Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday commute cxxviii: Horizon variations

  I understand the allure of infinity
  pools from, perhaps, an odd perspec-
  tive. I don't care about their illu-
  sion, I like that they allow us all
  to share the same one.

  Like everyone else, I feel in pools
  the impression of an amniotic frat-
  ernity, also, with others similarly
  immersed, suspended, buoyed, envel-
  oped. I think one just does.

  In other words, while I do not pre-
  tend to take to water naturally, I,
  nevertheless, prize my rapport with
  it enough, to equate its embrace as
  if it were for me. I do not collect
  memorabilia in the islands; I float
  to compile their possession.

  A friend of mine is a very good po-
  et, and sent me a project he'd been
  working on, which was the rarest of
  courtesies I'd ever experienced. He
  was even more gentlemanly, for dis-
  arming any apprehension, it were a-
  bout me.

  To step into another, known mental-
  ity, directing itself as if along a
  meniscus, hovering as a stroke upon
  the horizon of its vision, casts me
  decidedly into a pool I identify as
  an embrace, to which it is not more
  than polite to offer a response. On
  doing so, I presented tentative im-
  pressions which narrated my experi-
  ence of reading my immersion, with-
  out refusing to articulate a summa-
  tion of greatly relishing its view.

  I learned in reply, the poet is not
  finished with this project, that he
  believes it to be unsatisfactory in
  its present state. This, I respect;
  yet here I am, soothed and succour-
  ed in the intimate space of critic-
  al permission, having reveled as no
  one else ever may, in a setting I'd
  felt, anyone would own.

Lawrence Durrell

The Black Book

James Hamilton-Paterson
Playing with Water

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Drive safely

Any moment, now, our lifeguards
of the roadways will be lectur-
ing us on the casualty rates in
the American approach to holi-
days. Leaving aside mechanical
mishap - not the wisest thing
to do, considering manufactur-
ers' rates of afterthinking the
devices they sell us - the risk
seems to lie in an approach to
destinations tending to suggest
an ambivalence toward arrival.
How often a bunker reveals this.

    Did one really want to play
    this course, anyway? How many
    of the tee's best drivers must
    have mulled the sobering ques-
    tion this month in Pennsylvania.
    I never like to ignore an Open
    at Oakmont; but I would equally
    seldom like to remember it for
    the Church Pews, ingenious if
    somewhat ostentatious penalty
    ports for poor driving, divid-
    ing the 3rd and 4th holes. They
    call to mind the wiser, more be-
    nign siren call of discretion as
    the finer point of holiday val-
    or, You can always crash here.

    To watch poor Trump's embarrass-
    ing unraveling in Scotland, hail-
    ing the misgovernance of impul-
    sive plebiscite as a personal
    advantage to him, was enough to
    to reinforce the dignity, even
    the comparatively noble vision, 
    of mastering where to flop.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxxi: Layers, every moment

   I don't wish to challenge the doc-
   trine of living in the moment as a
   recipe for some vitality of consci-
   ousness. I do wish to commemorate,
   on the other hand, the many layers
   of which one is conscious, in that
   consciousness, of diverse moments,
   occurring simultaneously. Notice a
   guy, exploiting a tablet in traver-
   sing a court, the shadow axis of a
   roofline of tiles meticulously con-
   tinuing the grouting in the bricks
   behind him, as shadow intersects a
   corner of his plinth, an arm exten-
   ded as if the conductor who he is,
   were orchestrating the light about
   him. How does he wish to progress?


   It's when one feels this way, that
   Summer's dispensation of time sug-
   tance to Marcel Proust. Yet, this,
   too, is but one consideration con-
   tending companionably in the mind,
   even as a harbinger, sometimes, of
   its antitheses' alluring elements.
   Besides, we've cited an engagement

   I don't mean to dispute the wisdom
   of living in the moment; I'd only,
   rather, propose living for all the
   moment's constituents. The moments
   teem with their appeals, roil with
   precious or capricious claims; and
   the genius of Summer is to sustain
   their percolation in our conscious-
   ness, every layer contributing its
   necessary suggestions to the score
   we know we are composing as we go.

   All this churns my obvious reverie
   as a pursuit of mussed time, as in
   all things, up to a point. If Sum-
   mer is not the essential splash of
   light upon this conduct, between 2
   axial shadows, of past and future,
   then I misunderstand the riches of
   living in the moment. But I do not
   feel alone.

i  Raymond Dépardon photo

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stonewall sempervirens

A friend of mine, to whom 
I dedicate this comment, 
reminded me this afternoon,
the 28th of June is Stone-
wall Day. He and I weren't
there; he says, he was in
hiding. I said, I'd not e-
ven learned what to hide.

National Park status is a
little premature, if that
is expected to acknowledge
the nation's embrace of a
setting. We say, This can't
happen again, at great per-
il of under-estimating the
inventiveness of prurience.

It now has a candidate for
the White House, who is so
discomfited by sex that he
can't stop discussing it -
inflaming its frustration,
and corrupting its energy.
We know how to be sad for
such a person. But then at
Stonewall, we found how not 
to be with him. 

Machine for growing

My college introduced me to the
architect, Michael Graves, when
I was exploring resources in an
intimate library, on the second
floor of the School. A more sty-
lish proponent of style seldom,
if ever, glided in and out with
his entourage of well-distract-
ed glances. "Michael" was among
the most admired junior figures
in an environment dedicated al-
most too fortunately to growing
them, in vintage after vintage.

In Vers une architecture (1923)
Le Corbusier produced more epi-
grams per page than any of that
legion of imitators whom we ap-
preciate for exactly his nerve.
A machine for living, has every
day thereafter been the critic-
al standard for appraising dom-
estic architecture. Here is the
entry to Michael Graves' resid-
ence in Princeton. It is now to
become the property of a new, a
different school for growing up
in architecture, and I am sorry
that my college turned it down,
in an act of mislaying the true
verve of inspiring personality,
in the growth of our inquiries.

Monday, June 27, 2016


       Perfidy so vast
       as to lose a na-
       tion on the pre-
       text of popular
       will, for parti-
       san reasons, is
       rather like our
       habit over here
       of secessionism.

       But who could i-
       magine being im-
       itated beyond a
       sense of shame?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Find the place

    How often I've resorted to luxury,
    or wilderness or harshly strenuous
    pastimes, when one could always've
    cultivated composure in oneself to
    impart that remedy to a place fre-
    quented by others, of that custom.

    To all such places, just come out.