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Certainly August 13, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in A Fiction, New Orleans, quotes, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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anaisninquote

Hysteria June 4, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Poetry, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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I always thought of T.S. Eliot as a cold British fish, something served at breakfast with the bangers and weak tea. The distraction of “the shaking of her breasts” changed that opinion a little.

Hysteria
BY T. S. ELIOT
As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: “If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden …” I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end.
Source: Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1920)

Over the Horizon April 13, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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“Of all the islands he’d visited, two stood out. The island of the past, he said, where the only time was past time and the inhabitants were bored and more or less happy, but where the weight of illusion was so great that the island sank a little deeper into the river every day. And the island of the future, where the only time was the future, and the inhabitants were planners and strivers, such strivers, said Ulises, that they were likely to end up devouring one another.”
— Roberto Bolano, The Savage Detectives

Believe in your work. Launch the raft. Trust the currents. Find your own island.

Sacred and Fatal February 1, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in art, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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Annie Leibovitz portrait of Bourgeois.

Annie Leibovitz portrait of Bourgeois.

“Self-expression is sacred and fatal. It’s a necessity.”
Louise Bourgeois

Everything in Life Dreams August 4, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Poetry, quotes, Theater, Toulouse Street.
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MARELA (to Conchita): No, everything in life dreams. A bicycle dreams of becoming a boy, an umbrella dreams of becoming the rain, a pearl dreams of becoming a woman, and a chair dreams of becoming a gazelle and running back to the forest.
– Nilo Cruz, from Anna in the Tropics

Do you feel the dreams around you? The coffee longs for Columbia, your cigarette remembers Virginia, the walls recall the gypsum earth from which they came. That is a beautiful line from the play but I believe what is around you does not seek to escape or pull you into reverie but to push you out the door. All these mingled dreams of scattered places are like the forecast of the storm around the corner. Somewhere among the brightly colored and diverging lines is the unforeseeable track, the true path that leads to your own dreams. You may never reach the end but everything around you calls you to follow, past the boy on his bicycle, the tan woman in the black dress, her pearlescent neck, through the pouring rain and into the forest. Something rustles in the leaves then bounds away. You can see the faint track worn in the grass. You leave the path and follow it.

Odd Words August 2, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Fortin Street, literature, Odd Words, Poetry, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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                … I’ve driven to Amarillo
in one day and one night, through St. Louis
and Cuba, Missouri, where an old Coke facade

hung ike a stage prop above the gas station,

through Miami, Oklahoma, where there were birds
and cottonwords and Do Not Drive Through Smoke

signs and we wondered what could be burning

along a highway with so few exits, but by then
we were half-asleep and so when I say birds

I am inventing them. I am a revisionist.

– Poet Leigh Stein

Ms. Stein was the featured poet in this month’s The Rumpus Poetry Book Club. I could never pin her down on how autobiographical maIterial informed here book, especially the first sections. If I had enough space in my small apartment for a wall of poems (I have a place in mind but I think that’s where the bookshelves might have to go) this would be up there. “I am a revisionist.”

Sometimes I am the Typist. Sometimes I am a Revisionist. I am sitting at my home work desk while I type. While you read this your brain is soaking in dish-washing detergent. Relax, it’s Palmolive. I am wearing a promotional orange polo shirt embroidered with a Trystero logo and smoking an American Spirit Yellow. Your ashtrays are emptying the coffeepot. I am a terrible liar. I am a revisionist.

& On Saturday, Aug.4 at 2 p.mm. the Latter Memorial Library will host the monthly Poetry Buffet at 2 p.m. featuring Chris Champagne, Megan Harris and Valentie Pierce .

& On Sunday, Aug. 5 at 3 p.m. Poet Harry DelaHoussaye and writer Jeanne Soileau read from their work at the Maple Leaf Bar reading series.

& Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& On Monday at 7:15 p.m. The Black Widow Salon will feature award winning writer and director of Loyola’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Uriel Quesada is coming Monday, August 6th to the Black Widow Salon. Upstairs at Crescent City Books @ 230 Chartres St. 7-9 p.m. (We start promptly at 7:15 p.m.) Seating is limited, so come early if you want to sit. Complimentary refreshments of wine, beer, and water.

Uriel Quesada (San José, Costa Rica) is the Latin American Studies Chair and the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Loyola University. His areas of interest are Central American and Caribbean literatures and cultural studies, U.S. Latino studies, Queer studies and Latin American Popular Culture studies. He has written about Central American detective fiction, Latin American masculinities and travel writing. In 2009 he co-edited a special issue of the academic journal Istmo devoted to the study of gender and sexualities in contemporary Central American literature

& On Monday Aug. 6 Octavia Books will be present for the launch of Tom Wooten’s WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED, a narrative nonfiction account of recovery in five New Orleans neighborhoods. The event will be held at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center at Broad and Napoleon. The evening will include Talks by residents featured in the book, Author talk and book signing, Light dinner provided by Tsai NOLA and Live music.

& On Tuesday Aug. 7 McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music will host a reading by Gina Ferrara, Scott Nicholson, Danny Kerwick & Dennis Formento. There will be a collection for the recovery of FootHills Publishing, publisher of Dennis Formento and Danny Kerwick, which suffered a catastrophic fire. Michael Czarnecki and most of his family were out of town and his oldest son escaped unharmed, but they lost the house, the press, the back catalogue and books in progress.

Singing July 30, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in quotes, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In the dark time, will there be singing? Yes. There will be singing about the dark times.
– Berlolt Brecht

I didn’t ever become a writer, or only by accident June 25, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in A Fiction, Fortin Street, literature, New Orleans, quotes, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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If I really appreciated literature I would have become a writer for that reason. But that’s not why I became a writer. In fact, maybe I didn’t ever become a writer, or only by accident . . . maybe I’ve only ever written to understand why I was so afraid. I never wrote to participate in a noble tradition. I wrote to communicate, to explore my own feelings and work through various interpretations of the world. You know, the search for meaning, stuff like that. It wasn’t until I was at Stanford, much later, twenty-nine years old on a creative writing fellowship, when I finally met all these other writers. They all seemed to write for exactly the opposite reason of why I wrote.

That’s not even true. But many of them loved literature and wrote for that reason. How would I know why anybody wrote? Where does the poetry in this come in? Sometimes a sentence is just beautiful, but how can I learn to appreciate a painting? Do I have to learn how to paint? I’ll never be able to tell you the difference between a very good painting and a great painting. I loved the Van Gogh museum. There you just immerse in the mind of this man. It’s not required to understand which of the paintings are minor and which are major. You’re just there, taking it in.
— Stephen Elliot

My Warehouse Eyes May 26, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in A Fiction, odd, poem, Poetry, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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image

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums
Should I leave them by your gate
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Shield of Beauty April 27, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Jazz, music, quotes, The Odd, Toulouse Street.
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“. . . I am going to put a shield of beauty
over the face of the earth to protect us.”

– Sun Rha

Onward Through the Fog September 2, 2010

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Odds&Sods, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
– Samuel Beckett

I’m not sure I should put this as the sig on my Counting House business email, but for the last seven or eight years through two jobs I’ve had a quote by the infamous UFO fraud Frank Scully at the bottom of all my emails. I’ve gotten many compliments on the quote–””Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?”–but only one person who asked me who he was. It was the middle of the night, maybe 2:00 am, on one of the interminable overnight computer system change calls I sometimes have to attend; just two project managers stuck on the phone with nothing to do while other people do the real work somewhere off screen. I was sitting on my porch smoking a cigarette, courtesy of my wireless headset, just killing time. I don’t know how old the woman on the other end of the line, whom I’ve never actually met, is but she has a 19 year old son, so we’re likely contemporaries. She thought it funny that no one else had asked who Scully was, when so many people over the years had said “great quote!” in that edgy, slightly over-caffeinated way of people who actually enjoy their jobs in The Cube. I think I might use it as the epigraph for that book of Lessons for the Business Life from The Teachings of Don Juan and Carlos Casteñeda if I ever get around to writing it.

