Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Mae WestI’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
Czesław Miłosz - “And Yet the Books”And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are,” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.
Susan ErtzMillions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Samuel R. Delany from The Mad ManSuppose I was researching, not the life of some genius philosopher with his books and articles and a wake of articulate friends and acquaintances, but rather, a homeless kid in and out of mental hospitals for chronic masturbation and indecent exposure? … How would I even start?
Harold Pinter from One For The RoadDo you think we have nuns upstairs?
on 12:17 PM
George Orwell from 1984Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture repainted, every date altered. The process is continuing day by day, minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which The Party is always right.
Milarepa - “Song to the Rock Demoness”River, ripples, and waves, these three,
When emerging, arise from the ocean itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the ocean itself.
Habitual thinking, love, and possessiveness, these three,
When arising, arise from the alaya consciousness itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the alaya consciousness itself.
Self-awareness, self-illumination, self-liberation, these three,
When arising, arise from the mind itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the mind itself.
The unborn, unceasing, and unexpressed, these three,
When emerging, arise from the nature of being itself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the nature of being itself.
The visions of demons, clinging to demons, and thoughts of demons,
When arising, arise from the Yogin himself.
When disappearing, they disappear into the Yogin himself.
Since demons are the phantoms of the mind,
If it is not understood by the Yogin that they are empty appearances,
And even if he thinks they are real, meditation is confused.
But the root of the delusion is in his own mind.
By observation of the nature of manifestations,
He realizes the identity of manifestation and void,
And by understanding, he knows that the two are not different.
Meditation and not meditation are not two but one,
The cause of all errors is to look upon the two things as different.
From the ultimate point of view, there is no view.
If you make comparison between the nature of the mind
And the nature of the heavens,
Then the true nature of being itself is penetrated.
See, now, that you look into the true meaning which is beyond thought.
Arrange to enter into undisturbed meditation.
And be mindful of the Unceasing Intuitive Sensation!
Daisaku IkedaOne of my favorite Argentine poets, the great educator Almafuerte (1854-1917), wrote: “To the weak, difficulty is a closed door. To the strong, however, it is a door waiting to be opened.” Difficulties impede the progress of those who are weak. For the strong, however, they are opportunities to open wide the doors to a bright future. Everything is determined by our attitude, by our resolve. Our heart is what matters most.
Philip Levine - “My Father With Cigarette Twelve Years Before The Nazis Could Break His Heart”I remember the room in which he held
a kitchen match and with his thumbnail
commanded it to flame: a brown sofa,
two easy chairs, one covered with flowers,
a black piano no one ever played half
covered by a long-fringed ornamental scarf
Ray Estrada brought back from Mexico
in 1931. How new the world is, you say.
In that room someone is speaking about money,
asking why it matters, and my father exhales
the blue smoke, and says a million dollars
even in large bills would be impossible.
He’s telling me because, I see now, I’m
the one who asked, for I dream of money,
always coins and bills that run through my hands,
money I find in the corners of unknown rooms
or in metal boxes I dig up in the backyard
flower beds of houses I’ve never seen.
My father rises now and goes to the closet.
It’s as though someone were directing a play
and my father’s part called for him to stand
so that the audience, which must be you,
could see him in white shirt, dark trousers,
held up by suspenders, a sign of the times,
and conclude he is taller than his son
will ever be, and as he dips into his jacket,
you’ll know his role calls for him to exit
by the front door, leaving something
unfinished, the closet light still on,
the cigarette still burning dangerously,
a Yiddish paper folded to the right place
so that a photograph of Hindenburg
in full military regalia swims up
to you out of all the details we lived.
I remember the way the match flared
blue and yellow in the deepening light
of a cool afternoon in early September,
and the sound, part iron, part animal
part music, as the air rushed toward it
out of my mouth, and his intake of breath
through the Lucky Strike, and the smoke
hanging on after the door closed and the play
ran out of acts and actors, and the audience -
which must be you - grew tired of these lives
that finally came to nothing or no more
than the furniture and the cotton drapes
left open so the darkening sky can seem
to have the last word, with half a moon
and a showering of fake stars to say what
the stars always say about the ordinary.
Oh, you’re still here, 60 years later,
you wonder what became of us, why
someone put it in a book, and left
the book open to a page no one reads.
Everything tells you he never came back,
though he did before he didn’t, everything
suggests it was the year Hitler came
to power, the year my grandmother learned
to read English novels and fell in love
with David Copperfield and Oliver Twist
which she read to me seated on a stool
beside my bed until I fell asleep.
