Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday commute cxxi: snowed in

   This East, this coastal mid-
   Atlantic, is dizzily packed,
   by drifts of blizzarded snow,
   whispy enough for my English
   Cocker Spaniel to bound about
   in, or deep enough to imperil
   him with drowning. But we two
   go out together, feeling every
   weather; and the local rancher,
   knowing this, came by to scoop
   us out a playing field, though
   there is no question of motor-
   ing. Where do we need to go,
   when we waken to our morning?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Suppose it were Friday cix: Wonderbred for breakfast

 Sipping with his left for a change,
 Young Jeb reflected that what this
 world needs is a gastronomy at day-
 break which can help us forget the
 turquoise plastic furniture at the
 finger-pinching cupboards, wilted
 flowers dripping on their ground 
 of laminated glass; the cold, con-
 gealed, sclerotic eggs, a process-
 ed patent fruit fizz flattening in
 its plastic cistern, the incense
 sticks insensible of the porridge
 without a spoon, as airbrushed abs
 reflect on their revulsion at a pa-
 per bag's infusion of his mug, for-
 mica brooding darkly on his tummy.

 Sure, he reasoned, they're all be-
 ing poisoned in Flint, but there's
 no need to let it reach what the
 Party likes to call, the general

Antoine-Louis Barye
1796 - 1875
Eagle with its prey

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pulling focus

  In the smoggy day
  at a beach, tiers
  in hues are crimp-
  ed in defiance of
  the aqueous blur,
  and melt before a
  glance might take
  its note of them.

  One layer diving.
  The next, drawing
  a blade. A plunge
  can last forever.




Mark Rothko
Oil on paper

Florent Boissonot

self portrait

Monday, January 18, 2016

Is your Mrs C the same as my Mrs C?

I know there will be com-
plaints for depicting her
as female; but then there
would be complaints, even
if one hadn't. There will
be complaints for recital
of her marital condition,
but then it would be idle
to ignore the most famous
fact on her dossier. I am
expecting complaints, for
listing your Mrs C before
my Mrs C, as if something
could be wrong with yours
which mine might correct.

But intimidation is not a
happy flux for investiga-
tion between persons, who
may be similarly situated
as innocent onlookers, to
a long, determined strug-
gle to possess an exalted
position. Very few people
have lived so long, as to
recall a time before this
historic project occupied 
its part of the clockface.

Even to ask what lies be-
hind this adventure risks
rebuke for suspicious im-
agery in choice of words.
But intimidation is not a
a chronometric or an iso-
metric function, and even
fades away from substance
it may shade.

This is an intriguing en-
gine that is ready always
to embody governance, for
war, peace; profiteering,
either way, supple in its
coils, to spring upon op-
portunity. Epochs, gener-
ations and their volatile
distinctions fall beneath
its perpetual entitlement.

Is your Mrs C the same as
my Mrs C? I'm put in mind
of the hilarious ruse ar-
ranged by Queen Mary, for
amusing witnesses of that
decapitation which marked
her final triumph. A head
rolled about on the floor
as the axe-man hoisted an
arrestingly brilliant wig.

To this day we ponder: is
it for her head she wants
to be known, or for being
at the center of our gaze?

Juan Gris

Pablo Picasso

Kirstine Roepstorff

Joan Miró

Garrett Mattingly
The Defeat of the
  Spanish Armada
  Collected in:
John Julius Norwich
A Christmas Cracker
  A Commonplace Selection
Heywood Hill & Co., Ltd, 2015©

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I really must, I think, get dressed with more people

We do, we do. We all re-
turn to the gym after al-
most any indulgence, to
repair some oversight or
other. In my "case," not
that the condition is ex-
actly clinical, I often
resort to the gym to re-
store mental balance, es-
pecially after being out
for any length of time - 
and although I'm sure I'm 
not alone in this motiva-
tion, I don't imagine my
imbalance to be the same
as anyone else's, much
less the same for me, ev-
ery time I return.

Now, the assets of the
gym are such that they
afford a diversity of
restorations; and even
on the mental side, can
be seen to fall into a
variety of classes --
there's an audible side,
to be considered; the
notoriously laborious
side, the sociable and
the sensory, even the
negotiable dispensary,
of various pharmaceuti-
cals. Then there are
the sights common to
every locker room since
the discovery of perspir-
ation, having to do with
getting undressed and al-
so getting dressed again.

It's here, I sense, that
I've lost my way, or pos-
sibly just forgotten some-
thing. Don't we all tend
to our shirtcuffs almost
first, in undressing, and
almost invariably last, in
putting the shirt back on?
Is this just some bizarre
cadence of custom in my own
conduct, possibly rippling
through as some cascade of
side effects? It seems to
me, the gym is the likely
forum for arbitrating my
impression, that there's
something peculiar about
this picture. But if I am
not unnatural in my hand-
ling of a shirt, this man
can neither be dressing,
nor undressing. What, then
explains the shirt?