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Happy together (Sept. 8, 2001)


Jeremy's journal

Can you win anything better than the useless rewards of a fantastical imagination! Is there any greater honor?


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Sunday, October 28th, 2012

🦋 noted

(walking with Pixie the morning of the storm)
the textures and sounds of Autumn, and the foreboding, are easily as invigorating as the gorgeous colors.

Crunchy autumn sidewalk in Maplewood?
Or the world's most frustrating jigsaw puzzle?

posted morning of October 28th, 2012: Respond
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012

🦋 El amor es una forma de ausencia; siempre se convierte el amador en fantasma

Four takes on absence.

Dónde vives
by The Modesto Kid

Nada sé de ti, oh Ávala, salvo que eres
        mi hermano poeta
   y que vives
en casa callada

Al departamento frío
by Peter Conlay

Al departamento frío
y salimos otra vez;
de ti no sé nada
salvo de que
eres mi hermana.

by Maximiliano Josner Ávala

Nada sé de ella
salvo que es mi hermana
y es muerta
La encontré a ella en el jardín
pero no hablaba.

La Soledad
by Roberto Bolaño

¿Te divierte que escriba en tercera persona?
¿Te divierte que a veces diga que dentro de 100 años
estaremos completamente solos?
Nada sé de ti salvo que eres mi hermana
En los fríos departamentos junto al barrio gótico
A veces escuchando la lluvia
O besándonos
O haciendo muecas delante del espejo

posted morning of October 25th, 2012: 7 responses
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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

🦋 Every Love Story is a Ghost Story

It was a lot of fun to hear D.T. Max reading from his new biography of DFW at Words Bookstore in Maplewood. I am looking forward to reading it; and in particular I am taken with the title. Max says it is an expression Wallace made use of repeatedly in letters throughout his career, and generally without context. It rings true for me in ways I haven't quite been able to sort out yet. (Max said he was surprised, at each stage of the editorial process, at being able to keep the title he had chosen.)

For example this statement seems like it would make a really good epigraph (mutatis mutandis) for Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet -- a book I finished reading this weekend and which I'm recommending wholeheartedly, by the by -- I wonder if it is some sort of postmodern commonplace. This association of love with absence. Both Rushdie and Wallace I think are very concerned with the irreality of the world about which they are trying to write realistically; and maybe this in a way implies that loving someone (as Maria loves Ormus, as otherworldly Rai loves otherworldly Vina) is a way of escaping into their reality from your own irreality, of becoming a ghost. (And this in turn can be seen as a metaphor for the process of reading the novel and identifying with its characters, coming full circle.)

The irritation I felt at Rai's voice throughout the first part of the novel faded about halfway through (indeed about the time I figured out what was making me feel irritated, I started to feel more sympathy for him) -- and in the last 150 pages or so I really started loving his voice (which changed a bit at that point in the story -- he grew in a way that brought more sincerity into his voice).

posted afternoon of October 23rd, 2012: Respond
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Saturday, October 20th, 2012

🦋 On the river

posted evening of October 20th, 2012: 1 response
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Saturday, October 13th, 2012

🦋 A filthy bird is a happy bird

A mix tape (is mix tape the right term here? Something like a playlist but including readings and videos as well as music...) (and whew! there is something unfamiliar about blogging in English!): The ordering of the playlist is my own chain of memory (with proddings from others) starting from chapter 7, "More than love", of The ground beneath her feet.

  1. Ormus speaks. I have been liking this novel while being rubbed a little the wrong way by the narrator's voice -- Rai seems a little off to me, a little cynical and annoyingly, smugly verbose. I found quite striking the short piece in the middle of this chapter that shifts into Ormus' voice, and into him quoting his father's voice. His mention of vultures and of Attar, and of Prometheus, got me into a "classical birds" frame of mind. Ormus speaks, read by The Modesto Kid
  2. Martha McCollough's splendid video, One eats the sweet fruit, the other watches.
  3. Attar's poem in Fitzgerald's stellar translation, The Bird Parliament. (This would be an amazing poem for reading out loud -- I tried that earlier and got about a ¼ of the way into it... I may have to upload a recording of this to SoundCloud.)
  4. Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds. (thanks for the link, John!)
  5. I'm also put in mind a little of Borges' mysticism, in a way I have not been by this novel so far -- the bits of magic in Rai's narration have been undone by his glibness. Specifically The Theologians I guess, though I don't recall there being birds in that.
More in comments.

posted morning of October 13th, 2012: 4 responses
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Friday, October 12th, 2012

🦋 Nubes y sol

dos paisajes de nubes, a lo largo de mi viaje a casa esta noche: sobre East Orange y al muelle en Hoboken.

posted evening of October 12th, 2012: Respond

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

🦋 Si puedes oír, escucha.

