May 2015

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Notice how many times I went ad hominem. I must have deserved  her ire.

Notice how many times I went ad hominem. I must have deserved her ire.

Cheri Jacobus has decided I’m hateful because I have no sympathy for Joe Biden. She’s blocking me because I was less than friendly about her grief for the vice president’s family.

Started to go wrong here.


Uh, they DO know. They’re that corrupt.

So. I’m getting blocked — yeah, blocked on language grounds — by a supposed conservative who occupies the high morality of expressing sympathy for the serial groper Joe Biden because I had the nerve to repeat the use of the term “cunt” lefties have continually applied to Sarah Palin. You know what? I don’t care, Cheri Jacobus. Bidens really are scum, don’t care about their losses, and I just wish you had as much compassion for a mother of five who once ran for Vice President. They called her a cunt. Does that bother you? Nooooo. The Bidens are in mourning.

Not awesome, Cheri. (Which is the male version of the adjective btw.) I can give you the right version right here.

Proving how incredibly full of hate I am. Care to rethink?

Block me all you want. I will never have any use for even the most jovial Stalinists of the left.

I'm the only one who has deciphered this manuscript.

I’m the only one who has deciphered this code.

It’s called the Voynich Manuscript. Scholars, linguists, and cryptographers have been working like bulldogs to decipher it for several hundred years. It’s the most renowned and mysterious book in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book Library.

Who else has anything like this? Harvard doesn’t have it, or everybody would already know the simple answer by now. It’s a double book code, keyed to Proverbs in the Bible and Purgatorio in Dante’s Divine Comedy, only in reverse. Well, that’s the obvious part. The kicker is that it’s also keyed to the earliest landscape art in western art, which occurred in this place and is important — Siena. Where absolutely everybody everywhere was gay, with long nipples and leafy underwear.

So. When you make the obvious code substitutions, the text reduces to a fairly prosaic construct, since only about one out of a hundred letters actually means anything and the pictures are there just because they make a nice party decoration at Stillman College.

We love dope,
And Buckley’s Pope,
The tree of life,
Tits stiff with strife,
And it’s so cool,
Cause we’re no fool,
And green’s our thing,
Like with nippling.
See the pics,
And suck our sticks.
Just causing fear,
Cause we’re not queer,
In New Haven.

You have to imagine the Jeff Buckley vocal for yourselves. It’s really the best thing since Rufus Wainwright almost got into Yale. Wait-listed and passed up for a transgender Rottweiler.

Okay. He got the lyrics wrong. Why he didn’t get into Yale. He should reapply.

Well, Yale still has the Voynich Manuscript. A feather in their lovely hat.

I began the Intercolumn Reference on this machine.

I began the Intercolumn Reference on this machine.

The year was 1978. Before I even knew there was such a thing as the Internet. I was writing. Which meant I was typing. And I had this idea, about what people knew or thought they knew, and I was going to cross-link it with other things people thought they knew. Got the Bible idea. The beginning of the ICR idea.

Typing. Typing. On an old Underwood. You’re not going to believe this, but I wrote the first three books of The Boomer Bible on this Underwood. And I included the ICR from the beginning, which meant that I was writing two columns with a thing in the middle. Meaning I had to know ahead of time what EXACTLY would be in each column and how to make the central ICR column. On an Underwood Standard.

Think about it. You write halfway across the page, stop for the ICR, and then proceed to a pre-programmed second column.

While I had no idea what the ICR would ultimately consist of.

A friend of mine accused me of the sin of experimental writing. But there was never anything experimental about what I did. I knew what I was doing, but it took me ten years to do it. There came a day when I realized, finish it or never do anything worthwhile.

So I wrote The Boomer Bible. I was thriving as a management consultant. I just quit it. Had a nice office. Moved across the hall. And wrote and wrote and wrote. My business died. Because I was writing not leading the partners. Couldn’t stop.

Here’s how it worked. As I went to sleep each night, I made plans about what I would write the next day. As soon as I sat at my new computerized keyboard, I started writing something else. For months. Then I sold the book to a publisher. Which is when I got focused on doing this much on this part every single day. And I finished it on time.

Then came the ICR. Weirdest part of my life. I told the publisher the book didn’t exist without the ICR. So I spent six weeks doing it. Had the whole book in my head all at once. Dreamed about it all night, every night. Then, I spent all day every day, every single day, pinning it all down.

Here’s one example of what happened with the ICR.

