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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Edward Dorn: Like a Message on Sunday (13 pieces from the margins of a gone America) / all alone w/you on a dune in pisco

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Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Lititz, Pennsylvania. Scrap collection drive. Each household placed its contribution on the sidewalk. It was then picked up by local trucks whose owners had volunteered their services for civilian defense. The scrap outside a plumber's house consists of pipes: photo by Marjory Collins, November 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Edward Dorn: Like a Message on Sunday

Sits
     the forlorn plumber
by the river
with his daughter
     staring at the water
then, at her
his daughter closely.

Once World, he came
to our house to fix the stove
                         and couldn't
oh, we were arrogant and talked
  about him in the next room, doesn't
a man know what he is doing?

Can't it be done right,
           World of iron thorns?
Now they sit by the meagre river
by the water . . . stare
into that plumber 
so that I can see a daughter in the water
she, thin and silent
he, wearing a baseball cap 
    in a celebrating town this summer season
may they live on

on, may their failure be kindly, and come
in small unnoticeable pieces  

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Lititz, Pennsylvania. Scrap collection drive. Each household placed its contribution on the sidewalk. It was then picked up by local trucks whose owners had volunteered their services for civilian defense. The scrap outside a plumber's house consists of pipes: photo by Marjory Collins, November 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
Edward Dorn (1929-1999): Like a Message on Sunday, from The Newly Fallen, 1961

Edward Dorn: The Common Lot

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Children playing in vacant lot in Negro section of Chicago: photo by Russell Lee, April 1941
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Trees standing in the vacant lot
again today, a masterful forbearance.

A masterful forbearance, the children
too, playing on the sidewalk,

and in the vacant lot, that
they don't all go away, one by one,

one could love them both, the trees
and the children.

1 playing with a white ball, 2 in a frail tree
climbing for the crown. My daughter alone

on the mound of rubbish sand disappears
into a cave of pink rug.

..............................Certain screams
then a sense of patience.

Her, my daughter's well of forbearance.
The playmate she wades across the sand to

is dark black, a color.
Nearby the process, a game of ball.

Ah, the vacant lot is vast, I can speak of love
only at the edge.


Edward Dorn (1929-1999): The Common Lot, 1956, from The Newly Fallen, 1961

In early February [1956] Ed and Helene [Dorn], with Helene's two children from a previous marriage, moved on to San Francisco, taking a four-room furnished flat at 184 States Street in Corona Heights... "They allowed CHILDREN! Wow!" ... Across the alley behind [the] house a disused parking lot was given over to kids' games. "Fred [Buck], natch, he and 7 others, have a great fort built in the vacant parking lot across the alley," Helene noted. Fred Buck still recalls that vacant lot, "where my mates and I dug a hole (for a trap or clubhouse of something) and covered it over with a cruddy piece of pink carpet from the same lot. I think I remember trying to get my sister and her friend to try to walk across it (à la catching heffalump).
"

 
The vacant lot supplied [Dorn] the location for a poem. He called the poem "The Common Site," then later changed the title to "The Common Lot" when including it in his first chapbook (The Newly Fallen, 1961). It represents for the poet a thoughtful self-situating within the value-sets that define the moral world of his poetry. The language reverberates with the abiding terms of those values -- common, forbearance, love, patience, speak -- hopefully but tentatively counterposed against all that is implied by vacant. The central paradox underlying Dorn's early lyric premise is here stated: to speak of love is possible only at the alienated margins of the social vacancy. Only by way of absence is utopian presence imaginable. The poet, while acknowledging his inevitable sharing in the common "lot" or condition, is reminded by his attendance upon the common site (the vacant lot) that his presence will always be that of the speaker at the edge.

from TC: Edward Dorn: A World of Difference, 2002


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Boys playing with bows and arrows near railroad yards, Dubuque, Iowa: photo by John Vachon, April 1940  (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

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A child of white migrants in her playhouse. The rusted scales represented a clock to the little girl. Near Harlingen, Texas
: photo by Russell Lee, February 1939
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

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A child of white migrants in her playhouse. Near Harlingen, Texas
: photo by Russell Lee, February 1939
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
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Children of migrant cherry pickers: photo by John Vachon, Berrien County, Michigan, July 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
Edward Dorn: Hemlocks

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Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensia), Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
: photo by Walter Siegmund, 26 September 2007

Red house. Green tree in mist.
How many fir long hours.
How that split wood
warmed us. How continuous.
Red house. Green tree I miss.
The first snow came in October.
Always. For three years.
And sat on our shoulders.
That clean grey sky.
That fine curtain of rain
like nice lace held our faces
up, in it, a kerchief for the nose
of softest rain. Red house.

Those green mists rolling
down the hill. Held our heads
when we went walking on the hills
to the side, with pleasure.
But sad. That's sad. That tall grass.
Toggenburg goat stood in, looking, chewing.
Time was its cud.

Red barn mist of our green trees of Him
who locks our nature in His deep nature
how continuous do we die to come down
as rain; that land's refrain
no we never go there anymore.


