Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Fernando Pessoa: Inscription XIII ("The thought whole... like a pitcher spilt")


A Lady and Two Gentlemen (detail): Johannes Vermeer, (1632-1675) c. 1659, oil on canvas (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig)


The work is done. The hammer is laid down.
The artisans, that built the slow-grown town,
Have been succeeded by those who still built.
All this is something lack-of-something screening.
The thought whole has no meaning
But lies by Time's wall like a pitcher spilt.

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935): Inscription XIII, from Inscriptions, 1920, in English Poems, Lisbon, 1921

A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman (detail): Johannes Vermeer, 1662-65, oil on canvas (Buckingham Palace, London)

The Milkmaid (detail): Johannes Vermeer, c. 1658, oil on canvas (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

John Clare: Cottage Fears


Cottage Roof, Lower Darnley, Prince Edward Island: photo by Jim Rohan, 22 March 2014

                        The evening gathers from the gloomy woods
                        And darkling creeps oer silent vale and hill
                        While the snug village in nights happy moods
                        Is resting calm and beautifully still
                        The windows gleam with light the yelping curs
                        That guards the henroost from the thieving fox
                        Barks now and then as something passing stirs
                        And distant dogs the noises often mocks
                        While foxes from the woods send dismal cries
                        Like somthing in distress the cottager
                        Hears the dread noise and thinks of danger nigh
                        And locks up door in haste -- nor cares to stir
                        From the snug safety of his humble shed
                        Then tells strange tales till time to go to bed

John Clare (1793-1864): Cottage Fears, composed c. 1832-1835

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Thomas De Quincey: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

File:Samuel Taylor Coleridge by Washington Allston retouched.jpg

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Washington Allston (1779-1843), 1814, from Rosemary Ashton: The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1997; image by Materialscientist, 11 June 2012

It was not long after this event that my own introduction to Coleridge occurred. At that time some negotiation was pending between him and the Royal Institution,which ended in their engaging him to deliver a course of lectures on Poetry and the Fine Arts during the ensuing winter. For this series (twelve or sixteen, I think) he received a sum of one hundred guineas. And, considering the slightness of the pains which he bestowed upon them, he was well remunerated. I fear that they did not increase his reputation; for never did any man treat his audience with less respect, or his task with less careful attention. I was in London for part of the time, and can report the circumstances, having made a point of attending duly at the appointed hours. Coleridge was at that time living uncomfortably enough at the "Courier" office, in the Strand. In such a situation, annoyed by the sound of feet passing his chamber-door continually to the printing-rooms of this great establishment, and with no gentle ministrations of female hands to sustain his cheerfulness, naturally enough his spirits flagged; and he took more than ordinary doses of opium. I called upon him daily, and pitied his forlorn condition. There was no bell in the room; which for many months answered the double purpose of bedroom and sitting-room. Consequently, I often saw him, picturesquely enveloped in nightcaps, surmounted by handkerchiefs indorsed upon handkerchiefs, shouting from the attics of the "Courier" office, down three or four flights of stairs, to a certain "Mrs. Brainbridge," his sole attendant, whose dwelling was in the subterranean regions of the house. There did I often see the philosopher, with the most lugubrious of faces, invoking with all his might this uncouth name of "Brainbridge," each syllable of which he intonated with long-drawn emphasis, in order to overpower the hostile hubbub coming downwards from the creaking press, and the roar from the Strand, which entered at all the front windows. "Mistress Brainbridge! I say, Mistress Brainbridge!" was the perpetual cry, until I expected to hear the Strand, and distant Fleet Street, take up the echo of "Brainbridge!" Thus unhappily situated, he sank more than ever under the dominion of opium; so that, at two o'clock, when he should have been in attendance at the Royal Institution, he was too often unable to rise from bed. Then came dismissals of audience after audience, with pleas of illness; and on many of his lecture days I have seen all Albemarle Street closed by a "lock" of carriages, filled with women of distinction, until the servants of the Institution or their own footmen advanced to the carriage-doors with the intelligence that Mr. Coleridge had been suddenly taken ill. This plea, which at first had been received with expressions of concern, repeated too often, began to rouse disgust. Many in anger, and some in real uncertainty whether it would not be trouble thrown away, ceased to attend. And we that were more constant too often found reason to be disappointed with the quality of his lecture. His appearance was generally that of a person struggling with pain and overmastering illness. His lips were baked with feverish heat, and often black in colour; and, in spite of the water which he continued drinking through the whole course of his lecture, he often seemed to labour under an almost paralytic inability to raise the upper jaw from the lower. In such a state, it is clear that nothing could save the lecture itself from reflecting his own feebleness and exhaustion, except the advantage of having been precomposed in some happier mood. But that never happened: most unfortunately he relied upon his extempore ability to carry him through. Now, had he been in spirits, or had he gathered animation, and kindled by his own motion, no written lecture could have been more effectual than one of his unpremeditated colloquial harangues. But either he was depressed originally below the point from which any re-ascent was possible, or else this re-action was intercepted by continual disgust from looking back upon his own ill-success; for, assuredly, he never once recovered that free and eloquent movement of thought which he could command at any time in a private company. The passages he read, moreover, in illustrating his doctrines, were generally unhappily chosen, because chosen at haphazard, from the difficulty of finding at a moment's summons those passages which his purpose required. Nor do I remember any that produced much effect, except two or three, which I myself put ready marked into his hands, among the Metrical Romances edited by Ritson.

