Eastside Storytellin #42 https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-s
I’ll start this story over right now, if you’ll promise me you’ll read it before you die. It’s a square deal, as I’m sure to die first, thus letting you off the hook for good. Living words mean nothing to the dead.
These are the histories of a person, a person with a sense of humor, tragedy and love. This is the blink of an eye, a war beginning, a cliché. This is a typeset plate for life on the move.
By the time you read this many lives will have already passed us by. Some we will know— others only hear about. Technology will have already emancipated or enslaved the channels of distribution. Books may no longer exist in the physical sense of the word. The printed word long extinct maybe— or not… Perhaps there are a few bookshelf-makers left in the world, creating supply-chains for the demand. Either way these histories will have beyond a shadow’s doubt taken on new meanings since they were imprisoned here in these words.
Remember that. Printed history is a maximum-security prison. No windows. Four cold walls and no door. The warden is the dead poet, a body-decay in the turret. And no one in the long ward can smell the warden anymore.
Those words aren’t important. Neither are these. By the time the second word was written the first had already been emptied of its original meaning, misconstrued of its intentions, redefined in its relationships to the second, and cast out of the spotlight as a member of a collaboration. A duet if you will, Adam & Eve singing a sad country song.
By the time the seventh word gets written this process becomes tedious and hard to master, explain or make sense of— the importance of each word’s role becomes exponentially unrecognizable. With each word the form of the effort to tell the histories begins anew, and it’s not up for me to decide the medium in which you will experience this life. Dead wardens aren’t fit to write anyone’s histories.
I can’t say what they will mean to you, these histories— I can’t say what they mean to me. I can only say for certain: this is the histories of a person with a sense of humor, tragedy and love. This I’m certain of.
“Turns out that the two forward slashes are maybe only perhaps the symbolic container for an entire generation’s desperate need to discover the root of their total, indelible desperation: “Creating the web was really an act of desperation,” Tim Berners-Lee told an interviewer with the Academy of Achievement. Turns out those two forward slashes mark the beginning of Internet Aesthetics, the beginning of meta-desperation. ”
An Essay on Internet Aesthetics
When I look for you in time,
I condense all the life I know into a day.
I forget of her April 14th
And I forget of their history,
My New Orleans,
Your Orphans and you.
I forget all life happens & ends on a sinking ship.
I forget I saw Mr. Lincoln going down
Inside the Titanic’s theater,
And Mr. Booth is already on deck
Fighting The Yemassee War near the bow.
Forget scenes of colonial enslavement &
Iceberg slaughter on the high seas.
The steerage class flees to the outnumbered rafts
Like Apalachee refugees to St. Augustine’s knees,
Forget You and Noah Webster consult two Benjamins
Before adding ‘abolition’ to his new word book schemes.
Early in the morning I see Stout Marshall Stoudenmire
Pull twin Colt Revolvers from his sides, gun down
Four vaqueros’s dreams aboard space shuttle Columbia (OV-102),
Having just returned to El Paso
after its 37 orbit.
When I look for you, Mother Margaret, it seemsApril 14th is the
orphan, raised by Sister’s womb-stream,
I’m a Sycamore Tree named Isis, You,
The three killings of Osiris,
The bastard pharaoh of our dead brother Set rings.
On April Fourteen
I only see through The Eye of Horus:
My body where Camp and Prytania Streets meet,
& I forget you aren’t breathing with me.
I forget the 105th day in a leap year.
I forget The Donner Party is just leaving Springfield.
I forget ‘The Ballad of Tom Joad’ plays on the Zenith Short Wave,
I forget I sing along in the middle of that Black Sunday Storm.
I forget on April 14th, 1882, months before you died, you gave birth.
I forget the boy’s name is Moritz Schlick:
I forget “Cat-gut Cord” (Aran’s line!) means birth,
& I forget Lebensweisheit is your eulogy, leave them beautiful,
Forget that day in 1860, when I carried news
west for The Pony Express,
The St. Joseph’s Gazette carried news of birth in Butcher’s Hollow,
The Coal Miner’s Daughter turned 3 and gave her Bible to Von Daniken.
I forget in ’41 that Peter Rose was born an orphan with King Leopold II…
And they don’t allow orphans in the halls of
Cooperstown or the Congo.
So I forget you nurture Zamenhoff’s child-language after death.
I forget the Allied Forces land in Normandy.
I forget Robert E. Lee resigns from the Union Army.
I forget Pocahontas marries John Rolfe,
plays hungry games with us.
I forget Ms. Tubman starts an Underground Railroad.
I forget Mr. Koresh finishes the Bhagavad Gita
& agrees to surrender.
I forget to breathe as the house falls in around us…
I forget and I forget and I forget, I forget I’ve seen it all,
So I stop, sit by your chair and remember:
It’s April 14th again, and I loved you best in New Orleans.
—At Last the Forgetting, or Mother Margaret it’s New Orleans Again
You do not think. You don’t stand there trying to reach an accommodation with the fact that you just got hit. You hit back. Or first. Between the impulse and the action are only spinal nerves and fast-twitch fasciae. It is not a life of the mind.
—David Foster Wallace, The Pale King