Sunday, June 19, 2011


In a few days I'll be leaving South Beach and wanted a few pictures to remind me of the view. Twilight today: a view I'd never see without my little camera.

It's been a quiet day. Scorching weather at first. J. and I closed ourselves in. Air conditioning on. Simple Father's Day lunch. For post Bloom's Day, between the first course and the main, we read passages from Joyce's Ulysses out loud. Short passages, stumbling here and there. I like the words Joyce gives to Simon Dedalus: ". . . that will open her eyes as wide as a gate. I'll tickle his catastrophe, believe you me." Smiling we finished our lunch and talked about other things.

The weather changed. Rain at last. The storm blew out. Clear air. Brilliant sunset. How are you all? I've been caught up with packing and sorting and haven't had time to check in.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baudelaire Addresses Hair and Lovers

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

Some of us write actual letters to powerful people, hoping against hope to convince them to do the right thing. The formal terms of address are sources for irony: "Your Honor" for the dishonorable; "Your Majesty" for the non-majestic nebbish; "Your Holiness" for the unholy; "Your Eminence" for the fallen; "Your Grace" for the klutz.

I prefer Baudelaire's address to hair: "Ecstatic fleece"; "Take me, tousled current"; "vault of shadows." ("Head of Hair," translated by Richard Howard, Everyman Pocket Library.) Baudelaire's 'terms' are authentic. Outdoing himself, he addresses his lovers: "salutary leech"; "My Queen of Sins"; "Sublime disgrace"; "slattern deity;" "lazy beast"; "Dear Demon."

Nothing twittering here. His poems have what Elizabeth Bishop valued in writing: Accuracy, Spontaneity, Mystery. (Capital letters and Italics hers.) She was a fan of this wicked poet.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wild Vine in Art Deco Land

The tree strip--in this part of Florida they call it a "swale"--is parched; a hot wind raises dust, yet a volunteer vine zooms across a weedy neglected patch in front of a boarded up building.

Will you help me identify the vine. Watermelon?

The growing tip has felt its way to chain link. Do you see the tendrils? I wish it would rain. The vine would grow even more. Can you imagine the chain link covered with green?