[Image: Giorgio de Chirico, Melancholy and Mystery of a Street]
From whiskey river:
This is my formula for the fall of things:
we come to a river we always knew we’d have to cross.
It ferries the twilight down through fieldworks
of corn and half-blown sunflowers.
The only sounds, one lost cicada calling to itself
and the piping of a bird that will never have a name.
Now tell me there is a pause
where we know there should be an end;
then tell me you too imagined it this way
with our shadows never quite touching the river
and the river never quite reaching the sea.
(John Glenday, from Grain [source])
The logic of emptiness is wonderfully air-tight. Like all simple truths, its clarity is immediately self evident. We are. And there is no moment in which we are separate and apart: we are always connected — to past, to future, to others, to objects, to air, earth, sky. Every thought, every emotion, every action, every moment of time, has multiple causes and reverberations, tendrils of culture, history, hurt and joy that stretch out mysteriously and endlessly.
(Norman Fischer [source])
An autumn night
don’t think your life
Not from whiskey river:
The invention [U-Write-It] had been in the air a good twenty years, and one can only wonder that it was not implemented eariler. I recall the first model of that “literary erector set.” It was a box in the shape of a thick book, containing directions, a prospectus, and a kit of “building elements.” These elements were strips of paper of unequal width, printed with fragments of prose. Each strip had holes punched along the margin to facilitate binding, and several numerals stamped in different colors. Arranging the strips according to the numbering of the base color, black, one obtained the “starting text,” which consisted usually of at least two works of world literature, suitably abridged… You take Crime and Punishment in hand, or War and Peace, and do whatever you please with the characters. Natasha can go astray before the wedding and after it, too; Svidrigailov can marry Raskolnikov’s sister, and Raskolnikov can escape justice and go off with Sonya to Switzerland; Anna Karenina will betray her husband not with Vronsky, but with the footman, etc….
The quiet hope of the publishers had been that a considerable number of people would develop a taste for the new game. [Said the instructions,] “U-Write-It allows you to acquire that same power over human lives, godlike, which till now has been the exclusive privilege of the world’s greatest geniuses!”
…No one cared to play with U-Write-It, not because he nobly forbore to pervert quality, but for the simple reason that between the book of a fourth-rate hack and the epic of Tolstoy he saw no difference whatever.
(Stanislaw Lem, from A Perfect Vacuum [source])
Looking For Each of Us
I open the box of my favorite postcards
and turn them over looking for de Chirico
because I remember seeing you standing
facing a wall no wider than a column where
to your left was a hall going straight back
into darkness, the floor a ramp sloping down
to where you stood alone and where the room
opened out on your right to an auditorium
full of people who had just heard you read
and were now listening to the other poet.
I was looking for the de Chirico because of
the places, the empty places. The word
“boulevard” came to mind. Standing on the side
of the fountains in Paris where the water
blew onto me when I was fifteen. It was night.
It was dark then too and I was alone.
Why didn’t you find me? Why didn’t
somebody find me all those years? The form
of love was purity. An art. An architecture.
Maybe a train. Maybe the shadow of a statue
and the statue with its front turned away
from me. Maybe one young girl playing alone,
hearing even small sounds ring off cobblestones
and the stone walls. I turn the cards looking
for the one and come to Giacometti’s eyes
full of caring and something remote.
His eyes are loving and empty, but not with
nothingness, not for the usual reasons, but because
he is working. The Rothko Chapel empty. A cheap
statue of Sappho in the modern city of Mytilene
and ancient sunlight. David Park’s four men
with smudges for mouths, backed by water,
each held still by the impossibility of what
art can accomplish. A broken river god,
only the body. A girl playing with her rabbit in bed.
The postcard of a summer lightning storm over Iowa.
(Linda Gregg [source])
One of my favorite songs in the You left a hole in my heart! sub-genre has always been “Since I Fell for You.” Like most Boomers, I assumed its history began and ended with Lenny Welch’s 1963 recording, which got up to Billboard’s #4 spot. But it was already eighteen years old then, and it’s still being covered now. Here’s a gem — from Bonnie Raitt’s first album, released in 1971 when she was twenty-one. (The mind reels.) Don’t expect any fancy guitar work here: with sidemen like she had at that session, Bonnie’s voice takes the lead.
[Below, click Play button to begin Since I Fell for You. While audio is playing, volume control appears at left — a row of little vertical bars. This clip is 3:06 long.]
Since I Fell for You
(by Buddy Johnson; performed by Bonnie Raitt)
When you just give love, and never get love,
You’d better let love depart.
I know it’s so, and still I know,
I can’t get you out of my heart.
You made me leave my happy home.
You took my love, and now you’ve gone,
Since I fell for you…
My life has been such misery and pain.
I guess I’ll never be the same,
Since I fell for you…
Well it’s too bad, and it’s too sad,
That I’m in love with you…
When you love me, and then you snub me.
But what can I do, I’m still in love with you.
I guess I’ll never see the light.
I get these blues most every night,
Since I fell for you…
Since I fell for you…
Note: Raitt does a live version of this song in a YouTube video whose soundtrack, apparently, was recorded from a 1972 radio broadcast on Philadelphia’s great WMMR. I actually prefer that version — where the guitar takes its more familiar place — to the one above
, but it’s not available on MP3. Hmm… not yet available… Oh boy, kids: your lucky day. A RAMH exclusive: the downloaded YouTube video, converted to audio (with the applause/voiceover at the end faded to silence):
[Below, click Play button to begin If I Fell for You (WMMR/1972). While audio is playing, volume control appears at left — a row of little vertical bars. This clip is 2:43 long.]
(And if you know the secret right-bracket-decoder-ring trick, you can even grab your own copy. :)]