hapticbackup: (Default)
An honest tally
of your casualties found
none younger than your chest.
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
Let's see what we can do with this
lovely, lovely thing that
past all racial conflict and all
kinds of

It's a reflective tune and
sometime in your life
you will have occasion to say what is this thing called time.
You know what what
is that.

The clock you
go to work by the clock you
get your martini in the afternoon by the clock
and your coffee by the clock
and you have to get on the plane at a certain time
and arrive at a certain...
it goes on and on and on and on.

Time is a dictator as we know it.
Where does it go? What does it do?
Most of all, is it alive? Is it a thing
that we cannot touch
and is it alive.

Then one day you look in the mirror.
How old.
You say
where did the time go.

One day you will look back on it.

-Nina Simone
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
"if blue
were not blue how could love be love."
-C.D. Wright

A Grave

Oct. 29th, 2015 01:51 pm
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
Man looking into the sea,
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as
             you have to it yourself,
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing,
but you cannot stand in the middle of this;
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession, each with an emerald turkey-
              foot at the top,
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of
              the sea;
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look --
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer
              investigate them
for their bones have not lasted:
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are
              desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away -- the blades of the oars
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were
              no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress among themselves in a phalanx -- beautiful
              under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the
the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls
                as heretofore --
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion
                beneath them;
and the ocean, under the pulsation of lighthouses and noise of
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which
                dropped things are bound to sink --
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor

-Marianne Moore

with you

Oct. 23rd, 2015 04:47 pm
hapticbackup: (spout)
that i now pull time
i am nothing to say

except one in lock
a brand on brain

with mind at mars
still i fall yours

speak, bell ripple
again low no

again rend me
hapticbackup: (knows itself)

Not all who howl
are wildbeasts. Some caress us
gently in our bones,
slip into our beds
and tear our hearts out.
In the best version
Little Red eats her grandmother
cubed and cooked in wicker
to pull out the toughness
seasoned appropriately. Maybe innocence
is a cloak–filtered through fur,
dragged through the woods–
that lets us pretend
a glass of blood is red wine.

-Janani Balasubramanian
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
the song ohio begins with the welcome moaning of guitars. like the cheerful suffering of a heavily-traveled bridge. they bear up well and long. at the end of the first verse is the line "my blood is the water and it's darker and deeper than time." this is a very representative patty griffin lyric. it appears immediately familiar, almost cliche. blood, water, darkness; these words often sit next to each other on the shelf. but under examination, another dimension unfurls. how dark is time? how deep? time has an arrow, why not a color and a size? perhaps most relevant is the elusive nature of time itself. it is everywhere, yet completely out of reach. to compare something to time is then to accord it an immutable strength. the guitars continue their well-laden entreaties. patty shifts her voice up through its gears in an exhilarating wordless harmony between the verses. at the end of the next stanza is the line "my love is the water and it's stronger and deeper than time." here the strength of time is explicit. to find in any love the omnipresence of time is quite the aspiration. i hope to encounter this myself someday, though i suspect it's of the rank of ideas more easily expressed than lived.

while talking about music, one of my closest friends and i once mutually established the idea that some songs have a most important line. in my memory of the conversation, it was as though we had each independently evolved the idea, then had only to suggest the briefest sketch of it to the other for it to be immediately enshrined in the annals of our understanding. this was, and is, typical of our communication. i'm writing about this as though through some journalistic pretense i have to preserve the anonymity of my source, but as ever, it's aisa, always aisa. in this instance our touchstone song was "bag of hammers" by thao and the get down stay down. the most important line is "the trick is/you must not get on that interstate bus." part of what lends punch to this line is the way it is voiced. the implied colon after "the trick is" dyes what follows in mysterious portent. mysterious, but also recognizable; we have all asked not to be left behind. and felt the simplicity of the solution to an appparent problem, when considered from a single, selfish perspective. i do not want you to leave. how easy, then: do not go.

