“The people dreamed and fought and slept as much as ever. And by habit they shortened their thoughts so that they would not wander out into the darkness beyond tomorrow.” ~ Carson McCullers, from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Charles Camoin Window overlooking the Port of Saint-Tropez - the Artist's Studio 1963
“Window overlooking the Port of Saint-Tropez, the Artist’s Studio (1963, oil on canvas)
by Charles Camoin

I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before.” ~ Eugene Ionesco

I’ve noticed something: when I’m away from home, I do not have the vivid dreams that I have here. I have no idea as to why that is. Perhaps it’s because whenever I’m away, I never quite settle, so my mind cannot drift the way that it does here. Anyway, I had a really wild one last night.

First, I dreamed I went to a tattoo parlor to get three tattoos: Two very small ones: an eternity symbol and an anchor, both on my wrists. Then I wanted a large tattoo of a swallow on my left shoulder. I talked to some people when I went in, and the friends who were with me were called back, but I kept waiting and waiting, and no one came to help me. Finally, I wandered into the back and shouted, “Is anyone going to give me my tattoos?” Two guys came up to me and said that they would do my tattoos.

Andre Derain Effect of Sun on the Water, London 1906 oil on canvas
“Effect of the Sun on the Water, London” (1906, oil on canvas)
by André Derain

I wanted plain black ink tattoos, but the artist who was going to do the swallow said that it would look better as a white tattoo. I didn’t want a white tattoo. Then we walked to another part of the parlor that was actually outside. As I was walking, I said, “Wow, that’s a great view.” The guy said, “what view?” I said, “the water, you can see the water.” He wasn’t impressed. The other guy said that he thought that the compass that I wanted (the anchor had switched to a compass) would look better on the nape of my neck. I said that I didn’t want a tattoo there. No one seemed to be listening to what I wanted.

Then the dream shifted to me being at my parents home, and I was reading the Sunday paper. I was so depressed because the paper was so small; all of the sections were folded into just one section. The death of the daily newspaper really bothered me.

Anyway, that’s about it for today. Just a note about the song: In my younger days, I did a Rickie Lee Jones thing, with the hat and the leather coat. Then the other day, this song popped up. Serendipity.

Music by Rickie Lee Jones, “Bonfires”

                   

In Memoriam

In the early afternoon my mother
was doing the dishes. I climbed
onto the kitchen table, I suppose
to play, and fell asleep there.
I was drowsy and awake, though,
as she lifted me up, carried me
on her arms into the living room,
and placed me on the davenport,
but I pretended to be asleep
the whole time, enjoying the luxury—
was too big for such a privilege
and just old enough to form
my only memory of her carrying me.
She’s still moving me to a softer place.

~ Leo Dangel

“For if I try to seize this self of which I feel sure, if I try to define and to summarize it, it is nothing but water slipping through my fingers.” ~ Albert Camus, from “An Absurd Reasoning”

Fremont Ellis The Summer Rain acrylic on canvas
“The Summer Rain” (nd, acrylic on canvas)
by Fremont Ellis

Two for Tuesday: Kevin Hart

Armin Hansen Monterey Bay and El Toro Mountain 1921
“Monterey Bay and El Toro Mountain” (1921)
by Armin Hansen

The Word

Say wood and everything is clean again.
The word is all around you, like the night,
Impossible to grasp. Your mouth is dark.

A splinter found its way into your quick.
That old tree slit by lightning won’t be moved.
Last year’s thin rain froze hard inside a trunk

And now a honey flesh shines through cracked bark.
Your mouth is dark. Go far into yourself,
Let quietness gather there, then say the word.

                   

Emil Nolde Still Sea 1936
“Still Sea” (1936)
by Emil Nolde

Here

In a bare room where light pours in from the ocean
You are still sleeping
You are still here

And nothing more happens except the sound
Of a page turning
While you sleep on

The sound of a story turning and the ocean stirring
Near our thin room
With you asleep

Perhaps with the thought of a storm much later on
When you awake
In this bruised room

Two people still here perhaps with ocean light
Fragile and turning
Dark as your voice

That lives in the air and mirrors here. But look,
You are awake;
I am still here.

