1.21.2019

a madness of delight; an obsession

This is what love is:
the dry rose bush the gardener, in his pruning, missed
suddenly bursts into bloom.
A madness of delight; an obsession.
A holy gift, certainly.
But often, alas, improbable.

Why couldn't Romeo have settled for someone else?
Why couldn't Tristan and Isolde have refused
the shining cup
which would have left peaceful the whole kingdom?

Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forests of our lives.

Over and over Faust, standing in the garden, doesn't know
anything that's going to happen, he only sees the face of Marguerite, which is irresistible.

And wild, wild sings the bird.

[Mary Oliver {1935-2019}, 'Wild, Wild' from New and Selected Poems, Vol II]

1.19.2019

we make so many of our own troubles, from mere mishaps to disasters, by dwelling on the possibility of them until the possible becomes inevitable

  1. A way to win your heart: pay attention. Listen. Answer. Give me small, personal presents rather than big (expensive) generic gifts. Take yourself seriously, but be able to laugh at yourself, too.
  2. Something you feel strongly about: respect
  3. A book you love: one that I haven't mentioned lately-- Gone Bamboo, a novel by Anthony Bourdain
  4. Five pet peeves:
    • my neighbors' rude adult children
    • a coworker's substitution of constant, inappropriate joviality for actual work
    • nail polish that doesn't look too thick until it's been used once or twice
    • bad sleep
    • authors who start series but don't finish them
  5. What you ate today: breakfast, a snack, lunch, and dinner
  6. How important do you think education is? it's a really big deal. Not the most important thing, but it's huge.
  7. Five people you find attractive: there are a lot of appealing people, for different reasons.
  8. What you wore today: strange, for a Saturday--I wore three different outfits today. Such is the deal when it snows as much as it did last night (official total was 5.5"). I shoveled for more than an hour this afternoon.
  9. Something you always think “what if” about: the trip to Las Vegas
  10. Something you’re proud of: paying off my student loans (very) early
  11. Something you lust after: a pool table. It's been a while since I've played and I'd like to have one again--great for blowing off steam.
  12. A word/phrase that makes you laugh: "smart"
  13. A quote you try to live by: "Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough."--T.S. Eliot
  14. Something you like and dislike about yourself: I'm inordinately patient
  15. A problem that you have had: getting precisely what I've asked for
[from here; the title quotation is by Dean Koontz, from Odd Apocalypse]

1.11.2019

admit no gains, no looking back


In the construction
of the chest, there is
a heart.

A boat
upon its blood
floats past

and round or down
the stream of life,
the plummeting veins

permit its passage
to admit no gains,
no looking back.

One steps aboard,
one’s off.
The ticket taker

signs the time allotted.
Seated, amorphous persons
see no scenery

but feel
a chill about their knees
and hear a fading cry

as all the many sides of life
whiz by,
a blast at best, a loss

of individual impressions.
Still I sit
with you inside me too—

and us,
the couple thus encoupled,
ride on into the sweetening dark.


Robert Creeley {1926-2005}, 'The Heart' from If I Were Writing This]

listen to it here

1.07.2019

I knew all along you were mine

You have changed me already. I am a fireball
That is hurtling towards the sky to where you are
You can choose not to look up but I am a giant orange ball
That is throwing sparks upon your face
Oh look at them shake
Upon you like a great planet that has been murdered by change
O too this is so dramatic this shaking
Of my great planet that is bigger than you thought it would be
So you ran and hid
Under a large tree. She was graceful, I think
That tree although soon she will wither
Into ten black snakes upon your throat
And when she does I will be wandering as I always am
A graceful lady that is part museum
Of the voices of the universe everyone else forgets
I will hold your voice in a little box
And when you come upon me I won’t look back at you
You will feel a hand upon your heart while I place your voice back
Into the heart from where it came from
And I will not cry also
Although you will expect me to
I was wiser too than you had expected
For I knew all along you were mine

