30 December 2016

On Messiah by Georg Friedrich Händel

"And the gentiles shall come to thy light."

During that last century, my brother's nine-year-old friend tried to art-shame me in front of his friends while they were putting on boots to trudge out into the joy of snow in South Jersey as I played Messiah on vinyl. He said, "He's listening to opera!" I corrected, snippily: "It's an oratorio."

Every year, at Christmastide and Eastertide, we dust off this score and play the piece: Messiah by Georg Friedrich Händel and Charles Jennens: one of the staggering works of western civilization. 

One cannot comprehend its strange scope and power but only try to humbly accept its knowledge, pleasure, and art. And partly why it is so is because a German composer, living in England, set a King James Version biblical text, curated by Jennens along with items from The Book of Common Prayer, which is almost devoid of narrative and filled with ideology, theology, and eschatological musings. It is also joyous and frightening and stupefyingly beautiful.

I sometimes wonder what is its opposite number. Is it Orff's Carmina Burana or Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel, both twentieth century works? Will we ever know? We will never know.

I prefer original score, instruments, and style as much as we can find them, but there are many gorgeous recordings of this piece. And if you ever can, go hear it live.

Do yourself a favor and reacquaint yourself with Messiah

13 December 2016


"God, that moon is bright!"


He glides into the room
Fairly wearing the half-world,
The demimonde trailing behind
Him in whisps, squid-ink
Clouds painted across the
Crepuscular moon, the iris
Of an hooded eye, in the twilit sky.
He is replete with the

Perfume of sex, controlled
Substances, late night street
Walking, cigarettes, the characters
You'd never want your mother
To meet, the smells of the world.
The French say world,
But the Germans hear moon.
Which only makes sense.

L. Steve Schmersal, Demimondaine, December 2016

11 December 2016

de Man is Da Man, yo?

The 6th of December is Paul de Man's birthday. From his--as the amazing Michael Riffaterre calls it--"seminal discussion of Nietzsche's On Truth and Lie," de Man makes a bold statement about poetry that I have spent several years pondering profitably:
What we call the lyric, the instance of represented voice includes the grammatical transformation of the declarative into the vocative modes of question, exclamation, address, hypothesis, etc., the tropological transformation of analogy into apostrophe or the equivalent, more general… transformation of trope into anthropomorphism.
He redescribes poetry as a series of figural moves of the voice and then resolves it into anthropomorphism. It's brilliant. It's fucking brilliant. It is a laser beam-direct insight into what makes representative language (and there is no other kind) happen, on the level of Rhetoric, on the level of Grammar (which he played with in oppositions, throughout his late career), as such. It is vital. It is indispensable. And I don't care if important readers, like Lydia Davis, whom I admire, and Louis Menand, who is an idiot, don't care for de Man. He's one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, even if he wasn't really a Nazi.

Have a great day.

10 December 2016

I don't know why you're listening to me...

The subtlety of my argument is guaranteed to irritate you. My argument is not subtle for that reason, and it irritates me that subtlety is the problem that stands between us and an understanding. But I will not cede that ground to you.

Small things are large, and it's not my problem that you can't see that.

It has always been, and it always will be, your problem. Even when, and as, I always lose.

13 October 2016

Bering Down

We are all immigrants to this land..
No human life took hold in the western hemisphere, until immigrants, who crossed the Bering Strait/Sea, long ago, in our prehistory, settled it.

After that, the settlers were all people from across either of the oceans that nestle us in "the West"--an area surprisingly "protected" by the, so-called, Monroe Doctrine--some of them, even in the earliest days before the Republic for which the American flag stands, brought here forcibly to labor without pay and to make more people, their children, who would also be forced to labor without pay, and to foster grandchildren, great, great-great, and great-great-great, great-great-great-great grandchildren, to be ensnared until the present day and after in American law and the "Justice" system, to be imprisoned, paid lower wages, to be denied the franchise, and to, on the average, die at a younger age, unless they were made to join the lowest ranks of the armed forces as cannon fodder or, often unarmed, shot dead by the police.