There Isn’t Any God.

Thing was, the book was something you had to light up when you read it. The whole thing. Funny, eh?

Life is not kind to the aged and obsolete.

Life is not kind to the aged and obsolete.

My buddy David Zincavage just dismissed all my writing with this comment:

“You and I have a basic problem here, Robert, in that the kind of literature you like to produce is pretty much precisely the kind of literature (modern, experimental, formalistically innovative, intensely subjective) which I do my best to avoid.”

Which is, of course, completely wrong. I don’t mind. Everyone is entitled to his opinion. It’s just that since I’ve spent a lifetime rebelling against the modern standard of what literature is, from its affected exclusion of meaning from fiction to its insistence that groveling confession of the lowest desires and actions is the highest art, I tend to take exception.

Also, given that a significant chunk of my opus is devoted to satirizing modern lit — from Tom Wolfe to Norman Mailer to T. S. Eliot to P.D. James to the blockbuster NYT bestseller of the day — I experienced the intensely subjective desire to have a loud chuckle at a fairly pompous and ignorant dismissal by a superior old Yalie.

Hence this reprint of a piece I wrote in the vein of one of Harvard’s most iconic alumni. It’s from the Moon Books store in my “formalistically innovative” multimedia work called Shuteye Town 1999, which is just exactly like everything else written in the 20th century. Enjoy it, Eli.

Rabbit Is Senile

Chapter One

Here I go again, with another brilliant display of writing. It’s amazing, even to me, that I can write this well, so transparently that it seems the scenes are just unfolding themselves out of the ether, but then again with that additional turn or twist or tweak which make it inescapably clear that we’re in the hands of Upcreek the master. I started out with this much talent all the way back when I was a summa cum laude English major at Harvard, and I’ve never stopped producing. Every piece I do for The New Yorker, every smug review and essay, every one of these damn Rabbit novels—they’re all, always, brimming with talent. It’s just so fucking beautiful the way I use words that everyone, including me, is rapt, so that even though we’re still in the first paragraph of Rabbit is Senile, all my readers have already zoomed back to where Rabbit’s life was when we left off last time, and they can taste and feel and hear the tiniest incidentals of his experience, which at the moment have to do with the fact that his diaper has just been soiled and he is grappling in the depths of his bleached and porous memory for some identification of the experience of having a bowel movement.
Only I can get away with this kind of scrupulously unblinking description, because I do it so damn well, and it doesn’t matter a farthing that nobody out there, or in here, gives a shit about Rabbit—they come to me for the performance alone, the way they would go to see Luciano Pavorotti sing arias out of context.

And if, in this case, the aria is but a cheap rehash of characters that were never that interesting in the first place, it’s still okay, because prose this beautiful accomplishes the miracle of demonstrating that life itself cannot live up to the glory of my talent with words. And if it is a joke that I am, at this very instant, describing in meticulous compleatness the content of Rabbit’s Pamper, it is not a small joke or a venal one; it is rather part of the grand joke that I and my readers share about life—if only, we all sigh and chuckle and exclaim, if only life were as fine as the writing of John Upcreek. And as we sigh and chuckle together, I can begin my next tour de force by bringing this stinking Pamper to the brink of your very nostrils and holding it there for long minutes, while arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris Laviniamque venit. Multa ille terris iactatis et alto. Dux femina facta. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

The Latin bit at the end is called Greek. Still chuckling.

P.S. And we haven’t even gotten to the part where I goofed on Shakespeare, Milton, Plato, Swinburne, and Voltaire. But goofing on them was an act of love.

He's bent, broken, and baffled now. But he was brilliant once.

He’s bent, broken, and baffled now. But he was brilliant once.

Now that Letterman is (thankfully) gone, let’s do it the old-fashioned way. Top Ten, in reverse order.

10. Lord of the Jeep. He can still be funny. Fitfully. In short bursts.

9. Cuber. He does multimedia satire like nobody.

8. Yurropean Boobs. He’s great AND heterosexual.

7. Konfessions. He can break your heart from a great distance.

6. Johnny Dodge. He’s a motorhead poet.

5. Moon Books. He’s a Thurber quality graphic artist. (Click to your heart’s content, and don’t forget the Romantz section or the Comix.)

4. Epiphany Ship. He can flat-out write.

3. Philadelphia Story. He’s a first-rate philosopher who also knows about quantum physics and Egyptian mythology. And he knows how to weaponize words like Ambrose Bierce.

