The Blue Raccoon

Monday, December 31, 2007

Going Out

Well, billion-eyed audience, with Louise, I raise a glass to you on this New Year's in Richmond, Vee-yay where the sun is bright, the wind mild and cool, and the massive second annual Carytown celebration is gearing up.

We were startled awake this ayem by the grumbling and reverse-alarm-beeping of trash trucks. Our New Year's day began with hauling our holly daze trash and recycle to their respective pick up places, fore and aft.

Last year, the folks at the New York Deli who cooked it up. Demetrius of the NYD said to, "So, Harry, for New Year's we're going to close off this end of Cary Street and have a party."

I admit to my own skepticism, being a Richmonder, and infected with its Eeyorosis that I must combat with regular treatments of a wild abandonment in dance, but I wanted success.

RVA Magazine promoted the spectacle. Most of us round C-town thought that maybe a few hundred people would attend. But good weather--a slight, fine mist toward the midnight hour--and the novelty of the thing brought out more than 5,000 with just nine peace officers to keep order. But what happened was a good time with nary a provocation prompting police procedure.

This year, the street is closed off for almost its entire mile length, with jumbo tron television screens, a bigger better ball above the Byrd Theatre (we raise our annual orb, instead of lowering one -- we don't care how they do it in New York), with three stages for music including our very own Black Cash and the No BS Brass Band. [Image, above, via RVA, by
Dave Kenedy]

Amie cut my hair today and while so engaged realized she'd not seen our megaphone employed for the "Dictation" portion of Walk The Walk. I went to retrieve the vocal magnifier, and on my way out--this I think around 1 p.m.that the traffic was getting rerouted because the blocks of the Byrd were already fenced in.

I was happy to see the megaphone still up, a sentinel of potential sound before now bare white walls, except for Amie's smudged backward writing. When I stood on the one side of the 'phone, looked like the words were coming from the wide end, and I took a cell pic, but, this requires another technological leap to display the image.

Upon my return, Amie awarded me with the news that my Flash issues were cleared up: hence, no more crashing of browsers. An early birthday present.

Later, we walked up to Ellwood Thompson's and the street and its tributaries was buzzing with expectation of the upcoming event. The possible number floating around for maximum audience to see the ball going up is around 20,000. Could happen.

[From January 21, 2006, Wit of the Staircase]

As promised, though, Theresa Duncan posted to The Wit of the Staircase from beyond the cyber-aether. Went up some point before noon and is titled either with intended or now conveyed irony, "New Beginning," and is a quotation from TS Eliot's Four Quartets, the second section, "East Coker."

She cites the poetry and lit blog Whiskey River and according to the visitation log there, the pent up Duncan demand is getting satisfaction today.

Number Two starts, sounding like (in my first and most shallow reading)--from the early 21st century--a lament about suburban sprawl:

"In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto."

H'mmm. Time for the wind to break the loosened pane, indeed, in this particular case.

Duncan quoted from the first portion of the quarto's fifth part. The voice here is frustrated by the imprecision of words and the difficult effort in attempting to make art new. I don't know how familiar Duncan was with Eliot, or this poem, either. Here is the entire second portion, that offers a sense of affirmation:

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning."

"A life time burning in every moment and not the lifetime of one many only," has a certain weight given the circumstances, and "Love is most nearly itself/When here and now cease to matter," and "..the wind cry, the vast waters/Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning."


I shan't belabor this; on other blogs I'm certain they have already applied tweezers to each syllable, or will soon enough, after the hangovers have receded.

It is getting on to 5 p.m. here and shadows growing long. The past few days I've been restructuring my office to better suit writing and research for the new book. Got a ways to go yet. Have a grand time, whatever you do tonight.

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