I know not “seems.”

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—

— Edgar Allan Poe, “Alone” (excerpt)

Outsider

“Does the past live with me alone?”

Nationaal Archief, “Presents at the top of a car” (detail)

His Notebooks, increasingly filled with intricate technical speculations on science and theology, lose much of their intimacy. But, at least until 1820, they are also far less painful and unhappy, apart from the occasional visitation of the ghosts and wolves of memory and loss.

In December 1816, after a long metaphysical speculation on “the three Protoplasms, or primary Forms” of Gravity, Light and Water, he suddenly stopped short and wrote:

“ASRA. Written as of yore. Christmas 1816. ASRA. Does the Past live with me alone? Coleridge.”

— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections

This Shirt

Love brought me (back) here

cf. video by abele62 and silhouette by geralt both via Pixabay (edited collage)

my shadow
still falls
on that window frame
rain
still falls
night
still
falls

— J.S.

Love brought me here…

— Dante, Inferno

Everything returns again
Both the laughter and the rain
She is living somewhere far away…

— The Left Banke, “Desiree”

The Left Banke with the NYU All University Choir “Drama Cantorum” — “Desiree”

When Smokey Sings

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day is Done (excerpt)

When Smokey Sings

Praeterita

cf. photograph by Sophia Baboolal via Unsplash and video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (edited)

I can see them at this moment, those mountain meadows, if I rise from my writing-table, and open the old barred valves of the corner window of the Hotel Bellevue;—yes, and there is the very path we climbed that day together, apparently unchanged. But on what seemed then the everlasting hills, beyond which the dawn rose cloudless, and on the heaven in which it rose, and on all that we that day knew, of human mind and virtue,—how great the change, and sorrowful, I cannot measure, and, in this place, I will not speak.

— John Ruskin, Praeterita

Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)

“…for time discloses the truth.”

cf. photograph by evalynn via Pixabay (edited)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Betimes I found myself alive again and in downtown London.

And so to the office but I greatly found large crowds about and lost my way and strange moving carriages betimes almost hit me and large houses and great noises all about me so that I could not even collect my thoughts and so lost my wits and many strangers who were moving greatly fast and past me in the streets.

And so to bed. I miss my wife.

— J.S.
(cf. Diary of Samuel Pepys)

Wichita Lineman

palimpsest

Nationaal Archief, “Festive lights in Amsterdam”

palimpsest

for I walked down the sidestreets
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon
whispered lunar incantations
dissolved the floors of memory
a fever, longing still —
absence seems my flame
bright star,
I am as steadfast as thou art

— J.S.

All I Do

They Will Never Know

John Dillwyn Llewelyn, “After the Storm” (ca. 1853)

I fit for them,
I seek the dark till I am thorough fit.
The labor is a solemn one,
With this sufficient sweet —
That abstinence as mine produce
A purer good for them,
If I succeed, —
If not, I had
The transport of the Aim.

— Emily Dickinson

They Will Never Know

inner strength

James Montgomery Flagg, “You” (Life Publishing Co., 1906)

Recovery…may take time and may require some big adjustments and perhaps a great deal of inner strength.

— Jon Kabat-Zinn, “World of Relaxation”
 

Coldcut Featuring Lisa Stansfield – “People Hold On” (Dj “S” Bootleg “Thank U” Remix by Dj “S”)

The Dream

cf. videos via Pixabay (edited)

The enormous changes that we see in Ruskin, the Ruskin of Herkomer’s portrait, were caused by events which took place between February 14 and April 23, 1878. It was during this period that he experienced his first bout of full-blown insanity. Five more were to follow.

At the top of a blank page in his diary, Ruskin wrote of this period:

“February, — to April — the Dream”

— Wolfgang Kemp, The Desire of My Eyes
 

“modern art”

cf. Alfred Stieglitz, “Picasso-Braque Exhibition” (1915) and
Frank Waller, “Interior View of the Metropolitan Museum of Art…” (detail) (1881)

modern art

timeless
and never out of style
speaking of Michelangelo!
beautiful truth, truth in beauty
cloudless climes and starry skies
dark and bright
meet in her eyes

— J.S.

Isn’t It Romantic?

tempus fugit, sed amor reliquias

The Saint and the Singer (1914)

“What are you going to do?” Hans Castorp asked, flabbergasted.

“I am leaving,” she repeated, smiling in apparent amazement at the frozen look on his face.

“It’s not possible,” he said. “You’re joking.”

“Most certainly not. I am perfectly serious. I am leaving…”

A whole world was collapsing inside him.

The Magic Mountain

If Ever You’re In My Arms Again

Spring and Fall

cf. Carol M. Highsmith, “Tremont Street, Boston” (between 1980 and 2006) and
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (edited)

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

— Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring and Fall

If These Walls Could Speak

broken

William James Mullins, “Children Fishing” (ca. 1900)

“…I worry about so many things, and everything is so hard for me. For instance, I cut my finger or hurt myself some way — and it’s a wound that heals for other people in a week, but it takes four weeks with me. It just won’t heal, it gets infected, gets really ghastly, and gives me all kinds of trouble. The other day Herr Brecht told me that my teeth look horrible, that they’re all deteriorating and wearing down, not to mention the ones he’s already pulled. That’s how things stand now. And what will I bite with when I’m thirty, or forty? I’ve lost all hope.”

“Come on,” Kai said and picked up the pace of their stroll. “And now tell me a little about your piano playing…are you going to play the piano this afternoon?”

Hanno was silent for a moment. A bleak, confused, feverish look came to his eyes. “Yes, I’ll probably improvise a while,” he said…

— Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks

I’m One

Memories of love above the city lights

cf. TV commercial, ca. 1970’s (edited)

I went in — after making every possible noise in the kitchen, short of pushing over the stove — but I don’t believe they heard a sound. They were sitting at either end of the couch, looking at each other as if some question had been asked, or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone. Daisy’s face was smeared with tears, and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.

The Great Gatsby

I Just Wanna Stop

Sonnet 98: From you have I been absent in the spring

cf. TV commercial (edited)

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight
Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Tell Me

“An autumn wind whistled around corners and gables.”

cf. C.M. Bell, “Unidentified man” (between 1873 and ca. 1916) and
John Rogers, “Rip Van Winkle Returned” (1871)

Then the rambling old house lay tightly wrapped in darkness and silence. Pride, hope, and fear all slept, while rain pelted the deserted streets and an autumn wind whistled around corners and gables.

— Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks

When You Were Young

Invictus

cf. Tom Hubbard, “Fountain Square…” (1973) and video by tmeier1964 via Pixabay (edited)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

— William Ernest Henley, Invictus (excerpt)

Don’t Stop Believin’

Hope

cf. photograph by Lukasz Szmigiel via Unsplash (edited)

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

— Emily Dickinson, “Hope” is the thing with feathers (excerpt)
 

Midnight Rider

Cynarae blues

cf. photograph by Chad Madden via Unsplash (edited)

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

— Ernest Dowson, Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae (excerpt)

Almost Hear You Sigh

You’re gonna need security

Risdon Tillery, “A young draftsman drawing plans for a house and developing his favorite hobby…” (detail) (1944)

“What career do you intend to take up, Mr. Joyce?” he asked. “The career of letters.” The dean persisted, “Isn’t there some danger of perishing of inanition in the meantime?” And Joyce, as his brother recorded, said this was one of the perils, but there were prizes too.

— Richard Ellmann, James Joyce

Mr. Wilcox, the bookseller, on being informed by him that his intention was to get his livelihood as an author, eyed his robust frame attentively, and with a significant look, said, “You had better buy a porter’s knot.”

— Boswell’s Life Of Johnson

Finally Found A Home

“bright stars”

cf. photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay (edit)

bright stars

like Keats and Fanny Brawne
butterflies
for three summer days
filled with more delight than those fifty common years
ever contained
in the twilight streetlamps
the warm night air
and the car radio
I turned
and looked at you

— J.S.

