The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Friday


Rompecabezas
By Nicanor Parra
Translated by D. Ohmans


I give no one the right.
I worship an old rag.
Transfer the graves.
Transfer the graves.
I give no one the right.
I am a ridiculous type
under the sun,
soda fountain cowboy,
perishing of insanity.
I have no choice,
my very hairs accuse me.
On the altar of the day
the machines don't pardon.
I laugh behind a chair,
my face covers with flies.
I am the badly expressed,
expressed in view of what.
I the stammerer,
with my foot I touch dirt.
What are stomachs for?
Who made this mess?
Best is to make an indian.
I call one thing another.

--------

Let's just have a whole week of Parra, shall we? This one is from a book called Literature and Revolution by Fernando Alegria, published in 1997 in Mexico City. "The great work of Nicanor Parra is not, contrary to what might be thought, in the poems of nostalgia," writes Alegria. "The world for him is a trap. It is important to note that Parra judges a world in which he finds neither order nor sense. Without himself bringing a sense of form--ethical or aesthetic--either, so as to create an order where there is none, the beings and the objects are charged with violence and seem constantly capable of leaping onto the neck...his is a world of equivocations. A tragic absurdity that begins by being a trait of genius. What is clarity? To see clearly how rotten is the world, how impotent and toothless and timid is man...the images of Parra are concrete, but not precisely logical, yet instead absurd and full of consciousness of sin, of failure, of the emptiness that soon is transformed into a cold bitterness and, particularly, into a strange wrath."

I used cramps as an excuse for sloth today...kept meaning to go out and do stuff but ended up spending all day playing with photos. I had forgotten that I took a really fabulous photo of the Olympic Mountains with colorful wildflowers on the hills and other lovely vacation stuff. (Reminder to self: stop thinking of this as just goofing around and start thinking more of ways to incorporate it better into career aspirations without needing to back to school for an entirely different degree). Well, and eventually went out to CVS, the food store and thrilling things like that, but didn't even get to Sears while they have swimsuits half price -- I need a new one before our trip this summer.


The aft torpedo tubes of the World War II submarine Becuna, currently housed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.


13 officers and 67 enlisted men were crammed in this 307-foot ship, which smelled constantly of smoke, sweat and diesel. The senior officers slept eight to a room...


...but they lived in relative luxury, since they did not have to share cots on top of the torpedo tubes.


Becuna launched in 1944 and sunk several Japanese merchant ships. In 1951 she was equipped with nuclear warheads.


This is her diesel engine number one, Huff...


...and her diesel engine number two, Puff. Becuna's top speed was 15 knots submerged, 18 knots surfaced.


This mess is actually one of the least claustrophobic rooms on the sub, compared to the officers' shower ("Save Water -- Shower with a Friend")!
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Paul and Daniel are both experiencing some upheaval this week -- Paul's company has bought out another large company and as of today, they have merged in name and to a large degree in practice, while Daniel's school magnet program has had its budget slashed and there are protests and fundraising efforts in the works; he seems pretty stressed out about this, in large degree because some teachers are taking early retirement (including my own onetime math teacher Ms. Dyas) and a few have apparently been telling the students that this will damage the program's reputation and the quality of teaching.

Watched Smallville, which, as expected, finally and irrevocably jumped the shark for me: No Lionel, no me, though Adam was irritated when I reiterated this (I've been saying it all season, I knew Lex would have to kill Lionel to become a super-villain) and said he was going to keep watching anyway, so I suppose I'll follow the stupid show while he has it on. I actually kind of like the X-Files approach to aliens this season, but it's way too late to make a convincing case of it -- where was Lionel with all this stuff four years ago? And can't anyone do anything without Clark having to rescue them?

I'm trying to keep up with the Chesapeake Bay crab protection plans, the latest idiotic post-debate commentary, the baby born with two faces in India, the ebola virus gorilla crisis, the Fundamentalist Mormon child custody case, Earth Day plans, the Pope in DC, the situations in Tibet and Gaza and the Supreme Court ruling that murderers (and in some states other criminals) deserve to feel excruciating pain during lethal injection so as long as it's incidental rather than planned, it's legal. Some days I understand why people would rather read about Angelina and Brad.
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