Saturday, May 21, 2016


I saw grief, misunderstanding
and more than one old revolt
dividing us in the dark.
The hand I wouldn't kiss,
the crumb that they denied me,
refusal to ask pardon.
Pride. Terror at night.
But he didn't say anything ..

The narrow space of life
crowds me up against you,
and in this ghostly embrace
it's as if I were being burned
completely, with poignant love.
Only now do we know each other.

Eye-glasses, memories, portraits
flow in the river of blood.
Now the waters won't let me
make out your distant face,
distant by seventy years ...


Carlos Drummond de Andrade
1902 - 1987
Travelling in the Family
Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop
  Poems, Prose, 
    and Letters
Robert Giroux and
  Lloyd Schwartz
The Library of America, 2008©

Takashi Shimura
  on the film set of
  Akira Kurosawa, "Ikiru"

Asger Skovgaard

What did she see iii

                I had been hungry, all the Years -
                My Noon had Come - to dine -
                I trembling drew the Table near -
                And touched the Curious Wine -

                'Twas this on Tables I had seen -
                When turning, hungry, Home
                I looked in Windows, for the Wealth
                I could not hope - for Mine -

                I did not know the ample Bread -
                'Twas so unlike the Crumb
                The Birds and I, had often shared
                In Nature's - Dining Room -

                The Plenty hurt me - 'twas so new -
                Myself felt ill - and odd -
                As Berry - of a Mountain Bush -
                Transplanted - to the Road -

                Nor was I hungry - so I found
                That Hunger - was a way
                Of persons Outside Windows -
                The entering - takes away -

In commentary on this poem, Helen Vendler graphs a struggle between a hungry past - feelings long con-tinued that became, over time, the motives and shapers of the self - and its present dismayed repu-diation, structured by an oscillation between the past tense and the pluper-fect past, as marking a dour discontinuity between naïveté and knowledge.

One reads a political cam-paign of chronic unforced errors, and of consciously antagonizing complacency, as signs of misdirected anxiety to fulfill itself, revealed in contradiction.


Emily Dickinson

Helen Vendler
  Selected Poems and
Belknap Press
Harvard University Press, 2010©

Sybille Bergemann
Polaroid photograph

Friday, May 20, 2016

We go home now iii

In less than an hour from Telegraph Hill, one can be in a federally protected landscape, precisely like this. This week, the lower house in the American Congress voted to strip federal employment protections from LGBTQ contractors and staff, in all positions created by the People of the United States, in a desper-ately frantic, yet exquisitely pointed tidying up of existing law - for this one purpose. It was asserted, by the soi-disant scrupled Speaker, that such matters are for the States. Federal jobs, even in federal places, working people. He could not have been more Donaldly asinine and sadistic, if he'd tried.

Claude Monet
Cliffs of Les Petites-Dalles

Jordan Mejias

Suppose it were Friday cxiv: Turn, turn, turn

Time to be prosaic. On
Tuesday, the Place de la
République flooded, with
youth calling upon the
Center-Left government
they had voted for, to
defend employment rights
their politics had pre-
viously achieved. If you
seek a monument to what
Bill Clinton did in his
post-electoral, pre-in-
augural, stark revision
of solemn promises, to
heal the George Bush re-
cession with a stimulus,
there it is, matured.
No one who saw that, tele-
vised on C-SPAN, will ev-
er forget the sight of an
abortion of the ballot of
the United States, beyond 
any political remedy.

Campaigning again in
Kentucky some few days
ago, Mrs Clinton, still
just distinguishable e-
nough from her spouse
to evade the 22nd Amend-
ment's benign constraint,
announced he would be in
charge of "revitalizing
the economy." Shivers of
that other inspired prom-
ise, that Nancy Reagan 
led the fight against HIV. 

A spontaneously ignited
movement, energising now 
the Sanders campaign for
the Presidency, is world-
wide and resolved, precise-
ly because the Center-Left
capitulated repeatedly, to
keep favor with patriots.
In America, there was the
blackmail we know so well:
the Right is worse, we op-
press you to protect you,
and besides, we are smart.

