Saturday, March 8, 2014

All a sane man could ever reasonably want

    And we, ourselves, 
    were once in MoMA's 
    sculpture garden,
    music playing back, 
    through these speak-
    ers; and then in our
    own place, with their 
    3a's. Guy stuff, not
    to explain. Why'd we 
    splurge for them in
    cherry? It was showy, 
    but one had to. No, 
    there's no forgetting, 
    what there is to hear.

    Maybe you were ruined
    for reception, but I
    miss you, all the same.

Stuck inside a bookstore, with those nothing-to-read blues again

Oh, you get them, too; I know
you do. Trolling through the
novelties, tapping on their
spines, studying endpapers for
a pairing with your wines. What
to read, what to read, nothing
there is quite one's speed, e-
ven the dust jackets boast of 

 The curious
 of publish-
 ing strike
 one almost
 as much in
 a book, as
 in a tablet.
 Symbols all
 lined up,
 to navigate.

     I don't think this condition
     threatens the instinct to in-
     habit a story, not merely to
     be told one. To be stuck in-
     side a bookstore, with those
     nothing to read blues again,
     is not to inhabit a story at
     all, but a misuse of taste.
     It wants a counter-irritant;
     and if there is any route to
     the restoration of taste, it
     is the one that inhabits it.

Jed Perl
Magicians and Charlatans
  Essays on Art and Culture
Eakins Press Foundation, 2012©

Friday, March 7, 2014

Confidence-building measures



            And now you've had
            your drink.
            Consigliere of mine,
            I think it's time you
            told your Don what ev-
            eryone seems to know.


Francis Ford Coppola
  and Mario Puzo 
The Godfather
op. cit.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Springtime for NSDAP analogies

Arpège, or if not, our merry page, would be remiss in its tour d'horison of America's flair for sentimental analogies to the German Chancellor from the NSDAP, if some sort of flasher prize were not awarded to the distaff Clinton, for likening this week that genius for the intimidating démarche, to the dullard little policeman whose eyes seduced George W. Bush. 

Fresh from her ambition's rus-tication in the drawing rooms of Foggy Bottom, it was promising to find her famously Wellesley-honed powers of reasoning yielding to the more common touch of dema-goguery, upon which no career can founder, anywhere known to man. We liked this very much.

To the senior Bush's dismissal of the Chancellor's oft-remarked gift for cruelty, compared with the dictator we'd propped up through more than one war, her analogy brought our Southern gift for grotesque insult, to compare the murderer of some 20 million Soviet citizens to the petty gangster presiding over their heirs. 

So much for diplomacy's capacity to restrain a beggar of office, in this shining little city in the swamp.

No doubt, we shall endure fur-ther occasion to admire this politician's style. For the present crisis, it strikes a classic benchmark. Who can wait to see, who supersizes it?

Meanwhile, no American school-child, worth his overdose of soda, would wish to impugn the wondrous protestations of fellowship protection, precipitating Mr Polk's aggressive by-play with Mexico, McKinley's with the withered empire of Spain, not to mention the redoubtably dubitable Reagan's storming of Grande Anse Beach, with so much as a whiff of comparison with a tried and true Russian tease, of a people it had starved nearly out of existence more than once. Oh, no. Spring is in the air, and Mr Goebbels must eat his heart out.

George Orwell
Politics and the
  English Language
op. cit.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Striped pants in Kiev

     Here comes the blind commissioner
     They've got him in a trance
     One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
     The other is in his pants
     And the riot squad they're restless
     They need somewhere to go
     As Lady and I look out tonight
     From desolation row.

And in comes Romeo, he's moaning
'You belong to me, I believe,'
And someone says, 'You're in the wrong place
my friend you'd better leave'
And the only sound that's left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On desolation row.

     Now the moon is almost hidden
     The stars are beginning to hide
     The fortune-telling lady
     Has even taken all her things inside
     All except for Cain and Abel
     And the hunchback of Notre Dame
     Everybody is making love
     Or else expecting rain.

                How uncollectible,
                experience ever is.

Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited
  Desolation Row
Warner Brothers, 1965©
Special Rider Music, 1993©

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Roadside assistance, none too soon

   Did I hear about some
   domestic disturbance?

Mathias Lauridsen
Linus Wördemann

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kiev ii

  My mother was a braid of black smoke.
     She bore me swaddled over the burning cities,
     The sky was a vast and windy place for a child to play.
     We met many others who were just like us. They were trying
  to put on their overcoats with arms made of smoke.
     The high heavens were full of little shrunken deaf ears
  instead of stars.


  "I remember," someone said, "how in
  ancient times one could turn a wolf into a human and then
  lecture it to one's heart's content."


  It's snowing, says someone who has peeked into the dark
  night, and then he, too, turns toward you as you prepare your-
  self to read, in a manner somewhat theatrical and with a face
  turning red, the long rambling love poem whose final stanza
  (unknown to you) is hopelessly missing.

Charles Simic
New and Selected Poems
  1962 - 2012
  The World Doesn't End
op. cit.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


  Finishing a loaf of bread
  and worried about the curfew.
  I have not spoken for three days
  and I am thinking, Why not just
  settle for love. Why not just
  settle for love instead?

Jack Gilbert
Refusing Heaven
  Not Getting Closer
op. cit.

My grandfather's plate

I don't use the word in its connotation
of silver, although I recognise it fam-
iliarly. Thorny and I, my English dog,
inherited some very pretty bone china,
as my grandfather's everyday table ser-
vice, dating from before Edward VII but
after the wedding of Charles II. Over
the years the stuff has had a way of
sailing off a table, with the whisking
tail of a passing dog, or a lunge for
a call on a mislaid telephone. The old
frisbees don't settle with the aplomb
one would like, and again last evening
I demolished one by something I cannot
defend as accidental, in view of the
probabilities just described.

I don't intend these losses, however,
and I feel sorrow when they happen.
At the time, the emergency was to pro-
tect the tummy of the alert and fault-
less canine, from his natural inclina-
tion to subject any new terrestrial
trouvaille to alimentary analysis.

I knew this plate extremely well, but
I allowed my post-mortem to focus on
its cross-section. It did have a qual-
ity of bone, a fired core so white, it
could not help but flaunt its decora-
tion. More than a century of biscuits
for his family had this framed, but
it was that virile calcite, bright 
beneath its gold and lavish glazings
that felt so warm, even shattered.

A place on the table is provisional,
a place at the table is inseverable.
What is the quality of that core,
that survives of a grandfather with-
out gold or glazings, to embrace now?
That he was fed, or that he hungered,