Tuesday, June 22, 2021

NOTEBOOK PAGE

For Norman Dubie 

 

By mid-summer a crest of interest in cider and code. A proxy named William shall be raised to the sky whose designation is now the Consummate Irrigation of Sorbet. The votive-name shall be a whispered glottal stop and all meat shall be quartered, potatoes halved, puddings poured then cooled into foundation blocks. Erotic mythologies shall by means of increased levies see improvement and national pride attached thereby to newer graceful shuntings. And so go down to the ships. Meanwhile, all girls perform engineering calculations, while boys under subtle duress move about the kitchen in heels and tight rhetorical skirts. The elders find themselves banned from uttering the phrase “for the sake of solids, gasses, liquids, and plasma.” Mandatory diaries the only literary form permitted. Haphazard entry-scrawl made punishable by lash. 


Feb. 7th : Dreamt of venturing. 

Feb. 9th:  Looked for residuum.  

Feb. 10th : Tree planting below thunder. Wore thrift-store khakis.

March 2nd: A bird. Coo coo! Coo coo!

March 5th:  Wore fedora and serge vest. Pitiless is the sun. Lost 

                                        a shovel. 

                                                        Found a shovel.


And in cheerless cavities of the Blind Consortium of the Low Fowle University scholars dim as talcum settles. A frantic, funicular hummingbird gutters like a candle in the garage with broken windows. The gods of the north have finally fallen asleep. They wear tunics bloodied by red muds from the long trench. 

 


 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Prose Abandoned at Some Point I Do Not Remember

 

On Nothing and the Non-Political: a Satirical Amusement in Associative Criticism 

 

I would like to say that I have nothing to say but Mr. J. Cage (Pomona Collage, DNF) in his Harvard lecture of 1964, has already done that. He went there on that occasion, on  that day in that month of that year,  to say nothing and that is precisely what he said,  that nothing. Or he went there to say the something he did say about the nothing that he wanted to say but was said anyway by its not being said. One wonders. Everything is political, even the non-political. Which is to say that being political is one of the most ideologically freighted ways of being non-political. The distinction between the political and the non-political has yet to be established, though it should be as there must surely be things which are non-political: an apple, a shoelace a shaft of sunlight with dust twirling, to suggest some few candidates. However, if they are political - that is, they are not non-political - then where should we place them on the political spectrum. And what of the spectrum itself: that too must be political and if it is where would the spectrum place itself, politically speaking, on the spectrum. (It has long been a suspicion that for the left all is political,  whereas for the right nothing is political other than the left's insisting all is political even the non-political.) 

There is a branch of contemporary philosophical thought – or should I say ‘philosophical textuality’ – that posits the impossibility of thought beyond language understood in its most basic sense. We’ll not visit that understanding here because if we did we would surely find ourselves far from the subject of this lecture. Which has, I concede, not been sketched yet in a compelling or meaningful way but has been presented as something sensed, something about which most thinking people would already have encountered in the nature of an ‘inkling’ – that is, something made by an anecdotal awareness. Thought then, and language then, and the political then, and the nothing from which the political adheres as a necessary condition of textuality that contradicts its very possibility. The possible is just that: it is that which holds hands with the impossible. We shall not come back to this point; however, we shall refer to it when need requires we do so. Philosophy begs certain silences as a means to allow the moving forwards or backwards, however it moves: one image that seems useful is that of a spinning cup in which people are set and strapped and disoriented for various purposes: one of which is a crude sensory delight. Not all find such delightful, but many do. I do not. Age does things to the inner ear. 

The political again, and the non-political. But what of the not-political: nature surely in its actions can be said at least to provide a confirmation of the famous Freudian flexibility: a cigar and nothing more than a cigar.  People are political but it is always another who sees the political there and such seeing is as if in advance of a strict judgement coming, a florid and cruel condemnation.

