Friday, May 6, 2016

RIP: Daniel Berrigan, SJ (May 9, 1921 – April 30, 2016)

    
     “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order,
      the burning of paper instead of children . . . We could not, so
      help us God, do otherwise . . . thinking of the Land of Burning
      Children.”                                                               
                                                    Daniel Berrigan S.J.

How far they fall—even Jesuits--into labyrinthine little hells.

You were one of the glorious exceptions, a glorious atavism—
unsuppressed, cast in steel, like the Jesuits of the Reductions.

You fought to the end & no holds barred--for peace of all things.

Wherever you may or may not be, surely there abides there
no Cardinal Spellman, who, wristing aspergil like a hammer, 
sprinkled U.S bombers with the holy water of some other Christ's
War Against Vietnam.

That alone may be a kind of paradise.

R. I. P. & an easy, blest and breathless rest.

E. A. Costa

E. A. Costa           May 6, 2016       Granada, Nicaragua

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

About Concept (Last Words Of Pancho Villa)

                                               "Christian devotional literature indeed 
                                                quite floats in milk, thought of from the
                                                point of view, not of the mother, but of
                                                the greedy babe."
                                                                                William James


About concept who knows motive or pure chance
when strange particles meet and dance?

But birth—is that involuntary?

Face facts: breasts are minimal secretion
with the ease of Eden and umbilical tree.

If you want milk, tend goats, 
voices bleating from some far other world,
even ours, for that is the nature of  language.

Is not infantile eye nipple and aureole?

So where this fear of ending segmentally like a worm
and becoming infinitesimal term shorter-lived than a butterfly?

Is  it walking by Christian Science on the way to Irish mass?

Or the reverse?

I ask you: Delta X/Delta Y?   

Ask any  woman: has she ever really recuperated
from the intransigent moon, from unforgiven affairs with Lord Gravity?

Count Babel.
Count Bible.
Count Baboon.

Count stamina in corn, count rolls in the hay
in barns festooned with moon.

But you may reply in tongue-tied far north diphthong: 

That is long gone. We are scientific now with no jumping over the moon.
We have reliable  tables....”

So  pass monkeys from abstract here to abstract there
(everywhere an abstract), 
descending again and again to ad hominem
(devolving):

Do you know something that we don't know
and can't calculate?  Come, speak your mind.”

Clock ticks.
Doublebinds.

Draw a bead on the last breath of Pancho Bellísimo,
scourge magnificent of The Old West,
shot to hell in the backseat of a 1923 Dodge:

¡Ponga que dije algo, carajo!”

To wit:

Goddamnit! Tell them I said something!”

For
no one
on this planet
earth of the time
doubted he had acted.

So, I ask you, what heroes be we without fear,
what gloriously simian inconsequence
rippling in bent space into sphere!

Consider then again and again

your bullet holes blown into zero.

E. A. Costa (April 2013--27 April, 2016 from E. A.Costa, The Bennington Collection)

E. A. Costa     April 27, 2016  Granada, Nicaragua



Thursday, April 7, 2016

Data Points: A Brief Historiography of Modern Western Percussion


1.

                  “¡Gracias! Tus últimas pinturas
                   ignominiosas han matado el arte moderno!”

                             Salvador Dalí (carta a Picasso)


So the hidden
cosmology of calendars
in fictional space,
born of boredom
month after month,
year after year,

1 2 3...10 11 12

1 2 3...10 11 12

1 2 3...10 11 12

So waiting for kairoi:

moments of movement
when dates and days disappear
and branches of uncounted flowers
suddenly resurrect forgotten trees...

arrow launched
and its forever middle
unmoving and joining
target and targeteer...

surpised glance turning
from exactly the right spot
when Picasso's Guernica
in black and white explodes
in omnidimensional frightfulness
and terror...

This is the unstated word
beyond artful and it is--artless.




2.

                    "ΕΥΡΗΚΑ! num = Δ + Δ + Δ"

                                         Carl Friedrich Gauss

On the Field of Mars
stands the other Tower
I have never seen
that defaced the other Paris,
with insect arrogance
that refused to lean—
the sweet long-lived Paris
that takes so long to die.

And is this ancient Troy or Hiroshima--

0, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21...

0, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21...

0, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21..?

Nous venons, écrivains, peintres, sculpteurs,
architectes, amateurs passionnés de la beauté
jusqu’ici intacte de Paris, protester contre cette érection...”

To which wrought iron-hard Gustave
babbling triangles in the sky replied:

Have not the pyramids caught the fancy
of mankind by aesthetic merit?

Why hideous and laughable at Paris
what is admirable in Egypt?

