Sunday, March 31, 2019

Monsters and Mandolins
Portland Chamber Orchestra

John Frankenheimer
USA, 1973

TOM HARDY - New York Times, 6 January 2017

I think as a youngster, when I started acting, there was a pressure to be or look a certain way — a six-pack, straight teeth, tan. That’s just not going to be a constant that I could ever maintain. I’m a bit wonky. Even if I had a pretty face, I couldn’t capitalize on that. That’s not where my heart is.

I do like a beard as well. Not that my whole life comes down to beards and tattoos, but there is a certain level of yeah, I’ve got something you want, so I’m going to deface it. Or maybe I’m incredibly vulnerable, so if I look like this maybe you’ll leave me alone. Perhaps that, too.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Agnès Varda (1928-2019)

Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi Party.


A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Plummery is a suburban home where a backyard permaculture garden measuring only 100sq/m (1076 sq feet) produces over 400kg/900 pounds of food year-round.

Kat Lavers describes her approach to gardening, including vertical and biointensive growing, and how important it is – and possible! – for city dwellers to be food resilient in the face of natural, financial and social crises. We were very inspired by how little day-to-day effort goes into creating such an abundance of food!


A violinist had a violin, a painter his palette. All I had was myself. I was the instrument that I must care for.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Jean Sibelius, 1899

Neeme Järvi
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon, 2007


April 9th - Breastpiece.

HANNAH ARENDT from The Origins of Totalitarianism

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wang Wei - “Cooling Off”

Clear waters drift through the immensity of a tall forest.
In front of me a huge river mouth
receives the long wind.
Deep ripples hold white sand
and white fish swimming as in a void.
I sprawl on a big rock,
billows nourishing my humble body.
I gargle with water and wash my feet.
A fisherman pauses out on the surf.
So many fish long for bait.  I look
only to the east with its lotus leaves.

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)

Antoni Wit
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Naxos, 2012
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS from The Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 36

All of my work is directed against those who are bent on blowing up the planet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Philip Glass (b. 1937)
 Víkingur Ólafsson
Deutsche Grammophon, 2017

Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling
Netflix, 2018

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Decca, 2018

The Paul Winter Consort

A&M, 1969

Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931)

Rumon Gamba
Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Chandos, 2008

Max Bruch, 1870

Kurt Masur
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Phillips, 1998

Xi Chuan - "Mourning Problems" 

an ant dies, and no one mourns
a bird dies, and no one mourns if it isn’t a crested ibis
a monkey dies, and monkeys mourn
a monkey dies, and people pry open its skull
a shark dies, and another shark keeps swimming
a tiger dies, and some people mourning are mourning themselves
a person dies, and some people mourn and some people don’t
a person dies, and some people mourn and some even applaud
a generation dies, and the next generation doesn’t really mourn
a country dies, most of the time just leaving apocrypha
a country that doesn’t leave apocrypha wasn’t a real country
if it wasn’t a real country, when it dies no one mourns
no one mourns, and the wind blows in vain
rivers flow in vain, washing over rocks in vain
glistening in vain, making vain ripples
the river dies, and it’s not for man to mourn
the wind dies, and it’s not for man to mourn
the river and wind make their way to the sea, the sea as vast as in Zhuangzi
the vast sea dies, and you will have to die
the dragon king dies, and you will have to die
the moon doesn’t mourn, there’s no one on the moon
the stars don’t mourn, the stars aren’t flesh and blood

—Translated by Lucas Klein

OSCAR WILDE from The Importance of Being Earnest

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.

Monday, March 25, 2019


I hear from here the howl resolving all, even if it is not mine. Meanwhile there’s no use knowing you are gone, you are not, you are writhing yet, the hair is growing, the nails are growing, the entrails emptying, all the morticians are dead.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Ricky Gervais
UK, 2019

Harold Pinter from The Hothouse

The moon was behind you, in front of you, all over you, suffusing you, consuming you, you were transparent, translucent, a beacon.

Bobby Seale

I think the American Dream should be about a greater progressive legislation that allows for what I call a necessary future world of co-operational humanism.

Izumi Shikibu

Watching the moon
at midnight
solitary, mid-sky,
I knew myself completely,
no part left out.

Kurt Vonnegut from a 2003 speech at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

I realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how to become a professional writer. I say to you, “If you really want to hurt your parents - and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual - the least you can do is go into the arts.” But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.

Bob Smith

Lesbians can afford to be ruthlessly discriminating when picking their sperm donor. In fact, if all women were as selective as lesbians, we’d have evolved into a race of gods by now.

