Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Weekend

Be happy. It's one way of being wise.~ Colette


It continues...


“The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, these items weighed between 15 and 20 pounds, depending upon a man’s habits or rate of metabolism. Henry Dobbins, who was a big man, carried extra rations; he was especially fond of canned peaches in heavy syrup over pound cake. Dave Jensen, who practiced field hygiene, carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and several hotel-sized bars of soap he’d stolen on R&R in Sydney, Australia. Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April. By necessity, and because it was SOP, they all carried steel helmets that weighed 5 pounds including the liner and camouflage cover. They carried the standard fatigue jackets and trousers. Very few carried underwear. On their feet they carried jungle boots – 2.1 pounds – and Dave Jensen carried three pairs of socks and a can of Dr. School’s foot powder as a precaution against trench foot. Until he was shot, Ted Lavender carried 6 or 7 ounces of premium dope, which for him was a necessity. Mitchel Sanders, the RTO, carried condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. Rat Kiley carried comic books. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that had been presented to him by his father, who taught at Sunday school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a hedge against bad times, however, Kiowa also carried his grandmother’s distrust of the white man, his grandfather’s old hunting hatchet. Necessity dictated. Because the land was mined and booby-trapped, it was SOP for each man to carry steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weighed 6.7 pounds, but which on hot days seemed much heavier. Because you could die so quickly, each man carried at least one large compress bandage, usually in the helmet band for easy access. Because the nights were cold, and becauses the monsoons were wet, each carried a green plastic poncho that could be used as a raincoat or groundsheet or makeshift tent. With its quilted liner, the poncho weighed almost 2 pounds, but it was worth every ounce. In April, for instance, when Ted Lavender was shot, they used his poncho to wrap him up, then to carry him across the paddy, then to lift him into the chopper that took him away.” The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What the Living Do

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Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably
fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes
have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we
spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep headstrong blue, and the sunlight
pours through
the open living room windows because the heat’s on too high in here, and
I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street,
the bag breaking,
I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying
along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my
wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called
that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to
pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss – we want more and more and
then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the
window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing
so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m
I am living, I remember you.

Marie Howe, from her 1998 collection, What the Living Do

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I’ll never be you

We’re huddled in here don’t need anyone we’re
Star-sent-out light that’s still alive
We’re still here sending out us
As stars from the first world melt
Why aren’t we the same as each other
Rocks look the same I’ll never be you

Monday, May 24, 2010


"It was at Harvard not quite forty years ago that I went into an anechoic [totally silent] chamber not expecting in that silent room to hear two sounds: one high, my nervous system in operation, one low, my blood in circulation. The reason I did not expect to hear those two sounds was that they were set into vibration without any intention on my part. That experience gave my life direction, the exploration of non-intention. No one else was doing that. I would do it for us. I did not know immediately what I was doing, nor, after all these years, have I found out much. I compose music. Yes, but how? I gave up making choices. In their place I put the asking of questions. The answers come from the mechanism, not the wisdom of the I Ching, the most ancient of all books: tossing three coins six times yielding numbers between 1 and 64." --John Cage, 1990
:image here

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, but rather find
Strength in what remains behind.