Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On What's in a Name

People Met

Gottfried Benn

(translated from the German by Michael Hofmann)

I have met people who,
asked after their names,
shyly—as if they had no title
to an appellation all to themselves—
replied “Fräulein Christian” and added:
“like the first name,” they wanted to make it easy for the other,
not a difficult name like “Popiol” or “Babendererde”—
“like the first name”—please, don’t burden your memory overmuch!

I have met people who
grew up in a single room with their parents
and four brothers and sisters, and studied at night
with their fingers in their ears at the kitchen table,
and grew up to be beautiful and self-possessed as duchesses—
and innerly gentle and hard-working as Nausicaa,
clear-browed as angels.

I have often asked myself and never found an answer
whence kindness and gentleness come,
I don’t know it to this day, and now must go myself.
Prose Essays Poems: Gottfried Benn (German Library)
-Explore more from this author at Amazon

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Those Memories

i hope you think of me, thinking of me, love, pretty, quotes

Don't we all have someone we think this way about at some point in our lives?

For me there have been three gentlemen.  I won't name names, but I'll tell you this:  my heart was captured somewhere around the years of 4, 15 and 21...

And yes, for me there is one gentleman that stands out a little more than the others.


Though I was 21 when I met him, and I'm 28 now, he lives somewhere in my 16 year-old heart., and it's likely he always will.

I look forward to a real life and a real love - I know that one day I'll fall in love for the last time and I know that I will give that man my whole heart. I also believe that it is important to make room in your heart for others before you meet them or you risk displaying a "no vacancy" sign to others...believe me I've dated that guy who is still stuck on a girl from years before - and I got plain tired of not only feeling like I couldn't measure up - but finally becoming somewhat preoccupied with her myself - (and these were the days before facebook - imagine that)!

I never want to be the girl who can't forget.

But I hope there's a part of me that never forgets these three young guys the way I felt about them -  and I doubt I ever will. Mostly because a part of me believes that secret dreams and memories - that first love and unrequited love is really the only place a person can ever find real "romance" - like in a book or a movie.

 It's -in your most secret memories -  in all those moments that  only the two of you know about.

It's in every unspoken affection - all the things you didn't have - because it's in those dreams that the two of you were truly perfect.

Remember every time your heart swelled and nearly burst - remember every time it felt shattered, because to quote one of my all time favorite shows Dawson's Creek with one of its all-time most soapy lines -

"it's our pain that makes us real..."

But you know what I think


It's also our joy.

In Order to be More Happy...


On Our Perspectives

The Painter of the Night


James Tate

Someone called in a report that she had
seen a man painting in the dark over by the
pond. A police car was dispatched to go in-
vestigate. The two officers with their big
flashlights walked all around the pond, but
found nothing suspicious. Hatcher was the
younger of the two, and he said to Johnson,
"What do you think he was painting?" Johnson
looked bemused and said, "The dark, stupid.
What else could he have been painting?" Hatcher,
a little hurt, said, "Frogs in the Dark, Lily-
pads in the Dark, Pond in the Dark. Just as
many things exist in the dark as they do in
the light." Johnson paused, exasperated. Then
Hatcher added, "I'd like to see them. Hell,
I might even buy one. Maybe there's more out
there than we know. We are the police, after-
all. We need to know."
-from Poetry Magazine (May 2000).
Product Details
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Friday, January 25, 2013

On The Places That Are Left Over


John Ciardi

I did not have exactly a way of life
but the bee amazed me and the wind’s plenty
was almost believable. Hearing a magpie laugh

through a ghost town in Wyoming, saying Hello
in Cambridge, eating cheese by the frothy Rhine,
leaning from plexiglass over Tokyo,

I was not able to make one life of all
the presences I haunted. Still the bee
amazed me, and I did not care to call

accounts from the wind. Once only, at Pompeii,
I fell into a sleep I understood,
and woke to find I had not lost my way.
-from  Person to Person
The Monster Den: Or Look What Happened at My House-and to It
-Explore more From John Ciardi

Monday, January 21, 2013

On The Magic Of Bio-Chemistry




Linda Hogan

How something is made flesh
no one can say. The buffalo soup
becomes a woman
who sings every day to her horses
or summons another to her private body
saying come, touch, this is how
it begins, the path of a newly born
who, salvaged from other lives and worlds,
will grow to become a woman, a man,
with a heart that never rests,
and the gathered berries,
the wild grapes
enter the body,
human wine
which can love,
where nothing created is wasted;
the swallowed grain
takes you through the dreams
of another night,
the deer meat becomes hands
strong enough to work.
But I love most
the white-haired creature
eating green leaves;
the sun shines there
swallowed, showing in her face
taking in all the light,
and in the end
when the shadow from the ground
enters the body and remains,
in the end, you might say,
This is myself
still unknown, still a mystery.
Indios: A Poem . . . A Performance

On Illumination


Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Elegy for Innocence - 'The Fault in Our Stars'

(with quotes from the book)
'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.'"
Julius Caesar 
Poetry Points
I hesitated to get close to the characters in this book, knowing that any attachment I felt would become an emotional time bomb as the story carried on. But to quote Hazel word's as fell in love with Gus as he read to aloud to her, “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” 
(read on after the summary for the rest of the review)


Here's the premise:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
-from goodreads


And as I expected, I finished the book feeling completely broken hearted, and it was a bit of a "rainy" lunch at work but I got through it.
But unlike many books that fall into the "star-crossed" genre, (sorry Hazel) - The Fault in Our Stars had a message that was actually worth the pain...
As a former "wish kid" myself - I connected with the book in a monumentally emotional way/Although my condition is not terminal (thank  God) - At 28 years old,  I still live with its progression as well as its scars every day. I will live with it my get a entire life, and as far as my health goes - I'm pretty likely to get a long one.


That said, I struggled to deal with my situation into my early twenties before finally coming to understand and accept its reality.  I can remember my conditions making my teenage years seem like they were particularly more highly wrought than most other kids I knew. (I guess I was a little self-involved). But just last month, I met author John Green's Hazel Grace, and suddenly I just felt that there was somebody who understood. Even if it was a  rich, married, middle aged  author - (Who as it turned out, did have a muse for Hazel).

Though the kids in this story were from a generation different from my own, and suffered a reality that was exponentially beyond anything I ever had to experience, I felt like they were telling my story...

But The Fault in Our Stars was more than that  too... It was telling a story for any girl (or boy) who has ever gone through an extended illness, who's ever been different - and even  just experienced the pain of growing up - or being in love:


Hazel was so very real and Augustus was a such dream. The distinct but heroic ways they handled their separate struggles -  were unbelievably inspirational. And though it dealt with very heavy subject matter, The Fault in Our Stars was most surprisingly, often refreshingly hilarious:

 Author John Green is a brilliant, passionate, and  hilarious writer. I have missed his beautiful creations for a nearly a week now, as I often do with the characters in many of my favorite books. Sometimes it's so hard to accept that they've just gone forever...

But Hazel and Augustus, I get the feeling that you're out there,  living it up in literary land, your disembodied spirits sitting on a cloud somewhere playing video games with Lisbeth Salander and Aslan...listening to The Hectic Glow.

So, Godspeed, Hazel Grace,

-Buy it On Amazon


Thursday, January 10, 2013

On an International Love Song - Norwegian Wood

 Poetry Points

Though it was worlds away from any historic or cultural landscape I've ever known I was struck by just how resonant Norwegian Wood was with my own twentieth year .

Norwegian Wood
-Buy it on Amazon

-something I believe many others might agree with as well - whatever their experience.

Tragic, hopeful, and erotic, Norwegian Wood is Haruki Murakami's epic story of a young man's intellectual, romantic and sexual awakening in 1960s Japan.  Along with a hero that is timelessly dreamy, sensitive and evolved Murakami has created a plot that moves as gracefully as Debussy and artfully as any sixties folk song(the book takes its name from a Beatles song).

Originally science fiction's golden boy, Muurakami's crossed genre lines to pen Norwegian Wood, he could hardly know that what he was creating would become not only his own most popular books but also one of Japan's most internationally celebrated novels in history.  Though the storyline of Norwegian Wood moves slowly, the novel has a way of endearing you to its own pace. With it's small but revolving cast of characters - as rich and fragile as any of Billy Shakespeare's - as modern and accessible as any of Jodi Piccoult's - you'll  be so enchanted that you'll hardly notice just how stunningly slow time moves over the course of this novel...
Curious Yet?

Tell me how this grabs you:

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

Let me tell you  - this Toru is quite the thinker - see the 'preturnatureally serious' comment above? They're not kidding.'

Charming, noble, and a little ahead of the curve emotionally -Toru was the perfect Dark Knight.  But he. was also wonderfully realistic. Clumsy, often insensitive, and most realistically of all -incurably sex-driven, Toru is as perfectly round (a character) as they come.

The females in the book are just as perfectly developed and mysterious - and such mirror images of each other you won't know which girl is best for our young hero...until of course you'll know.

But no worries about that - the book will take care of the rest. - No 'Team Naoko' or 'Team Midori' sides here. (Though to tell you the truth I was a Midori fan Shh!).

 Norwegian Wood takes place in a universe that is  light-years away from than the one with live in today, but at its heart is an experience that is as transcendent as they come. A simple novel that become an international love song.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Right Where You Left It...



Linda Gregg

I open the box of my favorite postcards
and turn them over looking for de Chirico
because I remember seeing you standing
facing a wall no wider than a column where
to your left was a hall going straight back
into darkness, the floor a ramp sloping down
to where you stood alone and where the room
opened out on your right to an auditorium
full of people who had just heard you read
and were now listening to the other poet.
I was looking for the de Chirico because of
the places, the empty places. The word
“boulevard” came to mind. Standing on the side
of the fountains in Paris where the water
blew onto me when I was fifteen. It was night.
It was dark then too and I was alone.
Why didn’t you find me? Why didn’t
somebody find me all those years? The form
of love was purity. An art. An architecture.
Maybe a train. Maybe the shadow of a statue
and the statue with its front turned away
from me. Maybe one young girl playing alone,
hearing even small sounds ring off cobblestones
and the stone walls. I turn the cards looking
for the one and come to Giacometti’s eyes
full of caring and something remote.
His eyes are loving and empty, but not with
nothingness, not for the usual reasons, but because
he is working. The Rothko Chapel empty. A cheap
statue of Sappho in the modern city of Mytilene
and ancient sunlight. David Park’s four men
with smudges for mouths, backed by water,
each held still by the impossibility of what
art can accomplish. A broken river god,
only the body. A girl playing with her rabbit in bed.
The postcard of a summer lightning storm over Iowa.

-from Chosen By the Lion:
Chosen by the Lion: Poems
 Copyright © 1994 by Linda Gregg.

Sent from my iPad


Monday, January 7, 2013

...So Shine On


On What Belongs to You Now

Back with the Quakers

Betsy Sholl

You think you can handle these things:
sunlight glinting off a red Jaguar
honking at the old woman who has snagged

her shopping cart on a snow rut,
or the swaggering three-piece suit who steps
outside the bank, earless to the mossy voice

at his feet asking for spare change,
but then the crunch of something, nothing really,
under your shoe--a dirty comb, a pen cap--

completely undoes you, and it's too much,
too much, being balanced, considering
the complexity of all sides in one

syntactically correct sentence.
All the driver has to say is "Move it,
Lady," and you're back with the Quakers

who trained you to lie still and limp in the street.
Three days they stepped on your hair,
ground cigarettes half an inch from your nose,

while you lay there, trying to be against 
violence, your fists tight as grenades
and a payload of curses between your teeth,

O woman, with a mind Picasso
could have painted, giving you many cheeks,
each one turned a different way.

Late Psalm (Univ of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series)
-from Late Psalm

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On What You Can't Protect

Love Affair with Firearms


Medbh McGuckian

From behind the moon boys' graves
bleed endlessly; from photograph
to browning photograph they blacken
headlines, stranded outside of time
at the story's frigid edge.

Though they are long buried 
in French soil, we are still speaking
of trenches, of who rose, who fell,
who merely hung on. The morning drills
secretly, like an element that absorbs.

We are right back where we were
before the world turned over,
the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone
are all that Sunday means. Their North
was not 'The North that never was'.

Artemis, protector of virgins, shovels up
fresh pain with the newly-wed
long-stemmed roses, pressing two worlds
like a wedding kiss upon another Margaret:
lip-Irish and an old family ring.

It's like asking for grey
when that colour is not recognised,
or changes colour from friend to friend.
I track the muse through subwoods, curse
the roads, but cannot write the kiss.
The Soldiers of Year II
-from The Soldiers of Year II

Believe It...


Friday, January 4, 2013

On These Sacred Surroundings


The Shining Truth


"And when I lose my way I close my eyes and he has found me..."


On the Dark Blue


The Lake


Sophie Cabot Black


Day and night, the lake dreams of sky.

A privacy as old as the mountains

And her up there, stuck among peaks. The whole eye

Fastened on hawk, gatherings of cloud or stars,

So little trespass. An airplane once

Crossed her brow; she searched but could not find

A face. Having lived with such strict beauty

She comes to know how the sun is nothing

But itself and the path it throws; the moon

A riddled stone. If only a hand

Would tremble along her cheek, would disturb. Even the elk

Pass by, drawn to the spill of creeks below—

How she cannot help abundance, even as it leaves

Her, as it sings all the way down the mountain.
Image of Sophie Cabot Black

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's On That Outer Plane


dream, allone, always, art

The great poems of
our elders in many
tongues we struggled

to comprehend who
are now content with
mystery simple

and profound you
in the night your
breath your body

orbit of time and
the moment you
Phosphorus and

Hesper a dark circle
of fertility so
bloodthirsty for us

you in the world
the night breathing 
asleep and alive. 
Product Details
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Putting It Back Together Again


Believe, Believe

awesome, colors, cute, fashion, girl

 Bob Kaufman

Believe in this. Young apple seeds,
In blue skies, radiating young breast,
Not in blue-suited insects,
Infesting society’s garments.
Believe in the swinging sounds of jazz,
Tearing the night into intricate shreds,
Putting it back together again,
In cool logical patterns,
Not in the sick controllers,
Who created only the Bomb.
Let the voices of dead poets
Ring louder in your ears
Than the screechings mouthed
In mildewed editorials.
Listen to the music of centuries,
Rising above the mushroom time.
Cranial Guitar First edition by Kaufman, Bob published by Coffee House Press Paperback

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Because It's What You're Best At!


Be Positive


Captivated by the Cold


girl, hair, hipster, snow
Emily Brontë

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
-Explore the world of the Brontë Sisters

On What You Couldn't Have

The Consolations of Sociobiology


Bill Knott


(to JK)

Those scars rooted me. Stigmata stalagmite
I sat at a drive-in and watched the stars
Through a straw while the Coke in my lap went
Waterier and waterier. For days on end or

Nights no end I crawled on all fours or in
My case no fours to worship you: Amoeba Behemoth.
—Then you explained your DNA calls for
Meaner genes than mine and since you are merely

So to speak its external expression etcet
Ergo among your lovers I’ll never be ...
Ah that movie was so faraway the stars melting

Made my thighs icy. I see: it’s not you
Who is not requiting me, it’s something in you
Over which you have no say says no to me.

The Quicken Tree (American Poets Continuum)
-More from Bill Knott