It’s easy to wonder exactly what the fuck you’re doing with your life when you’re on a business call at 2:00 am Saturday morning, why this terribly pleasant woman and I aren’t having this conversation over a drink or maybe beignets and a cafe au lait instead of through crackly headsets, as if adding a few CPU to some distant server were the Apollo 11 mission. We both seem the sort of person who has been at the corporate grind long enough to exude not the electric enthusiasm of the people who run Moloch but instead a quiet confidence tempered with a certain cynicism, as if we both know we have better things we should be doing with our lives were it not for the obligations–some out of love, some out of stupidity–we have acquired over the years.

Houston comes back on the line, and I snub out my cigarette, and go back into the home office, feeling just a little better for the whole exercise because I wasn’t left alone with the technicians and the vendors, the hour of silence waiting for them to come back on the line, because of the feeling there is another person in the room you could actually talk to once we’ve all signed off for the night.

That Bright Moment (Slight Return) March 6, 2009

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Federal Flood, New Orleans, NOLA, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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I’m feeling tongue-tied of late, and find myself reading old posts to escape the cyclops screen reflecting my own empty-headedness, or worse all the news of the day in and about Toulouse Street. I found this one from February, 2008, and it seems (with a few tiny edits) as apt today as it did then.

YOU ARE TRAPPED IN THAT BRIGHT MOMENT
WHERE YOU LEARNED YOUR DOOM
— Samuel R. Delaney in City of a Thousand Suns

Trapped not as you might think, given the juxtaposition of the word doom; trapped instead in the complex web of postdiluvian New Orleans in the way light is said to be trapped by a cut and polished gem, refracted by the complex play of facets until made into a flashing thing of beauty: that is how I try to live with what was once the shadow of The Flood, the rafts of ghosts it unleashed.

Delaney’s novella trilogy Fall of the Towers revolves in large part around the the mass, simultaneous discovery by an entire society that a key assumption about their lives–that there was an enemy beyond the barrier; that they were at war–was a complex fiction constructed by their ruling class.

I am not certain how something terribly similar will play out here in New Orleans, among people who’s fundamental assumptions have been washed away: that the basic infrastructure of our lives is built well enough that we will not die of living upon it; that our government will rise up to protect and succor us at a moment of great peril; that if we pay our bills to the insurance company they will help make us whole. How do we live when all of the illusions that underpin life in modern America are suddenly swept away.

Some will drift into cynicism: all governments are corrupt, all big corporations dishonest: what did you expect? Nothing to be done. There is a certain beauty when that sardonic surrender is contrasted with the insistent evidence of hope, with the irrational and irresistible persistence that is one of the hallmarks of life, prominently displayed here in New Orleans like flowers erupting on a cooled lava flow. For evidence I offer the rush by Orleanians to embrace the dark and complex Waiting for Godot [last] year.

Complete cynicism in its modern sense is the fate I want to avoid for fear we become the new Dog Philosophers, mindless of our personal or civic obligations from a misplaced belief that the world is beyond redemption. I started down that road once on the blog I once kept called Wet Bank Guide. For a time the anger there over the Federal Flood and all that followed was palpable, the anger that once led me to ask if it were possible to renounce my citizenship in the United States of America and become a resident alien in the only country I wish to recognize: New Orleans. Over time, I transmuted that ugly funk into something else, a celebration of what I believe it means to be “trapped in that bright moment”. At what I thought the high point of that transformation, I put Wet Bank Guide to bed.

Now I try instead to celebrate the found moments of odd or profound beauty that come out of All That: the moments of simple, quiet pleasure and ecstatic, public joy that mark life in postdiluvian New Orleans, the surest signs that what we are building here is indeed New Orleans, heedless of the violent transfiguration of our landscape, the vast swaths of ruin that still blanket the Gentilly and the East, that mark the modern Land of Nod.

I cannot entirely surrender that anger, not while I have this public forum and a handful of readers I might influence. There is too much to be done to realize the potential that arises out of that bright moment when we learned our doom. What the citizen journalists of the blogosphere call the ground truth must continue to be told in pieces like the one below, Crazy Like a Fox, until we have — like Saint Patrick — driven the snakes out of paradise.

