Thursday, March 30, 2017

I used to say that skin is unforgiving each line and sag, the sinks
the fleshy slump of growing, parts that I rarely touched
how I perceived myself pretending to exist without them

I touch you and think how kind skin is, on impact even softer
end to end, taste over taste, tender, heartbreaking
even that horribly majestic cicatrix bulging upon your wrist

said I'll forgive you, always _

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Take Frank

By Mary Ruefle

Take Frank. Frank is a bright boy, yet a lazy and stubborn high school student, one who holds in disdain all of his teachers, especially the dedicated, passionate ones. All of his English teachers, since at least the seventh grade, have been passionate. They have all told Frank that if he would only read this or that book he would fall in love with it, he would find himself hidden between its pages, he would have his “mind blown away.”

Frank does not like the idea of having his mind blown away, he finds it suicidal, Frank likes his mind the way it is and he intends to keep it. Frank does not want to fall in love, nor to see himself or find himself, he sees himself every day and he finds himself fine, he is exactly who he is and wants to be. He does not understand what all the fuss is about. So when Mr. Paquette, his English teacher, approached Frank and offered a way for Frank to make up his missing credit, Frank was not even vaguely interested.

In Frank’s view, things existed or did not exist and things that did not exist could not be said to be missing. He lacked a certain amount of credit, that was a fact, but the credit had not gone missing, it simply did not exist. Why go looking for something that did not exist? His nonexistent credit was not a teenager who had been abducted or was lost in the woods, there was no photo of it that could be nailed near the bus stop, it was not a cat, he did not care or have feelings for this thing which was, supposedly, missing. He, himself, had no sense of loss, it was Mr. Pacquette who had a sense of loss.

Passionate people, Frank had observed, had above all else a sense of loss. He knew this was somehow connected to their enthusiasm, their hysterical insistence, their waving-about of their arms. Mr. Pacquette did in fact wave his arms about when he told Frank that he had found “the perfect assignment,” that all Frank had to do was read Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby the Scrivener” and write a short paper on it, and all the missing credit would be restored, while at the same time Frank’s mind would be blown away—apparently this was an additional bonus.

Frank was not interested and said so, he said, “I would prefer not to,” which Mr. Pacquette recognized instantly as the famous, and only, words of Bartleby the Scrivener, though Frank did not recognize them as belonging to anyone other than himself, they were his own words, they had just left his mouth hadn’t they?

Yet Frank’s words only caused Mr. Pacquette to wave his arms more wildly, and Frank could see his teacher was on the verge of having a point, another thing Frank couldn’t care less about and did not want to be privy to. So when Mr. Pacquette began to get even more excited, when he opened his mouth more widely than was humanly necessary and said, “That’s just the point!” Frank said “I’d prefer not to,” and left the room. Which left the passionate English teacher alone in sad thought, thinking of all the missed connections and opportunities in life, of all the failures. He felt sorry for Frank, and for Herman Melville, and for Bartleby, and for himself. He felt sorry for the sad fate of literature, which should be able to save the world but couldn’t, through no fault of its own.

Meanwhile Frank was walking home along the railroad tracks, the sun shone down on him, his mind was intact, he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing, he was in his own world, free, not trapped between the pages of a book, and if he saw an insect he could squash it under his foot, or he could save it in a matchbox he carried in his pocket for that purpose.


Mary Ruefle is the author of several books, including, most recently, Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures.

Gif : Knox Overstreet - Dead Poets Society (1989) 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

L'attesa è lunga, il mio sogno di te non è finito -- .

 the wait is longmy dream of you is not finished 
_Eugenio Montale

La Bufera e Altro ("The Storm and Other Things") is a collection of poems published by Eugenio Montale in 1956. Montale, one of the most famous Italian poets of the 20th century, is one of my favorite poets of all times.

His poetry has often been described as pessimistic and hermetic. While this is true, one needs to consider the historical background which accounts for its main features. When Montale started publishing his works, Mussolini was already in power. Montale always refused to join the fascist party, and as a result was denied employment and the possibility to gain from his work. His isolation was, therefore, a way to express his respect for the values of human dignity and his faith in mankind.

Montale's poetry can be sometimes difficult to understand, due to its being "hermetic" and introspective. But his poems are always beautiful to read aloud and have a strong imagery which catches the reader's attention.

