CANTO XII

 

And we sit here

under the wall,

Arena romana, Diocletian's, les gradins

quarante-trois rangees en calcaire.

 

Back to the Roman arena [Canto IV] with its

43 steps, watching history pass before us.

 

Baldy Bacon

 

Francis Bacon, an American businessman Ez met in

1910. He thought Ez wd admire his cleverness;

Ez liked his optimism but felt appalled by his

lack of ethical sensibility.

 

Baldy Bacon

bought all the little copper pennies in Cuba:

Un centavo, dos centavos,

told his peons to "bring 'em in."

"Bring 'em to the main shack,"said Baldy,

And the peons brought 'em;

"to the main shack brought 'em,"

As Henry would have said.

 

Parody of Henry Newbolt, EP's personal choice

for Worst Poet of All Time.

Newbolt never wrote

"to the main shack brought them" but he did

perpetrate "He stood the door behind"

 

Nicholas Castano in Habana,

He also had a few centavos, but the others

Had to pay a percentage.

Percentage when they wanted centavos,

Public centavos.

 

Monopoly of coin or currency, with

the power to extract interest therefrom

The definition of usury as seen by Pound, Dante

and the individualist anarchists. As Ben Tucker wrote:

 

First in the importance of its evil influence [anarchists] considered the money monopoly, which consists of the privilege given by the government to certain individuals, or to individuals holding certain kinds of property, of issuing the circulating medium, a privilege which is now enforced in this country by a national tax of ten percent, upon all other persons who attempt to furnish a circulating medium, and by State laws making it a criminal offense to issue notes as currency. It is claimed that the holders of this privilege control the rate of interest, the rate of rent of houses and buildings, and the prices of goods, - the first directly, and the second and third indirectly....

--Benjamin Tucker, "State Socialism and Anarchism"

for more details see:

http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/tucker/tucker2.html

 

Baldy got his monopoly without State sanction, but the mechanism

of usury remains MONOPOLY OF COIN OR CURRENCY, however

said monopoly obtained.

Tucker and Pound appeared regularly in Harriet Shaw Weaver's

individualist-Feminist-"modernist"

magazine, The Egotist, c 1912-1915 and I assume they read each other.

 

Baldy's interest

Was in money business.

"No interest in any other kind ov bisnis,"

Said Baldy.

 

Pound's view of Usurocracy as inhumanly narrow

& perverse paideuma [reality-tunnel]

summed up by a practitioner.

Note the marked contrast between Baldy and Sigismundo Malatesta

[Cantos VIII-XI] and KungfuTse [Canto XIII], immediately

before and after Baldy -- and between Baldy & all the characters

EP admires.

 

Sleeping with two buck niggers chained to him,

guidia regia, chained to his waist

To keep 'em from slipping off in the night;

 

Suggests slavery, which EP always associares with usury.

 

Being by now unpopular with the Cubans;

By fever reduced to lbs. 108.

Returned to Manhattan, ultimately to Manhattan.

24 E. 47th, when I met him,

Doing job printing, i.e. agent,

going to his old acquaintances,

His office in Nassau St., distributing jobs to the printers,

Commercial stationery,

and later, insurance,

Employers' liability,

odd sorts of insurance,

Fire on brothels, etc., commission,

Rising from 15 dollars a week,

Pollon d'anthropon iden,

 

Pollon d'anthropon iden

Odyssey, "He knew many men" ["and understood

their customs"] Odysseus as pioneer multi-culturalist!

The application to Baldy intended ironically.

Contrast with polymetis ["multi-minded"] in Malatesta

Cantos, intended to show Odysseus/Sigismuno as similar.

 

Major themes of Cantos: [1] what Ez likes and don't like

in Western individualism; [2] what Ez likes and don't

like in Oriental holism; [3] synthesis of best in both

traditions.

 

Knew which shipping companies were most careless;

where a man was most likely

To lose a leg in bad hoisting machinery;

Also fire, as when passing a whore-house,

Arrived, miraculous Hermes, by accident,

Two minutes after the proprietor's angelos

Had been sent for him

Saved his people 11,000 in four months

on that Cuba job,

But they busted,

Also ran up to 40,000 bones on his own,

Once, but wanted to "eat up the whole'r Wall St."

And dropped it all three weeks later.

Habitat cum Quade, damn good fellow,

Mons Quade who wore a monocle on a wide sable ribbon.

(Elsewhere recorded).

 

Quade, a friend of Baldy, tried to dress

like his idea of an English "gentleman."

 

Dos Santos, Jose Maria dos Santos,

Hearing that a grain ship

Was wrecked in the estuary of the Tagus,

Bought it at auction, nemo obstabat,

No one else bidding. "Damn fool!" 'Maize

Spoiled with salt water,

No use can't do anything with it." Dos Santos.

All the stuff rotted with sea water.

Dos Santos Portuguese lunatic bought it,

Mortgaged then all his patrimony,

e tot lo sieu aver,

And bought sucking pigs, pigs, small pigs,

Porkers, throughout all Portugal,

fed on the cargo,

First lot mortgaged to buy the second lot, undsoweiter,

Porkers of Portugal,

fattening with the fulness of time,

And Dos Santos fattened, a great landlord of Portugal

Now gathered to his fathers.

did it on water-soaked corn.

