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The Wings of Atalanta

June 16, 2019

Wings of Atalanta - SM

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Child Soldiers

May 4, 2019

Even when you’re alone, or in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you generate a lot of data.

I’m a tangle of honest mistakes. Who’s to say what ultimately will happen here?

In Japan, Land of the Parasol, no-one wears sunglasses, but all wear surgical masks; mouths are hidden, not eyes.

The Lord works in mysterious ways: competitive infanticide has now been documented in 119 species. Give a pregnant mouse a whiff of a male unknown to her and she spontaneously aborts. This is known as “the Bruce effect,” not for the Boss but for the scientist (a woman) who first noted it in 1959.

Motorcyclists who own cats are more likely to die in road accidents than those who own dogs. Why? Hijacking—by toxoplasmosis.

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the courts to be tendentious shall not be infringed.

Everything happens for a reason, but not necessarily for a good one. In Phoenix, for example, that place of fiery resurrection, a couple held a day-laborer at gunpoint and compelled him to act out their sexual fantasies. Then they nailed photos of the event to his wife.

Police find a body somewhere in a river in America; a tattoo links it to a headless woman in a bunker—somewhere else in America.

fMRI scans now show that schadenfreude activates the ventral striatum—Grand Central Station in the dopamine reward system. It comforts me to know that someone is finally seeing to the neurological correlates of envy and its lower satisfactions.

Hate—that many-chambered mansion—is on the Register of Historic Places. Desire is its architect, Time its builder, and Memory its docent.

Heart-rates of spectators at firewalking rituals synchronize with those of the firewalkers themselves—but only if the spectators are related to the walkers by blood or marriage. Eight scientists designed and performed the firewalker study. Fifty-seven people tweeted out links to it;—and of their heart-rates we know nothing.

Love is shaped like a bicycle seat. Love is a layer-cake, until it eats you, too. Love is radiant in that it has a half life. You’ll hear it said that love is “all around.” But no, love is something in the water.

Cupid—another stoned child soldier—is the greatest sniper on earth: look at his confirmed kill list.

Life, as a policy, has a very high deductible. On the other hand: life is a cat; and then it is the tree the cat climbs up in; and then it is the tree untroubled by the cat.

Sum Datum Rising

May 4, 2019

Mark Scott

The maples in their robust red knock me out. I’ll never be that good.

We don’t have a smoking gun of a smoking gun.

Die down and go to sleep.

I have a carbon cough.

I’m turning into my father.

No.

My father’s turning into me. He turned into me a long time ago. Now he’s rising in me.

He was baked in at birth, his and mine both. Twice baked. I’m his biscuit.

He’s coming up through me. He shrunk, and I can account for every degree of his lost stature, posture, carriage, and weight. He wore on me and I now wear him. He can see it in me when I visit him. I’m eating him.

He’s eating less and less. I’m eating somewhat more and more. A little more and more. I’m also shrinking, so something’s wrong here. The conservation laws are not being adhered to strictly.

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Medium

March 5, 2019

via Medium

Medium

March 5, 2019

For the moment, I have moved whatever remains of my operations here to a page at Medium.

Crisis Actors

July 25, 2018

I started writing another poem yesterday. In this one I’m teaching. I enter the lecture hall and boot-up my PowerPoint, but, wouldn’t you know it in a poem about teaching, “technical difficulties” arise: what appears on the screen is not my PowerPoint at all but a film of myself, naked, standing in front of another lecture hall. Clearly I’d forgotten there was to be an exam. The film is black and white and silent, with inter-titles, but somehow the score for the The Third Man, by Anton Karas, is audible, the one with the zither (a word I’ve always hoped to type). The students, the real ones, not the ones on screen, start to take notes, because I’ve apparently begun a lecture on Ring Lardner’s “Haircut.” (Why does Lardner type “of” for “have” when no difference in pronunciation is audible? Did the barber write this? Of course not!) No one in the lecture hall acts as if anything strange is happening, and maybe nothing is, just a normal day at school. Jimmy Cagney appears on screen with me, but then he’s Steve Buscemi; they’re phasing in and out of one another; and at a moment of recalibration, they offer me a gift of fear, which I accept. And now onscreen I’m in an orange jumpsuit and zip-cuffs––for cause. Buscemi gives chase, corners me in an alley shouting, “Lust is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame!” and then he gut-shoots me twice––and then I wake in a hotel bed, sweating from the nightmare. All this happens onscreen, as I expound on Lardner’s “Haircut.” And still the students take notes, nothing amiss at all, no sleeper cells in the hall today, not a one. A word formed in my mouth, “Water-board”; and I said it twice more, “Water-board, water-board,” and it sounded like birdsong and twilight. But then the kids start levitating. One, a young white whale, exits a window, rises to an altitude of 600 meters and detonates; the school I’m in is gone, nothing left but insult, blood, and ashes. I come to, swaddled in yellow police tape: someone was looking out for me (everything happens for a reason). And now we are on the set of the school, and the cameras roll, and the powers point, and I notice again, as for the first time, that I’m wearing no clothes; and then the crisis actors arrive and send me to wardrobe, and I choose an Ermenegildo Zegna shirt, blue jeans, and a chalk-white Glock. I feel ultra-safe. Back home, my wife says, phatic and perfunctory, “How was your day?” I reply in kind and switch on the TV. First comes a story about the latest summit––incalculable heights and crags. There follow tales of honey traps, Samatha Bees, and of the latest baseball shootings, but the young white whale who leveled my school, whom I lied to my only wife about;––of him, not a word. I reach into the freezer by feel, and bring out some Stouffer’s french-bread pizza, which, after preheating the city, we eat. And of that evening I recall nothing else but dreamless sleep, and “getting back in the saddle” the next morning, because nothing beats getting back in the saddle. By the time I reached the lecture hall, everyone was seated again, and though the hall is now a quonset-hut with green-screens, no one minds, certainly not me; and I find myself lecturing on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and everyone on earth is taking note; and then, naturally, I point out how his real-estate speculations in Chicago led Stephen A. Douglas to frame the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opening up a vein in Lawrence that neither William Quantrill, nor Sam Brownback, nor Thomas Frank would ever staunch. Satisfaction overwhelms me. I feel called.

“Opportunities That Disappointed”

April 26, 2018

Mark Scott

My father never called me “son.” He never said, “Son, why do you want to be a poet?” He never said, “Son, what do you want poetry to do?” He did say, “You’ll never make money as a teacher, but I’ll always be here for you.”

I think what people want to know, or hear, more than how the perfect crime was committed, is how it was come up with, which always happens after the planning and the execution of it go wrong. Audiences are interested in why a poet wrote a poem, or why poetry. Motive is interesting. Means are also interesting, and maybe opportunity. But being the criminal, the best, what that’s like, that’s what interests us—me, anyway. And I should know something about that. Let’s see if I can tell.

“It’s not the right way to do that,” someone says.
“But it’s my way,” says another.
What…

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