Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Use of Force

There is undeniably "a certain blindness" of some human beings in their view of others. In the following, an ending of a short story written by William Carlos Williams entitled, "The Use of Force", the ancient and powerful precept, "First, do no harm," is put to a rigorous test, as is the good doctor who has painfully learned that the means often justify the ends in a life or death crisis.

…But the worst of it was that I too had got beyond reason. I could have torn the child apart in my own fury and enjoyed it. It was a pleasure to attack her. My face was burning with it.

The damned little brat must be protected against her own idiocy, one says to one’s self at such times. Others must be protected against her. It is a social necessity. And all these things are true. But a blind fury, a feeling of adult shame, bred of a longing for muscular release are the operatives. One goes on to the end.

In a final unreasoning assault I overpowered the child’s neck and jaws. I forced the heavy silver spoon back of her teeth and down her throat till she gagged. And there it was—both tonsils covered with membrane. She had fought valiantly to keep me from knowing her secret. She had been hiding that sore throat for three days at least and lying to her parents in order to escape just such an outcome as this. Now truly she was furious. She had been on the defensive before but now she attacked. Tried to get off her father’s lap and fly at me while tears of defeat blinded her eyes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Howling ModPo

ModPo is at once a love-fest and a learning-fest.
What two things are more necessary
In such a restless world as this is?

To begin—
Enroll before November 23, 2015.
Then, open, scratch, and sniff around for a year, at your leisure, 
until next September's sessions fire up again—
a rave new world of sensual pleasure awaits.

As a septuagenarian I am surely not your average ModPo participant, but then, I am not your average MOOCher, either. Given that, I have a few words to describe my experience for the last two years with the Coursera ModPo group that may be of some interest to those considering the value of the program, the efficacy of its pedagogical methodology, and the importance of its continuing to inject fresh faces, living or dead, into the “babble flow” from which our art, culture, and society can either spread like a paradisiacal, or like a hellish, pandemic.
Firstly, my ModPo experience has enabled me to expand my horizon as a seeker of truth and beauty. The course has sharpened my reading skills, honed my analytical skills, and enhanced my appreciation for original forms of thought and expression.
Secondly, the discussions of a seemingly infinite variety of personal observations and interpretations of each syllable, word, line, pause, stop and stanza, whether in the open discussion forums, the web panel discussions, or the weekly webcasts stimulates new flows of thought while building and displaying new patterns of language in such an active and dynamic way that it cannot help but reinforce the entire structure. Form and content are merged into a viable, cogent, living, breathing, growing body of work—as if the artists and audience were standing side by side in collaboration creating a forever new, forever curious, forever dazzling display.
Thirdly, Dear Reader (I warned you that I was one of the Old Ones), ModPo invites your presence so as "to detain you", as the poet, Cid Corman, does, and you will learn to do as well.

By Flushing Bay

as others cleave gates and wait on-deck in fearful circles
as I must ply gamboling grapplingrateful for fiber-optic streams

as immortal diamonds ebb and flubb beyond mobile coils
as mighty captains flail in their pumpkin-colored nights

as frost-nibbled noses glad-band in the land of Festivus
as hearts are swallowed by chalk-lined bellies abloat with beer

as in opposing dugouts windblown eyes squinting from hollow pits
as in opposing dugouts players screaming howling squalls of sorrow
as in opposing dugouts smiling stretching vomitting squeals of joy

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Host of Narratives

The Bourne Predicament
by Robert L. Keeperman
     Jason smashed the spy’s noggin with yesterday’s Italian bread and before you could say “boo” the naked lady came out crying from under the bed.
     He told her to get dressed and meet him tomorrow in China.
     “But, I don’t even know you,” she cried.
     “Me too,” he shrugged.

On Wanker’s Pond
By Henry D. Keeperman
     Would it not be dear to march myself into the woodlands to reside? Thither, I would raise a shelter with borrowed tools. Like as not, I would thrive on elderberries and sassafras. Of course, I must forswear further schooling, but would the wise man not deem that a just sacrifice?

The Old Man and The Tree
By Ernest H. Keeperman
     He sat and saw them jump and slobber, claw and bark. It seemed forever that he had been treed by those devil dogs below, their teeth bared and throats hoarse. This was his tree. His branch. He had to pee a storm. At last, he knew he had them where he wanted them.