Edward Dorn (1929-1999): Hemlocks, 1959, from Hands Up!, 1964



Toggenburg Goat: photo by RoseBridger, 28 May 2009


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Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensia), Prince William Sound, Alaska: photo by Erin McKittrick, 14 May 2005
 
"We bought her [a Toggenburg goat, named Nanny] at a farm auction, thinking of sustenance but of course she became a pet. I even learned to milk her! The kids hated her milk but liked the cheese I made from it. We let her roam free in the yard and she used to come up when I was sitting out on the steps having a cup of coffee and chew on the buttons of whatever I was wearing. Goats are wonderful. Nanny gave us a lot of laughs and provided food as well. We got a billy goat to keep her company and provide us with kids, which he did... But taking them to be slaughtered was a nightmare. The billy goat tolerated me but did NOT like Ed. He peed on him whenever he approached, and billy goats have enormous pee power! We finally had to get rid of him. The house in Burlington had been a small farm at some point and we used it as such. The barn housed chickens, had a rabbit hutch outside, an we had a garden on the road side of it. We did, literally 'live off the land.''"
 
Helene Helmers Dorn, in TC: Edward Dorn: A World of Difference, 2002 

Edward Dorn: The Air of June Sings

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Clouds over hills, Washington: photo by Victor Szalvay, 2006
Quietly and while at rest on the trim grass I have gazed,
admonished myself for having never been here
at the graveside and read the names of my Time Wanderers.
And now, the light noise of the children at play on the inscribed stone
jars my ear and they whisper and laugh covering their mouths. "My Darling"
my daughter reads, some of the markers
reflect such lightness to her reading eyes, yea, as I rove
among these polished and lime blocks I am moved to tears and I hear
the depth in "Darling, we love thee," and as in "Safe in Heaven."

I am going off to heaven and I won't see you anymore. I am
going back into the country and I won't be here anymore. I am
going to die in 1937. But where did you die my Wanderer?
You, under the grave grass, with the tin standard whereat
I look, and try to read the blurred ink. I cannot believe
you were slighted knowing what I do of cost and evil
yet tin is less than granite. Those who buried you should have known
a 6 inch square of sandstone, flush with the earth
is more proper for the gone than blurred and faded flags.

Than the blurred and faded flags I am walking with in the graveyard.
Across the road in the strawberry field two children are stealing
their supper fruit, abreast in the rows, in the fields of the overlord,
Miller is his authentic name, and I see that name represented here,
there is that social side of burial too, long residence,
and the weight of the established local dead. My eyes avoid
the largest stone, larger than the common large, Goodpole Matthews,
Pioneer, and that pioneer sticks in me like a wormed black cherry
in my throat, No Date, nothing but that zeal, that trekking
and Business, that presumption in a sacred place, where children
are buried, and where peace, as it is in the fields and the country
should reign. A wagon wheel is buried there. Lead me away

to the small quiet stones of the unpreposterous dead and leave
me my tears for Darling we love thee, for Budded on earth and blossomed
in heaven, where the fieldbirds sing in the fence rows,
and there is possibility, where there are not the loneliest of all.

Oh, the stones not yet cut.

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Evergreen Cemetery, Evergreen, Washington: photo by Joe Mabel, 2009
Edward Dorn (1929-1999): The Air of June Sings, June 1958, from Hands Up!, 1964

A country graveyard elegy occasioned by the poet's visit with his stepdaughter Chansonette to the Burlington, Washington town cemetery. The poem, he wrote to Charles Olson at the time, marked for him a stylistic turning, and with it brought a new sense of "the possibility of poetry... [as an] expansion of much air and tears... a grasping toward nothing, elaborated by descriptives."

Edward Dorn: 1st Avenue


1st Avenue between Union and Pike, Seattle: photographer unknown, September 1972 (Seattle Municipal Archives)

The truck shot forward across 1st Avenue to the Pike Street Market. Through the rain, moving slowly down the plate glass shine of the store fronts, one can see the people of this world moving on their way to and from carrying the inevitable shopping bags.  The old ones carry umbrellas. The old men have broad, flowered, disreputable ties around their necks. In the plate glass reflected world are the brisker types in blue suits standing in the entrances of shoe stores and jewelry stores, ultimately, but they don't know it, in the hands of all these people with so little money each, but collectively what is referred to as a consumer power.  Something, each man in flimsy slacks is saying, will have to be done about it. But probably nothing can be done about it. With each new man born, a jewelry store is born for him. The terrible leveling of Malthus plods on, on this frontier which no longer is a frontier. A dead atmosphere.

Edward Dorn (1929-1990): from 1st Avenue (1956), in The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America, ed. Leroi Jones, 1963



1st and Union, Seattle: photographer unknown, 1972 (Seattle Municipal Archives)


Shellback Tavern, Seattle: photographer unknown, 1972 (Seattle Municipal Archives



 
1st Avenue between Cherry and James, Seattle: photographer unknown, 1973 (Seattle Municipal Archives)


Aerial of Pike Place Market, Seattle: photographer unknown, September 1970 (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Geronimo in Exile: Edward Dorn: The Whole European Distinction (from Recollections of Gran Apacheria)
  

Geronimo (Guiyatle), Apache: photo by Frank A. Rinehart, 1898 (Boston Public Library)

The longest continuous run
of external resistance:
the Apache Wars.

