Winter | Marie Ponsot

Jun. 25th, 2016 09:35 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
Marie Ponsot

I don’t know what to say to you, neighbor,
as you shovel snow from your part of our street  
neat in your Greek black. I’ve waited for  
chance to find words; now, by chance, we meet.

We took our boys to the same kindergarten,  
thirteen years ago when our husbands went.
Both boys hated school, dropped out feral, dropped in  
to separate troubles. You shift snow fast, back bent,  
but your boy killed himself, six days dead.

My boy washed your wall when the police were done.  
He says, “We weren’t friends?” and shakes his head,  
“I told him it was great he had that gun,”
and shakes. I shake, close to you, close to you.  
You have a path to clear, and so you do.

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2016 12:05 pm
lotesse: (curioser)
[personal profile] lotesse
I don't want free college, I want k-12 reform. Students waste years' worth of time in glorified baby pens, and then have to pay out the ear for a bachelor's degree - okay, so how about we try educating them before they turn 18, with the taxpayer-funded free system we've already got? And anyway, how many years of one's life should be held hostage to these kinds of certification mills? I'm all for lifelong learning, but this is ridiculous.
[syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed

19.6.16 - expotition to the Fête de la Musique with @royalrory. Top, The Big Up Band (brassy jazz) in the park; middle two, an Indian music group named Namir Rashti.

Sonnets Uncorseted | Maxine W. Kumin

Jun. 24th, 2016 09:36 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
“Sonnets Uncorseted”
Maxine W. Kumin


She was twenty-two. He was fifty-three,
a duke, a widower with ten children.

They met in Paris, each in exile from
the English Civil War. Virginal

and terrified, still she agreed
to marry him. Though women were mere chattel

spinsterhood made you invisible
in the sixteen hundreds. Marriage was arranged

—hers a rare exception. Despite a dowry
a woman never could own property.

Your womb was just for rent. Birth control
contrivances—a paste of ants, cow dung

mashed with honey, tree bark with pennyroyal—
all too often failed the applicant.


If anything went wrong you bled to death.
You bore & bore & bore as you were taught
screaming sometimes for days in childbirth.
To bring forth was a woman’s fate

but not for Margaret Cavendish, childless
Duchess of Newcastle. After the head
of Charles the First had been detached
and the Restoration seated a new monarch,

she and the duke returned to his estate
where nothing discomposed their paradise.
How rare, two lovers scribbling away,
admiring each other’s words in privacy.
He: polymath, equestrian, playwright.
She: philosopher, fantasist, poet.


His the first book on the art of dressage,
till then an untried humane approach
to teaching classic paces in the manège,
the grace of the levade and the piaffe.

Hers the goofy utopian fantasy,
The Blazing-World. The heroine is adrift
with her kidnapper in a wooden skiff.
A storm comes up conveniently, and they
are blown to the North Pole. He freezes to death
but she is carried to a contiguous
North Pole, a new world where the emperor
falls in love with her, makes her his empress

and cedes her all his powers over
clans of wildly invented creatures.


Poems, plays, philosophical
discourses on Platonick love,
a chapter on her Birth, Breeding, and Life
and an Apology for Writing so Much
Upon this Book about herself,
even some inquiries into science…
years in chosen isolation the Duchess
filled with words, and the Duke with reassurance.

Even this outburst did not discomfit him:
Men are so unconscionable and cruel
…they would fain Bury us in their…beds as in
a grave…[T]he truth is, we live like Bats or Owls,
Labour like Beasts, and die like Worms. Pepys
called her mad, conceited, and ridiculous.


Virginia Woolf, in 1928,
found her Quixotic and high-spirited
as well as somewhat crack-brained and bird witted
but went on to see in her a vein
of authentic fire. Eighty-odd years on,
flamboyant, eccentric, admittedly vain,

now she’s a respected foremother among
women of letters. Founded in 1997,
the Margaret Cavendish Society
— “international, established to provide
communication between scholars worldwide”—
is plumped with learned papers, confabs, dues.
She’s an aristocrat who advocates
—words worn across centuries—for women’s rights.


I went to college in the nineteen forties
read Gogol, Stendhal, Zola, Flaubert.
Read Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky
and wrote exams that asked: contrast and compare.

Male novelists, male profs, male tutors, not
a single woman on the faculty
nor was there leaven found among the poets
I read and loved: G.M. Hopkins, A.E.
Housman, Auden, Yeats, only Emily
(not quite decoded or yet in the canon).
Ten years later, I struggled to break in
the almost all-male enclave of poetry.

Here’s a small glimpse in the the hierarchy:
famed Robert Lowell praising Marianne


as the best woman poet in America, put down
by Langston Hughes, bless his egalitarian
soul, who rose at the dinner to pronounce
her the best Negro woman poet in the nation.
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (Default)
[personal profile] jjhunter
This is where light gets in
small acts of kindness
baffling fear

- 'Where Light Gets In'

My mother used to work in sales. "And I was very good at it," she always adds, staring me down as if she might transmit some of those magic sales skills directly eye-to-eye. From her sales training, there are apparently three things I must communicate for a successful conversation:
  • Why should the other person listen to you? aka What do you have for them?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • Why now?
"No, no, you're talking too much," she tells me when I try. "Ask one thing. Stop. If they say no, then ask option two. Keep it short. They should talk more than you. Think about what they want - where's your overlap?" etc.

As Antanas Mockus puts it, "The idea of modern democracy is inseparable from the possibility that different reasons may back up the same rules." My mother's sales pitch trick has an unspoken first step: don't start with your values. You don't need them to share your exact values to get their support for a common goal. Start with a goal, work together to make it a common goal, and let that be grounds for shared respect and maybe grounds for talking about values.

