"...to enclose the present moment; to make it stay; to fill it fuller and fuller, with the past, the present and the future, until it shone, whole, bright, deep with understanding."

Virgina Woolf, The Years


Moments of Being VI - Smiles

Some day, when I'm awfully low
and the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
- The way you look tonight, by Dorothy Fields

I leave the house at almost two in the afternoon as though I were rushing out at a much earlier hour, say nine thirty or nine or eight thirty in the morning (or worst), yet unaware of the hope already alerting me that we were finding ourselves again in a happy coincidence. I hear your voice saying hello behind my back as I pull the door closed. I smile. I know you're smiling behind me too. I inadvertently walk towards you with such ill-repressed enthusiasm that I bump into you. I laugh next to your ear acknowledging it, and I'm sure that you're heart is as grateful as mine. You smile and look at me, once the hugging is over, and I bet you're thinking that I rush out of my house as people normally do at a much earlier hour, say six thirty or seven or seven thirty in the morning, with my hair all undone and in whichever cleanish clothes I managed to find, and though you could find a dissapproving sentence or two for that, you just look at me and smile, and remember I am anything but normal.

¿Muy frágil? ¿Qué es muy frágil para ti? you asked, last time we'd met. At first I thought it was a metaphorical question, so I just looked down and played with your shirt and remained quiet. You asked me again, you insisted, you wanted to know what it is I consider fragile. I finally understood, and told you what I keep in that box.

(It's good to see you laugh, you'd said that other time, too, even though you didn't quite understand what I was laughing at).


Les mots II - I am proposing words

No one loves you more ... more ... more ...    
There were sincere lies everywhere placed directly before
the next step. Does everyone pretend, part of alive
I am proposing words — All structures have crumbled
in earliest death. I’m crossing the yellow sands
It’s so hard to know without relating it, to you
shaping a heart, take hold of me and someone says
I don’t get it! You don’t have to have love,
or you do, which? I don’t think you do; before
the explosion? I was here without it and have been in
many places loveless. I don’t want you
to know what I’m really thinking or do I, before
creation when there might be no “I knew”
Everything one’s ever said not quite true. He or she be-
trays you; why you want to hurt me ... bad
Want to, or just do? Treason was provoked
everywhere even here, by knowing one was one and
I was alone, a pale hue. The sky of death
is milky green today, like a poison pool near a
desert mine. Picked prickly pear fruit and I
tasted it, then we drove on, maybe to Yarnell.
These outposts where I grew up; I didn’t do that
I have no ... identity, and the love is an object
to kick as you walk on the blazing bare ground, where ...    
sentimental, when what I love, I ... don’t have that one
word. This fire all there is ... to find ... I find it
You have to find it. It isn’t love, it’s what?

This fire, by Alice Notley


Love and Freedom VIII - Magnetic pink and evolve princesslike, or What voice in what wilderness? (Love and obedience II)

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,  
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,  
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,  
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, 
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated
- Howl, by Alan Ginsberg

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by wedding planners, dieting, in shapewear, 

dragging themselves in cute outfits through the freezer section for the semifreddo bender,

blessed innovative cloister girl pin-ups burning to know the rabbi of electricity in poverty, obedience, in the dream stick of opium and the green Wi-Fi fuse,

not allowed to explore alleys or ride the rails or hitchhike either because of the magnetic pink and with all the years of training before spread out boundless the rules and safety tiresome before them,

who busted out against parents’ wishes clattered cross-county in a Model T with another girl to see the iron pyrite fool’s gold The West and the finally wide open-legged Pacific zones,

who talked all night in the tourist camps and were up with the sun and snappish with hunger,

the navigators in terror of the steep mountain road refreshing the radiator with water inhaling the rust steam fragrance of open road red oxygen metal and a lunar happiness,

who listened while the mechanic romanced over velocity and atonement die-stampings on sheet steel and drop forgings while the diner waitress ground out pies and pies and pies,

wandering nylons suffering while the word of engagements and new babies began its bone descent by mother’s phrasing and martini lunch date with the old school of the hot comb and the inner ear,

who broke up with boyfriends and walked tap heels on streets for dentist’s appointment a doctor’s appointment an interview a newspaper grocery dinner tomato,

who found the sublet which for what she was making she could afford but the roommate had trouble with rent alarm clock rooster cock boyfriend,

who saw her clothing was available in size 00 so it was time to disappear entirely, 

who listened to the TODAY show while she Kindled exasperated on an exercise bike in the new pink Manhattan Island 22.7 square miles of dawn,

who carried her infant in a baby sling she designed herself out of thrift store fabrics,

