Saturday, July 16, 2016

Heroine of snark, or of telling arrogance?

The last thing the campaign
against Donald Trump requires
is a gadfly stirring giggles
in the little girls' room,
despite applause from high
and low for her resemblance
to gutter rhetoricians from
the other side. There is a
United States Senator, I ask 
you to believe, who's opened 
a career in gendered quips
of literary criticism fashion-
able in her youth, who loves
to deprive revulsion with Don-
ald Trump of its unexampled,
natural right to be aghast.

What margin of error does
Elizabeth Warren deem it
conscionable to obliterate,
as she scoops her jacks of
jollies? Whose game is this?

Breathtakingly heroic of her
as it may well be, to strip
herself of presumptions of
dignity still accorded res-
pectfully in this culture,
is it her right to project
her advances in conscious-
ness, at the expense of our
right to a just government?
Without wit, but shamelessly
self-amused, she's said to be
in the running to copy Pence
in his yes-person rôle on a
ticket. Oh, won't that work
well, for decency's pretenses?

Or is all this just a grudge
match between victims, after
all: a reciprocating joyride 
on the people's paying ass?

Eric Houdoyer
Tore Johnson

Contain yourself, man

     Yes, it's true. He chose
     a paid-up, card-carrying, 
     fully punched and stamped
     martyr of phobic bigotry
     as his playmate down the
     ticket; but he's still a
     force to reckon with, for
     stigmatizing menstruation.

  Since Friday, August 7, 2015,
  the watching world has known
  the Republican Party was be-
  ing seduced by an immature
  sociopath who would voice its
  every fear and hatred, one by
  one. It was then, he boasted
  of being abused by a female
  journalist, he accused of be-
  ing female. And that was in
  the very hall in Ohio where
  Republicans soon grovel once
  again to exalt him, and spout
  the things they spout. He got
  Pence to carry homophobia, his
  exposed flank, as it were. He
  tempts a tide too many.

Karl Machatschek
Cap Ferret

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bright day of night, Provence

Ah, Sunflower!

Preparing for that presence, the pod
chose a man's height, set its cleats in the leaves
like a steeplejack, scribbled its target of ovals,
and rose to eye level.

Climbing a profile of gardens, a Nimzo-Indian
chessboard of vegetables, villages, rock with pollen
of lichen, the sunflower steadied its petals in zodiacal
yellow, and struck like a clock.

All the world's plenty, all the brazen particulars - a bull's eye
of seeds with the pips pointing down into chain-metal, an obsidian
disk bulging with roe like a carp - took on the hardness
of Chinese enamels

and opened its perfect meniscus. Then the terrible
heaviness began - the falling of bronzes, the hasp at the sunflower's
center breaking away, a fading of planets, eclipses, coronas,
the falling and falling away of the petals -

Time's total weariness, the terrible weight in the sun - all
that hammers at darkness and glows like the baize of the table
  Van Gogh
saw at Arles in the cornfields and candles, a madman painting the
  night till
the sky was delivered again to the crows.

Ben Belitt
The Double Witness
  Poems: 1970-1976
  Double Poem of the
  World's Burning
Princeton University Press, 1977©

Max Schoen

Negresco at night
14 July 2016
The New York Times©

A brush with France

An impetuous tendency to celebrate
someone else's country is one that
tempts us to the limit in response
to France. Courtesy, being flouted
in this way, may go so far as col-
lecting a visitor's card from each
of us, with a message of no great-
er scale, of what we cherish most.
For me, with them, it is the land.

       Louis XVIII was a great fan of peaches.
       One day his gardener, Saturnin, had his
       son bring the king two perfect peaches.
       The young boy took the peaches in a bas-
       ket to the king. Louis XVIII was charmed
       by the young boy and had him stay while
       he ate one of the peaches. The king then
       decided to share with the boy and offer-
       ed the second peach to him. The boy took
       the peach without hesitation, pulled out
       his pocket knife, and began carefully
       peeling the peach. 

       Seeing this, the king cried, "Malheureux!" 
       and ordered the boy never to peel a peach. 
       "But on my way," the boy explained, "I let 
       my basket fall while collecting mulberries 
       and the peaches rolled in horse dung."

We know how they draw their wines,
their history, their customs from
the land; but how do they extract,

Amanda Hesser
The Cook and the Gardener
  A Year of Recipes and
  Writings from the French
Norton, 1999©
op. cit.

Ivan Terestchenko

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxxii: Whiteness, provisional

I chanced upon a challenging little
trumpet blast today, as we used to
call such things in the era of Mil-
ton, from the chaired head of my
college's African-American studies
program, on why he can't be expect-
ed to vote for Mrs Clinton. It was
in Time magazine, but you can prob-
ably dig it out; and it boiled down
to his sense that she just wouldn't
do much for persons of blackness or
brownness. How one does know how he
feels, being of blueness, oneself.
A man who can govern himself by his
preference in hue, is a stylist to
be reckoned with.

It did gave one a fright, that she 
sported blue for taking Mr Sanders
into the fold. But it was a pastel
kind of thing, not a shade to forge 
a great bond or (as many intimated)
even to stir belief.

I go about in whiteness a great
deal, largely because there is 
Yale. It is known, I think, what
color they flaunt? Without Yale, 
I'd yield to no man in my belief,
our color preferences would in-
stantly be reconciled by acclam-
ation. I realise, one is supposed
to be serious in this deeply sac-
red matter, but I can only in-
sist, I am. Wall off New Haven,
Donald, and let us all swath our
conceits as our soul dictates.
One couldn't predict what it may
do for Mrs Clinton, but it's al-
ways worth a try.

As for ourselves, beguile us all
with masonry, Donald, to wall off 
a hue that can say why we cry. 
Baa-aa, baa-aa, baa-aa.

Dries van Noten
White for S/S 2016

Irving Penn
Vogue, 1949

Burgee unknown

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A day for the attention span

To what can one object, as
Summer's statecraft rituals
persist in their debauch of
sweetness' time, itself? On-
ly their redundancy? Or the
pond'rous turn they give to
emptiness. A second treaty
of Portsmouth in 111 years,
another grief cycle in Dal-
las: really, the same day?

  Like you, one feared all of
  this coincidence would soon
  be snatched up, as it seem-
  ingly always is these days,
  as irony, and not the mean-
  ingless proof of our rather
  long sojourn in one place.

  Pope understood where we'd
  be, in a brilliant defense
  of allegory as preamble to
  his Temple of Fame. It's a
  schoolboy's recollection -
  and it's obvious, where it
  comes from. If it rolls a-
  long, it isn't irony, it's
  leading one to expect it.

          ..                     behold another Crowd
          Prefer'd the same Request, and lowly bow'd,
          The constant Tenour of whose well-spent Days
          No less deserv'd a just return of Praise.
          But strait the direful Trump or Slander sounds,
          Thro' the big Dome the doubling Thunder sounds,
          Loud as the Burst of Cannon rends the Skies,
          The dire Report thro' ev'ry Region flies:
          In ev'ry Ear incessant Rumours rung,
          And gath'ring Scandals grew on ev'ry Tongue.
          From the black Trumpet's rusty Concave broke
          Sulphureous Flames, and Clouds of rolling Smoke:
          The pois'nous Vapor blots the purple Skies,
          And withers all before it as it flies.

Alexander Pope
The Poems of
  Alexander Pope
John Butt,
  The Temple of Fame
  328 - 341
Yale University Press, 1963©
op. cit.

Piergiorgio Branzi

Damon Winter
  Donald Trump
  June 13, 2016
The New York Times©

Rui Morais de Sousa

Monday, July 11, 2016

Unnervingly annoying

  A trick seems to have been
  played on layouts of post-
  ings in recent hours. They
  all were shifted. Half the
  fun of playing here, is to
  move things around surely.
  Everything's shunted left.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Clean shirt restorations

   A long-standing pursuit,
   observed by Jasper Por-
   ter for KIN, David Chip-
   perfield for the Neues
   Museum Berlin (renova-
   tions, 1999-2009), and
   other contributors. We
   like to stay connected.

Salutary rituals and the other kind

Sunday seems as good a day as any,
don't you suppose, to ponder the
problem of the eerily metabolic
propensity of this political year,
for shoveling forth execrable data.
Just as an innocent observer of the
passing scene senses an aperture of
daylight, a new cascade of nausea
reaches one in headlines, declaring
the latest in revolting misconduct,
from the most incurably treacher-
ous mendicants for one's favor, in
the best of circumstances. Throw in
the gathering incidence of massacre,
add the ongoing orgy of ambition in
the media, and a simple smile, when
published, can be read as a symptom
of bipolarity, or of lewd denial. 

Yes, these are the rituals which ab-
sorb our betters, but they tireless-
ly enlist one in them. In life, an
observance of dental hygiene reminds
a normal man of his entitlement to
his own senses; and despite an ad-
mittedly constructive downside to
this gainful indulgence of ritual,
when it's over he enjoys the sensa-
tion of release which is the hall-
mark of responsible conduct. He can
allow his waistband to ride where
it may; with a conscience so clear,
he's his own time left for morning.

                Oh Rokehope is a pleasant place
                If the fause thieves would let it be

Ford Madox Ford
The Last Post
  Epigraph from a
  Border ballad
Vintage Books, 1979©