Paula Span from “Martha, In the Soup”

Marilyn Scott-Waters turned against Martha Stewart Living around the time Martha advocated glue-gunning fresh pansies onto children’s Easter bonnets:

“I’m thinking, Jesus, you can make your life way more complicated than you need to. My mantra now is Inner Peace Through Lowered Expectations.”

Harold Pinter from Moonlight

You were writing poems when you were a mere child, isn’t that right?

I was writing poems before I could read.

Listen. I happen to know that you were writing poems before you could speak.

Listen! I was writing poems before I was born.

So you would say you were the real thing?

The authentic article.

Never knowingly undersold.


Hồ Xuân Hương tradition - “A Hermaphrodite”

Which squabble among twelve midwives
Caused them to throw your love-thing away?
To hell with that squeaking mouse.
To hell with that droning wasp.
Who knows if it’s smooth or bumpy?
Who can tell if it’s stem or bud?
Whatever it is, it must do.
You’ll never be called a slut.

Ko Un - “Sunlight”

It’s absolutely inevitable!
So just take a deep breath
and accept this adversity.
But look!
A distinguished visitor deigns to visit
my tiny north-facing cell.
Not the chief making his rounds, no,
but a ray of sunlight as evening falls,
a gleam no bigger than a screwed-up stamp.
A sweetheart fit to go crazy about.
It settles there on the palm of a hand,
warms the toes of a shyly bared foot.
Then as I kneel and, undevoutly,
offer it a dry, parched face to kiss,
in a moment that scrap of sunlight slips away.
After the guest has departed through the bars,
the room feels several times colder and darker.
This military prison special cell
is a photographer’s darkroom.
Without any sunlight I laughed like a fool.
One day it was a coffin holding a corpse.
One day it was altogether the sea.
A wonderful thing!
A few people survive here.

Being alive is a sea
    without a single sail in sight.

Willie Nelson on Mortality

I don’t really think about it. I know some day I’ll move on. Everybody does. But I don’t worry about it. I like where I am now. Everything’s fine. And there’s nothing I can do about anything that’s happened. The only thing I have any control over is what’s happening right now. So I don’t worry about a while ago or after a while.

Flannery O’Connor from “Everything That Rises Must Converge”

He walked along, saturated in depression, as if in the midst of his martyrdom he had lost his faith.

Samuel Beckett from Play

One morning as I was sitting stitching by the open window she burst in and flew at me. Give him up, she screamed, he’s mine. Her photographs were kind to her. Seeing her now for the first time full length in the flesh I understood why he preferred me.

Conor O'Callaghan - “Midweek”

Take it for what it is:
a chance to lie low
outside the weekend’s brackets,
to mark off time in minutes,
peat briquettes,
the cluster of units
a cursor eats up.
The sameness of distant bells
and a digital clock’s ellipsis
and cars parked in a row
and the alarm waiting to trip
remains as good as intact—
apart from a dash to the line and back,
the night sky something else.

Ko Un - “Two Beggars”

Two beggars
sharing a meal of the food they’ve been given

The new moon shines intensely

Edmund White from The Married Man

As you can hear, it’s difficult to learn another language after forty.

Alice Munro

You protect yourself by thinking if you have all these rituals and routines then nothing can get you.

David Dellinger

I will talk about the facts and the facts don’t always encourage false respect.

Susan Sontag from “Literature and Freedom”

One task of literature is to formulate questions and construct counterstatements to the reigning pieties. And even when art is not oppositional, the arts gravitate toward contrariness. Literature is dialogue; responsiveness. Literature might be described as the history of human responsiveness to what is alive and what is moribund as cultures evolve and interact with one another.

Writers can do something to combat the clichés of our separateness, our difference - for writers are makers, not just transmitters, of myths. Literature offers not only myths but countermyths, just as life offers counterexperiences - experiences that confound what you thought you thought, or felt, or believed.


“Literature and Freedom” was Susan Sontag’s acceptance speech after being awarded the Friedenspreis, the Peace Prize of the German book trade, in 2003.

Christopher Hitchens

I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hate in the world is religion and organized religion. Absolutely convinced of that, And I think it should be - religion - treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt.

So when I say that I think religion poisons everything, I’m not just doing what publishers like and coming up with a provocative subtitle. I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity.

It says we can’t be moral without “Big Brother,” without a totalitarian permission. It means we can’t be good to one another without this. It means we must be afraid.

