the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

Month: March, 2010

the rains will come

“He’s nihilistic. He’s taking standards and recasting them. He’s anti-jazz.” They [the critics] went on and on. And when he came out with A Love Supreme, how could this man have anger? Why is power and the expression of the power of God, why was it so misrepresented as anger?

…Eventually people really began to understand that this man, and all that power and thunder that they heard, was not in anger. We need thunder and lightning sometimes to let us know it’s going to rain. Well, we are in California, we had a five-year drought at one time, so I know that people would be rejoicing to hear the sound of the thunder, and to know that the rains will come.”

~ alice coltrane


its scarcity

“In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare.  Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced.”

~Robert Sexton

(photo of Louis Armstrong Playing for His Wife in Giza)

her room

“Later, she would remember these years, and realize with astonishment that she had, by fifteen, decided on most of the assumptions she would carry for the rest of her life: that people were essentially not evil, that perfection was death, that life was better than order and a little chaos good for the soul. Most important, this life was all. Unfortunately, she forgot these things, and had to remember them the hard way.”

— Marilyn French (The Women’s Room)

(painting by  Vilhem Hammershø reminds me of my bedroom in our old home)


“She’d had, from the time she was small, a preoccupation with archaeology: with Indian mounds, ruined cities, buried things. This had begun with an interest in dinosaurs which had turned into something else. What interested Harriet, it became apparent as soon as she was old enough to articulate it, were not the dinosaurs themselves—the long-lashed brontosauruses of Saturday cartoons, who allowed themselves to be ridden, or meekly bent their necks as a playground slide for children—nor even the screaming tyrannosaurs and pterodactyls of nightmare. What interested her was that they no longer existed.

She turned the page, to where her own notations, in pencil, began. These were mostly lists. List of books she’d read, and books she wanted to read, and of poems she knew by heart; lists of presents she’d got for birthday and Christmas, and who they were from; lists of places she’d visited (nowhere very exotic) and lists of places she wanted to go (Easter Island, Antarctica, Machu Picchu, Nepal). There were lists of people she admired: Napoleon and Nathan Bedford Forrest, Genghis Khan and Lawrence of Arabia, Alexander the Great and Harry Houdini and Joan of Arc. There was a whole page of complaints about sharing a room with Allison. There were lists of vocabulary words—Latin and English—and an inept Cyrillic alphabet which she’d done her laborious best to copy from the encyclopedia one afternoon when she had nothing else to do. There were also several letters Harriet had written and never sent, to various people she did not like.”

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

name your poison

“Fool! Don’t you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you.”


(i’ve been coveting this ring for nearly a month now.  from here.)

up on the roof

“The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses.”

(roses are taking over our roof.)

what we read in 1995

(The Poet AI: October 21, 1947 – March 20, 2010)

Conversation by Ai

We smile at each other
and I lean back against the wicker couch.
How does it feel to be dead? I say.
You touch my knees with your blue fingers.
And when you open your mouth,
a ball of yellow light falls to the floor
and burns a hole through it.
Don’t tell me, I say. I don’t want to hear.
Did you ever, you start,
wear a certain kind of silk dress
and just by accident,
so inconsequential you barely notice it,
your fingers graze that dress
and you hear the sound of a knife cutting paper,
you see it too
and you realize how that image
is simply the extension of another image,
that your own life
is a chain of words
that one day will snap.
Words, you say, young girls in a circle, holding hands,
and beginning to rise heavenward
in their confirmation dresses,
like white helium balloons,
the wreathes of flowers on their heads spinning,
and above all that,
that’s where I’m floating,
and that’s what it’s like
only ten times clearer,
ten times more horrible.
Could anyone alive survive it?

(second photo of ai by bill hayward)

page 152

“A woman knows the face of the man she loves like a sailor knows the open sea.”

~Honore de Balzac

p.s. did you see this?


“The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue – that blue – that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.”

~Georgia O’Keeffe

[Georgia O’Keeffe’s] Hands, 1918,  Alfred Stieglitz.