frivolous friday

Hoping you have a fuzzy slipper kind of weekend !!


no means no

Soubriquet and I recently discussed the legal troubles WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange currently faces. Ecuador has granted political asylum to Assange, who is staying at the London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual offense allegations.  Our discussion led us to debating the nature of the sexual allegations with a Swedish woman with whom Assange  had spent the night participating in consensual sex.  The next morning, in the midst of consensual coitus, the woman in question realized Assange was not using a condom / or the condom broke (?) and she asked him to stop.  Assange did not stop.  As a woman, myself, I believe no means no.  Even if it is 'no' in the midst of sex.  Even if we fucked all night, or all last week, or have been lovers for months, years.  No still means no.

Let's make this very clear:

Any questions?


sonnet 130

~ by the bard, Shakespeare


introduction to poetry

Relax Max over at clarity2010 is Stalking Poetry.  Or at least that is the title of his latest post.  His first  task is an attempt to sort the differences between metaphors and allegories (with a bit of simile thrown in to sweeten the mix.)  This Billy Collins poem, Introduction to Poetry, fits nicely with Max's theme and addresses a few points, from a poet's point of view, raised in the ensuing discussion on Max's blog.

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

~ by Billy Collins
From The Apple that Astonished Paris



frivolous friday




Often when I imagine you 
your wholeness cascades into many shapes. 
You run like a herd of luminous deer 
and I am dark, I am forest.

You are a wheel at which I stand, 
whose dark spokes sometimes catch me up, 
revolve me nearer to the center. 
Then all the work I put my hand to 
widens from turn to turn.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke 
Book of Hours I



And so, to that end, I will take this opportunity to shut up.

From Anna Wood's essay,  A More Intricate Cup of Tea,  more thoughts on silence:
" The type of silence I’m talking about, worldly silence, isn’t about not hearing; on the contrary, it’s about listening.

Sound remains; what’s left behind is the voice. What’s left behind is verbalism, language. What’s left behind are the sweet and not-so-sweet nothings of cohabitation, the can-you-pass-the-salts, the pleases without thought to the other person’s pleasure, the sparring, the automatic and constant gauging of the limits of common ground. What’s left behind is the voice, and with that gone, the ego suddenly fades three shades.

Silence is radical. When sustained, it has an effect on your perception comparable to that of any number of chemicals with which you might seek change. Your vision transforms, to start with; you suddenly find yourself absorbing what’s on the periphery, massive amounts of once-invisible data assailing your pupils. When you’re not preparing your next remark, your hearing capacity expands, too: the changing rhythms of the wind; the muted thud of a teardrop hitting the wooden floor; your neighbor’s beating heart. And taste, and smell, they’re amplified and shifted, as well—a cup of tea sipped without the surrounding dialogue (Earl Grey. You don’t? How about English Breakfast, then? No, no sugar, thanks. Watching my weight. Do you have one of those carrying trays? Wow, that sure is hot.) is a more intricate cup of tea. Silence gives you the opportunity to know any number of an object’s facets that typically disappear behind the verbal screens we erect constantly, unthinkingly, between our selves and our environments. And surely the power of wordless touch is one each of us knows ...

Silence, by clarifying our senses, invites us to witness ourselves as we are. This is terrifying. Communal silence goes a step further, inviting us to witness ourselves as we are under the gaze of others. This is simply intolerable...."

From RDG's silent musings:

I live and work in a noise filled environment.  My job requires me to talk, and talk, and talk - to fill awkward pauses and gaps with language.  I'm reminded to treat each customer as though he or she has a unique story to tell, and I am to draw their story out in the 5 or 10 or 20 minutes it takes for me to sell them a piece of jewelry.  Am I to listen?  Listening would be good, but no, I'm supposed to be simultaneously inviting customers to share their stories while I'm unwinding a litany of pro-company chatter which has its own acronym and upon which we are judged and graded each month by the MYSTERY SHOPPER.  To say this is stressful is an understatement. 

No, I'm not really listening to you.  I'm going over the acronym in my mind and looking for opportunities in the gaps and pauses of our conversation to insert a piece of company propaganda.  I'm trying to hit the 6 steps in less than 5 minutes so that you, yes you MYSTERY SHOPPER, will be able to check it off your list and grade me accordingly.  I'm being pressured to score a 100%.  I'm being 'incentive-ized' with promises of gifts cards totaling more than $100 worth of company merchandise to load you down with information - so much information that you will walk away wondering what you just purchased.  You will stop on your way out of our store and check your market-pleasing color coordinated gift bag just to make sure your item is safely snuggled in its color coordinating pouch and gift box.

Am I sounding a bit cynical here ??  Truly, I'm not trying to be cynical.  I just happen to like quiet.  I like the awkward silences in conversation.  If I don't rush in and try to fill them, sometimes something interesting or exciting occurs:  a twist in the dialogue, a secret revealed, a heartache, a loss, or maybe, a lovely smile has a chance to simply unfold.

