Friday, October 12, 2012

Rexroth..."The doom of versifying —"

A gorgeous passage, a smidgen--relative to the over 200 pages of Rexroth's flow...the beginning of poem, The Dragon and the Unicorn. I scouted Rexroth and tra-la found a body, if you will, of links at the Bureau of Public Secrets. It's a great source.

And to tempt you, here is a philosophic teaser from the following excerpt, promising more than philosophy:

As one time is / Measured against the other, both / Are considered to lie in a / Neutral medium of serial / Instants, or against a linear / Background of dots in series.

“And what is love?” said Pilate,
And washed his hands.

                                  All night long
The white snow falls on the white
Peaks through the quiet darkness.
The overland express train
Drives through the night, through the snow.
In the morning the land slopes
To the Atlantic, the sky
Is thicker, Spring stirs, smelling
Like old wet wood, new life speaks
In pale green fringes of marsh
Marigolds on the edges
Of the mountain snow drifts. Spring
Is only a faint green haze
On the high plains, only haze
And the fences that disappear
Over the horizon, and the
Rails, and the telegraph
Poles and the pale singing wires
Going on and on forever.

All things are made new by fire.
The plow in the furrow, Burns
Or Buddha, the first call to
Vocation, the severed worms,
The shattered mouse nest, the seed
Dripping from the bloody sword.
The sleepers chuckle under
The wheels, mocking the heartbeat.

We think of time as serial
And atomic, the expression
By mechanical means of a
Philosophical notion,
Regular divisibility
With a least common divisor
Of motion by motion, so
Many ticks to a century.
Such a thing does not exist.
Actually, the concept
Of time arose from the weaving
Together of the great organic
Cycles of the universe,
Sunrise and sunset, the moon
Waxing and waning, the changing
Stars and seasons, the climbing
And declining sun in heaven,
The round of sowing and harvest,
And the life and death of man.

The doom of versifying —
Orpheus was torn to pieces
By the vindictiveness of
Women or struck down by the
Jealousy of heaven.
The doom of the testicles —
Chiron’s masculinity
Was so intense that all his
Children were adopted and
Later destroyed by the gods.

The deed done, Orestes draws
His steel penis like a snake
From its hole. The sun and moon
In Capricorn, Electra,
The little she-goat, bleats and squirms,
Her brother between her thighs,
From whose wounds pour forth both blood
And water, the wine of whose
Maidenhead turns to water
Of baptism, the fiery
Mixture of being and not being,
The artist is his own mother.

Chicago, the train plunges through
A vast dome of electric gloom.
Cold wind, deepening dark, miles
Of railroad lights, 22nd
And Wentworth. The old Chinese
Restaurants now tourist joints.
Gooey Sam where we once roared
And taught the waiters to say
Fellow Worker, is now plush.
As the dark deepens I walk
Out Wentworth, grit under my feet.
The smell of frying potatoes
Seeps through the dirty windows.
The old red light district is
Mostly torn down, vacant lots
Line the railroad tracks. I know
What Marvell meant by desarts
Of vast eternitie. Man
Gets daily sicker and his
Ugliness knots his bowels.
On the site of several
Splendid historical brothels
Stands the production plant of
Time-Luce Incorporated.
Die Ausrottung der Besten.

Do not cut a hole in the
Side of a boat to mark the
Place where your sword dropped and sank.

In experience each present
Time includes its past and as the
Future appears it is included
In it. Only when we come to
Compare the time of one group of
Facts with another do we have
To imagine a common factor,
The instant. As one time is
Measured against the other, both
Are considered to lie in a
Neutral medium of serial
Instants, or against a linear
Background of dots in series.
With hardly any exceptions
The great philosophers have held
That this kind of time is unreal.

Women of easy virtue,
Nanda and Syata, came
To Buddha before the first
Enlightenment. Ambipali,
A whore richer than princes,
Before the last Nirvana.
Jesus was born in Rachel’s tomb,
John’s Salome his midwife.

A freshman theme, “It is the
Contention of this paper
That the contemporary world
Is fundamentally corrupt.”
by Kenneth Rexroth, more information at the Bureau of Public Secrets

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