die die my darling

for halloween,
some epitaphs from here.

Jackie Gleason:
"And away we go!"

Werner Karl Heisenberg:
"He lies here, somewhere."
This is a pun on the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which implies that one may not know the position and momentum of a particle simultaneously.

Jeremiah Johnson:
"I told you I was sick."

Dorothy Parker:
"Excuse my dust"

Oscar Wilde:
"And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn."

William P. Rothwell:
(carved into a boulder) "This is on me."

what would i want for an epitaph?

perhaps "the most intelligent thing a starving man can do is fast"? (i can't remember who said this.)

or maybe this from calvino: "at night, putting your ear to the ground, you can sometimes hear a door slam."

what words would you want?

** photo from northstar gallery


happy to see you

click here to see a wonderful little video clip of camilla engman's dear dog morran. it's also wonderful to hear her soft laughing in the background.


"world was in the face of the beloved..."

but suddenly it poured out and was gone: world is outside, world cannot be grasped.

why didn't i, from the full beloved face
as i raised it to my lips, why didn't i drink
world, so near that i could almost taste it?

ah, i drank. insatiably i drank.

but i was filled up also, with too much
world, and, drinking,

i myself ran over." --rainer maria rilke


"among our articles of lazy hardware we recommend a faucet which stops dripping when no one is listening to it." --marcel duchamp

my new site meter is having an interesting effect on me. it's making me think of this space more in terms of a structure; an entity of rooms. when someone comes in the front "door," a shutter trips. this is the vestige of a visit, the only trace of the presence of one who otherwise leaves nothing behind. only a few leave comments. but i know from my own experience that not commenting on posts i've visited doesn't mean i don't find much to comment on. often i find myself still swilling around bits of phrases and ideas days after i've read them. but then it often seems too late to comment. it is the nature of the blog to be always rolling forward.

but who is looking at my blog? who reads my thoughts? this unknowing has the flavor of how an afterlife must feel. that is, if there were site meters in the afterlife.[this is a hypothetical afterlife i speak of.]

i think the blogosphere is akin to the winchester mystery house, with links as doorways into adjoining spaces going on forever. elaborate stairways leading to nothing; spacious rooms no one ever enters. what i love especially is that the furniture is as light as air.


venus from behind


then there's lauren.rabbit

who i stumbled upon this morning while browsing through flickr's 'man ray' pool, where they give suggestions on how to know if your work is "man ray enough." i loved the sound of that.
lauren.rabbit's home series on flickr is a perfect thing to come across in late october. it is an exploration of space at once saturated and stark; like peeking through a raveled place in a dress or curtain. these are spaces that fill you with both the desire to inhabit them and the keen sense that you recognize them from somewhere. their noctilucence is intoxicating.
for reasons inexplicable, the words ambergris and sconce come to mind. i am also reminded of the 'time passes' section of "to the lighthouse."

view it as a slideshow to get the full effect.

a fondness for rabbits

well, more like a fondness for the idea of rabbits. (i'm allergic to the real ones). the conceptual rabbit and his magnificent ears that he would not have if he wasn't the animal he is, an object of pursuit. the biggest parts of a rabbit are his ears and his back legs. these are what have developed in response to his lot in life, his position as a non-predator.

he hears well and runs fast--these are two qualities i can admire.

also his burrowing habits.

even the word 'rabbit' is lovely; it is a word as shapely as a rabbit's long ears.

remember rabbit ears in the 70's? having to wiggle them to enhance reception?

remember eddie rabbit?

well, it might be better to leave you with peter.



some thoughts not yet strung together:

october makes me toast to transience more than any other month.

good writing involves being objective about one's subjectivity.

the ordinary has a transparent quality.

a lovely and unusual word for a dandy is "exquisitist."


for the next time you play mad libs

from the 1940 roget's thesaurus:


--. nouns: alertness, notice, note, regard, circumspection, care, study, scrutiny. (or how to look at the tiny).

--. verbs: observe, heed, recognize, make note of, note.

