Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Someone Like You

Adele's voice, and this song in particular, is rocking my world right now. This is one of the most beautiful new songs I've heard in some time. The sentiment behind it is also beautiful, and something universal I think we all can understand in one way or another.

Also, I want to live in Adele's house. Her keyboard player can stay. That's fine.

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: To Cover the Rift

The Composer
By W.H. Auden

All the others translate: the painter sketches
A visible world to love or reject;
Rummaging into his living, the poet fetches
The images out that hurt and connect,

From Life to Art by painstaking adaption,
Relying on us to cover the rift;
Only your notes are pure contraption,
Only your song is an absolute gift.

Pour out your presence, a delight cascading
The falls of the knee and the weirs of the spine,
Our climate of silence and doubt invading;

You, alone, alone, imaginary song,
Are unable to say an existence is wrong,
And pour out your forgiveness like a wine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Like Too Many Suitcases

The opening pages of Ian McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers brought up such intense memories of my trip to Rome that I was actually relieved when the story shifted, so I could separate myself from it.

The novel opens with an introduction of the traveling couple, Colin and Mary. We don't know much about them yet, or even where they are exactly, but it's probably Venice. They've settled into a daily routine, and they're not currently speaking to one another.

Traveling with someone can be such a delicate process and balance. The passage below immediately reminded me of the times in Italy when my traveling companion (why am I being so awkwardly formal? my boyfriend) and I would go back and forth from enjoying each other and the sights to suddenly wanting to rip each other's hair out. These random annoyances with one another had never existed—or had even occurred to me that they could exist—until we traveled together.

An excerpt (emphasis mine):

"Alone, perhaps, they each could have explored the city with pleasure, followed whims, dispensed with destinations and so enjoyed or ignored being lost. There was much to wonder at here, one needed only to be alert and attend. But they knew each other much as they knew themselves, and their intimacy, rather like too many suitcases, was a matter of perpetual concern; together they moved slowly, clumsily, effecting lugubrious compromises, attending to delicate shifts of mood, repairing breaches. As individuals they did not easily take offense; but together they managed to offend each other in surprising, unexpected ways; then the offender—it had happened twice since their arrival—became irritated by the cloying susceptibilities of the other, and they would continue to explore the twisting alleyways and sudden squares in silence, and with each step the city would recede as they locked tighter into each other's presence."

Together, but apart, on the Spanish steps

How true, and how beautifully put: "intimacy, rather like too many suitcases, was a matter of perpetual concern..." I can't wait to read the rest of this book.

As for me and my traveling companion, we survived the trip, and it was, obviously, an unforgettable experience.

Here's hoping Colin and Mary survive as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Enchanted, Esperanza.

Praise the Lord, real talent meant something this year at the Grammy Awards. (Not that I watched it. I was in a post-busy Sunday brunch waiting tables induced coma. To be clear: I was sleeping.)

Much to the disappoint of Bieber fanatics, and much to my glee—particularly after seeing him on Conan last night (seriously, teeny boppers? THIS is your obsession? blah)—Esperanza Spalding won best new artist.

To be clear again: I had never heard of her until about, oh, three hours ago (thanks, Bitch!). But that doesn't matter. I fall in love quickly.

Here's why:

Also, THIS:

oh, hello, beautiful hair

And this.

To complete the glee... Arcade Fire! Yes! Cannot wait to see them here in Chicago this spring. WITH THE NATIONAL.

Do you think my heart will explode?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: The Mother

Hello, my darlings. It's been a solid month with no poetry slams, and I'm sure you've all been crying yourselves to sleep every Tuesday because of it. Please forgive me. Here's something different to cry about: a beautiful, brave, sad poem.

It's even braver when you consider that decades later, women's reproductive rights are still at risk across the country. It makes me sick.

Okay, that's it. Just read the poem.

The Mother
By Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim
killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages,
aches,and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?--
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved,
I loved you all.

Like a Map With No Ocean

Holy shit:

I feel a little blasphemous saying this, but I'm just gonna say it. I think I might like it better than the original. Jury's still out, though.

Don't be mad, Leslie. I still love you, and this: