zondag, december 31, 2006


if stars are lit
it means - there is someone who needs it.
It means - someone wants them to be,
that someone deems those specks of spit

And overwrought,
in the swirls of afternoon dust,
he bursts in on God,
afraid he might be already late.
In tears,
he kisses God's sinewy hand
and begs him to guarantee
that there will definitely be a star.
He swears
he won't be able to stand
that starless ordeal.

He wanders around, worried,
but outwardly calm.
And to everyone else, he says:
it's all right.
You are no longer afraid,
are you?'

if stars are lit,
it means - there is someone who needs it.
It means it is essential
that every evening
at least one star should ascend
over the crest of the building.


Vladimir Mayakovsky

vrijdag, december 15, 2006


The tenor, Roberto Alagna, stormed off the La Scala stage on Sunday night after singing Celeste Aida. He has produced what a critic called "a rather laboured B flat", and the gallery has erupted in boos.

to hear how it's sung without the laboured B flat: listen here.


Prostitutes in Ipswich are being given money by police and drug workers to stop them risking their lives by touting for business on the streets.

Why not just turn the police stations into brothels and let the Council earn a few extreee to offset increased council taxes?


White Vase
Felix Dennis

Two figures on a sofa, side by side,
The stench of bitter almonds, smoke and sweat;
A man who ate no meat lies with his bride.

Fresh tulips and narcissi cast aside,
A white vase tipped; a chiffon dress splashed wet.
Two figures on a sofa, side by side.

The room is hushed, its spell defies the tide
Of history ­ no servants enter yet.
A man who could not paint lies with his bride,

Her spittle flecked with glass and cyanide,
Her buckskin pumps beneath the blue banquette.
Two figures on a sofa, side by side.

The brimstone face grown slack and glassy-eyed,
Its shattered skull concealed in silhouette.
A man who blamed the world lies with his bride.

Outside, the spring has come while worlds collide.
Here, blood and water drip in grim duet.
Two figures on a sofa, side by side:
A man who ate no meat lies with his bride.

(The first Millionaire Poet?)


donderdag, december 07, 2006

6e Festival International du Film de Marrakech

"What a Wonderful world" est le deuxième long métrage de Bensaidi après "Mille Mois" qui lui a valu plusieurs prix internationaux. Le film sera présenté à Marrakech en avant-première marocaine après une participation au dernier Festival de Venise et le Festival du Film Francophone de Namur. La sortie du film est prévue pour le mi-décembre au Maroc et en France.


Wake-Up Morocco est également le deuxième long métrage de son auteur, Narjisse Nejjar, déjà titulaire d'un prix du meilleur scénario de la 3éme édition du festival de Marrakech pour son oeuvre "Les Yeux Secs".



This is the artist, then, life's hungry man, the glutton of eternity, beauty's miser, glory's slave.
-- Thomas Wolfe

I waited years for the sequel.
We left off with a man
armed with desire, that slinking word
that means anything is inexcusable.
That man was also armed
with the innate sense of not knowing
what there wasn't to know.
So what could we have told him?
Watch out for the future
lest time at the moment
be stolen?

Slavishly I selfishly
filled those years of hours in between
with words and photographs of memories
no dictionary could house,
no pub crawl could summon,
no thinking man's game whose
rules could be broken without consequence
like a shattered mirror
could be played
until the grooves wore out
and the teteh, teteh, teteh
of the needle stuck in submission
rambled on like a litany of rules
in a bureaucrat's laundry list
of don'ts, conveniently leaving off
the do's and blues to follow.

Here the sacred heart unbeknownst
to the screedish hue of night owl
drinkers and hopelessly in love
with semi coherence beneath
a blanket of liquor and worn out
fingerprints of dying
leaving a semisonic clatter
of gysum-coloured tablets to ponder.


When I tore the bandages away
I expected the new and improved
sequel; the dying breed of brooding
could horde themselves elsewhere.
This was my night off.

I hadn't contemplated hospital lighting
being not one for hospitals
or morbid gazing listening to the soft
sneaker soles of nurses consoling.

I'm not dying, it's him.

That is how I shall comfort myself.


Where else could we be but
this unmistakably blurry misery,
these half-shrung dreams hung
like tattered underwear
on a clothes line strung
from the middle of nowhere
to eternity?

When I bust out of this death palace
it'll be through the double-bolted doors,
a mad dash into the recess playground
to play with matches, put dirty objects
into my mouth, drink to success,
toast the years spent bending the shape
of this body that they say is but a
shell of the soul to be cast away
like dreams because in essence
it is the dreams that are dying
not the man himself.


The business of writing the sequel
is that of a fry cook - toss together
yesterday's specials and add a little
coriander and garlic to taste,
don't waste a minute concocting new
spaces that will get filled with
someone else's blanket advertising:
This is no one else's world
once the lights are dimmed
and we begin to fear the loss
of electricity.

This moment is a magnet attracting
every sense of the world. We will go
hand in hand into a sea of indistinction
until we emerge, wet and delicious
with the taste of selfishness
in our mouths.

Our lines will always be the same:
She says, he says, or vice versa.
Our lives will always be the same:
they will always end in dying.

So what to make of ourselves
so made up to look like others?

This one says he can fly, another
stands mute so the others can speak.
Well, I've got news kid, the others
can speak regardless
and they will speak without regard
for you standing mute
and they won't stop
whether or not you're here to hear them.


My sequel will begin with a fade in:
a man holding an unbroken chain of men
some of whom are blessed,
some of whom are merely heathens.

The voice over that you are hearing
is that of a man who is dead,
long gone, affixed in the head
by years of recording lines such as these.

I live. You live. He/she/it lives.
We live. You plural live. They live.

Happily ever after is impossible
unless the ever after is going to happen
happily and sooner than you think
because very few came for the first showing
and even less to the sequel.
This life's reel spinning again and again
in the empty movie house
showing no one what nothing is.

dinsdag, november 14, 2006

A Woman Young And Old

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.
What if I look upon a man
As though upon my beloved,
And my blood be cold the while
And my heart unmoved?
Why should he think me cruel
Or that he is betrayed?
I'd have him love the thing that was
Before the world was made.

--WB Yeats

woensdag, november 08, 2006

There will be no cage over the Thames, as it turns out.

This is the last of my series this evening, the emptying of the bottles into the gullet ritual.

I will tell you one thing I've been keeping secret to myself now that I've run out of tricks.

I suppose some of you might remember my recounting of a girl and my being in love with her and her being selfish enough to fall off a balcony and dying. Frankly, even to this day, it's the source of all my cynical life but practically it's no excuse and I recognise that.

In any event, two weeks ago, I dreamt about her for the first time in ten years maybe. I dreamt about her so deeply that when I woke up she was there. Not there nor here of course, but in my fucking head, the same one I'd emptied specifically not to have such dreams or thoughts again.

So on a whim, I thought I'd google her. They didn't even have such a verb when she died.

Her name is not a common name. Why I googled her name anyway, knowing she is dead I dunno. The fucking dream was in my head and frankly, it's one of those repressed things that if one little bit comes out, the lid blows off. So I googled her name.

And I found a match.

Now I'm a rational man. I believe someone is dead, someone is dead and that's it, you can't even really google them back into existence.

But I did find a match and it was in the appropriate country and it is an uncommon name.

So what the FUCK do I think?

I know it's not possible. I know it of course, like any rational person.

Maybe it's that belief.

So google search finds the name which can't be and naturally what I have to do is find a number to connect it to. (Believe me, I tried the simple way, find an email, didn't exist, how easy to ask such question via email but no, there was none and so I searched)

I found a telephone number.

And imagine me, I'm a pretty stoic muthafuckah, really. Not much breaks my walls but man, when I saw there was a telephone number of this person with a name that isn't usual, all sorts of crazy shit I imagined. And that crazy shit was hope beyond reason, belief with no reason.

