Quelli che benpensano (Those Normative Conformists), Frankie HI-NRG

They’re here around me, all about me; lots of times we be making promise without keepin’ it, but unless it’s in self-interest, the end is just the point of it: center of all that’s possible, the greatest stake’s a joke, the conquering imperative, & not to involve any else in the logic of the game, th’ only rule — being shrewd: not a scruple, no respect for one’s own kind, since the latest are the last ones if the first just can’t be touched. There’re so many, cocky with the less strong, doormats for the powerful, in charge of responses — they’re all the same identity, watch ’em: they’re behind in dress up masks, & no way to tell them apart. Coming up like lizards, even if they buy a line of ‘pardon’ then. They make who they want known in their circle they form: they spend, get big and are that one they hold…

They’re ’round about me, but do not converse with me — they are like I am, but feel it to be better… (repeat)

And like suppositories inhabit blisters “full optional,” with dogs louder than 120 decibels and dwarfs not even found at Disneyland, they live in fear of maybe looking poor: they show off what they have, envy all the rest, then buy it up — in mounting escalation they build with the neighbor: they get off the green and as high as the sky, with a bigger halo on their head than St. Mark from the bible. They’re the ones who on Sunday wash their cars, ones that go flashing by over the pavement with their kids in the dark, middle-men like the class they come from, ground-based like the missiles they resemble. Tight like wads, they’re powdered in flour, turn into drunks, & then get mixed up under a tree — boom! Noses white like Fruit of the Loom, they get redder than the next level in Doom. . . .

They’re ’round about me, but do not converse with me — they are like I am, but feel it to be better… (repeat)

All in themselves, lord by God, hands that are pressed between the church’s banking houses on Sunday — hands of hypocrites — hands that do things which are not otherwise told of, the other hands taking care of who knows what — & they’re shocked upset. — hands that sign petitions then to divest, slick hands like castor-oil, hands that brandish their baton, that get filled up with bling, hands up behind brothers’ back. These people, as the night cannot go on, these do come to hoes while their babies watch the TV: they put them in charge, people who buy “classy,” who are upper class in calling ’em “the Academies,” nightmares in plastic who want to torch every weed but only light the one up that gives them their charity nightly, when they hide from me within the veiled face of the black moon that’s theirs.

They’re ’round about me, but do not converse with me — they are like I am, but feel it to be better… (4x…)

John of Damascus, On the 8 Forms of Evil’s Spirits

1. It happens, my brother, that there are eight states of mind which make war on a brother, just like the church Fathers claim. First is gluttony; second, evil and base lust; third, greed; fourth, grief; sixth, laziness; seventh, arrogance; and the eighth, vanity.

2. So you ought to know, you monk, and focus on how much pain is inflicted and stirred up by our enemies and spirits of evil, and what sort of intention your mind feels disposed towards.

3. Even, if you feel, say, that you are being riled up by gluttony and with over-indulgence, straighten your stomach up, setting limits for food and drink in amount, within measure; keep a continuing recollection of the soul’s unconscious, both of future decision-making and fear of hell-fire; but likewise as well, say, for the desired will of heavens’ kingdom. For you are yet unable to overcome pleasures of the paunch, and may be loathsome.

4. But if you are once again overcome by the the shameful spirit and by low-down desire, strengthen bodily discipline, and contrition of spirit, and vigilance, after fervent prayer; in return, too, use them to handle irreverence, and misjudging someone or slandering them, or being wholly offensive, with these acts in turn. Yet consider death too, and welcome thirsting eagerly; and desire not to approach women at all, or even should you be free just to meet face to face, may you wish to get out of it.

5. And if you wish to overcome money-grubbing, cherish poverty, and welcome imperfection; and think of the judgment of Judah and how he presented the Lord, by means of it, unto the lawless; reflect on how every greedy and idolatrous man is called before the divine Writ; note also that it berefts us of our hope in God, and that the possession of material goods is mighty temporary, but for the money-grubbers, the punishment is unending; so then, by reckoning these reasons, and through seeking autocracy alone no longer, you shall overcome feeling this experience.

6.1 Now if you are troubled by worldly pain again, and are crying, you ought to pray constantly, and put all hope towards God, and to practice the message of the holy Scriptures; and you should be involved with the devout monks and ones who fear the Lord, and the people present all, so as not to undervalue their worth, and to conceive of the enjoyment in heaven, and the rewards of the righteous. And if you are hit by someone, or disrespected, or rejected, be not aggrieved, but rather take heart: but your grief only hurts when you are not right with God; for in this way, you will be able to change from feeling like this in spirit.

6.2 But when you might get riled up again by desire or quick temper, apply sympathy, and do service for the brethren, and if possible, wash their feet in humility consistently, and seek agreeable pardon from every person, and continually look into the feeble ones, & sing the psalms with feeling — immediately shall you be released from the feeling.

7. And if you wish to overcome anxiety, get to work on any little old handicraft, or read something, and pray regularly with secure hope of the right goods; consider both those giving up the ghost, and the pathway and suffocation of the wayward, how they are without mercy and punished, and thus will you have reprieve from suffering.

8. But if you become mighty tyrannical because of vanity and praise from men, you must not do anything to prove it to people: instead you should do all your good works in secret, no one else aware at all, save God alone; and welcome neither fawning praise, nor honors of men, nor fine clothes, nor place of honor and the best seat; rather instead, welcome men to find fault with you and accuse you and dishonor you falsely: even consider yourself more wayward than any sinner.

9. But if you find yourself assailed by diabolical passion of the most excessive arrogance, you ought not attack, nor judge, nor look down on anyone at all, but rather consider oneself as ransom for all humanity and be aware continually that unless the Lord built the house, the builders came for nothing; also, that you think of yourself as a debtor at all times, worthless in the sight of God and men’s. Also, don’t be proud, until the moment you hear full sentence — when you look upon that man, who even after lying there in the bride-chamber, is bound by the hands and feet, and even being cast out into eternal darkness; and whenever you fast or keep vigil or prostrate self or sing or continue enduring or pray begging for forgiveness, or do some good thing in other respects, do not argue that it may have happened from my own personal labor, or because of private wishes, but rather comes about from out of God’s support and assistance, and not of my eager zeal. Be always ever zealous, brother, to remain simple and pure at all times; and do not keep one thing in your heart, another in your mouth: for this is a tricky matter; and, doing this like so, will you escape destruction and a bad situation.

On the sensations, some are bodily and some, psychological; and we say the body’s passions are gluttony, fornication, inebriation, immorality; mental feelings are hatred towards one’s neighbor, jealousy, anger, vanity, pride. Now these influences do they work into our soul, — absent grace and self-control; and also, the emotions from fasting and prayer. For at that time the mind accepts its light proper, and looks on God free from obstruction.

Prologue to Christus Patiens

Since after having heard in piety of verses poetically
made, you now are willing to pay attention to sacred
duties, listen intently: and do now, like Euripides,
tell of the passion whose experience saved the world,
whence you will learn, for the most part, of the
mystical sayings, as from Madonna-maiden mouth
of a novice girl, whom the Instructor is fond of.
For argument will presently establish her first,
in a way fit for a mother at the right moment, while
she bewails sufferings and panorama of destined outset,[10]
as she goes weeping from the mountainside, so that
she appears to be in reality the cause of the Word, &
presently sees this one suffering undeservedly;
now if we have not been by carelessness overcome,
we might not indict fate right from the start; and
lest we be corrupted by the serpent’s trickery, let
not ruin make entrance with the wiles of the beast — and
let us support destiny with righteous judgment, that
evil itself not remain in uncorruptible state, unless
the life-giving Lord, Word God, will both be made[20]
mortal and endure to the end, which makes the
corruptible that loves the good impervious to
sin and gives true life unto the race of mortal men;
and as he awaits inexhaustible, the Word, this
woman was not disclosed as mother of the Lord;
and when seeing presently that this man suffers un-
justly, bemoaning does she cry aloud, all worn out.
The personages of my dramatization, are they
thus: wholly pure mother, unmarried hand-maiden,
young ladies attendant on the Lord’s mother.[30]

Antonio Gramsci, The Tenth Canto of Dante’s Inferno

4.78. Debate on “structure and poetics” in the Divine Comedy according to Benedetto Croce and Luigi Rosso. Reading of Vincent Morello as a “vile corpus”. Writing of Fidele Romani on Farinata. On the Saints. Question of the “indirect representation” and of the captions in the picture-show: the subtitles have an artistic value? — do they contribute to the representation of its character traits? Yes, surely — so far as they fix judgment of the actor and more pragmaticly characterize a given personality. The case of Shaw’s Don Giovanni, with the treatise of John Tanner appended: this appendix is a caption, from which a talented actor is able and obliged to extract fundamentals through interpreting them. The Pompeii-esque image of Medea, who slays the children she had with Jason: Medea is depicted as blindfolded: the painter did not know how, or wanted not, to represent this look. (Yet this is the case with Niobe, also in works of sculpture: covering her face would have signified removing the meaning from the work). Farinata and Cavalcante: Guido’s father and father in law. Cavalcante is punished by the squad. No one noticed that whether he was displeased with Cavalcante’s drama, the condemned man’s torment was not actually seen among that group: the formal structure should have led to an aesthetic judgment, most precise one of the canto, since every form of punishment gets represented in act. The work On the Saints made note of the severity comprised in the canto by the fact that Farinata’s character changes with a line: after being made, poetry becomes structure; it explains; it goes from Cicero to Dante. Farinata’s poetic representation is brought back to life in marvelous manner by Romani: Farinata is a series of sculptures. Then Farinata recites his tagline. Isidore del Lungo’s book on the Chronicle of Dino Compagni: in which is fixed the date of Guido’s death. It’s odd that the scholars did not think first of using Canto Ten to determine this date within approximation (who did it?). All the same, the check up performed by Del Lungo is useful in interpreting Cavalcante’s outward appearance and for explaining the execution of duty done, from Dante to Farinata.

What’s Cavalcante’s position, what is his form of torture? Cavalcante sees the past and sees what is to come, but does not see in the present, in a fixed space of the past and of the future into which the present moment is included. Guido was alive in the past, will be dead in the future, but as for the present? — is he dead or living? This is what tortures Cavalcante, the worry his own, one’s only over-riding thought. When he speaks, he asks about his son; when he hears “was”, the copula in past tense, he insists on response and on deferring one, doubts it not any longer: his son has died; he vanishes, into the red-hot sepulcre.

How does Dante represent this dramatic scene? He insinuates it to the reader, does not make it a representation; he gives the reader the basics so that the drama may be reconstructed, and these elements are given in the structure. Yet still there is one dramatic passage and it comes before the tagline. Three remarks: Cavalcante appears not dexterous and manly like Farinata, but humble, broken down, perhaps on his knees and he demands in uncertain way to know of his son. Dante responds, indifferent, or nearly so, and uses the word which refers to Guido in the imperfect. Cavalcante suddenly picks up on this fact and shouts hopelessly. He has a doubt, not real certainty; he demands further explanations in three questions, in which is an ensemble of states of mind. “Why did you say: he ‘was’?” — “Isn’t he still alive?” — “Does the sweet light not still strike his eyes?” In the third question, there is all the fatherly affection of Cavalcante; the typical human “life” is seen in a pragmatic state, in the enjoyment of the light, which the condemned and the dead have lost. Dante takes a while to reply and then the doubt in Cavalcante ceases. Farinata however is not shaken. Guido being his daughter’s husband, this sentiment has no real power in it at that moment. Dante emphasizes this force of his in mind. Cavalcante’s slouching down but Farinata keeps up appearances, keeps head still, moves not a muscle. Cavalcante falls on his back — Farinata does not make any despondent move; Dante has a negative analysis of Farinata in suggesting the (three) movements from Cavalcante: the twisting up of appearance, the head falling back, his back bending. Nevertheless there is something of the changed man even in Farinata. His reply is no longer such other as it had first appeared.

Dante does not make Farinata ask just “to be informed”, he questions such because he is amazed at being struck by Cavalcante’s passing. He wants the knot that prevents them from replying to Cavalcante to be loosened; he perceives that he is at fault in front of Cavalcante. The structural part is not only structure, then: it is also poetics — it is a necessary element in the drama which has taken place.

Vergil’s 10th Eclogue

Grant me, Arethusa, this final effort for a few verses must be
uttered for my dear Gallus, but ones which his Lycoris
herself might read. Who would refuse poems for Gallus?
Likewise, when the waves of commotion cause the ancient
Italians to slip away, let bitter Doris not stir her own wave up.
Do begin: let us speak of Gallus, his anxious loves, while
the snub-snouted lambs snip at the soft branches. We do not sing
verses to unwilling audience; the woods answer every reply.

And what forests or which woodland pasture will hold you, water
nymph girls, to be unworthiness when Gallus was perishing of love’s
loss? Because neither do Parnassus’s peaks, and neither do any
of Mt. Pindus, delay — not even Aganippa at Aonia either.

Even the laurel trees, even the tamarisks do not make him weep.
The pinecone-laden mountains of Arcadia, and the rocks of ice-
cold Lycaeus, make him weep lying under Mainalo’s lonely ridge.
And the sheep, they all stand about; they’re sorry because of us,
so don’t be sorry for them, you divinely inspired poet — and a
shapely sheep feeds by the streams of the river Adonis; and
the sheperd has come too; and the late swineherds have
come; sodden Menalcas, come for the winter chestnut.

They all ask, “That love of yours, from where?” Apollo arrives:
“Gallus, why are you being crazy?” He says, “Your care,
Lycoris, she followed another through the snows and awful
encampments.” Silvanus came decked in the honor of a leafy
brow, waving a rod flowering, and brandishing massive lilies.

Pan, woodland god of Arcadia has come, & we saw him ourselves —
he was blush-red with the bloody elderberries and dye of scarlet.

He said, “Shall there be any measure? Love does not care about
such things; cruel Love is not satisfied in tears, nor is the grass by
the streams, nor bees with clover — lambs, not by the foliage.”

And in sadness he says, “You’ll sing these poems all the same,
you Spartans on your mountains: Arcadian poets alone are well
versed in singing. O how softly then will my bones be at rest, if
your reed pipe should speak once of my feelings of love, loves!
But oh, to wish I had been one of your number, either as the
guardian of your flock, or the cultivator of the ripe grape’s vine!
It is for sure that whether Phyllis is mine, or whether it be Amyntas,
or whatever furor rage — something for certain if dark-skinned
Amyntas does; and the purple-black violets and bruised hue of
hyacinths — she’d sleep with me among willows under the clinging
vine; Phyllis would pick flowers for my garlands, Amyntas singing.
Here are frigid pools, here the soft meadows, dear Lycoris, the
wood here; right here could I spend up that very age with you.
Now craziness in love holds me back in the weapons of rigid Mars
into the very midst of the missiles and even enemies in opposition:
you, so far from your homeland (would not be so hard for me to
believe!), do see the Alpine snows, oh strong one, and cool chills
of the Rhein by yourself without me: oh let not cold airs beat you!
Aw, would that the rough ice not cut your soft branches trimmed!
I will go and, those poems of mine composed in style of Chalcedon —
I shall intone them on the rustic pipe of a Sicilian sheperd. It is a
sure thing in the woods, among the wild animals’ dens, to prefer
suffering, and cut my loves inscribed into the delicate trees;
those illustrious loves will grow, you shall grow, you desires.
Meanwhile I will make Mainalo shine with wood nymphs inter-
mingled, or I will hunt boar with sharp arms: there are no streams
that forbid me surrounding Mt. Parthenion’s woods with hounds.
Now I do believe I’m going throughout the rocks and wooded
groves uttering sounds; it pleases Pollio to hurl whirling Cretan
points in horn: as though this were cure for my raging, so that
noted god might learn to be light on men’s evil ills? Now
neither do the wood nymphs please us again, nor even our
songs themselves; the very woods, you must yield to them again.
Our efforts are unable to alter that, not even if we might drink
from the very middle of the chills of Mt. Hebron, and were to under-
go the watery snows of a Sithonian winter — not even if,
since perishing paper-thin bark is parched on the high elm,
we took Ethiopian sheep to pasture under the Crab’s star.
Love conquers everything; and let us give ourselves up to Love.”

Oh goddesses of Pieria, this nymph will be enough to sing your
poet in verse, while she sits and weaves a little basket with
marshmallow branches; you shall all do the greatest things to Gallus —
Gallus, for whom love does grow as greatly by the hours,
as alderwood to the truly new youth of the verdant green.
Let us arise: a heavy shadow is customary for ones reciting,
the juniper’s shadow weighty; and shades, they harm the crops.
Go home with belly full — Evening is coming — go on, you goats.

Vergil’s 7th Eclogue

Ecloga VII
MELIBOEUS—CORYDON—THYRSIS

Melibœus
By chance beneath well-known, the elm had Daphnis taken
a sit; Corydon and Thyrsus gathered their flocks into a group —
Thyrsis his sheep, Corydon the goats swelling with milk:
both in the flowering of youth, both youths from Arcadia be
matched equal, ready to recite poetry, in call & response.

A he-goat, one of the flock, wandered off to me as I was guard-
ing the soft myrtle branches from the frost; and I looked upon
Daphnis. When he saw me in return, he says: “The quicker you get
here, Meliboeus, the goat and his kid will be kept safe for you.
And if you can stop a while, take a rest beneath the shade.
They are going to come here through the cattle-fields to drink;
Here Mincius did cover the fresh green banks with a light
reed flute, so equally does a multitude echo with holy oak-tree.”
What could I do? I had not Alcippe, held not Phyllis either —
none to pen the lambs who were weaned off of milk at home:
it was a competition, Corydon along with Thyrsus, huge contest.

Yet have I come to write off my serious words as a game of
theirs: they therefore both began to have it out in trading
verses; the Muses wanted them to remember to take turns.
Corydon requites these lines, Thyrsis those ones, after another.