Without significant intermission
from the Seventeenth Century onward
can only be attributed to
the superiority of Native
over Alien Thinking.

Yet they had not invented Mind
and as we know
their domain was by Mind over-ridden

In all the treaties
the Native assented
........................to the Thinking
And never, and
have not yet discovered
the Predictive Mind.


Edward Dorn (1929-1999): The Whole European Distinction, from Recollections of Gran Apacheria, 1974




Geronimo
(Goyaalé,"one who yawns", born Gila River Arizona, 16 June 1829, died Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 17 February 1909): "This portrait of the historical old Apache was made in March, 1905. According to Geronimo's calculation he was at the time seventy-six years of age, thus making the year of his birth 1829. The picture was taken at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the day before the inauguration of President Roosevelt, Geronimo being one of the warriors who took part in the inaugural parade at Washington. He appreciated the honor of being one of those chosen for this occasion, and the catching of his features while the old warrior was in a retrospective mood was most fortunate": description and photo by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), from Curtis: The Apache, the Jicarillas, the Navaho, 1907 (Northwestern University Library/Library of Congress)

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Geronimo, head chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, identified in 1887 newspaper photo caption as "now on the war path in Sierra Madres": here seen in studio portrait, holding a rifle and wearing boot moccasins, a breechcloth, and scarves around his neck. (From photographer's notes: "Genuine age 50 to 55. Rather polite fellow, thought cunning, far seeing. Perfect photo for newspaper in every respect. Three squaws -- most cow cunning on reservation, small squint eyes = looked sideways, spoke Spanish): photo by A.T. Willcox, July 1885 (U.S. Department of Defense/Department of the Army/Office of the Chief Signal Office/National Archive)


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Chiricahua Apache chief Geronimo (right) and a small group of his warriors
: photographer unknown, 1886 (Arizona Historical Society)


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Scene in Geronimo's camp, before surrender to General Crook, 27 March 1886: Geronimo and Natches mounted, Geronimo's son, Perico, standing at his side holding baby: photo by A.S. Fly, 1886 (Library of Congress)


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Six tribal leaders: (left to right) Little Plume (Piegan), Buckskin Charley (Ute), Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache), Quanah Parker (Comanche), Hollow Horn Bear (Brulé Sioux), and American Horse (Oglala Sioux) on horseback in ceremonial attire: photo by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), c. 1900 (Library of Congress)

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Indian chiefs, headed by Geronimo, passing in review before president Theodore Roosevelt at his inauguration, Washington, 4 March 1905: photo by Keystone View Company, 1905 (Library of Congress)

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Chief Geronimo, Apache leader, holding bow and arrows: photographer unknown, c. 1904 (Library of Congress)

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Chiricahua Apache Chief Geronimo at Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York
: photo by Charles G. Dudley, 1901 (Library of Congress)

Eyes like two bits of obsidian
With a light between them
 


from Geronimo, in Recollections of Gran Apacheria, 1974

Edward Dorn: Notes From the Fields: Birds of the Skagit Valley (An Exaltation of Larks, A Murder of Crows)


Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), singing, Morro Bay, California: photo by Alan D. Vernon, 9 February 2008

The meadow larks and the crows don't exist for each other. The lark is apparently always in flight. There is no question that the meadow lark is the loveliest of flying things. It has a slight manner when flying close to the ground, as one is walking across the field, of suddenly rising, sliding right into you with a turn that presents its blurred blue back, and the swift impression is that it is coming straight on back first, the outline of the tail, with the two streamers, the delicate feathering and quivering undercamber of the wings. But I suppose all it did was to turn, a bit, in its course. Then it flies with incredible speed two inches off the ground in a zig-zag line. But whatever manner it chooses, one's senses lag, in picking up the movement, a very sharp sensation, in this case. Or then, it seems, they will tumble together and roll over and over flashing the deep blue wings and the buff yellow breast, as it is with a slow color wheel. Everything flashing in the sun, low, over the green and yellow stubble of the field. What flying! The sheer exactitude of flying complexly and exhaustively, on the air, at that slight height, to the near ground. One sees how flying high in the sky loses its preciseness as flying and becomes, merely, "going someplace," as the crow does, who is better off on the ground, or the eagle, who is known for his nest, or as man, who created a considerable misery in the language when he spoke of himself as "flying," when all he ever did was transport himself in a straight line, a mostly mercantile endeavor from the beginning. Bad flight, in birds as well as man, is curious. One hears of some birds being quarrelsome. And it is known that a crow has a suspiciously high number sense. One can discern as many as five men going into a building, and knows when only four come out.

Edward Dorn
: from Notes from the Fields: Skagit Valley, in Measure, 1958



Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah: photo by Robinsegg, 25 May 2009


Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), in liftoff, Fossil Creek Reservoir, Fort Collins, Colorado: photo by Michael Menefee, 5 April 2008


Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), in flight, Manitoba: photo by Stewart Oikawa, 16 July 2012


 
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), Blackie Spit, Surrey, British Columbia: photo by Mike Baker, 16 October 2011
 

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), in takeoff, Antelope Canyon, Utah: photo by Steve Courson, 20 May 2011
 


Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), Colorado Springs, Colorado: photo by Matt Bango, 3 October 2010 

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Northwest Crow (Corvus caurinus), Esquimault Lagoon, Colwood, near Victoria, British Columbia: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2007

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Northwest Crow (Corvus caurinus), Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Piper Spit), British Columbia: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2010 
Edward Dorn: from The 6th

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Bear Lake, southeastern Idaho, after snowfall
: photo by Matthew Trump, 2004
I know a man, in the west too
in Idaho, oh...

Two months ago, in February, would you believe it
that far north the weather was so mild we could
walk about the hills, slight snow on the ground
and be very comfortable but maybe it was the fire
in our hearts because we were tramping for a house
site, one I knew I would never use, but the weather
I tell you was so perfect and the warmth of my friend
was like the weather, all in February. Very far below
was Pocatello, a miserable accidental town even the
Union Pacific abandoned in the forties. But the hills
and the moon at night on the snow all around that bowl
and at night too Pocatello wasn't Pocatello but a jewel
the red and the blue, something you could never narrow down
to gas in glass tubes. That afternoon with our backs resting
against the vertical rocks there were... well I had to follow
him there, to know land and love it, is a great thing few
people are as lost as I am. And I love this man because he loves Idaho.
He wanted me to build a house somewhere near and I wanted to
but he you see, lives in a closed world but is very damn kind,
he is very great I like him more than it is easy to say
and it wasn't easy to disappoint him, but I think he knew,
he went on anyway describing the possibilities, that's love,
in the mists of indifference. But I just can't build houses.
At all. Although I dig the juniper and think the hills swing,
you know how very much my world is not closed but open, open.
Everywhere I am, I feel I am everywhere else. But that man in the sun
last February, with the western hat, and whom I shall not see for many
years to come, the Idaho and the snow there and the huge
purple bitter juniper berries.


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Juniperus virginiana, berries: photo by Quadell, 2009
Edward Dorn (1929-1999): from The 6th, in Yugen #6, 1960

Edward Dorn: Dark Ceiling
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Largest lead mine in the world surrounded by dead trees. Kellogg, Idaho: photo by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


Broad black scar the valley is
and sunday is
where
........in the wide arc
..the small lights of homes come on
in that trough.

......Burnish my heart
......with this mark

Furnish my soul with the hope
Far away and by a river
In the darkness of a walnut stand.

There
........is
no home, no back.

All is this wrong key, the lark
sings
......but his voice trails off
in the snow. He has not
brought his meadow.
The starling's
..insolent whistle
is the truth here -- dark smoke

drifts in from the morning fertilizer factory
and men there return lamely
to work, their disputes not settled.

Edward Dorn (1929-1990): Dark Ceiling, c. 1962, from Geography, 1965


Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Sugar beet factory along Snake River. Nyssa, Malheur County, Oregon: photo by Russell Lee, November 1941(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Sugar beet factory (Amalgamated Sugar Company) along Snake River. Nyssa, Malheur County, Oregon, a one factory town: photo by Dorothea Lange, October 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

at the time this poem was writ Edward Dorn was living not far from a fertilizer plant (Simplot) in Idaho.

Edward Dorn: Goodbye to the Illinois

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Rural road, Saline County, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, January 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Where out of the black dirt
screens are put up, shocks
men come blindly to harvest
and eat large meals in the larger houses
and the rest of the year you sit in a small house not knowing
how many rooms you want, not guessing
how many there are
of heat giving rise to plants of illusion
soft winds blowing yellow pollen across the rows
and in seclusion babies are born
in spring, where oh but in winter
the black vanes of elders everywhere
or walnut along the river break the sky
a meaningless map, a meaningless riddle
of what in simpler life would say was lost
in space, rising as debris in tornadoes,
but were really chaffs
of hay in July, oh mother
I remember your year-long stare
across plowed flat prairielands.

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Farm, Illinois
: photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
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Farmland, Illinois
: photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

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Mrs. Fred Morgenflash and the youngest of her six children. Morgenflash rents fifty-one acres from a private party. Near Marseille, Illinois:
photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

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Backyard and porch of Fred Morgenflash's farmhouse near Marseille, Ilinois
: photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
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Abandoned farm house on George Erickson's one hundred twenty acre farm near Seneca, Illinois. The land is being farmed by the owner.: photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
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Pump and barn on George Erickson's farm near Seneca, Illinois.
This one hundred twenty acre farm is farmed for the land. No one lives in the house.: photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
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Farm, Williamson County, Illinois
: photo by Russell Lee, January 1937
(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
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Illinois farm landscape along the tracks of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad en route to Chilicothe, Illinois: photo by Jack Delano, March 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Edward Dorn (1929-1990): Goodbye to the Illinois, from Three Farm Poems, in The Newly Fallen, 1961

Edward Dorn: On the Debt My Mother Owed to Sears Roebuck

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Ordering from Sears Roebuck catalogue because of the distance to the nearest store, Pie Town, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, June 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


Summer was dry, dry the garden
our beating hearts, on that farm, dry
with the rows of corn the grasshoppers
came happily to strip, in hordes, the first
thing I knew about locust was they came
dry under the foot like the breaking of
a mechanical bare heart which collapses
from an unkind an incessant word whispered
in the house of the major farmer
and the catalogue company,
from no fault of anyone
my father coming home tired
and grinning down the road, turning in
is the tank full? thinking of the horse
and my lazy arms thinking of the water
so far below the well platform.

On the debt my mother owed to sears roebuck
we brooded, she in the house, a little heavy
from too much corn meal, she
a little melancholy from the dust of the fields
in her eye, the only title she ever had to lands --
and man's ways winged their way to her through the mail
saying so much per month
so many months, this is yours, take it
take it, take it, take it
and in the corncrib, like her lives in that house
the mouse nibbled away at the cob's yellow grain
until six o'clock when her sorrow grew less
and my father came home

On the debt my mother owed to sears roebuck?
I have nothing to say, it gave me clothes to
wear to school,
and my mother brooded
in the rooms of the house, the kitchen, waiting
for the men she knew, her husband, her son
from work, from school, from the air of locusts
and dust masking the hedges of field she knew
in her eye as a vague land where she lived,
boundaries, whose tractors chugged pulling harrows
pulling discs, pulling great yields from the earth
pulse for the armies in two hemispheres, 1943
and she was part of that stay at home army to keep
things going, owing that debt.


Edward Dorn (1929-1999): On the Debt My Mother Owed to Sears Roebuck, from Hands Up!, 1964

Image, Source: intermediary roll film


Trees killed by drought and grasshoppers frame this farm in Grant County, North Dakota: photo by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


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Trees stripped bare by drought and grasshoppers on farm near Saint Anthony, North Dakota: photo by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


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Stripped bare by drought and grasshoppers. Trees on the farm of Mrs. Emma Knoll, Grant County, North Dakota: photo by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Signs along highway approaching Hurst, Williamson County, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, January 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

  Movie advertisements, Herrin, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, January 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

  Shoppers, Herrin, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, January 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


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Trespasser, Steritz, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, January 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

  Funeral service at undertaker's establishment, West Frankfort, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, January 1939 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


Edward Dorn: In My Youth I Was a Tireless Dancer


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Phenakistoscope: A Couple Waltzing: Eadweard Muybridge, c. 1893 (Library of Congress)

But now I pass
graveyards in a car.
The dead lie,
unsuperstitiously,
with their feet toward me --
please forgive me for
saying the tombstones would not
fancy their faces turned from the highway.

Oh perish the thought
I was thinking in that moment
Newman Illinois
the Saturday night dance --
what a life? Would I like it again?
No. Once I returned late summer
from California thin from journeying
and the girls were not the same.
You'll say that's natural
they had been dancing all the time.

File:Zootsuit2.jpg

Soldier inspecting men wearing Zoot Suits at Woody Herman concert, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Ferrell, 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
Edward Dorn: In My Youth I Was a Tireless Dancer, from Hands Up!, 1964
 
Lucia Berlin recalled Ed's account of returning home to Villa Grove from an early trip to Southern California and attempting to make a splash at one of those summertime Newman, Illinois Saturday night dances: "He was about sixteen. That was when the pachuco kids out in L.A. were wearing zoot-suit pants. Ed, with his great sense of style, had brought back home the most beautiful pair of pants. He loved to talk about those pants, they were brown-and-white-striped gabardine, they had those big wide pleats, he went on and on describing the weave and the fabric of those pants. They were so fine. Well, he brought them back to Illinois, wore them to the dance -- and nobody had ever seen such a thing!"

Edward Dorn: Tribe

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Switchman throwing a switch, Proviso yards, Chicago: photo by Jack Delano, April 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

My tribe came from struggling labor
Depression South Eastern Illinois
Just before the southern hills start
To roll toward the coal country
Where the east/west morainal ridges
Of Wisconsin trash pile up
At the bottom of the prairie, socially
A far Midwest recrudescence of Appalachia

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Slums at Cinder Point between railroad and Illinois River, Peoria, Illinois: photo by Arthur Rothstein, May 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

My grandfather French Quebecois
Master pipefitter in the age of steam
Indian fifty percent, very French
Who didn’t derogate himself
As a breed, showed none of those tedious
Tendentious tendencies. Came down
From Chebanse, from the Illinois Central
In Iroquois County, to the Chicago and

Eastern Illinois line’s division at Villa Grove
In one of the Twenties boomlets,
The last precipitous edges of the great devolvement


Image, Source: intermediary roll film

The home of an island farmer on the Illinois River near Ottawa, Illinois. Note graveyard on the opposite bank: photo by Russell Lee, March 1937 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
These forebears on my mother’s side
Owned a nice clapboard house in old town
Where I was brought up off and on during
The intensity of the depression, parents
Wandering work search, up and down
The bleak grit avenues of Flint, following


