Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday commute xcvii: Innocuous migrations of the male

           Hôtel Magnifique
           Cannes, France, A.M.

  My Precious Dream-Rabbit,

  I'm writing this on the ter-
  race outside the hotel .. One
  or two yachts are mucking a-
  bout. There are a couple of
  islands over to the left, and
  over to the right some moun-
  tains. There aren't many peo-
  ple about at this time of day,
  as most of the lads play ten-
  nis in the morning or go off
  to Antibes to bathe.

Monty Bodkin
  to Gertrude Butterwick

P.G. Wodehouse
The Luck of the Bodkins
Overlook Press, 2003©

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Procession revisited: Scarpa and Paul Strand

When I first saw Paul Strand's photograph of his boyhood back yard in the upper West Side of Manhattan, I failed to appreciate the "abstraction" it is celebrated for, in the Metropolitan Museum. Beyond the incidental drama of the clotheslines I saw numerous processional pathways, bridges, elevated porches and decorative channels in the built environments of one of the architects I most love, Carlo Scarpa, whose constructed works must tend to fail the meticulousness of his drawings, some of the most evocative speci-fications a craftsman can ever study. Indeed, one of my favorite possessions is a pencil drawing of stairs at his Brion cemetery, shown here, by a friend who studied them there for hours. And when I turned to another of Strand's photographs from 1917, of a fender with lamp and wire wheel, I admired its parallel arcs as paired, pared reiterations of eloquent movement, processional strokes neither perceived nor projected as abstraction, but as scruples.

i  Scarpa, Olivetti, Venice, 1957

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Short lens, long bike


  Elections are like
  that. You can make
  them say anything.

Cy Twombly
Collection MoMA

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Asylum from the city on the hill

       O wert thou in the storm
        How I would shield thee:
       To keep thee dry and warm
        A camp I would build thee.

       Though the clouds pour'd again
        Not a drop should harm thee,
       The music of wind and rain
        Rather should charm thee.

       O wert thou in the storm
        A shed I would build thee;
       To keep thee dry and warm,
        How I would shield thee.

       The rain should not wet thee,
        Nor thunder-clap harm thee.
       By thy side I would sit me,
        To comfort and warm thee.


John Clare
Northampton General
  Lunatic Asylum 
  East Midlands, England
July 25, 1844
Selected Poetry
Geoffrey Summerfield
Penguin, 1990©

George Orwell
Politics and the
  English Language
op. cit.