February 7, 2007

The high winds scare me but I need the breeze


Jerry McMillan, Ed Ruscha Covered with Twelve of his Books, 1970

-- "Let us first say what photography is not. A photograph is not a painting, a poem, a symphony, a dance. It is not just a pretty picture, not an exercise in contortionist techniques and sheer print quality. It is or should be a significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term-selectivity." -- Berenice Abbott

Ugly Beauty
-- by Geoff Page

Thelonious Monk

His songs are like an ancient city;
the architecture, strange but useful.
For sixty years the acolytes

have felt their way around these corners,
memorised their sharp left turns,
the streets that break all traffic rules

and leave new ones behind,
the intervals and sequences
stretched along a dark piano

and leaving no instructions.
Titles serve as talismans
to tell them where they’ve been:

'Brilliant Corners,' 'Bemsha Swing;'
or give offbeat advice:
'Straight, No Chaser,' 'Well, You Needn’t.'

A few may be performance markings:
'Misterioso,' 'Trinkle Tinkle.'
One, 'Green Chimneys,' plays a skyline.

'Ruby, My Dear'
and 'Crepuscule with Nellie:'
two loved women make a life.

'Blue Monk', 'Monk’s Dream' are episodes.
So, too, 'Pannonica;'
likewise, 'In Walked Bud.'

'Round Midnight' is a shot of bourbon,
set up on the bar,
a nadir no life quite escapes.

The bar is in the city
they find they’ve come to know;
its street maps and geometries

are nine parts understood.
Resisting all transcription,
the tenth eludes them still.

Confessions
-- by Todd Swift

Language exceeds light & meat
and other doubtful propositions

that shape neither nature or truth, but
decorate teeth like dazzling gems.

Desperate Young Americans
-- by Denise Duhamel and Stephen Paul Miller

Angela Y. Davis is history’s darling today.
The apple says yes, the artichoke says yay,
when Angela Y. Davis addresses young Democrats
and their yoyos. Yankee Doodles pony up
vapid ditties about yesterday’s baddy supermodel —
oh beautiful, for delicious skin, for amber eye shadow, so vain.
Angie Dickinson yodels to the Danish army.
Angelina Jolie’s giddy. The mayo on her sandwich
is laced with oxycodone. On a Discovery
Channel game show David Arquette yaps on
about dainty yak. Sweaty headgear around Dick Cheney
is brandished audaciously in bastard country clubs.
Social Security draws desperate young Americans,
disenfranchised elderly, dirty dancers, and celebrity dads.
My diaper bag is dowdy. Andy Dick’s diaper bag
holds austerely plaid baby bibs. Cindy Crawford
rocks the academy with a stylish dissertation
and dizzying defense: Dowdy Darlings and Daring Yin.
But Angela delays duplicating her syllabi,
rapidly white-watering on Yosemite, radical.

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