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anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain


chase a girl one amber day, we eight year olds,
run her breathless to ground and pin her
by the shoulders, gasping in a new panic.
something stronger than hate has us and we are cast out.
Only our dogs, with questions for eyes, forgive us and follow us
nobly east of Eden.

we steal cars- bottles of Rolling Rock hid thereby in a battered sideyard building with a push mower, rat tail files, a sledgehammer- maybe somebody’s sister Sherry keeps Old Golds in red scarves in a drawer and we smoke listening to Honey Hush, O Donna or Maybe Baby, and the trestle is icy. God walks over the river valley, smashing kids with a fist. Fords and Pontiacs skid through guardrails, fall like bombs into the deep. We climb the water tower behind Home Market. The soul is wearied and fatigued by its desires, desires disturb it, allowing it not to rest in any place or in any thing soever.

East of Eden
The fossil of a monster shark, a 30 footer, is found where I play so why izzit called the New World? It’s as old as everywhere, as vicious.

I go to the movies with love for the curly breastless girls my age.
The bus down High Street powered by overhead electric wires that spark.
Accordion doors fold, you climb up, nine years old,
a plated grasshopper with sticky legs rides your sleeve,
a burr on your sock, you know? The hot dime in your fist?
God in the quarry drowns deadcold 3 kids, kills a family in a Mercury towed to the Shell where I go after school to see real guts on it in sun in those days with no visible shores.

Time still exists in the Kingdom of God…

…before the originary explosion is discovered that kills God, HE of the two lanes, the chocolate phosphate, brick streets, desk lids, the coal furnace and “time.” God is currently a particle that weighs 2 billionth of an ounce, relatively heavy, and glues together all mass. Time is currently printed in the circuitry of chips or captured by zeds and naughts or quantum cosmology or lost in quantum fuzz and both god and time’s qualities are finite, depictable (time’s curved), and surrendered, like the planet, to finitudes and explanation and scale.

Mystics think otherwise. John of the Cross: The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.The soul has to proceed rather by unknowing than knowing.

The poem/chart of this particular bliss is so minimally written, with many more spaces in white silence than black for voice. Byrd writes, that is, what is not song for Voice Two and when.
William Byrd’s Mass for four Voices, the Agnus Dei. Sung by the Choir of Christ Church, Oxford.

Standing outside the high school where my older brother went years later, beautiful girls like the Lane sisters, in movies like Daughters Courageous.
Movie people speak in black and white.
“Ya mug.”
“She was bad, Ma, bad clear through.”
“Aw, scram, squirt.”
“Gee but I think you’re swell, Tommy.”
“Say, I oughta…”
“Why, if you wasn’t Trina’s brother I’d–”
“You’d what?”

Americans defend themselves with brazen lunacy, antic happiness.

And Tuesday Weld.

“For Simone Weil, the beauty which is inherent in the form of the world…is the proof that the world points to something beyond itself; it establishes the essentially telic character of all that exists.”

Harold Brodkey writes that Marlon Brando “taught me how to be a man.” This is a shattering embarrassment because it is so true. Brando is surely puzzled-he has, in his Nebraska self, done nothing. Bought an island, made faces, learned Tahiti French-why are we all following him around?
Brando is to war babies this: How To Be.

I mean, nobody cares, but I’m always thinking Terry Malloy, Red Hook, Edie.

Aaron Copland – Piano Concerto Part 2
Earl Wild and the Symphony of the Air conducted by Aaron Copland

A fog softens volumes, rain sequins vines, the wind pushes a glissando over meadows which break like seas. Train horn. My blue Crayon drags a corruscated line, loopily roping out “alinasorellalinaaaalll alina sorrell”

schoolgirls smell of hay in summer and flower-soap in the school halls and are wiser than I.

People are evil and do miraculous things.
The less they understand the further they penetrate into the night of the spirit.

Contemplation, by which the intellect has a higher knowledge of God, is called mystical theology, meaning the secret wisdom of God. St. Dionysius calls contemplation a ray of darkness.

Rays of darkness issue from the green and golden grounds here, truly. Harding’s Sanitarium, the insane asylum, above, a block from the diamond where I play baseball in a green hat with the bill rolled. Steam locomotives and Pullman cars sit on the tracks of a railroad museum near.

14 years old, I’m thinking the sanitarium has crazy girls, Lilliths, gimlet eyes ablaze, wanton as dolphins or sirens, or something
almost as good-an ax murderer, a cannibal, someone terrifying and magical to escape.
(God is long gone now), you have those who’ve lost the plot, the narrative thread of chair door cloud. Those who maunder, drool, shit themselves, stare, bite you, and pray.

My mother’s father, dapper, lean, freckled, an executive in the vest and French cuffs, he forgets who he is and they take him there.

Prayer and insanity. They all pray, those who can do more than bruble. Visiting, I hear:”Chapter Thirteen Verse Three Desire to imitate Christ, do the most difficult, the harshest, the less pleasant, the unconsoling, the lowest and most despised, want nothing, look for the worst.”

I’m like, Yes.

End of Summer in Salinas, Kansas, or Worthington, Ohio. It’s hot.

In that humid pause, Labor Day, before the the escalating ceremonies of the Fall, the longer dark of nights and the fox-nip air, harvest, dew, frost, god is farthest from the care of anyone. I wait happily then. Happiest in that absence.

Neewollah. Picnic.

To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing;
to lose the life you have for greater life;
to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving;
to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth——Whereon the pillars of this earth are founded,
toward which the conscience of the world is tending—a wind is rising, and the rivers flow.

-Thomas Wolfe

We keep coming back and coming back
To the real: to the hotel instead of the hymns
That fall upon it out of the wind. We seek
The poem of pure reality, untouched
By trope or deviation, straight to the word,
Straight to the transfixing object, to the object
At the exactest point at which it is itself,
Transfixing by being purely what it is
A view of New Haven, say, through the certain eye,
The eye made clear of uncertainty, with the sight
Of simple seeing, without reflection. We seek
Nothing beyond reality.
– Wallace Stevens, from An Ordinary Evening in New Haven

John O’Hara first. He knows small towns like mine, like Worthington, as Updike knows Shillington. O’Hara, after A Child’s Garden of Verse, My Book House, E.B. White, comic books, The Prisoner of Zenda.

One Summer it’s Roth–Letting Go, When She Was Good–and Updike.

I read Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues and On The Road and love this girl who lives in the Methodist Orphanage in other girls’ clothes, with nothing of her own. Cat hazel eyes and newpenny hair, bright as pans.

You are a hidden God. Neither is the awareness of your nearness testimony of your presence, nor is a lack a reflection of your absence.

Alina Institutional

The slender shadow in the tired day
writes her diary in porch shade.
“From hell, nothing nothing again to say
Signed, Alina Sorell”

A Crazed Girl

THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea.’



Alina’s bleeding and the colors
are leeched from out the fields
and river by anemic sun, and
she coaxes me to let her see the
blackface sheep, whose biddy-ish
croaks and coughs on the farm’s
bright sky make her laugh white
breath from her parka hood lined
with fur.

That The Night Come

SHE lived in storm and strife,
Her soul had such desire
For what proud death may bring
That it could not endure
The common good of life,
But lived as ’twere a king
That packed his marriage day
With banneret and pennon,
Trumpet and kettledrum,
And the outrageous cannon,
To bundle time away
That the night come.





School bus grinds with we white kids politey staring at nothing but silence in silence. Spiritual persons suffer great trials from the fear of being lost on the road and that God has abandoned them…

…the desires in them all cause greater emptiness and hunger. I confess, to the consolations of the Presbyterian church on my village Green, The Greek Church in Venice, Santa Trinita in Florence…

Hemingway. At his worst he’s better than anyone else. He’s not a spirit or influence that can be rated, but more like Edison. Ford. Orville and Wilbur. Picasso and Braque. A collosol re-inventin from the ground up.

The Orphanage, the insane asylum, the Dairy Queen, the Water Tower, the police station, the library on the green with churches and behind the oldest, a tiny graveyard with plots from the 1700’s. I see them from the window of my elementary school, a bower in whiskey light for Halloween, blue pines, mossy slabs.

‘Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it.
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.’

My first story appears, the magazine’s in the library, I tell the librarian, my old middle school English teacher, and she’s not happy, but sighs in smothered fury. Snow pads the hills and the wind burns. Had to be a terrifying moment when god or gods stopped talking to us; some human saying, no, that’s an explicable storm, lightning, rain, and that is an eclipse caused by this and so–
Well, then, what is HE saying? Where? It’s quiet. Nothing. Nothing. Crazy people and mystics learned to hear god in the wintry absence, in the nothingness.

In remaining unattached, a person is unencumbered and free to love all rationally and spiritually.

There is form in the unpainted parts as well those worked, just as music is between the audible bits as much as in sound, or utterance in the white, the silent spaces. So. Is writing where it is not? The soul must be attached to nothingness.

NEVER talk about what you “were after.” The true subject of any work of prose or verse is the degree and severity of the author’s ineptitude.

town where the library and post office have WPA art–you think Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton,The Ashcan School and spaces where I understood that Frost is as metaphysically complex, as sunstruck and dazzling as Stevens.

A Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.


Niagara is pivotal movie-the run up to films such as L’Avventura-the scariest film because truest and deceptive as Robert Frost or a Hitchcock, as it seems cheerfully to be one dark narrative with a comprehensible end but veers to address gorgeous heart-stopping disaster, the panic that shadows life in postwar USA, some leftover WW2 psychosis, that is, panic, deep and fatal doubts, adrenaline panic raging near the happy summer trees, the honeymoon cabins, Jean Peter’s wonderful legs. Not a monster loose,(the killer is so alluring she turns Poe inside out), but a monstrous nature, a fall, or, like the color of Marilyn Monroe’s dress: just strange new blood in our bodies–Catastrophe State Park. Two countries joined in the erotic drowning from the inexorable plunge.

vertigo the family is in san francisco and carmel and pebble beach the year the exteriors were shot for the film

This achieved, the soul will be joined with the Beloved in a union of simplicity and purity and love and likeness. #3. In the night of sense there is yet some light, because the intellect and reason remain and suffer no blindness.

the film is as i remember the place-San Francisco–and a spillover from Picnic….and the midwest…Kim Novak plays the character in the film, who has been hired to run a con, by playing a magical seductress, one who believes she is the incarnation of past magical tragic seductress, but this judy in vertigo confesses her role in the con, and says she’s just a girl from salinas, kansas–where in real life novack filmed picnic—a glimpse of the postmodern future —

that future being pyscho–and this frame presages everything in psycho–angle, old house, haunted room, steps, mysterious woman, inept detective, shocks, murders, adolescence over, werewolves loose, taking acid and living a refinement on the beat life in SF

the view was straight down from here

My older brother Don, me, birch trees and sun

The soul must be annihilated or any pleasure would introduce noise into the deep silence so it may not hear the delicate voice of God in this secret place.

the dog was a black faced german shepherd named ricky like so

Because wisdom pleased you more than any other thing…I give you everything.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

from Stevenson

Sparks like a partridge covey,
Like the “ciocco”, brand struck in the game.
“Et omniformis”: Air, fire, the pale soft light.
Topaz I manage, and three sorts of blue;
but on the barb of time.
The fire? always, and the vision always,
Ear dull, perhaps, with the vision, flitting
And fading at will. Weaving with points of gold,
Gold-yellow, saffron… The roman shoe, Aurunculeia’s
And come shuffling feet, and cries “Da nuces!
“Nuces!” praise, and Hymenæus “brings the girl to her man”
Or “here Sextus had seen her.”
Titter of sound about me, always.
and from “Hesperus…”
Hush of the older song: “Fades light from sea-crest,
“And in Lydia walks with pair’d women
“Peerless among the pairs….”