Everything tells you this is a preface
to something important, the Second World War,
the news that leaked back from Poland
that the villages were gone. The truth is -
if there is a truth - I remember the room,
I remember the flame, the blue smoke,
how bright and slippery were the secret coins,
how David Copperfield doubted his own name,
how sweet the stars seemed, peeping and blinking,
how close the moon, how utterly silent the piano.
Samuel Beckett from The UnnamableAnd things, what is the correct attitude to adopt towards things? And, to begin with, are they necessary?
DōgenComing, going, the waterbirds
don’t leave a trace,
don’t follow a path.
Calm down. Both your sins and your good deeds will be lost in oblivion.
Denise Levertov - “A Tree Telling Of Orpheus”White dawn. Stillness. When the rippling began
I took it for a sea-wind, coming to our valley with rumors
of salt, of treeless horizons. but the white fog
didn’t stir; the leaved of my brothers remained outstretched,
unmoving. Yet the rippling drew nearer — and then
my own outermost branches began to tingle, almost as if
fire had been lit below them, too close, and their twig-tips
were drying and curling.
Yet I was not afraid, only
deeply alert.I was the first to see him, for I grew
out on the pasture slope, beyond the forest.
He was a man, it seemed: the two
moving stems, the short trunk, the two
arm-branches, flexible, each with five leafless
twigs at their ends,
and the head that’s crowned by brown or gold grass,
bearing a face not like the beaked face of a bird,
more like a flower’s.
He carried a burden made of
some cut branch bent while it was green,
strands of a vine tight-stretched across it. From this,
when he touched it, and from his voice
which unlike the wind’s voice had no need of our
leaves and branches to complete its sound,
came the ripple.
But it was now no longer a ripple (he had come near and
stopped in my first shadow) it was a wave that bathed me
as if rain
rose from below and around me
instead of falling.
And what I felt was no longer a dry tingling:
I seemed to be singing as he sang, I seemed to know
what the lark knows; all my sap
was mounting towards the sun that by now
had risen, the mist was rising, the grass
was drying, yet my roots felt music moisten them
deep under earth. He came still closer, leaned on my trunk:
the bark thrilled like a leaf still-folded.
Music! there was no twig of me not
trembling with joy and fear.Then as he sang
it was no longer sounds only that made the music:
he spoke, and as no tree listens I listened, and language
came into my roots
out of the earth,
into my bark
out of the air,
into the pores of my greenest shoots
gently as dew
and there was no word he sang but I knew its meaning.
He told of journeys,
of where sun and moon go while we stand in dark,
of an earth-journey he dreamed he would take some day
deeper than roots…
He told of the dreams of man, wars, passions, griefs,
and I, a tree, understood words — ah, it seemed
my thick bark would split like a sapling’s that
grew too fast in the spring
when a late frost wounds it. Fire he sang,
that trees fear, and I, a tree, rejoiced in its flames.
New buds broke forth from me though it was full summer.
As though his lyre (now I knew its name)
were both frost and fire, its chord flamed
up to the crown of me. I was seed again.
I was fern in the swamp.
I was coal.And at the heart of my wood
(so close I was to becoming man or god)
there was a kind of silence, a kind of sickness,
something akin to what men call boredom,
(the poem descended a scale, a stream over stones)
that gives to a candle a coldness
in the midst of its burning, he said.It was then,
when in the blaze of his power that
reached me and changed me
I thought I should fall my length,
that the singer began
to leave me. Slowly
moved from my noon shadow
to open light,
words leaping and dancing over his shoulders
back to me
rivery sweep of lyre-tones becoming
ripple.And I in terror
but not in doubt of
what I must do
in anguish, in haste,
wrenched from the earth root after root,
the soil heaving and cracking, the moss tearing asunder —
and behind me the others: my brothers
forgotten since dawn. In the forest
they too had heard,
and were pulling their roots in pain
out of a thousand year’s layers of dead leaves,
rolling the rocks away,
their depths. You would have thought we would lose the sound of the lyre,
of the singing
so dreadful the storm-sounds were, where there was no storm,
no wind but the rush of our
branches moving, our trunks breasting the air.
But the music!
The music reached us.
stumbling over our own roots,
rustling our leaves
we moved, we followed.All day we followed, up hill and down.
