Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shaman and Poe

The Village Street

In these rapid, restless shadows,
Once I walked at eventide,
When a gentle, silent maiden,
Walked in beauty at my side.
She alone there walked beside me
All in beauty, like a bride.
Pallidly the moon was shining
On the dewy meadows nigh;
On the silvery, silent rivers,
On the mountains far and high,--
On the ocean's star-lit waters,
Where the winds a-weary die.
Slowly, silently we wandered
From the open cottage door,
Underneath the elm's long branches
To the pavement bending o'er;
Underneath the mossy willow
And the dying sycamore.

With the myriad stars in beauty
All bedight, the heavens were seen,
Radiant hopes were bright around me,
Like the light of stars serene;
Like the mellow midnight splendor
Of the Night's irradiate queen.
Audibly the elm-leaves whispered
Peaceful, pleasant melodies,
Like the distant murmured music
Of unquiet, lovely seas;
While the winds were hushed in slumber
In the fragrant flowers and trees.
Wondrous and unwonted beauty
Still adorning all did seem,
While I told my love in fables
'Neath the willows by the stream;
Would the heart have kept unspoken
Love that was its rarest dream!

Instantly away we wandered
In the shadowy twilight tide,
She, the silent, scornful maiden,
Walking calmly at my side,
With a step serene and stately,
All in beauty, all in pride.

Vacantly I walked beside her.
On the earth mine eyes were cast;
Swift and keen there came unto me
Bitter memories of the past--
On me, like the rain in Autumn
On the dead leaves, cold and fast.

Underneath the elms we parted,
By the lowly cottage door;
One brief word alone was uttered--
Never on our lips before;
And away I walked forlornly,
Broken-hearted evermore.

Slowly, silently I loitered,
Homeward, in the night, alone;
Sudden anguish bound my spirit,
That my youth had never known;
Wild unrest, like that which cometh
When the Night's first dream hath flown.
Now, to me the elm-leaves whisper
Mad, discordant melodies,
And keen melodies like shadows
Haunt the moaning willow trees,
And the sycamores with laughter
Mock me in the nightly breeze.

Sad and pale the Autumn moonlight
Through the sighing foliage streams;
And each morning, midnight shadow,
Shadow of my sorrow seems;
Strive, O heart, forget thine idol!
And, O soul, forget thy dreams! 

The Village Street by Edgar Allan Poe
Photographs by Evgeniy Shaman

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

a poem

The Music Box

Music of Japan. Parsimoniously
from the water clock the drops unfold
in lazy honey or ethereal gold
that over time reiterates a weave
eternal, fragile, enigmatic, bright.
I fear that every one will be the last.
They are a yesterday come from the past.
But from what shrine, from what mountain’s slight
garden, what vigils by an unknown sea,
and from what modest melancholy, from
what lost and rediscovered afternoon
do they arrive at their far future: me?
Who knows? No matter. When I hear it play
I am. I want to be. I bleed away.

by Jorge Luis Borges

Translated from the Spanish by Tony Barnstone


Translator's Note: Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges was unapologetic about his sonnets. He liked his rhymes to be true, and he liked to create sentences the size of stanzas in order to emphasize the sonnet’s modular structure. Borges also made it clear that he expected the same dedication and craft from his translators, that he did not want his sonnets translated into loosened form or into free verse. (His comment on such translations was simple: “Try harder.”)

My love affair with Borges’s sonnets goes back to my earlier love affair with his fabulist fiction. I love how he uses the sonnet as a machine for thinking, for literary and philosophical games, and I love finding the poems populated by my old friends: the tigers, riddles, labyrinths, and mirrors that recur so often in his prose. Borges is not merely a philosophical poet; he is a visionary one. When the poet addresses “the One Who is Reading Me,” his imagination travels to the future, where a marble tombstone awaits the reader. Paradoxically, the reader is posited to be a dream of time, a changing river draining irreversibly toward the sea (death), and yet also invulnerable because of the certainty that he or she will become dust: who can kill the dust?

In “Music Box,” the dripping golden music carries the poet’s imagination to a past Japan of mountain shrines and unknown seas, and in that astral projection the poet finds himself bleeding away into time, like music. How else to capture this vision except in the music box of the sonnet, whose hidden gears turn to make the music chime and keep time?

Of course, we can’t keep time in a box; time has a box prepared for us. Understanding this is what allows us to value what life we have. My father tells a story about Borges. One day the great man was walking down the streets of Buenos Aires when a man rushed up to him and exclaimed, “Borges, you are immortal!” Borges, with his characteristic dry wit, replied, “Don’t be so pessimistic.” —Tony Barnstone

This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

8th Anniversary Open Studios

Directors of Santa Monica Art Studios Yossi Govrin and Sherry Frumkin are pleased to announce the 8th Anniversary Celebration of their project of artist studios and exhibition space in an historic 22,000 square foot hangar.

Saturday, October 13th from 6 to 9 pm 
Sunday, October 14th from 1 to 5 pm

More than 36 painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors and mixed media artists will open their studios for the event.

Artists include: Francisco Alarcon, Melinda Smith Altshuler, Fariba Ameri, Krista Augius, Janet Bothne, Gregg Chadwick, Lauren Chase, Claudia Concha, Lola del Fresno, Wendy Edlen, Susan Feldman, Karen Florek, Mitchell Friedman, Judith Golden, Yossi Govrin, Rachel Grynberg, Amy Jean Boebel, Sally Lamb, David Leeds, Maddy Le Mel, Luigia Martelloni, Christine McLaughlin, Jackie Nach, Sabine Pearlman, Kathy Peck, Olaf Pooley, Richard Rogg, Paula Rosen, Linda Sher Salzman, Gwen Samuels, Rachel Shultz, Diane Silver, Pamela Simon-Jensen, Doni Silver Simons, Julie Weiss, Karen V. Woo and Joan Wulf.

Santa Monica Art Studios
3026 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: 310.397.7449 Fax: 310.397.7459

Thursday, October 11, 2012

more of Annie

because i love this girl!


with David Byrne

Monday, October 8, 2012

a poem


Hold the bird in the left hand, and commence
to pull off the feathers from under the wing.
Having plucked one side, take the other wing
and proceed in the same manner, until all the feathers
are removed.
- Mrs Beeton’s Household Management

I raise Paisley wounds,
spill yellow pollen of fat.
This is reversing time, like a vandal

who scores shellac blooms
from a soundbox, tightening to snapping
the strings of a lute.

As if I scraped a poem’s lard
from vellum. As brattish
as kicking a cat.

In pale skin are magnolia buds:
the muscles that worked wings,
but I’ve undone the wings,

gripping each pinion
as if to slide home the marriage ring
and never dream of flying again;

I’ve plucked the eyed, seed feathers,
the chicky down, the fine human hair
like first casing of mushroom spawn,

the long quills that striped across
the evening sun this week,
trembling in the rainstorm’s target.
© 2005, Jen Hadfield
From: Almanacs
Publisher: Bloodaxe, 2005

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

in your eyes... in your memory...

with all those ugly bits