Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Card to Grace Hartigan


marc yankus

There's no holly, but there is
the glass and granite towers
and the white stone lions
and the pale violet clouds. And
the great tree of balls in
Rockefeller Plaza is public.

Christmas is green and general
like all great works of the
imagination, swelling from minute
private sentiments in the desert,
a wreath around our intimacy
like children's voices in a park.

For red there is our blood
which, like your smile, must be
protected from spilling into
generality by secret meanings,
the lipstick of life hidden
in a handbag against violations.

Christmas is the time of cold air
and loud parties and big expense,
but in our hearts flames flicker
answeringly, as on old-fashioned
trees. I would rather the house
burn down than our flames go out.
Frank O'Hara

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The day of our first snowfall...
Blechman via:evencleveland

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


"I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention."

Marilynne Robinson
images: the drifter and the gypsy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

The silent by Mlle Mathilde.

The Dying Man: The Far East. The Great North. The Wild West. The Great Bear Lake. Tristan da Cunha. The Mississippi Delta. Stromboli. The old houses of Charlottenburg. Albert Camus. The morning light. The child's eyes. The swim in the waterfall. The spots of the first drops of rain. The sun. The bread and wine. Hopping. Easter. The veins of leaves. The blowing grass. The color of stones. The pebbles on the stream's bed. The white tablecloth outdoors. The dream of the house in the house. The dear one asleep in the next room. The peaceful Sundays. The horizon. The light from the room in the garden. The night flight. Riding a bicycle with no hands. The beautiful stranger. My father. My mother. My wife. My child.

" The Sky above Berlin " 1987 W. Wenders

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Repost because...


“The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, these items weighed between 15 and 20 pounds, depending upon a man’s habits or rate of metabolism. Henry Dobbins, who was a big man, carried extra rations; he was especially fond of canned peaches in heavy syrup over pound cake. Dave Jensen, who practiced field hygiene, carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and several hotel-sized bars of soap he’d stolen on R&R in Sydney, Australia. Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April. By necessity, and because it was SOP, they all carried steel helmets that weighed 5 pounds including the liner and camouflage cover. They carried the standard fatigue jackets and trousers. Very few carried underwear. On their feet they carried jungle boots – 2.1 pounds – and Dave Jensen carried three pairs of socks and a can of Dr. School’s foot powder as a precaution against trench foot. Until he was shot, Ted Lavender carried 6 or 7 ounces of premium dope, which for him was a necessity. Mitchel Sanders, the RTO, carried condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. Rat Kiley carried comic books. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that had been presented to him by his father, who taught at Sunday school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a hedge against bad times, however, Kiowa also carried his grandmother’s distrust of the white man, his grandfather’s old hunting hatchet. Necessity dictated. Because the land was mined and booby-trapped, it was SOP for each man to carry steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weighed 6.7 pounds, but which on hot days seemed much heavier. Because you could die so quickly, each man carried at least one large compress bandage, usually in the helmet band for easy access. Because the nights were cold, and becauses the monsoons were wet, each carried a green plastic poncho that could be used as a raincoat or groundsheet or makeshift tent. With its quilted liner, the poncho weighed almost 2 pounds, but it was worth every ounce. In April, for instance, when Ted Lavender was shot, they used his poncho to wrap him up, then to carry him across the paddy, then to lift him into the chopper that took him away.” The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Isaura, city of a thousand wells, is presumed to lie above a deep underground lake. All around, where the inhabitants have been able to find water by digging long vertical holes, up to there and no further the city extends: its verdant perimeter repeats that of the dark shores of the buried lake; an invisible landscape conditions the visible one; everything that moves in the sunlight is driven by the lapping wave enclosed beneath the rock's calcareous sky.

Consequently there are two types of religion in Isaura. Some say the city's gods live deep below in the lake which feeds the subterranean veins. Others say the gods live in the buckets which rise up hanging from rope, in the pulleys which turn, in the pump-levers, in the narrow arches of the aqueducts, in all the columns of water, the vertical pipes, the plungers, the drains, all the way up to the weathercocks that surmount the airy scaffoldings of Isaura, a city that moves entirely upward.


photo: Tragic

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our truest life is in our dreams awake

"Mere forgetfullness cannot remove it

Nor wishing bring it back, as long as it remains

The white precipitate of its dream

In the climate of sighs flung across our world,

A cloth over a birdcage. But it is certain that

What is beautiful seems so only in relation to a specific

Life, experienced or not, channeled into some form

Steeped in the nostalgia of a collected past."


John Ashbery

:the drifter and the gypsy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pay attention

Child at Camp for Children of Chernobyl, Lviv, Ukraine, 1991
Your glance will trip on my shadow
and the shadow
will thrust itself
into the leafy shade.
The pale sun will shine over us,
a lantern
scorched by the burning question . . .
Caught by the gravity of the light,
breathing is choked, lips are pressed,
and there is no answer,
no answer
to this light in the violent night.
But freed from gravity our shadows
shook the jasmine bush,
they will drift apart,
breathe night haze at our backs.
And the yellow leaf will fall exhausted,
it will take unbearably long to inhale.
As if the wisdom of autumn
were to catch us by surprise . .

