Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm no economist but everything I've learned from watching politics the past 10 years tells me this is right: why in the hell is shoveling banks buckets of money a good idea? I honestly don't understand why the Democrats don't, at the very least, want to minimize the amount given NOW, so that they can have much more control over the process of drafting the HOW in a few months time, when a Democrat (likely) is president. And why hundreds of billions to help the banks but nothing to help the people defaulting on mortgage payments for their only home? I mean, wouldn't it make sense for there to be an agency created (or an existing one expanded and tasked) whose job would be to try and renegotiate some of these userous variable-rate mortgages into more reasonable fixed-rate mortgages? That would cost money (because the fixed-rate mortgages require good credit and a bunch of the defaulters are not of the highest credit rating), but take some of that $700 billion and establish a fund which insure the risk for the banks and allow those who need it a lower interest rate which would let them keep their homes and pay the banks the money they need so desperately. Or even just outright subsidize some people in their struggle to keep up mortgage payments so they don't just walk away from their investment. That way, the banks still get the money, AND it helps people too.

(EDIT: That said, I keep hearing that something has to happen, anything almost, or lots of people will hurt, and I'm willing to believe that this is true--I'm commenting more generally on the shape of the bailout, not whether or not to vote for this one. Both topics I'm really unqualified for to pose as an authority.)

But what do I know, I'm a poet not an economist. I'd like to hope there's a reason of higher order than the reason which led so many democrats to embrace Iraq. Wall of text over, back to poetry.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

So, I'm starting to reread certain books which were important to me ten, twenty years ago. Right now, for example, I'm reading Walter Pater. His sentences used to excite me, and don't get me wrong, they still are wonderful (like this, from "The Child in the House"; "So he yielded himself to these things, to be played upon by them like a musical instrument, and began to note with deepening watchfulness, but always with some puzzled, unutterable longing in his enjoyment, the phases of the seasons and of the growing or wandering day, down even to the shadowy changes wrought on bare wall or ceiling--the light cast up from the snow, bringing out their darkest angles; the brown light in the cloud, which meant rain; that almost too austere clearness, in the protracted light of the lengthening day, before warm weather began, as if it lingered but to make a severer workday, with the school-books opened earlier and later; all the humming, the freshness, the perfume of the garden seemed to lie upon it--and coming in one afternoon on September, along the red gravel walk, to look for a basket of yellow crab-apples left in the cool, old parlour, he remembered it the more, and how the colours had struck him, because a wasp on one bitten apple stung him, and he felt the passion of sudden, severe pain." How lovely is that 'note' in the third clause! And then the context for the specific scene of the sentence, that which lies around that specific moment (of the wasp sting) is inside the sentence, is the sentence's grammatic kernel. And how all that general context, the things playing notes on (in?) him, are full of sensual contradiction, just as the notes played from him are puzzled but deepening. And it all sits on that specific moment of pain--it's almost funny (but not also), like he's mocking his seriousness with great seriousness.) but what used to feel like an admirable, if extreme, circumspection and attention (as if he had written like Cezanne painted), now feels squeezed a little too tight, not necessarily fussy but not permeable enough to a broader range of sensation than he felt comfortable writing out.

Of course, the sentences are the same as they were a decade ago, it is me getting older and my tastes changing, which is welcome; but it is also me getting older and more mundane, my ear cottoning from age and responsibility. After Pater, I intend to find some new grammar to get excited about; one of the responsibilities of aging, I think I'm just learning, is keeping my ear, through its changing, supple.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


begin again

I'm going to begin again, but what is there to say? I want to be able to say, like Lily Briscoe, "I have had my vision," but neither has it had me, and the most optimistic is to add 'yet' to that 'neither has it had me;' and starting again is adding that yet, so I do.

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