Of Human Badinage
By W. Somerset Keeperman
     “Philip, heal thyself,” he thought. The trace of a smile appeared in his head. On his face, however, only a grimace had formed. He limped over to his desk and stared deeply at her portrait.
     “Not a bad shot from a Brownie,” Mildred said, erasing even his phantom smile.

Däs Fiergegängenmitbellsundclängen
By Kurt V. Keeperman
     Hank hated extremes. He liked things calm.
     So, when the fire- and ice-storms began, he thought about becoming enraged. Try as he might, though, he couldn’t quite do it.
     So, he calmly wrote about what he saw until the day that his fingers froze and his pen melted.                

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Culture Tap

From a Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart, the author of Absurdistan, this horrifying excerpt out of our fictional lives follows.

“I noticed that some of the first-class people were staring me down for having an open book. 'Duder, that thing smells like wet socks,' said the young jock next to me, a senior Credit ape at LandO’LakesGMFord. I quickly sealed the Chekhov in my carry-on, stowing it far in the overhead bin. As the passengers returned to their flickering displays, I took out my äppärät and began to thump it loudly with my finger to show how much I loved all things digital, while sneaking nervous glances at the throbbing cavern around me, the wine-dulled business travelers lost to their own electronic lives.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lies My Father Told Me, Too

As Moishe Keeperman the oldest, at age 6, you helped your widowed mother, Lillian, who spoke only Yiddish, raise her four kids up-and-out of the Great Depression.

As Moishe Keeperman you played the violin until the night your mother broke it over your head for missing a three-cent lesson from Rabbi Schimmelstein, and then tied you up naked in the bathtub and called all the neighbors from the tenements into your railroad flat to witness your punishment.

As Morris Keeperman you were an all-NYC track-star (see here, in this hallowed tin can, all this weighty, jingling brass, can you even lift it?) the pride of the new DeWitt Clinton High School’s first graduating class.

As Monte King you became the night manager, if only they knew you were a Jew—oi—you think you know from tsuris, don’t ask—gevalt—if they would have caught you—of the prestigious downtown New York Athletic Club. Someday you promised, “I will tell you about the stock tips they used to give me, but maybe it’s not such a good idea to tell you. We'll see.”

As Monte King you bootlegged whisky--what else?--for Dutch Schultz, ran a floating crap-game on Harlem rooftops, ran numbers for bookies, and hustled shopping bags downtown with your dutiful, worshipful brothers, for pennies apiece.

As Kewpie Keeperman you lived for 6 years off the ponies, yourself running up and down the East Coast from Narragansett to Hialeah, wiring money home to us weekly.

As Monte Keeperman when Ma resigned from the OSS and applied for a gig at The Treasury Department how you had to go straight, so you bought a newsstand on a busy corner of the Bronx and raked in a fortune reading the Morning Telegraph and getting paid for sure things from an endless stream of winners and losers: 10% of the winnings, 0% of the losings. Piecework, horse sense, whatever.

As Monte  Keeperman you closed the newsstand after 12 years and became the financial officer of a corporation from which you retired at age 62, and bought a house down the street from Monticello Raceway for which you paid at a Sullivan County bank 32,000 silver dollars that you had collected during your years selling newspapers and had tossed quietly into a bucket.

As Monte Keeperman you saw your wife retire and get a nice plaque from Dick Nixon for her nearly 40 years of service to her country, so you bought a condo in Palm Beach for yourselves.

As Monte Keeperman you went bowling for nearly 20 years in air-conditioned Florida bowling alleys three times a week, averaging an ABC-sanctioned 200+ until one day seventeen years ago tomorrow you left Don Carter Lanes, lit a Camel regular in your 100+ degree spanking-brand-new white Mercury Sable and choked on the smoke until your heart stopped. When I got the phone call I was at the Low-Tor Bowling Alley 1,200 miles away getting ready to pick up a spare for my team, "The Mixed Nuts".

As Ronald Keeperman what I know that is not a lie is that you were getting ready to drive that car home with the one-arm you did not lose in 1942, four months before I was born. Given all that I’ve actually seen you do, I have no reason to believe that your proud son would not have picked up that spare—had he stayed another minute at the lanes. We miss you every day, Pop.