Sentient in San Francisco – 20 September 2019

Contemporary Swiss Art – Tina Sturzenegger

Below (photographs): “Rainbow II”; “Fallen”; “The chair”; “I’m just restless”; “Soup Stock Tokyo”; “Peel it off.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1878 – Upton Sinclair, an American novelist, essayist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Upton Sinclair:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
“Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy; it is the day-by-day, between-elections propaganda, whereby the minds of the people are kept in a state of acquiescence, so that when the crisis of an election comes, they go to the polls and cast their ballots for either one of the two candidates of their exploiters.”
“It is foolish to be convinced without evidence, but it is equally foolish to refuse to be convinced by real evidence.”
“You don’t have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it. I didn’t like the way I found America some sixty years ago, and I’ve been trying to change it ever since.”
“I don’t know whether anyone will care to examine my heart, but if they do, they will find two words there- ‘social justice.’ For that is what I have believed in and fought for.”
“One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption.”
“When the masters of industry pay such sums for a newspaper, they buy not merely the building and the presses and the name; they buy what they call the ‘good-will’- that is, they buy you. And they proceed to change your whole psychology – everything that you believe about life. You might object to it, if you knew; but they do their work so subtly that you never guess what is happening to you!”
“Pessimism is mental disease. It means illness in the person who voices it, and in the society which produces that person.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Joanna Borowiec

Below (photographs) – “Blue Garden”; “Summer Day14”; “White Rose, collodion”; “My magical garden#5”; “1”; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 September 1971 – Giorgos Seferis, a Greek poet and recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Epiphany, 1937”
by Giorgos Seferis

The flowering sea and the mountains in the moon’s waning
the great stone close to the Barbary figs and the asphodels
the jar that refused to go dry at the end of day
and the closed bed by the cypress trees and your hair
golden; the stars of the Swan and that other star, Aldebaran.

I’ve kept a rein on my life, kept a rein on my life, travelling
among yellow trees in driving rain
on silent slopes loaded with beech leaves,
no fire on their peaks; it’s getting dark.
I’ve kept a rein on my life; on your left hand a line
a scar at your knee, perhaps they exist
on the sand of the past summer perhaps
they remain there where the north wind blew as I hear
an alien voice around the frozen lake.
The faces I see do not ask questions nor does the woman
bent as she walks giving her child the breast.
I climb the mountains; dark ravines; the snow-covered
plain, into the distance stretches the snow-covered plain, they ask nothing
neither time shut up in dumb chapels nor
hands outstretched to beg, nor the roads.
I’ve kept a rein on my life whispering in a boundless silence
I no longer know how to speak nor how to think; whispers
like the breathing of the cypress tree that night
like the human voice of the night sea on pebbles
like the memory of your voice saying ‘happiness’.

I close my eyes looking for the secret meeting-place of the waters
under the ice the sea’s smile, the closed wells
groping with my veins for those veins that escape me
there where the water-lilies end and that man
who walks blindly across the snows of silence.
I’ve kept a rein on my life, with him, looking for the water that touches you
heavy drops on green leaves, on your face
in the empty garden, drops in the motionless reservoir
striking a swan dead in its white wings
living trees and your eyes riveted.

This road has no end, has no relief, however hard you try
to recall your childhood years, those who left, those
lost in sleep, in the graves of the sea,
however much you ask bodies you’ve loved to stoop
under the harsh branches of the plane trees there
where a ray of the sun, naked, stood still
and a dog leapt and your heart shuddered,
the road has no relief; I’ve kept a rein on my life.

The snow
and the water frozen in the hoofmarks of the horses.

Contemporary British Art -Olha Pryymak

Below – “By time I walk”; “With adoration, with fertile tears, With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire”; “Deadly if taken for spring onions”; “Dry some leaves or an entire small pant between the pages of a thick book, repeat”; “I’d suggest using it at night time, you just never know”; “Chamomile”; “She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which she shines.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1902 – Stevie Smith, an award-winning English poet and novelist: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Stevie Smith:

“I’m alive today, therefore I’m just as much a part of our time as everybody else. The times will just have to enlarge themselves to make room for me, won’t they, and for everybody else.”
“The human creature is alone in his carapace. Poetry is a strong way out.”
“Why does my muse only speak when she is unhappy? She does not, I only listen when I am unhappy.”
“People who are always praising the past
And especially the time of faith as best
Ought to go and live in the Middle Ages
And be burnt at the stake as witches and sages.”
“A man may forgive many wrongs, but he cannot easily forgive anyone who makes it plain that his conversation is tedious.”
“Death’s not a separation or alteration or parting; it’s just a one-handled door.”

Contemporary American Art – Kristin Hart

Below – “Desert Bloom – Coral, California”; “Surf -Coral”; “Desert Shadows – Pink”; “Pastel Desert, California”; “Reflections of Life”; “Surf – Blue, 3.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1902 – Stevie Smith, an award-winning English poet and novelist: Part II of II.

