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Fall 2002

Notes from the Knothouse

by Mike Hotter

A page reflected after a summer of mirrors,
Written and compiled on September 11, 2002.

Albany, this city that's taken us up in symbiotic adoption and negation, hidden because naked in plain sight is the best disguise, gives an unrivaled vantage down the Hudson, that most important river in our lives, to that City that shows us its wounds from amid it's beauty.

All is well in American Demon land,

Iconoclast

1. One who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions. ("Modern" meaning)
2. One who destroys sacred religious images. ("older" meaning)

Does this shake the death- rattle louder because we are more used to death by water and fire, a little more shocked by that of air and crumpled earth.

For thine inner eyes have poked and prodded out another evocation of a spent human dream.

Thomas Aquinas wondered "Whether the weeping of the damned will be corporeal" (Of a material nature). This most influential early Christian thinker also had a nickname - "The Dumb Ox" because his fellow acolytes found him "heavyset and taciturn".

1990 - Meister Eckhart, a medieval mystic, now bears the distinction of being quoted in an Adrian Lyne film.

Early 70's - many disparagingly nicknamed the Towers "Nelson & David", after the two Rockefeller brothers whose lives dream it was to concentrate world commerce in New York City. They believed the Trade Center would help usher in an era of world peace. People would have to get along because they needed to trade and bargain with one another. It was to usher in the 21st century.

And when the whale's tail's lobbing steadied, the undergirding of the Bridge stifled any steel-bending torsion caused by the clampdown.

Clampdown:

1. An imposing of restrictions or controls
2. Another great Clash song.

A dream fragment that will one day happen:

Four musicians, gathered around one music stand, upon which rests a sheaf of paper. A leaf formatted for musical notation. Filled with nothing but blank measures and staves. They play our song. The one our parents sung us to sleep to.

Can't help, but thinking of the Manhattan contortion, of the many who let fly out the window instead of being burned up and tuckered out, of the two who managed to hold hands as they plummeted.

Can't help but think of Canto V, from Dante's astonishing but hateful sublimation Inferno, the two doomed lovers Francesca and Paolo, likened by the poet to first starlings, then cranes, birds of love and pain,
according to Mandelbaum's trans.

"Now here, now there, now down, now up, it drives them.
There is no hope that ever comforts them--
no hope for rest and none for lesser pain."

Like Dante, we now live in a world of Ghibellines & Guelphs, two sides of fundamentalists, the secular in between.

Be a traveler, not a tourist.

And what we've learned from the obvious, from this one peak of oblivion, that old worn saw, that in each of our grand finales, among musicians playing among the empty music stands, that surely the human act of art stands, as surely as our random acts of love and hate.

A Second to Last image - a Whale engulfing a capsized rowboat and its passengers.

whale in water

and Satan takes a holiday,
and two demons dance.
They dance a folderol.

MIKE HOTTER is a guitarist.