Archive | Quoth the Raving

Midsummer Songs, Midsummer Singers

There’s real hubris in sliding a snatch from my book next to a glorious Robert Frost poem. But in a climate in which September scalds, this is midsummer, and midsummer wreaks glorious madness. Especially when eclipses are afoot.

From Robert Frost:

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

From mid-book me:

I was a child with balled fists,
Who winked,
Who loved her daddy,
Who knew to watch grown men’s hands.
I was a child who already was ancient,
Who longed to be young,
Who craved the biggest love,
Who despaired of being loved at all.
I was a child.
It’s hard to believe.

Paintings: Florine Stettheimer

Kairos in the Koncrete Jungle

Mercury Retrograde begins next week and we’re already cowering in its shadow. Tonight’s lunar eclipse is unleashing everything we’ve been back-burning. And it’s August, so all the shrinks are on vacation. I’m unplugging, baby–strolling my finely feathered city like the flaneuzy I really am, seeking signs and sirens in all the right places. Continue Reading →

Caftan Summer

I’ve been reading Eve Babitz yet again. I first read her at age 10, when I found a copy of Slow Days Fast Company at a yard sale and devoured it though I understood a quarter of the references. (Poppers? ménage à trois? It all made me so very hungry.) Sometimes it seems as if I’ve been reading Babitz’s books nonstop ever since. Her well-read, half-bred, doggedly unwed sensuality seeps into my pores, or maybe just finds its natural home in me. Anyway, today I finished an assignment early, so I poured a glass of wine and sat down with Slow Days,  which has been on my brain ever since I got back from the desert. The book fell open to this passage, which resonates on a level it never did when I was a willowy (anorectic) younger lady. Do know this is my Caftan Summer, in which I’ll only wear what flows and flows. So here’s Eve:

The truth is that when you’re as voluptuous and un-hair-sprayed as I am, you have to cover yourself in un-ironed muumuus to walk to the corner and mail a letter. Men take one look and start to calculate where the closest bed would be. This all happens in spite of my many serious flaws and imperfections, in spite of my being much too fat and everyone else being just right. The reason for this is because my skin is so healthy it radiates is own kind of moral laws; people simply cannot resist being attracted to what looks like pure health. Whoever is in charge of everything doesn’t want the survival of the fittest to come about just from wars and famine; whoever’s in charge also fixed it so people just naturally opt for health.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy