Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday commute cx: More than cab fare

 It seems likely, when we go
 back through it, that much
 of the culture of our time's
 overlapping revolutions will
 look very dated - as if, may
 I add, this were the fault
 of their triumph, and not its

 I don't care how it looks,
 how archly one eschewed or
 grandly one immersed oneself
 in the turmoil whose harvest
 we all celebrate. This was not
 so. There were always voices
 to regret blowing off Paestum
 on the road to Naples, who'd
 lead us back. Qualche ristoro.

I was no longer the pale, scholarly creature to which my former moral-ity, with its rigid restrictions, was so well suited. My convales-cence had been more than that: I had experienced an amplification, a recrudescence of life, a pulse of richer, warmer blood which reached my thoughts, touching them one by one, penetrating everywhere, stirring and colouring the most remote, delicate and secret fibres of my being .. I was guided by a happy sense of fatalism. I was afraid that too hasty a scrutiny would disturb the mystery of my slow tranformation. One has to give the secret writing time to appear and not to seek to fill it in oneself.

  At the same time, an American
  culture incapable of the bore-
  dom of discretion has awarded
  power repeatedly to reaction-   ary entertainers. Their cor-     ruption of American juris-
  prudence by the most frivo-
  lous definitions of person-
  hood does not plague our time
  by accident or even with nov-
  elty, but by infiltrating life
  sinecures with middle-aged
  casuists. At the very time,
  in short, that the generation
  of generation is at its least
  deceived, it may be at its
  most regressively exploited,
  not to say, governed. There
  is nothing to resist it but
  superior entertainment. Slow
  scrutiny is for the soul, not 
  for the State.

André Gide
Nobel Prize, 1947
David Watson,
Penguin, 2000©

Friday, July 4, 2014

Of liberty, and other close questions

       Last I heard,
       texting while
       just standing
       there, was OK.

       Texting while
       dressing, may
       be borderline.

       But either is
       OK when being

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The inner course

The only trouble with emphasizing
the grandeur of the seaside holes
at Pebble Beach is that this may
promote the impression that the
inland holes are rather ordinary.
They are not.

Not being an actuary by nature, on-
ly recently did I calculate that
the Third of July, this year, would
be my father's 100th birthday. He
and I knew each other for more than
half our lives, and I think it is
striking that our relationship did
not change. We simply learned new
news of each other, shared further
experience, and with a constancy I
am old enough now to regard as un-
canny, if not as some aberration.

For I lack no confidence in what I
was to him; and on my end, no tally
can ever be completed. Even a gra-
cious acknowledgment oppresses me
now with its prematurity.

The things which characterised him
to others, through an outwardly el-
egant and inwardly stoical life, are
of no interest to them now, even as
they astound me with their balance.
The things that made him remarkable,
however - and I offer this certainty
especially to longtime readers here -
are commonplace, yet under-remarked.

For me (and I was not alone in this)
he was the man who lived helpfully,
and still does, demanding no proof
of need or capability. I watched him
build my brother, as a younger sib-
ling will observe such things. And
yet his club selection, when it came
to me, I did not even see, it was so
nuanced to my fairways.

Herbert Warren Wind
Following Through
  Golf Writings from
  The New Yorker
    Pebble Beach and the 
op. cit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Don't know much haberdashery

    But one does
    run into Ti-
    tian now and

Linus Wördemann x Tom Ford

Funny kinds of cravings

I find I awoke just now with the keenest particular interest in British foreign policy through, say, the Attlee government. You know, before Eden's apotheosis of foolhardy aggression in the English-speaking world until our rise. Has this ever happened to you? I should think so: one gets out of bed for a cool drink of water, and finds oneself before almost any bookshelf, bristling with historians and architects, painters and poets in a persis-tent undertone of amateur schol-arship, every so often enriched by the exotica of continents connoting the most errant, not to say wayward wanderings of here a fleet, there a regiment, without apparent continuity but for custom. Not our mode, of cyclical revivals.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday NB's

Yesterday's acrostic from Frank O'Hara to Vincent Warren gave the chance to revisit a switchback stair on an Aus-trian river and passages in Fitzgerald, supported by an illustration cropped more in favor of the two texts than the equally stylish tower. I furnish the original here, in deference to the builder's art.


Principal interest lay in forti-fying O'Hara's reference to our cus-tom, possibly instinctive, to give dating to memory, and more than as a mnemonic precaution. The Roman sys-tem in this illustration is expedi-ent, gifted as it is for suggesting recurrence or continuity, and specificity at the same time. As in the tower over the Mur, the elements repeat themselves in clarifying con-summation. Blondness and Rimbaudness may have contributed their claims, but dating is ironically supreme. Even as we indulge a birth date, yet do we live. None of our reinforcements of the text can reasonably be seen as fortifying the sufficiency of poetry. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Listening at the Monteleone v

 Vaguely I hear the purple roar of the
   torn-down Third Avenue El
 it sways slightly but firmly like a hand or
   a golden-downed thigh
 normally I don't think of sounds as colored
   unless I'm feeling corrupt
 concrete Rimbaud obscurity of emotion which
   is simple and very definite
 even lasting, yes it may be that dark and purifying
   wave, the death of boredom
 nearing the heights themselves may destroy you in the
   pure air
 to be further complicated, confused, empty but
   refilling, exposed to light

 With the past falling away as an acceleration of
   nerves thundering and shaking
 aims its aggregating force like the Métro towards
   a realm of encircling travel
 rending the sound of adventure and becoming ultimately
   local and intimate
 repeating the phrases of an old romance which is constantly
   renewed by the
 endless originality of human loss the air the stumbling
   quiet of breathing
 newly the heavens' stars all out we are all for the captured
   time of our being

Frank O'Hara
Collected Poems
  You are Gorgeous and
  I'm Coming
Donald Allen, editor
op. cit.