Wednesday, January 10, 2007

water releases a chemical that is good for you and. . .it's called MILKSHAKE

About Frank Seidel (a poet new to me, and mentioned recently by Jordan and Simon De Deo), I find myself liking his Going Fast despite myself. All those descriptive cul-de-sacs and rhymes so many-century emptied they've become good again. None of this brand name with a preposition garbage! And I thought Norman Mailer had turned into Dave Eggers and the proprietary blend of winky cuteness and sigh-rony, but no, here's this nearly unbearably obnoxious and overbearing bundle of tuxedoed glands and drives, with his octaves and grace notes and sumptuary taxes writ as stanzas, his anachronistic midcentury nihilism and misogyny, not quite hip with the subtle ways of the new economy of aerosolize and conquer. The new aristocrats are wearing bad suits or flipflops, man! Or in a church! And of course that's the interest, all those uppereastside markers of privilege that do not mean anymore, and all that formal resourcefulness, those lexicons and Baedekers of excess--this restaurant, that locale, yadda yadda yen euro peso etc.--become a burden, become so many plaques and neurofibrillary tangles and angioplasty bills, not liquid enough, pal, not techno-log-ical, attached to old fetishes like handmade Italian shoes and other such meaninglessness. It was a blast in 1929. The image that stays with me is the man wandering through the debris from a Concorde crash still belted into his firstclass (or I suppose that's the only class there is--uh, was--on a Concorde) seat. I'd like to see Jeff Wall do that one. Or the matronly repository of family fortune poisoned by her son until she becomes a shut-in, cognizant but unable to respond. Impossible to resist this as an image of the birth of the Kantian aesthetic, at least in Lukacs' ungenerous reading of Kant, the world become a picture, become scenery, precisely because the subject is isolated from it as matter, as "the" matter. An excellent rewriting of Merrill's more excellent rewriting of Moore's most excellent "An Octopus." But here we're all so totally over modernism; immanence is a joke (ditto its near-homonyms). Whisk Merrrill from his Greek island and deposit him in a Bunuel set-piece and you'd have a good mock-up of a Seidel. We should get Alli Warren to revive White Male Poet and give him a syndication spot.

Thankfully, no one is asking for pity here. You hate the persona. The persona hates you and all the other emasculated vegetarian downtown types and feministes. He hates himself or his self hates him, which amounts to the same thing. And he's smart enough to follow the descriptive breadcrumbs to where the siren song --yes, it's a mixed mythophor--of this and this and this is anagrammatized, presto, to shit and shit and shit:

. . . The well-dressed man,
The vein of gold that seems inexhaustible,
Is a sunstream of urine on its way to the toilet bowl. ("A Gallop to Farewell")

I do also like that thing he does following long participial nounphrases with a copula, a kind of faux German that excellently mimes the prose of philosophers and politicians and first-year composition students and other people who cannot or will not yet think a thing. Mr. Gauche, meet Mr. Louche:

The without blinds or curtains and incapable of being opened
That let the light in after dawn to mop the blood up into day
Are lighted up tonight because people are working late. ("Das Kapital")

But in the end if you're going to marry the declarative sentence to the thumprabbit of th'iambic I'd prefer it if you gave your misery and ecstasy the fifteen minute smoke break required, for the time being, by labor law (may not be applicable in some states), or at least decided to, every now and then, walk through one of those walls you keep pretending we see too. I won't tell.

I'll check out the bevy of books he's released since.

No comments: