Sentient in San Francisco – 10 May 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 10 May 1849 – Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese painter and printmaker.

Below – “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”; “Yodo River in Moonlight”; “Fly-fishing”; “Shichiri Beach in Sagami Province”; “South Wind, Clear Sky”; “Waterfall and Horse Washing.”

A Poem for Today

“Fish Fry Daughter”
by Sara Ries

Holiday Inn kitchen, the day I am born:
My father is frying fish for a party of seventeen
when the call comes from the hospital. He stays
until the batter is crispy, cold salads scooped
on platters, rye bread buttered.

Dad never told me this story.
He told my boyfriend, one short order cook to another.
Mom doesn’t know why Dad was late
for her screams and sweat on the hospital bed.

Once, when she was angry with him, she told me:
When your father finally got there, the nurse had to tell
him to get upstairs, “Your wife is having that baby now.”

I hope that when Dad first held me,
it was with haddock-scented hands, apron
over his black pants still sprinkled with flour,
forehead oily from standing over the deep fryer,
telling the fish to hurry  ‘hurry’.

This Date in Art History: Died 10 May 1904 – Andrei Ryabushkina, a Russian painter.

Below – “Tea-drinking”; “A Young Man Breaking into the Girls’ Dance, and the Old Women are in Panic”; “Wedding Train in the 17the century Moscow”; “Returning from the fair”; “Visit”; “Waiting.”


This Date in Entertainment History: Born 10 May 1899 – Fred Astaire, an American dancer, actor, and singer.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: Impossible grace.

This Date in Art History: Died 10 May 1964 – Mikhail Larionov, a Russian painter and illustrator.

Below – “Acacias in Spring”; “Soldier on a Horse”; “Peacock”; “Dancing soldiers”; “Lovers”; “Spring Garden”; “Dance.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 10 May 1990 – Walker Percy, an American novelist, essayist, author of “Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Walker Percy:

“You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.”
“How did it happen that now he could see everything so clearly. Something had given him leave to live in the present. Not once in his entire life had he come to rest in the quiet center of himself but had forever cast himself from some dark past he could not remember to a future that did not exist. Not once had he been present for his life. So his life had passed like a dream. Is it possible for people to miss their lives the way one can miss a plane?”
“In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.”
“In a word, the consumer of mass culture is lonely, not only lonely, but spiritually impoverished.”
“Have you noticed that only in time of illness or disaster or death are people real?”
“The present age is demented. It is possessed by a sense of dislocation, a loss of personal identity, an alternating sentimentality and rage which, in an individual patient, could be characterized as dementia.”
“The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”
“Lucky is the man who does not secretly believe that every possibility is open to him.”
“I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man that you really want to hear about his business, the look that comes over his face is something to see.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Sergey Piskunov

Below – “Girl and nature”; “Rose mask series (2)”; “Yellow flowers on green oil”; “Woman in White mask”; “Tranquility”; “Golden dust.”


A Poem for Today

“Leaving the Hospital”
by Anya Silver

As the doors glide shut behind me,
the world flares back into being—
I exist again, recover myself,
sunlight undimmed by dark panes,
the heat on my arms the earth’s breath.
The wind tongues me to my feet
like a doe licking clean her newborn fawn.
At my back, days measured by vital signs,
my mouth opened and arm extended,
the nighttime cries of a man withered
child-size by cancer, and the bells
of emptied IVs tolling through hallways.
Before me, life—mysterious, ordinary—
holding off pain with its muscular wings.
As I step to the curb, an orange moth
dives into the basket of roses
that lately stood on my sickroom table,
and the petals yield to its persistent
nudge, opening manifold and golden.

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