5/23/18

Ah, the Arts ! Oh, Humanity.

A disturbing trend:

Bach at the Burger King

If the author's name seems familiar, yes, he is the son of California poet laureat, Dana Gioia, well known author of Can Poetry Matter.   The good works have commenced, the voice is a gift, and the acorn don't fall far from the oak.

Meanwhile, here on the edge of the world, though there be drought which runs deep and wide, there be dusk, and dawn, and red dirt paths that cannot be denied.  
















And of course there be dragons.  A book of essays I highly recommend: 




I've actually been quoting from this book for a couple of months now here on the outpost, and often in casual  conversation.  In addition to being a life-long advocate for the land, George is a fine writer, has a keen sense of the sciences, the arts, the land, and of course humanity -- and is imminently quotable.  He's an elder, and a sender, and it was a delight to get to know him a little at his home in Gunny a few months ago. 





Each essay in the book begins with a poem.  In recent years I've been very interested in how writers combine their prose and poems.  I have some of my own ideas up my sleeve, and am currently trying to shake them loose.  At any rate, here's one from George which introduces an essay called Lying Down with Fire that I can't resist sharing: 

The Horse: Form and Function

"Just a thing for converting hay to horseshit",
Bill said to me, looking not at me but at the horse,
Which we both were watching, leaning on the fence
At the back part of Bill's thirty-five
Being paid off month by month from his job
Digging coal for power plants he never saw.

"Never really seem to have time to ride her,"
Bill grumped, reaching into his pocket for his can,
For more of the stuff that takes ten minutes
Off the long hours and adds ten to the short ones.
But while he was thus occupied, the horse just
Took off.  Went running up the field, an easy lope
That would have been no harder for the horse
With a man on his back, even one with a belly like Bill's.

We both watched.  Mane catching the wind: thinking
What reason for a mane if there's no air to catch;
Tail streaming out behind...It was just worth watching.
It was just goddam beautiful. And at the far fence,
The horse stopped.  Stood there looking
Beyond the fence.   At what, who knew.  But then,
Even at that distance we could see it:  Lifting its tail
And dropping a load. "Like I was sayin'," Bill said. 

----

On a similar subject, a little something my daughter recently sent my way:



























And speaking of gifts, my son sent me this, a bit of satire which emphasizes form, function, and timeliness, which my politically savvy readers will recognize:



And then there's this, by Alison Hawthorne Deming, which I've had on the shelves forever, and have finally begun reading: 




in which we are given such morsels as:

The kick of transforming a material from one state to another, from one use to another-- or to none-- is alchemy in any language.  It's a ticket into the marvelous, which is where we live every day but forget to notice, because otherwise we'd never get the errands done.

And this:

I have gone down the rabbit hole in thinking about dragons.  I have seen the bare mountain range near my home in Tucson suddenly transform into the spine of a dragon.  I have seen Vesuvius and Krakatoa breathe fire from their mouths as the earth shifts its vertebrae. I have seen a venomous dragon demand, one year, two sheep; the next year, one maiden; the next year, the king's virgin daughter.  ...So why do dragons crop up all over the planet? Here be dragons.  Here and here and here and here.  One need not fall over the edge of a distant horizon to find a dragon.  They emerge in the minds of ancient Greeks, Sufis, and Aztecs; in the art of the Chinese (for whom the dragon is the only mythical creature in their zodiac); among the Cherokee tribe and King Arthur's knights.  They are generally a blessing in the East and a curse in the West, protectors of water in India and Mexico, tyrannical despots in North Africa and Great Britain.  Dragons are monsters thrown out by the unconscious for the conscious mind to make sense of.  They take us into the weird zoology of inwardness.