Making the cut

You knew – you must have
known – how deeply you could cut
with that knife of yours.

Life is dropping crumbs
(which the birds will eat) – no point
hoping to get out

alive. Gratitude
counts for a great deal, you know …
but then, who’s counting?

Strictly speaking, only the syllables are correct. Does it still count as a haibun? But this piece (seventeen three times) playfully (suggestively) (arbitrarily) offers up a sampling of the cuts and connections that came to mind whilst reading something else. (And here I give thanks to Derrida.)

Could it be? Yes, it could

West Side Story: The New Broadway Cast Recording (2009) – record cover

West Side Story: The New Broadway Cast Recording (2009) – cd cover

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Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. (Carl Sagan)

Something fabulous is out there taking shape, emerging, peeking, and calling your name. (quoted in Seed of Fabulosity on Soulseeds)

My parents were not scientists. They knew almost nothing about science. But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method. (Carl Sagan, quoted in Carl Sagan: A Biography, by Ray Spangenburg and Diane Moser) .

Could be! Who knows?
There’s something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye, Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something’s coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone’ll jingle, door’ll knock,
Open the latch!
Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It’ll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don’t be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . . .

(Lyrics: Something’s Coming from West Side Story, Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

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Spangenburg, Ray; Moser, Diane. 2004. Carl Sagan: A Biography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. 

Serendipity and synchronicity

eco-designer hummingbird

eco-designer hummingbird

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The beauty of moments of synchronicity and serendipity is that they are surprising. They take you out of the high protective walls of your mind, shake you out of a comfortable mindset that deludes you into believing that life has predictable patterns that you can control and explain. (Ian Lawton

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung talked of something that is “more than chance, and less than causality” – a meaningful coincidence.

In his recent post – Let the mystery be – Ian Lawton notes that “Birds and creatures so often seem to be agents of meaningful coincidences. The hummingbird appears at particular moments of self reflection as if to remind you to be gentle with yourself.”

After first reading that post, I ducked back to Facebook … and found the eco-designer hummingbird had been posted by one of my friends.

Wake up

John Cage. Portrait by Susan Schwartzenberg/ The Exploratorium

John Cage. Portrait by Susan Schwartzenberg/ The Exploratorium

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Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord. (John Cage)

The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason. (John Cage)

Yet to be proven

Loose : a wild history (cover)

Loose : a wild history (cover)

‘I want to get published!’ my heart cries out.

‘But you can’t!’ my mind says.

‘How long will it take them to recognise my genius?’ my heart says.

‘Probably for the rest of your life,’ my mind says. ‘But then why do you bother? Books are not important. Life itself is.’

‘But I want to get published because I am good and I am better than most published authors here in this country!’ my heart cries out again.

‘Well, that has yet to be proven,’ my mind says.

(Ouyang Yu, in Loose : A wild history)

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Ouyang Yu. 2012. Loose : A wild history. Adelaide, SA: Wakefield Press.

“The novel combines fiction with non-fiction, poetry with literary criticism, diary with life writing, with multiple stories weaving in between, told from different points of view by different characters.” (Wakefield Press)

See my previous post on the topic of Ouyang Yu: https://xties.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/on-new-years-eve/

It’s best if I lose myself

The Spaces Between (cover, featuring 'The Painted Bird' by Shane Cotton)

The Spaces Between (cover, featuring ‘The Painted Bird’ by Shane Cotton)

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‘I’m a ceramic artist,’ the German woman said.

‘Do you have to think when you’re making a pot?’ Kraik drew an invisible circle on the table top. ‘Imagine its shape?’

‘It’s best if I lose myself,’ the woman said …

(Russell Haley, in The Spaces Between [p184])

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Haley, Russell. 2012. The spaces between. Auckland: Adastra

The taste of clouds

"I am Forbidden" – cover

“I am Forbidden” – cover

On the crest of the Pont des Arts, they leaned over the bridge’s railing and turned up their palms for the first drops of rain. The sky unleashed itself and they whirled as they had as children, arms stretched wide as their tongues searched their lips for the taste of clouds. (Anouk Markovits, in I am Forbidden [p138]) 

As I read I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits – pen and paper always at the ready – the text drew me, deeper and deeper, into a profound experience. There is much to share … but not all at once.

Anouk Markovits was raised a Hasidic Jew in France, but at 19 she fled her community to avoid an arranged marriage. She went on to get a master’s degree in architecture and a PhD in romance studies. “I Am Forbidden,” her first novel in English, centers on two Hasidic sisters: one who leaves, and one who stays, shunning modernity. (from a review published in The New York Times (15 May 2012)

There’s a succinct synopsis on GoodReads, and a review with links to related material on The Telegraph.

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Markovits, Anouk. 2012. I am forbidden. London: Hogarth

What is looking?

What you are looking for is what is looking. (attributed to St Francis of Assisi)

"blue bauble"

“blue bauble”

What you are in your essence is the lucid, unchanging consciousness giving birth to everything in the world of the senses, including all your thoughts, stories, memories, and to your body, mind, and this unique personality called “you.” To understand this is to grasp the literal meaning of the words attributed to St Francis: “What we are looking for is what is looking.” You become aware of yourself, your true nature, as consciousness, awareness, or presence itself. (from a website called “Truth Contest : What is the Ultimate Truth?“)