Sunday, April 27, 2008


We speak, mincingly, of Names as if we could be bullied into them, as if labels were coercive. We are now on this subject, showing ourselves to be pleasant petulants, mild mendicants, such benign bums. If God could spare a Name for a cup of coffee we would not blush to ask him for it, we are bloodless in our need.

So, we speak of Petra, as if to say here is a subject more pleasant. Beware her: she is everything scrubbed and energetic, as though the maid had left her starched and ready at the foot of our beds, ready for a day at the beach. Her strength is that she does not equivocate, does not shrink from the crystallization of the Naming tongue. Inherency is her gift, and in the beginning, her Logos:

1. Flint. Crackling like sugar pastry, aspark with interest. Cro-Magnon man may have conceived of her such, may have seen in her his own nature, sharpened, the inchoate passion of his genius lasered—the first wobbly wheel, the first ablative absolute. She is, indeed most definite in the ablative: vivo petra, pacem petiverunt.

2. Granite. Iron and gold in rough stone, cemented in cheerful certainty. Do not be deceived, however, that there is no join, no seam. She is made forever flexible by doubt, can stand among the warping winds. Consider, then, the sillies of the field, and know that she toils, grinding step upon step. She is—as all things are—astride eons, but she—unlike all things—plays the Stockholm Syndrome on seconds.

3. Marble, and schist. Everything fine, everything robust, until the world splits at its corners to make room to include her; pebbles and pillars, parkbenches and priories! Queen and Quasimodo, as we all are, as we all are.

Upon these rocks will we build our kingdom. —

(how dangerous that man was! It is no wonder that the Pharisees looked askance: vulpine, ferrety, erminine. No one ever dropped a pun prudishly) —

Queen Zippergut. Judith, draped in golden silks. Upon closer examination we see it is her own blood, not Holofernes’, that enriches the weave. This, the secret of her rule: sympathy. How rare the tenor of this tone, the viol and the harp!—lost but for a few in this country of chatterers. How rare, too, to sway the hearts about you by stringing out your own intestines, a clever sewing of heart to heart to stomach to sex with this living, blood-rich thread. Generations will, with no reluctance of knee, arise and call her blessed.

Ginsberg. Adrift in a sea that stings and swoons and stirs him, he is always more than he seems to be, a cool crag above the slurry. He skims the sour surface, in hunt for the canny Titanic. He will bring her down one day, swamp her with his spirits, and we will watch and say, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen!” He is our David, our Absalom. We sing in rough iambs that we would God to have died for him, sing we wished to have made complaint to comfort his shaking upon the shifting Jacobean ladder.

Edgy Killer Bunny. Long and leanspeaking, his observation exact, acerbic. The gift of his hands to take the low mean truth of the world and turn it again cuddly and kind, fit for a child’s bed, and a brothel’s. Who does he slay but those soldiers who walk the line between those who are not for us are against us and those who are not against us are for us? The coney, we remind ourselves, is kosher.

Our Lady Jane. Would she have taken the brocades we threw at her as rebuke? Never. Had she seen we crafted for her a silk noose with our critiques? She had. Did she wear these richly-woven tapestries when we bid her to? She did not. She is a simple girl in a white shift, poised eternally with one foot over an open dress. So attired, she could feel each princess-pea lobbed at her, could keep her wary eyes awake. All the better, my dear, to see you with—and eat you with, too.

Weed. To be as noble as a million stalks, to be ever on the edge between Van Gogh's aureate hills and the stickly sweet rank of the unchristened “cool”! Do we dare write the mystery of his life, its utter triumph, its utter misery? Who, we ask you, could bear the register? How the outside world howls to place him, to root him up from his cool green garden with its granite walls! His lesson: Master the Name and the world cannot touch you, cannot break you from the hearth you hallow out of insistence. This, the two-line poem of him—Behold, he is brave. Stand, and bear witness.

Sir Jupiter. If it were enough to be the universe’s greatest sphere, he has not recognized it. The active word of this century, then—privatize. He has a mastery of sale-floor salvation in its genuine article, gracious and granting. To add this nobility to nascence is to be born in Bethlehem, to be shifting and colorful with one red eye. What immortal storm can frame that awful seeing, Blake frets in a dim corner, what dares shrink from the searchlight’s gaze? He is enough, enough, and more than enough to cause our spines to straighten, to still our unrighteous spleen.