We are all immigrants to this land. This land, which is your land, this land, which is my land, from California to the New York Island(s), from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. This land, which, in point of actual fact, was not made for you and me, but which is a land upon which we are all living, so, we certainly had better start figuring out how to get along better, because none of us is going anywhere. Except for the very old, who tend to vote Republican.

We are all immigrants to this land.

11 October 2016

Have a nice day in the Patriarchy, everyone!

For a story so disturbing, I loved this wry account from one woman of the world we live in, which is, as many women know, a rape culture. You know you want to read this New Yorker piece by Mary Karr, because it's really funny and has a sort of happy ending.

Or the kind of happy ending we're allowed, these days.

On a spring day in recent memory, I was strolling up Ninth Avenue alone, after leaving a bistro lunch with a gentleman caller and my soon-to-finish-N.Y.U. son. It was sunny but not yet steaming. Businessmen had their ties tugged loose or suit jackets slung over their shoulders. There were floral frocks and filmy blouses among the adorably pierced and punked-out goths of Hell’s Kitchen. I could almost feel the financial yoke of my son’s college tuition slipping off my neck. 
Then an approaching guy chatting equably with a tall friend dodged at me to grab my crotch. I don’t mean brushed by it maybe accidentally; I mean he grabbed between my legs with a meaty claw, big as a waffle iron. He also called me the C-word with breath that stank of beer. Then he passed on into a sandwich shop with his buddy.
He wore a royal-blue plaid short-sleeve shirt you might find in a J. Crew ad, nicely hemmed jean shorts, and pricey sneakers. He was half my age and twice my weight and had the wide, muscled form cultivated by Equinox aficionados. Translation: he wasn’t dope sick or a flat-out loon. 
In case you haven’t been on the receiving end of this sort of assault, you should know the primal physiological response it evokes—in this woman, anyway. The stomach drops, as if you’ve been shoved backward from a skyscraper and are flailing through space. Time dismantles. There are more frames per second, and people’s facial features become very specific. This guy had a squashed-down forehead, wide-set eyes, and heavy but neatly waxed brows. 
Cops later told me my description was uncannily detailed—the result, I think, of the kind of change in perception post-traumatic-stress experts call “hypervigilance.” The reptilian area of the brain jolts you either to do battle or to bolt. Adrenaline and cortisol juice through you like a hit of meth, so you might find yourself still up and jittery at 4 a.m. (maybe even watching something as god-awful as “Waterworld,” the way I later did). 
I stood outside the doorway of the sandwich shop—pulse pounding in my ears, my heart doing mule kicks in my chest. Inside, the Grabber, as I thought of him, was waiting in line to order a sandwich. He was fine; I was the one with the problem. 
Shame hit, a cold backwash of elemental shame: something bad had been done to me; therefore I was bad. Even though I knew better, I started scanning for how I’d incited this. Pedestrians glided past. A sandwich was being made. I took stock of what I had on: in some ways, I wish I had been wearing booty shorts and Lucite heels and prissing past the Port Authority Bus Terminal holding my décolletage in my hands and saying “hubba hubba.” I should be able to dress that way if the urge possesses me.
Instead, I was wearing a modest dress and platform slides with big cork soles to save the feet from pounding concrete. For an instant, the shoes looked radiantly slutty, the old-maid equivalent of dominatrix spikes. I was drenched in sweat, and part of me wanted to bolt the two blocks to my apartment, scramble up the stairs, double-latch the door, and crawl behind some heavy furniture. But inside all that noise in my head, some space bar got hit, and a moment of quiet opened up.
One good side effect of a childhood as chaotic as my own is that I’ve worked up habits that can pay off in the middle of a butt-whipping. (I take twenty minutes of silence morning and night, and I see a therapist.) While the Grabber paid for his tidily wrapped sandwich, I noticed all the young women passing by—some, yes, in booty shorts, and with bodacious tatas—and I thought, If this sick bastard will do this to me in broad daylight, what’s he doing to these young’uns at 3 a.m.? My mind shuffled through the myriad times that run-ins like this had happened before. Then I came to and shouted from the doorway, “Not today! Not this bitch! You picked the wrong woman to fuck with today!”
The counter guy, bills in hand, craned around the line to see the madwoman outside. As the Grabber half-turned, the size of him shocked me and I backed away farther, to the other side of a parking meter, where my eyes could still shoot flying cartoon daggers at his broad back, albeit with some yardage between us.
Then a voice rose from the sidewalk. “What’d he do?” It was a man on a rectangle of cardboard you might normally step around.
“He grabbed”—polite words didn’t seem fierce enough, and the gross ones struck me as obscene—“my private zone!” This was the name my kid’s grade-school teacher had used for any area covered by a bathing suit: private zone.
