Friday, August 01, 2008

Warmly Received

I’ve been wanting to write about the trip to San Francisco, but the feelings that came up being back there are wrong for the tone of this blog. I thought about describing the old haunts I saw, most outside the City’s photo-ready heart and along the pastel phalanges, on the rickety wood fire escapes tucked behind the facades, but that seemed like a bid for insideriness, disease of the Bay refugee. I tried to write about the people I talked with, but since most of them were at events I was in, it sounded self-important, and I didn’t want to leave anyone out. I worked on some Proustian drivel about time collapsing and how much of my self is still there like stuck gum, but it was too Proustian-drivelly. So I didn’t write anything at all, and thought that'd be that, but now that seems wrong, too, like the trip never happened, or the years I was there.

Maybe the safest way to go, and in its way the truest, is a list of Books Received.* If this goes OK, maybe I’ll be able to say something later about Stas Feldman and Leonard Cohen singalongs, The New Talkies, and dirty noon martinis. Here goes:

Cellini, Benvenuto The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, trans. George Bull (Penguin, 1956)
Bought for $2 in the Book Bay to make change for MUNI. MUNI!

Peirce, Kathleen The Ardors (Ausable, 2004)
Discovered the outdoor Library Sale around the other side of the building and picked this up for a buck, then borrowed the poems’ names—“From the Shore,” “Fondle Pearls and They’re Quick to Fly,” “Linen Napkin”—for titles to my own poems during the reading that night. Sorry, Kathleen Peirce, whoever you are. Though you must sort of know when you name a book The Ardors and fill it with poems like “Time Shall Not Lose Our Passages” that you’re asking for someone to wobble the pedestal a little, no?

Julian of Norwich Revelations of Divine Love, trans. Clifton Wolters (Penguin, 1966)
I’d rather just find this in Middle English and slog through, but then I’d miss the pipesmoky intro Penguins are famous for, this one by an English Catholic priest—yes, Virginia, there is a Clifton Wolters—who’s capable of lines like: “As she stands Julian is wrong. One can believe her to have erred from the best of motives.” Lost a little noon martini through the nose at that.

de Nerval, Gérard Aurélia, trans. Monique DiDonna (Green Integer, 2001)
Gift for my brother and his wife, who put me up that night, though tempted to keep for myself. Good brother.

Cross, Del Ray Ein frisches Trugbild: Ausgewahlte Gedichte, aus dem Amerikanischen von Peter Rehberg, with illustrations von Jessica McCloud (luxbooks. americana, 2008)
German never looked so good enough to eat. Del, I want an Ausgewahlte Gedichte. Can you ask for that for birthdays?

Larsen, Sara M. and Brazil, David Try! Issues #1 & #2, June/July 2008
Floating Bear sans underwear.

Stuart, Francis Black List, Section H (The Lilliput Press, 1995)
I accept David Brazil as my personal savior … from Fascists!

Warren, Alli and Nicoloff, Michael Bruised Dick (no publisher listed, 2008)
You can hear the poets read from this here, but you’ll miss the unsettling half Alli/half Michael cover photo that makes the case for their being twins separated by Greek comedy mishaps at birth.

Ward, Dana Goodnight Voice (House Press, 2008)
Stephanie’s already taken this down to the pith, so here just thanks to Michael Slosek for slipping me the goods.

Young Brandon You Better Ask Somebody (no publisher listed, 2008)
Kathleen Peirce, take note: “Half On A Baby,” “I Want to Play Catch With Bill Luoma,” “No Bombs Raining Down On Our Heads By Sextus Propertius.” And that’s just the first three.

After reflexively looking for Clay though I know he’s no longer there, I picked up in the land where cheap postwar paperbacks never died:

Everyman, and Medieval Miracle Plays, ed. A.C. Cawley (Dutton, 1959)

Kalidasa, Shakuntala and Other Writings, trans. Arthur W. Ryder (Dutton, 1959)

Restoration Plays, Introduction by Brice Harris (The Modern Library, 1953)

One Hundred Middle English Lyrics, ed. Robert D. Stevick (Bobbs-Merrill, 1964)
Myrie songen the monkes binne Ely
Whan Cnut Kyng rewe there-by:
Roweth, knightes, neer the lond
And here we thise monkes song.
*“Received” here can mean books I passed cash to a clerk for and "received" in return.


John Sakkis said...

please read at BOTH BOTH again next time you're back in the Bay...or the next time, or whenever in the future...

again, sorry about bailing...needed to see about a friend who was heading back to SLC the next day...i felt like a a-hole, but i had to go...


CLAY BANES said...

Please come back again when I haven't just started working at SPD and am too exhausted etc.

Would have been good to see you. Here's to will be.

Wade said...

I can't tell you how many memories (both great and not so) that photo brings up from when I worked at Green Apple.

me said...

you're awesome, rodney.