Corydon
Adjudicating nymphs of Mt. Helicon, our dear love, either per-
mit me a song like my dear Codrus (He does make poetic verses
closest to those of Apollo.), or if we cannot all do so, right here
will the reed-flute hang off the pine, tree disclosed as sacred.

Thyrsis
You shepherds of Arcadia, give the laureate coming into his own
one’s due, so that Codrus’s enviously wanted waist may be broken;
or if pleasing praise will have been further made, wrap your brow
in ivy wreath, so a wicked tongue trouble not a coming prophet.

Corydon
Little Micon said this head of a scruffy boar be for you, my Delia,
and yours are the woodland antlers of the lively deer. If this
would have been one’s own proper, entirely — all of sleek marble —
shall you stand, wrapped about the calf with sandal laced.

Thyrsis
It is enough that you wait, Priapus, for a bowl of milk and these
cakes the year-long through: you are guardian of the paltry garden.
Now we have already made you a marble self for a time; but if
the fodder’s going to fully fill up the herd, you must be golden.

Corydon
Nereus’s daughter, Galatea — you who are sweeter than Sicilian
thyme, brighter shining than the swans, better looking than a
white lamb — when first pastured the bulls do seek once more their
pen, come here, if any care for your Corydon concerns you.

Thyrsis
Really, I will seem to you lovelier than Persian Buttercups, more
wild than lagomilia, more low-down than beached sea-
weed, if this light is still not more enduring for me than a year.
Come home, cows who’ve grazed, come, if you be not shameless.

Corydon
Mossy stream sources and grass rather softer than slumber,
and the occasional shade of a green tree touch you: do watch
out for your flock during the summer solstice; now is the hot
season coming, now buds in the pliant palm grow to swelling.

Thyrsis
Here are the rich hearth and resinous torches, here the great big
flame forever, and doors with their continual soot of blackness;
here we are as concerned about the chills of the South wind as
a wolf cares for the flock’s tally, or roaring streams to the shore.

Corydon
The juniper trees stand tall too, and the chestnut foliage; the
apples lie strewn about the place beneath their tree; everything
is pleasing as laugher now: but if fine-looking Alexis goes off,
away from these mountains, you’d also see the streams dry.

Thyrsis
The countryside’s parched; the grass is thirsty, dying for the
weather’s fault; Bacchus envies leafy vine shadows upon hills.
At the arrival of my girl Phyllis, all the wood green will be:
& Juppiter is going to descend joyously in a shower of rain.

Corydon
The poplar of Hercules, Bacchus’s vine, the myrtle of shapely
Venus, his own laurel tree — they’re most welcome to Phoebus;
Phyllis is in love with the hazel: while she adores the trees,
neither the myrtle nor Apollo’s bay leaf will beat out hazels.

Thyrsis
The ash is prettiest in the forest, pine loveliest in the gardens,
poplar tree finest among streams, fir fairest on high mountains:
but if you come back fairly often to see me, beautiful Lycida,
let the ash-tree yield to you in the woods, the pine in the gardens.

Melibœus
These, the things I remember, and that Thyrsis, the loser, in vain
did compete: from that point on, Corydon is the Corydon for us!

Pindar, Introduction to the 1st Pythian

Golden Lyre, rightful joint possession of Apollo and the
Muses in their locks woven with violets: first
Authority hears resplendent steps,
But the dancers persuaded by sure
Signs of the chorus-leading introductions sing
Whenever you prepare to chant a prelude
Trembling and you extinguish the darting thunder of
Eternal flame; the eagle of Zeus sleeps up-
On its thundering scepter and
Speeding wings go lax on either of his sides,

Most lordly of birds, and you pour down upon its curving head
Darkening cloud, sweet closure to bar shut eyes;
But as it sleeps raising its fluid back,
Feathers rippling, is held back by
The force of your rush. But even vi’lent Ares
After leaving behind pointed spear and sword
Warms the heart inside of his chest with slumber
And arrows also bewitch divine ones’ wits
Over the knowledge of Le-
To’s son and folds draping low from Muses’ breast.

But the living things that Zeus has chosen not to love are struck
Dumb with fear at the cries of the Pierian
Ladies both when on land and
Irresistible ocean; and he who lies in Tartarus’
Torments, enemy to the gods — Typhos with his
One-hundred heads whom the Turkish caves so well-known reared up e’en now
Truly to the sea-sweeping banks about Cumae,
Sicilian shores both weigh upon his
Many chest, the heavenly pillar which holds him in place,
Snowy Aetna that nurses frost atop its piercing peak the year long…