Lynn Pelham, “A public machine vends customers’ blood pressure for 25¢” (LIFE, 1960)
Photograph by Martino Pietropoli via Unsplash
I want my place! my own place! my true place in the world! my proper sphere! my thing to do, which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my lifetime!
— Hawthorne, The Intelligence Office
Educational Screen Magazine, 1954
Sometimes she tries to hide it from me
But when she starts talking over my head
It makes me dizzy…
cf. photograph by Cherry Laithang via Unsplash (edited collage)
drifting in the darkest night
searching for my long lost self —
and then I touch ground
cf. Prelinger Archives: Home Movie
…I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn’t embrace.
— Letter from Henry James to Hugh Walpole, August 21, 1913
cf. Nancy Ford Cones, “Mending The Net” (ca. 1912) and John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott (1888)
…trying as usual to get my picture of myself straight.
— Robert Lowell, Near the Unbalanced Aquarium
Dowland — Book of Songs, Book 1: “All ye whom love or fortune hath betrayed” (David Munderloh)
cf. Underwood & Underwood, “Bluff Island…” (ca. 1900)
I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
— letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne, July 1, 1819
cf. Nationaal Archief, “Underneath a parasol” (1933) (edit)
Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory…
— Joyce, from Dubliners
cf. LIFE, 1967
cf. photograph by Karsten Würth via Unsplash (edited)
moment mirabilis (January, 1983)
billie jean on the car radio
on the on ramp
sunlight through a distant willow tree
cold air through the clouds diverging
I took a deep breath
This moment won’t ever be here again
Try to remember, hold on tight forever
To your life and love every night and day
Hold on and don’t let it slip away…
…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.
— Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1978-79
“I, uh, I was in love once — would you believe that? But I possessed neither the courage nor the optimism — perhaps the depth of feeling — that you two have.”
— A Christmas Carol (1984)
cf. photograph by Sesbilder via Pixabay
no thread —
only a minotaur
and a maze
cf. Edgar Allan Poe, “To One in Paradise”
cf. photograph by pieroor via Pixabay and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)
This terrible repetition of resolution and failure — like one of the endless, circular punishments of Dante’s “Inferno” — shaped much of what happened in the second part of his life. Yet he never stopped resolving, and this dogged determination to battle on also became characteristic and took him through experiences that few of his contemporaries shared or even remotely understood…
— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
cf. Tom Hubbard, “…Overlooking Crowds in the Square Below” (1973)
Level 7 C
I remember saying goodbye —
cf. photograph by Tookapic via Pexels
I was overcome with remorse…because I hadn’t lived up to her expectations.
— Ionesco, The Hermit
cf. LIFE, 1967
If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
— Sonnet CXVI
Viscountess Jocelyn, “Interior of Room” (ca. 1862)
“What has all my Existence been since then but an Amo te Solo…”
— Coleridge, Notebooks, III
Bell Telephone Magazine, 1965
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
— Sonnet XXIX
cf. John C. Higgins, “Man in Bottle” (detail) (ca. 1888) and
video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited collage)
Every man must take the measure of his own strength. I may, I do, regret my want of fortitude; but so it is, that incurable depression of Spirits, Brooding, Indolence, Despondence, thence Pains and nightly Horrors…
— Letter from Coleridge to Daniel Stuart quoted in Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
cf. photograph by Les Anderson via Unsplash (edited)
when I was young
rowing into a storm
you were on the shore
running alongside me
but I wasn’t listening
now, many years later
I’m still rowing
and I still see you
and I remember
everything you said
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say “This poet lies…”
— Sonnet XVII
Arthur S. Siegel, “…National music camp…” (1942)
Sonata Allegro Form (a love story)
I tried moving to the relative major
but there was no development — only the same theme
I tried adding a coda but all you said was
cf. photograph and video via Pixabay (edited collage)
through the too many miles
and the too little smiles
I still remember you
collage including photograph from “Student Life” collection at UL Digital Library (1976) (detail) (edited)
No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change…
— Sonnet 123
The U.S. National Archives, “A youngster, clutching his soldier father, gazes upward while the latter lifts his wife from the ground to wish her a ‘Merry Christmas.’ The serviceman is one of those fortunate enough to be able to get home for the holidays.” (December, 1944)
Advertising Arts, 1931
He beckoned coaxingly to the Pomeranian, and when the dog came up to him he shook his finger at it. The Pomeranian growled: Gurov shook his finger at it again.
The lady looked at him and at once dropped her eyes.
“He doesn’t bite,” she said, and blushed.
“May I give him a bone?” he asked…
— Chekhov, The Lady with the Dog
collage including video by Anatwell-Group via Pixabay (edited)
Another expedition took him to Cambridge, the first return since undergraduate days twelve years previously, where the young men all looked just the same in the university pubs and “the only alteration” was in himself…
— Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections
Anna Curtis Chandler & Irene F. Cypher, “Audio-Visual Techniques For Enrichment Of The Curriculum” (1948)
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Mendelevium.
Pasadena (Calif.) Audubon Society, “Teaching Children To Love The Birds” (ca. 1922)
He gathered together a few shillings and wired them to Trieste; on Christmas eve John Joyce produced a few more to wire to Nora, quoting Vergil almost accurately, “Non ignara malorum miseris succurrere disco.”*
*“Having suffered myself, I know how to help those in trouble.”
— Richard Ellmann, James Joyce
when time held me
between two worlds
I can still recite
Left: Nationaal Archief, “Youngsters having a good time” (1961)
Right: Joseph B. Bergstresser, “Unidentified group playing cards” (ca. 1860-1900)
cf. Patricia D. Duncan, “…Schoolhouse, near Troy in the Northeast Corner of the State…” (1974) and
video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
It shall be no trespassing,
If I come again some spring
In the grey disguise of years,
Seeking ache of memory here.
— Robert Frost, On the Sale of My Farm (excerpt)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Seaward, white gleaming thro’ the busy scud
With arching Wings the sea-mew o’er my head
Posts on, as bent on speed; now passaging
Edges the stiffer Breeze, now yielding, drifts,
Now floats upon the air, and sends from far
A wildly-wailing Note.
Cincinnati Magazine, 1986
hair metal holiday
check the mirror
moonlight on the dash
summer night on the driver’s side
green lights as far as i can see
cf. Ladies’ Home Journal, 1985 and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay
could i if
time in back go could i if
and night that to back go would i
forever there stay
cf. Tom Hubbard, “Fountain Square…” (June, 1973)
behind the camera
as you were focusing
on your friend
smiling in his summer suit
next to the fountain
on that hot june afternoon in 1973
her heart was breaking
he had lost his way
fate and destiny
enkindled and unsettled
set in motion
held alone by gossamer threads
and if you look closely
someplace far away
I’m on my bicycle
riding as fast as I can
John Collier, Jr., “Washington Hot Shoppe restaurant” (detail) (1941)
Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss’d me.
— Leigh Hunt
cf. Carol M. Highsmith, “Autumn in New England’s Barnet, Vermont” (between 1980 and 2006) (edited)
I wish I could
cf. Emily Dickinson and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Robert Hicks, “…Bedroom. Facing Northeast…” (1996)
a familiar voice
to focus and
take all the lightning
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)
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
cf. video by abele62 and silhouette by geralt both via Pixabay (edited collage)
on that window frame
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”
photograph by Jon Asato via Unsplash
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies…
— Emily Dickinson
portrait by Montmartre street artist, August, 1984
But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.
— Thomas Hardy, “I Look into my Glass” (excerpt)
photograph by John Sapiro
cf. photograph by Erik Witsoe via Unsplash (edited) and video by Vimeo-Free-Videos via Pixabay (edited)
What’s Up, Doc? (1972)
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)
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
cf. TV commercial
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.
(cf. Diary of Samuel Pepys)
A romantic resting against a mantelpiece clock.
You were right, Scott —
the past is forever.
Nationaal Archief, “Festive lights in Amsterdam”
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
I am as steadfast as thou art
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
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”
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
Aegis Productions, “What Now!” via Prelinger Archives (ca. 1960s)
cf. Alfred Stieglitz, “Picasso-Braque Exhibition” (1915) and
Frank Waller, “Interior View of the Metropolitan Museum of Art…” (detail) (1881)
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
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1985-86
hearing your voice again
so long ago
was that me
as the radio played
nothing stands between love and you
Entering the Thimble Shoal Channel Tunnel, March, 1985
Queequeg was a native of Rokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.
