Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

Wishing you all great things in the up-ahead and the only burning regrets you carry should be those that you write down with me (wherever you are) and set on fire at midnight and then give them not another thought. Every best wish to you friends, family and worth-it pains-in-the-proverbial.

The Sunset District
Meet me in the Sunset District, out by the shoreline,
a place named for the time of day that dies. Meet me there

where the gulls are streaked with gasoline, where hubcaps
wash ashore like giant sad sequins. These days,

from this strip of beach, I keep watching pairs of lovers
collect stones, then walk hand-in-hand

into the ocean. Have you heard? They say the city
is dying. Windblown newspapers scatter headlines,

"This Is It," they say, "What's Done
Is Done" & out here by the sea, a man in rags

tries to speak to God on a rotary phone. But meet me
by the dismantled skyscraper that used to keep all keys to the city,

that housed this borough's evening sun. From here
we might see vanishing points on the horizon

where troops & artillery wince & glitter like stolen jewelry.
Someday maybe we'll move to the country

of some distant country, but meanwhile, I'll bide my time
watching the tides, folding yesterday's paper into fleets of airplanes,

naming each one Enola. Come evening, streetlamps
flicker, streetcars rear to a halt, while the man in rags

still listens for a dial tone. "Hello?" he says, "hello?"
So take your leave & meet me, if you can, the day after

the day of oblivion, here where fog & lovers continue
to roll in with the crude tide. Here where a body in rags, clutching a phone,

is buried, by then, in black sand. We'll watch
spilt oil rainbow the bay & glint aluminum.

We'll breathe the new air incensed
with aftermath & uranium.

Copyright © 2008 Sarah V. Schweig

Monday, December 29, 2008

Copycatting Veace

You are so far away now, so small, that today is already long ago,
and our story in other people's hands. A man crossing a channel
is reading the galleys, passing each page to his wife. All night
they sit close, as if on a single bench for warmth.
Oh, little bench, you will burn.

Jill Osier

Because I want to "keep" this poem and not forget I read it and that I loved it and why. All that belongs to the near end of this weird, wild year. Goodbye Cincinnati, for real. Whatever next Ohio holds for me is elsewhere (& let us hope, wise--with apologies to Kristi and with my glass raised, abrim with Italian liqueur, orange as a Sicilian sunrise.)

The head and the tummy are on the mend but I'm still feeling dizzy from whatever small bug found home in me these last few days. A small nap, a pond-penny-wish in dreams and with luck, another walk when I rise.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Caravella Orangecello

An orange unlike any other and a reminder why I attempted Italian so often. Saturday was a true Saturday--the way Saturdays were when she was five--a word that could contain whole amusement parks, the wintery-kind, their summer memories waiting like pennies on the ice for the melt into possible wishes. The whole day a piggy bank. Saturdays had that ephemeral vastness--something more vast in the word than the day could ever really contain. But yesterday was bright orange and a half-dozen lightbulbed bouquets, a frozen fire, good olives and what it felt like to be Saturdayed.

Everyone should begin with parting gifts. The goodbyeing out of the way and maybe even the most fractured of us could plan the reverse getaway.
Psalm of Snow
T. Barnstone
I had forgotten how to say yes. That's the trick of heartbreak.
It makes you forget yes. The voices in my head were not kind,
so you took me to the woods to empty out.
My old shoulder was wired with pain, and there was a needle
in my hip, but we lay on a wide flat rock in the snow
as the intoxicated sun licked our faces with breathing light

like a yellow dog, simple in its joy, licking our chins and lips and necks
and a long wind came from over the mountaintop
and cooled our left sides, and the Sacramento River
wept through us like time, and spoke its liquid foolish syllables,
senseless, sensual, almost sentient, and I lay with my head
nested between your breasts and listened.

