Saturday, April 23, 2011
The beautiful and intriguing lines from the original poems have opened up many new voices to me. More reading awaits in the longer, warmer, and sunnier days to come, glass of wine in hand and feet up on the porch.
Humbly yours on this Easter weekend,
Were they pearls
Sleep-fallen, just jars of buttons spilled
recurring naked in your dark hair,
implicit with stars;
plunge me deep in love,
the whole cathedral,
put out paper sacks stuffed full of orange
weighing the harvest
when my eye nearly failed.
You have lived and lived on every kind of shortage,
little corners of a kind of ham;
count out sherry, and ripe plates crash at your back---
and the trick is the pungent oranges and
bright green wings to make it personal.
It was not really necessary to eat the food:
one could breath it, the mystery of
---now I hear the clock snap just ten---
that. I became
hard to lift: my own bags were full of salt
which made them shifty in our hearts.
Hoist their nets,
we’ll kiss a hundred times
kiss the kiss to open your tiny beak-mouth
each kiss other, consider:
what you’ve said that looks as if it would never open
and not April
the wild, protected, liminal woods
the naked man;
in the glaring white gap,
in a carousel-sweet dress
each one a treaty, each one a place
where, glisten’d with wet,
I stand on the porch,
the reflected gleams
Alternate last stanza, which does not play so precious with Emily Dickinson's line "Myself conjectured were they Pearls---:" and replaces the segment of the Dickinson line with part of one from Gerald Manley Hopkins. I wanted some kind of ring composition effect, I think, to begin and end with Dickinson, and to do it by reversing the line's halves, but don't know how much sense I made of it, whereas this seems more straightforward.
in the glaring white gap
in a carousel-sweet dress
each one a treaty, each one a place
where, glisten’d with wet,
I stand on the porch,
the reflected gleams,
were they pearls,
to rescue one.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Remember this ? Where you put your ipod on shuffle and see what song titles come up to answer the questions ? I decided that this Saturday morning was time for a revisit. I've added, it seems, quite a bit of music since 2009. I admit as well to being an ipad 2 holdout: though ever fiber of my tech-loving being desired the ipad the minute rumors of it began to emerge, I have held fast to waiting for at least the second incarnation (this wait and my lack of patience helped by generous visits to the Apple store to play with the thing). Yes, if I had real patience, I would wait for 2.5 or 3.0, whatever one will emerge with the usb, the retina display, the sd card slot, or even the new Thunderbolt (usb, I gather, may not last much longer). So, yes, I confess, I have reached some personal limit, and I will foolishly purchase the transitional device: my techno-wonder, my gadget lust, can wait no longer. All this, I sigh, because my eyes are too old to enjoy the ipod touch, hence this little revived meme is brought to you via an ipod classic, you know, the kind with a hard drive and a click wheel. I admit, I admit, I have no issue with the ipad being, as some keep wailing "just a glorified ipod touch." I'm happy that the ipad is as big as a picture frame and that I can bluetooth a keyboard to it. My eyes are happy. My senses are stimulated. Okay, enough. Ironically, having planned now for a year (or since the original one came out) to stand in line for the ipad 2, I will be out of the country on the day it comes out. And I want a black one. So I will have to wait some more. I also had no patience, literally, to revisit all twenty-odd questions for a remix of this meme, so I picked the ones that were the most interesting last time or to which I got the least satisfactory answers on the first go. I still have the same fear that Christmas songs may overwhelm the mix. But we will see. If one pops up, I'll note it but go on to the next... Post-experiment notes: there were still too many Christmas songs; I noted them in some places, but the pile up was too long elsewhere, so I just moved on. The opener, "How do you feel today ?" is also fairly apt: I have a lot to do. So it's been nice to pause here and be a little silly. Contemplating this as an actual playlist, or even how it would have sounded it I'd let this all play, doesn't conjure up a soothing set of tunes or any kind of coherent experience. Still, I may cue it up and let it play while I'm doing some housework this morning. I'll let you know.
1. How do you feel today ? Situations (Jack Johnson)
2. How do your friends see you ? Ain't No Cure for Love (Leonard Cohen): this is really funny, considering that I am in love...
3. What do you like in a girl/guy ? I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)
4. Where will you get married ? And She Was (Talking Heads) Parse That Please. I would like to know
*When Will You Get Married ? (I added this): Life Effect (Stars) Disappointing answer !
5. If someone says, "Is this ok ?", you say: Georgia (Ray Charles)
6. What would best describe your personality ? Cycles (Rickie Lee Jones): Ooh. That could be true !
7. What is your life's purpose ? [Winter Wonderland, Eddie Higgins + 3 more Xmas Songs. Skip] You Belong To Me (Kate Rusby)
8. What is your motto ? 15 Step (Radiohead)
9. What do you think about often ? Rock, Salt, and Nails (Kate Wolf). Metaphorically, I think I can see this...
10. What is your life story ? Calendar Girl (Neil Sedaka). Deadlines, deadlines...
11. What do you think when you see a person you like ? Little Island (Randy Newman). Interesting
12. What will they play at your funeral ? Someone Else's Life (Josh Radin). Funny. Not as funny as last time (Belly: Feed the Tree)
13. What do you think of your friends ? Mercy of the Fallen (Dar Williams).
14. What is the one thing you regret ? Suit and Tie (Suzzy Roche) Oh him. Just kidding.
15.. What makes you laugh ? Ponytail (Panda Bear) eh.
16. What makes you cry ? Germs (Yeasayer): can't argue with that !
17. What's the worst that could happen ? Muengue Mwa Ndolo (Coco Mbassi) Can anyone translate this ? I would like to know.