i bring this up now because the patty griffin song "faithful son" has one of these lines. the song carries briskly, if sadly, along until about halfway through when it seems to encounter a change in landscape. patty's voice mounts a staircase that does not agree with itself about its destination; each flight twists in a different direction. at the end of a long run of notes that put a man in morning, then in rain; in sunless thoughts and a coat, she gives to us the image of "the sleeves of my old raincoat stained/with the salt of my own tears". perhaps i accord this line more prominence than it deserves. but every time i think to play this song, it is the line that springs to mind, and the one i wait impatiently through the first two minutes of the song to hear. this song is fundamentally about obligation--an enduring, high-level emotional struggle--and this single intimate detail shows its effects in a moment. sometimes all we have to bite down on are these moments. as patty suggests later in the song, it is difficult to be the conduit of even your own internal truth:

"And I never would
tell you then,
so I never will
tell you now,
all the things that break
an old man down.
The real truth is
I don't know how."

this would be an immense regret. to finally be ready to communicate only to find that a lifetime of not doing so has handicapped you to it. all you are left with is the dried bloom of despair on your raincoat, from a form of water it was never intended to keep out.
hapticbackup: (anais mitchell)
"I chomped and strolled as slowly as I could, prolonging the delectable realization that waiting for me at home was nothing but an empty bed into which I'd crawl naked and drunk and stinking of fast food, disgusting nobody but myself."
-Kate Bolick
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
"It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."
-Martha Graham
hapticbackup: (Armand Roulin)
"Why not have, in art, the largest mind available?"
-Saul Bellow
hapticbackup: (anais mitchell)
"Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts."

-Wendell Berry
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
"All tight and right in which condition it is to be hoped we shall all be this day 4 years"
-Emily Brontë
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
"Can I be alone in my longing for inarticulacy – for a cinema that refuses to join all the dots? For an a-rhythm in gesture, for a dissonance in shape? For the context of a cinematic frame, a frame that – in the end – only cinema can provide. For the full view, the long shot, the space between... the gaps... the pause... the lull... the grace of living..."
-Tilda Swinton
hapticbackup: (magnuson)
Tonight I'm remembering the way Jacob ran red lights. He never sped up, just cruised on through as though he was unaware the light was changing, with one eyebrow arched in xeric superiority. It makes me miss him terribly and also not at all.


Nov. 3rd, 2014 03:13 pm
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
the warp and weft of these whales, and their natural heft. Sewn together like a city and my love for you.


as a whale I spent my whole life singing, floating and breathing.
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
we are here in bandon, oregon, a town perhaps missing a prefix 'a' but nonetheless populated with crab shacks, sand dunes, and a squat cupcake of a lighthouse.  the wind is always blowing. this morning the clouds were heavy fists over the ocean, now there is a mist so fine it is difficult to tell whether it is obscuring my vision from without or if my eyes are filming over from within.

on my morning walk, i found an orange sandcrawler with translucent skin.  i could see its dark blood moving around inside its body.  i hopped between rock parapets and saw a dead crescent on the sand. a sea lion.  it made me howling sad.  offshore, bouquets of birds whirled around and through a keyhole in a rock wall and i looked at the horizon line riding waves up and down through the hole for a long time.  around the corner i found the wind pushing light into tidepools and a bonfire of tiny barnacles on the wall.  a giant left a wooden teacup in a rock crack for just a moment, but a giant moment is an eon to smaller beings and it is there still.

you are there in our northern city, smiling, lazing, writing double-spaced symbols onto sheet after sheet of paper.  i am sending so many good thoughts your way for your test and for your general self and will have these and so many other stories for you when i get back.
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
Enchanted by the accessibility of time.
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
Bored by the unraveling of time

t.s. eliot

Oct. 21st, 2014 07:57 pm
hapticbackup: (knows itself)
3. Preludes

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.

With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.

You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters,
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.


hapticbackup: (Default)

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