Time to climb, you said, and I felt snow-wing angelic as we snowshoed
above Castle Lake, leaving traces behind like snow rabbits
with webbed feet, silver squirrels, prints on the glass of the world,
a little evidence for angels to investigate after that death magic
resolves us to nothing again. I heard omens in the wind, psalms
in the bent warm sunlight that makes the snow mountains weep.

Something was coming, something foreign as joy, a clue
to how to live once you're done with sorrow, a way of being
in being like a long breath exhaled, leaving a trace on the air
before it resolves again to air, the frozen lake, ice fishers waiting
for something great to rise, the mountaintop lifting
its white head in trance and saying its one good word: snow.

Reading the Readable

She reads books because they're generous in their tellings. The people inside them unfold like artichokes if only her fingers pull the thin edge back to the core of the thing. She reads people like books written in a language she might almost guess at by the looks of things--like Spanish where water, altitude, colors, are all words that she can make out if she tries--but the sentences hang like home-made mobiles with out of balance pieces and she can't figure out what to weigh more heavily or where to lighten it to make the thing hang even. Worse, she can't say she likes the steady symmetry much or values it over the unique collection of things that make up a mobile--that skeleton hand from some Halloween, that paper umbrella, that doll shoe, that plastic yellow rose that smells of dust, old plastic and childhood.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Softest Day

Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. But not terrible, just still. On the drive home, a silvery sky ahead and behind her: a gold that was all fire, as if behind that sky, heaven was burning down. She was thinking about someone and that thinking made her feel the way the word glossary keeps a mystery inside it, plus something that feels like desire and pastries to the tongue.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pop-up Lighthouse Book

from my sister, Christina and my brother, Joey. This is what arrived in the mail today from the (plus vanilla plum lotion, gel and lipgloss from Greece that smell like nothing I've ever smelled before--insanely good and a very writerly, funny t-shirt) all thoughtful, all dear but the book in honor of my father's gift to me of the lighthouse in Crete held this odd echo from a not-yet-published poem in the dissertation and one that my sister had never heard (and did I say her middle name is Elaina besides?) Yes, oddness after oddness and my good fortune to have such family.

Tonight, Mary's gleaming and Elaina's heart shimmers back.
Even her pain is nostalgic: a smell from a far-away room.
She wants one place to keep everything: a pop-up book
of her cities, her lighthouse, her loves,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Gratitudes

for slender hands, the beautiful shape of solitude
and the center of a catseye, for movie theaters,
for the only blooming thing on a fall-dead tree--so
purple against the dry, for the paint advertisement
that makes him happy, a falling pail of antifreeze and ripe lemons
draping down the brick, three chartreuse cars forever parked
and sacrificed for it,for mood-ring eyes, for raccoons with the moonlight
ever-icing their coats, for the true religion
of icicles, of twilight, for things I didn't know I loved
how many, how much.
Things I Didn't Know I Loved

it's 1962 March 28th
I'm sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don't like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn't know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn't worked the earth love it
I've never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love

and here I've loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can't wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you'll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow
I know this has troubled people before
and will trouble those after me
I know all this has been said a thousand times before
and will be said after me

I didn't know I loved the sky
cloudy or clear
the blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodino
in prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into Turkish
I hear voices
not from the blue vault but from the yard
the guards are beating someone again
I didn't know I loved trees
bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino
they come upon me in winter noble and modest
beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish
"the poplars of Izmir
losing their leaves. . .
they call me The Knife. . .
lover like a young tree. . .
I blow stately mansions sky-high"
in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen handkerchief
to a pine bough for luck

I never knew I loved roads
even the asphalt kind
Vera's behind the wheel we're driving from Moscow to the Crimea
formerly "Goktepé ili" in Turkish
the two of us inside a closed box
the world flows past on both sides distant and mute
I was never so close to anyone in my life
bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and Geredé
when I was eighteen
apart from my life I didn't have anything in the wagon they could take
and at eighteen our lives are what we value least
I've written this somewhere before
wading through a dark muddy street I'm going to the shadow play
Ramazan night
a paper lantern leading the way
maybe nothing like this ever happened
maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy
going to the shadow play
Ramazan night in Istanbul holding his grandfather's hand
his grandfather has on a fez and is wearing the fur coat
with a sable collar over his robe
and there's a lantern in the servant's hand
and I can't contain myself for joy
flowers come to mind for some reason
poppies cactuses jonquils
in the jonquil garden in Kadikoy Istanbul I kissed Marika
fresh almonds on her breath
I was seventeen
my heart on a swing touched the sky
I didn't know I loved flowers
friends sent me three red carnations in prison

I just remembered the stars
I love them too
whether I'm floored watching them from below
or whether I'm flying at their side

I have some questions for the cosmonauts
were the stars much bigger
did they look like huge jewels on black velvet
or apricots on orange
did you feel proud to get closer to the stars
I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine now don't
be upset comrades but nonfigurative shall we say or abstract
well some of them looked just like such paintings which is to
say they were terribly figurative and concrete
my heart was in my mouth looking at them
they are our endless desire to grasp things
seeing them I could even think of death and not feel at all sad
I never knew I loved the cosmos

snow flashes in front of my eyes
both heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind
I didn't know I liked snow

I never knew I loved the sun
even when setting cherry-red as now
in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors
but you aren't about to paint it that way
I didn't know I loved the sea
except the Sea of Azov
or how much

I didn't know I loved clouds
whether I'm under or up above them
whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts

moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois
strikes me
I like it

I didn't know I liked rain
whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my
heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop
and takes off for uncharted countries I didn't know I loved
rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting
by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
is it because I lit my sixth cigarette
one alone could kill me
is it because I'm half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow
her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue

the train plunges on through the pitch-black night
I never knew I liked the night pitch-black
sparks fly from the engine
I didn't know I loved sparks
I didn't know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty
to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return

19 April 1962
by Nazim Hikmet (Translated by Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Only Avant Garde Left is Wisdom

If Jim Cummins didn't already write amazing poems then I would tell him to be a poet because he says things like this the way that you or I might order a sandwich.

Another happy day. Good coffee and company. The bright edges of days in winter. Listening to new music and about to embark on that Wide Sargasso Sea. This is living.

Music Swims Back to Me
Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.

Anne Sexton
No one has taken anything away

No one has taken anything away--
there is even a sweetness for me in being apart.
I kiss you now across the many
hundreds of miles that separate us.

I know: our gifts are unequal, which is
why my voice is--quiet, for the first time.
What can my untutored verse
matter to you, a young Derzhavin?

For your terrible flight I give you blessing.
Fly, then, young eagle! You
have stared into the sun without blinking.
Can my young gaze be too heavy for you?

No one has ever stared more
tenderly or more fixedly after you . . .
I kiss you--across hundreds of
separating years.

12 February 1916

By Marina Tsvetayeva
Translated by Elaine Feinstein

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

--Robert Browning
The Tulip Thief, Mi Amor
At first it was an ember; its glow I nursed
like a welt after the open wound you left
in the row. Anger, yes, but what is anger
if not passion? Sparks, if not chemistry?
A lab of mulch, calyx, and bitterroot. Your
neat snips—kitchen shears?—selective: not
the first in the row, yet the second and today
the third. My pretty girls, my charming
darlings. Oh, the hours I conjured their hue
of red—for cheerful and its stain of glamour.
Tulip, native of Asia, sister of Geisha—
petals demure, dainty and closed
each evening. I've contemplated a linger
in the eaves with a shotgun. A friend suggests
a garden hose. And like a misunderstood lover,
I harbored plans—one with a black alder
and epoxy—discarded for mercy. Your ache
for beauty much like my own dogma. I know
the gasp of a red petal on the asphyxiated
heart—how it jumps! Perhaps, your wife
has packed and paid for a ticket to the gas
station where the attendant grows iris—
so violet—clearly, a man who knows
how to tend. You saw my tulips and thought
to dazzle her back with scarlet; it's the true nature
of violet, pure. I like to think my tulips save
your marriage—you're off to Niagara Falls
for a wet second honeymoon and surprise
baby. This, I understand. Sometimes we need
reckless acts to see each other again.

Copyright © 2008 Suzanne Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coffeehoused and Heading Back Shortly

What nice days. So much reading, writing.
Things are nice right now. It's cold. The economy dismal. Money never stretches far enough but I am happy. I am not without wishes. But I am proud of the life I have made for myself and my soup (no small challenge with all of the substitutions I had to make) was amazing! It was spicy, sour and delicious (if I do say so myself).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is God Finished Now?

Overheard from child exiting the Greek Orthodox church on High Street. His little voice shouted it out and his mother looked flustered. I laughed and wished for the zillionth time to be so lucky as to be embarassed just like that. He had big dark eyes and this dark little cap of hair. Sigh... His last sweet years, these.

And the faculty meeting highlight involved a repeated student quote regarding Moby Dick. "I'm glad the whale won." Why slog through all that Melville when all you need to know is summed up in five words. I wish the whales all always won. Also, the seals and the polar bears and the various so-ons of which there are too many.

It's too cold here tonight.

Friday, December 12, 2008

One More Thing Before I Close Out Today

Student quote of the day: "Figs are nothing more than wasp abortion clinics."
I love my students.
The cupcake party is becoming an art form. Next time, there will be many colors of icing, sprills and a roomful of artists decorating their cupcakes individually. My digital camera will be figured-out by then (Thank You, Daddy!) and I will post pictures. For now, we lingered, we stayed over an hour after class (a few of us) we were loathe to leave. I was given two gorgeous pieces of pottery (and don't think student-art here, think professionals polishing-up, think real art). I am the lucky teacher to know these people. They are in-there and they are alive.

There is no bad time for frosting and tenderness, thinks A.

Thai Soup Re-Imagined

Tonight is all about hot food against the cold weather. One favorite co-diner used to eat this "garbage meal" that mixed up lots of crazy things and was so tasty and so much my kind of food that I couldn't believe another human was into that kind of meal. (I have been ridiculed by many friends and exes for my strange bedfellows of foods on the plate.) So tonight's dinner payed homage to the garbage-meal of old as I made broccoli & scrambled eggs with salsa, some gimme lean sausage, and Chinese broccoli stir fried with soy sauce and chives. But tomorrow bears the weighty responsibility of using the indulgence of veggies purchased at the Asian market far away (so figure in a few bucks for the eight miles out).
Sour and Spicy Prawn* Soup Recipe
(Tom Yam Kung)
6 large spiny-clawed prawns (Obviously out for the vegetarians, but there are great tofu options, and wood mushrooms reconstituted give a great chewy-ness.)
1 lemon grass steam, cut into short lengths
2-3 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
5-6 crushed hot chilies
3 tbsp lime juice
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (veggie version)
Additionally, I've splurged (Asian mart, again) on some spicy Thai basil and have had this soup with a heavy dose of that, so will likely include it, as well.
3 cups soup stock (vegetable broth with more lime juice and a dash of some hot sauce and perhaps the chives purchased from the Asian market) Veggie broth takes some doctoring to get that kind of buttery/nutty taste of the more meaty broths. But it's workable.

Talk me out of water chestnuts. As with jicama, I go through phases where I believe that everything is improved by them. This recipe is buckling from my changes. But have faith, I make a killer West African Peanut Stew which is not only vegetarianized but low-fat (fat free would have been a crime to that one).
*Note to the purists. I am taking away and substituting much here, I recognize but for Veace and those of us trying to get some of our favorites to work again within dietary limitations, it's worth a shot. I'll let you know as I zero in on the flavor I'm craving (minus little souls swimming in the broth)how it all works.

One is Silver and the Other's Gold

Any news Berman needs noting. The cupcakes are gone. Winter ensues.

Bettie, You're a Bedtime Story

Goodbye to uber curvy brunette. Heaven just got a whole sexier.

I toast you with my cup of chocolate velvet coffee and soon, up to my eyeballs in icing, (for today, recall, we cupcake!) I will think of decadence and how you are its patron saint. I am listening to my birthday mix from some Alabama students that I am lucky enough to number as friends even now. And in honor of my vintage goddess Lila, they had given me The Night and in honor of everything, Polyester Bride. So I sing along and send the tunes skyward.

To Bettie Page, we toast and serenade and dedicate today, The Day of the Cupcake (and Cheesecake Girls.) All manner lusciousness. (And not a little strange...fireplace dance? Dance may be a little...generous.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tomorrow We Cupcake!

My students get a little cupcake party with their last workshop. I will miss them so much. They were a great way to spend an afternoon.

Weirdly, as I posted the last entry, I-tunes flipped to where Iggy Pop sung out loud and clear as I typed the word city over and over: "I don't care about your city." Noted.

I loved you when you lost your raincoat, I'll love you when you lose your fear

If not the most romantic words than certainly in the running.
Once in Seattle a man named Ron (something I will track down for it's important) was playing music on the street and I stopped to listen. It was, of course, drizzling as Seattle must and it was a day I had been on my own as my travel partner was part of a conference. My days were long and wonderfully-so full of museums and such Rons as this who told me that he was playing "Laura" just for me and said something nice about my face and of course, there's the dollar/busker/compliment thing but we talked a long time after, mostly I listened about his life, his music. He was much older than I then, in his sixties, I think and his voice was rich and just rough enough to make it warm and full of life. I was young then and traveling with my first real boyfriend--a man who is still a good friend, whom I have seen now through both wedding and funeral of a wife so much more his own than I ever was. Every few days we talk and he talks about what it means to know someone that well, to open up to someone knowing that they will leave and it will hurt insanely. I keep thinking about how that world-wise girl I was knew nothing about people-stuff but running into new places, she was all about that.
Anyway, the point is about how I felt so grown-up then with my big fat notebook in tow and with all the notes I took on the street, in museums, and later in Boston (same boyfriend, different conference) overlooking the Charles and I knew then that I was finding out who my character would be and where the story would be set and I thought then I knew so much about love and what it was and regret, I thought I had met it yet, and I hadn't. But I did know I loved cities. That for the heavy, too loyal ways I am with lovers, with cities I am their fickle harlot. I love them for the way they yield and all the ways they don't; for their warmth and their stormy, snippy weathers, for their ease and their utter inconveniences, their gracious welcomes and their surly indifference. I love one one week for this reason and next week, I'm all about another. There are constants, of course, New York, New Orleans, my own Salt Lake, but on any given day, my other favorite city is the one I'm currently falling in love with.

I've obviously had the city in mind for days and then today on the radio, I sat in the darkening parking lot of Volunteers of America Thrift Shop just to catch the end of this.

Women in Cities in Winter

Again with the long walk, clicking down High and onto Broad and over to 4th and so on. And all the pretty ladies bundled up with the delicate heels peeking out from long coats and swaddled, stuffed-animal bodies. And the drabness--nothing that isn't grey or beige unless it insists: those reds, yellows, oranges, a few twinkly Christmas lights, downtown strung in electric sparkle, a big red velvet bow but largely sidewalk-colors, cement and pavement and a sky sucked dry of any blueness.
It exhilerates A who imagines a man in love with a woman who has left him and that man goes to her hometown and walks miles of it, covers every street on its grid by foot and begins again, only to know her city and somehow figure out just what it was that made her his for a minute and then so gone. A entertains herself with melodrama, that man eating soup in the window wants to leave his dying brother's side and hop on a train with nothing but a duffel bag full of books and black licorice crow candies. He wants to park in the dining car, drink bourbon or maybe scotch and test the pillowy dark of the licorice against his teeth.

I just mean that it feels like winter break here and I love it. SO much solitude, my days spent writing or in the study researching or reading. I make tea, do laundry, plan the next soup and bread I will make. I take long walks to work and to my little new meeting and I wear sweaters warm and red like the red dreams of being on its best most saturated day. What is wistful seems understood by the starkness of the landscape and what deep kisses might blow one's ears out or blow the better part of a year away seem part of some other season. Right now is so precisely itself that I am nearly in a state of bliss. Even yesterday's meeting was fun, my elfish L-Bo full of spritely sparks and tons of amazing writing (you Go, L-Bo!) and the faculty at my school is quirky and strange and fun. (How weird is that?) And the walk home was so cold but again, as if to crystallize things and it did and it does. I know why I'm here and that's a rare, welcome feeling.

P.S. In unrelated news (save that EKW blurbed Ms. Jengles) when this happened I had been keeping my distance a bit and didn't get to but always meant to cheer.

What Tin House said about Revolutionary Poet is right, watch this star rise and rise. His poems are not only beautiful, they also truly matter. Unlike many of Wilson's contemporaries, his poems are larger than "the speaker's" sense of himself or his very important angst or whimsy. He's razor-shop but full of heart.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A feelings first sort of day

since feeling is first e.e. cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

Monday, December 08, 2008

"For months it was like that. For months of beginning, touch, distances and what could be done to close them. For months, A listened for voices and tried to sift through for something to promise her that she wasn't like that, wasn't parallel parking on the wrong street. So much commitment she was willing to make, so much she wasn't.

Meanwhile, maps consoled her: New Hampshire, Africa, the thin peninsulas that felt like manageable horizons. What season would her mother call this: Noodle-clouds, certain flurries, the highway smothered or smothering. What skin knew and what it couldn't convey."
I want to say something important that isn't about love. Or maybe is but the love for words or music or an image, a minute, a scene, the light through my hot pink sheers in my study when I will write a whole novel, a play and complete my essays.

From The Season:
"And when he comes into view (he'll be a long time walking in winter, against snow like something from a Russian poem, he'll say 'There you are.' Then, 'I want to be your common-law natural disaster. Something perpetual, inevitable and so intimate it could peel you like a fruit or carry you into the next county.' Then he'll turn it all Bogart-like with a line that ends with Kid like 'read me, Kid?' and I'll know it's him."

"Who talks like that, A?"

"He does, or I'm pretty sure he should."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Morning, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Boruch

and one decadent omelette that I wish I could share with you (you know who you are).
Lightly-grilled avocado, eggs, chives, some laughing cow cheese, hot green salsa from North Market, whole wheat tortilla, and some gimme lean sausage--both vegetarian and low-fat (there is a heaven!) Good coffee (the one) and tons of steamed milk. My good dishes (because we only live once). Facing the patio with snow that has made all my lawn furniture look like giant marshmallows and that ah-winter feeling.

In a recent review of Marianne Boruch, Michael Robbins says that she "inhabits that space between the beauty of inflections and the beauty of innuendos."

I wish I'd said that, and you can be sure I will now. Good writers borrow etc...

Boruch herself says: "Because beauty's not generous, isn't anything but its passage." Which I take to mean that I should have the loveliest omelettes while I may. Gather ye rosebuds and farmer's market salsa and so on.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Can't Stop Synecdocheizing

Because all of these things are true and more:

"Synecdoche,New York is a self-indulgent mope. It’s also a work of genius." --Robert Butler

"Dense, dazzling and emotionally devastating, "Synecdoche, New York" is certainly the most ambitious film of the year, if not the decade. A surreal exploration of art, love and death, it has the Fellini-esque feel of some lost European cinematic masterpiece that reaches far past the normal boundaries of drama and into the very essence of existence.
Since the very essence of existence doesn't quite have the popular appeal of a superhero in a colorful costume, this is not a movie for everyone. But for true cinephiles, this film is not to be missed." --Tom Long

