The Great Panjandrum

May 26, 2016

Zhang Daqian

So she went into the garden
to cut a cabbage-leaf
to make an apple-pie;
and at the same time
a great she-bear, coming down the street,
pops its head into the shop.
What! no soap?
So he died,
and she very imprudently married the Barber:
and there were present
the Picninnies,
and the Joblillies,
and the Garyulies,
and the great Panjandrum himself,
with the little round button at top;
and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can,
till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots

Samuel Foote

Sex remains

May 26, 2016

Despite our best efforts to clean it of its peculiarities, sex will never be either simple or nice in the ways we might like it to be. It is not fundamentally democratic or kind; it is bound up with cruelty, transgression and the desire for subjugation and humiliation. It refuses to sit neatly on top of love, as it should. Tame it though we may try, sex has a recurring tendency to wreak havoc across our lives: it leads us to destroy our relationships, threatens our productivity and compels us to stay up too late in nightclubs talking to people whom we don’t like but whose exposed midriffs we nevertheless strongly wish to touch. Sex remains in absurd, and perhaps irreconcilable, conflict with some of our highest commitments and values. Unsurprisingly, we have no option but to repress its demands most of the time. We should accept sex as inherently rather weird instead of blaming ourselves for not responding in more normal ways to its confusing impulses.

This is not to say that we cannot take steps to grow wiser about sex. We should simply realize that we will never entirely surmount the difficulties it throws our way. Our best hope should be a respectful accommodation with an anarchic and reckless power.

Alain de Botton
How to Think More About Sex


I could live there all alone, she thought, slowing the car to look down the winding garden path to the small blue front door with, perfectly, a white cat on the step. No one would ever find me there, either, behind all those roses, and just to make sure I would plant oleanders by the road. I will light a fire in the cool evenings and toast apples at my own hearth. I will raise white cats and sew white curtains for the windows and sometimes come out of my door to go to the store to buy cinnamon and tea and thread. People will come to me to have their fortunes told, and I will brew love potions for sad maidens; I will have a robin…

Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House


May 26, 2016


Interesting question

May 26, 2016


bent, Not broken

May 26, 2016

On The Stairs by Shaun Downey

i am
the interpretive dance
you couldn’t decipher
because you read with
airs in your teeth
splitting hairs
and turning grey
you needn’t floss
it won’t release
your closed mind —
as I
splayed out
flowing prose
and filthy abandon
your confusion
my understanding
and the angle at which
i performed my demi-plié

Grace Black


May 26, 2016


One wonders whether it was all intentional –
if the fires that bloomed at the beginning
of everything we see opened up with love
from the touch of a great creator who drew
breath with a mouth full of gasoline, then spat
the stars into burning being – or, if for
a desire to be seen, we imagine
our importance on a screen projected past
the cosmic curtain, our gods, the audience.

And if there is a fire-eater, coughing out
galaxies like a lonely carnival sideshow freak,
crunching his feet in shattered peanut-shells,
each shuffle splintering dusty realities,
walking like a tourist through a hall of oddities,
munching popcorn in a sticky chair while
lives explode and flare across a canvas,
it doesn’t make much difference –
someone’s watching the performance.

Myra Pearson

(Myra Pearson is an American poet whose work has appeared in the Boston Poetry Magazine and Chiron Review; she was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize. Currently she lives in Korea and teaches at Duksung Women’s University.)

Jillian by Jeremy Mann

This morning apologies were falling from the trees
and the apples
were being ignored.

There’s a chapter in our lives
where I tried to shred pages,
where I tried to rewrite the tale.
Let’s call that chapter, The Numbness,
or The Boredom, or the place where we forgot
we were alive.

That morning I woke up and wandered outside
onto the backtrail,
past the No Trespassing sign into the arms
of an evergreen or a black bear. It didn’t matter
who held me then; I was moss, the lichen,
the mushroom growing on the fallen log.

No one expects perfection, except when they do,
which is always. Even you, king
of the quiet, crash
when I talk about my brokenness.
Cover up, your fractures are showing.

In my life I try to apologize for things I haven’t done
yet. Those are the bruised apples of me,
the possible fruit rotting in the field.

Remember when I kept replaying melancholy?
Remember when I opened our melody with a switchblade?

Rip out the carpet. Mow down the dahlias.
Let’s ruin our lives . . .

It felt good to hurt then —
until it didn’t, until we were left
with bad flooring, a garden
where nothing grew.

You’re asking about the next chapter
and the one after that. You’re asking
what time I’ll be home and if I need
a cloth to buff up my halo.

Let’s put a comma here.
Let’s put in a semi-colon and think about
the next sentence.

I dream of erasers. I dream of whiteout,
I dream of the song where the pharmacist
doesn’t judge me for not being able to make it through
the day without some sort of pill.

Kelli Russell Agodon


In college I had a physics professor who wrote the date and time in red marker on a sheet of white paper and then lit the paper on fire and placed it on a metallic mesh basket on the lab table where it burned to ashes. He asked us whether or not the information on the paper was destroyed and not recoverable, and of course we were wrong, because physics tells us that information is never lost, not even in a black hole, and that what is seemingly destroyed is, in fact, retrievable. In that burning paper the markings of ink on the page are preserved in the way the flame flickers and the smoke curls. Wildly distorted to the point of chaos, the information is nonetheless not dead. Nothing, really, dies. Nothing dies. Nothing dies.

Nicholas Rombes
The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing

I am different…

May 26, 2016


I’m not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau