Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday commute cxliv: August air

. .

but everything convulses under the silver tent of Spain
the dark
        the dry
               the shark-bite sand-colored mouth
of Europa, the raped and swarthy goddess of speed! o Spain
to be in your arms again
                        and the dung-bright olives
bluely smiling at the quivering angulas 
                                against the wall of mind

where the silver turns
against the railroad tracks
                           and breath goes down
and down and down
                 into the cool moonlight
where the hotel room is on wheels
and there all buttocks are black and blue
is the color of the streets and sacks of beer
where dopes lead horses with a knight on each

         do you care if the rotunda is sparrows
caught behind the arras of distaste and sorrow
                                              did you
                  wait, wait very long
                  or was it simply dark and you standing there

   I saw the end of a very long tale
   being delivered in the Rastro on Sunday morning
   and you were crying, and I was crying right away too

all Retiro confided in us
in those betrayals
                  we never meant but had to do, the leaves
           the foolish boats like High School
                                  before the Alhambra
                            before the echo of your voice
I have done other things but never against you

           now I am going home
           I am watering the park for Violetera
           I am cherishing the black and white of your love

Frank O'Hara
The Collected Poems
  of Frank O'Hara
August, 1961

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Origins of Wednesday lvi: Huzzah for the old bloody shirt

No sooner does the Presidency
resume speaking with the Jus-
tice Department than the long
arm of the law launches a new
crusade for white boys, dream
children of reaction to affir-
native action since the '70s.

But, to be fair, has any cru-
sade ever had another client?

How many generations of casu-
istry any People could endure
(without genetically altering
itself forever) is a question
about to undergo another squa-
lid update, for light reading
by Betsy De Vos at Mar-a-Lago
between seigneurial servicing.

Noah Lajer

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Galileo eretico

True translation is not a binary affair between two languages but a triangular affair - the third point of the triangle being what lay behind the words of the original text before it was written. True translation demands a return to the pre-verbal.

I wonder if this portrait doesn't impart the conver-sation anyone would give anything to overhear, be-tween two artists looking at the same construction. Surely the words would be priceless to possess, and possibly they're scattered within a correspondence. Or one could find one's way to the site; one could even master its rhetoric. Penetrating it is the purpose of education, not to say merely its joy, but its obligation. Will we be denied society, to save fear?

John Berger
  Self Portrait
Penguin, 2016©

Ivan Alvazosky
Among Waves

Pablo Picasso
Le Corbusier
L'Unité d'Habitation

Monday, July 31, 2017

Trading currents, exchanging vessels

Comfort failed. Who would have
thought that it could fail?
People felt teased by a prom-
ise of a national life that
did not arrive and an intim-
acy that could not be consum-
mated. So teased.

In the mid-eighteenth century the French 
               people, if consulted, would have shown no
               more enthusiasm than the Economists for
               liberty; it was something they had quite
               lost touch with, indeed the very idea of
               freedom meant nothing to them. What they
               wanted was not so much a recognition of
               the "rights of man" as reforms in the ex-
               isting system, and had there been on the
               throne a monarch of the caliber and tem-
               perament of Frederick the Great, he would
               certainly have initiated many of the
               sweeping changes made by the Revolution
               in social conditions and the government
               of the country, and thus not only have
               preserved his crown but added greatly to
               his power .. But such steps are rarely
               taken on another's advice; only a man who
               himself is capable of conceiving such i-
               deas is disposed to put them into practice.

  A friend helpfully wrote in on 
  Saturday, to advise me that it
  was the birthday of de Tocque-
  ville, passing along an aperçu
  from his study of the Americans
  in the 1830s. I tend regularly
  to respect his observations, if
  not always their contemporary
  relevance; but this gesture spur-
  red me to consult his study of
  popular feeling under a decadent
  system, The Old Régime and the
  French Revolution. It brings one
  closer, as does this classic es-
  say on television's destruction
  of context, to the rise of our
  new government, than Democracy
  in America, just now.

Like you, I have only the
fondest respect for the
blessings of positive, ac-
cidental refreshments in
one's thinking, in the
conduct of ancient rela-
tionships originating in
trust. It strikes me that
the present currents in
America are directing us
more as they did in mid-
18th Century France, than
they did in the early Am-
rican union. The survival
of context is crucial, but
is being pursued by an ex-
change of vehicles. The quest for intimacy of pre-rogative lacks fortune. The insistence upon empirical decorum does not. Nostalgia isn't merely redistributed. It's redefined.

George W.S. Trow
Within the Context 
  of No Context
Little, Brown & Co., 1981©

Alexis de Tocqueville
The Old Régime and the
  French Revolution
Stuart Gilbert
Doubleday & Co., 1955©

ii   Raymond Carrance

iii  Bruce Weber

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The instrument, the song

     "Which came first," always
     sounds so obvious, until I
     see the provenance in each
     variable. Almost every re-
     cording of Beethoven quar-
     tets uses strings borrowed
     from priceless collections.

     Almost everyone is touched
     by the audible discrepancy
     between his heart and some
     one else's, the instrument.

     More than whose is better,
     this is why one plays, and
     how one's called to listen.