Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Limp Of Worried Teachers

What is a mind? Three bananas and an avocado. Noam Chomsky’s old tired voice. The tinkle of the little bell when I take my shirt down from the hook above the bedroom window. The ghost of a pimple. The anguish of angels. The limp of worried teachers.

Onion rings and hamburgers in a brown paper bag.

I will feel differently about all this when I get my shoes on. It is age and experience that pull the mind into philosophy. The smell of those old corner grocery stores you don’t see anymore. That always smelled of fruit, and gum, and the hushed silver quiet of rain on the window.

The economy has changed. Capitalism is out of control. I want to build an eyebrow. An eyebrow big as the black hole on the computer screen staring out of its pixels like the omniscient eye of God. And unleash the eyebrow onto the world and its prodigal disasters. A monstrous eyebrow leaning into a divan with monstrous detachment in a Victorian salon. For what else can one do? One can make shadows. Huge representations of a world gone awry, humid and mutable.

Little girls make shadows on the sidewalk shorter, observed Mr. Jack Kerouac of Lowell, Massachusetts. Dead now forty-three years. As if that mattered. Which it doesn’t. He made a life of words and the words live on. Like a diamond in the mind. Like the intense cough of young girls in love. And camels and stains and hills of lights twinkling in Sausalito mist.

There was a time when writing meant something. Now it means any moment golden with emptiness. Old Frisco wood. Buddha’s golden belly. And dry men’s bones.

Youth never completely disappears. It evolves into forbearance. Long fat yellow eternity cream. Bracken saltwater slapping against the barnacle encrusted piers on the Seattle waterfront. Allen Ginsberg in Life magazine.

Sometimes a pronoun will tie a sentence into a knot and disappear. It walks around in my head. It gathers other pronouns. He, she, them, they, we, you, whomever, whatever, someone, anyone, everyone, us, and ourselves. They hurry forward with the force of conviction until a new sentence is built. Trucks fart and grumble up the street. Slabs of butter melt into the square shaped cavities of a waffle. The sentence grows into a paragraph and steams out of the nose.

It’s always wet in Seattle. Chilly and damp and grey and solemn. It is little wonder that the Salish cultures built totems. Totems are tall narratives of wood. That was before the repeal of the Taft Hartley act. Before the Space Needle and Bank of America. Before J.P. Patches and Kerouac visiting in 1956.

When the woods were primordial and moss hugged the trees. And mist went drifting through evergreens. And a big red fire hissed and crackled on the beach. And stories were told and snow fell and a man sat down on a decrepit couch in a decrepit room and sipped his wine and stared at the wall.

Words grow fat with infinity. Like railroad ties soaked with creosote. Gladiolas beaded with rainwater and a snail making its way across flagstones via the mucous of persistence.

Have you ever seen a chimney lean and wondered what kept it up? What kept it from tumbling down in a cacophony of old red bricks? Sometimes it is just age. Simple age. Time and reticulum and funny fat cherubs on a restoration ceiling.

Traffic has a rhetorical side. Hardjawed hardware man inching a Volvo forward. A big red bag of blood contracting and swelling behind his ribs.

William Burroughs looked bony in plaid. Looked bony in anything. Slouch hat and cane. A patrician of the brain.

Which is where the mind resides. In its cabbage convolutions. Monks in a room doing illuminations. Making occasional little remarks in the margins. I am very cold. The parchment is hairy. The ink is thin. Oh, my hand. Thank God it will soon be dark.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Li Po Of Humboldt County

At The Point, poetry by Joseph Massey
Shearsman Books, 2011

According to Euclid, a point is that which has no part. It is isolate. Pure. Disconnected. It is the most pointless thing that exists. Yet there is something infernally stubborn about it. It energizes the space around it. It focuses the attention. It is entire.

In geological terms, a point is a tapering extension of land projecting into water, and it is this sense that is intended in the title of Joseph Massey’s collection of poetry from 2011. Massey lives in Arcata, California, a small community on the northern California coast, and it is this area that is so embedded in his work. He has dedicated his book to Humboldt County.

