Friday, November 30, 2007

Wir hängen an den Dingen; aber die Dinge hängen nicht an uns.

- Hans Henny Jahnn: Fluß ohne Ufer. Das Holzschiff

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Marc Vaughn Moore 1.22.69 - 11.26.04

Each departed friend is a magnet that attracts us
to the next world.
- Jean Paul

Thursday, November 22, 2007

When everything is finished, the mornings are sad.

- Antonio Porchia / Hercules Seghers

not from this world

Karl Erb was the illegitimate son of an assembly line worker.
His childhood and adolescence were sad and poverty-stricken.
He was misanthropic, introverted and tended to inordinate
thrift and self-sufficiency. He was an autodidact and had an
almost fanatical love for his mother. He was the greatest
Evangelist (in Bach's "St. Matthews Passion") and the most
spiritual, angelic lied and oratorio singer.
His recording of Schubert's "Im Abendrot" is not from this world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I thought of that at the funeral.
I thought maybe it's just as well to die now,
if everything's headed in that direction.
I think that's what happens at a funeral.
You get to thinking.

Paul Metcalf, Collected Works. Volume Three

Monday, November 19, 2007

To a Little Girl

Sleep on, little one
All is well.
Better to die thus
Than go to Hell.

Life is cold and hard
Death is sweet
Many the traps are set
For wandering feet.

Would I could die as thou
Hast done this day
In childish faith and love
Be ta'en away.

Rest, my little one
Flowers on your breast
Safe in the cold earth's arms
Ever at rest.

Katherine Mansfield, written at the age of 15

- thank you, Antonia

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Landscapes that do not trigger musical themes
cannot become memories.

Cioran, Tears and Saints

the most beautiful man alive

"His dress and appearance were those suggesting a released convict...He wore, habitually, a rusty black coat with a crumpled black silk stock, his throat destitute of collar, a costume which his muscular frame and immense chest made singularly and incongruously hideous, above it a countenance the most sinister I have ever seen, dark, cruel, treacherous with eyes like a wild beast's. He reminded me by turns of a black leopard, caged but unforgiving ... . In his talk he affected an extreme brutality, and if one could believe the whole of what he said, he had indulged in every vice and committed every crime. I soon found, however, that most of these recitals were indulged in pour epater le bourgeiose and that his inhumanity was more pretended than real. Even the ferocity of his countenance gave place at times to more agreeable expressions, and I can just understand the infatuated fancy of his wife that in spite of his ugliness he was the most beautiful man alive. "
-- Wilfrid Blunt, Diaries.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Christ's body, in the instance of the eucharist, is the most delicate and precious morsel that ever existed in the world. But some say it was Cleopatra who ate that morsel when she swallowed a pearl worth more than two hundred fifty thousand écus with a sip of vinegar. Others say it was that greedy emperor who ate the phoenix, or who was made to believe that he had eaten it for his dinner. Some would have it be Queen Artemisia, who pulverized the dead body of King Mausoleus, her lord and husband and, mixing the beloved ashes with wine in a golden cup, swallowed them, and proved better than anyone in the world the truth of these words: They were two in one flesh. Others would say it was Adam eating the apple to which was attached the knowledge of good and evil. Or finally manna, which is the bread of heaven and the delight of the Angels. But all this is only a fable or figure representing the meat that the love of JESUS gave us out of the excess of his mercy.

-Etienne Binet,
Des Attraits tout puissants de l'amour de JESUS-CHRIST, et du Paradis de ce monde (1631)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

(Thoreau's essay Cape Cod :)

"...You should read the first few pages particularly, about starting a walking tour along a beach after a shipwreck, with people pulling out bodies and packing them in coffins.
After describing the scene he says
On the whole it was not so impressive a scene as I might have expected. If I had found one body cast upon the beach in some lonely place, it would have affected me more.
A little later he says
It is hard to part with one's body, but, no doubt, it is easy enough to do without it when once it is gone.
A hopeful thought."

- James Walsh for Blind Pony

From these random slips, it would seem, that Pierre is quite conscious of much that is so anomalously hard and bitter in his lot, of much that is so black and terrific in his soul. Yet that knowing his fatal condition does not one whit enable him to change or better his condition. Conclusive proof that he has no power over his condition. For in tremendous extremities human souls are like drowning men; well enough they know they are in peril; well enough they know the causes of that peril; -- nevertheless, the sea is the sea, and these drowning men do drown.

Herman Melville : Pierre, Or, The Ambiguities

Guest entry by flowerville (

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The world laid low,
and the wind blew - like a dust - Alexander,
Cesar, and all their followers.
Tara is grass; and look how it
stands with Troy...

- an Irish poet of the seventeenth century

'Nansen was prone to dark mood shifts in which he identified
with ancient Norse Gods. Inspirational on first acquaintance,
overpowering on prolonged contact, dangerous in confined spaces.'

- as told by Fergus Fleming

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We read not only because we cannot know enough people, but because friendship is so vulnerable, so likely to diminish or disappear, overcome by space, time, imperfect sympathies, and all the sorrows of familial and passional life.