We learned to dance,
for he would stop, where the ground was flat,
and words he said
taught us to leap and to wind in and out
around one another in figures the lyre’s measure designed.The singer
laughed till he wept to see us, he was so glad.
we came to this place I stand in, this knoll
with its ancient grove that was bare grass then.
In the last light of that day his song became
He stilled our longing.
He sang our sun-dried roots back into earth,
watered them: all-night rain of music so quiet
we could almost
not hear it in the
By dawn he was gone.
We have stood here since,
in our new life.
We have waited.
He does not return.
It is said he made his earth-journey, and lost
what he sought.
It is said they felled him
and cut up his limbs for firewood.
And it is said
his head still sang and was swept out to sea singing.
Perhaps he will not return.
But what we have lived
comes back to us.
We see more.
We feel, as our rings increase,
something that lifts our branches, that stretches our furthest
The wind, the birds,
do not sound poorer but clearer,
recalling our agony, and the way we danced.
Hồ Xuân Hương tradition - [Untitled]I married at fifteen. My husband complained
That I was too small, and wouldn’t lie with me.
Then I was eighteen, then I was twenty.
I was lying on the floor, he yanked me onto bed.
Love me once, then love me twice,
There’s only three legs left to the bed.
Whoever is going to my parents’ village,
Let them know that he and I are reconciled.
Hannah ArendtThe concentration camps, by making death itself anonymous (making it impossible to find out whether a prisoner is dead or alive), robbed death of its meaning as the end of a fulfilled life. In a sense they took away the individual’s own death, proving that henceforth nothing belonged to him and he belonged to no one. His death merely set a seal on the fact that he had never existed.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Theodore ZeldinThe brain is full of lonely ideas, begging you to make some sense of them, to recognize them as interesting. The lazy brain just files them away in old pigeonholes, like a bureaucrat who wants an easy life. The lively brain picks and chooses and creates new works of art out of ideas.
on 11:52 PM
Adam FlynnSolarpunk is a future with a human face and dirt behind its ears.
on 11:50 PM
Samuel R. Delany from The Jewels of AptorDictators during the entire history of this planet have used similar techniques. By not letting the people of their country know what conditions existed outside their boundaries, they could get the people to fight to stay in those conditions. It was the old adage: Convince a slave that he’s free, and he will fight to maintain his slavery.
on 11:49 PM
John Barth from “Two Meditations”She paused amid the kitchen to drink a glass of water; at that instant, losing a grip of fifty years, the next-room-ceiling-plaster crashed. Or he merely sat in an empty study, in March-day glare, listening to the universe rustle in his head, when suddenly the five-foot shelf let go.
For ages the fault creeps secret through the rock; in a second, ledge and railings, tourists and turbines all thunder over Niagara. Which snowflake triggers the avalanche? A house explodes; a star. In your spouse, so apparently resigned, murder twitches like a fetus. At some trifling new assessment, all the colonies rebel.
on 9:18 PM
Philip K. DickThe basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
on 7:38 PM
Susan SontagA writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. That means trying to understand, take in, connect with, what wickedness human beings are capable of; and not be corrupted — made cynical, superficial — by this understanding.
Emily Dickinson - [We grow accustomed to the Dark -]We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When Light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye -
A Moment - We Uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -
And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -
The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -
Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.
Aldous Huxley from Brave New World RevisitedGiven unchecked over-population and over-organization, we may expect to see in the democratic countries a reversal of the process which transformed England into a democracy, while retaining all the outward forms of a monarchy. Under the relentless thrust of accelerating overpopulation and increasing over-organization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms - elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest - will remain.
The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial - but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
Paul Auster from “Clandestine”Remember with me today—the word and counter-word of witness: the tactile dawn, emerging from my clenched hand: sun’s ciliary grasp: the stretch of darkness I wrote on the table of sleep. Now is the time to come. All you have come to take from me, take away from me now. Do not forget to forget. Fill your pockets with earth, and seal up the mouth of my cave. It was there…
Rabindranath Tagore - “Gitanjali 35″Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Adrienne Rich - “Itinerary”i.