(Water probably fresh in that estuary)

 

Dos Santos got rich by "natural increase"

[pigs create more pigs] and shrewdness

[seeing a use for water-soaked corn.]

Contrast with Baldy: cf Shakespeare:

"Is your gold ewes and lambs?"

 

Go to hell Apovitch, Chicago aint the whole punkin.

 

Like the "buck niggers" [which seems "racist" to

careless readers] this represents adjustment

of style to subject. Did you think Baldy & friends

shd appear in same style as Odysseus or Eleanor?

 

Jim X...

 

Based on John Quinn, Irish-American lawyer

and art collector. Due to Ez's criticisms, Quinn

stopped collecting dead artists, who cdn't profit

from his money, and started collecting moderns,

who badly needed cash in those days.

 

in a bankers' meeting,

bored with their hard luck stories,

Bored with their bloomin' primness

and the little white rims

They wore around inside the edge of their vests

To make 'em look as if they had on two waistcoats,

Told 'em the Tale of the Honest Sailor.

Bored with their proprieties,

as they sat, the ranked presbyterians,

 

Young EP detested Calvinists because of their puritanism.

Later, he disliked them a bit more because of their

central role in American banking.

[Calvin: first Christian theologian to declare

usury NOT a mortal sin.....]

 

Directors, dealers through holding companies,

Deacons in churches, owning slum properties,

Alias usurers in excelsis,

the quintessential essence of usurers,

 

Second in importance comes the land monopoly, the evil effects of which are seen principally in exclusively agricultural countries, like Ireland. This monopoly consists in the enforcement by government of land titles which do not rest upon personal occupancy and cultivation. It was obvious to Warren and Proudhon that, as soon as individualists should no longer be protected by their fellows in anything but personal occupancy and cultivation of land, ground-rent would disappear, and so usury have one less leg to stand on.

--Benjamin Tucker, "State Socialism and Anarchism"

for more details see:

http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/tucker/tucker2.html

 

The purveyors of employment, whining over their 20 p.c.

and the hard times,

And the bust-up of Brazilian securities

(S. A. securities),

And the general uncertainty of all investment

Save investment in new bank buildings,

And not likely to ease distribution,

Bored with the way their mouths twitched

over their cigar-ends,

Said Jim X...:

There once was a pore honest sailor, a heavy drinker,

A hell of a cuss, a rowster, a boozer, and

The drink finally sent him to hospital,

And they operated, and there was a poor whore in

The woman's ward had a kid, while

They were fixing the sailor, and they brought him the kid

When he came to, and said:

"Here! this is what we took out of you."

 

An' he looked at it, an' he got better,

And when he left the hospital, quit the drink,

And when he was well enough

signed on with another ship

And saved up his pay money,

and kept on savin' his pay money,

And bought a share in the ship,

and finally had half shares,

Then a ship

and in time a whole line of steamers;

And educated the kid,

and when the kid was in college,

The ole sailor was again taken bad

and the doctors said he was dying,

And the boy came to the bedside,

and the old sailor said:

"Boy, I'm sorry I can't hang on a bit longer,

"You're young yet,

I leave you re-sponsa-bilities.

"Wish I could ha' waited till you were older,

"More fit to take over the bisness..."

"But, father,

"Don't, don't talk about me, I'm all right,

"It's you, father,"

"That's it, boy, you said it.

"You called me your father, and I ain't.

"I ain't your dad, no,

"I am not your fader but your moder," quod he,

"Your fader was a rich merchant in Stambouli."

 

Pound follows Dante in making "sodomy" akin

to usury. He never showed personal homophobia,

and seems to use the medieval

sodomy/usury equation poetically to make

another echo of Dante's Inferno, where both groups

reside in the same circle of Hell. Sorry

about that.

 

One of the gay artists Ez promoted & publicized,

composer George Anthiel, wrote Sonata for 28 Violins

and 2 Airplane Motors, which either inspired or

reinforced EP's mixture of melodic and un-melodic

elements in the Cantos.

 

Joyce also appeared regularly in The Egotist, and pronounced

Tucker "the clearest head ever, in politics." [Manginello,

Joyce's Politics.]

Joyce combined Tucker and Tostoy into his own brand

of egotist/anarcho/pacifism.

Ez rejected the anarcho part of this as impractical and

went looking for an honest governor.

He found Mussolini.

---------

Does anybody see what I see?

              Is there anybody there?

              Does anybody care?

                   --1776

Just looked at a terrific video of the protests

against the World Bank in Prague last year...

WORLD BANK AND IMF UNDER SEIGE.

Almost every protestor interviewed seemed

to restate some of the major themes of

Pound's Cantos, altho' I doubt that one

in ten thousand of them knew that....

Amusingly, Ez detested Thomas Aquinas even more than

other Occidental philosophers ["words about

words about words..."] but  one sentence

from Tom got into the Cantos [Canto XLV]:

USURA CONTRA NATURAM EST

-- usury destroys nature.

Almost every interviewee in Prague

had a variation on that.