It was a Japanese Space Agency probe that landed and filmed. I imagine them cheering, exchanging high-fives, bowing to a boss who came through, beaming, to offer deserved congratulations. Traditionally poets, even lifelong slum-dwellers, knew the names of birds, wildflowers, trees, which enabled them to put readers and themselves in a landscape. I never did. I could learn – the probe brought samples back – the composition of those rocks, but no need. Two peaks, a crevasse, the one narrow ledge where it landed. A constant snow of frozen nitrogen. Absolute glare and shadow, rocks, and sheets of sun-warmed gas “blowing” off or emerging from funnels. I suppose the gases create atmosphere enough for their own small sound.
So, yeah, the title. Kinda lame, right? Well, it’s all about a new riff, a certain spin, a re-imagining of the previous post, in which I wax philosophical about ancient times.
Ancient times and ancient vistas. We all have them, if we live long enough. And some of us feel that way even in our late teens about our earlier teens, as was the case with my friends and me, one of whom passed away well before his time, like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi. Way before.
We would drink and laugh and listen to The Doors, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Humble Pie, as if we were looking back from twenty years into the future, instead of two or three. Reminisce. Sadly, tragically.… Read more “Magnificent Somethings Continued”
I am the most humble person the world has ever seen. There has never been such a humble personage as I. Therefore, I take it as my self-created birthright to tell the following story.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, an artist lived and loved and was convinced that only the representational could be “art,” and that anything else was nonsense. This is not to say he necessarily loved blue velvet paintings of dogs playing poker, or Elvis in his later years, even though these American icons could be called “realistic.” There were lines he drew, and lines he would not draw, and they tended not to involve velvet. At least not yet.… Read more “Humbly Magnificent Origin Stories”
Yin and Yang. Yesterday and today. We follow soft and low with loud and high. This could be filtered, of course, biased and different due to age and so on, but I don’t care. As in, yeah, I’m a Classic Rock, Classic Blues kind of guy, but I want to see it burst into the present and beyond.
So what might represent the relatively new? At least 21st century Rock, Blues, Punk, Garage? This might be a pretty good start:
Jack White versus the Black Keys. Apparently, that’s a thing, too. A rivalry between fans, at least for some. Mocking each other’s commitments and abilities to recognize the real when it shocks and shakes the ears. You know. What we humans call “fun.”
Precocious is a beautiful word. Its shush sound is both warning and invitation — to be quiet, listen, and just pay attention for a moment or two. Perhaps not with a full Simone Weil unit (henceforth known as SW7). But at least turn off the damn phone!
Getting closer to the point, but some house-cleaning first: Yeah, I’m pretty late to the dance on this one, at least writing about her. Am embarrassed to admit I first bumped into her songs via an Apple commercial. And so much has happened since that time, to her, to me, to all of us. One would have thought, for instance, that time itself would slow down during a pandemic, but, no. Careers still rise and fall, awards are given, artists become old hat, too popular, overplayed, while others languish in various obscurities they fall into or design themselves.… Read more “She said idontwannabeyouanymore”
I don’t know why. Heard it on the radio and I thought a moment, a place, a thing or two. It’s likely not what she intended. But, artists know all about that. They know once they give birth, the child goes where it will.
So, that’s why, I suppose
Loneliness is not the same as being a alone. You can be profoundly, dangerously lonely in a group, a marriage, a family. You can be deliriously not lonely all by yourself. But when people are lonely, especially in our modern, atomized, exchange-driven, all too impersonal world, it can wreak havoc on the soul, or no-soul, or whatever is or isn’t there. It can be hell.
Isaiah Berlin’s classic study of Tolstoy, The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), is too short and just right at the same time. The title and premise are taken from a line by the Greek poet Archilochus, which reads (at least in one translation), “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” From that line, Berlin plays with dichotomies and various binaries, without taking himself too seriously. He puts writers and thinkers in two camps, and throws us some curve-balls along the way. The biggest, perhaps, is the idea that a person can be a fox, in “reality,” but desires the focus and mission of a hedgehog.
Cinematic. I saw what she saw. I smelled, tasted, touched, heard what she wrote. And even though it’s a kind of alternative history, or a parallel universe, or just good old-fashioned re-imagining worlds, the story is quite plausible, with few exceptions.
Anna North’s fine new novel, Outlawed, her debut, tells the story of Ada, a young refugee from a town with a witch problem. As in, it believes in witches, which, at the moment, doesn’t sound all that unfamiliar. Her town also has a kind of Handmaid’s Tale problem, which may, in this other-world, stretch far and wide in the America of the 1890s, at least in the parts that had previously suffered through the Flu. So, yeah, there’s been a devastating pandemic that screwed things up and made all too many people go half-crazy, and, yes, this was written (apparently) before Covid hit.… Read more “Anna North’s Outlawed”