Un poema (o tal vez dos poemas, no estoy completamente seguro respecto a la división) por The Modesto Kid. (borredor)

azul es la lluvia que cae todos
los Avriles
sobre mis casas y pueblos y ciudades
entre mis líneas longitudinales
penetra la lluvia
y fluye en arroyos
hacia charcos
(y no se congela, no es bastante frío)
en eses charcos podrían suceder asombras y milagros.
Veo ahora al fondo del corredor oscuro
puerta desconocida abriéndose. Afuera
gesticulan los árboles mojados; nos llaman a venir.

Si puedes oír, escucha.
Si puedes escuchar, cavila.
Cavilaré esas cosas de nuevo aprendidas,
ésas las que me has dicho
esas ideas antropógenes
que cazan y se acostan ociosos
sobre la cama que es mi cerebro
cogitaré largo
mejor que no me detenga
sin nunca entender
por qué me has dado
esas lecciones y
ideas tan extrañas
ideas que a mi mirada la llaman
hacia direcciones no bien conocidas
y que entre si no se pueden en total
hay inconsistencias adentro de esa tela de realidad:
por ejemplo: por qué no aceptarías
el deber lo que adeudes
a Machado y a Saramago
y a la historia entera del verso escrito
te comportes como si fuera la poesía
tu invención propia
(How can you say such a thing?)
(¿Por qué me dices tal cosa? y ¿cómo pudieras tal cosa decir?
Por favor no me falsificar. Amigo.)
Pues bien, reconocemos a la influencia y a la belleza de poetas pasados y los celebramos. Y ¡no de mala gana! Qué va, de ninguna manera. Amamos nuestros maestros y maestras y no tenemos ningún deseo, ellos a rechazar.
Lo todo estoy pensando mientras caigo
mientras caigo tan melifluemente, tan ligera, casi
involuntariamente --
Tuviera tiempo para hacer reverencias a los relicarios los que
estoy pasando en caer
si fuera un creyente. Soy viajante más bien,
recorro las playas del sol
y las mares de la luna.

posted afternoon of October 6th, 2012: 1 response
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Sunday, September 30th, 2012

🦋 Old Notebook, New Notebook

la foto es de María Sabina
I did it! Over the past year or so, and for the first time in my life, I have filled a notebook, a yellow pad, with ideas towards poetry and fiction (much of which I have been revising and posting here) and am moving directly into a new notebook -- what has generally happened in the past is that I would start keeping a notebook and... lose interest over a couple of months' and/or pages' span...

This new notebook (which I bought at the same market in Oaxaca where I bought my favorite shoes ever, highly recommend it) is gorgeous! Hard covers and thick soft, recycled paper allow me to write on facing pages, unlike the yellow pad. So I am starting a project writing a bilingual text, Spanish on the left and English on the right like a parallel translation, but rather than the same text in both languages, it is two separate threads of a narration: The left is poetry by The Modesto Kid, the right is my character Peter's journals during his time translating that poetry. This is the idea I'm working towards anyway, I haven't quite managed yet to get the ideas to cohere properly. I will hopefully be posting drafts of some of this here in the weeks to come (if all goes according to plan...); a beginning is in comments to this post.

posted afternoon of September 30th, 2012: 4 responses
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🦋 The crazy horse was screaming and

El caballo loco gritaba y
bailamos en la césped
entre miles
Neil moaning love
and his guitar

Let's listen to "Love and Only Love" -- the opening number last night.

posted morning of September 30th, 2012: Respond
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Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

🦋 Formosan Blue Magpie

臺灣藍鵲: Urocissa cærulea
Dura menos un hombre que una vela
pero la tierra prefiere su lumbre
para seguir el paso de los astros.
Dura menos que un árbol,
que una piedra,
se anochece ante el viento más leve,
con un soplo se apaga.
Dura menos un pájaro,
que un pez fuera del agua,
casi no tiene tiempo de nacer,
da unas vueltas al sol y se borra
entre las sombras de las horas
hasta que sus huesos en el polvo
se mezclan con el viento,
y sin embargo, cuando parte
siempre deja la tierra más clara.
                         -- Eugenio Montejo

posted afternoon of September 26th, 2012: Respond

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