Harvesting light on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November

Any person, any human, any someone who breaks
          up the fight, who spackles holes or FedExes
ice shelves to the Arctic to keep the polar bears
          afloat, who talks the wind-rippled woman
down from the bridge. Any individual, any citizen
          who skims muck from the coughing ocean,
who pickets across the street from antigay picketers
          with a sign that reads, GOD HATES MAGGOTS,
          LESS THAN 27. Any civilian who kisses
a forehead heated by fever or despair, who reads
          the X ray, pins the severed bone. Any biped
who volunteers at soup kitchens, who chokes
          a Washington lobbyist with his own silk necktie—
I take that back, who gives him mouth-to-mouth
          until his startled heart resumes its kabooms.
Sorry, I get cynical sometimes, there is so much
          broken in the system, the districts, the crooked
thinking, I’m working on whittling away at this
          pessimism, harvesting light where I can find it.
Any countryman or countrywoman who is still
          trying, who still pushes against entropy,
who stanches or donates blood, who douses fires
          real or metaphorical, who rakes the earth
where tires once zeroed the ground, plants something
          green, say spinach or kale, say a modest forest
for restless breezes to play with. Any anyone
          from anywhere who considers and repairs,
who builds a prosthetic beak for an eagle—
          I saw the video, the majestic bird disfigured
by a bullet, the visionary with a 3-D printer,
          with polymer and fidelity, with hours
and hours and hours, I keep thinking about it,
          thinking we need more of that commitment,
those thoughtful gestures, the flight afterward.



The Blues of Distance

The blue of distance comes with time, with the discovery of melancholy, of loss, the texture of longing, of the complexity of the terrain we traverse, and with the years of travel. If sorrow and beauty are all tied up together, then perhaps maturity brings with it not … abstraction, but an aesthetic sense that partially redeems the losses time brings and finds beauty in the faraway.
Some things we have only as long as they remain lost, some things are not lost only so long as they are distant.
R. Solnit


Anyone who is an artist or writer comes up against a reality in which their work is judged in relationship to all the other work being made, and as a result you somehow get placed into a category—by other people, by institutions, by whom you know, by what school you attended. All of these things accrue to your value. We often look to the exceptions, and they supposedly make the rule, but in fact, the rule is that one usually doesn’t become a major art star, one usually doesn’t become a bestseller. Making art of any kind puts you in an ambiguous position, because even if you win every award in the world, it doesn’t mean that your work is great. It can be very self-defeating as an artist to think about value.

Lynne Tillman

No. 45: A Room Filled With Situation


Visual Dilettante

The cure for boredom curiosity
There is no cure for curiosity

Dorothy Parker