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“First Dates” by Arseny Tarkovsky

Each moment of our dates, not many,
We celebrated as an Epiphany.
Alone in the whole world.
More daring and lighter
than a bird
Down the stairs, like a dizzy
apparition,
You came to take me on your road,
Through rain-soaked lilacs,
To your own possession,
To the looking glass world.

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Childhood

We enjoy the immense freedom of dreams, in which nobody believes, except as a joke, to share on coming down to breakfast.
….
Children are not expected to think, but are allowed to suffer, and rehearse the future… In at the windows floats the scent of hot, wet nettles and the long summer. The yellow dressing-table drawers are smelling of emptiness. We have not arranged our things, who will not be staying long in this house.


O childhood of moonlight [and] solid statues! How solid, I broke off an arm to prove, and the smell of the wound was the smell of gunpowder and frost. Often the footsteps were not mine that fell along the gravel paths…other voices would carry my song out of my control… All were turning gravely in the dance, only I was the prisoner of stone.
When I no longer expected, then I was rewarded by knowing: so it is. We do not meet but in distances, and dreams are the distance brought close. The glossy mornings are trampling horses. The rescue-rope turns to hair. Prayer is, indeed, stronger, but what is strong?
O childhood, O illusions, time does not break your chain of coloured handkerchiefs, nor fail to produce the ruffled dove….

–Patrick White, Voss

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Anna Akhmatova

This land, although not my native land,
Will be remembered forever.
And the sea’s lightly iced,
Unsalty water.

The sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk,
The air is heady, like wine,
And the rosy body of the pines
Is naked in the sunset hour.

And the sunset itself on such waves of ether
That I just can’t comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the mystery of mysteries in me again.

— Anna Akhmatova

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An Excerpt from Bonedog by Eva H.D.

And the home-style silences and clouds
contribute to nothing
but the general malaise.
Clouds, such as they are,
are in fact suspect,
and made from a different material
than those you left behind.
You yourself were cut
from a different cloudy cloth,
returned,
remaindered,
ill-met by moonlight,
unhappy to be back,
slack in all the wrong spots,
seamy suit of clothes
dishrag-ratty, worn.

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Anatomica – Joanna Ebenstein

Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy by brilliant Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein is now available for purchase. This is a beautiful 272-page volume exploring anatomical art across seven centuries, for those who are fascinated by bygone artistic conceptions of the human body. Joanna’s other books include Death: A Graveside Companion, The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death & the Ecstatic, and The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, providing some of the most interesting, historically-oriented nonfiction fare that I’ve read. She has also coauthored Cabarets of Death: Death, Dance and Dining in Early Twentieth-Century Paris with Mel Gordon (Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin), which is due to release in December and which I am eagerly awaiting.

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The Somnambule

{ I have put away the despairing flesh of childhood
Entombed my unnamed, availless years
Within driest flowers, cracked spines of books
And a stone with a soul of blood,
Sloughing off some fine plum-black cocoon
Or chrysanthemum bloom
And I had myself a waking dream
The dream felt white,
Like old bones
And hurt softly as rain.
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“They will not exhaust it, for its matter is inexhaustible.”

{She sailed beneath a sky of lilacs, each cluster of which was heavier and more charged with anguish than the word “blood” at the top of a page.}

{Where do the angels’ progeny now meet?….I turn to my youth; I fall asleep in it. I try to revive it by kissed lepers, canonized guts, flowers condemned mirthlessly by notorious councils, in short an entire legend which is called Golden, the even more overwhelming miracles with which [we] teemed…}

{It is not to be wondered at that the most wretched of human lives is related in words that are too beautiful.}

—Jean Genet, The Miracle of the Rose

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“The murder was sleep. And death was not what we thought.”

…it was a world to sink one’s teeth into, a world of voluminous dahlias and tulips….The trees were laden, the world was so rich it was rotting….she trembled upon the first steps of a sparkling, shadowy world, where giant water lilies floated monstrous. The little flowers scattered through the grass didn’t look yellow or rosy to her, but the color of bad gold and scarlet. The decomposition was deep, perfumed… But all the heavy things, she saw with her head encircled by a swarm of insects, sent by the most exquisite life in the world….The Garden was so pretty that she was afraid of Hell.

{Clarice Lispector}

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Carbonized Forest

The eye that was open on Friday.
The portent and the portent’s flensed hide. Ribbons of flesh
swarming downward. Like a school of leeches
deserting some unlit cataclysm.
And a briary phantom there, Stygian, erect.
Saying, here is the untranslation of the world.
Mounted on a spire of form.
The disembarkation of abyss. Fragmentary sputtering.
And what you thought were dark whiptails of illumination
were bristles from a shaved bear
being milked for bile in a rusting cage. Nested
among the mesh of soft translucent sounds
fallen from your lips, the
vestiges of someone’s breathing.

{by Forrest Gander}