The next song was "Grazed Knees" (Snow Patrol): I'd settle for that.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
I could get all meta-narrative, meta-blog post about a post that is still riding on some snark about collections and then presents a collection of links, but we won't do that. I'm more in the mood to think about the egregious number of parentheses in this post, but it seems to suit: this post is a parenthesis of sorts, a nice pause to just sit down and look.
As for my 'art,' ahem, Corel Painter is really quite the thing, isn't it ?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Perhaps I should also add, that in this peaceful evening, in fact, making a habit of having a little time for one each night, I have been reading, resting quiet and undisturbed under my covers as my spoons under water, Peter Høeg's The Quiet Girl, Den stille pige, and while missing dearly the snowy and still, suspended, landscape of Smilla's Sense of Snow, have been finding it a fascinating piece, virtuosic and odd, a page-turner and luringly suggestive of what various critical theories could make of it (and is up to it). I won't recount it here, only my deep surprise that it was not well received in Denmark (and who knows: maybe not here either), a fact I only discovered when I looked for information on its English language publication date (2007). It came out in Danish in 2006 and The Danish Literary Magazine has an article by the Norwegian author Kjaerstad on his own surprise at the novel's reception. It doesn't really give anything of the plot away, so feel free to read it here. Kjaerstad calls the novel, or one aspect of it, "high baroque," and I think this does capture the over all tone of the work, though it is all at once a detective story, science fiction, and more. More often than not, the scenes between characters recall to mind Isak Dinesen's stories and I wonder if anyone else has sensed this. Is there such a thing as a Danish-baroque sensibility ?
Saturday, February 12, 2011
gets up way too early on purpose, going to bed just a little earlier and hoping to sleep just a little later does not work. Wide awake at 5:40. Drat.).
In fact, for days, I have had in mind to write a post about something else, somewhere far away, that has nothing to do with some things, but here it was and here I am, brain not quite in gear enough for that post, but with enough wherewithall (these are all puns, people..) to post less of a post than notes for one, so here we are: the Magazine, which I usually resist until later on Saturday and then only for the puzzle at first, has a brief article on a blog phenomenon I had been unaware of, i.e. people posting photos of their stuff, but their artfully arranged things. Rob Walker, the columnist, offers several observations and a sound working theory of why this is happening, wherein, again, I learn a vocabulary word, or rather a new use for an old one, curation:
...the most satisfying examples now often depict more workaday stuff, treated with an unusual level of observatory respect; they frequently echo the “humble master pieces” featured in a Museum of Modern Art exhibition of that name several years ago: just as that show prodded viewers to reconsider the paper clip or the matchstick as “marvels of design,” these (humble) blogs recontextualize things most people ignore. Perhaps some of us are in more of a mood to accept beauty in the everyday, rather than aspire to the latest gleaming luxury.
And then there’s the way this stuff is arranged. There’s certainly nothing naturalistic about it; these are practically inventories. It has become a cliché to talk of “curation” as the great skill of the info-saturated online world, but probably what matters here is the overt display of that skill — the de facto announcement that someone is in charge. After too many years when stuff seemed to rule many lives, these things have been culled, sorted and mastered.
Not that I don't suspect that these photographers aspire to the MOMA ideal (and even an exhibition or book contract of their own), and not that I don't on some level find Walker's control theory compelling. In fact, the highbrow (if that is what it is) intellectualization (ditto) of the whole simplification movement ---or, let's be kinder--- its transformation from merely throwing stuff out to arranging what one has in order to enjoy it anew is refreshing, but the example blogs (see below) that Walker cites appear to me as cataloguing than curation. Yes, it is a kind of artful cataloguing, but this is what catalogues are nowadays, and I mean certain mail order catalogues, not exhibition catalogues. I confess, up front, I have not stopped the onslaught filling my physical mailbox, in part because of the visual pleasure of, say, the Garnet Hill, Sundance, even J.Jill catalogues (this is still an ad-free, unsponsored blog. I merely state the truth. Deal). I shop online for these things, if at all, but I do enjoy an afternoon cup of tea with a slew of new catalogues, the ones which arrange a rather minimalist number of items per page, quite artfully photographed, with descriptions that do mimic those other, i.e. museum collection catalogues: "unique shapes overlap to create modern artisanal styles;" "the long shirt;" etc. There is a cataloguing impulse/device/gimmick out there in the blogosphere, what I ate, what I knitted, what I photographed, cats in sinks; even Stuff White People Like is, at root, a catalogue. Were I to go all academic about this, there would be a lot to say here about the reinscription and performance of display, i.e. how it has been reappropriated and repurposed (optimistic) and how life is now structured by advertising techniques that we are supposed to be savvy and ironic enough to recognize (pessimistic, though not unrelated). The columnist notes, although he does not use this term, that the objects in the blogs he examines are decontextualized (he says "recontextualized") from everyday life: grouped against neutral backgrounds, a collection of bobbins or measuring spoons offer themselves as interesting in se ipsis, but one gets tired of walking with Certeau, so to speak, no matter where the walk goes. So I am less interested in this manipulation of the quotidian as a socio-anthropological phenomenon, clear on the fact that things arranged well give us pleasure (neatness counts, goes the aphorism: you'll like/use your stuff if you can find it, says common sense; you'll appreciate what you have if you maintain it, says mom, yes, sew the buttons on, etc.), than the groupings or arrangments that arise in context. Yes, I suppose this is the backbone of every decorating magazine and even of a certain spirituality (remember the "home altars" movement ?), but I do not mean faux context or creating a context (spiritual space, e.g.). After having read the column, I just poked my head up and peeked around: what have I bothered to arrange, I thought, and aside from the visual pleasure, what might it say ? That's all: lots of writing here to serve as an excuse for the first thing I thought of, my rather transparently readable arrangement of glassware, stored in, as is probably obvious, what should be a liquor cabinet, pictured at the start of this post. Enjoy. Let me know.