Wednesday, February 14, 2007


In today’s local rag we come across the interesting information that fundamentalists in LA are having huge outdoor baptisms in which they use fire hoses to baptize one another. That’s right, in this age, when many people in the world are running short of potable water and in which people in California are having to buy water from us in the Pacific Northwest, these irrationalists are dousing themselves in hydrant water when a little dewy rose spritzal will do. I wonder if any public tax dollars are supplying the baptismal fount or do these inebriants, er, I mean, celebrants, own their own fire hydrants?

Do you think that a hypothetical superbeing would care how the deed is done if his believers are right with her/him/it deep down in their limbic systems? Or doesn’t this have a lot to do with the naturally overly-dramatic nature, the “look at me, I’m saved” mentality, of all believers who must make sure they are being witnessed while they go about being saved, of their raised arms, closed eyes posturing? I think it testifies to the underlying doubt that they have in their own state of grace which, if it were deep and fundamental, would need no such outward demonstration of effect. I always think, when I’m watching people, running around, performing in tent revivals that they’ve got an eye out for who’s witnessing their witnessing. Something always a little bogus about it.


Below, please find another of Donald Hall’s poems which I think is not such a good poem but which lets me enjoy the knowledge that at least I know that I know what he’s talking about. My education in literature and creative writing is at least worth something—so I tell myself. Someone’s got to tell me because a lot of money went into the non-productive effort of studying creative writing. Anyhow—two very important and fairly high-profile poets are being considered as potentially impossible marriage mates. They are long dead poets, dear readers. Who do you think they might be?

The Impossible Marriage

The bride disappears. After twenty minutes of searching 

we discover her in the cellar, vanishing against a pillar
in her white gown and her skin's original pallor.
When we guide her back to the altar, we find the groom 

in his slouch hat, open shirt, and untended beard 

withdrawn to the belltower with the healthy young sexton
from whose comradeship we detach him with difficulty. 

O never in all the meetinghouses and academies
of compulsory Democracy and free-thinking Calvinism 

will these poets marry!—0 pale, passionate
anchoret of Amherst! 0 reticent kosmos of Brooklyn!

—Donald Hall


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