Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alkan and The Magic Slate

The music of Charles-Valentin Alkan ,and of course,  the legend of his Death by Talmud, were important in working out themes I used in The Magic Slate.

I couldn't find the Lentement from the early Trio in G Minor (the three musicans in Persian Lamb, 3 muses... about to play their version of the Trio that ends the novel.
Here are some Alkan links... can't say why or how--but they were as influential as any literary works.



This, last shows its structural dependence on the classical strutures Alkan used to spin off from

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art is Essentially Communal

Scraps and Thoughts Gathering Toward an Aesthetic Manifesto

Something I need to build on... too tired, but want to paint the thought on a sign board... to force myself to follow up on it...

Imagination is real. Yes, Blake was right. Everything we are capable of imagining is real. Not, perhaps, as Blake meant this... a particular kind of reality, not to be confused with the real of science, of the objective physical world. Real, none the less.
Politics is a reality of that same order; hence, the lie of those who would write and promote literature in the guise of an aesthetics free of politics... and worse,  in the name of "realism".. James Wood, Nigel Beale... ideological anti-realists dedicated to protecting their unacknowledged politics through  an aesthetics infused in every word with politics, permitting themselves to be used by that which they refuse to see-- a campaign of denying the reality of the impact of politics, class and privilege...not speaking here of fictional characters--of narratives about politics, but the politics that informs aesthetic judgment itself
The myth of the lone artist is a lie. Yes, a writer returns to a room alone to work on a novel... but filled with the fizz and clang of engagement with others--other writers, artists, thinkers, friends and enemies--not to imitate, not to fit in, but to stand alone with others.  No accident that great movements in art and letters have been centers of communal engagement... we learn how to be great individuals by learning how to find our place with others. Life is with others. Art comes into being with others. Arguing, defending, resisting, competing... not only with the Great Dead, but with the living.  The pretense  of an aesthetics without politics is a myth propagated by those with a vested interest in preserving power as it is, bought into by those who court the confirmation of established order,  the security of'rule and measure' brought out in a year of dearth.

Post SEPTA strike: How the Media Promotes Anti-Union Messaging

Wolf in Scribes Clothing



Three New Links: Labor, Politics, Art

Arts and Culture Philly Artists, Craftspersons, Poets, Activists: working together at the convergence of art and poltics: creativity and service without compromise to either.

Organizing Upgrade Left Organizers Respond to the Changing times
We are living in amazing times. Between the groundbreaking election of President Obama and the onset of the largest economic crisis that this country has seen in decades, the terrain of politics is rapidly shifting beneath our feet. The left-progressive movement is currently engaged in a re-evaluation and reorientation (for example, the recent “Reimagining Socialism” discussion in The Nation and the “Reimagining Society” dialogue on ZNet). Within this broader dialogue on the left, community organizers need place to reflect on the particular possibilities and demands facing in this historic moment.

Labor is Not a Commodity

The Labor is Not a Commodity blog is a collaborative blog space where organizations concerned with international labor rights issues can post comments about current events in labor news. Please see below for descriptions of the four current participants of this blog.

International Labor Rights Forum
ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. ILRF serves a unique role among human rights organizations as advocates for and with working poor around the world.

STITCH, founded in 1998, unites Central American and U.S. women workers to exchange strategies on how to fight for economic justice in the workplace.

SweatFree Communities assists sweatshop workers globally in their struggles to improve working conditions and form strong, independent unions.

The US/Labor Education in the Americas Project (US/LEAP) works to support the basic rights of workers in Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico, especially those who are employed directly or indirectly by U.S. companies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cory Doctorow on the Future of Publishing

Meet Publisher's Enemy No 1, Corry Doctorow
John Barber

From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 4:37PM EST
Last updated on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 3:42AM EST

The traditional publishing industry's worst nightmare arrived in Toronto this week when science-fiction author Cory Doctorow addressed the TD National Reading Summit on the burning question of “How to Destroy the Book.”

As one of the world's most successful bloggers, a writer who freely gives away his work as well as selling it – and not least, a genuine expert in the suddenly fraught world of international copyright – this Toronto-born phenom knows as much about wrecking traditional publishing as anyone alive.