--. adjectives: mindful, alive to, engrossed in, absorbed, rapt, circumspect, open-eyed, on the watch.

--. interjections: look out!, hark!, listen!, hear ye! oyez!.

in addition to the joy of paying attention is the joy of appreciating the words that hold the key to our ever hoping to articulate 'paying attention.'

getting down underneath the upholstery of paying attention.


"to the silence of one who leaves us dreaming..." -rene char

in honor of david ray, whose birthday is today, i leave a trail of poems by surrealist malcolm de chazal, from "sens plastique":

a bicycle rolls on the road.
the road is the third wheel
rolling the other two.

the water says to the wave,
"you are swallowing me."
"how could i?"
replies the wave,
"i am your mouth."

the pupil
turned the eyes
the iris followed
the white of the eye
just long enough
for you
to slip into the face
of the one you love.

a stone
hears its heart beat
in the rain.

always has
an idea
up its sleeve.

"take me
the flower said
to the sun,
my thighs"


"i have always thought of a dog lover as a dog that was in love with another dog." -james thurber

some dogs in paris, for an achingly pretty fall saturday afternoon:

this one asked sean for a dance! (of course he said he'd be delighted.)


what do you think of the new blog design?

since i spent all day learning about the inner workings of a blog template, i haven't much time for thoughts.


two wonderful blogs

Sidney is a humble monkey who's just joined the big blog city. all cities are made more wonderful through his eyes. every post comes with a brilliant yet humble illustration and equally brilliant and maybe even humbler poem.

Camilla Engman also has a lovely blog with loads of exciting links to all things stylish and delightful. for instance, today's post has a link to artist fredrikson stallard, who makes horsehair and porcelain vases and hairbrushes in crucifix shapes, among other strangely compelling things.

along with her blog camilla also has a shop of her paintings and illustrations which can be bought or, as in my case, just quietly admired.

here's one i especially like:


"to see something in reality that had long been an image in an old dictionary..."

in his wonderful and indispensible book species of spaces and other pieces, georges perec writes of "seeing what you have always dreamed of seeing." to see this self-portrait of van gogh in the musée d'orsay was to have it cause me a thrill of recognition and a simultaneous sense of awe at what a different painting it was in real life. it is a painting that puts a spell on you, that makes it difficult for you to tear your eyes away to look at anything else in the room. it literally throbs with energy, daring you to get closer to it, to look more deeply into it. reproduced on a flat page in a book, and even in a photo, its intimate texture is lost, its immediacy and soul are diluted. as i had only experienced van gogh in this secondhand way before, i was never really aware of him the way i became so while i stood in front of this painting. seeing the deep and forceful impressions of his brushstrokes gave me an inkling of his intense nature. though his intense nature is not a secret to anyone who knows the famous stories of his life, i still felt, examining his painting, that he was letting me in on something secret.

seeing the mona lisa, on the other hand, was wildly disappointing, though maybe if i had gotten as close to her as i did to van gogh's painting, i might have a different story. fat chance. the mona lisa, comparable in size to the van gogh painting, is given a wall all her own in the louvre. now, the mona lisa is over-inflated in all of our minds, and we are bound anyway to be surprised that she is not bigger when we finally see her. my surprise at this was elevated immediately to disappointment when i saw her dwarfed by such an immense white wall, and practically obscured from view at all by a thick wall of glass. i wonder, was it bulletproof? no one there seemed to mind; there had to be at least fifty people standing before her, jostling each other and craning their heads. two guards also flanked the painting, making sure people didn't get too close. but i could see right off that too close was not even close to close enough, and i only got close enough to glance at her from about the middle of the room. i didn't even care. the whole thing left me feeling irritated. i should have taken a picture of the spectacle, but i didn't. the only picture i got of the mona lisa while i was in paris was at the erotic art museum in montmartre, but it came out blurry.

