“Touch and go, bank and stall, keeping a steady hand | as we flew beyond the bounds of the artificial horizon.” ~ Sue Standing, from “Artificial Horizon”

The Japanese Lantern 1912 by Paul Burty Haviland
“The Japanese Lantern” (1912)
by Paul Burty Haviland


Two for Tuesday: What is temporary

“No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.”

~ Wislawa Szymborska (trans. Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak), from “Nothing Twice”


Untitled [I know now the beloved]

I know now the beloved
Has no fixed abode,
That each body
She inhabits
Is only a temporary
That she
Casts off forms
As eagerly
As lovers shed clothes.

I accept that he’s
Just passing through
That flower
Or that stone.

And yet, it makes
Me dizzy—
The way he hides
In the flow of it,
The way she shifts
In fluid motions,
Becoming other things.

I want to stop him—
If only briefly.
I want to lure her
To the surface
And catch her
In this net of words.

~ Gregory Orr


Opening the Mona Lisa after WWII (photographer unknown)

Travel Elegy

Everything’s mine though just on loan,
nothing for the memory to hold,
though mine as long as I look.

Memories come to mind like excavated statues
that have misplaced their heads.

From the town of Samokov, only rain
and more rain.

Paris from Louvre to fingernail
grows web-eyed by the moment.

Boulevard Saint-MartinL some stairs
leading into a fadeout.

Only a bridge and a half
from Leningrad of the bridges.

Poor Uppsala, reduced to a splinter
of its mighty cathedral.

Sofia’s hapless dancer,
a form without a face.

Then separately, his face without eyes;
separately again, his eyes with no pupils,
and, finally, the pupils of a cat.

A Caucasian eagle soars
over the reproduction of a canyon,
the fool’s gold of the sun,
the phony stones.

Everything’s mine but just on loan,
nothing for the memory to hold,
though mine as long as I look.

Inexhaustible, unembracable,
but particular to the smallest fiber,
grain of sand, drop of water—

I won’t retain one blade of grass
as it’s truly seen.

Salutation and farewell
in a single glance.

For surplus and absence alike,
a single motion of the neck.

~ Wislawa Szymborska


Music by Cat Power, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”