‘… He Brought Them Out of Darkness …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘And he brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death; and broke their bonds in sunder.’

Psalm 107: 14

sunrise a momentary dream field

sunrise image

december

1.
humanity’s trees
will see what happens
in the middle of nowhere

thanks for the update and for
the only thing that
the only thing is

[all but the first line written with keyboard suggestions]

2.
southeastward yellow
sunrise unfurls its
brief banner of buoyant blue

sky a longing lavender
ladder to climb out
of darkening thoughts

3.
clouds above below
the morning fog that
rubs its back along the hills

sunrise a momentary
dream field of faintly
glowing marigolds

4.
again great river
bring down new colors
ravaged tinged periwinkle

blanched silverfringed brakelight orange
long-distance lovelight
mirrored memories

5.
morning’s rhythmic
glacial paradox
speed of light and enormous

infinitesimal near-
ness near pausing
distantly changing

6.
drab slab of monday
sky like a weak nudge
when a hammer’s what’s needed

to crush the brain’s hard dark beans
and steep them in light
to negate the night

7.
the bridge to winter
carries my gray dreams
over the great gray river

reflecting the absence of
the consolation
of sunrise or sleep

8.
immaculate sun
rising in the wind
bursting from under blankets

of clouds a woman waking
on her fortieth
birthday breathing light

9.
the disappointment
of seeking sunrise
in the sadness of a town

a pretty how town but sad
in its brushfire heart
and cloud drift dream light

*
cauldron of morning
burning through bare limbs
over unaware rooftops

distant furnace fire glowing
deep in the heart of
impending winter

10.
the gods’ persimmons
glowing in the east
queen of heaven pray for us

and clouds like fermenting plums
storing drunken sleep
for the winter blues

11.
a river’s disguise
of cloud-cloaked sunrise
at the railroad bridge at dawn

a light afoot that muggles
don’t notice climbs a
dark enormity

12.
humble lovely bridge
unassuming violet
clouds with creamy bright

curlicues of light
dispelling autumnal night
and darkness’s arc

13.
cable bridge sunrise
black dog rabbitbrush
river flowing in the now

carrying gifts to the sun
frankincense skyline
clouds of mystic myrrh

14.
the sun is rising
behind a curtain
of dark and light shades of blue

behind the blue bridge that spans
the big blue river
glistening with birds

15.
beguiled by colour
three time zones away
when i woke far too early

and my co-conspirator
televideoed
what i then screenshot

16.
thin band of faintly
gleaming alice blue
sandwiched by bland grey above

and the numb brown of autumn’s
somber surrender
to winter below

17.
words are too worn out
or not worn enough
insufficient to the task

they can only fall prostrate
to the snowy ground
and stammer eastward

18.
approaching solstice
no sun evident
just snow and fog and the sound

of the day reluctantly
getting underway
and blessëd coffee

19.
this is what passes
for sunrise winter
standing at the door smiling

grimly icy sickle teeth
somber cloudy shrouds
and christmas cookies

20.
flying towards sunrise
breathing burning coals
glowing from last night’s campfire

clouds are smoldering ashes
powdery and dark
the airplane my tent

21.
reconciled to snow
back yard relaxes
into the mind of winter

pandemic blessings
glad isolation
gold nugget sunrise

22.
jesus in the snow
nature’s new year’s day
you want to travel with him

and you want to travel blind
across the water
to that paradise

23.
clouds stained with the night
drift casually
over sweet potato skies

the river used to freezing
this time of year gives
itself to sunrise

24.
tanager-like sun
beginning its slow
migration from solstice day

towards the spring equinox
furtively orange
bringing glad tidings

25.
sun costuming clouds
on christmas morning
out the window all we see

is snow falling on the warm
antiquity of
self and flakes of love

26.
behold the sunrise
masked to protect us
from deadly december rays

the virus of happiness
that would infect us
if we dare let it

27.
no one waiting here
hear the beating heart
now here now nowhere no one

the heart of winter waiting
no one hearing now
here one sunrise pulse

28.
winter means something
snow some nothing thing
hiding something underneath

sunrise hidden like a bulb
a magic nothing
a secret something

29.
there is no sunrise
no rise no risen
sun hidden within itself

keeping its own secret safe
for the hills and trees
frozen in their dreams

30.
the bleak midwinter
the bleak midwinter
the bleak midwinter the bleak

midwinter is in my soul
sunrise on my mind
the bleak midwinter

31.
we wake up and drive
to the horizon
to inspect the frozen fog

concealing the last sunrise
of this year of grace
the day of your birth

Pre-Plague London

If I Could Fly on TWA

When I Was Broke

Sonnet from London

Behind the double decker bus of pain
Above the underground belief in motion
Within walled gardens of the blooms’ delight
There may be clues that lead to 40B
Near Paddington Station and Little Venice’s
Canals grown derelict in elegance
Where I would like to travel in my dreams.
When science falters at its many schemes
The days grow weary where they pitch their tents
The night falls from what daily darkness does
Then I would like to be and not to be
While sitting in the brightness of your bright
Unvanishing and pleasant resting notion
Of eating chips and drinking bright champagne

Murmuration

Seen while returning from the funeral of an old friend.

Spokota Thom

Inlander article on Thom Caraway’s new book from Korrektiv Press

“The first half of the book is written about North Dakota, where Caraway lived for four years while earning his Ph.D. The second half is set in the Lilac City, where the former Spokane poet laureate was raised and now again calls home.” —The Inlander

What I did on my summer vacation

Once More, In the Name of Love

Proud HeterosDamn, the planet just seems to circle the sun a little more quickly every year. Here we go again.

Lots of folks showing their pride today, of course. It’s difficult not to be gay for people out and about, enjoying the sun and such, but …

It seemed to me that there’s an undercurrent of sadness in the event that wasn’t there 20 years ago. In the Gay 90s, when the parade was up on Broadway, there was still something countercultural about the event, a cross between Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day and maybe Women’s Suffrage—an opportunity to release all that pent up libidinal energy, or at least imagining more of it, but also to stand up for one’s God given disposition and to go public with it for political recognition. Now there’s a lot of corporate sponsorship and parents, gay and straight, walking around with the kids, and the energy seems as manufactured as a high school pep rally.

In addition to tutus and unicorns and lots of sparkles, a lot of people wore a look of sheer boredom on their faces. Along the lines of, Let’s be good sports and dress up, like we do for Halloween. Or, What now? Oh yeah … Rights! More rights!

Having spotted a number of priests and nuns, if only in costume, I wanted to see a group of women in black burqas show up and just stand there, silent. And/or see a float with an SUV sized cock ejaculating big soap bubbles or something. But no: a huge inflatable plane, emblazoned “Alaska Airlines” and King County Metro … who gives a rat’s ass? Yeah, yeah everybody’s on board now and along for the ride, we get it.

Gerasene ’17: The Kollektiv at Notre Dame

4a52b04c-9854-4f8d-857b-c68d95a89614-002[Image: the Mississippi gravesite of Senator LeRoy Percy, Walker Percy’s uncle.]

CONFIRMED: Two [hopefully three] members of the Korrektiv as panelists at this summer’s Trying to Say “God”: Re-enchanting Catholic Literature, June 22-24 at the University of Notre Dame. Rally, Korrektiv, rally!

“Gin! The Driver’s Choice!”

gin

Absofuckinglutely apropos of nothing (except tweaking Greenpeace noses everywhere!)

 

 

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote

Chaucer_ellesmere1

The Official Poet of the Year of Mercy

Save the date

12049566_907730552615210_9043741571459044428_n

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 7.31.25 PM

The Diocese of Dappled Things

Our-Lady-of-Guadalupe-shrine2

Came and went and I never even knew…

 

The Casa Missives – I

casa-building

Older Son graduated high school this year and instead of heading straight into college – perhaps to join his sister, Oldest Daughter, here – he has decided to take up an invitation from one of our diocesan priests who happens to be director of our diocesan-sponsored orphanage, Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II in Lurin (suburb of Lima), Peru. I will occasionally be posting updates as he plans to Youtube his experiences; so call it a guest posting or or call it a running narrative of a non-traditional trajectory to higher learning or call it a first hand account of a young man discerning his vocation. Whatsoever it turns out to be, there are some folk in southwest Wisconsin pretty proud right now…

 

Dear Papa, Mama, Barbara,Bernadette , Norah, Liam, Annie, Mara, Lucy and Claudia!!

I am just letting you know that I made it and that I am settling in fine. My Spanish is very rough but I’m working hard on it!! All the kids are incredibly cute even though I can’t understand most of what they say!! I took some videos of my plane flight but I wasn’t able to get any pictures of Lima because apparently people sometimes break the car windows just to steal cameras out of your hands.(yeah that’s a thing here) but I will try to get some pictures/videos of Casa Hogar and get them to you ASAP. It’s really hard getting used to not hearing my name so much because I had to pick a new name (they don’t have the SH sound) and I decided on Patricio (Spanish for Patrick) now before you go around saying my new name wrong remember to roll the R and the P doesn’t really make a P sound its sorta a genetic hybrid between a P and a B and the best way to know if you’re saying it right or not is to hold your hand a little ways away from your mouth and if you can feel the air you’re probably saying it wrong I miss you lots and love you that much more!!

~ Love Seamus (a.k.a. Patricio)

“Slouching toward Mecca”

Mark Lilla has written a great article on Michel Houellebecq’s new novel in last month’s New York Review of Books.

The bestselling novel in Europe today, Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission, is about an Islamic political party coming peacefully to power in France. Its publication was announced this past fall in an atmosphere that was already tense. In May a young French Muslim committed a massacre at a Belgian Jewish museum; in the summer Muslim protesters in Paris shouted “Death to the Jews!” at rallies against the war in Gaza; in the fall stories emerged about hundreds of French young people, many converts, fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq; a French captive was then beheaded in Algeria; and random attacks by unstable men shouting “allahu akbar” took place in several cities., is about an Islamic political party coming peacefully to power in France. Its publication was announced this past fall in an atmosphere that was already tense. In May a young French Muslim committed a massacre at a Belgian Jewish museum; in the summer Muslim protesters in Paris shouted “Death to the Jews!” at rallies against the war in Gaza; in the fall stories emerged about hundreds of French young people, many converts, fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq; a French captive was then beheaded in Algeria; and random attacks by unstable men shouting “allahu akbar” took place in several cities.

… Houellebecq had gotten into trouble a decade ago for telling an interviewer that whoever created monotheistic religion was a “cretin” and that of all the faiths Islam was “the dumbest.” The normally measured editor of Libération, Laurent Joffrin, declared five days before Soumission appeared that Houellebecq was “keeping a place warm for Marine Le Pen at the Café de Flore.” The reliably dogmatic Edwy Plenel, a former Trotskyist who runs the news site Mediapart, went on television to call on his colleagues, in the name of democracy, to stop writing news articles on Houellebecq—France’s most important contemporary novelist and winner of the Prix Goncourt—effectively erasing him from the picture, Soviet style. Ordinary readers could not get their hands on the book until January 7, the official publication date. I was probably not the only one who bought it that morning and was reading it when the news broke that two French-born Muslim terrorists had just killed twelve people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Soumission will be published in English this fall, so maybe we can start a group reading after the Percy conference.

Hard Questions

ada2

In the comments to the previous post, Duffer asks some hard questions of writers and maybe a few readers of Korrektiv.

Can we please get over Walker Percy? How many Walker Percy conferences must one attend in a lifetime?

As for myself, I can only say to the first, “Not yet, I guess”, and to the second, “Well, three anyway. Three and a half, if we count the opening of the WPC back in 2010 (or thereabouts).

Not that I haven’t tried. There was that decade reading the classics of Greek and Latin literature, not to mention a number of extended trips to such exotic locales as Zembla and McLean Hospital (in search of the ghosts of Vladimir Nabokov and Robert Lowell, respectively). But for reasons I can’t quite fathom, I always find myself back with other dissenters from the dissent, in the scrambled geography of Feliciana Parish.

For instance, I’ve just started reading The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, author of the Steve Jobs biography and a former editor at Time. Isaacson himself explains the Percy connection here, and I suppose that’s one of the things that sparked my interest in the book. It’s pretty great so far, beginning with a chapter on Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron and something of prophet of modern computers. A prophet and, as she herself would have it, a poet.

Her reengagement with math, she told her mother, spurred her creativity and led to an “immense development of imagination, so much so that I feel no doubt if I continue my studies I shall in due time be a Poet.” The whole concept of imagination, especially as it was applied to technology, intrigued her. “What is imagination?” she asked in an 1841 essay. “It is the Combining faculty. It brings together things, facts, ideas, conceptions in new, original, endless, ever-varying combinations….It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science.” The Innovators, p18

This sounded awfully familiar to me. Where had I read this before? Oh, yes, of course … Percy wrote something similar to this in his last novel, The Thanatos Syndrome.

Little things can be important. Even more important is the ability——call it knack, hunch, providence, good luck, whatever——to know what you are looking for and put two and two together. A great scientist once said that genius consists not in making great discoveries but in seeing the connection between small discoveries. The Thanatos Syndrome, p3

Could that “great scientist” have been Ada Lovelace? Probably not, but the connection here is intriguing (to me, anyway). Ada Lovelace has an insight into the relationship between imagination and science in the early 19th century. Percy makes a comment based on a similar idea in a novel in 1987, by which time we might suppose Lovelace’s insight to be more commonplace——possibly picked up on by other mathematicians and scientists, some of whom Percy might have read.

But maybe an actual connection isn’t all that intriguing. Maybe it’s just true, or even a capital T Truth, but a Truth so general that anyone could make it, at almost any time. Causality and contingency be damned, maybe connections just are——between some things and other things, between people, between ideas, between propositions, between people and ideas and propositions … between anything and everything, so much so that I suppose there’s a possibility that in the end, none of it is much more than mildly interesting. Maybe it isn’t interesting at all.

But connections can take on a seemingly divine importance, as I was trying to get at in that poem last week, or as Catholics might more readily understand as the basis of the laying on of hands——we think, or at least hope that the Holy Spirit is guiding our way through these connections. Those we recognize, and probably many more that we don’t. Dash that “seemingly”!

Anyway, that’s one reason I can’t get over Walker Percy.