We must also be forced to love someone whom we fear - the essence of sado-masochism, the essence of abjection, the essence of the Master/Slave relationship. And that it knows death is coming, and can’t wait to bring it on.

I say that is Evil.

And though I do, some nights, stay home, I enjoy more the nights when I go out and fight against this ultimate wickedness and this ultimate stupidity.

e. e. cummings - “what if a much of a which of a wind”

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer’s lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
-when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
-whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it’s they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn’t; blow death to was)
-all nothing’s only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live

Martin Luther King, Jr. from “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

Gabriel García Márquez from One Hundred Years of Solitude

If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.

John Steinbeck

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

Quentin Crisp

When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, “Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?”

William James

The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours, or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures.

Samuel Beckett from Endgame

I love order. It’s my dream. A world where all would be silent and still, and each thing in its last place, under the last dust.

Thomas Bernhard from Extinction

We must allow ourselves to think, we must dare to think, even though we fail. It is in the nature of things that we always fail, because we suddenly find it impossible to order our thoughts, because the process of thinking requires us to consider every thought there is, every possible thought. Fundamentally we have always failed, like all the others, whoever they were, even the greatest minds. At some point, they suddenly failed and their system collapsed, as is proved by their writings, which we admire because they venture farthest into failure. To think is to fail, I thought.

Mary Ruefle - “I Cannot Be Quiet an Hour”

I begin
to talk to violets.
Tears fall into my soup
and I drink them.
Sooner or later
everyone donates something.
I carry wood, stone, and
hay in my head.
The eyes of the violets
grow very wide.
At the end of the day
I reglue the broken foot
of the china shepherd
who has put up with me.
Next door, in the house
of the clock-repairer,
a hundred clocks tick
at once. He and his wife
go about their business
sleeping peacefully at night.

Jamgön Mipham from The Wisdom Chapter - Commentary on the Ninth Chapter of The Way of the Bodhisattva

When phenomena are indeed seen to be devoid of true existence, great compassion will well up effortlessly, a compassion that will never abandon living beings who circle in samsara through their clinging to true existence. For as it has been taught, it is in the nature of things that such an attitude is born.

Hồ Xuân Hương tradition - “Ba Doi Gorge”

A gorge, a gorge, and yet, the same old gorge.
Praise to whoever has gouged out this scene:
A lurid cave with a stubby arch,
And rich green boulders covered with algae.
Now the stiff wind blows, shaking pine branches.
Dew-drops dripping from willow leaves.
You who are virtuous, or saintly, who hasn’t tried,
Even with weak knees, exhausted feet, to mount it?

Samuel Beckett from The Unnamable

Dear incomprehension, it’s thanks to you I’ll be myself, in the end.

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.

Harold Pinter from Night School

I’ve always been a lone wolf. The first time I was seduced, I said to myself, Solto, watch your step, mind how you go, go so far but no further. If they want to seduce you, let them seduce you, but marry them? Out of the question.
WILLIAM HEINESEN from “Arcadian Afternoon”

The cow is nothing less than elemental–mythological–monumental–a symbol of the great cycle of life. Into her mouth goes the grass of the the green and flowering meadows, the very growth of the soil, and turns into meat and torrents of milk; and even her waste matter, useless is ordinary housekeeping, goes back to renew the soil and the grasses with its fertilizing elements.

Luxuriant and smelling pleasantly of vegetation, the udder-bearing cow is nurse to the children of Earth, a protectress and good fairy to her wasteful and cunning exploiter, Homo sapiens, in whose language she has been relegated in modern times to a position of mere ridicule and odious comparisons. Stupid as a cow. Clumsy as a cow. Yet at the same time man smugly pours cream in his coffee or consumes his cheese dishes and caramels. But then of course he is so infinitely intelligent, this master of all creation, while the cow is ineffably low-browed and shallow brained.

Quite so. You don’t find much guile in a cow’s eye–no ulterior motives or cabals, no ambition or rank consciousness, and no warlike passions. But this great primeval gaze, deep as a well, is nevertheless an extraordinary thing to experience; it is like peering into the depths of the night sky. And how was it now–didn’t we learn in school that the Goddess of Wisdom, Pallas Athena, was cow-eyed?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Samuel R. Delany from Nova

Oh, for the rebirth of an educational system where understanding was an essential part of knowledge.

Fernando Pessoa

The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd; the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfactions with the world’s existence.

All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.

