Monday, November 26, 2007

The Hearse Whisperer

1. Nearly every society has a creation myth, explaining how First Man and First Woman decided to set up housekeeping and make a go of things on their own.

2. Nearly every poet and writer has an awareness of an aha moment, in which the lot was drawn, the die cast, the shoe finally fit, the penny dropped, the realization hit.

3. Writers and poets are walking examples of people who want to get away from one world and into another of their own creation.

4. As is the case with wanderers, hunters and gatherers, poets and writers have some sense of being in or wanting to be in a mystical relationship with some force they perceive as extending beyond them, beyond such limiting concepts as time, space, and causation.

5. So far, there is nothing funny about any of this and there should be.

6. It is well known that there cannot be humor unless there is pretension or disaster or fear of death.

7. Okay. Now we have humor because poets and writers are pretending to get glimpses of truth, which they generously hope to pass on (for a royalty of course); their attempts to pass this information along go, as one poet put it, aft agley, or in more modern terms, FUBAR, and unless one has signed on as a jihadist, there is little enough known about death to set one's mind entirely at rest on the subject.

8. In our culture, there are corporate histories which are the modern equivalent of creation myths because the goal of the corporate history is to get us to invest in the corporation and vote proxies to the present board of directors, while in creation myths the goal is--hey!--the goal is to get us to invest in the corporation and vote proxies to the present board of directors.

9. This is not funny. Right?

10. Poets and writers, when not sticking to their own inner visions, can pick up a occasional Euro or two by writing Creation Myths for real societies and societies that don't exist. I mean, who better than a poet or writer? You're not going to trust some old scribe, are you?

11. Suppose everything that does not represent itself as fiction is really a prospectus for a creation myth?

12. This would make everything funny for about a third of all living persons, leaving a full two-thirds of the world population serious, bewildered, and trying to buy into the corporate history and its financial reports.

13. We know what happens when we get numbers like that: the Republicans order seconds.

14. That isn't as funny as what happens next: The Democrats confess to everything.

15. The Republicans filibuster The Sermon on the Mount, rendering it inoperable.

16. Schadenfreude becomes the new Patriot Act.

17. There is still fiction and poetry to guide us.

18. Thing is, we don't know where it will guide us.

19. All things are flowing, sage Heraclitus says/
And a tawdry cheapness shall outlast our days...

20. Fu I loved the high cloud and the hill.
Li Po died a drunk;
He tried to embrace the moon in the Yellow River

21. During one of his more coherent drunken invectives, Peter Wigham maintained that in order for a poet to achieve greatness, his or her work had to be something that someone knew from memory, precluding Ezra Pound from greatness.

22. "Bullshit, Peter," I said: The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

23. "Son of a bitch," Peter said.

24. Numbers 19 and 20 as well, I said.

25. Double son of a bitch, quoth Peter.

26. Maybe the Prophet was wrong about all being vanity. Maybe all is Creation Myth.

27. Poets and writers don't have solutions when they set forth.

28. Is the quest for a Unified Field Theory an earnest desire for a Creation Myth ?

29. Do you feel any different about Creation Myths now.

30. WTF was Peter Wigham?

31. He professed literature at UC Berkeley and later in life sold flowers at a Riley's stand on Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, CA.


R.L. Bourges said...

re corporate creation myths: in political circles (and advertising, but where's the difference?) the big thing is "storytelling". promises? Forget it. And don't bother the folks with balanced budgets or habeas corpus or...whatever. tell them stories 'cause that's all that matters - a good story.
some writers finally start telling stories when they realize that their lies are at least as true as everybody else's - and besides, they're more fun.

x said...

Blasted Blogger ate my comment again! And it was so funny. All about how Peter Wigham obviously got a promotion and how I so yearn for a Creation Myth I can believe in and how I still know nothing about nothing should go work at Riley's flower stand because at least I do know flowers smell good. Darn!

Lori Witzel said...

Synchronicity is icumen in, Laud sing cuckoo!

While walking with a colleague after work yesterday (or rather, in the interregnum between the work-day and the work-dusk) we discussed the fabulous mythologies one can find in business leadership books.

Re: 21. Thank goodness you shared 22, I was poised to jump in on Old Ez's behalf and get all up in Peter's precludings.

(That Dean must be a prickly character...)

And, one more: word verification is "aoltzy" which I'll define as the tiny fit of pique produced when AOL doesn't work as expected, and my sweet father-in-law calls my techie hubbie for advice.