Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Analect 2.771x



31 August 2010. Gray valley mist--San Luis Rey. Stream from the mountains, cottonwoods and willows. That particular gray-green light--dry, but with morning moisture. Boulders on the hillsides above. Home...

Time in late fall, white disk of the sun, veiled...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Analect 2.770x



30 August 2010. Beautiful morning, cool air, sun... Otoño...

Chance meeting in the copy store with Flor, from thirty years ago--at a seder, in Oakland, by Noach and Rivka... Her two sons, then just young boys--and the extremely tender way she spoke to them... "Mi corazón...," pronounced with a lilt of endearment that could come only from a culture where love transcends idea...

I play for her (on the iPod) a bit of Cuco Sanchez--Cama de Piedra, with the question-- "Flor, how can this song, which is at once so personal, become the very emblem of something as broad as the Mexican Revolution?" She considers for a time, continuing with her xeroxes (long division problems for a mathematics class?)... "You know, there's never been a day that I haven't thought about just how personal an encounter can be there--people tell you what comes from the inside--while here there's often a certain distance..."

Later, just before leaving, smiling slightly-- "Maybe it's that in Mexico (where Flor was born) it's honorable for a man to die for a woman--much more so than to die for a political cause..."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Analect2.769x




27 August 2010. Late in the night. People are good. Alexi from El Salvador stops his janitorial cart to help, no jump cable--but kindhearted Altagracia (also with cart) has a portable charger, so we walk together down to Durant, where's she's parked off campus for economy's sake--listening to her life story--and head back to the Boalt lot, where my ancient Honda has died yet again. But her starter won't work--this time the battery is truly gone--and I wait in the dark for the truck from AAA--it's Gustavo, from Matzatlan, 23 years old and very heads up. His English almost unaccented, and he knows cars. "Me gustan los coches." At midnight, new battery in place, I'm on the road...

Congo Square. An image from New Orleans. And today the date of Katrina, five years back. Song from that odd-ball Chuck E. Weiss--and the photo of two men, sitting opposite at a small table somewhere in the LA basin. Yahya's response last night--to my question, "What are layers?" (We've just sung Down in the Valley.) He quotes Psalms--"I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...," adding, "It makes me think of an alley..."

Songs and Places. "If I get to heaven before you do, I'll cut a hole and pull you through..."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Analect 2.768x



26 August 2010. Foggy dawn, off the Oceanside pier. Black-green water, translucent, swirling around the pilings. Creosote and tar. Clumps of mussels at the waterline--breathing with the tide...

As in a song--voice of Cuco Sanchez, late in the night--La Cama de Piedra, guitar of Antonio Bribiesca leading us in, slow, beautiful, filled with evocation. Of a time and a place--hardly known--or not known at all, but somewhere a truth--in the only way a truth can be conveyed--as something brought together in the life, cherished (or feared)--and made whole...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Analect 2.766x



23 August 2010. Warm, even early in the morning... Yerushalayim...

Departures and arrivals. The fox, the wolf, the hare and the crow. Stretches of bright winter wheat on dark fields, stubble, wet with rain...

Tolstoy...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Analect 2.765x



20 August 2010. Ultimate regression. And a most beautiful song, from Mexico--Cuco Sánchez--La Cama de Piedra. "La mujer que a mi me quiera, me ha de querer de ha de veras..." Scene from a film--una cantina--with an abbreviated Greek chorus in the background--the bartender, towell in hand, polishing a glass, and two customers, turned in each other's direction... He's much younger here, seated at one of the tables, holding a guitar. Moody light. La servidora (something of Patsy Cline--how is this now not possible?) approaches, ample bouffant of dark hair, bending forward to place something at his side...

Or, much later, with an elaborate line of mariachis on the stage just behind him, now with a wider face, large sombrero over his chest, its brim embroidered with flowers...singing just the two verses...

Adoración...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Analect 2.764x



19 August 2010. Girl by a river, water without end...

Carter Family song, Little Moses...

