I divined this comedy, Dante, before I went in. But I had to have a job. "Like one who has imperfect vision, we the things which are remote from us." O brother, we saw tho the eyes were shot. We had light if not love. We had business.
Nystagmus ("The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling"), the searching movement, combined with 80% vision. You'll have to use a magnifying glass, we can't give you glasses to reach print. Good-bye to proof reading. Good-bye to a living. No! That low, rangy, glass-walled office and plant in the Frank Lloyd Wright setting, clean-mowed acres, tulips, petunias, evergreens—I would apply there. Not literature but light fixtures and pressure cookers. Out of daylight into Wade Light.
I was the September dandelion—forty, female—seeking a place among the young fluorescent petunias. I keep cropping up in the world's backyards while here in America, on all sides they shear civilization back to the seventeen-year-old girl, not yet young shall we say.
I entered the window-walled office of personnel. Or was it a corner of a little theatre? What would the director be like? A properly placed man may expand his influence over the whole of your sight. We met ideally, as strangers do, without prejudice, without violence . . . courteous before the guessed-at depth. All art between us. Will he help me? He is not usual. He moves as in a dance to be considerate. As if to speak, against the room's outdoor backdrop, of Renoir? Of Einstein? Is he the master economist with a sense of the relative value of things? The artist with a sense of needing fewer things? The political observer with a knowledge of electronics? What does he know really, sweetly, by touch?
He said, "You read."
Beethoven: "It is impossible to say to people, "I am deaf." But I said it: I have an eye handicap.
"I wonder if you should . . . we have a switchboard opening. You might try it."
I went in. Lights, polished glass, blond satin finished desks, glossy haired and bald-headed efficiency. Shine. Lamps to be produced. Lamps to be sold. The antique sweatshop base with a new shine. You'll never have to polish this brass, a lacquering process, won't tarnish. This is the lust that will never rust.
The shade by the door, the grey parchment face, cracked in a half smile. Shall I appear alive or let myself be carried along? I suppose man is, the most sensitive physical part of him, an electrical apparatus, switches, wires, etc. . . .How much do I give to Wade lamps? It takes 1028 human bodies to build a star. Purely business.
The girl at the switchboard shouted, "Come in—if you can—it's my birthday, you know. Once a year and at Christmas this happens—nylons, table lamps, candy, help yourself. The bosses, the old honeypots, must like me a little bit, anyhow. Sit down. Let me tell you what goes. They're all good enough guys, family men, church, golf, they're after the business, they'll lay on you, of course."
You see in a place of this kind, she said, the switchboard girl is one of their outlets. They do a great deal of their sweating thru you. You'll make the contact and in haste, also they relax thru you. You're a part of it when their bags are full and you jazz 'em when they're down.
"Get me the Howard Hotel, a single."
"Good, I like to sleep close."
That was Mendau, the burnt-out fuse in the beautiful suit who still thinks he's got something to sell.
"Give me Philadelphia." Give me Europe. I'm waiting, operator, for the Paris pick-up. I'm on wartime Montparnasse, gas mask, phosphorescent heels, illuminated brooch. "What's that?" What does it look like? There they call it what it is.
The Japs: We had neither hens nor eggs. We went requisitioning. A miserable village. On the way back we began to look for Chinese girls.
They don't make 'em as sensitive as geiger counters.
"Goddamit what the hell happened to that call to Lethal Steel? Sleeping at the switchboard?"
"I reported to you, sir, that Dan Blaine will talk."
"Christ if you can't get anybody but Dead-End Daniel—"
"What was the name they wanted?" Somebody by the name of Christ.
Please pass the blood. Human materiel is obsolescing.
As for the work itself, she plays an intricate chess. You gamble with the red and the white and the green, without benefit of spa.
I lost. "No natural aptitude."
Dante? Yes, go ahead.
from ND 13
New Directions in Prose & Poetry
edited by James Laughlin
A poem (or more) will be offered by the hour or with the day and at the very least once a week. So stay on your webbed toes. The aim is to share good hearty-to-eat poetry. This is a birdhouse size file from the larger Longhouse which has been publishing from backwoods Vermont since 1971 books, hundreds of foldout booklets, postcards, sheafs, CD, landscape art, street readings, web publication, and notes left for the milkman. Established by Bob & Susan Arnold for your pleasure. The poems, essays, films & photographs on this site are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the author's go-ahead.
New from Bob Arnold ~ "Faraway Like The Deer's Eye" ~ Bob Arnold Faraway Like the Deer’s Eye — A Saga — FOUR BOOKS IN ONE VOLUME ~ A Poet’s Memoir // 50 Years of Longhouse & Poets // A Builder’s Life, with photo assembly // The Selected Poems of Bob Arnold // An afterword by Andrew Schelling
Longhouse Bibliography Quick Link —
Link to the Birdhouse Bibliography
Read about Longhouse (a press edited by Bob Arnold) ~
Available from Longhouse. Please link on the image for ordering information. Drawing from years of poetry and also new poems, The Woodcutter Talks is Bob Arnold at his finest branching love poems with back country work poems and settlement with community, family and individual portraits. The extensive collection also showcases vintage photographs from woodcutters and woodchoppers and big-saw-pullers of old. Sweat runs down the cheeks of the mere literary and they adore one another.
Stone Hut by Bob Arnold
"Once again, my friends, this is your best book! Exquisite in design, fat enough to be a feast, pretty enough to just wade around in, but deep enough to dive into and stay with, all I can say is WOW, you guys really did it – it’s the first of its kind, a scrapbook novel that is also a how-to and a mystery -- how did he do it, and how does he make rocks balance like Thor? — Gerald Hausman" ~
Museum, An Unlikely Meditation, written by the poet Bob Arnold, is as much an unlikely novel. Visit this page for details.
