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30 November 2017 @ 11:46 am
I've decided to move my journaling to a different platform. This one will not be updated.
11 March 2016 @ 03:41 pm
Let's see what we can do with this
lovely, lovely thing that
past all racial conflict and all
kinds of

It's a reflective tune and
sometime in your life
you will have occasion to say what is this thing called time.
You know what what
is that.

The clock you
go to work by the clock you
get your martini in the afternoon by the clock
and your coffee by the clock
and you have to get on the plane at a certain time
and arrive at a certain...
it goes on and on and on and on.

Time is a dictator as we know it.
Where does it go? What does it do?
Most of all, is it alive? Is it a thing
that we cannot touch
and is it alive.

Then one day you look in the mirror.
How old.
You say
where did the time go.

One day you will look back on it.

-Nina Simone
14 January 2016 @ 11:25 am
"if blue
were not blue how could love be love."
-C.D. Wright
29 October 2015 @ 01:51 pm
Man looking into the sea,
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as
             you have to it yourself,
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing,
but you cannot stand in the middle of this;
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession, each with an emerald turkey-
              foot at the top,
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of
              the sea;
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look --
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer
              investigate them
for their bones have not lasted:
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are
              desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away -- the blades of the oars
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were
              no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress among themselves in a phalanx -- beautiful
              under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the
the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls
                as heretofore --
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion
                beneath them;
and the ocean, under the pulsation of lighthouses and noise of
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which
                dropped things are bound to sink --
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor

-Marianne Moore
23 October 2015 @ 04:47 pm
that i now pull time
i am nothing to say

except one in lock
a brand on brain

with mind at mars
still i fall yours

speak, bell ripple
again low no

again rend me
15 October 2015 @ 11:02 am

Not all who howl
are wildbeasts. Some caress us
gently in our bones,
slip into our beds
and tear our hearts out.
In the best version
Little Red eats her grandmother
cubed and cooked in wicker
to pull out the toughness
seasoned appropriately. Maybe innocence
is a cloak–filtered through fur,
dragged through the woods–
that lets us pretend
a glass of blood is red wine.

-Janani Balasubramanian
15 August 2015 @ 09:07 pm
06 August 2015 @ 12:09 am
the song ohio begins with the welcome moaning of guitars. like the cheerful suffering of a heavily-traveled bridge. they bear up well and long. at the end of the first verse is the line "my blood is the water and it's darker and deeper than time." this is a very representative patty griffin lyric. it appears immediately familiar, almost cliche. blood, water, darkness; these words often sit next to each other on the shelf. but under examination, another dimension unfurls. how dark is time? how deep? time has an arrow, why not a color and a size? perhaps most relevant is the elusive nature of time itself. it is everywhere, yet completely out of reach. to compare something to time is then to accord it an immutable strength. the guitars continue their well-laden entreaties. patty shifts her voice up through its gears in an exhilarating wordless harmony between the verses. at the end of the next stanza is the line "my love is the water and it's stronger and deeper than time." here the strength of time is explicit. to find in any love the omnipresence of time is quite the aspiration. i hope to encounter this myself someday, though i suspect it's of the rank of ideas more easily expressed than lived.

while talking about music, one of my closest friends and i once mutually established the idea that some songs have a most important line. in my memory of the conversation, it was as though we had each independently evolved the idea, then had only to suggest the briefest sketch of it to the other for it to be immediately enshrined in the annals of our understanding. this was, and is, typical of our communication. i'm writing about this as though through some journalistic pretense i have to preserve the anonymity of my source, but as ever, it's aisa, always aisa. in this instance our touchstone song was "bag of hammers" by thao and the get down stay down. the most important line is "the trick is/you must not get on that interstate bus." part of what lends punch to this line is the way it is voiced. the implied colon after "the trick is" dyes what follows in mysterious portent. mysterious, but also recognizable; we have all asked not to be left behind. and felt the simplicity of the solution to an appparent problem, when considered from a single, selfish perspective. i do not want you to leave. how easy, then: do not go.

i bring this up now because the patty griffin song "faithful son" has one of these lines. the song carries briskly, if sadly, along until about halfway through when it seems to encounter a change in landscape. patty's voice mounts a staircase that does not agree with itself about its destination; each flight twists in a different direction. at the end of a long run of notes that put a man in morning, then in rain; in sunless thoughts and a coat, she gives to us the image of "the sleeves of my old raincoat stained/with the salt of my own tears". perhaps i accord this line more prominence than it deserves. but every time i think to play this song, it is the line that springs to mind, and the one i wait impatiently through the first two minutes of the song to hear. this song is fundamentally about obligation--an enduring, high-level emotional struggle--and this single intimate detail shows its effects in a moment. sometimes all we have to bite down on are these moments. as patty suggests later in the song, it is difficult to be the conduit of even your own internal truth:

"And I never would
tell you then,
so I never will
tell you now,
all the things that break
an old man down.
The real truth is
I don't know how."

this would be an immense regret. to finally be ready to communicate only to find that a lifetime of not doing so has handicapped you to it. all you are left with is the dried bloom of despair on your raincoat, from a form of water it was never intended to keep out.
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17 April 2015 @ 04:48 pm
"I chomped and strolled as slowly as I could, prolonging the delectable realization that waiting for me at home was nothing but an empty bed into which I'd crawl naked and drunk and stinking of fast food, disgusting nobody but myself."
-Kate Bolick
03 April 2015 @ 12:34 pm
"It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."
-Martha Graham