— Melville, Moby Dick
I have a hunch myself
not only about Mozart
and I also speculate about transcendence
but it doesn’t make me uncomfortable
(cf. Saul Bellow, “Mozart: An Overture”)
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
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
Just Mother (1914)
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?
— Robert Browning, Two in the Campagna (excerpt)
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
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
cf. LIFE, 1970
Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1982-83
10 people in a canoe
each is wearing a different colored hat
how far away is the man in the blue hat
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.
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
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)
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)
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)
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
cf. photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay (edit)
like Keats and Fanny Brawne
for three summer days
filled with more delight than those fifty common years
in the twilight streetlamps
the warm night air
and the car radio
and looked at you
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)
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?
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
My Sharona was now receding into the dim, dark, distant past
quod erat demonstrandum!
Aalto University Commons, “Metal forging class” (detail) (ca. 1920s)
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
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
— The Great Gatsby
Nationaal Archief, “Clients in a record shop” (1979)
Who can undo what time hath done?
Beckon lost music from a broken lute?
— Owen Meredith, “Orval or The Fool Of Time” (excerpt)
On watching Mister Rogers (1981)
I want to ask you about van Gogh’s courage
and his cerulean blue
cf. photograph by Nadia Valkouskaya via Unsplash and video by Coverr-Free-Footage via Pixabay
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)
Business Screen magazine, 1971
Scan the shape of this dim shadow, once a man
And Oedipus . . . but I was different then.
— Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus (Tr. Murray)
cf. film via Prelinger Archives
I would forget her, but a fever she
Reigns in my blood and will remember’d be.
— Love’s Labour’s Lost
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
cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1979 with additional artwork by me
roman à clef
Here’s the key —
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
cf. G. W. Thorne/London Stereoscopic Company, “The Bashful Lover” (hand-colored) (ca. 1860-1870)
I remember happier days…
My joking friends well they all moved away.
Jack Corn, “Children During Recess…” (1974)
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
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)
Paris, August, 1984
Nothing should remain unsaid between us
— Robert Frost, To E. T. (excerpt)
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
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)
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)
cf. photograph by freestocks-photos via Pixabay (edit)
Ian Livesey, “Rainy rainy Manchester” (detail) (2015)
On Margate Sands
I can’t stop connecting
everything with everything
with the past
the broken fingernails of dirty hands.
To Carthage I came, once, many years ago
now dull roots with spring rain
cf. photograph by Kyle Popineau via unsplash and Abul Haque, “Students Arriving by Schoolbus…” (1976)
Up from the earth, O weary head!
This is not Troy, about, above—
— Euripides, The Trojan Women (Tr. Murray)
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)
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
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
cf. Paul Delaroche, “Hémicycle” (detail) (1842)
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
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
When it came to concealing his troubles, Tommy Wilhelm was not less capable than the next fellow…
— Saul Bellow, Seize the Day
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)
Warren K. Leffler, “Couple listening to radio” (1957)
a hundred windings of the heart —
A great dog.
Oh, how I wish we were back on the road again…
cf. John Sapiro, Wedge Of Cheese (2018) and Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (detail) (1942)
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
cf. Brief Encounter (1945)
cf. John Vanderlyn, Study for “The Landing of Columbus…” (ca. 1840–43)
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much.
Walketh this way…
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
photograph by Hannah Grace via Unsplash (edit)
Ars Nova (1980)
to the window
a new room
a whole world
I found it — here
a Dowland transcription
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
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
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
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
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
photograph by Jonathan Dubon via Unsplash (edit)
tanglewood in blue
in the summer grass
steadfast bright stars
—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
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
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
cf. photograph by Genessa Panainte via Unsplash (edit)
open tuning (august, 1981)
under the proscenium arch
seeming you near me
inspired and altered
what chord is that?
and I answered
photograph by RyanMcGuire via Pixabay
Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.
— Joyce, Ulysses
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