Tagged “art”

  1. Bilinguals overwhelmingly report that they feel like different people in different languages. It is often assumed that the mother tongue is the language of the true self. […] But, it first languages are reservoirs of emotion, second languages can be rivers undammed, freeing their speakers to ride different currents.

  2. A Bookmark near the

    He loves history. He wanted to write a biography of John Quincy Adams. I, shamefully, knew almost nothing about John Quincy Adams, so I went online and bought every biography of him I could find. One day, he called me, claiming that we wouldn’t work out long term. He said he loved me but that we had different interests. “What does love mean to you?” I said. “That’s an impossible question,” he replied. I, however, find love to be quite simple. Love is the stack of biographies on my nightstand with a bookmark near the end.

  3. Cherry

    When Daddy comes in, he carries you to bed. Is there anything you feel like you could eat, Pokey? Anything at all?

    All you can imagine putting in your mouth is a cold plum, one with really tight skin on the outside but gum-shocking sweetness inside. And he and your mother discuss where he might find some this late in the season. Mother says hell I don’t know. Further north, I’d guess.

    The next morning, you wake up in your bed and sit up. Mother says, Pete, I think she’s up. He hollers in, You ready for breakfast, Pokey. Then he comes in grinning, still in his work clothes from the night before. He’s holding a farm bushel. The plums he empties onto the bed river toward you through folds in the quilt. If you stacked them up, they’d fill the deepest bin at the Piggly Wiggly.

    Damned if I didn’t get the urge to drive to Arkansas last night, he says.

    Your mother stands behind him saying he’s pure USDA crazy.

    Fort Smith, Arkansas. Found a roadside stand out there with a feller selling plums. And I says, Buddy, I got a little girl sick back in Texas. She’s got a hanker for plums and ain’t nothing else gonna do.

    It’s when you sink your teeth into the plum that you make a promise. The skin is still warm from riding in the sun in Daddy’s truck, and the nectar runs down your chin.

    And you snap out of it. Or are snapped out of it. Never again will you lay a hand against yourself, not so long as there are plums to eat and somebody-anybody-who gives enough of a damn to haul them to you. So long as you bear the least nibblet of love for any other creature in this dark world, though in love portions are never stingy. There are no smidgens or pinches, only rolling abundance. That’s how you acquire the resolution for survival that the coming years are about to demand. You don’t earn it. It’s given.

  4. What is it that the child has to teach?

    The child naively believes that everything should be fair and everyone should be honest, that only good should prevail, that everybody should have what they want and there should be no pain or sadness. The child believes the world should be perfect and is outraged to discover it is not.

    And the child is right.

  5. Differences of Opinion

    He tells her that the earth is flat—
    He knows the facts, and that is that.
    In altercations fierce and long
    She tries her best to prove him wrong.
    But he has learned to argue well.
    He calls her arguments unsound
    And often asks her not to yell.
    She cannot win. He stands his ground.

    The planet goes on being round.

  6. You: What is this strange feeling I keep having? This cold... even now?


    You: What do you mean, you are the city?


    You: How are you talking to me?


    Rhetoric: All this eloquence — it's in service of something. She's afraid.

    You: What are you afraid of?


    You: But... what can I do about it?


  7. Fandom for Robots

    Computron feels no emotion towards the animated television show titled Hyperdimension Warp Record (超次元 ワープ レコード). After all, Computron does not have any emotion circuits installed, and is thus constitutionally incapable of experiencing “excitement,” “hatred,” or “frustration.” It is completely impossible for Computron to experience emotions such as “excitement about the seventh episode of HyperWarp,” “hatred of the anime’s short episode length” or “frustration that Friday is so far away.”

    Computron checks his internal chronometer, as well as the countdown page on the streaming website. There are twenty-two hours, five minutes, forty-six seconds, and twelve milliseconds until 2 am on Friday (Japanese Standard Time). Logically, he is aware that time is most likely passing at a normal rate. The Simak Robotics Museum is not within close proximity of a black hole, and there is close to no possibility that time is being dilated. His constant checking of the chronometer to compare it with the countdown page serves no scientific purpose whatsoever.

    After fifty milliseconds, Computron checks the countdown page again.

    The Simak Robotics Museum’s commemorative postcard set ($15.00 for a set of twelve) describes Computron as “The only known sentient robot, created in 1954 by Doctor Karel Alquist to serve as a laboratory assistant. No known scientist has managed to recreate the doctor’s invention. Its steel-framed box-and-claw design is characteristic of the period.” Below that, in smaller print, the postcard thanks the Alquist estate for their generous donation.

    In the museum, Computron is regarded as a quaint artefact, and plays a key role in the Robotics Then and Now performance as an example of the “Then.” After the announcer’s introduction to robotics, Computron appears on stage, answers four standard queries from the audience as proof of his sentience, and steps off the stage to make way for the rest of the performance, which ends with the android-bodied automaton TETSUCHAN showcasing its ability to breakdance.

    Today’s queries are likely to be similar to the rest. A teenage girl waves at the announcer and receives the microphone.

    “Hi, Computron. My question is… have you watched anime before?”

    [Yes,] Computron vocalises. [I have viewed the works of the renowned actress Anna May Wong. Doctor Alquist enjoyed her movies as a child.]

    “Oh, um, not that,” the girl continues. “I meant Japanese animation. Have you ever watched this show called Hyperdimension Warp Record?”

    [I have not.]

    “Oh, okay, I was just thinking that you really looked like one of the characters. But since you haven’t, maybe you could give HyperWarp a shot! It’s really good, you might like it! There are six episodes out so far, and you can watch it on—”

    The announcer cuts the girl off, and hands the microphone over to the next querent, who has a question about Doctor Alquist’s research. After answering two more standard queries, Computron returns to his storage room to answer his electronic mail, which consists of queries from elementary school students. He picks up two metal styluses, one in each of his grasping claws, and begins tapping them on the computing unit’s keyboard, one key at a time. Computron explains the difference between a robot and an android to four students, and provides the fifth student with a hyperlink to Daniel Clement Dennett III’s writings on consciousness.

    As Computron readies himself to enter sleep mode, he recalls the teenage girl’s request that he “give HyperWarp a shot.” It is only logical to research the Japanese animation Hyperdimension Warp Record in order to address queries from future visitors. The title, when entered into a search engine on the World Wide Web, produces about 957,000 results (0.27 seconds).

    Computron manoeuvres the mouse pointer to the third hyperlink, which offers to let him “watch Hyperdimension Warp Record FULL episodes streaming online high quality.” From the still image behind the prominent “play” button, the grey boxy figure standing beside the large-eyed blue-haired human does bear an extremely slight resemblance to Computron’s design. It is only logical to press the “play” button on the first episode, in order to familiarise himself with recent discourse about robots in popular culture.

    The series’ six episodes are each approximately 25 minutes long. Between watching the series, viewing the online bulletin boards, and perusing the extensively footnoted fan encyclopedia, Computron does not enter sleep mode for ten hours, thirty-six minutes, two seconds, and twenty milliseconds.

