“No matter what our achievements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge, who keeps book on our shortcomings and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.” ~ Eric Hoffer

a mental map by Jenny Lee SHee
A Mental Map by Anne Emond

“For one of the first pressures that bear down on American girls is the pressure not only to be liked but to be like everyone else. This initial feat of self-transformation often involves loosening one’s grip on that quiet sense of inner self and hitching one’s wagon to a single standard of beauty. The stress of leaping through that hoop insinuates itself into the young heart and soul with a vengeance, and insecurities go from being hard little buds of confusion to overripe, snarled and tyrannical fruits that hang on the vine as we age.”
~ Debra Ollivier, What French Women Know About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind

                   

“Did you ever look back at some moment in your past and have it suddenly grow so vivid that all the intervening years seemed brief, dreamlike, impersonal—the motions of a May afternoon surrendered to routine?” ~ Roger Zelazny, from Doorways in the Sand

Theodore Robinson Tree Blossoms
“Tree Blossoms” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Theodore Robinson

                   

Two for Tuesday: Days Gone By

The Ordinary

It’s summer, so
the pink gingham shorts,
the red mower, the neat rows
of clean smelling grass
unspooling behind
the sweeping blades.

A dragonfly, black body
big as a finger, will not leave
the mower alone,
loving the sparkle
of scarlet metal,
seeing in even a rusting paint
the shade of a flower.

But I wave him off,
conscious he is
wasting his time,
conscious I am
filling my time
with such small details,
distracting colors,

like pink checks,
like this, then that,
like a dragonfly wing
in the sun reflecting
the color of opals,
like all the hours
we leave behind,
so ordinary,
but not unloved.

~ Kirsten Dierking

from Dragonfly’s Poetry & Prolixity

Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn
“A light breeze, Biôt, Provence” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn

                    

A Poly-Grecian Urn: Wal-Mart, Easter Weekend, 1998

I.

Half-ravished by the first light touch of sun
on winter-languid skin, and air’s slow stir—
ardent, close—across bare limbs, we’ve come
for potting soil, for silver-bladed trowels,
for the brightest daubs of color we can bear
away, pre-blossomed in black plastic flats
of vinca, dianthus, pansies. Months too late
to raise the tulips’ complex pulse, we praise
instead the ready-made, until it takes
the squat shape of this bastard child of Keats.

II.

Maybe we’ve come to this—all that remains,
the pointless simulacrum of a choice:
white or green, it’s plastic either way,
machine-stamped in the hollow shape of loss.
Or is this too much to make of a cardboard nest
of two-part urns, bowls and bases packed
as snug as bullets in a magazine,
arranged for sale in monochromatic stacks,
the scraps of half-truth and cheap beauty rent
to pieces by this dying century?

III.

The two of us are young enough to dream
we’ll make it out alive, somehow escape
the burden of our genes and history
to start again, unstained. From the rotting corpse
of a lion he’d killed, Samson took honey, ate,
and found it sweet, but then slew thirty men
because of it. Like him, we crave the taste
of something drawn from death, but can’t be sure
if fingers drip with syrup or with gore.
Or both. Nothing we touch is innocent.

IV.

A block away, pale-bellied leaves, wind-wheeled,
invoke the storm, but just beyond the gate,
my neighbor’s yard’s a fuchsia-tinted peace
of statuary petals, as if the air
were stunned to silence, stillness, by the brute
beauty of a redbud’s blooms. I go inside,
come back to limbs still shaking, stripped of leaf
and blossom, and sidewalks scrawled in a green hand
just clear enough for me to read the truth,
that beauty couldn’t even save itself.

V.

I fill the urn with pansies, purple, white,
and pink, but nothing lives past the first rain,
when water pools around a sodden welt
of storm-pressed flowers. The planter doesn’t drain;
its certitude drowns everything I put
in it. I dump the slop of store-bought loam
and flaccid stems, then cut thin slits to bleed
the water out, and try again, a need
to keep something alive, if nothing more
than these doomed blossoms in a plastic pot.

