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Pretty seemed about so good, and more
than enough to drink, a stretch of years
like public theater, except for the siren's scream,
the looks when eyes have had enough,
and all the neighbor enterprise, turning the eyes
from news that kept the body up,
expecting to hear a man confess to his sad meal.
Lord, he asks himself, hadn't a heart
seemed audience, the bassoons and baritones,
the love-sweats smeared
and lingering violas, the blood-fruit lingering
with the beers and liederkranz?
– Because he's come to catch his breath,
because the blackbirds skitter
where the flowers stood, he feels himself one more
among the kinds of neverbirth,
and reads the light specks pearling, assuming
properties, the looks of streets he follows
to conclusions in small rooms, small rooms leading
to small rooms and into traffic once again,
and traffic about as dangerous as creation gets.
– Light will assume its place
over the fruits her hands arrange, finding its place
on strings she'd looped around the tuning pegs,
until the mandolins and the guitars and the machines
take on alignments, until love, wink-shod,
and love, dog-eared, dog-tired with revisions,
would again eclipse the crimes,
eclipse this wedge of light, this fevered
constancy, excusing a man
his pearls and more public
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How would I know / when I’m empty and quiet like breath?
Historian Gerald Horne has developed a grand theory of U.S. history as a series of devastating backlashes to progress—right down to the present day.
Reflecting on three monumental works of modernism—James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—a hundred years on.