Music by Michael Giacchino, “London Calling” (extended version, from Star Trek: Into Darkness)

 

“All this fleetingness | that strangely entreats us.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Ninth Elegy”

https://i1.wp.com/mrietze.com/images/Neuseeland12/NZ121867-70D6.jpg
Waitomo Cave, New Zealand
by Martin Rietze

                     

“What sky have the stones dreamed?” ~ Pablo Neruda, from “Stationary Point”

Whilst wasting time watching Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters,” I came upon an episode that featured the most incredible images of night skies, so when I found this post on my tumblr, I knew that somehow I had to find a way to use it. Hence, having no words of my own, I offer you these most eloquent images of nature’s astounding beauty.

Reblogged from:

The Waitomo Caves of New Zealand’s northern island, formed two million years ago from the surrounding limestone bedrock, are home to an endemic species of bioluminescent fungus gnat (arachnocampa luminosa, or glow worm fly), who in their larval stage produce silk threads from which to hang and, using a blue light emitted from a modified excretory organ in their tails, lure in prey who then become ensnared in sticky droplets of mucus.

Photos from spellbound waitomo tours, forevergone, blue polaris, and martin rietze. (more cave photos) (more bioluminescence photos)

                     

Music by Ólafur Arnalds, “Beth’s Theme” (“Broadchurch OST)

                   

Pastoral

I copy out mountains, rivers, clouds.
I take my pen from pocket. I note down
a bird in its rising
or a spider in its little silkworks.
Nothing else crosses my mind. I am air,
clear air, where the wheat is waving,
where a bird’s flight moves me, the uncertain
fall of a leaf, the globular
eye of a fish unmoving in the lake,
the statues sailing in the clouds,
the intricate variations of the rain.

Nothing else crosses my mind except
the transparency of summer. I sing only of the wind,
and history passes in its carriage,
collecting its shrouds and medals,
and passes, and all I feel is rivers.
I stay alone with the spring.

Shepherd, shepherd, don’t you know
they are all waiting for you?

I know, I know, but here beside the water
while the locusts chitter and sparkle,
although they are waiting, I want to wait for myself.
I too want to watch myself.
I want to discover at last my own feelings.
And when I reach the place where I am waiting,
I expect to fall asleep, dying of laughter.

~ Pablo Neruda

Oh no! I missed World Penguin Day (April 25)!

                   

Five facts about penguins (for more, click here):

1. All 17 species of penguins are naturally found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

*

2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

*

3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

*

4. Penguins’ striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, their black backs blend into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, their white bellies are hidden against the bright surface.

*

5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

*

“We’re each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark.” ~ Ursula Le Guin, from The Unreal and the Real, Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin Volume 2: Outer Space, Inner Lands

                     

Today when I begin writing I’m aware: something that I don’t understand drives this engine.” ~ Donald Hall, from The Paris Review, The Art of Poetry No. 43

Wednesday afternoon, windy and cold, 47 degrees.

Two days ago it was in the mid 70’s, now this. My body is so confused, and everything hurts, right down to the cells.

I’ve spent the last two days trying to do taxes, the operative word being trying. Even with the online program, I realized two very important things: First, I did last year’s taxes wrong, and second, the people who write the tax codes went to the La Sade school of pain.

Evald Kallstenius Fir in Moonlight c1930 oil on canvas
“Fir in Moonlight” (c1930, oil on canvas)
by Evald Kallstenius

In between doing taxes, I have allowed myself to go on an art hunt for image of the moon, and I have come across some lovely new ones, so many that I will perhaps have to divide them among two posts.

