“There was a time when my only passions were poverty and rain. Now I feel the purity of limits and my passion would not exist were I to know its name.” ~ Antonio Gamoneda, from “Still”


Helen Frankenthaler Overture 1922 acrylic on canvas
“Overture” (1922, acrylic on canvas)
by Helen Frankenthaler

Two for Tuesday:  Remembered Stories

Edward Hopper Corn Hill c1930
“Corn Hill” (c1930)
by Edward Hopper


In Tennessee I Found a Firefly

Flashing in the grass; the mouth of a spider clung
to the dark of it: the legs of the spider
held the tucked wings close,
held the abdomen still in the midst of calling
with thrusts of phosphorescent light—
When I am tired of being human, I try to remember
the two stuck together like burrs. I try to place them
central in my mind where everything else must
surround them, must see the burr and the barb of them.
There is courtship, and there is hunger. I suppose
there are grips from which even angels cannot fly.
Even imagined ones. Luciferin, luciferase.
When I am tired of only touching,
I have my mouth to try to tell you
what, in your arms, is not erased.

~ Mary Szybist


Fairfield Porter House with Three Chimneys 1972 oil on canvas
“House with Three Chimneys” (1972, oil on canvas)
by Fairfield Porter

Fictional Characters

Do they ever want to escape?
Climb out of the white pages
and enter our world?

Holden Caulfield slipping in the movie theater
to catch the two o’clock
Anna Karenina sitting in a diner,
reading the paper as the waitress
serves up a cheeseburger.

Even Hector, on break from the Iliad,
takes a stroll through the park,
admires the tulips.

Maybe they grew tired
of the author’s mind,
all its twists and turns.

Or were finally weary
of stumbling around Pamplona,
a bottle in each fist,
eating lotuses on the banks of the Nile.

For others, it was just too hot
in the small California town
where they’d been written into
a lifetime of plowing fields.

Whatever the reason,
here they are, roaming the city streets
rain falling on their phantasmal shoulders.

Wouldn’t you, if you could?
Step out of your own story,
to lean against a doorway
of the Five & Dime, sipping your coffee,

your life, somewhere far behind you,
all its heat and toil nothing but a tale
resting in the hands of a stranger,
the sidewalk ahead wet and glistening.

~ Danusha Laméris


Music by Jenny & Tyler, “Through Your Eyes”


“As the waltz spins we become something like the white | shoulders of egrets when they hold their wings out | to the sun; we are beyond what we have left and not.” ~ David Swanger from “How Does Music Measure Time?”

Helen Frankenthaler Bay Side 1967 acrylic on unprimed canvas
“Bay Side” (1967, acrylic on unprimed canvas)
by Helen Frankenthaler


Two for Tuesday: Colors of Life

Emil Nolde Brown Mountain on a Lake
“Brown Mountain on a Lake” (nd)
by Emil Nolde


for Elissa

There are so many rules
it takes good luck to live
long enough to break them.
To undo the manifestos
profoundly requires, I guess,
more than longevity: style
is the ultimate morality
of the mind, says Whitehead,
as if the mind were a rector
standing austere at the door,
or elegant on the chair’s edge
overhearing this conversation
between you and me. I hope
you will not listen to teachers
who say never paint in black.
Paint in black, bathe in black,
wear black at your wedding,
something so moral it resonates
you into Gothic thunder and
everyone blinks, and cannot
believe anything they knew
before. Send them into the cave
of their hearts, my heart, send
them into the deep deep dark.

~ David Swanger


Georgia O'Keeffe From the River - Pale oil on canvas 1959
“From the River – Pale” (1959, oil on canvas)
by Georgia O’Keeffe

Rothko’s Yellow

What I don’t understand is the beauty.
The last attempts of the rain, my shoulders
aching from all afternoon with the ladders
and the hour with her. I watch the rainbow
until I have to focus so hard I seem
to create it. Thinking of her watching
this storm, wanting him. This lightning.
This glut in the gutters. Now only
the yellow left. Now the blue
seeped out. The purple gone. The red
gone. People downstairs playing Bach,
the quiet attenuated Bach. She must
have tried and tried. The holes drilled in.
The small man in the movie who looked
like laughter would kill him. The carnation
farmer who left snared birds for the woman
he loved. Who would hang himself after
stitching her ribbon to his chest.
What I don’t understand is the beauty.
I remember the theatre in Berkeley where
we sat eating cucumbers, watching the colossal
faces played over with colossal loss.
I would get off early and meet her outside,
her hair always wet. All last night
I listened to the students walk by until 3,
only the drunk left, the rebuffed and
suddenly coupled. What did I almost
write down on the pad by my bed
that someone lowered me into my sleep? One morning
when she and I still lived together,
the pad said only, cotton. Cotton.
Sometimes it’s horrible, the things said
outright. But nothing explains the beauty,
not weeping and shivering on that stone bench,
not kneeling by the basement drain.
Not remembering otherwise, that scarf she wore,
the early snow, her opening the door
in the bathing light. She must have tried
and tried. What I don’t understand is the beauty.

~ Dean Young


Music by Jim Oblon, “Where did You Sleep Last Night?” (originally by Leadbelly)