Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alien Exchange

Gravity as greed. The Earth holds on to us as though we were money. Intelligent life the most precious commodity in the Universe.

A giant leap for Mankind, a tiny loan to the Moon.

Somewhere out there is a planet with a currency all its own. The challenge, if they ever make contact, will be figuring out the exchange rate.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I should have looked back more often.

I don't know where I lost her. She was there five minutes ago. And now she's gone.

Did she get stuck at a light, maybe miss a turn? I told her to follow me. It should have been easy. There isn't even any traffic going this way. Maybe I should have gone slower? I don't know.

What do I do now? Wait? Go back? But where to? Better to keep going. She'll make her own way, I guess. Maybe ask someone for directions. Though it's late, and there's no one on the streets.

It can't be helped, I suppose. I keep glancing in the rear view, hoping to see her headlights, hoping it's all a mistake and she's still coming up behind.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Built or driven

Not a pilgrimage, but a migration. Grief you revisit but may not return to. The desire more instinct than constancy, more intuition than belief.

Suffering like a nest you line with fresh memories. The weight of the unspoken set down on every branch.

Note: Title taken from here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A series of small deceptions

"I'd always thought art
was a series of small deceptions
performed in the service of the truth."

- Jude Nutter, 'The Last Supper', from The Curator of Silence (University of Notre Dame Press 2007)

All these performances. The way we turn possibility into consolation, imagining what might be.

The truth, but not the whole truth. Anything but the whole truth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The mindlessness of strangers

You know, the more time I spend in the company of strangers, the more I despair for the future of the species. There's just no getting away from it - people are weird.

Take the woman sitting next to me at the concert on Friday, who sat through Anthony Ross' encore with a scissor in hand, trimming her nails. Yes, actually trimming her nails while the cellist was playing [1]!

Or the woman at the ballet yesterday [2] who decided that since her ticket said Row 20 Seat 4, she was obviously in the first seat in row 24 (because 20+4=24, see!).

Or the person sitting behind me in the bus this afternoon, saying this to an acquaintance she ran into on the bus (and speaking, needless to say, really, really loud):

"I have to confess I keep going back there just for him. I can't help it. I really want him. He's so delicious. I know it's silly. I know I have to stop. But, I mean, I'm not doing any harm am I? I mean, it's not like I'm stalking him or anything. I just keep showing up there to see him. To be honest, I've known for some time that he's into boys. You know. And that just makes me sad. I keep thinking maybe he'll get over it and notice me. I know it's silly. I really have to stop, don't I?"
[acquaintance, who has been maintaining an embarrassed silence through this outpouring, says something noncommittal]

"Yes, I know. I will. It's just that I've never felt the kind of passion I feel for him for anyone else. But then, passion can turn bad too, you know. But I don't think that's happening to me. I just need to stop myself from going there. But he's so attractive..."

I'm NOT exaggerating. Promise.

[1] Okay, said encore consisted of a fairly uninspired rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow [3], so it wasn't exactly the highpoint of the evening, but still.

[2] The Royal Winnipeg Ballet premiering their new ballet - Moulin Rouge. All in all, an exquisite performance. The fact that it kept slipping into bathos probably has more to do with the fact that I'm not a big fan of traditional ballet than anything else.

[3] Which is a nice enough song, but playing it after Schumann is like serving Hershey bars after a wine tasting.

Signifying nothing

The stillness of man amid the dance of his distractions. Like the beam of the spotlight that, falling on nothing, holds the stage together.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Neu Roses

Taming the lion was easy. Getting the mirror to disobey him impossible.

Hercules lifts the orchestra on his shoulders. The air expands to let the music through.

Beauty is never predictable.

Narcissus in a cage trying not to maul himself.


Ever since I've moved to Minneapolis, I've been trying to wean myself off my beloved Philadelphians and bring myself to the Minnesota Orchestra, a task made particularly arduous by the latter's insistence on playing inordinate amounts of Tchaikovsky [1].

Tonight, however, the Orchestra made up for it all, with a concert that featured a splendid rendition of Schumann's Cello Concerto followed by an almost note-perfect performance of Shostakovich's Fifth under the baton of Stefan Sanderling. Glorious stuff.

[1] One does not like being made to listen to Tchaikovsky. It's like listening to a wimpier version of Brahms. Plus I can no longer listen to the first Piano Concerto without thinking of this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


A ladder left leaning against a wall, as though someone had eloped with the window.

White rungs like the moonlight practicing scales.

An uneasy bridge between the vertical and the horizontal.

The way the lack of an object turns ascent into transcendence, something to aspire to, a grasp exceeded only by its own reach.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I long to see you in an old light. In your first rain. In the dance you wore to monsoon communions. In a time before the taking of photographs or the invention of tears. See you as you were before the flashbulbs of beauty, in an age of crooked teeth and stringy hair. You standing there, in the shadow of who you would become, like a girl beneath a billboard, trying to light a match.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A short short (love) story

Overheard on the bus:

"You mean he didn't tell her he slept over with you on his birthday?"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Beyond an uncertain point

It's not that you wish to die. On the contrary, you no longer feel the need for a reason to live.

Somewhere there is a world where everything you no longer believe has proven true. What remains is both less probable and more necessary. The way a sealed window is an invitation to look down at the city, to look up at the sky.

It's not that you wish to die. It's just that above a certain height you have to consider the possibility.

Monday, October 05, 2009

But a whimper

"Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm."

-Tracy Letts August: Osage County

People are always saying how when one door closes another opens. Which is bullshit. When a door closes you look for a fucking window and if you're lucky enough to find one you jump straight out of it without bothering to look.

And you hope you aren't too high.

Yes and No

Fastidiousness or indecision? In either case an unwillingness to commit. A refusal to take sides is a sign of judgment, until its a sign of cowardice. The difference between reaching across a fence and sitting on it. "The best lack all conviction", Yeats says. No, the best just take their time to be convinced. Yet how do we tell a diplomat from a politician? Is there a difference?

Does that answer your question?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The shortest flight

...between two points is a fall.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Scenes we'd like to see dept.

A version of the Ramayan with Hanuman as King Kong.

Hanuman grabs Sita (Scarlett Johansson) and climbs to the top of the Empire State building. Ravan (Javier Bardem) comes after them in his Curtiss Helldiver named Pushpak, and proceeds to set Hanuman / Kong's ass on fire, at which point Hanuman / Kong threatens to incinerate most of mid-town sparing only the brief stretch of Lexington with his favorite desi places. Things look pretty dire for Manhattan until Ram (Woody Allen) arrives and proceeds to read Kierkegaard to Hanuman / Kong until the big ape can't take it any more and commits suicide by ripping his chest open and tearing out his heart. Sita (Johansson) throws herself at Ram (Allen) because nothing makes a girl hornier than being saved from Javier Bardem by a short man in glasses old enough to be her grandfather, but Ram has just realized that being the sixth incarnation of god makes him an existential schizophrenic, and ignores her.

The End.

First Movement

A music of madmen rearranging furniture in rooms of sound.

The rhythm of things lifted, let down. Muscles tensed and released.

Pause. Are you pleased?

Let's try it differently. But quick, quick, before silence gets home.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Buckets of silver
light poured into the river
to summon the moon.