Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Thursday, 20 August 2009



Asperatus cloud: Over Cedar Rapids, Iowa, US.

The smashed weirdness of the raving cadenzas of God

Takes over all of a sudden

In our time. It speaks through clouds and the voices of talk show moderators.

It tells us in a ringing anthem, like heavenly hosts uplifted,

That the rhapsody of the pastoral is out to lunch.

We can take it from there.

We can take it to Easy Street.

But when things get tough on Easy Street

What then? Is it time for realism?

And who are these guys on the bus

Who glide in golden hats past us

On their way to Kansas City?

Asperatus clouds over Cedar Rapids, Iowa: photo by Jane Wiggins, 2006


file said...

... and here lie answers!

we may not need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, nor for whom the bells toll but it's sure comforting to see a buxom brunette up there with a colourful map, concrete numbers, and an air of friendly authority. We might even be forgiven for not noticing that she's slapping stickers of dark horsemen all over the map.

"That the rhapsody of the pastoral is out to lunch" Yes! A la Douglas Adams! And something Ginsberg about the whole here no?

Sorry to be flippant Tom, love this piece. If I read it correctly though; mild insanity in the face of impenetrable evidence and unassailable truths is a perfectly acceptable response.

Or perhaps that's just my take on the Realism you allude to. Can't find any other way forward with this; a realism that includes Piero della Francesca and Edward Hopper and de Chirico for all I know (not to mention Friedrich from a few months ago) is worthy of the title 'smashed weirdness of the raving cadenzas of God' and forces us to accept realism as a trip (baby), doesn't it?

(coincidental aside; an edited line from Came the A's saw the angels appearing as shadows behind the anchormen, funny to see you linking clouds and talk show moderators here)

'rueful austerity' as you describe it, is laudable strategy, in any times, our footprints are far too clumsy at the best of times and Our Time, as I see it, is in a different quarter altogether than Easy Street. Just like Kansas City ain't in Kansas anymore.

best Tom, thanks for this.

TC said...


I fear (yet hope)"mild insanity in the face of impenetrable evidence and unassailable truths" afflicts us both. In fact, "mild" may even be too kind (but it's the sort of spar to which an unsorted realist might cling).

Yes, the austerity would have always been a good idea if not also a necessity. Unfortunate it must be seasoned with rue but likewise probably unavoidable. How finally to eradicate that footprint, always clumsy if seldom deep?

And who are those guys on the bus and are their hats made of real gold or are we merely being photoshopped again? Is Kansas in Missouri, Dorothy?

Thank you for the great comment, your words should be bracing to us both (I think).

u.v.ray. said...

Well, forgive me if this sounds flippant but the way I look at realism is this:

if you get hit around the back of the swede with a house brick it aint never going to feel like a marshmallow.

But maybe wearing a golden hat could save us.

These are the things I ponder. Alas! I am ashamed to say I am a simple man with simple thoughts.

I love the sagacity in the poem. Of course, the human psyche requires both truth and fantasy in order to function.

Anonymous said...

Realism is not one of my favourite literary movements. We have enough of it in real life. I love literature because anything, absolutely anything is possible within its territory and taking realism there might sometimes look as a contradiction.

What I did like was your piece and the golden hats =D

TC said...

Thank you my friends for reminding me that this may be the most unrealistic poem about realism ever written. In fact that may go down as its claim to fame or infamy.

I look at those gold hats and I say to myself, The person who wrote this has maybe taken one too many bricks to the head.

And then I say to myself: I want a gold hat!

Elmo St. Rose said...

A cautionary tale about EASY STREET

We had for awhile in our hamlet
an adolescent drug treatment program. It was really a business
prop and run as a Medicaid mill.
The patients were mostly throwaway kids with byzantine sexual and
family histories by age 14 or 16 as
well as drugs.....there was supposed to be counseling. Fortunately, I was spared by only
having to be peripherally involved.
Shortly after its inception....I
saw a man get out of a
of the counselors....he was heavily
tattooed and walked with a permanent crutch....None of that
was suprising but his out of state
license plate was. It said:
E Z DOES IT......When I saw that
I instinctly knew the program would
fail. If memory serves me correctly
I believe it was a Kansas plate.

TC said...

I guess that a Medicaid subsidy might well finance the purchase of a gold hat to protect a nickel plated cerebrum containing a tin of fresh wiggling live bait. (If it just lies still and pretends to be alive it must be from the other side of the Dakota ice lobe.)

Though I'd have been better off attempting to get some sleep, Elmo, I have been investing all due diligence in looking further into this matter.

Kansas City Pioneers

Of these three Kansas City pioneers, take note that the one on the right who owns the gun also wears the hat, though it appears to be a hat made of lead not gold. Also note that a Hell's Angel has parked his hog outside the Tattoo Parlor adjacent. Scenes of rural austerity may possibly be hoving into the farsighted view of the earnest idealistic pioneer on the left, but the inexplicable and desolating grief of the downcast pioneer in the center speaks volumes, perhaps, on the age-old subject of "All that glitters..."

The bus depot presumably is just around the corner.

Elmo St. Rose said...

TC has a poem written during his
Western travels about the populace
being subduded by the latest


That was somewhat in mind with


given the actually pitiful circumstance of the children involved...and to all I apologize
for autobiographical waxing.