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Autoworkers' houses, Flint, Michigan. These houses rent for twenty-five to thirty dollars and have no stoves, but water if drawn from a commercial well: photo by Sheldon Dick, January-February 1937 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Other exodus relatives. Belgian in-laws
From another French connexion
Michael Moore-land from the beginning
Manmade poisons in the cattle feed way
Before Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease and angry cows —
Governments always conspire against
The population and often
This is not even malice;
Just nothing better to do.
Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Autoworkers' houses, Flint, Michigan: photo by Sheldon Dick, January-February 1937 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
 
I’m with the Kurds and the Serbs and the Iraqis
And every defiant nation this jerk
Ethnic crazy country bombs —
World leaders can claim
What they want about terror,
As they wholesale helicopters
To the torturers —
                           But I’m straight out
Of my tribe from my great grandma Merton
Pure Kentucky English — it would take more paper
Than I’ll ever have to express how justified I feel.


Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Crossing over the Illinois River on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, between Chicago and Chilicothe, Illinois: photo by Jack Delano, March 1943(Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Tribe: A biographical note

Here in one of his final poems, a remarkable eleventh-hour declaration of elective tribalism, the poet delineates his origins, as he has determined them. The plot -- a descending movement from geography and geology through social and family history to the ultimate defiant affiliation with, in the same moment, his forebears, and oppressed, suffering, marginal people everywhere -- describes a downward-drifting gravitation. This movement is felt as being drawn, in the sense not of devised but pulled from below. One recalls that in its southward advance the final lobe of the last great Pleistocene glacial surge festooned the land around and below the southern tip of what is now Lake Michigan -- the poet's east-central Illinois native country -- with the makings of a rich soil converted in the century before his birth to tilth, and wealth, by pioneer prairie farmers. The mass of the ice moving south, making the landform, dotting it with morainal debris.

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Urbana, Illinois: Mr. Harmount is unfortunate: he has been stranded with his circus near Urbana since 1925. Though his trucks are equipped with gears of his own invention which make it possible for them to go up any hill in high gear, still he cannot leave Urbana, which hasn't any hills, because he still (since 1925) owes some $260 to his co-investor, who came to Urbana with him (in 1925), and whom, although he has been supporting him ever since, he cannot pay: photo by Ben Shahn, summer 1938 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Of his father's side the poet had known next to nothing. The Appalachian "trash" migrant ancestors were his mother Louise's people. They were tough, resilient folk, who had never been permitted the luxury of being thin-skinned. (See the poet's marvelous early lyric "The Hide of My Mother".) So much of who one is, the person one becomes, is inevitably resolved by genetics. Or as the Greeks put it, character is fate. Though they'd worked it long and hard, the maternal "trash" ancestors had never held significant title to any of that rich, fertile, black-loam corn-and-hog prairie country.

Sinking down through geology and geography and family and social history, the descending inquiry of Tribe engages the life and career of the poet's half-Indian French Quebecois grandfather, William Merton Ponton. My French-Canadian man, the poet affectionately addresses this stand-in father in the poem Obituary (from the early Sixties collection Hands Up!). This was the most important male figure in the poet's early life, and fittingly, he bore this man's name in his own, Edward Merton Dorn. 

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad switch engine in yard near Calumet Park stockyards, Calumet City, near Chicago, Illinois: photo by Jack Delano, January 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

In the Twenties, Ponton, a railway steam-fitter, had come down, out of Iroquois County, where he'd worked on the Illinois Central, the great empire-building line of the Illinois Valley, seventy track-miles due south, to Villa Grove, where he'd taken a job scaling and fitting steam-pipes at the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Division Center. No work for the weak, this involved long night journeys often in freezing weather into the middle of nowhere to repair broken and leaky pipes. The rough-and-ready frontier-railroad trouble-shooting aspect of the job would greatly impress his grandson.

This farming and railroading community of some two thousand souls, situated on the Embarras River twenty miles south of the state capitol at Champaign, struck Wiliam Ponton as a reasonable enough place to settle. He married Bessie Hart, a daughter of the here-assertively-justified pioneer stock -- "pure Kentucky English", the note of purity ringing unapologetically if perhaps a bit oddly against this jerk/Ethnic crazy country -- and they moved into a "nice clapboard house" in old-town Villa Grove.
When in later years, the poet, who had long since gone off into the world, came back to Villa Grove on a rare visit, while in town he made a point of stopping at the cemetery to gaze a while at the peonies on William Ponton's grave.

Louise, the daughter of William Ponton and Bessie Hart, had been wed in a whirl-wind, at twenty-one, to a dubious railroad man from the Ohio Valley named William Leslie Dorn, who promptly left her as quickly as he'd found her, with no forwarding address. The fellow was a brakeman on the Chicago and Eastern Illinois, a drifter, virtually unknown in Villa Grove -- and, after the feckless act of abandoning Louise with child, never mentioned. Louise's daughter Nona Abercrombie Lytle recalled: "I asked mother once about her first husband, and she said, ''He was like all railroaders, he had a woman in every stop.'"

