Friday, May 31, 2013

What is it about Curtains?

I am obsessed with them as a visual element or metaphor. When we watch an opera or Masterpiece Theater the first thing I say is "Look at the curtains!"

Legend of Lindworm

In the 19th-century tale of "Prince Lindworm" (also "King Lindworm"), from Scandinavian folklore, a "half-man half-snake" lindworm is born, as one of twins, to a queen, who, in an effort to overcome her childless situation, has followed the advice of an old crone, who tells her to eat two onions. She did not peel the first onion, causing the first twin to be a lindworm. The second twin boy is perfect in every way. When he grows up and sets off to find a bride, the lindworm insists that a bride be found for him before his younger brother can marry. Since his bride must love him willingly and none of the chosen maidens do, he eats each new bride they bring him, this creates a slight problem for the kingdom until a shepherd's daughter who spoke to the same crone is brought to marry him. She comes wearing every dress she owns. The lindworm tells her to take off her dress, but she insists he shed a skin for each dress she removes. Eventually he is out of skin and underneath is a handsome prince. Some versions of the story omit the lindworm's twin, and the gender of the soothsayer varies.
Read Sibiling Society by Robert Bly for more on this story.

Joel Grey

In a career that was launched in the early 1950's, Joel Grey has created indelible stage roles each decade since. Grey made his theatrical debut at the age of 9 in the Cleveland Playhouse production of On Borrowed Time and made his Broadway debut exactly two decades later as a replacement in Neil Simon's first comedy hit, Come Blow Your Horn (1961). Since then, his Broadway credits include the Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Half a Sixpence, Cabaret (Tony Award), George M! (Tony nomination), Goodtime Charley (Tony nomination), The Grand Tour (Tony nomination), Chicago (Drama Desk Award), Wicked and most recently, Roundabout Theatre Company's Tony Award-winning revival of Anything Goes. Joel's dramatic stage roles include Marco Polo Sings a Solo, Chekhov's Platonov, the Roundabout Theatre production of Give Me Your Answer, Do! (Drama Desk nomination) and Larry Kramer's seminal The Normal Heart at the Public Theatre, which he also co-directed with George C. Wolfe in its Broadway premiere (Drama Desk Award, Tony nomination). In 2012, Joel served as Master Teacher for the Ten Chimney's Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, which focused on the American Musical Theatre.

Joel received the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1972 film version of Cabaret (directed by Bob Fosse). He is one of only nine actors to have won both the Tony and Academy Award for the same role. Other film credits include Man on A Swing, Robert Altman's Buffalo Bill and the Indians, The Seven Percent Solution, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Steven Soderbergh's Kafka, Altman's The Player, The Music of Chance, Michael Ritchie's adaptation of The Fantasticks, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark and Clark Gregg's Choke. Recent television appearances include "Brooklyn Bridge" (Emmy nomination), "OZ," "Law and Order: CI," "House," "Brothers & Sisters," "Private Practice," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Nurse Jackie." He was recently honored for his illustrious television career by The Paley Center for Media in both NYC and Los Angeles.

Joel is also an accomplished photographer. He has three books of photographs, Pictures I Had to Take (2003), Looking Hard at Unexamined Things (2006) and 1.3 – Images From My Phone (2009). His life and career were recently the subject of an exhibition at The Museum of the City of New York, titled Joel Grey/A New York Life.

Joel is the father of Jennifer and James and the grandfather of Stella.

Francis Assikinack

In my opinion, it was chiefly owing to their deep contemplation in their silent retreats in the days of youth that the old Indian orators acquired the habit of carefully arranging their thoughts.

They listened to the warbling of birds and noted the grandeur and the beauties of the forest. The majestic clouds—which appear like mountains of granite floating in the air—the golden tints of a summer evening sky, and the changes of nature, possessed a mysterious significance.

All of this combined to furnish ample matter for reflection to the contemplating youth.
― Francis Assikinack

Linda Hogan

Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.
― Linda Hogan

There are ways in, journeys to the center of life, through time; through air, matter, dream and thought. The ways are not always mapped or charted, but sometimes being lost, if there is such a thing, is the sweetest place to be. And always, in this search, a person might find that she is already there, at the center of the world. It may be a broken world, but it is glorious nonetheless.
― Linda Hogan, The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir

Walking, I can almost hear the redwoods beating. And the oceans are above me here, rolling clouds, heavy and dark. It is winter and there is smoke from the fires. It is a world of elemental attention, of all things working together, listening to what speaks in the blood. Whichever road I follow, I walk in the land of many gods, and they love and eat one another. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.
― Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World

Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.
― Linda Hogan

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
― Linda Hogan

Tears have a purpose. They are what we carry of the ocean, and perhaps we must become the sea, give ourselves to it, if we are to be transformed.
― Linda Hogan, Solar Storms

Sometimes there is a wellspring or river of something beautiful and possible in the tenderest sense that comes to and from the most broken of children, and I was one of these, and whatever is was, I can't name, I can only thank. Perhaps it is the water of life that saves us, after all.
― Linda Hogan, The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir

Once when I was younger I went out and sat under the sky and looked up and asked it to take me back. What I should have done was gone to the swamp and bog and ask them to bring me back because, if anything is, mud and marsh are the origins of life. Now I think of the storm that made chaos, that the storm opened a door. It tried to make over a world the way it wanted it to be. At school I learned that storms create life, that lightning, with its nitrogen, is a beginning; bacteria and enzymes grow new life from decay out of darkness and water. It's into this that I want to fall, into swamp and mud and sludge and it seems like falling is the natural way of things; gravity needs no fuel, no wings. It needs only stillness and waiting and time.
― Linda Hogan

What finally turned me back toward the older traditions of my own [Chickasaw] and other Native peoples was the inhumanity of the Western world, the places--both inside and out--where the culture's knowledge and language don't go, and the despair, even desperation, it has spawned. We live, I see now, by different stories, the Western mind and the indigenous. In the older, more mature cultures where people still live within the kinship circles of animals and human beings there is a connection with animals, not only as food, but as 'powers,' a word which can be taken to mean states of being, gifts, or capabilities.

I've found, too, that the ancient intellectual traditions are not merely about belief, as some would say. Belief is not a strong enough word. They are more than that: They are part of lived experience, the on-going experience of people rooted in centuries-old knowledge that is held deep and strong, knowledge about the natural laws of Earth, from the beginning of creation, and the magnificent terrestrial intelligence still at work, an intelligence now newly called ecology by the Western science that tells us what our oldest tribal stories maintain--the human animal is a relatively new creation here; animal and plant presences were here before us; and we are truly the younger sisters and brothers of the other animal species, not quite as well developed as we thought we were. It is through our relationships with animals and plants that we maintain a way of living, a cultural ethics shaped from an ancient understanding of the world, and this is remembered in stories that are the deepest reflections of our shared lives on Earth.

That we held, and still hold, treaties with the animals and plant species is a known part of tribal culture. The relationship between human people and animals is still alive and resonant in the world, the ancient tellings carried on by a constellation of stories, songs, and ceremonies, all shaped by lived knowledge of the world and its many interwoven, unending relationships. These stories and ceremonies keep open the bridge between one kind of intelligence and another, one species and another.

(from her essay "First People")
― Linda Hogan, Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals

The old stories of human relationships with animals can't be discounted. They are not primitive; they are primal. They reflect insights that came from considerable and elaborate systems of knowledge, intellectual traditions and ways of living that were tried, tested, and found true over many thousands of years and on all continents.

But perhaps the truest story is with the animals themselves because we have found our exemplary ways through them, both in the older world and in the present time, both physically and spiritually. According to the traditions of the Seneca animal society, there were medicine animals in ancient times that entered into relationships with people. The animals themselves taught ceremonies that were to be performed in their names, saying they would provide help for humans if this relationship was kept. We have followed them, not only in the way the early European voyagers and prenavigators did, by following the migrations of whales in order to know their location, or by releasing birds from cages on their sailing vessels and following them towards land, but in ways more subtle and even more sustaining. In a discussion of the Wolf Dance of the Northwest, artists Bill Holm and William Reid said that 'It is often done by a woman or a group of women. The dance is supposed to come from the wolves. There are different versions of its origin and different songs, but the words say something like, 'Your name is widely known among the wolves. You are honored by the wolves.'