The non-political as distinct from the not-political: is this a worthwhile distinction to worry about. Health care is a worry, but that distinction – non or not – well, it hardly seems to matter for some. I would suggest, as a start, that the matter be viewed merely as an assumption that guides the game of language in the direction of a certain textuality. Marx and Engel’s in the Communist Manifesto – an agitated political textuality, no matter one’s own political inhibitions – has in it a lyrical yearning after an end to certain sorrows – poverty, gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth, unfairness in the possibilities presented to those who work without shoes and those who have closets full of shoes 

And bells ring from the white clapboard church

High on the bare hill shaped like a covenant stone

And voices ring from out of the fog

And thunder rolls its great cart out of the East

And wild coats soar   

And the cost of an orange made impossible

And the young man yearns to hold the hand of the young woman

And the helicopter readies its guns

And swift boats their small canon

And the cemetery awaits the political and non-political alike

And no one cares about the not-political

And one age is the invention of another

And huts beckon as we near 

 

I would say that I have nothing to say, the venerable Mr. J. Cage once said, in a lecture delivered at Harvard in 1964 – in truth, I have no idea what school Cage delivered his lecture (was it a lecture?) nor the year. I have attempted to say nothing too but have failed because in saying certain empty things I might very well have said one or two things of substance. Forgiveness, dear reader, is sought, kindness wrought. 

 

FIN

 

Friday, April 2, 2021

A NEW POEM (Work-in-Progress): Jon Cone

 

Home: an essayy

 

And that was that, lines drawn. Therein sections of land for family or families. It gives what is fruitful the land of apportions.  

And they cunningly made no writ to stand on. 

The great waters can never be assigned, nor the sky nor sun nor moon nor stars, nor the land the portion of the body of our Mother. No people shall have advantage over any other.

A rod is 16 ½ feet. A chain is 66 feet or 4 rods or 100 links. A link being 7.92 inches. A mile is 320 rods, 80 chains, or 5,280 feet. A square rod is 272 ¼ square feet. An acre contains 43,560 square feet. And an acre contains 100 square rods. And an acre is more or less 208 ¾ feet square. An acre is 8 rods wide by 20 rods long or any two numbers (of rods) whose product is 160 and so forth.

A sectional map of a township with adjoining sections. Such land, such rich soil, a veritable Eden!   

Odysseus the sea’s surveyor, cunning reader of maps he returned home from exile by labyrinthine route.  The memory of my father’s stutter is a threshold forever linked in my mind to the idea of home.  My mother asking my father to sing, “Oh sing for me Peter you’ve a lovely voice.” And rough as an old nail he sang.

And the farm called Magiscroft comprising a large white house with green trim, a smaller white cottage with rose trim, a garage, a barn, a chicken coop no longer used. The land fenced, including a gentle creek and small pond. The pond that would freeze in winter. The children would skate and chase each other with long branches and sticks.

Having no home, having been born in a village, having been taken from that village at the age of six months, having crossed the Atlantic, having entered the St. Lawrence, passing through Montreal to Toronto to Richmond Hill to Guelph to London, having felt unease a permanent condition of living – a poverty of the soul.

And Saint Thomas the Patron saint of surveyors who watched over the sectioning of the land West of the Mississippi

And the prophet Ezekiel sacred draughtsman and homeowner:   

That I too have been at home somewhere anywhere                                               along the coast looking seaward or pinned or resting inland -                                  by the creek I gazed upward at floes of cloud -                                                    this is the mind at leisure

                                                On Mill Pond in January the children gathered in skates to play a rolling game of ice hockey.  Shovels brought from home in the event of heavy snow the ice would need clearing. The mill unused for 157 year [sic].

 

In winter boys hoped to see girls out walking. How sun-lit a smile on a clear winter day …

          The same clouds that exist within the life span of droplets                         for ten minutes, familiar not familiar, moving west so trees with their familiar bend                                                   

Never before seen old faces moving homeward where families wait and one would hope love for the taking and giving and the young man could take a young wife only upon demonstrating he could build a roof

 

And waking early to see stars

And making coffee in the kitchen ship-wrecked from night before

And falling in love and then taking forty years to fall out of love

That is a cruelty of no one’s invention nonetheless a cruelty

Don't be deceived there are no victors in such case 

The only importance is to throw one’s physical self into the air from the hay loft to feel suspended in an infinity of ultimate finitude and later the sun on one’s head bent over the thrill of the creek's blazing strangeness 

