not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

under the influence of egon schiele, i

"i want to gaze with astonishment..." from a letter to Anton Peschka, 1910

if there were only one landscape,
it should be gray with a single red berry... 
from "The Edge of the Ice," Mortalia, by James Owens

Friday, December 25, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

dreaming of a destiny sublime

"When our dream of the lovely and the true grows dim in our wavering thoughts; when the image of harmony falls from its high estate and is wrapped in the fogs and shadows of earth; when nothing survives of our affection or our hope; when we pass away on the ceaseless stream of time, fleeting irrevocably like the world around - my friends! she whom I have lost and you so far away, how can we congratulate ourselves on having had the gift of life?

What is there that can truly support us? What are we? A sorrowful blending of blind matter with free thought, of hope with bondage; urged on by an invisible breath in spite of our complainings, grovelling beneath clear skies on the miry soil, crawling like insects on the muddy paths of life; and yet until the very last moment, dreaming of the pure raptures of a destiny sublime."

Obermann, Étienne Pivert de Senancour

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

fish and the vortex

Dogfish from Mary Oliver's Dream Work

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman’s boot,
with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know
what a smile means,
don’t you?


I wanted
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
  where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
  I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was

for a little while.


It was evening, and no longer summer.
Three small fish, I don’t know what they were,
huddled in the highest ripples
as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body
one gesture, one black sleeve
that could fit easily around
the bodies of three small fish.


Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
don’t we?



the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.


You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story – – –
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.


And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.


And probably,
if they don’t waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


The Farm

Frank stooped, pulled the lever, popped the trunk.
Ma closed her jacket, pretended to preen over last year's garden,
Clots and clumps of soil, the sunflowers solemn shepherds, soft shouldered.
John and Harold put the suitcases in
and Molly shifted her feet, crinkled her pretty dress's hem.
She wanted to look nice so had forsaken her sweater.
I kicked the tires, a half-hearted guise at a safety inspection.
Then Joshua, the neighbour, clucked the sign with his tongue.
They'd pull away. It would all pull away.
It would begin its slow release around the borders.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

decay and flight

All Hallows by Louise Glück

Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here

Come here, little one

And the soul creeps out of the tree.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

something metaphysical in the roots

up the logging road someone has preempted a fall,
laid his own mechanical weight and burst the ballast,
lulled the lumber in reverse, timbered the timber.
it's all only a matter of time, they say,
time for the soil to snatch the seed from the scat,
time for the life force to buck and break the bract,
time for the wood to reproduce, careening with cellular force,
veneer methodically ironing itself out,
or like an alien philosophy might slowly overtake its host,
a decaying and susceptible well-primed nation—

hate to see something like that fall on its own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

gleaning i

MOREOVER by Jack Gilbert

We are given the trees so we can know
what God looks like. And rivers
so we might understand Him. We are allowed
women so we can get into bed with the Lord,
however partial and momentary that is.
The passion, and then we are single again
while the dark goes on. He lived
in the Massachusetts woods for two years.
Went out naked among the summer pines
at midnight when the moon would allow it.
He watched the aspens when the afternoon breeze
was at them. And listened to rain
on the butternut tree near his window.
But when he finally left, they did not care.
The difficult garden he was midwife to
was indifferent. The eight wild birds
he fed through both winters, when the snow
was starving them, forgot him immediately.
And the three women he ate of and entered
utterly then and before, who were his New World
as immensity and landfall, are now only friends
or dead. What we are given is taken away,
but we manage to keep it secretly.
We lose everything, but make harvest
of the consequence it was to us. Memory
builds this kingdom from the fragments
and approximation. We are gleaners who fill
the barn for the winter that comes on.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

framing summer

how the geranium behaved for a moment like the heart of summer