Sunday, November 28, 2010

By Piccadilly Station I sat down and wept...

Do you ever wonder where love goes?
Out there in the ether, I suppose
Sometimes it burns enough to leave a trace in the air
A ghost of me and you in a parallel world somewhere

Do you ever think about that walk to the station?
And how it all ended then and there?

As if a door just opened and you vanished in the air
Into a parallel world somewhere

And I know you wonder and I wonder as well
And I'm not a secret that you've kept
My heart broke just that once,
I know the place it fell

By Piccadilly Station I sat down and wept

Does anyone witness such a disappearance?
One minute you're standing in the rain
The air just seems to shiver and you're never seen again

Never seen again.

Tracey Thorn

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Is it memory that makes us whole?

Carpe Diem

Is it memory that makes us whole?
The question was posed by the ten o'clock news
investigating Alzheimer's and stroke,
the key network of synaptic fuses
blinking out, the brain's small cities polled,
found empty across the vacant mews.
Where are the poplar trees, where's the bench
you made, the wallpaper irises you glued
in strips? Home vanishes inch by inch.

Is love, too, cobbled out of the past?
What will become of us, landmarks gone?
Dante's worst pang, the knowledge of happiness
lost, would be mine, but wrong
to think you'd feel it less-
you might sense an absence dawning,
it dawns on me, in another's face,
a bewildered sorrow you'd try to calm,
too instinctive in you to be erased.

But I'm willfully naive, I'm told.
Instinct, too, can be extinguished,
the present tense grotesquely folding
in and over on itself, contextless
and dangerous in an endless scroll
of carpe diem. Where's the face I know,
the hands I've memorized and kept?
Is it memory that makes us whole?
Is love over when memory is spent?

Lynne McMahon
The Hudson Review
Summer 2003


Amazing French band, at the Alliance Fran├žaise - Yapa. Three guitars and a drummer. Towards the end the audience was standing up and clapping and dancing through the songs. They performed 2 Encores, because the audience wouldn't let them go :)

From the streets of Burkina Faso to an ancient volcano in Croatia, to a small village in Bourgogne, they spoke of inspiration from many travels, many sources. So much energy, so much skill.

Listen to them here:

Their site:

On Youtube:

A Mobylette:

Project X:

"Die like a man, like your brother did!"

Malcolm Gladwell, on a possible reason for the high prevalence of violence and crime (related to personal honor) in the Southern (Appalachian) areas of the US:

"The so-called American back country states - from the Pennsylvania border south and west through Virginia and West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, and the northern end of Alabama and Georgia - were all settled overwhelmingly by immigrants from one of the world's most ferocious cultures of honor. They were "Scotch-Irish" - that is, from the lowlands of Scotland, the northern countries of England, and Ulster in Northern Ireland."

"...Cultures of honor tend to take root in highlands and other marginally fertile areas, such as Sicily or the mountainous Basque regions of Spain. If you live on some rocky mountainside, the explanation goes, you can't farm. You probably raise goats or sheep, and the kind of culture that grows up around being a herdsman is very different from the culture that grows up around growing crops.

The survival of a farmer depends on the cooperation of others in the community. But a herdsman is off by himself. Farmers also don't have to worry that their livelihood will be stolen in the night, because crops can't easily be stolen unless, of course, a thief wants to go to the trouble of harvesting an entire field on his own.

But a herdsman does have to worry. He's under constant threat of ruin through the loss of his animals. So he has to be aggressive: he has to make it clear, through his words and deeds, that he is not weak. He has to be willing to fight in response to even the slightest challenge to his reputation - and that's what a "culture of honor" means. It's a world where a man's reputation is at the center of his livelihood and his self-worth.

"The critical moment in the development of the young shepherd's reputation is his first quarrel," the ethnographer J.K.Campbell writes of one herding culture in Greece. "Quarrels are necessarily public. They may occur in the coffee shop, the village square, or most frequently on a grazing boundary where a curse or a stone aimed at one of his straying sheep by another shepherd is an insult which inevitably requires a violent response."

Page 167, Part Two: Legacy, Chapter 6: Harlan, Kentucky. “Die like a man, like your brother did!”.
From ‘Outliers, The Story of Success’, by Malcolm Gladwell

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