“Yet how strange is the beauty of music! The brief beauty that the player brings into being transforms a given period of time into pure continuance; it is certain never to be repeated; like the existence of dayflies and other such short-lived creatures, beauty is a perfect abstraction and creation of life itself. Nothing is so similar to life as music.”—Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (via tarkovskian)
“Ah, mademoiselle!” said Butscha, “you love a poet. That kind of man is more or less of a Narcissus. Will he know how to love you? A phrase-maker, always busy in fitting words together, must be a bore. Mademoiselle, a poet is no more poetry than a seed is a flower.”—Honore de Balzac, Modeste Mignon (via talesofpassingtime)
“I set traps for quails, larks, and starlings under the olive trees and once I caught them I would grill them over charcoal after plucking their feathers and cutting off their small heads with a rusty shaving blade. I would spice them up with whatever I could get my hands on: salt, cumin, garlic, black pepper. I would steal figs wearing plastic bags or empty tomato cans on my feet so as not to leave any footprints on the sand, to prevent my father, who was obsessed with tracking things down, from discovering that I was the son a bitch he dreamed of catching and punishing severely so that the figs would be allowed to ripen. I pissed in small holes so that back and yellow scorpions would come out of them I would chase them as they ran in all directions, moving their tails and trying to find other holes to hide in or rocks to hide under. I would surround them and pour gasoline over them and scorch them, and I would watch them as they struggled and eventually bit themselves and died of their own poison.”—The Scents of Marie-Claire by Habib Selmi
“Do I look like someone who has something to do here on earth ? - That’s what I’d like to answer the busybodies who inquire into my activities.”—Emil Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born, P. 90 (via blackestdespondency)
“I will never call myself a ‘cancer survivor’ because I think it devalues those who do not survive. There’s this whole mythology that people bravely battle their cancer and then they become ‘survivors.’ Well, the ones who don’t survive may be just as brave, just as courageous, wonderful people and I don’t feel that I have any leg up on them.”—Barbara Ehrenreich (via nprfreshair)
Thank you howbraillesounds for asking me to think during a recent bought of numbness. Let me answer with a little less grace than you did,
because once i began to write, to write became to i (to am). it is the opposite of death. and if i don’t write i’m miserable and anxious, because i’m obsessed with language, and it nourishes me, and i have to fall into it. and the more i write, like the more i read, the more i realize how little i’ve written, and so i continue to write. and because once my mother asked me to write her story, and there is a lot that must be written before then, but i will write it.
the grotesque, jazzed starscapes of the soul. the dark things that loom on the horizon—night, storms, death.
walking. walking may be expanded to include running, bicycling, or riding the bus. something kinetic, although walking is always the most prolific. and i prefer to write on a typewriter or keyboard for the same reasons, because they each match my inner rhythm, which is staccato. punchy, like footsteps, or jabbing, like a knife fight.
the moment right now
what now? not by the time you read this…dirty dishes stacked up in the sink. even now i can’t get my mind out of the metaphor.
i believe i suffer from some form of internal light pollution. my mind is a slumlord to my body, nourishing itself but negligent towards the extremities. then there is the ignorance, silences, extreme reticence, the tendency to become a know-it-all, and a great many et cetera.
a writer is
the terrible distance between one word and the next.
We reached the point Where we did not know what to say All subjects became the same The foreground merged with the background We reached the peak of despair Where they sky was a bullet Embracing was retaliation, Making love was the severest punishment.
“How I loved…
One day passed by, and nothing saw but love:
Another came, and still ‘twas only love:
The suns were wearied out with looking on,
And I untired with loving,
I saw you every day, and all the day;
And every day was still but as the first,
So eager was I still to see you more.”—Mark Antony in All for Love by John Dryden
How then can we hope to survive the next Pearl Harbor, if there should be one, with not only all peoples who are not white, but all peoples with political ideologies different from ours arrayed against us—after we have taught them (as we are doing) that when we talk of freedom and liberty, we not only mean neither, we don’t even mean security and justice and even the preservation of life for people whose pigmentation is not the same as ours.
And not just the black people in Boer Africa, but the black people in America too.
Because if we Americans are to survive, it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans of black ones of purple or blue or green.
Perhaps we will find out now whether we are to survive or not. Perhaps the purpose of this sorry and tragic error committed in my native Mississippi by two white adults on an afflicted Negro child is to prove to us whether or not we deserve to survive.
Because if we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t.
”—from “Press Dispatch Written in Rome, Italy, for the United Press, on the Emmet Till Case” by William Faulkner, published in the New York Herald Tribune September 9th, 1955.
