the ugly earring

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

Category: art

for a time, I rest


“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

― Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community

— image: here


its burden and greatness


My only advice for you is this. Go within yourself and probe the depths from which your life springs, and there at its source you’ll find the answer to the question of whether you must write. Accept this answer, just as you hear it, without hesitation. It may be revealed that you are called to be an artist. Then take this lot upon you, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without asking for any external reward. For the creative artist must be a world for himself, and find everything within himself—and in nature, to which he is devoted.

Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Painting: the sphinx by Helene Knoop

the baby kicks

And then it was over, this world we had grown to love
for its sweet grasses, for the many-colored horses
and fishes, for the shimmering possibilities
while dreaming.

But then there were the seeds to plant and the babies
who needed milk and comforting, and someone
picked up a guitar or ukulele from the rubble
and began to sing about the light flutter

the kick beneath the skin of the earth
we felt there, beneath us

a warm animal
a song being born between the legs of her;
a poem.

image via old lawrence
joy harjo poem: when the world ended as we knew it

the shape of what you lived

You think of lands you journeyed through,
of paintings and a dress once worn
by a woman you never found again.

And suddenly you know: that was enough.
You rise and there appears before you
in all its longings and hesitations
the shape of what you lived.

painting: picasso’s seated nude woman
poem: remembering, rainer maria rilke

in yourself you stretch

To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.

painting: Jenny Saville, Study for Pentimenti I by way of marvelous kiddo
from poem: to be in love by gwendolyn brooks

what shall we cook tonight?

The woman wore a floral apron around her neck,
that woman from my mother’s village
with a sharp cleaver in her hand.
She said, “What shall we cook tonight?
Perhaps these six tiny squid
lined up so perfectly on the block?”

She wiped her hand on the apron,
pierced the blade into the first.
There was no resistance,
no blood, only cartilage
soft as a child’s nose. A last
iota of ink made us wince.

Suddenly, the aroma of ginger and scallion fogged our senses,
and we absolved her for that moment’s barbarism.
Then, she, an elder of the tribe,
without formal headdress, without elegance,
deigned to teach the younger
about the Asian plight.

And although we have traveled far
we would never forget that primal lesson
—on patience, courage, forbearance,
on how to love squid despite squid,>
how to honor the village, the tribe,
that floral apron.

poem:  the floral apron by marilyn chin
painting: Lau Kong-hi

when the chicken needs a hug


chicken love illustration by kaori mitsushima.

to teach

“Oh, I begged my mother to teach me to read. My — my poor mother was a waitress, and did ironing, and had four children.

And I begged her to teach me, and she would come home and labor and try — and do her best. And she did. She taught me to read. And so I — I just devoured every book in sight.”

~patti smith via here


271 Picassos

Ms. Le Guennec said the box of Picassos had sat in the garage of her home for 30 years.

(from here)

curiously ambivalent, undefined collaborations

Living as a sort of twin, as husband and wife or brother and sister, is a way of survival. In the case of artists these intense relations are curiously ambivalent, undefined collaborations – the two share in perceptions, temperament, in the struggle for creation, for the powers descending downward from art, for reputation, achievement, stability, for their own uniqueness – that especially. Still, only one of the twins is real as an artist, as a person with a special claim upon the world, upon the indulgence of society.

Elizabeth Hardwick, Seduction and Betrayal.

(photo from here)

(this amazing text from the lovely s. at even cleveland who also introduced me to salt toothpaste)