I long for silence in my surroundings, in part, because I have an endless chatter of thoughts streaming in my head.  I do not know how meditation masters do it - watch the stream of words and let them flow by without getting wet or diving into them.  How can I allow words to float by and not reel them in with baited hook and line?

And yes, the type of silent retreat Ms. Woods describes in her essay appeals to me and also repels me to some extent.  How is it that our world today is so full of sound that we pay BIG BUCKS to go on silent retreats to free ourselves from language ??

Is it pretentious or is it sacred ??

"And so, to that end, I will take this opportunity to shut up."


frivolous friday

Soub is moving house
He lives in tented splendor
Have wheels will travel.

Swaying odalisques please apply !!



Quiet now, sorrow; relax. Calm down, fear ...
You wanted the night? It’s falling, here,   
Like a black glove onto the city,
Giving a few some peace ... but not me.

I think, well, almost everyone I know
Loves to be whipped by pleasure—right, Killer?—   
As they stroll the boardwalk, parading their despair.   
So why don’t you come too? But instead, with me,

Away from all these tattered ghosts leaning off   
The sky’s balcony like last year’s lovers;
We’ll watch everything we regret step from the sea

Dripping ... while the dead sun drags its arc   
Towards China. Shroud of my heart, listen. Listen—   
How softly the night steps toward us.

~ by David St. John
from Study for the World’s Body: Selected Poems



The Muse

an excerpt:  

There she was, for centuries,
the broad with the luscious tits, the secret
smile, a toga of translucent silk, cool
hand on the shoulder of the suffering
poet – the tease who made him
squeeze those great words out.  He
was the mirror and the lamp, she the torch
who burned with the blue butane of a pure
refusal, too good for mortal use; her breath
was cold as mountain streams, the chill
of the eternal – no hint of plaque
or any odor of decay.  Ethereal as hell,
a spirit in chiffon, the mystery is
how she had got so rounded in the butt
and all her better parts as soft as butter,
why such a wraith should be so ample,
what her endowments had to do
with that for which she set example –
all this was surely Mystery, oh that elusive
object of desire, that “untouch’d bride
of quietness,” that plump poetic dish
who lived on air but looked
as if she dined on pasta.

~ by Eleanor Wilner
from The Muse 



the wisdom of darkness

south moravia  by krzysztof browko
 "On a farm you learn to respect nature,
particularly for the wisdom of its dark underworld.
When you sow things in the spring,
you commit them to the darkness of the soil.
The soil does its own work.

It is destructive to interfere with the rhythm and wisdom of its darkness.
You sow drills of potatoes on Tuesday and you are delighted with them.
You meet someone on a Wednesday who says
that you spread the potatoes too thickly, you will have no crop.

You dig up the potatoes again and spread them more thinly.

On the following Monday, you meet an agricultural advisor who says
this particular variety of seed potatoes needs to be spread close together.

You dig them up again and set them closer to each other.

If you keep scraping at the garden, you will never allow anything to grow.

People in our hungry modern world are always scraping at the clay of their hearts.
They have a new thought, a new plan, a new syndrome, that now explains why
they are the way they are.  They have found an old memory that opens a new wound.
They keep on relentlessly, again and again, scraping the clay away from their own hearts.

In nature (for example) we do not see the trees getting seriously involved in therapeutic analysis of their root systems or the whole stony world that they had to avoid on their way to the light.  Each tree grows in two directions at once, into the darkness and out to the light with as many branches and roots as it needs to embody its wild desires ...

It is wise to allow the soul to carry on its secret work in the night side of your life.
You might not see anything stirring for a long time.
You might have only the slightest intimations
of the secret growth that is happening within you,
but these intimations are sufficient."

~ by John O'Donohue
from Anam Cara

via: the beauty we love 


letting go

When Heaven gives and takes away
can you be content with the outcome ?

~ Lao Tzu
from Tao Te Ching 

I don't know if I am willing ...
~ rdg



"The only sound marring perfect peace
is my own heart beating, and I want to squeeze
it until it stops, and then I will hear nothing
but sweet
Silence. "

from to the edge
~ by rdg



girl !! put on your shoes ...

college girls walking barefoot at SMU

Cowboy sent me a link today about the scarcity of shoes during WWII.  The following is an interview outtake from THE WAR, a PBS series:

Katherine Phillips: Shoes were precious
 "We lived with the war constantly. I think it's why it had such a profound effect upon my generation. Shoes became scarce. Now, there must have been shoe rationing. I don't remember how they issued shoes, but, being in college, shoes were very important. And we were down to two or three pair of shoes. So you never let your friend borrow your shoes. When it rained at Auburn we all took our shoes off and carried 'em. Some big reporter from New York City came down to see how southern college girls were living during the war, and he found us walking around the campus barefooted. So he went back to New York and wrote this long article, how southern women went to college without shoes on. Well, the Dean of Women called us all into a big assembly and she said, 'Now, girls, I don't care if it's your only pair of shoes. Put them on when you walk across the campus.' She said, 'We can't have publicity like this in New York about our southern campus.' So we all then wore our shoes. If they fell apart, they fell apart."

 To see / hear Katherine Phillips' interview, go HERE.

This interview has me musing about shoes and going barefoot.  When I was a child, I spent entire summers running around barefoot.  Until one day I felt something tickling the bottom of my foot.  I held my foot up to my mother and told her something was tickling me.  She gasped.  Grabbed me by the hand.  Hauled me into the kitchen and wrapped a tea towel around my foot.  End of story - my first set of stitches.  I still have a very faint, funny Y shaped scar on the bottom of my foot.  We never found whatever it was that I stepped on, but from that day onward, I was commanded to wear my shoes!

My youngest child would dearly love a world where no one wears shoes or long pants.  Or at least a world that would allow him to go barefoot, dressed in a pair of shorts - year round.  It doesn't matter how hot or cold, wet or dry it is outside, this child dresses as though he lives near the equator.  My oldest child often runs (as in running more than 5 miles at a time) barefoot on the golf course adjacent to his dad's house.  The youngest loves to run with him, sans shoes of course.  I fret they might step on an unseen danger (as in my childhood) and do permanent damage to their feet.  Knock on wood.  My oldest claims his feet never hurt when he runs barefoot on grass (this coming from a former cross country runner, who had access to the latest and greatest technical running shoes from Nike, their team sponsor.)

My sweetheart is pining for a pair of these:

He almost broke down and purchased a pair in Gruene, Texas.  I thought he wanted them for the comfort of walking around 'almost barefoot'.  Nope.  He likes the idea of the 'awesome footprints' they would leave behind ... (?)

And wouldn't you know it ....... walking barefoot 'for one day' has become a political / social statement:

Which inspired this blogger's post: "Going Barefoot Sucks !! And other ...."  A sampling of the intrepid barefooted college student's insights:
Let's face it. Unless it's in accordance with your will, going barefoot downright sucks. Today was "A day without shoes" day, by Tom's shoes. (check 'em out online.) I woke up to find a torrential monsoon out my window. Initially I wanted to forget barefoot day and put on my boots. But then I thought, you know, that's the whole point. People across the globe are not afforded the option of putting their shoes on when they feel like it. They walk barefoot rain or shine or snow or WHATEVER!!
 A few things I've noticed today:
-Within 5 minutes of my trek to the Psych building, my feet were already being rubbed raw with the rough sidewalks.
-I couldn't walk as fast I normally walked because it hurt and I had to dodge worm guts that were strewn across the pavement. (I'm grossed out about that sort of thing even with my shoes on. Seriously! I was one stride away from vomiting.)
-I looked at the ground pretty much the entire time I walked. I didn't want to step on worms or sharp rocks. Which I inevitably did anyway.
-Aside from the rain I didn't feel like walking around as much. Duh. That's a given.
-I was exceedingly grateful for smooth surfaces.
-I really appreciate the fact that God has blessed me so well that I can own as many shoes as I'd want.
 I have to say that the experience was enlightening. I thought about it and I concluded that I couldn't do a lot without shoes. I couldn't play soccer without my cleats, go rock climbing without those rubber soles, go running without getting cut up, and needless to say, I could barely walk up and down the side walk. Now, I wonder how I can bless others.....

Wow.  Who knew something as simple as walking barefoot could inspire a spiritual meditation on the value of shoes ???!!!

Well, TOMS shoes did.


on books

It's Story Time by Christopher Stott

"What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."

~ Carl Sagan, on books



There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house -
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

~ by Billy Collins



frivolous friday

Live life ...
Always land ...
How I like my eggs ...


best movie line ever

"Nobody forgets the truth.  They just get better at lying."


on women, v

or a continuation of the what inspires me series ...

Anais Nin in Silverlake / Los Angeles

…an exercise in creation

"My father left: love means abandonment and tragedy, either be abandoned or abandon first, etc. Not only the leap over the obstacle of fatality, but a complete artistic rehearsal of the creative instinct which is a leap beyond the human through a complete rebirth, or perhaps being born truly for the first time. To accomplish this it was not sufficient that I should relive the childhood which accustomed me to pain. I must find a realm as strong as the realm of my bondage to sorrow, by the discovery of my positive, active individuality. Such as my power to write […] the most vital core of my true maturity."
~ by Anais Nin
From The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume I (1931-1934) (1966)
page 295.

via: Lit Bits