Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cosumnes Reserve

Gnarly oak on autumn hill, run of land to water's edge. Interwoven branches, Xs and Ys, now seen for what they are--a cork tree without its Ferdinand. Peaceful, that is--in the absence of the maker. At the same time: a kind of defiance. Long-term maintenance man. And Chinese Song--the dynasty, that is. Paintings from childhood, awkward and sincere--the obligation to represent--with every doubt about perfection. But wait--who was the judge? A wandering mallard? The cattails? The wind?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Yang Kuei-fei

Eucalypyus leaves just outside the window, touches of blue, sky and cloud....Yang Kuei-fei. Her eternal absence--a great beauty, brought to ruin. Fine and solemn profile, eyes turned down, even as her serving-maids help her mount the gray mare. Farther off, to the right--and separate--the figure of the emperor, Huan Tsung, devoted in his love...but (caught in) the exigencies of time: "This is necessary." Someone else's story, as with my father--quoting Lenin--"When the train of history goes around a curve..."


Gray branches on a gray field. Dark winter birds--grackles and crows--resting now, just out of sight. Valley land, furrowed and plowed. Gray skies, gray wind.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weeping Child

Began with Milosz in his essay on Lev Shestov. His discussion of Ivan Karamazov--"Imagine that it is you yourself who are erecting the edifice of human destiny with the aim of making men happy in the end, of giving them peace and contentment at last..." Would this indeed be worth more than the tears of a single child?

But here there's something more of the Caribbean--or even Africa--as the subject of those tears. And a history that was anything but hypothetical. Edward P. Jones, in his novel, The Known World. An invented county in Virginia, from just before the Civil War, slaves and slave-holders both of African descent. Scene at the end--the madwoman, who reappears as author of a mural wall in far-off Washington--a perfect rendition in great detail of the very estate she's managed to escape...