Sentient in San Francisco – 17 July 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 17 July 1871 – Lyonel Feininger, a German-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Benz VI”; “Gabendorf II”; “Lady in Mauve”; “The Green Bridge II”; “Yellow Street II”; “Mystic River.”

A Poem for Today

“I Could Not Tell”
by Sharon Olds

I could not tell I had jumped off that bus,
that bus in motion, with my child in my arms,
because I did not know it. I believed my own story:
I had fallen, or the bus had started up
when I had one foot in the air.

I would not remember the tightening of my jaw,
the irk that I’d missed my stop, the step out
into the air, the clear child
gazing about her in the air as I plunged
to one knee on the street, scraped it, twisted it,
the bus skidding to a stop, the driver
jumping out, my daughter laughing
“Do it again.”

I have never done it
again, I have been very careful.
I have kept an eye on that nice young mother
who lightly leapt
off the moving vehicle
onto the stopped street, her life
in her hands, her life’s life in her hands.


This Date in Art History: Born 17 July 1915 – Arthur Rothstein, an American photographer.

Below – An icon of the Dust Bowl: a farmer and his two sons during a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1936; Annie Pettway Bendolph carrying water. Gene’s Bend, Alabama, 1937; The former home of the Pettways. Gene’s Bend, Alabama, 1937; Woman on the Pettway Plantation, 1937; Family in a wagon, Lee County, Mississippi, 1935; Newsboy, Iowa City, 1940; Night photo of Rays Hill Tunnel on Pennsylvania Turnpike, 1942.


Musings in Summer: Virginia Woolf

“Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
Below – Pablo Picasso: “Melancholy Woman”

Contemporary American Art – Oliver Pojzman: Part I of II.

Below (photographs) – “On The Road (II)”; “Lo-Gas”; “On The Road (III)”; “On The Road (I)”; “Roy’’s Motor Triptych”; “El Mirage – Triptych.”

A Poem for Today

“In Every Life”
by Alicia Ostriker

In every life there’s a moment or two
when the self disappears, the cruel wound
takes over, and then again
at times we are filled with sky
or with birds or
simply with the sugary tea on the table
said the old woman

I know what you mean said the tulip
about epiphanies
for instance a cloudless April sky
the approach of a butterfly
but as to the disappearing self
no
I have not yet experienced that

You are creating distinctions
that do not exist in reality
where “self” and “not-self” are like salt
in ocean, cloud in sky
oxygen in fire
said the philosophical dog
under the table scratching his balls

Below – Sarah Holden: “Dog under the table”


Contemporary American Art – Oliver Pojzman: Part II of II.

Below (photographs) – “Moon Over Ocean”; “Death Valley (1)”; “Death Valley (2)”; Vintage Guitar”; “Needles”; “Separate Ways.”


A Poem for Today

“A Small Story”
by Peter Everwine

When Mrs. McCausland comes to mind
she slips through a small gap in oblivion
and walks down her front steps, in her hand
a small red velvet pillow she tucks
under the head of Old Jim Schreiber,
who is lying dead-drunk against the curb
of busy Market Street. Then she turns,
labors up the steps and is gone . . .

A small story. Or rather, the memory
of a story I heard as a boy. The witnesses
are not to be found, the steps lead nowhere,
the pillow has collapsed into a thread of dust . . .
Do the dead come back only to remind us
they, too, were once among the living,
and that the story we make of our lives
is a mystery of luminous, but uncertain moments,
a shuffle of images we carry toward sleep—
Mrs. McCausland with her velvet pillow,
Old Jim at peace—a story, like a small
clearing in the woods at night, seen
from the windows of a passing train.

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