City Hall Plaza’s most infamous moment came in 1976, when an anti-busing protester swung a pole bearing an American flag at a black lawyer. But an alternative vision of the ’70s, and of much-maligned City Hall Plaza, came to life Friday evening — at the free Donna Summer Memorial Roller Disco Tribute Party sponsored by the Walsh administration’s Office of Arts and Culture and the annual dance music festival Together Boston. The famous disco singer, who died in 2012, grew up in Dorchester; the accident of her stage surname was enough to justify a tribute party on a crystal-clear night in July.
“Probably Dona Placida did not speak when she was born, but if she did, she might have said to the authors of her days, ‘Here I am. Why did you summon me?’ And the sacristan and his lady naturally would have replied, ‘We summoned you so that you would burn your fingers on pots and your eyes in sewing; so that you would eat little or nothing, rush around, become sick and then get well so that you might become sick again; sad today, desperate tomorrow, finally resigned, but always with your hands on the pot and your eyes on the sewing, until you wind up in the gutter or in a hospital. That is why we summoned you, in a moment of love.’”—The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis
“Beliefs can’t be shaken short of a major shock, in which case, a fairly complete mental disruption results. Mild cases - hysteria, morbid sense of insecurity. Advanced cases – madness and suicide.”—Isaac Asimov, Foundation and Empire (via agaywalksintoabar)
“After the battle, many new ghosts cry,
The solitary old man murmurs in his grief.
Ragged low cloud thins the light of dusk,
Thick snow dances back and forth in the wind.
The wine ladle’s cast aside, the cup not green,
The stove still looks as if a fiery red.
To many places, communications are broken,
I sit, but cannot read my books for sorrow.”—Tu Fu (712–770)
“I wish I had the abilities of the most refined scholars, so that I might tell you in the noblest verse, or else in learned prose, that you will always be, in spite of everything that may be done, the very same you have been all your life; that is to say, a scatter-brain, a man of distempered reason, always perplexed, wanting common sense, a man of left-handed judgment, a meddler, an ass, a blundering, hare-brained, giddy fellow,— what can I think of? A… a hundred times worse than anything I can say. This is only an abridgement of your panegyric.”—The Blunderer by Moliere
“I have triumphed over both life and death because I no longer desire to live, nor do I any longer fear to die. I want nothing. I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. Therefore I am free.”—Woman at Point Zero by Nawal el Saadawi
her hips wiggled the tide caught in jazz gravity lordess of post-noel harmony-seekers and hard cider sundays when man numero uno put her on planetary spin then pulled her into orbit did smooth math on boozed brunette in possession of dangerous heels and such snap rubbed bones lit a spark over a vamp thawed icy december outside her dress a magnolia burnt at the rim silhouetted against the solar flare that ribboned from each electric pluck
duke robillard played chief as grad students crowded the bartender threw nickels for last call and some south american spanish upstairs latin night stomped the twilight frost into condensation that dripped to a sidewalk freeze before the sun went down and moon brought it to a molasses beat and our girl got salt and vinegar with man number two a little rough around the rest but with a budweiser belly adequate for maintaining centrifugal force
they wobbled a dancing eclipse tightwire ostinato snow stragglers swung open the front door and a winter draught caught the duet mid temptation tightened waist against waist the hard dueled night dissolved at the hip the loser blown back to infamy which is to say all the way back to the original syncopation how ancient is anybody’s guess but the ritual still sends moonquakes shaking up our spines
what is the ethos of electronic dance music? full disclosure: most of it gives me a headache. what i see is mostly men standing on altars that may be a pedestal. in front of him is his equipment, his microphone, and before him are the masses, his proletariat, in a room so open and vast it could be a central city square. he is guiding there movements, they are cheering, he is speaking through rhythms and synthesizers and heavy, practically violating bass. his hand is a cursor. they haven’t marched on washington or but they fall down for their evita. aestheticized populism.
or with headphones in? impenetrable. a sometimes oppressively juggernaut of a beat, unrelenting. the type of pulse that would heartburst. batteries or at minimum required for the commute to and from work and during lunch breaks, for charging.
“If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn.”—Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (via ennuiaboo)
“I had not seen her for two years, and I saw her now, not as she was, but as she had been; I saw us both as we had been, because a mysterious Ezekiel had made the sun turn back to the days of our youth. The sun turned back, I shook off all my miseries, and this handful of dust, soon to be scattered in the eternity of nothingness, became stronger than time, stronger than the minister of death.”—The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Macado de Assis
“A wine shop was open and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee-glasses and the wet circles left by wine glasses.”—A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway