What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money? — Discover

Would a basic level of income change the world for the better? At FiveThirtyEight, Andrew Flowers writes on how guaranteed income is gaining traction.

via What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money? — Discover

A Unique Trust Placed in Chance and Eternity: Philosopher Alain Badiou on How We Fall and Stay in Love | Brain Pickings

Source: A Unique Trust Placed in Chance and Eternity: Philosopher Alain Badiou on How We Fall and Stay in Love | Brain Pickings

Mois de la Photo Montreal – Biennale 2015: The Post-Photographic Condition | LensCulture

The Post-Photographic Condition | LensCulture

word pond


Mathieu A., 2005. From the series, “Autoportraits robots.” Courtesy of the artist and galerie UNIVER / Colette Colla, Paris. © Leandro Berra

“Post-photography is not a style or a historical movement but a rerouting of visual culture

Source: Mois de la Photo Montreal – Biennale 2015: The Post-Photographic Condition | LensCulture

View original post

So, if I let it write itself …

pasted poster (05 December 2012)

pasted poster (05 December 2012)

So, if I let it write itself,
will it resort to its old habitual riffs and licks,
or will it dare shapes and intervals unplanned,
allowing the fingers to lurch and spasm
in grotesque gestures, crunching dissonant chords …

Where does the question-mark belong in all of this?

So, having let it lie, incomplete,
month after month – not even remembering
having started something – does this count,
do these syllables amount to anything worthwhile,
or is there sense in setting fire to it,
or simply letting it die?

(20 April 2013 – 27 July 2014)

The very bearable lightness of being

skateboard wallpaper - royal

skateboard wallpaper – royal

A day or two ago, I saw something I’d never expected to see: a young man riding a skateboard … using his crutches to propel himself along. And it instantly put me back in touch with something I’d scribbled down the day before, whilst reading a novel called Ru:

“He had stopped time by continuing to enjoy himself, to live until the end in the lightness of a young man.” (Kim Thúy)

I am not a young man … and thus no longer immortal. Whenever the pain from the osteoarthritis gets bad, I have a mantra: “My feet kiss the earth.” It helps.

But I’ve taught myself something that helps even more: whenever I find myself bracing my knees and hobbling along stiff-legged, I have learned to relax my joints and saunter instead. I’m not saying every step is pain-free, but it sure feels better. And I whisper my mantra. And I smile.



Thúy, Kim. 2009 [Copyright © 2009 Éditions Libre Expression]. English translation Copyright © 2012 Sheila Fischman. Ru. New York: Bloomsbury.

The skateboard wallpaper image comes from: http://www.wallpaper4me.com/wallpaper/Royal/

My title is a parody of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a 1984 postmodern novel by Milan Kundera. The story takes place mainly in Prague in the late 1960s and 1970s. It explores the artistic and intellectual life of Czech society during the Communist period, from the Prague Spring to the Soviet Union’s August 1968 invasion and its aftermath.” (adapted from the Wikipedia article)

A nice knock-down argument for you


There’s no trickery
here – no obfuscation.
(You might not get that.)

I’m doing just what
we all do: all our own words
have private meanings;

there’s no language
we can share – speech divides us
inevitably. .


‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’

(Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll)

Picking up after the kids

One of the remarkable faces on cans produced by street artist, My Dog Sighs

One of the remarkable faces on cans produced by street artist, My Dog Sighs

An almost-empty RDT can in my front garden this morning … and yet another on the seat in the nearby bus-stop. Yes, I picked them both up. I like to keep my garden looking nice. And no, I’m not complaining. Parents expect to pick up after children.

Okay, so they’re not children any more … they’re old enough to buy booze, aren’t they? And to drink it on the street. So they’re not children.

And by the way, not all of them throw their bottles and cans into gardens. I’ve seen young people place their empties down very carefully in shop doorways, or along the side of the liquor store where they purchased them.

The kids like cans like these – or rather, their contents. They’re very popular. Part of the culture. Very profitable, too, I’d guess.