    Hyperdimension Warp Record (超次元 ワープ レコード Chōjigen Wāpu Rekōdo, literal translation: Super Dimensional Warp Record) is a Japanese anime series set in space in the far future. The protagonist, Ellison, is an escapee from a supposedly inescapable galactic prison. Joined by a fellow escapee, Cyro (short for Cybernetic Robot), the two make their way across the galaxy to seek revenge. The targets of their revenge are the Seven Sabers of Paradise, who have stolen the hyperdimensional warp unit from Cyro’s creator and caused the death of Ellison’s entire family.

    Episode seven of HyperWarp comes with the revelation that the Second Saber, Ellison’s identical twin, had murdered their parents before faking her own death. After Cyro and Ellison return to the Kosmogram, the last segment of the episode unfolds without dialogue. There is a slow pan across the spaceship’s control area, revealing that Ellison has indulged in the human pastime known as “crying” before falling asleep in the captain’s chair. His chest binder is stained with blood from the wound on his collarbone. Cyro reaches over, gently using his grabbing claw to loosen Ellison’s binder, and drapes a blanket over him. An instrumental version of the end theme plays as Cyro gets up from his seat, making his way to the recharging bay at the back of the ship. From the way his footfalls are animated, it is clear that Cyro is trying his best to avoid making any noise as he walks.

    The credits play over a zoomed-out shot of the Kosmogram making its way to the next exoplanet, a tiny pinpoint of bright blue in the vast blackness of space.

    The preview for the next episode seems to indicate that the episode will focus on the Sabers’ initial attempt to activate the hyperdimensional warp unit. There is no mention of Cyro or Ellison at all.

    During the wait for episode eight, Computron discovers a concept called “fanfiction.”

    While “fanfiction” is meant to consist of “fan-written stories about characters or settings from an original work of fiction,” Computron observes that much of the HyperWarp fanfiction bears no resemblance to the actual characters or setting. For instance, the series that claims to be a “spin-off focusing on Powerful!Cyro” seems to involve Cyro installing many large-calibre guns onto his frame and joining the Space Marines, which does not seem relevant to his quest for revenge or the retrieval of the hyperdimensional warp unit. Similarly, the “high school fic” in which Cyro and Ellison study at Hyperdimension High fails to acknowledge the fact that formal education is reserved for the elite class in the HyperWarp universe.

    Most of the fanfiction set within the actual series seems particularly inaccurate. The most recent offender is EllisonsWife’s “Rosemary for Remembrance,” which fails to acknowledge the fact that Cyro does not have human facial features, and thus cannot “touch his nose against Ellison’s hair, breathing in the scent of sandalwood, rosemary, and something uniquely him” before “kissing Ellison passionately, needily, hungrily, his tongue slipping into Ellison’s mouth.”

    Computron readies his styluses and moves the cursor down to the comment box, prepared to leave anonymous “constructive criticism” for EllisonsWife, when he detects a comment with relevant keywords.

    Okay, I’ve noticed this in several of your fics and I was trying not to be too harsh, but when it got to the kissing scene I couldn’t take it anymore. Cyro can’t touch his nose against anything, because he doesn’t have a nose! Cyro can’t slip his tongue into anyone’s mouth, because he doesn’t have a tongue! Were we even watching the same series?? Did you skip all the parts where Cyro is a metal robot with a cube-shaped head?!

    Who are you, the fandom police?? I’m basing Cyro’s design on this piece of fanart (link here) because it looks better than a freakin metal box!! Anyway, I put DON’T LIKE DON’T READ in the author’s notes!!! If you hate the way I write them so much, why don’t you just write your own????

    Computron is incapable of feeling hatred for anything, as that would require Doctor Alquist to have installed emotion circuits during his creation.

    However, due to Computron’s above-average procedural knowledge, he is capable of following the directions to create an account on fanficarchive.org.

    …and Ellison manoeuvred his flesh hands in a claw-like motion, locking them with Cyro’s own grasping claws. His soft human body pressed against the hard lines of Cyro’s proprietary alloy, in a manner which would have generated wear and tear had Cyro’s body not been of superior make. Fluids leaked from Ellison’s eyes. No fluids leaked from Cyro’s ocular units, but…

    Comments (3)
    What the hell? Have you ever met a human? This reads like an alien wrote it.

    uhhh this is kinda weird but i think i liked it?? not sure about the box thing though

    OH MY GODDDD. :DDDD Finally, someone who doesn’t write human-shaped robot-in-name-only Cyro! Some of Ellison’s characterisation is a little awkward—I don’t think he would say all that mushy stuff about Cyro’s beautiful boxy shape??—but I love your Cyro! If this is just your first fic, I can’t wait for you to write more!!

    Computron has been spending less time in sleep mode after Episode Thirteen’s cliffhanger, and has spent his time conducting objective discussions about HyperWarp’s appeal with commenters on various video streaming sites and anonymous message boards.

    As he is about to reply to the latest missive about his lack of genitalia and outside social activities, which is technically correct, his internal chrono-meter indicates that it is time for the Robotics Then and Now performance.

    “So, I was wondering, have you ever watched Hyperdimension Warp Record? There’s this character called Cyro that—”

    [Yes, I am aware of HyperWarp,] Computron says. [I have taken the “How To Tell If Your Life Is HyperWarp” quiz online, and it has indicated that I am “a Hyper-Big HyperWarp Fan!” I have repeatedly viewed the scene between Ellison and Cyro at the end of Episode Seven, and recently I have left a “like” on bjornruffian’s artwork of what may have happened shortly after that scene, due to its exceptional accuracy. The show is widely regarded as “this season’s sleeper hit” and has met with approval from a statistically significant number of critics. If other members of the audience wish to view this series, there are thirteen episodes out so far, and they can be viewed on—] The announcer motions to him, using the same gesture she uses when audience members are taking too long to talk. Computron falls silent until the announcer chooses the next question, which is also the last due to time constraints.

    After TETSUCHAN has finished its breakdance and showcased its newly-programmed ability to pop-and-lock, the announcer speaks to Computron backstage. She requests that he take less time for the question-and-answer segment in the future.

    [Understood,] Computron says, and returns to his storage room to check his inbox again.

    Private Message from bjornruffian:
    Hi RobotFan,
    I noticed you liked my art (thanks!) and you seem to know a LOT about robots judging from your fic (and, well, your name). I’m doing a fancomic about Ellison and Cyro being stranded on one of the desert-ish exoplanets while they try to fix the Kosmogram, but I want to make sure I’m drawing Cyro’s body right. Are there any references you can recommend for someone who’s looking to learn more about robots? Like, the classic kind, not the android kind? It’d be great if they’re available online, especially if they have pictures—I’ve found some books with photos but they’re WAAAAY more than I can afford :\\

    Thank you for any help you can offer! I’m really looking forward to your next fic!

    Shortly after reading bjornruffian’s message, Computron visits the Early Robotics section of the museum. It has shrunk significantly over the years, particularly after the creation of the “Redefining Human,” “Androids of the Future,” and “Drone Zone” sections. It consists of several information panels, a small collection of tin toys, and the remnants of all three versions of Hexode the robot.

