Winter makes fragments more appealing than ever.
A scarcity of warmth, a scarcity of words,
a surplus of books-in-waiting.
A surplus of poems
A surplus of time.
I believe that literature is important, and I believe that beauty is important, too. I believe in aesthetics, not for the sake of aesthetics, but for the sake of adding curation to the world. I believe in beautiful books of poems and I believe in broadsides, poems letter-pressed (letter-punched) into thick paper. One day, I will own a small letterpress, and I will make small books, beautiful books, books that have forests in their peripheral vision. They will be for sale, and they will be available for barter, too, because I believe less in money than I believe in beautiful items, a jar of brightpurple kimchi, a set of photographs with thick white borders, a hand-sanded cutting board. I believe in love and I believe in matrimony if you want it and I believe in admitting fault and in feeding oneself and one’s loved ones. In essence, I believe. As a result, I share this stanza that I love (by someone I know), and this whole poem, which I understand completely (by someone I do not know).
In a movie we see a young family live througha tsunami. Sheltering in trees. I think of the man I might expectto find unhurt in a tree above any awful thing. This man whoon Christmas I said I would marry. When I met him I dreamtwe went cheek-to-cheek to the peak of the dome of my room to speakprivately. When something comes true it is like a wreath in your body.
(via BLACK LEMON)
Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot
and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing
on the black earth. But I say it is
what you love.
-Sappho, as translated by Anne Carson
photo of Littleleaf by Misha
Scott in the Guggenheim’s whorl
stared at a Picasso with both eyes
forward, said to me “I see the Eiffel
tower, a saxophone and some boobs
on a plate.” We laughed in the museum
and got in trouble for photographs
and got kicked out a closing time
and talked right up to the stop
where we split off from each other
in the underground undergrime
of the subway. I zoomed to Kathryn
with her foster dog who did not
love me but he loved my thigh
and dinner at a tiny restaurant
where we cried in the moment
in between dinner and dessert
when the cook in the kitchen
right behind us began slicing
tomorrow’s onions. Eyedrops
and overdue birthday presents,
hummus scooped around, wine
and wine and a whiskey, a bouquet
and a beer and asleep in Sam’s
bed with the lock fully bolted.
And so much to eat every day,
scalloped potatoes by Kath
in the sweet lowdown space
where she’s made her small home.
And Andy so tall that we hug
like a tree and a sapling. And Max
even taller, so full of face that I’ve missed
since last winter in Bushwick when
the cabs were all taken. Awe of piled
trash on every street, awe of the ease
of jokes and jingles made around a small
wooden table. Only three tiny pills
twice a day for Sam. Schiele for free
in a gallery uptown. The subway running
as if the storm never blew. Sean lives
with Scott and they’re both my true
friends. Poems and lentils and The Strand
and more whiskey. Running down 12th
like a bat outta barn. Coffee in mugs
and coffee to go. Dancing in honor
of a liver restored. And back on the bus
to my home in the country, fat to the gills
on signage, on sweetness.
Katie put this song on a mix for me. It’s track 14 and I skip to it as I drive up the winding hill toward home. And I sing along to it very loudly, especially the lyric that Katie must have known I’d need, the crescendo of “Been talking ’bout the way things change/my family lives in a different state.”
And then today talking to Andrew of Shake the Baron who is my friend and is moving to live in a cabin by a lake and teach guitar and record music for people and make songs through the winter. He listens to songs for melody, I listen for lyrics. Hopefully someday we’ll write a song together.
This video is is in a lonely place, a high underpass somewhere where the acoustics make them loud and resonant. I wonder how much of songs is still in the stones there. Either way I’ll sing along.
Last week I met this man in the coffee shop. He was well-spoken and friendly and we chatted. Here he is:
(from Peter Money’s website)
I didn’t meet Allen Ginsberg; he’s dead and likely never visited White River Junction. The man I did meet recommended that I read Joanne Kyger. As it turns out, she’s great! She’s beautiful!
Then the other day I got in the truck and there were four pumpkins sitting shotgun. I put one out by the mailbox and two along the driveway and one is still riding shotgun.
(from this isn’t happiness)
It’s autumn and the mums are on display. I’ve been reading The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard and oh I love it so much I love it so much. Also, we’ve been drying sliced tomatoes, storing them in oil, stacking them in the cupboards where they’ll wait until they’re given as gifts. Here’s a painting by Joe Brainard, of a tomato.
(from The Met)
Outside, everything is in motion from the wind, the leaves flying to the ground like torpedoing birds.
(from Misha’s flickr)
I’ve given this poem to people before. Today, I give it to myself. And, of course, to you.
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that
Many of the houses on our hill and on surrounding hills are huge estates. Acres and acres of lawn. One lone, beautiful building. Like something Hopper would paint, or has.
(Edward Hopper, “House by the Railroad,” 1925.)
In the belly
baguette in spicy olive oil
eggplant parmesan (homemade!)
English muffins (homemade!)
wild grape jam (made by Misha’s dad!)
On the table
pint of raspberries
summer’s last cantaloupe
a tiny tower of sheep cheese
small, wussy avocadoes (we’re not in California anymore…)
black turtle beans
In the yard
three types of grapes
black apricot trees
various plum trees
lime thyme (!)
Jerusalem artichoke (l’chaim)
faintly ironical smile
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?
photograph: “Le velo du Printemps” by Robert Doisneau, 1948.