Two for Tuesday: The Things that Haunt Us

Pyotr Konchalovsky Blue House in Winter
“Blue House in Winter” (1938)
by Pyotr Konchalovsky

“Strange—things neglected begin to appeal
to a part inside us. It is called the soul.
These times, it lives on less and less.” ~ William Stafford, from “Noticing”

Tuesday night, late. Clear and not as cold, 50 degrees.

I had Olivia yesterday and today, and so tonight I am exhausted. I also had to make a trip to campus to pick up Em because Brett got a ticket for having an expired inspection sticker, which threw him into a tailspin. We are trying to figure out how to get rid of his broken-down Honda and make enough money so that Vik can finish the work on the Rodeo, the work he began this time last year.

I’m not even going to get into that. Anyway, lots going on, but too much to ponder at the moment.

More later. Peace.


(c) BRIDGEMAN; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
“Winter Evening” (oil on board)
by Ruskin Spear

What’s in My Journal

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can’t find them. Someone’s terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.

~ William Stafford


“Up the Hudson” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Frank C. Kirk


There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
there are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

~ Fleur Adcock


Music by 30 Second to Mars, “Alibi”

“On the edges of our dreams was the sea, | which the moon walked across with soft footsteps.” ~ Spencer Reece, from “Gilgamesh”

Ruskin Spear The Wave, Gorran Haven 1960s
“The Wave, Gorran Haven” (1960s)
by Ruskin Spear

And our shadows floated away beneath us towards sunset and darkened the backs of birds, and blackened the sea whose breath smelled slightly of fish, of almonds, and of rotting fruit. A blizzard of coastal aromas had come to collect our attention, and we drifted through all it tried to impart, not knowing where we were going. And soon the air was soiled with dust and iris-colored clouds. […] And the rush of water was suddenly loud as if a flood were loosed upon the ballroom floor. I seemed to be dancing alone into the absence of all that I knew and was bound by, the sight of the sea coming close, the spread of solvency, the smear, the blurred erasure of differences, the end of self, the end of whatever surrounds the self. All that I saw was a vast celebration of transparence, a clear dream of nothing. And I kept on going. The breakers flashed and fell under the moon’s vacant gaze; scattered petals of foam shone briefly, then sank in the sand. It was cold, and I found myself suddenly back with the others. The sea, that vast ungraspable body, that huge and meaningless empire of water, was left on its own. […]  I cannot remember, but I think you were there, whoever you were.

~ Mark Strand, from “The Delirium Waltz”


After the photograph Manatee Drive 02 by Isabelle Hayeur, 2011

No one who
has ever seen

a body of water
has not imagined

drowning. Surface
divides my eye

and my breath
holds me.

The underskin
of the canal

grows light
that dangles

down, tickling
the cement throat.

I figure we are
mostly helpless

against water
because we

are mostly water.
When I go under

I count:
1 Berryman;

2 Berryman; …
If you dream

of drowning,
you wake up

under an ocean
of air. There are

so many stupid
sayings I confuse

them all. I know
what to never

bring to a gun fight
but what should

I never bring
to a drowning?

Not even bombs
intimidate water.

One motivational
saying goes:

If you don’t give up,
you win.
 But I’m

pretty sure that’s not
how it works

or as Kafka said:
The meaning

of life is that it
will end. The water

both buoys
and buries us.

To prepare yourself
for your near-life

experience: dip
your open eyeball

into a bowl of cold
water. There is

always tension
on the horizon.

I will be the one
wearing rust

and erosion.
Algae may one day

rise up against us,
but until then

please allow me
to oxidize in peace.

Usually the last
thing we ever do

is gasp.

~ Matt Rasmussen


Music by Sleeping at Last, “Watermark”