Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Diary of a Nobody, by George and Weedon Grossmith


'He seemed quite affected, so I turned to look at something else and stood in front of a portrait of a jolly-looking middle-aged gentleman, with a red face and a straw hat.  I said to Mr. Finsworth: 'Who is this jovial-looking gentleman?  Life doesn't seem to trouble him much.'  Mr. Finsworth said: 'No, it doesn't.  He is dead too -- my brother.'"

From Chapter 19

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Collected Poems, by Gwendolyn Brooks


To be in love 
Is to touch with a lighter hand. 
In yourself you stretch, you are well. 
You look at things 
Through his eyes. 
A cardinal is red. 
A sky is blue. 
Suddenly you know he knows too. 
He is not there but 
You know you are tasting together 
The winter, or a light spring weather. 
His hand to take your hand is overmuch. 
Too much to bear. 
You cannot look in his eyes 
Because your pulse must not say 
What must not be said. 
When he 
Shuts a door- 
Is not there_ 
Your arms are water. 
And you are free 
With a ghastly freedom. 
You are the beautiful half 
Of a golden hurt. 
You remember and covet his mouth 
To touch, to whisper on. 
Oh when to declare 
Is certain Death! 
Oh when to apprize 
Is to mesmerize, 
To see fall down, the Column of Gold, 
Into the commonest ash.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Monster Verse: Poems Human and Inhuman, edited by Tony Barnstone and Michelle Mitchell-Foust


I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
Facing a sheer sky.
Everything moved, -- a bell hung ready to strike,
Sun and reflection wheeled by.

When the bare eyes were before me
And the hissing hair,
Held up at a window, seen through a door.
The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead
Formed in the air.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this,
Nor the rain blur.

The water will always fall, and will not fall,
And the tipped bell make no sound.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.

And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day,
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.

-- Louise Bogan

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Drunkard, by Emile Zola, translated by Arthur Symon


"When she let a thing drop, it might lie where it was; she wasn't going to take the trouble to pick it up.  She was far too lazy for that.  She preferred to save her bacon."

From Chapter 10

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Collected Shorter Poems, by W. H. Auden


This lunar beauty
Has no history
Is complete and early,
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.

This like a dream
Keeps other time
And daytime is
The loss of this,
For time is inches
And the heart's changes
Where ghost has haunted
Lost and wanted.

But this was never
A ghost's endeavor
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease,
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose


My hand let pain see.
My hand was a head
for an eye of red.
Pain saw a nail.
Then the other hand,
and my chest slit with gills
for the new thing
taking over.
I vacated the mind’s lot
of my own accord.
Weeds I expected—worms, moles—
but nothing like this—
the soil curdled into an ocean,
a flatfish eating a bottom
that’s always eroding.
It stirs. I bleed. A lesson:
Pain is just panic sitting still for a moment.
As my blood pours
it moves the air.
I feel all of you pulled behind it,
down my legs
to the brown ground.
Test your cells, hold them tight
in machines forever.
The white ones are saints,
the red ones people.
I want you to know
I once had friends,
that I served them uncontrollably,
sometimes full of contempt—and that was grace.

-- Max Ritvo, whose death, at 25 was announced today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Complete Short Novels, by Anton Chekhov, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky


"It's not everywhere you can meet such a nonentity.  His body is limp, feeble, and old, and in his intellect he in no way differs from a fat merchant's wife, who only feeds, guzzles, sleeps on a featherbed, and keeps he coachman as a lover."

From The Duel, Chapter IV

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Fors Clavier, Volume III, by John Ruskin

"For it is always easy to imagine that we believe what we do not understand; and often graceful and convenient to consent in the belief of others, as to what we do not care about."

From Letter LXVI

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens


“These books were a way of escaping from the unhappiness of my life.”

From Chapter 48

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare


"Nothing but sit and sit, and eat and eat!"

From Act V, Scene II

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark


"Possibly he had decided to feign feebleness of mind to evade his obligations."

From Chapter Ten

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Kim, by Rudyard Kipling


"Where is this new haste born from?  Wise men do not run about like chickens in the sun."

From Chapter 12

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark


"Cleopatra knew nothing of the team spirit if you read your Shakespeare.  Take Helen of Troy.  And the Queen of England, it is true she attends international sport, but she has to, it is all empty show, she is concerned only with the King's health and antiques."

From Chapter 4

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #85

Daily Dose

From The Lily of the Field and The Bird of the Air, by Soren Kierkegaard, translated by Bruce H. Kirmmse


"Pay attention then to nature, which surrounds you."

From Chapter II, "No one can serve two masters, for he must either hate the one and love the other, or hold fast to one and despise the other."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Greatest Show On Earth, by Richard Dawkins


"It might seem, in that exchange, that I was being needlessly obstinate in hammering home the request that she should go to a museum and look, but I meant it.  These people have been coached to say, 'There are no fossils, show me evidence, show me just one fossil...' and they say it so often that they come to believe it."

From Chapter 7, Missing Persons? Missing No Longer

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Sea, by John Banville


"The furnishings too have an underground look to them, like things that subsided here over the years from some brighter place above."

From II, page 144

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir, by Vivian Gornick


"Good conversation is not a matter of mutuality of interests or class concerns or commonly held ideals, it's a matter of temperament: the thing that makes someone respond instinctively with an appreciative 'I know what you mean,' rather than the argumentative 'Whaddaya mean by that?'"

From page 100

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Quare Fellow, by Brendan Behan


"Warder Donelly: I was down in the condemned cell while he was getting his tea.  I asked him if it was all right.  He said it was, and 'Aren't the evenings getting a grand stretch?' he says."

From Act II

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Collected Poems, by Stephen Spender


Far far from gusty waves these children's faces.
Like rootless weeds, the hair torn around their pallor.
The tall girl with her weighed-down head. The paper-
seeming boy, with rat's eyes. The stunted, unlucky heir
Of twisted bones, reciting a father's gnarled disease,
His lesson from his desk. At back of the dim class
One unnoted, sweet and young. His eyes live in a dream,
Of squirrel's game, in the tree room, other than this.

On sour cream walls, donations. Shakespeare's head,
Cloudless at dawn, civilized dome riding all cities.
Belled, flowery, Tyrolese valley. Open-handed map
Awarding the world its world. And yet, for these
Children, these windows, not this world, are world,
Where all their future's painted with a fog,
A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky,
Far far from rivers, capes, and stars of words.

Surely, Shakespeare is wicked, and the map a bad example
With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal--
For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
From fog to endless night? On their slag heap, these children
Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.
All of their time and space are foggy slum.
So blot their maps with slums as big as doom.

Unless, governor, teacher, inspector, visitor,
This map becomes their window and these windows
That shut upon their lives like catacombs,
Break O break open 'till they break the town
And show the children green fields and make their world
Run azure on gold sands, and let their tongues
Run naked into books, the white and green leaves open
History is theirs whose language is the sun.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #84

Daily Dose

From Sex Object: A Memoir, by Jessica Valenti


"I used to joke with my high school girlfriends that I must have some sign  on my head only visible to men that flashes Yes, sir, I would LOVE to see your penis!"

From Subway

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Scent of Apples: A Collection of Stories, by Bienvenido N. Santos


"How many times did the lonely mind take unpleasant detours away from the familiar winding lanes towards home for fear of this, the remembered hurt, the long lost youth, the grim shadows of the years; how many times indeed, only the exile knows."

From Scent of Apples

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Philip Larkin Collected Poems, edited by Anthony Thwaite


Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Apple That Astonished Paris, by Billy Collins


They call Basque an orphan language.
Linguists do not know
what other languages gave it birth.

From the high window of the orphanage
it watches English walking alone to the cemetary
to visit the graves of its parents,
Latin and Ango-Saxon.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Little Apples and Other Stories, by Anton Chekhov, translated by Peter Constantine


"For me to present him -- arms, legs, and all -- I would have to spend as much time at my desk as Eugene Sue did with his ten-volume Wandering Jew."

From Because of Little Apples

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems, by Robert Haas


"... One of the things
he believed was that our poems could be better
than our motives."

From After Coleridge and for Milosz: Late July