Sappho says that to die is evil: so the gods judge. For they do not die.
What fuller beauty than beauty
willing to surface,
subtilement exposé, every
where to be found.
Many elements in my microcosmic corner of the universe have aligned such that the past 72 hours of my life have been a splendid pause of poetic experience. A pause because the heat of midwestern July and the lack of paid occupation allow for a comfortable lethargy, a slow motion of a still scene. Continue reading “for here there is no place that does not see you”
Intense girl stares down at paper,
zeroes in on the black heart of
her heroine. How must the
senses submerge? Ben Howard
sings “these small things, they gather
’round me, gather ’round me.” My
nail polish, black cherry, chips. Continue reading “Black Cherry”
sadness pervades my existence. I journal in the middle of afternoon, 82° blue skies in De Pere today, and the wind tours quickly. I should sit outside. I am so private. Continue reading “tea tree oil, sun spot freckles”
The afternoon of our desire,
the cat napping in the barn,
the carnival tears of merriment and
the mess of dreams in mornings
when things came to mind—this
density of living among the dead kept
flowers in our mouths after
each mean and powerful rain.
You were not like the others—you
stood there facing the wood like
nothing fell around you. There was
the backside of your body,
the haze around your head,
and your terrible calm amid
whatever braved a movement. In
any phase of five minutes you’d
steal the galaxies, take them
under your gaze, and you were
shameless as a voyeur,
ruthless as a pioneer.
It occurs to me that one can be too conscious. The metacognitive processes involved in writing require, for those of us with hoarding minds, the same kind of patience, stamina, and downright courage it takes to clean out the attic, to assess the contents one by one. Continue reading “The Attic”
I recall Joni Mitchell once said something about the pressure she felt in youth, a surely mounting pressure, to be great–to make one’s expression dance in unison with one’s soul—, and I say “mounting” because these pressures accumulate with the years. Time tends to carry on like the breath of a sad singer’s song; the phrase finished, the sounds produced, she must then gasp for air in the intervals, if to continue the tune. Continue reading “The Wings”
There is a bell tower in the courtyard behind our apartment, and three minutes after I awoke to Erik’s soft goodbye kiss, it rang eight beats, like two measures in 4/4 time, to mark the 8 o’clock hour. And so the day began like a song. One, however jet lagged, cannot fall back asleep after such a composed start. Continue reading “A Home in Holland”
my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height Continue reading “[my father moved through dooms of love]”
I pity those who dream the probable, the reasonable and the accessible more than those who fantasize about the extraordinary and remote. Those who have grandiose dreams are either lunatics who believe in what they dream and are happy, or they’re mere daydreamers whose reveries are like the soul’s music, lulling them and meaning nothing. Continue reading “The Dream that Promises the Impossible”
HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891)
On Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tragic Vision 1851
There is a certain tragic phase of humanity which, in our opinion, was never more powerfully embodied than by Hawthorne. We mean the tragicalness of human thought in its own unbiased, native, and profounder workings. Continue reading “On Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tragic Vision”
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-1864)
On Herman Melville’s Philosophic Stance 1856
[Melville] stayed with us from Tuesday till Thursday; and, on the intervening day, we took a pretty long walk together, and sat down in a hollow among the sand hills (sheltering ourselves from the high, cool wind) and smoked a cigar. Continue reading “On Herman Melville’s Philosophic Stance”
feather, of colour-
in-motion — but also
in the guise of
a clear purpose.
-From “Nine Ways of Looking at a Fantail” by C.K. Stead Continue reading “Finesse”
I woke up this morning to Dr. Rybak’s voice and the cat’s meow. Dr Rybak—dream. Cat—reality. (Wallace Stevens would understand.) I was lying among supreme linens in Allie’s childhood bedroom, and I was lying on my back, down the direct center of the bed, my head comfortably lodged between the two, side-by-side head pillows. Figaro wanted food, five am. Continue reading “Animal Sit, Animal”
In the house the women begin to sing. We hear the first line commence, beginning to swell as they take hold, and we rise and move toward the door, taking off our hats and throwing our chews away. We do not go in. We stop at the steps, clumped, holding our hats between our lax hands in front or behind, standing with one foot advanced and our heads lowered, looking aside, down at our hats in our hands and at the earth or now and then at the sky and at one another’s grave, composed face.
-William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
european kitchens, bread crumbs abound
locking locks to insides
it is good to be out in the world
good to try
a netherlandish sun opened up
I saw it
I saw it spread over the bodies of
black boy, black girl
age seven, age five
hand in hand, as they walked along
a long, narrow street
Make yourself up a cheering song of how
Someone’s road home from work this once was,
Who may be just ahead of you on foot
Or creaking with a buggy load of grain.
The height of the adventure is the height
Of country where two village cultures faded
Into each other. Both of them are lost.
And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
Then make yourself at home.
The Soul selects her own Society—
Then—shuts the Door—
To her divine Majority—
Present no more— Continue reading “303”
. . . speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. Ah, then, exclaim the aged ladies, you shall be sure to be misunderstood! Misunderstood! It is a right fool’s word. Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson Continue reading “Words as Hard as Cannon Balls”