Sentient in San Francisco – 2 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1827 – William Holman Hunt, an English painter.

Below – “Fairlight Downs, Sunlight on the Sea”; “The Haunted Manor”; “Il Dolce Far Niente”; “The Lady of Shalott”; “Our English Coasts.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 April 1840 – Emile Zola, A French novelist, playwright, and journalist.

Some quotes from the work of Emile Zola:

“Nothing develops intelligence like travel.”
“Man’s highest duty is to protect animals from cruelty.”
“Governments are suspicious of literature because it is a force that eludes them.”
“Through the centuries, the history of peoples is but a lesson in mutual tolerance.”
“The past was but the cemetery of our illusions: one simply stubbed one’s toes on the gravestones.”
“Yes! live life with every fibre of one’s being, surrender oneself to it, with no thoughts of rebellion, without deluding oneself that one can improve it and render it painless.”

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter: Part I of III.

Below – “Girl in Hammock”; “Young Girl with Dog”; “Girl Sewing by River”; “Field of Dandelions”; “Lily Pads”; “Under the Bridge.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 April 1929 – Ed Dorn, an American poet.

“Ode on the Facelifting of the ‘statue’ of Liberty”
by Ed Dorn

4 July, 1986

America is inconceivable without drugs
and always has been. One of the first acts
was to dump the tea. The drug that furnished
the mansions of Virginia was tobacco,
a drug now in much disrepute.
Sassafras, a cure-all, is what they came for
and they dealt it by the bale altho it
was only a diaphoretic to make you perspire—
people were so simple in those days.
The Civil War saw the isolation of morphine
making amputation a pleasure and making
the block of wood between the teeth,
which was no drug, obsolete. Morphinism
was soon widespread among doctors and patients.
At this date interns, the reports tell us,
are among the premier drug ab/users
of said moralistic nation. “Rock” stars
(who notoriously “have” doctors)
consume drugs by the metric ton
even as they urge teenagers to Say No.
The undercurrent of American history
has been the running aches and pains
of the worn path to the door of the apothecary
to fetch cannabis and cocaine elixirs
by the gallon. It has been all prone
all seeking Florida, Ponce de León
was just the beginning of a statistical curve
whose only satisfaction would be total vertigo.
His eager search for youth has become our
frantic tilt with death and boredom,
in fact we are farming death in Florida
with far greater profit than we are
farming food in Iowa—elixirs are as multiform
as the life-style frauds we implore,
a cultural patchwork fit for a fool
in the only country in the world
with a shop called the Drug Store.

Below – Michael Ward: “Drug”

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter: Part II of III.

Below – “Apple Blossoms”; “The Barn Door”; “A Normandy Garden, October”; “Tree Blossoms”; “The Blue Apron”; “Daisy Field, Nantucket.”

This Date in Cinematic History: 2 April 1902 – Tally’s “Electric Theater” in Los Angeles becomes the first full-time movie theater in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter: Part III of III.

Below – “Rainy Day, New York”; “The Seamstress”; “La Vachere”; “La Debacle”; “By the River”; “The Old Bridge.”

A Poem for Today

“Little Parka”
by Debra Nystrom

Dream of Mom’s red parka gone—
someone stole it right out of the closet
of the burned-down house—what
good could it do anybody else, broken
zipper that always got caught,
she’d jimmy it loose, just part
of putting it on—and she was so tiny,
the arms too short even for me,
too-tiny gloves in the pockets, thumbs
stubby, practically useless to anyone
but her—they deserve it if they shove in
a hand, find the tissue she used and then
left there who knows which cold day,
what she needed it for, or why.

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