The city has drawn a blank. How big
you are; a tarmac in the cool summer.
You pretend to love them all. Let
is a word like a creek in spring.
We are strangers; there are ways
to lie. There are trees, there are
trees, there are trees. The wind
does many things. A Hungarian sign
is not unlike your mouth. I never claimed
gravity, strength. From the left, a cot
has great significance. Like the city
we squeeze in tight for a photograph.
Night likes me. Vampiring I would have killed
all I loved & kept all our lives
for centuries, crypt-crock. Love was death
—Brenda Shaughnessy, from “Letter to the Crevice Novice”
THE EMPATHY EXAMS by Leslie Jamison -
On my twenty-second birthday, I drove to Richmond to get a small tattoo of an anatomical heart, a motif from Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love. I am asked to explain my visible little heart often, the fist inside my arm….
Basket of Pansies (detail), Vincent Van Gogh.
(Source: marieantoinete, via mugglesandmagic)
Girls standing in water holding bunches of American Lotus, Amana, Iowa, November 1938. Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, National Geographic.
Pine Trees in Pushkin Park, 1927. Photo by Aleksandr Rodchenko.
A Day in the Life of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop -
I love this part, from fiction writer Mallory Hellman:
4:07 pm - I’m late to pick everyone up, and I’m the one leading our lesson today. When I pull up to Dey House, all four of my fellow Youth Writing Project volunteers are assembled on a snowbank waiting for me. One holds a bag full of construction paper. Another shivers under a hat with long ear flaps. Troopers. They get in, and I gently disrespect the speed limit until we’ve reached Cedar Rapids.
4:45 pm – Our gang of ten is happy to see us, even though we didn’t come bearing snacks. We cluster three tables together in the classroom and hang up our laminated Writing Club sign.
5:15 pm - Teonie, who is eight, has written an ode to tacos and nachos. Most of it is a meditation on her two favorite foods’ similarities, concluding with a tenderly inflected, “Are you sisters?” This leads, naturally, to a heated debate about which foods are sisters, which are brothers, which might be cousins, and which aren’t related at all.
5:45 pm – Lasagna and calzones are parents to spaghetti. Pizza is a cousin, on the calzone side of course. Macaroni wants to be in the family but isn’t – it rolls with the hot dish instead. Peaches and plums go hand in hand, but mangoes and green peppers have never met. Avocados and pears hate it when they’re mistaken for sisters.
from “Untitled" by Laurie Sheck:
Distance is the soul of the beautiful,
she had read, and she imagines an unknown planet
revolving in deep space, blue waves
in tender exile from the land.
Remorseless. Without witness.
If she could go there
she would possess nothing.
How beautiful the earth
might seem again from that distance.
How possible love.
(Source: bella-illusione, via nataliemeansnice)
Charles Portis, "Motel Life, Lower Reaches" :: Oxford American -
I could find no trace of the old yellow cabins, nor even locate the site. Things disappear, too, utterly.
We inherit from antiquity the image of the poet as bard and storyteller—one who who sings, or sang, the narratives of the tribe, preserving the collective memory of her or his people. This is the kind of poet most literature textbooks like to open with—as if all poets emerged out of one blind man’s mouth. But there were other kinds of poets as well: those who chanted, cast spells, shrieked or whispered nonsense or fragments of words or images, making magic come into being through language. — Ilya Kaminsky, “A Note on Rae Armantrout” (via emmaylor)
The Language of Desire -
The first time someone I loved told me he loved me, I was so elated my very skin could have flown off, and the walls off the dingy little basement bar we were in, and the leaves off the trees, and everything off of everything, because in those words I recognized total mutuality and thus total union and therefore the end of the need for skins or walls or trappings or containments of any kind. Barthes writes about the lover’s capacity for s’abimation, or engulfment, the “outburst of annihilation” that overtakes your spirit when great love or desire is fulfilled. That first I love you was s’abimation.
An abandoned Sinai cinema by Derek Cave
Flowers thrown into a dumpster in Greenwood Cemetery, NY
(Source: malformalady, via paperswallow)