Monday, July 27, 2009

TC: Domestic Turf


File:Del Mar Horse Racing.jpeg

Last time out
Anger and Estrangement (9-2) was nipped in the stretch
by Tears and Reconciliation
I don't like his chances

Big Suspicion goes out at 7-2
after a trouble-filled layoff
whereas New Moon Fancy (15-1)
has been disappointing in her new barn

I could get to like
Stillness (5-1) yet wonder if
Emotional Snow (20-1) might not
sneak up late outside -- worth a shot?

Irresolution (8-1) almost destroys me
at which point thinking of you
I decide instead to take a chance
on Terrific Dream (8-1) despite her last showing

Horse-racing at Del Mar: photo by Jon Sullivan, 2005

Saturday, July 18, 2009

TC: Cat Telephone


I have made the surprising discovery that cats are telephones that come and go as they please and have an appetite for milk and fish. It takes a while to understand that these are special beings, wireless phones like walkie-talkies; and that we too are special, in our imperceptiveness, because it took us so long to understand this.

Given that this state of misunderstanding goes back beyond antiquity, it's apparent that humans lack the code that would allow us to comprehend these messages, their origin, and the nature of those who are sending them to us. We don't know whose number is being called, or what the caller is trying to say...

Text freely adapted & English'd by TC from Julio Cortázar: Cómo pasar al lado (suggested by Lucy in the Sky)

Cats: photo by arudhio, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TC: The Infinite in the Finite and the Otherworldly in This World (for Arthur Okamura)


"The Thai title of Syndromes means 'Light of the Century'. The first half of the film is a kind of portrait of the sun, or an account of the way we depend on the sun for our survival. The second half... is dominated by artificial light. But the chakra healing in the second half is also all about the sun. It's a way of channeling the sun's power into the body...It's a film about heart... about feelings that have been forever etched in the heart..."--Apichatpong Weerasetha

Syndromes and a Century

(aka 'Sang sattawat': 'Intimacy' or 'Intimacy and Turbulence')

generous vision rapturous desire everyday
delight sun streaming wind-whipped trees mass aerobics dance Bangkok park dentist glittery green jacket crooning Thai country tune wild orchid riding in backseat car petulant child bliss unaccountable serene enigma beauty gentle wit invention
Buddhist idea dana treasure generosity euphoric sense act of giving sympathy pleasure sun modesty observation simple happiness effloresces manifold mystery intuitive mystery rare art eye object strange defamiliarized ineffable surrenders blissfully strangeness
visionary blurs subjectivity abstract warm funny recollections love emotion heart feelings forever heart
deciphering surreal embrace smoke memories vortex stored forever forgotten serenely magical spell hypnotic enigmatic mysterious erotic funny gentle playful-artist openness mind heart music attention transcendentally happy experience inducing joyous calm euphoria what it is all about
What is it all about tangled human relationships faltering love life demure young female doctor remote
upcountry Thai hospital alternative worlds alternative realities unrealities surrealities same again different different Buddhist idea reincarnation questioning narrative camera fixed single take drift back or to side one character fixes serene unreadable gaze
poem ideas tropes narrative simple desire knight's-move reality formalist artwork freakiness scariness hospital basement intrigues challenging exhilarating weird wonderful

happy experience inducing joyous calm euphoria what it is all about

Selected video clips:

From Part One -- the village:

Two women (the eclipse)


From Part Two -- the city:

In the hospital

After the doctor's kiss -- in the corridor)

This post is dedicated to the memory of Arthur Okamura, February 24, 1932 -- July 10, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

TC: Locations: for Ted Berrigan, Nov. 15, 1934--July 4, 1983


Waking up in the time zones
out of bed
to the telephone

and down the line
by instant
across the Pacific

to a tree sized town's
frozen spaces
where you sit
in an office
off a corridor
of a long brick
and glass hall
in the middle of the night
with your socks
on the desk's
& friendly
transcontinental voice


lost at first
I leap on the words
later the lovely
impulse inside them
lights up the way

This poem, Locations, was written in Bolinas in late 1969. Ted was at Ann Arbor, teaching. The lines "haven/ in the middle of the night" refer to Haven Hall, where the English department had its offices. Ted would often call me late at night from his office, just to shoot the breeze. Ted was a great conversationalist.

