Posts Tagged ‘romantic’

E.E. Cummings month: “My sweet old etcetera”

August 27, 2010


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my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent
war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister


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isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers
etcetera wristers etcetera, my


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mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my


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self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
     cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

(E.E. Cummings. “My sweet old etcetera.” is 5. New York: Liveright, 1926.)

is 5 was a collection of satirical and anti-war poems which Cummings wrote during his time as an ambulance driver in France during the Great War. That’s when he also began working on his novel The Enormous Room.


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The above letter of August 15, 1918, is transcribed:

“My Darling little sweetheart,

Just a few lines hoping that my letter finds you in the best of health, I’m very well at present and my family the same, Well loving, you see I’m faithfully thinking of you,

You know I love you very well my little heart, I am never loving anyone else,

If you are killed I will stay with you all the time and with my little baby if you give me one, I hope to see you very soon,

So will leave you now with my best remembrances from all my family,

Best love, from your loving little sweetheart, wife very soon.”

The beautiful and painstakingly artistic letter has recently become part of the Love and War exhibit at the Australian War Memorial, who are asking anyone who recognizes the couple, a Martha Gybert of Saint Sulpice, France, and the Australian soldier to whom she writes, to notify them as to what became of the two. They believe the letter may have made its way to Australia because it had either come over from France with the bride, or was returned with the soldier’s body and other effects. Obviously, the hope is that it is the former explanation. More info here.

Yesterday, in lieu of my previous service plan for the 100th birthday of Mother Teresa, I was called in to substitute for my ill colleague again. So, during the time the children write in their journals, I had them instead follow a basic form letter and write thank you notes, with drawings, to soldiers who will be serving in Afghanistan. The Cappy (he has been promoted now but calling him the Commie seems … “off”) is hooking it up because he knows the unit and the chaplain to whom I’ll be sending the letters, for which I’m so thankful. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea that ended up working out much better than I could have imagined; I initially thought it was hackneyed but I hadn’t counted on the children’s reaction to the letter-writing. The kids were genuinely fascinated by the project, and we traced over the world map in the classroom to demonstrate the countries their letters would cross before they arrived in their recipients’ hands.

I was surprised by how engrossed they were in the idea and how the details of why there are U.N. forces in Afghanistan at all seemed so revelatory to them. (I stuck mainly with the line that there are bad people there who are keeping the good people in the country from having the resources they need to succeed, so we and other forces are trying to help the good people get their country back from the bad; like, how do you explain the complexities of involvement in Afghanistan to fourth graders? Even explaining it to ourselves is problematic.)

When a girl told me, “My grandfather is a vet. He lives with us now,” and I said, “Oh, was he in World War II, or Korea?” and she replied, with a look at me like I was deranged, “Vietnam. My uncle was in the first war in Iraq,” I realized that these nine-year-old American children have grown up with the Towers down and all manner of skirmishes and action in the Middle East as a matter of course. They were so “in to” the project because the idea of a military presence in the Middle East, with attendant nightly television news reports of suicide bombers and attacks on bases, is so completely de rigeur to them as to be almost meaningless; unless someone in their life has been personally touched by the violence, it is just another part of the buzzing adult world that surrounds them.

For most, this was the first time it occurred to them to put a physically human face on stories that are a regular — and regularly ignored — part of their daily lives. This was a first time of actual connection, emphathetic thought and prayer for people serving around the globe in wartorn places that are just names on television for the kids.

For my part, I’d been concerned, because it is a parochial school, about taking care not to conflate patriotism with a love of God because that can lead down such dangerous behavioral and judgemental alleyways, as well as being always wary of the wavering line between informed support and general jingoism. But I was surprised that, beyond drawing war planes and helicopters or crosses and flags, the kids wanted to know more about the actual lives of the people who would be receiving their letters: I learned something, too, from this project, and that was that I can be as guilty of stereotyping an abundantly adamant yellow-ribbon-sporting, SUV-driving fellow citizen as I suppose they might be of me, who approaches an understanding of conflicts in what I thought was a less black-and-white way. I don’t know it all and neither do they. These kids drew their symbols and wrote out their dutifully trite declarations of support, but it was from a place of real love, and curiosity, and empathy. They are the next generation who will decide how to successfully negotiate international conflicts, and they are not a lost nor entirely manipulable cause. It was a very sobering and educational experience for us all. Probably more so for me than them, but I am glad that they seemed to have derived a real pleasure from the project.

E.E. Cummings Month: “i like my body when it is with your”

August 24, 2010

I’ve had a lot of friends celebrating romantic occasions recently. This is for them, and for hope.



i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004).

i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,



i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,



and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new


(E.E. Cummings, “i like my body when it is with your.” Written for Elaine Thayer. They divorced in December of 1924. The poem was published Valentine’s Day, 1925.)


Jean Seberg, À bout de souffle/Breathless (Godard, 1960).

