Saturday, November 30, 2019

IRIS MURDOCH

Beauty is the convenient and traditional name of something which art and nature share, and which gives a fairly clear sense to the idea of quality of experience and change of consciousness. I am looking out of my window in an anxious and resentful state of mind, oblivious of my surroundings, brooding perhaps on some damage done to my prestige. Then suddenly I observe a hovering kestrel. In a moment everything is altered. The brooding self with its hurt vanity has disappeared. There is nothing now but kestrel. And when I return to thinking of the other matter it seems less important. And of course this is something which we may also do deliberately: give attention to nature in order to clear our minds of selfish care.


BETH GYLYS
"The Trouble with Love Poems About Men"

They're not of curves and shadows made.
They don't wear skirts to swoop and tease
the eye, nor toss their hair, nor sway.
So arduous to package men to please:
a slant of hip, or buttocks tucked in faded
jeans—they lack aesthetic flair. A spray

of curls might fan their brows, or bellies bloom
above their belts. To paint men in the best
of light, requires certain skill. The groom
looks better if he's built. He'll fill
his tux with sculpted flesh. His chest
will taper to the cummerbund. Still,

what work to capture men's appeal!
A rise between the legs will also shade
and shape their usual lines. Alas, revealed,
the bulge is but a stick. We live dismayed.
It's difficult to bring men warm regard.
We try. Their love is always hard.

Friday, November 29, 2019






CHARLOTTE SMITH
"Reflections on Some Drawings of Plants"

I can in groups these mimic flowers compose,
  These bells and golden eyes, embathed in dew;
Catch the soft blush that warms the early Rose,
  Or the pale Iris cloud with veins of blue;
Copy the scallop’d leaves, and downy stems,
  And bid the pencil’s varied shades arrest
Spring’s humid buds, and Summer’s musky gems:
  But, save the portrait on my bleeding breast,
I have no semblance of that form adored,
  That form, expressive of a soul divine,
  So early blighted, and while life is mine,
With fond regret, and ceaseless grief deplored—
  That grief, my angel! with too faithful art
  Enshrines thy image in thy Mother’s heart.
LAURA INGALLS WILDER from Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues

As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA
“The Nameless Child”

There is a mountain of gold. When the sun’s rays strike it, it is irritating to look at. It is surrounded by red, green, yellow, orange, pink and liver-colored clouds, wafted gently by the wind. Around the mountain fly thousands of copper-winged birds with silver heads and iron beaks. A ruby sun rises in the East and a crystal moon sets in the West. The whole earth is covered with pearl-dust snow. Upon it a luminous child without a name instantaneously comes into being.

The golden mountain is dignified, the sunlight is blazing red.
Dreamlike clouds of many colors float across the sky.
In the place where iron birds croak,
The instantaneously-born child can find no name.

Because he has no father, the child has no family line. Because he has no mother, he has never tasted milk. Because he has neither brother nor sister, he has no one to play with. Having no house to live in, he cannot find a crib. Since he has no nanny, he has never cried. There is no civilization, so he cannot find toys. Since there is no point of reference, he doesn’t know a self. He has never heard spoken language, so he has never experienced fear.

The child walks in every direction, but does not come across anything. He sits down slowly on the ground. Nothing happens. The colorful world seems sometimes to exist and sometimes not. He gathers a handful of pearl dust and lets it trickle through his fingers. He gathers another handful and slowly takes it into his mouth. Hearing the pearl dust crunch between his teeth, he gazes at the ruby sun setting and the crystal moon rising. Suddenly a whole galaxy of stars wondrously appears and he lies on his back to admire their patterns. The nameless child falls into a deep sleep, but has no dreams.

The child’s world has no beginning or end.
To him, colors are neither beautiful nor ugly.
The child’s nature has no preconceived notion of birth and death.
The golden mountain is solid and unchanging.
The ruby sun is all-pervading.
The crystal moon watches over millions of stars.
The child exists without preconceptions.

EARTHA KITT
"Los Angelitos Negros / Little Black Angels"
ERICH FROM from The Art of Loving

Care and responsibility are constituent elements of love, but without respect for and knowledge of the beloved person, love deteriorates into domination and possessiveness.


JASON EPSTEIN
“This Side of Paradiso”

The future seems to me a vacuum, while the past, as one considers it, appears substantially uniform, shaped less by new technologies than by predictable human behavior, most of it discouraging. The moral world of the Divine Comedy is, after all, identical to the one we still inhabit.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

ABRAHAM VERGHESE
Cutting For Stone

To be around someone whose self-confidence is more than what our first glance led us to expect is seductive.



Getcha little somethin' that ya can't get at home.

- Tom Waits
RYŌKAN

have you forgotten me
or lost the path here?
i wait for you
all day, every day
but you do not appear.
More or less:

I've done better but this is a good start.

