Ephemeris by Norm Sibum

Morning in America? No. It is only morning. It is only Nikas in Montreal-NDG, a cloying dampness in the air auguring imminent weather. Otherwise, I regard Alexandra the waitress and her freshly-tinted hair, she chewing gum all the while, staving off a so-called mood-swing. Otherwise, I consider a return to William Butler Yeats. The esteemed poet has been dead – since when? Since eons ago. But rather than consider a return to his particular brand of versification, I am considering a return to his ‘thought’ however perilously close it was to Flakedom: So also, Yeats believed, with all poetry: beside the mystical element in communication I have mentioned, it would gain urgency and even intelligibility from a symbolism which made its meaning felt ‘not only in the dark portion of one’s own mind, but to the mind of the race—from W.B. Yeats and Tradition, F.A.C. Wilson, University Paperbacks, 1968. But then I suppose one does not have to ascribe to Eternal Conflict in some Heraclitean sense to know that we owe to the new god on the block, or The Big Bang, all our progress, let alone intellections of it. You mean we are no longer creatures of the bush? That’s a roger, Houston. At least with Yeats the ceiling (his ‘mobile heaven’) is a little higher even if the bottom (the rag and bone shop) is a great deal lower than is the case with prefab ological structures speaking as of this moment for the bitten off, chewed up and spit out psyche. Shall we now give each our floundering hearts some due? Otherwise, yes, Spielberg is the quintessential propagandist of morning in America; he is the apostle of can-do innocence. He has the next hundred years in the bag. It’s all on him. For all that, I read of late in Mr Hedges’ Truthdig screeds (that would be Hedges of Pulitzer Prize renown, his withering glance that of a freelance journo) that everything is so broken revolution is the only decent response; that to go and vote is a serious affront to any thinking person’s self-respect. It is as if revolution is the corsage one keeps fresh in the fridge for one’s prom date. But I do intend to vote in a Quebec polling station; I will hold my nose in doing so. London Lunar does not believe we nearly lost out (by way of our mammalian precursors) to the dinosaur; no, we are dinosaurs, impervious as such to asteroids and their blandishments, and what’s Dylan doing, writing syrupy ballad-slop to Lennon? Haven’t we been embarrassed enough? I had New Neighbour (now Not-So-New-Neighbour) as an evening’s guest. He went on about the collusion between academe and the corporatist artist. Been the reality for how long? Since the first ziggurat swept the sky with ritual fire? Eddie the cook (Nikas), given the new political reality in these parts, figures he can as easily do Greek in French as in American. “Would that include the pork pita?” I ask. Ah, he thinks me cute, even if I need a good Albanian kick upside the head. Literary Thug #1 and the Moesian, out of the goodness of each their hearts, did set me straight in respect to my confusion regarding Mr Eastwood and his televised performance with that empty chair at the RNC. Seems I accorded the man too much capacity for Duck Soup and made not enough allowance for senescence. If Yeats was perfectly willing to believe that human history is all ebb and flow and flow and ebb between the Dionysian and Christly poles of our energies; and if I am perfectly willing to concur with the claim that but for fire and the camel, humankind would have had no history, let alone differences of opinion when it comes to spice road etiquette, what shall the grandchildren of our grandchildren believe when the last fully considered book shall have been written, and from then on all instant reportage will be deep-plowing literature, and poesy’s cachet, while holding steady, will have even less to do with poetry? I have long believed that all along humankind has been aiming at a state of pure weightlessness, the purity in the weightlessness being, sure enough, one’s personal best, but minus the burden of belief and faith and any intellection that might keep belief and faith on the up and up as honest brokers. We are getting there.