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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Sexual Economy of Late Capitalism

The Solution 

by Sharon Olds

Finally they got the Singles problem under
control, they made it scientific. They opened huge
Sex Centers-you could simply go and state what you
want and they would find you someone who wanted that
too. You would stand under a sign saying I Like to
Be Touched and Held
and when someone came and
stood under the sign saying I Like to Touch and
Hold
they would send the two of you off
together.

At first it went great. A steady stream of
people under the sign I Like to Give Pain
paired up with a steady stream of people from under
I Like to Receive Pain. Foreplay Only-No
Orgasm
found its adherents, and Orgasm Only-No
Foreplay
matched up its believers. A loyal
Berkeley, California, policeman stood under the sign
Married Adults, Lights Out, Face to Face, Under a
Sheet
, because that's the only way it was legal in
Berkeley-but he stood there a long time in his lonely
blue law coat. And the man under I Like to Be Sung
to While White Bread Is Kneaded on My Stomach
had been
there weeks without a reply.

Things began to get strange. The Love
Only-No Sex
was doing fine; the Sex Only-No
Love
was doing well, pair after pair walking out
together like wooden animals off a child's ark, but
the line for 38D or Bigger was getting unruly,
shouting insults at the line for 8 Inches or
Longer
, and odd isolated signs were springing up
everywhere, Retired Schoolteacher and Parakeet-No
Leather; One Rm/No Bath/View of Sausage Factory
.

The din rose in the vast room. The line
under I Want to Be Fucked Senseless was so long
that portable toilets had to be added and a minister
brought for deaths, births, and marriages on the
line. Over under I Want to Fuck Senseless-no
one, a pile of guns. A hollow roaring filled the
enormous gym. More and more people began to move over
to Want to Be Fucked Senseless. The line snaked
around the gym, the stadium, the whole town, out into
the fields. More and more people joined it, until
Fucked Senseless stretched across the nation in
a huge wide belt like the Milky Way, and since they
had to name it they named it, they called it the
American Way.

Directions to the Brothel

DIRECTIONS TO THE BROTHEL
by Michael Dumanis

You have sex then you are sweaty
You have grief you use it wisely
You have eyes each eye has cruelties
Guinea pigs they up and leave you
CAT scans cats which phone is ringing
You have stuff it gives you duties

(You have many duties some may involve torture or parties)

You have words then also lonely
You have dark you have always
You have death so they tell you
You have breath and the faces of babies
You were once inside you along with whatever
The names are of cavities organs

(You have tacks and staples you have dreams about them)

You have many digits you spend hours counting
You have two arms they are the last longings
You have words some are in Sanskrit
You have words what are their colors
You have words how are they meaning
You have world you have lovely

(You have many quarrels with nudes world and lovely)

You have nudes have you unholy
You have a nude whose body has you
You have what a body how you try to hide in it
You have obscene you have your parents
Your parents have nothing your parents who had you
Except for the day you were born on the day

(You have not and for which you refuse to forgive them)

You have horns you have a word-hole
You have a mouthwash you never use it
You have leprosy have lockjaw
Have black lung disease or will soon
You have mining but no pickaxe
But no deposits no lantern

(Although you have many coupons including a heap of expired ones)

Have location is this Pitt Street
You have east of Westside Highway
Have a surface surface has you
Have a compass does it function
Have a sphere and on occasion hiccups
You have water and it sometimes masks them

(Although a prayer lumps of bread and a yawn have once or twice proven useful)

Have reconcile have God Almighty
Have enough it will not please you
You have nothing others wish for
You have wishing for what have they
You have writhing have also misleading directions
To the brothel where you have decided

There might be bounty, further possessions

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Head Over Heels

It was the only way I'd ever learned to love. With the force of a supernova. The purity of spring rain. But it's never been easy for me, I've always been too busy. I keep myself occupied, I try to distance myself and be pragmatic about it. But I'm not pragmatic. I am quixotic, tempestuous, my own worst enemy. Fear. Fear because falling too hard leads to getting fucked over. I expect it. Create it. Self-fulfilling prophecy. I push you away and then accuse you of running. I just wish you would stay. Calm me with your kiss. Save me from myself.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rimbaud's Systematic Derangement of the Senses

Try it.

We Were Stardust, Baby.

"If you came to me with a face I have not seen, with a name I have never heard, I would still know you. Even if centuries separated us, I would still feel you. Somewhere between the sand and the stardust, through every collapse and creation, there is a pulse that echoes of you and I.

When we leave this world we give up all our possessions and memories. Love is the only thing we take with us. It is all we carry from one life to the next."

~ Lang Leav, Lullabies

Saturday, April 11, 2015

All Angels are Terrifying

Duino Elegies
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1992
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

The First Elegy
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels' hierarchies?