Away by the river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
And Pharaoh's little daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day.
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Analect 2.763x



28 August 2010. The mountains recede--mountains always receding...

Cities of red dust...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Analect 2.762x



17 August 2010. Chilly morning, almost fall...

The Sierras. A forest in the mountains--white pine, incense cedar, kellog oak--names of trees and birds--osprey, eagle, stellar's jay. (A healthy type, his prominent hop.) Gray squirrel, with narrow back and pointy ears, imagined in November. Or rumbling brown bear, touch of white on his nose.

Small cabin, from the 1930s. The Fir. Log walls, filled in with grout, plywood overlay in spots, appropriate wires. A lamp shade made from a pine star--five narrow branches, rough pentagram spanned with bark. Bed posts of tree logs, boards, handmade quilt--somehow intact. Full-throated salmon leap across cotton curtains, destination unknown. Maybe to the top of the pass--Lakes Basin, Sardine, Packer, Gold...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

Analect 2.760x



6 August 2010. Tolstoy and the Tolstoyans, after a painting by Nikolai Ge, Lev Nikolaevich's great friend. That's the figure on your left--the young woman with strangely long face and close-set eyes--or is it simply Ge's handling--a subtle shifting of tones, the blurred ears (quite large, in fact) and the way he revels in the full weight of the darks... (Renoir--"Black is the queen of colors...")

Like the beautiful woman at El Cerrito pool, whose matronly form belies a girlhood of impossible grace. The deep tones in the colors of her skin--Anatolia moving east, Cochin perhaps... She's back the next day, peering up out of the green water at pool's edge, and my curiosity wins out. "May I ask where you're from?" "Lebanon," she answers, smiling...

"You're very distinctive..."

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Analect 2.759x



5 August 2010. Beautiful gray morning, fresh shirt... No immediate rips or tears in the collar, wavery lines. Dressed for success (!)

That's the kind of thing they say. But what if you're living in the Zen Center, waking each morning at five for a bowl of tea, buddhist chants--and then off to your gig downtown as an fledgling investment banker, zipping up to the 35th floor... View over the bay, Marin hills....fog pouring in through the Golden Gate. Or Natasha, out farther on the bluffs, where silent guns awaited enemy ships, Fort Point--drawing trees...

A delight, yesterday, with the Russians, and their companions, veering from song to story to poem. Brodsky's taut lines--in Viktor's voice--a nice insistent edge...

Andrea--grace.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Analect 2.758x



4 August 2010. Morning sounds, rumbling of cars outside, rumbling machines within. Vne i vnutri--as in the Brodsky poem, Naturmort--these opposites (or facings) always in balance... Not so much resolved as acknowledged...

"God or man, woman, I am yours..." You just don't get lines like this often in one lifetime...

And Norris, on the same page. His quiet hulk, bending over copy machine. The patient daily racing forms, clips and paste-ups, a dance of intelligent speculation. But today it's something else--a letter from the Library of Congress--paperwork on copyrights--their tardy recording of the authorship of his songs...

Yes, to sing. Evening room, yellow light, an old rose...

Analect 2.757x



3 August 2010. So, one day everything sails along--and the next it's a nose dive. Well, not exactly. Just that you can't do the same thing twice--which is to say, you shouldn't even dream of it. And yet, Tolstoy--repeating every other word--but that's not twice--that's emphasis, an altogether different matter.

Matter--as in shirt sleeves and lamb's wool collars--polyester, maybe, but still fluffy. A border man--crossing first to one side, then the other. This is done with bravado--and not a little hesitation--the tunnels, the payoffs, the close calls. But what can They do, finally, but send you back home.

Home, to set out again...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Analect 2.756x



2 August 2010. And why not...endless dance--a sense of what's on the inside. Brodsky's view--"Naturmort"--the brown-light dust, with overhead bulb, a bristling vast and static presence. But I can't be sure on this--the language is sinewy, and loaded--so that his shoe-store denial of the language of physics (my analogy) seems strangely accurate--but accurate to what?

Possibilities of redemption. A small Japanese hole-in the wall on Shattuck--beautiful vegetarian dishes--two distinct flan-like mounds of golden-yellow paste (eggplant tofu) and the brown fruit itself positioned in between. Also a kind of physics--in which the optic nerve--that is, the eye--does all the heavy lifting. Cooks behind counter, sound of accidental ladle gong--everyone turns. Sheepish, meat-free smiles...

Or Tolstoy, a bouquet of flowers, vsyegda...