Saturday, June 7, 2014

Saturday commute cix: "Near the road and the small bridge"

     The face of heads
  In a corner the sound of a car
             Everything's asleep
  Barely a minute
                  And here I am
  Eyes poring over a caricature
  A fist on full-blown reality


 Damn, it's all so far
 The numbers drift away
 On the board where the
  few letters of a name bleed
        Punctured wind
 The hole pierces the date
 And one passes through
  without batting an eye
 The stains have aged
  on the green-painted bridge

 And the trees passing by
 On the way never a trace
  or reverse
        A man who can't wait

ii  Hubert de Givenchy
       and Audrey Hepburn 
       source unknown

Pierre Reverdy
Oeuvres complètes
Flammarion, 2010©
  Près de la route
    et du petit pont
Mark Polizzotti 
New York Review Books, 2013©

Friday, June 6, 2014

Suppose it were Friday xcvi: The cheat sheet and the triceps

    How many of us, one can only won-
    der, affect a confident air in the
    kitchen because of a handy cheat-
    sheet or mobile app, in the nuanced
    voice of Mr Olney or, I confess, of
    Craig Claiborne? Legions, have we
    noted, on the Greenwich steps of 
    Telegraph Hill, the spiraling croi-
    sette of Corbett Street, indeed e-
    even the stately stairs of Taylor
    rising between Bohemia and the Hun-
    tington, all assured in their acu-
    men by a guide who climbed before.

    But what happens, as an unfolding
    of ordinary life repositions the
    secret, early stenciled upon the
    evolving fore, as a magnified yet
    inaccessible code on the obverse 
    muscle group? Ah. A consternation?

    A seizure by anxiety, at the dis-
    appearance of any legacy of learn-
    ing, upon the thoroughly intended
    renovation of the subject, is pos-
    sibly the most endurable remorse -
    of our marginal sample of mankind.

    I recall, distinctly, the parsley.

  ii   Joe Collier

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where could he have come from?

              Nasce l'uomo a fatica,
           Ed è rischio di morte il nascimento.
           Prova pena e tormento
           Per prima cosa; e in sul principio stesso
           La madre e il genitore
           Il prende a consolar dell'esser nato.
           Poi che crescendo viene,
           L'uno e l'altro il sostiene, e via pur sempre
           Con atti e con parole
           Studiasi fargli core,
           E consolarlo dell'umano stato.

               Man is born by labor,
           and birth itself means risking death.
           The first thing that he feels
           is pain and torment, and from the start
           mother and father
           seek to comfort him for being born.
           As he grows, 
           they nurture him,
           and constantly by word and deed
           seek to instill courage,
           consoling him for being human.

Giacomo Leopardi
  Canto Notturno di un Pastore
  Errante dell' Asia
  editing and translation
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010©

Monday, June 2, 2014

On whether one wishes to bother with self-government


   A tragic illusion,
   you say, and never
   yet have you been
   proved wrong. Yet,
   without it, there
   can be no others.

   From which side,
   then, do you dream:
   on the outside, be-
   ing shrewd, or the
   inside, otherwise?

   We return to bil-
   dungsroman to per-
   petuate our losses,
   you may say, or to
   praise the beloved.

Adam Liptak 
  on the ordeal of James Risen
The New York Times
June 2, 2014