"or else rather," writes perec, "to discover what you've never seen, what you didn't expect, what you didn't imagine... not what, over time, has come to be listed among the various wonders and surprises of the world; neither the grandiose nor the impressive; nor even the foreign necessarily. but rather the reverse, the familiar rediscovered, a fraternal space..."

georges, je t'adore.

in the spirit of the fraternal, i leave you with this photo and quote from shakespeare and co.:


the chemistry of travel

before we left for paris, kay was commenting on the book she was then editing, on the subject of the strange doubleness of traveling, how you come back yourself and not yourself. as i had never traveled to a foreign country before this, i had a kind of fantasy in my mind of what the experience would be like. before experiencing jet lag i had an unrealistic sense that perhaps i'd be immune to it, a sense that was, of course, entirely false. i think i also imagined that somehow french words would miraculously form themselves upon my lips and beautiful french sentences would fly out with hardly any effort at all. well, the fact is i was tongue-tied most of the time and could barely form the simplest phrases, and the ones i did manage were usually met with troubled squints. i both overestimated my understanding of french and underestimated paris itself. this led to the feeling about midweek that though i loved paris, paris did not love me back. what i didn't realize was that i was throwing myself at paris; and how could i expect it to love me under such unsubtle circumstances?

i think jet lag has a lot to do with entropy. jet travel explosively introduces us into a closed system that is radically different from our own. we become like ice cubes plunged into lukewarm water. at first we are unmixed with the substance surrounding us, we are constrained from belonging to it by the sheer chemistry of our make-up. this constraint, translated by our bodies as a disorder of hours, constitutes jet lag, the pressure of going from one state to another.

by the end of our week our temperature was closer to that of paris than it had ever been. we were mixing with paris, paris had melted away a little of us and we had altered paris too.

we'd met with jean-michel at st. eustache:

i'd captured my reflection between picasso's dancers:

we had seen unusual things

during original moments:

and we had made connections until then unseen:

now, introduced back into my natural(?) environment, i am not exactly myself either. but as surely as i don't want the experience of paris to melt away, as much as i hate the idea of all energy evolving toward a state of inert uniformity, the second law of thermodynamics is working hard to ensure that my environment and i reach the same temperature within due time.



means no pompidou


quelle heure et il?

i am home!
funny, it feels as if i left months ago, as if i was in a time machine.

it is sean's birthday, but it was also sean's birthday yesterday. i always confuse sean's birthday and kay's too. for some reason i think they were both born on the 12th of different months, though kay's is august 11th and sean's is october 15th. now i shall never forget either one, because october 15th will always be the day that was two days long, during which i flew with the sun back from a dream, from which i brought back too many pictures for my hard drive to hold.

good news. the jet lag is much less severe coming home.


thought you might like to see some of our outfits

yesterday we dressed up roxanne in kay's paris ensembles:

roxanne didn't want to wear a slip but kay said she might, depending on the weather.

off we go to the cutlery museum!

ou peut-être la promenade plantée.

kay loves pink.

roxanne looks like sinead o'connor but kay won't.

and here roxanne is starring as me:

le marais, hurray!

i cut this dress in half and made it do my bidding.

imagine me with no head, in paris. would they be able to tell i was une americaine?

the most sumptuous three-dollar coat in history. well, after a good fifty-dollar dry cleaning. oh who cares! paris, here we come!

paris where? i don't see any paris...


thank goodness for bright stupid confetti

at bright stupid confetti i feel as if i've found an old new friend. a kind of paris of its own.


curator of a life

got a great link from jean-michel today. as he puts it: "a list of crazy like me," a site with links to people everywhere who document themselves on a daily basis. i especially like christine gatti's site. she takes two pictures 18 minutes after every hour for eighteen months. one of the pictures is of her; the other is a picture of what is directly in front of her at that same time.

it's supposed to rain tomorrow, which means i'd better mow the lawn today.
as al little side note i can't help but include, last night we ran out of toilet paper. nothing interesting or noteworthy there, it's true. what i think is funny about it is i had to resort to putting some leftover togo's napkins in there so there'd be something to use. in bold green letters each one reads: "it's a way of lunch."