Ah, me. So much to do still, and so very little of the wherewithal to do it. Yes, I am hovering somewhere near the bottom of the lowest lows, for far too many reasons to elucidate, so I decided that I will do a random thoughts post, mostly because I haven’t done one in a while, and also, I have a lot of random thoughts jostling for space in my brain, and if I don’t put them down, either my brain will explode, or it will reset itself, and I will have nothing but a reformatted hard drive of a brain, which, if you don’t know, means I will be completely empty.

“If I am not central to the world, then it fails
to make any difference whatever I feel.
The universe is large: to be eccentric is to be
nothing. It is not worth speaking of.” ~ William Bronk, from “Of the All With Which We Coexist”

To begin . . . what do I love?

  • Storms. Yesterday when the rain rolled in, and I heard the wind whipping the wind chimes, I found the sound to be completely soothing, so much so that I paused in my tax-induced catatonia, and took a shower, and then later, I took another shower once it was dark.

    Eugène Jansson Riddarfjarden in Stockholm c1898
    “Riddarfjarden in Stockholm” (c1898)
    by Eugène Fredrik Jansson
  • Bathing in the dark. I have always loved to do this, and with our glass block window in the bathroom, I have nothing but moonlight as my backdrop. It calms me in a strange way. Freudians would surely say that it is a desire to return to the womb, or some such blather.
  • Fog. Living near the ocean and the bay, we get wonderful fog, but not nearly enough. I know that fog is supposed to be one of those things in nature that can have an adverse effect on moods, but not for me. I love fog, the denser, the better.
  • Lightning. Not the same as storms. Storms can have no lightning, but when they do, it intensifies my desire to just sit, listen, and watch. Odd that I am calmest during nature’s furies.

“It isn’t given to us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal. A moment too late and we can never reach them any more in this world. They will not be cured by our most efficacious drugs or slain with our sharpest swords.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, from “The Freshest Boy”

What do I hate?

  • Sanctioned bigotry. You know, the kind at work in organizations such as police forces and religions, the kind that perpetuates the whole concept of us and them.

    Charles Guilloux Acqua-di-fiori
    “Acqua-di-fiori” (nd)
    by Charles Guilloux
  • Condescension. When a man talks to me as if I don’t know the difference between a spark plug and a radiator. Really? Still?
  • First impressions. These are almost never accurate, and what I hate most is that I do this all of the time. I make snap judgments even though I know better.
  • Weak handshakes. See condescension. I don’t need my metacarpal to be crushed, but don’t give me a limp fish.
  • Greed. When is enough too much?
  • Emptiness. I can be alone without being lonely, but what slays me every time is when I feel empty, hollow.

“We move so easily from light to shade
and always in pursuit of something else:”— John Burnside, from “Vi Knonos”

Color my world:

  • Purple, in all of its hues. Reminds me of fields of lavender, something I have yet to see in real life, and one of the reasons I so wish to go to Provence.

    Maurice Prendergast The Ocean Palace c1895
    “The Ocean Palace” (c1895)
    by Maurice Prendergast
  • Blue. I find that I am inexorably drawn to a work of art that is predominantly blue, everything from van Gogh to Rothko. Again, psychoanalysts would have no problem equating this fascination with my state of mind, but it goes beyond that: consider how many variations of blue exist, not just in art, but in nature.
  • Yellow. I used to abhor this color, mostly because somewhere in the recesses of my mind someone had once called my skin yellow, and I allowed that ignorance to affect me. Now, though, I find it to be one of my favorite colors in a work of art. I couldn’t tell you why, exactly; it’s just one of those things.
  • Black/white. Not color and all colors. It’s the extremes of both that draw me in. Truly, have you ever noticed how many ways black can be depicted in a work of art? My fondness for white tops—sweaters, blouses, t-shirts—is completely ill-advised, what with the dog hair and my tendency to spill, but I probably have more white tops than any other color. Again, what would Freud say, that old misogynist . . .