Burnt by lightning nevertheless
she’ll walk this terra infinita
lashes singed on her third eye
searching definite shadows for an indefinite future
Old shed-boards beaten silvery hang
askew as sheltering
some delicate indefensible existence
Long grasses shiver in a vanished doorway’s draft
a place of origins as yet unclosured and unclaimed
Writing cursive instructions on abounding air
If you arrive with ripe pears, bring a sharpened knife
Bring cyanide with the honeycomb
call before you come
Let the face of the bay be violet black the tumbled torn
kelp necklaces strewn alongshore
Stealthily over time arrives the chokehold
stifling ocean’s guttural chorales
of tattered plastic rags
In a physical world the great poverty would be
to live insensate shuttered against the fresh
slash of urine on a wall
low-tidal rumor of a river’s yellowed mouth
a tumor-ridden face asleep on a subway train
What would it mean to not possess
a permeable skin
explicit veil to wander in
A cracked shell crumbles.
Sun moon and salt dissect the faint
An electrical impulse zings
in meta-galactic orbits
a streak of nervous energy rejoins the crucible
where origins and endings meld
There was this honey-laden question mark
this thread extracted from the open
throat of existence—Lick it clean!
—let it evaporate—
on 7:26 PM
Anna LappeEvery time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.
on 7:24 PM
Richard DawkinsThe universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
on 7:22 PM
e.e. cummings - “death(having lost)put on his universe”death(having lost)put on his universe
and yawned:it looks like rain
(they’ve played for timelessness
with chips of when)
that’s yours;i guess
you’ll have to loan me pain
to take the hearse,
see you again.
Loving(having found)wound up such pretty toys
as themselves could not know:
the earth tinily whirls;
while daisies grow
(and boys and girls
have whispered thus and so)
and girls with boys
to bed will go,
Anatole FranceUntil one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
Harold Pinter from The RoomWhat are you looking at? You’re blind, aren’t you? So what are you looking at?
Thomas Pynchon from V.Vision must be the last to go. There must also be a nearly imperceptible line between an eye that reflects and an eye that receives. The half-crouched body collapses. The face and its masses of white skin loom ever closer. At rest the body is assumed exactly into the space of this vantage.
Patrizia Cavalli from “Ten Poems”Isn’t it amazing that one evening
sliding the bread into its paper sack
I start all over with the same speech,
reopen the repertory, raise the curtain
to find time standing still, not ever passing?
Nothing has passed, the past doesn’t exist,
born actors never do forget their parts.
T’ao Ch’ienSuccess and failure? No known address.
This or that goes on, depending on the other.
And who can say if Milord Shao was happier
ruling a city, or sacked, his excellent melon patch?
Hot, cold, summer, winter: don’t they alternate?
Mayn’t a man’s way wander on just so?
Yes, those who “get there” know their opportunities…
have learned to untie the knots of knowledge.
But was it the notable or the notorious that our Sage spoke of?
The latter he called opportunists. Those who get there, doubtless,
know doubt nor care no more. Yet, doubt you not, nor do dead generals,
who plotted carefully at what seemed opportune,
and knew naught, right or wrong.
If, of a sudden, you’re offered fine wine,
let the sun sink. Enjoy it.
Harold Pinter from CelebrationThat’s funny. I’d like to kiss him on the mouth too … because I’ve been maligned, I’ve been misrepresented. I never said I didn’t like your sauce. I love your sauce.
on 6:28 PM
Li Bai - “Along the Stream”The rustling nightfall strews my gown with roses,
And wine-flushed petals bring forgetfulness
Of shadow after shadow striding past.
I arise with the stars exultantly and follow
The sweep of the moon along the hushing stream,
Where no birds wake; only the far-drawn sigh
Of wary voices whispering farewell.
on 6:27 PM
Harold Pinter from No Man’s LandExperience is a paltry thing. Everyone has it and will tell his tale of it. I leave experience to psychological interpreters, the wetdream world. I myself can do any graph of experience you wish, to suit your taste or mine. Child’s play. The present will not be distorted. I am a poet. I am interested in where I am eternally present and active.
Philip Levine - “The Water’s Chant”Seven years ago I went into
the High Sierras stunned by the desire
to die. For hours I stared into a clear
mountain stream that fell down
over speckled rocks, and then I
closed my eyes and prayed that when
I opened them I would be gone
and somewhere a purple and golden
thistle would overflow with light.
I had not prayed since I was a child
and at first I felt foolish saying
the name of God, and then it became
another word. All the while
I could hear the water’s chant
below my voice. At last I opened
my eyes to the same place, my hands
cupped and I drank long from
the stream, and then turned for home
not even stopping to find the thistle
that blazed by my path.
I have gone home to the city
of my birth and found it gone,
a gray and treeless one now in its place.