For example:

Felicità raggiunta, si cammina per te su fil di lama. 
Agli occhi, sei barlume che vacilla,
al piede, teso ghiaccio che s'incrina;
e dunque non ti tocchi chi più t'ama
.(From "Felicità raggiunta")

Happiness, for you, we walk on a knife edge.
To the eyes, you are a flickering light
to the feet, thin ice that cracks; 
and so may no one touch you who loves you.

repost from #readthenobels 

moon shine

Look at the moon shine… 
we can forgive them, can’t we, 
all those early men 
who never learned the moonlight 
didn’t come from the moon itself… 

We can forgive them… 
we can let the mirror be the light. 
What harm would be done 
if we laid in each other’s arms 
and stopped thinking so much. 

What harm would be done 
if we let the moon burn for us 
in this winter sky.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

the heart slips backward, remembering, remembering

What are you made of
that massaging your bare back
eases my tensions,
relaxes my body, calms
the busyness of my heart…

What are you made of…
what does your body release
underneath my touch
that floods my own senses
with the peace I mean for you 

Sometimes it feels as if those 20- 25 years of intense circumstances should suffice to say I've lived quite a lot, to easily declare a certain range of moves, experience, and things to expect. 
But there we are in our well-lit room, I'm out of the bathroom all conditioned which won't exactly work without a proper blow-dryer. I sit beside you, crack a joke, the tangles of my hair less tangled than my life, the knots, the split ends... I don't like you to see me with the towel wrapped around it like some petit Tutankhamun, I only want you to see me at my best. 
And there you are, silently rising, going to the bathroom, returning with my paddle brush in your hand. So kind of you I say and reach for it. That is not kindness you reply, sit down beside me, turn me around...My darling doll, you say and I feel the brush slowly descending through my scalp, its tiny bristles grooming the heart of this animal. 
Deep in the heart of the shortest month, I understand I've lived quite nothing, I understand I'm hungry, greedy and naked, and your hands call to me in little brushing grips, in those extra seconds your fingers rest to feel the blood pulsating on my back. I understand that until now I've known nothing about love _ 

Monday, February 27, 2017

An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.
~Ancient Chinese Proverb~

Friday dropped you off 
two blocks away in the rain 
with no umbrella. 
As soon as you step inside, 
you strip off your wet clothes, 
pull back your wet hair 
and pour yourself a whiskey. 

I sit in the window seat, 
black slip, black socks, black 
bra and panties and I
watch the rain that touched you. 
The weekend begins 
with me thinking of you there, 
thinking of me here.

Not every emotion has a home… 
some don’t even have names. 
They’re born and they wander off. 
Maybe a brother to loneliness, or 
a sister of grief… maybe some 
distant, grungy cousin of love, 
out looking for a fucking heart. 

Maybe you feel them now and then… 
an unsettling wish or needfulness 
at the end of the day… a sudden, 
nagging desire for warmth. Maybe 
they’re some of mine… on the loose… 
wild things that escaped from me 
with your name on their lips.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Your mouth found the switch 
on the bare slide of my throat 
that turns off my internal dialog. 
So I have no language for your love… 
but if I close my eyes, I can feel it 
again… I can hear it again, I can 
relive each unworded touch, each 
speechless kiss, each flush of scent 
and flavor from your skin. I can 
replay it all just as it fell from your body… 
like some kind of memory, accessible 
only through the silence of my senses.

Winter thawing in Budapest - February 17, 2017 

Afterward, you sleep, 
and I’m quiet against you 
and quiet rising 
and quiet picking up our clothes. 
I hang our shirts and pants 
and listen to you breathe. 

I catch my own eyes 
in the bedroom mirror 
and turn my body to the side 
to show myself where you kissed 
a lovely bruise into my skin 
like a red and purple valentine.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I wake up 
just before the sun rises
and like the light does 
to the curve of the earth
I slip my hand down your belly 
and wake the birds 
just to listen to them sing
just to watch them fly


in the not-so-distant past of a not-so-distant future, who opened their eyes first? was that you, was that meI remember taking a selfie just to see how I look in the morning waking up beside you in a room that I wouldn't come to hate despite its serious effort to repel me with its glitter plastered walls or its completely unnecessary phone device on the bathroom wall or its decadent flooring or its peculiar scent of vanity products, or -god- all its details that had murdered aesthetics forever

memory never serves me in the long run, but I remember my face because I looked at it for a while, trying to detect signs of your lower lip widening to an excruciating point of symmetry turning to smile so painfully seductive. I remember my eyes, half open, trying to detect signs of your love invisible and powerful and uncontrollable, and beautiful and possibly even unsuitable _ rewind this for me, will you? I tell the brain and it quietly obeys; each time it does one more part has gone missing_ but I remember you in me, I remember your bracelet and I know you're wearing it still_  

Monday, January 30, 2017

your eyes blaze out

when I'm alone 
I paint my lips red
a silent cry for you

her lower lip
was an orange
mint. and 
I was a crying
little boy
in the candy store.

_Ron Padgett

Είναι όλες αυτές οι χώρες κάτω από το χάρτη. Κάτι πίτες που λένε από πού φεύγουν κι έρχονται μέχρι εδώ. Οι αριθμοί επί τοις εκατό και τα συστήματα που τους μετέφεραν. 

Έρχονται αυτοί, αλλά δεν μου μιλάνε. Δεν ξέρω ποιος είδε τι, ξέρω ότι τόσοι είδαν αυτό και τόσοι το τάδε. 

Δεν ήμουν καλή με τα νούμερα ποτέ. Τα οικονομικά μου είναι θάλασσα όπως και τα τετράδια των μαθηματικών μέχρι να βγάλω το σχολείο. Μου έδιναν καλούς βαθμούς παρόλο που δεν ήξερα πού παν τα τέσσερα. Ίσως και για τον ίδιο λόγο να μην φαλίρισα ακόμη, κάτι που θεωρώ σίγουρο στο μέλλον. Θα φτάσω τα ογδόντα και θα είμαι η γριά που δεν έχει να φάει αλλά φοράει ακόμα μια κίτρινη τσάντα σανέλ κι έχει μέσα μόνο τα κλειδιά και τα τσιγάρα της. 

Δεν ήμουν καλή ούτε με τους άντρες. Δεν ήξερα πώς ν' αγαπήσω τον καλόν και πώς να διώξω τον παπάρα. Προσπάθησα. Είπα ο καλός θα μείνει και ο παπάρας να πάρει το δρόμο του, άστον παιδάκι μου να πάει στα τσακίδια. Τον άφησα. Τους άφησα όλους να κάνουν όπως νομίζουν. Μείνε εσύ αφού το θες και φύγε εσύ αφού γουστάρεις. Θα φτάσω τα ογδόντα και θα είμαι η γριά που έχει το σημάδι σου στο χέρι της. Είμαστε η γενιά του μελανιού. Θα κάνουμε να πάθουμε άννοια και θα μας ψάχνουν με το αλέρτ από τα τατουάζ μας. 

Και τη θυμάμαι αυτή τη λούπα. 
Είχε μια θεία η Ελένη, την έλεγαν Κλειώ κι ήταν θεόμουρλη. Δεν είχε άλλο πράγμα να μας πρήζει όλη μέρα, όλο με κάτι αστρολογίες ασχολούνταν, μίλαγε ασταμάτητα για συναστρίες, α ναι, και για την κόρη της που είχε γεννηθεί ερμαφρόδιτο αλλά αποφάσισαν να την κάνουν κορίτσι ενώ εν' τέλει έμοιαζε με άντρα μεγαλώνοντας και είχε παντρευτεί έναν Άραβα, ξανθό παραδόξως. Δεν είχε πού να πει τα κουλά της και ερχόταν κάθε δεύτερη Τετάρτη πριν απ' τη λαική να μας μοιραστεί τα οικογενειακά της και τα ζώδια του μήνα. Μίλαγε και δεν την ακούγαμε, κουνάγαμε τα κεφάλια μας και κοιτάζαμε σα να βλέπαμε από μέσα. 

Τι ήθελε η Ελένη και τη ρώταγε για πλάκα; 
Αυτή δεν θα στεριώσει πουθενά της είχε απαντήση η μουρλο-Κλειώ. Είναι σκέτη καταστροφή είδα το χάρτη της. Όταν μου τα πε η Ελένη γέλασα. Ποιος τη χέζει μωρέ κάθεσαι και ακους τις μαλακίες της Κλειώς, σήκω να πάμε να ψωνίσουμε μπλουζάκια στους Ρώσους και χέστηνα. 

Μπορεί να μην πιστεύεις σε Κλειούδες και λοιπά αλλά καμιά φορά όταν σε παίρνει από κάτω, λίγο περισσότερο απ' το συνηθισμένο, σου επιστρέφει η φάτσα της με το ένα μάτι να φεύγει πέρα και σ' τη δίνει. 

Είναι που λες όλες αυτές οι χώρες κάτω από το χάρτη. Κάτι πίτες που λένε από πού φεύγουν κι έρχονται μέχρι εδώ. Οι αριθμοί επί τοις εκατό και τα συστήματα που τους μετέφεραν. 

Καμιά φορά βλέπω τη χώρα σου ανάμεσά τους κι αναρωτιέμαι αν είσαι εσύ. Μ' αυτά τα σκατά τα Ίνσταγκραμ στόριζ ξέρω ότι με βλέπεις. Δεν μου μιλάς, όμως είσαι σχεδόν κάθε μέρα εκεί, σα να μου λες "γεια" εδώ είμαι. Δεν θέλω ακόμα να δεχτώ τη βαρεμάρα ως αιτία για όλο αυτό, αν και δεν είναι δα και τίποτε σπουδαίο. Κι εγώ προχώρησα το δρόμο μου και ας είναι πότε-πότε λίγο πληκτικός. Ξέρω ότι σου λείπω, ότι για όσο ήμασταν υπήρξαμε όμορφα μουρλοί, ότι μας έδενε ένα αόρατο κορδόνι που δεν άφηνε χώρο για τίποτε άλλο, κι ότι όσο κι αν προσπάθησες να το εξηγήσεις γιατί αυτό γινόταν τόσο άφοβα, τόσο αβίαστα, δεν βρήκες εξηγήσεις. Έβαλα τ' άπειρα κουτάκια του σκεπτικού μου όπως τα έλεγες κι εσύ στην άκρη. Το ένα μέσα στο άλλο και δεν ρωτάω πια, δεν μ' άφησες και περιθώρια.  

Παίρνω την κίτρινη σανέλ που από τώρα έχει μέσα μόνο τα κλειδιά και τα τσιγάρα μου, καμιά φορά κοιτάω το σημαδεμένο όνομά σου στο χέρι μου και λέω "να εκεί είσαι κι εσύ" και βγαίνω ν' αμολήσω τη συνέχεια ελεύθερη. Και που 'σαι... ακόμα μου χρωστάς μια οδοντόβουρτσα ...την έταξες και δεν την έστειλες ποτέ... κάποτε σκέφτηκα να σου πω κράτα τη και βάλ' τη στον κώλο σου ... αλλά τι ψέμα θα ήταν αυτό ε; κόβει κανείς το χέρι του; δεν το κόβει. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

T.M. (Temperature melting)

It’s me… I am 

that aloneness you feel. 
Let it deepen in you… 
let it flush beneath your skin… 
Think of that feeling 
like it’s my mouth at your neck 
and I’m saying your name.


Maybe this isn’t… wet… yet… 
like other loves we’ve had. 
Maybe it isn’t… yet… 
food fights and jungle cat screams 
and, “The fuck if I’ll wait 
till we get back home.” 
Maybe this isn’t… yet… 
back bends and rope burns, 
butt slaps and candle wax… 
Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it isn’t. 
Maybe, right now, it’s just you and me 
on a couch, listening to music, 
touching, talking, listening 
on a long, windy, winter night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

the poetry of life

In winter, some voices are like coats.
"I go in life utterly unaware of things, Finding out about some of them convinces me how little I know and how much more I should keep on striving to acquire as much as is possible", he said. 
So to Tristan, who loves finding out, here's a "poem" written by a most unexpected poet : NASA
Consider this: You can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.” The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it.

NASA Lunar Science Institute, 2012

and another 

The complete tattoo is: “Ich will mit dem gehen, den ich liebe” … the first line from Bertolt Brecht’s poem: 

I want to go with the one I love. 
I don’t want to calculate the cost. 
I don’t want to think about whether it’s good. 
I don’t want to know whether he loves me. 
I want to go with whom I love. 

I can’t translate German, but I think “go” ( “gehen” in the original ) is weak here. I want it to be … I don’t know … “belong?” … or hell… “susurrate”… or how about “ridge” used as a verb… 

I want to ridge with the one I love… I don’t know what I want… beyond my hand right there on your hip

Friday, January 20, 2017

and you

There are shades of red… everything from daydream pink to I can’t friggin sleep. And then there’s you… you and your hips slippin' by… every time I close my eyes. Again, I roll your name across the tongue of my mind. I like the taste. 