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

A train being pushed over the hump at the Proviso yard, Chicago: photo by Jack Delano, December 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

For the departed brakeman's young and pregnant wife there was the small-town shame of divorce compounded by the social stigma ("and in seclusion babies are born," the poet wrote in Goodbye to the Illinois) of a secluded, early-springtime lying-in. In thus wise Louise gave birth to a son, Edward, on the second day of April, 1929.

These events left mother and child thrown back upon the ample generosity of William Ponton and his wife Bessie -- a kindly woman who in those years was known to leave fresh-baked pies out on the steps of her clapboard house for the starving tramps who were turning up along the railroad right-of-ways of the prairies as thick as the locusts and grasshoppers congregating in the suddenly dust-choked fields. Louise herself became something of a wanderer, trying to find a life for herself in increasingly depressed times. There was no work for an unmarried woman with a small child in Villa Grove. Using her father's railroad passes, she packed up and went off with her son to her mother's Hart relatives in Michigan, and then around a circuit of her scattered siblings who'd gone to seek jobs -- a brother in the automotive plants of Flint, Michigan, a sister in Adrian, Michigan, a brother in the steel mills at Gary, Indiana.

With the demise in 1936 of William Ponton -- he died at sixty-one of overwork, "wasted like a job," as the poet would write -- the family trials of "depression nomadism,/ wandering work search, up and down/ the bleak avenues of Flint, following/ other exodus relatives" began in earnest...

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Night view of part of the South Water Street Terminal of the Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago: photo by Jack Delano, May 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)
Edward Dorn (1929-1999): Tribe, 1999
Biographical text adapted from TC: Edward Dorn: A World of Difference, 2002

Chicago 1970 | by raworth

 Chicago 1970 | Ed Dorn and Anselm Hollo: photo by raworth, 1970, posted 6 August 2013
Jan 8 
53° Lo
Rain, heavy at times 
Migraine Headache Weather
UV: 2 - Low  
Cloud Cover: 99%
 

#China A portrait of China's late communist leader Mao Zedong is displayed at the main entrance to the Forbidden City in Tiananmen Square in Beijing Photo @ludovic_marin: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  8 January 2018


 A man covers his face as it snows near the Imperial Palace in Shenyang, in China's northeastern Liaoning province Photo @Chandanphoto #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  8 January 2018


#Afghanistan Men pray in a local restaurant in Mazar-i-Sharif Photo @Farshadusyan #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  8 January 2018


#Afghanistan A vendor displaying onion harvest for sale along the Kabul-Jalalabad highway on the outskirt of Kabul. Photo @Noorullah700 #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  8 January 2018


 #Cambodia Power stacked against SE Asia's poor as China dams Mekong Photo Tang Chhin Sothy #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  8 January 2018


@A_Vanbeveren, of France, rides his Yamaha motorbike during the second stage of the 2018 #DakarRally in Pisco, Peru, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. | Photo Ricardo Mazalan: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 7 January 2018

Peru Dakar Rally

The Toyota of driver Alicia Reina and co-driver Carlos Dante Pelayo, both of Argentina, burns after catching fire during the third stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally in Pisco, Peru, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. | Photo Ricardo Mazalan: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 8 January 2018

Peru Dakar Rally

The Toyota of driver Alicia Reina and co-driver Carlos Dante Pelayo, both of Argentina, burns after catching fire during the third stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally in Pisco, Peru, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. | Photo Ricardo Mazalan: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 8 January 2018

South Westland, NZ | by bobsan88

South Westland, NZ: photo by bobsan88, 5 January 2018

Containers | by AstridWestvang


Containers | by AstridWestvang

Containers | by AstridWestvang

U.K.Railways | by raworth

U.K. Railways: photo by raworth, 27 December 2007

Alden, Iowa | by josephvavak

Alden, Iowa | by josephvavak

Alden, Iowa | by josephvavak

* | by József Pataki

Untitled [Austria]: photo by József Pataki, 7 January 2018

South Westland, NZ | by bobsan88

South Westland, NZ: photo by bobsan88, 5 November 2017

Coast | by AstridWestvang


Coast | by AstridWestvang


Coast | by AstridWestvang

South Westland, NZ | by bobsan88

South Westland, NZ: photo by bobsan88, 8 January 2018

Cuba Revolution Anniversary

A boy dressed as a "Guajiro" travels in a vintage American car during a caravan marking the 59th anniversary of the arrival of Fidel Castro and his rebel army in Regla, outskirts of Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Castro and his rebels arrived in Havana via caravan on Jan. 8, 1959, after toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista. | Photo Ramon Espinosa: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 8 January 2018

 Cuba Revolution Anniversary

A boy dressed as a "Guajiro" travels in a vintage American car during a caravan marking the 59th anniversary of the arrival of Fidel Castro and his rebel army in Regla, outskirts of Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Castro and his rebels arrived in Havana via caravan on Jan. 8, 1959, after toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista. | Photo Ramon Espinosa: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 8 January 2018



#Japan Koi story: priceless Japanese fish make a splash Photo Toru Yamanaka #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  8 January 2018


#Philippines Barefoot Catholics throng at a huge Philippine procession Photo @herime23 #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  9 January 2018

