God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut by Judith Fitzgerald

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi


“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

Hoosier Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., inimitable creator of above-and-beyond sets of perfectly gorgeous sentences rarely equalled in the history of the Anguish language, worked a laser-thin line between death and depression: L’aboulie, Eliot called it. Skinned alived, Joyce black-balled it. Least-needed beast reliably present at the carrion feast. “The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.” Less is more; but, most is deceased: May your palm stay greased. God bless you, Mr. Rosewater; Dear Mr. Vonnegut shall finally be released.

Fittingly, born the year Joyce’s Ulysses and The Waste Land (consummately perfected by Poundin’ Eliot) left their right royally visionaerial marks on the collectively conscious mindscape, the majestic maestro of the magnificently magical demolished the horizon battling his way clear through to brave new heights he intimately knew. (The sky’s no limit.) Shiverous. Born on Remembrance Day, the unforgettable golden canary in the cold-mind soul-mine, harbinger of roaring twentieth-century disease and dread, shamelessly broke the grip of statistics while passionately decroacking the ship of state (in both pursuit and possession of an unswerving belief it’s all in the head), Mr. V. distinguished himself, proved himself a true-blue believer in a fate worse than fate.

“The firebombing of Dresden was a work of art . . . a tower of smoke and flame to commemorate the rage and heartbreak of so many who had had their lives warped or ruined by the indescribable greed and vanity and cruelty of Germany.”

Interviewed him once. A day in the life. Mr. V. and me go to the Metropolitan Zoo, do lunch at The Manic Moon, visit the transcosmopolitan ROM. Turned twice shy. Intimidating, irresistibly yet sullenly and breath-catchingly fascinating — clicketty-clicking mind creating splendorous splashes of grind/flight and blind/slight in situ. “Judith, did you know Harding was our president or, more to the point, The Golden Bough[ came into existence the year I was born?” No. Yes. And, Hendrick van Loon’s tome, The Story of Mankind[, too.

“Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists.”

Dinosaurs, philoshoholy, wampum, kurtuality, mummies, the body resuwreck, armour, ubiquitous coffee (Timmeh), parchment, zebras, doughnuts, Christ! Hosted. Haunted. Sacre/ficed. Undaunted. Porous with the need to bleed beyond self-imposed act versus ego-exposed deed all growed up and gruesome attack in the Face of the Fact. Lady Of The Evening. Whistling a catchy tune: Venus on the Half-Shell. Happy Birthday, Wanda June.

“Why don’t you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?”

Vonnegut gave a flying fuck. He lethally stabbed light in its one good eye. Whatta guy. What a mindbeam (express-lane stream). Cruising skyway skidsway in the coldmine [sic my arse] of disintegration. Kilgore Fucking Trout, Man! “I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.” Big Brother Is Catching. Big Bother Is Wretching.

“Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about (although most people do not care about them). You are not alone.” Intertwinged. Winter whinged. Neon signed. “If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.”

Fortune and man’s sighs: “Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?” Predator versus prey? Pfft!!1! Dat’s da order o’ da day. Just ignore those wannabentries lurking beneath the surface of the marine scene made mindful, made maudlin, made moxified drowning in the jaws of our latter-day schtick. The lie that binds us ultimately unwinds us, acutely reminds us it’s “a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.”

Brain-dreck of a train wreck sipping cyanide — a potential agent for chemical horrorism — on the deck of The Titanic, barca-loungers and Badder Flies and Big Brother Is Botching.

“We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.”

Don’t look downsome; don’t get dirty; don’t cast deeply; do your self a favour: It sure as hell ain’t purty; but, it’s better than peoply creeply.

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the centre.”

Keep klear of the k00ks in all your multiglorious heavens, Kurt.

Requiscat in Pace

p.s. Items in quotations belong to Mr. Vonnegut.

Canadian poet and literary critic Judith Fitzgerald‘s critically acclaimed Adagios Quartet’s BOOK III: Electra’s Benison has just been named one of The Globe and Mail‘s TOP 100 BOOKS (2007).