In another recent account, a Northern Cheyenne ceremonialist said that after years spent recovering from removals and genocide, indigenous peoples are learning their lost songs back from the wolves who retained them during the grief-filled times, as thought the wolves, even though threatened in their own numbers, have had compassion for the people....

It seems we have always found our way across unknown lands, physical and spiritual, with the assistance of the animals. Our cultures are shaped around them and we are judged by the ways in which we treat them. For us, the animals are understood to be our equals. They are still our teachers. They are our helpers and healers. They have been our guardians and we have been theirs. We have asked for, and sometimes been given, if we've lived well enough, carefully enough, their extraordinary powers of endurance and vision, which we have added to our own knowledge, powers and gifts when we are not strong enough for the tasks required of us. We have deep obligations to them. Without other animals, we are made less.

(from her essay "First People")
A woman once described a friend of hers as being such a keen listener that even the trees leaned toward her, as if they were speaking their innermost secrets into her listening ears. Over the years I’ve envisioned that woman’s silence, a hearing full and open enough that the world told her its stories. The green leaves turned toward her, whispering tales of soft breezes and the murmurs of leaf against leaf.
― Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World

Perhaps there are events and things that work as a doorway into a mythical world, the world of first people, all the way back to the creation of the universe and the small quickenings of earth, the first stirrings of human beings at the beginnings of time. Our elders believe this to be so, that it is possible to wind a way backwards to the start of things, and in doing so find a form of sacred reason, different from ordinary reason, that is linked to forces of nature. In this kind of mind, like in the feather, is the power of sky and thunder and sun, and many have had alliances and partnerships with it, a way of thought older than measured time, less primitive than the rational present. Others have tried for centuries to understand the world by science and intellect but have not yet done so, not yet understood animals, finite earth, or even their own minds and behavior. The more they seek to learn the world, the closer they come to the spiritual, the magical origins of creation.

There is a still place, a gap between the worlds, spoken by the tribal knowings of thousands of years. In it are silent flyings that stand aside from human struggles and the designs of our own makings. At times, when we are silent enough, still enough, we take a step into such mystery, the place of spirit, and mystery, we must remember, by its very nature does not wish to be known.
― Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World


Religion is for people who're afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who've already been there.
― Vine Deloria Jr.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Milarepa, who lived in the eleventh century, is one of the heroes of Tibetan Buddhism, one of the brave ones. He was also a rather unusual fellow. He was a loner who lived in caves by himself and meditated whole heartedly for years. He was extremely stubborn and determined. If he couldn’t find anything to eat for a couple of years, he just ate nettles and turned green, but he would never stop practicing.

The story goes that one evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about the teaching of the nonduality between self and other, but he still didn’t quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were a projection of his own mind- all the unwanted parts of himself- he didn’t know how to get rid of them.

So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we all are one. He talked about compassion and emptiness and other key Buddhist teachings. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally he gave up and just sat down on the floor saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.”

At that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said “This one is particularly vicious.” (We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that’s all we’ve got.) He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left too. The moral of the story is, when the resistance is gone, so are the demons.
- The Pocket Pema Chodron

Sunny, Hot and Humid

Lily and I walked the shade tree route to the public library with two pit stops at the city park water fountain for drinking and hosing off. I'm wearing flip flops, and my cotton mystery dress that has a pattern like 60's linoleum. I ran into the neighborhood skinny blond-haired girl who recently moved to her sister's town in Florida. She stopped under the Burger King tree to show me her amazing phone-photos of gigantic Florida hibiscus flowers and a turkey-duck, egrets and the nearby alligator pond. I told her "Call National Geographic, these photos are great!" She said she dreams of working as a photographer for Disney World. I came home and made up a tiny jam jar glass of iced coffee with a dash of Job Lot maple syrup. Lily is crashed out in front of the fan.

Botero Circus

I had no idea Botero painted a series of circus paintings. View them here.


My wife could turn to me and she may say, ‘Why do you love me?’ And I can with all honesty look her in the eye and say, ’Because our pheromones matched our olfactory receptors.’
— Robin Ince

Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.
— Brené Brown

Your child will live a life ten years younger than you because of the landscape of food that we’ve built around them.
— Jamie Oliver

The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.
— Bryan Stevenson

Repeated psychology tests have proven that telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen.
— Derek Sivers

Education is great … but it's really my creativity that's taught me that I can be much more than what my education told me I am.
— Raghava KK

Always be looking for that which you do well and that which you love doing, and when you find those two things together — man, you got it.
— Colin Powell

Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.
— Temple Grandin

Anger is like gasoline. If you spray it around and somebody lights a match, you've got an inferno. [But] if we can put our anger inside an engine, it can drive us forward.
— Scilla Elworthy

When you look at the Moon, you think, ‘I’m really small. What are my problems?’ It sets things into perspective. We should all look at the Moon a bit more often.
— Alain de Botton

Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.
— Candy Chang

The next time you’re faced with something that’s unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider that it just may be a gift.
— Stacey Kramer

We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. Even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.
— Daniel Kahneman

If Americans want to live the American dream, they should go to Denmark.
— Richard Wilkinson


Philippe Petit

When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk!
― Philippe Petit, To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers

Austrian Drives Flaming Car to Fire Station

Austrian Drives Flaming Car to Fire Station

Published: May 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM ET

VIENNA — Some Austrian firefighters didn't have to leave their station to deal with a recent alarm. The blaze came to them instead.

Fireman Roland Brandl says that colleagues were doing chores at the station in the town of Pregarten Wednesday when a car sped in with flames shooting from beneath it.

One man grabbed an extinguisher and doused the fire. No one was hurt.

The blaze was apparently caused by a cleaning cloth which was left under the hood.

State broadcaster ORF says the unidentified driver drove about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) to the station after a passer-by alerted him to the fire.

Mystery Bag

I just found a mystery bag
in my hall closet
I have no idea where it came from!
Inside: Three sun dresses, three skirts,
and a Donegal sweater!

Bill says this is going to get interesting
as I get older, and continue to lose my mind

Annie Edson Taylor

Annie Edson Taylor (October 24, 1838 – April 29, 1921) was an American adventurer who, on her 63rd birthday, October 24, 1901, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Annie Edson Taylor was born on, October 24, 1838 in Auburn, New York. One of eight children, her father, Merrick Edson, owned a flour mill. He died when she was 12 years old but the money he left behind continued to provide a comfortable living for the family. She became a schoolteacher (she received an honors degree in a four-year training course). During her studies she met David Taylor. They were married and had a son who died in infancy. Her husband died soon after. After she was widowed, she spent her working years in between jobs and locales.

Eventually, she ended up in Bay City, Michigan where she hoped to be a dance instructor. Since there were no dance schools in Bay City at that time, Taylor opened her own... Later she moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1900 to teach music. From Sault Ste. Marie she traveled to San Antonio, Texas where she and a friend got together and went to Mexico City to find work. Unsuccessful, she returned to Bay City.


Fernando Botero Bio

Fernando Botero Angulo (born April 19, 1932) is a Colombian figurative artist. His works feature a figurative style, called by some "Boterismo", which gives them an unmistakable identity. Botero depicts women, men, daily life, historical events and characters, milestones of art, still-life, animals and the natural world in general, with exaggerated and disproportionate volumetry, accompanied by fine details of scathing criticism, irony, humor, and ingenuity.

Self-titled "the most Colombian of Colombian artists" early on, he came to national prominence when he won the first prize at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1958. Working most of the year in Paris, in the last three decades he has achieved international recognition for his paintings, drawings and sculpture, with exhibitions across the world. His art is collected by major museums, corporations and private collectors.