They're trying it again,
the audacious dare to re-
member their commitments,
always suffering for us;
and they object to the
tenor of the children's
discontent. But the gen-
eration has its shelter.

At every turn, Paris.
Look familiar? It might
be Philadelphia. In the
Summer, when it sizzles. 

Bill Henson
Monochrome series

Eric Feferberg

Agence France-Presse
Getty Images
The New York Times©
17 May 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why do I so love Saul Leiter

For one thing, I seem to be unfashion-
able. Ascending the stairs one evening 
at my club at Princeton, an upper-class-
man unbuttoned the top button on my bla-
zer, announcing that we didn't do that, 
in the club. Another, confiding to me 
in his dressing gown in the club library 
one evening, spoke with sorrow at his dis-
covery that my father was "in industry."
They were pleading, Sock me, as if to say
where they were from. But I liked New York.

Saul Leiter is to photography as Arthur
Miller is to the stage. Here is a picture
of two undoubted fathers, finally going
home one evening in the city of New York.
Are they Willy Loman? Are they laughable?
But then one learns, Loman was not laugh-
able. So are they, Stoical, comrades in
certainty and respect for each other, in
the bourgeois carousel of American pros-
perity after the destruction of the world?

Are there snarky little fillips of modern-
ity: John Kennedy's My father always told
me, businessmen were sons of bitches, for
example, as American steel slid into its
uncompetitive demise? A Kennedy, on greed?

American steel. I look at this picture,
and I hear Miller tell me, all the slings
and arrows did miss the mark Leiter found.

If, after de Sica in Ladri di bicic-
lette, Leiter comes wonderfully close
to capturing our post-War father, he
is our grittier Jacques Demy from Les
parapluies de Cherbourg in saving for
us the brilliants of the city - what
our warranted jam-producer calls, the
little scarlets. Here they are, the
heels of the matron turning east at
the intersection, the compression we
somehow cherish of city life, a mash-
up of fumes and distillations of spec-
tacular vitality. Reek to me, New York.

Sock me.

1923 - 2013
Greenberg Gallery
New York

Nick Truelove

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxix: The placard forest

And this man. What does he now seem like, to you?

Like a child
  who has wandered into a   forest
Playing with an imaginary
And suddenly discovers he
  is only a child
Lost in a forest, wanting
  to go home.

Compassion may be
  already a clue

Towards finding your
  own way out of the

But even if I find
  my way out of the
I shall be left with the 
  inconsolable memory
Of the treasure I went into the
  forest to find
And never found, and which
  was not there

And perhaps is not anywhere?
  But if not anywhere,
Why do I feel guilty at not 
  found it?

T.S. Eliot
The Cocktail Party
  A Comedy
  Act II
Harcourt, Brace©

Riita Paivalainen
Ida Pimentoff

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hello, Portland

      my old friend


Paris Opera Ballet

François Rude
  Palais du Louvre

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Oregon, Kentucky

    There is always voting being done,
    in a free society, but balloting
    this year will shortly shift from
    voting in that state, to submitting
    to the weight of a political indus-
    trial complex in our fifty States.

    In these hours, where voting still
    is able to adopt the form of ballot-
    ing, in the last of the Parties to
    suffer it as a sideshow soon to be
    swept away, this page wants to pay
    respect to that state of being, de-
    nied even to the Queen - the sheer
    joy, as the screenplay says in the
    Stephen Frears film, of being par-
    tial. Before, that is, the rôle as-
    signed to Americans by their Estab-
    lishment, of serving, resumes be-
    neath a dump of pompous balloons.

    One Party howls already of being
    taken captive by voting; but this
    is the lament of policy's having
    been eaten away by false promises.
    That Party had not been Conserva-
    tive since Dewey. The hot excuse,
    making the rounds in the intelli-
    gentsia, for the Republicans' em-
    barrassment - too much democracy -
    understates the Party's distinct
    avidity for structuring its coal-
    itions on the foulest emotions.

    In the other Party, things are
    still being said, as we breathe.
    One day, suffrage may transpire.
    This Tuesday, in Oregon and Ken-
    tucky, one wishes to be there,
    not for any empire but that one,
    just to take the air within one.

Joeri Bosma photo
Sune Jonsson photo