Monday, October 26, 2009

From the long overdue (re)readings (IV)

If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another; but those who are aware of it are a little better off - though I don't know.

This common attitude and habit of looking elsewhere than at ourselves has been very useful for our own business. We are an object that fills us with discontent; we see nothing in us but misery and vanity. In order not to dishearten us, Nature has very appropriately thrown the action of our vision outward. We go forward with the current, but to turn our course back toward ourselves is a painful movement: thus the sea grows troubled and turbulent when it is tossed back on itself. Look, says everyone, at the movement of the heavens, look at the public, look at that man's quarrel, at this man's pulse, at another man's will; in short, always look high or low, or to one side, or in front, or behind you.

It was a paradoxical command that was given us of old by that god at Delphi: "Look into yourself, know yourself, keep to yourself; bring back your mind and your will, which are spending themselves elsewhere, into themselves; you are running out, you are scattering yourself; concentrate yourself, resist yourself; you are being betrayed, dispersed, and stolen away from yourself. Do you not see that this world keeps its sight all concentrated inward and its eyes open to contemplate itself? It is always vanity for you, within and without; but it is less vanity when it is less extensive. Except for you, O man," said that god, "each thing studies itself first, and, according to its needs, has limits to its labors and desires. There is not a single thing as empty and needy as you, who embrace the universe: you are the investigator without knowledge, the magistrate without jurisdiction, and all in all, the fool of the farce."

Michel de Montaigne, 'Of Vanity,' dated 1585-88, in The Complete Essays of Montaigne, trans. Donald M. Frame. Stanford UP, 1958; 1995 (721-766): 766.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thumrait, Oman
photo by Chris Kean

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Poem by Rob Badger

I sat there

The ripped clothing I wore

Was not enough.

I smothered my chest with my arms and hands

My heart beat slowly and quietly

Barely heard over the voice of the cold.

I started to shake

The ball I was rolled over

I lay there in the soft white death.

Feeling began to be only mental

As my fingers lost my ribs

And my eye lashes became bars.

I was the last speck of warmth

For miles and miles

I was dying this nightmare.

The land claimed me quickly

I may have been dead but I was aware

The snow no longer asked to cover me.

Each time I heard the voice

I was lost a little bit more

To the soft cold death.

Now I was just a part of a scene

One small fragment of the world

One tiny picture in its frame.

I had no face

I had no body and no voice

But I was there.

That one small thought

That encouraging statement

Let me go on.

I was once something

I was whole and me, an individual

But now I am a part of the whole.

I am now the bigger picture

The inches outside picture frames

And the wandering mind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If you're in NY, head over there on 10/31!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ksar Ezzahra, Tunisia

photo by Chris Kean

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scott Aranha

deep research

poems to follow

Friday, October 9, 2009

Poem by Callie Carew-Miller

In the voice of Io
(Metamorphoses I, 785)

Beauty is a curse.
I run, and run, but cannot escape
The beauty or him.
My feet kiss the earth,
Never staying long enough for a full embrace.
I make them fly.
But Jove’s feet are far swifter
Treading something lighter than air
And moving faster than I
A mere mortal
Can travel.
I have lost..
He has won
But what now?
The Goddess decends
Right into the crime scene…
How does she not see
What he has done?
What I have done?
And now?
She has asked for me;
Am I to be a present for Juno?
A gift to the Queen of the Gods?
But what use am I to her?
I am useless…
But she keeps me not.
I am placed under the care of a 100-eyed monster;
Watchful… terrifying…
And is there no bed for me?
Must I sleep on these muddy banks
And dine on these bitter leaves?
Why can I not cry out for help?
That wretched voice cannot be mine…
It escapes no human throat.
And my arms?
Where have they gone?
I long for these previous comforts…
A stream… cool clear water…
But who is this???
This shining white heifer?
She stands where I should stand.
She moves when I move.
When I cry out in fear, only her dulcet moo is heard.
What has he done to me?
This king of the Gods has robbed me…
Not only of my honor but of my human form.
Oh my family!
I have found them, but I cannot call to them!
They recognize me not;
But these hooves may have some use.
I scratch in the dirt
Tell them my story…
My sisters embrace me and my father wails,
What shall we do?
There is no escape.
What have I done to deserve this punishment?
But now I am restored!
I am human and my wretched beauty has been returned to me.
Clad in linen, I am worshipped by many.
In the sands of Egypt, I am a Goddess.
And the son I bore to Zeus…
That proof of my shame.
Now has temples in his honor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lost in Spain by Andrew Simpson

I sip moonshine
Depressed cause I can’t get you off my mind
Stuck in this daze

I don’t see you anymore these days
Lost in Spain
I’m here with pain

In my heart
Cause you are my heart
Rather you stole it

It was in Rome by the water
When you swept me off my feet
I wish again we could meet

Middle of Grand Central
I see you waiting
As pretty as can be

How lucky I was you were with me
Now I just reminisce
About when we would kiss

Now it’s just sweet bliss
And all I do is miss you
Because I know what we had was true

These days you're gone and I’m blue

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poem by Taylor Dube


Unable to say my own words,
I cannot speak unless it be another's last.
I am an empty shell.
A body without a voice.

It pains me to not tell him of his beauty
To not initiate conversation
I must wait to hear the end of any speech and then recite it back
The mere sight of him caused my body to grow hot
I am overcome with the need to follow him through the woods
A fire growing deep within me as I pursue him
Spreading through my entire body
How I want to come on to him,
Accost him with endearments, tender prayers -
But Juno put upon me this curse
The inability to speak my mind
Forwardness goes against my nature now

He yells “Anyone here?”
To hear his voice makes me weak
“Here!” I answer,
Wishing I could speak my mind
Speak with lavish words
But his will have to do.
“Come!” he yells and I return it
But I don’t approach
“Why do you run away from me?” he questions, and again he hears them in my voice
“Here let us come together!” he cries out to me -
“Come! Together!” I respond.

Oh how I wish I could speak my own words to draw him to me!
I leap out of the woods, no longer hiding my face
I run swiftly to him, and embrace the neck I so desire
But he flees and cries, “Hands off! No hugs! I’ll die before you’ll have your way with me!”

My heart is broken and feel like I could collapse to the ground
But urged on by embarrassment I run to the woods
To bury my shame in the caves
My love for Narcissus is unwavering
It grows as I mourn the love I never had
My body wasted with grief for my love Narcissus

Now only my voice is left
None see me
But I am heard by all
The words of others spoken by me
A reverberation is all that I am.