Tuesday, July 26, 2016

McKenzie, still in the modernage

Jesse S. Mitchell

more here session Santiago

On the edges of the photograph on the postcard, you can clearly see shadows and other wide-eyed buildings, super-gray and concrete, trying hard to peek into the frame, blend in and get noticed, New York City with a spoiled child syndrome, midtown, great big neo-gothic castle-cathedral standing straight up and down like a Yew tree, maybe an Ash. Yggdrasil, something dragonous gnawing at the roots, bitter herb-roots.  The very center of the universe. Been lots of centers of the universe, Persia, the river Nile, Ur, Paris, London, Zeigler IL., Harappa.
My eyes try to focus on the picture but, I’m just too tired, too blind, all I ever see anymore are the blurs, the blurs and trailing off smears that the blurs leave as they fade away, blurry.
I had a dream once where I saw the end of the universe.  All chaos and fire and uproar and commotion.  There was no center of anything.  
 the old postcard, swinging on the wall, barely noticing its horrific pin.  The stickpoint prison.  A moment in time, both the picture and the card, unable to communicate more than the strength of that particular moment, and the strength it has to live on in memory or else to die away.  To leave a hole, noticeable or otherwise, is still an expression of strength, of vitality. 
And beneath that, under all that memorial detention and sophisms  
A flat table.  A table I got purposely after a long week of long nights reading ’the problem of philosophy’.  Russell used a table just like this one to illustrate a hundred thousand points.  It lifted off the top of my head, like poetry.  Dickenson would be proud.   
On top of the flat table is a mess.  A woven mess and mass of chaos and narrow string all strung together.  Falling off the sides, bundled up in places, mounds, several strands thick here and there. 
And over the cluster of string and strands, is a clock.  A very plain clock, stock black and high contrast white, bright red second hand.  And I watch it.   My eyes naturally focus on it.  The hands swinging and spinning around the wide face, orbiting, ticking off time.  We tell time in orbits, sun dials and clock towers, because that is how we decay, one spin after the next around the big blazing yellow sun.  
The numbers printed on the face are meaningless.  They can’t tell you anything.  It is the movement that is crucial. What we get from clocks is sensational and not material, time absolutely abstract.  
The moon in the corner of my window is all I need to know that it is night.  Shining gibbous, great modern witch face, an ocean wave, ghostlight, raising from off the deepest floor, the sea arm, diffusedlight, tsunami coming up, washing away the color
But only for a little bit
Just to replace the copperlight with purplenight and trade one source of all light for a sky of two million, three hundred billion.  Churning stars.  Everything palemoonlight.
The hash dealer that reminds me of Oliver Reed is outside, down the block, sitting inside a car.  Waiting on me.  Me, trying to get up the strength to get up and out the door, if even for a few minutes.  Nothing ever goes quickly enough.    

Saturday, July 2, 2016

McKenzie contemplates St. Patrick's day.

Jesse S. Mitchell

thumb tacked to the wall in a rusty corner, thin pale yellow outline on the discolored paint, a postcard of St. Patrick’s.  the edges so ragged, chipped and pulled, almost fuzzy in spots, the paper coming undone, untangled, returning to the earth in the form of tiny flecks of decaying dust.  Let it rain.  Here it pours and I can’t take my eyes off the picture, still glossy, still slick after all these years of dangerous pulling apart, falling apart, tearing and tearing, crumbling.
Wonder what the namesake would think of the cathedral.  Not really a monument to him at all but to us, we like to think of the name, makes us feel ways about ourselves and our pasts.  Good ways.  Fun ways.  Wholesome and complete.
Nothing is really further from the truth.
Ol’ Patrick was just a rich colonial kid walking the Bristol beaches when he got Shanghaied and tossed in chains, made to row fields for his Celtic masters.  Boy escaped and got back home, probably sweating it at first but then fuming, angry.  They said he got religious.  I think he got brave, mad and brave, and decided to go back and teach those slave drivers a lesson.  He drove the snakes out of Ireland.  The great snakedriver.  Now, when you piece it together, you realize snakes means pagan and pagan means Irish and Irish means guffawing whipping kidnapping monster…at least, to the dear old patron saint’s mind.  And so the rich Roman kid, living it up villa style in Britain, went back one day and taught those fuckers a lesson that we’ve never forgot.  Never forgot but have since gotten completely wrong.  Totally wrong.  The Irish and the Irish inspired, all love this guy.  After a while, we always seem to lose our minds, Stockholm syndrome writ large and we start building snakedrivers cathedrals, pirates get mansions, and murders get to be on t-shirts and coinages.  Columbus days and first-born-massacre-Passover days.  Celebrate.
 Happy St. Patrick’s day!
Shamrocks and green beer.  New York City parades.  Goddamn leprechauns.
Brutal life is two seconds from a charming story, always.
And so we tend to sit in the middle of the hot ashes and watch the cinders fall and pretend they are stars and we are caught in their orbits.
I would take the postcard down but I’m afraid of leaving the clean stain on the wall.  It would look naked.  And it would make me feel guilty.
And feeling guilty makes me sick.