Friday, May 28, 2010

Analect 2.726x



29 May 2010. Sun, white clouds, interspersed with lots of blue...

Jennifer's face this morning, appearing at my side, near the window, a drawing in the works. Holbein and retraced lines--a shifting copy of trees. Avigdor Arikha--"I can't bear to go back," and the meanings of language... Each other's presence...

The goodness of moments, every layer somehow intact...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Analect 2.724x



25 May 2010. Return of a sunny morning...

Life of Aleksandr Vertinsky, an emigre in Paris, the Russian Pierrot. Novella within a song...

His return to Soviet Russia, during the war, and later marriage, in Shanghai, to a woman 33 years younger. Pictures with their two daughters. Also, film footage of Vertinsky in wide-floored apartment, jacket hung over the frame of a painting on the wall, his tie alongside, one pant leg rolled up, block of wood wrapped to one foot, sliding back and forth in some kind of vigorous exercise... His hands in the air, moving in lyric time...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Analect 2.723x



24 May 2010. Bluster and cloud, maybe rain...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Analect 2.722x



24 May 2010. Gray, clouds, wide spread gray... Small mid-altitude bird darting across the avenue, upwards trajectory. The eye follows...

B's story--a cat at the movies, en route to Alaska. Sports films. Her small gray head darting back and forth, following the action...

Or, a living room in Moscow, 2002. Jumble of books, and an Alexander Vertinsky song--Your Fingers Smelling of Laudanum. A young man with darkened face, bending over his guitar as he sings. Scene at the table, listeners gathered after a meal. A woman, her chin raised slightly--the skeptic's owl, banished for the moment... a worldly enchantment...

To tolerate the impossible...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Analect 2.721x



21 May 2010. Nicola, curled on white comforter, tucked against my side...

A Moscow street, older buildings, steep green roofs with dark windows, tan parapets, and an omnivorous construction crane in the distance, on the right, against snatch of pale blue sky. Two women--from two different eras. Isabella Yurieva and a much younger friend, who reaches out with her right hand to pick lightly at something on Isabella's dress, then, with the same hand, smoothing her sleeve. She soon leans forward to kiss Isabella's cheek, now touching her other arm now with her left hand... They part...

Tol'ko Raz, Only Once, recorded before the war.

Day and night a heart radiates tenderness
Day and night the head is whirling
Day and night like an agitated fairy tale
Your words resound to me
Only once in a lifetime a meeting
Only once fate tears a thread
Only once on a cold winter evening
Do I so much wish to love...


* * *

Tol'ko Raz, as recorded by Isabella Yurievna

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Analect 2.720x



20 May 2010. Morning sun through white curtains, Natasha curled on white chair--impending mass of tortoise shell fur...

Russian hussar, enters stage left, through the mist. Prince Andrei in clattering mail coach, dispatched by Kutuzov to announce victory. Odna pobeda... Sounds of guns merging with those of the carriage itself. Night thoughts--on the edge of dream. As if this were the moment he'd always lived for...

Entering town--the tall Austrian houses, lighted shop windows--also a kind of stage.

A miracle...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Analect 2.719x



19 May 2010. Yesterday's day, morning in May. Neighbor's car pulling carefully over to bumpy curb for short talk with city tree guy--his Southern accent...

And a sketch from the Soviet past. The line of heavy-fendered motorcyles, each with metal stand welded to side-car mount, on which, high above, two young women take a striding pose--sotsialisticheskaya rabota--each with one arm forward to grip banner staff. (A metaphor of the times--the staff itself being being welded in place, so that rather than carry the flag, they hold onto it for support...)

No true knowing. Like the Ed Sullivan show, which Dad would watch on Sunday night--a line of Chinese acrobats with spinning plates, or the magician with long-toothed saw--inky voice of a yet-unknown crooner, or the five appealing youngsters in modest afros and platform shoes...

High metallic sound-stage curtain, narrow wires, fame...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Analect 2.718x



13 May 2010. Sun, early, pale sky. Javed at the ready, just behind 7-11 counter--a little more stocky, a little more gray. Feeding the birds each morning at dawn--a line of a hundred gulls, all along the parapet, swooping down for yesterday's bread... But that was then, now only a line of vertical wires--cultural impediments--the management in action. He smiles, just a little, "These people, they don't love god..."

Allegories and doubles--as in mother and child. Fuller forms, where the knowing of the one implies knowledge of the other. A history of philosophy, written in the flesh--curve and bone, hooked to the meaning of the meat...

