Wednesday, July 1, 2015


TC: Yannis Ritsos: Two Poems

I...The Time Dimension

Basking shark: photo by Chris Gotschalk, 21 July 2006

Hallway, door, hallway, door; half-light;
afternoon leaning toward dusk. All the doors
open to the far end. People made of plaster, bent over,
are sitting alone, each to a bench. The last,
in the innermost hallway, barely distinguishable
like the head of a pin:
......................................................................................"Distance," he was saying, "neutralizes
volume, maybe pain as well." That's what he was saying.
Nobody believed him or even paid attention to him. On the right,
through the dust-covered, barred window,
you could see, passing by under artificial noon sunshine,
a tall, immense bus full of people on an excursion,
plaster boys, plaster girls with spearguns,
with those long plastic flippers,
very blue or yellow, hanging in the windows.

(Was the absence of a conclusion, then, the essence?)

Yannis Ritsos (1909-1980): The Time Dimension, 1971, from The Wall Inside the Mirror, 1974, in Exile and Return: Selected Poems 1967-1974, translated by Edmund Keeley, 1985

File:Apnea monofin.jpg

Free-diving with monofin, Cyprus: photo by aquaxel, 26 April 2006

II...In the Depths

Kampffischweibchen (Betta splendens) [Siamese Fighting Fish], türkis/pink: photo by Defender Regina, 1 April 2010

He saw the diver stir deep down in the water
with soft, carnal movements. Beyond
he saw the clay penis and the statue's feet
stepping firmly on the sea floor. And he also saw
the clay woman spread out, waiting,
one knee slightly raised, with a red,
totally red fish on her belly. Except
that the seaweed didn't move, there was no seaweed,
and the coin they threw in from above descended slowly
until it stopped a hand's width from the woman's mouth.

Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990): In the Depths, 1971, from The Wall Inside the Mirror, translated by Edmund Keeley in Yannis Ritsos: Exile and Return, Selected Poems 1967-1974, 1985

The Egyptian water goddess Taweret, goddess of childbirth and fertility, following the figure of Wadjet, the cobra; faience figure, Late Period: photo by Jon Bodsworth, 10 December 2007 (British Museum)

Shopping trolley lying six metres below the surface near Tanker Jetty, Esperance, Western Australia: photo by Ian Bailey, 2006

Coins from the Hackney Hoard with Jar. The coins from the Hackney Hoard were found deposited in this glass Kilner jar: photo by portableantiquities, 13 July 2007

Saturday, May 16, 2015

TC: Philip Larkin: High Windows


Waiting Room for the Beyond

Waiting Room for the Beyond: John Register, 1988 (Modernism Gallery, San Francisco)

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s fucking her and she’s   
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,   
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives --  
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if   
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,   
And thought, That’ll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide   
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide 
Like free bloody birds. And immediately
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:   
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
Philip Larkin (1922-1985): High Windows, 12 February 1967, from High Windows, 1974

The Fear of Ghosts: Balthus (Baltusz Klossowski de Rola) (1908–2001),1933, oil on canvas (Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington)
Lady Abdy: Balthus (Baltusz Klossowski de Rola) (1908–2001), 1935, oil on canvas

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

TC: Why Hillary Became a Goddess on the Night of Her Acceptance Speech


Hillary Clinton greets a supporter following her address at the 18th Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University in New York: photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters via the Guardian, 29 April 2015

Because her hair looked cool
Because some of the best alien minds are watching developments closely
Because she is the traditional Daisy poised fragile before the masculine mills
Of production, yet wearing out six black pants suits
To bring us to acculturation and consequence
Because the Nasdaq is plunging and there is a mandate for change
Sweeping through the gentle bacteria that make their home in her tireless campaign shoes
Because the worried market takes comfort in knowing what it must consume
Because choosing is not an issue except to the terrified cartoon eyeballs
In the take-out carton, wondering whose turn is first
Because some of the best alien minds consider "us" the shrill-voiced uncertainty factor
That threatens to bring the whole cosmic chorus to its whimpering knees
Because Utopia is the island in time that forgot itself as it lifted its utensil
At the altar of its great consuming goddess No Memory, with her sadclown smile strained
Because her lofty position at the social fulcrum which is the mercy seat
Takes a terrific toll on black pants suit bottoms
Because some of the best alien minds are surveying developments in numb disbelief
Because 65% of the wood lice aren't losing any sleep at all
Because retreat in the face of even greater problems,
While not a bad idea, won't solve anything
Because acceptance and consumption are just what the market needs
To shake it out of its trance-like belief in what it thinks alien minds are saying
Because acceptance means acculturation to the masculine mills
Because happiness is merely their invention anyway, because Dame Pleasure is wearied
Of Earth, has taken to the air, faded, fluttered down in a still, snow-
Like inwardness to spill, scatter and be raked up with all the sibyl's other fallen leaves
In this enchanted-recount self-enclosure, like a small-town autumn
Where the commoners lie down nightly with what they have made
Happen, amid the bedded reeds of the vigilant event horizon
Because in this collapse its truths are received
By their souls, because of what this means to the odd weightlessness they feel
Because they have no way to grace their laurels
Beyond filling up the best alien minds, intent upon those peerless screens,
With the black pants suits of our resident historian
Who's just keeping a chair among the blond clouds warm for them.