Ursula K. Le Guin from The Left Hand of Darkness

I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say.

…. or ….

I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth. The only truth I can understand or express is, logically defined, a lie. Psychologically defined, a symbol. Aesthetically defined, a metaphor.

Italo Calvino from If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler

Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be.

Bettie Page

I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer. I wasn’t trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time. I didn’t think of myself as liberated, & I don’t believe that I did anything important. I was just myself. I didn’t know any other way to be, or any other way to live.

Madness - “Shut Up”

I tell you I didn’t do it
‘Cause I wasn’t there
Don’t blame me, it just isn’t fair
You listen to their side
Now listen to mine
Can’t think of a story
Sure you’ll find me sometime

Now pass the blame and don’t blame me
Just close your eyes and count to three
(One) (Two) (Three)
Then I’ll be gone and you’ll forget
The broken window, t.v. set

It wasn’t me either, I’m just his mate
He told me to stand here and watch the gate
I’ve got a wife and three kids you know
They’ll tell you I’m straight, at least I think so
I’m as honest as the day is long,
The longer the daylight, the less I do wrong

Now pass the blame and don’t blame me
Just close your eyes and count to three
(One) (Two) (Three)
Then I’ll be gone and you’ll forget
The broken window, t.v. set

Pass the blame and don’t blame me
Just close your eyes and count to three
(One) (Two) (Three)
Then I’ll be gone and I’ll forget
That what you give is what you get …

Songwriters: Mark William Bedford, Christopher John Foreman, Michael Barson, Cathal Joseph Smyth, Daniel Mark Woodgate, Lee Jay Thompson, Graham Mcpherson

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.

Denise Levertov - “The Dog of Art”

That dog with daisies for eyes
who flashes forth
flame of his very self at every bark
is the Dog of Art.
Worked in wool, his blind eyes
look inward to caverns and jewels
which they see perfectly,
and his voice
measures forth the treasure
in music sharp and loud,
sharp and bright,
bright flaming barks,
and growling smoky soft, the Dog
of Art turns to the world
the quietness of his eyes.

Aleister Crowley from La Gitana

For your hair was full of roses, and my flesh was full of thorns.

Isaac Asimov on Robert A. Heinlein

He always pictured himself a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means “I want the liberty to grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve.” It’s easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help.

Margaret Atwood from Surfacing

Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.

Djuna Barnes from Nightwood

The words that fell from her mouth seemed to have been lent to her; had she been forced to invent a vocabulary for herself, it would have been a vocabulary of two words, ‘ah’ and ‘oh.’

Hannah Arendt from The Origins of Totalitarianism

One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.

Anne Bancroft

The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.

Amy Siskind

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

Alice Munro

You protect yourself by thinking if you have all these rituals and routines then nothing can get you.

Bobby Seale

A people who have suffered so much for so long at the hands of a racist society must draw the line somewhere.

bell hooks

I am passionate about everything in my life - first and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that’s a dangerous person to be in this society, not just because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.


Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken.
Take heed that you do not squander your life.

Aldous Huxley from Ape and Essence

Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him.

“Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.”

And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity.

And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises our standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.

Philip K. Dick

The 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.

Doris Lessing from Prisons We Choose to Live Inside

This is an inevitable and easily recognizable stage in every revolutionary movement: reformers must expect to be disowned by those who are only too happy to enjoy what has been won for them.

Doris Lessing from Prisons We Choose to Live Inside

Often the mass emotions are those which seem the noblest, best and most beautiful. And yet, inside a year, five years, a decade, five decades, people will be asking, "How could you have believed that?" because events will have taken place that will have banished the said mass emotions to the dustbin of history.

Doris Lessing from The Grass is Singing

Loneliness, she thought, was craving for other people's company. But she did not know that loneliness can be an unnoticed cramping of the spirit for lack of companionship.

Doris Lessing from The Golden Notebook

Art is the mirror of our betrayed ideals.
DORIS LESSING from The Golden Notebook

I dislike us all, because of our capacity for not-thinking when it suits us; we choose not to think when we are reaching our for happiness.

Doris Lessing from The Golden Notebook

Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.

Doris Lessing

There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.

Doris Lessing

Trust no friend without faults, and love a woman, but no angel.

