Friday, April 15, 2011

What Measure Ye Mete

for Natalie Marti

The last thing she saw
before life was seized
from her bloody and loud
(that is to say lives
a joy herky six month girl
and a husband who
in the mornings sang)
were yellow cylinder
headlights arcing
a drunken plane
filling her view
wide eyes fixed
in their sockets
grainy irises alight in
brightening spheres
pupils pinching fast
into needle heads
the world gone white
casting behind her family
for the briefest moment
the shadows of all
that would never be

Judging after a decade
the wreckage of that night
I recall early Idaho mornings
late harvest coming on
sitting at the table
glass in hand
watching dust float
in a column of sunlight
unseeable otherwise
like the molecules
of an existence warming
sure and steady towards
some far off boiling point
And no considered
amount of blinking
or neck contortion or weeping
can wash my eyes of
those beams boring
into her skull
kindling in their shafts
rays of motes now impossibly
big, adrift in their long
unpredictable bearings

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Truth Comes in Friends: Nick Gough edition

In late 2006 my dear friend Kirk Glancy introduced me to a coworker of his, Nick Gough. Kirk and Nick would stay up into the wee hours after work at FedEx and talk fishing, camping, good books, and life. Nick was an English major, like myself. Kirk thought we'd get along and he was correct. We got together for a Halloween party and by the time the night was over it was decided that we would start a reading group together (let's not call it a book club). By the end of the next month we had read one of Nick's old favorites The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. The next month we read one of my old favorites Seize the Day by Saul Bellow. Here we are 37 books later and still going strong. The Glancys, the Goughs, and the Blakes have enjoyed mutual company many, many times since and I'm blessed to have all of them as friends.

If it wasn't for Nick I wouldn't be familiar with the phenomenal poetry of Billy Collins: "This is the first good rain to fall / since my father was buried last week, / and even though he was very old, / I am amazed at how the small drops / stream down the panes of glass, / as usual, / gathering, / as they always have, / in pools on the ground."

I wouldn't know the wisdom of Zorba: “I haven’t the time to write. Sometimes it’s war, sometimes women, sometimes wine, sometimes the santuri: where would I find time to drive a miserable pen? That’s how the business falls into the hands of the pen-pushers! All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven’t the time to write, and all those who have the time don’t live them!”.

I wouldn't have been blessed by the insanely inspiring verses of W.S. Merwin.
Good Night

Sleep softly my old love
my beauty in the dark
night is a dream we have
as you know as you know

night is a dream you know
an old love in the dark
around you as you go
without end as you know

in the night where you go
sleep softly my old love
without end in the dark
in the love that you know
(to be read in some far off day at Christy's funeral, in my own voice - God forbid)

And I probably wouldn't yet have picked up A River Runs Through It. Everyone has seen the film, but if you haven't yet picked up the book you are denying yourself a marvelous experience. To date one of the best books I've ever read.

Brother Gough takes his relationship with the outdoors seriously. I'm ashamed to admit that historically I've been the type who is quick to read about the outdoors and slow to actually take the time and effort to experience them (Zorba would be so disappointed). He organized a trip to Moab a few years ago that was amazing (despite rampant insects, sweltering sleeping arrangements, and a vomit incident on the ride home). His consistent and measured approach to outdoor recreation is as inspiring as it is amusing.

Here's to the love of and love for true friends.

Nick is a proud employee of FedEx and today he is featured on

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

HBO, Where Art Thou?

I have a well documented love affair with the works of Cormac McCarthy, and just found out today that HBO has produced, and is currently playing, an adaptation of The Sunset Limited (link contains spoilers), a two-person play written by McCarthy. I posted about it here. The adaptation stars Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. If any kind and loving soul out there in my community has HBO, please invite me over. I'll bring the popcorn.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tiny Desk Concerts

As I sat at my computer today watching/listening to the newest installment of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series, I thought about what an amazing and beautiful era we live in. These artists poised behind an office workstation in a Washington D.C. studio can digitally reach out and share a moment with anyone plugged in anywhere in the world. Tiny desk indeed.

Today's concert is by Stars, which you can check out here. They're nice. But what I really want to share are these two others from months ago that I really love. The first is Andrew W.K. (of "Party Hard" fame). He is a dude who puts himself out there artistically, and just shines here. I also adore his challenging, yet sage, advice that comes after the second improvisational number.

The second one is from Nick Lowe. I love to see a man who is more than 60 years old still crafting thoughtful, precise, near perfect pop songs. "All Men Are Liars." Are you kidding me? Does it get much better than that? Here he is with his silky white hair and silky white voice.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Truth Comes In Covers: Gillian Welch

"I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house. In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night...Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death."

Proverbs 7

Gillian Welch - Black Star (Radiohead cover)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Truth Comes in Covers: The Swell Season

Here is the Swell Season covering my favorite track from my favorite record of all time.

I've sung this many times in the quiet dark of my basement trying to sound as good as they do here, and failing miserably. Every. Single. Time.