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(no subject) [May. 1st, 2017|08:45 pm]
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I went to the house of Everyman,
I found his woman there.
I asked her, Where is Everyman?
She said, His home is air.

I asked her, then, What is he like?
She said, No woman knows.
He moaned a little as he crept
beneath my linen clothes.

He lay upon me as a bird,
she said with half disdain.
Why, in the hurry of his wings
he scarcely spoke my name!

And when he left you, did you grieve?
Oh, no, I scarcely knew...
She rose, and to the window moved,
indolent and huge...

Then all at once her body broke
in two parts, like a stone,
and as the savage bird escaped,
It's Everyman, she moaned.

--Tennessee Williams
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(no subject) [Apr. 21st, 2017|10:52 pm]
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I finally bought myself a copy of Tennessee William's Collected poems, about 10 years after it was published and when I fell in love with it in New York, renting it again and again from the library on 2nd ave near St. Marks and again from the library on 96th street once I'd moved uptown, and again, and again, and again, checking the poems I'd saved and loved and seeing in them over the years just exactly how the fascination and truth and satisfaction remained, endured, renewed. And finally it occurred to me, in my {and this just the other day} adulthood--when grace grants us purchasing power--that I could finally make it my own, in what ways one can with any book they've loved through years and returned to and been returned to by and found in/with/by/of magnificence again and again and again. (And the quiet late night holy communion which John Water's describes so well in the introduction to William's Memoirs ((which I can't WAIT to read next))). And so. I spent an extra 20 dollars on overnight shipping in a moment of (what now feels feigned, but then wasn't) glee...Glee...Gaiety, excitement, exuberance, triumph, joy, etc...

And then the book arrived today and I was thrilled, and carried it with me and opened it slowly here and there, and found one or two reminders, almost-reminders, of, no, reminders (yes), of what is so amazing about it, what moves me, etc..etc..etc...throughout the day, keeping it like an amulet or talisman, always nearby.

And then tonight I was turning its pages restlessly looking for salvation (wondering if my memory had prostituted itself with unreal adornments and convinced me so many times of what wasn't: the goodness of the book, the rightness of the author, the queerness of what aught not feel so queer in sad-making marginal endlessly misunderstood ways because actually we are good and right and whole whoever feel a part of the outsiders' We) and finally...fiiiiinnaaallllyyyyyyyy found a little hidden gem, as they all seem to be in here, nestled, nuzzled between the breasts and stout arms and seductive flanks of other poems. And

here it is, for you:


He speaks to the sea
and to the sky
that heed him not
and he asks not why.
Of light the silver,
it holds him not
nor emerald telling
tongues of gold.
Of holding, the truth is
nothing holds.
He's cold but he never
says he's cold,
He's old but he never
says he's old.
And youth is apparent
on his face,
a conjurer's trick
or a wanderer's grace
and the air of the world
still bears him away.

Will her return?
Oh, that he may,
and you'll hear again
what he did not say.

--Tennessee Williams
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(no subject) [Apr. 18th, 2017|10:18 pm]

Oscar Wilde, from jail, close to the end of his sentence [and if you read any of this but not all then please skip to the last paragraph, and if you have time to read it all, just wait, beautiful/painful/powerful/alive all the way through...even and especially up to and through the last paragraph here......<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

“I am to be released, if all goes well with me, towards the end of May, and hope to go at once to some little seaside village abroad with Robbie and More Adey. The sea, as Euripides says in one of his plays about Iphigenia, washes away the stains of and wounds of the world….
…I hope to be at least a month with my friends, and to gain, in their healthful and affectionate company, peace, and balance, and a less troubled heart, and a sweeter mood. I have a strange longing for the great simple primeval things, such as the Sea, to me no less of a mother than the Earth. It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little….
…I feel sure that in elemental forces there is purification, and I want to go back to them and live in their presence….
…I tremble with pleasure when I think that on the very day of my leaving prison both the laburnum and the lilac will be blooming in the gardens, and that I shall see the wind stir into restless beauty the swaying gold of the one, and make the other toss the pale purple of its plumes so that all the air shall be Arabia for me. Linnæus fell on his knees and wept for joy when he saw for the first time the long heath of some English upland made yellow with the tawny aromatic blossoms of the common furze, and I know that for me, to whom flowers are part of desire, there are tears waiting in the petals of some rose. It has always been so with me from my boyhood. There is not a single color hidden away in the chalice of a flower or the curve of a shell, to which by some subtle sympathy with the very soul of things, my nature does not answer….
…Still, I am conscious now that behind all this Beauty, satisfying though it be, there is some Spirit hidden of which the painted forms and shapes are but modes of manifestation, and it is with this Spirit that I desire to become in harmony….The Mystical in Art, the Mystical in Life, the Mystical in Nature—this is what I am looking for and in the great symphonies of Music, in the initiation of Sorrow, in the depths of the Sea I may find it. It is absolutely necessary for me to find it somewhere….
…Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.”
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(no subject) [Feb. 12th, 2017|09:49 pm]
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'Spring is always like what it used to be.'
Said an old Chinese man.
Rain hissed down the windows.
Longings from a great distance.
Reached us.