Until that work is accomplished there is still a life to be lived here. For all of the constant struggle and the occasional horror of that life there are still the moments that flash out like shinning from shook foil, as Gerald Manley Hopkins put it. Our world is charged with the grandeur not of God precisely but of who we are, of how we live: every bar of music and snatch of song that puts a lilt in our step I never saw on the streets of Washington or Fargo; every sloppy po-boy unrolled from its waxy wrapper like an Egyptian treasure, that sustains us as much by the thought of which neighborhood joint it came from and by the sight of it laying there like a woman in dishabille, as we are as by the smell and the taste of it; the peculiar site lines of a city built to conform to the zaftig geography of the river’s crescent and our slow descent into the ocean. All of these flash out of the cold, hard moment when we rediscovered who we are, flash out with a beauty that should settle the question once and for all: why do we choose to live here having learned our doom?

For Orleanians, as I believe it will unfold for Delaney’s characters, living in that bright moment is not an end but a beginning, not so much a scar but like a smudge of transient ash on the forehead that reminds us of who we are, that helps us to rediscover for ourselves who we are and where we live.

The quote that eventually came to rest prominently at the top of Wet Bank Guide was from the jazz and performance artist Sun Ran: Its After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet? For Sun Ra, it was a profound renunciation of the ugly history of what it meant to be Black in late 20th Century America. It was not the presumed despair of some character in a Left Behind novel (I can’t bring myself to read those Christian tracts, but I can imagine what that world is like, borrowed no doubt in large measure from works like Stephen King’s The Stand).

Instead Sun Ra’s aphorism calls us to a celebration of the realization that we have been unshackled from the conventional, from so much of our history and attachment. Perhaps I can help all those around me who still cling to the past, to the ugliest parts of the long story what makes us who we are; I hope I can push them to recognize that those shackles lie about their feet and no longer bind them, that they have been freed by that bright moment in which we knew our doom to become something at once old and new: not the city bequeathed to us like a curse by our ancestors who held or felt the lash but instead the city of memory and of dreams, the city that lives in our hearts.

Kenny G whizzes on the grave of Pops March 8, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fargo, Jazz, music, New Orleans, NOLA, quotes.
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…when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis [Armstrong's] tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician.
Pat Metheny on Kenny G

Tell us what you really think, Pat. I’m not a musician and as much as I love the music I certainly lack the depth of musical knowledge of a true jazz aficionado, but it’s pretty easy to recognize that Kenny G sucks. That he would have the audacity to mix himself over even something as syrupy as Its A Wonderful World, well, I think Pat Metheny said it all.

For me, the gold standard of a jazz aficionado is Leigh Kamman of The Jazz Image, who warmed up many a cold Fargo Saturday night with some of the coolest jazz around. When I die I want to come back as a night jazz DJ with his voice. The world is not the same place since his show ended. He would be on right now if he were still on the air and I were in the cold North. I can hear his theme (Gerry Mulligan: Manoir De Mes Reves (Django’s Castle) and his voice in my head right now as clearly as my other mother’s.

Kenny G, there’s a special place in hell for the likes of you. When Leigh Kamman departs this world, there will be a place for him at a first rate table in the jazz joint at the end of the universe, and the entire Cortege of the Cool will be on the bill.

HT to Dr. Morris for this one. Oh, and Ashley, all of us who read Anima Mundi want to know when we can stop by for Limoncello. I’ll bring the Brocato’s.

Young in New Orleans March 3, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes.
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By Charles Bukowski

starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for
hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, maybe it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
world.
New Orleans was a place to
hide.
I could piss away my life,
unmolested.
except for the rats.
the rats in my dark small room
very much resented sharing it
with me.
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
that spoke
an unblinking
death.

women were beyond me.
they saw something
depraved.
there was one waitress
a little older than
I, she rather smiled,
lingered when she
brought my
coffee.

that was plenty for
me, that was
enough.

there was something about
that city, though
it didn’t let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
needed.
it let me alone.

sitting up in my bed
the llights out,
hearing the outside
sounds,
lifting my cheap
bottle of wine,
letting the warmth of
the grape
enter
me
as I heard the rats
moving about the
room,
I preferred them
to
humans.

being lost,
being crazy maybe
is not so bad
if you can be
that way
undisturbed.

New Orleans gave me
that.
nobody ever called
my name.

no telephone,
no car,
no job,
no
anything.

me and the
rats
and my youth,
one time,
that time
I knew
even through the
nothingness,
it was a
celebration
of something not to
do
but only
know.

from: Last Night on Earth Poems, 1992
Copyright by Charles Bukowski.
It’s pretty widely distributed on the inter-tubes
but remains the properly of C Bukowski. I’m
just borrowing it.

Tales of Grave Ulysses February 28, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, quotes, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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joyceart_nolarising.jpg

….O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gilbraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

– James Joyce’s Ulysses

Soon it will be June and where then shall we meet, and who shall read? I have never done a Bloomsday and have always wanted to. The last hereabouts looks to have been June 2005 and then, well, you know. So, who’s in?

.

P.S.–It’s hard to see online, but this has a NoLa Rising tag painted down the left side.

That Bright Moment February 24, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, quotes, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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YOU ARE TRAPPED IN THAT BRIGHT MOMENT
WHERE YOU LEARNED YOUR DOOM
— Samuel R. Delaney in City of a Thousand Suns

Trapped not as you might think, given the juxtaposition of the word doom; trapped instead in the complex web of postdiluvian New Orleans in the way light is said to be trapped by a cut and polished gem, refracted by the complex play of facets until made into a flashing thing of beauty: that is how I try to live with what was once the shadow of The Flood, the rafts of ghosts it unleashed.

I have not finished Delaney’s novella trilogy Fall of the Towers, so I am not certain how the moment described by that recurring line will play out, the mass, simultaneous discovery by an entire society that a key assumption about their lives–that there was an enemy beyond the barrier; that they were at war–was a complex fiction constructed by their ruling class.

I am not certain how something terribly similar will play out here in New Orleans, among people who’s fundamental assumptions have been washed away: that the basic infrastructure of our lives is built well enough that we will not die of living upon it; that our government will rise up to protect and succor us at a moment of great peril; that if we pay our bills to the insurance company they will help make us whole. How do we live when all of the illusions that underpin life in modern America are suddenly swept away.

Some will drift into cynicism: all governments are corrupt, all big corporations dishonest: what did you expect? Nothing to be done. There is a certain beauty when that sardonic surrender is contrasted with the insistent evidence of hope, with the irrational and irresistible persistence that is one of the hallmarks of life, prominently displayed here in New Orleans like flowers erupting on a cooled lava flow. For evidence I offer the rush by Orleanians to embrace the dark and complex Waiting for Godot this year.

Complete cynicism in its modern sense is the fate I want to avoid for fear we become the new Dog Philosophers, mindless of our personal or civic obligations from a misplaced belief that the world is beyond redemption. I started down that road once on the blog I once kept called Wet Bank Guide. For a time the anger there over the Federal Flood and all that followed was palpable, the anger that once led me to ask if it were possible to renounce my citizenship in the United States of America and become a resident alien in the only country I wish to recognize: New Orleans. Over time, I transmuted that ugly funk into something else, a celebration of what I believe it means to be “trapped in that bright moment”. At what I thought the high point of that transformation, I put Wet Bank Guide to bed.

Now I try instead to celebrate the found moments of odd or profound beauty that come out of All That: the moments of simple, quiet pleasure and ecstatic, public joy that mark life in postdiluvian New Orleans, the surest signs that what we are building here is indeed New Orleans, heedless of the violent transfiguration of our landscape, the vast swaths of ruin that still blanket the Gentilly and the East, the last exits on the road to the modern Land of Nod.

I cannot entirely surrender that anger, not while I have this public forum and a handful of readers I might influence. There is too much to be done to realize the potential that arises out of that bright moment when we learned our doom. What the citizen journalists of the blogosphere call the ground truth must continue to be told in pieces like the one below, Crazy Like a Fox, until we have — like Saint Patrick — driven the snakes out of paradise.

Until that work is accomplished there is still a life to be lived here. For all of the constant struggle and the occasional horror of that life there are still the moments that flash out like shinning from shook foil, as Gerald Manley Hopkins put it. Our world is charged with the grandeur not of God precisely but of who we are, of how we live: every bar of music and snatch of song that puts a lilt in our step I never saw on the streets of Washington or Fargo; every sloppy po-boy unrolled from its waxy wrapper like an Egyptian treasure, that sustains us as much by the thought of which neighborhood joint it came from and by the sight of it laying there like a woman in dishabille, as we are as by the smell and the taste of it; the peculiar site lines of a city built to conform to the zaftig geography of the river’s crescent and our slow descent into the ocean. All of these flash out of the cold, hard moment when we rediscovered who we are, flash out with a beauty that should settle the question once and for all: why do we choose to live here having learned our doom?