“Rhythm is just this oscilloscope of the soul. We come from a place that has always been inside us. Our words migrate helplessly. The world reflects only itself. Which is why we have to create our own memories . . . Why do we think our metaphors will save us? The world is only itself. Time is just our way of imagining it.” ~ Richard Jackson, from “About This Poem”

Things that bother me too much:

  • Bad grammar. I’m not perfect, and I really hate it when I mess up because I have no excuse, but I need to bear in mind that not everyone has English degrees.

    Oscar Hullgren Moonlight nd
    “Moonlight” (nd)
    by Oscar Hullgren
  • Bad driving. At least go the speed limit, for god’s sake. Yes, I’m always in a hurry, and I’m an aggressive rather than defensive driver, but I’m careful, and I’m safe, and some days I feel as if I’m driving an invisible car.
  • Lack of compassion. Some of the things that I read on my tumblr dash really get to me, like the young people who cut themselves because they are hurting so much, or the girl who was spit at because she was overweight. Who are these people who really feel that they are so much better than everyone else?
  • The NRA. Look, they have a right to exist. I don’t question that. They also have a right to protest or to gather or to speak out. Again, not a problem. What I have a huge problem with is their power with Congress. How many more mass shootings, or random killings of targeted groups are we going to have before anything changes? Will anything change? I fear that it won’t.
  • Congress. At one point in my life, I seriously considered going into politics, running for state senate. I’m so glad that I didn’t. Politicians in this country are the scum of the earth, as far as I’m concerned (see three and four above).

“Things happen all the time, things happen every minute
that have nothing to do with us.” ~ Richard Siken, from A Primer For Small Weird Loves

What I’m feeling lately:

  • I never truly realized just how hard it would be when my mother died. I think that I believed because our relationship was so hard, that it wouldn’t bother me, but it bothers me, every second of every minute of every day.
Edvard Munch Moonlight
“Moonlight”
by Edvard Munch
  • What bothers me the most is how much I feel I failed her.
  • I grieve too keenly, too intensely, for far too long. This, I know, yet I am completely unable to do anything about it. I still have dreams about my father that I awaken from completely shaken.
  • I have wasted my life. I never got my PhD, even though I always, always wanted one, always told myself that I would do it someday, and now someday is here, and I have done nothing, and it’s too late.
  • Time is passing much too quickly. It’s the bottom end of April, and still, here I sit, paralyzed by my own fear and loathing. How did I get to this point?
  • I am far too old to have another child, and in this, I have failed Corey. When we first got together, I had absolutely no fears that I would be able to get pregnant again, and then there was that tumor on my ovary, and then all hopes of that were dashed, and this vital young man was stuck with an older woman who could not give him the one thing he would give anything to have: his own child. Do not think that this does not creep into my mind at least once a day, that it does not hover around the periphery of every cross word between us, that I do not fear that one day, it will all be too much for him.

“I should like this sky, this quiet water, to think themselves within me, that it might be I whom they express in flesh and bone, and I remain at a distance. But it is also by this distance that the sky and the water exist before me.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, from “The Ethics of Ambiguity”

What I am not good at:

Winslow Homer Easter Point Light 1880
“Easter Point Light” (1880)
by Winslow Homer
  • Living in the moment
  • Letting go
  • Moving on
  • Forgiving myself
  • Figuring out who my friends are, if any
  • Keeping up with my obligations
  • Following through
  • Stepping aside at the right time
  • Staying neutral
  • Not reacting
  • Not overreacting
  • Handling stress

“I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not sympathetic. I am not generous. I am merely and above all a creature of intense passionate feeling. I feel—everything. It is my genius. It burns me like fire.” ~ Mary MacLane, from I Await the Devil’s Coming

Etcetera:

Emil Nolde Moonlit Night 1914
“Moonlit Night” (1914)
by Emil Nolde

Look, I know that I’m not a bad person, but I’m not the best person that I could be. I give when I can, but not enough. I do some things, but not others. I don’t go far enough with my writing. I love my family too fiercely, so that sometimes it’s smothering. I treat my dogs like children. I berate myself constantly for not following through, with my publishing degree, with postgraduate work, with writing workshops, with writing projects. But I stop just short of moving on. I harbor deep resentment, and I hold grudges, if only in my mind. I awaken from these nightmares, and I wonder how I got here, how I can go on, how I can do the right thing, whatever that is. I judge the actions of others when I have far too many foibles of my own.

Isaac Levitan Fog over Water c1895 oil on canvas
“Fog over Water” (c1895, oil on canvas)
by Isaac Levitan

I should be happy with what I have, my spouse, my kids, my granddaughter, but I cannot still this unrest in my heart, this feeling that I am not doing something that I need to do, that I am not going to the place that I need to be, but do not ask me what or where or when. If I had any answers, do you think I would do this day in and day out? The only thing that I know for certain is that I know less and less with each passing hour, and it leaves me feeling left behind. I am fallow and hollow, and my soul is the color of coffee dregs. And no matter how much I try to brighten my face or paint my nails, there is a hardness beneath, and yet that hardness is but a veneer, and below that is quicksilver, a mercurial being that is willful in one moment and utterly fragile in the next.

Enough. The floodgates must be closed. I knew that this wasn’t a good idea.

More later. Peace.

Music by Janel Drewis, “In the Pines (Where Did You Sleep Last Night)”

                   

The Other Day

1

The other day my wristwatch
came apart – not the time
but the band, not the beginning
but the end. The sun did not
shine, but it had not shown
itself for a handful of days.
Night came on early, but it is
that part of the year, at least
here, where night does that.
One friend says
“you can take my word
for the sun,”
misunderstood this as:
some sentences are like
sun and the moon,
some moon or sun,
some night only but
near night or far
night – consolation
in either case.

2

Wish friend had said
“take my friendship
for the sun”

Am missing the sun – but the
orbit or a human closeness
over time begins to resemble
the misshapen stand of a watchband,

or the case of moonlight
held only in the hands of
illusion / accompaniment –
the moon is moving a few
feet (or is it inches)
away from the earth every
year – whether “it” collided
with us (thus forming)

is beside the point. The
moon moves away like
our lives from ourselves.

~ Michael Burkard

 

“For it is all or nothing in this life, for there is no other.” ~ Larry Levis, from “At the Grave of My Guardian Angel: St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans”

“Hamstead through a Window” (1937)
by Walker Evans

                    

“Oh live oak, thoughtless beauty in a century of pulpy memoirs,
Spreading into the early morning sunlight
As if it could never be otherwise, as if it were all a pure proclamation of leaves & a final quiet—”

~ Larry Levis, from “At the Grave of My Guardian Angel: St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans”

Apparently my blog is six years old today. Happy anniversary . . . I think . . .

Elegy with a Thimbleful of Water in the Cage

It’s a list of what I cannot touch:

Some dandelions & black eyed susans growing back, like innocence
Itself, with its thoughtless style,

Over an abandoned labor camp south of Piedra;

And the oldest trees, in that part of Paris with a name I forget,
Propped up with sticks to keep their limbs from cracking,

And beneath such quiet, a woman with a cane,

And knowing, if I came back, I could not find them again;

And a cat I remember who slept on the burnished mahogany
In the scooped out beveled place on the counter below

The iron grillwork, the way you had to pass your letter over him
As he slept through those warm afternoons

In New Hampshire, the gray fur stirring a little as he inhaled;

The small rural post office growing smaller, then lost, tucked
Into the shoreline of the lake when I looked back;

Country music from a lone radio in an orchard there.
The first frost already on the ground.

