“A young man must not make safe investments.” — Jean Cocteau
The immediate “yes” to David’s proposal that I help run the lights for The Palm Casino Revue became an automatic response to any suggestion that I try something new.
Jose Arango backstage, 1974.
John Heys in Lana Turner's gown, 1979.
Larry Ree backstage, 1974.
Moments in Open Country clash into human trauma crosswise and leave you different—if only for a while.
My day won't change
My life won't change
I pull back my hair
You give me a brief kiss on the brow
and say: it's over
My dreams are big budget affairs now: elaborate sets and costumes, huge casts, special effects, endless locations. They are vivid and artless, with choreographed violence. In the custom of dreams, there are no plots, but there is always the feeling of a plot.
I told the gentleman-writer who drank the rarest bourbon that the proper length of a novel was one page longer than War and Peace . . .
1. Beyond the barrio of La Muñeca, leaving Havana heading toward San Antonio de los Baños, the city gradually turns rural. Or, to the inextricable mixture of textures at the edge of any large city, only more confusing in Havana’s case, because history has had such a dramatic break here.
EARLY IN MY EIGHTEENTH YEAR, on a pristine, sun-flushed autumn afternoon, as I made my way across Cornell University’s engineering quad from the library to a lecture, I was gripped by an overwhelming sadness on seeing a stray dog. The essence of that moment lingers: a profound affinity for the animal, solitary and noble in his demeanor.
In Corona March, I went to the bakery, to the supermarket, around the square, and took photographs.
After a half-day's climb, scrambling across rivers and around muddy ledges, we came to a clearing. The density of the high jungle gave way to a mountainside covered in butter-green clover.
When the pandemic hit, Herman Portocarero found himself in quarantine at his home in Bahía Dorada near the tip of Spain, just north of Gibraltar. He was separated from his family by the Atlantic Ocean.
I was cooking for a dinner party scene that we were shooting for my friend Brian Alessandro's satiric film, A Saintly Madness, about a week before New Yorkers began taking the novel coronavirus seriously.
I love the suggestion of the covert in the word COVID, hidden as it is in every corner of our paranoia.
A cold morning for Seattle. Since midnight in the Capitol Hill walkup, while Yves slept back down the hall, I’d kept myself at the cardboard desk, trying to write.
Now first, as I shut the door,
I was alone
In the new house; and the wind
Began to moan.
There was a paragraph in the newspaper today that I can’t get out of my mind.
The most foolish things happen to people in the summer.
Four cut-paper haiku, from mid-1960s, by the inimitable C.H. Ford.
Thank you for your letter of yesterday. I had just talked to Baroness Bilxen and she is definitely planning to come with me...
I was perfect when they came, all twenty
of my teeth aligned like stars within me.
One misstep and the river
takes you. Not so in love,
I have decided to write about clothing. I have decided clothing is the most erotic thing ever invented.
With few arts of my own to rely on, I liked to visit Irv’s shop, to watch him build a chair you could actually sit on.
To have a conscience means to realize one’s own shortcomings, but not necessarily to act upon this knowledge.
An Account of a Mexican Pilgrimage, or Every Pilgrimage.
I would like to consider the normal maturation of a talent, in painting for example, and ask what qualities in the artist and what conditions in society make for success.
The God Molecule
scientists have discovered
is like a thickening agent
Severn props me on my pony. I am a wraith, a doll.
The natural joined with the artificial
to flavor this aid to social ease,
peppered with mint crystals
in the form of green pin pricks
PERHAPS the best of songs heard, or of any and all true love, or life's fairest episodes, or sailors', soldiers' trying scenes on land or sea, is the résumé of them,
With what she received from the Court of Chancery she was able to hide herself away from the world.
The fact that I get to meet you for anything,
on a corner in New York City, fills me with awe
for the miracle of my entire existence.
In the silence of the night, interrupted by the whispers of breezes perfumed with jasmine
I have been urged by Mr. Lee Simonson – who, if he would, could do it much better (I too have other pleasures) – to write about my own paintings.
GHOSTS, are you afraid of nova scotia?
Based on the Log of the French Hospital Ship DUGUAY-TROUIN.
In 1923, nine of the most prominent literary experts were asked by the editors of Vanity Fair to name "the ten great writers whom they found most thoroughly boring.
In this world of uncertainties, there is, at any rate, one thing which may be pretty confidently set down as a certainty:
At Jokers’ Casino I am allowed complimentary grilled-cheese for a 2000 shilling stake any given night. A Fanta in glass was certainly on the table for a day’s bets, but only as a matter of inclination;
This god, that god, your god.
The peacock is in the zoo.
The light-keeper is fanning colors.
The world is spinning and I realize
I’m the only poet at this Bain Capital party
There is one bottle of each of the best
High end spirits, a treadmill, and an Xbox,
JUNE 29, 1851.—They are going to have a Fourth of July celebration and barbecue at Selby Flat in opposition to Nevada. Half a dozen more families have settled there in the last month. Both of the Missouri girls are married; women can't stay single long in this country.
The world swelters, even at twilight on this August Sunday. My great love naps, her hair lank and humid across her forehead. The blunt protrusion of an empty wine bottle from last night’s party,
I ask for symbols and you deliver them.
An Iowa shirt, building sign, cup of grappa
at the hotel before an evening walk,
In 1861, Mark Twain traveled by stagecoach from St. Joseph, Missouri to the Nevada Territory.
Ordinariness has always eluded me. Not that I ever searched for it very hard – it was too much fun to wow my classmates with tales of my rather colorful childhood...
Let us start at the beginning...
I've begun to think now that I maybe just panicked this afternoon, and then over-reacted some. But I'm still not sure yet, I still don't know for sure.
A colleague of mine who does long term restorations of important instruments has been bringing back to life the instrument the great cellist Pablo Casals...
It begins. It thumps with glee.
A two note school-ruler-on-desktop buzz jam.
Snares crackle, bass drums thud,
And a haunted voice carrying fragile strands of melody
Any sense of photography's miracle is largely passé, at least in theoretical circles; no one wants to be hoodwinked by the ...
Gaywyck, the first book of the Gaywyck Trilogy, was first published in 1980. Touted as the first Gay Gothic novel, ...
There was a time — I’m not sure how long it went on — when I lost interest. I simply forgot about him.
The Lamentations of Morgana Neri, Soprano, late of the Metropolitan Opera ...
I was sitting around in New York unemployed when the phone call came: my old friend Arno’s wife Mary, in tears. The story she told me was roughly this: Arno had gone to the South of France to help sail a yacht across the Atlantic. The boat
Pretty much the main highway into Cajun country and the bayou out of New Orleans. ...
Six years ago I began to translate, one by one, the poems of Baudelaire. It was the summer of 2007, and I had just turned twenty-one and completed a third year of college ...
Brushing up against a body of water,
Her hand moves gently through the cool.
Though we stayed awhile,
We couldn't keep each other dry ...
His eyes half closed, his arms crossed and his head bent, he rose and returned to his seat unthinkingly, without abandoning the ecstatic torpor into which he had plunged. ...
As a poet/translator/teacher my partner Richard Howard has more books than one can count.
Alma Vassov leans forward at her desk, intent, silent, chin resting on tightly clasped hands, unread term papers before her. Unseen, Luc’s postcard from France — small gray stone church ...
From a mountain on a snow-sprinkled field
Every shade of coolness opened
An avenue falling different to the eye.
Stuck betwixt the blinking ships ...
He represses you to represent that which
Almost escapes imagination’s scope.
Thus, in an obvious allegory, he
Has kept you in a cage in a Cambridge suite,
In 1978, Christopher Makos photographed Andy Warhol kissing Salvador Dalí. For Warhol, it must have been a heartfelt moment of homage, since he was the only artist who ever approached Dalí’s mastery of publicity.
I emerged from my mother’s exhausted womb after a dilatory gestation of eleven months and fifteen days to begin my stroll toward Iberia, with an heir presumptive’s wave, a whistler’s insouciant greeting in the key of Db where I was destined to linger in later years, and a bow to acknowledge the mid-wife’s applause.
Think of the great American surrealist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) and consider the following description of a mysterious object – a wooden structure with glass in front, through which one looks upon a dream world of celestial bodies, La Belle Époque, the Romantic Ballet, the Grand Hotels of Europe and all the visual wonders from the seven seas.
Sometimes he smiled a different sort of smile—his whole face looked as if it were laughing and his eyes as well. But that was very rarely. Once, when he was having breakfast with a good many people one of his letters said that two very important people were coming to see his last big picture before it left the house. He looked round the table and said, “That will mean quite an expenditure on red...
So many facets to Dalí. I’m always writing haiku about Dalí. Different thoughts come to me about Dalí, and one thought came to me, that Dalí used to be very pretty, very good-looking. Garcia Lorca fell in love with him. When pretty-boy Dalí outgrew his pretty-boy looks he became “clown Dalí.”
M. J. We are both what our country landladies call “great readers,” and have often talked over other people’s books during this long quarter of a century between two wars, but never your books.
I. C. B. It seems an omission, as I am sure we have talked of yours. So let us remedy it.
I strove with none; for none was worth my strife,
Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art;
The clerihew was invented in 1890 by Edmund Clerihew Bentley, who was a schoolboy of 16 at St. Paul's in London when the divine numen of Orpheus struck him. His best one seems to me:
With the end in 1989 of the forty-five year Communist regime in Bulgaria, the lives of ordinary Bulgarians were up-ended by the change of the economic system, and many found themselves impoverished for the first time in their lives.
“Most heads are routine,” he says. “Set the attachment at one of eight lengths, then slide the clipper up the back stretch, cruising from base to crown. The trick to it is there’s no trick to it.
It is in no spirit of detraction that I string together a number of descriptive anecdotes of this great painter's eccentricity of character and manner. They afford another illustration of the world-old truth, that the life of the highest and the best of us is woven of a mingled yarn of good and evil.
I was wrestling with despair, and I couldn’t imagine why anyone needed to download a movie to a cell phone in no time. Who watches a movie on a cell phone—and when?