The people of that land knew one day the gate would come down  

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A New Dream Song Newly Discovered

 

A DISCOVERED NEITHER FIT FOR DREAM NOR SONG       for J.B. who killed himself jumping off a bridge in Minneapolis, MN 

                                                                                                                

 

He seemed plastered, swell - ever the person well worth listening to: his slow bronchial tenor rolling in like fog. He puff-stopped, half-swiped his brow. Adjusted coke-bottle frames. He kept notes which he then lost. “Mother said …” he didn’t complete the thought.                                        

No toothbrush near his person. One suspects his tooth despaired. One suspects him guilty of an interest in swinging. Sodom! Gomorrah! His magnificent head   he somehow tilted heavenward    so as to consider invisible gusts and cool developments in jazz.  “Play chess?”                                                                                    “I do.” [One hic two hic.]                                                                          They play on deck under blankets.                                                                     “Scholar’s mate! [Three hic.] Oh, good God, how ridiculous!” [Four.]                                                                                                                     

How plaster tenor teeth despaired Eh?     magnificent head somehow:  Huffy Henry hid the day     huffy Henry dead.

 

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Pound: a variation of line and theme


An intricate engine for producing                                                                         bird-song & glass globes of                                                                                      Byzantium £6 per unit cost                                                                              

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Few Words on Wright's Introduction to Buson:Haiku (Tavern, 2011)


Franz Wright provides a strange little introduction to his small collection of translations based on the haiku of Buson. I say it is strange because he hardly mentions Buson at all. He refers to Basho and Shakespeare. (They were not contemporaries, though both occupied the 17th century: Shakespeare in the first half and Basho in the second.) He refers to Dante, who ‘wandered’ his own country, as did Basho his. Wright reminds us, Dante did not do so ‘voluntarily’.

As Basho wandered – not Buson – ancient Japan (a “difficult and gorgeous country”) he used the haiku form to record experience, to function one imagines as a kind of greeting card for establishing community along the way and for making sense of living itself.  Then Basho died.

In the history of Japanese literature, Buson is a later arrival. About Buson, Wright is less than forthcoming, noting only that he was a “wonderfully gifted disciple of Basho” and left behind “a very beautiful body of work all his own.”

For me, Wright’s small collection of Buson remains much cherished to this day, as it makes the perfect companion for a cafe on a rainy afternoon.



Tavern Books:  https://www.tavernbooks.org/


Thank you for supporting the small and independent press. 

Jon Cone 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Version



From The BOOK OF ISAIAH 39: 1-8 


Hezekiah of Judah had been gravely ill but survived.                                  The king of Babylon sent a delegation to Hezekiah.                       They took a letter written by the king himself and a gift                                            which he’d personally selected. 
Hezekiah showed the Babylonian delegation his house                                   and the precious things therein. The silver, the gold.                                      The spices, the rare and expensive ointments. The adornments.                                                 The house and his dominion over the house. Hezekiah showed it all.
When Isaiah the prophet son of Amoz next met Hezekiah                        he asked: “Who were those men and where did                                                            they come from?”    
Hezekiah told Isaiah:                                        “They were a delegation come                                                                   from Babylon.”               


Isaiah asked: “What did you show them?”
“The house and everything precious within the house.                                       The silver, the gold. The spices, the rare and expensive ointments.                 The adornments.  All that is in the house, I showed them.             And my dominion over all.”

Then Isaiah the prophet said:                                                 
           “Hear these words    from the Lord of Hosts. The day nears                                                  when
all that is in your house, all that your fathers gathered up and laid in store, will be
taken from you


                                              and carried to Babylon, so that nothing precious                                  will be found in your house. Nothing                                           
will remain.”


“And your sons yet to be, those you will beget,                        they shall be taken from you, and they shall be made                              eunuchs in the court of the king of Babylon.”
Hezekiah replied to Isaiah:                                                              “Good are the words you have spoken.                                            Surely there will be peace and understanding                              
all the days of my life.”

John Constable Landscape at Hampstead - Tree and Storm Clouds painting -  Landscape at Hampstead - Tree and Storm Clouds print for sale



--- A free adaptation of chapter 39 from the Book of Isaiah.  My approach is based upon a reading of that text as found in the  King James Version.  I also consulted the New Oxford Annotated Bible/New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (Oxford, 2010).   The lineation above does not conform to my original intentions. I tried to match what I'd written on my computer screen before copying it into the blog post above, finding ultimately that I could not do so.  If you are a poet you will know how inhospitable e-blogger is to the creative use of space and unconventional employment of line. The poet is no less burdened by pain than any other person in this wretched age, but there are irritations peculiar to the efforts of writing a poem: situating a poem on a blog is one such irritation. Perhaps one day the activities of the poet will be given a measure of accommodation in this matter. 


Saturday, May 16, 2020

BORDERLINE CITIZEN: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood by Robin Hemley (University of Nebraska Press, 2020).


Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood ...

Robin Hemley's "Borderline Citizen" is a wide-ranging, engrossing collection of essays that combines memoir, travel, history, political analysis, and personal meditation. Throughout these thirteen essays, Hemley wrestles with questions of national identity, patriotism (and its ugly relative: jingoism), the love of place that persists even within histories of evil, and the confusions that arise when boundaries align according to the most arbitrary of motives and understandings. It describes visits to exclaves, enclaves, land swaps, refugee camps, far-flung possessions, graveyards, and dizzyingly complex (and sometimes tense) borders.  It provides a description of the Russian city of Kaliningrad, which was once the Prussian city of Königsberg, whose most enduring son remains the philosopher Immanual Kant. (His afternoon perambulations were reputedly regular enough for the housewives of that city to set their clocks upon seeing him.)  It describes a visit to Cuba, and a meeting of American college students with an African-American activist living in exile because of accusations of various crimes. 
Let me distill several essays. The Netherlands and Belgium share what Hemley calls “the most unusual border in the world”, known as ‘the Baarles’: there twenty-pieces of Belgian territory can be found within the Netherlands, and seven pieces of Dutch jurisdiction nestle snugly within Belgian arms. The result is mostly comedic. (I say ‘mostly’ because one tragedy is recounted that lends a somber note to an otherwise charming chord.) Another excursion finds Hemley traveling to the border between India and Bangladesh, where people from exclaves of both countries were brought home by an elaborate land swap. The return of citizens to their home countries sounds like it should produce an unmitigated positive end. Alas, like most well-intentioned endeavors there are bumps in the road: refugee camps that continue as of the publication of this book.
The trip to the Falkland Islands (Isla Malvinas) is an experience with  colonial overreach. An archipelago off the southern coast of Argentina, the Falkland Islands persist to this day as hard, desolate lands that stake an almost ghostly connection to the motherland. Here Britishness seems ossified, a strange 19th century remnant that bears little resemblance to contemporary Britain. The majority of Falklanders are island born and that is where their real allegiance lies. It is here, too, that Hemley encounters a menace present just below the surface of civil encounter.   One breathes a sigh of relief when he leaves those antiquated prides and furies behind.
Finally, Hemley provides a wonderful meditation on graveyards, which he enjoys visiting. Perhaps graveyards are the ultimate exclaves, or maybe enclaves. It’s hard to determine how we should classify the individual plots one finds there. A catalog of graveyards is presented and the distinctions made bring to my mind both Borges and Benjamin. The meditation leaves us with those gardens where the dead are everywhere in beauty – in the best examples – and in strifeless communion.  
****

Recommended for: travelers, memoirists, history buffs; those interested in unusual locales, politics, international affairs, global studies; readers of  creative-non-fiction, and professors preparing syllabi for a wide range of college courses.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

AN ICE CREAM TRUCK STALLED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD: plays by Rauan Klassnik and Jon Cone

Ice Cream Truck Cover

Above is the cover of the collection of plays that I co-wrote with Rauan Klassnik, and which was published by Plays Inverse (2020). If you enjoy the works of Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Antonin Artaud, Alfred Jarry, Gertrude Stein, and so on, then these plays will have much to offer.

Here is the link to purchase this volume:
http://www.playsinverse.com/catalog/icecream.html

The cost of  our collection is modest. The volume is attractively designed. And the small press world is a tremendous source for new and exciting works of prose, poetry, and graphic arts.

Thank you for helping the small press remain a vital force.





Friday, December 6, 2019

Poem

ON MY FEVER BED

I've heard rumors 

Monday, May 6, 2019

FROM THE LATIN

I would rather admire  
your collection 

of antique skull-lamps 

Friday, March 29, 2019

COLD HOUSE: my latest chapbook

Hello,

Please consider purchasing my most recent collection COLD HOUSE  from Espresso_Chapbooks, (Toronto, Ont., 2017).



Here is the link to their web-site:

http://www.espresso-chapbooks.com/current.html

Thank you for supporting the small press.

Jon Cone


Monday, March 18, 2019

COME TO ABERDEEN FOR A WEE JOB




Alas I whorled but I'm an alcoholic fuck                                       who has cancer and no money and can barely leave 
the hovel where I live to walk to the end of way                         to pick up the body of nail that each day tells of                     
my growing debt without surcease by any known horizon

Sunday, February 17, 2019

POEM


We tusk the hours, we shed, we blaze, 
we pig. And so the sense hardens, 
becomes obsidian deep in our souls, 
but there are no souls, there is none -- 

but they do exist, another says, 
leagued with this being which is catastrophe, 
which is always the same ceaseless state 
of breaking, of falling, graveling down 

to ravine the hoard-waters that glide 
there, that flay. Flowers, 
open and deliquescent, that bend. 
Grasses that move. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

PLAYS INVERSE ANNOUNCEMENT: FORTHCOMING

Here's an announcement from Plays Inverse.

Visit their website: 

http://www.playsinverse.com/catalog.html




Thank you for supporting the small, independent press.

Jon Cone 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

THE EDICTS

There shall be no murder on Sunday.                              There shall be no murder by stone.
There shall be no murder by blade.
There shall be no murder by toxin.
There shall be no murder by fang.
There shall be no murder by claw.
There shall be no murder by dirt.
There shall be no murder by demolition. 
There shall be no murder by wasting.
There shall be no murder by tree.
There shall be no murder by flood.
There shall be no murder be destitution.
There shall be no murder by fist.
There shall be no murder by fire. 

These edicts go on they go on.  
Unceasing flutes. 

Put that needle away, 
Das Kapital
                                    
The wing is 
the sonata at sunrise. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

FROM A WORK IN PROGRESS

A., the Estonian, was concerned about a letter he received from his publisher. Having little to do, I offered to help him with his problem, which offer A. immediately embraced. Posing as a psychiatrist, I wrote A.’s publisher a formal letter, suggesting he was clinically insane and therefore unpredictable. He could even be violent. Next day A. received a letter from his publisher in which the problems were dismissed. There were many assurances that A. would see his work published in accordance with his original intentions. No revisions or deletions were needed.  A. was overjoyed at this news. He offered to take me to dinner to show his appreciation. Gracefully, I accepted A.’s offer. However, I did insist we go to the most expensive restaurant in town, reminding A. – who was visibly crestfallen at my suggestion and as poor as I was -- that art always comes with a price.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

excerpt from August Diary

HEAVE THE SYCAMORE HO! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

excerpt from DIARY (DAILY NOTES)


August 29

I worked four hours this morning. Now what?
***
Last night I dreamt. Why should I remember my dream and, if remembered, why should I reveal it to you?
***
An awkward conversation became less awkward the more we grew bored with each other.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

THE LAND OF MILK AND WATER IN THE DREAM OF THE BABY AT BREAST

The impression is of an impression of
a bedroom blazing out of darkness, 
where at the outer edge
a toothless maid holds the hemp bag
that will receive the severed head.

Further on how large mother is,
a giantess: she who holds
her dead son on her lap, her thighs
two monuments hidden beneath folds 
             of Carrara marble. 

