Three Duets

Melville and Crowley

If the Sperm Whale be physiognomically a Sphinx,
to the phrenologist his brain seems that geo‑
metrical circle which it is impossible to

Mind is a disease of semen.

Augustine and Stein

What now is clear and plain is, that neither things to
come nor past are.

A thing that seems very clear, seems very clear but
is it.

Boswell and Kerouac

To write the Life of him who excelled all mankind
in writing the lives of others, and who, whether
we consider his extraordinary endowments, or
his various works, has been equalled by few
in any age, is an arduous, and may be reckoned
in me a presumptuous task.

But in fact that’s what’s good about it, you can
write anything in there.


Source: Herman Melville is from Moby Dick; the Aleister Crowley is from The Book of Lies; the St. Augustine of Hippo is from The Confessions (translated by Edward Bouverie Pusey); the Gertrude Stein is from “Portraits and Repetition”; the James Boswell is from The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.; the Jack Kerouac is from Visions of Cody.

Mark Blaeuer retired this year after a 20-year career as a park ranger. He lives near Hot Springs, Arkansas. His poems and translations have appeared in about four dozen journals.

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