Massey’s writing is deeply focused. His attention to everyday detail is acute. It reminds me a great deal of that scene in American Beauty in which Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) shows Jane Burnham (Thora Birch) a white plastic bag he has filmed as it is caught by the wind and tumbled and bobbled about. The bag appears to have a life, with the wind as its animating spirit. It is a beautiful, strangely moving scene. An object of extreme banality, a piece of derelict plastic, is so sublimated by this moment of caring attention as to be elevated into something sacred.
Another more pertinent example of this ability to exalt the banal into art is William Carlos Williams's famous short poem about the wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens. Massey presents a very similar poem rendered with equal grace and artistry:

Paint can
in dried mud

                  full of yesterday’s

I find not only great beauty in these lines but an image that feels so familiar as to produce a feeling of nostalgia. We are gently nudged into metaphor: rain instead of paint. A day is painted by rain. A moment becomes framed in it. In sweet, Pacific rain. That wonderful Humboldt County rain with its bracken reality and pleasing murmur.

Massey, like Andrew Joron, enjoys a muted lyricism. He delights in assonance and alliteration and rhyme, likes pleasing the ears and eyes with sonant effects that do not become precious or showy but exist plainly and honestly for the sake of semantic interplay and intellectual enjoyment, the collision of dissimilar meanings in similarities of sound, homonyms and synonyms and half-rhymes in a bowl of semantic bouillon. Lines like “Moon’s lucid murmur,” “Dizzied by the weather’s syntax,” “the constellated / sounds / nouns / call out,” “this stroboscopic / throb of things / as they ravel / and unravel / a bus window,” and “Late winter waste / clumped shallow over grates, “ quiver with renewed life in the convergences of Massey’s syllables. It is a world of debris, of the discarded and lost, resurrected in art.

Massey writes like a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. He is Humboldt County’s Li Po. There is repose and rumination throughout his work, restraint and calm seasoned by moments of quiet jubilation and drunkenness. The kind of drunkenness that certain introspective people are given to enjoy in solitude. Not the rowdy or Rabelaisian drunkenness everyone enjoys at one time or another, but detached, abstracted, aloof and euphoric among shadows and autumn winds, teetering between sorrow and joy, jubilation and despair. It is a strange mood to communicate as it does not conform to any worldly humor or disposition. It is sad and happy simultaneously. It is the calm resignation toward ineluctable loss. Eternal change. Because underlying all the world’s gardens and barbecues and bicycles and washing machines is the void. That great abyss from which all things emerge. For every fulfillmnet there is an equivalent privation. For every benevolent moment there is an equivalent terror. For every drunken epiphany there is a sobering recognition.

Massey quietly proffers some philosophy. There is the acute sense that the world’s cohesion is itself a form of language, that there is an interphase between consciousness, language, and external reality that charm and shuttle in a continuous weaving and unweaving. He speaks throughout of “Shadows / that quaver // and carve / the room,” “October’s ready-made / metaphors, / almost hidden / behind billboards / and vacant warehouses,” “winter’s rough / translation / of itself,” and “line by line // the landscape’s / defined / and revised / at every / turn.”

Language is implicit in everything. Hills, fog, traffic, mud, hydrangeas, blackberries, billboards, gnats and gulls. Sound and image are woven in the mind before they’re they’re fleshed out in vowels and consonants and pattern. Before they become actual words, framed with care, or sometimes abandon, on a computer screen or sheet of paper. Perception is a creative act. Everyone has a choice as to how much of the world they perceive or how much of the world they choose to ignore, or filter, or view with a selective vision that becomes so second nature they’re no longer aware of the extent to which the world is slowly percolated into their awareness. Some choose a life of zombie-like somnolence. There are resources to support that choice called alcohol and television. They work beautifully. Poets are annoying because they do the opposite of television. They awaken. They do what they can to dilate the mind. To charm others into awareness. This is what Artaud meant by theatre of cruelty. It is cruel to awaken people. Even to something as banal as a wheelbarrow, or plastic bag tossed in the wind, or a paint can in the mud half-filled with rain. “You awake / within the poem,” Massey observes. You bet you do. And it feels like a blade of light stabbing your heart into life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Proposition