Rush Hour

Please Mr. Postman

cf. Horace Bundy, Vermont Lawyer (1841)

Study our manuscripts, those myriads
Of letters, which have past twixt thee and me,
Thence write our annals, and in them will be
To all whom love’s subliming fire invades,
Rule and example found;
There, the faith of any ground
No schismatic will dare to wound,
That sees, how Love this grace to us affords,
To make, to keep, to use, to be these his records.

— John Donne, A Valediction of the Book (excerpt)
 

Please Mr. Postman by Carpenters

Who Goes with Fergus?

cf. London Stereoscopic Company, “Jeames at Home!” (ca. 1860-1870)

Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love’s bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.

— W. B. Yeats, Who Goes with Fergus?
 

Return Of The Mack (C&J Extended Mix) by Mark Morrison

Memory

Business Screen magazine, 1973

The evening, blue, voluptuous, of June
Settled slowly on the beach with pulsating wings,
Like a sea-gull come to rest: far, far-off twinkled
Gold lights from the towers of a city and a passing ship.
The dark sea rolled its body at the end of the beach,
The warm soft beach which it was too tired to climb,
And we two walked together there
Arm in arm, having nothing in our souls but love.

— John Gould Fletcher, Memory: The Walk on the Beach (excerpt)
 

Julie, Do Ya Love Me by Bobby Sherman

Skylark

cf. videos by MEISTERvideo (train) and Vimeo-Free-Videos (rain) both via Pixabay (edited)

Skylark was much like her father. She simply lived her life from day to day. But now, as the receding landscape, the alternating meadows made her think of what could never change, would always stay the same, her heart sank…

She set off back down the swaying corridor of the train hurrying anxiously as if in flight, as if in search of a more secure and secluded space in which to hide her pain.

When she reached the compartment where the young man and the old, gaunt Catholic priest sat in silence, she tried to return to her seat. But now she could no longer contain her suffering.

Her eyes filled with tears.

— Dezso Kosztolanyi, Skylark

If I Have To Be Alone

recurring scenario

Ernst Halberstadt, “Elevated Railroad Structure…” (1973)

A kind of strange oblivion has overspread me, so that I know not what has become of the last year; and perceive that incidents and intelligence pass over me without leaving any impression.

— Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations

70’s Scenario

This is the Hour of Lead –

cf. magazine advertisement

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow…

— Emily Dickinson, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes –” (excerpt)
 

Wouldn’t It Be Good – Nik Kershaw (acoustic)

college epiphany (a true story)

college epiphany (a true story)

at precisely 10 o’clock he
(a distinguished professor in the history department)
closed the door and walked briskly to the lectern

“There is one song…,”

he whirled on us
in an exaggeratedly sotto voce
stage whisper

“that changed…,”

he crouched forward dramatically
leaning into the first row of seats
then paced back and forth across the front of the classroom
like Holmes to our Watsons
his hands in a sweeping gesture across the entire spellbound auditorium

“…EVERYTHING!”

My Sharona was now receding into the dim, dark, distant past
quod erat demonstrandum!

— J.S.

Have You Never Been Mellow  Olivia Newton-John

problem-solving

cf. video by Orpheline via Pixabay

Little Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight flush of pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher’s sayings when he was in a tight corner:

“Half time now, boys,” he used to say light-heartedly. “Where’s my considering cap?”