I think of values as prime examples of Atul Gawande's slow ideas. Read more... )

(no subject)

Jun. 24th, 2016 11:59 am
lotesse: (Default)
[personal profile] lotesse
A very strange day to be writing about William Morris.

As I said in the other place...

Jun. 24th, 2016 11:52 am
kaberett: Sketch of a "colourless, hamsterish"  animal having a paddy. (anxiety creature)
[personal profile] kaberett
... the time from waking up to the first hate speech directed at me by a Leave voter was three hours.

She was an NHS employee providing me with necessary medical care.

She told me that Leave was a good result for the NHS -- because it can't cope with all the people who don't work, don't contribute, demand scans and MRIs, expect free prescriptions, even expect free paracetamol rather than buying it themselves.

She was cutting a dressing off my hand.

She asked me what I thought.

I thought: every single one of those things you listed describes me. I thought: I have just been told by a medical professional that I don't deserve care. I thought: there is no way I'm telling you you just described me. I thought: I'm terrified.

I'm white. I'm third generation. English isn't my first language but people can't tell unless I tell them and I certainly *sound* posh. I don't look Jewish until you put me in a room with the rest of that side of my family. I can, if necessary, leave the house without a wheelchair.

I pass. This is what I got while passing. I am terrified for the people who can't.
nanila: (me: walk softly and carry big stick)
[personal profile] nanila
Westminster flags lowered for Jo Cox

I took this photo last week, after MP Jo Cox was assassinated. I want to make it very clear, for what I hope are obvious reasons this morning, that this photo is about her death.

In the hope that others could also use the distraction of an Unscientific Poll:

Poll #17530 Telecon Unmute Bingo
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 18

Whilst on a work-related telecon, I have heard the following “participant unintentionally unmuted” actions

View Answers

14 (87.5%)

13 (81.2%)

5 (31.2%)

4 (25.0%)

8 (50.0%)

12 (75.0%)

boiling a kettle
5 (31.2%)

attempting to dial another number
5 (31.2%)

conducting a separate phone call on a different device
10 (62.5%)

deriding the person currently speaking
5 (31.2%)

deriding the chairperson
1 (6.2%)

flushing the toilet
1 (6.2%)

I can escalate this:

[syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed

19.6.16 - ill-fated outfit selfie. Within an hour I had got turkish coffee all down one leg of the shorts and had to change.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2016 11:51 pm
lotesse: (afrofuturist)
[personal profile] lotesse
Politics fandom had at least three season finales running at once today, I stg. Kudos to John Lewis for effectively leveraging the new technology and the old (streaming and social media plus CRM protest tactics); sympathies to families thrown into uncertainty by the threat to DAPA/DACA and also by (what the hell) the apparently-impending Brexit; best wishes to Scotland for that reviving independence movement, and do have fun with Donald Trump while he's visiting, I hear he has really great golf courses, the best, most beautiful golf courses.

Meredith Holmes - In Praise of My Bed

Jun. 24th, 2016 12:01 am
[syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side!
The labor of being fully human,
working my opposable thumb,
talking, and walking upright.
Now I have unclasped
unzipped, stepped out of.
Husked, soft, a be-er only,
I do nothing, but point
my bare feet into your
clean smoothness
feel your quiet strength
the whole length of my body.
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.

kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
The context is, naturally, Brexit; and equally naturally, that Leave supporters started telling each other that they should take pens along to polling stations, cast their votes in ink, and then leave the pen behind To Be Helpful. In case, I suppose, of some spectre of people rubbing out their marks and replacing them with something else. (For those of you unfamiliar with how the UK does this, you cast votes using a terribly quaint system of applying pencil to paper and sticking it in a box.)

Reproducing here for posterity and (well, there's a chance) interest. (Original.)

Read more... )

Yes, I typed the majority of that out one-handed on the auxiliary internet device's touchscreen, because typing still hurts. It is important and I had a feelings.

Betrayal | Andrea Hollander

Jun. 23rd, 2016 09:43 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
Andrea Hollander

They decide finally not to speak
of it, the one blemish in their otherwise
blameless marriage. It happened

as these things do, before the permanence
was set, before the children grew
complicated, before the quench

of loving one another became all
each of them wanted from this life.
Years later the bite

of not knowing (and not wanting
to know) still pierces the doer
as much as the one to whom it was done:

the threadbare lying, the insufferable longing,
the inimitable lack of touching, the undoing

Referendum: VotINg

Jun. 23rd, 2016 10:58 am
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
Voting in the Referendum

For the avoidance of doubt, I'm for RemaIN.

And here is a short linkspam, [personal profile] silveradept-style on staying in the EU.

Ben Goldacre on why Brexit is not a good choice.
Chart showing UK tax spending allocations. We spend less on the EU than on overseas aid.
Jobs, export and trade. Free movement. Freedom to live and work in Europe. Access to the single market. Access to EU research fund. Oh, and peace. Me, I'm particularly keen on peace, considering that the history of Europe contains an awful lot of war.
Lettuce Romaine.
ETA: No such thing as a Brusselo.

Memorial | Gina Myers

Jun. 22nd, 2016 09:45 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
Gina Myers

for J

In my life so much happens
that I would like to write about,
but then something else happens
& things are always happening.
You, my friend, are underground
& will always be there. I did not
help you, but you always helped me.
When I was an atheist, I believed
in people. Now as a nihilist, my grief
has no hope. And I could say
there is no reason to keep going,
but then I think of, I think of you.


highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)

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