Chernobyl Poems : Liubov Sirota

“In other words, we rely upon the overly simple circle which has as its content the passing present and as its shape the part of reminiscence. However, the order of time, time as a pure and empty form, has precisely undone that circle. It has undone it in favour of a less simple and much more secret, much more torturous, more nebulous circle…” – Gilles Deleuze

Child at camp for children of Chernobyl, Bruhovich, Ukraine
Gelatin Silver Print199

images:Katherine Turczan, more

Friday, October 9, 2009

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace

“The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world,” the Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said in Oslo after the announcement. “And who has done more than Barack Obama?”


New York Times

Mitzvah On Saturday Morning

© All rights reserved.

You’re on 14th Street headed west
to buy a new seat for your bicycle.
In Casper, Wyoming, a hospice nurse
backs her car out of your parents’
driveway. Your father calls out

from his bed. What would you
have done if you’d caught the thief,
wrench in one hand, your bike seat in
the other? “Lorraine!” your father calls
again. You would’ve taught the guy

another use for that wrench. Your
mother carries a plate, a cup of water.
“Here I am,” she sings, entering
the bedroom. Last month someone
stole the bell from your handlebars.

Your mother cuts a muffin in half.
Maybe I should buy a bell, too, you think.
Last year, when your father could
still walk, they took the whole bike.
“Try to eat it all,” your mother says,

tucking a napkin under his chin.
You wait for the light to change
at First Avenue. What next? Exhaust
from a passing bus, roasted cashews.
“This muffin tastes like dirt,” your father

says. He takes another bite.
The bike-shop bag goes scrish-scrish
against your leg as you head home,
slipping into Sloan’s for extra-sharp
cheddar and a six-pack of Corona.

Your father’s hand trembles, reaching
for the water glass. All morning
he watched a show about polar bears,
then switched to the Weather Channel.
A woman at the supermarket insists

to the cashier, “These aren’t the Concord
grapes. These grapes are organic.” “Polar
bears eat penguins!” your father says.
Your mother is in the den. She holds
a book, but really she is napping. Now

the woman with the grapes is in a tizzy:
her necklace has burst; it’s raining silver
charms. “It’s raining in Denver,”
your father says. You scan the floor
for small, shiny objects. “It’s twenty-five

in New York,” says your father. Your
mother is in the kitchen, counting pills.
Here’s something strange: a stone trinket,
an evil eye. You fear the woman might
hug you as you hand it over. “Lorraine,”

your father says, “I’m too tired to play my
flute.” You wonder if it was bad luck to touch
that thing. “Do you know the Hebrew word
for ‘good deed’?” asks the woman. Your
father’s face is angelic in the tv light.

Meg Kearney

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's oldmen in wheelchairs. Saatchi Gallery 2009 :flickr

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Everything I Possess, I Carry with Me"

Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller.
Nobel Prize: Herta Mueller ''with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."

In Romanian, “snowdrops” are “little tears”, in German they are “maiglockhen”, that is “little May bells”, which means we’re not only speaking about different words, but about different worlds. Romanians see a falling star and say that someone has died, with the Germans you make a wish when you see the falling star.

For her collage texts, Herta Muller created a special table for herself and arranged a whole library, ordered alphabetically. The collage very much resembles life, Herta Muller says, as the random plays a crucial role in this respect. You’re looking for a word and come across another, which all of a sudden seems more appropriate, more appealing. Then you paste them on cardboard and the poem is ready, you cannot change anything. That is what Herta Muller likes best about the collage: once made you cannot change any of it, and that’s what brings the collage as close to life as possible. You cannot bring back the past, you cannot wipe away the poem just as you can with an ordinary poem.

Herta Mueller

Friday, October 2, 2009

When you are old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the shape of your path

Scrooge by ilina s."Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person's path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning."
Cormac McCarthy

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Hitler on Obama addressing school children. Brilliant.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The truth about the world

Spot News: 1st prize singles by│zhang..
"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a muddied field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others."
Cormac McCarthy


Monday, September 21, 2009


What have I been searching for but

A love to transform me

The voice inside would cry

Look here, the love you seek will not free you

I continue the vigil

Waiting to be saved

By someone else you say

Slowly, quietly I have learned to honor her

And then quite simply one day

You were there.

K. Pilapovich

:the drifter and the gypsy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The waning of summer...

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet/Are of imagination all compact.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5. 1

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5. 1

: A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy
: unruly things, via the unicorn diaries conceived in Russia.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What the doctor ordered


Taking a poetry break:

"Canada's national health insurance program, often referred to as "Medicare", is designed to ensure that all residents have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services, on a prepaid basis. Instead of having a single national plan, we have a national program that is composed of 13 interlocking provincial and territorial health insurance plans, all of which share certain common features and basic standards of coverage. Framed by the Canada Health Act, the principles governing our health care system are symbols of the underlying Canadian values of equity and solidarity.

Canada's health care system has its share of problems, (long wait times, doctor shortages), but if Canada's governing party decided to scrap the Canadian Health Act and go with the American system, I would bet that not one member of parliament would be re-elected.

Medical debt is the principal cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Give Obama a break - he's just what the doctor ordered."

From a Canadian: The Clever Pup

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art---
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors---
No---yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever---or else swoon in death.

1819 John Keats

Monday, September 14, 2009

a moveable feast

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

Ernest Hemingway
: flickr