The one house I loved the most
simply missing in a row of houses,
the park where I napped on summer days
fenced and locked, the great shop
where we forged, a plane of rubble,
the old hurt faces turned away.
My brother was with me, thickened
by the years, but still my brother,
and when we embraced I felt the rough
cheek and his hand upon my back tapping
as though to tell me, I know! I know!
brother, I know!
Here in California
a new day begins. Full dull clouds ride
in from the sea, and this dry valley
calls out for rain. My brother has
risen hours ago and hobbled to the shower
and gone out into the city of death
to trade his life for nothing because
this is the world. I could pray now,
but not to die, for that will come one
day or another. I could pray for
his bad leg or my son John whose luck
is rotten, or for four new teeth, but
instead I watch my eucalyptus,
the giant in my front yard, bucking
and swaying in the wind and hear its
tidal roar. In the strange new light
the leaves overflow purple and gold,
and a fiery dust showers into the day.
EB WhiteA writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.
His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye DorjeWe may set too high of a bar for ourselves when we contemplate Buddhist teachings about working for the benefit of all sentient beings. I don’t think it’s really possible to arrive at a time when you’ll be able to say to yourself that you are now accomplishing the benefit of all sentient beings. It’s more a matter of dealing with what’s directly in front of you in terms of the experiences of happiness and suffering that you - and the sentient beings you are connected with - are going through.
I think you can meet situations of suffering with an open heart and a readiness to do whatever you can to reduce the suffering of sentient beings, to free sentient beings from suffering. Or in the same way, be ready to do anything you can to further the happiness of any given sentient being that you meet and to engage in this kind of conduct with a heart of joyfulness, cheerfulness and delight. This is really the meaning of accomplishing the benefit of all sentient beings.
So it’s basically situation by situation and developing further the readiness to help, developing further this heart of wanting sentient beings to be free of suffering and to enjoy happiness in whatever situation they are in at the present. I think that’s what ‘accomplishing the benefit of all sentient beings’ really means. I don’t think that phrase means we are going to accomplish the benefit of every single sentient being at the same time.
Fyodor DostoyevskyWe sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.
Samuel R. DelanyScience fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be - a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they - and all of us - have to be able to think about a world that works differently.
Wang Wei - “Deer Fence”No one is seen in deserted hills,
only the echoes of speech are heard.
Sunlight cast back comes deep in the woods
and shines once again upon the green moss.
C.K. Williams – “Fire”An ax-shattered
the wall above
still smutted with
soot the wall
soak and down
on the black
of the pavement
a mattress its ticking
half eaten away
the end where
the head would
have been with
a nauseous bite
and beside it
an all at once
of soiled sodden
shoe a jacket
the vain matters
a life gathers
about it symbols
of having once
cried out to itself
who art thou?
then again who
wouldst thou be?
on 6:19 PM
Viggo MortensenOne of the best pieces of advice I ever got was: go slow to go fast. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.
Tom Waits - "Grapefruit Moon"One, two, three, four
Grapefruit moon, one star shining
Shining down on me
Heard that tune, and now I’m pining
Honey, can’t you see?
‘Cause every time I hear that melody
Something breaks inside
And the grapefruit moon, one star shining
Can’t turn back the tide
Never had no destinations
Could not get across
You became my inspiration
Oh, but what a cost
And every time I hear that melody
Something breaks inside
And the grapefruit moon, one star shining
Is more than I can hide
Now I’m smoking cigarettes
And I strive for purity
And I slip just like the stars
And every time I hear that melody
Puts me up a tree
And the grapefruit moon, one star shining
Is all that I can see
John Keats - “To the Ladies Who Saw Me Crown’d”What is there in the universal earth
More lovely than a wreath from the bay tree?
Haply a halo round the moon–a glee
Circling from three sweet pair of lips in mirth;
And haply you will say the dewy birth
Of morning roses–riplings tenderly
Spread by the halcyon’s breast upon the sea–
But these comparisons are nothing worth.
Then is there nothing in the world so fair?
The silvery tears of April?–Youth of May?
Or June that breathes out life for butterflies?
No–none of these can from my favorite bear
Away the palm; yet shall it ever pay
Due reverence to your most sovreign eyes.
Ko Un - “In the Temple’s Main Hall”Down with Buddha!
Down with handsome, well-fed Buddha!
What’s he doing up there with that oh so casually
elegant wispy beard?
Next, break down that painted whore of a crossbeam!
