanket. I got 32 pages of that before getting blocked again. So back to the assassins. I parachuted them into King Arthur's court(that'll teach 'em to block my story!) That was good for another 30 pages...and so on.

Made it! Crossed the finish line this morning. Whew. Now I rest my aching arms. @Plegs: No, I don't have an excerpt posted anywhere...but here's a sample: Mother had said that it was very important to sleep eight hours every night. It didn’t matter how many drinks of water you wanted. Nor did it matter the number of higgly-wiggly snake monsters on the ceiling. If you didn’t get eight hours said Mother, you would get sick and your hair would turn grey and fall out. And all your teeth too. Poppo ran to his parents’ bedroom and hammered on the door. His father came out bleary-eyed. “Whuh?” he said. “Father” shouted Poppo. “My blue blanket with the soft fuzz woke me up. I am not getting enough sleep and will lose all my teeth!” “Poppo, go back to bed” said Father. “It is too early to talk about teeth”. Curiously enough, P, I noticed this in your magnum opus: "Do you know Mrs Faratrin? She has big, sticking-out rabbit’s teeth.” The inescapable conclusion: Great literature demands teeth.

Oo, encouragement like that is as good as a shot o' adrenaline. thanks T! I just got back from the resto, 48,579! I introduced a one-legged man into the story to get things going.

Holy crap, Plegs! Congrats to you, sir! I'm coming around the last bend @ 46,450 and i'm running out of ideas damnit. All is not lost however, there's a restaurant nearby and i will park myself there, for some quiet work. Plus dessert after i manage 1000 words.

In "Forgotten Objects"

I'm glad i'm not the only one. I was looking at it and thinking is the dog actually part of the woman? Does she have like a dog body? Or maybe there's something nifty in the background. On the stairs maybe. But nothing. Needs more Lego.

...I don't get #22 though. That's just a picture of a woman with a dog right? What am i missing?

Them pix am good!

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