So many guys might shrug it off: What’s the big deal? This one jutted his jaw out, saying, “He cain’t do that” with such fire that I started dialing 911. In a moment, I was on with a police dispatcher, describing the Grabber as he got his change and hustled out of the shop with his friend. They ignored me and started to get away, walking fast toward the bus station. My new friend on the cardboard said, “Go, go, go!” and I started to trot. They broke into a sprint, outpacing me right off.
Around Forty-first Street, a cop car pulled up, and I hopped in and recounted it all as they peeled out like they do on “Law & Order.” The female officer riding shotgun radioed the description I gave her to other cops, who nabbed him and hauled him, handcuffed, before me outside the Port Authority. “That’s him!” I said. He was blank-eyed, as if this whole thing were happening to somebody else. His buddy was amped up, though, claiming his friend hadn’t done anything. I shot back that that was horse hockey—yes, he had—and the buddy walked off as an officer put the Grabber in the back of a cruiser.
How satisfying was all this? Very.
En route to the station, the female officer looked back through the cage: Did I need counselling? I told her I’d had enough counselling to chase the sucker up Ninth Avenue.
I only wanted to press charges.
I filed a report. Later they told me the guy was a thirty-something from Jersey. He had a light rap sheet with no record of sexual assault. Nobody ever called me to court, but the cops had cuffed him, dragged him out of the bus station, and booked him. A woman should be able to count on follow-through from the justice system—they’d eventually fail to charge him—but at least he spent a night at Rikers. At the time, I felt somewhat vindicated.
For days after, I kept chewing on what thrill the Grabber got from his move. It just won’t translate to my gender. There are plenty of guys I might fancy kissing on the mouth, but to grab a passing one in the crotch and say, nice package? One pal joked, “Oh, yeah, try it,” suggesting that, for men, any sexual overture is welcome. I asked how he’d feel if a fellow weighing three-forty cornered him somewhere isolated and manhandled him. Suddenly this struck him as way more sinister.
Statistics show that nearly twenty per cent of women in the U.S. have been raped at some point in their lives, and around forty-four per cent of women have reported some other kind of sexual violence. But I suspect that the figure is more like a hundred per cent for women who will have endured things many men might consider minor—an unwelcome penis pressed against your leg at a party; being humped at the water cooler; being fondled, lunged at, felt up, squeezed, rubbed against. Verbal assaults few try to count. I’m glad to have aged out of the days when every street worker or blunt-puffing idler was part of a masculine gantlet I had to clear.
Since ending a ten-year relationship this fall, I’ve been subject to several gropings and gross jibes of the type you’d expect behind a junior-high gym dance, and they’ve been delivered by grownups, putative pals, not one of whom I even dimly considered getting jiggy with. Did they think that coarsely describing some body part or restraining me in locked arms or bending me over furniture would help to bed me? A few tried to say that at my age I should be flattered.
Not all offenses hurt the same way. Crude cracks seldom overwhelm the way a physical attack can. Nor are the sloppy lunges of somebody at a well-lit party as intimidating as some random dude grabbing you in an alley. One girlfriend of mine had a stranger in a first-class cabin turn his computer to show her snakes coming out of a woman’s private zone. It deeply upset her. “Some things you just can’t unsee.” At a Thanksgiving dinner where I hosted my son and his fiancée, a boorish guest showed everybody smartphone shots he’d taken of a woman’s breasts. (I told him that if I wanted to look at boobs, I’d go to a titty bar.) The point is: even a boundary violation mild enough to invoke nudges and winks among less sympathetic people can leave you feeling slimy.
Underlying all these actions exists the apparently unshakable tenet that any expression of male sexuality is somehow normal and every man’s right, whether or not a woman on the receiving end is repulsed or upset by it. All of us—male and female—envision all manner of erotic encounters without acting them out. But many of my male friends brush aside the behaviors that women find truly scary, the kind we know from experience can be the prelude to a nasty or even dangerous run-in. And something in the repetition of these behaviors—and in the culture’s blindness to the insult—wires itself into your body fibres and instills a debilitating sense that you’re not quite safe walking around.
My therapist—less a how-do-you-feel-about-that nodder than a wry commenter on my human comedy—didn’t argue with my estimate that all women have been to some degree sexually assaulted (as she was, as every one of her female patients over thirty-plus years has been). “It’s nothing you’re doing,” she said, adding that guys who force themselves on ninety-year-olds don’t target them for how hot they are but for how easily overpowered. 
My own pet opinion is that the guys who make creepy comments on the street or grab you or constantly seek to reassert sexual possibilities in ways that make you uncomfortable aren’t just oafs. They seem to get a perverse thrill from mortifying you. That’s why I chased the Grabber down. It bothers me to say that it took a man’s urging to give me the gumption. Still, I’ve often wanted to find that guy living on a piece of cardboard, to thank him.
No matter your chromosomal sex, let us all be the wrong woman you picked to fuck with today.
Let us all be not-this-bitch.