Generally speaking, the selections were as injudicious and as inappropriate as they were ill delivered; for, amongst Coleridge's accomplishments, good reading was not one; he had neither voice (so, at least, I thought) nor management of voice. This defect is unfortunate in a public lecturer; for it is inconceivable how much weight and effectual pathos can be communicated by sonorous depth and melodious cadences of the human voice to sentiments the most trivial; nor, on the other hand, how the grandest are emasculated by a style of reading which fails in distributing the lights and shadows of a musical intonation. However, this defect chiefly concerned the immediate impression; the most afflicting to a friend of Coleridge's was the entire absence of his own peculiar and majestic intellect; no heart, no soul, was in anything he said; no strength of feeling in recalling universal truths; no power of originality or compass of moral relations in his novelties: all was a poor faint reflection from jewels once scattered in the highway by himself in the prodigality of his early opulence -- a mendicant dependence on the alms dropped from his own overflowing treasury of happier times.

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859): Samuel Taylor Coleridge (from the series Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake Poets), in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, 1834

File:Thomas de Quincey by Sir John Watson-Gordon.jpg

Thomas De Quincey: Sir John Watson-Gordon (d. 1864), n.d.; image by Dcoetzee, 30 March 2009 (National Portrait Gallery, London)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Nin Andrews: What You Have To Listen To


On board Virgin Atlantic A340 (G-VELO), economy cabin interior: photo by A Sutanto, 10 May 2012

