Wednesday, November 09, 2016


She said: you have broken it; now you get to see inside.
She said: what you've worked on all your life is worthless.

I said, if what I've worked on all my life is worthless,
high time to break it. There is still a streak of gold 

where the low sill of the eastern sky is cracked;
and if you think I am afraid you do not know me yet.

She said: what have you given to your children but loss?
I said, then at least I have taught them what there is to lose.

She said: what will you give me, to make it all untrue?
I said, nothing will make it all untrue, but I will plant

such strange things in your breast that their singing 
will haunt you in the morning and the night,

till its wickerwork is open, and their song
has spread apart your willow ribs and turned them into light.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Broken World

My heart is convinced that Trump will win this election. My head says no, and points to our three point lead, and a variety of ingenious reasons for thinking that two-thirds of the imponderable and unpollable influences will break Clinton's way in the end-game: but my heart has its own reasons, and it says that liberalism and democracy are dead: our social capital is expended to the last penny: and we really are going to elect a sociopath to hold coke parties adorned with Playboy bunnies on the back lawn of the White House. I have always, of course, been a political gloomy Gus, and my originally low opinion of American political intelligence -- I came to political awareness, mind, during the Watergate hearings -- has gone steadily down for four decades. 

Joaquín Sarollo: Benito Pérez Galdós

Hitler's election in 1933 was, to my mind, understandable. Germany was undergoing political and economic convulsions that made desperate measures seem the only rational response. Inflation was running at a thousand percent: Communists and Brownshirts were rioting and brawling nightly in the streets. And Hitler was a war hero and a patriot, a man who loved his country deeply and was passionate about its restoration. If he had a bee in his bonnet about Jews, well, at least he was not in the pocket of the big banks.

In the United States, meanwhile, everything is fine. Basic crime rates are the lowest I've known in my life. The economy is in full recovery from the great recession. Our perennial wars are far away and fought by volunteer poor people, who like that sort of thing. We want to elect our fascist, apparently, just to see what happens to a polity if you break it.

Charles Dickens

The autumn is walking in the hills, and the beauty is almost unendurable. There is sudden fire in the wet forest, and the hands that reach out to me from the past are strong, warming after that first cold contact: the fire of old loves, of hearts that yearned for ordinary decent lives for ordinary decent people. In the hills it's harder to believe in the triumph of hatred and suspicion.

Émile Zola

I have nothing to say. I love you all. We don't know what the future holds, but we know that we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and receive weary wanderers with an open heart. We will go on doing that, where we can. The world is, was, and always will be broken.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Tryon Creek

Under the tall cascaras and the alders
I limp to the creek on shells of sodden gold; no one 
peels these trees but God and ravenkind.

The knees and the hips of my jeans are wet:
I've been nosing in the bushes like a truffling pig,
looking for disregarded, not yet ruined things.

It was just yesterday, or some few centuries ago,
the earl king came riding through these woods,
and saw your lowered gaze, and took your offering

of painfully gathered herbs: a prudent soul
is careful of kings, but also of ladies with sharp eyes
who linger where the strong root fingers tangle

in the bright hair of the brook. No more.
Neither he nor you, nor even I, for long,
will walk at large on the creeksides

in this new-made world of time.