I really WANTED to believe.

And man, on the tail of that dream I'd had, I thought fuck anything's possible, isn't it? Dead people being alive, why not. It isn't the most incredible story I've ever read.

And so I rang the number the first night and got ringing and nothing more. Feckin ell, imagine the impatience!

Following night I rang again.

An auld woman answered and I knew it wasn't her but I thought maybe it was her mother and so I asked, ridiculously, is _____ there?

I am her, she said.

And she was. Another human with the same name in the same country.

And I was fucking gutted. Fucking gutted.

(and here is where I imagine myself almost being human in that I didn't just hang up, I carried on)

I talked to her, about her life. She's a neurological doctore, helpijng children with neurological handicaps. She was married, husband dead, three grandchildren, one daughter. Every word bled me. Reality, not reality. I told her about the person I'd been seeking, she made appropriate sympathies and I hung up after we'd had our spontaneous and unexpected chat, this woman with the same name of the woman I once loved who died.

And when I put down the phone, that was it. My last chance. I'd had one more thought of hope and it was beautifully beaten down but it was my last chance and there are no more after this not even if I dream of her again I won't be fooled.

But I was magically fooled by that need to believe just that once.

And I wish I could say I'm unshackled by it in a way I thought I was unshackled by it when she first died but I'm not. It will continue to haunt me over and over and I will have to recognise that for all my alleged intelligence, she will never live again, I will be happy in small moments and walk mostly in valleys and that will be the underlying current of my existence.

woensdag, november 01, 2006

Best Little Whorehouse in Pompeii

The frescoes are like a list of offerings -- with a sexual position to satisfy everyone's preferences. Now, after a year-long restoration, the brothel in the ancient city of Pompeii is once again open for visitors.

dinsdag, oktober 31, 2006

Herr Weber

woord van de dag:

It was this edulcorated transatlantic version that was re-imported into the fledgling Federal Republic as a ‘good’ German, tainted neither by Nazi collaboration nor Marxist sympathies.
from New Left Review Peter Thomas on Being Max Weber

Verb 1. edulcorate - make sweeter in taste
dulcify, dulcorate, sweeten
honey - sweeten with honey
saccharify, sugar - sweeten with sugar; "sugar your tea"
candy, sugarcoat, glaze - coat with something sweet, such as a hard sugar glaze
mull - heat with sugar and spices to make a hot drink; "mulled cider"
change taste - alter the flavor of


maandag, oktober 30, 2006

Drunkenness At Work

from a book I've been reading called Birmingham: The First Manufacturing Town In the World by Eric Hopkins, quoting Matthew Boulton, Brummy Big Wig in the 18th century:

"...our workmen in the plated way have very few of them been at work this week past having been drunkall thewhile, and it was not in our power to persuade them to set to work again while they had any money left, a vexatious circumstance we are frequently subjected to when we have the greatest need of their dilligence."

A week later, Boulton had to confess to a customer that he had been unable to fulfil orders
"owing to the insolence and drunkenness of our workmen".

Cheers to the working class of the 18th century who no doubt grew tired at times of exploitation, low wages and crap work environments.

*****The New Working Class*****

"The poor of today watch television for half the day. These days, television producers even refer to what they call "Underclass TV." The new proletariat eats a lot of fatty foods and he enjoys smoking and drinking -- a lot. About 8 percent of Germans consume 40 percent of all the alcohol sold in the country. While he may be a family man, his families are often broken. And on Election Day, he casts a protest vote for the extreme left or right wing party, sometimes switching quickly from one to the other.

But the main thing that sets the modern poor apart from the industrial age pauper is a sheer lack of interest in education. Today's proletariat has little education and no interest in obtaining more. Back in the early days of industrialization, the poor joined worker associations that often doubled as educational associations. The modern member of the underclass, by contrast, has completely shunned personal betterment."

from Der Spiegel: WHITE TRASH, FAST FOOD - How Globalization Is Creating a New European Underclass

zaterdag, oktober 28, 2006


I'm feline tonight.

My back is gonna arch,
I'm gonna be black
and crossing paths.

when I'm on the phone
with my two heterosexual parents
I will ask them
who will die first
you or me?

when a gang of kids
loitering at the corner
intimidate the auld fuck
dottering to conclusion
I will not interject social consciousness.

I will throw a bottle
in the other direction
and the noise from afar
will cause them to scatter.

I will be Hitler tonight.
Not to kill Jews
or to apologise
but to incite idiots
to shave their heads
and have orgasms
beating people to death
for not being them.

My eyes are going to open
because even in total darkness
I can't walk with my eyes closed.

I will be Jesus tonight
and feed people with
bread and wine and
they'll believe anything.

Tonight will be the night
anything will happen.
On the pavement,
my head will rest, split open
and all the little thoughts
I might have had
will go unspoken.

donderdag, oktober 26, 2006

Livre du Jour

Letter Written by R.D. Yelverton in Support of George Edalji

"I observe that in the cases of injuries since the conviction of Mr Edlaji, every injury is said by the Police to be accidental and attributable to barbed wire or some concealed danger. It is, I repeat, grossly unjust that evidence as above was not given the previous occasion, involving such grave consequences that a gentleman was sent to seven years penal servitude."

And the fictionalised version of the George Edalji case can be found via Arthur and George, written by Julian Barnes


Samurai Song

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.



America, 2004:

People with bachelor's degrees earned an average of $51,554 in 2004, while those with high school diplomas earned $28,645, according to the U.S. Census Bureau figures released on Thursday.

Those with postgraduate degrees fared best, earning on average $78,093, according to the census statistics.

The Price of Bread: Poverty, Purchasing Power, and The Victorian Laborer's Standard of Living

By 1865 the purchasing power of even a skilled town laborer working his trade had fallen to a level of less than twice that of the Speenhamland allowance, putting the great bulk of independent town laborers barely above subsistence. Booth estimated that around the turn of the century 31 percent of the population of London was living in poverty. This estimate was confirmed by the studies of Rowntree in the City of York, where he found the proportion of the inhabitants in poverty (that is, below subsistence) was 28 percent


An old man

At the back of the noisy café
bent over a table sits an old man;
a newspaper in front of him, without company.

And in the scorn of his miserable old age
he ponders how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, and the power of the word, and good looks.

He knows he has aged much; he feels it, he sees it.
And yet the time he was young seems
like yesterday. How short a time, how short a time.

And he ponders how Prudence deceived him;
and how he always trusted her -- what a folly! --
that liar who said: "Tomorrow. There is ample time."

He remembers the impulses he curbed; and how much
joy he sacrificed. Every lost chance
now mocks his senseless wisdom.

...But from so much thinking and remembering
the old man gets dizzy. And falls asleep
bent over the café table.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1897)


Het woord van der dag


In English Common Law the term ancient demesne, sometimes shortened to demesne, referred to those lands that were held by the crown at the time of the Domesday Book. The term demesne also referred to the demesne of the crown, or royal demesne, which consisted of those lands reserved for the crown at the time of the original distribution of landed property. The royal demesne could be increased, for example, as a result of forfeiture. Demesne lands were managed by stewards of the crown and were not given out in fief. During the reign of George III, Parliament appropriated the royal demesne, in exchange for a fixed annual sum, called the Civil List.

dinsdag, oktober 24, 2006

The Dying Words Of My Last Friend

Here it is, liberation!

He's got tubes coming out
of every orafice
and he can't talk
because he's too busy gasping.

And I think, here it is, death -
my chance to witness

And his soul doesn't come out.
He just lies there, dead.

Man, I beat his chest.
Where is that fucking soul?

I scream man where is that fucking soul
so fucking loud the nurses come in
and take hold of me
and caress my head
and I'm like man, why are you caressing me?
I'm not dead.