Cid Corman's Of, Volumes 4 & 5 from Longhouse.
ANNOUNCING. The final volumes to Corman's opus in one book ~ of, volumes 4 & by Cid Corman. 1500 poems, 850 pages edited by Bob Arnold, now available in a limited edition from Longhouse, 2015. Please link on the cover image for details & Paypal payment information ~
'Fully a book ~
An interview with Bob Arnold on Cid Corman’s ‘of’
Janina by Janine Pommy Vega
New and available now from Longhouse ~ Janine Pommy Vega Janina Visions, Tales & Lovesongs 288 pages perfect bound packed with poems and photographs. Janine's full course album of photographs, travel journals, poems, facsimile notebooks of poems, childhood photographs, and family, Beat family, plus her unfinished memoir of Jerusalem.
Walking Woman with the Tambourine is the final book of poems by Janine Pommy Vega.
"Walking Woman with the Tambourine is the final book of poems by Janine Pommy Vega. The author completed the manuscript and left it as she wished with her executor Bob Arnold … New and available now from Longhouse ~ Poetry. 144 pages. Perfect bound softcover. Please link on the image for ordering information
New! James Koller : Selected Poems 2003-2004-2005
James Koller — Selected Poems 2003-2004-2005 Longhouse 2016, 72 pages, perfect bound. Please link on the cover image for details & Paypal payment information PLUS more from Longhouse
OPENINGS by JAMES KOLLER
Selected poems 1959 ~ 1985 edited by Bob Arnold. New and available now from Longhouse ~ 72 pages . Perfect bound softcover. Please link on the cover image for details & Paypal payment information PLUS more from Longhouse
Lorine Niedecker's A Cooking Book
A Cooking Book Lorine Niedecker Longhouse 2015 72 pages, perfect bound. Please link on the image to purchase this new title from Longhouse.
Kent Johnson's "I Once Met"
Available once again now in 2022! $25 plus shippingVisit the Birdhouse for Kent's book information :
JD Whitney's Selected Poems
J.D. Whitney ~Sweeping the Broom Shorter Selected Poems 1964-2014 from ~ Longhouse 2014. 192 pages. Please link on the cover image for details & Paypal payment information PLUS more from Longhouse
New! from Longhouse ~ Island Dreams by Gerald Hausman Please link for details & Paypal payment
ISLAND DREAMS by GERALD HAUSMAN Selected Poems 1968 ~ 2015 chosen & edited by Bob Arnold New and available now from Longhouse ~ 160 pages Perfect bound softcover. Please link on the cover image for details & Paypal payment information PLUS more from Longhouse
John Bradley's "And Thereby Everything"
L O N G H O U S E is very proud to announce a new book by John Bradley in their on going series of S C O U T book publications — other titles from the series have been by Kent Johnson, Janine Pommy Vega, James Koller, Bob Arnold and Lorine Niedecker with more in the works. An opening salvo at the front of the book by Patrick Lawler should provide ample cover for what the reader should come to expect. And Thereby Everything John Bradley Longhouse 2015 First edition only issued in softcover 208 pages, perfect bound illustrated throughout by Bob Arnold with 150 photographs
Dudley Laufman : Bull & More Bull
Visit this page for information on this new Longhouse by Dudley Kaufman (2016)
Dudley Laufman's Islandian Poems
The Islandian Poems & Fables Dudley Laufman Longhouse 2015. 72 pages, perfect bound. Please link on the image to purchase this new title from Longhouse.
MIRZA ABD AL-QADER BIDEL / ROBIN MAGOWAN ~
New from Longhouse. Please click on the image
New from Longouse ~ Robin Magowan
New from Longhouse. Robin Magowan. The Garden of Amazement, Scattered Gems After Sâeb. large softcover glossy bound with an introduction by the translator, 112 pages
Duo by Bob Arnold — New from Longhouse Please link to A Longhouse Birdhouse for more information
DUO Bird Poems by BOB ARNOLD. New and available now from Longhouse ~ 92 pages. Perfect bound softcover. Please link on the cover image for details & Paypal payment information PLUS more from Longhouse
Start With The Tree by Bob Arnold
New in 2015. Building a marriage, building a family, building a small barn out in the woodlands together as a family, as a marriage, and seeing the roof go on. Over 150 color photographs
Beautiful Days by Bob Arnold
Beautiful Days ~ new poems of living and working in the Vermont woodlands and to Hurricane Irene
Yokel by Bob Arnold
[from "Yokel, A Long Green Mountain Poem" by Bob Arnold] ~ that and more at Bob Arnold webpage of books & poems: Please link on this image for more
Go West by Bob Arnold
Filled with poems and travel photography — shares one cross-country trip the couple took in the mid-1980s to California from Vermont.
"I'm In Love With You Who Is In Love With Me" by Bob Arnold
from Bob Arnold's new book "I'm In Love With You Who Is In Love With Me" ~~~~~~~40 years of love poems
"Rain Bear" by Bob Arnold
Bob Arnold's first children's book "Rain Bear" New and available now from Longhouse ~ 50 pages. Perfect bound softcover with photographs ~ & drawings by Jason Clark
"Heretic" by John Phillips from Longhouse
New from Longhouse ~ John Phillips "Heretic". Poems with collages by the author. Click on the image for more ~
Kim Dorman — "Owner"
"Owner" by Kim Dorman. Including photographs by Kim Dorman. Selected and edited by Bob Arnold. New and available now from Longhouse 2016 ~ 80 pages. Perfect bound softcover