Consider the Things We Miss (Then Consider Our Missing Them)

'Where Are You,' by user 'code1name' at

[Image: Where Are You, by user “code1name” at the site]

From whiskey river:

Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling. To say that so and so was born here and went there, that he did this and did that, that he married this woman and had these children, that he lived, that he died, that he left behind these books or this battle or that bridge — none of that tells us very much.

(Paul Auster)


My Love

It’s not the lover that we love, but love
itself, love as in nothing, as in O;
love is the lover’s coin, a coin of no country,
hence: the ring; hence: the moon —
no wonder that empty circle so often figures
in our intimate dark, our skin-trade,
that commerce so furious we often think
love’s something we share; but we’re always wrong.

(Don Paterson [source])


The Storm

Now through the white orchard my little dog
romps, breaking the new snow
with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better

(Mary Oliver [source])

Not from whiskey river:

The Underworld

When I lived in the foothills
birds flocked to the feeder:

house finches, goldfinches,
skyblue lazuli buntings,

impeccably dressed chickadees,
sparrows in work clothes, even

hummingbirds fastforwarding
through the trees. Some of them

disappeared after a week, headed
north, I thought, with the sun.

But the first cool day
they were back, then gone,

then back, more reliable
than weathermen, and I realized

they hadn’t gone north at all,
but up the mountain, as invisible

to me as if they had flown
a thousand miles, yet in reality

just out of sight, out of reach—
maybe at the end of our lives

the world lifts that slightly
away from us, and returns once

or twice to see if we’ve refilled
the feeder, if we still remember it,

or if we’ve taken leave
of our senses altogether.

(Sharon Bryan [source])


While hunting the elusive blue-and-white shirt, [Webster] came to a length of the closet rod where his wife had obviously taken to hanging clothes of hers that she no longer liked, or that she still liked but were no longer in fashion, or that did not fit her any longer, or that had once no longer fit her but that she had grown back into and simply forgotten she owned. There he found a knit ivory-colored dress that for a time had been her very favorite item of clothing. He removed the dress from the closet, still on its hanger, and sat down heavily on the foot of the bed, the dress draped transversely across his legs.

He remembered the first time his wife had worn this dress, on a date eight or nine years ago — before she was his wife. Some movie they’d driven into The City to see, something high-toned, with sub-titles and an operatic score.

He remembered putting his arm across the back of her seat. He remembered fiddling with this lace-type stuff around her neck and shoulders, this — what was it called? “open weave” maybe? this four- or five-inch-wide band of, well, it was like macramé netting almost. He remembered pushing the tip of a forefinger through one hole, remembered pushing the tip of a middle finger through another hole, remembered pushing a little finger through a hole and remembered finally the agony of pulling the little finger back out through the hole and snagging a partially-torn nail in the material, tearing it, the nail, fully in half. Remembered his not quite strangled yelp that had nearly gotten them evicted from the theater.

But most of all he remembered the sensation of his wife-to-be’s skin beneath his fingertips. Each finger, gripped by its little circlet of thread or yarn or jute or whatever this stuff was, had been numbed ever so slightly, just enough to hypersensitize the tip of the finger itself. His wife’s skin had twitched almost imperceptibly when he touched it, probably involuntarily, and looking back on it — experimenting with it now, with his own hand on the other side of the fabric — he remembered how uncannily smooth her skin had felt to his tingling fingertips then, and how uncannily warm.

Where had his wife’s shoulder gone in the years since then? Had it really ceased to be so smooth and so warm, or for that matter so uncanny? … Where had his wife gone since then, where was his wife now — not in specific, but, well, where was his wife with him, with Webster?

(JES, The Dark)

If you’re a regular visitor here, you may have noticed the absence of a Midweek Music Break post. Actually, I had music aplenty close at hand, as I constructed The Missus’s annual Valentine’s-Day mix. But along about Tuesday, with the mix nearly complete, sudden panic swooped in: I discovered that four of the songs in this year’s mix had also appeared in last year’s… and of those four two had been placed at exactly the same spots in the sequence. How had I overlooked this all along? I mean, it’s not like I didn’t have plenty of choices; I’ve got a total of something like seven or eight thousand songs here already, and more are never further away than a few mouse clicks.

So I had to suddenly scramble to pull those four songs, find four replacements of approximately equal length, and then laboriously reconstruct the mangled playlist so it still “fit.”

One of the songs which I didn’t have to pull is a song which I often don’t pay attention to, buried as it usually is in a pile of oldies: 1964’s recording of “Needles and Pins,” by British band The Searchers. It’s not at all a hard song to listen to. Indeed, it almost sounds too easy. But listen to the drumming (by Chris Crummy, a/k/a — for obvious reasons — Chris Curtis). Listen especially to what happens at around 31-32 seconds, and again at about 47 seconds, and (especially) 1:18 and towards the end (1:53 and following): how in the heck is he hitting the drums that fast, yet so softly?!? I just had to include the video (of an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show) here. Even after watching it several times, I still don’t get it.


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  1. I’ve actually seen son do a riff like that with the drum set that used to be in the basement. As Bud would say, “its all in the wrist.”

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