A dragon’s head? What use is that, a dragon’s head?
Tear down that temple, drive out the monks,
turn it all into dust and maggots!
Buddha with nothing, that’s real Buddha!
Our foul-mouthed Seoul street-market mother,
she’s real Buddha!
We’re all of us Buddhabuddhabuddha real!
Living Buddha? One single cigarette, now
there’s real cool Holy buddha!
No, not that either.
For even supposing this world were a piece of cake,
with everyone living it up and living well,
in gorgeous high-class gear, with lots of goods produced
thanks to Korean-American technological collaboration,
each one able to live freely, with no robbing of rights,
utter Eden unequalled, plastered with jewels, still even then,
day after day people would have to change the world.
Why, of course, in any case,
day after day this world must all be overturned
and renewed to become a newly blooming lotus flower.
And that is Buddha.
Down for sure with those fifteen hundred years
rolling on foolish, rumbling along:
time fast asleep like stagnant water that stinks and stinks.
Charles BukowskiUnderstand me. I’m not like an ordinary world.
I have my madness, I live in another dimension, and I do not have time for things that have no soul.
Milan Kundera from The Unbearable Lightness of BeingAfter pausing for a moment, she added, “On the surface, an intelligible lie; underneath, the unintelligible truth.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox - “My Grave”If, when I die, I must be buried, let
No cemetery engulf me – no lone grot,
Where the great palpitating world comes not,
Save when, with heart bowed down and eyelids wet,
It pays its last sad melancholy debt
To some outjourneying pilgrim. May my lot
Be rather to lie in some much-used spot,
Where human life, with all its noise and fret,
Throbs about me. Let the roll of wheels,
With all earth’s sounds of pleasure, commerce, love,
And rush of hurrying feet surge o’er my head.
Even in my grave I shall be one who feels
Close kinship with the pulsing world above;
And too deep silence would distress me, dead.
Albert Camus from The FallI sometimes think of what future historians will say of us. A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers. After that vigorous definition, the subject will be, if I may say so, exhausted.
Harold PinterLanguage, under these conditions, is a highly ambiguous commerce. So often, below the words spoken, is the thing known and unspoken. My characters tell me so much and no more, with reference to their experience, their aspirations, their motives, their history. Between my lack of biographical data about them and the ambiguity of what they say there lies a territory which is not only worthy of exploration but which it is compulsory to explore.
You and I, the characters which grow on a page, most of the time we’re inexpressive, giving little away, unreliable, elusive, evasive, obstructive, unwilling. But it’s out of these attributes that a language arises. A language, I repeat, where, underneath what is said, another thing is being said.
e.e. cummings - “if you like my poems let them”if you like my poems let them
walk in the evening,a little behind you
then people will say
“Along this road i saw a princess pass
on her way to meet her lover(it was
toward nightfall)with tall and ignorant servants.”
William FaulknerIf I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us. Proof of that is that there are about three candidates for the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. But what is important is Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, not who wrote them, but that somebody did.
The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn’t have needed anyone since.
Austin KleonSeeing yourself as part of a creative lineage makes you feel less alone in your art. The great thing about dead masters is that they can’t refuse you as a student.
Just don’t steal the style of your heroes, steal the thinking behind the style … but add something to the world only you can add.
Vandana Khanna - “Remnants of the Goddess”Let them come for what’s left:
a chorus of bone, river and soot.
Worthy enough. Holy enough.
Like all the others, singular—or not.
Wanting only for your name to blue
my lips and call it miracle.
Our love double-knotted, saddle-stitched
held the world together. Until it didn’t—
all the words you placed in me flushed
and faltered. From memory, I recited
their worn prattle—cut them clean
with my bite. The jungle we made in blame
grew and grew, fed on our melancholy.
Not even the birds knew to change their songs.
Hart Crane - “To Brooklyn Bridge”How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—
Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day …
I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene
Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;
And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced
As though the sun took step of thee, yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!
Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.
Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene;
All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn …
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.
And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon … Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.
O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,—
Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.
Under thy shadow by the piers I waited;
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year …
O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.
Madalyn Murray O'HairReligion has ever been anti-human, anti-women, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason, and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind, but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education, and science to take over.
Ching-In Chen - “Self-Portrait, New City Replicant”To heat a sister House a burn
adjust the replica body
in the yesterday travel rain
no sister locks the door at the highest temperature
three hours still parked still comfortable to eat sugar by force
only because each house keeps a burn together
drinks the page An unseasoned tree
chosen to go to the sea
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - “You Want That Picture”What did you do when you saw that I’d gone
did you stand very still and did tears come falling?
