Ephemeris by Norm Sibum

Perhaps it finally can be said of me: he has sunk low.  Because I am persuaded that, upon the collapse of a large number of their cities (not all of Mayan culture collapsed between the 8th and 9th centuries for reasons not yet fully grasped, though there are many contending theories), some Mayans wound up in mountainous terrain in the state of Georgia. And one might say, so what? What has this to do with the current price of oranges? But I am also persuaded that a lot of what I have read and been told in respect to alternative histories of the Americas, and especially in light of speculations that revolve around pre-Columbian European presences in the New World, is predicated on hoaxes and wishful thinking. Even so, it is known that Vikings abided a while in Newfoundland, and there are claims they got as far as Oklahoma where, no doubt, a game of football was got up with the Caddo—I am prepared to admit, against my better judgment, that I found the showcase entertainments for the recent NBA all-star game unusually grotesque. I submit it has nothing to do with me being youthful no longer and unable to appreciate playful references to sex. And would that the prevailing hypocrisies of the hour, whether they have to do with sex or politics, be exposed for what they are. But empty-minded vulgarity only seems to provide those hypocrisies with more cover and staying-power—One wonders if an elder statesman of the game of basketball and one of the game’s true greats was thinking along similar lines. A camera panned the countenance of Bill Russell while he was in the stands, and he did not look pleased. One wonders if the dancer-singer in a squatting pose, as if to make a show of divesting herself of fecal matter, was the very thing that had seemingly soured Mr Russell on the razzmatazz overall. I have reason to believe he is a serious man who can keep an open mind about things. It is doubtful the dance routine was somehow intended to mirror birth rituals or other rites of passage. Then again, stranger antics have been emblematic, as it were, of life’s most basic constituents –  like getting born and getting dead. And what is more strange than that a vapid sort of liberalism has been, for a while now, securing the premises for plain old down home fascism, never mind what the Tea Party has been up to?—McGravitas recently had a do at his digs. As we waited for his other invitees to arrive, he read aloud verses to me from Bidart, Franz Wright, Milosz, and Derek Walcott’s Cythera poem. I had not known of the work of Bidart and Wright. McGravitas asked if I wished to borrow the texts. I answered no, another time. For the moment I wished to savour the fact that I had not heard everything the world of poetry predictably has to offer, and that this world was still capable of throwing up a few surprises, pleasant ones, at that, just when I was beginning to think the reality otherwise. McGravitas shook his head, indicating he thought me not only daft, but that my behaviour was truly inexplicable. But then Golden Girl appeared, along with JP, and we were done for, my host and I. We were dead in the water so far as wholesome living was to go. Even a spate of cello music entitled Farewell to Philosophy could not keep the atmosphere semi-somber and save us from mystical excess. London Lunar whispers to me that he has come across an authentic eccentric in merry aulde Englaunde. The lad has all the looks of a punker but professes a love for the poesy of Swinburne. Good God, man, Yeats will be turning over in his grave. It seems the fellow has been duped; that he had been hawking stolen books for another entity, which is what put the lad in London Lunar’s orbit in the first place as one persona non grata among so many others in respect to the book trade. In any case, London Lunar is put to the wise, seeing as he has claimed there are no true eccentrics left in those parts, and that the current crop of 40-something poets all look alike, what with their perennial two-day growths of beards, and all fighting over the same turf. Would such look-alike material include women as well? And somebody is known to have said the following: —in a world where poetry has become a circus I have begun to look at it with squint eyes. Which immediately brings to mind spaghetti westerns, though I cannot think this is what was meant—