Fernando Botero was born the second of three children in Medellín, Colombia. His parents were David Botero and Flora Angulo. David Botero, a salesman who traveled by horseback, died when Fernando was four, and his mother worked as a seamstress. An uncle took a major role in his life. Although isolated from art as presented in museums and other cultural institutes, Botero was influenced by the Baroque style of the colonial churches and then the rich life of the city.

In 1944, after Botero attended a Jesuit school, Botero's uncle sent him to a school for matadors for two years.[3] In 1948, at the age of 16, Botero published his first illustrations in the Sunday supplement of the El Colombiano daily paper. He used the money he was paid to attend high school at the Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia.

Botero's work was first exhibited in 1948, in a group show along with other artists from the region.

From 1949 to 1950, Botero worked as a set designer, before moving to Bogotá in 1951. His first one-man show was held at the Galería Leo Matiz in Bogotá, a few months after his arrival. In 1952, Botero travelled with a group of artists to Barcelona, where he stayed briefly before moving on to Madrid.

In Madrid, Botero studied at the Academia de San Fernando. In 1952, he traveled to Bogotá, where he had a solo exhibit at the Leo Matiz gallery.

In 1953, Botero moved to Paris, where he spent most of his time in the Louvre, studying the works there. He lived in Florence, Italy from 1953 to 1954, studying the works of Renaissance masters. In recent decades, he has lived most of the time in Paris, but spends one month a year in his native city of Medellín. He has had more than 50 exhibits in major cities worldwide, and his work commands selling prices in the millions of dollars. In 1958, he won the ninth edition of the Salón de Artistas Colombianos.

While his work includes still-lifes and landscapes, Botero has concentrated on situational portraiture. His paintings and sculptures are united by their proportionally exaggerated, or "fat" figures, as he once referred to them.

Botero explains his use of these "large people", as they are often called by critics, in the following way:

"An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it."

Botero is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense, choosing colors, shapes, and proportions based on intuitive aesthetic thinking. Though he spends only one month a year in Colombia, he considers himself the "most Colombian artist living" due to his insulation from the international trends of the art world

In 2004 Botero exhibited a series of 27 drawings and 23 paintings dealing with the violence in Colombia from the drug cartels. He donated the works to the National Museum of Colombia, where they were first exhibited.

In 2005 Botero gained considerable attention for his Abu Ghraib series, which was exhibited first in Europe. He based the works on reports of United States forces' abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. Beginning with an idea he had on a plane journey, Botero produced more than 85 paintings and 100 drawings in exploring this concept and "painting out the poison". The series was exhibited at two United States locations in 2007, including Washington, DC. Botero said he would not sell any of the works, but would donate them to museums.

In 2006, after having focused exclusively on the Abu Ghraib series for over 14 months, Botero returned to the themes of his early life such as the family and maternity. In his Une Famille Botero represented the Colombian family, a subject often painted in the seventies and eighties. In his Maternity, Botero repeated a composition he already painted in 2003, being able to evoke a sensuous velvety texture that lends it a special appeal and testifies for a personal involvement of the artist. The child in the 2006 drawing has a wound in his right chest as if the Author wanted to identify him with Jesus Christ, thus giving it a religious meaning that was absent in the 2003 artwork.

In 2008 he exhibited the works of his The Circus collection, featuring 20 works in oil and watercolor. In a 2010 interview, Botero said that he was ready for other subjects: "After all this, I always return to the simplest things: still lifes."

Botero married Gloria Zea (who became the Colombian Minister of Culture). Together they had three children: Fernando (who was born while they lived in Mexico City), Lina and Juan Carlos Botero. The senior Boteros divorced in 1960 and each remarried. Starting in 1960, Botero lived for 14 years in New York, but more recently has settled in Paris. Lina also lives outside of Colombia, and in 2000 Juan Carlos moved to southern Florida.

Fernando Botero Zea became a politician and served as Defense Minister. He was convicted in 1996 of a financial offense and served 30 months in prison. Rather than facing a second charge and sentence in 2002, he is staying out of the country in Mexico, where he is a citizen of birth.[14] Lina Botero became an actress and TV presenter.

In 1964 Botero began living with Cecilia Zambrano. They had a son Pedro, born in 1974, and separated in 1975. Pedro was killed in 1979 in a car accident, in which Botero was also injured.

Last Botero married the Greek artist Sophia Vari. They reside in Paris and have a house in Pietrasanta, Italy.
For the 80th birthday of Botero, an exhibition was made at Pietrasanta.

Superstitions Under the Big Top


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Barry Lubin

Why do people work for the circus?

There is something special and unique about the art form. Personally, whenever I have left, I have longed to return. There is a thin, invisible line between the audience and the circus ring, but when you are not in the show, that line is a thousand miles wide. It tugs at your heart and at your soul to return to and become a part of this mythical world, which—when you are inside of it and when you get the occasional perspective on it—you realize is like no other world.

- Barry Lubin


Vilayat Inayat Khan

Have the courage to face the light of your own being.

Do you think that you aren’t free? You are free, but you do not know that you are free—and it is your not knowing that you are free that is your limitation and your imprisonment. Realize your freedom, and you are free.

-Vilayat Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan

We start our lives trying to be teachers; it is very hard to learn to be a pupil.

He is an unbeliever who cannot believe in himself.

Words that enlighten are more precious than jewels.

One single moment of a sincere life is worth more than a thousand years of a life of falsehood.

Wisdom existed before the wise; life existed before the living; love existed before the lover.

Life is an opportunity, and it is a great pity if man realizes this when it is too late.

Insight into Life is the real religion, which alone can help man to understand Life.

To learn the lesson of how to live is more important than any psychic or occult knowledge.

The more a man explores himself, the more power he finds within.

-Hazrat Inayat Khan


Sufi Proverbs

Grasp the moment; you can’t power a mill with water that has already passed by.

Those that have time and search for a better time will lose time.

Abundance can be had simply by knowingly receiving what has already been given.

Knowledge without its application is like water without wetness.

Never be enslaved to principles.

We are in this world, but not of it.

Behind every adversity lies a hidden possibility.

Bringing joy to one heart with love is better than one thousand repetitive prayer recitings.

Watching someone else eating will not satisfy you hunger; the spiritual experiences of others will not satisfy your yearning.

The treasure of joy is closer to you than you are to yourself—so why should you go searching from door to door?

If you pick up a bee due to kindness, you will learn the limitations of kindness.

There would be no such a thing as counterfeit gold if there weren’t real gold somewhere.

When a pickpocket sees a saint, all he sees are his pockets.

Wise company can also make you wise.

Asking good questions is half of learning

There is a difference between spending a night with a lover and a night with a toothache.

I searched for God, and found only myself. I searched for myself, and found only God.

A person who seeks God through logical proof is like someone who searches for the sun with a lamp.


Gaston Lachaise, Sculptor

Gaston Lachaise was born in Paris March 19, 1882, the son of a cabinetmaker who designed Gustave Eiffel’s apartment in the Eiffel Tower. Lachaise began studying sculpture at the age of 13 at the Ecole Bernard Palissey and was accepted four years later at the Academie Nationale des Beaux-Arts where he received formal classical training under Gabriel Jules Thomas. He exhibited annually at the Salon and was twice runner-up for the prestigious Prix de Rome award. Around 1902-1903 he met and fell in love with an American woman of French Canadian descent named Isabel Dutaud Nagle, who was in Paris overseeing the education of her son. Lachaise described Isabel, ten years his senior, as "majestic" and, later, as "the primary inspiration that awakened my vision and the leading influence that has directed my forces. Throughout my career as an artist, I refer to this person by the word 'Woman'." Over his lifetime, Lachaise wrote Isabel 567 letters declaring his love for her, and communicating the details of his commissions and work.