--Anne Carson
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(no subject) [Feb. 12th, 2017|09:48 pm]
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Their faces I thought were knives.
The way they pointed them at me.
And waited.
A hunter is someone who listens.
So hard to his prey it pulls the weapon.
Out of his hand and impales.

--Anne Carson
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(no subject) [Jun. 9th, 2016|10:04 am]
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In the afternoon I watched
the she-bear; she was looking
for the secret bin of sweetness--
honey, that the bees store
in the trees' soft caves.
Black block of gloom, she climbed down
tree after tree and shuffled on
through the woods. And then
she found it! The honey-house deep
as heartwood, and dipped into it
among the swarming bees--honey and comb
she lipped and tongued and scooped out
in her black nails, until

maybe she grew full, or sleepy, or maybe
a little drunk, and sticky
down the rugs of her arms,
and began to hum and sway.
I saw her let go of the branches,
I saw her lift her honeyed muzzle
into the leaves, and her thick arms,
as though she would fly--
an enormous bee
all sweetness and wings--
down into the meadows, the perfection
of honeysuckle and roses and clover--
to float and sleep in the sheer nets
swaying from flower to flower
day after shining day.

--Mary Oliver
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(no subject) [May. 1st, 2016|10:11 pm]
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That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it -
books, bricks, grief -
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled -
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

--Mary Oliver
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(no subject) [Apr. 29th, 2016|11:43 am]
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Mimi was going to take me to her special
place, some kind of sacred healing ground, though
she never said whose. For over a year walking had
caused me great pain, and none of the doctors I
had seen gave me any help. I viewed Mimi's invitation
as an excuse for an outing. I know the country
around here pretty well, but when Mimi started
turning down one twisting dirt road after another
at some point I knew I was lost. Mimi's a reliable
person, nothing of the fruitcake in her. When she
finally stopped, the first thing I noticed was a
hole in the side of the hill surrounded by boulders.
"What's that?" I said. "An Irish monk lived in there
some time in the sixteenth century," she said.
"They say he lived in that hole for thirty years,
praying all the time." "I wonder what happened
to him. Did the Church make him a saint?" I said.
"Something ate him, a bear or a mountain lion. The
Indians thought it was a mountain lion," she said.
"Mimi," I said, "did you bring me all the way out
here just to tell me this story, not that it isn't
a great story, 'cause it is, but I'd also love to
see this 'healing ground,' is that possible?"
"It's right over there in that clearing. Come
on, I'll show you," she said. We had to push our
way through the brush and climb over some fallen
trees. It wasn't that easy for me to get there,
but we got there, and I looked around, but could
see nothing special about the place. I mentioned
that to Mimi. "Except for that fairy ring of
mushrooms. That's pretty cute," I said. "You have
to stand in there and pray for the soul of the Irish
monk for ten minutes. That's all," she said. There's
a new fruitcake status in store for you, Mimi, I
thought. "If that's what it takes," I said. "I'll
do it." I proceeded to stand in the circle of
mushrooms with my eyes closed and, sure enough,
I prayed for the soul of the little Irish monk.
He would have had to be little, because the hole
wasn't all that big. I thought of his rosary and
his Bible, and the long winters of terrible cold
and snow. And his great peace when he met the lion.

--James Tate
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(no subject) [Apr. 28th, 2016|11:48 pm]
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Grocery shopping can be such a mysterious
business. When a complete stranger smiles and
nods hello to me I wonder what it means. Some-
thing like, "We're both still eating. That's
good. And we're gathering more food, both of
us. We have so much in common we might as well
be friends." I look to see what he has in his
basket. It's not at all similar to what I have
in mine. If ever I were to have an enemy it
would be this man, with all his grains and root
vegetables. I begin to follow him at a polite
distance. He turns into the homeopathic medicine
aisle and lingers there a long time. Altogether
he puts eleven vials into his cart. He sees
that I'm watching him and he smiles again, as
though I would understand the wisdom of his
choices. I don't. He looks healthy, maybe
too healthy. "That stuff costs a fortune and
can't cure the sniffles," I want to tell him.
By now I've forgotten what I came for. Everyone
is smiling at me as though I were completely
naked. I look down and I am completely naked.
And that's what I find so mysterious about
grocery shopping, how that could be.

--James Tate
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(no subject) [Apr. 22nd, 2016|08:35 pm]
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"There are men who come into this world fully formed, and who do not have to struggle with the shoals upon which others are cast up bruised and bleeding. They sail over them without so much as realizing that they are there, and feel astonished at the sight of so much wreckage floating around them. I am rather frightened of these men who are born virtuous."
--George Sand
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