Ephemeris by Norm Sibum

A fine evening of it was had at the Moesian’s the other night. The occasion was a private launch for Marius Kociejowski’s The Pebble Chance, Feuilletons & Other Prose, Biblioasis. Says the dust jacket blurb: ‘In the game of bocce, no matter how intensely you study the world’s surface, there is always a chance an unseen pebble will knock your ball in an unexpected direction’—In any case, an apocryphal portion of the book was read. One heard various ruminations on the mentality of poets. It would seem that some poets have difficulty distinguishing hope from despair, so often confusing the one with the other. As requested, Mr Kociejowski offered up a few poems of his own, including ‘Coast’ and ‘Night Patrol’ (the latter poem featuring bona fide Ontario June beetles of a summer’s nocturnal hour slamming against a soldier’s rifle butt); and if there were in attendance young people who had yet to hear a true poem, they were now advised as to what one sounds, tastes, smells and feels like. And then it was over – that little spell. It popped and time resumed. And from the sublime to the ridiculous the transition was extraordinarily rapid and precipitous. Before one could say ‘Speedy Gonzales’ one heard McGravitas going on about where a righteous man might buy himself some cheap underwear. He was next on about colonoscopies with all the moral grandeur of a talk-show host. So much for moral questions that go deeper than the usual suspects, or the usual partisan wheedlings of politicking and petty PC. “What is the language using us for?” or so Kociejowski in The Pebble Chance writes of W.S. Graham presenting this conundrum to the audience of a poetry reading back in the late 70s—Language, since then, has gotten so much more corrupt, but here it is I am chattering away, if only to tell you that now and then one encounters poetry that is not simply dragging around the ball and chain of enslavement to fashion and rigged pay-offs. Perhaps there is a future after all and so, something like hope. Then again, as per Leopardi in his Zibaldone: Philosophy, independent of religion, is in essence nothing other than a rationalization of wickedness, and I say this speaking not as a Christian, or as so many apologists for religion have done, but morally. Since everything beautiful and good in this world is pure illusion, and virtue, justice, magnanimity, etc., are pure fantasies or products of the imagination, the science that seeks to reveal all those truths, that nature has shrouded in such profound mystery, without putting revealed truths in their place, must of necessity conclude that the only choice in this world is to be completely egoistic and always do whatever profits or pleases us most—Damn it all, can’t win for losing. The bastards always get the plum—