Lachaise vowed to leave the Academy and follow Isabel back to America. To pay for his ticket, he apprenticed himself to the decorative artist René Lalique, an experience that imbued his work with an organic, art nouveau line. In December 1905 at the age of 23, Lachaise set sail for Boston never to return to his native land. He proceeded to devote his life to Isabel, writing to her, "You are the Goddess I am seeking to express in all things." Lachaise’s oeuvre is dominated by Isabel, his most compelling works sculpted elegies to her body. The two were married in 1917 in New York, their wedding supper hosted by Paul Manship. Lachaise was affiliated with The Dial, a monthly literary journal.

Called by ARTnews the "greatest American sculptor of his time," Lachaise created remarkable portraits of the literary, social and artistic figures of his time, beautified several New York buildings, and was honored with the first retrospective given to a living artist at the Museum of Modern Art in 1935. Most importantly, he played a critical role in the birth of American Modernism, pushing the boundaries of nude figuration with his innovative portrayals of the female body.

Bill Carpenter Poem

Disario de Noticias

In Small Memories
Saramago tells us he taught himself to read
by scanning his father’s newspaper,
studying sentences as a child might a train
of words strung together
along the tracks of the page.
Determining one to be the engine
pushing it along,
the conductor of a span of words;
and another the energy
turning the wheels, moving the thing forward;
eventually recognizing the content of each boxcar,
deciphering this daily Rosetta Stone
until he knew enough to read aloud
to his astonished parents,
words forming on his lips,
now blackened with printer’s ink,
spilling from the smoky
tunnel of his mouth
into the air,
a train derailed
and reconfigured
onto the pages of his books.

© by Bill Carpenter

Wayfinder Nainoa Thompson

The principles of wayfinding are simple; the practicalities are very complex.
- Nainoa Thompson

Wayfinding involves navigating on the open ocean without sextant, compass, clock, radio reports, or satellites reports. The wayfinder depends on observations of the stars, the sun, the ocean swells, and other signs of nature for clues to direction and location of a vessel at sea. Wayfinding was used for voyaging for thousands of years before the invention of European navigational instruments.

In the 20th century, it is still practiced in some areas of Micronesia, although the traditional knowledge and techniques are in danger of being lost because of modernization and Westernization of the cultures of these areas. However, a revival of the art and science of wayfinding is underway among the Pacific islands, a revival led by Nainoa Thompson, the first modern-day Polynesian to learn and use wayfinding for long-distance, open-ocean voyaging. Thompson studied wayfinding under Mau Piailug, a master navigator from the island of Satawal in Micronesia. Mau navigated the first voyage of the Hokule'a to Tahiti in 1976; Thompson was Hokule'a's wayfinder on the 1980 and 1985-87 voyages.

A voyage undertaken using wayfinding has three components:

1. Setting up a course strategy, which includes a reference course for reaching the vicinity of one's destination, hopefully upwind, so that the canoe can make an easy downwind sail to the destination rather than having to tack into the wind to get there; (Tacking involves sailing back and forth as close as possible into the wind to make progress against the wind; it is very arduous and time-consuming, something to be avoided if at all possible. Psychologically and physically, it would be very difficult for the crew to face the most demanding part of the voyage at the very end.)

2. Trying to hold this course while keeping track of one's position in relationship to it during the voyage.

3. Finding land after reaching the vicinity of one's destination.

To learn more about Wayfinding, read Nainoa Thompson's essay on non-instrument navigation, or listen to him discuss wayfinding in a RealAudio interview.

A Place to Stand

But when at last I wrote my first words on the page, I felt an island rising beneath my feet like the back of a whale. As more and more words emerged, I could finally rest: I had a place to stand for the first time in my life. The island grew, with each page, into a continent inhabited by people I knew and mapped with the life I lived.
- Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Plant Dreaming Deep

I knew, from having watched my father hack down the incredible amount of work he accomplished day by day and year by year, how supportive a routine is, how the spirit moves around freely in it as it does in a plain New England church. Routine is not a prison, but the way into freedom from time. The apparently measured time has immeasurable space within it, and in this it resembles music.
- May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep

The Work of Happiness

by May Sarton

I thought of happiness how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day,
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work,
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours,
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone.
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room,
A shelf of books, a table, and the whitewashed wall -
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done.
The growing tree is green and musical

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place;
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness.
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

May Sarton (1912-1995)
from As Does New Hampshire, 1967

Rain-boot Tramp-stamp at Job-lot

I was in the checkout at job-lot and a woman who seemed a bit tipsy was trying on two sets of rain boots, one bright red and the other camouflage greens. She bent over to thrust her foot in the red boot and I saw her tattoo and pink flowery thong poking from her hip-hugger jeans. I was embarrassed for her knowing all of the others on line with their light bulbs, batteries, peanut butter, artificial Christmas trees and neck massagers were getting a peep show. I tried to comfort her with a smile. She stood up.
Which ones do you like? she asked looking right at me.
The red ones, absolutely. I said.
They're not too loud? She asked.
They are the right kind of loud. Adorable! I said.
I wanted to protect her.
She seemed relieved and I was too, when she bought them.

The Self

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
― Toni Morrison, Beloved

He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves
― Gabriel Garcí a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.
― Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

flip flop bow wow

we called them thongs but you can't say that now
Anyway, yesterday I got my flip flops and my beefy little mismatched toes
are cooled off and happy
I look like a Russian babushka or Italian grandmother with my wispy black mustache
I am not sure if I love it or need to bleach it.
I think I love it.
It reminds me of Frida Kahlo's unibrow
but I have a mouth brow
like my bow wow

Massachusetts is a Shaggy Dog

I just realized Massachusetts is a shaggy dog on a rug when you look at the map. Rockport is the dogs nose and the cape is the dogs tail. The islands are dog toys.

Gentle Betty

A young man who walks his dog Betty on the same route as me told me Betty needs a chunk of her ear removed due to a small bump of cancer. She is perfectly healthy otherwise, he said. I told him I had a dog once that had a toe removed from cancer. I told him some bumps grow back fast and others are gone completely when you catch them early. I suggested he tell people after the surgery that Betty was in a fight with the mailman. We laughed because both the dog and his mailman are sweet and gentle.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kathryn Harrison

Another thing that was quite mysterious was that time itself seemed to change at the end. I had my father-in-law in my life for 17 years and it was, in a platonic way, pretty much love at first sight. We clicked. We always enjoyed each other. When I came to visit he always beamed at me and I the same with him. And I was with him a lot at the end of his life, and at some point he looked at me and he said, “I’ve always loved you.” And I said, “I loved you even before I met you [laughs].” And we both agreed that that was true and that our understanding in that moment of what we felt for each other was not contained at all by time.
-Kathryn Harrison

. . . one thing that was very strange was that I found it completely possible to understand native speakers speaking quickly. It was my only experience with that in my life. And I’m not going to say that that was because of divine intervention. I think I was just really overwrought and things were going on inside of me for whatever reason and I will leave you to your own conclusions. But I did have this weird vision of my life at that moment. It was sort of analogous to one of those cutaway pictures of a ship where you can see all the cool state rooms and everything. And I had this sense of who I was and this sort of vivisection of me and all the parts of my life and I had this understanding that there wasn’t any problem that I had in my life that was not addressable or perhaps even fixable through love. And so I will say that I believe in the truth of love.
-Kathryn Harrison


Al Giordano

Art only succeeds when it inspires action from other humans to dig a little bit deeper, to walk alone over the proverbial bridge, and take the journey of life and creation away from the linear and planned path and toward the next shiny bauble.

-Al Giordano


Jon Frankel

Reposted from Jon's blog The Last Bender

by Jon Frankel

I wrote this poem in response to an interview I heard on NPR with a Granta editor. He had edited an issue with new, young novelists whom he characterized as bold and free of the irony and restrictions of older writers, who seemed to him afraid of expressing themselves. I agree with that. But then he used as an example a novelist who described the heart as a pulpy mass. This is certainly emotional, but it is also a hackneyed phrase that is totally inaccurate. My daughter Zanzibar had the night before described at dinner how each cell of the heart beats in a rhythm. Arhythmias can arise in a group of cells, and they can cauterize these cells to return the heart to its proper rhythm. The heart then is a marvelously complex organ, holographic in structure. So I wrote this poem:

Against a Novelist’s Metaphor

The heart is not a pulpy mass
But a chambered being like a brain
With one divided thought at a pass
From left and right by systole to gain
When each cell beats its part in time
As when pulsing bells of jellyfish
And buoys rocked by swells, align.

To call the heart a mass is foolish;
This muscle’s fretted diastole
Returns blood set out like hounds
To roam over deserts. Wistfully
It drives between two bounds.
The heart is where love’s bow is bent
And time’s sharpest arrow is spent.

-Jon Frankel

Men of Hula

Amazing Independent Lens Documentary: Men of Hula
There were many emotional moments for me in making this film. Following the halau to the volcano when they made their offerings of their lei to the goddess Pele I think was the most moving for me. Because it’s a sacred ritual, Robert had initially told me that he did not want me to film that, and as a hula dancer I understood his reservations, but I have to admit I was extremely disappointed as a filmmaker. Eventually after having spent such a long time following the men leading up to competition, Robert really understood what I was trying to do and that my intentions were pono, or good. He had also seen the trailer we cut for the film and had a better understanding of what I was trying to achieve. When he told me that he had decided to allow me to film at the volcano, I was so thrilled. And truly, it was one of the most beautiful days of shooting I’ve ever experienced. Our crew was also very aware that we were not just shooting any old scene, so when the men took off their shoes to show respect on Pele’s land, so too did we! Auwe (Alas), walking barefoot on lava rock hurt, but I was so filled with awe and wonder that I didn’t care. The whole experience was filled with chicken skin moments from beginning to end: from the rain stopping as the men finished their chants and the sun coming out to the ua koko, or low lying rainbow, that appeared right after. It was such an honor to even be there with all of them, let alone capture the experience on film.
-Lisette Marie Flanary

The Tattooed Man

We took Lily swimming at the usual spot in the pond, and on the way home we walked by the tattooed guys house. His two bulldogs and Jack Russell terrier ran out of the wide open kitchen door and stormed the fence but we were already past. The tattooed man was in his driveway polishing the front fender of his all-black motorcycle. We stopped to admire it, asking him if it was vintage. He told us he built it from scratch, including the welding and sheet metal parts. I was totally impressed.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jeannette Walls

We all have our baggage, and I think the trick is not resisting it but accepting it, understanding that the worst experience has a valuable gift wrapped inside if you’re willing to receive it.
-Jeannette Walls

Self Portrait

by David Whyte

It doesn't interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

by David Whyte
from Fire in the Earth
©1992 Many Rivers Press



Cela ne m'intéresse pas de savoir s'il existe un Dieu
ou plusieurs dieux.
Je veux savoir si tu te sens appartenir ou si tu te sens
Si tu connais le désespoir ou peux le voir en d'autres.
Je veux savoir
si tu es prêt à vivre dans le monde
avec son âpre besoin
de te changer. Si tu peux regarder en arrière
et dire: voici où j'en suis. Je veux savoir
si tu sais
comment fondre dans ce feu intense de la vie
basculant vers
le coeur de ta quête. Je veux savoir
si tu consens
à vivre, jour après jour, avec les conséquences de l'amour
et l'amère
difficile passion de ta défaite assurée.
J'ai entendu que, dans ce corps à corps féroce, même

les dieux parlent de Dieu.

by David Whyte source

translated by Kim Mizrahi

David Whyte

Stay with the line you can't finish. That's where the shame is that's blocking the revelation.
-David Whyte

Pope Francis

We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.

I don’t have all the answers. Nor do I have all the questions. … I confess that, in general, because of my temperament, the first response that occurs to me is the wrong one. … It’s curious, but that’s the way it is with me.

-Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires

Saturday, May 25, 2013


the kevinator's junker
a big jacked-up black truck
baritone testosterone muffler
pisses me off

What the Hell is Going On?

What does it mean to be a in a corporate-driven, over-branded, global consumer culture?

Wendy Wasserstein

I am better in one room with a hot plate. I’m not really good at working in fancy places or in places that you’re supposed to write in, like your study. I don’t think I’d ever write in a room that was lined with lovely curtains.

It’s odd for me to have chosen this profession because I’m not very good at being alone and I’m not very good at sitting still. But at the same time, I find my work very comforting.

I had one Jewish friend there from New Jersey who became a Marxist-Leninist gynecologist. How could you not love such a person? Those are the sorts of people you’re supposed to meet in college.

I have a great interest in being ladylike, but there is also something to be said for being direct. What I hate about myself and would like to change is that I get hurt very easily. I’m too vulnerable and always have been. I don’t look vulnerable. I always think vulnerable girls should have Pre-Raphaelite hair, weigh two pounds, about whom everybody says, Oh, she’s so sensitive. I admire aggressiveness in women. I try to be accommodating and entertaining, and some say that’s what’s wrong with my plays. But I think there are very good things about being a woman that have not been taught to men— not bullshit manners but true graciousness. I think there is real anger in life to be expressed, there is great injustice, but I also think there is dignity. That is interesting, and part of the plays I want to write.

-Wendy Wasserstein, Paris Review interview

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Far Cry

The chamber orchestra A Far Cry is an ensemble composed of soloists. The musicians regard themselves as a collective and play without a conductor; in addition, in truly democratic manner, the leader of the orchestra changes from work to work, and the remaining players also take turns to lead their respective sections. The orchestra’s particular way of making music was quite audibly marked by each and every player’s high sense of responsibility towards the group as a whole, by musical unanimity, and by the great atmosphere clearly reigning amongst them. From the very beginning one could feel the flow of energy, which in its turn had a very beneficial effect on the atmosphere in the Festspielhaus.

The fact that the young musicians played the entire program standing was symptomatic of their modern understanding of what music is all about. The resulting freedom of movement – both physical and mental – was clearly audible in their interpretations, as was their sheer vitality.


We All Dream It

. . .we
All dream it, the dark wind crossing
The wide spaces between us.

-Robert Pinsky from Poem about People

I called him Uncle Walter,
When I was small. A big man with a face
Just like a boxer dog or a cartoon sergeant.
She told me whenever he helped a pretty woman
Try on a shoe in his store, he'd touch her calf
And ask her, "How does that feel?"

-Robert Pinsky, from Poem with Refrains

Mary Karr

Working on poems is like cheating on your husband. It’s what I really want to do but they won’t pay me for it.

- Mary Karr, Paris Review interview

Robert Pinsky: Paris Review

INTERVIEWER: In one of your essays, you quote Housman’s wonderful statement that he knows a line of poetry has popped into his head when his hair bristles and he cuts himself shaving.

I’d like to write a poetry that pretends neither that I’ve been a professor all my life, nor that I’m still a streetboy. A poetry that doesn’t pretend that I’ve never watched television, and that doesn’t pretend, either, that I’ve never been to graduate school.

For me, writing has a lot to do with collision and departure. In the anonymous lyric “Western wind, when will thou blow, / The small rain down can rain? / Christ! That my love were in my arms / And I in my bed again,” I love that movement when the poet exclaims, “Christ!” because you haven’t been at “Christ!”—you’ve been addressing the wind, asking it a question. You’re thinking about a “small rain,” and the last thing that would follow a small rain might seem to be Christ. The change from imploring the wind to saying “Christ!” is a gesture of impatience and exaltation. For me that movement, like when an ice skater suddenly changes directions, has a lot to do with what poetry is.