On the first aerial toll-house, the soul is questioned about the sins of the tongue
The first year I moved to Brooklyn, before I'd begun to obsess about money, I'd lain convalescent all winter on my new sofa (my first sofa) reading, filling spiral notebooks, scouring the texts like a medieval scribe to burn them into my brain.
Translated by Jeff Clark
Let’s spit you and I let’s spit
on what we used to love
on what the two of us used to love
Tonight Ira went
to a dinner party
at Jenifer Berman's.
She works at BOMB.
I met her once: lost
it when I smelled her
Two weeks ago I obtained your product dE-BARK
and attempted to obey the obscure
and for the most part inscrutable instructions ...
From: Report of the Commander, Seventh Expeditionary Force, Andromedan Paleo-anthropological Mission
. . . What puzzled our research teams was the suddenness of collapse, and the speed of reversion to barbarism, in this multi-galactic ...
Do you remember, Antoine, the spring morning when we argued about the Russian soul? We strolled up and down the Champs-Elysees, you and Georges and I, without bothering to notice ...
One evening the Abbe V—— of Saint-Sulpice took me to see Huysmans. His apartment near the Bon Marche is small but light. From the windows you see convent gardens and ...
It's a bright morning in early May. I leash Chester, our border collie, and head south on Louisiana Avenue, the street empty of other pedestrians. We take a desultory pace, like an old couple out for a stroll. Leash looped around my forearm, I look up, watching for birds, while Chester sticks to the lawn strip with his head down ...
The main resource of a small New York boy in this line at that time was the little sheath-like jacket, tight to the body, closed at the neck and adorned ...
One day Truth, quite naked, as she is wont to be when going about the world, appeared before the throne of a king. And hardly had they learned who she was and what she wanted to say, when the courtiers covered her with villainous abuse ...
“Today, two years or so after our meeting in New York, I open Will Slotnikoff’s letter and to my amazement there drops out on the table a translation of Leon-Paul ...
My father taught himself all about dogs. I’m not sure when it all started, but he was very thorough, and in Alaska he sent to the States for books–books on ...
Alice Toklas survived for twenty years after the death of Gertrude Stein, a period that began in loneliness and ended in loneliness. In between she made a sufficiently full life ...
When I was twenty-five I went to London with my then fiancé, to visit his grandmother. Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham was the youngest daughter of artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. She left ...
Once upon a time — or as the French say, il était une fois — I spent a summer in Paris as the guest of a friend of my father’s. I had ...
The moment one says it is a moment
of perfection, it is something less
While the Emperor is, by nature, simple and self-effacing, the Empress is complicated and makes her presence felt.
The Lethargic lay in the Southampton harbor, looking reluctant to pull out. Napier saw his baggage swung on board and went down to investigate his cabin. Unable to afford a first-class passage, he had insisted on traveling second-class against the advice of his friends who urged him to travel third.
You’re like her, the way she stood
beside him on the railroad platform,
steadfast in out-of-date clothes,
not knowing what it meant
I grew up in a Kansas City icehouse, loving dogs with their furry muzzles when they’d sniff past the ropes and peeling posters of a morning for a wad of sausage casing, or even a handshake in the dank gloom where the duffers and me slung steaming blocks onto the loading platform straw. I did love those teary-eyed mongrels more unconditionally than I’ve ever thought to love any human or other vertebrate, not to...
Maria, our new housekeeper, who was working for the Leslie Fiedlers in Forio, phoned yesterday afternoon from Rome and we went to meet her at Frascati. She nearly talked my ...
We made it here, which is about as much as I can say for the trip. I’m afraid FP is emotionally unable to think of a drive as anything but another Dunkirk. In New London I did manage, by dint of taking Bruno for a quick trot, to peek into an ...
The high point of Simon and Schuster’s massive publicity campaign
for Jacqueline Susann’s second “torrid roman à clef potboiler,”
The Love Machine, was a party given for 500 booksellers at the
1969 ABA convention is Washington, D.C. ...
The shape of a city, as we all know, changes more rapidly than the heart of a mortal. However it often happens that before being discarded, left behind to become ...
Upon my arrival in the city I slammed my mattress down on the ground and tried to fall asleep, but the screeching of the elevated trains kept me awake, so ...
“Worship as many as you can see, and more will appear.” – Peter Sheffer
“You seem to be in dire need of romance.”
“In trying to corner the last pea on my plate” ...
Dear Aunt Sally,
(H.S.H. the prince Jann of Winshatz-Lundberg-‘Sandburg’-Gluxberg):
This ties off a loose end of our business, I do hope you enjoy it. It is yours. The paper one will come ...
where the sun
blazes, a brief
intro to how
then roast in
A jacket’s a
if’s and’s and
but’s or ways
Up the hill
where the school
was a car
At this time I have five cats; Bodice, Susie, Spooky, Holly and Mrs. Brown. Brenda Eddy at Main Street Feed, Durham 349-0410 is the best person to contact for help ...
Edgar Oliver’s short performance of The Crazed Pig of Conques is here recorded as part of a live radio show, “Where have you been?” hosted by Brooklyn, NY artist Jeff Stark, ...