and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart:
I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
measured more greatly, it achieves a greater repose.
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Every angel is terrifying.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware
that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
Perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
there remains for us yesterday's street and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease
when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.
Oh and night: there is night, when a wind full of infinite space gnaws at our faces.
Whom would it not remain for--that longed-after, mildly disillusioning presence,
which the solitary heart so painfully meets.
Is it any less difficult for lovers?
But they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.
Don't you know yet?
Fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe;
perhaps the birds will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying. Yes--the springtime's needed you. Often a star was waiting for you to notice it.
A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past,
or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing.
All this was mission. But could you accomplish it?
Weren't you always distracted by expectation, as if every event announced a beloved?
(Where can you find a place to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
going and coming and often staying all night.)
But when you feel longing, sing of women in love; for their famous passion is still not immortal.
Sing of women abandoned and desolate (you envy them, almost)
who could love so much more purely than those who were gratified.
Begin again and again the never-attainable praising; remember: the hero lives on;
even his downfall was merely a pretext for achieving his final birth.
But Nature, spent and exhausted, takes lovers back into herself,
as if there were not enough strength to create them a second time.
Have you imagined Gaspara Stampa intensely enough
so that any girl deserted by her beloved might be inspired by that fierce example of soaring,
objectless love and might say to herself, "Perhaps I can be like her?"
Shouldn't this most ancient of sufferings finally grow more fruitful for us?
Isn't it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and,
quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring's tension,
so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself.
For there is no place where we can remain.
Voices. Voices. Listen, my heart, as only saints have listened:
until the gigantic call lifted them off the ground;
yet they kept on, impossibly, kneeling and didn't notice at all: so complete was their listening.
Not that you could endure God's voice--far from it.
But listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.
It is murmuring toward you now from those who died young.
Didn't their fate, whenever you stepped into a church in Naples or Rome,
quietly come to address you?
Or high up, some eulogy entrusted you with a mission,
as, last year, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa.
What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death--
which at times slightly hinders their souls from proceeding onward.
Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
to leave even one's own first name behind,
forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
Strange to no longer desire one's desires.
Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
they themselves have created.
Angels (they say) don't know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.
The eternal torrent whirls all ages along in it, through both realms forever,
and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.
In the end, those who were carried off early no longer need us:
they are weaned from earth's sorrows and joys,
as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
But we, who do need such great mysteries,
we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit's growth--:
could we exist without them?
Is the legend meaningless that tells how, in the lament for Linus,
the daring first notes of song pierced through the barren numbness;
and then in the startled space which a youth as lovely as a god has suddenly left forever,
the Void felt for the first time that harmony which now enraptures and comforts and helps us.

The Second Elegy
Every angel is terrifying. And yet, alas, I invoke you,
almost deadly birds of the soul, knowing about you.
Where are the days of Tobias, when one of you, veiling his radiance,
stood at the front door, slightly disguised for the journey, no longer appalling;
(a young man like the one who curiously peeked through the window).
But if the archangel now, perilous, from behind the stars took even one step down toward us:
our own heart, beating higher and higher, would beat us to death.
Who are you?
Early successes, Creation's pampered favorites,
mountain-ranges, peaks growing red in the dawn of all beginning,--
pollen of the flowering godhead, joints of pure light,
corridors, stairways, thrones, space formed from essence,
shields made of ecstasy, storms of emotion whirled into rapture, and suddenly alone:
mirrors, which scoop up the beauty that has streamed from their face
and gather it back, into themselves, entire.
But we, when moved by deep feeling, evaporate; we breathe ourselves out and away;
from moment to moment our emotion grows fainter, like a perfume.
Though someone may tell us: "Yes, you've entered my bloodstream, the room,
the whole springtime is filled with you . . . "--what does it matter? he can't contain us,
we vanish inside him and around him.
And those who are beautiful, oh who can retain them?
Appearance ceaselessly rises in their face, and is gone.
Like dew from the morning grass, what is ours floats into the air, like steam from a dish of hot food.
O smile, where are you going?
O upturned glance: new warm receding wave on the sea of the heart . . .
alas, but that is what we are.
Does the infinite space we dissolve into, taste of us then?
Do the angels really reabsorb only the radiance that streamed out from themselves,
or sometimes, as if by an oversight, is there a trace of our essence in it as well?
Are we mixed in with their features even as slightly as that vague look
in the faces of pregnant women?
They do not notice it (how could they notice) in their swirling return to themselves.
Lovers, if they knew how, might utter strange, marvelous words in the night air.
For it seems that everything hides us.
Look: trees do exist; the houses that we live in still stand.
We alone fly past all things, as fugitive as the wind.
And all things conspire to keep silent about us, half out of shame perhaps, half as unutterable hope.

Lovers, gratified in each other, I am asking you about us.
You hold each other. Where is your proof?
Look, sometimes I find that my hands have become aware of each other,
or that my time-worn face shelters itself inside them.
That gives me a slight sensation.
But who would dare to exist, just for that?
You, though, who in the other's passion grow until, overwhelmed, he begs you:
"No more . . . "; you who beneath his hands swell with abundance,
like autumn grapes; you who may disappear because the other has wholly emerged:
I am asking you about us.
I know, you touch so blissfully because the caress preserves,
because the place you so tenderly cover does not vanish;
because underneath it you feel pure duration.
So you promise eternity, almost, from the embrace.
And yet, when you have survived the terror of the first glances,
the longing at the window, and the first walk together, once only, through the garden:
lovers, are you the same?
When you lift yourselves up to each other's mouth and your lips join,
drink against drink: oh how strangely each drinker seeps away from his action.
Weren't you astonished by the caution of human gestures on Attic gravestones?
Wasn't love and departure placed so gently on shoulders
that it seemed to be made of a different substance than in our world?
Remember the hands, how weightlessly they rest, though there is power in the torsos.
These self-mastered figures know: "We can go this far,
this is ours, to touch one another this lightly; the gods can press down harder upon us.
But that is the gods' affair."
If only we too could discover a pure, contained, human place,
our own strip of fruit-bearing soil between river and rock.
Four our own heart always exceeds us, as theirs did.
And we can no longer follow it,
gazing into images that soothe it or into the godlike bodies where,
measured more greatly, it achieves a greater repose.

[Buffalo Bill 's]

[Buffalo Bill's]

By E. E. Cummings
 
 
Buffalo Bill 's
defunct
                     who used to
                     ride a watersmooth-silver
                                                            stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

                                                                                                                        Jesus
he was a handsome man
                                                            and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death