January 1, 2010
Jan 1, 2010
After being imprisoned in the Bastille, Arouet (missing only one vowel) changed his name
to Voltaire (R. Holmes, “Voltaire’s Grin”) echoing the name of the family chateau, Airvault,
which now hosts an annual didgeridoo festival, liking the associations with “voltige”
(acrobatics on horseback, later Voltigeurs, French military skirmish units created
by Napoleon), “volte-face” (a spinning about to face one’s enemies), and “volatiles”
(originally birds, butterflies or any winged creature). His first poems were in alexandrines.
On TV, svelte Olympians fly off the springboard, over the vault, twisting, flipping in air,
needing to stick the landing. We stayed in our friend’s small room, large enough only for
bed and piano. He said to watch for the sleek long-tailed creature that crawls in which he
insisted on calling a vole. Vault cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein, a barrel-shaped organelle
of eukaryotes, exhibits eight-fold symmetry, something to do with nuclear pore complexes,
transporting messenger RNA. Order, the mind likes it, make it mine, mine the ore
of language, tongue it through the mouth, out the rough pink trough, pronounce, utter
a list, save it on paper, book as bank vault: first bilingual dictionary—Mesopotamia,
cuneiform tablets, Sumarian words, Akkadian equivalents, 2300 BCE; Chinese lexicon
in the Chou dynasty; Greece, Apollonius compiled a list of words used by Homer. If
the change-up fools the batter and he still connects, it will probably be a foul; the sonnet’s
volta, a change-up by another name. At Wimbledon an unforeseen overthrow catapults
the young Spaniard into the royal box, while out on the far courts, Martina’s inside-out
backhand. One love and then another had grandfathers who were revolutionaries—one
Bolshevik friend of Lenin’s who left St. Petersburg in 1905, one fighting to bring down
the Qing emperor, both learned to make Molotov cocktails. In parkour, a not-quite-
martial art, leaping as if escaping an emergency, types of leaps include monkey-vault, lazy,
underbar, tic-tac, you can see it on YouTube. When two semicircular vaults intersect,
they create a true ellipse, known as a groin. In geometry, a Steinmetz solid is generated
by the intersection of two cylinders, also called mouhefanggai, Chinese for two square
umbrellas. Crypt—a vault containing sarcophagi; a church built over a cave, mithraeum;
a mystery religion, Mithra, the Persian sun god. Pole-vaulter Stacy Dragila, gold medal
in Sydney. Struggle between gravity and the desire for thrust, aerious vs. going to ground.
For the barrel vault or masonry arch each voussoir presses against others to generate support,
not complete until the keystone is in place. Playing behind Chaplin, the incompetent
Keystone Cops. To support a dome, pedantives, spandrels, Islamic squinches, corbels,
or the Chinese version the duogong, out-jutting like a beak, (not the sea cow, dugong.)
The wish for air-nature battling earth-nature, soil pulls, breath aspires, buttressed, both.
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January 01, 2010