Think about that.

If you know how to think.

May you only be a man who has only boy children, so you never have to learn how to think. Because thought is hard. And you might have to change your mind. Or learn something. Or learn anything.

I don't need to be a parent or a husband to a female member of our species to value the other sex or defend her against singular or epidemic expressions of sexual predation or assault.

We need to have compassion for women, support, nurture, and celebrate them, because we are all people, they are people, and all people should be given a real chance to thrive. Plus, as Tony Kushner wrote, it's harder for women.

Have a nice day in the Patriarchy, everyone, it's the International Day for the Girl Child Day!--it's like Labor Day for girls! And there never was a more delightfully clunky, cross-multiple-languages expression of support for women--or people--that I can I imagine.

Have a great day.

04 October 2016

Autumn is Coming

Autumn Comes

when the Autumn comes
when the everything is overgrown with green
when the sky is too blue
when the heads of the dead
nod at you
longing to be cut off
when the color of dry leaves raw
earth and dust
rings across
your face
as a smell
I think
of you and
love you
more than I could have
ever even have thought

L. Steve Schmersal, Autumn Comes, October 2016

19 September 2016

On Hillary Rodham Clinton

I recently had the privilege of participating in an incredibly rich exchange about our current political scene on my friend D's Facebook page. My friend, P, wrote the following:
I am not going to pretend all of a sudden I adore Hillary - Who's going to buy that? What I do say is simply this: "You may hate Hillary, I'm not happy with her either, but any damage she does can be undone relatively quickly. The damage Trump does? We'll be decades. And everything we want from Single Payer to a much-narrowed gap between rich and poor? That will be pushed back for generations. Think tactically."
I've been holding back for some time on the topic, but this was my reply:

While I endorse this view--and I do--I also think there is a Third Way, and that way is to actually acknowledge and embrace Clinton's very real, very important, and often overlooked positive aspects and her long history of entirely endorsable work in the real world, especially her--from the start of her career in public service (and her career is one of public service, as such)--advocacy for low income people and of course children and women.

I am a political radical and a Marxist. And while incrementalism has had some marked successes, it also poses a dangerous stasis, especially on the American topic of race. Clinton has often depended on triangulation and Real Politik for decision making. I am disappointed in the way that the Clintons skate on this side of propriety without seeming to be able to see how much it damages them in the media and the eyes on it. Nonetheless, she has never been even charged with a crime--despite enormous industry and money spent trying to do so, usually on the public dime--and is listed by Politicfact--and others--as one of our most honest politicians. The endless attempts to discredit her are simple misogyny through and through. I say this as someone who also didn't like Clinton for a very long time, but when I took the time to look at her record and read a wider sample of opinions about her, I found someone I could believe in. And like. Yes, I fucking like the bitch.

