Today, I danced with a lady.

Today I danced with a lady. I have danced before, On the edges of life with the smithereens of my soul, And I have danced just for joygasm it gushes out. Yet the dances have been for me. As I have danced to the yearnings of my loins And to the tingle of my nerves.… Continue reading Today, I danced with a lady.

An Ode to a Natal Star.

Ts a year again and we wake up to the sight of you older, Not that the age counts Just that they symbolise how wiser you're becoming. It's another year and I look around And see that you're still around to restore my heart. As you mark your earthly anniversary, Count me amongst the candles… Continue reading An Ode to a Natal Star.

Showing up

Music for Deckchairs

Go son, go down to the water / And see the women weeping there
Then go up into the mountains / The men, they are weeping too

Nick Cave, “The Weeping Song

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It’s a day for weeping, as it turns out. All over the place, so much grieving.

Lives brought up short abruptly and in shockingly public ways right in the middle of being lived, and other lives ending privately with some warning.  Barely born ones touching down lightly and leaving us at once and very old ones leaving us in the arms of others they made out of their own bodies, or not.

And all of us still here at this time going on with the unfinishable project of writing the rules for grieving when grief is suddenly more than can be held in the boxes and buildings and clay cups we have made to hold all the stuff. People setting fire to things and lying down on freeways…

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Giving Up the Ghost

Tales from the Reading Room

giving up the ghostI often think it’s harder to write about a book you’ve really loved than one you haven’t liked at all. Just as it takes more muscles to smile than to frown (and it really does, the other way round is a myth propagated by a conspiracy of determined optimists), it takes more firing synapses to praise than condemn. I’m tempted to say of Hilary Mantel’s memoir: It’s brilliant, go and read it, and just leave this review concise. But maybe it’s useful if I say a word or two – and give you a quote or two – in justification.

Hilary Mantel grew up just outside of Manchester, the majority of her immediate family living in two neighbouring houses, her grandmother presiding over one, her grandmother’s sister in the other. In and out of their houses all the time, she’s greeted by her great-aunt, Annie Connor:

“Hello, our ‘Ilary,”… my…

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The biography of a book chapter: a short photo essay

The Trickster Prince

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It starts with the sources and stories; that’s where it always starts. Not stories that exist full-formed and discerned. No. These are stories that exist always-already in-the-process-of-becoming; stories that consist in half-thought ideas, half-glimpsed connections, half-baked moments. Intuition? Perhaps. Often I do not know where they come from. Always I suspect they are wrong but worth trying still.

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It continues with the sources. Hard won over many years and forgotten long ago. To re-enter box files is to meet old friends or to be struck with the shock of the new. I told you I had forgotten these sources long ago. It continues as an archaeology of our accreted days and months in some dusty archive or other.

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It stops. It stops just at the moment when you open a document to begin. The blank page takes on the haunting qualities of nightmare. The blank page seems a proxy for…

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breadcrumbs

girl in the hat

by Kristijan Hranisavljevic by Kristijan Hranisavljevic

In the book I’m reading, I come across this passage:

There is the old story of Somerset Maugham reading Proust while crossing the desert by camel, and to lighten his load he tore out each page after reading both sides and let it fall behind him—one wants to say the wind was involved, but on most days there was no wind. With or without wind, who had a more memorable reading experience, Somerset Maugham or the one who came after him, the one who found and read a page here, a page there, in some strange new order with stellar gaps?

And of course, I must stop there and look up from the page to imagine this scene: I’ve never read anything by Somerset Maugham and I don’t know what looks like so in my mind, I give him floppy, boyish gray hair and a short gray…

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