November 2000

File:Hillary Rodham Clinton.jpg

Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Senator from New York: photo by U.S. Senate, 2000

Hard day of diplomacy  ... Benjamin Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton during a news conference in Jerusalem on Saturday.
Hard day of diplomacy ... Benjamin Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton during a news conference in Jerusalem on Saturday: photo by Rina Castelnuovo / AP via Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 2009

In this handout photo provided by the GPO, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 16, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel: photographer unknown via Zimbio, July 2014
"Hil[l]ary Clinton does a fine impersonation of Tony Blair"[Hillary Clinton with Benjamin Netanyahu, New York, 27 September 2012]: photo by AP, 27 September 2012 via Tony Gorman on twitter, 11 August 2014

Newly appointed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with President-elect Barack Obama in Chicago, 1 December 2008: photo by Anne Ryan/Sipa Press, 1 December 2008

Hillary Clinton kissing Suha Arafat
: photo by Reuters, 11 November 1999


Hillary Clinton and Shimon Peres in Jerusalem today
: photo by Menahem Kahana / AFP, 3 March 2009

Hillary Clinton, Benjamin Netanyahu

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak before a meeting at the Regency hotel, Thursday, September 27, 2012 in New York: photo by John Mnichillo / AP, 27 September 2012
White House War Room during operation to assassinate Osama bin Laden: photo by U.S. Government 2 May 2011

Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2005. After awkward episodes as first lady, she proved to be Israel’s friend as senator: photo by Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times, 1 January 2009

Hillary Clinton (center), flanked by Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Mahmoud Abbas, opened a day of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Hillary Clinton opened a day of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with a pep talk [from L, Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton, Mahmoud Abbas]: photo by AP, via Politico, 2 September 2010

Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak after a joint press conference on July 16, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. Clinton is in Israel to discuss diplomacy with Iran, Syria and Egypt in addition to peace talks regarding the Middle East: photo by Lior Mizrahi via Zimbio, 16 July 2012

Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu - Israeli Troops Continue To Gather On Border As UN Call For Truce
In this handout provided by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) on November 21, 2012 in Jerusalem: photographer unknown via Zimbio, July 2014


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting at a peace summit in Sharm el-Sheikh on September 14, 2010
: p
hoto by AP, 14 September 2010

barack obama
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama: photo by via Liberty Voice. 14 January 2014

Hillary Clinton
: photo by AP via The New Yorker, 11 August 2014

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T.C.: W.H. Auden: The Fall of Rome


File:Benitachel, Spain.jpg

Benitachel, Eastern Spain: photo by Sebastian Vaida, 2008

..........................(For Cyril Connolly)

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extoll the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

W.H. Auden: The Fall of Rome, from Nones (1961)

File:Herd of Caribou.jpg

Caribou (Rangifer tarandus), Suomi, near Ihari, Finland: photo by Lukas Riebling, 2005

Sunday, April 19, 2015

T.C.: Robert Creeley: After Lorca


File:Malaguilla Countryside view2.jpg

Malaguilla, Provincia de Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain: photo by Häkan Svensson, 2004

.............................................................for M. Marti

The church is a business, and the rich
are the business men.

............................. When they pull on the bells, the
poor come piling in and when a poor man dies, he has a wooden
cross, and they rush through the ceremony.

But when a rich man dies, they
drag out the Sacrament
and a golden Cross, and go doucement, doucement
to the cemetery.

And the poor love it
and think it's crazy.

obert Creeley: After Lorca, 1952, from For Love (1960)


Olivar en Alcalá la Real, Jaén, España: photo by Michelangelo-36, 2005

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TC: Bertolt Brecht: Why Should My Name Be Mentioned?


哈尔滨松花江. Despite heavy smog there is a lot of life on the frozen Songhua River, Harbin, China: photo by SinoLaZZeR, 23 November 2013

Once I thought: in distant times 
When the buildings have collapsed in which I live
And the ships have rotted in which I travelled
My name will still be mentioned
With others.

Because I praised the useful, which In my day was considered base 
Because I battled against all religions
Because I fought oppression or
For another reason.

Because I was for people and
Entrusted everything to them, thereby honoring them  
Because I wrote verses and enriched the language 
Because I taught practical behaviour or
For some other reason.

Therefore I thought my name would still be
Mentioned; on a stone 
My name would stand; from books
It would get printed into the new books.


But today
I accept that it will be forgotten.  
Should the baker be asked for if there is enough bread?
Should the snow be praised that has melted
If new snowfalls are impending?
Should there be a past if 
There is a future?

Should my name be mentioned?

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956): Why Should My Name Be Mentioned? (Warum soll mein Name gennant werden?), 1936, translated by Robert Conard in Poems 1913-1956 (1976)

dock at dusk (Hikone, Lake Biwa): photo by Stephen Cairns, 16 September 2013

Monday, December 1, 2014

TC: Allen Ginsberg: A Supermarket in California

Supermarket packaged food aisles, the new Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lombard, Portland: photo by Lyzadanger, 2004

What thoughts I have of you tonight Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! -- and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
Berkeley, 1955

99 Cent: photo by Andreas Gursky, 1999 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997): A Supermarket in California, from Howl and Other Poems, 1956