My favorite parts of language may be those places where the distinction between high and low breaks down, because high and low are unsatisfactory, tentative gestures toward describing the flow of language. Is strewn a high word or low? It’s a word roofers use, after all. I’ve spoken elsewhere about going to the hardware store and overhearing a salesman say, You could buy one of these whirling things to distribute the fertilizer, or you can just strew it broadcast. It was the first time I realized that the word broadcast wasn’t coined during the Industrial Revolution, or for Marconi. Farmers walk through the fields with a sack slung over one shoulder, and they broadcast. Obscenities are low by most standards, but fuck, which is a very old word, perhaps contains a quality of loftiness by virtue of being archaic. One of the most exciting phenomena in language—it happens often in Williams and in Stevens—is when you lose the sense of what’s high and what’s low. Is mullion the mullion of Sir Kenneth Clark talking about a church, or is it the mullion of a carpenter saying, Shit, the mullion is too short. We’re going to have to go back and cut some more?

When I was a kid I read the dictionary as an absorbing book, sometimes browsing in it for hours. There’s a lot you can learn from it besides the meanings of words, like why we eat venison and not deer. It’s the same reason we eat pork and not pig, or beef instead of cow: because the food names are the French words, brought over by the Normans. The Saxon who took care of the animal called it a sheep; after it had been slaughtered, cut up and presented to a Norman lord, it was called mutton, because mouton was what the people in the big house ate. Then there are surprises in the dictionary, too, like atonement, which sounds nearly as Latinate as prevaricate. But atonement, as it turns out, comes from “at one”; it means “at one-ment.” That’s interesting.

I grew up in an old part of Long Branch, near Flanagan’s Field, where the circus was held. Every summer, elephants, clowns and girls in tights standing on horses paraded right by my house. There were lions in wheeled cages. My friends and I would work for tickets, doing things like setting up chairs, which was tantalizingly close to the mythology of running away with the circus. Once, when I was snooping around in an alley between tents, I ran into a bunch of midgets. One had bleached, slicked-down yellow hair and was immaculately dressed in a suit, like a little boy going to his first communion. He looked at me gawking and said, Who let these fucking son of a bitch, goddamn cocksucking kids in here. Get your goddamn fucking asses out of here!—really virtuoso cussing, but in a high-pitched voice. I can still feel the goosebumps.

And the midget, the vanished tradition of show people, the carny and circus jargon, the European roots and gypsy slang, Barnum—that man cussing me out was the fading voice of all that history. A few years later, everyone was watching television.

Robert Pinsky, Paris Review interview

Robert Pinsky

PINSKY: I think my first experience of art, or the joy in making art, was playing the horn at some high-school dance or bar mitzvah or wedding, looking at a roomful of people moving their bodies around in time to what I was doing. There was a piano player, a bass player, a drummer, and my breath making the melody. The audience may not have been thinking, My God, that kid is the best saxophone player I’ve ever heard; I’m positive they weren’t. But we were making music, and the fact that it was my breath making a party out of things was miraculous to me, a physical pleasure. So maybe the horn, this fumbling after a kind of melodic grace and ease I know I’ll never have, stands for a rededication to art itself—with that eager, amateur’s love.

INTERVIEWER: Can you relate the two arts?

PINSKY: There’s a lot of cant about poetry and jazz. And yet there is something there in the idea of surprise and variation, a fairly regular structure of harmony or rhythm—the left margin, say—and all the things you can do inside it or against it. There are passages, like the last two stanzas of “Ginza Samba,” where I try to make the consonants and vowels approach a bebop sort of rhythm.

In Poetry and the World, I wrote: “Poetry is the most bodily of the arts.” A couple of friends who read it in draft said, Well, Robert, you know . . . dancing is probably more bodily than poetry. But I stubbornly left the passage that way without quite having worked out why I wanted to say it like that. Sometimes the ideas that mean the most to you will feel true long before you can quite formulate them or justify them. After a while, I realized that for me the medium of poetry is the column of breath rising from the diaphragm to be shaped into meaning sounds inside the mouth. That is, poetry’s medium is the individual chest and throat and mouth of whoever undertakes to say the poem—a body, and not necessarily the body of the artist or an expert as in dance.

Paris Review

J Robert Lennon

Loved this.

Save the Mermaid Parade!


Henry Miller Quotes

The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble.

Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself.

Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.

Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.

Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the general reader or the critic makes of them is not my concern.

In the beginning was the Word. Man acts it out. He is the act, not the actor.

The real enemy can always be met and conquered, or won over. Real antagonism is based on love, a love which has not recognized itself.

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing.

I have never been able to look upon America as young and vital but rather as prematurely old, as a fruit which rotted before it had a chance to ripen.

We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself.

The real leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way.

Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.

Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring.

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, anarchy.

An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough is love.

- Henry Miller


. . . the psychological complexity of depleted lust has so far defeated industry giants.

The brain’s interwoven networks are too intricate for the technology to properly view them.

So we rely on rats. And one of the world’s masters of rat lust is Jim Pfaus, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Concordia University in Montreal, who wears hoop earrings and used to sing in a punk band called Mold. The various drug companies, including Tuiten’s, regularly consult with him. A few floors below his office, hundreds of rats court and mate in stacks of Plexiglas cages. Pfaus and his grad students inject the rodents with this or that compound to block one aspect of desire’s biochemistry and isolate another. Or they kill the rats right after a moment of craving or copulation. The brain is then extracted, frozen and shaved into wafers, microns thin, by a device resembling a mini cold-cut slicer. Pfaus peers at these specimens under a microscope to figure out which clusters of neural cells went into metabolic overdrive while the rodent was in a sexual frenzy.

As Pfaus explains it, sexual desire for both women and men seems to begin in two low-lying brain zones: the medial preoptic area, which looks like a pair of minuscule oblong balls, and the ventral tegmental area, which is shaped something like a canoe. From this primitive center, the neurotransmitter dopamine, the molecular essence of desire, radiates outward through the brain. “A dopamine rush is a lust-pleasure, it’s a heightening of everything,” Pfaus says. “It’s smelling a lover up close — a woman inhaling that T-shirt. . . . It’s wanting to have; it’s wanting more.”

Both drugs have a peppermint-flavored testosterone coating that melts in the mouth.

More than one adviser to the industry told me that companies worried about the prospect that their study results would be too strong, that the F.D.A. would reject an application out of concern that a chemical would lead to female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.

Read article from NYT here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Going to Bed

Going to bed is no longer going to bed.
It is a prayer to the imagination
and respect for the magic,
an homage to my mind and its alchemy.
Morning is not just morning
but the unwrapping of the gift.

Pico Iyer

I’ve slowly learned, the hard way, that my best writing comes when I’m not thinking about writing and am far from desk or conscious intention.
-Pico Iyer

Writing is, in the end, that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.
-Pico Iyer

As Thoreau famously said, it doesn't matter where or how far you go - the farther commonly the worse - the important thing is how alive you are. Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.
-Pico Iyer

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
-Pico Iyer

Denise Duhamel

My Strip Club

In my strip club
the girls crawl on stage
wearing overalls
and turtlenecks
then slowly pull on
gloves, ski masks
and hiking boots.
As the music slows,
they lick the pole
and for a tantalizing second
their tongues stick
because it’s so cold.
They zip up parkas
and tie tight bows
under their hoods.
A big spender
can take one of my girls
into a back room
where he can clamp
on her snowshoes.

-Denise Duhamel
from Blowout reprinted in The Best American Poetry 2011.

Kim Addonizio

Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge, as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.
-Kim Addonizio


Denise Duhamel, Rumpus Interview

Rumpus: What do you wish you had known as a young poet just starting out? If you could give your former self one morsel of advice, what would it be?

Duhamel: While poetry was less professionalized than it is now, I still had this urge to win prizes and see my work in magazines, to get an “A,” as though poetry could be graded. I wish I had been more patient and less frantic about getting published. My advice to my younger self would have been, “Chill. Concentrate on the poems. Everything else will work itself out.”


Owen Cook


By Owen Cook

A Scented Dream

Last night I experienced scent in a dream. I smelled a mildewy nailing apron that was in my dog-walking bag.