Guy de Maupassant, they say, thereafter every day
ate lunch in the restaurant at the summit as the one place
in the city where the monstrosity could not be seen.



3.

                   “E pur si muove.”

                                        Galileo Galilei


Does the Tower of Pisa lean away or into the wind?

How tall is it? On which side?

Did it begin to lean from the beginning?

On postcards or in tourists' photographs

why don't the photographers tilt the camera

to show it straight up and down

and the city of Pisa, which took two centuries

to build it, out of plumb?

Has there ever been a post office on the top floor?

A restaurant? Does it serve pizza?

How is it that the builder

is still unknown and that no one ever signed his name?

Of the various candidates did anyone of them

have one leg shorter than the other?

Is the spiral staircase inside left-handed or right-handed?

And why is it hidden--

1 4 9 16 25...?
1 4 9 16 25...?
1 4 9 16 25...?



4.

                   “Dis Blaise, sommes nous bien loin de Montmartre?”

                                         Blaise Cendrars



Laid end to end a line of a hundred and fifty
accordions

each unfolding to a length of 2.08 meters

will measure three hundred and twelve meters.

How many arms and what arms' breadth

will each accordion require and what songs

will it play? Will the echos cross Siberia

under steam on iron wheels, chugging

Voilà—voilà, la Tour Eiffel...

Voilà—voilà, la Tour Eiffel...

Voilà—voilà, la Tour Eiffel...

leaving in its wake nearly a dozen different time zones?

Or (vel) will Russians, like latter-day Fascist Futurists, move

station clocks backwards and forwards to fit the trains'

departures and arrival times?



5.

                   Les manipulateurs de la publicité, avec le cynisme
                   traditionnel de ceux qui savent que les gens sont portés
                   à justifier les affronts dont ils ne se vengent pas, lui
                   annoncent aujourd’hui tranquillement que «quand
                   on aime la vie, on va au cinéma». Mais cette vie et
                   ce cinéma sont également peu de choses; et c’est par
                   là qu’ils sont effectivement échangeables avec
                   indifférence.

                                                              Guy Debord

It is necessary to be frank:
one thing leads to another.

In 1933 megaprimatus kong,
the last surviving gigantopithecus,
was captured by a film producer
on an island off India.

Kong, as the giant ape became
popularly known, was brought
to New York in chains and put
in a Barnumesque sideshow
as the eighth wonder of the world.

During performance Kong escaped,
seized a woman in his massive hand,
and climbed the Empire State Building.

A squadron of four U.S. Marine Corps
F8C-5 Helldiver military biplanes is
despatched, which, after losing one of their
number, riddle Kong with machineguns.

Kong falls to the street dead.

The woman hostage had been released
on the top of the building and survives.

It is not recorded whether an autopsy
is perfomed on Kong.

Does Kong die of  gunfire or the fall?

This leads to the German invasion of France
in May, 1940 and the death Paris on June 14th
of the same year.

As Free French units and other Allied troops
near Paris in August, 1944 Adolf Hitler
orders the German Commander of the city
to destroy Paris.

High explosives are placed at key points in the city.

The French Chairman of the Municipal Council
and a Swedish diplomat who is more French
than Swedish meet with the German Commander
to persuade him to disobey orders and not destroy
the city.

In the event, after fierce skirmishes, the German Commander
surrenders and does not implement Hitler's orders.

No delegation of numerous artists, architects,
writers, and other intellectuals, who lived
through the German Occupation,
intervene in the negotiations to save Paris,
requesting from either party that a compromise
be engineered and that the Eiffel Tower,
at least, be demolished.

How long does it take New York City to die?
Or has it never really lived:

1 4 10 20 35 56...
1 4 10 20 35 56...
1 4 10 20 35 56...?

Why isn't Kong brought to Paris?
And why--why doesn't Marcel Duchamp put a mustache
on the Eiffel Tower?



6.

                    ‘μικρὸν’ εἶπεν, ‘ἀπὸ τοῦ ἡλίου μετάστηθι’

                                            Diogenes of Sinope

Shadows
like a net
of deranged
swastikas
move across
pavement,
exiled from
the sun,
dialing
the bridge
black,
blurring
the very
river with
new hours....

Apollinaire
fiddles away life
in calligrammes
sticking out his tongue
to Germans:

51015

51015

51015....

At Rome eight obelisks
of solid stone in ancient Egypt's time,
the last standing tall over a fiction:

CONSTANTINUS
PER CRUCEM
VICTOR
A S SILVESTRO HIC
BAPTIZATUS
CRUCIS GLORIAM
PROPAGAVIT



7.

                   "A lean swimmer dives into night sky,
                   Into half-moon mist.”

