Friday, May 31, 2019


STEPHEN BATCHELOR

It has taken four billion years of evolution to generate this kind of organism with this kind of brain, and yet we wake up in the morning and feel bored. How extraordinary it is to be here at all.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

ANNE CARSON from “Short Talk On Who You Are”

I want to know who you are. People talk about a voice calling in the wilderness. All through the Old Testament a voice, which is not the voice of God but which knows what is on God’s mind, is crying out. While I am waiting, you could do me a favour. Who are you?


Wednesday, May 29, 2019



BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY - “I Called You Back”

And I called you back to a place beside me
And I called you back to a place beside me

Love found us easily
And if that’s all we have you will find we need nothing more

And I called you back to a place beside me
And I called you back to a place beside me

And every time we kiss
We find ourselves in love again

And the older that we get
We know that nothing else for us is possible

And I called you back to a place beside me
And I called you back to a place beside me

Mm, when I was quiet
Well, I heard your voice in everything

And I called you back to a place beside me
And I called you back to a place beside me

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

EDMUND WHITE from Our Young Man

These absurd showbiz queens are as much a part of New York street life as sirens, steam from manholes, or ghostly Asian deliverymen ferrying chop-suey-to-go on unlit bikes going the wrong way.


Monday, May 27, 2019

HAROLD PINTER from No Man’s Land

What a remarkably pleasant room. I feel at peace here. Safe from all danger. But please don’t be alarmed. I shan’t stay long. I never stay long, with others. They do not wish it. And that, for me, is a happy state of affairs. My only security, you see, my true comfort and solace, rests in the confirmation that I elicit from people of all kinds a common and constant level of indifference. It assures me that I am as I think myself to be, that I am fixed, concrete. To show interest in me or, good gracious, anything tending towards a positive liking of me, would cause in me a condition of the acutest alarm. Fortunately, the danger is remote.
SAMUEL BECKETT from Malone Dies

And perhaps he has come to that stage of his instant when to live is to wander the last of the living in the depths of an instant without bounds, where the light never changes and the wrecks look all alike.

TISZTA SZÍVVEL 
(English title: KILLS ON WHEELS)
Attila Till
Hungary, 2016
BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY - “Lay and Love”

From what I’ve seen, you’re magnificent
You fight evil with all you do
Your every act is spectacular
It makes me lay here and love you

From what I hear, you are generous
You make sunshine and glory too
When you walk in things go luminous
It makes me lay here and love you

From what I know, you’re terrified
You have mistrust running through you
Your smile is hiding something hurtful
It makes me lay here and love you

It makes me lay here and love you
I’m filled with violet and red and blue
I have a feeling from what I do
That you might lay there and love me too
SAMUEL R. DELANY

There is no articulate resonance. The common problem, I suppose, is to have more to say than vocabulary and syntax can bear. That is why I am hunting in these desiccated streets. The smoke hides the sky’s variety, stains consciousness, covers the holocaust with something safe and insubstantial. It protects from greater flame. It indicates fire, but obscures the source. This is not a useful city. Very little here approaches any eidolon of the beautiful.

- - - - -
ei·do·lon (īˈdōlən/)
noun
  1. an idealized person or thing.
  2. a spectre or phantom.
DON DeLILLO from Point Omega

It’s all embedded, the hours and minutes, words and numbers everywhere, he said, train stations, bus routes, taxi meters, surveillance cameras. It’s all about time, dimwit time, inferior time, people checking watches and other devices, other reminders. This is time draining out of our lives. Cities were built to measure time, to remove time from nature. There’s an endless counting down, he said. When you strip away all the surfaces, when you see into it, what’s left is terror. This is the thing that literature was meant to cure. The epic poem, the bedtime story.