A proposition possesses essential and accidental characteristics. Neon, stupefaction, and leather. Words meander. Description unzips. Helicopters survey the traffic. A joyride accords occasions for expression and perhaps a little redemption. One of these days the windows will strangle their mass and yield profusions of milk. Who would prefer the clacking of jade pendants if she heard the stone grow in the cliff? Definitions are formed by canvas and metaphor. Waterfalls clothe the air with energy. Poetry, on the other hand, does not wish to fall into theory, but pullulate with words in the margins of society, wheeling round and round like a mad mechanical wart. What else would you expect language to do? It begins in the uterus, with sound, then grows into speech and drifts into reverie.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nocturnal Bypass

I tend to bump into things a lot. The bookcase between the bedroom and bathroom. The coffee table. The ghost of my father. The refrigerator and filing cabinet. I construct maps from whistles and distillations of fire escape shadows. I hear the night squeeze a window and extend itself into a worm and drift through the universe writing alphabets with its body and clutching planets with exhilarating dexterity. But then, where isn’t it night? Isn’t it always night in the universe? Cold black endless void. Never hug an image. Especially one of your own invention. Just jabber. Jabber away ploughing the air with your words and mouth dropping names and hints and insinuations. You might groan a little from time to time. It lends sincerity to your discourse. Crackle with inner fire. Clasp your friends and tell them you love them. Then skidoodle. The last thing you want is to get invited to their next poetry reading. Chat with a cat. Thicken yourself with occurrence and coughing. Smack your lips when you eat. Twitch and convulse when you drive then dig the expressions of your passengers. It will freak you out. Me I like to gnaw on deep philosophical subjects. Especially those that are related to conceptions of paradise. Sometimes I imagine pain as a landscape and I am in a hot air balloon drifting overhead and see its shadow on the ground. It looks like a giant round head. It moves over a hillock and distorts. I release more flame. The balloon rises. I reach for a cloud and fall out of the basket. As I fall to the ground I realize that in a few moments I will be experiencing a new kind of pain. The last pain. The last pain I will ever feel. And then I twitch and kick and awaken just before I hit the ground. And consciousness floods my head and my eyes open and there I am. A man in bed. No balloon. Thank god. I think. I’m not sure. That taste of oblivion was so near. So sweet. Such a tasty morsel of nothingness. An ache that follows at my heels throughout the day. Into the operating room. As I make incisions, and study the pumping of somebody’s heart.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

By The Water Of The Eyes

Google is a powerful tool but can often have sad results. The saddest, so far, was googling around for an old friend and discovering his obituary just weeks after he had passed away from a heart attack. The discovery I made last night was of less magnitude on a personal level, but its implications were more far-reaching, as they had to do with the death of a culture, rather than a person. And it felt personal, as the culture in question is one which I have devoted my entire life to, which is that of literature.

I went trawling - via Google - for independent bookstores in what is now referred to as Silicon Valley. When I lived there, nearly 40 years ago, it was known as San Jose, and there were still a few orchards left, and at least one cannery, which I remember passing one afternoon in the summer of 1967, hungover after drinking wine at a friend’s house, walking down the street and eyeing the cannery in my desultory, "summer of love" malaise, a noisy, boisterous place open to view, men loading crates onto trucks, women tending conveyor belts of peach and pear, fruity smells wafting into the street, sweet and acrid. San Jose was a mixture of agriculture, industry, and abundant, affordable housing. There were also numerous bookstores. New books, used books, and people eager to read them.

The first bookstore I went looking for was at the Old Town shopping complex in Los Gatos, a little town nestled at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I can’t remember what the bookstore was called, but I remember it was fairly large, and their collection was excellent. It is where I bought my hardcover edition of Geography and Plays, by Gertrude Stein, from Something Else Press, Inc. There is no bookstore there now.

I went looking Upstart Crow, a large independent bookstore with an attached coffeehouse at the Pruneyard Shopping Center in San Jose’s Campbell neighborhood. I enjoyed Upstart Crow’s comfortable atmosphere and extensive book collection. An old friend and former college professor named Richard Christian at San José City College used to meet there with a group of Francophones to practice their French in casual conversation. Richard lived nearby. My memories of the Pruneyard Shopping Center are especially vivid since I also used to work there, first in the high monolithic glass business tower looming over the center where I went around emptying wastebaskets and vacuuming carpets as a nighttime janitor, and later as a gardener planting flowers in the narrow dirt strips ornamenting the walks of the shopping center. Upstart Crow, I discovered, went out of business in 1986. Bankrupt.

