Sunday, July 30, 2017

the numinous

excerpt from the essay "woolf's darkness" by rebecca solnit from the book men explain things to me

this is the kind of criticism that does not pit the critic against the text, does not seek authority. it seeks instead to travel with the work and its ideas, to invite it to blossom and invite others into a conversation that might have previously seemed impenetrable, to draw out relationships that might have been unseen and open doors that might have been locked. this is a kind of criticism that respects the essential mystery of a work of art, which is in part its beauty and its pleasure, both of which are irreducible and subjective. the worst criticism seeks to have the last word and leave the rest of us in silence; the best opens up an exchange that need never end.

. . .

the tyranny of the quantifiable is partly the failure of language and discourse to describe the more complex, subtle, and fluid phenomena, as well as the failure of those who shape opinions and make decisions to understand and value these slipperier things. it is difficult, sometimes even impossible, to value what cannot be named or described, and so the task of naming and describing is an essential one in any revolt against the status quo of capitalism and consumerism. ultimately the destruction of earth is due in part, perhaps in large part, to a failure of the imagination or to its eclipse by systems of accounting that can't count what matters. the revolt against this destruction is a revolt of the imagination, in favor of subtleties, of pleasures money can't buy and corporations can't command, of being producers rather than consumers of meaning, of the slow, the meadering, the digressive, the exploratory, the numinous, the uncertain.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

the labor

we have failures that amount to less than
fingertips which carry and drag a torso across
a kind of unkind floor studded with sharp but
tricky smooth edges like rocks picked into
pockets when undone hands could not help
but scrape and pour and sometimes bleed

this all sounds hard in that way where
edge meets edge and means cut or clash
yet who is the aim and why target when voices
sink under and others rise buoyant while
the weight is not ugly nor wholesome and in fact
language of the body and otherwise is where
the tell or text pulls and quietly whispers

did the words catch

fingertips. carry. smooth. pockets. hands. pour.

if the blood is
or the sharp is
the edge or
drag or scrape

across this there is a weaving:

how can anyone arrive intact or alone when every layer follows
the same surprise

pulling together or tugging apart grasping tighter no now loosening
out bringing in cutting off tying up starting over and over and over and over
giving out
giving over
holding steady

thank you for a face so close waking up unguarded
thank you for a picture at a distance and i'm in it

all each one every glance
totally free


Tuesday, July 25, 2017


by laura sims from practice, restraint

one verdant minute

after the next, the love of the people

eludes him.

what does it mean? one thing unfolds

as a chain of things: the failure of making

a fantasy park

out of war

in an armchair,

the passage of hundreds of years

the loss of perpetual motion, the line

that proceeds

"a dark sky, and nothing but fire"

in his absence, the absence

of millions