Monday, February 28, 2011

An old favorite that never gets old: Tyler Shield's "My Body Is a Cage"

Good Night

"Sleep softly my old love
my beauty in the dark
night is a dream we have
as you know as you know

night is a dream you know
an old love in the dark
around you are you go
without end as you know

in the night where you go
sleep softly my old love
without end in the dark
in the love that you know."

-W.S. Merwin

Night With No Moon

"Now you are darker than I can believe
it is not wisdom that I have come to

with its denial and pure promises
but this absence that I cannot set down

still hearing there is nothing to hear
reaching into the blindness that was there

thinking to walk in the dark together."

-W.S. Merwin


"Here it is once again
this one note from a string of longing
tightened suddenly from both ends
and held for plucking."

Sunday, February 27, 2011



Homer, the aged poet: [in German] Tell me of the men, women, and children who will look for me - me, their storyteller, their bard, their choirmaster - because they need me more than anything in the world.

[in French]

Homer, the aged poet: We have embarked.

Corner and Imogen

The Other Tiger by Jorge Luis Borges

A tiger comes to mind. The twilight here
Exalts the vast and busy Library
And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;
Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek
It wanders through its forest and its day
Printing a track along the muddy banks
Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know
(In its world there are no names or past
Or time to come, only the vivid now)
And makes its way across wild distances
Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells
And in the wind picking the smell of dawn
And tantalizing scent of grazing deer;
Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse
The tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame
Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep us
Apart in vain; from here in a house far off
In South America I dream of you,
Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.

It strikes me now as evening fills my soul
That the tiger addressed in my poem
Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols
And scraps picked up at random out of books,
A string of labored tropes that have no life,
And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel
That under sun or stars or changing moon
Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling
Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed
The one that's real, the one whose blood runs hot
As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,
And that today, this August third, nineteen
Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;
But by the act of giving it a name,
By trying to fix the limits of its world,
It becomes a fiction not a living beast,
Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.

We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.

Browning Decides To Be A Poet by Jorge Luis Borges

In these red labyrinths of London
I find that I have chosen
the strangest of all callings,
save that, in its way, any calling is strange.
Like the alchemist
who sought the philosopher's stone
in quicksilver,
I shall make everyday words--
the gambler's marked cards, the common coin--
give off the magic that was their
when Thor was both the god and the din,
the thunderclap and the prayer.
In today's dialect
I shall say, in my fashion, eternal things:
I shall try to be worthy
of the great echo of Byron.
This dust that I am will be invulnerable.
If a woman shares my love
my verse will touch the tenth sphere of the concentric heavens;
if a woman turns my love aside
I will make of my sadness a music,
a full river to resound through time.
I shall live by forgetting myself.
I shall be the face I glimpse and forget,
I shall be Judas who takes on
the divine mission of being a betrayer,
I shall be Caliban in his bog,
I shall be a mercenary who dies
without fear and without faith,
I shall be Polycrates, who looks in awe
upon the seal returned by fate.
I will be the friend who hates me.
The Persian will give me the nightingale, and Rome the sword.
Masks, agonies, resurrections
will weave and unweave my life,
and in time I shall be Robert Browning.


And as you split the frost-laced wood with numb hands...

"Your cold mornings are filled with the heartache about the fact that although we are not at ease in this world, it is all we have, that it is ours but that it is full of strife, so that all we can call our own is strife; but even that is better than nothing at all, isn't it? And as you split the frost-laced wood with numb hands, rejoice that your uncertainty is God's will and His grace toward you that that is beautiful, and a part of a greater certainty, as your own father always said in his sermons and to you at home. And as the ax bites into the wood, be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it. And when you resent the ache in your heart, remember: You will be dead and buried soon enough." -Paul Harding

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Porphyria's Lover

THE rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listen'd with heart fit to break. 5
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneel'd and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form 10
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soil'd gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And call'd me. When no voice replied, 15
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, 20
Murmuring how she loved me—she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever. 25
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain. 30
Be sure I look'd up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipp'd me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do. 35
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around, 40
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain. 45
And I untighten'd next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propp'd her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore 50
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorn'd at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gain'd instead! 55
Porphyria's love: she guess'd not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirr'd,
And yet God has not said a word! 60


Lara Logan!5766171/what-lara-logans-experience-means-for-female-journalists


More Details On Lara Logan’s Assault, And What It Means For Female Journalists

As more details emerge about Lara Logan's assault, a predictable debate begins: should female journalists be barred from war zones?