Certain people I hate.
Number one on my list:
anyone who talks to me on an airplane.
Take my last trip.
I'm just settling in, taking a blanket
from the overhead bin
when this platinum blond, maybe 40,
sits down next to me,
whips out her lipstick and compact
arranges her face,
smiles at it and asks,
-- Are you from Pittsburgh?
-- No.
-- Me either.
What a shit hole, Pittsburgh,
know what I mean?
It's really the pits. Like its name.
I'm from Lynchburg.
Have you been to Lynchburg?
-- Nope.  Did they lynch people there?
-- Of course not.  It's a gorgeous town.
It's the Chapstick capital of the world.
Do you use Chapstick?
-- No.
-- I thought everyone used Chapstick.
I never leave home without it.
Even Jerry Falwell used Chapstick.
Did you listen to Jerry Falwell?
He would slide some on his lips
right in the middle of a sermon.
I think he licked his lips when he was inspired,
like, by the Holy Spirit.
Did you know Jerry Falwell?
-- No.
-- Oh, he was divine.  I mean, for real.
He resided in Lynchburg,
and he was on the radio and the TV.
He was on Donahue loads of times.
And he was the President's preacher.
George Bush, I mean.
Everyone I knew loved Falwell.
We listened to him on the radio on Sundays
if we didn't go to church.
What radio station do you listen to?
-- I don't.
-- Oh well, just so long as you don't listen to NPR.
They say it's news but it's not.
Jerry Falwell said they just make stuff up
and then say it on the air. Like global warming.
He said NPR tells folks cold is hot, and hot is cold.
You feel how cold it is this winter?
-- And how hot it was last summer?
-- I am talking cold here.
But maybe you don't notice it like I do.
You must be from the north. I can hear it
in your accent. Just like my ex.
He was from Maine.
He stayed out in a blizzard one time,
and I kid you not,
he got frostbite on his extremities.
All of them. I mean, really.
Said he never felt a thing.
That's a Mainer for you.
Icicles everywhere.
Not a heart inside them.
And they call this global warming.
Did you ever get frostbit?
-- No.
-- Well, you never met my husband.
I was with him until I was saved.
I don't even talk to him anymore
but sometimes he calls
and just starts talking and talking,
and I think, why do I have to listen to this?
Know what I mean?
-- Yes, I think I do.

 Nin Andrews: What You Have To Listen To, from Nin Andrews, 26 March 2014

untitled [img316w): photo by john keys (rolleimppl), 8 November 2013

EVA Air Business Class Bulkhead. The business class bulkhead with drawing of Hello Kitty on EVA Airways' Hello Kitty Jet "Sanrio Family Hand-in-Hand", a Boeing 777-300ER.
Photo taken onboard BR15 from Los Angeles to Taiwan Taoyuan:  photo by Luke lai, 8 February 2014

Standing by for the takeoff clearance on Lisbon's runway 21. Unusually dense fog for Lisbon is present making this an LVTO (Low Visibility Take Off) since the reported touchdown zone RVR (runway visual range) is 200m. A319 CS-TTP bound to Oslo: photo by Mathieu Neuforge, 1 December 2011

OpenSpace claustrophobia (London): photo by fabioliguori, 26 November 2013

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Commercial Opportunities


Cash for Pallets (Oakland): photo by efo, 23 March 2014

Makeup of a business opportunity

A business opportunity consists of four integrated elements all of which are to be present within the same timeframe (window of opportunity) and most often within the same domain or geographical location, before it can be claimed as a business opportunity. These four elements are:
  • A need
  • The means to fulfill the need
  • A method to apply the means to fulfill the need and;
  • A method to benefit
With any one of the elements missing, a business opportunity may be developed, by finding the missing element. The more unique the combination of the elements, the more unique the business opportunity. The more control an institution (or individual) has over the elements, the better they are positioned to exploit the opportunity and become a niche market leader.

-- Wikipedia

Primos Autosales (Vallejo, California): photo by efo, 21 January 2014

Times Square: photo by robert holmgren (menlo), 12 April 2013

Flew in from Miami Beach, BOAC (Lennox, California): photo by michaelj1998, 21 March 2014

Smile (Los Angeles, California): photo by michaelj1998, 14 March 2014

Ying Yang (Los Angeles, California): photo by michaelj1998, 20 February 2014

Portland: photo by Austin Granger, 21 March 2014

Portland: photo by Austin Granger, 7 March 2014

Delicious Texas Pit BBQ & Catering, Portland: photo by Austin Granger, 7 March 2014