There are a few things in life so beautiful they hurt: swimming in the ocean while it rains, reading alone in empty libraries, the sea of stars that appear when you’re miles away from the neon lights of the city, bars after 2am, walking in the wilderness, all the phases of the moon, the things we do not know about the universe, and you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I was naive 

Don’t ask me to stop. 
What kind of story is that… 
Aesop’s thirsty crow 
flying off without a drink… 
No…I will keep dropping stones 
into your distant heart 
until my lips can reach yours… 
until I can drink my fill 

have you been too? Kid, I can tell you one thing" work till they've vanished from sight _

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Betsy Hotel

By Gemma Sieff
The porch of the Betsy Hotel, a slender silhouette on the main drag of Miami's South Beach, is flanked by wicker chairs well positioned for watching the slow rollerbladers, slower Rolls-Royces, and Jessica Rabbits flaunt their curves on Ocean Drive. The hotel's Writer's Room, which has been hosting distinguished poets, playwrights, novelists, musicians, and visual artists since 2012, is snug and uncluttered (a suite might abet procrastination). The first room on the ground floor, it is more bungalow than aerie, conjuring Hemingway in Kansas City—as a cub reporter he sometimes slept in a towel-cushioned bathtub at the Muehlebach Hotel—getting closer to Key West. Writers and nice hotels have long been simpatico—Oscar Wilde was arrested at the Cadogan in London, Truman Capote claimed to have been born at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans (technically untrue, though it accommodated him in utero), and Tennessee Williams loved New York's Hotel Elysée so much he checked out in a casket. The Betsy sits squarely in this tradition but is enhanced by personal history: the poet Hyam Plutzik (1911–1962), author of Apples from Shinar and Horatio (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1961), was the hotelier's father.

The Betsy designates the space a respite for writers in Miami, and means it both ways: a writer who's just visiting (such as the novelist Richard Ford) as well as the writer who resides nearby (the poet and musician Oscar Fuentes). The room's bookshelves hold an eclectic and ambitious mix of titles: poetry by Robert Lowell, Richard Wilbur, C. K. Williams, Hayden Carruth, and Galway Kinnell; Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings, translated by W. H. Auden and acquired in a book swap; Rattapalax, a journal of international writing; Harold Robbins's vintage page-turner The Betsy. The artist and writer Donald Daedalus, who stayed for a week this past February, is bookish in new-media ways. He was comparing analog and digital archival processes ("analog is tables of contents, card catalogues, and a locked library door; digital is cloud storage and corrupt data; moisture is a problem for both") for one project and e-publishing a 700-page collection of essays about walkways for another. "I'm interested in non-linear texts,” he told me, “book forms other than the codex.” 


Gemma Sieff is a writer and editor based in New York. 

Photos by Sarah K. Moody

Exhumation at Sant’Orsola

By James Romm
On July 13, in Porto Ercole, on Italy’s western coast, an immense crowd watched a solemn ceremony. Four bones, said to have come from the long-lost corpse of Caravaggio, were interred in a bizarre funerary monument, an immense casket topped by a bowl of fruit resembling the one in his famous portrait of Bacchus. Silvano Vinceti, a former television host turned historical researcher, had found the bones in 2010. His fifteen-year forensic quest has seen the exhumations of Dante, Petrarch, Pico della Mirandola, and Poliziano. Vinceti’s career is not without controversy: he’s a showman, Indiana Jones with a dash of Dan Brown.

Vinceti left broadcasting for bone-hunting in 2000, after he was approached by an antiquarian seeking the remains of the fifteenth-century poet Boiardo. His 2007 discovery of high arsenic levels in the bones of Angelo Poliziano and Giovanni Pico, two Florentine philosophers who perished suddenly and mysteriously within a few weeks of one another in 1494 (the same year Boiardo died), appears to confirm the long-held suspicion that both men were murdered—Vinceti has theories as to why and by whom. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the investigation was that it happened at all; academic historians have neither the means nor, in most cases, the time to reopen such centuries-old cold cases. Like Heinrich Schliemann, the bull-headed German banker who found the sites of Troy and Mycenae in the late nineteenth century, Vinceti is an amateur drawn to relics like a dowser to water.

The skeleton of Lisa Gherardini, whom he believed to be the model for Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, was disinterred in 2013 at the former convent of Saint Ursula (Sant’Orsola) despite the early objections of Gherardini’s living descendants, who later came to favor the exhumation, and ongoing opposition from some skeptical Florentines. Previously, Vinceti had proposed that the model for the Mona Lisa was a man, Leonardo’s apprentice Gian Caprotti, on the basis of her “androgynous” features and a number—72—he discerned under the bridge in the far background of the painting. A positive identification of Gherardini’s bones might have made possible a facial reconstruction, forever linking that famous smile with the moldering skull and broken teeth once beneath it. No such luck—in late October, Vinceti announced that the recovered skeleton had not yielded enough valid DNA to identify the model. She remains a mystery; he’s off after the remains of another missing Renaissance artist, Antonello of Messina.


James Romm is the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College and author of several books, including Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero (Knopf).