Kim Addonizio

What I've learned is simple: if you nurture it, it will expand, and it will nurture you in return. I have also learned that it is a kind of salvation. Sometimes it's more than enough and sometimes it's not enough -- by that I mean one's own creativity. If you can truly tap in to the creative process, you know it's there all the time, and then you probably don't need saving.
-Kim Addonizio

Margaret Wise Brown

Today is the birthday of the author of the classic children's book Goodnight Moon: Margaret Wise Brown (books by this author), born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1910. Brownie, as she was known to her friends, had a revolutionary idea about children's stories: Kids would rather read about things from their own world than fairy tales and fables.

She was a lovely green-eyed blonde, extravagant and a little eccentric; with her first royalty check, she bought a street vendor's entire cart full of flowers, and then threw a party at her Upper East Side apartment to show off her purchase. She was a prolific author, writing nearly a hundred picture books under several pen names and sometimes keeping six different publishers busy at once with her projects. She was known to produce a book just so she could buy a plane ticket to Europe.

At one time, she dated Juan Carlos, Prince of Spain, and she had a long-term relationship with Michael Strange, John Barrymore's ex-wife. When she was 42, she met James Stillman Rockefeller Jr., who was 26, at a party and they hit it off immediately. They had a similar whimsical take on life, and were engaged to be married when she died suddenly; she had had surgery a few weeks before, and was kicking up her leg like a can-can dancer to show her doctor how well she felt. The kick dislodged a blood clot that was in her leg, and the clot traveled to her heart, killing her.

She never had children of her own, but she left the royalties for most of her books to a nine-year-old neighbor boy, Albert Clarke. Her estate was once worth a few hundred dollars, and now amounts to about $5 million — or rather, it would, had Clarke not squandered the inheritance, spending his life in and out of jail, throwing away clothes when they get dirty, and making a succession of bad real estate deals.

She said, "A good picture book can almost be whistled. ... All have their own melodies behind the storytelling."

-Writer's Almanac

Read Awakened by the Moon The story of Margaret Wise Brown by Leonard Marcus

Jane Kenyon

It's odd but true that there really is consolation from sad poems, and it's hard to know how that happens. There is the pleasure of the thing itself, the pleasure of the poem, and somehow it works against sadness.
-Jane Kenyon

Tragedy: Undeveloped Comedy

I love Patrick Kavanaugh’s sense that tragedy is merely undeveloped comedy.
-Billy Collins, Paris Review interview

Window View

We are at the dinner table watching fourth floor porch across the street.

Enter: angry woman flailing about looking under the couch cushions.
Husband comes out in wife beater leans on porch railing
wife shakes both arms angrily,
she folds the chaotic pile of blankets and returns them to the couch.
she picks up scraps of trash
looks below
then throws them off the porch


why is this so mesmerizing? I ask my husband
Because it's humans? because the gestures are so dramatic?

I am waiting for the Italian subtitles.


Yeats summarizes this whole thing in “Adam’s Curse” when he writes: “A line will take us hours maybe, / Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought / Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”
-Billy Collins, Paris Review interview

Adam’s Curse

By William Butler Yeats

We sat together at one summer’s end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.’
And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There’s many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, ‘To be born woman is to know—
Although they do not talk of it at school—
That we must labour to be beautiful.’
I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.


Pure Language

I can remember being out in Southampton at a modest house my parents rented in the summer. The altar boy test was in the fall. I would study the Latin responses every evening. Of course, I didn’t know Latin. I was eleven or twelve years old and I was no John Stuart Mill. Underneath the Latin in red would be the phonetic spellings, so I was just memorizing syllables. I’d memorize Soo-shi-pee-ah-om-me-no-sa-cre-fi-chi-om. I didn’t know what I was saying! I was memorizing hundreds of syllables that brought me into the pure sound of the language, almost like nonsense, like jabberwocky, a delight in the sound of things.

Another example of that is my interest in bridge columns. I don’t play bridge. I have no idea how to play bridge, but I always read Alan Truscott’s bridge column in the Times. I advise students to do the same unless, of course, they play bridge. You find language like, South won with dummy’s ace, cashed the club ace and ruffed a diamond. There’s always drama to it: Her thirteen imps failed by a trick. There’s obviously lots at stake, but I have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s pure language. It’s a jargon I’m exterior to, and I love reading it because I don’t know what the context is, and I’m just enjoying the language and the drama, almost like when you hear two people arguing through a wall, and the wall is thick enough so you can’t make out what they’re saying, though you can follow the tone.
- Billy Collins, Paris Review interview

Each Poem

Each poem is a single, separate act. Every poet has his or her obsessions, and after the fact, you can go back and see these connections between poems in a certain volume, but I never think of writing a book. When I have enough, I just rake them into a pile and see if they add up to a book. When I go to make a book, which isn’t that often, I take all the poems and put them out on the floor in no particular order. Then I just walk around on top of them in my stocking feet. I take my time, and eventually this poem over here will want to be with this poem over there, and I’ll take it and I’ll put them together. I don’t know why. It’s not because they’re both about death or both about dogs, but that they just want to be with each other. It’s almost like a party—people kind of get together in little circles. Eventually, three or four or five different piles will form. For the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to label them and say these are the x poems or these are the y poems, but they seem to exhibit affinities that I am not really privy to. But no one reads a book of poems from beginning to end anyway. I mean, editors do and relatives maybe, but I never do. When I get a book of poems, I look for a fancy title or a short one. Most readers approach a book of poems like a flipbook, which for me underscores the notion that we turn to poetry because we’re looking for something. It’s really a matter of an author’s vanity to spend a lot of time orchestrating a book, unless it’s very thematic. When his Collected Poems was published, Auden just arranged them by date, showing his preference for the chronological over the thematic, and acknowledging the fact that books of poems are not really read from beginning to end.
-Billy Collins, Paris Review interview

Billy Collins

You could say every poem is an occasional poem because walking in the woods or cutting an apple is for me an occasion.
-Billy Collins, Paris Review Interview

Subject matter for me is just a gate of departure. A poem works best when it manages to transcend its subject or at least finds a safe place to hide from it.
-Billy Collings, Paris Review Interview

Gasoline comes in gallons, cigarettes come in packs, and poetry comes in lines and stanzas. No matter what I’m thinking about when I’m writing a poem, no matter what is captivating my attention, all I’m really trying to do is write good lines and good stanzas.
-Billy Collings, Paris Review Interview

Wendy Wasserstein

My mother looked like Bertolt Brecht when I was growing up.
-Wendy Wasserstein, Paris Review interview

When I was in second grade, I made up a play that I was in; I told my mother that I was in this play and the lie got larger and larger. Finally, arbitrarily, I said my play is on tomorrow, and she got me a velvet dress and made my hair in ringlets, and off I went to school. And she came to school and there was no play. She covered for me and said, I must be confused; it must be another one of my children. Then she came home and told me I was a fibber. She must have yelled at me because to this day I have trouble with fibbing.
-Wendy Wasserstein, Paris Review interview

Billy Collins

There’s a lot of waiting around until something happens. Some poets like David Lehman and William Stafford set out on these very willful programs to write a poem a day. They’re extending what Catullus said about “never a day without a line.” But most poets don’t write a poem a day. For me it’s a very sporadic activity. Until recently, I thought “occasional poetry” meant that you wrote only occasionally. So there’s a lot of waiting, and there’s a kind of vigilance involved. I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times—and this, I think, is a sense you develop—I can tell that the line wants to continue. If it does, I can feel a sense of momentum—the poem finds a reason for continuing. The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme. Now it’s tone that establishes the poet’s authority. The first few lines keep giving birth to more and more lines. Like most poets, I don’t know where I’m going. The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you’re simply using a pen to record what you have thought out. In a poem, the pen is more like a flashlight, a Geiger counter, or one of those metal detectors that people walk around beaches with. You’re trying to discover something that you don’t know exists, maybe something of value.