A Clean and Well-Lighted Place was a large independent bookseller located in Cupertino. I visited there rarely because of its distance from where I lived in San Jose. There were several years in which I managed, somehow, to get by without a car. There is no public transit system to speak of in San Jose, or at least when I lived there in 60s and 70s. I did not ride a single bus the entire time I lived there, although I did wait for one once for over an hour before I arrived at the conclusion that the bus to which the sign referred must be a mythical entity and gave up and walked to my destination. A Clean and Well-Lighted Place went out of business in 1997.

Another independent bookseller whose name escapes me was located at the former Town and Country Shopping Center, off Winchester Boulevard, not far from the Winchester Mystery House, which has since morphed into a colossus called Santana Row, a mix of high-end and mid-tier retail tenants ranging from luxury brands like Gucci, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tourneau to casual brands like Diesel, H&M, Ann Taylor LOFT, Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters. It was also home to a flagship Borders until Border’s went out of business in 2011. Apparently, no bookstore has taken its place. I remember that bookstore (which may have been a flagship Borders before it became a national chain) because it is where I purchased my Vintage edition of the Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, edited by Carl Van Vechten, and The Poetry and Prose of William Blake, a Doubleday Anchor Book, edited by David V. Erdman with Commentary by Harold Bloom, circa 1970; the first for $2.95, the second for $6.95.

I looked elsewhere for other independent booksellers but could find very little outside of some rather exotic sounding stores such as Books By Bear off Quarry Road in Los Gatos and Kinokuniya Bookstore, the latter appearing to specialize in Asian literature. My overall impression is that book reading culture had died in the SiliconValley. It is not hard to guess why.

I was happy to find at least one ostensibly thriving independent book seller in Santa Cruz, so hope grows eternal in that neck of the woods, caressed by sea breezes and visited by locals and tourists.

But that other culture, the culture I remember from the 60s in which people devoured books with zeal and talked of them with intensity and intoxication, is gone. People are now isolated by iPods, iPads, BlackBerries and the electronic glare of Kindle substituting, rather poorly, for what used to be the sacred occasion of reading and deep concentration.

I have deep feelings for the Bay Area because of the years that I lived there, so it’s upsetting to see that culture of independent booksellers vanish so utterly. I have also long regretted my decision to move to Seattle, ironically, for many of the same reasons I was forced out of the Bay Area when the computer industry began to grow with such dizzying rapidity in the mid-70s, causing the housing prices to skyrocket. I came to Seattle looking for cheaper digs, a place where I could write and hold down a part time job, a strategy that worked well until the late 80s, when Microsoft and Bill Gates’s and Paul Allen’s empire changed the demography, and once again drove real estate prices through the roof.

My regret is misplaced, however. Although I hate to admit it, I did good by moving to Seattle, which continues to have a culture of independent book sellers. I can’t say it’s thriving; there have been some heavy losses, such as Horizon Books on Capitol Hill, a used bookstore that was like paradise to me when I first moved to Seattle and lived just blocks away. It occupied an old house with a front porch and its wooden floors were uneven and its shelves divided by narrow corridors where one felt cozily sheltered from the gnashing teeth of modern day capitalism. Also gone is Steve’s Broadway News on the corner of Broadway and East Olive which had a huge collection of magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. Seattle’s print media and its outlets are not in robust health, but they are enduring, and a few important retailers remain, rooted like baobabs in a wasteland of alliterate philistines and clueless billionaires.

Elliott Bay Book Company, while not quite as large as Powell’s in Portland, appears to be doing quite well at its new digs on Capitol Hill, and has preserved its ambience of creaking wood floors, northwest ruggedness and robust, exhilarating eclecticism. A visit to Elliott Bay is like a visit to an amusement park. You don’t exit its doors with anything less than a feeling of exultation, one’s head teeming with words and ideas.

There is also Open Books, in the Wallingford neighborhood, specializing in poetry. It is hard to imagine that in a city so engulfed by affluence and software geeks that anything like poetry could survive here. But it does. It is crab grass. Its roots are deep and broad. And Open Books is a lush greenhouse for all the verdure thriving in the exotic world of poetry.