For Orleanians, as I believe it will unfold for Delaney’s characters, living in that bright moment is not an end but a beginning, not so much a scar but like a smudge of transient ash on the forehead that reminds us of who we are, that helps us to rediscover for ourselves who we are and where we live.

The quote that eventually came to rest prominently at the top of Wet Bank Guide was from the jazz and performance artist Sun Ran: Its After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet? For Sun Ra, it was a profound renunciation of the ugly history of what it meant to be Black in late 20th Century America. It was not the presumed despair of some character in a Left Behind novel (I can’t bring myself to read those Christian tracts, but I can imagine what that world is like, borrowed no doubt in large measure from works like Stephen King’s The Stand).

Instead Sun Ra’s aphorism calls us to a celebration of the realization that we have been unshackled from the conventional, from so much of our history and attachment. Perhaps I can help all those around me who still cling to the past, to the ugliest parts of the long story what makes us who we are; I hope I can push them to recognize that those shackles lie about their feet and no longer bind them, that they have been freed by that bright moment in which we knew our doom to become something at once old and new: not the city bequeathed to us like a curse by our ancestors who held or felt the lash but instead the city of memory and of dreams, the city that lives in our hearts.

Trust your story January 26, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, ghosts, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, poem, Poetry, quotes, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Remember your name.
Do not lose hope–what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have
helped to help you in return.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
— Neil Gaimain, “Instructions”

I can’t for the life of me imagine why Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things is remaindered at Borders. It’s a fantastic collection of stories and some oddments (a set of very short pieces titled “Strange Little Girls” that were the liner notes for a Tori Amos recording, some poetry including the one quoted above) and is otherwise chock-a-block with fabulous short stories.

I fell into the modern/urban fantasy world via Charles de Lint, but the more I read of Gainman the more he is my favorite. I think the attraction is the shorter works. He is clearly, in stories like “The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch” or in “Diseasemaker’s Croup”, the clearest heir to Borges I have found, and I’m awfully fond of Borges.

Space is the Place January 18, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, home, Hurricane Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes, Rebirth, Remember, Sinn Fein, Sun Ra, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized, We Are Not OK.
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Space is the Place

“The first thing to do
is to consider time
officially as ended.
We work on the other side
of time”
– Sun Ra

I want to march like Sun-Ra
in glittering alien threads
into an Oakland pool-hall
and declare our intention to embark.

New Orleans, as ruined as the pyramids,
rising up majestic in the air
on howling trombone notes of joy
to launch another crescent in the sky.

The sun will strike us colorblind
once we’re beyond the atmosphere.
We’ll cast the last debris off over Kansas
and shower them a carnival of stars.

Together like stranded astronauts
who’ve exhausted the last of our air,
we’ll lift off the mask at last
and dare to breath together.

We’ll claim our place at last
in the ancient parade of zodiac
where Bayou Andromeda
brushes up against the Milky Way

Cross-posted from Poems Before Breakfast.

think only this of me September 28, 2007

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Everette Maddox, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes, We Are Not OK.
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…Oh if this moment
should indeed prove
to be the corner
I’ve spent 35 years
painting myself into

think only this of me

That one more cheap camera
has shattered
against the world’s beauty.

— Everette Maddox

While My Guitar Gently Weeps November 29, 2006

Posted by Mark Folse in art, Dancing Bear, Odds&Sods, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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For certain is death for the born
And certain is birth for the dead;
Therefore over the inevitable
Thou shouldst not grieve.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2

Thou shouldst not grieve. I suggest we dance.

Channelling Samuel Beckett August 31, 2006

Posted by Mark Folse in Odds&Sods, quotes, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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I write about myself with the same pencil

and in the same exercise book as about him.

It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.

Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)

Thanks to V of One Particular Wave for this one.

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