"You'll walk out of Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" feeling like a drunk bodybuilder just went bumper bowling with your brain." --Mike Ward

Little tiny paintings that look like smudges until you take a magnifying lens to them and they became intricate almost Arbus-like treatments of the body, aging and the truth that appearance reveals with or without our permission. Or take the house perpetually on fire and not as a dream and with the awareness of the characters as they take into account some of the inconvenience of such a home but buying it, living in it, loving in it and even stoking its fires when need be. During the walk-through of the home for sale, the fires are a concern but as the film progresses they become one condition of the home that in every other way is perfection to the character who buys it and keeps it and again, even tends it fire. It isn't that the idea of housefire becomes so surreal as to lack the implications and dangers of housefires in a realist treatment, is that the film suggests that this "dealbreaker" of perpetual housefire is not a dealbreaker when this is the house one chooses, chooses to live in and accept and indeed foster its firey terms. Since Kaufman cares so about the ties that bind us sometimes to the point of scarring, it doesn't seem that he is so far from that Eternal Sunshine critique about what deserves to disrupt and even half-destroy us because it is our house and it matters enough that we live in it. No house is our house if not this house--even if this house is on fire. If Kaufman comes near to beating the same lesson-drum here, what a crucial, so-me instrument.
Then too, are the tonal shifts from the absurd to the sadly comic, our thousand funny sorrows and the deepest miseries, loyalties and devotion. This stunner of a film is flawed (as it must be) but too is so immense and ambitious that I feel its flaws are entirely necessary and moreover, accounted-for. Besides there is more genius in this film's pinky finger, left hand than there is in any other dozen films randomly appearing at the cineplex. It is not often that I can say that I wanted to live and die all at the same time during one scene alone. Without spoiling: a little girl talking her to daddy about little bits of pizza. For that one scene, I would pay the admission to this film every day for a month--and I am not a wealthy one. But I am richer now.

Do you desire me? Am I among the jellyfish of your griefs?
I comb my sorrows singing; any doomed sailor can hear
The rising and falling bell and begin to wish
For home. There is no choice among the voices
Of love. Even a carp sings.
Ruth Stone

The day had been expensive in every way. Now Vinny's song on the radio and the chorus sets A to biting her lip until she tastes the tartness of having gone too far and there her former lover on the radio sings over and over the bastardized line from her last sticky note to him and she decides then to buy the plane ticket while
if I had a second chance I'd live inside your pants repeats and repeats like a Greek chorus wailing out the sad summary of her whole stupid life.
Postscript to Snowy Saturday: Synecdoche, NY. Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche,NY.Synecdoche.

Snowed-In Columbus

a phrase that will appear in the last flashes of my life. But not this Columbus, this snow, this in.

Oh my love
Oh it was a funny little thing
It was a funny funny little thing
Bridges & Balloons (Decemberists or Joanna Newsom--you cannot go wrong)

Was I in your dreams I'd like to know
Did I touch your hand and did it feel like snow?

--Jeff Tweedy

for the old-timey holiday windows at Mary Catherines,
for blown glass, for snow angels,

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Take Ten: The Butterfly Collector

Thanks to Sam R. for this one. I'll let my ten You're Its! self-select...
I still want L-Bo and Veace and I to make mixes called The Saddest, The Sexiest, The Happiest, and the Angriest Songs for one another.

