Monday, January 12, 2009


Kenneth Rexroth


The uguisu has not come
To sing on this misty day.
Somewhere, I guess, he is sleeping,
His jeweled claws neatly doubled.

Yosano Akiko


Everybody tells me
My hair is too long
I leave it
As you saw it last
Dishevelled by your hands.

Lady Sono No Omi Ikuha


When I pick up my koto
A cry of sorrow comes from it.
Is it possible that
In the koto's hollow
My wife's spirit
Has secluded itself?

Anonymous, Manyoshu


Evening darkens until
I can no longer see the path.
Still I find my way home,
My horse has gone this way before.

Anonymous, Gosenshu


Everybody knows
How much I love you.
All your
Have become my


Monday, August 06, 2007

BUNNY (2001)
Selima Hill


She feels so proud to be so under-nourished
and not to have her aunts all turning up

with little dogs on leads, and tartan rugs;
she feels so proud to be alone at home

like someone in a hangar after midnight
entrusted with the mothering of jets.

Athletic and chaste,
she plunges into the pool,

leaving the lodger
alone in the house with the dust

and nothing to shine on or do,
like a chandelier.

And when the lodger, on the second day,
asks her if she knows the work cock

and she looks ahead and simply starts walking,
steadying the word like an egg.

Because she knows he likes her curly hair
she goes to bed

in a dampened balaclava
like some old ship

that's never going to make it
rocking itself to sleep inside a shed.


The neighbours and their elderly Retrievers
get used to seeing someone sitting there,

sometimes dressed in nothing but a nightie,
fiercely spooning milk from a tin.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Siri Hustvedt

The corset did not live alone, however. In the 1860's, the time during which James set his novel, it was joined by other garments essential to the American bourgeois woman: the hoopskirt and the petticoat padded at the hips. The padding exaggerates the tiny waist created by the corset, and the hoop turns a woman into a kind of walking bell. The hoop's threat is real. You sit, and if you are not careful, it flies up over your head. If you're wearing one, it's a sign that during the day you are never on your knees. It is possible to arrange flowers in a hoop, lift a teacup, read a book, and point out tasks to your servant. The hoop was a sign of class; it's restriction meant luxury. Like the Chinese aristocrat with fingernails a yard long, it tells a story: "I do not work for money."
And I did notice among some of the extras a touch of envy among those of us who swished along in our private balloons. Our movements might have been hampered, but we took up a lot of space, and that space, I realized, was a matter of pride.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Richard Blakeborough

No doubt exists in the minds of many people now, that hedgehogs milk the cows. (1) It seems they creep up to them whilst they are resting, and draw milk from them. My old friend told me they always killed a hedgehog whenever they saw one, for that reason.

One Nancy Newgill, a Broughton witch, used to set hedgehogs to milk the cows of those she had a spite against, and it was commonly believed that at times she used to turn herself into one, and then 'neeabody's coos had onny chance'; anyway, there was one hedgehog that could run as fast as a hare, and never was 'catched, ner killed, ner nowt.'

This Nancy Newgill cast a spell on a certain Martha Brittain, from which she could obtain no ease, no matter what she took; so off to the wise man (2) Martha went. She was told to go to Stokesley and buy a new fire-shovel, upon which she had to chalk Nancy's name (3) ; then to make a cake - the ingredients need not be given - and, after closing her doors and window, the cake was to be baked upon the shovel resting on the fire. This was done at four o' clock in the afternoon (4).

Now, at the time the cake was being baked, Nancy Newgill was 'luking' weeds in a field a mile away, and standing quite close to her was my informant, Mrs. Peary.
Suddenly Nancy clapped her hand on her stomach crying out,
'Ah mun gan yam! Ah mun gan yam!'
She left the field and was ill for days after; but Martha Brittain began to mend straight away, and was as right as she could ever be.

(1) I met a man in the train the other day who said that he had often seen them sucking.

(2) Henry Wilson of Broughton, was a wise man of some repute after Wrighton's time.

(3) Something like Sadler and Clarke's method.