If you feel often like me then these Cummings love poems might make us lost ones a little lonely, but if I can glean a positive from it, they are written with such passion that you cannot help, with some surprise, hoping to find a fraction of that abandon and joy, whether again or for the first time. And believing such a thing is possible to find even after you’ve experienecd deep pain or felt yourself set always apart from the crowd of the easily popular, incomprehensible, “normal” socializing world, the idea that you might still connect with someone in a deep, resonantly real way, one that isn’t predicated on current conventions of date-marking-success like alcohol or knowing lines from an eighties sitcom, is something that is never bad. I think too that stripping away all the trappings that surround a date or relationship, and seeing how well the vibe between you stands up absent of distraction, mood-altering substances, and the intervention of entertainment technology is maybe a good idea, too.


Katharine Hepburn, Woman of the Year (George Stevens, 1942).

Maybe it’s even vital and something you should do right out of the gate instead of triking along together parallel-playing in front of the television at being in touch when really you are still little materialistic children faking love for someone else in a thousand ways while you prevent yourself from really loving anyone by putting up these walls of text messages and reality shows you have to watch and social networking and earbuds and booze and — hey-hey-hey — blogging. We make ourselves alone even when we’re together, and then we can’t understand why we can’t form connections… I am totally depressing myself. This was supposed to be about hope and it still is. Maybe I’m just whittling away the non-reality of all the malarkey that’s kept my hope from fulfillment in the past.

William Blake Month: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

June 6, 2010


“Birth of an Angel” photographed by Daniel Ilinca.

I have always found that Angels have the vanity to speak of themselves as the only wise; this they do with a confident insolence…


Asia Argento.

Once I saw a Devil in a flame of fire, who arose before an Angel that sat on a cloud. And the Devil utter’d these words, “The worship of God is: Honouring his gifts in other men each according to his genius, and loving the greatest men best; those who envy or calumniate great men hate God, for there is no other God.”

… When he had so spoken, I beheld the Angel, who stretched out his arms, embracing the flame of fire & he was consumed and arose as Elijah.


Credit lost.

This Angel, who is now become a Devil, is my particular friend: we often read the Bible together in its infernal or diabolical sense, which the world shall have if they behave well.

I have also The Bible of Hell — which the world shall have whether they will or no.

(William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell excerpt.)

Music and Movie Moment: Mulholland Drive — Rebekah del Rio, “Llorando”

January 31, 2010

Rebekah Del Rio – Llorando (“Crying” cover, Mulholland Drive)

Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001). This track is a haunting, a capella, Spanish language cover by Rebekah Del Rio of the Roy Orbison song “Crying” (Orbison, Melson 1961). Some screencaps are from here, some are from here, and some are from TK on the lj. Some I took myself from the sneaksters who have managed to put a bit of this up on the youtube. Thanks to all sources.



Yo estaba bien
por un tiempo
volviendo a sonreír
I was all right
for a while
I could smile for awhile


Luego anoche te vi;
tu mano me tocó
y el saludo de tu voz
But I saw you last night,
you held my hand so tight
as you stopped to say hello


Y hablé muy bien
y tú sin saber
que he estado

Llorando por tu amor,
llorando por tu amor
Oh, you wished me well
You couldn’t tell
that I’ve been

Crying over you,
crying over you


Luego de tu adiós
sentí todo mi dolor
Sola y
llorando, llorando, llorando.
You said, “So long,”
left me standing all alone
Alone and
crying, crying, crying.


No es fácil de entender
que al verte otra vez
yo esté llorando.
It’s hard to understand
but the touch of your hand
Can start me crying.


Yo que pensé
que te olvidé
pero es verdad,
es la verdad
que te quiero aun más
mucho más que ayer
Dime tú que puedo hacer.
I thought that I
was over you,
but it’s true,
oh, so true
I love you even more
than I did before.
But darling, what can I do?

¿No me quieres ya?
Y siempre estaré

Llorando por tu amor
llorando por tu amor
For you don’t love me,
and I’ll always be

Crying over you
crying over you


Tu amor se llevó
todo mi corazón
Y quedo llorando, llorando, llorando

Llorando por tu amor
Yes, now you’re gone,
and from this moment on
I’ll be crying, crying, crying,


Crying over you

Purchase Mulholland Drive, a StudioCanal film, from amazon online or in person at some big, dreadful electronics discount store where they make their employees dress all alike and discourage self-expression while simultaneously crushing their professional ambitions and private dreams, or even someplace mind-numbingly similar but with a wider range of products to assuage your human misery at the altar of merciless soul-raping capitalism, Walmart or Target; whatever, I don’t care. I am just encouraging you to do this consumer bullshit so I don’t get sued. If it were up to me, David Lynch movies would be showing at most theaters everywhere always, so it’s tough for me to recommend virtually profitless small screen shenanigans. And by tough I mean I am going to go chew light bulbs now.

This movie will come up again, these are a really small handful of caps compared to the rest. I’ve just been blue and listening to this song a lot lately.