                                                    Carl Sandburg


In the water
speed is lean,
long distance
slow and fat.

So to Washington—
one hundred and sixty-nine meters,
tallest structure in the world from 1885 to 1889,
and still tallest stone structure and tallest obelisk in form,
but no straight stone all--36,000 different stones and hollow
like a war drum, befitting hasty pudding...

In 1859
Giovanni
Maria
Mastai-Ferretti
Pio IX
sent
a block
of stone
from
Rome
to add
to the
monument,
then
forty-six
meters
tall.

The American Party, or Know-Nothings, virulently anti-Roman Catholic,
on March 4, rioted at the construction site and destroyed the stone.

As far is known, no military aircraft, not even hot air balloons, appeared
and intervened to defend it.

In May
of the
same
year
Giuseppe
Garibaldi,
excommunicated
with all others
involved
in the
Republic
of Rome,
led
his
Cacciatori delle Alpi
to two victories
over the Austrians
at Varese and Como.

This, that,
and the other
thing
led directly
to the
First
Vatican
Council
in which
Giovanni
Maria
Mastai-Ferretti
Pio IX
sitting
on his throne
became
INFALLIBLE....

In the water
speed is lean,
long distance
slow and fat.

And that is that.

18,038 pieces--distinct pieces
of cast iron,

2,500,000 rivets:

Voilà—voilà, la Tour Eiffel...

Voilà—voilà, la Tour Eiffel...

Voilà—voilà, la Tour Eiffel...


8.

                    “Un tableau était une somme d'additions.
                     Chez moi, un tableau est une somme de destructions. ”

                                                                 Pablo Picasso

So the hidden
cosmology of calendars
in fictional space,
born of boredom
month after month,
year after year.

So waiting for kairoi...

1 2 3...10 11 12

1 2 3...10 11 12

1 2 3...10 11 12

E. A. Costa   April 7, 2016  Granada, Nicaragua

Monday, January 11, 2016

Guy Debord


                             Le problème du langage est au centre de toutes
                             les luttes pour l'abolition ou le maintien de
                             l'aliénation présente; inséparable de l'ensemble
                             du terrain de ces luttes. Nous vivons dans le
                             langage comme dans l'air vicié,,.

                              (Internationale Situationniste)


Every sentence is brushed water,

instantly crystal ice,

instantly a cloud of steam,

instantly lasting a thousand years.

Do you notice Villeharduoin noticing Dandulo

metamorphosing into Macchiavelli?

No?

Do you notice Baltazar Gracián,

a Jesuit of all things?

No?

Do you notice Rabelais big-gutted
with fine food and drink?

No?

Do you notice Villon?

No?

Do you notice De Sade not noticing De Sade?

No?

But, my friend, everyone who is anyone
notices Duchamp

and his denial of Duchamp as a mustache of milk.

No? Isn't it so?

This is no postcard from the edge,” reads Debord's postcard
in longhand,

This is the edge that cuts.”


E. A. Costa 11 January, 2016 Granada, Nicaragua

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sherlock Holmes In Iowa & Other Stories


Sherlock Holmes In Iowa

He entered the train compartment politely enough, nodding to the bespectacled, black-haired, hatless fellow in tweed sitting to one side. The fellow was staring directly ahead alertly, but inert to all surroundings. His nod got no response. He sat down on the other side of the compartment and checked his pocket watch. He pulled the New York Times out of the soft leather case on his lap.

The fellow continued to stare directly across the gap between them without seeming to look at him at all.

He held up the newspaper between them and tried to read.

After some minutes, he lowered it and said, “Are you all right?”

There was no response.

He raised the newspaper again.

The train rumbled and swayed across open plain fat with corn.

Wind rippled in waves through high green. Between glances at the scenery and pretending to read his newspaper, he began to grasp the immensity of the country and the monoculture that now dominated and supported it.

He lowered the newspaper once again.

“Pardon me for disturbing you. Are you meditating”, he said, “Or is it a kind of self-mesmerism?”

No answer. He tried to stare back for a bit, unsuccessfully, then raised again the newspaper and went back now and then to glancing at fields flying by.

The train seemed to be somewhere on the far side of Indiana, Illinois—and Iowa was it?

The first referred to Indians—that was obvious. The next two were ultimately derived from the names of tribes.

He recalled the quip of the president of Radcliffe who greeted one of her new charges as “from Ohio.” “No, M'am”, said the fresh new student, “I am from Iowa!”. “Here, my dear.” said the President, “It is pronounced Ohio.”

Periodically they passed through small towns with  rails running right down the middle of the asphalt main street.

Whistles blew but there were no stops. It was an express.

Lowering the newspaper, he said, “Pardon me again, but have you any idea where we are exactly?”

In response the same stare, far from vacant but unmoving as stone and with not the slightest reaction.

Well, he thought, if the fellow wishes to be treated as an immovable object, so be it. At least he looks alive, if with an immobility I have never seen before at such close quarters—or have I?

Impassive, wooden indigenes still as the replicas in front of tobacco shops? But the fellow did not look at all an aboriginal.

Suddenly it struck: of course, he is a mime! He almost said it aloud.

He had seen such creatures on street corners and at the occasional state fair. But where, he asked himself, is his make-up and begging bowl?

“I see you are a mime,” he said finally, again lowering the Times, “and quite a good one at that.”

Through the spectacles black eyes flashed.

“Not a mime, then,” he said, “but you hear me and understand English, obviously. Your eyes flashed.”

He raised the newspaper and commenced actually to read it. The scenery resumed its monotonous drone.

The man across from him remained wondrously impassive. He read an article treacly with a tone of charitableness and good works about some new program of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.




The Temple On Planet XXIII

The temple was a labyrinth of closed doors through which ghosts danced brandishing keys. Suddenly during a double lunar eclipse all the walls disappeared.

The ghosts didn't seem to notice. They jangled their keys. They evanesced through doors in free-standing frames.

Their conclaves continued  behind closed doors but were at least as mysterious as they were before. Formerly nothing was known of what transpired. After the walls disappeared, much was heard and seen but was uninterpretable.

The conclaves appeared to commoners as masses of jellyfish swinging and gurgling rhythmically like a chorus of thickly tressed pendulums bathed in chemically generated light.

Raging bulls emerged periodically through the doors. On the inside they too looked like jellyfish. As they moved through to the outside surface of the door they became black-furred and monstrously horned, snorting and bellowing, hoofs clattering on the stone floors.

Or were they buffalos?

The bravest of the brave and the drunkest of the drunk ran ahead of them in the streets to the slaughter ground.

In retrospect the strangest aspect of the disappearance of the walls was that no one inside or out, earthly or ghostly, bothered to look up to see if roof and ceiling had disappeared as well.




The Blank Sea

It was Commander Ustinov of the 77th Lunar Mounted Driller Gorillas.

“Ustinov here, Sir, on the second moon of Erewhon--we just broke through the frozen methane shell.”

He could hear the screeching and whining of quantum drills in the background.

“And?” he said.

“Just as you predicted, Sir”, said Ustinov, “an absolutely blank sea of pure liquid H20—transparent, odorless, colorless, tasteless--kind of like window glass or an empty aquarium.”



The Host

The building was two storeys. Most of the employees on the first floor were Roman Catholic. The second floor was manned mainly by Protestants. One exception was the Chief Executive Officer and founder, who described himself as a “cafeteria Catholic.” The other was a Puerto Rican woman. She was Roman Catholic and director of personnel.

The vault was some distance behind the tellers' counter on the first floor.

When first-floorers crossed in front of the vault they invariably went momentarily breathless and near imperceptibly bowed their heads to some unseen third eye.

No one was ever seen actually to kneel and cross themselves.

It was a bank after all.

Operatic ritual would surely have led to dismissal, especially if there were customers present. 

Second floorers, whenever they came downstairs, were more expansive, managerially swelling chests behind vests and puffing on imaginary cigars.

The cigars were imaginary because the municipality had recently gone smoke-free.

The expansiveness included the director of personnel, who often wore white shirt and black bow tie under a vest, sometimes with a black skirt, sometimes as part of a pants suit.

At an after hours office celebration when the bank first opened she had actually sported and smoked a Havana brought across the border from Canada.

That was before the new ordinance.

There was also no alcohol allowed on the premises.

The CEO had put a wrought iron table and four chairs on the roof of first floor, where the rear of the first floor jutted out perhaps ten feet farther toward the back parking lot than the second floor. The patio was accessed by a door on the second floor. Every morning a large cooler filled with ice and Mexican beer was set out by the table. Sometimes visiting investors, important customers or Board members disappeared with the CEO to the patio.

Everything else in all corners of the building, inside and out, was recorded by security cameras.


E. A. Costa December 21, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua.
___________________________________________________________                      
 All of the above copright by E. A, Costa. Not to be published elsewhere without permission of the author, except for the purpose of limited quotation or reviews, and for non-commercial educational purposes. Digital copies allowed for private use on personal computers only. Not to be republished in any form on the internet, with links allowed only directly to the site and posting. Individual stories quoted to be accompanied by author's name and copyright as well as their individual titles.