2nd June 2002
One of bhikku's staff members is 14,244 days old today.
from the Isle of the Manhattoes
There's concern from a number of people that I may have died, or at least been in New Jersey, as Madonna says in Desperately Seeking Susan.
Here's a bizarre painting entitled Painting depicting the activities of the National Youth Administration, done in a Stanley Spencer meets Soviet Realism mode: it appears that open plan offices used to be even more disruptive workplaces than they are now - the guy at the microscope must be particularly upset at having Kruschev looking over his shoulder asking 'Well? Have you discovered the cure yet?'
*Quoted by Laurie Anderson in O Superman
You want: as your last item in Manhattan, to take the subway to Brooklyn Heights and walk back over the Roebling / Hart Crane bridge. You expect to see the East River laid out below you like Istanbul's Golden Horn, the city's fabled towers gleaming across the water.
You'd settle for: a gale, sheets of driving rain and low visibility as on the previous day, as long as you get to cross the bridge without being blown off.
But as luck would have it, you get: a mild day of dappled clouds, calm sea and prosperous voyage weather; although the Golden Horn thing doesn't happen owing to the lack of height, the bridge is indeed enchanting, the harbour benign, and the midtown towers cluster under slow-moving cloud-shadows, encouraging the sort of dreamy imaginings usually associated with fire/cloud-gazing.
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed,
From Steichen's often-discredited Family of Man exhibition, which really should be online somewhere . . .
nostalgie des LPs
. . . you rode the last grooves as if on a rickshaw through the crowded Eastern capital of the music, and then all at once, at dusk, you left the gates of the city and stepped into a waiting boat that pulled you swiftly out onto the black and purple waters of the lagoon, toward a flat island in the middle; rapidly and silently you curved over the placid expanse, drawing near the circular island (with its low druidic totem in the middle, possibly calendrical) but never debarking there; now the undertow bore you at a strange fluid speed toward the teeming shore of the city - colors, perspiration, sleeplessness - and then again back out over the lagoon; the keel bumped first one shore, then the other, and though your vessel moved very fast it seemed to leave only a thin luminous seam in the black surface behind you to mark where the keel had cut. Finally my thumb lifted you up, and you passed high over the continent and disappeared beyond the edge of the flat world.
from Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine
man is born free, but is everywhere to be found in trains
A game to play on the underground: look around the carriage at your fellow passengers (and this being London, none of them will meet your gaze, so you can study them closely), pick a historico-geographic location/zeitgeist, and treat them as dolls to be dressed up accordingly. If this is successful, you can try to bring them to life and people a clockwork novella which you plot on the fly for the remainder of the journey.
Overheard on a Saltmarsh
Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?
Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?
Give them me.
Give them me. Give them me.
Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Goblin, why do you love them so?
They are better than stars or water,
Hush, I stole them out of the moon.
Give me your beads, I want them.
I will howl in the deep lagoon
- Harold Monro
The Georgian poet Harold Monro founded the Poetry Bookshop in London in 1912, which published poetry by Ezra Pound and Robert Graves among others, under its own imprint. The shop closed in about 1935: London was without a specialist poetry bookshop until 1953, when T.S. Eliot (a friend of Monro's) helped the Poetry Society open a bookshop in Earl's Court Square, which sadly closed a few years ago; as consolation of no kind at all we now have many coffee-shopped Borderses with fine well-lit poetry sections.
life, like a dome of many-coloured glass / stains the white radiance of eternity
Parts of the 'Light of the World' window by John Piper in the chapel of Robinson College, Cambridge.
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