Klara and the Sun

Tue, May 4, 2021

The book cover is bright salmon color. There is a drawing of a hand which has the figure of the sun on its palm.

First Paragraph:

“When we were new, Rosa and I were mid-store, on the magazines table side, and could see through more than half of the window. So we were able to watch the outside – the office workers hurrying by, the taxis, the runners, the tourists, Beggar Man and his dog, the lower part of the RPO Building. Once we were more settled, Manager allowed us to walk up to the front until we were right behind the window display, and then we could see how tall the RPO Building was. And if we were there at just the right time, we would see the Sun on his journey, crossing between the building tops from our side over to the RPO Building side."

—Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun

The Overstory

Mon, Apr 26, 2021

First Paragraph:

“First there was nothing. Then there was everything.
Then, in a park above a western city after dusk, the air is raining messages.
A woman sits on the ground, leaning against a pine. Its bark presses hard against her back, as hard as life. Its needles scent the air and a force hums in the heart of the wood. Her ears tune down to the lowest frequencies. The tree is saying things, in words before words."

—Richard Powers, The Overstory

Sabbath Poems, XI.

Mon, Apr 5, 2021

Blurry black and white photo of a bare twig on a tree. To give mind to machines, they are calling it
out of the world, out of the neighborhood, out of the body.
They have bound it in the brain, in the hard shell
of the skull, in order to bind it in a machine.
From the heron flying home at dusk,
from the misty hollows at sunrise,
from the stories told at the row’s end,
they are calling the mind into exile
in the dry circuits of machines.

—Wendell Berry, collected in The Peace of Wild Things and other Poems


Sat, Apr 3, 2021

Cover of Gasoline by Gregory Corso. Image of flame on a black background.

First Paragraph:

“O anti-verdurous phallic were't not for your pouring weight looming in tears like a sick tree or your ever-gaudy-comfort jabbing your city's much wrinkled sky you'd seem an absurd Babel squatting before mortal millions"

—Gregory Corso, from Ode to Coit Tower, in Gasoline

Dancing at the Rascal Fair

Wed, Mar 31, 2021

First Paragraph:

“To say the truth, it was not how I expected—stepping off toward America past a drowned horse."

—Ivan Doig, from Dancing at the Rascal Fair

Clean Underwear

Tue, Mar 30, 2021

A man crossing a busy street with his eyes closed and wearing headphones.

Couldn't row this morning so I took a long looping walk through downtown. I think my walking playlist is getting pretty good. It's big enough now that putting it on shuffle and heading out is starting to provide surprises.

It did occur to me that with my luck, I'll get hit by a car and bystanders will catch me with I Can't Wait by Nu Shooz blaring out of my earbuds.

What can I say? It puts pep in the step.


Mon, Mar 29, 2021

Photo shows a flagpole in the distance with anU.S. flag standing straight out from a strong wind. Every morning @5 am, I look out my kitchen window to check this flag. I can see it even at night.

I check for two things.

  1. Does it look like it does in this photo? (Straight out, wind from the south.)
  2. Is it a Chinese or Russian flag?

If the answer to both of these questions is no, I proceed with my day as normal and head for the river.

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."

—Margaret Atwood

Socked In

Sat, Mar 27, 2021

Socked in like a New England lobster fisherman. It looks like snow blowing by but it’s actually fog. Some run-off foam in the water just adds to the allure. (Yesterday morning.)

KU Crew Dock, 2021-03-26, @5:15am


Thu, Mar 25, 2021

A goose landing on water.

Photo by Inge Riis McDonald.

We have challenges enough, do we not? With every day presenting its difficulties, a multitude of small assaults on our well-being. We build up no credit for facing these struggles, and instead are told it's possible there may also be bombs in the basement, strapped with electrical tape to the pillars of our sanity and our humanity.

The Mower

Tue, Mar 23, 2021

A Close up view of green blades of grass.

Photo by Echo Grid.

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence   
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   
While there is still time.

—Philip Larkin


Tue, Mar 23, 2021

"Bang. You're dead."


Thu, Mar 18, 2021

A woman scrunching here face up into a sneer.

Photo by Maria Lysenko.

I called her beautiful, although I don’t believe she heard it.
But others did, and so began, a little trial with a verdict.

Please demonstrate you understand her journey and her dreams.
And did you consult this 12 point list of all that beauty means?

I was called out I must admit, I spoke before I thought.
I stand corrected once again, as often as is not.

I hemmed, I hawed, I dropped my gaze, I was really on the spot.
Let me re-phrase, I begged the court, I meant to say, “She’s hot.”


The Best of Saki

Thu, Mar 18, 2021

First Paragraph:

“After all," said the Duchess vaguely, "there are certain things you can't get away from. Right and wrong, good conduct and moral rectitude, have certain well-defined limits."

—Saki, Reginald at the Theatre, The Best of Saki