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the game as well as the person you got the note from.
If someone says “is this okay” you say:
Back to Me Jonatha Brooke
What would best describe your personality
Forgiveness Patty Griffin
What do you like in a guy/girl?
Early Morning Rain (Indeed!) Paul Weller
What is your life’s purpose?
Back in the Circus Jonatha Brooke
What is your motto?
Got Me She & Him
What do your friends think of you?
Beeswing Richard Thompson
What do you think about very often?
Green River M. Ward
What is 2+2?
Cold Moments Paul Weller
What do you think about your best friends?
Cassiopoeia Joanna Newsom
What do you think of the person you like?
If You Fall Steve Earle
When it Don’t Come Easy Patty Griffin
Time Will Do the Talking Patty Griffin
Bird on the Wire Leonard Cohen
This Side of the Blue Joanna Newson
I’m Sticking with You Velvet Underground
I Say a Little Prayer for You Natalie Cole
The Rain Came Down Steve Earle and the Dukes
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? She & Him
I’ll be Yr Bird Leonard Cohen
All of Me Louis Armstrong (What up with this? Meat Grinder? Cement Mixer? Yikes?)
Bridges and Balloons Joanna Newsom
I Will Follow You Into the Dark Death Cab for Cutie (Oh yeah, hilarious)
I Want Your Hands on Me Sinead O’ Connor(this really does,for loopy reasons)
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie Joanna Newsom (as I suspected, damn, can I get a do-over or borrow your i-tunes?)
To Be Alone with You Sufjan Stevens
Circus John Denver (sigh…looking everywhere, going nowhere…)
Oranges and Rosewater Paul Weller
God Only Knows The Beach Boys
The Butterfly Collector The Jam

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Mr. Riley came to Lago de Luz to grieve.
That is the beginning. But there you have the notion of a sad man, and I won't tell you a sad story. This is a tale of love's charms and lovers' follies, of a girl who dreams of houses and a man who travels alone.
Start instead at the end. Start with a circus. We will find our way there again."
Sandra Scofield, A Chance to See Egypt

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Nice Day This

Lunch at the Indian Oven with my very nice landlord and then a new tea with a new friend. The tea: Cinnamon Mint Chai (not so minty and not strongly spicy at all) but creamy and warm and next time it's the cherry blossom one I meant to try tonight:a green tea with some rose essence to it, too. Or one of my old cardamon standbys because really, when is cardamon ever not a good idea? Exactly.

I'm reading Jane Eyre and the promised-insomnia of a whole pot of black tea has me wondering when it became 1:32 a.m.

If not you then Lorca to bring in Wednesday with me:

Gacela of Unforseen Love

No one understood the perfume
of the dark magnolia of your womb.
Nobody knew that you tormented
a hummingbird of love between your teeth.

A thousand Persian little horses fell asleep
in the plaza with moon of your forehead,
while through four nights I embraced
your waist, enemy of the snow.

Between plaster and jasmins, your glance
was a pale branch of seeds.
I sought in my heart to give you
the ivory letters that say "siempre",

"siempre", "siempre" : garden of my agony,
your body elusive always,
that blood of your veins in my mouth,
your mouth already lightless for my death.

Federico García Lorca

Missing the West

Came in to the dreariest sky I've ever seen. Was whisked from the airport to my car and wondered if Columbus and I would ever have any attachment to one another as I put the cold key into the cold lock and entered an apartment quite nearly a walk-in.

But today my landlord took me to lunch at Indian Oven and it was gracious and the weather a little more mild and all the beauty reminded me that I do love here and that the lilies at Goodale will bloom again and whatever reflorescence doesn't follow was never floral anyway.

Today needs a dollop of Young:

Dean Young
Beloved Escapee
Out of longing, you rowed into the horizon,
dented it in fact. Cringe. The brain shrinks
at such responses the gulls give the sea,
the sea gives itself, a discourse we
are always on the outside of, even drowning.

Oh, you said known world, not gnome world.
That makes all the difference or I wish it would
but I suspect it’s just a matter of magnification,
whether the mite be giant monster
or the great calamity of an orange-ade spill.

In the meantime as it always is
except in childhood when it’s too early
or always too late, in the meantime
I remain ornament to the miniature
golf course, subterfuged with rain.

The tricky part is how life dissolves
to tics relieved every now and then
by seizures, anemones of light spiking
from your head, a voice from the clouds
plenty loud yet you the only one to notice,

unrepentant truant that you are, sprung,
at large. Take me with you next time,
okay? I promise not to tattle.