[Dorothea Lasky {1978- }, 'Poem to an Unnameable Man' from Black Life]

1.06.2019

never draw your dirk when a blow will do it

  1. Are you filled with joy today? I'm an adult working a job that I do not love, so weekends are bittersweet. I look forward to them with great anticipation, but once they arrive they are gone in an instant. Saturday is a rush of recovery from the week, the post-Friday ugh. Sunday is the rush of getting ready for the week, the pre-Monday ugh. I cannot help but to think that for "normal" people working for and with people who don't make them insane, it is not like this.
    That's the long way of saying: no, not "joy" precisely.
  2. Has it been a rough week? worse than some, better than others. It's been a dietarily complicated couple of weeks and I'll be glad to get that back to normal, which seems to make sleep easier/better, too.
  3. If given the opportunity, would you like to star in a musical? good God no
  4. Name one person you’d take a bullet for. DG
  5. Did you trip over anything today? not yet, but thanks for planting the seed in my subconscious
  6. Last time you painted a picture? literally? It's been years. Verbally? Friday afternoon at work.
  7. Is your favorite color yellow? ugh no, never
  8. Were you born in a hospital? Do you know the name of the person that delivered you? I was, and I do. He was born in Switzerland (I did not know that until reading his obituary just now!) had has been dead for 11 years.
  9. Have you ever had a friend or relative that’s incarcerated? a guy I spent some time with for a while, ages ago, has been the guest of the state once or twice. Idiot.
  10. Do you enjoy romantic movies, even when they’re cliche? it's not my very favorite thing, but I will occasionally watch that sort of movie. Sometimes it's good for the soul to see that love can win.
  11. Would you rather watch a movie or listen to music? this is an unanswerable question. Music is for music time, and movies are for movie time. They are completely different activities, requiring totally different types of attention and participation and focus. It's like asking if I would rather eat or sleep!
  12. Ever been to Rhode Island? no, but I would love to go. I had a friend who went to college at Brown and the things he said about it made me want to visit.
  13. Can you tell the difference between a Scottish & an Irish accent? I can, though it's harder in the abstract (hearing only one of them alone) than it is in comparison, side by side. One of my favorite television commentators is Scottish, and I hear his inflections in my mind when I think of that accent.
  14. Can you read music? yep, though at a fairly basic level and not for some time now
  15. Have you been to McDonald’s in the past month? I was in the car with someone who went to a McD's drive-through a couple of months ago. I don't think I've been inside one in the last year or more.
[from here--which is one of the most difficult blogs on the entire Internet to actually read, in tiny white font on black SERIOUSLY *eye roll*; the title quotation is a Scots proverb.]

1.04.2019

the terrified and the simple latch onto one story

The reverse side also has a reverse sideJapanese proverb

It’s why when we speak a truth
some of us instantly feel foolish
as if a deck inside us has been shuffled
and there it isthe opposite
of what we said.

And perhaps why as we fall in love
we’re already falling out of it.

It’s why the terrified and the simple
latch onto one story,
just one version of the great mystery.

Image & afterimage, oh even
the open-minded yearn for a fiction
to reign things in
the snapshot, the lie of the frame.

How do we not go crazy,
we who have found ourselves compelled
to live with the circle, the ellipsis, the word
not yet written.

[Stephen Dunn {1939- }, 'The Reverse Side', from Different Hours]

1.01.2019

it blooms in you

Secrecy flows through you,
a different kind of blood.
It's as if you've eaten it
like a bad candy,
taken it into your mouth,
let it melt sweetly on your tongue,
then allowed it to slide down your throat
like the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath--

and now it's in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.

You can think of nothing else.
Once you have it, you want more.
What power it gives you!
Power of knowing without being known,
power of the stone door,
power of the iron veil,
power of the crushed fingers,
power of the drowned bones
crying out from the bottom of the well.

[Margaret Atwood {1939- }, 'Secrecy' from The Door]