 #Bangladesh A Rohingya refugee child waits for customers in a shop at Kutupalong refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia Photo @uz_munir #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  9 January 2018

  
A Rohingya refugee child walks past a shop at Kutupalong refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia. Photo @uz_munir #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  9 January 2018
 

SYRIA - A girl appears from the rubble holding her shoe following an air strike on Saqba, in the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus. #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  9 January 2018


SYRIA - A man and a woman mourn over the body of one of their children in the rebel-held besieged town of Douma following air strikes on the eastern Ghouta region near Damascus Photo @hamza_alajweh #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  9 January 2018





Benjamin Netanyahu and his son Yair in 2015:
photo by Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Netanyahu son bragged about gas deal outside strip club, tape reveals: While on tour of clubs with minder in tow, Yair Netanyahu is heard telling friend: ‘My dad made an awesome deal for your dad’: Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem for The Guardian, 8 January 2017


The recording of the conversation, which took place outside a strip club, is the latest revelation to cast light on the Netanyahu family’s relationships with wealthy tycoons, which have so far spawned two corruption investigations into the prime minister’s activities.

According to the Israel Television Channel, the tape features the voices of Yair Netanyahu and Ori Maimon, a son of the gas tycoon Kobi Maimon. Maimon Sr is a shareholder in Isramco, which owns the Tamar gas fields.

According to the reports, Yair and friends, with his government-provided security guard and driver in tow, were going from one strip club to another.

He and Maimon can apparently be heard arguing about 400 shekels ($116) as they leave the club, with Yair reportedly telling his companion: “Bro, you got to spot me. My dad made an awesome deal for your dad, bro, he fought, fought in the Knesset for this, bro.”

He continues: “Bro, my dad now arranged for you a $20bn deal and you can’t spot me 400 shekels?”

The recording was apparently made in 2015, at a time when Israel was in the midst of a political controversy over newly discovered natural gas deposits and the rights to drill in them.

What is most likely to cause uproar in Israel is the revelation that a state security guard and government-provided car ferried Netanyahu’s son and his friends between strip clubs. The provision of a security detail for Netanyahu’s children was already controversial.

While Yair, now 26, has a reputation for his crass behaviour, his remarks – serious or not – also feed into a growing sense of outrage in Israel over the cosy relationship between the Netanyahus and wealthy businessmen.

The disclosure of the tape comes at a highly sensitive moment for Benjamin Netanyahu as he awaits police recommendations in two corruption investigations into his behaviour, one of which involved the receipt of gifts from wealthy benefactors.

That investigation, known as Case 1000, involves the billionaire Australian businessman James Packer, whose own relationship with Yair Netanyahu has come under the spotlight.

Public concern over the slow pace of the police investigations have spawned weekly anti-corruption demonstrations calling for Netanyahu to stand down.

The Netanyahu family attorney, Yossi Cohen, sent an urgent letter to the Israel Television News Company on Monday demanding it withhold the recording’s contents from the public.

In a statement to the television channel, a spokesman for the Netanyahu family said the recording was a “witch-hunt” meant to undermine the prime minister.

“Your witch-hunt has reached a new and unprecedented low with the broadcast of a secret tape of things that were said jokingly two and a half years ago, between young people drinking alcohol,” the statement said.

Last year, Yair Netanyahu drew unexpected praise from US neo-Nazis – including the far-right website Daily Stormer – after posting an antisemitic meme on social media. The image showed the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of antisemitic attacks, with a reptilian creature and a hooded, hook-nosed Elder of Zion–type dangling inducements before three of the family’s enemies.



GAZA STRIP - Palestinian protesters demonstrate against calls for the closure of UNRWA by the Israeli prime minister and cuts in Palestinian aid by the American president near the Israel-Gaza border east of Khan Yunis Photo @saidkhatib #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP,  9 January 2018



Only a Crimson Tide saves this from being a brilliant display of political cloning. @GettyImages #TheTrumpUniform #CFPNationaChampionship #Atlanta: image via Reading The Pictures @ReadingthePix, 8 January 2013


Well, that's a keeper. Trump at college football national championship. #ruleofthirds #scrolloftheyear @GettyImages: image via Reading The Pictures @ReadingthePix, 8 January 2013


America's game. @usatoday @reuterspictures #football #CarolinaPanthers #CamNewton #NFLPlayoffs
: image via Reading The Pictures @ReadingthePix, 8 January 2013


@stevenmnuchin1 and @LouiseLinton have clearly emerged as first couple of wealth redistribution, and the #mefirst credo. As for the gesture, seems to land somewhere between roaring 20's dance move and an ironic "can't hear you." #maralago @EvanVucci @AP_Images @CNNPolitics: image via Reading The Pictures @ReadingthePix, 7 January 2013

3 comments:

TC said...

The Embarrassment: Sex Drive (1979)

ah, the past, then... the gentle sepia tones...

kent said...

Promise to rerun "ED's Greatest Hits" once a month and I'll double, no, triple my subscription. Not available in any store, America. k

Hilton said...

Wonderful to see Ed Dorn poems and commentary.