Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By Karl Shapiro
That note comes clear, like water running clear,
Then the next higher note, and up and up
And more and more, with now and then a chord,
The highest notes like tapping a tile with a hammer,
Now and again an arpeggio, a theme
As if the keyboard spoke to the one key,
Saying, No interval is exactly true,
And the note whines slightly and then truly sings.
She sits on the sofa reading a book she has brought,
A ray of sunlight on her white hair.
She is here because he is blind. She drives.
It is almost a platitude to say
That she leads him from piano to piano.
And this continues for about an hour,
Building bridges from both sides of the void,
Coasting the chasms of the harmonies.
And in conclusion,
When there is no more audible dissent,
He plays his comprehensive keyboard song,
The loud proud paradigm,
The one work of art without content.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
we have to get a divorce
i know that seems like an odd way to start a love letter but let me explain:
it’s not you
it sure as hell isn’t me
it’s just human beings don’t love as well as insects do
i love you.. far too much to let what we have be ruined by the failings of our species
i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night
i know you would never DO anything, you never do but..
i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night
did you know that when a female fly accepts the pheromones put off by a male fly, it re-writes her brain, destroys the receptors that receive pheromones, sensing the change, the male fly does the same. when two flies love each other they do it so hard, they will never love anything else ever again. if either one of them dies before procreation can happen both sets of genetic code are lost forever. now that… is dedication.
after Elizabeth and i broke up we spent three days dividing everything we had bought together
like if i knew what pots were mine like if i knew which drapes were mine somehow the pain would go away
this is not true
after two praying mantises mate, the nervous system of the male begins to shut down
while he still has control over his motor functions
he flops onto his back, exposing his soft underbelly up to his lover like a gift
she then proceeds to lovingly dice him into tiny cubes
spooning every morsel into her mouth
she wastes nothing
even the exoskeleton goes
she does this so that once their children are born she has something to regurgitate to feed them
now that.. is selflessness
i could never do that for you
so i have a new plan
i’m gonna leave you now
i’m gonna spend the rest of my life committing petty injustices
i hope you do the same
i will jay walk at every opportunity
i will steal things i could easily afford
i will be rude to strangers
i hope you do the same
i hope reincarnation is real
i hope our petty crimes are enough to cause us to be reborn as lesser creatures
i hope we are reborn as flies
so that we can love each other as hard as we were meant to.
by Jared Singer
found via You Are Among Friends
Monday, June 14, 2010
I have this son who assembled inside me
during Hurricane Gloria. In a flash, he appeared,
in a tiny blaze. Outside, pines toppled.
Phone lines snapped and hissed like cobras.
Inside, he was a raw pearl: microscopic, luminous.
Look at the muscled obelisk of him now
pawing through the icebox for more grapes.
Sixteen years and not a bone broken,
nor single stitch. By his age,
I was marked more ways, and small.
He’s a slouching six-foot, three,
with implausible blue eyes, which settle
on the pages of Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”
with profound belligerence.
A girl with a navel ring
could make his cell phone go buzz,
or an Afro-ed boy leaning on a mop at Taco Bell--
creatures strange to me as dragons or eels.
Balanced on a kitchen stool, each gives counsel
arcane as any oracle’s. Rodney claims school
is harshing my mellow. Case longs to date
a tattooed girl, because he wants a woman
willing to do stuff she’ll regret.
They’ve come to lead my son
into his broadening spiral.
Someday soon, the tether
will snap. I birthed my own mom
into oblivion. The night my son smashed
the car fender then rode home
in the rain-streaked cop car, he asked, Did you
and Dad screw up so much?
He’d let me tuck him in,
my grandmother’s wedding quilt
from 1912 drawn to his goateed chin. Don’t
blame us, I said. You’re your own
idiot now. At which he grinned.
The cop said the girl in the crimped Chevy
took it hard. He’d found my son
awkwardly holding her in the canted headlights,
where he’d draped his own coat
over her shaking shoulders. My fault,
he’d confessed right off.
Nice kid, said the cop.
-Mary Karr, from Sinners Welcome
originally published in the New Yorker 2-2-2004 issue, which I is where I first read it and still remember
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Today I organized our 11 bookcases. Because they are spread throughout the house, and because they were mostly full of chaotic juxtapositions, it took pretty much all day -- about seven hours not including the break for lunch. But things are now finally organized into genres for the first time since... well... ever, really.
Our categories are:
- Books about Writing
- Books about Teaching
- Crafts & How To
- Special Topics (for me this is T. S. Eliot, John Keats, and Virginia Woolf, for him this is Kansas and geography books)
- American Lit
- British Lit
- World Lit
- Dictionaries & Reference
- Language books
- Literary Theory / Philosophy / Psychology
- Travel Guides / Travel Writing
- Music books
- Interesting Nonfiction that does not go into another category
- Piano music
- Oversize Books (mostly history)
- Architecture & renovation books
- Home & garden maintenance books
- Telephone books
- Recipe notebooks
- Animal books
- Fluff fiction (good enough to keep, not good enough to go in any of the "Lit" sections)
- Valuable/Rare Books
- History sets + additional History
- Religion / Theology
- Puzzles / Games
- What we're currently reading
- What we are looking forward to reading
- What we just finished reading
- Personal favorites
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
by Jack Ridl
This morning, my mother, here
for the holidays, is washing
the breakfast dishes, when Al, wiry,
coated with drywall dust, takes
her hand and says, “I bet you loved
Sinatra. Dance?” The acrid smell
of plaster floats through the room.
Frank is singing, All or Nothing
at All, and Al leads my mother
under the spinning ballroom lights
across the new sub-floor. He
is smiling. She is looking over
his shoulder. The other guys
turn off their sanders. Al
and my mother move through
the dust, two kids back
together after the war. Sinatra
holds his last note. “It’s been
seven years since I danced,”
my mother says. “Then
it was in the kitchen, too.”
Al smiles again, says,
“C’mon then, Sweetheart!”
biting off his words like the ends
of the good cigars he carries
in his pocket. Sinatra’s singing
My Funny Valentine, and
my mother lays her hand in Al’s.
They dance again, she looking
away when she catches my eye,
Al leading her back
across the layers of dust.
© Jack R. Ridl 2001
Originally found at his blog, here.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.
from Burnt Norton, by T. S. Eliot