O you want that picture don’t you darling
of poor little me standing there bawling?
well it’s true that I cried
but then I went outside
and I stood very still in the night
and I looked at the sky
and knew someday I’d die
and then everything would be all right
it’s all right
and everything comes
down to this
that everything there ever was
or will be
is all there is
Where did you go once you’d wrote me that note
was a weight lifted off of your shoulders did you fly?
O you want that picture, don’t you darling
of heartless cold me
flying not falling?
well, it’s true that I soared
but then I went outdoors
and I stood very still in the night
and I looked at the sky
and knew someday I’d die
and then everything would be all right
it’s all right
and everything comes
down to this
that everything there ever was
or will be
is all there is
Thomas Pynchon from Gravity’s RainbowThere is no real direction here, neither lines of power nor cooperation. Decisions are never really made — at best they manage to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all around assholery.
Yiddish ProverbA nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
Li Bai - “Alone and Drinking Under the Moon”Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,
and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon
accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while
still not drunk, I am glad
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are
friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way.
Joan Didion from “On Self-Respect” (1961)In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues. Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.
Yeshé TsogyalThe princess entered the jungle full of lotuses and sandalwood trees. Searching far and wide, she saw a mother tigress covering her eighteen cubs. The cubs nuzzled close to her, but her milk was finished and they had nothing to drink. Exhausted, they were close to dying. The mother tigress was also on the brink of death; her flesh and blood had wasted away.
Seeing this, the princess felt unbearable compassion and thought, “I will offer them my own flesh and blood.” Drawing closer, she made this aspiration:
Triumphant buddhas of the past, present, and future—bear witness.
When I offer my own body as a gift,
may the tigress over there live and thrive!
May my wish be fully accomplished.
May I free all beings, as many as I can imagine,
from the depths of the round of rebirth.
Translated by Chönyi Drolma
Feng-kanSinking like a rock in the sea
drifting through the Three Worlds
poor ethereal creature
ever immersed in scenes
until a flash of lightning shows
life and death are dust in space
on 4:19 PM
Hồ Xuân Hương tradition - [”My husband is useless”]My husband is useless, Sisters. He gambles
All day long, goes berserk
When I complain. It is embarrassing
Even to talk about it. To settle his debts,
I’ll have to sell four or five baskets
Of threshed rice, kilos of cotton.
We’ll eat less. This bitter berry
I’ll suck without complaints, lest everyone laughs.
Confucian-trained, yet I live with a fool.
A dragon in a pool of mud.
A smart wife with a stupid husband.
on 4:17 PM
William S. Burroughs from The Western LandsThere may be people who like centipedes. Personally, I would regard such an individual with deep suspicion.
I have just petted my cat: “And how is this good little cat beast?“
Now what sort of man or woman or monster would stroke a centipede on his underbelly? "And here is my good big centipede!”
If such a man exists, I say kill him without more ado. He is a traitor to the human race.
James Joyce from UlyssesA cloud began to cover the sun slowly, wholly. Grey. Far.
No, not like that. A barren land, bare waste. Vulcanic lake, the dead sea: no fish, weedless, sunk deep in the earth. No wind could lift those waves, grey metal, poisonous foggy waters. Brimstone they called it raining down: the cities of the plain: Sodom, Gomorrah, Edom. All dead names. A dead sea in a dead land, grey and old. Old now. It bore the oldest, the first race. A bent hag crossed from Cassidy’s, clutching a naggin bottle by the neck. The oldest people. Wandered far away over all the earth, captivity to captivity, multiplying, dying, being born everywhere. It lay there now. Now it could bear no more. Dead: an old woman’s: the grey sunken cunt of the world.
Albert CamusAutumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Tom Waits from Nighthawks at the DinerI’m so goddamned horny the crack of dawn better be careful around me.
John MuirThe clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
Frances Park - “The Wakeful”The restless pass the night hours in company
forever about in the town; though many
at half past three admit to being lonely.
The wakeful perceive the small hour as merely a
digit on the clock’s dial, familiar
as supper time. This is not insomnia:
(a state of disturbance marked by anxiety,
tears, veronal, prayers to the Deity,
guilt, and a plenitude of self pity).