“Not Waving But Drowning”
by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 19 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 19 September 1918 – Pablita Valarde, a Native American painter.

Below – “Basketmaking”; “Swimming Mimbres Turtles”; “The Turtle Dance”; “Roadrunners”; “Bear Hunt – Ancient Hunter”; Untitled.

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 September 1894 – Rachel Field, an American writer, poet, author of “Hitty: Her First Hundred Years” and “Time out of Mind,” and recipient of the Newberry Award and the National Book Award: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Rachel Field:

Isn’t it strange some people make You feel so tired inside. Your thoughts begin to shrivel up Like leaves all brown and dried! But when you’re with some other ones Its stranger still to find Your thought as thick as fireflies All shiny in your mind!”
It’s terrible when the weak are also cruel for then we are defenseless against them.
You know the public is more easily swayed by persons than by principles.
Too much good fortune can make you smug and unaware. Happiness should be like an oasis, the greener for the desert that surrounds it.
I was never one to begrudge people their memories. From a child I would listen when they spoke of the past.
No hardy perennial has the enduring quality of hope. Cut it to the roots, stamp it underfoot, let frost and fire work their will, and still some valiant shoot will push, to grow again on such scanty fare as it can find. Only time and the cruel quicklime of fact can destroy that stubborn urgency.

This Date in Art History: Zinaida Serebriakova, a Ukrainian-French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Autumn Landscape”; “Self Portrait’; “The Artist’s Sister”; “Harvest”; “House of Cards.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 19 September 1902 – Masaoka Shiki, a Japanese poet, critic, and author. Literary consider Masaoka Shiki to be one of Japan’s greatest masters of haiku.

by Masaoka Shiki

Night; and once again,
the while I wait for you, cold wind
turns into rain.

This Date in Art History: Zinaida Serebriakova, a Ukrainian-French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “At Breakfast”; “The Veranda in Spring”; “The Shoots of Autumn Crops”; “Portrait of Olga Lanceray”; “Apples on the Branches.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 September 1894 – Rachel Field, an American writer, poet, author of “Hitty: Her First Hundred Years” and “Time out of Mind,” and recipient of the Newberry Award and the National Book Award: Part II of II.

“If Once You Have Slept On An Island”
by Rachel Field

If once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,
You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.
Oh! you won’t know why and you can’t say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You’ll never be quite the same.

Below – Jamie Wyeth: “If once you have slept on an island”

Contemporary British Art – Cody Choi

Below (photographs) – “Dancer: Juan #26”; “Above the Clouds #20”; “Dancer: Isabella #4”; “Dancer: Game #3”; “Dancer: Juan #1”; “Dancer: Juan #2”; “Dancer: Flora #2.”

A Poem for Today

by Rick Campbell

My heart was suspect.
Wired to an EKG,
I walked a treadmill
that measured my ebb
and flow, tracked isotopes
that ploughed my veins,
looked for a constancy
I’ve hardly ever found.
For a month I worried
as I climbed the stairs
to my office.  The mortality
I never believed in
was here now.  They
say my heart’s ok,
just high cholesterol, but
I know my heart’s a house
someone has broken into,
a room you come back
to and know some stranger
with bad intent has been there
and touched all that you love.  You know
he can come back.  It’s his call,
his house now.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 18 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 18 September 1838 – Anton Mauve, a Dutch painter.

Below – “Wooded Landscape with a Standing Figure”; “Avenue in the Netherlands”; “Farm on a Country Road”; “The Return of the Flock”; “Morning Ride on the Beach.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 September 1980 – Katherine Anne Porter, an American novelist, journalist, essayist, short story writer, and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Katherine Anne Porter:

“All life worth living is difficult, nobody promised us happiness; it is not a commodity you have earned, or shall ever earn. It is a by-product of brave living, and it never comes in the form we expect, or at the season we hoped for, or as the result of our planning for it.
“The past is never where you think you left it.”
“Perhaps the habit which distinguishes civilized people from others is that of discussion, exchange of opinion and ideas, the ability to differ without quarrelling, to say what you have to say civilly and then to listen civilly to another speaker.”
“You shouldn’t side-step suffering if you have to go through it to get where you’re going.”
“I will never again attempt to tell any young person what to do – the really gifted don’t need advice and the others can’t take it.”
“The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, even one’s own even more, one’s own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.”

This Date in Art History: Died 18 September 1975 – Fairfield Porter, an American painter.

Below – “Sunrise on South Main Street”; “The Bedroom”; “Tree-lined Street”; “Spruce and Birch”; “Under the Elms”; “Twilight.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 September 1951 – Gelett Burgess, an American poet, humorist, and the author of nonsense verse.

“The Purple Cow”
by Gelett Burgess

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

Contemporary Italian Art – Roberto Lacentra

Below – “Composizione di vasi anni 50/60”; “Medusa”; “Sea horses”; “Pesce grande mangia pesce piccolo”; “Three Fishes”; “The fortress of the pirates.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 September 1964 – Sean O’Casey, an Irish dramatist and memoirist.

Some quotes from the work of Sean O’Casey:

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
“There’s nothing so passionate as a vested interest disguised as an intellectual conviction.”
“That’s the Irish all over — they treat a joke as a serious thing and a serious thing as a joke.”
“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.”
“Politics – I don’t know why, but they seem to have a tendency to separate us, to keep us from one another, while nature is always and ever making efforts to bring us together.”
“It’s my rule never to lose me temper till it would be detrimental to keep it.”
“To me life is simply an invitation to live.”
“Here, with whitened hair, desires failing, strength ebbing out of him, with the sun gone down and with only the serenity and the calm warning of the evening star left to him, he drank to Life, to all it had been, to what it was, to what it would be. Hurrah!”
“I have found life an enjoyable, enchanting, active, and sometime terrifying experience, and I’ve enjoyed it completely. A lament in one ear, maybe, but always a song in the other.”

Contemporary French Art – Isabelle Joubert

Below – “The ‘hippie chic’ girl”; “Like a sunflower”; “Sky above me, earth below me”; “When I’m silent.”

A Poem for Today

“Night Dive”
By Sam Green

Down here, no light but what we carry with us.
Everywhere we point our hands we scrawl
color: bulging eyes, spines, teeth or clinging tentacles.
At negative buoyancy, when heavy hands
seem to grasp & pull us down, we let them,

we don’t inflate our vests, but let the scrubbed cheeks
of rocks slide past in amniotic calm.
At sixty feet we douse our lights, cemented
by the weight of the dark, of water, the grip
of the sea’s absolute silence.  Our groping

hands brush the open mouths of anemones,
which shower us in particles of phosphor
radiant as halos.  As in meditation,
or in deepest prayer,
there is no knowing what we will see.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 17 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 17 September 1907 – Edmonia Lewis, an American sculpture who for most of her career worked in Rome, Italy. In the words of one writer, “Born free in New York [4 July 1844], she was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.”

Below – “Forever Free”; “The Death of Cleopatra”; “The Marriage of Hiawatha”; “The Old Arrowmaker and His Daughter”; “Hiawatha and Minnehaha”; “Robert Gould Shaw.”

This Date in Philosophical History: Died 17 December 1994 – Karl Popper, an Austrian-born British philosopher, who is regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers of science.

Some quotes from the work of Karl Popper:

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”
“The growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement.”
“The question is not how to get good people to rule; THE QUESTION IS: HOW TO STOP THE POWERFUL from doing as much damage as they can to us.”
“Every intellectual has a very special responsibility. He has the privilege and the opportunity of studying. In return, he owes it to his fellow men (or ‘to society’) to represent the results of his study as simply, clearly and modestly as he can. The worst thing that intellectuals can do – the cardinal sin – is to try to set themselves up as great prophets vis-à-vis their fellow men and to impress them with puzzling philosophies. Anyone who cannot speak simply and clearly should say nothing and continue to work until he can do so.”
“No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.”
“In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
“Ignorance is not a simple lack of knowledge but an active aversion to knowledge, the refusal to know, issuing from cowardice, pride, or laziness of mind.”
“Astrologers were greatly impressed, and misled, by what they believed to be confirming evidence-so much so that they were quite unimpressed by any unfavorable evidence. Moreover, by making their interpretations and prophecies sufficiently vague they were able to explain away anything that might have been a refutation of the theory had the theory and the prophecies been more precise. In order to escape falsification they destroyed the testability of their theory. It is a typical soothsayer’s trick to predict things so vaguely that the predictions can hardly fail: that they become irrefutable.”
“The best thing that can happen to a human being us to find a problem, to fall in love with that problem, and to live trying to solve that problem, unless another problem even more lovable appears.”
“There is no history, only histories.”
“The true Enlightenment thinker, the true rationalist, never wants to talk anyone into anything. No, he does not even want to convince; all the time he is aware that he may be wrong. Above all, he values the intellectual independence of others too highly to want to convince them in important matters. He would much rather invite contradiction, preferably in the form of rational and disciplined criticism. He seeks not to convince but to arouse – to challenge others to form free opinions.”
“We should realize that, if [Socrates] demanded that the wisest men should rule, he clearly stressed that he did not mean the learned men; in fact, he was skeptical of all professional learnedness, whether it was that of the philosophers or of the learned men of his own generation, the Sophists. The wisdom he meant was of a different kind. It was simply the realization: how little do I know! Those who did not know this, he taught, knew nothing at all. This is the true scientific spirit.”
“When we enter a new situation in life and are confronted by a new person, we bring with us the prejudices of the past and our previous experiences of people. These prejudices we project upon the new person. Indeed, getting to know a person is largely a matter of withdrawing projections; of dispelling the smoke screen of what we imagine he is like and replacing it with the reality of what he is actually like.”