    In Episode 14 of Hyperdimension Warp Record, Cyro visits a deserted exoplanet alone to investigate the history of the hyperdimension warp drive, and finds himself surrounded by the deactivated bodies of robots of similar make, claws outstretched, being slowly ground down by the gears of a gigantic machine. The “Robot Recycler” scene is frequently listed as one of that year’s top ten most shocking moments in anime.

    On 7 June 1957, the third version of Hexode fails Doctor Alquist’s mirror test for the hundredth time, proving that it has no measurable self-awareness. Computron watches Doctor Alquist smash the spanner against Hexode’s face, crumpling its nose and lips. Oil leaks from its ocular units as it falls to the floor with a metallic thud. Its vocal synthesiser crackles and hisses.

    “You godforsaken tin bucket,” Doctor Alquist shouts. “To hell with you.” If Doctor Alquist were to raise the spanner to Computron, it is likely that Doctor Alquist will not have an assistant for any future robotics experiments. Computron stays still, standing in front of the mirror, silently observing the destruction of Hexode so he can gather up its parts later.

    When Computron photographs Hexode’s display case, he is careful to avoid capturing any part of himself in the reflection.

    [bjornruffian] Oh man, thank you SO MUCH for installing chat just for this! Anyway, I really appreciate your help with the script so far (I think we can call it a collab by this point?). And thanks for the exhibit photos! Was it a lot of trouble? I checked the website and that museum is pretty much in the middle of nowhere…

    —File Transfer of “THANK YOU ROBOTFAN.png” from “bjornruffian” started.

    —File Transfer of “THANK YOU ROBOTFAN.png” from “bjornruffian” finished.

    [bjornruffian] So I’ve got a few questions about page 8 in the folder I shared, can you take a look at the second panel from the top? I figured his joint would be all gummed up by the sand, so I thought I’d try to do an X-ray view thing as a closeup… if you have any idea how the circuits are supposed to be, could you double-check?

    [bjornruffian] Okay, you’re taking really long to type, this is making me super nervous I did everything wrong :\

    [RobotFan] Apologies

    [RobotFan] I

    [RobotFan] Am not fast at typing

    [bjornruffian] Okaaay, I’ll wait on the expert here

    [RobotFan] The circuit is connected incorrectly and the joint mechanism is incorrect as well

    [bjornruffian] Ughhhhh I knew it was wrong!! DDD:

    [bjornruffian] I wish the character sheets came with schematics or something, I’ve paused the flashback scenes with all the failed robots like ten billion times to take screenshots >:\

    [RobotFan] Besides the scenes in Episode 14, there are other shots of Cyro’s schematics in Episode 5 (17:40:18 and 20:13:50) as well as Episode 12 (08:23:14)

    —File Transfer of “schematic-screenshots.zip” from “RobotFan” started.

    —File Transfer of “schematic-screenshots.zip” from “RobotFan” finished.

    [bjornruffian] THANK YOU

    [bjornruffian] I swear you’re some sort of angel or something

    [RobotFan] That is incorrect

    [RobotFan] I am merely a robot

    There are certain things in the museum’s storage room that would benefit bjornruffian’s mission of completing her Cyro/Ellison comic. Computron and Hexode’s schematics are part of the Alquist Collection, which is not a priority for the museum’s digitisation project due to a perceived lack of value. As part of the Alquist Collection himself, there should be no objection to Computron retrieving the schematics.

    As Computron grasps the doorknob with his left claw, he catches a glimpse of Cyro from Episode 15 in the door’s glass panels, his ocular units blazing yellow with determination after overcoming his past. In fan parlance, this is known as Determined!Cyro, and has only been seen during fight scenes thus far. It is illogical to have Determined!Cyro appear in this context, or in this location.

    Computron looks at the dusty glass again, and sees only a reflection of his face.

    [RobotFan] I have a large file to send to you

    [RobotFan] To be precise, four large files

    [RobotFan] The remaining three will be digitised and sent at a later date

    —File Transfer of “alquist-archive-scans-pt1.zip” from “RobotFan” started.

    —File Transfer of “alquist-archive-scans-pt1.zip” from “RobotFan” finished.

    [bjornruffian] OMG THIS IS AWESOME

    [bjornruffian] Where did you get this?? Did you rob that museum?? This is PERFECT for that other Cyro/Ellison thing I’ve been thinking about doing after this stupid desert comic is over!!

    [bjornruffian] It would be great if I had someone to help me with writing Cyro, HINT HINT

    [RobotFan] I would be happy to assist if I had emotion circuits

    [RobotFan] However, my lack of emotion circuits means I cannot be “happy” about performing any actions

    [RobotFan] Nonetheless, I will assist

    [RobotFan] To make this an equitable trade as is common in human custom, you may also provide your opinion on some recurrent bugs that readers have reported in my characterisation of Ellison

    [bjornruffian] YESSSSSSSS :DDDDDD

    Rossum, Sulla. “Tin Men and Tin Toys: Examining Real and Fictional Robots from the 1950s.” Journal of Rowendybotics Studies 8.2 (2018): 25-38.

    While the figure of the fictional robot embodies timeless fears of technology and its potential for harm, the physical design of robots real and fictional is often linked to visual cues of modernity. What was once regarded as an “object of the future” can become “overwhelmingly obsolete” within a span of a few years, after advances in technology cause the visual cues of modernity to change (Bloch, 1979). The clawed, lumbering tin-toy-esque designs of the 1950s are now widely regarded as “tin can[s] that should have been recycled long ago” (Williamson, 2017). Notably, most modern critiques of Computron’s design tend to focus on its obsolete analogue dials…

    watch-free-anime | Hyperdimension Warp Record | Episode 23 | Live Chat

    Pyro: Okay, is it just me, or is Cyro starting to get REALLY attractive? I swear I’m not gay (is it gay if it’s a robot) but when he slung Ellison over his shoulder and used his claw to block the Sixth Saber at the same time

    Pyro: HOLY SHIT that sniper scene RIGHT THROUGH THE SCOPE and then he fucking BUMPS ELLISON’S FIST WITH HIS CLAW

    Pyro: Fuck it, I’m gay for Cyro I don’t care, I’ll fucking twiddle his dials all he wants after this episode

    ckwizard: dude youre late, weve been finding cyro hot ever since that scene in episode 15

    ckwizard: you know the one

    ckwizard: where you just see this rectangular blocky shadow lumbering slowly towards first saber with those clunky sound effects

    ckwizard: then his eyebulbs glint that really bright yellow and he bleeps about ACTIVATING KILL MODE and his grabby claws start whirring

    ckwizard: theres a really good fic about it on fanficarchive… actually you might as well check the authors blog out here, hes pretty cyro-obsessed

    ckwizard: his earlier stuff is kinda uneven but the bjorn collabs are good—shes been illustrating his stuff for a while

    Pyro: Okay

    Pyro: I just looked at that thing, you know, the desert planet comic

    Pyro: I think I ship it

    Pyro: OH MAN when Ellison tries the manual repair on the arm joint and Cyro has a FLASHBACK TO THE ROBOT RECYCLER but tries to remind himself he can trust him

    Pyro: Fuck it I DEFINITELY ship it

    ckwizard: join the fucking club

    ckwizard: its the fifth time im watching this episode, this series has ruined my life

    ckwizard: i can’t wait for season 2

    bjorn-robot-collabs posted:

    Hi everyone, bjornruffian and RobotFan here! Thanks for all your comments on our first comic collab! We’re really charmed by the great reception to “In the Desert Sun”—okay, I’m charmed, and RobotFan says he would be charmed if he had the emotion circuits for that (he’s an awesome roleplay partner too! LOVE his sense of humor :DDD).

