Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Flashback Friday — Just Another Auden October: Autumn Song

October 28, 2011

This entry originally appeared on October 20, 2010 at 9:19 am.


Photographed by mjagiellicz on the d.a.

Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse’s flowers will not last,
Nurses to their graves are gone,
But the prams go rolling on.


Photographed by bittersea on the d.a.

Whispering neighbors left and right
Daunt us from our true delight,
Able hands are forced to freeze
Derelict on lonely knees.


Photographed by leenaraven on the d.a.

Close behind us on our track,
Dead in hundreds cry Alack,
Arms raised stiffly to reprove
In false attitudes of love.


Photographed by cookiemonstah on the d.a.

Scrawny through a plundered wood,
Trolls run scolding for their food,
Owl and nightingale are dumb,
And the angel will not come.


Photographed by redribboninyourhair on the d.a.

Clear, unscalable, ahead
Rise the Mountains of Instead,
From whose cold, cascading streams
None may drink except in dreams.

(Auden, W.H. “VI.:Autumn Song.” Twelve Songs. March 1936.)

If ever there were a view on which to turn your back à la Gertrude Stein, a sweeping vista of the Mountains of Instead would be the one. No going back. Too late. Prams rolling on. Breathtaking strong tide of inevitability that takes all the water with it and leaves you and your petty fears and dreams dragging in the dust.

Time is stolen from us in such tiny ways — although I guess it is scarcely a theft when you never lock the door or look out the window to see if there is a shadow waiting for you to turn your back, as if all you possess are invincible by dint of being yours — and we use landmark occasions to mark the loss, but we only once in a while really look at what momentous and yet totally miniscule shit comprises what is destined to be our one and only, short history.

This Autumn was already weighing as heavily on me as last year. Now all I feel like I can handle doing is to take a hot bath and climb back beneath the covers (you see what I mean about aiding in our own robbery by time?). Thanks a lot, Auden. I guess what scares me most about it is does it always steal up on you? Does it just sneak up and you turn around and cry out, “Oh, not yet. It can’t be time yet. I’m not finished. I thought I would have more time.”


Photographed by disco_ball on the d.a.

Is there any way to escape that, that moment of realization, that punch in the gut when the waste, all the time you wasted suddenly comes rushing up around you so you can’t even breathe? Your life is over and you’re not ready because you thought you could always keep backsliding, that there would be special accounting for prodigal, last minute, golden you, who always slid in under the wire, who always got a second chance if you smiled big enough when you asked. There is no talking or charming or dodging your way out of final reckoning, and no method by which I can imagine escaping the horror of that realization, and you finally turn around and see the Mountains of Instead. You made them that tall. What do you do about the regret which will follow. Is there a way to soften that blow?

I don’t think there is. I can make vows about viewing this poem as a cautionary tale, and shine you on about how I plan on avoiding such a fate by making every moment count, and on and on until the sun goes supernova, but a plucky attitude does not lower the Mountains of Instead even an inch. No changing the past. No erasing regrets. That is just some fucked up shit right there.

Just Another Auden October: A lane to the land of the dead

October 27, 2011


Photographed by Logan White.

The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

(W.H. Auden, “As I Walked Out One Evening.” Juvenelia, 1922-1928).

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Per mi amico, the Cappy redux — If only edition

October 27, 2011

Geez, if it were that easy, I’d already know what the Cappy’s baby smelled like and have kissed his wife with embarassing effusion on both cheeks in person.

Hippo birdie, old friendoh and brotha from anotha motha. I hope it was full of everything you deserve. Just wish I could’ve been there to wish you happy birthday in person. It’s like, where is this button??

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Wait, what?

October 26, 2011

Wait — what?

Just Another Auden October: The terminal point of addiction

October 26, 2011


All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.

(W.H. Auden, “Hell.” A Certain World, 1970).

Daily Batman: Ink-blots

October 26, 2011


via.

But, my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.

(Alan Watts, The Nature of Consciousness.)

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Be Careful or Else

October 25, 2011

Daily Batman: Let your fingers do the walking

October 25, 2011

Let your fingers do the walking!

…and the crime-fighting.

Just Another Auden October: Let music for peace / Be the paradigm

October 24, 2011


Let mortals beware of words
For with words we lie,
Can speak peace
When we mean war.


But song is true.
Let music for peace
Be the paradigm,
For peace means change
At the right time.

(W.H. Auden, “Hymn to the United Nations.” 1971.)

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Reasonable suggestion

October 23, 2011

Ladies: if it’s your first time and you’re wondering if you’re drunk enough, the answer is no, you are not. Drink until you’ve forgotten how to wonder things.

Just Another Auden October: The dreadful wood of conscious evil

October 23, 2011


“Ritual Dance” by Aëla Labbé.

Alone, alone, about the dreadful wood
Of conscious evil runs a lost mankind,
Dreading to find its Father.

(W.H. Auden, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. 1941-2.)

Just Another Auden October: This great society is going smash

October 22, 2011


Photographed by bagnino on the da.

This great society is going smash;
They cannot fool us with how fast they go,
How much they cost each other and the gods.
A culture is no better than its woods.