~

And those who slipped out of their names, as if called
Out of them, as if they had been waiting

To be called:

Stavros lecturing from his bequeathed chair at the Cafe Midi,
In the old Tower Theatre District, his unending solo

Above the traffic on Olive, asking if we knew what happened
To the Sibyl at Cumae after Ovid had told her story,

After Petronius had swept the grains of sand from it, how,

Granted eternal life, she had forgotten to ask for youth, & so,
As she kept aging, as her body shrank within itself

And the centuries passed, she finally

Became so tiny they had to put her into a jar, at which point
Petronious lost track of her, lost interest in her,

And at which point she began to suffocate

In the jar, suffocate without being able to die, until, finally,
A Phoenician sailor slipped the gray piece of pottery—

Its hue like an overcast sky & revealing even less—

Into his pocket, & sold it on the docks at Piraeus to a shop owner
Who, hearing her gasp, placed her in a bird cage

On a side street just off Onmonios Square, not to possess her,

But to protect her from pedestrians, & the boys of Athens rattled
The bars of the cage with sticks as they ran past yelling,

“Sibyl, Sibyl, what do you want?”—each generation having to
Listen more closely than the one before it to hear

The faintest whispered rasp from the small bitter seed
Of her tongue as she answered them with the same

Remark passing through time, “I want to die!” As time passed & she
Gradually grew invisible, the boys had to press

Their ears against the cage to hear her,

And then one day the voice became too faint, no one could hear it,
And after that they stopped telling

The story. And then it wasn’t a story, it was only an empty cage
That hung outside a shop among the increasing

Noise of traffic, &, from the Square itself, blaring from loudspeakers,
The shattered glass & bread of political speeches

That went on half the night, & the intermittent music of strip shows
In summer when the doors of the bars were left open,

And then, Stavros said, the sun shone straight through the cage.

You could see there was nothing inside it, he said, unless you noticed
How one of the little perches swung back & forth, almost

Imperceptibly there, though the street was hot, windless; or unless
You thought you saw a trace of something flicker across

The small mirror above the thimbleful of water, which of course
Shouldn’t have been there, which should have evaporated

Like the voice that went on whispering ceaselessly its dry rage

Without listeners. He said that even if anyone heard it,
They could not have recognized the dialect

As anything human.

He would lie awake, the only boy in Athens who

Still heard it repeating its wish to die, & he was not surprised
He said, when the streets, the bars & strip shows,

Began to fill with German officers, or when the loudspeakers
And the small platform in the Square were, one day,

Shattered into a thousand pieces.

As the years passed, as even the sunlight began to seem
As if it was listening to him outside the windows

Of the Midi, he began to lose interest in stories, & to speak
Only in abstractions, to speak only of theories,

Never of things.

Then he began to come in less frequently, & when he did,
He no longer spoke at all. And so,

Along the boulevards in winter the bare limbs of the trees
One passed in the city became again

Only the bare limbs of trees, no girl stepped into them
To tell us of their stillness. We would hear

Rumors of Stavros following the gypsy pentacostalists into
Their tents, accounts of him speaking in tongues;

Glossalalia, he once said, which was all speech, & none.

In a way, it didn’t matter anymore. Something in time was fading—
And though girls still came to the cafe to flirt or argue politics

Or buy drugs from the two ancient boys expressionless as lizards
Now as they bent above a chessboard—

By summer the city parks had grown dangerous.

No one went there anymore to drink wine, dance, & listen
To metal amplified until it seemed, as it had

Seemed once, the bitter, cleansing angel released at last from what
Fettered it inside us. And maybe there

Wasn’t any angel after all. The times had changed. It became
Difficult to tell for sure. And anyway,

There was a law against it now, a law against gathering at night
In the parks was actually all that the law

Said was forbidden for us to do, but it came to the same thing.
It meant you were no longer permitted to know,

Or to decide for yourself,

Whether there was an angel inside you, or whether there wasn’t.

~

Poverty is what happens at the end of any story, including this one,
When there are too many stories.

When you can believe in all of them, & so believe in none;
When one condition is as good as any other.

The swirl of wood grain in the desk, is it the face of an angel, or
The photograph of a girl, the only widow in her high school,

After she has decided to turn herself

Into a tree? (It was a rainy afternoon, & her van skidded at sixty;
For a split second the trunk of an oak had never seemed

So solemn as it did then, widening before her.)

Or is it Misfortune itself, or the little grimace the woman
Makes with her mouth above the cane,

There, then not there, then there again?

Or is the place where all the comparisons, the little comforts
Like the cane she’s leaning on, give way beneath us?

~

What do you do when nothing calls you anymore?
When you turn & there is only the light filling the empty window?

When the angel fasting inside you has grown so thin it flies
Out of you a last time without your

Knowing it, & the water dries up in its thimble, & the one swing
In the cage comes to rest after its almost imperceptible,

Almost endless, swaying?

~

I’m going to stare at the whorled grain of wood in this desk
I’m bent over until it’s infinite,

I’m going to make it talk, I’m going to make it

Confess everything.

I was about to ask you if you were cold, if you wanted a sweater, Because . . .
well, as Stavros would say

Before he began one of those

Stories that seemed endless, the sun pressing against
The windows of the cafe & glinting off the stalled traffic

Just beyond them, this could take a while;


I pass the letter I wrote to you over the sleeping cat & beyond

the iron grillwork, into the irretrievable.

~ Larry Levis

                   

Music by Agnes Obel, “Fuel to Fire”

“But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me | Just how I should feel today” ~ Lyrics to “Blue Monday,” by New Order

Lawren Harris Lake Superior, Sketch XLVII c1923 oil on panel
“Lake Superior, Sketch XLVII” (c1923, oil on panel)
by Lawren Harris

                   

“Blue Monday: Rain, debt and divorce make it worst day of the year” ~ From The Daily Mail (1/5/2014)

I had no idea this was a thing, an actual thing that people write about and talk about. Who knew?

CNSPhoto-BOSWELL-NERKE
“Bylot Island Sketch” (c1930, oil)
by Lawren Harris

Tidbits I picked up from various sites:

  • In 2005, British academic Cliff Arnall claimed that Blue Monday, the third Monday of January, could be the most depressing day of the year, as anxieties replace holiday cheer and winter drags on.
  • Cliff Arnall began calculating the happiest and gloomiest days of the year back in 2005 while working as a professor at Cardiff University in Wales.Arnall devised a Blue Monday formula that calculates factors such as weather, debt, time passed since Christmas, failed New Year’s resolutions, low motivation and the need to take action.While there is no scientific support for Arnall’s theory, some might find the formula 1/8W+(D-d)3/8xTQMxNA itself too depressing even to contemplate.
  • He [Arnall] calculated the date using a variety of factors including weather conditions, debt levels, failed New Year’s resolutions and the number of days that had elapsed since the end of the Christmas holidays.But over the past three years, researchers analysed more than 2million tweets posted by Britons in January looking for negative language and phrases indicating a drop in mood.They found that today, there will be nearly five times the average number of tweets relating to guilt, as people abandon their promises to pursue a healthier lifestyle.The analysis, by drinks company Upbeat, also found complaints about the weather will be six times higher than usual – and men will feel more miserable than women.
    Lawren Harris Lake and Mountains 1928
    “Lake and Mountains” (1928)
    by Lawren Harris

    Today has also been dubbed Divorce Monday by legal experts. It is the most popular day of the year for starting divorce proceedings. And January is the busiest divorce month, with twice as many divorces being filed as the second most popular month September.

  • Based on a number of factors, such as weather and post-holidays blues, it’s been suggested that the most depressing day of the year falls on the Monday of the last full week in January.The Calgary Counselling Centre is marking the day by offering a list of ways to beat the doldrums and make this particular Monday a little less blue.”As the holidays come to a close, the post-holiday stress is setting in. A combination of cold weather, bills piling up, returning to work and failed New Year’s resolutions, this time of year can be a challenge for many,” said the centre’s Tara Linsley.Although the science behind declaring Blue Monday the saddest day of the year is questionable, for many the blues they feel this time of year is real and is based on, among other factors, the long stretch of short winter days most Canadians have experienced up to this point, registered psychologist Trang Le told the CBC.”People tend to feel less energetic, less motivated and maybe a little more down than usual,” Le said, adding that as many as 10 per cent of Canadians may be affected by the resulting Seasonal Affective Disorder.

    Lawren Harris, From the North Shore, Lake Superior 1923 or 27, oil on canvas
    “From the North Shore, Lake Superior” (1923 or 27, oil on canvas)
    by Lawren Harris
  • There is even a website: BlueMonday, which I had a helluva time navigating and couldn’t for the life of me see the point.
  • I found three Blue Monday songs, one by Fats Domino, which, when I listened to it,I recognized immediately; another is by New Order, and sounded way too lively to be blue Monday; the one I’m including here by Flunk is a remake of the New Order song, but I prefer it to the original.

It just seems like a bizarre marketing gimmick, somehow. And even the stories about it don’t mesh: The Daily Mail story cited January 6 as being Blue Monday, while others pinned it on the 20th. A certain day of the year? Really? Oddly enough, it’s been the only day in the last two weeks that I haven’t been weepy. Go figure.

So anyway, happy(?) Blue Monday.

More later. Peace.

Flunk’s “Blue Monday”

                    

Blue Monday

Blue of the heaps of beads poured into her breasts
and clacking together in her elbows;
blue of the silk
that covers lily-town at night;
blue of her teeth
that bite cold toast
and shatter on the streets;
blue of the dyed flower petals with gold stamens
hanging like tongues
over the fence of her dress
at the opera/opals clasped under her lips
and the moon breaking over her head a
gush of blood-red lizards.
Blue Monday. Monday at 3:00 and
Monday at 5. Monday at 7:30 and
Monday at 10:00. Monday passed under the rippling
California fountain. Monday alone
a shark in the cold blue waters.
                     You are dead: wound round like a paisley shawl.
                     I cannot shake you out of the sheets. Your name
                     is still wedged in every corner of the sofa.
                     Monday is the first of the week,
                     and I think of you all week.
                     I beg Monday not to come
                     so that I will not think of you
                     all week.
You paint my body blue. On the balcony
in the softy muddy night, you paint me
with bat wings and the crystal
the crystal
the crystal
the crystal in your arm cuts away
the night, folds back ebony whale skin
and my face, the blue of new rifles,
and my neck, the blue of Egypt,
and my breasts, the blue of sand,
and my arms, bass-blue,
and my stomach, arsenic;
there is electricity dripping from me like cream;
there is love dripping from me I cannot use—like acacia or
jacaranda—fallen blue and gold flowers, crushed into the street.
                         Love passed me in a blue business suit
                         and fedora.
                         His glass cane, hollow and filled with
                         sharks and whales …
                         He wore black
                         patent leather shoes
                         and had a mustache. His hair was so black
                         it was almost blue.
                         “Love,” I said.
                         “I beg your pardon,” he said.
                         “Mr. Love,” I said.
                         “I beg your pardon,” he said.
                         So I saw there was no use bothering him on the street
                         Love passed me on the street in a blue
                         business suit. He was a banker
                         I could tell.
So blue trains rush by in my sleep.
Blue herons fly overhead.
Blue paint cracks in my
arteries and sends titanium
floating into my bones.
Blue liquid pours down
my poisoned throat and blue veins
rip open my breast. Blue daggers tip
and are juggled on my palms.
Blue death lives in my fingernails.
If I could sing one last song
with water bubbling through my lips
I would sing with my throat torn open,
the blue jugular spouting that black shadow pulse,
and on my lips
I would balance volcanic rock
emptied out of my veins. At last
my children strained out
of my body. At last my blood
solidified and tumbling into the ocean.
It is blue.
It is blue.
It is blue.

~ Diane Wakoski