    ANYWAY! It turns out that RobotFan’s got this awesome collection of retro robot schematics and he’s willing to share, for those of you who want to write about old-school robots or need some references for your art! (HINT HINT: the fandom totally needs more Cyro and Cyro/Ellison before Season 2 hits!) To be honest I’m not sure how legal it is to circulate these scans (RobotFan says it’s fine though), so just reply to this post if you want them and we’ll private message you the links if you promise not to spread them around.

    Also, we’re gonna do another Cyro/Ellison comic in the future, and we’re thinking of making it part of an anthology. If you’d like to contribute comics or illustrations for that, let us know!

    Get ready to draw lots of boxes, people! The robot revolution is coming!
    9,890 replies

  8. First Contact Is Made With A Little Girl Skipping Rocks At A Creek

    Hi! Do you want to share my creekbed? Mama says it isn't my creekbed, it belongs to the world, but I call it mine because I'm the only one who ever uses it. Wanna skip rocks? We can race. I'll even let you have my smoother ones, they're best for skipping. You don't know how? Here, like this. Move that bit more. Your wrists are funny. Your whole body's funny. Mama says that's mean to say, but how can it be mean? Being funny is a good thing. I've got a funny toe. It's smaller than all the others, see? Oh wow, your toes are funny too. No silly, you can't step over there--that's where all the poliwogs live. They're baby frogs. You can stick your fingers in and wiggle at them if you promise to be gentle.

    Boy, you sure got a lot of fingers. Oh, they like you! Aren't they cute? When I grow up, I'm gonna have a whole poliwog family. They'll live in my bathtub. Why do you have so many hands? I wish I had that many hands. I bet you'll be real good at rock skipping. Do you have creeks where you live? I come out here a lot. Sometimes if I'm real quiet, the beavers will come out with their babies. Do you have beavers where you live? They look like this, with their teeth. And they have great big tails that slap the water, like this. They eat trees, and they build houses with them too. Their house is called dam but Mama says I'm not allowed to say that. Grown ups are always telling us what words we can't say, but that's just because they're embarrassed. They say the words by accident a lot. Look! See that? It's a wooly bear! His fur's all orange, and that means it's gonna be a good summer. You wanna meet Mama? Maybe she'll make us some ice cream, since you're a guest. Careful! The big rocks are slippery. Here, hold my hand. This is how I walk with Mama so she won't lose me. I won't let you fall.

  9. Some things could only be written in a foreign language; they are not lost in translation, but conceived by it. Foreign verbs of motion could be the only ways of transporting the ashes of familial memory. After all, a foreign language is like art—an alternative reality, a potential world.

  10. Fragment 147

    someone will remember us
    I say
    even in another time

  11. I Know What You Think of Me,

    We don’t give other people credit for the same interior complexity we take for granted in ourselves, the same capacity for holding contradictory feelings in balance, for complexly alloyed affections, for bottomless generosity of heart and petty, capricious malice. We can’t believe that anyone could be unkind to us and still be genuinely fond of us, although we do it all the time.

    Years ago a friend of mine had a dream about a strange invention; a staircase you could descend deep underground, in which you heard recordings of all the things anyone had ever said about you, both good and bad. The catch was, you had to pass through all the worst things people had said before you could get to the highest compliments at the very bottom. There is no way I would ever make it more than two and a half steps down such a staircase, but I understand its terrible logic: if we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.

  12. Habe ich geschwiegen

    Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.
    Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
    Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
    Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude.
    Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

  13. The Committee Weighs In

    I tell my mother
    I’ve won the Nobel Prize.

    Again? she says. Which
    discipline this time?

    It’s a little game
    we play: I pretend

    I’m somebody, she
    pretends she isn’t dead.

  14. Long-term nuclear waste warning messages

    This place is a message... and part of a system of messages... pay attention to it!

    Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

    This place is not a place of honor... no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here... nothing valued is here.

    What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

    The danger is in a parvalueticular location... it increases towards a center... the center of danger is here... of a particular size and shape, and below us.

    The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.

    The danger is to the body, and it can kill.

    The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.

    The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

  15. Ode to Spot

    Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
    an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
    Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
    contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

    I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
    a singular development of cat communications
    that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
    for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

    A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
    you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
    And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
    it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

    O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
    connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
    And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
    I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

  16. If all stories were written like science fiction stories

    Roger and Ann needed to meet Sergey in San Francisco.

    “Should we take a train, or a steamship, or a plane?” asked Ann.

    “Trains are too slow, and the trip by steamship around South America would take months,” replied Roger. “We’ll take a plane.”

    He logged onto the central network using his personal computer, and waited while the system verified his identity. With a few keystrokes he entered an electronic ticketing system, and entered the codes for his point of departure and his destination. In moments the computer displayed a list of possible flights, and he picked the earliest one. Dollars were automatically deducted from his personal account to pay for the transaction.

    The planes left from the city airport, which they reached using the city bi-rail. Ann had changed into her travelling outfit, which consisted of a light shirt in polycarbon-derived artifical fabric, which showed off her pert figure, without genetic enhancements, and dark blue pants made of textiles. Her attractive brown hair was uncovered.

    At the airport Roger presented their identification cards to a representative of the airline company, who used her own computer system to check his identity and retrieve his itinerary. She entered a confirmation number, and gave him two passes which gave them access to the boarding area. They now underwent a security inspection, which was required for all airline flights. They handed their luggage to another representative; it would be transported in a separate, unpressurized chamber on the aircraft.

    “Do you think we’ll be flying on a propeller plane? Or one of the newer jets?” asked Ann.

    “I’m sure it will be a jet,” said Roger. “Propeller planes are almost entirely out of date, after all. On the other hand, rocket engines are still experimental. It’s said that when they’re in general use, trips like this will take an hour at most. This one will take up to four hours.”

    After a short wait, they were ushered onto the plane with the other passengers. The plane was an enormous steel cylinder at least a hundred meters long, with sleek backswept wings on which four jet engines were mounted. They glanced into the front cabin and saw the two pilots, consulting a bank of equipment needed the fly the plane. Roger was glad that he did not need to fly the plane himself; it was a difficult profession which required years of training.

