W. S. Boxx
8428 Canterbury Court
Estcourt Station, Maine 04741
November 3, 2017
The erasure of cursive from the pedagogic strategies of core curriculum signals a loss in the culture, a fork towards the information age. Art, in the form of elaborate, thoughtful letters such as those of John and Abigail fossilize before us into petroglyphs like trilobites from the Cambrian explosion. Extant messages know not the dipped quill from the inkwell, the measured meditations scribed on parchment under the flicker of candlelight, for now, electrons snuff out the tapers of yesteryears and speed instant thought from geocentric orbits as light skips along the aether. Does it matter, dear friend, in a world where change is the only constant, the uncertainty of quantum mechanics creeping into every facet of foundation, maybe ?
The loops and swirls repeated ad nauseum on ruled newsprint paper until the death of the hand in cramping paralysis, regarded at the time as pointless exercise, have indeed been deemed just so, a waste of the scholastic time allotted, time better purposed by grounding the student in education geared for the cog-less machinery of the digital future, so: keyboarding. The solid earth on which one tottled forward on in insouciant surety proves to be riddled with limestone caverns and shifts underfoot. Has my brief time been wasted in groundwork unfounded ? The binary code sweeps away such expertise as quaint calligraphic messaging and multiplicative grid rote into the ash-heap of the obsolete.
Walter S. Boxx
P. S. The frames of the flipbook shuffle by so quickly that my eyes water from the ruffled air.
The ball. The death.
A shibboleth: Here we go round the mulberry bush
so early in the morning.
A customary fall, a sheep asleep:
a pull to the deep—safety in numbers
of the turning baitball, the teamwork of predators:
dolphin, tuna, sailfish and shark;
gannets, cormorants, terns and gulls:
death from the sky and death from the sea.
edge of measure,
amorphous: dwindling like incandescent kindling;
the scarlet ribbon courses:
tragic drama of pelagic
runs, an attrition of sardines or herring.
A singular fish
dives perpendicular to the piscatorial
emergence against predation:
a divergence from the rest
(reticular loss of lives), primordial.
text: be dexterous, quick, jump over the candlestick.
The hollow of the rocky nook
swallows the gifted swimmer:
A hammerlock school overtook—you rock fish—
That’s just like what a cloud would do:
to feather into marshmallow
and popcorn with butter highlights;
to coast on thermals and billow
into shapes large, larger, largest;
into a beast hurling lightning
drawing the four winds into storm,
these changeable clouds so fickle.
ALL DAY, WE TALK about “the end of the world”: the sun, black as sackcloth: the moon: as blood; country children, the afternoon, smell of petrichor, wind picking up. The bluster silences the others still up front. She appears, glowing above the field out back, like fabric in the wind.
The sand crunches in all of the lunches
as squawking gulls lull for a morsel
mine, mine, mine, mine, mine . . .
so many people baking themselves
in the sun beating down on the kiln.
The kids out for an undertow, shark swim,
the cesspool of the whales: tales of Ahab
rolling in the plankton swells;
sandblasting from the wet air blown
off the salty waves whitecrashing;
the collecting of carcasses, broken shells
and the saline skin crust with fishy smells;
blue skies constantly threatened by drab
over side-step crabs and fleet-foot birds;
the suck of the muck that shakes
and collapses to capture feet near watery
edges–breathing out and in–the shushing din:
white noise without end.
Warm air rushes and rustles the sedges
peaking out from the dunes, wispy hedges
fronting the houses aloft on stilts
built to allow for the flooding of tides
and rain bands slung from hurricane eyes.
All around the coastal road that
parallels the beachfront properties
sprawls the unsightly small-town shanties
of tropical façade, completed with
out-front palm trees, out-of-place odd.
Legions lie in ultraviolet egregious,
under my umbrella I mutter
hate for the beaches.
A DEMON RESIDES within Chip’s soul. His mood flip-flops and the faint sound of wind chimes announce his appearances. Chip is a bushy, black dog of questionable ancestry. One night on a walk, dark forces awaken.
Chip pulls the chain taut like sledding huskies, tail high, seemingly happy, but with Chip nothing is certain. Midnight nears, the projects quiet: only the jangle of the dog tag in the night chill.
Suddenly, infrasound vibrates through the chain; then swells into a ferocious growl. Chip wheels around in attack mode, fangs gnashing. Sensing danger behind, Chip fends off an ambushing dog pack.
WHAT DOES THE EVIDENCE GATHERED AND PRESENTED toward illumination into James Joyce’s narratological use of the “Ithaca” episode of intellectual parody toward an overarching aesthetic presentation of the seminal Modernist prosaic statement that marks Ulysses conclude?
The subterfuge of the arid abstruseness of empirical doctrine contained within the technic of impersonal catechism of “Ithaca” provides equilibrium for the novelistic, aesthetic arc of Ulysses overall, balance constituting part of the triadic aesthetic philosophy outlined by Stephen Dedalus in a preceding novelistic outing by the author James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the catechistic and scientific tentative melding parallel to Stephen and Bloom’s communion, as well as their temperaments, “artist and scientist.” The impersonal catechism directly acts as counterpoint to the personal catechism of “Nestor,” episode two, as the subjective “Penelope” (final Nostos episode) counterpoints (and balances) the objective “Ithaca” and acts as the female monologue counter to the male monologue “Proteus” (final Telemachiad episode). The exactitude of these textual segmentations to the systemic agglomeration achieves an aesthetic holism harmonious to the novice literary surveyor as well as the academician specializing in literary analysis. The referent “ugly duckling” of Ulysses coined by James Joyce himself morphs into a pulchritudinous swan through comic and intellectual deployment of arcane language punctuated by lyrical reveries and metaphoric exactitude unearthing the human condition as one isolated like “the coldness of interstellar space.”The modern-day
hero distilled into the characterization of Leopold Paula Bloom, along with other Dubliners, expands in the inclusion of the entirety of the terrestrial populace comprising 7.25 billion Homo Sapiens organisms, a population projected to level off after reaching 10 billion in 2100, through their microcosmic connections to macrocosmic mythological documentations of varied cultures of the collective unconsciousness. Regardless of the imperfections of the inhabitants of geographies incrementally more inclusive—in a house, in a city, of a county, of a state, of a country, on a continent, on the planet Earth, the third planet of the Solar System comprised of nine planets trapped by warped space-time elliptical orbits around a central star Sol, located in the Orion-Cygnus arm of the Milky Way galaxy containing approximately 300 billion stars, of the Local Group galactic cluster, of the Laniakea Supercluster (520 million light-years wide comprised of approximately 100,000 galaxies with a mass 100 million billion times that of the sun), “the void of incertitude”— acceptance of imperfection , courtesy regardless, belief that improvements evolve from tenacity and survival endow the parenthetic brevity of our lives not only bearable but also enjoyable, perhaps; laughter makes life enjoyable. To make the best of things marks the modern-day hero, Joyce seems to say in Ulysses, a point that resonates.