Pound-from The Cantos

Older bro, Don Reese, Dick Reese, Me, South Street, September 1949

There was a radio in the living room.
I kept fucking up.

cold sun blue leaves

snow unfurls and drives

A cold creek split the deep woods, cutting a deep ravine, and burbling and clear and you saw crayfish and followed it all along down to old houses in Riverlea.

Or you went uptown to the New England Inn

Which has been gentrified and is where people in my family have gone for wedding receptions, holiday meals, after the funerals of brothers, mothers, fathers; it’s a site of things/feelings too large now, for me. I don’t want to go in and wrote it all away in a short story.

And I say to you someone will remember us
In time to come….

He needs help, needs another human, a strong competent human to come for him and save him or at least someone to notice that he was alive and is now dying. He’s not embarrassed about screaming or the girls hearing him or older ladies. He calls for his own long-dead mother. If I have to die can’t somebody just notice? At least that? Paul thinks about how cold is the water gagging him and wonders who is squeezing his chest so mightily and these are his last rational thoughts.

The fire begins to take hold of the soul in this night of painful contemplation. The understanding is in darkness.

Saturday morning, senior in high school. “Pay no attention to anything which your faculties can grasp. You should never desire satisfaction in what you understand about God, but in what you do not understand about Him.”


No one’s despair is like my despair–

You have no place in this garden
thinking such things, producing
the tiresome outward signs; the man
pointedly weeding an entire forest,
the woman limping, refusing to change clothes
or wash her hair.

Do you suppose I care
if you speak to one another?
But I mean you to know
I expected better of two creatures
who were given minds: if not
that you would actually care for each other
at least that you would understand
grief is distributed
between you, among all your kind, for me
to know you, as deep blue
marks the wild scilla, white
the wood violet.
Louise Gluck

Triumphs are correct. They are lightning and thunder. “Great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within.”
Edith Hamilton

my motorcycle-almost exactly. TR650cc Competition Model with crossover pipes. I had no business with such a good bike.

I drank blood dark Chimay, the Belgian Trappist Monk Ale with the ceramic and wire stopper and Mouton Cadet and God appeared to bite the heads off kids and pour rain on lilacs…car plunged into a wall….I no longer knew anything, and lost the herd which I was following.

drive ins

rave on

Snow poured on the gray backroads in the black headlights. We got Little Richard, Lucille, Sally Go ‘Round the Roses. I fucked up so did Carol S., Sherry B., Jackie U., and the girl who got her license first and was a nurse.

I’ll just say, They are our movies. Ours. When people lost interest, the theaters were ghostly, when they sold the lots and boarded the soundstages out in the orange groves, still. We claimed them, my girl and I, at the North High Drive-in, in cornfields with a rising moon and setting sun.

Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould wrote Bach playing it.

I grew up, who cares? and once lived at The Chateau Marmont and The Roosevelt Hotel and went to the studio to write all day…

I had a room at The Roosevelt and the studio sent over a computer and printer, then moved to a room at the Chateau, then a bungalow there–a ranch house really, with a little plane of yard like a ledge above Sunset Strip, behind hedges and the back of a billboard for a Joel Silver film, with a garden Humphrey Bogart started when he lived in the house for a while and where I’d shave in the bathroom with a straight razor and strop and bowl of suds I’d whip up with a badger hair brush while smoking the cigarette, balancing it on the pink porcelain sink–they tear down MGM, fuck up the Chinese Theater forever and build duplicates in Florida…nothing marks HERE was Republic Studios where Citizan Kane was shot and later Desilu and now a guy from Ohio with a reallly clean shave is loose. You won’t hear anything like protest in the canted dark rows, the theater/classrooms. Who Cares?
Going onto the Paramount lot to get my paycheck–the wire transfer was screwed, never mind–it was like a quiet campus with quads, people in golf carts, a bronze Cecil B. DeMille instead of a distinguished dean, a weighted stillness–into a newly painted wooden building, Payroll, with wooden stairs, and going up I passed framed pictures of past employees of the month: Martin and Lewis, Bob Hope, Marlon Brando.

Photography is not an art: Nobody accidentally writes a great novel, story, poem. Accidentally does a great drawing. A photographer takes 120,000 pictures with lenses, light stands, F-stops, shutter speeds, and doesn’t get close to the poignant everyday accidental snap of this girl before history took her.

Photography is not an art, but a craft or accident or machinery of record and memory. This one is about loss and anatomy.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Chapter 25

Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Hair: brown. Lips: scarlet.
Age: five thousand three hundred days.
Profession: none, or “starlet”

Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 10

Eliahu Inbal, conductor
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
30 June 2011

GIOTTO Ascention of John the Evangelist. c. 1313/14. Fresco. Peruzzi Chapel, Church of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy.


Weil was born in Paris to Alsatian agnostic Jewish parents.

Her father was a doctor.

Giotto is her painter.

Her only sibling was André Weil, who would go on to become one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century.

She suffered throughout from severe headaches, sinusitis, and poor physical coordination, and spared no scrutiny to these in her philosophical writings.

Gabriella Fiori writes that Weil was “a moral genius in the orbit of ethics, a genius of immense revolutionary range.”

Weil was a precocious student, proficient in ancient Greek by the age of 12.

Like the Renaissance thinker, Pico della Mirandola, her interests were in transcendent wisdom.

In her teens she studied at the Lycée Henri IV.

Weil finished first in the entrance examination for the École Normale Supérieure; Simone de Beauvoir finished second.

Weil was called the “Red virgin” even “The Martian.”

It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.

It has to face the men of the time and to meet

The women of the time. It has to think about war

And it has to find what will suffice. It has

To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage,

And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and

With meditation, speak words that in the ear,

In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,

Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound

Of which, an invisible audience listens,

Not to the play, but to itself, expressed

In an emotion as of two people, as of two

Emotions becoming one

Weil condemned idiot boys for chasing down girls, for their greedy bullying curiosity, for the damage these boys did to their victom forever, for being able to imagine the damage, for thinking about nothing–which is an art–for regretting the resulting impotence, the revenge of angels.

She studied philosophy, receiving her Agrégation diploma in 1931.

Weil taught philosophy at a secondary school for girls.

Most of the writing for which she is known was published posthumously.

In 1942, she traveled to the USA, living briefly in New York City.

Weil died in August 1943 from cardiac failure at the age of 34.


William James, the Lectures describe the problem of truth as deeply personal;at bottom the principle of non-contradiction is a principle of grammar.

One can never give a proof of the reality of anything.

For Weil, both self and world are constituted only through action upon the world.

Absence is the key image for her metaphysics, cosmology, cosmogeny, and theodicy. She believed that God created by an act of self-delimitation.

Be the opposite of what is holy.

Weil’s concept of affliction (“malheur”) goes beyond simple suffering; it is the pearl of the silence of God.


For Weil, “The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible.”

For Weil, beauty is inherent in the form of the world (this is proven, for her, in geometry, and expressed in all good art.)

“Beauty captivates the flesh in order to obtain permission to pass right to the soul.”

Divine reality behind the world invades our lives. Where affliction conquers us with brute force, beauty topples the empire of the self from within.

My teacher, John Hawkes (August 17, 1925 – May 15, 1998), American novelist.

“I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.”


My ‘place of clear water,’
the first hill in the world
where springs washed into
the shiny grass

and darkened cobbles
in the bed of the lane.
Anahorish, soft gradient
of consonant, vowel-meadow,

after-image of lamps
swung through the yards
on winter evenings.
With pails and barrows

those mound-dwellers
go waist-deep in mist
to break the light ice
at wells and dunghills.
Seamus Heaney