2. The Boomer Bible. He invented the Internet before anyone else did. There was even this (Poems free btw), which — look for it — included a 9/11 prediction (after abundant numerology fulminations) from one Henry Elders.

1. Frank Frelinger. He reinvented Dante, writing as divine order. With a potboiler on the side.

Honorable Mention: the Cream King Trove, Alice Hate, and Insect Brain. The Magic Doorway too. And tennis. (He’s a WASP, you know.) Okay. I’ll stop now.

A past that is cantering away from us, not retreating, just late for something better.

A past that is cantering away from us, not retreating, just late for something better.

There was a time, not that long ago, when all of us knew ladies. Something I wrote fifteen years ago:

Some of us… can’t help remembering ladies. They were our mothers and grandmothers, our friends’ mothers and grandmothers, and they had no idea they were prisoners of a vicious sexist culture. They knew how to smile, how to make strangers and shy ones feel welcome, they knew how to dress up for a party, how to dance to ballroom music, how to practice countless skills that made houses into cheery homes, and we loved them. In every possible way they exemplified the essential human virtues and mediated their children’s vulnerability through their own. They were playing a life-and-death role, especially in those first six years, and one that fathers couldn’t play because their role back then was different. Fathers weren’t second-string mommies, always playing catch-up on the sensitivities not born into men. They were, when all was said and done, judges — the ones charged with preparing the children to be strong against the institutional temptations and corruptions that were coming after the time of safe haven was over. Their job was not to be taken in the way mother could be by an artful grin or pleading. Their job was to say no, to describe the consequences, to levy the punishment so that the lesson would be learned in the home, not in the dangerous realms of the outside world.

“Before” there were fathers and mothers. “After” we have “deadbeat dads” and a plethora of lawyers, doctors, journalists, executives, and bureaucrats, all with ticking biological clocks and an enduring confusion about the difference between home and government. If they can’t be in the home, then they want the world as a whole made as safe as a home. They want more laws, more protections, more services. They beg the government to come deeper into the home, inside the car, into the chemistry of their children’s brains. [Any] post hoc ergo propter hoc analysis is dead wrong. The women’s vote has played a pivotal role in the rise of nanny government precisely because they’re always looking back in the direction of a home that is no longer what it was.

So, a friend sent me hunt pictures he’d photographed, beautifully, himself. When I asked, he had no idea why I would link a reminiscence about ladies with these tableaus of life among the gracious. He’s that much older. He doesn’t understand the connectedness of things.

I’m just going to show you the pictures and let you spin your own connections, like the spiders we all are. But note the perfectly easy composition, the natural framing of a scene, the unstated emphasis on appropriate attire, and the beauty of formality and order. With more than a nod to the vibrancy and relevance of all kinds of us despicable animals.


Fun and anticipation aren't just human emotions.

Fun and anticipation aren’t just human emotions.

Do you know — you probably don’t — that equestrian events are the one sport where women compete equally with men. They often win. This most aristocratic of contests is where women first staked a claim and proved their mettle. Why? Because it’s important how you look while doing it. AND they’re as brave and skillful as men.

My wife taught me to ride. And laughed when I inevitably fell. Motorhead can't handle one horsepower.

My wife taught me to ride. And laughed when I inevitably fell. Motorhead can’t handle one horsepower.

You can resent the well-to-do and laugh at their pretensions. But all of you who slobbered over a royal wedding need to look in the mirror. There is such a thing as The Quality, and we all admire and depend upon it.

Beauty needs no justification as long as it has no cruel purpose.

Beauty needs no justification as long as it has no cruel purpose.

The man who took these lovely photographs had no idea why I would connect them to a paean to long gone American ladies.

Can’t think of anything that will convince him. But life is a parade full of costumes and conventions and courtesies. We still have the costumes, ugly though they are, and conventions persist like waves at the shore, whether they bear seaweed or syringes. What we’ve oh so obviously and utterly lost are the courtesies.

One of the best photographs I've ever seen.

One of the best photographs I’ve ever seen.

Although Raebert tells me this one is HIS favorite.

All photos in this post are copyrighted by David Zincavage. Thank you, David. You put real meaning into the term "old school."

All photos in this post are copyrighted by David Zincavage. Thank you, David. You put real meaning into the term “old school.” Click on any/all of pics to see them bigger.

Is it useless to ask any of you to think esthetically for once? Or is life really supposed to be about bra straps and cargo shorts? My mother was a lady. So were all her friends. I’d trade all of today’s college girls for that tiny band of brave, polite, accomplished, and modest LADIES.

Who's the smartest dog in the world?

Who’s the smartest dog in the world?

Bereft of other options, we watched the new movie about Peabody and Sherman on Netflix. No Wally Cox but otherwise fun.

On a lark I did a Google search hoping to identify Dr. Peabody’s breed. “Small dog, long ears.” Guess what turned up.

Yeah. Basset Brains.

Yeah. Basset Brains.

Congrats, Jim.

Faster than a speeding bullet, slower than a sighthound, smarter than a kid's gyroscope. I give you Pug!!!

Faster than a speeding bullet, slower than a sighthound, smarter than a kid’s gyroscope. I give you Pug!!!

My wife doesn’t want to claim credit. But she deserves it. Eloise was a rescue nine years ago. We knew nothing about pugs. Saw some stuff on TV. They were all fat as ticks and beloved. We took her to our emergency vet a year after we scooped her bruised and bleeding off a highway and thought we’d done good to fatten her up to breed standard. The vet yelled at us. Politely, mind. She told us Eloise was overweight. Uh, vociferously.

So we put her on the same kind of regimen our sighthounds are always on. Enough food to keep her nourished and healthy. No sweets, no, well, anything, that will pack on the pounds. Year by year we don’t see other pugs who have her energy, speed, dexterity, and vitality. She’s easily twelve by now and still whirring faster than a gyroscope. My wife did this. And Greyhound Friends. Dogs love every kind of food. Our testament of love is that we can deny them strudel to keep them alive for years longer.

God bless us every one.

I'd look crumpled too.

I’d look crumpled too.

We were loving the Monaco Grand Prix until the final ridiculous ten minutes. Lewis Hamilton had won the pole and never looked back. With 12 laps to go he had a 19 second lead. Which in Grand Prix racing is an eternity. All that remained was the spraying of champagne on the podium.

But then the Furies struck. A 17 year old rookie tried an ill advised pass and plowed into the barrier. Caution laps followed. Inexplicably Mercedes Benz called Hamilton in for new tires. When he emerged from the pit he was in third place. And somehow, miraculously, the German marque’s German driver was suddenly the winner of his third straight Monaco Grand Prix.


Next up? The Indy 500. (Ya know, the two most fabled car races in existence on the same day?! C’mon.) Topsy time. So we don’t know much about Indy racing except that women aren’t very good at it. Which bit one Juan Pablo Montoya in the ass. One of the female racers rear-ended him under a caution flag. After they repaired the damage, he was dead last in the field, in 30th, three others having already retired. So he won.

A relentless man.

A relentless man.

He won. But not before a titanic five, six, and sometimes eight way battle for the lead transpired. No one, it seemed, could hold the lead for more than a lap or two. The whole last half of the race was some of the best driving, best racing, I have ever seen. On the penultimate lap, the beleaguered Montoya passed both the second and first place cars and pulled away for the win. To my mind the greatest Indy ever.

And the worst Monaco. Mercedes Benz has officially apologized to Lewis Hamilton. Like that will do any good.

On TCM online. Slaughter with neckties.

On TCM online. Slaughter with neckties.

A process of devaluation has long been underway. Read somewhere today that our president wished us all a “Happy Memorial Day.” Please tell me it’s not so.

What I wrote back in 2006.

Midnight to 3 am.

Been on the course. Terrifying.

Been on the course. Terrifying.

Getting ready for tomorrow’s running of the Monaco Grand Prix. Starts at 7:30 am EDT on NBC.

IF you’re a night owl, you can prepare for the spectacle with two great documentaries:



Greatest F1 Lap of All Time? He won Monaco six times. Dead now, like so many.

It’s safer now. But the history reminds you there was a time when men took insane risks for the glory of it all.


Hamilton has the pole position.

Hamilton has the pole position.

You want the boy to read? Try these.

You want the boy to read? Try these.

There were two generations of Tom Swift. The ones above were the first. The ones below are part of the second generation.

My dad found stack of these and threw them away. You know how good they must have been. He was too late. I'd already read them. All of them.

My dad found my stack of these and threw them away as time-wasting junk. You know how good they must have been. He was too late. I’d already read them. All of them.

Smile. Certain you can find them out there on the interwebs. Do yourself and your kid a favor. Look for them.

The greatest momma action hero of all time.

The greatest momma action hero of all time.

She wins, dadgummit. Never gets old. Trivia question. Has Michael Biehn ever not gotten killed in a movie?

Why is there no room in the championship world for the smartest dog my wife and I have ever met?

Why is there no room at Westminster for the smartest dog my wife and I’ve ever met?

Lots of categories, right? Guard dog, seeing eye dog, police dog, bomb sniffing dog, drug detection dog, cadaver dog, best-in-show dog, agility dog, flyball dog, water jumping dog, and therapy dogs of all descriptions, who fix PTSD sufferers and make both the very young and the very old in hospitals very very happy.

Time for a new category. Control dog. Raebert has his own specialized mission. His purpose in life is to make sure that we spend 100 percent of our time with him, preferably with his 110 pound carcass sprawled across both of us on our, meaning his, couch. Beyond that, he insists, every single night, that we go to bed at the right time, which happens to be HIS bedtime. Also, he hates the buzzing of flies and leaves the room when that happens or anything like it, including any sort of buzzing sound, like, well, women talking on TV.

Control. I mean, is there any chance that he could get a mustardy Captain Kirk command jersey colored collar and get a shout-out in the center ring at Westminster? Don’t answer that.

No Westminster honors? Kiss my giant rear end.

No Westminster honors? Kiss my giant rear end.

The nightmare of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Yes, I do. Maybe not like yours. I have dreams in which I’m grappling with a terribly important plot problem that can’t be solved. I wake up in the middle of the night, frustrated but relieved that the problem does not actually exist. Then I go back to sleep and am slammed into the middle of the same problem. Wake up, rinse, repeat, repeat, etc, until dawn.

So. The other night I got enmeshed in a dream about chihuahuas. For once, it was kind of a fun dream. Everyone in public life was a chihuahua. There were Democrat chihuahuas, Republican chihuahuas, celebrity chihuahuas, NFL and NBA chihuahuas, MSM chihuahuas, and then there were the rest of us who never noticed that the ones in charge were tiny, domineering, snarly, ungrateful, half-witted, uh, chihuahuas.

In my dream I built this vast edifice of nonsensical critters in outlandish outfits running under our feet toward an idiotically impossible Utopia called, I don’t know, Taco Bell?

But like all dreams, it faded swiftly after I woke. Complete fizzle. Guess I’m a much better writer in my sleep. Only two fragments to leave you with. This, from Boswell’s Life of Johnson:

I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

And this vision of our latest political savior, the ultimate doyenne of the chihuahua universe.

Don’t cry for me, Clintonistas

Are you looking at me?!

Are you looking at me?!

They're jocks.

They’re jocks.

I once wrote lightly about the Lingerie League. Now we have the Legends League. Let me put my point in bold print.

These women can play football.

So. I’m not happy about the thongs. Is it because I’m old? Or a case of late onset decency?

They can throw, they can block, they can run, they can be hard ass, and I feel embarrassed to be looking up their asses. I don’t even need to see their tits. Or their camel toes.

If you feel different, I feel embarrassed for you.

Yeah. Love it. But don’t. Of two minds. As I said up top.

Supine, broken, but wise.

Supine, broken, but wise.

He doesn’t have any interest, no possibility of gain. Meaning he’s disinterested, not uninterested, two words that have become swappable in recent years. He’s not uninterested. He’s just not staking any claim on the outcome.

What does he do? What can he do? He’s seen all the crap which preoccupies parents. None of that dents him. Kids are cute, they poop their pants, they show signs of life, and they mostly turn out like their parents.

Is that okay? Probably. Most people are average or there wouldn’t be a word “average.” Is that okay with you? Fine. As long as you understand that “average” also means a flip of the coin between modest accomplishment and total disaster. You know. Tattoos. Drugs. Biracial babies. Anything that will piss off the unfortunately stupid parents who were too busy running around to pay attention to the home front.

Is your teenager a stranger? Maybe because your little loved one was always a stranger, who learned in her twos and threes how to manipulate you, turn one parent against the other. And always get what was wanted. But you missed it because you always put the kid first and ran and ran and ran from one silly appointment to another. With no time out from soccer or gymnastics or Tee-ball to read, well, anything.

Why grandfathers have a role to play. We know nothing about toilet training. We don’t care at all about kid fashion. We just look at the interactions of parents and kids and draw our own conclusions.

