Monday, December 31, 2012

Year-End Lists

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall or a list. Except for walls to hang pictures upon or play handball against or lists of things to do like shopping lists (Chopin Liszt).

But walls and lists divide and exclude (best ten this or worst three that) slamming the door on all else. A year-end list feels like a wall of time.The artifice imposed on art with its hierarchy must be what I resist. I like to roam in the messy, muddy, middle ground with uncategorizable boggy blogs that boggle and blur.

Another reason not to list my ten favorite movies is that I can’t remember what I saw before November and even if I could I doubt if there are even three films I would cheer about.

As for year-end anything the idea seems arbitrary. Calendars are mere constructs we allow to impose a sort of order to life, a marker like a wall,even though we know nothing stops. I Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye, I say Hello.

Robert Frost’s poem about a wall ends with the narrator’s neighbor asserting that good walls make good neighbors, the clichĂ© handed down from his father, the staunch Yankee, no-nonsense farmer. But Frost is the poet, all about moving under, around or through barriers. Something there is That sends a frozen-ground-swell under it / And spills the upper boulders in the sun, / And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

Spring is the mischief in me, Frost tells us. The poem is the Mending Wall and Frost is happy to repair it as a way of engaging his neighbor (process is all) even though he knows it will fall again as all walls do.

Humpty Dumpty fell from one and scrambled his yoke. We live in a fractured world. Might as well go for the omelet, throw in some cheese, a few mushrooms, maybe spinach and call it a meal, cholesterol and all.

As for lists I feel as Gilbert & Sullivan…..

And 'St— 'st— 'st— and What's-his-name, and also You-know-who —
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!

Neither missed nor blessed. The only exception is Bill O’Reilly who is still the biggest waste of an apostrophe for the third year in a row.

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