Mister Chu

Much luck to you if not at all impossible

The cost of learning is but a slight humility.

-Nanny Chu

I need a crowd of people
but I can’t face them day to day.

-Neil Young

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)

Mister Chu:

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.

-Nanny Chu


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

Mister Chu:

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.

-Nanny Chu

About thinking…

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.

-David Cain

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



Frying Trout While Drunk

Mother is drinking to forget a man
who could fill the woods with invitations:
come with me he whispered and she went
in his Nash Rambler, its dash
where her knees turned green
in the radium dials of the 50’s.
When I drink it is always 1953,
bacon wilting…



This is a far cry from my best work ever, I’m well aware. With the deleterious mental effects of chemotherapy coupled to the news of the past week, I’m amazed I still have any idea what harmony and dissonance even are, much less ways to arrange and play them against one another. This was really only a small exercise to distract myself, and a means of possibly bidding this blog and my followers farewell.

I’ll be going in for a surgery at 5am (Central Time zone) on 2 July, this coming Wednesday, that I’m told has a significantly larger than normal chance to end in fatality. I appreciate all the support you’ve given to me and my work the past several years, and perhaps there’s always a small chance I may yet be able to continue it in the future, but if not, thank you all for the kind words and messages, for showing an interest in my work, whether recorded or written. (For those of you following my Instagram—yaolvidado—I will try to make some simple post or other as soon as I’m able after the surgery, if I’m able, to indicate success; if it hasn’t been updated by the weekend or Monday next at the latest, then as I understand the odds, it’s unlikely to ever update again.)

Farewell, all of you.

Very beautiful. Thinking of you, Daniel.

The Marquis of Debris


Is the rocket
or simply coming in to land?
Is your fate
as yet unknown
or by birth forever damned?

Are genetics
but a program
pre-determined ping-pong balls
reaching out
across the days
until your darkness falls?

Can we translate
our future selves
and effect some sort of change
or is the truth
more circumscribed
within some finite range?

Free will? There is no choice,”
he said
and then lied about his age
avoided service
in the war
to live out on the page.

If ifs and and ands
were caused to turn
as if upon their head
the dying
would be still alive
and we would be the dead.

These arguments
have been made
repetitively by man
for if the heart
imagines it
these heads believe we can.


for Jeffrey Hamilton

In the equation of emotions, triumph rarely equals heartbreak.

-Nanny Chu

To the Princeton Privileged Kid


In response to this.

Do as you wish, but give a little.

-Nanny Chu

Seems about right.