Billie Holiday

January 20, 2019

sometimes the deaf
hear better than the blind

some men
when they first
heard her sing

were only attracted
to the flower in her hair

E. Ethelbert Miller

Hades Pitch

January 20, 2019

If I could just touch your ankle, he whispers, there
on the inside, above the bone – leans closer,
breath of lime and pepper – I know I could
make love to you. She considers
this, secretly thrilled, though she wasn’t quite
sure what he meant. He was good
with words, words that went straight to the liver.
Was she falling for him out of sheer boredom –
cooped up in this anything-but-humble dive, stone
gargoyles leering and brocade drapes licked with fire?
Her ankle burns where he described it. She sighs
just as her mother aboveground stumbles, is caught
by the fetlock – bereft in an instant –
while the Great Man drives home his desire.

Rita Dove

Reading Scheme

January 20, 2019

Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun.
Jane has a big doll. Peter has a ball.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Here is Mummy. She has baked a bun.
Here is the milkman. He has come to call.
Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun.

Go Peter! Go Jane! Come, milkman, come!
The milkman likes Mummy. She likes them all.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Here are the curtains. They shut out the sun.
Let us peep! On tiptoe Jane! You are small!
Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun.

I hear a car, Jane. The milkman looks glum.
Here is Daddy in his car. Daddy is tall.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Daddy looks very cross. Has he a gun?
Up milkman! Up milkman! Over the wall!
Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Wendy Cope

Symbols

January 20, 2019

Dorothy Lee has argued: ‘Symbols are a part of the process whereby the experienced world, the world of perception and concept, is created out of the world of physical reality.’ As such, symbols do not refer to a separate world but instead constitute an essential part of the world in which they speak. Along these lines Ray Wagner has argued that ‘neither signifier nor signified belongs to the established order of things,’ that symbolization constitutes the ‘act of invention in which form and inspiration come to figure each other,’ and that ‘[t]hus the tension and contrast between symbol and symbolized collapse[s], and we may speak of such construction as a “symbol” that stands for itself.’ Symbols, in other words, articulate the relationships that they create with, and within, the world that is conceived through them.

Harry G. West
Ethnographic Sorcery

Forced masturbation

January 20, 2019

Last Sunday night they masturbated me so much and so many times that my cock is still sore a full week later –

Old and Young

January 20, 2019

These girls with old gents don’t do it despite the age — they’re drawn to the age, they do it for the age. Why? In Consuela’s case, because the vast difference in age gives her permission to submit, I think. My age and my status give her, rationally, the license to surrender, and surrendering in bed is a not unpleasant sensation. But simultaneously, to give yourself over intimately to a much, much older man provides this sort of younger woman with authority of a kind she cannot get in a sexual arrangement with a younger man. She gets both the pleasures of submission and the pleasures of mastery.

Philip Roth
The Dying Animal

Sunday read

January 20, 2019

Poetry can help us to get in touch with our feelings. It can help us come to terms with the grim reality of life on earth. It can also make us laugh. It can help us celebrate how beautiful the world is. It’s memorable if it’s any good and lines sink into our consciousness and come back to us – like this weekend – we were driving along a country road and I suddenly said “In full grown thickness every May” which is a line from Larkin’s poem ‘The Trees’. When my mother was very old and had dementia and could hardly remember anything and could hardly enjoy anything I used to read to her from an anthology of poems she’d won as a school prize – and I knew which ones she liked because she used to read them to me when I was little. And what happened was when I read her these poems she’d known when she was young she would join in – she would remember them and join in, though she could hardly remember anything else, and she would laugh at the funny ones. It was wonderful.

Wendy Cope
Interview Poetry Achieve