The windows are sealed.
His soul could not have escaped.

And I break away from the nurses
and beat his chest again
WHERE is your fucking soul?

Because I know this man was someone
not the man I sat with
in cafés drinking absinthe with,
nor cigarette after cigarette,
shared dying with.

And slowly I clock it.

No more conversations
about nothing, no more
drinking without purpose,
no more talking about women
and dying
no more no more
no fucking more.

And then I don't beat his chest
anymore asking for his soul,
I touch his dead skin, clammy.
And I'm sick because it's the skin
of a dead man.

What is this shit in front of me?
Where is my brother, where
is my friend?

I can't howl like a primative
because it was friend,
he was my friend
dead, he is my friend
he is dead
he was my friend
and his last words
were the last I will ever hear from him.

zaterdag, oktober 07, 2006

No Audience

Underneath it all, under the covers, under the cover of sky, under the influence, undercover, underman, under the sun.

It's a room full of people feeling nothing.

Veins, dried up like canyon roads in the hills, handicapped they cripple around in small circles circulating with very tight parametres sipping cocktails with parasols swaying words they never heard of.

A roomful of human errors. Flubbed fly balls, booted grounders in a society sandlot sinking. They profess no mistakes, admit no errors. These kids are flawless. Their eyes don't blink.

And when they all go home sleeping together, their post coital figures fade, sun light returns, no one can find their sunglasses and nobody can be cool.

I flip a coin.

Not randomly. I want this one to count.

I flip a coin and just as it's about to land in my palm someone laughs and pushes someone in front of them forward which happened to be my back and then I slipped, disc and all, the coin fell to the hardwood floor, bounced back up a time or two and then slept, heads up.

Everyone stopped moving, everyone stopped talking. You could hear the neighbour's tv. A dog was barking three blocks north.

I picked up the coin because the coin was worth something. A broken tooth, a jar of marmite, cross eyes, everyone wondering about this coin and the hand that collected it and the body connected to it that stood up, straightened out and made moves to leave.

Thank you, I said. I'll be doing this again tomorrow night.

zaterdag, september 16, 2006

Raising The Ghost Of Flowers

As your petals fell, one by one,
tumbling off on their own as though to prove
fear that feeds must feed upon itself and feed alone,
you thought your glory moment
should be preserved,
blossoming for all the world to see,
while all the world, you see,
was busy blossoming on its own.

Not even your misfortune,
calibrated by the seasons,
could be said to have sprouted
from deeds undone alone
or weeds that sprung from fallow desire -
and the trust misplaced in renewing memories
was yet another of disappointment's dormant species:

This cycle turns inexhaustibly,
time wears down in an ineffable accumulation
affording little of destiny's promised light.

You watch the distance as though it will return,
unlected by memory's selectiveness
that plucks its heroes from the anonymity of soil,
passing off as dust even those that served
the layer that was next in line below
as though it would never rise above.

Yet again and again
with the same prospects of eventual vacancy,
drained of purpose, the inability for progress
rendering time's account meaningless,
You rose
above the dread of empty living,
knowing that such suffered cycles
cannot be lived again without the hope
of many springs to feed belief's unsteady blaze.

Evnetually there comes a penance due,
peeling back the layers
to reveal the blossom of the fool,
for your impatient ticking, thinking
you could mourn yourself alone,
a self-inflated black and blue.
Beneath an autumn vault of heaven stained
with tongues of fire,
you screamed for generations
as words pollinated in the runway of the mouth,
disapproved, never airborne, leaving no debris,
the passenger of sentences
who died without knowing
they were never uttered.

Yes, innocence paid for this empty now.

Better to have never arched for sunlight's promissory beacon
or bent yourself in vain to flourish
in the earth of sorrow's gardens.
Fruition is not the only measure,
but an indication of how much time is left.

Mitigate your loss without efflorescence -
rebel from misery impatiently
so that your seedlings are not in vain;
perspectives you adopt in fits of generosity;
nutrients to fortify the loam
you seek to build upon.

And if the sun you crave
in dashing blindly off to dream
provides no cheery elegiac,
perhaps the eyes require a change of scenery -

wherein the foliage returns,
caught forever fossilised
in its most self-relevatory moment.

zaterdag, september 02, 2006


we were and we weren't
standing or stumbling,
tickled pink
just not to be red, white or blue.

and I found you
in the pages of the local paper
advertising vacancies and
looking for help.

So, your kids don't know their dad.
So, your kids suck your time away.
So, your life is that fish brought
from the water on a hook
to the nook between two bits of limestone
to writhe incomprehensibly
whilst they think of you on the spit.

and I found you
underneath the morning clothes
in between the suffocating and
and in the hollows of
unspeakable beginnings





So, your kids don't know their dad.
So, your kids suck your time away.
So, your life is that fish brought
from the water on a hook
to the nook between two bits of limestone
to writhe incomprehensibly
whilst they think of you on the spit.





donderdag, augustus 31, 2006

Tomatino Festival!

Deelnemers aan het Tomatina-festival in het Spaanse plaatsje Buñol gooien woensdag tomaten naar elkaar. Ongeveer 40 duizend Spanjaarden hebben zich verzameld op de laatste woensdag van augustus voor het jaarlijkse tomatenfestival, waar ongeveer 100 duizend kilo tomaten naar elkaar wordt gegooid.


woensdag, augustus 23, 2006


The light has traveled unthinkable thousands of miles to be
condensed, recharged, and poured off the white white pages
of an open Bible the country parson holds in front of this couple
in a field, in July, in the sap and the flyswirl of July
in upper Wisconsin, where their vows buzz in a ring in the air
like the flies, and are as sweet as the sap, in these rich and ritual minutes.
Is it sentimental? Oops. And out of that Bible the light continues
to rush as if from a faucet. There will be a piecrust cooling
out of its own few x’ed-out cuts. And will it make us run
for the picklier taste of irony rolled around protectively on our tongues
like a grab of Greek olives? My students and I discuss this
slippery phenomenon. Does “context” matter? Does
“earned” count? If a balled-up fidget of snakes
in the underbrush dies in a freeze is it sentimental? No,
yes, maybe. What if a litter of cocker spaniels? What
if we called them “puppydogs” in the same poem in that same hard,
hammering winter? When my father was buried,
the gray snow in the cemetery was sheet tin. If I said
that? Yes, no, what does “tone” or “history” do
to the Hollywood hack violinists who patiently wait to play
the taut nerves of the closest human body until from that
lush cue alone, the eyes swell moistly, and the griefs
we warehouse daily take advantage of this thinning
of our systems, then the first sloppy gushes begin . . .
Is that “wrong”? Did I tell you the breaths
of the gravediggers puffed out like factorysmoke
as they bent and straightened, bent and straightened,
mechanically? Are wise old (toothless) Black blues singers
sentimental?—“gran’ma”? “country cookin’”? But
they have their validity, don't they, yes? their
sweat-in-the-creases, picking up the lighting
in a fine-lined mesh of what it means to have gone through time
alive a little bit on this planet. Hands shoot up . . . opinions . . .
questions . . . What if the sun wept? the moon? Why, in the face
of those open faces, are we so squeamish? Call out
the crippled girl and her only friend the up-for-sale foal,
and let her tootle her woeful pennywhistle musics.
What if some chichi streetwise junkass from the demimonde
gave forth with the story of orphans forced through howling storm
to the workhouse, letting it swing between the icy-blue
quotation marks of cynicism—then? What if
I wept? What if I simply put the page down,
rocked my head in my own folded elbows, forgot
the rest of it all, and wept? What if I stepped into
the light of that page, a burnished and uncompromising
light, and walked back up to his stone a final time,
just that, no drama, and it was so cold,
and the air was so brittle, metal buckled
out song like a bandsaw, and there, from inside me,
where they’d been lost in shame and sophistry
all these years now, every last one of my childhood’s
heartwormed puppydogs found its natural voice.

