Monthly Archives: December 2010


Look: up every bone every sky every day every you–
he goes working his
way up blue earlobes from ocean goes
thrown by rosesudden someone’s
already tomorrow goes riding his bed of daysided gold goes skimming
sleep countries from west to east until sudden
rosestopped someone’s
already earliness opens the back of the clock: he
steps in.

Fragment 8 [that lucky old Sun]
Translated by Anne Carson


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New Year

This is an electrifying concert video, shot in the last days of the USSR.


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A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day

‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
I, by Love’s limbec, am the grave
Of all, that’s nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown’d the whole world, us two; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night’s festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year’s and the day’s deep midnight is.


I am leaving in the morning and before doing so I will remember to leave water running, in case it freezes while I am gone. I will already have stopped the mail, and dropped the Permanent Kitten off with his cousins.


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Writing and Eleven Things

Today’s writing topics, from Clio, are actually inviting: eleven things to shed in 2011, and what do you need to write?

I need to write my novel, and I want to write my academic projects. This is all very obvious but I would like to underscore the novel as a need and the academic work as a desire.

Eleven things to shed are:

1. Self doubt … I am working on shedding it.
2. Self hatred … I am working on shedding it.
3. Self destruction … I am working shedding it.
4. Debt … I may be about to shed the last of it.
5. Teaching courses to the general education requirement … I cannot shed this but I can start failing people early on.
6. Watering down courses at the upper division / graduate levels on the theory that this will garner us more students at these levels … I can refuse to do this.
7. Being affected by the attitudes of the lumpen undergraduates … I am not sure how to avoid this but items 1, 2, and 3 may help.
8. The 5 or 10 pounds I seem to have gained over the past two years … sleep and exercise can cause me to shed these.
9. The new habit of not exercising … items 1, 2, and 3 will restart me.
10. The habit of not sleeping … shedding this is going to be a question of will power, I believe. For me not sleeping signifies enthusiasm, appetite, and interest in life. Therefore, I do not wish to sleep, but I really ought to. I have a multi-pronged plan to accomplish this.
11. Workaholism … I believe I have developed workaholic traits; by this I mean transforming work into drudgery, or letting the tedious aspects of work take it over. How to accomplish this: identify the most tedious aspects of work and find a systematic way to reduce dedication to them, even if it seems heretical. Machine grading seems heretical, for instance, but I intend to use any means necessary.



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La violencia de las horas

Todos han muerto. Murió doña Antonia, la ronca, que hacía pan barato en el burgo.

Murió el cura Santiago, a quien placía le saludasen los jóvenes y las mozas, respondiéndoles a todos, indistintamente: “Buenos días, José! Buenos días, María!”

Murió aquella joven rubia, Carlota, dejando un hijito de meses, que luego también murió a los ocho días de la madre.

Murió mi tía Albina, que solía cantar tiempos y modos de heredad, en tanto cosía en los corredores, para Isidora, la criada de oficio, la honrosísima mujer.

Murió un viejo tuerto, su nombre no recuerdo, pero dormía al sol de la mañana, sentado ante la puerta del hojalatero de la esquina.

Murió Rayo, el perro de mi altura, herido de un balazo de no se sabe quién. Murió Lucas, mi cuñado en la paz de las cinturas, de quien me acuerdo cuando llueve y no hay nadie en mi experiencia.

Murió en mi revólver mi madre, en mi puño mi hermana y mi hermano en mi víscera sangrienta, los tres ligados por un género triste de tristeza, en el mes de agosto de años sucesivos.

Murió el músico Méndez, alto y muy borracho, que solfeaba en su clarinete tocatas melancólicas, a cuyo articulado se dormían las gallinas de mi barrio, mucho antes de que el sol se fuese.

Murió mi eternidad y estoy velándola.

–C.V., from “Canciones de hogar,” Los heraldos negros


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Si j’étais ruisseau, ou bien touriste

“Si j’étais ruisseau, ou bien touriste, vous m’aimeriez tous, comme on aime les artistes,” dit Vincent par téléphone.

“Writing is a foreign language,” he said. “The best way to spell is in Phrench.”

That took place in the twentieth century but perhaps I am a nineteenth century man. I am clearly a petit bourgeois or willing to be one. This post is not to be taken literally.

I am tired of explaining why I will not take on an additional fine art as recreation.

I want to specialize and perfect, not to play. This makes me a petit bourgeois seeking coins and not allowing his mind to wander, his soul to fly.

Vincent would disagree with that conclusion.


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On Creativity (A Contrarian View)

It seems to me so far that the current reverb exercise, in which one reflects each day, intends to foster creative activity. The implicit assumption that one does not already appreciate sunsets and make things bores me a little.

I feel asked to prove once again that I can do artistic things and enjoy walks in nature. I have been proving this since I was a small child. Seeing the prompts I want to say:

I am sorry, I am sorry! I know I should not be so academically oriented! I know I have not played enough for you yet! I know it!  I promise, I will become even more artistic and create more and faster! Just please, please … do not hit me again, or at least do not hit my face!

Am I the only one who would rather take one art and perfect it, than dabble? Am I the only one who would like more time for science and less urging toward crafts? Thence my sentence for today:

Increases in creativity are recommended; I disagree.

It is a beautiful winter here and I have just harvested my first lettuce leaves. I am also growing cabbage, broccoli, onions, and cauliflower. I cook from scratch and I eat on plates I made. I take a sculpture class every week and I would like to work in metal. I am not good at drawing but I would like to learn  for these endeavors.

I designed and made web pages for several programs in my university, from scratch, writing in HTML on the server. The design and information architecture were mine. I design programs and projects which are funded competitively. These things take real creativity.

I publish poetry and prose narrative. I enter national and international creative writing contests. I do not like to play musical instruments, but I can. I can read music and dance. I do not like to do stained glass, knit, sew, or crochet, but I can.

When, oh when, will ye who insist women create more and yet more craft and art, be satisfied and let me get back to science?



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Fict or Faction

This group apparently has a song, on this album, called “Fict or Faction,” and I am looking for it.


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When dawn, wearing golden sandals, awoke me,

I began to crawl, burning, shivering, to my uncurtained window;

Migrating birds streamed over the dark sea.


Who can quench the ingenious fires of cruelty?

I was dreaming of white-fetlocked horses conferring in a meadow

When dawn, wearing golden sandals, awoke me.


On my stopped loom, a sort of landscape: icy

Peaks, serrated as daggers; a corpse, and beside it a crow,

And migrating birds streaming over the dark sea.


Fat, autumnal flies alight on my sheets, rainbow-hued, dizzy;

This one on my writst — its mandibles quiver, its givvous eyes glow…

Then dawn, wearing golden sandals, awoke me.


Merciless daughter of Zeus, immortal Aphrodite,

Come to me, sing to me, low-voiced, in sorrow

Of migrating birds that stream over the dark sea.


Cast aside your spangled headband: in my mirror I see

You beneath these stringy locks, puckered lips, and tearstained cheeks…go,

Migrating birds, stream over the dark sea;

And dawn, wearing golden sandals, awake me.


Mark Ford


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