The Australian has more specifics on Logan's attack — sources say she was stripped, beaten with poles, and pinched so hard it looked like she'd been bitten. The paper rounded out this upsetting news with — you guessed it — more discussion of Logan's looks. Specifically, onetime Logan colleague Martin Fritzell tells The Australian, "even though she happens to look like a model, she has bigger balls than most men." It's less obnoxious than what we heard just after news broke of her assault, but can't we leave Logan's beauty alone for the length of a single story?

This is especially important because there are bigger issues at play. In the Times, Kim Bakerwrites about her fear that in the wake of Logan's assault, "there will be suggestions that female correspondents should not be sent into dangerous situations." These suggestions are already circulating. A CBS source told PopEater that network honchos were considering pulling their female reporters out of the Middle East: "It's terrifying what happened to Lara, and we would be irresponsible to not have internal conversations about if young female reporters should ever be put in such dangerous situations." Another source added, "the simple fact exists that in certain environments, being a woman is more dangerous, and one such place is the Middle East."

However, Sabrina Tavernise, also in the Times, points out that sexual assault and harassment are realities for women around the globe, not just in the Middle East. She writes, "In my experience, Muslim countries were not the worst places for sexual harassment. My closest calls came in Georgia with soldiers from Russia, a society whose veneer of rules and civility often covers a pattern of violence, often alcohol laced, toward women." It's also true thathundreds of thousands of women are sexually assaulted right here in the US every year.

Kim Baker argues persuasively that pulling female journalists out of war zones would be a loss for journalism:

ook at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

However, it would also be a loss for women's rights. The message women so often get after a high-profile sexual assault is if we just behaved slightly differently, this kind of thing would never happen. If we didn't have dangerous jobs, if we didn't go to dangerous (read "foreign," or lately "Muslim") places, then we'd be totally fine. But the truth is that women can be sexually harassed right in their newsrooms, they can be assaulted in their neighborhoods, they can be raped in their homes. And every time we respond to sexual assault by curtailing what women do, we add injustice to injury.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

10 More Reasons You’re Not Married!5765202/10-more-reasons-youre-not-married

You want to get married. You don't care to whom. You just want a big sparkly ring and an R nestled between the MS. that comes before your name on those late payment notices from The Student Loan Corporation. But you're not married, which is the only thing that you need out of life. You need a man like a fish needs whatever the opposite of a bicycle is. Why hasn't he appeared like a bland square jawed Disney Prince to reward you for being sweet and singing to the animals by marrying you?

Several readers have tipped us off to the existence of Tracy McMillan's Primer for Why No One Loves You (Once, Twice, Three Times A Wifey!), and it's extremely groundbreaking and envelope pushing, because no one has ever told women that the reasons that they're not married is because there's something profoundly wrong withthem; never, in all of human history have women been blamed for the failure of a relationship or for her own unhappiness. The article suggests that you're not married because you're a bitch, a slut, shallow, selfish, a liar, and because, in light of all these horrible traits that you exhibit, you also dare think you're not good enough. I think she left some bases uncovered, though. Unmarried women: there's so much more wrong with you than you could possibly imagine, and if you ever want anyone to love you, fix it immediately.

1. You're not good enough at fellatio or are too good at fellatio.
No man wants a blow job queen! No man wants a non-blow job queen, either, because men love blow jobs but men don't love sluts. To solve this Quintessential Lady Conundrum, every once in awhile, try accidentally scraping his penis lightly with your teeth, just to reassure him that you didn't totally go through that party n' blowjob phase when you were 24. He'll marry you for sure.

2. You look like a slob or are too high maintenance.
Why did you cut your hair short? You look like a boy. Why do you have such long hair? It takes you forever to get ready. Why are you wearing sweatpants and chapstick when you go to the Post Office? Why are you wearing a sundress and heels when you're just going to drop off some library books? You're way too high maintenance and or low maintenance. Men hate both of those things, and now you'll never get married.

3. You are too fat or too skinny .
Men like a little something to grab onto. Men like fucking skeletons with hair extensions. Why don't you go to the gym more or less so that your body is more meaty or lean for the sexual pleasure of your male companion? Are you eating that or not eating that? You should or should not. You'll never get married now.

4. You have too many hobbies or not enough hobbies.
Do you like spending time doing things with your manfriend that you both enjoy doing? You should probably give him more space to do those things by himself. Do you not like doing things with your manfriend? You need to make an effort to like the things that he likes so that you can do things together. If you do things together or do not do things together, you will suffocate or alienate him, and he will cheat on you and then marry his secretary.