I do hate the weather of the northwest, the Cimmerian gloom and chilly summers, the mold and damp and endless drizzle. I miss the California sun. But that other culture, that sweet powerful energy I remember from the 60s in Los Gatos and Cupertino and Sunnyvale has been replaced by the austerity and coldness of a digital, binary world aptly called Silicon Valley. And while evidence of Bill Gate’s empire can be felt everywhere in Seattle, foreboding a fate similar to that of Silicon Valley, it has not yet driven out that other world, the one of paper, ink, and spine. The one in which words simmer in gentle argument, and ideas are tied together by the water of the eyes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Big Plans

I’m going to build a catalogue of sensations. The sound of flags flapping. The feeling of a knife blade sinking into a cherry pie. Images developing in a darkroom. The sound of a car starting on a cold morning in March. I’m going to hang from a yardarm and cook the shadow of a catastrophe. I’m going to skulk around in a drugstore and punish the innocent with my looks of explosive disgruntlement. I’m going to exemplify a pinch of salt and sit down and cry over my name and age. I’m going to initiate a rogue conception and assassinate a fountain and cackle and luxuriate. I’m going to immerse myself in stucco and comb my hair and paint an ophthalmologist irritated by superstition. I’m going to splash blood on the walls and greet the dawn with fire. I’m going to take my time. I’m going to suck a hectic frequency. I’m going to fuel a truck and drive to Louisiana doing a cool 90 mph and hum a Bob Dylan song. I’m going to slam the door when I get there and mourn the loss of my innocence. I’m going to thicken my outlook and impersonate a mirror. I’m going to follow the sun and open a door and throw moonbeams at a seductive comma. I’m going to inhabit a present tense and sing of the past. I’m going to hire a poet to reach for the stars and pay her with kisses and lost horizons. I’m going to construct a bubble that surges forward in blossoms and a bubble that swoops and a bubble that clatters like a broken ladder. I’m going to arrange a series of hoes and deliver them to a spinning elixir. I’m going to call the president and demand a refund. I’m going to sparkle like a postulate and gargle a book cover. I’m going to wipe the computer screen with a rag of skeptical embroidery. I’m going to carve a pumpkin and spit pumpkin seeds and wander around the room in a primordial mailbox. I’m going to play Hamlet in an inoculated octave. I’m going to sculpt a pronoun out of marble and make a parameter elude its electrons. I’m going to sip a charming light. I’m going to spill some secrets. I’m going to study emptiness. I’m going to moisten my lips and hold a word until it describes something real and radical and crystal. I’m going to start it all now. As soon as the accordion is squeezed and the spices are served and the wheels and gears begin to turn. These are my plans. My plans for the future. It is all mapped out. I just need to begin. Begin doing it. Begin the beguine. The stucco and studs. The bridge and pontoon. The grand scheme of my life. Which is everywhere stirring. Which is latent as the afterlife. And crammed as an afternoon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What It Is Like

I like a lot of things but I don’t like routine. I’m athletic. The hives explain nothing. A wizard once told me that the winter is sublime but I don’t believe him. Winter is a philosophy humbled by a frozen river. Bettye Lavette singing “Most Of The Time.” Anger’s lightning dangling from a doorknob. It’s tempting to laugh at all this and invoke the presence of foam. The further development of flotsam is nothing less than an enigma. I feel too fluttery, and the hem of my coat is ultramarine. At times like this a bottle of syrup is indispensable. Please. Sit down. Have a pancake. Opinions are just puddles of thought. Watch your head. The winch is lifting an ancient conviction. I’m excited. Aren’t you? I feel enriched by this excursion. When I get home I’ll send you a loaf of pumpernickel. The highway is long but the affections are longer. The sky continues itself on the ground in doors and reflections. Pleasure and pain are perversely intertwined. Pearls and eggs gently affirm the splendor of perception. Nevertheless, I must often strain to understand my needs and desires. Things come to me but I don’t know from where. Or how. Although sometimes I am given clues. A sound. A color. A mirror. I can hear the postman. The one with Gothic sideburns. He makes my emotions turn green. They fall from my mouth in the form of rain and reflect rattlesnakes and suicides. I carry a pitcher of ghosts and pour them on a sentence pulled by a hedonistic predicate. The garden hose is correspondingly sexual. Hope, on the other hand, is hilariously bitter, like a clarinet convulsing with a supernatural alphabet. And so, I started to have this idea of pursuing a PhD degree in astrophysics, or gastronomy. I wondered if there might be a gastronomy of stars. Infinity must be sampled intelligently, as if it were a cracker spread with red onion and marmalade. I ended up joining the rodeo. The first rodeo I was in I rode a sheep in the mutton bustin’ contest in Florida and rode my sheep the longest and was put in the local newspaper. These days I mainly ride bulls. I have broken my tailbone, pulled muscles in my back, and accidentally solved a math problem by falling off of a horse and counting the number of zeros of a rational harmonic function until my head hit the dust and filled with stars. Since then, I mostly just think in the dark while sampling bits of chocolate. It hurts less than bikini waxing, and the occasional glimpse of being a conscious organism.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spasms Of Jukebox Summer