    The surprisingly large passenger area was equipped with soft benches, and windows through which they could look down at the countryside as they flew 11 km high at more than 800 km/h. There were nozzles for the pressurized air which kept the atmosphere in the cabin warm and comfortable despite the coldness of the stratosphere.

    “I’m a little nervous,” Ann said, before the plane took off.

    “There’s nothing to worry about,” he assured her. “These flights are entirely routine. You’re safer than you are in our ground transport cars!”

    Despite his calm words, Roger had to admit to some nervousness as the pilot took off, and the land dropped away below them. He and the other passengers watched out the windows for a long time. With difficulty, he could make out houses and farms and moving vehicles far below.

    “There are more people going to San Francisco today than I would have expected,” he remarked.

    “Some of them may in fact be going elsewhere,” she answered. “As you know, it’s expensive to provide airplane links between all possible locations. We employ a hub system, and people from smaller cities travel first to the hub, and then to their final destination. Fortunately, you found us a flight that takes us straight to San Francisco.”

    When they arrived at the San Francisco airport, agents of the airline company helped them out of their seats and retrieved their luggage, checking the numeric tags to ensure that they were given to the right people.

    “I can hardly believe we’re already in another city,” said Ann. “Just four hours ago we were in Chicago.”

    “We’re not quite there!” corrected Roger. “We’re in the airport, which is some distance from the city, since it requires a good deal of space on the ground, and because of occasional accidents. From here we’ll take a smaller vehicle into the city.”

    They selected one of the hydrocarbon-powered ground transports from the queue which waited outside the airport. The fee was small enough that it was not paid electronically, but using portable dollar tokens. The driver conducted his car unit into the city; though he drove only at 100 km/hr, it felt much faster since they were only a meter from the concrete road surface. He looked over at Ann, concerned that the speed might alarm her; but she seemed to be enjoying the ride. A game girl, and intelligent as well!

    At last the driver stopped his car, and they had arrived. Electronic self-opening doors welcomed them to Sergey’s building. The entire trip had taken less than seven hours.

  17. Opinion: Why Make Fellini the Scapegoat for New Cultural Intolerance?

    "Excuse Me; I Must Have Missed Part of the Movie" (The Week in Review, Nov. 7) cites Federico Fellini as an example of a film maker whose style gets in the way of his storytelling and whose films, as a result, are not easily accessible to audiences. Broadening that argument, it includes other artists: Ingmar Bergman, James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Cage, Alain Resnais and Andy Warhol.

    It's not the opinion I find distressing, but the underlying attitude toward artistic expression that is different, difficult or demanding. Was it necessary to publish this article only a few days after Fellini's death?

    I feel it's a dangerous attitude, limiting, intolerant. If this is the attitude toward Fellini, one of the old masters, and the most accessible at that, imagine what chance new foreign films and film makers have in this country.

    It reminds me of a beer commercial that ran a while back. The commercial opened with a black and white parody of a foreign film -- obviously a combination of Fellini and Bergman. Two young men are watching it, puzzled, in a video store, while a female companion seems more interested. A title comes up: "Why do foreign films have to be so foreign?" The solution is to ignore the foreign film and rent an action-adventure tape, filled with explosions, much to the chagrin of the woman.

    It seems the commercial equates "negative" associations between women and foreign films: weakness, complexity, tedium. I like action-adventure films too. I also like movies that tell a story, but is the American way the only way of telling stories?

    The issue here is not "film theory," but cultural diversity and openness. Diversity guarantees our cultural survival. When the world is fragmenting into groups of intolerance, ignorance and hatred, film is a powerful tool to knowledge and understanding. To our shame, your article was cited at length by the European press.

    The attitude that I've been describing celebrates ignorance. It also unfortunately confirms the worst fears of European film makers.

    Is this closedmindedness something we want to pass along to future generations?

    If you accept the answer in the commercial, why not take it to its natural progression:

    Why don't they make movies like ours?

    Why don't they tell stories as we do?

    Why don't they dress as we do?

    Why don't they eat as we do?

    Why don't they talk as we do?

    Why don't they think as we do?

    Why don't they worship as we do?

    Why don't they look like us?

    Ultimately, who will decide who "we" are?

  18. The Orange

    At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
    The size of it made us all laugh.
    I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
    They got quarters and I had a half.

    And that orange, it made me so happy,
    As ordinary things often do
    Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
    This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

    The rest of the day was quite easy.
    I did all the jobs on my list
    And enjoyed them and had some time over.
    I love you. I’m glad I exist.

    - Wendy Cope

  19. The Tiger

    The tiger
    He destroyed his cage
    The tiger is out

  20. The House will forgive me for quoting myself, but in the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person--Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates--ask them five questions: "What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?" If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.

    - English Labour MP Tony Benn in the House of Commons, 22 march 2001

  21. A Toast to the Alchemists

    you were right, it is
    We have the proof now.
    There are equations.

    If you could come back
    for a day, if you could
    conjure yourself into
    this chemistry classroom,
    if you could read the
    textbook or watch the
    professor writing the
    answers on the board…

    you would see that you
    were right, even though
    you didn’t know about
    alpha and beta radiation,
    even though you didn’t
    understand isotopes,
    you knew it was possible,
    that some elements can
    change into other elements,
    that transmutation can

    there is proof now that
    it is possible, although
    each new element, having
    a brief half-life, would
    keep changing into other

    you were right, you can
    make anything, anything,
    uranium, plutonium, tel-
    lurium, mercury, copper,
    cobalt, platinum, silver,
    and gold, you can make
    gold, an isotope so
    radioactive it would
    sparkle before your eyes.

    you were right.
    It is magic.

  22. Westerners are fond of the saying ‘Life isn’t fair.’ Then, they end in snide triumphant: ‘So get used to it!’ What a cruel, sadistic notion to revel in! What a terrible, patriarchal response to a child’s budding sense of ethics. Announce to an Iroquois, ‘Life isn’t fair,’ and her response will be: ‘Then make it fair!’




  24. A Worker Reads History

    Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
    The books are filled with names of kings.
    Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
    And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
    Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
    That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
    In the evening
    Wwhen the Chinese wall was finished
    Where did the masons go?
    Imperial Rome is full of arcs of triumph.
    Who reared them up?
    Over whom did the Caesars triumph?
    Byzantium lives in song.
    Were all her dwellings palaces?
    And even in Atlantis of the legend
    The night the seas rushed in,
    The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

    Young Alexander conquered India.
    He alone?
    Caesar beat the Gauls.
    Was there not even a cook in his army?
    Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
    was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
    Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.
    Who triumphed with him?

    Each page a victory
    At whose expense the victory ball?

    Every ten years a great man,
    Who paid the piper?

    So many particulars.
    So many questions.

  25. Who doesn't toy with the thought of suicide sometimes? Or, like, most of the time? Okay, maybe some people don't – like the happy scientist girl named Marie, or Jean-Marc, the superstar whom everyone loves. But you -- when the going gets rough, it's nice to think about your little trap door out of here. Do it. Put your finger on the eject button, see how alive it makes you feel -- the freedom of finality. Think of how much they'll miss you.

  26. Hammond B3 Organ Cistern

    The days I don’t want to kill myself
    are extraordinary. Deep bass. All the people
    in the streets waiting for their high fives
    and leaping, I mean leaping,
    when they see me. I am the sun-filled
    god of love. Or at least an optimistic
    under-secretary. There should be a word for it.
    The days you wake up and do not want
    to slit your throat. Money in the bank.
    Enough for an iced green tea every weekday
    and Saturday and Sunday! It’s like being
    in the armpit of a Hammond B3 organ.
    Just reeks of gratitude and funk.
    The funk of ages. I am not going to ruin
    my love’s life today.
    It’s like the time I said yes
    to gray sneakers but then the salesman said
    Wait. And there, out of the back room,
    like the bakery’s first biscuits: bright-blue kicks.
    Iridescent. Like a scarab! Oh, who am I kidding,
    it was nothing like a scarab! It was like
    bright. blue. fucking. sneakers! I did not
    want to die that day. Oh, my God.
    Why don’t we talk about it? How good it feels.
    And if you don’t know then you’re lucky
    but also you poor thing. Bring the band out on the stoop.
    Let the whole neighborhood hear. Come on, Everybody.
    Say it with me nice and slow
    no pills no cliff no brains on the floor
    Bring the bass back. no rope no hose not today, Satan.
    Every day I wake up with my good fortune
    and news of my demise. Don’t keep it from me.
    Why don’t we have a name for it?
    Bring the bass back. Bring the band out on the stoop.

  27. If I have one message to give to the secular American people, it's that the world is not divided into countries. The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk and we understand each other perfectly.

    The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same

  28. Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal

    After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, Please come to the gate immediately. Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she Did this. I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used— She stopped crying. She thought our flight had been canceled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and Would ride next to her—Southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and Found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering Questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag— And was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies. And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers— Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands— Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped —has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too. This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

  29. An Anthropologist On Mars

    This was the case with the B.s, the autistic family I had visited in California—the older son, like the parents, with Asperger’s syndrome, the younger with classical autism. When I first arrived at their house, the whole atmosphere was so “normal” that I wondered if I had been misinformed, or if I had not, perhaps, ended up at the wrong house, for there was nothing obviously “autistic” about them or it. It was only after I had settled down that I noticed the well-used trampoline, where the whole family, at times, likes to jump and flap their arms; the huge library of science fiction; the strange cartoons pinned to the bathroom wall; and the ludicrously explicit directions, pinned up in the kitchen, for cooking, laying the table, and washing up—suggesting that these had to be performed in a fixed, formulaic way (this, I learned later, was an autistic in-joke). Mrs. B. spoke of herself, at one point, as “bordering on normality,” but then made clear what such “bordering” meant: “We know the rules and conventions of the ‘normal,’ but there is no actual transit. You act normal, you learn the rules, and obey them, but ...”

    “You learn to ape human behavior,” her husband interpolated. “I still don’t understand what’s behind the social conventions. You observe the front—but ...”

    The B.s, then, had learned a front of normality, which was necessary, given their professional lives, their living in the suburbs and driving a car, their having a son in regular school, etc. But they had no illusions about themselves. They recognized their own autism, and they had recognized each other’s, at college, with a sense of such affinity and delight that it was inevitable they would marry. “It was as if we had known each other for a million years,” Mrs. B. said. While they were well aware of many of the problems of their autism, they had a respect for their differentness, even a pride. Indeed, in some autistic people this sense of radical and ineradicable differentness is so profound as to lead them to regard themselves, half-jokingly, almost as members of another species (“They beamed us down on the transporter together,” as the B.s liked to say), and to feel that autism, while it may be seen as a medical condition, and pathologized as a syndrome, must also be seen as a whole mode of being, a deeply different mode or identity, one that needs to be conscious (and proud) of itself.

  30. bechdel butch woman

    - Alison Bechdel (Fun Home)

  31. Fragen eines lesenden Arbeiters

    Wer baute das siebentorige Theben?
    In den Büchern stehen die Namen von Königen.
    Haben die Könige die Felsbrocken herbeigeschlappt?
    Und das mehrmals zerstörte Babylon -
    Wer baute es so viele Male auf? In welchen Häusern
    Des goldstrahlenden Lima wohnten die Bauleute?
    Wohin gingen an dem Abend,
    an dem die chinesische Mauer fertig war,
    Die Maurer?
    Das große Rom ist voll von Triumphbögen.
    Wer errichtete sie?
    Über wen triumphierten die Cäsaren?
    Hatte das vielbesungene Byzanz
    Nur Paläste für seine Bewohner?
    Selbst in dem sagenhaften Atlantis
    Brüllten in der Nacht, wo das Meer es verschlang
    Die Ersaufenden nach ihren Sklaven.

    Der junge Alexander eroberte Indien.
    Er allein?
    Cäsar schlug die Gallier.
    Hatte er nicht wenigstens einen Koch bei sich?
    Philipp von Spanien weinte, als seine Flotte
    Untergegangen war. Weinte sonst niemand?
    Friedrich der Zweite siegte im Siebenjährigen Krieg.
    Wer siegte außer ihm?

    Jede Seite ein Sieg.
    Wer kochte den Siegesschmaus?

    Alle zehn Jahre ein großer Mann.
    Wer bezahlte die Speisen?

    So viele Berichte.
    So viele Fragen.

  32. The Long Leg

    hopper the long leg

    - Edward Hopper

  33. How To Watch Your Brother Die

    When the call somes, be calm.
    Say to your wife, "My brother is dying. I have to fly
    to California."
    Try not to be shocked that he already looks like
    a cadaver.
    Say to the young man sitting by your brother's side,
    "I'm his brother."
    Try not to be shocked when the young man says,
    "I'm his lover. Thanks for coming."

    Listen to the doctor with a steel face on.
    Sign the necessary forms.
    Tell the doctor you will take care of everything.
    Wonder why doctors are so remote.

    Watch the lover's eyes as they stare into
    your brother's eyes as they stare into
    Wonder what they see there.
    Remember the time he was jealous and
    opened your eyebrow with a sharp stick.
    Forgive him out loud
    even if he can't
    understand you.
    Realize the scar will be
    all that's left of him.

    Over coffee in the hospital cafeteria
    say to the lover, "You're an extremely good-looking
    young man."
    Hear him say,
    "I never thought I was good enough looking to
    deserve your brother."

    "Watch the tears well up in his eyes. Say,
    I'm sorry. I don't know what it means to be
    the lover of another man."
    Hear him say,
    "Its just like a wife, only the commitment is
    deeper because the odds against you are so much
    Say nothing, but
    take his hand like a brother's.

    Drive to Mexico for unproven drugs that might
    help him live longer.
    Explain what they are to the border guard.
    Fill with rage when he informs you,
    "You can't bring those across."
    Begin to grow loud.
    Feel the lover's hand on your arm
    restraining you. See in the guard's eye
    how much a man can hate another man.
    Say to the lover, "How can you stand it?"
    Hear him say, "You get used to it."
    Think of one of your children getting used to
    another man's hatred.