The novel, about the struggles of technology hackers in a future economic upheaval, is being made available in a dizzying variety of forms – from downloads and “aps” to a deluxe limited edition of 250 copies made at a family-owned bindery near Doctorow's London home, priced at $250 a piece. But like Little Brother, Doctorow's bestselling young-adult novel of 2008, Makers will be free on his website to any reader with the hard-drive space to store it. Those who want a $15 paper copy will be able to order it from print-on-demand publisher

As a service to other writers, Doctorow said in an interview conducted while he stood on the platform between carriages of a speeding British train, he is experimenting in ways to “delaminate” the traditional publishing industry.

“Right now, we have this vision of the publisher as a monolithic service entity that proves everything from typesetting and printing to distribution to sales support, marketing and PR,” he said. “But there's no reason it has to do all those things in one go.”

Or even the basic ones – like providing its products to retail outlets.  [...]

But these are not the book-destroying feats Doctorow detailed at this week's conference in Toronto, which is devoted to the development of a national reading culture. The real wreckers, according to him, are the publishers and entertainment firms using digital technology to undermine the traditional rights of readers.

“What they're doing is throwing away copyright rules that describe what rights readers have to a book, and replacing them with these farcical end-user licence agreements that say you don't really own the book, you only license it,” he said, noting that consumers who buy audio books from iTunes are required to agree to a 26,000-word licence agreement.

“I don't think people write 26,000-word licence agreements in order to give you more rights,” he said. “They only do it to take away your rights.”

Read the rest HERE<

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Becoming the Crisis

on Spurious
The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born, W. is reading from his notebooks. In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appears. That's Gramsci, he says. It's from the Prison Notebooks.

Morbid symptoms - is that what we are? Is that our significance? Then we need to see it all the way through, W. says. It's the new we have to press towards, and all the way to death. We have to live the crisis, W. says. We have to become the crisis.

Silliman's Fork

It would be hard to overstate Ron Silliman's contribution to the legitimizing of poetic diversity. He combines a  precise and finely tuned ear in close readings of particular poems, with a sweeping revisionist history of American poetry.

No one can do everything, and there's no disrespect in noting the limitations of a project as large as the one he's laid out. While I think he may overstate the case in claiming that Silliman 'demonizes' Quietist poetry--unless largely ignoring it is to demonize it--I think Curtis Faville, in a comment on Silliman's Blog, makes some good points.
The question isn't whether Ron needs to update himself, but whether his first vision (Quietism versus Avant) was true or not, and if it was, what that implied about action and taste.

He can't say he's moving on, as if that closed the door on the subject. That door is still open, and people are milling about from room to room, exploring alternatives. May all the doors stay open forever.

... I think my point was/is that the debate that Ron started--Quietism versus Avant--hasn't simply been "won" by declaring it a draw, or by leaving off the debate, arbitrarily, at a fixed point. His argument all along has been that there is a fork in the road, and his choices of the writers he admires and encourages, going forward, are based on the assumption of his partisanship in that argument.

Ron largely demonizes all the writing he characterizes as "quietist"--ignoring and excluding--while only reviewing and discussing work which proves his point. There's a political pragmatism in focusing on what might otherwise be ignored by the establishment--concentrating on what you believe in makes a certain sense--but you have to address "everything else" directly, not simply by exclusion. That's part of what makes the Grand Piano problematic: It doesn't consider what it doesn't see; it's inverted and ingrown, a jealous attempt to separate itself from East Coast "Language" school--and all other off-shoots.

 Faville has touched on a similar point in his post, Poetry & Friendship--Connectedness & Originality , where he overstates his own case in suggesting Silliman's praise of Armantrout's work is too obviously partisan, and her work, 'secondary.' Silliman is careful to build his arguments on close readings that deserve examination apart from their alleged partisan context.
Silliman appears to accept the a priori idea of a corrupted marketplace of ideas, in which the insistence upon a contrarian claim--no matter how genuine or valid--constitutes a responsible function in the historical dialectic of competing interests, which may in part account for the absurdity and extremity of some of his assertions. Readers of his blog might feel more inclined to believe his high praise of Armantrout, for instance, if he hadn't overpraised the work of an imagined compatriot in the interests of a political correctness in the lit'ry wars. Each of us, no matter what our reputation, only has so much literary "capital" to spend. Better to save your praise for those who really merit it, than throw it away on secondary work simply because you think it has its heart on the correct side of the chest cavity.

Of course it's more complicated than that; it always is. In an April 2009 post, Silliman describes what he sees as the basic condition of the School of Quietude... a term that carries invisible scare quotes, as it is precisely the refusal of Quietism (I wonder at this implication of agency to what is essentially a ghost) to name or define what it is is about:  a power play, as Silliman has it, to claim Mainstrteam status.