— Joyce, A Little Cloud

Takin’ Care Of Business

Modern Love

Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948

And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long…

— Keats, Modern Love (excerpt)

Marionette

That summer

cf. American Scenery publishing company, “Top Corridor of Palace Hotel” (ca. 1850s–1910s)

April 15. Met her today point blank in Grafton Street. The crowd brought us together. We both stopped. She asked me why I never came, said she had heard all sorts of stories about me. This was only to gain time. Asked me was I writing poems? About whom? I asked her. This confused her more and I felt sorry and mean. Turned off that valve at once and opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented and patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri. Talked rapidly of myself and my plans. In the midst of it unluckily I made a sudden gesture of a revolutionary nature. I must have looked like a fellow throwing a handful of peas into the air. People began to look at us. She shook hands a moment after and, in going away, said she hoped I would do what I said.
Now I call that friendly, don’t you?
Yes, I liked her today. A little or much? Don’t know. I liked her and it seems a new feeling to me. Then, in that case, all the rest, all that I thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the rest before now, in fact… O, give it up, old chap! Sleep it off!

— Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

To Each His Own

Mercy Mercy Me

Jim Matchinga, “Roots” (Cincinnati Magazine, 1980)

Now this interconnection or adaptation of all created things to each and of each to all, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and, consequently, that it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.

— Leibniz, The Monadology
 

“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye

“tempus fugit”

Jack Corn, “Children During Recess…” (1974)

tempus fugit

nowadays
jobs
wives, husbands
houses
children
but I —
I was there
in that bright autumn dawn
on the playground
when we sparkled
and our dreams were the morning stars
still in the sky

— J.S.

Old Days

Enough; no more. ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

Unhappy verse, the witness of my unhappy state,
Make thy self flutt’ring wings of thy fast flying
Thought, and fly forth unto my love, wheresoever she be:
Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else
Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else
Playing alone careless on her heavenly virginals.
If in bed, tell her, that my eyes can take no rest:
If at board, tell her, that my mouth can eat no meat:
If at her virginals, tell her, I can hear no mirth.
Asked why? say: waking love suffereth no sleep:
Say that raging love doth appal the weak stomach:
Say, that lamenting love marreth the musical.

— Edmund Spenser, Iambicum Trimetrum (excerpt)

Don’t Rock the Jukebox

CHAPTER I: Down The Rabbit Hole

cf. photograph by Nik Shuliahin via Unsplash (edit)

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! “I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?” she said aloud. “I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth…”

— Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I Don’t Understand

Hero

photograph by Liane Metzler via Unsplash

I believe I can cover most of the expenses of publication of my daughter’s “Alphabet.” My idea is not to persuade her that she is a Cézanne but that, on her 29th birthday, she may see something to persuade her that her whole past has not been a failure.

The reason I keep on trying by every means to find a solution for her case — which may come at any time as it did with my eyes — is that she may not think that she is left with a blank future as well.

I am aware that I am blamed by everybody for sacrificing that “precious metal” — money — to such an extent for such a purpose when it could be done so cheaply and quietly by locking her up in an economical “mental prison” for the rest of her life. I will not do so as long as I see a single chance of hope for her recovery nor blame her or punish her for the great crime she has committed in being a victim to one of the most elusive diseases known to men and unknown to medicine.

And I imagine that if you were where she is and felt as she must you would perhaps feel some hope if you felt that you were neither abandoned nor forgotten.

— Letter from James Joyce to Harriet Weaver, 1936 (quoted in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce)
 

The Auroras of Autumn

cf. photograph by Lefty Kasdaglis via Unsplash (edit)

Farewell to an idea . . .
A darkness gathers though it does not fall
And the whiteness grows less vivid on the wall.

— Wallace Stevens, The Auroras of Autumn (excerpt)

One Of These Things First

I sat upon the shore fishing, with the arid plain behind me

Ian Livesey, “Rainy rainy Manchester” (detail) (2015)

On Margate Sands
I can’t stop connecting
everything with everything
the present
with the past
the broken fingernails of dirty hands.
To Carthage I came, once, many years ago
burning
now dull roots with spring rain
stirring

— J.S.

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

He thought he kept the universe alone

Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1975-76

He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder-broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter-love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried…

— Robert Frost, The Most Of It (excerpt)

Behind The Lines

Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap…

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself…

— Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit from St. Nicholas
 

“Cool Yule” by Louis Armstrong

“What is wrong with woollen gloves?”

cf. photograph by Joshua Coleman via Unsplash (edit)

The possibility of having [Ulysses] published in a more regular way came up again in June 1918, when Roger Fry suggested Miss Weaver call on Leonard and Virginia Woolf to induce them to publish the book at their new Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf noted in her diary the incongruous appearance of Miss Weaver as the ‘buttoned-up’ and woollen-gloved missionary for a book that ‘reeled with indecency.’*

*Miss Weaver, when the passage was quoted to her, demanded with acerbity, ‘What is wrong with woollen gloves?’

— Richard Ellmann, James Joyce
 

“(Shine Your) Light Love Hope” by Bob Mould

Love And A Question

cf. Home Movie

He was standing with her in the cold, looking in through a grated window at a man making bottles in a roaring furnace. It was very cold. Her face, fragrant in the cold air, was quite close to his; and suddenly he called out to the man at the furnace:

“Is the fire hot, sir?”

But the man could not hear with the noise of the furnace. It was just as well. He might have answered rudely.

— Joyce, The Dead
 

“I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

Flat Tire (The Truth)

cf. LIFE, 1972

“…For you to wait like that was stupid and quite impermissible. But you aren’t angry with me, are you, because you waited in vain?”

“Well, it was rather hard, Clavdia, even for a man with detached passions — hard on me and hard-hearted of you to come back with him, because of course you knew from Behrens that I was still here, waiting for you. But I’ve told you that I think of that night simply as a dream, our dream…”

— Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
 

Flat Tire (The Truth) by Athenaeum

Donna, donna, dark

cf. video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay (detail) (edit)

Donna, donna, dark,
Stooping in indigo gown
And cloudy constellations,
Conceal yourself or disclose
Fewest things to the lover —
A hand that bears a thick-leaved fruit,
A pungent bloom against your shade.

— Wallace Stevens, O Florida, Venereal Soil (excerpt)

Hot Cherie

Technicolor

Carol M. Highsmith, “The character Dorothy models her sparkling ruby slippers at the Land of Oz…” (2017)

You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all
that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

— Whitman, Song Of The Open Road

“Here She Is” — Ellis Paul

Lynx Eye

Northeastern University Bulletin, 1980-81

STEPHEN: (Brings the match near his eye.) Lynx eye. Must get glasses. Broke them yesterday. Sixteen years ago. Distance. The eye sees all flat. (He draws the match away. It goes out.) Brain thinks. Near: far. Ineluctable modality of the visible. (He frowns mysteriously.) Hm… Married.

— Joyce, Ulysses
 

“Time Passages” by Al Stewart

One Art

cf. Gustave Caillebotte, “Interior, Woman at the Window” (detail) (1880) and photograph via unsplash (edit)

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster…

— Elizabeth Bishop, One Art

“Life Goes On Without You” — Jill Sobule

“The past is a foreign country…”

August, 1984

To be sure, it is sheer madness… to return to the sites of one’s youth and try to relive at forty what one loved or keenly enjoyed at twenty. But I was forewarned of that madness… I hoped, I think, to recapture there a freedom I could not forget. In that spot, indeed, more than twenty years ago, I had spent whole mornings wandering… I was alive then.

— Camus, Return To Tipasa

“Free Man In Paris” — Joni Mitchell

“And sweetest in the gale is heard…”

Jerome B. Thompson, “A Pic Nick in the Woods of New England” (detail) (ca. 1855)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all…

— Emily Dickinson
 

“All Right” by Christopher Cross

“Now Close the Windows”

Le feu follet (1963)

Now close the windows and hush all the fields;
If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
Be it my loss.

It will be long ere the marshes resume,
It will be long ere the earliest bird:
So close the windows and not hear the wind,
But see all wind-stirred.

— Robert Frost

“It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” — Alison Krauss

“Who has the most matches?”

Ernst Halberstadt, “City Hall Plaza–A Pleasant Setting for Rest and Conversation” (1973)

—He’s pretty well on, professor MacHugh said in a low voice.

