:::this is the way the world ends:::

Month: March 2007 (Page 1 of 2)

Summer Approaches…

It is actually 70 degrees here in Minnesota. Which means we only have three or four more snow storms before summer arrives. That got us thinking…

Are any and all of you interested in coming to Minnesota for a weekend at the Aspengren lake place? After talking previously with J. E. and Toby about this, it seems a non-holiday weekend would work best for many of us. That said, let us know if this sounds fun and if there’s a good weekend that you could take the drive or flight up this way. It would be terrific to have you.

Jen’s parents’ place is great–four bedrooms, two bathrooms, very family friendly. There’s a good kitchen too, a nice patio for outdoor lounging, and they have a dock in the lake with boat and jetski. Lots of fun things to do in the little town of Elysian, MN, about one mile away. There are great paved bike and running trails that run for miles.

No HUGE rush, but if we’re thinking of doing this in early June or some such we should begin making plans so we can all get it on the calendar.

Spring (and All) Poetry Post

A necessary poem from William Carlos Williams for our first weekend of spring.


Spring and All

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines–

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches–

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind–

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined–
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance–Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

Dis’n’dat Music Thursday

I’m about to let you behind the scenes a bit on my music posting habits. 

I begin with gathering songs from trusted music blog sites (other than Hollow Men — a Trusted Music Blogging Site in its own right), my own collection, borrowed tracks from “friends,” and tracks sent to me in the mail by promoters.  I then sit on the tracks for a while and let them percolate.  The ones that float to the top, I ease in a post somewhere. 

From time to time, I’ll realize it’s Music Thursday and either 1) give up or 2)frantically find some some selections.*  It’s interesting how much music hits me the first time, but then loses its appeal on subsequent listenings.  As Fruit Stripe is to gum, these songs are to music.

First up this week are a couple of songs I’ve been listening to whenever I go to my random collected tracks folder.  I find myself going back to them first whenever I fire up some music.  From the mellow and lilting blend of Dean and Britta to more conventional (but comforting) rock chords of Longview. 

01 Dean and Britta | “Words You Used to Say”
02 Longview | “Will You Wait Here”

A continuation of J.E.’s concert-going post,  I am pleased to bring you:
03 Explosions in the Sky | “Welcome, Ghosts”

And Finally, a few selections from a band that has been in heavy rotation in my car over the past couple of weeks. From their album Slingshot Echoes.

04 Mezzanine Owls | “Lightbulb”
05 Mezzanine Owls | “We Don’t”
06 Mezzanine Owls | “A Draft”
07 Mezzanine Owls | “Flashing Lights”

*I do love that “Turn My Camera On” track.  I get lucky with my frantically posted selections often.

Post Omnibus

This is my official return to the blog.

(pause for applause.)

1) Our house is on the market now and we’ve had some stong interest already. I’ll post the MLS listing as soon as it is available.

2) I came across the painting below, Gasthof zur Muldentalsperre by Peter Doig, in an old issue of Harper’s that had been lying around for a few months. I reminded me a bit of some of Ned’s work. Especially Concrete Cabin. I’ve had some Doig’s images on my computer desk top for a few weeks now. I think they’re in my dreams now.

3) Here is another modern use of the pipe organ: Megalomania from an early Muse album, Origin of Symmetry. And another track thrown in for good measure: New Born. My guess is that Muse is a bit too bombastic for the tastes of the Hollow Men brothers but I like their baroque operaticism. Their newer albums are more refined but, sadly, they don’t feature the pipe organ. Some people say Muse sounds like Radiohead but a close listening will reveal that Muse is much more romantic and hot-blooded than the ultra-cool Radiohead. Perhaps Muse could be described as a blending of the best of Radiohead and Queen.

4) I am currently reading The Mill and the Cross: Peter Bruegel’s “Way to Calvary” by Machael Francis Gibson — very well written art history. Reading one book about one painting is very enjoyable. I only wish I could see the painting first hand.


Saint Patrick’s Poetry Post


Two poems for you this Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. The first from Seamus Heaney, his ars poetica. The second from Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, about her decision to write in the Irish language, followed by an English translation by Paul Muldoon.



Personal Helicon

for Michael Longley

As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.

A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

–Seamus Heaney

Continue reading

Stuck in my Head Music Thursday

Okay, I found this album in my mailbox about two weeks ago (thanks TL).  It’s been on heavy rotation in my car and office — it’s catchy, and a couple of the tunes instantly stuck.  It’s kinda like the black symbiote Spidey suit, but instead of giving me unending webbing, it whistles tunes in my head.

I have provided the catchiest of the catchy below, so they can also be stuck in your head.   Then when we call each other we can communicate by whistling the tunes.

Click on the links below, if you dare…. 

Peter, Bjorn and John | Writer’s Block

01 Young Folks
02 Amsterdam
03 Up Against the Wall (probably my favorite pick — I love songs that build)
04 Paris 2004


I also found this nifty new online service called Slacker.  They have a special SXSW channel, so you can tune in to some of the bands in J.E.’s part of the world this week.

Poetry Post

Here’s a brief poem by one of my teachers, Mary Jo Bang. –Shotts

The Cruel Wheel Turns Twice

And tightens until language can’t bear this
Hollowing, crash cart, Please. In the silence,
A bus slithers by

A din. The aluminium morning moves like a train,
A metal rod
Exiting a tunnel, dropped in a gate groove.

Disappointment. And again The End gate
Opens and it’s, Please
Come back. Please Be. Then nothing. Only end-

Less night taking off from the tarmac black.
The potpie clock, its stock of twelve numbers,
A stew for the weak and the weary.

The small war of the heart made bigger
By far in the world.
And daylight a gift.

Small cog after cog slips into the hour
And razor thin minute slot without stop.
And daylight a gift tied with some tinsel.

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