Friday, May 26, 2017

Freshman numerals

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
I assimilated that char-
acter of life from those
who went through it, who
lent scope and shape, to
a degree, to my own time.

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
Not through rhetoric but
through experience, some
spontaneous recognitions
affix themselves through
him to my understandings.

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
Not through rhetoric and
experience except in the
present in America, with
its harshnesses gathered
through time as if those
freshman numerals belong
to a jacket gone missing.

I don't know who this is
but I know what he means.
He means to sharpen vow-
els as consonants, fork-
ing us himself with pon-
iards of thrilling male-
volence, a jackboot mor-
on to soothe indignation
and deny reconciliations.

Not that this means he's
not an inexhaustibly use-
ful fool in his own sabo-
tage. Just as Republican
sages planned to exploit
his frailties, they show-
ed themselves as darken-
ing their own tidy name.
Oh, my. The scheme is up
in smoke; their embraces
of each other nullify it.

Geoff Brown
Worker in a tire shop

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Achieving Thursday: learning from pictures

This excellent photograph, said by
our internet sources to come down
to us from the many-rivered vicinity
of Richmond, Virginia in the 1950s,
documents the adjustment in disposi-
tions we associate with a departure.

There has been a change, which will
play itself out through layers of
revision of this palpable bond, we
might not expect to see visibly ex-
panded, but we see its consequence.

To take a moment to take it in, has 
been to learn to govern projection 
of the self upon the data received,
but also to resolve to discover it.

It is the practice of citizenship,
whose mastery urges itself upon us
as an elementary discrimination now,
between sentiment and plain evidence.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Origins of Wednesday L: Look away? ii

         The Secession war? Nay, let me call it the Union war.
         Though whatever call'd, it is even yet too near us -
         too vast and too closely overshadowing - its branches
         unform'd yet, (but certain,) shooting far into the fu-
         ture - and the most indicative and mightiest of them
         yet ungrown. A great literature will yet arise out of
         the era of those four years, those scenes - era com-
         pressing centuries of native passion, first-class pic-
         tures, tempests of life and death - an inexhaustible
         mine for the histories, drama, romance, and even phil-
         osophy, of peoples to come - indeed the verteber of
         poetry and art, (of personal character too,) for all
         future America - far more grand, in my opinion, to the
         hands capable of it, than Homer's siege of Troy, or 
         the French wars to Shakespeare.

 But I must leave these speculations,
 and come to the theme I have assign'd
 myself to. Of the actual murder of
 President Lincoln, though so much has 
 been written, probably the facts are 
 indefinite in most persons' minds ..

Walt Whitman
Complete Poetry
  and Collected Prose
    Democratric Vistas
Justin Kaplan
The Library of America, 1982©

David Cole
The New York Review of Books
May 23, 2017©

J.D. Crowe, drawing

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Just serve me more ice cream

        .. than everybody else.

  Worldwide, it has now become
  apparent how to manipulate a
  cranky little child. Chill a
  sweet, warm a broadcast, and
  he'll do you a good turn, e-
  ven if you have the intelli-
  gence to compromise his play.

Thomas Rowlandson
Discomfort of the Epicure

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Origins of Wednesday xlix: What are we reading?

An enviable weekend estate,
sited with long experience
of the limits of the tides,
open to the breezes and yet
the comfy sort of bunker we
might expect Ratty or Moley
to improvise, given a suit-
ably provisioned hamper. He
is a contemporary of mine,
enjoying swimming off an is-
land in Germany, a pleasure
I've shared elsewhere at his
latitude. Accosting one an-
other, inevitably our conver-
sation shifts from remarking
on the light, to what he is
reading by the lantern, ex-
hibited lower left, upright. 

We never erect such a blithe-
ly spare redoubt, without a
volume to explore in those
settings. I wouldn't mention
it, but I'm off for a while
by the Elizabeth River as it
flows into the Atlantic, off 
Virginia, of busy days and i-
solated nights, and I've hit
upon a kind of instinctive in-
clination to nestle into the
grit and wit of Dashiell Ham-
mett after many years, in The
Thin Man before W.S. van Dyke

But I know the story, and can 
defy how it's told. Its shel-
ter sequesters one well for a
luxuriance in closeness with a
riotous imagination, a quality
undying, inherent delight, in
support of innocuously raucous 
habitation of mind; by Sterne,
Kenneth Grahame, Dash Hammett -
play has found its tent, and

An island

Tanlines of the times

We awoke this morning with
the entire editorial page
of the web edition of The
New York Times given over
to advocating the renunci-
ation and removal of the
President of the United
States - on the eve of
a triumphal foreign trip,
no less. And this is not
Nixon, exactly, cavorting
in Belgrade. Yet it does
presage the day, when any
port in the storm must do.

Ayako Kichikawa

Times Editorial Board

Thomas L. Friedman
It's Chicken or Fish

Ross Douthat
The 25th Amendment Solution ..

Frank Bruni
Trump's Leaky Fate

Michelle Goldberg
Free Advice to Trump Aides

The New York Times
May 17, 2017©

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Just a thought

Wading through the amazing
slosh of the overnight news
from Washington this morn-
ing, primarily in The Times
and The Post, for the first
time I felt a real horror
for the plight of a news-
paper these days, shackled
to upheavals, 24/7. What,
I wondered, if we were all
to take up that job, our-
selves, in shifts, so that
nobody would have to cover
this garbage long enough to
be disfigured, haunted by it?
Is this the well regulated
militia the Constitution has
in mind, for bearing arms?

Canzonetta sull'aria

         At the same time, when I
         get home, I like to feel
         I have slipped into soft
         slippers, while tumblers
         yield to my key, lofting
         me to sweet simplicity I
         have never really known.

We laymen learn from Johnson
every day, whatever they may
be saying in the proceedings
of this or that sublime frat-
ernity. We see this array of
furniture all about us, this
geometry imitated endlessly.

Who will have his courage to
say, it's immaterial; it was
all, always, immaterial. Now
isn't complicated; I built a
stage, but there was Mozart.

I had nothing to do with it,
except to give a frame to my

Philip Johnson
Residence in New Canaan

Monday, May 15, 2017

On our brow this mark we bear

        And he wore a kingly crown;
        And in his grasp a scepter shone;

Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Mask of Anarchy
  Written on the Occasion of

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Accession to a republican Presidency

    Strangely - even in many ways
    today, exotically - enormous
    executive power within a nu-
    clear State in the Western Al-
    liance was accepted without
    venom, without bile, without
    obscene boasting, or snarling,
    or sneering, or spittle at the
    innocence of fact; this, by a
    man who confessed that inter-
    national terrorism truly does
    rank among his nation's great-
    est threats, right up there
    with climate change and ex-
    cesses of capitalism. He said
    this, and went on to an open
    air service at the Arc de Tri-
    omphe, to commemorate catastro-
    phes it was erected to extol,
    and survives to mourn so openly.

    Lafayette, we are here. Sorry

Michel Euler
Emmanuel Macron
  on the Champs-Élysées
The New York Times
May 14, 2017©

Sir John Hurt, CBE
1940 - 2017
A Man for All