It is, perhaps, time to admit that none of us fully new what Men think, what Men want. But we are willing to try, to find, to seek. We can chop liver (an ugly swan, his vital organs strewn upon the board, searching for Caesar’s ides), we can mask cures, we can prate over co-meants. Just this one thing we cannot do, we cannot stay silent, cleaving our lips together.

For—if we were to try, heaven help us—the very stones would cry out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It is difficult to write about the Fob, current or incurrent, partly because the passing of time has shattered some of the sense of solidarity that this website provided (this is, perhaps, simply my perception in being away from the medium for so many months), and partly because I am completely at a loss to define, in tones of symbological cuteness, the new members of Fob. Microsoft Word, which is rapidly supplanting King James as the ruler by which rhetorical brilliance is measured, suggests that “symbological” should be “hymnological”—there is, of course, an argument there, but I suggest that Word content itself with the mash that exists on the Ugly Swan blog and be content. Hymns there aplenty, and see where it gets us.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Nattering. I want to say that our two new members need their own monikers, but at the moment the process of assignation seems overwhelmingly exhausting. I say this because I suspect that the most easy way to define them is in relation to me—I make this descent into solipsism because (let’s face it) I’m pretty Big Cheese in Ottoro, and anyway I was the point of articulation for their entrance into Fob. (“Point of articulation,” said my theory professor last year, over and over again, shearing the words uncleanly with her concave teeth. You may note that there is a lot of articulation in the word articulation, and a sound of pointing in point. This is theoryspeak; what I’m saying is that I invited my friends to a writing group and that a phrase sounds like what it is. Brilliant in its simplicity, and the man behind the curtain—Foucault, perhaps—takes a bow. Pay no attention to him.) Still, make no mistake—if we insist on a history slapped on a nametag for this new-timed twoesome, as long as we’re willing to allow for an initial lassitude, write one I can.

Canapés. Cannabis. Canopies. Cantaloupes. Can-cans. Cans of soup. Can-do attitudes. Cancers.

Naming is virulent, metastastic. No one—I am being frank, severe, playful—will read this save Mr/Master Fob (and every point of articulation in his progress from this space to that), The Th. That is (is That The Th.? That is The Th.), and me. I am, tonight, simultaneously brilliant and aching—the ligaments in my shoulder crack when I write this, like camera flares, like cereal; calisthenics or percussion. Percussion, doubtlessly—“through the cussing”.


Melyngoch is Cerulean, flames on the range (bluer for having heard—against all representations!—a discouraging word; bless her).

Jeph is only what he is not. Write him, then, as not. Lower-case his name; make him mere (not)ation.

Ryan is a stair-railing with no stair, well-sanded pine. It’s the grain that you care about in a bit of wood, the grain and the cut. Almost, he convinces me to be a Christian (but without these chains, these chains).

editorgirl (write small letters large) is always to me a square of fine pink silk, rippled like a patch of healing skin.


Ahem. What more could we have done for our vineyard?

1. Play. When it was late in the evening, we should have bartered for five more minutes, for three, for one. We had a shocking disregard for the Rules of Existential Economics; we pinched our pennies. For what? Poetics? No one has yet, says the insomniac sage, written an opus on an early bedtime.

2. Fought. History slots its Greats with fighters; Ivan was Terrible on the field, not the meadow. There is a law written that we may bless the soldier’s sword more than the surgeon’s saw, and the pike more than the plow. Gather ye rose-bloods while you may, and make foray while the sun shines.

3. Struck, and struck often, when the irony was hot.

This business of naming those who will never know they’ve been named. It seems precious somehow, a bit disingenuous. Melnygoch Named me. There is that. Master/ister FOB Named himself, gathered into his name this circle, these other names. Thmazing Theric Named, Named, and Named again—he is also not, but the not is in what you think, his (given) Christian name insufficient for the task, needing fricative to frame it.

He will read this and say I am obscure. And so I am. An oblong, misshapen cure of the cancer of Names.

Tolkien. Boy. Youth of Fantasy. Delusional ingénue.

procussive, adj. Toward the cussing.