JONATHAN GRIFFIN - “Blessed are the Clouds”

Nights—the long interims—when for a time
one’s mind is stifled in the stardust-storm…

       Yet day does come—again all’s well—
       suddenly a half-hidden tower
               is warming the whole square
with the Doge-crimson velvet of its bells

       I can feel each cloud as a thing
and seem to touch its turrets and to think
               the great curve of its birth
               and find then I am thanking
               watershepherdess Earth

Some nights, too, there are clouds silvered by Death
       sailing laden with star-oblivion

               or hurled clouds have lost form
and brought mercy muffling all the stars from us

Friday, March 22, 2019

"Ancient Voices"

"The wind whispers stories from far and long ago."



Grown-ups desperately need to feel safe, and then they project onto the kids. But what none of us seem to realize is how smart kids are. They don’t like what we write for them, what we dish up for them, because it’s vapid, so they’ll go for the hard words, they’ll go for the hard concepts, they’ll go for the stuff where they can learn something. Not didactic things, but passionate things.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Randall Jarrell - “A War”

There set out, slowly, for a Different World,

At four, on winter mornings, different legs…
You can’t break eggs without making an omelette
—That’s what they tell the eggs.

Christian Wiman, “This Inwardness, This Ice”

This inwardness, this ice,
this wide boreal whiteness

into which he’s come
with a crawling sort of care

for the sky’s severer blue,
the edge on the air,

trusting his own lightness
and the feel as feeling goes;

this discipline, this glaze,
this cold opacity of days

begins to crack.
No marks, not one scar,

no sign of where they are,
these weaknesses rumoring through,

growing loud if he stays,
louder if he turns back.

Nothing to do but move.
Nowhere to go but on,

to creep, and breathe, and learn
a blue beyond belief,

an air too sharp to pause,
this distance, this burn,

this element of flaws
that winces as it gives.

Nothing to do but live.
Nowhere to be but gone.


Warsaw Village Band

Orange Music, 2001

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sister Rosetta Tharpe 
playing her Gibson Les Paul Custom in England, 1964.

Barbara Loden

USA, 1970


Netflix Anthology, 2019

Daniel Nettheim

Australia,  2018

Emma Freeman

Australia, 2016

Margaret Atwood from Bluebeard's Egg

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.     

Tom Waits - “I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue)”

I don't mind working, 'cause I used to be jerking off most of my time in bars,
I've been a cabbie and a stock clerk and a soda-fountain jock-jerk
And a manic mechanic on cars.
It's nice work if you can get it, now who the hell said it?
I got money to spend on my gal,
But the work never stops, and I'll be busting my chops
Working for Joe and Sal.

And I can't wait to get off work and see my baby,
She said she'd leave the porch light on for me.
I'm disheveled and I'm disdainful and I'm distracted and it's painful,
But this job sweeping up here is gainfully employing me tonight.

Well Tom, do this and Tom, do that, and Tom, don't do that,
Count the cash, clean the oven, dump the trash,
Oh your loving is a rare and a copacetic gift,
And I'm a moonlight watch manic, it's hard to be romantic
Sweeping up over by the cigarette machine,
Sweeping up over by the cigarette machine

I can't wait to get off work and see my baby
She'll be waiting up with a magazine for me.
Clean the bathrooms and clean 'em good, oh your loving I wish you would
Come down here and sweep a-me off my feet, this broom'll have to be my baby,
If I hurry, I just might get off before the dawn's early light.

DENISE LEVERTOV - "Talking to Grief"

Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.

I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.

You think I don't know you've been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your name,
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider
my house your own
and me your person
and yourself
my own dog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


David Frayne
Ireland, 2017

Each time I leaped I seemed to touch the sky and when I regained earth it seemed to be mine alone.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

(English title: WINTER BROTHERS)

Hlynur Palmason
Denmark/Iceland, 2017

(English title: RAMS)

Grímur Hákonarson
Iceland, 2015


Eliseo Subiela
Argentina, 1992

JOHN KEATS - “Ode on Melancholy”

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
      Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
      By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
              Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
      Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
              Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries;
      For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
              And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
      Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
      And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
      Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
              Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
      Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
              And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
      And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
      Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
      Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
              Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
      Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
              And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


In my medicine cabinet
     the winter fly
has died of old age

Friday, March 15, 2019


That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say No in any of them.

Thursday, March 14, 2019


Sometimes you would think I was writing for the public.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

VIRGINIA WOOLF from To The Lighthouse

Through the open window the voice of the beauty of the world came murmuring, too softly to hear exactly what it said—but what mattered if the meaning were plain?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

GWENDOLYN BROOKS - "The Lovers of the Poor"

arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies’ Betterment League
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting 
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting 
Here, there, interrupting, all deep and debonair,
The pink paint on the innocence of fear; 
Walk in a gingerly manner up the hall.
Cutting with knives served by their softest care, 
Served by their love, so barbarously fair.
Whose mothers taught: You’d better not be cruel! 
You had better not throw stones upon the wrens! 
Herein they kiss and coddle and assault 
Anew and dearly in the innocence 
With which they baffle nature. Who are full, 
Sleek, tender-clad, fit, fiftyish, a-glow, all 
Sweetly abortive, hinting at fat fruit, 
Judge it high time that fiftyish fingers felt 
Beneath the lovelier planes of enterprise. 
To resurrect. To moisten with milky chill. 
To be a random hitching-post or plush.
To be, for wet eyes, random and handy hem.
                        Their guild is giving money to the poor.
The worthy poor. The very very worthy
And beautiful poor. Perhaps just not too swarthy?
perhaps just not too dirty nor too dim 
Nor—passionate. In truth, what they could wish
Is—something less than derelict or dull.
Not staunch enough to stab, though, gaze for gaze!
God shield them sharply from the beggar-bold! 
The noxious needy ones whose battle’s bald 
Nonetheless for being voiceless, hits one down.
                        But it’s all so bad! and entirely too much for them.
The stench; the urine, cabbage, and dead beans,
Dead porridges of assorted dusty grains,
The old smoke, heavy diapers, and, they’re told,
Something called chitterlings. The darkness. Drawn
Darkness, or dirty light. The soil that stirs. 
The soil that looks the soil of centuries.
And for that matter the general oldness. Old 
Wood. Old marble. Old tile. Old old old.
Not homekind Oldness! Not Lake Forest, Glencoe.
Nothing is sturdy, nothing is majestic,
There is no quiet drama, no rubbed glaze, no 
Unkillable infirmity of such
A tasteful turn as lately they have left, 
Glencoe, Lake Forest, and to which their cars 
Must presently restore them. When they’re done
With dullards and distortions of this fistic
Patience of the poor and put-upon.
                        They’ve never seen such a make-do-ness as 
Newspaper rugs before! In this, this “flat,” 
Their hostess is gathering up the oozed, the rich 
Rugs of the morning (tattered! the bespattered. . . .) 
Readies to spread clean rugs for afternoon. 
Here is a scene for you. The Ladies look, 
In horror, behind a substantial citizeness 
Whose trains clank out across her swollen heart. 
Who, arms akimbo, almost fills a door.
All tumbling children, quilts dragged to the floor 
And tortured thereover, potato peelings, soft-
Eyed kitten, hunched-up, haggard, to-be-hurt.
                        Their League is allotting largesse to the Lost. 
But to put their clean, their pretty money, to put 
Their money collected from delicate rose-fingers 
Tipped with their hundred flawless rose-nails seems . . .
                        They own Spode, Lowestoft, candelabra, 
Mantels, and hostess gowns, and sunburst clocks, 
Turtle soup, Chippendale, red satin “hangings,” 
Aubussons and Hattie Carnegie. They Winter 
In Palm Beach; cross the Water in June; attend, 
When suitable, the nice Art Institute;
Buy the right books in the best bindings; saunter 
On Michigan, Easter mornings, in sun or wind. 
Oh Squalor! This sick four-story hulk, this fibre 
With fissures everywhere! Why, what are bringings 
Of loathe-love largesse? What shall peril hungers 
So old old, what shall flatter the desolate? 
Tin can, blocked fire escape and chitterling
And swaggering seeking youth and the puzzled wreckage 
Of the middle passage, and urine and stale shames 
And, again, the porridges of the underslung
And children children children. Heavens! That
Was a rat, surely, off there, in the shadows? Long
And long-tailed? Gray? The Ladies from the Ladies’ 
Betterment League agree it will be better
To achieve the outer air that rights and steadies,
To hie to a house that does not holler, to ring
Bells elsetime, better presently to cater
To no more Possibilities, to get
Away. Perhaps the money can be posted.
Perhaps they two may choose another Slum!
Some serious sooty half-unhappy home!—
Where loathe-love likelier may be invested.
                        Keeping their scented bodies in the center 
Of the hall as they walk down the hysterical hall, 
They allow their lovely skirts to graze no wall,
Are off at what they manage of a canter,
And, resuming all the clues of what they were,
Try to avoid inhaling the laden air.

Monday, March 11, 2019


Tell him I was too fucking busy - or vice versa.

Sunday, March 10, 2019