Exobiotanica- Japanese artist Azuma Makota sends bouquet of flowers and 50-year-old bonsai plant into the stratosphere
"Whenever he is discouraged, I tell him that if I can survive on three continents, then there is no obstacle he cannot conquer. While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination."
Jhumpa Lahiri, “The Third and Final Continent”
Struck by the abstract nature of absence; yet it’s so painful, lacerating. Which allows me to understand abstraction somewhat better: it is absence and pain, the pain of absence—perhaps therefore love?
After his mother died, Barthes grappled with the complexities of grief, loss, and mourning by writing fragments on more than 300 index cards. The cards were eventually published as Mourning Diary.
(via Maud Newton)
Cy Twombly, Poems to the Sea (1959)
[when a mountain doesn’t listen, say a prayer to the sea]
"The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary. It is analogous to the unseen; for example, to the power of ruins, to works of art either damaged or incomplete. Such works inevitably allude to larger contexts; they haunt because they are not whole, though wholeness is implied: another time, a world in which they were whole, or were to have been whole, is implied. There is no moment in which their first home is felt to be the museum. A few years ago, I saw a show of Holbein drawings; most astonishing were those still in progress. Parts were entirely finished. And parts were sketched, a fluent line indicating arm or hand or hair, but the forms were not filled in. Holbein had made notes to himself: this sleeve blue, hair, auburn. The terms were other-not the color in the world, but the color in paint or chalk. What these unfinished drawings generated was a vivid sense of Holbein at work, at the sitting; to see them was to have a sense of being back in time, back in the middle of something. Certain works of art become artifacts. By works of art, I mean works in any medium. And certain works of art do not. It seems to me that what is wanted, in art, is to harness the power of the unfinished."
Louise Glück, “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence”
enjoy this embroidery that took much too long
it’s supposed to be a visual representation of a song
Don’t listen to me; my heart’s been broken.
I don’t see anything objectively.
I know myself; I’ve learned to hear like a psychiatrist.
When I speak passionately,
that’s when I’m least to be trusted.
It’s very sad, really: all my life, I’ve been praised
for my intelligence, my powers of language, of insight.
In the end, they’re wasted—
I never see myself,
standing on the front steps, holding my sister’s hand.
That’s why I can’t account
for the bruises on her arm, where the sleeve ends.
In my own mind, I’m invisible: that’s why I’m dangerous.
People like me, who seem selfless,
we’re the cripples, the liars;
we’re the ones who should be factored out
in the interest of truth.
When I’m quiet, that’s when the truth emerges.
A clear sky, the clouds like white fibers.
Underneath, a little gray house, the azaleas
red and bright pink.
If you want the truth, you have to close yourself
to the older daughter, block her out:
when a living thing is hurt like that,
in its deepest workings,
all function is altered.
That’s why I’m not to be trusted.
Because a wound to the heart
is also a wound to the mind.
Louise Gluck, “The Untrustworthy Speaker”
It was winter, lunar, wet. At dusk
Pewter seedlings became moonlight orphans.
Pleased to meet you meat to please you
said the butcher’s sign in the window in the village.
Everything changed the year that we got married.
And after that we moved out to the suburbs.
How young we were, how ignorant, how ready
to think the only history was our own.
And there was a couple who quarreled into the night,
Their voices high, sharp:
nothing is ever entirely
right in the lives of those who love each other.
In that season suddenly our island
Broke out its old sores for all to see.
We saw them too.
We stood there wondering how
the salt horizons and the Dublin hills,
the rivers, table mountains, Viking marshes
we thought we knew
had been made to shiver
into our ancient twelve by fifteen television
which gave them back as gray and grayer tears
and killings, killings, killings,
then moonlight-colored funerals:
nothing we said
not then, not later,
fathomed what it is
is wrong in the lives of those who hate each other.
And if the provenance of memory is
only that—remember, not atone—
and if I can be safe in
the weak spring light in that kitchen, then
why is there another kitchen, spring light
always darkening in it and
a woman whispering to a man
over and over what else could we have done?
We failed our moment or our moment failed us.
The times were grand in size and we were small.
Why do I write that
when I don’t believe it?
We lived our lives, were happy, stayed as one.
Children were born and raised here
and are gone,
As for that couple did we ever
find out who they were
and did we want to?
I think we know. I think we always knew.
Eavan Boland, "Domestic Violence"
"to the women who came before me/ to the mamas that safeguarded us in their wombs for months/ to the mamas that walked miles and miles in search of water during drought/ to the women that got married too young/ too afraid/ to the women that got married in old age after a lifetime spent in solitude/ to women too afraid to say no/ to women who said no anyways/ to quiet, unspoken resistance/ to revolution when it is loud and in your face and unapologetic/ to mucooyo who knocked out four of caamir’s teeth when he raised his hand to hit her/ left his mouth bloody and empty so he would think of her everytime he ran his tongue along the inside of his mouth/ to the women who warmed beds they didn’t want to sleep in/ to the women who loved before me/ to the women who loved me/ to the women who’ve known loss and heartache/ to women that watched their men kill and be killed/ to the women who sweat in the sun looking for work/ to all the women who work/ whose work is unseen and unpaid/ to the women who washed clothes under the fiery sun/ who hung clothes on clotheslines to dry/ watched over it so it wouldn’t be stolen/ to the women who held their breasts to young mouths/ who pray for milk and honey/ who have known peace/ who have not known peace/ who dream of peace/ nabad iyo caano/ to the countless women who have raised me/ sheltered me/ prayed for me/ fed me/ clothed me/ taught me/ who have crossed oceans to carry me out of war/ who have cleaned up the blood of our country/ who write poems/ who live poems/ who build and rebuild/ and breathe/ and live/ and resist/ and resist/ and resist/ who taught me to resist/ whose bodies are bridges/ whose backs are bridges/ who have carried the weight of worlds/ and words/ spoken/ and unspoken/ so that i may speak/ so that i may live/ so that i may dream/ and fight/ i love you/ i honor you/ i carry your struggles in my heart/ i carry you all in my heart"