Monday, September 28, 2015

Lunar vulgarity

Yesterday there was a big full moon, and then an eclipse, and folks went bananas about it. I don’t usually go bananas about such things, but a family friend said she would have to tell her son to get a train from the airport home because she didn’t want to miss the moon rise.

So when the moon was out I took a look. It was pretty. Was it unbelievable? No. Did I stay up until 4 am to watch the eclipse? No. But coincidentally before bed I was reading a hilariously pathetic love scene in Gormenghast, the second book of Mervyn Peake’s trilogy, that kicks off in the “lunar vulgarity” of a garden.

“While they stood by the fishpond in which the reflection of the moon shone with a fatuous vacancy. They stared at it. Then they looked up at the original. It was no more interesting than its watery ghost, but they knew that to ignore the moon on such an evening would be an insensitive, almost a brutish thing to do.”

Friday, September 25, 2015


I visited Leipzig for the first time earlier this month. My daughter and I stayed at a latchkey hotel just outside downtown, across from an abandoned building. It’s a clean, small city, sometimes called “Hypezig” because it’s supposedly the new Berlin, full of hipsters and used record shops. I bought a few used CDs myself, and so did Luisa. In an antique shop I also bought a handful of old photos for about 1.90 euros a pop. I love the texture and coloring of them. On the back of the one on the left it says "Oma Martha mit Martin." The one on the right doesn't say anything, but I love the look of the pensive young man, his military suit, and his yellowing frame.

The highlight was seeing the Thomaskirche, where Bach’s remains are buried. Bach’s music is gorgeous purity and longing, and I am a huge fan. I found out the boys’ choir would be singing a Bach cantata at 3 pm on Saturday, and I left Luisa to her wanderings to attend. I got there around 2.30 and found two long lines. Tickets were 2 euros. The place was packed and the best bet was the nave, where the acoustics weren't great, but there were plenty of seats. I sat beside a nice gentleman right next to Bach’s grave. The man told me how the remains found their way there after WWII and how we owe it to a mason and a knowledgable civil servant from the Russian culture ministry that Bach's bones were salvaged at all.

It's a simple grave - you can touch it, or lay flowers there if you want. All you have to do is arrive. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

By the sword, at the stake, through the plague

I’ve had a trio of poems out in the past couple weeks. 

The latest one is Medieval Photographer, a poem about an impossible vocation. It’s up in Cleaver Magazine.

Nightlight Ghazal is up in The Citron Review. I’ve written so many ghazals now, and had another accepted this week. I enjoy how the form works like a stack of short, separate poems. The first one I wrote is Ghazal of the Bright Body, published 10 years ago. 

The If Horse is in Hermeneutic Chaos. I have written a number of sentence poems like this but haven’t published many. The first was published in 2012 in qarttsiluni - The Only Order the Day Had Was Chronological Order. I had another recently accepted at concis.

Friday, September 04, 2015

the boredom catalog

Boredom breeds frustration because it’s tortured by possibility.

The setting doesn’t matter – shack or palace, car park or ship at sea. 

Whereas we fool ourselves we’re in love, or convince ourselves we’re ill, boredom has the benefit of authenticity. 

Familiarity breeds contempt, but the stop-over is boredom.

Insomnia is boredom made flesh. The mind races, the body can’t be bothered.

Tedium is boredom in jacked-up, drawn-out form. Boredom can be found within minutes in a waiting room. Tedium needs a marriage.

What lies in boredom? Brood, for one thing, and also doom.

Boredom disperses. Tedium leaves a stain.

In Italy: “Don’t tell me it’s going to be another beautiful day.”

Boredom comes on its own, often by accident; it is not something that can be achieved.

In class we blame it on geometry; in museums on dismal painters. It can be a personal failure, though we seek the cause externally.

It’s no surprise that boredom rhymes with whoredom. We all fall victim to it occasionally, but only some make it a career.
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