The School of Quietude, as I’ve noted before, is simply a placeholder for that other poetry tradition which tries so very hard to be the unmarked case. I won’t call it Mainstream, because it is not. I don’t think it qualifies as Official Verse Culture either, although that often is how it seems to present itself. In the past couple of decades only the New Formalists have had the courage and wit to stand up for their work within that frame, but in fact I would argue at Quietism is no less rich with subcategories and differentiations (and contradictions) than post-avant poetics, but it remains foggy precisely because it refuses to name itself. That refusal is a power move – nothing more, nothing less. (You might say that my naming it is likewise, and you would be right.) From the perspective of its poetics, I think the denial of self-identification is a mistake. I think the School of Q would be infinitely richer, more robust & more rigorous if its different clusters would begin to discuss what they were doing and why. Why are the new formalists not like soft surrealism? And what is it about surrealism that permits softness to uproot it from its avant-garde heritage? Scoping out the territory of this fundamentally anti-modernist poetics that I call Quietude really represents a huge opportunity.
To answer Faville, as to why he has largely restricted himself to disucssions of the post-avant, Silliman fairly lays the burden of that task at the feet of those poets whose writing represents the several competing and sometimes contradictory threads of the SoQ.
I’ve called the term Quietude a placeholder because I think that, as an outsider (mostly), I can’t really do that work, plus it’s ultimately not my responsibility. I’ve hoped that the term I’ve chosen would prove just irksome enough to goad a young Donald Hall or Louise Glück to take up the challenge and to begin to fill out the map and provide a better name.

Not only could such a poet-critic map this space, they could answer some important questions, such as why become the poetry without a name? Why is it so important not to acknowledge the existence of other kinds of poetry? Or why do so many Quietists trace their roots back to various avants of decades past (the appropriation of Whitman & Dickinson being the most obvious), rather than to “mainstream” poetics from those same periods? Why is Frost the first Quietist they tend to acknowledge? Why is there so little attention paid to their own heritage that relatively major Quietists (Roethke, Jarrell, Berryman, James Dickey) become footnotes at best the instant they die? Or explain the patent jingoism that permits only poets of color to deviate from normative quietist writing strategies?

There are enough critical challenges defining (let alone defending) the pathologies of

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time, Science, Poetry

Thanks to Cosmic Variance for this link on Time Since Einstein.

There is no need to make poetry of science. Science IS poetry.

My take on What is Time

Sean Carroll, What if Time Really Exists?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It was a chapter that didn't want to be seen, that insisted on being censored... so I censored it. 5 pages of blacked out lines, like an FBI file... a few words here and there, a phrase here and there. Marta and Zelda. Their inability to traverse the fantasy. I wanted to force them... to do it for them. Wrong wrong wrong! Why did it take me so long to figure this out!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Entropy the New Mutability?

How has science affected the way we imagine time?

For any writer/poet fascinated with science (me me me), this is a freaking WONDERFUL challenge! Thing is to keep somewhere in mind what you've retained about scientific treatment of time, not to reproduce that as poetry, but to reflect on how it's seeped into the way you imagine time, thinking about where scientific thinking has taken us since, you know... When I behold by time's fell hand defaced... that sort of thing.

From John Conway at Cosmic Variance

I’ve been meaning to write about this for, well, some time: how do we visualize time? What is the mental picture we have in our heads of this basic dimension of our existence? This is bound to be one the the stranger posts of mine you’ve read, but, so be it.

Looking online I find basically no research or anything written on this subject, but I am quite certain that just about everyone has some picture of time in their heads. For me, it’s quite a visual one, and past events and for that matter future ones are all attached to my mental picture of the time continuum. My notion of all history, from my own to that of the universe is inextricably linked with my internal mental images of time.

The thing is, as I have reflected on how I actually internally visualize time, I have found it to be somewhat bizarre. Or maybe not – I don’t really know because I haven’t really explored this in one-on-one conversation with others and haven’t learned from anything written out there just how different my picture is from others’. So here goes…I hope those of you out there who are intrigued or inspired by this will share their own images.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writer's Journal

No more.

The poems I’ve published (almost all) are of another time and place, another mind. Not mine. Not anymore. Same with the stories. Even were there truth to the legend (I’ve seen no evidence to support it) of publication credits opening the way (to who knows what)… I’ve lost my desire to become a member of those clubs I’d likely be invited to join on their merit.

Several things going on. There’s the psychological drain. No, I don’t mean rejection. It’s in the asking… the begging (how—with the scam contests, chapbooks where they ask you to PAY them, not to publish them, like an honest vanity press, but to look at them! Pay them to have 20 something undergrads sort through the slush pile tossing keepers to the right, rejects to the left... there’s more pride holding out a can on a street corner. Compared to the begging, rejections come to feel like confirmation.

Then there’s the insider-outsider thing that’s inseparable from what it means to ‘belong,’ to 'break in,' or 'through' (anywhere but out)… whether by merit or trading on connections, no getting around it: what you’re getting in to is the whole conservative corporate military-industrial-prison complex, that what you’re begging for is to be a very small humble, useless-but-tolerated-tool-of-the-Empire, existing (if you can call it that) entirely by the grace of your corporate masters.

It’s a retroactive decision that I’ve been making piecemeal for the last few years. In 2007 I sent out 122 submissions, both poetry and fiction, three publishers for each story or set of poems, repeated on rejection. By the end of June this year, I’d sent out nine. Twenty-two years ago when I made the decision to work on my writing, to make a serious effort to turn out a body of work before I croaked, the submissions and occasional publications were important to me—a reminder that this was something more than a hobby. I don’t have to be reminded now. I want no less to find readers, but not like that… and probably not those readers.

I say, this is a process that’s been underway for some time, a change driven—or at least preceded by--changes in what and how I want to write, a process, I suppose, as much about defining (or un-defining) myself as it is about the writing.

The Barking Dog has both pushed me forward—and held me back. I’m still trying to understand what its purpose is; I have feelings about it, but no answers. The rich, vibrant grassroots poetry (scene? community? … I’m not intimate enough with it—or it with me--to be comfortable calling it, as CAConrad does, ‘family’ …not yet)… but the reality: the readings, the poetry, the openness of heart and mind of those I’ve met in the last few years--most, many years, decades... younger… this too, has played its part.

I want to forge forward, in part, by drawing back. When I post poems on the Barking Dog (usually works in progress that I continue to edit and change after they're posted) I do so, having decided that I won’t be submitting this now. It’s semi-published. Semi-public. Whether there will be anyone to read it or not, I don’t know. That isn’t the purpose. I don’t think a blog is a good place to find readers of either poems or fiction. There is this feeling of exposure—a standing-naked-in-front-of-a-window sort of exposure—that wakes me up. Heightens my critical senses. For work that holds up, passes the test in my own mind—there may be readings, other ways to share, and in the future, other opportunities to get them in print. Better not to waste emotional energy thinking about it. Be open to what happens. Do the work. Stand on my own ground.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mani-pesto! Basilink and Pine Street nuts (beware for Dirty franks be Yupified twixt closing time and late)

I hereby upon this blog the Barking Dog doth now and evermore (with no recourse to ravens nor less raving) renounce and multiply till worms do me part from the punctuated period of this pre/pro/nounceMINT, ALL distiction betwixt poetry and prose--syntax be damned as it has damned us in its service to power and all evil empires all empires BEING evil,  dead be witness living live! a part! Apart from all to all! Be well...

              be well

                                          be well 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Philly Poets: Gil Ott. PAPP

Today, Sunday, November 8, 2009, at the second PAPP symposium,  I remembered a tribute I recently read--to Gil Ott,  whose spirit--as caught in this memorial-- infused this afternoon's free wheeling situational improvised trackless and fascinating conversation. It was in the almost two decades I had withdrawn from the literary scene that Gil most made his presence known in Philly. The worst sort of timing on my part.
That spirit was alive and well this afternoon: contentious, perverse, subversive, funny, sometimes loud but never hostile--driven by the kind of Philly Soul you see on Broad Street after a Phillies win, or on New Years day. I am so damn grateful that so many of those who knew him as friend, poet, inspiration have carried on in their own way his vision of a community based alternative arts movement, and that I'm able to not only witness, but to feel--however marginally--a part of this.

in memoriam, Gil Ott. Posted on the web by Al Filreis, February 6, 2004.

"If you take an expansive definition of what poetry is, poetry is all around us. Rap music is poetry, advertising is full of poetry.... I do consider the many, many branches and streams of poetry that exist as legitimate."--Gil Ott

Gil Ott once told Kristen Gallagher that "there are no forms of language that have not contributed to some abuse of power. This realization set me out early on, looking for incorruptible forms." Put together Gil's deeply felt concern about the abuse of power with his search, in writing, for incorruptible forms and you have a view of a community-based "alternative arts movement" that is remarkably clear-eyed. Gil saw an analogy between poetry and community-development organizations. Both, he said, are small. Both are capable of responding quickly to changing conditions. Both are inherently decentralized. Both can defy interposed categories, rules that come from outside. "It is time," he once declared, "to consider the potential in such linkages." Notwithstanding the stump-speech rhetoric, which was rare for him ("It is time to..."), Gil was actually being characteristically modest when he said this, because, for him, it was long past the time he had begun such projects. That a community of poets lived alongside and in connection with people passionate about community development in Philadelphia was and is largely owing to Gil's efforts. We who care about the fate of the "small" arts here owe him more than we often know. He is in the air we breathe. I know I expand every time I take in his "expansive definition of what poetry is."

Gil Ott reading on PennSound

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Writer's and the Heir of the kid that bites you!

What is it with kids and grandkids of poets and writers (Zukofsky, Joyce... ) and their sad attempts to appropriate the literary remains of dead Dad and Grandpa back into the comfy folds of unmitigated Capitalism? (posted on WET ASPHALT )

It's a wonder he's not claiming perpetual rights to the letter 'A' in caps!

Enough to tempt one to post Zukofsky poetry at length just to see Z send a pack of howling lawyers to confiscate my Staples bargain laptop... not being a very successful Capitalist, probly the most valuable piece of property I own. Let his legal lions split the Ebay re-sale and see if there's enough left for postage to properly notify their outraged client of the results. Those guys must be exhausted chasing down quotes on the web... not hard to find. See the Wikipedia link to 'A' has been deleted. Those suckers like cockroaches--freakin everywhere!  Hey, Kevin, you realize how much trouble you're in?
Whooo hoo, The Old Dog's Copyrighted post # 501! Let my sons see what they can collect from this!

Lookit the comments this garnered on Poetry Foundation!

I suggest we publish every line Zukofsky wrote, all over the web, print broadsides and pass 'em out on the street--but at the same time, set up a non-profit for contributions to support P. Zukofsky in his old age. He was a worthy musician. He deserves it for his own contributions... why should he be snarling like a rabid dog for the pennies he might gather from his old man's work? But hard not to get the sense that his real goal ain't money... but to dig up his old man and castrate his corpse.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Null Set, chapter from Work in Progress

 The blindfold is surprisingly effective. I wave my hand in front of my face and perceive a shadow image of its passing. No light leaks through from the bottom. Nothing. Perfect darkness. And yet there is this vague image of my hand; my brain, not my eyes, tracking its motion. A drawing class I took years ago. An exercise we did. We sat facing a reflective screen. In front of us, a large pad of newsprint, in our hands, a stick of charcoal. The room had been specially prepared; blackout curtains on the windows; doors were draped so no light could seep under or around them; a single pinpoint of red light over the screen, lest we become disoriented in the five minutes or so of complete darkness while we waited for our eyes to adapt and the signal for the exercise to begin. The drawing master--Simone, I think his name was Simone--had a slide projector fitted with a mechanism that coordinated a graduated adjustment, rheostat with the lens, increasing light proportionately as the image came into focus. The projection would begin as a blur at the threshold of visibility. Over an interval of ten minutes, the light would grow brighter, the focus sharper. Unable at first to recognize anything--like peering into a thick fog on a moonless night; we were to try to represent what we saw as it developed: an exercise in pure, unmediated vision﷓﷓, shades of light and dark creating forms with no identifiable figuration--to record the picture as it emerged. Only in the final seconds, when the light was sufficient to see what our efforts had rendered. was it possible to recognize what we had been copying: a reproduction of a drawing or print would come into focus: a landscape, a still life, a photograph of a nude model. The lights would go on, and the exercise would be over.

Blind to the present, my mind drifts back in time. I am fishing on Lake Michigan with my father in his boat. This is shortly before he will die. My parents had bought a retirement cottage not far from Grand Rapids and my mother had sent me bus fare hoping for a reconciliation. The light on the water, that silvered turquoise water, the peaks of the waves glisten in the sun--even the Voice is lulled to somnambulant slumber. I think of my mother--of that last summer, the summer before her final illness, while she is still herself--sitting on the porch--martini hour--watching the sunset over the lake, the jet skiers droning and whining like gigantic mechanized insects, a moment I wanted to go on forever. A tableaux that recedes into the distance, the light of stars that no longer exist.

Scanning. He keeps using that word. At The Fire. My eyes scan the horizon--the summer cumulus piling up in great columns over the lake, the boat rising and falling with the swells. He would scan the wall, he said--the wall full of pictures--until he found his focal point, sink into the Left Side of the World.

In my minds eye--it's a picture of a boat on the lake.

That moment of perfect clarity... what happened? Where did it go? Another waking from dreamless sleep, a silence we enter but cannot bring with us, from which we emerge bearing not a trace, as though it had not happened. I listen. The room is quiet--not even the sound of passing traffic on the street. Quiet, but never silent. The mind is always moving, the endless stream of words. To fall asleep, I turn them into images, and then I dream. Of dreamless sleep we have no memory. The Voice calls from the crevice of darkness, from the gates of death. I resist. I pretend to listen, to follow where it leads but where it turns left I turn right. I close the door of the room in my house of the dead. Living with others we shore up the walls of our existence, the walls that contain us, the waters of our being. Alone we bleed into the world, the outlines run and blur, we cannot tell where we begin and where we end. Was this what Blake feared? The strong lines define the figure. What he could not abide in Rembrandt. Now it comes back to me--how she stood out against the light, the strong contour of her neck and shoulder, her hands binding the wound on her arm--and again in the snow, black on white. I wanted touch, not as I touched the women I had loved, as I had touched Sorrell, falling into her, losing myself--no, to feel her resistance, to approach and feel the limiting wall, the edge of her silence. The strong lines that define the figure.

Silence--a word we can know nothing about, or know only as we know death, as metaphor, surmise, the nothingness that frames the span of our life, the before and after beyond experience, experience that is always filled with signs, signs that may not speak but are never silent. Think of the silence of the woman pouring milk. It is hers, in that room before that window, in the light that caresses her, in the shadows that surround her, but it is never ours. Reminds us at best of the presence of something we cannot know. The silence is in the painting, not in us; we know it only as an absence that draws us out of ourselves, like the silence that frames the lines of a poem. We read the words, read to the end of the line, to the end of the poem and encounter there that same absence. We call it silence, but the silence is on the page, in the white spaces between the words, it is not in us. It is never ours. Never. We say that we have come from silence, as we will return to silence. But our saying this is an admission that between birth and death there is no silence. Not for single second. Look into the eyes of an animal and you will see it--the impenetrable silence we are not permitted to enter, and if we were, if we could (perhaps again, as in dreamless sleep) we would emerge (again) with no trace, no memory of where we had been, no knowledge that we had been there. Is it possible, then, that we do enter but without knowing? Neither feel nor remember; the dark matter of our being--dark energy that does not interact, or only weakly with our voluble lives? We are left always with this intimation that there is something more, but we can never know or name what lies beyond it. How many times have I fallen through without knowing, into the silence, losing everything? Erased from the lives of others? Not even alone?

Figue has handed me a box. I didn't hear him enter the room. Has he been here all along? The box is filled with papers, clippings, photographs. I assume these are the pieces he removed from the wall. He stops behind me. I feel the cat pass between my legs. Figue unties the cloth. The light blinds me--from a kaleidoscope of imagined pasts into a present I cannot for the life of me imagine. I force myself to picture Wren, my Snow Angel... not as I imagined her but as she is.. Drive the image of Sorrell, the old Sorrell of dreams and silken scarves, drive it out of my head--but cannot. I tell Figue, promise him. I have no intention of harming her. As though he doesn't hear me. I swear to him that it's not what he thinks, but everything I say turns against me. I can't do this, I tell him. I cannot.

It's time, he says, and nothing more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Without comment

From Think Buddha on meditation
if you sit for long enough, things eventually come and sit down next to you (unless it’s the cat, who just comes along and prods you continually with his paws and meows for breakfast). Sitting quietly doing nothing, as Basho has it, spring comes and the grass grows by itself. And, if you are lucky and you persist for long enough, even the cat eventually goes to sleep and leaves you in peace.

Claude Levi-Strauss

Claude Levi-Strauss 1908-2009

New York Times OBIT