Sunday, June 28, 2020

a note for C.K.WILLIAMS

The publication of  C.K.Williams poem in Slate in 2012, before the online publication still had a tolerance for the most important art, generated this sentences, uncomplainingly succinct comments. I wouldn't even call it commentary, not at criticism. This is someone on bus talking too loud on the phone.

A sad fact is that we are a nations of shut ins, finally, no matter how much our media informs us that we love to go places and see things and get to know the doings of the indigenous in neighborhoods not our own. Perhaps we are, to a large extent, desperate for vacation and the illusion of having enough walking around money to spend some days in a generic hotel room, visiting corporate water parks in all fifty states.

Millions of us, though, are the sort who just channel surf until the end of the day, from time we get out of bed to the conclusion of all things concerning the twenty four hours that has just ebbed away like so many dust motes floating half seen on a breeze in a darkening twilight.  This where millions of us have our discussions of things going on, things that have happened, the political low down, the double crosses,the trends and the fads that make us stupider and less likely to call bullshit when bullshit is served. This is , perhaps ,a rich source for monologues among discontents who are on their  way out the door to the Big Room, and it has been explored to wonderful results in the work of Beckett--he had the genius to verbalize the death rattle in which the significant parts of a man's life is reduced to a repetitive , percussive stammer that never articulates as a memory truly forged.As I’m dragged down again into the ocean of cathode image-scum pumping out at me
    from the sewer-screen,rendering me gloomy beyond gloom, not beyond Berryman’s, please, but still, my tail is    lashing,fangs are unsheathing in the lining of my heart … Better turn it off—all of it, off.  Jesus    Christ, off!

C.K .Williams , though,in the grouchy poem linked to in the post title, merely seems in a hurry to deliver caustic comment on everything his gaze glazes over; everything is a target, nothing is sacred, nothing is revealed but a crank with a remote control and a room full of books. I imagine the cliched image of someone in a study full of books , piles of them, and and unsorted papers, unfinished writing assignments. The windows all have the shades drawn, save a tear or too that allows a thin beam to play intensely on a picture of an insane German philosopher who could never quite make himself understood. What I enjoyed about the poem was the exactness Williams captured the agony of the procrastinator who has increasing anxiety the more he plies himself with the internet, cable tv distractions and other items before he cannot stand anymore and summarily shuts down the monitor.

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