Saturday, February 27, 2016


     Oh, how I wish,
     Perceived by no one,
     To fly after a beam
     To where I'm nothing.

     You! Shine in a circle -
     No better fate -
     And study from a star
     How light is made.

     And to you I'd like
     To say what I now whisper,
     That in a whisper I deliver
     You, child, to light.


     This is for Spotlight,
     expelling so many from
     internal exile with ex-
     traordinary gentleness. 

Osip Mandelstam
Vorónezh Notebooks
  27 March 1937
Andrew Davis
New York Review Books, 2016©


   I thought I heard
   something. Then I
   remembered. I was
   meant to.

   This is for Spot-
   light, a case for

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The closer I get

and Inverness

     Aside from the flour and oil,
     the third essential element 
     of the Genovese focaccia is
     the large crystals of salt
     sprinkled on top.

                 The closer I get to elegance,
                 I see its impeachment of min-
                 imalism. It's amplitude, sim-
                 plified by proportions of na-
                 ture. Style, then is its pro-
                 vincial gesture, a motive for
                 travel. Salt is the constant, 
                 and water sees that I get it.

                 Nourishment is as good a mod-
                 el as any, for gaining trust.
                 Do I think, what feeds a pal-
                 ate of fairness, or do I bite
                 for my winning of inelegance?

                 The proportions of nature, by
                 the same token, are as good a
                 model as any, for holding me. 

Elena Kostioukovitch
Anne Milano Appel
Why Italians Love to
  Talk about Food
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009©

Origins of Wednesday xx: Electability and the mild machine

    What are our frames of
    reference when we com-
    mit the only free act
    we may ever exercise in
    our pretenses to self-
    government? That a gen-
    der selection qualifies
    for our vote? That scab-
    rous proofs of indepen-
    dence qualify a man for
    our trust?

    Just look at the job to
    be done, I say to myself,
    and smile when my friends
    promise me, there's safe-
    ty in electability. 

    I don't dwell in safety,
    a non sequitur derived
    from fear; I don't dwell
    pragmatically, a euphem-
    ism for Class, be seated.
    I get topnotes of black-
    mail in this, don't you?

    I don't dine in cabarets,
    and I don't claim favors 
    from those who do. They 
    claim them of me.

    I claim government where
    it's needed; and I believe
    this starts with how it
    glides its ass into office.
    All they are missing, is a
    broad and bawdy Rowlandson
    satiric drawing. They have
    their All Souls. I guess I
    might hang back awhile, to
    mingle with electability. 
    Who would make a candidacy
    of that?

Perry Ogden
Pony Kids
Aperture, 1999©

Monday, February 22, 2016

To some extent we all enjoy a surprise

I'm aware of only hazarding
a guess in this suggestion,
but as this writer consults
his nature, he keeps recur-
ringly assuring himself, he
cannot be both ordinary and
strange at the same moment.
We can not all be Mr Trump;
and would sign any petition
to the Lord, to keep us so.

But what of the obverse case, may I ask? What of the case, of being surprised in our enjoyment? This can only happen, it appears, to those who do not traipse in the klieg-light of the ziggurat-zoned zillionaire Zorro of the Right (toward whom Bob Dole is able to feel cozy). A wave of bashfulness comes, may one guess again, to those impaled on the gaze of any intrusion, whilst writing their heartfelt letter to The Times. On the wings of literacy, it will fly over the head of anyone who suc-cumbs to Donald Trump; but it may lift those, not wounded at Anzio, who'd like to reject our Duce. 

Write it. And with the object not of disarming him, but of showing his wake as the funerary pro-cession that it is, a vortex so vacuous, its virtue is its vividness of vengeful villainy. Let anger with attractiveness be confined to him, named for him, an entourage out of Visconti's The Damned.

                  I cite recitals of play at this
                  page for its fulcrum of our na-
                  ture. I cite playing fair only
                  because the game is our mechan-
                  ism for loving each other. We
                  do not intend to yield to a per-
                  sonification of unfairness, in
                  either party; but in one, there
                  is a primordial emergency, not
                  to be neglected. Make the sound
                  of play, so pure, that shame en-
                  gulfs the snarl with sweat, and
                  sweeps the gutters clear of its

Luchino Visconti
La caduta degli dei

Happy birthday,
Mr Washington.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jeb has done the right thing

Time for the
other one to
do the same?  

Let's put it another way.

When Nixon arrived, we
thought, well, he won't
be here forever. When we
had Reagan, we thought,
well, he won't be here
forever. When we had the
second Bush, we thought,
well, he won't be here
forever. That's 24 years
of waiting for some re-
mission from monstrosity,
interspersed with eight
of the Clinton duet's ig-
nominious triangulations,
ignoring both the first 
Bush's and the only Ford's 
abdications of leadership.
Forgetting Jimmy Carter's
blank, one could have en-
dured into a decrepit age,
and still not have lived
in a just nation, glimpsed
through obstruction, since

Now the positively macabre
resurgences of the cynical
worst in one Party and the
demented nadir of the other
are celebrating, this fine
day, as if we had no memory,
indeed no mind, they could
not dominate with harangues
of illegitimate panderings
of vengeful conflict and/or
revanchist anti-federalism,
in every news cycle. And if
you were American on this
noisy weekend, would you en-
tertain the thought, that ei-
ther of them won't be here 
forever, anymore?

Not until the one Party dis-
penses with its cynicism, is
the other's cruel exploitive-
ness going to go away. If Mr
Sanders is not electable, it
is necessary to make him so;
so that, even if he is not
then elected, the nation
will have renewed our sub-
scription to plain speaking.