Listen to be heard

a bloom and a frost where we came to do no more and no less than find beauty

“So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we’d just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes—and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat.”

—   "Elegy for a Country’s Seasons" by Zadie Smith

The Perpetual Joys of Infatuation

Can you tell me about this thing?

This tiled surface surrounding this train

This slick smooth flooring each season so flooded

When each season comes, and wicks it away

Down some old lost moldy drain. 

“How strange it must seem to historians, sociologists, and philosophers that, after all that has happened in the world, the small matter of love, in all its minuscule twists and turns, continues to preoccupy novelists more than, say, the breaking of nations or the fate of the earth. Some novelists have tried to rectify this; they have attempted to make the art of the novel seem more important somehow by treating, say, terrorism or large political questions with great seriousness. But then other novelists return, like scavengers or renegades or deserters or prophets, to the old dramas of fidelity, treachery, and passion among people who are ordinary.”

—   "Lust and Loss in Madrid" by Colm Tóibín


With wide yellow swaths,
And the timing of serpents,
I’m wrapped up in sundresses:
       You pierce me.

I would have known you, as ultraviolet lilacs
This sweet summer sickness had amassed.
I would have seen you, flowering frigid meadows,
But as the calm comes: At last.

We can go now: down, dirty, and broken.
       All parts, all staying, all still, all past.

“The war against euphemism and cliché matters not because we can guarantee that eliminating them will help us speak nothing but the truth but, rather, because eliminating them from our language is an act of courage that helps us get just a little closer to the truth. Clear speech takes courage.”


Adam Gopnik on Richard Martinez’s courage to speak the painful truth about guns:

(via newyorker)

I had a professor once who gave a lot of arbitrary rules for his papers.  “Avoid the word ‘lifestyle’”, “Don’t use the word ‘use.’”  It was obnoxious and frustrating and I lost a lot of hard-fought points over it, but I made some of my best essays with his guidance.   
One of the most important was “Avoid cliché,” and this explains it beautifully.

(Source:, via newyorker)


5/17/14 (by jasoncerrato)


5/17/14 (by jasoncerrato)

Congratulations, Charles Wright, 20th Poet Laureate


Darkness dissembles; the lights recede
At random; bright
Pinpoints appear; valves hiss and unwind—

Isolate, far away, like breath
Escaping, the rush of blood
Dwindles to different chambers …

Meanwhile, the rinsings go on
And on, like an ocean,
Spilling into the flesh, rubbing

Their foamy edges into the grain.
Now there is no removal,

For these are the waters that burn,
The acids that scald;
These are the flames you have asked for.

Thank you, Natasha Trethewey, 19th Poet Laureate


Homo sapiens is the only species to suffer psychological exile.         —E. O. Wilson

I returned to a stand of pines,
                            bone-thin phalanx
flanking the roadside, tangle
                            of understory—a dialectic of dark
and light—and magnolias blossoming
                            like afterthought: each flower
a surrender, white flags draped
                            among the branches. I returned
to land’s end, the swath of coast
                            clear cut and buried in sand:
mangrove, live oak, gulfweed
                            razed and replaced by thin palms—
palmettos—symbols of victory
                            or defiance, over and over
marking this vanquished land. I returned
                            to a field of cotton, hallowed ground—
as slave legend goes—each boll
                            holding the ghosts of generations:
those who measured their days
                            by the heft of sacks and lengths
of rows, whose sweat flecked the cotton plants
                            still sewn into our clothes.
I returned to a country battlefield
                            where colored troops fought and died—
Port Hudson where their bodies swelled
                            and blackened beneath the sun—unburied
until earth’s green sheet pulled over them,
                            unmarked by any headstones.
Where the roads, buildings, and monuments
                            are named to honor the Confederacy,
where that old flag still hangs, I return
                            to Mississippi, state that made a crime
of me—mulatto, half-breed—native
                            in my native land, this place they’ll bury me.

Marica Lart
NowWe do not even knowWhat to wish for you
Oh sleep rockedIn an empty hand.
—W. S. Merwin. Art: Tacita Dean.


Marica Lart

We do not even know
What to wish for you

Oh sleep rocked
In an empty hand.

W. S. Merwin. Art: Tacita Dean.