Monday, November 24, 2014

The university down the road: its hour

     Suffer little children, and forbid
     them not, to come unto me: for of
     such is the kingdom of heaven.

The suffering of casuistry, of denial, of the equation of pleasure with force, which has been the lot of every Virginian since the taking root of a peculiar institution in his midst, has finally come to the attention of the universe of pupils in the watershed, eye-opening years of their ostensible idyll as undergraduates at their commonwealth's supreme institutional ornament. This has exposed the institution's unblinkable inadequacy as that buffer between an-guished assumption and development which marks radiant academies of this world, famous and not, as oases of surpassing trust. We know the innocence of the innocents is necessary, we have observed that it is wise, and that it can be redeemed. They, every civilization has emerged to protect. Inevitably, it falls to this university, at last, to choose them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The thrum, revisited


 I cannot look long
 at any old photo-
 graph of the city
 without hearing some
 music in the background.

 The voice is the immigrant,
 Charles Simic, a poet-laur-
 eate of the United States,
 born in Belgrade and living
 in New Hampshire. He admits
 to loving soccer, and I ad-
 mit, I don't. The harp with-
 in the city is our bridge.

Charles Simic
The Renegade
  Writings on Poetry
  and a few Other Things
  The Life of Images
George Braziller, 2009©

Margaret Bourke-White
San Francisco

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pomegranate seeds abound

  I have lots of acquaintances
  who conceive of our world in
  comestible terms, with the
  consequence that to recommend
  something to one of them is a
  mistake to do in the hearing
  of another. This is because of
  human variety, a reality which
  many enthusiasms would prefer
  not to exist. And so I told my
  friend, when he'd overheard me
  in that way, that I couldn't
  propose to waste his time with
  one resource, at the expense to
  himself of a more suitable one.

  Good to know, he said. I will
  trust you. God help me.

Good to know, I replied.
Then you don't need
to trust me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Man with a twig

As if certain algae
that keep islands of skeletons
alive, that make living rock from
trash, from carcasses left behind by others,

as if algae
were to produce out of
themselves and what they most fear
the detritus over whose
kingdom they preside: the burning
fountain is the imagination
within us that ingests and by its
devouring generates
what is most antithetical to itself:

it returns the intolerable as
brilliant dream, visible, opaque,

teasing analysis:

makes from what you find hardest to
swallow, most indigestible, your food.

Frank Bidart
Metaphysical Dog
  Of His Bones Are Coral Made
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013©