The wakeful are simply awake and quiet
at any hour—little concerned about it;
warm in the lamp’s glow, the soft bed jacket,
with cigarettes and fruit ready to hand;
a waltz whispered over the radio and
sleep hovering at the night’s end.
Franz Wright - “Entry in an Unknown Hand”And still nothing happens. I am not arrested.
By some inexplicable oversight
nobody jeers when I walk down the street.
I have been allowed to go on living in this
room. I am not asked to explain my presence
What posthypnotic suggestions were made; and
are any left unexecuted?
Why am I so distressed at the thought of taking
They are absolutely shameless at the bank—
you’d think my name meant nothing to them. Non-
chalantly they hand me the sum I’ve requested,
but I know them. It’s like this everywhere—
they think they are going to surprise me: I,
who do nothing but wait.
W.S. Merwin - “For a Coming Extinction”Gray whale
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing
I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day
The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And foreordaining as stars
Join your word to theirs
That it is we who are important
on 1:43 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2019
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STORYHIVE supports compelling, original stories told by filmmakers from BC and Alberta by providing production funding, training and exposure to new audiences. Meet the Canadians choosing to do home differently. From life off the grid to living in a converted school bus, this series explores the motivations behind these unique lifestyles.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Ursula K. Le Guin from “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.
on 2:15 PM
H.L. Mencken in 1920As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
on 2:10 PM
Orson WellesMy doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.
on 2:02 PM
Aldous Huxley from Ends and MeansMost ignorance is vincible ignorance; we don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence.
on 2:00 PM
Susan Sontag from “Letter to Borges”On the 10th anniversary of the death of Jorge Luis Borges, the late Susan Sontag revisited her admiration for his work and the enormity of his cultural legacy in a short and beautiful essay titled “Letter to Borges,” penned on June 13, 1996, and included in her 2001 collection WHERE THE STRESS FALLS: ESSAYS.
You were very much the product of your time, your culture, and yet you knew how to transcend your time, your culture, in ways that seem quite magical. This had something to do with the openness and generosity of your attention. You were the least egocentric, the most transparent of writers, as well as the most artful. It also had something to do with a natural purity of spirit.
You had a sense of time that was different from other people’s. The ordinary ideas of past, present, and future seemed banal under your gaze. You liked to say that every moment of time contains the past and the future, quoting (as I remember) the poet Browning, who wrote something like “the present is the instant in which the future crumbles into the past.” That, of course, was part of your modesty: your taste for finding your ideas in the ideas of other writers.
The serenity and the transcendence of self that you found are to me exemplary. You showed that it is not necessary to be unhappy, even while one is clear-eyed and undeluded about how terrible everything is. Somewhere you said that a writer — delicately you added: all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. (You were speaking of your blindness.)
Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory. They also give us the model of self-transcendence. Some people think of reading only as a kind of escape: an escape from the “real” everyday world to an imaginary world, the world of books. Books are much more. They are a way of being fully human.
I’m sorry to have to tell you that books are now considered an endangered species. By books, I also mean the conditions of reading that make possible literature and its soul effects. Soon, we are told, we will call up on “bookscreens” any “text” on demand, and will be able to change its appearance, ask questions of it, “interact” with it. When books become “texts” that we “interact” with according to criteria of utility, the written word will have become simply another aspect of our advertising-driven televisual reality. This is the glorious future being created, and promised to us, as something more “democratic.” Of course, it means nothing less than the death of inwardness — and of the book.
Dear Borges, please understand that it gives me no satisfaction to complain. But to whom could such complaints about the fate of books— of reading itself— be better addressed than to you? (Borges, it’s ten years!) All I mean to say is that we miss you. I miss you. You continue to make a difference. The era we are entering now, this twenty-first century, will test the soul in new ways. But, you can be sure, some of us are not going to abandon the Great Library. And you will continue to be our patron and our hero.
on 1:54 PM
David Rosenberg - “Afternoon”In the branches the light
so that the limbs
on the moss
o nature—ah! less alone
should clothe me
with my shadow
nothing at all deceives me
it takes just everything
to conceive this
on 1:50 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2019
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Creatures of Place is an insight into the wonderful world of Artist as Family: Meg Ulman, Patrick Jones, and their youngest son, Woody. Living on a 1/4-acre section in a small Australian town, Meg and Patrick have designed their property using permaculture principals.
They grow most of their own food, don't own cars and ride their bikes instead, use very little electricity, and forage food and materials from their local forest. We found their story super inspiring and we think you will too!