Saturday, October 07, 2006


stolen wondership's rite

To have suddenly seen the surprising procession arcing across the eastern half of Columbus Circle, my happy traipsing about must have deposited me very near the Circle on 59th Street (officially Central Park South, at this stretch). This was during one of those glowing 2 & 1/2 or 3 week vacations I was sometimes able to take from the civil service job I held for many years till recently. The people I saw were definitely a marching unit, and from my first view onward projected ceremoniousness. Were they wearing uniforms; were they beating drums? Unhappily, or maybe happily, I didn't take notes as it happened or shortly after. Eventually I was astonished to see people toward the rear of the march carrying intricate, extremely capacious silver containers--maybe it was only the handles of these prodigious objects that were very complex, but I think perhaps some of the huge silver bodies-proper were twisty also.

What was this, some Dream? Some Trip? Some Film that was surreal, or symbolic, or documented some little-known custom? I finally noticed that those at the rear emerged onto the street from a western outlet of Central Park. I travelled toward the front of the procession to learn there that those folks were moving west on 58th street, then turning south again on 8th Avenue, where they immediately came to rest at a site near that corner. When all 30 or so celebrants were gathered there, from my distance I couldn't see them doing anything more than standing there. It was only 3 or 4 minutes before they dispersed.

When I walked over to the building in front of which they had stood, I saw signage that indicated that this was a restaurant that had recently closed. I knew then that it was a funerary ritual that my eyes had lucked upon. A couple of weeks later I noted that a chain drug store was the site's new occupant, which wasn't surprising since drug branches and banks as well as upscale botiques are well-poised to pay the most extravagant rents to be desired. I've made some inquiry, but haven't found out, though I am hardly inclined to think of this as someone's wholly new brainstorm, from what traditions this lovely rite was created.


Yo _ saw yer comment at r's' blog wld. dig to know where yer story of creely 'sharly rejected' by berryman come from or where found. swing brother. thanks

I'm pretty sure you can read about the Creeley/Berryman correspondence, such as it was, in the Egbert Faas biography of the young Creeley--I do remember a reference to the (1950's, I believe) incident in that bizarre, pretentious book which I happily have lost track of somewhere in my house. Otherwise, all I can tell you, as I mentioned in an earlier comment in the same stream of Sill/blog comments, is that Berryman proudly recounted his nasty reply to the epistolary overture from Creeley in a poem in _Love and Fame_, though it may be only in the 1st edition of _Love and Fame_ that the story is told in a totally undisguised manner. That's certainly not a book I possess in any edition, but I will check further next time I'm in good library, as you can too. I did hear with my own ears Creeley assigning an undergraduate paper, with one limitation abruptly popping up very spontaneously in his thought-stream--"no papers on John Berryman!"
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