—Seems to be, J. J. O’Molloy said, taking out a cigarettecase in murmuring meditation, but it is not always as it seems. Who has the most matches?

— Joyce, Ulysses

“Love Of The Common Man” — Todd Rundgren

“tanglewood in blue”

photograph by Jonathan Dubon via Unsplash (edit)

tanglewood in blue

a moment
I held
once forever
in the summer grass
steadfast bright stars
still turning

—J.S.

—Yes. So you think…

The door closed behind the outgoer.

Rest suddenly possessed the discreet vaulted cell, rest of warm and brooding air.

A vestal’s lamp.

Here he ponders things that were not… what might have been: possibilities of the possible as possible: things not known…

— Joyce, Ulysses

“Fifty Years After The Fair” — Aimee Mann

“The problem with life is that it’s too daily.”

Horacio Villalobos, “Housewife in the Kitchen…” (ca. 1975)

“The problem with life is that it’s too daily.”

— Sarah E. Sapiro

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest…

— T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

“Sweet Bird” — Joni Mitchell

The Calling

edited composite video: live action + Pudding Lane Productions

—It is this hour of a day in mid June, Stephen said, begging with a swift glance their hearing. The flag is up on the playhouse by the bankside… Canvasclimbers who sailed with Drake chew their sausages among the groundlings…

—Shakespeare has left the huguenot’s house in Silver street and walks by the swanmews along the riverbank. But he does not stay to feed the pen chivying her game of cygnets towards the rushes. The swan of Avon has other thoughts…

— Joyce, Ulysses

“The Calling” — Mary Chapin Carpenter

“open tuning (august, 1981)”

cf. photograph by Genessa Panainte via Unsplash (edit)

open tuning (august, 1981)

under the proscenium arch
seeming you near me
staccato heartbeats
inspired and altered
what chord is that?
and I answered
I don’t
even
really
know

—J.S.

“Cinnamon Girl” — Neil Young

Tender is the night… but here there is no light

photograph by Forrest Cavale via Unsplash (edit)

Dick tried to rest — the struggle would come presently at home and he might have to sit a long time, restating the universe for her… But the brilliance, the versatility of madness is akin to the resourcefulness of water seeping through, over and around a dike. It requires the united front of many people to work against it… In a tired way, he planned that they would again resume the régime relaxed a year before…

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

“Compassion” – Todd Rundgren

“doppelgänger”

Tom Hubbard, “…Public Plaza, Fountain Square…” (1973)

doppelgänger

long ago
I diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel
long I stood
and looked as far as I could
doubting I should ever come back
I am telling this with a sigh
traveling by
has made all the difference

—J.S.

“Bridge of Sighs” — Robin Trower

Astrophil and Stella 71: Bad Time

LIFE, 1970

Who will in fairest book of nature know
How virtue may best lodg’d in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which true goodness show.
There shall he find all vices’ overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly;
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be perfection’s heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while thy beauty draws thy heart to love,
As fast thy virtue bends that love to good:
But “Ah,” Desire still cries, “Give me some food!”

— Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 71: “Who will in fairest book of nature know”

“Bad Time” — Grand Funk

I come in last night about half past ten…

cf. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Man sitting with dog on front porch as woman looks through door…” (between 1860 and 1930)

“Move It On Over” — George Thorogood and the Destroyers

“I’ve long wanted to ask you one thing.”

“Ah! I’ve scribbled all over the table!” she said, and, laying down the chalk, she made a movement as though to get up.

“What! shall I be left alone—without her?” he thought with horror, and he took the chalk. “Wait a minute,” he said, sitting down to the table. “I’ve long wanted to ask you one thing.”

He looked straight into her caressing, though frightened eyes.

“Please, ask it.”

“Here,” he said; and he wrote the initial letters, w. y. t. m. i. c. n. b. d. t. m. n. o. t.?