Sunday, May 26, 2019



PHILIP LEVINE – “Blue”

Dawn. I was just walking
back across the tracks
toward the loading docks
when I saw a kid climb
out of a boxcar, his blue
jacket trailing like a skirt,
and make for the fence. He’d
hoisted a wet wooden flat
of fresh fish on his right
shoulder, and he tottered
back and forth like someone
with one leg shorter than
the other. I took my glasses
off and wiped them on the tails
of my dirty shirt, and all
I could see were the smudges
of the men wakening one
at a time and reaching for
both the sky and the earth.
My brother-in-law, Joseph,
the railroad cop, who talked
all day and all night of beer
and pussy, Joseph in his suit
shouting out my name, Pheeel!
Pheeel! waving a blue bandana
and pointing behind me to
where the kid cleared the fence
and the weak March sun
had topped the car barns,
to a pale watery sky, wisps
of dirty smoke, and the day.

Harvey Fierstein from Torch Song Trilogy
I think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. Oh, I've been young. God knows I've been beautiful. But never the twains have met.

Saturday, May 25, 2019


MIDDLETOWN
Will Eno, 2010



FLANNERY O'CONNOR

She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity.


RAINER MARIA RILKE - "To Say For Going To Sleep"

I would like to sing someone to sleep,
by someone to sit and be,
I would like to rock you and croon you to sleep
and attend you in slumber and out.
I would like to be the only one in the house
who would know: The night was cold.
And you would like to hearken within and without
to you, to the world, to the woods,—
The clocks call striking to each other,
and one sees to the bottom of time.
And below a strange man passes yet
and rouses a strange dog.
Behind that comes stillness. I have laid
my eyes upon you wide;
they hold you gently and let you go

when something stirs in the dark.


Translated by M.D. Hester Norton

Friday, May 24, 2019


THE RAIN
Jannik Tai Mosholt, Christian Potalivo, Esben Toft Jacobsen
Denmark, 2019 - Season 2





BOBBY SEALE

All I did in Chicago was to exercise my legal right to speak on my own behalf and I was given four years in jail as a result. But I think the most serious injustice perpetrated by the court system in America is the inability of a black man to get a jury of his peers.


Thursday, May 23, 2019


DELIVERENCE

John Boorman
USA, 1972


MILAREPA - “The Song of Food and Dwelling”

I bow down at the feet of the wish-fulfilling Guru.
Pray vouchsafe me your grace in bestowing beneficial food,
Pray make me realize my own body as the house of Buddha,
Pray grant me this knowledge.

I built the house through fear,
The house of Sunyata, the void nature of being;
Now I have no fear of its collapsing.
I, the Yogi with the wish-fulfilling gem,
Feel happiness and joy where'er I stay.

Because of the fear of cold, I sought for clothes;
The clothing I found is the Ah Shea Vital Heat.
Now I have no fear of coldness.

Because of the fear of poverty, I sought for riches;
The riches I found are the inexhaustible Seven Holy Jewels.
Now I have no fear of poverty.

Because of the fear of hunger, I sought for food;
The food I found is the Samadhi of Suchness.
Now I have no fear of hunger.

Because of the fear of thirst, I sought for drink;
The heavenly drink I found is the wine of mindfulness.
Now I have no fear of thirst.

Because of the fear of loneliness, I searched for a friend;
The friend I found is the bliss of perpetual Sunyata.
Now I have no fear of loneliness.

Because of the fear of going astray,
I sought for the right path to follow.
The wide path I found is the Path of Two-in-One.
Now I do not fear to lose my way.

I am a yogi with all desirable possessions,
A man always happy where'er he stays.

Here at Yolmo Tagpu Senge Tson,
The tigress howling with a pathetic, trembling cry,
Reminds me that her helpless cubs are innocently playing.
I cannot help but feel a great compassion for them,
I cannot help but practice more diligently,
I cannot help but augment thus my Bodhi-Mind.

The touching cry of the monkey,
So impressive and so moving,
Cannot help but raise in me deep pity.
The little monkey’s chattering is amusing and pathetic;
As I hear it, I cannot but think of it with compassion.

The voice of the cuckoo is so moving,
And so tuneful is the lark’s sweet singing,
That when I hear them I cannot help but listen –
When I listen to them,
I cannot help but shed tears.

The varied cries and cawings of the crow,
Are a good and helpful friend unto the yogi.
Even without a single friend,
To remain here is a pleasure.
With joy flowing from my heart, I sing this happy song;
May the dark shadow of all men’s sorrows
Be dispelled by my joyful singing.
Fiona Maazel from “Commercial Grammar”
For a lot of people, good grammar is like the opera - elitist and snobby. Never mind that opera tickets cost less than the nose-bleeders at almost any sporting event in the country or that the stories in opera are as Everyman as it gets: boy meets girl, boy loses girl. It’s all about perception. And if you say less fat, fewer calories, maybe people get the idea you are pretentious, and if pretentious, unpalatable. This is why so many of us don’t use capital letters when we email - because it looks stuffy. Which would all be fine were it not the case that bad grammar falls into the same category as bad prose writing, which heralds the depredation of our culture and the exaltation of fascism.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019



ETGAR KERET

There are two kinds of people, those who like to sleep next to the wall, and those who like to sleep next to the people who push them off the bed.

Binyavanga Wainaina
(1971-2019)


Jacques Lacan from The Triumph of Religion
I did not write Écrits in order for people to understand them, I wrote them in order for people to read them. Which is not even remotely the same thing. People don’t understand anything, that is perfectly true, for a while, but the writings do something to them. And this is why I would be inclined to believe that—as opposed to what one imagines when one peers from the outside—people do read them. One imagines that people buy my Écrits but never open them. That’s false. They even wear themselves out working on them. 
Obviously, when one begins my Écrits, the best thing one can do is to try to understand them. And since one does not understand them, one keeps trying. I didn’t deliberately try to make them such that people don’t understand them— that was a consequence of circumstance.I spoke, I gave classes that were very coherent and comprehensible, but, as I turned them into articles once a year, that led to writings which, compared to the mass of things I had said, were incredibly concentrated and that must be placed in water, like Japanese flowers, in order to unfold. The comparison is worth whatever it’s worth.



Tuesday, May 21, 2019



JAMES JOYCE from “The Dead”

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead


Ryan Reynolds
If I were to become a life coach, the first thing I would do is let all my clients know they’ve just hired a life coach, so it’s already too late.

Monday, May 20, 2019



DONALD BARTHELME from "The Art of Fiction" - The Paris Review, No. 66 

One doesn’t take in Proust or Canada on the basis of a single visit.


Adrienne Rich
One of the devastating weaknesses of university learning, of the store of knowledge and opinion that has been handed down through academic training, has been its almost total erasure of women’s experience and thought from the curriculum. 
What you can learn [in college] is how men have perceived and organized their experience, their history, their ideas of social relationships, good and evil, sickness and health, etc. When you read or hear about “great issues,” “major texts,” “the mainstream of Western thought,” you are hearing about what men, above all white men, in their male subjectivity, have decided is important.

Sunday, May 19, 2019



KO UN - “A Smile”

Shakyamuni held up a lotus
so Kashyapa smiled.
Not at all.
The lotus smiled
so Kashyapa smiled.

Nowhere was Shakyamuni!

Paolo Roversi, Self-portrait, Studio 9 rue Paul Fort Paris, May 25, 2011. 


Jorge Luis Borges - “To A Cat”
Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.

Saturday, May 18, 2019



RYŌKAN

Down in the village
the din of
flute and drum,
here deep in the mountain
everywhere the sound of the pines
Baruch Spinoza
If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.

Friday, May 17, 2019

ANNE CARSON - "Town of the Dragon Vein"

If you wake up too early listen for it.
A sort of inverted whistling the sound of sound.
Being withdrawn after all where?
Does all the sound in the world.
Come from day after day?
From mountains but.
They have to give it back.
At night just.
As your nightly dreams.
Are taps.
Open reversely.
In.
To.
Time.

Margaret Atwood from The Penelopiad
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.

Thursday, May 16, 2019



MARGARET MEAD

Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.
Anne Carson - “Town of the Sound of a Twig Breaking”
Their faces I thought were knives.
The way they pointed them at me.
And waited.
A hunter is someone who listens.
So hard to his prey it pulls the weapon.
Out of his hand and impales.
Itself.
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.