11 April 2014

Variations on the word love (Margaret Atwood)

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliffside. You can
hold on or let go. 

03 April 2014

Song (Lynn Domina)

The body says: I am a fiesta.
           —Eduardo Galeano

For Tandy Scheffler

The body says, I am a galaxy. Choose
sixteen or seven or ten stars and write your story
within their image: dragon, swan, virgin.
Your story will exceed the stars' boundaries.

The body says, I am not a bonfire
or a conflagration or an inferno.
I am not a crematorium.
I am not a branding iron or an ember or the single candle flame
illuminating a darkened room. I am the match
waiting to be struck.

The body says, I am the husk
left after the harvest
and I am the harvest.

The body says, I am a fiesta. I am the clay bowl
heaped with quartered limes, the salt
rimming a margarita, the skewer offering thick
slivers of ripe mango. You'll wear
your favorite yellow shirt embroidered
with yellow flowers that blossom
as you dance.

The body says, I am a dream and in this dream
you are folding paper birds. All day you fold
swans and finches and starlings. When evening comes,
your hands rest in lamplight. You hang
turquoise owls from your ficus, and lavender doves
you string past your window. Their fluttering
soothes you, their soft efforts toward song.

Via Poetry Daily.

21 March 2014

"Everybody's gotta learn sometime" (Beck - from the soundtrack of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

It doesn't seem possible that one of my favourite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is ten years old… But so it is.

14 March 2014

Two poems by Hilary Sideris

Just as the word
is mostly end,
we've reached the path
where brittle leaves
crack underfoot,
and we admit it's late
for flexibility, for faith
that we can break
so many times
and mend. 

I've lived long
enough to cultivate
these silvered
leaves, to pluck what
uses wisdom has, to prune
my salvia in spring,
savoring age, the not
unpleasant sting
of being healed,
not saved.

"Just" (Henry Ate)

25 February 2014

Extract: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard)

“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock—more than a maple—a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

Annie Dillard

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

21 February 2014

"To build a home" (The Cinematic Orchestra, live 2007)

The same-different (Hannah Sanghee Park)

Bared all, or barred all
Depending on depth.
Sky a rerun of
yesterday's mixed sky.
But these days I take
what I can get, if
the getting was good.
Like a pure mirror
draped, could read/could not
read, would reveal/would
not, leaving with We're
a lot alike, meaning: O love, a love
I loved, and the lot I liked.

Via The Volta.

18 February 2014

"Stardust" (Westward The Tide)

17 February 2014

"Becoming a book" (Howard Schwartz)

"When writers die they become books, which is, after all,
not too bad an incarnation."

                                          —Jorge Luis Borges

           for Ben Furnish

All these years,
without knowing it,
I've been preparing for my rebirth
as a book.

Each day
I try to condense
light and darkness
into one more page.

At night
I count the pages left
before it's time
to come back.

Now that my destiny is known,
we need not say goodbye.
I'll be there guarding you
from a shelf.

Via Poetry Daily.

10 February 2014

Extract from "Diffraction (for Carl Sagan)" (Diane Ackerman)

When Carl tells me it’s Rayleigh scattering
that makes blue light, canting off molecular

grit, go slowgait through the airy jell, subdued,
and outlying mountains look swarthy, or wheat

blaze tawny-rose in the 8:00 sun, how I envy
his light touch on Earth’s magnetic bridle.

Knee-deep in the cosmic overwhelm, I’m stricken
by the ricochet wonder of it all: the plain

everythingness of everything, in cahoots
with the everythingness of everything else.

07 February 2014

Illustrations by Khoa Le

 Khoa Le is a Vietnamese freelance illustrator, graphic designer and painter. You can see her portfolio here and here.

A beautiful mind