Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ten lines in the present tense

The passport grows stale. The winter pallor deepens beyond jaundice and becomes vampiric. The electrical voltage converter develops a patina of dust, a signifier of passivity, of currents not flowing. The worth of the dollar continues to plummet. The only household investments gaining any value are the piles of change, Euros and Canadian coins mocking the once mighty dollar. Yes, 1.05 Euro is now becoming respectable. Grocery stores on the border with Canada now eagerly welcome quarters featuring the mighty, the grand moose. Names glimpsed while paging through the address book offer memories of previous travels, as well as a mocking insensitivity: You don't live here anymore. You were never one of us.

The present tense is stuck in mud season, the self buried to the chin in the gelatinous accumulations of the mundane. Somewhere in the past is an adventurer, but the present is rooting into a vegetative state that desperately requires weeding.

reading well, not reading, moping because the cell phone seems to have taken an operational nosedive for the third time in a year

weather smells and tastes and feels like spring!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

in springtime

Points of consideration for the increase of personal contentment.

1. The most fabulous tattoo in the world.
Per an interview on Morning Edition, there exists a guy who has a composition by John Cage tattooed around his forearm.

2. Contemplations of the past.
In which high school memories of the Pachebel Canon in D are revisited.
There was a group led by an intrepid leader who would busk to this song, performing string quartet variations on public streets. I would say "those were the days," but can't, quite.

3. Public Art
Or, art from public spaces. This was first found on the blog of Mo, then made it's way through the MA Cultural Council grapevine, and well illustrates the different perceptions in how and where and why those who make a living in the field of the "arts" perceive space and real estate as compared to the expectations of those with a more traditional life view and income.
See: The offical page for art entries on this topic.

"This exhibit is open to any artist who wishes to make a statement about the inspiration to be found in industrial areas, about where artists are happy living and working or about the difficulties that we face in finding affordable, suitable places to live and work. For those who live in New England, we invite you to come, find and use as inspiration, anything within 1/8 mile of the Western Avenue Studios Complex. But it isn’t necessary to come to Lowell - we invite you to find inspiration in your particular industrial area."

4. Book Arts and Culinary Arts
It's time for the annual Edible Book Show and Tea. If you haven't participated in the past, there is no time like the present.
See: Columbia College's page

The bookmaker's daughter : a memory unbound / Shirley Abbott.
      Almost about bookbinding.
"The next thing he told her was also true, except that for her it was a story. He said that he earned his living -- and the cash to pay for sharp-looking red cars -- as a bookmaker. And she imagined that he sat in a room somewhere all day, stitching up book bindings with a thread and needle. Besides the Bible and her schoolbooks, she had hardly seen ten books in her life, but she revered them, treasured them not only for what they contained but as material objects. She was overjoyed to meet a person who actually made them."

The man who made lists : love, death, madness, and the creation of Roget's Thesaurus / Joshua Kendal
Then we came to the end : a novel / Joshua Ferris.
Things I've learned from women who've dumped me / edited by Ben Karlin

weather not bad, perhaps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

nineteen for 19, with a bonus

Perhaps a brief rest upon the poetic possibilities of open space, a silent meditation on the loneliness of the milk carton, would assuage the public humiliation of the revelation of the Frigidaire.

Yes, the pain of admission, the blush of shame, is less distressing than the stark horror of entering the grocery store. If the public were allowed to glimpse through the open fridge door [18], standing in your kitchen, would they ever look you in the eye again? What would happen if they caught a momentary olfactory tease, just the tiniest whiff [12], of the bread blooming into bacteria-fighting glory, would anyone ever shake your hand again?

Would your neighbor, the charming older woman with a bichon-frise, gently blue tinted hair, protected from her recent setting at the salon by a clear plastic rain hat with plastic ties under the chin [14], her name is Eloise but you always call her Mrs. Hendricksson, after wafting the scent of moldy bread after glimpsing into the open refrigerator when feeding your cat while you were away: would Mrs. Hendricksson forgo further neighborly contact, or would her maternal instincts be aroused, so the moldy loaf of bread and solitary carton of milk would be joined by a casserole, undoubtedly composed of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and Ritz crackers?

reading: Nineteen for March 19
12. just a whiff13. no way out but through
14. one of those clear plastic folding rainhats, with chin ties
15. blush
16. keeping silent under pressure
17. how much would you pay to ...
18. glimpse through the door

weather: the final day of winter: wintry mix of snow, sleet, rain, and slight hail

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

a three-minute snowfall

Did your neighbor make a welcoming pumpkin pie, or are you staring at an empty fridge, looking for a carton of milk that declines to materialize? Do you know how to find a grocery store? Was it pre-located on Google maps, or did you pack an ice chest, having stocked up one final time at home? Or do you walk to the 7-11 that was next to the bar -- they always have milk?
Regardless of quality or location, apartments always harbor the memory and the presence of their previous occupants, as do houses. The silver foil wallpaper, the parallel mirrors along walls, the blue patterned shower curtain: these archaeological traces of earlier tribes describe the meaning of the mundane to the eager explorer. Closets yield families of cheap hangers from dry cleaners. Closets also yield abandoned phone books, vacuum cleaners, entertainment magazines with centerfolds of dubious quality. Attics are rarely simple expanses of air and dust and cobwebs: gilt picture frames, slightly chipped, rest alongside footstools showing a lifetime of abuse, sheltered in the shadow of drapery rods and window shades and forgotten Christmas lights.

weather early spring indeed
reading??? trying to cram another week into March

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a day for ducks

Favorite time. Favorite place. Walking around the city, the golf course, the forest, the heath, the hills, cycling along the river, feeling the essential geographic truth of the land and the friend who resides there. Feeling the sense of experiencing, momentarily, the inner life of one's companion.

Is it possible to know someone, to know oneself, before watching the seasons through a different living room window, before washing dishes at a different kitchen sink, before participating in the morning ritual of tea or coffee, or toast or eggs, before meeting parents, children, lost loves, neighbors?

reading The New Yorker: Someone manages to slip snide references about conservators into the most unexpected articles. One wonders if an editor had a bad love affair with a conservator at some point. For this week's example, read Judith Thurman, "Two for One: the marriage of Isabel and Ruben Toledo," March 10, 2008, p. 70+. Unfortunately not available online and I am tired of typing.

weather wet

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Sometimes the catalyst is for passion, for intellectual or physical engagement of one person or one philosophy to the full containment of one's being: eat, dream, wake, think, read, and in all things, the Passion is all that is tasted, dreamt, seen, smelt, cogitated upon. Only the Passion is, as powered by the catalyst.
A catalyst is the essential ingredient without which the entire reaction would never occur. Chemically inert, absent from the fundamental order and nature of the changes happening, but so intrinsically necessary that everything grinds to a halt in the absence of the presence.

Not all catalysts bring about desirable changes of state. Of course, anyone who has every observed the chemical reaction of a catalyst relationship from the stability of the external world could argue that almost no change brought about by a chemical explosion is worthwhile. Some catalysts, though, are exceptionally notable for the damage they cause, merely by an accident of person and place aligning to cause essential mayhem in the order of the universe.

reading maps
weather pothole season