Musings of a Common Reader

December 2, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Charles Simic: Evening Talk

Everything you didn’t understand Made you what you are. Strangers Whose eye you caught on the street Studying you. Perhaps they were the all-seeing Illuminati? They knew what you didn’t, And left you troubled like a strange dream. Not even the light stayed the same. Where did all that hard glare come from? And the scent, as if mythical beings Were being groomed and fed stalks of hay On these roofs drifting among the evening clouds. You didn’t understand a thing! You loved the crowds at the end of the day That brought you many mysteries. There was always someone […]
January 28, 2011

You Should Date an Illiterate Girl

by Charles Warnke (Jan. 19, 2011) Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it […]
February 18, 2011
Backpacking with a Book

Dean Young: The Rhythms Pronounce Themselves Then Vanish

After they told me the CT showed there was nothing wrong with my stomach but my heart was failing, I plunked one of those weird two-dollar tea balls I bought in Chinatown and it bobbed and bloomed like a sea monster and tasted like feet and I had at this huge chocolate bar I got at Trader Joe’s and didn’t answer the door even though I could see it was UPS with the horse medication and I thought of that picture Patti took of me in an oval frame. Sweat itself is odorless, composed of water, sodium chloride, potassium salts, […]
February 22, 2011
Backpacking with a Book

Salman Rushdie| The Ground Beneath Her Feet

A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eight of a second, or one sixteenth, or one one-hundred-and-twenty eight. Snap your fingers; a snapshot’s faster. Halfway between voyeur and witness, high artist and low scum. —Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet