Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sourdough rises

From yeasts
borne on the

Not that we'd
be making the
same mistake,

Somebody estim-
ated that the
devices, alone,
of our surveil-
lance state are
doing the work
of 700 million

And how many
times does that
count the mirror?

    A terrorist in his underwear,
    Shaving in the steam, wipes the bathroom mirror clearer.
    I see, while death is near, life is nearer.
    My shaven skin is softer than the air.

Frederick Seidel
Nice Weather
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012©


  1. I don't know who took the photograph, here, but it's so reminiscent of Sargent's charcoal sketch of his model Olimpio Fusco; I wonder if that was intentional. Hmm....

    1. I'm sorry, I can't cite the photographer for you; this portrait, while heavily cropped for my purposes and slightly re-lighted, does justify this intriguing question. But it was not and would not be my intention to introduce this comparison - except to exhibit the active mind of an attentive reader, need I say.


    2. In fact I'm sort of intrigued to be studying Seidel also these days.

  2. You certainly did find a model with the right lips - they look like the crust of a sourdough pizza! Although aside from the lips he looks more Irish than Italian, I think..

    1. While, as we saw lately in the publication of a portrait of a young woman's face to illustrate an image from Frank O'Hara, a gastronomic allusion to personal features is not unheard of, it was not in one's mind in this entry. The reference to sourdough rising was to an allusion to an agreable aromatic of early morning, infused with others in the fog, such as the hour when one might shave in a city of my past. I hadn't speculated on the ethnicity or nationality of the person lending his face; some of my shaving acquaintance have been almost anonymous in those qualities. I'm impressed by your extraction of these investigative tit-bits, on this equivocal evidence - and possibly you are right. The zeitgeist of surveillance is nothing if not taxonomically vigilant.