An Eye for Death
I’ve been to see the friend who died.
He’s fine. Less ugly (oh, he was ugly,
our poor friend!), and that waxy pallor
and the sage’s calm in which he rests,
engrossed in thought, give him the sad
and tolerant air he strove for in his life
and surely never had. Meanwhile, what a pity!
That eye remains wide open that was always
on his mind; we can say it now, I think:
the glass eye. Horrific on the lifeless
face, that rigid look of menace …
The eye now seems to say: “I see you all!”
Translated from the Italian by George Hochfield and Leonard Nathan. Art credit Purdy Eaton.
12:43 pm • 2 December 2013 • 96 notes
“This was typical of the junk I turned out: Kid next to me in school was the son of a gambler—he’d never take his test marks back—he’d let ’em ride on the next test. Now you see why it wasn’t hard to do fifty [jokes] a day during rush hour.”
Happy belated birthday, Woody Allen.
11:46 am • 2 December 2013 • 139 notes
“Dear Norman, As regards the War Tax Protest if I started protesting and refusing to contribute to all the uses of tax money of which I disap prove: Narcotics Department, FBI, CIA, any and all expenditures for nuclear weapons, in fact any expenditures to keep the antiquated idea of a nation on its dying legs, I would wind up refusing to pay one cent of taxes, which would lead to more trouble than I am pre pared to cope with or to put it another way I feel my first duty is to keep myself in an operating condition. In short I sympathize but must abstain.”
The selected letters of William S. Burroughs.
10:45 am • 2 December 2013 • 197 notes
At the Girolamini Library in Naples, a librarian has been accused of “one of the most dramatic thefts ever to hit the rare-book world.” Pilfered volumes include rare editions of Aristotle, Descartes, and Machiavelli.
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
10:25 am • 2 December 2013 • 407 notes
BECAUSE MY DAUGHTERS ARE GROWING,
grief has stained and doubled my limbs.
Each daughter I enfold in arms
sees my blurred eyes as multi-faceted.
Oh, spider-mother, they tease.
Oh, spider-mother, they sing
all their days over their sweeping,
their small games with shells.
And I lament more as their legs
grow tall and thick, their hips
spread like a terrible web
in which a small life will stick,
struggle like an angry fly.
Art credit David Ostrowski.
5:30 pm • 1 December 2013 • 382 notes
“I want to register my antagonism while also registering my complicity.”
— Michael Robbins
3:00 pm • 1 December 2013 • 211 notes
“Let me repeat. I have not read all the work of this present generation of writing. I have not had time yet. So I must speak only of the ones I do know. I am thinking now of what I rate the best one, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, perhaps because this one expresses so completely what I have tried to say. A youth, father to what will—must—someday be a man, more intelligent than some and more sensitive than most, who—he would not even have called it by instinct because he did not know he possessed it because God perhaps had put it there, loved man and wished to be a part of mankind, humanity, who tried to join the human race and failed. To me, his tragedy was not that he was, as he perhaps thought, not tough enough or brave enough or deserving enough to be accepted into humanity. His tragedy was that when he attempted to enter the human race, there was no human race there. There was nothing for him to do save buzz, frantic and inviolate, inside the glass wall of his tumbler, until he either gave up or was himself, by himself, by his own frantic buzzing, destroyed.”
—William Faulkner’s from “A Word to Young Writers.”
12:30 pm • 1 December 2013 • 1,155 notes
between them is
a nothing that is made
and is never perfect
the sight in an empty socket at night
the everlasting decision
approaching the point of origin
the first fire
still without color
drawing the unlit firmaments after it
—W. S. Merwin, from “Demonstration”
Photography credit Joanna Kitchener.
10:00 am • 1 December 2013 • 245 notes
“…The unconditional eye does not exist.”
The painting “Anxiously Quiet and Violet” by Martial Raysse, from the portfolio a geometrie variable.
5:30 pm • 30 November 2013 • 139 notes