Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: a good year for words

these were my favorites!

The (Diblos) Notebook, James Merrill

A friend lent me this book and made me promise to return it when I was done. Instead, I moved to Chicago. hahahaha take THAT, friend! Merrill is first and foremost a poet. It shows. Done in the style of a novelist's notebook, Merrill uses telegraphic jottings, real-life reminiscences, crossed-out paragraphs, lists and fragments to create his story. Together, these impressions create a tale all the more complete for its shattered telling.

Travels in SiberiaIan Frazier

Maybe it's cheating to include this one since I'm not finished with it yet. But so far it's really good!! Frazier shares his obsession with, and travels in, the Russian continent. He also remixes a fair amount of Siberian history without coming across too droney. I'm confused, though. Why is it taking me so long to finish this book? I've seriously been at it for weeks. Maybe Frazier wants to replicate the experience of traveling in Siberia through his prose?? If so: I'm onto you, you sneaky fuck.

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

Sometimes, halfway through a book, you realize you're reading too quickly. You don't want it to end, so you start to slooowwwww dooowwwnnn. Lingering on every word. Pausing between sentences to stare out the window. Setting the book aside for hours. Wandering around your house. Resisting its gravitational pull. This was like that for me.

Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D.

Some notes from my envelope bookmark: "Alkaloids in plants manifest as bitterness. This astringency clues people in to a compound's medicinal and poisonous properties." "Often the only difference between a medicine and a poison is dosage." "Medieval witches used broomsticks to apply alkaloid-rich substances to body parts with high concentrations of nerve endings and blood vessels. People who said that witches 'flew' were probably referring obliquely to them tripping." "A Tirio shaman: 'At night I slept underwater and made love to the spirit of the river.'" You probably already know if this shit sounds cool to you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

To Have Without Holding

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

-Marge Piercy


Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

all the tabs open in my browser

musical giants in the studio.

a list of winter solstice celebrations, current and ancient (see, esp: Lenaia).

belated: best viewing times for the 2010 lunar eclipse. pretty fuckin boss here on the west coast, though it mostly looked like the moon had gotten all rusty.

Image: Beijing Olympic swim pavilion now world's future-est water park.

wish i'd seen this in time for my wish list.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

you know i don't talk about schoolwork but these two songs on infinite loop ran me down the homestretch

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who Cannot Speak

Who cannot speak
has no need to learn.

You look for a new word-
today it’s unclear
which word it is.

You must wade
through a sea of words
to arrive in yourself.
Then alone, forgetting all speech,
return to the world.

Speak as solitude speaks,
with unutterable mystery.
-Srečko Kosovel