This Date in Art History: Died 17. September 1928 – Carl Eytel, a German-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Desert near Palm Springs”; “California landscape”; “A Rio Grande pueblo”; “Desert landscape”; “Cattle Herding.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1903 – Frank O’Connor, an Irish short story writer, memoirist, novelist, travel writer, critic, and poet.

Some quotes from the work of Frank O’Connor

“Even if there were only two men left in the world and both of them saints they wouldn’t be happy. One them would be bound to try and improve the other. That is the nature of things.”
“The short story is the art form that deals with the individual when there is no longer a society to absorb him, and when he is compelled to exist, as it were, by his own inner light.”
“I was a great believer in hot buttered toast at all hours of the day.”
“Choice was an illusion. Seeing that a man can never really get out of jail, the great thing is to ensure that he gets into the biggest possible one with the largest possible range of modern amenities.”
“All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means that we had something worth grieving for. The ones I’m sorry for are the ones that go through life not knowing what grief is.”
“Always in the short story there is this sense of outlawed figures wandering about the fringes of society…. As a result there is in the short story at its most characteristic something we do not often find in the novel–an intense awareness of human loneliness.”

Contemporary American Art – Faustine Badrichani

Below – “Blue WoCarlman”; “Pink and Blue Woman”; “Pink and Blue Woman”; “Maroon Woman”; “Nudes”; from “Lifestyle,” acrylic paint on paper.

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1935 – Ken Kesey, an American novelist, essayist, and author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” a book that was made into a splendid movie directed by Milos Forman and starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and Wiil Sampson. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Some quotes from the work of Ken Kesey:

“Since we don’t know where we’re going, we have to stick together in case someone gets there.”
“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer, but they think they have. So they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”
“If you’ve got love in your heart, whatever you do from that moment out is likely to be right. If you’ve got that one true note ringing inside you, then whatever you do is going to be OK.”
“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
“When you love someone it is forever, or it was never really love at all.”
“The fundamentalists have taken the fun out of the mental.”
“You can count how many seeds are in the apple, but not how many apples are in the seed.”
“You can’t really be strong until you see a funny side to things.”
“People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.”
It is just as much an offense to take offense as it is to give offense.
“He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum.”
“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.”

Contemporary German Art – Sven Pfrommer

Below (photographs) – “Human Crowd V”; “Urban Sensor XII”; “Tokyo Crossing XI”; “Human Hub V”; “Java Jazz XXIX”; “Urban Shadow VIII.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1883 – William Carlos Williams, an American poet, short story writer, and essayist.

by William Carlos Williams

years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 16 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 16 September 1878 – Karl Albiker, a German sculptor and lithographer.

Below – “Minerva”; “Ursula”; “Die Kauernde”; “Reitende Amazone”; “Kniende auf Polster”;“Plastik eines nackten Jünglings.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 September 2016 – W. P. Kinsella, a Canadian novelist and short story writer best-known for his novel “Shoeless Joe,” which was adapted into the movie “Field of Dreams.”

Some quotes from the work of W. P. Kinsella:

“America has been erased like a blackboard, only to be rebuilt and then erased again. But baseball has marked time while America has rolled by like a procession of steamrollers.”
“Baseball games are like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two are ever alike.”
“Hardly anybody recognizes the most significant moments of their life at the time they happen.”
“Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. Within the baselines anything can happen. Tides can reverse; oceans can open. That’s why they say, ‘the game is never over until the last man is out.’ Colors can change, lives can alter, anything is possible in this gentle, flawless, loving game.”
“Use your imagination. Trust me, your lives are not interesting. Don’t write them down.”
“Growing up is a ritual, more deadly than religion, more complicated than baseball, for there seem to be no rules. Everything is experienced for the first time.”
“Any game becomes important when you know and love the players.”
“Perhaps crossing the barriers of time has freed me.”
“If you build it, he will come.”

Contemporary American Art – Leah Guzman

Below – “Color of Me”; “Visionary”; “Inner Wave”; “Blooming Lotus 02”; “Good Fortune”; “In Bloom.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 September 2984 – Richard Brautigan, an American poet, novelist, short story writer, and author of “Trout Fishing in America”: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Richard Brautigan:

“It’s strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult.”
“Reduce intellectual and emotional noise until you arrive at the silence of yourself and listen to it.”
“Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords.”
“I’ll affect you slowly as if you were having a picnic in a dream. There will be no ants. It won’t rain.”
“If you will die for me, I will die for you and our graves will be like two lovers washing their clothes together in a laundromat. If you will bring the soap, I will bring the bleach.”
“All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.”
“I didn’t know the full dimensions of forever, but I knew it was longer than waiting for Christmas to come.”
“Finding is losing something else. I think about, perhaps even mourn, what I lost to find this.”
“Her sunny side was always up.
“For fear you will be alone you do so many things that aren’t you at all.”
“All girls should have a poem
written for them even if
we have to turn this goddamn world
upside down to do it.”
“One day Time will die
And love will bury it.”
“I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.”
“Like some kind of strange vacuum cleaner I tried to console him. I recited the same old litanies that you say to people when you try to help their broken hearts, but words can’t help at all. It’s just the sound of another human voice that makes the only difference. There’s nothing you’re ever going to say that’s going to make anybody happy when they’re feeling shitty about losing somebody that they love.”