I have had enormous problems with Obama's administration, but for all the bad, Republican-courting choices and extensions of the last Bush Presidency, we have a kazillion missed opportunities made so by the Republican Congress. Will Clinton provide an Obama extension? Sure. Probably for the exact same reasons, but the thing is this: warts and all, Clinton is a from-the-start public servant. She's tough, she's smart, she's industrious and tenacious, she's been through it all, the only other presidential candidate who could possibly have been more, or equally, qualified than her was George H. W. Bush. Yet she keeps putting herself through this media/opinion nightmare to really try to make a substantive difference. It can't be as simple as greed as her detractors more than imply, or simply state. This woman has to really give a red rat's ass about our country to go through the wringer like this again. It matters to her, in an way that it doesn't to Donald Trump. He's a shady real estate developer and casino owner, who has devoted his life to making as much money for himself as possible while grifting the system, buying politicians, and bilking the working men and women doing the actual work for his company as much as possible. Whereas she has spent the entirety of her adult life, from the beginning, trying to make the world better for those less fortunate than her. She has made some poor choices, but having a private email server, which both Colin Powell (whatever he may or may not have said to her) and Condoleezza Rice--both former Secretaries of State--also used, is interesting on the one hand, but an over-analyzed, non-starter waste of time on the other hand, especially when compared to Trump's long trail of bullying, not paying, or underpaying his contractors, day laborers, wage slaves, and even his lawyers, The trail of Trump's legal adventures that were settled out of court--or not settled out of court--would fill a book many times larger than the unsuccessful attempts to make something remotely similar stick to Clinton. It's a matter of legal record, which anyone can look up.

In my opinion, if a person can't find a way to see Clinton in a positive light--whatever her or his original or earlier political allegiances or investments--then I feel that person's opinion lacks nuance and lacks a healthy curiosity, an open mindedness, and is influenced more by the dimension of our overwhelming, nearly monolithic, unreconstructed, sexist, news-culture industry, which is better characterized by FOX News than MacNeil/Lehrer.

If you can be open to her actually being a good thing, instead of a nose-hold-voting bad thing, it will make your argument stronger. And in the unbearable torture chamber of this election, we need strong arguments, more than anything else. We have to flip this script, not because it's a tactic to evade Trump in the White House, but because the script is just flat-out wrong.

It's really true. #imwithher.

My sister replied:
Well said! Thanks for expressing so many important points. Thanks also to P. Everyone, think - and more importantly vote - tactically!
I replied:

I do endorse P's perspective, entirely. I really, really do. I respect it, and I understand it. And if that is the most positive-thinking mindset toward Clinton that a person gets to, then I support the hard struggle they've made to get there--which we are all, as (hopefully) thinking participants, in this election, making: a hard struggle. I invite Trump supporters to also think tactically and deeply--I want everyone who is passionate about his or her candidate to get out and vote and encourage others to do the same.

But I will say this: I did not decide to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton because she is the lesser of two evils, the slightly less unlikeable of the, as the media endlessly insists, two most disliked candidates in the history of American politics. By the way, I find this comparison facetious and preposterous: Clinton and Trump do not even belong in the same sentence much less the same category, despite the fact that I have put them both in the same sentence, here. :o)

I decided to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton because, despite her faults, and she has them, I think she would make a good President for us. For all of us. And I think she will honestly work hard to do so, make mistakes, some of them stupid ones, and then continue to do her very best and work hard to be a good President for all of us.

That is what I honestly think.

What do you honestly think?

Before you answer, and before you vote, though, think. Think honestly. Don't just feel and react. Think.

Have a great day.

17 September 2016

In the Midnight Blue

A Large Pot of Chrysanthemums

Blooming, yearning
Up toward the
Sky, like baby
Birds, like stars, in
The midnight blue.

L. Steve Schmersal, A Large Pot of Chrysanthemums, September 2016.

17 August 2016

The World Looks Like This

In the teeny-tiny economy of the baby, the world looks like this:

I get milk.
You get shit.

Think of that overwhelming joy of the infant when it finally is able to give something to The Breast! To give something "back." Indeed, the only object it can give. I made this for you! I love you!

This is why Freud so perceptively equated shit with gifts and money. And, of course, vice versa.