    Call your wife on the telephone. Tell her,
    "He hasn't much time.
    I'll be home soon." Before you hang up say,
    "How could anyone's commitment be deeper than
    a husband and a wife?" Hear her say,
    "Please. I don't want to know all the details."
    When he slips into an irrevocable coma,
    hold his lover in your arms while he sobs,
    no longer strong. Wonder how much longer
    you will be able to be strong.
    Feel how it feels to hold a man in your arms
    whose arms are used to holding men.
    Offer God anything to bring your brother back.
    Know you have nothing God could possibly want.
    Curse God, but do not
    abandon Him.

    Stare at the face of the funeral director
    when he tells you he will not
    embalm the body for fear of
    contamination. Let him see in your eyes
    how much a man can hate another man.

    Stand beside a casket covered in flowers,
    white flowers. Say,
    "Thank you for coming," to each of seven hundred men
    who file past in tears, some of them
    holding hands. Know that your brother's life
    was not what you imagined. Overhear two
    mourners say, "I wonder who'll be next?" and
    "I don't care anymore,
    as long as it isn't you."

    Arrange to take an early flight home.
    His lover will drive you to the airport.
    When your flight is announced say,
    awkwardly, "If I can do anything, please
    let me know." Do not flinch when he says,
    "Forgive yourself for not wanting to know him
    after he told you. He did."
    Stop and let it soak in. Say,
    "He forgave me, or he knew himself?"
    "Both," the lover will say, not knowing what else
    to do. Hold him like a brother while he
    kisses you on the cheek. Think that
    you haven't been kissed by a man since
    your father died. Think,
    "This is no moment to be strong."

    Fly first class and drink Scotch. Stroke
    your split eyebrow with a finger and
    think of your brother alive. Smile
    at the memory and think
    how your children will feel in your arms
    warm and friendly and without challenge.

  34. Markierung einer Wende

    krieg krieg
    krieg krieg
    krieg krieg
    krieg krieg
    krieg mai

  35. Moby Dick

    moby dick gerard dubois

    - Gerard Dubois

  36. First They Came...

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a communist.
    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

  37. Breaking Home Ties

    rockwell breaking home ties

    - Norman Rockwell

  38. Shiner

    rockwell shiner

    - Norman Rockwell

  39. The Problem We All Live With

    rockwell the problem we all live with

    - Norman Rockwell

  40. vewn bride

    - vewn

  41. vewn firing squad

    - vewn

  42. vewn full house

    - vewn

  43. vewn girlsnight

    - vewn

  44. vewn warzone

    - vewn

  45. Bee Orchid

    xkcd bee orchid

    - xkcd

  46. Helping

    xkcd helping

    - xkcd

  47. How it Works

    xkcd how it works

    - xkcd

  48. Useless

    xkcd useless

    - xkcd

  49. Wikipedian Protester

    xkcd wikipedian protester

    - xkcd

  50. Dante in Sardina

    The classics lie to you: there is no romance
    to death. I wake up, brush my teeth, and find out
    that my friend has hung himself in a public park.
    More brandy, please!, the living around me shout, then put
    their sunglasses on. He adored this island, the red house
    where the pool was covered in wasps and we drank wine
    for lunch. We played chess with half our bodies in water
    until we got headaches from the sun. He let me win
    and only laughed when I recited Dante to him:
    Nature follows--as she takes her course—
    the Divine Intellect and the Divine Art...
    Nature is not like art, he said, because it's functional
    before it is beautiful. The black, Volcanic hills
    could not sway him. Neither could the gecko
    falling asleep on his feet every afternoon. He is ash
    in a small jar now, or that is what science says.
    Here, the river has dried out, the tomato vines
    fouled. Every day the world inches closer
    to ruin and still I am astonished that bones and flesh
    contain the spirit, and that it can burn.
    Volcanic sediment and crushed seashells
    have turned the sand a tangy red, lifetimes of everything
    contaminating each other. And then emptying the jar
    into the clear, green water. Darling, I say to the sea,
    a feeling of inadequacy rushing through me—
    above us are Dante's inscrutable stars, mocking me
    for my terribly human need for connection. And below
    is the coast, where the waves are just waves, taking one thing
    and returning another: bottle caps, warm seagrass.

  51. How to Be a Dog

    If you want to be a dog, first you must learn to wait. You must wait
    all day until somebody returns, and if somebody returns late, you
    must learn to wait until then. Then you must learn to speak in one
    of the voices available to you, high and light or mellow thick and
    low or middle-range and terse. Whichever voice you learn to speak,
    you will meet somebody who does not like you because of it, they
    will be wary or annoyed or you will remind them of something or
    someone else. Once you have learned to speak you must learn not to
    speak unless you absolutely must, or to speak as much as you feel
    you must regardless of how many times you are told to stop, or sit,
    or placed behind a door—this will depend on what kind of a dog you
    want to be. And indeed there are many kinds. It may not feel as though
    you get to choose, and that too is a kind of dog. Next you must learn
    to relinquish all control over everything you might wish to control. You
    must learn to prefer to be led about by the neck on a piece of string,
    or staked to a neglected lawn by a length of chain. You must learn, once
    you have sampled the freedom of a life without a chain, that it is better
    to return and be chained again. Or you may learn that it is not—
    a fugitive is also a kind of dog. Of course you must learn to love, to
    love always and love entirely and to be wounded by nothing so much
    as the violence of your own love. You must learn to be confused but
    never disappointed by a deficiency of love. You must give up your
    children and not know why. You must lose yourself wholly in activity;
    you must never feel an itch that you do not scratch. You must learn how
    to wait at the foot of the bed and hope, silently, that somebody is drunk
    enough or lonely enough to invite you up, and you must learn not to show
    your excitement too much or overplay your hand. If you want to be a dog,
    you must learn to believe that you are not in fact a dog at all.

  52. When her mother is in the parlor
    we sit
    LIKE           THIS
    But after mother retires
    we always sit

    And sometimes (don't be shocked!)
    we sit

    - Feather River Bulletin, Quincy, California, March 20, 1924

  53. Eventually something you love is going to be taken away. And then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you: you’re falling to the floor crying thinking, “I am falling to the floor crying,” but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it — you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying you look at the place where the wall meets the floor and you realise you didn’t paint it very well.

  54. After the Threesome, They Both Take You Home

    even though it's so very late
    and they have to report to their jobs
    in a few hours, they both get in the car,
    one driving, one shotgun, you in the back
    like a child needing a drive to settle into sleep,
    even though one could drive and the other
    sleep, because they can't sleep
    without each other, they'd rather drive you
    across the city rather than be apart for half an hour,
    the office buildings lit pointlessly beautiful
    for nobody except you to admire their reflections
    in the water, the lovers too busy talking about that colleague they don't like,
    tomorrow's dinner plans, how once
    they bought peaches on a road trip and ate and ate
    until they could taste it in each other's pores,
    they get out of the car together to kiss you goodnight,
    you who have perfected the ghost goodbye,
    exiting gatherings noiselessly, leaving only
    a dahlia-scented perfume, your ribcage
    compressing to slide through doors ajar and untouched,
    yesterday you were a flash of white in a pigeon's blinking eye,
    in the day few hours old you stand solid and full
    of other people's love for each other
    spilling over, warm leftovers.

  55. How To Look At Art

    barry how to look at art

  56. And God,
    please let the deer
    on the highway
    get some kind of heaven.
    Something with tall soft grass
    and sweet reunion.
    Let the moths in porch lights
    go some place
    with a thousand suns,
    that taste like sugar
    and get swallowed whole.
    May the mice
    in oil and glue
    have forever dry, warm fur
    and full bellies.

    If I am killed
    for simply living,
    let death be kinder
    than man.


    I am climbing a magnolia tree
    & you are telling me
    that magnolia trees existed
    before bees did which means that
    dinosaurs smelled magnolias
    & that maybe that
    was the last scent
    a dinosaur smelled
    before it all went bad
    & dark & bad &
    when I am safely in the tree
    you put your hands together
    in the shape of a bowl
    or a magnolia & that is
    where I would like to sleep
    & so I do & so I do.

    - Dalton Day

  58. The end justifies the means. But what if there never is an end? All we have is means.

  59. I Am So Depressed I Feel Like Jumping in the River Behind My House but Won't Because I'm Thirty-Eight and Not Eighteen

    Bring me a drink.
    I need to think a little.
    Paper. Pen.
    And I could use the stink
    of a good cigar–even
    though the sun’s out.
    The grackles in the trees.
    The grackles inside my heart.
    Broken feathers and stiff wings.

    I could jump.
    But I don’t.
    You could kill me.
    But you won’t.

    The grackles
    calling to each other.
    The long hours.
    The long hours.
    The long hours.

  60. The Globe Shrinks

    krueger the globe shrinks

  61. Make Out Sonnet

    The first time I saw two men kissing, I was six,
    Living in 1970s L.A. My mom took care
    Of an elderly woman who found herself in a fix
    And moved into a complex of all men, bare
    Chested men, with cutoff jeans and tinted glasses.
    My mother's friend gave me chocolate that matched
    Her skin - this must be heaven. These sons' asses
    Peeked out beneath their shorts, but watched
    Over her better than mom. Took donations for heat,
    A sofa and a new wig - all changed her mood.
    They even did her laundry. They did sweet
    Better than honey. Did family better than blood.
    And between duties, two men always off alone
    So desire, like the dishes, could also get done.

  62. Revloutionary Letter #26

    JUSTIFY THE MEANS?' this is
    process, there is no end, there are only
    means, each one
    had better justify itself.
    To whom?

  63. Running Orders

    They call us now, before they drop the bombs. The phone rings and someone who knows my first name calls and says in perfect Arabic “This is David.” And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass-shattering symphonies still smashing around in my head I think, Do I know any Davids in Gaza? They call us now to say Run. You have 58 seconds from the end of this message. Your house is next. They think of it as some kind of war-time courtesy. It doesn’t matter that there is nowhere to run to. It means nothing that the borders are closed and your papers are worthless and mark you only for a life sentence in this prison by the sea and the alleyways are narrow and there are more human lives packed one against the other more than any other place on earth Just run. We aren’t trying to kill you. It doesn’t matter that you can’t call us back to tell us the people we claim to want aren’t in your house that there’s no one here except you and your children who were cheering for Argentina sharing the last loaf of bread for this week counting candles left in case the power goes out. It doesn’t matter that you have children. You live in the wrong place and now is your chance to run to nowhere. It doesn’t matter that 58 seconds isn’t long enough to find your wedding album or your son’s favorite blanket or your daughter’s almost completed college application or your shoes or to gather everyone in the house. It doesn’t matter what you had planned. It doesn’t matter who you are. Prove you’re human. Prove you stand on two legs. Run.

  64. A Feminine Touch

    shea a feminine touch

  65. iii

    What if over tea, what if on our walks, what if
    in the long yawn of the fog, what if in the long middle
    of the wait, what if in the passage, in the what if
    that carries us each day into seasons, what if
    in the renewed resilience, what if in the endlessness,
    what if in a lifetime of conversations,
    what if in the clarity of consciousness, what if nothing changes?

  66. Who remembers the Armenians?

    I remember them
    and I ride the nightmare bus with them
    each night
    and my coffee, this morning
    I'm drinking it with them

    You, murderer -
    Who remembers you?

  67. You are inconsistent. You do not need to have a grand unified theory about what to do about Michael Jackson. You are a hypocrite, over and over. You love Annie Hall but you can barely stand to look at a painting by Picasso. You are not responsible for solving this unreconciled contradiction. In fact, you will solve nothing by means of your consumption; the idea that you can is a dead end.
    The way you consume art doesn't make you a bad person, or a good one. You'll have to find some other way to accomplish that.

  68. Thirty-six Views of the Moon

    ebtekar thirty six views of moon

  69. Joy Division, The Moonlight Club, 4 April 1980, West Hampstead, London, England

    king joy division

  70. A Good Day

    Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
    took the bus home,
    carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
    and cooked myself dinner.
    You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
    This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
    worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
    only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
    and slept like a rock.
    Flossed in the morning,
    locked my door,
    and remembered to buy eggs.
    My mother is proud of me.
    It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
    She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
    with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
    But she is proud.
    See, she remembers what came before this.
    The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
    how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
    She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
    These were the bad days.
    My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
    My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
    Depression, is a good lover.
    So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
    And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
    That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
    It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
    Today, I slept in until 10,
    cleaned every dish I own,
    fought with the bank,
    took care of paperwork.
    You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
    I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
    but I don’t speak for others anymore,
    and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
    And my mother is proud of me.
    I burned down a house of depression,
    I painted over murals of greyscale,
    and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
    But today, I want to live.
    I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
    or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
    I just cleaned my bathroom,
    did the laundry,
    called my brother.
    Told him, “it was a good day.”

    - Kait Rokowski

  71. I have always known that writing fiction had little effect on the world; that if it did, young men would not have gone to war after The Iliad. Only the privileged - those with homes and food and the luxury of time in a home - are touched, moved, sometimes changed by literature. For the twenty million Americans who are hungry tonight, for the homeless freezing tonight, literature is as useless as a knowledge of astronomy. What do stars look like on a clear cold winter night, when your children are hungry, are daily losing their very health; or when, alone, you look up from a heat grate? Of course in cities at night you can’t even see the stars.

  72. Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better. And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’ Yes, evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I must still have hope.

    - Vincent van Gogh

  73. How to Read Ezra Pound

    At the poets’ panel,
    after an hour of poets debating Ezra Pound,
    Abe the Lincoln veteran,
    the Spanish Civil War,
    raised his hand and said:
    If I knew that
    a fascist
    was a great poet,
    I’d shoot him

  74. Four Darks in Red

    rothko four darks in red

    - Mark Rothko

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