(W.H. Auden, Bucolics II: “Woods.” 1952. 51-54)

Daily Batman: Flimsy allusion edition, feat. special guest star Alessandra Torresani’s breasts

October 22, 2011

Pretty flimsy allusion to Catwoman, but … it’s my blog. I mean, I can chuckle sheepishly, but I’m not truly sorry. If you feel it is too tenuous and I’ve pushed the envelope too far, start your own blog with stronger and super-safe-for-work daily connections to Batman and watch me never visit it.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Thus is life

October 22, 2011

So it goes.

Flashback Friday: Just Another Auden October, Harrow the house of the dead edition

October 21, 2011

This post originally appeared on at October 27, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.


Photographed by Mieke Willems.

Prohibit sharply the rehearsed response
And gradually correct the coward’s stance. …
Harrow the house of the dead; look shining at
New styles of architecture, a change of heart.

(W.H. Auden, “Petition.”)

Like that bird, for instance — do you think he woke up knowing he’d get to perch on a pert ass today? I expect not: I expect he thought it would be just another day, the same as all the others he has lived.

I guess what I’m suggesting is that, as Auden petitions, it is worthwhile to defy the lessons of experience, throw caution to the wind, and look with a hopeful heart for the unexpected and unpredictable new. How to completely go about doing that I am less certain of, but I know that it must be worth trying.

Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de Dienes

October 20, 2011


Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,


Ironic points of light,
Flash out wherever the Just,
Exchange their messages:


May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair


Show an affirming flame.

(W.H. Auden, “Sept. 1, 1939.” Another Time, 1940.)

All photographs by Andre de Dienes.

The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?

No. It refers to the other thing.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Daily Antiques

October 20, 2011

Wait. What?

Daily Batman: All the news that’s fit to meh!

October 20, 2011

So the big news of the world from the NY Comic-Con is this whole Avengers movie dealie. (Because, you know, The Dark Knight Rises is so passe).


photograph by brainybrimstone on the flickr.

Aw, geez, man. Here’s the thing: I don’t like the Avengers. I haven’t seen a single one of their setup movies. Not even the Iron Man flicks, and that’s in direct violation of a personal blood oath I made to Robert Downey, Jr. in the 1990s. (Chances Are, Heart and Souls, Only You? — totally irrestible.) I can’t help it: I just don’t care about the danged Avengers. On the plus side, I can finally see the viewpoint of all those good but non-dorky friends whose sphincters clench when I start in on Batman.

Daily Batman: the irretrievably lost world inside

October 19, 2011


The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.

(Schopenhauer.)

I’ve been mourning the loss of a very close childhood friend. She was very literally the first friend I ever had. Because we moved quite far apart, in the last several years, our contact has been social networking and phone calls on each other’s birthdays (my lucky number, 22, is owing to her birthday of February 22nd). I do have to give her a wry thumbs-up because it was very clever to die of breast cancer in October so that we’d all remember every year to donate and walk and light candles and the like, but I can’t say I have been much of a fan of the actual passing.

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight….
Not people die but worlds die in them.

(Yevgeny Yevtushenko, People.)

My friend had time to say goodbye to her sons, her husband, her sister and her parents, and to all of the rest of us who loved her. But what I have been struggling with is the loss of that world inside her: a world whose first gasps I was lucky enough to share with her, a world whose confident, feet-found orbit was still only just beginning. I feel so bitter and helpless about it. I didn’t realize how badly I’d been repressing it until I went to her funeral at our old church several hours away (alone, which was a terrible mistake). I didn’t weep or make a spectacle, but I didn’t stop crying. It was like I couldn’t.

Afterward, a very nice, very short woman came up and began gently asking me about my friend, and I explained that we’d known each other since we were very, very young, and had even gone to school together off and on. Turns out the woman was one of my kindergarten teachers. The nice one. Still nice, after all these years. I’ll explain that another day.

The point is — horrible. Bitterness. Anger. Grief. But not so much anger that I wish to assuage it by some sort of strike back; that would not at all comfort me, because I’m not down to facts just yet. I’m not ready to slap on a pink-ribboned tank top and run any marathons to make things better for others, because I don’t give a shit about all that yet. That is for sure.

I feel like a lost and selfish monster, surrounded by all this breast cancer awareness promotional material and not even up to the point of resentment of the disease; ergo, mystified by the idea of embracing that activism to trump my grief. I don’t like to feel that way. And I like to do all kinds of charity malarkey. I really do. I’ve donated this month already in the name of another friend’s mother, who beat it two years ago.

But this new thing — I am just not ready to even think of my friend’s death in terms of what killed her. That seems objective to the point of frightening. But I should strive for it? Right? How do you get to there?

Just another Auden October: Apocalypse yesterday

October 19, 2011


via.

The stars are dead; the animals will not look:
We are left alone with our day, and the time is short and
History to the defeated
May say Alas but cannot help or pardon.

(W. H. Auden, “Spain.” 90-93. 1937. )

Anything that men make will shake apart*. Eventually the feats of engineering and machinery humanity has wrought will fall to ruin, maybe sooner than later. Running will be no good: depend on it.


Photograph of Auden’s typewriter via swarthmore.

This poem was first published as “Spain” in 1937. Auden included it in his 1940 anthology Another Time as “Spain 1937” but later disavowed the poem’s political and apocalyptic tone, saying that he never really believed what he’d written, but wrote it because he thought it would be “rhetorically effective.” According to the late Frank Kermode, Auden hated most of all the above, which is the final stanza of “Spain”/”Spain 1937.”

I like it.




*(Except plutonium rods. I admit that those are going to take a really long time to shake apart. Way to fucking go, everybody.)