~ David Robert Books

                   

Music by Julia Stone, “Take Me Home”

“When I think of myself, my thought seeks itself in the ether of a new dimension. I am on the moon as others are sitting at their balcony. I am part of the gravitation of the planets in the fissures of my mind.” ~ Antonin Artaud, Fragments of a Journal in Hell, trans. David Rattray

Happy Birthday NASA!

collectivehistory:

Today in History: Jul 29, 1958, NASA is created

On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

A list of some of NASA’s greatest achievements:

  • 1958: First US Spacecraft.
  • 1961: First US Astronaut
  • 1969: Man on the Moon
  • 1972: Pioneer 10 launched to photograph Jupiter.
  • 1973: Pioneer 11 to photograph Saturn
  • 1990: Hubble Space Telescope launched
  • 1973: Skylab first space experimental station
  • 1977: Voyagers were launched to explore outer space
  • 1999: X-Ray Telescope launched to photograph supernovas and black hole
  • 1975: Mars Exploration and Rover landing

Happy 55th birthday NASA!

                   
Bent Orbit

I wind my way across a black donut hole
and space that clunks.
Once I saw on a stage,
as if at the bottom of a mineshaft,
the precise footwork
of some mechanical ballet.
It was like looking into the brain
of a cuckoo clock and it carried
some part of me away forever.
No one knows when they first see a thing,
how long its after image will last.
Proust could stare at the symptom of a face
for years, while Frank O’Hara, like anyone with a job,
was always looking at his watch.
My favorite way of remembering is to forget.
Please start the record of the sea over again.
Call up a shadow below the pendulum of a gull’s wing.
In a city of eight million sundials, nobody has any idea
how long a minute really is.

~ Elaine Equi

                   

Music by Alex North from 2001: A Space Odyssey (based on “Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss)

“Oil paint and ink are two blades of the same pair of scissors” ~ Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong Crane Dance 2002 ink and wash
“Crane Dance” (2002, ink and wash on paper)
by Wu Guanzhong

                   

“Art is like a kite. You have to pull the string hard in order to stretch it to its limit, but you don’t want to pull it so hard that you break the thread, because the thread connects you to the land and its peoples.” ~ Wu Guanzhong

Once again, I have my tumblr dash to thank for discovering another artist. Seeing one print by Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) set me on an internet search for more of his work, which I found in abundance. Rather than including some of the images in a post, I decided to let the art be the post, hence, the gallery below.

Wu Guanzhong is considered by many to be one of the greatest Chinese contemporary painters of all time. For more details on the artist’s life and works, click here, here, or here.


                   

Music by The Perishers, “Nothing Like You and I”

                   

November poem removed at request of publisher.

 

“Someday is not a day of the week.” ~ Janet Dailey

I probably shouldn’t post this as I do not know the source, but it’s just too . . . well . . . too perfect.

                   

Music by Steve Azar, “I Don’t Have to be Me til Monday”

                   

pleiades choreographic [excerpt]

The theme is forgiveness, the theme is justice
(deferred, delayed, obtained). The theme is rejoicing
alternating with suffering (watercourse, torrent)
Harrowing the fields. Beauty (bound to a thing, entangled)
Making compassion possible
The lyre, lyric (our thirst–ζιφοσ). To frighten away
(chase, reject). A thicket of reeds (δονακευς)
Kindling a fire
What moves through the human body
Before and after the discovery of electricity.

~ Meredith Stricker

“I am I, and I wish I weren’t.” ~ Aldous Huxley, from Brave New World

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig. Lightly, lightly—it’s the best advice ever given me. When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.

~ Aldous Huxley, from Island (my favorite Huxley quote)

Literary Birthday: Aldous Huxley, born 26 July 1894, died 22 November 1963

15 Aldous Huxley Quotes

  1. The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
  2. Every man’s memory is his private literature.
  3. There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
  4. The proper study of mankind is books.
  5. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
  6. A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author’s soul.
  7. Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
  8. Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.
  9. I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself
  10. The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
  11. Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
  12. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
  13. Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
  14. Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.
  15. That all men are equal is a proposition which at ordinary times no sane individual has ever given his assent.

Huxley was an English writer, best known for his dystopian novel, Brave New World. He also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry. Huxley was a humanist, pacifist, and satirist, who was also well known for his advocacy and consumption of psychedelic drugs.

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

                   

Music by James Blunt, “Carry You Home”

“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.” ~ Dave Barry

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” ~ Johnny Depp

I sat down to write a post but ended up playing Spider Solitaire. I just couldn’t find the words. So I thought I’d post these wonderful pictures. After all, it’s hard to compete with a smiling dog.

                   

Music by Nicolas Jaar, “Encore”