Ted was a good friend. We had many great times together. In the final year of his life, he was still in New York, I was living in Santa Barbara. I cranked the mimeo machine to turn out the last book he published while alive, The Morning Line. I did the job swiftly and Ted was very pleased with it. Not long afterward I received a call from Ed Dorn in Boulder; Ed told me Ted had died suddenly in New York. Then I had a call from Simon Pettet. In a broken voice, Simon provided the details.

Ted had seemed "weary" of late, said Simon. "A few days ago he told me, 'last year was the worst'". Simon paused, then. "Still, you thought he'd live to be a hundred." In fact Ted was only forty-eight.

Another mutual friend, John Daley, attended Ted's burial service and wrote an affecting letter about it. Ted had been in the Army and thus was given a military service on Long Island. The flag on the coffin, John said, had been removed, folded and handed to Alice, with the words "a grateful country and the President thank you." "Someone laughed," John reported, "probably [Ted's dear friend] Harris Schiff, and said 'Thanks for what?'"


Buried at the military
cemetery at Riverhead,
in the army plot,
a veteran.

I collected some memories of Ted in a little book called Late Returns, from Tombouctou. Pick it up and you can see Ted in his heyday, in a blue serge double-breasted Bonnie and Clyde-era "gangster suit", at Angelica's and my wedding in St. Mark's Church in March of 1968. Our friend Shelley Lustig had provided Ted (to give away the bride), Ron Padgett (best man) and myself (groom) these vintage outfits. There's a photo of Ted with Angelica, in her bridal gown, walking down Second Avenue past the St. Marks Theatre on the way to the Church. Angelica looks great in the photo, and Ted, never one to pass up any of life's better offerings, can be seen animatedly attempting to chat her up.

We all loved him and miss him to this day (while admitting there are aspects of the present it may have been kind of fate to spare him).

But reminiscences ought not end on sad thoughts. Something of Ted's buoyant spirit, perhaps, is captured in this letter I had from him on the day after New Years, 1969.

[Iowa City] 2 Jan 69

Dear Tom,

Your book arrived today & what a great pleasure! These old bones lit up like 42nd Street. I feel great. STONES is beautifully outrageous as well as outrageously beautiful. Not only that but it looks so real, like a real book of poems by Donald Hall or Bobby Bly and then a slow double take, swiss cheese, Apollinaire, the USA, Here's a kick in the ass, boys, hurrah! Wow!


Seeing those familiar poems, at least two of which I know so well from conception to Military Service that I feel a better than me me wrote them for me, gave me a few hearty heart tickles in the pleasure teepee! Me cuckoo! Me flingenem in fasta boss! Heap Heap!

The academy of the future is an undersea snowball

I guess it's about time now to talk like a bear and not like a cigarette.

The muse denies me words to speak of getting STONES, but does not deny me stones. I drink a stone to you! (drinks) that sure was good.

I am in my office, Dick Gallup is not fucking in the room below, dont know what time it is, Indian break that pony.

Enclosed is my anti-war epic in the manner of Denise Levertov and James Wong Howe.

By the way, HUNGER was a wonderful book. I can easily see why Miller loved it so much, and I loved it too, it made me so hungry I didnt ever want to eat again, and then I did. (567 lbs).

I have been reading Omnivore, The Biography of F Scott Fitzgerald, What I Believe by EMForster, Grant's Memoirs, The Works of Bacon (doodoo), a few bokes by Conrad, The Origin of the Brunists, Life, Look, Columbia Record Club Bulletin, the back of the Incredible String Band Record, a matchbook cover, and a toothpick. A dot. Nothing.

Here's a new word: spig. As in the eye is on the spig.

Another: Queel. Dig that queel. Or, I've got a little queel on my shoe.

Yours in Christ,
Dan Berrigan