Boat awaiting, like something out of Böcklin or Sickert... Or maybe the Boy Scout's Handbook, where each line serves a purpose--the well-tied knot (half-hitch, bowline) or wobbly signal tower--thirty foot lengths of over-sized bamboo, lashed together at the joints.

Odor of hemp, evening fire...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Analect 2.717x



12 May 2010. Sun, early pool. Emory high on guard stand, waving broadly...

The Wanderers. Peredvizhniki... Two figures on a twisty road, narrow tracks amidst high grass...

And a purse with gold coins, old and new, tucked away under a pillow--Tolstoy--this unexpected domestic touch in a young Russian hussar's bivouac... The hinterlands of Brno...

The year 1969, heading across Czechoslovakia towards Vienna in an old car, we see a likely hilltop for our picnic--overlooking a broad rolling Central European landscape. We pull off, winding our way up, to find there at the top a large round bronze plaque, mounted horizontally, like the land itself. Here stood Napoleon, Austerlitz below...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Analect 2.716x



11 May 2010. Sun again, chilly dark... Nicola curled alongside, minor purrs...

Nikolai Rostov, camped in an Austrian wood... Tall horse with injured hoof, and a purse with gold coins--old and new...

Sebastopol, Russian family by the sea. Galich--his home town...

A version of Oceanside...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Analect 2.715x



10 May 2010. Gray clouds, scatter of rain on hatchback glass...

A Russian officer, as drawn by his own hand-- Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time. Geroj Nashego Vremeni. Figure of Pechorin--the "superfluous man," an existential character avante la lettre.

And Prince Andrei...? His irritability. Razdrazhenie, a kind of impulsive dissatisfaction with the world as is. Dreams of a hero set against bedrock of shame. Pozor. The loss of 40,000 men--Austria's folly--and for Kutuzov, the greatest challenge...

A century hence (my father, quoting Lenin): "Freedom is the recognition of necessity..."

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Analect 2.714x



7 May 2010. Workaround Analect--after the mac's internet demise. A clear and sunny morning, nonetheless. Squirrels delighted on the appearance of their peanut supply--as are the towhees, with small pieces of last week's challah. Smaller birds at feeder, too. On Monterey pine...

Last night's event--music and art, with a luxurious table of food. Quietly good moods all around... Mauricio, with guitar in hand, and David's arrival, after 9--with violin, played in the old way--a pure and responsive evocation...

Late night streets, 1:30 am--young couple crossing Oxford towards campus--the girl with small bag of chips in her right hand...

Vperyod...

Analect 2.713x



6 May 2010. Bright morning after gloomy afternoon. But is any afternoon truly gloomy? Lermontov, for example--po ugryumomu lyesu--through a dark woods...

As with Auden, in the downtown apartment--Manhattan--a mad exile, repository of wisdom... Brimming...

Social history of the cigarette--in it's commercial form. Of the Russian kind--papirosy--tabac set off by a paper tube, squeezed between thumb and first finger, first in one direction then the other--a kind of Volga filter. Truck driver's head, leaning out window of cab, on a Siberian road, in a storm...papiros...

Or Galich (an acronymn)...scene at table, younger people close around, listening, smiling at his words...

Becomes a poem...

Analect 2.712x



5 May 2010. Drawing only today.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Analect 2.711x



May 4, 2010. Glorious days, early May... We moved in at just this time--in 1976. Miramar, "behold the sea..."

Aleksandr Galich, as a younger man. A playwright, and recognized figure in Soviet letters, who in the late 1950s found himself writing and performing his own songs... Something opened, memories included--often of a darker kind--and the need to speak. Matroskaya Tishina--Sailor's Dusk--banned for Galich's "distorted view of Jews in the Great Patriotic War..."

But why go there? His songs, passed by magnitizdat, from hand to hand...

Video of a performance, after his exile, filmed in Norway in 1971--he greets the audience a in tentative English. Aleksandr Ginzburg. The song-- Ya vernus'--I will return...

* * *

Image of his burial place--the Russian cross, the Russian name...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Analect2.710x



3 May 2010. Warm sun, early. Filtered light though camphor leaves. One low-flying crow swooping down the street, under the canopy...

Everyone's stories. In this case, Sergei Nikitin, with his white hair, kindly voice, holding forth to an audience of Muskovites--their attentive and intelligent faces--almost self-consciously so--as he tells of his mother lifting him up as a little boy, standing him on the wardrobe so that he can hear a song by Aleksandr Galich--the one being played by their neighbor just over the partition. (I think this was the gist.) His mother's face, just below, weeping...

Speaking in a quiet, even pensive way. To share, to relive...



* * *

And a recording of Galich singing...