11 August 2016

The Ninth of August

Linda Maestra! "Pretty Teacher!"
Francisco Goya, circa 1819-23

The Ninth of August

Having a smoke outside,
It lightens tonight in
Ohio, in a rainless
Cloudsky. This puts one in
Mind of Goya's witches,
Flying correctly, naked, with the
Business end of the broom
Forward, nothing like Margaret
Hamilton. By the pricking of
My thumbs, indeed. I'll
Show you something wicked.
It comes like the Trinity, ice-
Cold, one for each
Orifice, and Goya's ever-bored
Face of the Devil.

L. Steve Schmersal, The Ninth of August, August 2016

Aquelarre, "Witches' Sabbath,"
Francisco Goya, 1798

19 June 2016

My Problem

Hi. I wanted to explore some of my problems. This won't take up much of your time, but that is my problem.

My Problem

My problem isn't you, my problem is me.

I want you to listen for more then thirty seconds or 250 characters. That's MY problem.

My problem is that I want you to not get bored when it's not about you.

My problem is that I want you to enjoy nuance, difference, difficulty, and long sentences, inclusive of commas and semicolons.

My problem is that you fear the unfamiliar.

MY problem is that you neither know what you want nor have ever explored why you want it.

I don't care why you're overwhelmed by your job, my problem is that you are overwhelmed by the fact that you're overwhelmed by your job, don't have the tools to talk about it, and pretend that you are not and that you do.

My problem is that you are so afraid of the truth about your life that you cling to demonstrably absurd "truths" about your life that hurt and destroy others, daily, rather than consider any alternative.

These are my problems.

What are your problems?

18 June 2016

Ein Witzermärchen

Ein Witzermärchen

Nur ein Witzermärchen:
How does it go? Like an

Old riddle, cliché, or
Joke. The clown approaches

The kid with the balloon
And pops the balloon.

The child starts to weep. The
Clown laughs: the air is free!

L. Steve Schmersal, Ein Witzermärchen, June 2016

15 June 2016

I Post Song Lyrics Sometimes: F**cking with the Altimeter

F**cking with the Altimeter

Give me some love.

Give me some love.

Give me some love.

God save us all.

Give me some love.

Give me some love.
     Give me some love
Give me some love.
        Give me some love
Give me some love.
              Give me some love
Give me some love.
              Give me some love

No more flowers for you. 
  Give me some love.
So when you see an empty face
     Give me some love.
you'll know it's supposed to be a clue.
           Give me some love.
Not just a mishap
some kind of creep forgot.
   Give me some love. 

Now, tell me, how does paralysis feel?
       Give me some love.
Like you're trapped in a light beam
           Give me some love.
part of the atom stream
   Give me some love.
that oozes down through the glass.
   Give me some love.
Enough for me, you can't
                      Give me some love.
penetrate my physical field.

Zip with silver airplanes quivering down.
Under the fuselage.
Elementary aeronautics ground.
Look at me now, I'm a wreck!

How 'bout a kiss?

My oxygen's lost in those lungs again.
How 'bout a kiss?
Somebody give me my oxygen.
   How 'bout a kiss?
I need to breathe.
       How 'bout a kiss?
Before I forget.
            How 'bout a kiss?
i'm going into oxygen debt.
                 How 'bout a kiss?

I think your flesh is separated
        How 'bout a kiss?
from the sins it commits
and that explains
  How 'bout a kiss?
why you smile when you balance
         How 'bout a kiss?
on your stack of regrets.
    How 'bout a kiss?
Nobody's with you this time.
How does it feel?

One flight down
the aeronaut was found.
Under the fuselage.
Friends leave before
we feed the carnivore.
Look at me now, I'm a wreck!

Such a pretty bird

Such a
Such a pretty bird

Such a

Such a pretty bird

F**king with the Altimeter
Bonsai Superstar

10 June 2016

We Stand, Not Quite in Lines

We Stand, Not Quite in Lines

We stand, not quite in lines,
Waiting, looking downstream;
There is no stirring of
The air for some time, then
A wetted finger might
Know. Now, a penumbra

Hails us from the dark, from
Deep inside the tunnel,
From the direction whence
We leave, then a single
Eye flashes, then two
Where one once flash'd, till

The breeze a wind becomes
And suddenly in glass
And steel, repeating only
I only see my my
My face, my my face, my
Face. My face. My face. My face.

