Robert Creeley, “One Day”

•June 10, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Robert Creeley

“One Day”

One day after another—


They all fit.

Paul Celan, “Line the Wordcaves”

•May 2, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Paul Celan, “Line the Wordcaves”

Line the wordcaves

with panther skins,

widen them, hide-to and hide-fro, 

sense-hither and sense-thither,

give them courtyards, chambers, drop doors

and wildnesses, parietal,

and listen for their second

and each time second and second


[Trans. Pierre Joris]

“We Wear the Mask,” Paul Laurence Dunbar

•April 29, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Paul Laurence Dunbar / “We Wear the Mask”

We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

       We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

To thee from tortured souls arise.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

       We wear the mask!

Marina Tsvetaeva, [I know the truth – give up all other truths]

•April 24, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Marina Tsvetaeva, [I know the truth – give up all other truths]

I know the truth — give up all other truths!

No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.

Look — it is evening, look, it is nearly night:

what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,

the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.

And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we

who never let each other sleep above it.

[Trans. Elaine Feinstein]

“Monet’s Waterlilies” by Robert Hayden

•April 16, 2023 • Leave a Comment

“Monet’s Waterlilies” by Robert Hayden

Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.

Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence, become
illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.

O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world
each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy.

[Robert Hayden]

To be Orson – or not…

•April 13, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Chimes at Midnight is an eccentric-driven work of art – a vehicle for Orson Welles, both as actor and director, to find his core. Without a doubt, Welles was born to play Falstaff – by far, his greatest character in film. Welles had the gift of brilliant acting and directing – though the Hollywood system would say … misfortune … regarding his role as a director. The film studios shunned him, audiences were completely confused by his works, his fellow actors tolerated him, his friends adored him – some movie goers idolized him. In his life, Welles also had the ability to blend fact and fable in his to a perfect mixture. In many ways he was the poster child for failure, for unfulfilled promise. Bursting on the movie scene at twenty-four with Citizen Kane – bringing with him his glorious fellow actors from the Mercury Theatre, a company he and John Houseman founded in 1937 – Welles’s career began to unravel even as it was beginning.

I view Chimes as the pinnacle of Welles’s up and down career. An extraordinary filmmaker with a singular vision – a chaser of cinematic dreams, fulfilling none of them. He was his own worst enemy when it came to his art; rather than settle, finish, or complete projects, he preferred to walk an artistic escalator – similar to what one might imagine in an MC Escher painting (always moving, yet never arriving). I’m amazed Welles finished any of his works – some filled with flashes of genius (America has always hated that word) and artistic possibility – with visuals from across the world, since Welles might begin a scene in Morocco, make changes in Spain, and finish the takes in Italy. A cinematic drifter.

“Can honor set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honor hath no skill in surgery then, no.” – spoken by Falstaff (Orson Welles) in Chimes at Midnight

Few filmmakers have had the ability to create an alternate universe in their works A few come to mind: Carl Dreyer, Michael Powell, Chantal Akerman, Krzysztof Kieślowski – and Orson Welles must be included. Always innovative, even when using tested forms, and forced to be creative, he had as strong an artistic sensibility as any filmmaker ever, but he also had no patience. Welles could rarely finish works because he was consumed by three or four ongoing, though seldom realized, projects. He once said of filmmaking, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” That makes since – especially considering how most of his stories did not stop – like his never-finished life-quest to capture Don Quixote on film – they simply continued to unfold in the universe, never finding a place to land.

Here are his thirteen finished major works (finished, more or less – one of them, Mr. Arkadin, existing in three different versions, none of which were what Welles envisioned): Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Stranger, The Lady from Shanghai, Macbeth, Othello, Mr. Arkadin, Touch of Evil, The Trial, Chimes at Midnight, The Immortal Story, F for Fake, The Other Side of the Wind.

…a narrowing of the imagination

•March 24, 2023 • 1 Comment

“We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.” – David Lynch

A perfect poem? Possibly so…

•February 27, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Not Writing

A wasp rises to its papery
nest under the eaves
where it daubs

at the gray shape,
but seems unable
to enter its own house.

Jane Kenyon

How many? Depends…

•February 12, 2022 • Leave a Comment

“How many slams in an old screen door?

How many slices in a bread?

Depends how loud you shut it.

Depends how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day?

Depends how good you live ‘em.” – Shel Silverstein

Photo: Sunrise, Outer Banks

– from “Grace” by Joy Harjo

•February 8, 2022 • Leave a Comment

“I think of Wind and her wild ways the year we had nothing to lose and lost it anyway in the cursed country of the fox. We still talk about that winter, how the cold froze imaginary buffalo on the stuffed horizon of snowbanks. The haunting voices of the starved and mutilated broke fences, crashed our thermostat dreams, and we couldn’t stand it one more time. So once again we lost a winter in stubborn memory, walked through cheap apartment walls, skated through fields of ghosts into a town that never wanted us, in the epic search for grace.”

– from “Grace,” Joy Harjo