Winter chewed our abstractions into harsh realities. We talked of ocher and death and what happens when words leave our mouths and turn to steam. You muscled the light into havoc and said it looked good on your head. How would you know. Do you even have a head? Professor Silly rattled an old volume of Spinoza and pounded the powder with his big heavy boots. I evoked a door hinge and clarified our abandonment. Clarence painted a funny shape. Marie explored a reindeer skull. A feeling of lost animals sparkled in her implications. You said dampen a rag and make some money so off I went controlling my smears and strewing the ground with sonnets. Work disturbs me. It always does. I developed a wild syllable and dropped it on a sentence that smelled of anchovies. I saw an abstraction churning in the suds and it exploded into prayer and sold for a million and a half dollars to a man named Wheatstone. We must heat ourselves with opposites said Professor Silly, looking silly. What opposites I asked. You know he said like when you sit in an armchair and the room begins to swarm with perception and you flower into excitement running around the palace telling all the servants that if you dollop a mythology out of the story bucket you can blast words of hot raw air out of your mouth or flow through the hose like water and come out the other end tearing the air in half. I don’t like to argue with the professor when he’s like this it’s like fencing in tongues. I don’t want to do that with anyone else except Rebekah Del Rio. I overheard Igloo and Trailing Arbutus talk about lyrical Nebraska. Cinderella gargled some mouthwash and glittered in the morning like she always does when she goes around in those stupid glass slippers. I indulged a seamlessness of smell named Very Schubert and decided to go deform some pennies on the railroad tracks. I thumbed a ride to Wisconsin where I could do that and sat in a bar in Milwaukee exulting in the trapeze until a feeling ripened and burst into pumpernickel. Professor Silly suddenly appeared looking like a scratch ticket and invoked a domain of metamorphism just so he could assemble a press and publish his abscess. Phantoms sat in a booth punishing their bones with spasms of jukebox summer and weighing a murder as if it was a freshly peeled banana. April folded her embroidery and hobnobbed with the Christians. I swim in splendor, I said, meaning every word. Watch me squeeze this gland until it turns purple and everyone stood amazed at Montmartre. I desire nothing more than the sandstone of Utah I shouted at the desk clerk and demanded a room with a radio and a view of redemption where I could shade my mental lumber from the heat of inquiry. I will box your mouth with my mouth and include eggnog if you don’t cooperate with my calculus. Remember what happened to Newton. If you must write poetry stuff your lines with trout. Nobody wants to publish a yodel unless it jingles like a pungent enigma. Exceed consciousness. Watch how the rain grabs space and makes it wet and swell into employment. Emphasize napkins. Climb the wall. Escape from prison. Everyone’s in prison. Even the prisons are in prison. Clash with anything green. Ooze black. Crack the stars into Van Gogh gold. Break an adverb. You don’t need to approve the stepladder just step on it and paint the walls. Wander the streets of Marrakesh. Hum a song of sorrow. Throw knives in the rain. Fill your conceptions with the thrust of a thousand restless angels. Express the inner lives of goldfish. Deepen your secrets in acceptance. Live your life. Live it as if it were ice and you were an ax. Don’t insult the maid. Interact with liniment. This is all my advice. And now I want to see what Marie is up to.