henri from toulouse
Last night I dreamt about my Ideal Life, which was apparently identical to my current life except I had two cats and DSL. Right now connection-slowing, corporate-propaganda-blasting NetZero is my necessary evil until the university tech people get back to me about why my dialup password broke. This is the first year the University of Iowa has even offered dialup access: a far cry from school in Silicon Valley. I realize this is the price I pay to not see those execrable ETrade billboards everywhere. "You don't have a trust fund, and no one rich wants to marry you."
My personal victory for the week is finally locating a copy of Mark Levine's Debt at the humble Iowa City public library. I've been looking for it off and on for the last three years, ever since I came across "Work Song" in Best American Poetry 1991. Since Levine teaches here, you wouldn't think the book would be that hard to find, but the search felt like a Pynchon novel: the university library's copy was mysteriously missing, and the Workshop library's copy was checked out and never returned in 1993 by someone who signed in as "Charles Darwin." The people who run the library were of the opinion that it was somehow Jorie Graham's fault.
At any rate I have the book now, and it is just as good as I'd heard. It hangs together thematically surprisingly well, but who even needs theme when you can do stanzas like these? From the title poem:
I don't ask where I got these debts.
Some bad breaks here and there.
A glut in the pulp market. A poisoned horse.
Christmas, the recession, something or other
in the third world. I start taking
bets against myself.
The phone rings and they take it away.
They must put something in the water
to make it taste so good, like coconut.
Beneath my door they push their slips of paper
covered with Latin. They want to confuse me.
The sidewalks scrawled in Aramaic.
I admit it: I care less about the election each day. As far as who "really" won, both candidates are way within the margin of error, and whoever takes office is going to have such a shitty Presidency that it may end up more a curse than anything else. Gore has an alternative job possibility, at least.
Cow in Barbara Hendricks's pool. Something sinister is afoot.
And Zen for prisoners.