Ephemeris by Norm Sibum

It looks like I am going to begin with something as banal as a rule of thumb. Yes, do not, like, encourage people in conversation who, like, use the word ‘like’ more than three times in a sentence, no matter how cute she is. Otherwise, for a way into this post, I had it in mind to, like, quote London Lunar quoting Christopher Middleton to this effect: that the Arabs somehow never got their 18th century. This in London Lunar’s mind explains the radical Islamist assault on pleasure. But then we have our own puritanical mentalities and we have our dearly beloved PC; and even our endless varieties of Duck Dynasty sleaze can corrupt and unhinge the pleasure principle, make of it something inane and as much beside the point as can the homilies of a finger-wagging control freak or a sword-brandishing executioner. And Leopardi, in any case, noted of the French of his day that, as wonderfully ‘advanced’ as they were in matters of the mind and culture, they were terrible snobs; and the old Romans, in comparison, were cheerful multiculturalists, that is, when they were not engaged in killing off whole tribes of hunter-gatherers—There was a Biblioasis anniversary fête at the Atwater Library recently at which I happened to be; and it seemed to go well enough; and Esteemed Publisher was seen to smile on occasion in wonderment at what he has wrought by way of a publishing house; and I believe he is entitled. Not only that, I know the man to be an honest man who has done Herculean labour, including that of sorting out the Augean Stable, on a daily basis. In other words, he has put and will continue to put into circulation good books as well as an important magazine on cultural matters. He has made of Windsor, Ontario the cultural capital of Canada. He works as best he can with the way things are. There were serious prize winners on tap. There were fire-eaters and snake-charmers. There were magic tricks. There was a brass band. And there was a world bicycle tour. How could it have been otherwise? But you are to understand that I am attempting levity here—Received: Alice Petersen’s All The Voices Cry, Biblioasis, 2012. This book was received here two years ago but it somehow went errant and I was never able to complete my reading of it. Be that as it may, the writer now has permission to shoot me should I ever have been or will ever become as noodgy as her Charles in the story “Neither Up Nor Down.” I believe she happily accepts the commission. Also received: The Pebble Chance, Marius Kociejowski, Biblioasis, 2014. Feuilletons & Other Prose. Yes, London Lunar has been on a roll, what with his God’s Zoo having been recently released in London, copies of which may soon be obtained at the Argo book shop downtown. And yes, London Lunar has been this Marius Kociejowski guy all along, in case anyone wants to know, but that the revelation ought not come as too much of a shock in certain quarters. Also received: The Quinoa Cake Recipe, Michael Glover and Jason Heroux, Bow-Wow Shop Poetry Chapbook, 2014. It is a humble item with genuine verse between its covers. It says one does this for the love of it, never mind that only blockheads do anything for the love of it. Just saying —A big difference between the laws of nature and the laws of civilization is that civil or human laws may be forgotten through distraction or for some other reason, and broken without troubling the conscience (for example, if I eat meat forgetting that I should abstain that day, or if I remember but am distracted), whereas natural laws admit of no such distraction, and it cannot happen that we break them without realizing it, because they are always in our hearts, like an instinct of which we are constantly aware, and which is not subject to forgetfulness—from Leopardi’s Zibaldone, that grab-all, omnibus-ing seminar on everything. The trouble is, there was no way that Leopardi could have anticipated the perversity of our times in which it is entirely possible, in which it is reality, the extent to which we blissfully violate ‘natural laws’ or whatever is meant by them in Leopardi’s mind. Moreover, there are at our fingertips any numbers of thorough-going distractions as did not exist in his day. Reproducing da Vinci’s Mona Lisa with Lego pieces: deemed art as opposed to a jest. America’s Got Talent. Mid-term elections. End-times with microwaveable kernels of corn—