 Portland, Oregon: photo by Jorge Guadalupe Lizárraga (el zopilote), July 2013

 Portland, Oregon: photo by Jorge Guadalupe Lizárraga (el zopilote), 12 July 2013

  St. Helens, Oregon: photo by Jorge Guadalupe Lizárraga (el zopilote), June 2013

 Fossil, Oregon: photo by Jorge Guadalupe Lizárraga (el zopilote), July 2013

Portland, Oregon: photo by Jorge Guadalupe Lizárraga (el zopilote), August 2013

  Portland, Oregon: photo by Jorge Guadalupe Lizárraga (el zopilote), August 2013

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Product Placement


Posters #33 (Düsseldorf): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 16 May 2007

As the rip in the screen
the tear in the curtain
the edge of the frame
permits you to see
once again
through the fabrication
to the reality
the window that opens
upon the greater deception
at the bottom of the bin

Posters #32 (Düsseldorf): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 16 May 2007

 Posters #31 (Düsseldorf): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 16 May 2007

  Posters #7: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 26 September 2004

  Posters #8: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 13 May 2005

Vertellerkästen #21: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 14 January 2006

  Posters #13 (Bochum): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 4 November 2005

  Posters #15 (Bochum): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 4 November 2005

Posters #14 (Bochum): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 4 November 2005

Vertellerkästen #26: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 12 February 2006

  Stops #2 (Duisburg): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 9 August 2007

 Posters #25 (Aachen): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 13 May 2013

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Not Wading but Sinking


Stalker (Orebro, Sweden): photo by Isaac Cordal, 7 June 2013

That sinking feeling
The business lunch
Heavy on the lap --
Small knoblike men
Gripping power briefcases --
Inertia of the social mass
Lapped by fetid waters --
Wading amid toxin
Saturated weeds --

Zombified -- floating sacs --
Playdough bodies --
Moving in lemming packs
Through dead cities
Toward inevitable collapse

Fragments of Titanic (Pontevedra, Galicia)
: photo by Isaac Cordal, 16 January 2012

Follow the leader (London): photo by Isaac Cordal, 4 October 2010

Electoral campaign (Gandermarkt, Berlin): photo by Isaac Cordal,April 2011

Cement eclipses (Berlin): photo by Isaac Cordal, 26 August 2011

Untitled (Brussels): photo by Isaac Cordal, 13 February 2012

Follow the leader (Nieuwport, Belgium)
: photo by Isaac Cordal, 17 March 2012

The corporation (Nieuwport, Belgium): photo by Isaac Cordal, 6 March 2012

La otra frontera (Montebello, Chiapas, Mexico): photo by Isaac Cordal, 10 November 2013

Open Art (Orebro, Sweden): photo by Isaac Cordal, 8 February 2013

Afloat (Nantes, France): photo by Isaac Cordal, 14 July 2013

Monday, 24 March 2014

John Ashbery: They Dream Only of America


water tower over tennis court: photo by Clayton Percy, 7 March 2014

They dream only of America 
To be lost among the thirteen million pillars of grass: 
"This honey is delicious 
Though it burns the throat." 

And hiding from darkness in barns 
They can be grownups now 
And the murderer's ashtray is more easily -- 
The lake a lilac cube. 

He holds a key in his right hand.
"Please," he asked willingly.
He is thirty years old.  
That was before 

We could drive hundreds of miles 
At night through dandelions. 
When his headache grew worse we 
Stopped at a wire filling station. 

Now he cared only about signs. 
Was the cigar a sign? 
And what about the key? 
He went slowly into the bedroom. 

"I would not have broken my leg if I had not fallen 
Against the living room table. What is it to be back
Beside the bed? There is nothing to do 
For our liberation, except wait in the horror of it. 

And I am lost without you."

John Ashbery: They Dream Only of America, from The Partisan Review, Summer 1959; reprinted in The Tennis Court Oath, 1962


foot of the water tower night: photo by Clayton Percy, 7 March 2014

  base of the tower, no parking. a quieter view true to the nature of the place: photo by Clayton Percy, 7 March 2014