Friday, August 12, 2016

Clusters ii: A space is open

  A friend of mine went
  down from Park Slope,
  for the furor in Phil-
  adelphia, and sent me
  this memento. 

  There is a ledge open
  for keepsakes between
  Sense and Sensibility
  and The Portrait of a

  I think this will do.
  Lest I forget, there
  is a civil candidate.
  Bring us to November.

Sandrine Kern

Valéry Lorenzo
The Pop Music Series


  Nature doesn't know the
  cluster, lacking order,
  that animates a society.

  When last we saw Hopper
  he was studying the sol-
  itary figure in a theat-
  re. Here his figure's i-
  solated, under guard or
  being guarded. With our
  Donny Thump-Thump, pos-
  sibly the distinction's
  too fine these days for
  worry. In either event,
  he brings a clamour for
  some order, of his kind. 

Edward Hopper

Alexander Calder

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I will have my Summer back


  I go into companion-
  ship through univer-
  sal eyes, remaining
  open to particulars.

  One is Virgil's pas-
  torals, one is Eng-
  lish Hours of Henry
  James. One is this

Valéry Lorenzo

Who goes there?

When is the last time
you heard yourself re-
peating anything ever
said by a director of

    You aren't just responsible
    for what you say. You're re-
    sponsible for what people hear.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016


     Exaltation is the going
     Of an inland soul to the sea, -
     Past the houses, past the headlands,
     Into deep eternity!

I don't know about exaltation,
but how should I, given that it
isn't embodied. I wonder, then,
how I think one can know peace;
possibly, I do not ask enough?

Emily Dickinson
  A West Marin Quarterly
  Volume 1, Number 2
Estero Publishing, 1992©

Taste song travestied

        He's a big boy now.

 As an infant I was rusticated
 to a farm in Santa Barbara to
 be nourished on goat's milk,
 said to be all that I could
 tolerate. Ever since, I've
 known a keen interest in the
 meaning of nourishment, and
 not without immersing myself
 in the finest cuisine on the
 planet. Later, as a college
 boy, I dined at his home with
 a professor of architecture,
 who had acquired all of the
 same experience, and then some.
 Skeptic of the gentrified pal-
 ate. Years later, at about the
 inception of rmbl, I'd seen how
 his advice, inscribed in this
 masthead, is irrefutably true.
 I relish parody, even clever
 spectacle. Just not enough to
 feed them.

Harvey Fierstein

Torch Song Trilogy

Fanny Latour-Lambert

Oscar Kindelan
Félix Gesnouin

Monday, August 8, 2016

"Sitting on a wooden bench, looking out"

It is a summer afternoon in October.


The breeze picks up slightly but still steadily,
The increase in the breeze becomes the mild
Dominant event, compelling with sweet oblivious
Authority alterations in light and shadow,
Alterations in the light of the sun on the water,
Which becomes at once denser and more quietly
Excited, like a concentration of emotions ..

He is alert to savor minute distinctions.
In Lake Water, an extraordinary reflection
within the exceptional collection, Bewil-
derment, we read also of a breeze perfect-
ly steady and persistent / Blowing in to-
ward shore from the other side / Or from
the world beyond the other side; and this
is revealingly consonant with the poet's
nature as a Classicist-translator of Vir-
gil. Indeed, Lake Water follows upon both
a passage from The Aeneid between the hero
and his father, and from Georgics on Or-
pheus and Eurydice, and continues beyond
this fragment to a parting of his own, as
a figure of speech. I cite Ferry often,
and today to comprehend a picture I found
and simply like. Maybe two. Every time, I
reclaim a grounding one can recognize.

David Ferry
  New Poems and
  Lake Water
University of Chicago Press, 2012©

Édouard Boubat
Untitled lake photograph

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Who misgendered Amaryllis?

One has to take care, among
wikipedia's pages on botany.
This great fount of inform-
ing eagerness, a treasure to
us all, faithfully reflects
assumptions kindled by cus-
tom, as much as learning ac-
quired more probingly. Now,
when we're plainly launched
upon a time of heightened
awareness of culture, is no
time to lower our guard for
its ornaments, botanical or
literary. Yes, wikipedia:
Virgil's Eclogues are the
source of the name given to
the flower, Amaryllis, one
of the mobile and repeated-
ly desired shepherd singers.

But, no. There is no basis
for designating Amaryllis,
female. Only misadventure,
sowing discord, against a
provenance of pure poetry:
the precise story of the
1st Eclogue. By chance?


         Here you will seek and find the cool of the shade
         Beside your hallowed springs and the streams you know;
         Often beside the hedge of willows that marks
         This edge of what you own, the humming of bees
         That visit the willow flowers will make you sleepy;
         And over there, at the other edge of your land,
         Under the ledge of that high outcropping of rock,
         The song of a woodman pruning the trees can be heard;
         And always you can hear your pigeons throating
         And the moaning of the doves high in the elm tree.


         Stags will browse in the pastures of the air
         And the sea will cast up its fish on the naked shore,
         The exiled Parthian drink from the river Saône
         And the German drink from the Tigris, before that face,
         The way he looked at me, will fade from my heart.

David Ferry
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999©
op. cit.

Xavier Buestel
Rory Payne, photograph
Belstaff, 2016©