one tough marielito


Orlando Boquete, 52, exonerated of sexual assault by DNA evidence last May 23, after 22 years as a fugitive.

Ne Tibi Supersis

Ne tibi supersis:
don’t outlive yourself,
panic or break a hip
or spit puree at the staff
at the end of gender,
never a happy ender —

yet in the pastel light
of indoors, there is a lady
who has distilled to love
beyond the fall of memory.

She sits holding hands
with an ancient woman
who calls her brother and George
as bees summarize the garden.

— Les Murray, 5 January 2007, TLS

Crossposted to [info]larvatus and [info]expats.

friends in print: fred rexer

“In self-defense, there’s no such thing as Overkill. The word ‘kill’ is absolute: you can be less than dead, but not more than dead. Dead enough. Other words that are absolute are ‘malevolent,’ ‘dangerous,’ and ‘stupid.’ If a person is malevolent, dangerous, and stupid enough to try his luck while you’re toting your .45 Automatic, he ought to be absolutely killed… not wounded. Don’t set yourself up to argue in court with some lout who’s accosted you. Kill him! Dead men give no testimony. Let the bum’s morgue photos speak for him while you’re being no-billed by the grand jury.”
—Fred Rexer, Jr., Dead or Alive: A Textbook on Self-Defense with the .45 Automatic, IDHAC Publishing, 1977, p. 2

[John] Milius remains adamant — and persuasive — in his claim to the heart of the matter. “My whole career is justified by having written Apocalypse [Now],” he says “I wrote the screenplay in 1969, and based the [Martin] Sheen character, and some of Kurtz, on a friend of mine, Fred Rexer, who actually experienced the scene [related by Marlon Brando] where the arms are hacked off by the Viet Cong. There were six drafts of the screenplay — well over a thousand pages. At one point Francis [Ford Coppola] said, ‘Write every scene you ever wanted to go into that movie.’” The title, he recalls, came from a button badge popular among hippies during the 1960s — “Nirvana Now.” [Note: “My whole career is justified” is from author’s phone conversation with John Milius.] <…> Continue reading friends in print: fred rexer

petit mort pour rire

― in memoriam Cosmo of the Magnificent Sunrise        
February 26, 1994 ― January 6, 2006        

    Petit mort pour rire     A small death for giggles
Va vite, léger peigneur de comètes !
Les herbes au vent seront tes cheveux ;
De ton œil béant jailliront les feux
Follets, prisonniers dans les pauvres têtes…
Take off, agile currier of comets!
These weeds wind-swept will stand in for your fur;
Your gaping orbs will shoot forth will-
o-wisps, locked up inside the noggin of a cur…
Les fleurs de tombeau qu’on nomme Amourettes
Foisonneront plein ton rire terreux…
Et les myosotis, ces fleurs d’oubliettes…
The ornaments called lilies of the valley
Will burgeon over your terrestrial woof…
Emboldened mice that trace your hillside grounds…
Ne fais pas le lourd : cercueils de poètes
Pour les croque-morts sont de simples jeux,
Boîtes à violon qui sonnent le creux…
Ils te croiront mort ― Les bourgeois sont bêtes ―
Va vite, léger peigneur de comètes !
Let’s go, friend: the crate that shelters poets,
A worn-out plaything proffered for a proof,
A violin boxed up, its echo thrown aloof…
They think you dead ― mistaken for a goof ―
Take off, agile currier of comets!
    ― Tristan Corbière     ― traduced by MZ

whining or withstanding

Nil igitur mors est ad nos neque pertinet hilum,
quandoquidem natura animi mortalis habetur.
Titus Lucretius Carus, De Rerum Natura 3.830-831

τὸ μὲν οὖν ταῦτα διισχυρίσασθαι οὕτως ἔχειν ὡς ἐγὼ διελήλυθα, οὐ πρέπει νοῦν ἔχοντι ἀνδρί: ὅτι μέντοι ἢ ταῦτ’ ἐστὶν ἢ τοιαῦτ’ ἄττα περὶ τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν καὶ τὰς οἰκήσεις, ἐπείπερ ἀθάνατόν γε ἡ ψυχὴ φαίνεται οὖσα, τοῦτο καὶ πρέπειν μοι δοκεῖ καὶ ἄξιον κινδυνεῦσαι οἰομένῳ οὕτως ἔχειν―καλὸς γὰρ ὁ κίνδυνος―καὶ χρὴ τὰ τοιαῦτα ὥσπερ ἐπᾴδειν ἑαυτῷ, διὸ δὴ ἔγωγε καὶ πάλαι μηκύνω τὸν μῦθον.
― Plato, Phaedo, 114d
Now to insist that these things are just as I’ve related them would not be fitting for a man of intelligence; but either this or something like it is true about our souls and their dwellings, given that the soul evidently is immortal, this, I think, is fitting and worth risking, for one who believes that it is so — for a noble risk it is — so one should repeat such things to oneself like a spell; which is just why I’ve so prolonged the tale.
― translated by David Gallop

Continue reading whining or withstanding

in memoriam isaak zelyony, m.d.

March 26, 1923 — March 1, 2004


    Dear friends,

    We are gathered today to commit to the ground the mortal remains of my father Isaak Zelyony. There will be no religious ceremony. Three years ago, my father and I attended nearby the funeral of his elder brother Joseph. The rabbi officiating at that event offered thanks to God for a swift and easy death. My uncle’s death was anything but easy. He lingered at the hospital for eighteen months suffering from a panoply of grave ailments, delirious and inane, fed through a breach in his stomach. My father and I agreed then that no clergyman would officiate at our funerals. As born and bred Soviets, we have no religion. My father did not believe in God. I am unsure of my own beliefs, but such God as I believe in surely is no one that owns a character of any kind, in particular not of the kind that wills for any outcome or cares about his creatures, let alone heeds their prayers. My God is akin to the indifferent jailor of a GULAG prison camp, and as his inmates we are well advised to abide by the traditional admonishment of Soviet prisoners: Wait for nothing. Be afraid of nothing. Ask for nothing.
Continue reading in memoriam isaak zelyony, m.d.