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April 06, 2005


I liked this one. My initial question was whether America carried its burden of history more heavily than some other nations. And if so, why.

I didn't like my phrasing, but "was burdened by history" was too passive.

Bob: I don't know. Maybe, because we expect a lot of our country, it being what it is.

But I don't see this as being about our history, really -- if you look at the examples, more of them are from elsewhere than from the US -- but about context, and the ability to ignore it, and the privilege that that implies, and responsibility.

I love these threads.

So civilised!

Here's a favorite of mine by Adrienne Rich:


You're wondering if I'm lonely:
OK then, yes, I'm lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean.

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I'm lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawns' first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I'm lonely
it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it's neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning

Adrienne Rich

That's a good one. And I don't usually like Rich.

Roxanne: which?

xanax: if you think I'm civilized, my next post should disabuse you of that notion ;)

Since this is the "responsible blogging" post, I think it's only fair to provide a link to this post of poetic offerings...

Why I am Not a Painter.

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color; orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Frank O'Hara

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