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (Part IV, Chapter 13) (Tr. Constance Garnett)

Vanessa Williams – “Save The Best For Last”

Lost Summer

Charles (Henry) Studios, Home Movie (1976)

“All of a sudden everything was over,” Nick said. “I don’t know why it was. I couldn’t help it. Just like when the three-day blows come now and rip all the leaves off the trees.”

…The big thing was that Marjorie was gone and that probably he would never see her again. He had talked to her about how they would go to Italy together and the fun they would have. Places they would be together. It was all gone now.

— Ernest Hemingway, “The Three-Day Blow”
 

“Kiss Me, Baby” by The Beach Boys

But, soft! what light through yonder trolley tunnel breaks?

ROMEO:
[To A Serving man] What lady is that, which doth enrich the paw
Of yonder Daniel Striped Tiger?

SERVANT:
I know not, sir.

ROMEO:
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear—
Beauty too rich for use, for Earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows and X the Owl,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows and Lady Elaine Fairchilde shows…
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this episode aired on PBS.

“Whenever You’re On My Mind” – Marshall Crenshaw

The Myth Of Sisyphus

photograph by Kristopher Roller via Unsplash

All Sisyphus’ silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing…There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night…Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling…

— Camus, The Myth Of Sisyphus

Say Yeah

Ernst Halberstadt, “Ice Skating in the Public Garden” (detail) (1973)

“Are you going to stay in town long?” asked Kitty.

“I don’t know,” he answered, not thinking of what he was saying.

The thought that if he were held in check by her tone of quiet friendliness he would end by going back again without deciding anything came into his mind, and he resolved to rebel against it.

“How is it you don’t know?”

“I don’t know why. It depends on you,” he said, and instantly he was horrified at his own words.

She either did not understand his words, or did not want to understand them, for, seeming to stumble once or twice, catching her foot, she hurriedly skated away from him. She skated up to Mlle. Linon, said something to her, and went towards the pavilion where the ladies took off their skates.

— Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Utopia – “Say Yeah”

A Modern Aeneid

cf. photograph by Gabriel Laroche (edit) via Unsplash

Muse, tell me why, for what attaint of her deity, or in what vexation, did the Queen of heaven drive one so excellent in goodness to circle through so many afflictions, to face so many toils? Is anger so fierce in celestial spirits?

— Virgil, Aeneid
 

“Carry On My Wayward Son” by Samantha Loren

Ulysses

David Falconer, “One Family of Four Moved Into the Attic of Their Home…” (1973)

I was happier then. Or was that I? Or am I now I?
Twentyeight I was. She twentythree.
When we left Lombard street west something changed.
Could never like it again after Rudy.
Can’t bring back time. Like holding water in your hand.
Would you go back to then? Just beginning then. Would you?

—James Joyce, Ulysses

Mother’s Day

Miroslav Sido, “Mother”

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away…
That lingers in the garden there.

— Robert Louis Stevenson, “To Any Reader” (excerpt)
 

Meanwhile across town…

cf. Edward Hopper, “Nighthawks” (detail) (1942) and Paul Gauguin, “The Siesta” (detail) (ca. 1892–94)

Poor Wisdom’s chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.

— Thomas Moore, “The Time Iʼve Lost in Wooing” (excerpt)

“Black Cow” – Steely Dan

“In Time of Storm”

cf. video by go_see via Pixabay

Brightness

and with good luck
we will reach the harbor
and black earth

We sailors have no will
in big blasts of wind,
hoping for dry land

and to sail
our cargo
floating about

Many
labors
until dry land

—Sappho, “In Time of Storm” (Tr. Barnstone)

“Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya” – New England

impressionism

cf. Jane Reece, “Interior” (edit) (ca. 1922)

but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” (excerpt)

“Only A Memory” – The Smithereens

reverie

cf. “Reflections”, after Bayard Jones (edit) (ca. 1903)

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: “’T will keep.”

I woke and chid my honest fingers,—
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

—Emily Dickinson

“I’m Turning Around” – Gentle Giant

Call me Ishmael.

photograph by Mark Jefferson Paraan via Unsplash

Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.

— Melville, Moby Dick

Electric Light Orchestra – “Last Train To London”

Quote

pianoforte

His creativity increasingly extended to music. Though he never took formal piano lessons, he could pound out a simple melody by ear. “Even when he was a little kid,” remembered his sister Kim, “he could sit down and just play something he’d heard on the radio. He was able to artistically put whatever he thought onto paper or into music.”

—Charles R. Cross, Heavier Than Heaven

Ode to a Nightingale

cf. Eugene Aizelin, “Mignon” (photograph by S. Almquist, ca. 1921) and
John H. Stocksdale, “Margaret” (ca. 1920)

Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

— Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

“Never Here” – Elastica

Inebriate of air am I

video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay

For spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this
in it and from it?
Thou, soul, unloosen’d—the restlessness after I know not what;
Come, let us lag here no longer, let us be up and away!
O if one could but fly like a bird!
O to escape, to sail forth as in a ship!
To glide with thee O soul, o’er all, in all, as a ship o’er the waters…

—Walt Whitman, Warble For Lilac-Time
 

Roger Powell – from “Architecture”

“the bends”

cf. photograph by Sam Soffes via Unsplash (edit)

the bends

under
fog of fluorescence
this watch said
5:07
Wednesday
26
November
1986
grey noises
office
voices
footsteps
windows
already dark
radiating winter
compressioned
and
descending

—J.S.
 

Patty Griffin – “Rain”

This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.

photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay

My tables—meet it is I set it down…

Hamlet

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

—T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

“Black Sheets Of Rain” – Bob Mould

As You Like It

cf. LIFE, 1972

PHOEBE:
Good shepherd, tell this youth what ’tis to love.

SILVIUS:
It is to be all made of sighs and tears,
It is to be all made of faith and service,
It is to be all made of fantasy,
All made of passion and all made of wishes,
All adoration, duty, and observance,
All humbleness, all patience and impatience,
All purity, all trial, all observance…

As You Like It
 

“Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

Who is it that can tell me who I am?

Photograph by Bruce Mars via Pexels

KING LEAR:
Doth any here know me? This is not Lear.
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied—Ha! Waking? ’Tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?

FOOL:
Lear’s shadow.

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – Elton John

Straight Ahead

Photograph by Easton Oliver via Unsplash

His railings and outbursts expressed not the conviction of failure but the passion for success. They touched off his disappointment, his injured self-esteem, his wounded pride, without ultimately concealing his determination to persevere — his finally unshakeable will to achieve. The strain of remonstrative self-pity and pessimism in Conrad was an overlay to the iron in him.

—Leo Gurko, “Joseph Conrad: Giant in Exile”

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.

—Emerson, Self Reliance
 

Aerosmith – “Make It” (2007)

More Light

Tom Hubbard, “…Sale of Donated Books…” (1973)

For me that white figure in the stillness of coast and sea seemed to stand at the heart of a vast enigma. The twilight was ebbing fast from the sky above his head, the strip of sand had sunk already under his feet, he himself appeared no bigger than a child — then only a speck, a tiny white speck, that seemed to catch all the light left in a darkened world. . . . And, suddenly, I lost him. . . .

—Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

“More Light” – Utopia

“On First Looking Into Greene’s Chord Chemistry”

On First Looking into Greene’s “Chord Chemistry”

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Greene speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

(cf. Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer)
 

You Go to My Head / Willow Weep for Me by Ted Greene

“The Year Of Living Collinsly (1985)”

Photograph by Florian Pérennès via Unsplash

The Year Of Living Collinsly (1985)

there’s a girl that’s been on my mind
all the time
i’ve been sitting here so long
wasting time
just staring at the phone
ooh
you got me inside out
oh yes
they all warned me
they told me don’t lose your heart to her
she’ll never give it back
now i know that i’m too young
my love has just begun

 

Phil Collins – “Sussudio” (Fatu’s Edit) by Fatu (F82)