Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Weary One

The weary one, orphan
of the masses, the self,
the crushed one, the one made of concrete,
the one without a country in crowded restaurants,
he who wanted to go far away, always farther away,
didn't know what to do there, whether he wanted
or didn't want to leave or remain on the island,
the hesitant one, the hybrid, entangled in himself,
had no place here: the straight-angled stone,
the infinite look of the granite prism,
the circular solitude all banished him:
he went somewhere else with his sorrows,
he returned to the agony of his native land,
to his indecisions, of winter and summer.

-Pablo Neruda

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January Writing Challenge

you know the rules: write as yourself or under anonymity. write anything you please. write truth. write lies. write, write, write.

i am so glad and very

i am so glad and very
merely my fourth will cure
the laziest self of weary
the hugest sea of shore

so far your nearness reaches
a lucky fifth of you
turns people into eachs
and cowards into grow

our can'ts were born to happen
our mosts have died in more
our twentieth will open
wide a wide open door

we are so both and oneful
night cannot be so sky
sky cannot be so sunful
i am through you so i

-e.e. cummings


Great article on this year's absence of Poe's mysterious grave gift giver.

The Trilogy Meter

I don't agree with all of it, but it's an interesting idea. My only major gripe is with Indiana Jones...1 and 3 definitely should be full bars. I am glad though, that 4 is not even included on the chart.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I count to three and grin.
You smile and let me in.
We sit and watch the wall you painted purple.
Speech will spill on space,
our little cups of grace
but pauses rattle on about the way that you cut the snow-fence,
braved the blood,
the metal of those hearts that you always end up pressing your tongue to.
How your body still remembers things you told it to forget,
how those furious affections followed you.
I've got this store-bought way of saying I'm okay,
and you learned how to cry in total silence.
We're talented and bright, we're lonely and uptight.
We've found some lovely ways to disappoint,
but the airport's always almost empty this time of the year,
so let's go play on a baggage carousel.
Set our watches forward like we're just arriving here
from a past we left in a place we knew too well.
Hold on to the corners of today,
and we'll fold it up to save until it's needed. Stand still.
Let me scrub that brackish line that you got
when something rose and then receded.

Sowell Thinks So Well

Thomas Sowell is the man. If you have some spare time, listen to this series of interviews about his new book.

A Lady

You are beautiful and faded
Like an old opera tune
Played upon a harpsichord;
Or like the sun-flooded silks
Of an eighteenth-century boudoir.
In your eyes
Smoulder the fallen roses of out-lived minutes,
And the perfume of your soul
Is vague and suffusing,
With the pungence of sealed spice-jars.
Your half-tones delight me,
And I grow mad with gazing
At your blent colours.
My vigour is a new-minted penny,
Which I cast at your feet.
Gather it up from the dust,
That its sparkle may amuse you.

-Amy Lowell

Top 5 Hitchcock Films

5. Vertigo/Rear Window
4. North by Northwest
3. Jamaica Inn
2. Rebbecca
1. To Catch a Thief

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jumping for a Great Cause

My friend Ilse is both brilliant and crazy. Brilliant, because, to raise money for breast cancer, she jumps out of airplanes with 180 other women and takes part in a synchronized skydive. Crazy for the same reason. Every time I see videos of them doing it, I find myself looking down and making both of my feet are firmly planted on the carpet. If you want to donate to their cause, you can do so here. The 2009 jump is over, but 2010's will most likely be even bigger.

parade of moments

I'm generally of the opinion Mr. Bukowski is overrated, but this piece is a gem.

New Band Members?

Cities & Desire V

From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her.

After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.

This was the city of Zobeide, where they settled, waiting for that scene to be repeated one night. None of them, asleep or awake, ever saw the woman again. The city's streets were streets where they went to work every day, with no link any more to the dreamed chase. Which, for that matter, had long been forgotten.

New men arrived from other lands, having had a dream like theirs, and in the city of Zobeide, they recognized something from the streets of the dream, and they changed the positions of arcades and stairways to resemble more closely the path of the pursued woman and so, at the spot where she had vanished, there would remain no avenue of escape.

The first to arrive could not understand what drew these people to Zobeide, this ugly city, this trap.

-Italo Calvino

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fact #5: it is not coffee

My favorite tea is Mighty.

The Edge of the Abyss

I am not sure what it was about this picture that caught my eye...but I imagine spending the night there with a group of good, a deck of cards, and a bottle of whiskey.

And the abyss? The abyss?
'The abyss you can't miss:
It's right where you are -
A step down the stair'


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Let it Snow

This photograph instantly reminded me of David Sedaris' short story Let it Snow...one of his best and funniest.

oh starlight...

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Take Me In"

If their were an argument as to whether the guitar or the piano is the best accompaniment to the human voice, this would definitely be a big point for the piano:

Between going and staying the day wavers

Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

-Octavio Paz

Send Me a Leaf

Send me a leaf, but from a bush
That grows at least one half hour
Away from your house, then
You must go and will be strong, and I
Thank you for the pretty leaf.

-Bertolt Brecht

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Iron Flowers

sluggish, semi-stagnant
the water in Haitian gutters,
small gullets, trickles green,
sewerage green, here even
the dirt is poor and
there is a cloying dullness
camouflaging even strongly
persistent colors

in squared, white walled
funeral flowers are made of
painted iron/ i see no roses
rising through this Port
Au Prince poverty

i hesitate to take pictures
it is like thievery
almost like
i am stealing precious light
that these, my brothers and sister,
need to live

-Kalamu ya Salaam, 1979

Say a prayer for our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Retreating Wind

When I made you, I loved you.
Now I pity you.

I gave you all you needed:
bed of earth, blanket of blue air--

As I get further away from you
I see you more clearly.
Your souls should have been immense by now,
not what they are,
small talking things--

I gave you every gift,
blue of the spring morning,
time you didn't know how to use--
you wanted more, the one gift
reserved for another creation.

Whatever you hoped,
you will not find yourselves in the garden,
among the growing plants.
Your lives are not circular like theirs:

your lives are the bird's flight
which begins and ends in stillness--
which begins and ends, in form echoing
this arc from the white birch
to the apple tree.

-Louise Gluck

A Late Christmas Present?

Some recently-surfaced live Ella Fitzgerald. Twelve Nights in Hollywood captures Ella at her prime, recorded primarily in 1961 at the (now closed) Crescendo in Los Angeles. 4 discs. Badass. Ella.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

may my heart always be open to little

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

-e.e. cummings

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hooray for a New Year

Kinoko No Yama

I was never much of a mushroom person until I was introduced to these beautiful Japanese cookie/chocolate treasures.

If you are in Southern California, it is really dumb not to stop by Mitsuwa and pick a box (or five) up.

Places: Pick Me Up Cafe (Chicago)

I've decided to start a new series of posts, focusing on great locations. There is no geographical epicenter to these posts...merely places I've been to and adored.First up on the menu is Chicago's Pick Me Up Cafe, located up on 3408 North Clark Street. It is a 24-hour joint that is full of good food, strong coffee, and eclectic music (the last time I was there Fugazi was on the sound system for over an hour.Although their vegan menu is quite attractive, I am a sucker for the "Garlicious Breast" sandwich. Try it and you might fall in love.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


One of the top voices in Jamaican music (and the world)...Mr. Beres Hammond:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Real Rebecca

So the holidays found me on a serious Hitchcock marathon. One of my top Hitchcock films is 'Rebecca,' which pairs up Laurence Olivier with Jane Fontaine. The critics go on and on about the Bergmans and Novaks, but I think Fontaine is possibly the most brilliant of Hitchock's leading ladies. What is more, she is still alive and well, taking care of her dogs in Carmel, California.

Writing Challenge: Tickled