INTERVIEWER:If you had to construct a poet out of whole cloth, so to speak, what attributes would you give him or her?

A Frankenstein monster! First, a sense of attentiveness. Then wanting to hang around the language. If you look a word up in the dictionary and twenty minutes later you’re still wandering around in the dictionary, you probably have the most basic equipment you need to be a poet. It’s just liking the texture of language. I think there’s another thing, a kind of attitude—an attitude of not ever getting used to being alive, of not ever taking your life for granted.

Writing poetry and writing fiction are as different as playing two very different musical instruments, like a clarinet and a piano. They’re both producing music, they might both be playing in the key of E-flat, but the pianist might not have a clue what to do with a clarinet or a bassoon or a trombone. They’re very different skills. I wouldn’t know how to write a short story. I read fiction, I’ve taught fiction, but I can’t write fiction. I was thinking the other day that in fiction, unless it’s a nineteenth-century novel where you start with the person’s birth and end with his death, there’s always a sense that the character existed before you started reading about him. With a short story you jump into a person’s life, and at the end of the story, the person’s life (unless you’ve killed him off) will continue into an imaginary future dimension. But nothing precedes a poem but silence, and nothing follows a poem but silence. A poem is an interruption of silence, whereas prose is a continuation of noise. Plus, fiction is basically about other people whereas poetry is about the poet. Two very different spheres of interest.

. . . the most difficult question you can put to people who want to write poetry is this: Ask yourself if what you are trying to say can be said in any other form—story, memoir, letter, phone call, e -mail, magazine article, novel. If the answer is yes, stop writing poetry. Put it in an e-mail, write a memoir, write a letter to your granny, use whatever form will accommodate what you’re going to say. Stop writing poetry unless you’re doing things that you can only do in poetry. And that means exercising your imaginative freedom, because in a poem you have the greatest imaginative freedom possible in language. You have no allegiance to plot, consistency, plausibility, character development, chronology. You can fly. Clear the trees at the end of the runway, and off you go. So if you’re not taking advantage of the giddy imaginative liberty that poetry offers, you should try a form that’s a little more restrictive. Of course, if I say that in the first class, it’s kind of deadening. Maybe it’s better left for the last class.

-Billy Collins, Paris Review

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oyster Shells Are an Antacid to the Oceans


John Bradshaw

The feeling of righteousness is the core mood alteration among religious addicts. Religious addiction is a massive problem in our society. It may be the most pernicious of all addictions because it’s so hard for a person to break his delusion and denial. How can anything be wrong with loving God and giving your life for good works and service to mankind?
― John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

Children are natural Zen masters; their world is brand new in each and every moment.
― John Bradshaw

True love heals and affects spiritual growth. If we do not grow because of someone else’s love, it’s generally because it is a counterfeit form of love.
― John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

The capacity for love that makes dogs such rewarding companions has a flip-side: They find it difficult to cope without us. Since we humans programmed this vulnerability, it's our responsibility to ensure that our dogs do not suffer as a result.
― John Bradshaw, Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet

Our sadness is an energy we discharge in order to heal. …Sadness is painful. We try to avoid it. Actually discharging sadness releases the energy involved in our emotional pain.

To hold it in is to freeze the pain within us. The therapeutic slogan is that grieving is the ‘healing feeling.’

To be shame-bound means that whenever you feel any feeling, need or drive, you immediately feel ashamed. The dynamic core of your human life is grounded in your feelings, needs and drives. When these are bound by shame, you are shamed to the core.
― John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

Hell, in my opinion, is never finding your true self and never living your own life or knowing who you are.
― John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

Since the earliest period of our life was preverbal, everything depended on emotional interaction. Without someone to reflect our emotions, we had no way of knowing who we were.
― John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

Toledo Mud Hens

Best team name in the world. I must go see them at McCoy!

Narcissistic Abuse


Alice Miller

A common denominator in Miller's writings is her explanation of why human beings prefer not to know about their own victimization during childhood: to avoid unbearable pain. She believed that the unconscious command of the individual, not to be aware how he or she was treated in childhood, led to displacement: the irresistible drive to repeat traumatogenic modes of parenting in the next generation of children.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Neighbor Starts Her Car

My neighbor starts her car by gunning it. It annoys me and reminds me of my mother who was always mean to machines, gunning the brown Ford station wagon on the icy driveway that we had happily shoveled with my father. She hated the loss of control over the machines and over us, our enjoying a moment of fresh air with her husband.

My neighbor guns her engine early in the morning under my desk window, diving forward into the empty parking space that belongs to us, backing wildly, then turning out the drive. Does she really need to make such a huge curve to get out? When she returns she dives forward into our space again, and lurches backward into her space. When she sets the alarm the car honks. I've memorized all of her habits, watching her come and go over the years, clutching her over-sized iced coffee and green and white box of cigarettes.

She has jet-black dyed hair and wears baby doll clothes in the summer. She launders incessantly with perfumed soap and dryer sheets. A few years ago her brother hanged himself in a closet. She told me about the mess a hanged body makes. Her daughter is grown up, has her own red Mustang, does the same thing gunning the engine and looping into our parking space.

My neighbor fills her life to the brim, unapologetically. That annoys me, too, but really, it's me I curse. I'm the one who hides, walks rather than drives, worries about disturbing my neighbor, wonders where my next dollar is coming from. I'm terrified that I might be mistaken for my mother.

It has taken me nearly 20 years to feel that I am allowed to live here, to occupy space. It's taken decades to believe that I deserve to be loved. I still have doubts.

Martín Espada

When The Leather Is A Whip

by Martín Espada

At night,
with my wife
sitting on the bed,
I turn from her
to unbuckle my belt
so she won't see
her father
his belt

-Martín Espada

Painting can be Meditation

There comes a time when the bubble of ego is popped and you can’t get the ground back for an extended period of time. Those times, when you absolutely cannot get it back together, are the most rich and powerful times in our lives.
– Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön's four ways that meditation helps us deal with difficulty:

Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is a simple, direct relationship with our being. We call this maitri, loving-kindness toward ourselves and others. There are four qualities of maitri that are cultivated when we meditate:

1. Steadfastness. When we practice meditation we are strengthening our ability to be steadfast with ourselves, in body as well as mind.

2. Clear seeing. This is another way of saying that we have less self-deception. Through the process of practicing the technique day in and day out, year after year, we begin to be very honest with ourselves.

3. Experiencing our emotional distress. We practice dropping whatever story we are telling ourselves and leaning into the emotions and the fear. We stay with the emotion, experience it, and leave it as it is, without proliferating. Thus we train in opening the fearful heart to the restlessness of our own energy. We learn to abide with the experience of our emotions.

4. Attention to the present moment. We make the choice, moment by moment, to be fully here. Attending to our present-moment mind and body is a way of being tender toward self, toward others, and toward the world. This quality of attention is inherent in our ability to love. These four factors not only apply to sitting meditation, but are essential to all the bodhichitta (awakened heart) practices and for relating with difficult situations in our daily lives. By cultivating them we discover for ourselves that it is bodhichitta, not confusion, that is basic.

- Pema Chödrön

From Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion, by Pema Chödrön.
From the September 2009 issue of the Shambhala Sun

Pema Chödrön

The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
― Pema Chödrön

The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes.
― Pema Chödrön

…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.
― Pema Chödrön

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
― Pema Chödrön

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.
― Pema Chödrön

We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.
― Pema Chödrön

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.
― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, "May I have permission to go into battle with you?" Fear said, "Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission." Then the young warrior said, "How can I defeat you?" Fear replied, "My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power." In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times


I was pulled out of third grade, in May,
for crying so much all year.
What took my mother so long
to react?

Mrs Bowers admitted
that she hated my vulnerability.
She attacked me
in class each day.
YOU DON'T KNOW THAT? She'd shout.
I'd shout back NO, I don't even know the alphabet -