One of the great luxuries of civilization is solitude, as opposed to loneliness.
music lovers, cinefiles
men who work at night for money
every kind of endless honey
when to crawl across the road
how to gut the common toad
all these things and others too
are now available to you
so much so that the normal glutton
barely looks beyond the button
nor needs to rise up from his bed
if he should wish to fill his head
yet still the heart remains unknown
and thus can humans die alone
for without the other to understand
bloodless data is the bane of man.
Icelandic bani (“bane, death”).
-A cause of misery or death; an affliction or curse
-Poison, especially any of several poisonous plants
-A killer, murderer, slayer
-A disease of sheep; the rot.
Young man, young man
your arm’s too short to box with God.
-James Weldon Johnson
Somewhere east from here
-and her also
because we are mostly
in the same location-
a gun and a dog both start barking
at a moment that is too closely the same
as to make it possible
as regards deciding which noise
began beginning first.
The dog barked and got shot?
Or did the shooter
concentrating on another and separate business
cause the dog to start in
as a result of the sudden banging?
If we were to gamble on it
-she and I sat here
so very close as to be touching-
I would back the dog first
and then the bullet
about the precise destination of which
we could then agree to wager upon
and one kiss at a time.
It’s gone quiet
and awfully hot
and there’s so little to do
here west of her
and it comes to me she’s a center
a pole by which measurements are made
when in fact her people
came to begin with from Bavaria
where the German Shepherds
also got their start.
I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn’t like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size. You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn’t be a mother and it was likely you wouldn’t become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed everyday math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of ever being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You’d become a baker or a librarian or a bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you’d have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed.
The cost of learning is but a slight humility.
I need a crowd of people
but I can’t face them day to day.
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry (via sunrec)
Leaving Maine early this year.
It always feels early to me.
Back to Austin in the morning.
The 101 degrees and the cowboys.
This quote from Mister Berry is the sum
of all I miss when I’m not here.
The ability to argue directly confuses the ability to understand.
There are the things that are out in the open and then there are the things that are hidden, and life has more to do, the real world has more to do with what is hidden, maybe.
— Saul Leiter
I love that maybe, because Saul was right; it is and it isn’t. Sometimes life is right out in front, but a minute later it can all fall far behind.
Hard to see the bigger picture
when the eyes look only in.
Imagine tourists walking around, navigating with a map held out in front of them. They see the real-world landmarks beyond the map, but they use them only as a reference to find out where they are on the map, and how they can get to other places on the map. Most adults engage with the world in the same way, out of habit — the contents of our thoughts and impressions make the main landscape, and the present-moment sensory experience is secondary.
He maintained, for example, at one time that all existential propositions are meaningless. This was in a lecture room, and I invited him to consider the proposition: ‘There is no hippopotamus in this room at present.’ When he refused to believe this, I looked under all the desks without finding one; but he remained unconvinced.
-Bertrand Russell on Ludwig Wittgenstein