Reading: Afterwards by Philip Schultz

Philip Schultz (b. 1945) won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry with a collection called ‘Failure’. To him, that failure referred to the relative failure of his alter ego the novelist, who finally gave in to the poet, under one condition: the subtitle of the book is ‘a novel in verse’. Here is a poem called Afterward from the Wherewithal (2014):

Afterwards
Suddenly
everything feels afterwards,
stoic and inevitable,
my eyes ringed with the grease of rumor and complicity,
my hands eager to hold any agreeable infatuation
that might otherwise slip away.
Suddenly
it’s evening and the lights up and
down the street appear hopeful,
even magnanimous,
swollen as they are with ancient grievances
and souring schemes. The sky,
however,
appears unwelcoming,
and aloof, eager to surrender
its indifference to our suffering.
Speaking of suffering,
the houses—our sober, recalcitrant houses—
are swollen with dreams that have grown opaque with age,
hoarding as they do truths
untranslatable into auspicious beliefs.
Meanwhile,
our loneliness,
upon which so many laws are based,
continues to consume everything.
Suddenly,
regardless of what the gods say,
the present remains uninhabitable,
the past unforgiving of the harm it’s seen,
while
the future remains translucent
and unambiguous
in its desire to elude us.

It’s a powerful description of that feeling. I can relate (can you?) We look around us with these complicit eyes and want to hold on to everything because we know we can’t make any new things spring into being. Yet the lights appear hopeful at night. Perhaps the stoic feeling of afterwards was purging the world and now it is time for the New? The sky couldn’t care less about our suffering, and the dreams in our houses are dull and heavy.

So we are left with loneliness, on which so many laws are based. What does that mean? I think loneliness is a crucial element of our appetite for justice, so all the laws regulating the tiniest details of our public and private lives are often not about preventing misbehaviour or redistributing the (financial) pain, but about feeding the Leviathan called ‘justice’ that looms over society and allows us to engage in shared outrage to escape from loneliness.

Okay, we can’t live in the present and the past was too harmful. Yet the future desires to elude us, because every day the world feels like a fait accompli. So the status quo remains the same and time is the uninhabitable present looking back at the unforgiving injustices of the past and forward to the future that is being consumed by our loneliness.

Reading: Afterwards by Philip Schultz was originally published on Meandering home

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Reading: A motel in the hotel of time by Dale Houstman

Dale Houstman is an extraordinary poet from America and I am his friend on the Internet. Today, I want to read a poem from his collection ‘A dangerous vacation’. There is a lot of extraordinary stuff but I stick to a not so long poem that has an enigmatic metaphor as a title:

A motel in the hotel of time
The highway reflects its sea
as the rain analyzes its bottle

(a white lamp
in the chaperoned lust of shapes
in a motel in the hotel of time

) There are many sentimental cakes
in the hands of childish warlords
pumping for a grander purpose (

You are noises
leaving noises behind
(A motel in the hotel of time.

A compact and powerful poem. The opening and closing brackets are real and denote hand gestures of the poet to accompany the poetic flow (at least in my interpretation). We are thrown on a David Lynch-like highway scene and don’t quite understand what is analyzed and reflected. Everything seems to be awake and aware, a panopticum of gaze. The lust of shapes is chaperoned, a triangle and an ellipse can’t make out on their own, mind you. They are carefully observed in the white light.

The whole purpose thing is childish and sentimental. What do you want to accomplish? In the end, you are only noises / leaving noises behind. The hotel of time: you can check out but you can never leave. It has full board, and its guests are bored, so bored they build a motel inside the hotel, a noisy motel where little children cry out for a grander purpose.

In a poem, not far away from this one, there is the line “Every name / garments in its day.” Is a motel in the hotel of time the same as the garment of a name, donned to evade the naked and anonymous flow of time?

Reading: A motel in the hotel of time by Dale Houstman was originally published on Meandering home

March 30. Time, being, freedom, etcetera.


Instead of this:
“Time/being/freedom/the soul/matter/consciousness itself is like dripping honey” I advice you to write this:
“I think about dripping honey and I feel good.”
Perhaps you like those abstraction. I reckon you know them much better than I do. I don’t like to talk about these words because it O feels like arguing it feels very bad. Regardless of how many books I read about time, being, freedom, the soul, matter and consciousness, people keep explaining me what it is. And I totally lost my interest in them. I’m almost sorry I don’t like to talk about them.
I don’t remember this day. I probably wrote in a café until the evening and tried in vain to catch a movie at the BAFICI, went home O early thinking about my next writing and falling asleep with sore eyes and without brushing my teeth! This looks like a travel weblog. And tomorrow I’ll write what I had for breakfast. I’ll write I had time, being, freedoom, the soul, matter, and consciousness for breakfast O.

March 30. Time, being, freedom, etcetera.


Instead of this:
“Time/being/freedom/the soul/matter/consciousness itself is like dripping honey” I advice you to write this:
“I think about dripping honey and I feel good.”
Perhaps you like those abstraction. I reckon you know them much better than I do. I don’t like to talk about these words because it O feels like arguing it feels very bad. Regardless of how many books I read about time, being, freedom, the soul, matter and consciousness, people keep explaining me what it is. And I totally lost my interest in them. I’m almost sorry I don’t like to talk about them.
I don’t remember this day. I probably wrote in a café until the evening and tried in vain to catch a movie at the BAFICI, went home O early thinking about my next writing and falling asleep with sore eyes and without brushing my teeth! This looks like a travel weblog. And tomorrow I’ll write what I had for breakfast. I’ll write I had time, being, freedoom, the soul, matter, and consciousness for breakfast O.

March 30. Time, being, freedom, etcetera.


Instead of this:
“Time/being/freedom/the soul/matter/consciousness itself is like dripping honey” I advice you to write this:
“I think about dripping honey and I feel good.”
Perhaps you like those abstraction. I reckon you know them much better than I do. I don’t like to talk about these words because it O feels like arguing it feels very bad. Regardless of how many books I read about time, being, freedom, the soul, matter and consciousness, people keep explaining me what it is. And I totally lost my interest in them. I’m almost sorry I don’t like to talk about them.
I don’t remember this day. I probably wrote in a café until the evening and tried in vain to catch a movie at the BAFICI, went home O early thinking about my next writing and falling asleep with sore eyes and without brushing my teeth! This looks like a travel weblog. And tomorrow I’ll write what I had for breakfast. I’ll write I had time, being, freedoom, the soul, matter, and consciousness for breakfast O.