Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Three Songs from Aki Kaurismäki's "Proletariat Trilogy"

I've been obsessively watching Aki Kaurismäki films lately. Not only are the films simultaneously bleak and uplifting - in a way that only eastern Europeans can effortlessly create - but the music selections from his films are always great (e.g., see below, Joe Strummer's "Burning Lights" from the wonderful film I Hired A Contract Killer starring Jean-Pierre Léaud).

Varjoja Paratiisissa ("Shadows In Paradise") (1986)
The Renegades: My Heart Must Do the Crying

Ariel (1988)
Casey Bill Weldon: W.P.A. Blues

Tulitikkutehtaan Tyttö ("The Match Factory Girl") (1990)
The Renegades: Cadillac

Bonus: scene from I Hired A Contract Killer (1990)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Waning Gibbous

The weight of the moon
at night
is heavy.
Looking up,
I see
that it is already waning.
Soon, there will be
unsettling nights lacking luminescence.

Current 93: Moonlight, You Will Say

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back Sea Blues (Song for M)

Falling rain cracks
the surface of dirty water.
Radial ripples on the lake
slipping underneath
busy bridge archways
soon to be
waves upon the shore.

Cigarette smoke drifts,
passing slowly
through the air,
above damp streets
Creaky revolutions
of bicycle chains
and the slash of tires
through puddles of rain.

All the lakeside is
like the sound
of slow
typing, juxtaposing
and past.

Through the windowpane
of a bar with no name,
jet lagged and wild-eyed awake,
we watched the falling rain.
In a place where students and stars
drink to become someone
other than who they are -
no matter who they are.
But on this night
when we've just arrived
from a land afar
(where the night
has not overtaken
the day before),
it's only you and I.

And who's to say
we aren't the same
as Parisian lovers
sitting on the Left Bank
of the Seine?

Tomorrow evening,
when the rain has gone,
everyone will be dancing
and having fun,
or on crowded trains chasing
Chang'e to the moon.

Too soon,
it seems,
we must head
towards the metropolitan cities
of the sweltering south.
Sooner still,
we must return
on a trade wind
to where you and I
are further apart
than where we've just gone.

If ever you should cross the seas
away from me,
no matter how far you've flown,
I will follow
(this time)
with a ticket I purchased
all on my own -
one step ahead of

Monday, April 6, 2009


As I walked through my neighborhood yesterday afternoon, I noticed a bunch of items that had been left out for garbage. I found this lamp. Although this is an IKEA lamp, it is special and of personal significance to me (and not only because it still works). It has now been discontinued and cheaper IKEA lamps have made this model obsolete. Other people's trash are the treasures I cherish.

There now exists a matching pair of these lamps on opposite nightstands in my mind.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Time and space in between

Fridaynight, Saturdaymorning...copious amounts of wine and an old card game. Cry "Coup Fourré!" and continue to speed on...

"There are sicknesses worse than sicknesses,
There are pains that do not ache, not even in the soul,
Yet are more painful than all the others.
There are anxieties dreamed of more real
Than those life brings us, sensations
Felt only by imagining them,
More our own than life itself.
So many things exist without existing,
Exist, and linger on and on,
And on and on belong to us, and are us . . .
Over the turbid green of the wide spreading river
The white circumflexes of the gulls . . .
Over and over the soul, the useless fluttering
Of what never was, nor ever can be, and that's all.

Let me have more wine, life is nothing."

WR by Labradford.

Walking home that early Saturday morning, I was elsewhere. Half a world away, a different season, in a place where everyone looked like me and everything was slightly familiar. Comforting and reassuring. My companion there that stood by my side. But this life was gone. And a ghost walked me all the way home.

Early Saturday evening. Two books and dinner for one. The Poetics of Space. And more Rexroth. Always Rexroth these days.

"By living the poems we read, we have then the salutary experience of emerging. This, no doubt, is emerging at short range. But these acts of emergence are repeated; poetry puts language into a state of emergence, in which life becomes manifest through its vivacity." (Gaston Bachelard).

Saturday night. An old, washed out, dirty and scratched Badlands. A vastness flickering in the dark on the screen. I have never personally experienced the emptiness of such a place. Never felt its hard soil underneath my shoes. But its stillness I have definitely felt. I imagine dust and dirt collecting on the hair in my nostrils. Desolate memories and poisonous nostalgia.

Burn it down: le Musée Mécanique. I've never been. Never got close. Will never go now. All those contraptions of the past are amusing but I need not revisit them. Adieu, bon débarras.

The transition from last night to this afternoon...

Burning Lights by Joe Strummer.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My old letter art clipping (circa 1991 or 1992)

I can't believe I sent this through the mail.

The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)

When times are tough, the library is a very popular place. I don't normally care for Takashi Miike films, but since the library had The Happiness of the Katakuris I decided to check it out. It's free! And I was pleasantly surprised.

This film is billed as a cross between The Sound of Music with Dawn of the Dead. This is slightly misleading. In terms of 'horror', you couldn't really categorize this film as that. But that's Miike's reputation for you. However, according to Miike, this film is overwhelmingly about death. Or rather, the importance of life and the meaningless of death. A typical carpe diem theme.

This film is definitely a musical. I don't like musicals at all but this one was very entertaining. The film's actors admit that their songs and dances are very "amateurish". And that's its beguiling charm.

I particularly enjoyed this silly duet done up in an over-the-top karaoke video style. But there are so many entertaining songs and scenes in this film.

Dreams Never End

Edward Ruscha: Royal Road Test (1967)

Thomas Köner: Teimo

"On waking, the pattern of the dream fades, but its aura, ambience, timbre and tonality remain, though there is no image. It's the same with a piece of music. You have it in your mind, you hear it mentally, but you can't summon it up as form. Or with a face, whose features and smile you can feel in a tactile way, but with no recall of what it looks like. Where on earth does this force of the dream register itself, this reminiscence without image?"
(J. Baudrillard)

Thursday, April 2, 2009


"In the night, confused words are rising. And hands are still reaching out toward the light. In the room with its door closed again, where someone is afraid of dying, no more sounds are heard. Prayer is unknown to the inhabitants of shadow. And their lips, like their hearts, remain silent.

Rocket From the Tombs: Ain't It Fun?

From the street there rises a quiet murmuring. The evening is warm. Then hope is reborn. But the walls, too narrow, close in. They will long retain the meaningful trace of these figures. And even, for many, their names."
(Pierre Reverdy)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You are an unwelcome, disruptive presence who led me astray as I tried to find a way home

"See how certain people can view...things. How certain people can maintain...intellectual equilibrium. Intellectual equilibrium. You're just objects. You just...move about. I can observe it. I can see what you do. It's the same as I do, but you're lost in it. You won't get me being...I won't be lost in it." (From The Homecoming by H. Pinter)