5. You're not Martha Stewart or you are Martha Stewart.
You're really good at cooking, but that's creepy because you remind him of his mom and no one wants to have children with their own mother. You're really bad at cooking, but that's terrible because he also doesn't know how to cook and who is supposed to cook food if not you, woman? You are too domestic or too inept, and a man doesn't want to be with someone who is good or bad at keeping a house.

6. You're too old or young.
You feel like your age has afforded you the experience and wisdom necessary to make you a better partner. You feel like your youth has given you the energy to be patient and open minded. Neither of these things is correct. You're old and dried up or you're a naive child trophy wife. No one wants that.

7. You will or will not do anal.
This relates to reason
#1 you're not married, which is that you're too good or not good enough at fellatio. Anal sex is something that is done by the sexually adventurous or the woman who was raised Catholic and for some reason thought that having anal sex with her high school boyfriend was less hellworthy than breaking her hymen, and sexually adventurous women will not get married, and any Catholic crazy enough to have anal in high school is on the road to a career in naughty school themed pornography. Your husband needs to know that he owns every hole in your body, but also shouldn't have to bother with teaching you how to do anything.

8. You want money and security too much or not enough.
You really liked that one nice restaurant he took you to the other week, you gold digger. You told him you didn't want any jewelry for your anniversary, you ungrateful bitch. Appreciate him more or less for the work he does or does not do to support the lifestyle you live.

9. You want children too much and/or not enough.
I'd like to have children someday, you say, because you are crazed with the idea of babies. I'm not sure if I want to have children, you say, because you're selfish and masculine. Women who want or don't want children are not desirable for marriage. If you're not married, it may well be because you do or don't want to have children of your own someday. Man repellent!

10. You refuse to enter into a lifetime contract with someone who you're not totally sure about or are too eager to enter into a lifetime contract with any old douchebag.
You're straightforward about wanting to get married or not wanting to get married, and men don't want to be with women who do or do not want to get married, because they're too eager or apathetic, and men want to be with a woman who does or does not want to be with them.

But it's okay, ladies; all of these personality flaws can be fixed if you just get confident. Learn how to do all of these things on the list in addition to those things that Tracy McMillan tells you to stop doing (being selfish lying bitchsluts) and then you can maybe achieve that thing that all women want to achieve, which is to get married to some chump who never emotionally matured past the age of 13.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Homer the aged poet

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman. With time, those who listened to me became my readers. They no longer sit in a circle, bur rather sit apart. And one doesn't know anything about the other. I'm an old man with a broken voice, but the tale still rises from the depths, and the mouth, slightly opened, repeats it as clearly, as powerfully. A liturgy for which no one needs to be initiated to the meaning of words and sentences."

Wings of Desire

Emily Bronte essay

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Facebook is good for something.

This was the status of my friend Caitrin. Clearly, we got on a roll.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney: The tempestuous tulip.

Melissa Jackson The deliciously distraught daffodil.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The reckless rose.

Melissa Jackson The horrified hydrangea.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The persnickety poppy.

Melissa Jackson The lascivious lily.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The outrageous orchid.

Melissa Jackson The bewildered baby's breath.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The pompous petunia.

Melissa Jackson The arrogant amaryllis.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The lucid lilac.

Melissa Jackson The cantankerous clover. (I think we deserve an award at this point.)

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The hellacious hydrangea. (I agree, this must be getting near record breaking.)

Melissa Jackson The devious dahlia.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The voluptuous violets.

Melissa Jackson The jesting jasmine.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The bodacious begonia.

Melissa Jackson The magnanimous magnolia.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The analytical alyssum.

Melissa Jackson The neurotic narcissus.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The cathartic carnation.

Melissa Jackson The furtive forget-me-not.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The monstrous marigold.

Melissa Jackson The gorgeous goldenrod.

Melissa Jackson Again, with the awards. Can someone please at least give us stickers?

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The entitled edelweiss.

Melissa Jackson The hellacious heliotrop.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The funky freesia.

Melissa Jackson The persnickety plumeria.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The ticklish thyme.

Melissa Jackson The advantageous aster.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The inquisitive iris.

Melissa Jackson The bemoaning buttercup.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The disastrous dandelion.

Melissa Jackson The ferocious fern.

Caitrin Bogart Sweeney The officious oleander.

Julie Sweeney This is the best FB thread I have ever read!

The resounding rhododendron!