who wept because caesarean was a term for last resort, having felt cheated by the dictionary of the pain of real meaning and deliverance of child into atmosphere,

who anyway flamed ardent and breathless in illuminated swinging as she sang lulling smooth neurons already waddling inside the babygirl’s palimpsest brain,

who watched the girl with highlights blow her boyfriend and then blew her boyfriend and then copulated analytically with a stranger waiter painter truck driver in a sorcery of forgetfulness, 

who is up nights and days peeing restlessly endlessly with nothing but cranberry cranberry cranberry eucharist for the body’s  unyielding sciences and the UTI of the Punishing Boy God who decided who wins,

who felt the embryo always crunching futures with crushing weight of the fixed decree by which the laws of the universe are prescribed the bitch of necessity the bitch of chance and the DNA overlord,

who from curiosity and an old curse tried the spinning wheel in the coldest room of the castle and spilled drops of blood on the snow, fell into a sleep that would last a hundred years, until, what else, a boy kisses her,

who lost her virginity to the three bad playing cards in cardboard plastic coated false love the slippery wet Jack of Text Messages the forcible Jack of All Fours the odd can opener of need filled by the One-Eyed Jack who finally demystifies though it turns out not only slightly painful but truly unpleasant, followed by all the new information, 

who burned her novel this actually happened destroyed a second Bell Jar dedicated to him call her impossible but the leapt from it must have been split-second maddening rapturous,

who blew him three times and then his friend because it was hard to say no when you say no nobody likes you as much when you say yes or even whatever you are loved into momentary relevance existence,

who begged twenty dollars from each friend to pay for a secret abortion, her man needing the child but not her to show his father manliness by imperialism of the womb and eventual abandonment like any suburban mall, 

who should have been on the road but for the uterus repeatedly renewing its lease convincing energy affirmative right honey that’s right honey right there,

who gave a light touch delicate hand beautiful chisel cheek blonde wave Mother Image Madwoman chick and ignu driving inward toward an isolated, lonely peace, 

and lived the biography filled however with biographies of the others for which she made a home flashbulbed in silver their likenesses and tried love in living room, attic, slanted redeemable love their fingers articulated like saints,

who after the understandable and recognizable desire loveshape would then expand, against his will and this was a shame, this lie abandonment anger congenital analgesia against hope plan bugout for ten years,

returning in her saffron clothes her flat dimension the mother saint devotion song of spiritual angers lovingly pressed into an incense cone of spirituality, her image carved by apostles among the lonely goat forgotten sheep infant in cozy rags framed by any window to be honored in her eternal loneliness,

Amherst’s Evergreens’ First Congregational’s cupola and conservatory hothouse echoing pure song and archway and hymnal restraint, Daisy who bends her smaller life to his in her fenced-in field within which the horse can gallop wildly as she likes, grieve her your best girl

with a still, restrained, almost annoyed sigh, what voice in what wilderness, minutest cricket, most unworthy flower I will never be tired—I will never be noisy I will be your best little girl— nobody else will see me, but you — but that is enough — limitlessness, wilt thou say,

ah, ladies, good night, good night, good night ladies —

and who therefore know the biology of the soft matter and the cluster of creation in its salty stellar lonely archive is matched by the sweet violence of thought,

the madgirl and saint unrecognized and writing madrigal in bedroom and recipe in library and songs during class and sketching sunflowers for what’s left of us,

and remains magnified sanctified we should be allowed Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba Acanthus whorled and dense and impossibly real multiplying in fields an abundance of sunflowers serious beauty,

with blooming, ridiculous with blooming, arriving and opening in endless profusion forever. 

Excerpts from Amy Newman's Howl


The Nightingale doth sing IV - Blooming and singing

La rosa enflorese                     The rose is blossoming
hoy en el mes de may              now, in the month of May

Los bilbilicos cantan                The nightingales are singing
con sospiros de aver                 sighing with desire

Los bilbilicos cantan                The nightingales are singing
en los arvos de la flor               on the blossoming trees

Letra de la canción sefardí Los bilbilicos, tomada del artículo When will that be, de Liang Sheng, publicado en Poemas del Río Wang.


The Gardener III - It's as alive as you or me

Dickon: The robin says he's been waiting for you. The animals tell me all their secrets.

Mary: He wouldn't tell you my secret, would he?

Dickon: About what Miss Mary?

Mary: A garden. I've stolen a garden. Maybe it's dead anyhow. I don't know.

Dickon: I'd know.

Mary: Promise you won't tell.

Dickon: Promise.

Mary: Nobody?

Dickon: Not a soul.

Mary: I'ts a secret garden.

Dickon: Secrets are safe with me.

Mary: And you'll really know if it's alive?

Dickon: 'Course!

Mary: Wait here.

Dickon: This garden's not dead. I'ts as alive as you or me. See? This part's wick. See the green!

Mary: Wick? What's wick?

Dickon: Alive. Full of live. There'll be so many roses in here this summer. You'll be sick of them.

Dialogue from the movie The Secret Garden, directed by Agnieszka Holland.

The Garden III - Searching for the garden

- Where's the door?
If you know the way, show me.


The Gardener II - Eden and Chaos

- Is this abundance of chaos... is this your Eden?
- My search for it.

Dialogue from the movie A Little Chaos, directed by Alan Rickman. 


Les mots I - Palabras como cavernas

Line the word caves
with panther skins,

widen them, hide-to and hide-fro,
sense-hither and sense-thither,

give them courtyards, chambers, drop doors
and wildnesses, parietal,

and listen for their second
and each time second and second


The Nightingale Doth Sing III - On the viewless wings of Poesy

Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! Tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays.

Fragments of Ode to a Nigthingale, by John Keats


Las Horas X - El bosque de relojes

El maestro Hora volvió a sonreír.

- No, querida niña. Yo sólo soy el administrador. Mi obligación es dar a cada hombre el tiempo que le está destinado.

- ¿No podrías organizarlo de tal manera -preguntó Momo-, que los ladrones de tiempo no pudieran robar más a los hombres?

- No, eso no puedo hacerlo -contestó el maestro Hora-, porque lo que los hombres hacen con su tiempo, tienen que decidirlo ellos mismos. También son ellos quienes han de defenderlo. Yo sólo puedo adjudicárselo.

Momo recorrió con la mirada la sala y preguntó:

- Para eso tienes tantos relojes, ¿no? ¿Uno para cada hombre?

- No, Momo -contestó el maestro Hora-. Esos relojes no son más que una afición mía. Sólo son reproducciones muy imperfectas de algo que todo hombre lleva en su pecho. Porque al igual que tienen ojos para ver la luz, oídos para oír los sonidos, tienen un corazón para percibir, con él, el tiempo. Y todo el tiempo que no se percibe con el corazón está tan perdido como los colores del arcoiris para un ciego o el canto de un pájaro para un sordo. Pero, por desgracia, hay corazones ciegos y sordos que no perciben nada, a pesar de latir.

- ¿Y si un día mi corazón dejara de latir? -preguntó Momo.

- Entonces -replicó el maestro Hora-, el tiempo se habrá acabado para ti, mi niña. También se podría decir que eres tú quien vuelve a través del tiempo, a través de todos tus días y noches, tus meses y años. Regresas a través de tu vida hasta llegar al gran portal de plata por el que una vez entraste. Por allí vuelves a salir.

- Y, ¿qué hay del otro lado?

- Entonces has llegado al lugar de donde procede la música que, muy bajito, ya has oído alguna vez. Pero entonces tú formas parte de ella, eres un sonido dentro de ella.

Miró, inquisitivo, a Momo.

- Pero eso no podrás entenderlo todavía, ¿verdad?

- Sí -contestó Momo-, creo que sí.

Recordó su camino a través de la calle de Jamás, en la que lo había vivido todo al revés, y preguntó:

- ¿Eres tú la muerte?

El maestro Hora sonrió y calló un rato antes de contestar:

- Si los hombres supiesen lo que es la muerte, ya no le tendrían miedo. Y si ya no le tuvieran miedo, nadie podría robarles, nunca más, su tiempo de vida.

- No hace falta más que decírselo - propuso Momo.

-¿Tu crees? -preguntó el maestro Hora-. Yo se los digo con cada hora que les adjudico. Pero creo que no quieren escucharlo. Prefieren creer a aquellos que les dan miedo. Eso también es un enigma.

Fragmento de Momo, de Michael Ende. 


Love & Freedom VII - Love & obedience

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.

The Second Epistle of John, verse 6, Holy Bible.


The Gardener I - To hold your little fists like tender lotus-buds

Servant: Have mercy upon your servant, my queen!
Queen: The assembly is over and my servants are all gone. Why do you come at this late hour?
Servant: When you have finished with the others, that is my time. I come to ask what remains for your last servant to do. 

Queen: What can you expect when it is too late?
Servant: Make me the gardener of your flower garden.
Queen: What folly is this?
Servant: I will give up my other work. I throw my swords and lances down in the dust. Do not send me to distant courts; do not bid me undertake new conquests. But make me the gardener of your flower garden.
Queen: What will your duties be?
Servant: The service of your idle days. I will keep fresh the grassy path where you walk in the morning, where your feet will be greeted with praise at every step by the flowers eager for death. I will swing you in a swing among the branches of the saptaparna, where the early evening moon will struggle to kiss your skirt through the leaves. I will replenish with scented oil the lamp that burns by your bedside, and decorate your footstool with sandal and saffron paste in wondrous designs.
Queen: What will you have for your reward?
Servant: To be allowed to hold your little fists like tender lotus-buds and slip flower chains over your wrists; to tinge the soles of your feet with the red juice of ashoka petals and kiss away the speck of dust that may chance to linger there.
Queen: Your prayers will be granted, my servant, you will be the gardener of my flower garden.

Rabindranath Tagore, The Gardener, Poem I.


Through the Looking Glass IV - L'image du passage

Lorsque la licorne s'observe dans le miroir, elle tourne son regard en direction du lion qui détourne les yeux comme s'il n'était pas (ou plus) concerné. Son reflet regarde en direction d'elle-même comme si elle occupait la place du lion. Autrement dit, le miroir correspond à l'image du passage d'un monde à l'autre, de la sphère lunaire à la sphère solaire, du monde de l'être ordinaire, voire humain, au monde de l'être spirituel. Traverser le miroir signifie se détourner des sens et se tourner vers le cœur pour donner à l'être tout son sens.

La vista, tapiz de la serie La dama del Unicornio, Museo Cluny
Fragmento de La dame à la licorne. Le toucher et la vue


Through the Looking Glass III - Mirror stage indeed

After the initial identification with Atreyu, Bastian becomes deeply invested in his story, entering his mirror stage. Bastian’s actions through the middle part of the movie are mimetic: he cries when Atreyu mourns the loss of his horse in the Swamps of Sadness, he screams when Atreyu is frightened by the appearance of Morla the Ancient One, he eats at the same moment that Atreyu breaks his  march for lunch, and he taps into his own confidence to urge Atreyu on through a magical test of will. Bastian, in a sense, becomes the champion of Fantasia. At one point, when Atreyu looks into a magical mirror, he sees Bastian’s face – a clever inversion of the process by which Bastian looks into the “mirror” of the book and sees Atreyu. Mirror stage indeed!

It also becomes clearer through the progression of the journey what Bastian is fighting. The Nothing could be taken as the persistence of Bastian’s emptiness, his failure to find substitutions for his relationship with his mother which would allow him to become a part of the Symbolic. Bastian has a choice between being and nothingness, even as Fantasia does – he must become a “desiring being” (Coats, 21). The alternative is made clear by the only visible monster of the movie, the G’Mork, who identifies desires with the imagination and with hope. He claims that he helps the “force behind the Nothing” out of admiration for its philosophy: “ … people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has the control has the power!” If Bastian doesn’t choose his own place in the Symbolic, larger forces (a society, perhaps) will do so for him, and, as we have already seen with his tormentors, they’ll consult their convenience and pleasure more than his well being when they do so.
The book, by contrast, becomes Bastian’s “phallic mother”, inundating him with empowering language that casts and reshapes him as a hero in Atreyu’s mold. Through reading, Bastian’s mother’s loss becomes repressed in his Real, not gone but no longer obsessing him. Bastian is enabled to look beyond grief for substitutes to cover his ‘lack’ with meaningful mentoring relationships: with Atreyu, with Falkor the Luck Dragon, with the scientist gnomes Engyhook and Urgl, with the Southern Oracle, and eventually with the Childlike Empress herself. These fantastical beings instruct Bastian through Atreyu in where to go on the stages of his quest, how to get there, and how to behave when he arrives.

Fragment from "The Neverending Story: an epic of the mirror stage and the advent of subjectivity," by Michael K. Johnson.
Illustration by Chuck Groenink.
Image from the movie The Neverending  Story.


Through the Looking Glass II - True self

- Next is the Magic Mirror Gate. Atreyu has to face his true self.
- So what? That won't be too hard for him.
- Oh, that's what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away, screaming!

Dialogue from the movie The Neverending Story.
Illustration: Atreyu and the Magic Mirror Gate by Moe Balinger.


The Nightingale Doth Sing II - Songs for the Emperor (or, your heart better than your crown)

- Little bird, your song has gone straight to my heart. I wish to reward you. You may have my golden slipper, to wear around your neck.

- Thank you, no. I have been rewarded enough. I have seen tears in the Emperor's eyes. For me, that is the richest treasure.

Dialogue from The Nightingale, Faerie Tale Theatre