- Borges

- 'zettel' from the paper graveyard

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Faust has searched through all his books for a cure for the plague, made it, and it has failed. He returns to his studio and sees his piles of books.

Guest entry by James Walsh

He came to believe that a normal, honest human being could not be a professor. It is the academy that gave him his reputation of impenetrable abstruseness; never has a man deserved a reputation less. Disciples who came to him expecting to find a man of incredibly deep learning, found a man who saw mankind held together by suffering alone, and he invariably advised them to be as kind as possible to others. He read, like all inquisitive men, to multiply his experience. He read Tolstoy (always getting bogged down) and the Gospels and bales of detective stories. He shook his head over Freud.
When he died he was reading Black Beauty.
His last words were: "Tell them I had a wonderful life."

- Guy Davenport, Wittgenstein

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"What are the dead for us, if not - first and foremost - books? Among all forms of prehistoric religions, the strangest and most difficult to understand in our own day seems the cult of the dead, the constant presence of the dead in every aspect of life. To a prehistoric man, in contrast, our strangest and most mysterious form of worship would be our use of books. Yet these two forms of believe converge. Concretized as portable objects that accompany us - our parasites, persecutors, comforters - the dead have settled on the written page. Their power has never diminished, even though it has
been wondrously transformed.'

- Roberto Calasso, The Ruin of Kash

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Every sickness is a musical problem.
- Novalis / (Dreyer)

hercules seghers

"...the palest stain of their passing..."

"He hoped obscurely that she could save him,
but he did not even know from what."

~William Gay

"...for the first time in his life he became aware of loneliness."
~John Williams

From the very fine found photos collection by Barry O'Connor

The body is a grave.

to honor it with a name and flowers

(thank you Dr. Melitta Becker)

Monday, November 5, 2007

new stockings just to please you...

"Oh," she said: "Casey, it's been so long since I've seen you.
"Here," she said: "just a kiss to make a body smile.
"See," she said: "I've put on new stockings just to please you.
"Lord," she said. "Casey, can you only stay a while."
"Oh," she said: "I suppose you seldom think about me.
"Now," she said: "now that you've a family of your own.
"Still," she said: "It's so blessed good to feel your body.
"Lord," she said: "Casey, it's a shame to be alone."

(lyrics: Kris Kristofferson)

Wouldn't mind dying, got to stay dead so long
Wouldn't mind dying, got to stay dead so long
Wouldn't mind dying, got to stay dead so long
And I wouldn't mind dying if dying was all


Guest entry by James Walsh

Sunday, November 4, 2007

going to china

In the morning of his days he was handsome - sleek as a raven, sprightly and spirited, and was then much caressed and happy. [...] It was once his hard lot to fall into the hands of Skinflint, a horse-keeper - an authorised wholesale and retail dealer in cruelty - who employed him alternately, but closely, as a hack, both in the chaise and for the saddle; for when the traces and trappings used in the former had peeled the skin from off his breast, shoulders, and sides, he was then, as his back was whole, thought fit for the latter [...] He was always, late and early, made ready for action - he was never allowed to rest.[...] It is amazing to think upon the vicissitudes of his life. [...] But his days and nights of misery are now drawing to an end; so that, after having faithfully dedicated the whole of his powers and his time to the service of unfeeling man, he is at last turned out, unsheltered and unprotected, to starve of hunger and of cold.

[From the descriptive text written by Bewick to accompany the print Waiting for Death. The full text is in Robert Robinson, Thomas Bewick: His Life and Times, p. 163-4.]

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I wish I was a mole in the ground
Yes I wish I was a mole in the ground
If I's a mole in the ground I'd root that mountain down
And I wish I was a mole in the ground

Oh Tippy wants a nine dollar shawl
Yes Tippy wants a nine dollar shawl
I come o'er the hill with a forty dollar bill
Baby where you been so long

I been in the bend so long
Yes I been in the bend so long
I been in the bend with the rough and rowdy men
Baby where you been so long

Oh I don't like a railroad man
No I don't like a railroad man
If I's a railroad man they'll kill you when he can
Drink up your blood like wine

Oh I wish I was a lizard in the spring
Yes I wish I was a lizard in the spring
If I's a lizard in the spring I'd hear my darlin' sing
And I wish I was a lizard in the spring

Oh Capie let your hair roll down
Capie let your hair roll down
Let your hair roll down and your bangs curl round
Oh Capie let your hair roll down

I wish I was a mole in the ground
Yes I wish I was a mole in the ground
If I's a mole in the ground I'd root that mountain down
And I wish I was a mole in the ground

- Bascom Lamar Lunsford

Friday, November 2, 2007


"Man whistles past graveyard on his long walk home.
Imagines that his own heart stops and his hands get
cold. But like in some Ambrose Bierce story he hears
the church bells tone and the unbearable sound of
nails driving home the coffin lid - his coffin lid! -
and he sees 2 white horses poised in the line. Coffin
gets lowered with golden chain. He shudders. Gets
home, hugs his kids."

American Primitive Vol.II