Oh! RTD? Ready-To-Drink. Alco-pop. Ready-mixed spirits: vodka, bourbon, rum, whisky, gin …

Beyond the palisade

James K Baxter : selected poems

James K Baxter : selected poems




Wall, fence, enclosure, stockade, barrier, curtain, screen, bulwark, Bastille, moat, railing, rampart, trench, ditch, barricade. What are walls for? To keep things in and keep things out. (Kathy Steinsberger, in her blog, Paper Buttons



It had begun with disgruntlement –
a half-defeated hunt for some good New Zealand poetry.

And then a book of Baxter’s met my eye;
I hadn’t looked at him in many years …

The book – James K Baxter : New Selected Poems, edited by Paul Millar – was in the Reference Section of the Wellington City Library, so I was obliged to return to it on several consecutive days.

And how avidly I gorged myself on these poems, until the sound of the poet’s voice rang in my ears. Until I felt I was at last beginning to know them – and, with the help of Paul Millar’s Introduction, to know more about the man.

Millar quotes Baxter: “I know only a little about the world; and most of it is somewhere in the poems I have written” [p xiv].

The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature characterises this as Baxter’s “tendency to mythologise his life in verse”.

“Baxter … once described each of his poems as ‘part of a large subconscious corpus of personal myth, like an island above the sea, but joined underwater to other islands’, and elsewhere commented that what ‘happens is either meaningless to me, or else it is mythology’.” (Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature – see Note 6 below)

Millar elucidates the source of Baxter’s poetry: “The ‘family man, teetotal, moderately pious, not offensive to sight or smell, able to say the right thing in a drawing room’, was ever at odds with the clannish, anarchic other self, ‘my collaborator, my schizophrenic twin, who has always provided me with poems’ ” [p xv].

Again (Millar citing Baxter): “Wahi Ngaro: the void out of which all things come. That is my point of beginning. That is where I find my peace” [p xvi].



1/ Compare my quote with Kathy Steinsberger’s original on Paper Buttons and you will find a couple of ’emendations’.

2/ Baxter’s remarkable debut volume, Beyond the Palisade (originally published in 1944 by Caxton Press, when he was 18), immediately attracted critical acclaim. A selection of thirty-four poems, from some 500 written by him between the ages of 15 and 18, these early poems display a variety of poetic forms and feature the sharp, bold imagery so indicative of his later works. They introduce the recurring themes of regret and loneliness, which were to become the hallmark of Baxter’s later work. (Adapted from text by annie_kiwi – TradeMe, July 2012 – with additions from Oxford Reference.)

3/ The photograph used here is my own. The shot of the young Baxter on the cover of New Selected Poems came from the Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 

4/ Baxter, James Keir; Millar, Paul (editor). 2001. James K Baxter : New Selected Poems. Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press.

5/ About the author (from Google Books): Considered New Zealand’s most significant poet, James K. Baxter has also been called one of the most remarkable English-language poets of the mid-twentieth century. Born into an educated family in New Zealand, he spent most of his life there and became a much-loved and respected figure in his homeland. Starting out as something of a boy prodigy in the field of poetry, Baxter went on to face alcoholism, then to convert to Catholicism. In his last years, some considered him a saint as he wandered around New Zealand “barefoot, long-bearded, patched and baggy.” Baxter published his first poetry in 1944. He also wrote about 20 plays – many of them produced successfully – four books of literary commentary and criticism, numerous religious essays, and fiction. His Collected Poems is still available, but most of his work in other genres is out of print. Believing strongly in the poet’s vocation, in the poet as a prophet, Baxter was also a skilled artist. His work, which is characterized by a technical conservatism and an adherence to formality, reflects his familiarity with a wide range of poets, including the English romantics, Greek and Latin poets, and modernists, such as Yeats, Hopkins, and Hardy.

6/ The New Zealand Book Council’s website includes a useful biographical summary from The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature.








Ela has an eye for images that are striking and powerful – as you will see as you browse her blog: memyselfandela.

Ela – a Romanian woman living in the United Kingdom – says she is “proud of being Romanian [and] … proud of being myself.”


The link to the poem that accompanies the magnolia image is:  http://memyselfandela.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/night-thought/