Children are all would-be monsters. If they can manage it, they will rule their parents and then the world. Grandpas don’t actually care about cute. They’re not even seduced by every mewling kitten. We’re tired, old, cynical assholes. The newest kid is just another predictable riddle.

Truth? We don’t actually enjoy dandling them on our knee. It hurts. We don’t enjoy them running wild all over the place. That’s just them running wild all over the place.

But we do care about what these larvae might become. Normally, we keep our mouths shut and pretend that parents know what they’re doing. But we don’t think that. Parents are a mess. Amateur, agenda-driven know-it-all know-nothing’s who parade their fertility as some kind of affirmation in front of people who simply wish they’d go away.

Kids aren’t cute. Parents aren’t sympathetic characters. They’re all just pains in the ass. Why there really need to be grandparents. The people who speak the truth to all the idiots most involved in the horror of raising children.

I have a few rules. But I won’t number them. Too old to remember numbers. Guess I’m supposed to pretend rules will save the day.

Shut up! All of you.

Don’t pretend that kiddy twirling and keening is talent. It isn’t. Talent is Mozart playing harpsichord concertos at the age of three.

Don’t EVER let them win board games or any variation thereof. They’re young and therefore stupid. They need to learn that and adjust to the fact.

Give them less than a third of what they ask for, demand, beg for, make your life miserable over. They basically suck. They’re not as conscious as the family dog you’re ignoring in his/her favor, and they want much much much much much more. Hell with’em.

Don’t repeat their cute malapropisms. Read to them and make them read back to you. Not even going to frame the argument for this one. Your whole job as a parent is to make them conscious as quickly as possible.

Tell them when to stop and make it stick.

You’ve guessed by now I’m not a nice guy or a nice grandfather. Which makes me the best grandfather. My granddaughter recognizes me as the only authority figure she trusts. Odd, eh?

She was in a hurry. Wouldn't let me take a GOOD picture.

She was in a hurry. Wouldn’t let me take a GOOD picture.

Off to the wedding. Me? Knees again.

The Asians don’t know how to do it. Neither do the Europeans. Comic opera stuff. Lots of swank and bling, no guts.

Third place, the Brits of all stripes. Their principal claim to fame, Sam Browne belts. Relieving an otherwise drab olive, bad liver look.

Something to stiffen your backbone when nothing else will.

Something to stiffen your backbone when nothing else will.

Backbone. yeah.

Backbone. yeah.

Second place, the Nazi SS look. Something calculated, and meticulously designed, to stop a room cold when they enter.

Even evil needs a fashion mission.

Even evil needs a fashion mission.

First place is a tie. Navy full dress…

The officers wear white.

The officers wear white.

The enlisted wear blue.

The enlisted wear blue.

…and the Marine Corps.

And the Marine Corps is blue and white and forever.

And the Marine Corps is blue and white and forever.


From the Psongs Of Harry…


2 I have broken you, ignored you, killed you,
3 But you do not fade away; you turn toward me in my dreams as you never did in fact,
4 And I am not shocked or shamed,
5 But matter of fact;
6 We are the same cup, drunk by different faces.
7 Some are poisoned, some are fed,
8 Some are, of course, indifferent or indignant.
9 I have looked into your cup, you into mine;
10 My liquor is older than yours, and younger.
11 What I see in its liquid skin is the world of me,
12 Me a transparent tattoo on its slippery flesh,
13 All evaporating, waiting to be consumed,
14 Pregnant intoxicant mirage.
15 But when I ask you to look,
16 You see you, the shimmering skin of a world ago,
17 And there I am only an unreflected memory of mine.
18 Why, then, do you smile in my dreams?
19 Is that my memory again, my wish, my punishment?
20 Or is it the blending, at last, of the dregs of our final draught?


I could give up sleeping,
2 But for the alarm of morning,
3 Which wants to surprise us awake,
4 With a brand new ancient lesson.
5 Every morning is everywhere,
6 The center of being undraped and unafraid,
7 On display for its satellites.
8 When I was in Rio, I flung open the broad smiling horizon built upon my balcony,
9 And I squinted the darkness away.
10 Today I roll out under the roof of morning,
11 Trusting a sun I can’t see,
12 Imagining the boastful light above the trusses and timbers and shingles of our conceits,
13 But I do not dare to look at the blush of retreating night,
14 That pink behind we all must show,
15 In impotent flight.
16 Darkness always loses courage in the end,
17 And dawn wins every day.
18 So must I,
19 But more slowly now than then,
20 When I was young.

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