Thursday, October 22, 2009
Weiser River Pillow Book #11
[Here’s the October installment of Eberle’s 2000-2001 Weiser River Pillow Book; as written, this would have been the end of the manuscript—so you should indeed put some stress on the final word of these lists. We began posting the Pillow Book entries last December, so next month’s installment will be the last]
THINGS ORNAMENTING THE WOOD SHED
Drifting sea background, 4 purple diamonds, 1 dawn-pink circle.
Large metal hoop mandala encircling: teapot, trowel, sawblade.
FIRST RAINS, OCTOBER
The smell of the earth, a soft pungent gratitude.
Looking at the roof, trying to remember where the leaks were last year.
Sitting on the porch steps watching the clouds roll down from the mountains.
Summer-hatched guinea hens, who have never seen rain, sounding affronted.
GODS ON THE MARKET
Olympic stain and paint.
IMPROVISATIONS AT WOMEN’S FANTASY PERFORMANCE NIGHT
Being in a dance routine with bathing beauties.
Being coronated pope.
Running a school board meeting with a hammer for a gavel.
Witnessing one’s own funeral.
I DREAMED I WAS WRITING MUSIC
I dreamed I was writing music, and when the hoot owls started outside, I dreamed I had written music for hoot owls, who then came in, right on cue, at intervals of a perfect fourth.
MARKETING THE WAR
America on Alert!
America’s New War!
America Strikes Back!
Now More Than Ever.
BEFORE YOU GO TO BED WITH THE FLU
Cellophane rattles like distant thunder, echoing with all the flimsy disposable flotsam of the last century.
Dead leaves look like mice.
It seems overwhelmingly tragic that the chickens have no scraps to eat that day.
HOW ENGROSSING CUTTING LABELS
How engrossing cutting labels from computer print-outs my companion designed for the feed containers: turkey grower, scratch, crumble, and rolled oats.
I remember how intent I was, years ago, cutting out place cards for my mother’s formal dinner parties—cards that would be inserted into the mouths of the golden metal insects that served as place-card holders.
How lovely to have animals instead of formal dinner parties.
ACTS OF RESISTANCE
Knowing that all lives are equally valuable. Consistent action based on this knowledge would eradicate hierarchy, elitism, war, oppression, and car commercials.
Not having children.
Making art instead of money.
THINGS THAT ABOUND
THE PURPOSE OF ART
The purpose of art is not so much even a question of product, but of commitment to a process that takes you away from the life proscribed by the agents of greed. It returns you to what is sacred, it ritualizes connection.
FAST FOOD, FAST CULTURE
Strange sight, a fast food roadside shrine, children of a superpower lining up quietly to eat what will kill them.
Putting down money for it too, the hush at the altar of the cash registers, the softly spoken orders. Many people have the verses memorized, don’t need to read the phrases posted in the place where, in church, the hymns would be posted.
Strange method of ritual suicide, within earshot of the roar of another monster to whom we make regular voluntary human sacrifices—the freeway.
Fast food is pseudo-sustenance based on omission: communicants participate in the omission of connection to its production—the land where it came from, the people involved in growing it, making it—the omission of making it, sharing it.
Fast culture works on the same premise—the cult of celebritism substituting for human connection—no involvement in its production, buying it, not making it: the whole business is just another death cult. Of course, death cults are not an illogical response to life in this country.
VACUUM CLEANER MODELS DESIGNED TO FIT TYPE A
THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION
At best, education provides for an ability to entertain oneself without having to pay for it and feed the beast of consumer culture. Like learning to make love instead of supporting a sex industry. Learning to get ideas for free instead of supporting the non-information industry. In this country, recreation without consumption is a radical act, and leads naturally to freedom of thought.
BREEDER'S CUP CLASSIC HORSES
Albert the Great.
On the lawn, among the browning leaves the occasional underside of a cottonwood leaf bright and silvery as a coin winking up at you.
The internal voice, that laughs at itself. A friend, who echoes it.
Coming home on a cloudy night, past Mesa Hill, the scattered lights of houses around the post office and the store down in the valley.
The beating of your heart.
The stories you use to make up the world.
Eberle Umbach © 2000-2009