L. Steve Schmersal, We Stand, Not Quite in Lines, June 2016

06 June 2016


In the man's own hand, supposedly. In that Wilde hand.

It really comes down to the question of which you love more: the thing you love or ruining the thing you love or ruining the love for the thing you love or ruining the love of the thing you love. Unfortunately, all of these things may be the same thing. 

In a funny way--both in a way that amuses and a way that is strange; when apprehended with both senses, perhaps in an ironic way, in an uncanny way, which is not to say, in a queer way--this explicates Schadenfreude better than any literal definition, since, of course, the joy we feel when touched by the knowledge of the misfortune of the other must only be an echo of the joy we feel when touched by our own satisfying, familiar misery. For misery loves its own company, as we are told.

24 April 2016

I Post Song Lyrics Sometimes: When Doves Cry

When Doves Cry

Dig if you will
the picture,
Of you and I engaged
in a kiss,
The sweat of your body
covers me,
Can you, my darling,
Can you picture this?

Dream if you can
a courtyard,
An ocean of violets
in bloom,
Animals strike
curious poses,
They feel the heat,
The heat between me and you.

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold?
   So cold
Maybe I'm just too demanding,
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold,

Maybe you're just like my mother,
She's never satisfied,
   She's never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like,
When doves cry.

Touch if you will
my stomach,
Feel how it trembles inside;
You've got the butterflies
all tied up,
Don't make me chase you,
Even doves have pride.

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world so cold?
   World so cold
Maybe I'm just too demanding,
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold;

Maybe you're just like my mother,
She's never satisfied,
   She's never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like,
When doves cry.

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold?
   A world that's so cold?
Maybe I'm just too demanding?
   Maybe, maybe I'm like my father?
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold?
   Ya know he's too bold?

Maybe you're just like my mother?
   Maybe you're just like my mother?
She's never satisfied,
   She's never, never satisfied.
Why do we scream at each other?
   Why do we scream, why?
This is what it sounds like

When doves cry.
   When doves cry.
When doves cry.
   When doves cry.
When doves cry.
   When doves cry.
Don't cry.

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
Prince & the Revolution
When Doves Cry
Purple Rain

15 February 2016

I Post Song Lyrics Sometimes: Working for the Man

She came. Bursting out of Dorset. To make records you'd forego a pint for.

Her confidence is just astonishing. Was anyone ever so confident? Yet, it is only when we are young that we produce such astonishment. Even Polly Jean is not so sure-footed, now. She is more complicated, less direct, and harder to understand. I like her more, less-understood. But I love her no less, then.

Working for the Man

In the night I look for love
Get my strength from the man above

God of piston, god of steel
God is here behind the wheel

I'm just working for the man

Pretty things get in my car
Take them flying, it's not far

Take in handsome, take in me
Look good in my Steel Machine

I'm just working for The Man
Don't you know yet who I am

Working harder for the man
Go around I'm doing good

Get my strength from the Man Above
I'm just working for the man

I'm just doing what I can
Go around I'm doing good

Go around I'm doing good
Go around I'm doing good

Go around I'm doing good
Go around I'm doing good

Go around I'm doing good
Go around I'm doing good

Go around I'm doing good
Go around I'm doing good

PJ Harvey, Working for the Man, To Bring You My Love, 1995.


Here I am

I got it all, got
Gun in hand

I see

They're all my husband
They're on me

We have the stars
We have the trees

We have everything
We need to feed

I'll make babes
You'll make chairs

We'll sell them at
The county fair

We'll walk on
We'll walk tall

We dance once a week
The union hall

We have the stars
We have the trees

We have everything
We need to feed

Here I am

I got it all, got
Gun in hand

I'll sweep the porch
I dust his room

We swing together
On our chair at noon

We have the stars
We have the trees

We have everything
We need to feed

Goodnight, Irene 
Goodnight, Irene

I'll see you 
In my dreams

PJ Harvey, Goodnight, To Bring You My Love, 1995.