Thursday, April 16, 2009

Aimless Reading: The C's, Part 23.1 (John Clarke)

In The Analogy
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Clarke, John
In The Analogy

Purchased at Talking Leaves around the same time as the previous book. I worked with Carke's widow, Cass, for about ten years at Just Buffalo. We used to sneak out of the office every half hour or so for a smoke on the roof or in the stairwell or downstairs on the sidewalk. I quit smoking in 1999, though, so that ended the smoking camaraderie.

I remember it was Cass who told me about the September 11 attacks. Just Buffalo's director at the time, Ed Taylor, had just left his position, and the board had yet to hire a new director. Cass was put in charge for three or four months, and I took on some more responsibility in order to help keep the ship afloat, including actually working out of the office a few hours a week.

My recollection of that morning is either that 1. I called in to say I was going to be late or that 2. Cass called me about some other unrelated matter or that 3. I called Cass about some other unrelated matter. I was pretty groggy when we spoke, but I remember she said in a very nonchalant manner that she had heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the WTC and then continued talking about whatever the subject of the phone call happened to be.

In fact, her tone was so nonchalant that I distinctly recall heading back to bed after she told me, then thinking that maybe I would go turn on the TV to see what she was talking about. Peter Jennings appeared describing events and you could see behind him that the first tower had fallen and there was this huge cloud of smoke filtering up from the ground.

He began describing what he had seen when the first tower had fallen. While he described that, you could see the second tower begin to fall on the screen behind him. He didn't seem to be aware that it was falling and I had this disturbing feeling that even though I saw it falling it wasn't really falling because Peter Jennings hadn't yet said, "The tower is falling." And then he saw and I saw him see it and then he said something like, "Oh, Lord."

Here's a one of the sonnets from this collection:

Extending the Invisible Hand into an Arm

"Though we hear the various reports of his existence we can never find the young wizard who is able so they say to graft the soul of a young girl to the soul of her lover so that not even sharp scissors of the Fates can ever sever them apart."

-- Harry Crosby

"If anyone tries to murder you, call me!"

Stendhal, Memoirs of egotism

"The telephone began, for Valentine, to assume an aspect that, years ago it had used to have--of being a part of the supernatural paraphernalia of inscrutable Destiny."

--Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up

"Neve tell."

--Fielding Dawson, The Greatest Story Ever Told"

No matter who you afre or where you are
in the world, no matter how much money
you have or how many hostages taken,
no matter what luxury and/or emergency
you're in, when you pick up the phone
you hear the same dial tone I hear
right here tonight, so who needs Death
to level us all out, is his voice more
common than the one we've known almost
as long, "whatcha doin'?" You can hire
someone to push the buttons for you
so you never have to listen, but just
the same, isn't it better to bear this
unflagging drone than her obscure echo?

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