Contemporary American Art – Dana Myers

Below – “joshua tree”; “venice”; “palm springs”; “bombay beach 1.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 September 2984 – Richard Brautigan, an American poet, novelist, and short story writer: Part II of II.

“Haiku Ambulance”
by Richard Brautigan

A piece of green pepper
off the wooden salad bowl:
so what?

Contemporary Canadian Art – Victor Tkachenko

Below – “Young Venus”; “Hot Day”; “”Dream”; ”Flower A”;
“Kidnapping a Swan”; “Flower V.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 September 2004 – Michael Donaghy, an American-English poet and author.

by Michael Donaghy

Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsicord pavane by Purcell
And the racer’s twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away.

So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air.

If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 15 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 15 September 1942 – Ksenia Milicevic, a French painter.

Below – “Good morning blues”; “The wine of memory”; “Celui qui vent acres”; “Silence de midi”; “Maria”; “Nymphe et satyre.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 September 1989 – Robert Penn Warren, an American novelist, poet, literary critic, author of “All The King’s Men,” and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Penn Warren:

“The lack of a sense of history is the damnation of the modern world.”
“I think the greatest curse of American society has been the idea of an easy millennialism — that some new drug, or the next election or the latest in social engineering will solve everything.”
“The asking and the answering which history provides may help us to understand, even to frame, the logic of experience to which we shall submit. History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”
“A symbol serves to combine heart and intellect.”
“Storytelling and copulation are the two chief forms of amusement in the South. They’re inexpensive and easy to procure.”
“History is all explained by geography.”
“The past is always a rebuke to the present.”
“Tell me a story.
In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.
Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.
The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.
Tell me a story of deep delight.”

Contemporary Swiss Art – Julia Britvich

Below – “Over the Islands”; “Swiss glacier by the last sun”; “Smoke deep clouds on the mountains”; “Sunset alpine panorama”; “Renaissance of the morning.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 September 1889 – Claude McKay, an award-winning Jamaican-American poet, writer, author of “Home to Harlem,” and important figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

by Claude McKay

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

Contemporary South Korean Art – Taeil Kim

Below – “Waiting No.0602”; “Spring Breeze”; ‘Viewpoint No.1024”; “The memory No.0905”; “Waiting No.1115”; “The memory No.1005”; “Reality and Ideality No.1108.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 September 1889 – Robert Benchley, an American humorist, newspaper columnist, film actor, and recipient of the 1935 Academy Award for Best Short Subject for “How to Sleep.”

Some quotes from the work of Robert Benchley:

“I have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well.”
“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed be doing at that moment.”
“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”
“There seems to be no lengths to which humorless people will not go to analyze humor. It seems to worry them.”
“There may be said to be two classes of people in the world; those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes and those who do not.”
“In America there are two classes of travel – first class, and with children.”
“Anything can happen, but it usually doesn’t.”
“There is probably no more obnoxious class of citizen, taken end for end, than the returning vacationist.”
“England and America should scrap cricket and baseball and come up with a new game that they both can play. Like baseball, for example.”
“Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.”
“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
“Most of the arguments to which I am party fall somewhat short of being impressive, owing to the fact that neither I nor my opponent knows what we are talking about.”
“I know I’m drinking myself to a slow death, but then I’m in no hurry.”
“Who said time machines haven’t been built yet? They already exist. They’re called books.”

Contemporary American Art – Monty Preston

Artist Statement: “I am a painter and photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. My work is inspired by the way light interacts with its environment, and I try to capture expressions and physical energy as a snapshot in time. I work primarily in oils for the vibrancy and texture that they bring to a piece, and I enjoy the meditative aspects of the creation process as much as the finished artwork.”

Below – “Free Floating”; “The Other Side”; “Sun Bleached” (Sketch); “Roy Rogers #1 Fan”; “Paparazzi Flash Bang”; “Sandbar.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 September 1989 – Robert Penn Warren, an American novelist, poet, literary critic, author of “All The King’s Men,” and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part II of II.

“Mortal Limit”
by Robert Penn Warren

I saw the hawk ride updraft in the sunset over Wyoming.
It rose from coniferous darkness, past gray jags
Of mercilessness, past whiteness, into the gloaming
Of dream-spectral light above the lazy purity of snow-snags.

There–west–were the Tetons. Snow-peaks would soon be
In dark profile to break constellations. Beyond what height
Hangs now the black speck? Beyond what range will gold eyes see
New ranges rise to mark a last scrawl of light?

Or, having tasted that atmosphere’s thinness, does it
Hang motionless in dying vision before
It knows it will accept the mortal limit,
And swing into the great circular downwardness that will restore

The breath of earth? Of rock? Of rot? Of other such
Items, and the darkness of whatever dream we clutch?

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Sentient in San Francisco – 14 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 14 September 1931 – Tom Roberts, an English-born Australian painter.

Below – “Holiday sketch at Coogee”; “Shearing the Rams”; “Bourke Street”; “Coming South”; “Slumbering Sea, Mentone”; “Portrait of Florence.”

A Poem for Today

“Planting the Sand Cherry”
by Ann Struthers

Today I planted the sand cherry with red leaves—
and hope that I can go on digging in this yard,
pruning the grape vine, twisting the silver lace
on its trellis, the one that bloomed
just before the frost flowered over all the garden.
Next spring I will plant more zinnias, marigolds,
straw flowers, pearly everlasting, and bleeding heart.
I plant that for you, old love, old friend,
and lilacs for remembering.   The lily-of-the-valley
with cream-colored bells, bent over slightly, bowing
to the inevitable, flowers for a few days, a week.
Now its broad blade leaves are streaked with brown
and the stem dried to a pale hair.
In place of the silent bells, red berries
like rose hips blaze close to the ground.
It is important for me to be down on my knees,
my fingers sifting the black earth,
making those things grow which will grow.
Sometimes I save a weed if its leaves
are spread fern-like, hand-like,
or if it grows with a certain impertinence.
I let the goldenrod stay and the wild asters.
I save the violets in spring.   People who kill violets
will do anything.

Contemporary American Art – Andrea Patrie

Below – “Jet is the Worst Model”; “Girl with Her Plant”; “DNA”; “Santa Ana”; “Selfie #1”; “Almost Lost Her.”

A Poem for Today

“Love Is Not All”
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Below – Arnold Genthe: “Edna St. Vincent Millay in Mamaroneck, NY, 1914”

Contemporary French Art – Marie-Elisabeth Merlin

Below – “Il était une fois, Solitaire”; “Le Maillot Rouge”; “Il était Une fois, Poésie du coeur”; “Il n’y a pas si longtemps”; “La Petite”; “Apres-midi.”

A Poem for Today

“Marry Me”
by Veronica Patterson

when I come late to bed
I move your leg flung over my side—
that warm gate

nights you’re not here
I inch toward the middle
of this boat, balancing

when I turn over in sleep
you turn, I turn, you turn,
I turn, you

some nights you tug the edge
of my pillow under your cheek,
look in my dream

pulling the white sheet
over your bare shoulder
I marry you again

Below -Artist unknown: Untitled

Contemporary South African Art – Patrick Hugh McCabe

Below – “Love is in the Air”; “Walk My Way”; “Follow Your Dream”; “Romantic Dreams”; “Golden Restio.”

A Poem for Today

by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 13 September 2019

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Oleksandr Voytovych

Below – “Flight”; “Movement”; “Subjective reality”; “On the beach”; “Game 2”; “Contemplation.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 13 September 1592 – Michel de Montaigne, a French philosopher, essayist, and author of “Essais.”

Some quotes from the work of Michel de Montaigne:

“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.”
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
“The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them… Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will.”
“A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.”
“Socrates thought and so do I that the wisest theory about the gods is no theory at all.”
“Stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity.”
“If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.”
“Only the fools are certain and assured.”
“We must learn to endure what we cannot avoid. Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of contrary things, also of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud. If a musician liked only one kind, what would he have to say?”

Contemporary Romanian Art – Adriana Duduleanu

Below (photographs) – “Levitation”; “Walking”; “Cabin by the lake”; “Woman”; “Center”; “The future was two days ago.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 September 1894 – J. B. Priestley, an English novelist, playwright, screenwriter, broadcaster, social commentator, and author of “The Good Companions.”

Some quotes from the work of J. B. Priestley:

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”
“We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.”
“The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”
“The world we know at present is in no fit state to take over the dreariest little meteor … If we have the courage and patience, the energy and skill, to take us voyaging to other planets, then let us use some of these to tidy up and civilize this earth. One world at a time, please.”
“A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.”
“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Anton Tarasiuk: Part I of II.

Below – “Family”; “Birdie”; “Shoes K.D.”; “Sunshine”; “Hot Horses”; “Immortal.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 September 1916 – Roald Dahl, a British novelist, short story writer, poet, and screenwriter.

Some quotes from the work of Roald Dahl:

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
“I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I’ll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else.”
“A life is made up of a great number of small incidents, and a small number of great ones.”
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
“Some people when they have taken too much and have been driven beyond the point of endurance, simply crumble and give up. There are others, though they are not many, who will for some reason always be unconquerable. You meet them in time of war and also in time of peace. They have an indomitable spirit and nothing, neither pain nor torture nor threat of death, will cause them to give up.”
“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Anton Tarasiuk: Part II of II

Below – “Struggle”; “Bullfinch”; “Horse and Apple”; “Pasture”; “Exile”; “Touch.”

A Poem for Today

by Patrick Phillips

Touched by your goodness, I am like
that grand piano we found one night on Willoughby
that someone had smashed and somehow
heaved through an open window.

And you might think by this I mean I’m broken
or abandoned, or unloved.   Truth is, I don’t
know exactly what I am, any more
than the wreckage in the alley knows
it’s a piano, filling with trash and yellow leaves.

Maybe I’m all that’s left of what I was.
But touching me, I know, you are the good
breeze blowing across its rusted strings.

What would you call that feeling when the wood,
even with its cracked harp, starts to sing?

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Sentient in San Francisco – 12 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 12 September 1829 – Anselm Feuerbach, a German painter.

Below – “Head Study of a Girl with Vine Leaves in Her Hair”; “Nanna”; “Fruhlingsbild”; “Romeo and Juliet”; “Orpheus and Eurydice”; “Self Portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 12 September 1977 – Robert Lowell, an American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

“Skunk Hour”
by Robert Lowell

(for Elizabeth Bishop)

Nautilus Island’s hermit
heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage;
her sheep still graze above the sea.
Her son’s a bishop. Her farmer is first selectman in our village;
she’s in her dotage.

Thirsting for
the hierarchic privacy
of Queen Victoria’s century
she buys up all
the eyesores facing her shore,
and lets them fall.

The season’s ill-
we’ve lost our summer millionaire,
who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean
catalogue. His nine-knot yawl
was auctioned off to lobstermen.
A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.

And now our fairy
decorator brightens his shop for fall;
his fishnet’s filled with orange cork,
orange, his cobbler’s bench and awl;
there is no money in his work,
he’d rather marry.

One dark night,
my Tudor Ford climbed the hill’s skull;
I watched for love-cars. Lights turned down,
they lay together, hull to hull,
where the graveyard shelves on the town….
My mind’s not right.

A car radio bleats,
‘Love, O careless Love….’ I hear
my ill-spirit sob in each blood cell,
as if my hand were at its throat…
I myself am hell;
nobody’s here-

only skunks, that search
in the moonlight for a bite to eat.
They march on their solves up Main Street:
white stripes, moonstruck eyes’ red fire
under the chalk-dry and spar spire
of the Trinitarian Church.

I stand on top
of our back steps and breathe the rich air-
a mother skunk with her column of kittens swills the garbage pail.
She jabs her wedge-head in a cup
of sour cream, drops her ostrich tail,
and will not scare.

This Date in Art History: Born 12 September 1898 – Ben Shahn, a Lithuanian-born American painter and photographer.

Below (paintings) – “The Phoenix”; “Detail No. 2: Labyrinth”; “I Think Continually.”

Below (photographs) – “Resettlement Administration client family, Boone County, Arkansas, 1935”; “Rikers Island Prison-Prisoners Reading News, 1932”; “Deckhand aboard the Queen of Dycusburg, Memphis, Tennessee, 1935.”


This Date in American Cultural History: Born September 12 1880 – H. L. Mencken, an American journalist, essayist, satirist, scholar, and cultural critic.

Some quotes from the work of H. L. Mencken:

“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”
“The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
“Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.”
“The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.”
“It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”
“The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
“When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental – men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre.”
“Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love.”
“There are two impossibilities in life: ‘just one drink’ and ‘an honest politician’.”
“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant.”
“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Shandor Alexander

Below – “Bottle and lamp”; “Warm day Ochakov”; “Roses near the sea”; “Flowered in the Carpathians”; “Dining Symphony”; “Damp autumn.”

A Poem for Today

“To Katharine At Fourteen Months”
by Joelle Biele

All morning, you’ve studied the laws
of spoons, the rules of books, the dynamics
of the occasional plate, observed the principles
governing objects in motion and objects
at rest.  To see if it will fall, and if it does,
how far, if it will rage like a lost penny
or ring like a Chinese gong—because
it doesn’t have to—you lean from your chair
and hold your cup over the floor.
It curves in your hand, it weighs in your palm,
it arches like a wave, it is a dipper
full of stars, and you’re the wind timing
the pull of the moon, you’re the water
measuring the distance from which we fall.

Below – A French postcard of child in a high chair (1945-1955)

Contemporary Russian Art – Anna Gordodetskaya

Below – “Morning at the country house, Colombia”; “Mountains 2”; “Face of Cartagena”; “Ancient vases”; “After the rain.”

A Poem for Today

“To the Western World”
by Louis Simpson

A siren sang, and Europe turned away
From the high castle and the shepherd’s crook.
Three caravels went sailing to Cathay
On the strange ocean, and the captains shook
Their banners out across the Mexique Bay.

And in our early days we did the same.
Remembering our fathers in their wreck
We crossed the sea from Palos where they came
And saw, enormous to the little deck,
A shore in silence waiting for a name.

The treasures of Cathay were never found.
In this America, this wilderness
Where the axe echoes with a lonely sound,
The generations labor to possess
And grave by grave we civilize the ground.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 11 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 11 September 1903 – Stephen Etnier, an American painter.

Below – “Still Morning”; “Storefront, Nassau”; “Fort Popham”; Study for “Hurricane Ridge, Harpswell”; “Sunrise, Moana Kea”; “White Bell.”

This Date in Literary History: born 11 September 1885 – D. H. Lawrence, an English novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, and author of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and “Studies in Classic American Literature.”

Some quotes from the work of D. H. Lawrence:

“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”
“Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.”
“There is a sixth sense, the natural religious sense, the sense of wonder.”
“America is neither free nor brave, but a land of tight, iron-clanking little wills, everybody trying to put it over everybody else, and a land of men absolutely devoid of the real courage of trust, trust in life’s sacred spontaneity. They can’t trust life until they can control it.”
“I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.”
“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.”

This Date in Art History: Died 11 September 1939 – Konstantin Korovin, a Russian painter.

Below – “On the Balcony, Spanish Women Leonora and Ampara”; “St. Triphon’s Brook in Pechenga”; “Twilight in a Room”; “Hammerfest: Aurora Borealis”; “Moonlit Night, Winter”; “Spring.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 11 September 1958 – Robert W. Service, a British-Canadian poet and writer known as “the Bard of the Yukon.”
Robert W. Service did not consider himself a great poet. In fact, he generally referred to his poems as “verses.” Nevertheless, his rhymes have delighted generations of readers with their descriptions of Klondike landscapes and the men who traversed them in search of gold. I not only committed some of Service’s verses to memory when I was a boy, but reading them also fueled my determination to visit the Yukon – a determination that I finally realized a few years ago, when I visited Whitehorse and spent a night in the Robert W. Service Campground.

The opening stanzas of two of Robert W. Service’s most famous verses:

from “The Cremation of Sam McGee”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

from “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

Below – The Robert W. Service Memorial and the Robert W. Service Memorial Desk in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada; the Robert W. Service Campground; the Yukon River flowing beside the campground.

Contemporary American Art – Barbara Kuebel

Below – “The gap between the space”; “touching four corners”; “Stretching into one space”; “almost over”; “crowded crowd”; “the stolen moment.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 11 September 1917 – Jessica Mitford, an English-American writer, journalist and author of “The American Way of Death Revisited.”

Some quotes from the Work of Jessica Mitford:

“You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.”
“The character and mentality of the keepers may be of more importance in understanding prisons than the character and mentality of the kept.”
“Gracious dying is a huge, macabre and expensive joke on the American public.”
“Growing up in the English countryside seemed an interminable process. Freezing winter gave way to frosty spring, which in turn merged into chilly summer-but nothing ever, ever happened.”
“Society created the prison in its own image; will history, with its penchant for paradox, reverse those roles?”
“A thirteen-year-old is a kaleidoscope of different personalities, if not in most ways a mere figment of her own imagination. At that age, what and who you are depends largely on what book you happen to be reading at the moment.”
“In childbirth, as in other human endeavors, fashions start with the rich, are then adopted by the aspirant middle class with an assist from the ever-watchful media, and may or may not eventually filter down to the poor.”
“Things on the whole are much faster in America; people don’t ‘stand for election’, they ‘run for office.’”
“Prison walls are meant not only to keep convicts in, but to keep the would-be investigator out.”
“I discovered that Human Nature was not, as I had always supposed, a fixed and unalterable entity, that wars are not caused by a natural urge in men to fight, that ownership of land and factories is not necessarily the natural reward of greater wisdom and energy.”
“It is somehow reassuring to discover that the word travel is derived from travail, denoting the pains of childbirth.”
“One is only really inwardly comfortable, so to speak, after one’s life has assumed some sort of shape. Not just a routine, like studying or a job or being a housewife, but something more complete than all those, which would include goals set by oneself and a circle of life-time type friends. I think this is one of the hardest things to achieve, in fact often just trying doesn’t achieve it but rather it seems to develop almost by accident.”

Contemporary British Art – Clare Nicholas

Below – “Aberdeen Heather”; “The Old Mill, Wyre Valley”; “Brownsover Hall Gardens”;“Brownsover Hall Stables”; “Badby woods”; “Crofter’s Cottage, Aberdeen.”

A Poem for Today

“Prayer for the Dead”
by Stuart Kestenbaum

The light snow started late last night and continued
all night long while I slept and could hear it occasionally
enter my sleep, where I dreamed my brother
was alive again and possessing the beauty of youth, aware
that he would be leaving again shortly and that is the lesson
of the snow falling and of the seeds of death that are in everything
that is born: we are here for a moment
of a story that is longer than all of us and few of us
remember, the wind is blowing out of someplace
we don’t know, and each moment contains rhythms
within rhythms, and if you discover some old piece
of your own writing, or an old photograph,
you may not remember that it was you and even if it was once you,
it’s not you now, not this moment that the synapses fire
and your hands move to cover your face in a gesture
of grief and remembrance.

Note: Stuart Kestenbaum lost his brother Howard in the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Below – The World Trade Center Memorial.


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