BHAGAVAD GĪTĀ
Chapter 18 / Text 48


Every endeavor is covered by some sort of fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work which is born of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of fault.
RON PADGET

When Jesus found himself
nailed to the cross,
crushed with despair,
crying out,
"Why has thou forsaken me?"
he enacted the story
of every person who suddenly realizes
not that he or she has been forsaken
but that there was never
a forsaker,
for the idea of immortality
that is a birthright of every human being
gradually vanishes
until it is gone
and we cry out.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

LUMINOUS MELODIES
Essential Dohas of Indian Mahāmudrā

Karl Brunnhölzl
Wisdom, 2019
PHILIP LARKIN
”The Old Fools”

What do they think has happened, the old fools,
To make them like this ? Do they somehow suppose
It’s more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can’t remember
Who called this morning ? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September ?
Or do they fancy there’s really been no change,
And they’ve always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming

Watching light move ? If they don’t (and they can’t), it’s strange:
Why aren’t they screaming ?

At death, you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see. It’s only oblivion, true:
We had it before, but then it was going to end,
And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour
To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower
Of being here. Next time you can’t pretend
There’ll be anything else. And these are the first signs:
Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power
Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they’re for it:
Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines-
How can they ignore it ?

Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,

Setting down a Iamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun’ s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give

An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving
Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear
Of taken breath, and them crouching below
Extinction’ s alp, the old fools, never perceiving
How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet.
The peak that stays in view wherever we go
For them is rising ground. Can they never tell
What is dragging them back, and how it will end ? Not at night?

Not when the strangers come ? Never, throughout
The whole hideous inverted childhood? Well,
We shall find out.


PENTHESILEA
Pascal Dusapin 

Franck Ollu

Natascha Petrinsky, Marisol Montalvo, Georg Nigl, Werner van Mechelen, Orchestre Symphonique, Choers de la Montaigne
GWENDOLYN BROOKS
"Gay Chaps at the Bar"

... and guys I knew in the States, young officers, return from the front crying and trembling. Gay chaps at the bar in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York ...
—Lt. William Couch in the South Pacific

We knew how to order. Just the dash
Necessary. The length of gaiety in good taste.
Whether the raillery should be slightly iced
And given green, or served up hot and lush.
And we knew beautifully how to give to women
The summer spread, the tropics of our love.
When to persist, or hold a hunger off.
Knew white speech. How to make a look an omen.
But nothing ever taught us to be islands.
And smart, athletic language for this hour
Was not in the curriculum. No stout
Lesson showed how to chat with death. We brought
No brass fortissimo, among our talents,
To holler down the lions in this air.

Monday, November 25, 2019

ZELDA FITZGERALD“Eulogy on the Flapper”

She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.



HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
“The Little Mermaid”


She laughed and danced with the thought of death in her heart.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


GRENSELAND
-
BORDERLINER


Creator:
Megan Gallagher

Directors:
Bård Fjulsrud, Gunnar Vikene, Rune Denstad Langlo

Norway, 2017
BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY
“No Bad News”


Trouble, more trouble can you get anymore
Slow bubble boiling on the bedroom floor
Lonely ain’t lonely, someone calling at the door
Someone lovely and she’s bringing bad news

She clenches and she cries and she lays on the stairs
Pounding on the earth and yanking at her hairs
And showing such fear at being found unawares
To be here and be bringing bad news

Well, something bad happens and a lot of people go
Bad themselves, that’s how awful it is
Turning half the heart into something hard and dark
And she had to bring here this

Well, she’s told, “Hold your buttons and look at the sky
Someone will fix things if you let your face dry
Keep your face near the earth and your heart beat high
And you may transcend the bad news”

Well, something bad happens and a lot of people go
Bad themselves, that’s how awful it is
Turning half the heart into something hard and dark
And she had to bring here this

For all hammers and nails
For all leaves and winds
For all love ambitions
And enemies and friends
ROBERT WARSHOW

The sense of tragedy is a luxury of aristocratic societies.

Saturday, November 23, 2019


TABULA RASA

Creators:
Veerle Baetens, Malin-Sarah Gozin, Christophe Dirickx

Directors:
Kaat Beels, Jonas Govaerts

Belgium, 2017
JORGE LUIS BORGES

The image that I shall leave when I’m dead — we’ve already said that this is part of a poet’s works — and maybe the most important — I don’t know exactly what it will be, I don’t know if I’ll be viewed with indulgence, with indifference, or with hostility. Of course, that’s of little importance to me now; what does matter to me is not what I’ve written but what I am writing and what I’m going to write. And I think this is how every writer feels. Alfonso Reyes said that one published what he had written in order to avoid spending his life correcting it: one publishes a book in order to leave it behind, one publishes a book in order to forget it.
THE WICKER MAN

Robin Hardy,
UK, 1973
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
Back to Methuselah


You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.

Friday, November 22, 2019

JOHN KEATS
“To Autumn”

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Marlene Dietrich in Billy Wilder’s A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948)


Thursday, November 21, 2019


POST TENEBRAS LUX

Carlos Reygadas
Mexico, 2012

BASHŌ

Autumn moonlight -
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.



