Batchelor on Beasts

More recent reading.

Susan’s behomoth brought this to mind….


“This leaking frame is an inescapable reminder of the fragility and impersonality of our condition:  its decay, smells, aches, seizures, and breakdowns a cruel mockery of the self-contained personality we struggle to preserve.

“‘If, possessed of such a body,’ said Buddha, ‘one thinks highly of oneself and despises others—that is due to nothing other than a lack of insight.  This carnal organism, born from a mother’s womb and destined to end as dust, is the great equalizer of beings.”

“That sense of being a cut above the rest is but a shimmering flicker on the surface of the sublime animal that we are.”

—–from ‘Living with the Devil’

Quoets for Poets 2/23/13

“There is nothing at all that can be talked about adequately, and the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said.”
—Alan Watts

“The pure work implies the disappearance of the poet as speaker, who hands over to the words.”

—Stephane Mallarme

“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.”

—Paul Valery




The forklift driver grabs his steaming lunch, into the thermos,hot soup on a cold day,

trudges out the door, the half-block to the bus stop, graffiti-smeared and stickered,

and stands, dragon-breath glowing dirty orange in the light of the rising sun,

staring down to and past that busier street, looking for what may come or not.

The bus grumbles, squeals and pishes to a stop and he alights, head down.

A mother knows the schedule, knows the man’s shape, sees him ascend the kneeling 

stairs and knows they are running late–she, still in slippers and house-coat,

scarf and hat against the waking cold as she drags bundled child down steps

and they walk, a different half block to a different bus stop--an empty corner--

and stand, bodies cut in half by light, by the now-white sun peaking over roof-tops

as the yellow bus hits the manhole cover, rattling windows in the coffee shop.


The first-pot maker drips his streaming hunch into the terminus, not new, in an old way

fudges on the floor, half-stare and half-not, empty-city-bleared and crackered,

and lands, fairly death, growing qwerty-strange in the blight of despising fun,

glaring frown through the past that his ears meet, looking for what may come or not.

His rust trundles, squeaks the dishes, stew-a-pot and he delights, dead-crowned.

His mother knew his schedule, knows a man’s shape, saw him transcend the keening

stares and knows his un-stunning spate–she still, in the earth.  A mouse-goat

scoffed and spat aghast, and waking, old as she, dragged sundered wild brown pipes

and they talk, a different life-stock to a stiff, errant fuss-fop–an empty crooner

and band.  Noddies come in half the night, buy the now, write-son speaking oven goof-ups

and a mellow fuss splits the man.  Hole-lover, prattling, winnows in the coffee shop.

waking words, identity, interuption, silences

Words I found on my lips upon waking:

“Do you know what it would look like,this portentousness, this guild of lost flowers?”

A passage that struck me later in the day while reading “Living with the Devil” by Stephen Batchelor:

“The stuff of which we are made, that allows the possibility of consciousness, love, and freedom, will also destroy us, wiping out that poignant identity of a sensitive creature with an unrepeatable history, who has become a question for itself.”

A thought that interrupted the copying of this quote:

“I pause in my struggle over the placement of a comma,
the exact site of a break in the clause,
because the silences matter as much as the noise.”

And later a quote found by chance while looking in the wrong place for a different, particular quote by Paul Valery:

“It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things.”

— Stephane Mallarme

Strange to see the path these thoughts, these silences traced through the day and each other, each pointing forward and backward as the empty moment in time passed through them.