Albert Goldbarth. Across the Layers: Poems Old and New (University of Georgia Press, 1993).

dinsdag, augustus 22, 2006

Tom And Jerry Smoked Out

Now here's a PC news item that makes sense.

A cartoon depicting a cigar-smoking cat will now be censored to eliminate scenes in which the cat is smoking.

A spokesperson for Turner Europe has stated that they will be reviewing the entire catalog of 1,500 Hanna-Barbera cartoons with the possible result of removing scenes that glamorize smoking. The effort was launched in response to a complaint to British media regulator Ofcom from a viewer who stated that smoking scenes in the Tom and Jerry cartoons "Texas Tom" and "Tennis Chumps" "were not appropriate in a cartoon aimed at children." A statement from Ofcom stated, "The licensee has ... proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation."

Nevermind that Tom & Jerry are historically the most violent cat and mouse game in town, it's the bloody smoking that's driving the kids mad.

To review: smoking cat bad, mouse and cat with guns, ok for kids.

Fucking idiots.

zaterdag, augustus 12, 2006

donderdag, augustus 10, 2006

Our nation’s population is expected to reach 300 million the later part of
this year. To help spotlight this occasion, the Census Bureau steps back in
time by comparing contemporary life and statistics to those in the time
periods in which the nation reached other noteworthy population milestones
— in 1967 (when the population reached 200 million) and in the year 1915
(when it reached 100 million). America, how you have grown and changed.

Note: If data are not available for the specific year highlighted, we have
provided data available closest to that year.

2006: George W. Bush
1967: Lyndon B. Johnson
1915: Woodrow Wilson

Price of a new home
2006: $290,600
1967: $24,600 ($149,147 in 2006 dollars)
1915: $3,200 ($64,158 in 2006 dollars)

Cost for a gallon of regular gas
2006: $3.04 (as of Aug. 7)
1967: 33 cents ($2.00 in 2006 dollars)
1915: 25 cents ($5.01 in 2006 dollars)

Price of milk
2006: $3.00 gallon
1967: $1.03 gallon ($6.24 in 2006 dollars)
1915: $ .36 gallon ($7.22 in 2006 dollars)

Cost of a first-class stamp
2006: 39 cents
1967: 5 cents
1915: 2 cents

Notable Events
2006: The 20th Winter Olympic Games take place in Turin, Italy.
1967: Dr. Christiaan Bernard performs the first heart transplant;
the first Super Bowl is played.
1915: World War I continues in Europe.

Pop Culture
2006: iPods and “American Idol” reign supreme and cell phones are the
1967: Color TV is the rage. “The Lucy Show,” “Andy Griffith” and “Gomer
Pyle” are
the top-rated television shows.
1915: The “Model T” and silent movies are the rage. Raggedy Ann,
aspirin in tablet
form and processed cheese are introduced. The milk carton is

World Population
2006: 6.5 billion
1967: 3.5 billion
1915: 1.8 billion
(Sources: World Population Clock at Data pertain
to 2006. Data pertain to
1967. Data pertain to 1910.)

Tying the Knot
Median age at first marriage for men and women, respectively.
2006: 27.1 and 25.8
1967: 23.1 and 20.6
1915: 25.1 and 21.6

Data pertain to 2005.
Data pertain to
1967 and 1910.

Coming to America
2006: 34.3 million
Number of foreign-born people. They comprise 12 percent of the total
population. Mexico is
the leading country of origin. (Source: American FactFinder) Data pertain
to 2004.

1967: 9.7 million
Number of foreign-born people. They comprised 5 percent of the total
population. Italy was the leading country of origin.
pertain to 1960.

1915: 13.5 million
Number of foreign-born people. They comprised 15 percent of the total
population. Germany was the leading country of origin. Data pertain to
1910. (Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times
to 1970)

From Desert Outpost to Major Metropolis
The growth of Phoenix symbolizes the nation’s movement South and West.

2006: 1.5 million
Population of Phoenix, making it the sixth most populous city. Data pertain
to 2005.

1967: 439,170
Population of Phoenix, making it the 29th most populous city. Data pertain
to 1960.

1915: 11,134
Population of Phoenix. It was not among the 100 most populous cities. Data
pertain to 1910.

The Rise of the Sunshine State
Since 1915, Florida has been transformed from almost an afterthought to our
nation’s fourth most populous state.
2006: 17.8 million
1967: 6.2 million
1915: 923 thousand
006142.html> Data pertain to 2005. Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the
United States 2007; data pertain to 1967 and 1915.)

Our Incredible Shrinking Households
Average household size.
2006: 2.6 people
1967: 3.3 people
1915: 4.5 people
006840.html> Data pertain to 2005.
Data pertain to
1967. ,
1999 edition,
Table 1419. Data pertain to 1910.

Death rate from this disease per 100,000 population.
2006: 0.2
1967: 3.5
1915: 140.1
(Sources: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States 2007; data
pertain to 2003 and 1967.
, 1999
Table 1420. Data pertain to 1915.)

Homeownership . . . the American Dream
Percentage of the nation’s householders who owned the home in which they
2006: 68.9%
1967: 63.6%
1915: 45.9%
pertain to 2005 and 1967.
pertain to 1910.

Our Aging Nation
Number of people age 65 and older.
2006: 36.8 million
1967: 19.1 million
1915: 4.5 million
pertain to 2005.
Data pertain to
1967 and 1915.

Median Age of the Population
2006: 36.2
1967: 29.5
1915: 24.1
pertain to 2005.
Data pertain to
1960 and 1910.

Living Longer
Life expectancy at birth.
2006: 77.8 years
1967: 70.5 years
1915: 54.5 years
, Table 96. Data
pertain to 2005.
(Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970
; data pertain to 1967 and 1915.)

Working Women
Percentage of women in the labor force, age 16 and older (10 and older for
2006: 59%
1967: 41%
1915: 23%
, Table 585. Data
pertain to 2004.
(Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970
; data pertain to 1967 and 1910.)

Percentage of the population, age 25 and older, who had at least a high
school diploma.
2006: 85.2%
1967: 51.1%
1915: 13.5%
Data pertain
to 2004 and 1967.
Data pertain
to 1910.

2006: $33,459 and $22,472
Median wage and salary income for male and female wage and salary workers,
Data pertain to 2004.

1967: $5,974 and $2,295 ($33,787 and $12,980 in 2004 dollars)
Median wage and salary income for male and female wage and salary workers,

1915: $687 (Constant dollar figure not available.)
Average annual earnings for workers (excluding farm labor). (Source:
Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970)

The most popular baby names for boys and girls, respectively.
2006: Jacob and Emily
1967: Michael and Lisa
1915: John and Mary
(Source: Social Security Administration, at
Data pertain to 2005, 1967 and 1915.)

Our Love Affair with the Motor Vehicle
Number of motor vehicle registrations.
2006: 237.2 million
1967: 98.9 million
1915: 2.5 million
(Sources: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States 2007; data
pertain to 2004 and 1967.
, 1999
edition, Table 1439.)

Safer on our Roads
2006: 42,643
Number of traffic fatalities in 2003. This amounted to 1.5 fatalities per
every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

1967: 51,559
Number of traffic fatalities. This amounted to 5 fatalities for every 100
million vehicle miles of travel.

1915: 6,779
Number of traffic fatalities. This amounted to 35 fatalities for every 100
million vehicle miles of travel.

(Sources: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States 2007;
, 1999
Table 1439, ,
Table 1086.)

The Military
Active-duty military personnel.
2006: 1.4 million
1967: 3.4 million
1915: 174 thousand
(Sources: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States 2007. Data
pertains to 2005.
, 1999
Table 1444. Data pertain to 1967 and 1915.)

Down on the Farm
Number of farms.
2006: 2.1 million
1967: 3.2 million
1915: 6.5 million
(Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at
, data pertain to 2005, 1967 and 1915.)

Sources for introductory facts:
, and

“Special Editions” of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features are
issued to provide background information for lesser known observances,
anniversaries of historic events and other timely topics in the news.

Editor’s note: Some of the preceding data were collected from a variety of
sources and
may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.
Questions or comments
should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office

woensdag, augustus 09, 2006


via Lonely Planet

Moscow has its collective panties in a bunch over Lonely Planet's unflattering if accurate portrayal of the city as a where "criminals, Aids and mites are raging in Moscow and shops are full of fake vodka."

St Petersburg gets a better review: "St Petersburg's streets are as safe or dangerous as any European city - most say safer."

What we wondered is how a dung heap like Mexico City compared:

"The main risks to travelers to Mexico are food-borne diseases, although mosquito-borne infections can also be a problem. Most of these illnesses are not life-threatening, but they can certainly have a significant impact on your trip. Besides getting the proper vaccinations, it's important to take simple precautions like using a good insect repellent and exercising enormous care in what you eat and drink."

Sounds like fun.


In time, summer travel to the Mediterranean will be a distant memory as the climate warms further still and the need to go south to stay warm will wane.

"More people will stay in their home country, particularly Germans and Brits," said Richard Tol at Hamburg University. Germans are the most travelled nation with 72m international tourists and the UK is third with 53m. Both are rich with unreliable weather and close neighbours. But as the weather heats up, the model predicts more will stay within our borders."

Blackpool 2012, anyone?

Somehow, fish n chips in 35 degree heat don't seem appealing.


Wooden houses in Vilnius:

via The Guardian.


Meanwhile, between Poland and the Ukraine, travelogue Easy Rider notes:

"Upon arrival at the border between Lithuania and Poland, it's the same old routine. Rummage around for passport, find passport, then find the wedge of unused banknotes from the country you are leaving.

Apologise to border guard, get passport back, turn around and head for the nearest place to spend aforementioned cash."

dinsdag, augustus 01, 2006

My Middle East

my middle east begins in lower cases
trombones for the mothers and children
trumpets for the lust of killing

every last one of them.

And when they say it's because of my neighbours
my neighbours my neighbours
don't like my attitude.

I get along without you very well.

I want my Middle East in hamburgers
with toasted buns,
maybe an onion here or there
for the tears
but beef, nonetheless.

I want my middle east in beef.

So when they tell me
I love the spotlight,
I'll die for the spotlight,
I'll live for the spotlight,
I'll listen until the next commercial,
I don't know
what the fuck they are talking about.

What is it you want?

The burger, the pickle, the bun?
The salad bar, the weight watcher's chicken?

What I want, if anyone cares,
is a stripper. Maybe two strippers.
A shot of rye and a beer to chase.
I don't know what love is.

Nor do you.

What we know is pain, our game
of making right.

maandag, juli 31, 2006


by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

HE that but little patience knew,
From childhood on, had now so much
A grey gull lost its fear and flew
Down to her cell and there alit,
And there endured her fingers' touch
And from her fingers ate its bit.

Did she in touching that lone wing
Recall the years before her mind
Became a bitter, an abstract thing,
Her thought some popular enmity:
Blind and leader of the blind
Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?

When long ago I saw her ride
Under Ben Bulben to the meet,
The beauty of her country-side
With all youth's lonely wildness stirred,
She seemed to have grown clean and sweet
Like any rock-bred, sea-borne bird:

Sea-borne, or balanced in the air
When first it sprang out of the nest
Upon some lofty rock to stare
Upon the cloudy canopy,
While under its storm-beaten breast
Cried out the hollows of the sea.

woensdag, juli 26, 2006

zaterdag, juli 01, 2006



The gypsies are like humidity,
clinging to the skin, dripping need.

"Please help feed my baby," she mumbles,
rocking cloth in her arms.

A man steps forward.

"That's no baby!" he exclaims,
ripping the cloth from her arms
to expose a doll.


After two months of dirt, my shoes
will be shined in a park in Madrid
because a man snapped up with a towel
and offered.

Two months of a half dozen towns'
dirt clogging my stride and time
now, for the cracked teeth smiling
at me si señor,
to shine the shoes.

He turned dirt to shine, muck
to a sublime shade and spat
and shook his skinny elbows
back and forth.

dinsdag, juni 20, 2006

Cheap Viagra Big Dicks

In the yawning chasm of every woman's
dream there must seem that burning question
of what the world will do
when all the viagra has been consumed
and all the dicks are hard forever.

Some say it's been done before
without the cheap hieroglyphics
of buying drinks and reading minds
or deciphering whose baby
will be whose baby
will beget another baby
nobody wants
for all those viagra erections

but yet the spam keeps coming
as if by dulling the senses
we will be aware of the finer
qualities of hard ons
and all their noble purposes.

I don't want a life long dick.
I don't need a permanent erection,
I don't need to satisfy a woman
24 hours a day because neither of us
will be interested that long.

So keep your cheap viagra big dick bucks
for the kind of people who don't know
when enough is enough
and leave the rest of us
to find love.

vrijdag, mei 19, 2006


I killed time by walking as though boredom is a bomb waiting to go off
once motion stops.

I began with short forays, circles around neighbourhoods with the
spirals outward growing gradually. You could be utterly ignorant of
history and still wonder through timeless unfamiliarity, overcome by the
senses – Albert would’ve had to page through a myriad of history books
and start each jaunt knowing precisely where he planned on ending up
simply because that’s how he went about travelling. But I was content
to move in a dreamlike sequence, imagining history without the facts,
piecing it together from the stories I imagined overhearing,
conversations I couldn’t understand in family-run cafés, butchers,
cheese mongers and tobacconist shops.

Infatuation has a way of weaving its way into every moment, every sight
and sound, every impression and no matter how far I walked, I was
dreaming in this web about a future with Anastasia spent here – that I
barely knew her or her habits made little difference as I tiled together
a mosaic of future moments walking those same streets, the moments and
sights and experiences conjured up from an imaginary future with no
basis in reality, no matter the wishing or dreaming it were already so.

I tried to rationalise that this was simply a temporal experience,
following temptation, morsels of Anastasia left like crumbs throughout
the day to nibble on. I knew at the bottom of the barrel there would
nothing left eventually – in love we are like little lab rats doing the
predictable in order to enforce the norm.

There was only walking and dreaming and when once noon had come and gone
I knew it would be time to head back to her flat, that she’d already be
awake, drawn gradually back to consciousness by coffee with a tiny shot
of anisette.

And when I returned, there was no cause for further dreaming because
there I was, living the very dream I’d been walking through – a punctual
kiss and back to the business of waking for already I was learning that
nothing could be forced upon her and it was better still to leave the
hints and suggestions to her lest those dreams start leaking from my
head out of my mouth and into her ears and the entire hideous charade
was exposed.

zondag, mei 14, 2006

Battle of Pavia

The Battle of Pavia was a continuation of the Italian Wars which began in 1494. Renaissance Italy was divided into several rival states, hostage to European powers, principally France and Spain. Swiss mercenaries held the balance between two great civilizations, that of the south and that of the north. (A relic of this historic position is the continuation of the Pope's Swiss guard down to this day.)

Francis I, King of France, in alliance with the Venetians, had achieved a hard-fought victory over the Swiss cantons at the Battle of Marignano, near Milan, on Sept. 13-14, 1515. This fiercely-fought battle excited all Europe, was referred to as the "Battle of Giants," and represented the first serious check suffered by Swiss arms, due largely to combined arms tactics by the French and their used of large numbers of relatively modern cannon, although the Swiss were only moved to retreat when the Venetian army arrived on their rear on the second day of the battle.

In 1525, Pope Clement VII became alarmed at the control of Naples and Lombardy by Emperor Charles V. So the Pope formed an alliance with the victor at Marignano, Francis I, who returned over the Alps with a new army of 26,000 French, Italian, Swiss, and German soldiers. The campaign began brilliantly with the capture of Milan and Francis' triumphal entry. Marching on to Pavia (20 miles south of Milan), Francis dawdled in laying siege to the city. The Habsburg Emperor retaliated by sending a 23,000-man Habsburg army under Fernando Francisco de Avalos, Marchese di Pescara, to support the 6,000-man garrison in lifting the siege.

from wikipedia....

zaterdag, mei 13, 2006

Pacing The Bird

One afternoon we were walking and as we walked she started telling me about this Parisian girl named Amélie Hélie, a singer at the beginning of the 1900s. She was nicknamed the Casque d’Or for her lengthy, golden hair. The leaders of two rival bands in the neighbourhood, the Corsican Leca and his rival, Manda, both fell in love with her, madly, brutally. Their competition for her eventually grew into a big battle one day on this very street, rue de Haies. A big battle with knives and guns. They were arrested and then appeared before the magistrate. The magistrate keeps badgering Manda about why the battle grew in the first place, refusing to believe that it wasn’t over neighbourhood territory, but a girl. Manda said something to the magistrate like, we fought each other, the Corsican and me, because we love the same girl. We’re crazy about her. Don’t you know what it is to love a girl?

So what happened I asked, thinking the magistrate saw the logic of the explanation and let them free to fight some knightly battle for the girl’s hand. We both had stopped walking and were simply standing off to the side of the street as passersby dodged us.

I think Manda got life and Leca got many years and they were both deported off to hard labour.

Hmmm. Magistrate frowns on violent demonstrations of love?

Something like that, but worse still, after all of this…she paused, waiting for me to light her cigarette. A friend of Leca, seeking revenge for his comrade, stabbed Amélie one night in the club where she sang. She didn’t die, but she could no longer perform as a singer. She’s buried at Bagnolet. Sometimes it isn’t sufficient in life not to let yourself fall in love because letting someone else fall in love with you can have equally damning consequences.
Who Are These Fuckers And How Did They Get Here?

Albert says the judge was lenient. We had a little joke in the court room. Either that or she was trying to find the motivation for my seemingly random anarchistic and criminal act. What are you dreams, she asks me at the sentencing. I gave her several different scenarios. To tread water until my limbs grow too tired to tread anymore and I drown. I thought I was being clever. She shook her head. Are you still finding this a joke, she asks me, incredulous. No, it isn’t funny at all your honour, I sincerely don’t have any dreams. Not dreams that would be rendered coherent in an incoherent society anyway, your honour.

You said that? I took another swig of the pint, these repetitive motions were all part of communication in the world Albert and I were sitting in. He nodded his head enthusiastically. So what did she say?

Nothing for a minute. Silence. Summing me up in her head. Clearly she was impressed by me in some indefinitive way she was quickly trying to calculate. Would it be more helpful if I told you it was my dream to be the guy who assembles display furniture all day long at an Ikea factory outlet mall? Then her eyes were like little slits, comprehending I wasn’t taking my sentencing seriously at all. What did I care anyway. I know the maximum sentencing guidelines. I wasn’t a murderer, I hadn’t committed a violent felony. Four years maximum, free food, regardless of how shitty it might be, the experience of prison, time to work on my book, I could have gone on all afternoon about the exciting possibilities a small prison sentence would have afforded me.

By then, the judge wasn’t interested in any of my answers. She’d tried a tact, tried to be humane. Inexplicably, while my public defender representative turned white with incredulity, she became almost jocular, leaned over the front of the bench. Too ambiguous, she stated, nearly inaudible and very slowly as though I had some sort of learning disability rather than genius.

How about an interpretive dance, done with feeling and emotion, I offered. But the game was over. She slammed the gavel down, suddenly impatient and poof, sentencing was on. Do you know how many times I told that fucking story to my cell mate? How many variations, how many different tenses, different languages, different angles I’ve created that story into, sheerly out of boredom?

He pinched out his cigarette with an annoyed look on his face. I’ll tell you something Witold. It wasn’t as bad as you might imagine jail to be. No rapings, no beatings from prison guards. A lot of long hours with nothing to do. It drives some people crazy but for me, it was three years to think

dinsdag, mei 09, 2006


...But this is a good time to reflect on how dusty,
scarred by worn sandals, dirty between the toes, grime
on the calloused soles, the apostles' feet would have been.
And mind moves on to worse: old winos stumbling along,
unwashed, their long nails thick as horn, shoes wrong-sized, broken.
And not just winos — anyone homeless, who has to keep moving all day
with no place to go, even if shelter at night
gives them a chance to bathe their blisters, must know
week by week an accretion of weariness, once-good shoes
grown thin...

— from "Feet," by Denise Levertov

more poems by Denise Levertov

zondag, april 30, 2006

The Blank Vote

José Saramago, one of DT's favourite authors, says in a recent interview that "the world is governed by institutions that are not democratic - the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO. People live with the illusion that we have a democratic system, but it's only the outward form of one. In reality we live in a plutocracy, a government of the rich."

His solution is one which can be fully and thoughtfully embraced, the only exciting political idea I've heard in the last two years (other than impaling Bush and Blair and sticking their heads on pikes on the streets of London and DC respectively...)

"...we, as citizens, do have the power of the vote, but we always use it to vote for one or other of the parties on off er. But there is another possibility, which is to cast a blank vote.' He leans forward and points a stern finger. 'And this is not at all the same as abstention. Abstention means you stayed at home or went to the beach. By casting a blank vote, you're saying that you understand your responsibility, you have a political conscience and you came to vote, but you don't agree with any of the existing parties and this is the only way you have of saying so."

read more of Saramago's interview...

zaterdag, april 29, 2006

At Your Service

Genoeg het nooit, de uitzicht
van een verkortende gracht
die stikkenden en bloemen mee draagt?
Te sterven op de betamelijk moment,
liggende in stakende volgorde
met kaarsen en verwelkende
de versterkende herinneringen --
totdat de hekken van de Kathedral,
die een strengende, statig held opgerecht hebben?

De schreeuwende waarheid
is door de straten gedraagt,
verminkt door een escadrille van media,
authentiekte in de bejaardenthuis
van de achter kamer politici,
verraad bij verraad,
barsten de ooken,
barst de bobble van woede;
een brandstapel van menselijke dromen,
die door kijkcijferonderzoekers de assen
verzamelt zijn.

Zij rouwen en massa;
insinuaties, schuldigers, ongelovingers:
een nieuwe geshiednis zonder herkenbaarende
straten, een kaartje van bedreigingen,
toeschouwers en kandidaaten.

Het genoeg nooit,
droefheid die szo orkestriert is,
de manipulatie neemt zijn eigen slachtoffers mee;
te scheppen of stukmaken
is de vrede vraag.
Museum of Russian Vodka

"A figure in monastic robes catches the eye of a visitor at the Museum of Russian Vodka near Izmailovo Market. The museum moved to Moscow from St. Petersburg and had its new grand opening this week. Its exhibits tell the story of vodka starting in the 15th century, when it was distilled in monasteries. Visitors can enjoy vodka tastings in a room decorated like a 19th-century traktir, or inn. The museum is in the white-towered "kremlin" at Izmailovo, near Partizanskaya metro station, and is open daily from noon to midnight. Photograph by Michael Eckels." via The Moscow Times



1 In those old days which poets say were golden --
2 (Perhaps they laid the gilding on themselves:
3 And, if they did, I'm all the more beholden
4 To those brown dwellers in my dusty shelves,
5 Who talk to me 'in language quaint and olden'
6 Of gods and demigods and fauns and elves,
7 Pan with his pipes, and Bacchus with his leopards,
8 And staid young goddesses who flirt with shepherds:)

9 In those old days, the Nymph called Etiquette
10 (Appalling thought to dwell on) was not born.
11 They had their May, but no Mayfair as yet,
12 No fashions varying as the hues of morn.
13 Just as they pleased they dressed and drank and ate,
14 Sang hymns to Ceres (their John Barleycorn)
15 And danced unchaperoned, and laughed unchecked,
16 And were no doubt extremely incorrect.

17 Yet do I think their theory was pleasant:
18 And oft, I own, my 'wayward fancy roams'
19 Back to those times, so different from the present;
20 When no one smoked cigars, nor gave At-homes,
21 Nor smote a billiard-ball, nor winged a pheasant,
22 Nor 'did' her hair by means of long-tailed combs,
23 Nor migrated to Brighton once a year,
24 Nor -- most astonishing of all -- drank Beer.

25 No, they did not drink Beer, 'which brings me to'
26 (As Gilpin said) 'the middle of my song.'
27 Not that 'the middle' is precisely true,
28 Or else I should not tax your patience long:
29 If I had said 'beginning,' it might do;
30 But I have a dislike to quoting wrong:
31 I was unlucky -- sinned against, not sinning --
32 When Cowper wrote down 'middle' for 'beginning.'

33 So to proceed. That abstinence from Malt
34 Has always struck me as extremely curious.
35 The Greek mind must have had some vital fault,
36 That they should stick to liquors so injurious --
37 (Wine, water, tempered p'raps with Attic salt) --
38 And not at once invent that mild, luxurious,
39 And artful beverage, Beer. How the digestion
40 Got on without it, is a startling question.

41 Had they digestions? and an actual body
42 Such as dyspepsia might make attacks on?
43 Were they abstract ideas -- (like Tom Noddy
44 And Mr. Briggs) -- or men, like Jones and Jackson?
45 Then nectar -- was that beer, or whisky-toddy?
46 Some say the Gaelic mixture, I the Saxon:
47 I think a strict adherence to the latter
48 Might make some Scots less pigheaded, and fatter.

49 Besides, Bon Gaultier definitely shows
50 That the real beverage for feasting gods on
51 Is a soft compound, grateful to the nose
52 And also to the palate, known as 'Hidgson.'
53 I know a man -- a tailor's son -- who rose
54 To be a peer: and this I would lay odds on,
55 (Though in his Memoirs it may not appear,)
56 That that man owed his rise to copious Beer.

57 O Beer! O Hodgson, Guinness, Allsopp, Bass!
58 Names that should be on every infant's tongue!
59 Shall days and months and years and centuries pass,
60 And still your merits be unrecked, unsung?
61 Oh! I have gazed into my foaming glass,
62 And wished that lyre could yet again be strung
63 Which once rang prophet-like through Greece, and taught her
64 Misguided sons that the best drink was water.

65 How would he now recant that wild opinion,
66 And sing -- as would that I could sing -- of you!
67 I was not born (alas!) the 'Muses' minion,'
68 I'm not poetical, not even blue:
69 And he, we know, but strives with waxen pinion,
70 Whoe'er he is that entertains the view
71 Of emulating Pindar, and will be
72 Sponsor at last to some now nameless sea.

73 Oh! when the green slopes of Arcadia burned
74 With all the lustre of the dying day,
75 And on Cithæron's brow the reaper turned,
76 (Humming, of course, in his delightful way,
77 How Lycidas was dead, and how concerned
78 The Nymphs were when they saw his lifeless clay;
79 And how rock told to rock the dreadful story
80 That poor young Lycidas was gone to glory:)

81 What would that lone and labouring soul have given,
82 At that soft moment for a pewter pot!
83 How had the mists that dimmed his eye been riven,
84 And Lycidas and sorrow all forgot!
85 If his own grandmother had died unshriven,
86 In two short seconds he'd have recked it not;
87 Such power hath Beer. The heart which Grief hath cankered
88 Hath one unfailing remedy -- the Tankard.

89 Coffee is good, and so no doubt is cocoa;
90 Tea did for Johnson and the Chinamen:
91 When 'Dulce est desipere in loco'
92 Was written, real Falernian winged the pen.
93 When a rapt audience has encored 'Fra Poco'
94 Or 'Casta Diva,' I have heard that then
95 The Prima Donna, smiling herself out,
96 Recruits her flagging powers with bottled stout.

97 But what is coffee, but a noxious berry,
98 Born to keep used-up Londoners awake?
99 What is Falernian, what is Port or Sherry,
100 But vile concoctions to make dull heads ache?
101 Nay stout itself -- (though good with oysters, very) --
102 Is not a thing your reading man should take.
103 He that would shine, and petrify his tutor,
104 Should drink draught Allsopp in its 'native pewter.'

105 But hark! a sound is stealing on my ear --
106 A soft and silvery sound -- I know it well.
107 Its tinkling tells me that a time is near
108 Precious to me -- it is the Dinner Bell.
109 O blessed Bell! Thou bringest beef and beer,
110 Thou bringest good things more than tongue may tell:
111 Seared is, of course, my heart -- but unsubdued
112 Is, and shall be, my appetite for food.

113 I go. Untaught and feeble is my pen:
114 But on one statement I may safely venture:
115 That few of our most highly gifted men
116 Have more appreciation of their trencher.
117 I go. One pound of British beef, and then
118 What Mr. Swiveller called a 'modest quencher';
119 That home-returning, I may 'soothly say,'
120 'Fate cannot touch me: I have dined to-day.'

Charles Stuart Calverley

zaterdag, april 22, 2006

I Played Music For A Gardener

you can play god for a second.

And you're sitting down
because you don't need to stand up
to do anything.

And there will be a gardener
sweating and pulling up YOUR weeds,
and you will still be sitting there

watching, with slanted god eyes
unable to mask your cynicism
thinking to yourself
by god, they're out there
another world
they play god in,
growing shit,
fostering shit,
harbouring shit,
putting me to shame
because flowers don't protest
and vegetables don't stage uprisings.

The gardener isn't even sweating.

Yet pull and mow and grow
Yet pull and mow and grow.

And from god's window,
you're watching. Testing
the product, this humanity growing

You could get pissed off
at being upstaged,
you could express rage
in broken humanity roadside
yet instead
you open god's window
and let Coltrane breathe.

7:29 AM

zaterdag, april 15, 2006

Capitulo lagrimoso

Sì come al nascer piansi i’ vo piangendo,

E cusì pianger fin morte conviene,

Che in pianto un mal principio va sequendo.

Piansi in fasce, nel latte, & quando dieme

Nel petto il colpo Amor, piansi & hor piango

Per spezar quel che in duro pianto tieme;

La man con denti miei piangendo frango

Che nel dar fin son pigre al lungo pianto,

Del qual per pianger mai scarso rimango.

Piango perché nel ventre non fui franto,

Piango che fuor di quel nei teneri anni

Morte non posse il pianger mio da canto;

Piango quel dì che agli amorosi inganni

Lusingando fui perso; e piango il loco

Che fu principio dil mio pianto e danni.

Piange il solaccio, il suono, il canto e il loco,

Le rime e i versi; e piango il primo sguardo

Dove causò il mio lungo pianto e foco.

Piango perché non fu di tosco il dardo,

Piango perché né un serpe la catena,

Ché piangendo al morir non seria tardo.

Piango perché la fronte alma e serena

Non mi fu nel dur pianger di Medusa,

Ch’io sarei fuor di pianto e fuor di pena.