MARGARET MEAD
Interview, 1956

When human beings have been fascinated by the contemplation of their own hearts, the more intricate biological pattern of the female has become a model for the artist, the mystic, and the saint. When mankind turns instead to what can be done, altered, built, invented, in the outer world, all natural properties of men, animals, or metals become handicaps to be altered rather than clues to be followed. Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to be as mediocre as possible.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

LIQUID SKY

Slava Tsukerman
US, 1982
MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI from House of Leaves

Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you'll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You'll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And for better or worse you'll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you've got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name.

And then the nightmares will begin.


HAROLD PINTER
The Hothouse

I don’t care whether it’s true or not. I don’t like to have a thing repeated and repeated and repeated! Anyone would think I was slow on the uptake. The snow has turned to slush. I heard it. I understand it. That’s enough.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ISHAMEL BEAH

I learned that you are not free until you stop others from making you feel worthless. Because if you do not, you will eventually accept that you are worthless.

Monday, November 18, 2019



FLANNERY O'CONNOR

Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.


EZRA POUND - "Canto XIV"

With Usura

With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face,
with usura
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luz
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,
with usura
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but it is made to sell and sell quickly
with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling.
Stonecutter is kept from his tone
weaver is kept from his loom

WITH USURA
wool comes not to market
sheep bringeth no gain with usura
Usura is a murrain, usura
blunteth the needle in the maid's hand
and stoppeth the spinner's cunning. Pietro Lombardo
came not by usura
Duccio came not by usura
nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin' not by usura
nor was ‘La Calunnia' painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
Not by usura St. Trophime
Not by usura Saint Hilaire,
Usura rusteth the chisel
It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
It gnaweth the thread in the loom
None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling
Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man's courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom

CONTRA NATURAM
They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

ANNE SEXTON - “The Fury of Cocks”

There they are
drooping over the breakfast plates,
angel-like,
folding in their sad wing,
animal sad,
and only the night before
there they were
playing the banjo.
Once more the day’s light comes
with its immense sun,
its mother trucks,
its engines of amputation.
Whereas last night
the cock knew its way home,
as stiff as a hammer,
battering in with all
its awful power.
That theater.
Today it is tender,
a small bird,
as soft as a baby’s hand.
She is the house.
He is the steeple.
When they fuck they are God.
When they break away they are God.
When they snore they are God.
In the morning they butter the toast.
They don’t say much.
They are still God.
All the cocks of the world are God,
blooming, blooming, blooming
into the sweet blood of woman.

大象席地而坐
-
AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL


Hu Bo
China, 2018

It's been twelve days since I've seen a TP2020 bumper sticker.

A month ago you couldn't drive five minutes without seeing at least one. It's almost like the Human Decency Fairy came through and stole them all. Except there's not that much decency here across the street from MAGAland, and fairies aren't real.

SO the question is, Maggots, why have you all peeled the TP2020 stickers off of your cars?

Worried? No? Then what happened to the stickers. What happened to the "T---P, fuck yeah!" at every stop light? Come to think of it, what happened to the plethora of Hillary for Prison bumpersticks in the last few weeks?

LOL.
FLANNERY O'CONNOR

There is a certain embarrassment about being a storyteller in these times when stories are considered not quite as satisfying as statements and statements not quite as satisfying as statistics; but in the long run, a people is known, not by its statements or its statistics, but by the stories it tells.”

Saturday, November 16, 2019


WE ARE THE WAVE

Creators:
Jan Berger, Dennis Gansel, Peter Thorwarth

Directors:
Anca Miruna Lazarescu
Mark Monheim

Germany, 2019
MARGARET ATWOOD - "You Fit Into Me"

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye


Friday, November 15, 2019


RAILWAY ENGINEER, IRAN

Othmar Pferschy, mid-1950s
RABIOSO SOL, RABIOSO CIELO
(English title: RAGING SUN, RAGING SKY)

Julián Hernández
Mexico, 2009

Almost without exception, I simply post what I've watched with no commentary. This time I have to.

This film is fucking awesome and although I know most people would walk out or shut it off within the first half hour, I can't recommend it more strongly.

Currently playing on The Criterion Channel.
ANNE CARSON - "My Religion"

My religion makes no sense
and does not help me
therefore I pursue it.

When we see
how simple it would have been
we will thrash ourselves.

I had a vision
of all the people in the world
who are searching for God

massed in a room
on one side
of a partition

that looks
from the other side
(God’s side)

transparent
but we are blind.
Our gestures are blind.

Our blind gestures continue
for some time until finally
from somewhere

on the other side of the partition there we are
looking back at them.
It is far too late.

We see how brokenly
how warily
how ill

our blind gestures
parodied
what God really wanted

(some simple thing)
The thought of it
(this simple thing)

is like a creature
let loose in a room
and battering

to get out.
It batters my soul
with its rifle butt.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

BARON WENCKHEIM'S HOMECOMING

László Krasznahorkai