(4) The usual time was midnight; this case, so far as I know, is unique.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Haruki Murakami

"Have you fallen in love with somebody, by any chance?" he asks.
"You seem kind of out of it."
I don't have any idea how I should respond. "Oshima," I finally say, "this is a pretty weird thing to ask, but do you think it's possible for someone to become a ghost while they're still alive?"
He stops straightening up the counter and looks at me. "A very interesting question, actually. Are you asking about the human spirit in a literary sense - metaphorically, in other words? Or do you mean in actual fact?"
"More in actual fact, I guess," I say.
"The assumption that ghosts really exist?"
Oshima removes his glasses, wipes them with his handkerchief and puts them back on. "That's what's called a 'living spirit'. I don't know about in foreign countries, but that kind of thing appears a lot in Japanese literature. The Tale of Genji, for instance, is filled with living spirits. In the Heian period - or at least in it's psychological realm - on occasion people could become living spirits and travel through space to carry out whatever desires they had. Have you read Genji?"
I shake my head.
"Our library has a couple of modern translations, so it might be a good idea to read one. Anyway, an example is when Lady Rokujo - she is one of Prince Genji's lovers - becomes so consumed with jealousy over Genji's main wife, Lady Aoi, that she turns into an evil spirit that possesses her. Night after night she attacks Lady Aoi in her bed until she finally kills her. Lady Aoi was pregnant with Genji's child, and that news is what inspired Lady Rokujo's hatred. Genji calls in priests to exorcise the evil spirit, but to no avail. The evil spirit is impossible to resist.
"But the most interesting part of the story is that Lady Rokujo had no inkling that she'd become a living spirit. She'd have nightmares and wake up, only to discover that her long black hair smelled of smoke. Not having any idea what was going on, she was totally confused. In fact, the smoke came from the incense the priests lit as they prayed for Lady Aoi. Completely unaware of it, she'd been flying through space and passing through the tunnel of her subconscious into Aoi's bedroom. This is one of the most uncanny and thrilling episodes in Genji. Later when Lady Rokujo learns what she's been doing, she regrets the sins she's committed and shaves off her hair and renounces the world."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

FAB 208 (1971)


Francoise Hardy:
"One of the surest ways to attract and hold a boy is permanently to smell gorgeous. I use Vent Vert by Balmain - perfume or cologne - and in my daily bath I put Sea Water Concentrate by Revlon. It's expensive but the fragrance is worth the cost!"

Judith Durham:
"From my experience, boys hate thick make-up. So for a smoother, more natural make-up always apply your foundation with a damp sponge. Doing it this way means your make-up won't hide your face, just enhance it. Besides, the less you use, the less the cost!"

Carol Dilworth:
"A tip for blondes - wash your hair as usual then put some Borax in the rinsing water. That's an idea passed on from my mother. Doing this keeps my hair soft and shining, and I'm sure it's the reason that I'm still a natural blonde. Once when I stopped using Borax for a while my hair started to go darker."


Grace James

Day and night he kept Tamamo by his side. He grew rough and fierce and passionate, so that his servants feared to approach him. He grew sick, listless and languid, he pined, and his physicians could do nothing for him.
"Alas and alack," they cried, "what ails the Divinely Descended? Of a surety he is bewitched. Woe! woe! for he will die upon our hands."
"Out upon them, every one," cried the Mikado, "for a pack of tedious fools. As for me, I will do my own will and pleasure."
He was mad with love for Tamamo.
He took her to his Summer Palace, where he prepared a great feast in her honour. To the feast were bidden all the highest in the land, princes and lords and ladies of high estate; and, willy-nilly, to the Summer Palace they all repaired, where was the Mikado, wan and wild, and mad with love, and Tamamo by his side, attired in scarlet and cloth of gold. Radiantly fair she was, and she poured the Mikado's sake out of a golden flagon.
He looked into her eyes.
"Other women are feeble toys beside you," he said. "There's not a woman here who's fit to touch the end of your sleeve.
O Tamamo, how I love you..."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BE MY BABY (1991)

Ronnie Spector

Skinny Yellow Horse. That was the name the black kids had for me when I was growing up, because I had light skin and I was so small that I'd always kick like a little pony whenever I got in a fight. And I was always getting beat up. PS 153 on 145th Street and Amsterdam Avenue was one of the toughest black schools in Harlem, and the kids were always making fun of me. 'Hey, half-breed,' they'd yell, 'get your ass back to the reservation.'
I didn't have it as bad as my sister.

Alfred Hitchcock


'Perhaps a rolling pin; a jungle knife brought back from the Amazon country years ago by the original owner who had traveled with Theodore Roosevelt; a dose of poison in the soup; a thin but strong cord across the top of the staircase...
Such was the grandeur of yesteryear, when murder was done with flair and imagination.
Of course we all recall the story of Lizzie Borden who took an ax and gave her parents forty whacks.
And then there was the gentleman on December 31, 1913, who stabbed his wife to death, dissected her body, and sent the pieces to friends and relatives with best wishes for a most enjoyable New Year.
The press would be much enlivened by a good garroting or a woman tied and left on a railroad track (of course, one would have to be sure the trains are still running).
I cannot promise such excitement in the future, but I can promise you a shudderingly good time in the pages to come.'