One dry season, in California, 
there were two children
who leaned into her, supported her,
and in turn were supported by her,
at her breast baby dreamt of the wishing-thunder
in the bowl of fruit at the bar 
and the blood-orange clay
polished clean for the compass eye.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fragment from an Introduction


The essays that follow celebrate. It is that which is their only goal. I have no interest in demonstrating the ultimate qualities of a superior understanding, nor in revealing the flaws a certain tempered investigation might uncover. Leave both of those results to minds more lambent than my own.  I am no critic, merely a human who happened to learn how to read in circumstances unexceptional. As for the essays themselves: let it be known, they were never begun and never ever occluded. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

POSTCARD




Sinatra croons                                                                                      from a Crown                                                                                      transistor radio                                                                                      with cloudy                                                                                          dial, while a Kent                                                                                  long-lasting burns                                                                                  in the barrel of a                                                                                    glass pistol

Friday, March 9, 2018

SONGS WE LISTENED TO AND (MOSTLY) LIKED




Cassandra liked “When It Rains It Pours” by Luke Combs.
Sarah liked “Greatest Love Story” by LANCO.
Alexis liked “Nocturne op. 9, no. 2” by Chopin.
Abdul liked “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton.
Collin liked “Dance of Life” by Peder B. Holland.
Jenna liked “Perfect Symphony” by Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli.
Domino liked (with reservations) “I Will Be Heard” by Hatebreed.
Sharon liked “Small Bump” by Ed Sheeran.
Anna liked “1-800-273-8255” by Logic.
Michael liked (with reservations) “Rockstar” by Post Malone.
Elizabeth liked “Never Say Goodbye” by the Flamingos.
Kristine liked “Sick of Me” by Beartooth.
Shelby liked “Could You Be Loved?” by Bob Marley.
Rochelle liked “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton.
O’shaughnessy liked “This Is How We Roll” by Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.
Geoffrey liked (with reservations) “Party in the Parking Lot” by Christ Gentry (feat. Raine).
Yvonne like “Turnadot” by Puccini.
Wendy liked “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell.
Stephanie liked (with reservations) “1-800-273-8255 by Logic.
Jannika liked “Still a Fool” by Muddy Waters.
Tammy liked “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin.
Feather did not like “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar.
Kristiana liked “Hero of War” by Rise Against.
Lakesha liked “Single Petal of a Rose [Ellington]” by Aaron Diehl.
Clarissa liked “Blue Ain’t Your Color” by Keith Urban.
Summer did not like “Without Me” by Eminem.








Sunday, March 4, 2018

A DRAFT, AN AMUSEMENT


                            
O BRIGHT ROUND BELL:   
a libretto for three voices and chorus in two acts

ACT THE FIRST
A desolate place.

FIRST VOICE:
Upon the bright round bell
The buried things that could not sleep
The sun did rise to warm the hills
Upon the bright round bell  


SECOND VOICE

Within the season first
Within the season last
By means of compass points

THIRD VOICE
The north 
The south
The east 
The west

FIRST VOICE

Within the realms of seasons
The world is found and found and found
Round a ground
Sounds abound



CHORUS
Round sounds bound aground
Abound around aground
The sound is deep and good
Good, good friend resound with all
All manner of sound and all manner of ground
And all manner of thing shall be well
Shall be well shall be shall be shall be shall be
And all manner shall be well
                            
THIRD VOICE:

We saw the clouds that caused us harm
We saw them bright and true
We saw the clouds of war that carried us away
And felt their solace too
In heavenly choral spheres within spheres
That turn in skies above us
Maps for heavenly skies
Oh, bright fiery latitudes
Tempests סֶלָה
Tempests סֶלָה
Tempests סֶלָה


FIRST VOICE:

We saw them saw them saw them
The land did meet the sky did meet the shore
Everything upon the land that met the sky
That leapt upon the shore to see
Tumultuous the seas
Read more »

Saturday, December 23, 2017

IT HAS COME TO THIS, THESE



This shall be the one I use. 
This, no other. 

Then this shall be the one I refuse. 

This, no other, I shall refuse. 

And this, and this, and this, these 

in the cumulation of small tolerations shall be set down
and their futures determined, 

in waves consonant with 

the turning nature of 
the world. That is, 

the seas above below within.  

Friday, November 24, 2017

POEM

for those who know pain

What did you,
what did you

do today? A
few, some two
or three,

radiances.