Not all are masterpieces, but there are some gems here.
“This week we celebrate Wendell Berry’s eighty-sixth birthday by sharing several of our staff’s all-time favorite essays, poems, short stories, and media clips published in Orion over the past four decades.”—Orion Staff, “The Best of Wendell Berry.” Orion. August 5, 2020.
Lovely, one minute poem.
Out in the cow field of life, there's lot of poop to be found. Some is fresh. Some is wet. Some is old. Some is round. Even if you catalog them all, and describe every detail. The main thing is knowing, how not to step in one.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day.—Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art.” Poetry Foundation. 1979.
In the deep, a subterranean cache,
drip echoes, hardened magma flows
turned rivers, unseeing fish splash,
the earth's heart is on fire, blows.
Aquifers, filtered-moisture fed
flushed, a sucking river vortex
pulled, underground caldera bed,
formed before the prefrontal cortex.
Gardener's vision, compulsive
separating out the amoeba shits,
from the snail's slime, repulsive,
drowning in what the mystic omits.
Love me, love my amoebas, gross
we came, why, reality is blobby,
mess is not something to diagnose
the only certainty: its sloppy.
Sea change, rich and strange
pour yourself into strange waters
our many lives are frozen, deranged
paper Jesuses offered up for slaughters.
If only, I.F., I'm fucked, too,
quale, a different cell, all
different moments, a different you,
same behavior keeps you a thrall.
Suffering. Dismiss the teacher,
sub-human, human, minor god,
in our luggage, every creature
carries the mask of self, a facade.
Can those in the Black Iron Prison
be saved? What of the Palm Tree Garden?
New life, from pain, is risen.
From lessons, there is no full pardon.
Somewhere, above, there's another
underground. Do not despair.
Wait in the depths, unseen Other,
a new sea/land awaits, I'll see you there.
The first in the first place,
The Others, standing beside us.
Aware of destruction, strange,
ineffectual, a matter of force.
The bare path, dark and closed,
From the stairs, an ascent of
story, a complicated service, clean,
psychological, a social alone.
The world has not yet been consumed
by the light of the stars. A universe
has all time and space, experience
a sliver, taste a slice of the whole.
Poem written primarily with Robin Sloan’s Writing With the Machine neural network with a sprinkle of Webster’s and some selection, moving about and adding of pieces to turn it into something that makes sense. Strikes me as a quick method of “writing” cut-up poetry. Although, given the source material for the neural network, these will be science fictiony until I can train up another corpus.
I think I’ll be able to try a King James version assisted composition, maybe tomorrow.
Whatever comes together | disintegrates, falls apart
the skeleton key fits, | unlocks our heart's door.
Desire, stormy weather | on a cartographer's chart,
wrinkled, it transmits| an unintelligible, mad lore.
The key catches the lock | faceted truth, splinters
dirty data, overload | bits are entangled, not lost.
Progress of the clock | mind strikes, then winters
ticking seconds, explode | the play, dis/plays its cost.
Words wound the heart | basecamp Sherpa of love
jungle justice, swamping | red over red, absent, loose
tears pool, drip, a start | the unbidden kind, above
the tiger, before chomping | life: marrow or juice?
Sight in blind eyes | illusion becomes truth
perfect error, knowing | one's body is another's bread
reach out, touch skies | blood transfuses into youth
lives reborn, growing | feed, burn, then again, dead.
Frames on the pictures | no happy, was ever after
the past cannot speak | so all are new/old battles.
In the face of strictures | hear the freedman's laughter
violence is for the weak | born again into new saddles.
“…Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.”
—Saxon White Kessinger, “The Indispensable Man.”
The Internet contends that this fragment was carried around by Dwight D. Eisenhower.