Piango la fiamma che gran tempo chiusa

Tenuta ho dentro il petto, e piango il laccio

Che piangendo mi fa l’alma confusa.

Piango il dur pianto, la ferita e il laccio,

Piango che uscir poeta di pianto amaro

Entrai piangendo qual huom scioccho e paccio;

Piango ch’io non conobbi il scur dal chiaro,

Piango che scorto fui da un finto aspetto,

Cusì piangendo ale mie spese imparo.

Piango senz’alma e senza cor nel petto,

Pien de pianto, suspir, de affanno e stento,

Dove piangendo stesso m’ho in dispetto;

Piango i miei tristi dì spesi in tormento,

Piango le notti che al fin scorto m’hanno,

E piango mie fatiche sparse al vento.

Piango il fidel servir mio senze inganno,

Piango mia pura fede, e il raro amore,

Piango miei persi pasi e il longo affanno.

I’ piango gli anni, i mesi, i giorni e l’hore,

Ché piangendo hanmi a cotal grado scorto

Ch’io son de pianto herede e senza core.

Piango il lungo martir e il gaudio corto,

Anci piango non altri che me stesso,

Che piangendo mi fei de vivo morto.

Piango che al tristo fin mi sento appresso,

Piango e piangendo in pianto più me accendo,

Ché per mio eterno pianto ha il ciel premesso

Che qual nacqui tapin mora piangendo.

--Giovanni Meli
Opera nova amorosa de Nocturno Napolitano

nb: the curious path to getting to Sicilian poet Giovanni Meli began with an article in the Guardian about how Bernardo Provenzano was finally tracked down after 43 years on the run.

Within the article it was mentioned that his wife was from Cinisi, which was "the muse of the renowned Sicilian poet Giovanni Meli, who has been in the small town between 1767 and 1772 to do his work as county doctor. There he composed some of his best lyrics looking at beautiful sea of Sicily that washes the coasts of cinisense coastal."


Memories of Serge via the Guardian..

Serge and Jane Berkin, 1971

"We sat there patiently waiting until the air was suddenly rent with horrible screaming sounds followed by a cacophony of Gallic swearing. The owner of the cinema had just informed Gainsbourg in the lobby that he was entering a no-smoking zone and the great man had thrown a royal fit. Five minutes later he entered the room, his face lost in a dense fog of cigarette smoke - the owner was carrying a huge ashtray and stood next to him like his eunuch flunky catching the ash as it fell - and stumbled to the podium. He looked absolutely terrible - his face and body utterly polluted from alcohol abuse, his eyes ugly unfocussed slits, his voice a sneerful rasping whisper. He began to tell an obscene story involving Brigitte Bardot and a champagne bottle but he was too drunk to remember the ending so he staggered offstage, literally collapsing into a nearby seat. Everyone else gave him a standing ovation but I just sat there, stunned. I'd never seen anything quite like this: a beloved icon who'd lost all self-control and who was making an ignominious public spectacle of himself over and over again and yet his public wasn't repelled in the least. On the contrary, they couldn't seem to get enough of watching his continued self-abasement."


Ultra Kultura specializes in alternative and extreme forms of literature. Sex and drugs feature prominently in its books -- but not much more so than in many recent Russian movies. It tends to favor anti-establishment authors, such as National Bolshevik Party founder Eduard Limonov. The head of the publishing house, Ilya Kormiltsev, is a poet with some cult standing, thanks to his work on the lyrics of the rock band Nautilus Pompilius. After the news broke, he challenged Chuyev to a debate on the talk show "To the Barrier," but the deputy declined, citing, among other reasons, his unwillingness to "advertise Kormiltsev and Ultra Kultura for a nationwide audience."

donderdag, april 13, 2006

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and
don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the
endless immensity of the sea."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Highway Drunk

Part One

Hey, it's fast at the edge of this bed.
They gave us coupons out of customs
and set copious whores in front of us
just to test our powers of self-empowerment.

We zipped through like the world was wet paper,
a vegetable to boil, a sad flesh to erase.

They called us in for being cheap:
Love costs. Ante up.

So we gave what we didn't know, artifacts
lost in socks and all those secret places
never poked,

and gave love because we read a USA Today poll
that confirmed what we thought.

Taken home, to the home owners,
through the corridors of the home offices,
back to the home away from home before stopping
at the "hey, homey!" holy ghost and Sunset,

We ratted them out, in succession,
for a Tom Waits twist and a mojo session.

We didn't wait to be tortured
in a comparative transgression.

We just went down.
On them, to a death they remember
in mid-orgasm:
Oh, The Money!, Oh, The Plowing Brahmans!
in order,
and then left,
a little less than sated.

Part Two

In Mexico, they drink
until the world stills. That's right, silent.
The dogs in the garbage cans know they're dead:
A Verdi cancellation underneath the puddle of a moon.

By now, it's been minced
into the drinking water and sung
on popular radio stations.

They fed us our love in sushi portions,
tv dinner infatuations,
one moment to the next,
Max Planck sperm knocking down the quantum walls
into egg and then to zygote.

But we didn't dare believe them.
They made us hungry like Siberian winters
And ate our flesh to manifest themselves.

In our unattended lectures, they went on
as kindled captains dying checkmate hopes
on gratis skewers:
Here They Come! Here They Come!

And then in Mexico we out Fox'd them,
with canon hearts exploding rules
that plastered walls with boredom.

Once again, because we weren't sure ourselves.

Part Three

When we creep between two worlds,
the ligaments and the livid,
we whine an incarceration of lifetimes
like the deaf relying on floor vibrations
to hear the music.

When they come for us with totebags,
dressed in suits of information to collect
our wandering lusts,
to burn our lonesome effigies,
into obligatory dust
we must

take the Highway Drunk,
like prisoners off chain gangs after freedom's
gushy feast:
ignore the placards drooling in our wanted faces,
the isolated moments jitter
their own handicaps,
their own dilemmas.

And when they want love,
give them unlimited space to hang themselves.

Part Four

Part Four:

Ishmael warned us it was better
to sleep with a sober cannibal
than a drunken Christian
and then he fell asleep with Queequeg.

Our moments of perfection lie in
lucid mommies milking
flawless childhoods to fruition.

We've learned to love what
we've learned to shave
to a mere transluscence;
a garlic razor sliver second
when we are transfixed.

So give up the sexy breasts,
the milking tit,
the nights in irrefutable transition:

Here it is, the dawn chafing,
a child howling,
a simple miscommunication.

The world forgives only
what you choose to feed it.

maandag, april 10, 2006

Let Op!

Katten kunnen het vogelgriepvirus verspreiden!


New Nepalese Dentistry Programme Nets Plenty of Teeth


woensdag, april 05, 2006

Man Cursing the Sea

(image: Leila Kubba Kawash 1996.)

just climbed to the top of the cliffs
and began to curse the sea.

Dumb water, stupid pregnant water,
slow, slimy copy of the sky,
you peddler between sun and moon,
pettifogging pawnbroker of shells,
soluble, loud-mouthed bull,
fertilizing the rocks with your blood,
suicidal sword
dashed to bits on the headland,
hydra, hydrolizing the night,
breathing salty clouds of silence,
spreading jelly wings
in vain, in vain,
gorgon, devouring its own body,

water, you absurd flat skull of water--

And so he cursed the sea for a spell,
it licked his footprints in the sand
like a wounded dog.

And then he came down
and patted
the tiny immense stormy mirror of the sea.

There you go, water, he said,
and went his way.
--Miroslav Holub. Trans. David Young & Dana Habova.
from Sagittal Section. 1980

vrijdag, maart 31, 2006

Loch Ness Monster

Not much for concert announcements but this should be a good one. Tix go on sale 2day.