Death and the Mountain

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC


The splinter of sunrise in the mind
Before the wind shifts

And the beacon fades

All of life is a furtive glance
By death

By death in life
Unless we laugh and make that splinter

Make it manifest as full beam

As entire sun
Entire world


Blue Ridge Mountains, VA

Blue Ridge Mountains, VA


The girl feared no one would care
She feared no one would come after her

But Van Gogh watched
And Van Gogh cared

As she walked into the horizon alone
Into the auburn and ochre

On her left
And the reds and greens

On her right

Black crows circling
Cawing above her

Mimicked in a sky
Like brushstrokes

Like golden bluish redish
Swirling heavens of new life

Overcoming death and fade
Death and forgetfulness



— by Douglas Pinson


Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes formed in 2009 in Athens, Alabama, with Brittany Howard on lead vocals and guitar; Zac Cockrell on bass guitar; Heath Fogg on guitar and backing vocals; and Steve Johnson on drums, percussion, backing vocals. Their offbeat, highly idiosyncratic sound draws from blues, rhythm and blues, roots revival and, surprisingly, heavy metal bands like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. But what drew me to their music was the crazy, raw and beautifully strange voice of Brittany Howard. Able to warp it rough and gritty, throw in shocking highs and lows, twist her phrasing into pretzels and come back to hit you in the gut again, Ms. Howard gives “distinctive” new meaning. And while their sample size is fairly small, at two albums, they don’t appear to be in the mood to every produce the same old same old.

This is a band to keep one’s eyes and ears on for the foreseeable and very bright future.


New Poetry and the End of Purity

Spinozablue welcomes Colin James to its list of fine poets. Please send us your feedback regarding his poem, the site in general, the world as it is and ought to be, or whatever else is on your mind.

Garden With Courting Couples. 1887. By Vincent Van Gogh

Garden With Courting Couples. 1887. By Vincent Van Gogh

Finished Franzen’s Purity a few days ago, and was surprised at the sudden drop off in the quality of the novel, especially when the character, Tom Aberant, narrates in the first person. It was, frankly, agonizing to get through, and I couldn’t wait for the author to get back to the story of Pip (Purity) Tyler, but that didn’t happen until nearly the end of the book.

From this reader’s point of view, the problem lay in his decision to focus on the love/hate relationship of Tom and Anabel, diving into their respective neuroses to a fault. While deep psychology wounds, torments and a character’s way of coping with them can sometimes make for a riveting story, there is … Click Here to Continue . . .

New Poetry From Colin James



On the theater’s door
a few written words,
“This Theater Will Be Closed
Until A Run On Sentences
Adequately Compensates.”
The leather chairs
varnish their legs.
A thick green compensates
carpets and cashier.
No coming attractions, instead a slat
beneath a portrait with one eye
missing occasionally.
No mints either,
just the smell of insatiable consequence.
As if the balcony stairs could be arrogant
or led away.



— by Colin James



Copyright © 2015, by Colin James. All Rights Reserved.


Colin James has a chapbook of poems, A THOROUGHNESS NOT DEPRIVED OF ABSURDITY,
out from Pski’s Porch Press.



Purity, by Jonathan Franzen

Purity, by Jonathan Franzen

I’m about 300 pages into Franzen’s new novel, Purity, and it’s truly hit its stride. It started out a little slowly for me, and I think he did too much telling, rather than showing, but readerly patience has paid off. At this point, and especially after his brilliant, almost ecstatic description of Pip’s sojourn in Bolivia, it’s more than clear that Franzen can build a compelling case for his world, its multiplicity of emotions, motives, betrayals and jealousies, and especially the internal twists and turns of his characters’ minds.

Even after 300 pages, it’s difficult to summarize the plot. But it’s basically the story of a young woman’s search for the father she never knew, and the search for metaphorical daughters by four slightly less central characters, two men and two women. Franzen’s larger context is our present day, with flashbacks to East Germany right before the Wall came down and its aftermath. The Internet, the Age of Leaks, Assange, Snowden, … Click Here to Continue . . .

Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers

Odessa Port. 1898. By Kandinsky.

Odessa Port. 1898. By Kandinsky.

Looking at an old poem from decades ago. Trying to see if it still holds up. Some poets, like Yeats, revised even published works, changing new editions of their collections over time.

This isn’t really like that. But it is a return to some dark cove, some ancient lough, for reassessment and advice:


Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers


Blindness and cacophony
Like time underwater

The yews tremble for their
Lovers on the mountain tops

Four beats to every heart
And roses for the poor

I believe the groans
Of doctors if
They’re out of work
Scrounging in the meadow

    For sustenance and rhubarb

If the play’s the thing
Why is the audience sleeping?

Give us reasons in the mist
To talk about the mail

Give us songs to sing
When supper is thrown to wolves and
Like twenty annual events

Some epiphany among the clowns
Before they taste their red makeup

    Before they fall off their red tricycles… Click Here to Continue . . .