The exemplary sentence

I’m thinking I should call this “the exemplary paragraph” as it’s usually more than one sentence that catches my eye… but of course the paragraph is made up of sentences. In this case from three books I read recently.

But the first is just a sentence, from Trajectory by Richard Russo, a recent book of his short stories. “Because people cling to folly as if it were their most prized possession, defending it, sometimes with violence, against the possibility of wisdom.”

The second is a paragraph from a book by a Jewish woman who masqueraded as a gentile and married a Nazi to get through the war. She is talking with an acquaintance who is telling her about her life.

” ‘Let me tell you we had some hard times when I was a kid. For twelve years Papa had no steady job. We lived on charity mostly. Then, when our dear Führer came to power, things got much better. Just about all the young people we knew joined the Hitler Youth. When I was fifteen I went to a Nazi Party banquet, and they served rolls with butter.’ Is that the reason? I wondered. Is that why they averted their eyes, made themselves blind? For the butter?” from The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer. Continue reading “The exemplary sentence”

Will you still need me…

I was with my 5-year old grandson this weekend, and my daughter (probably for my sake) put on a Beatles playlist. I remarked to her that that song, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64…” was really a joke to us at the time. Who was ever going to be 64?

Then today, I happened on this prose poem by C. K. Williams:


When I offhandedly remarked to my father how sad it was that his good friend Sol would be dying next year he startled and asked what do you mean and I answered well he’ll be sixty sixty that’s when you die everybody knows that and then my father “disabused” me– Continue reading “Will you still need me…”

Fred Marchant

My mind works this way, too.

Here is What the Mind Does

when my laptop opens to a small red car
a tight street in Jenin gray-yellow dust
an electric window half-open and five
lean-to cards where on each a number
denotes a round spent or the place where
it began to travel at the speed of its idea
while by an open car door the blood pools
pools and follows a tilt in the road—not
far—more a lingering as if blood could
choose not to leave could hang around
be curious and puzzled like the children
who stop to watch the men who have duties
do them as quickly as they can in a slow
reluctant and deliberate picking through
which is what the mind does at moments
like this—really little more than nothing

Fred Marchant

Continue reading “Fred Marchant”

The newest addition to my cooking

We have been following the advice of Dr. Cowan for almost 10 years now, ever since Larry came down with several mysterious and serious health issues in 2009. Dr. Cowan was the only one who came up with a coherent narrative as to the underlying cause and his prescription, which was diet change and supplements, was effective. Larry is in excellent health, and our diet focuses on fresh vegetables, grass fed and organic meat, fish, and fruit. Of course, we don’t exclude the occasional almond croissant!

Recently, Dr. Cowan came up with an easy way to add a variety of healthy vegetables to your food, a set of intense, organic vegetable powders.

A teaspoon or so in soups, stews, eggs, oatmeal, and you not only up your vegetable intake and variety without any prep time, they also add little bursts of flavor. They come in special jars that retain all the nutritional value of the powders over time.

Copy and paste this link and use the code DRCOWANSGARDEN at checkout to get 15% off your order:

Available Now

Continue reading “The newest addition to my cooking”

Monday poem

Last week I opened The Dead and the Living, an older book of poems by Sharon Olds, to find this gem:

Six-Year Old Boy

We get to the country late at night
in late May, the darkness is warm and
smells of half-opened lilac.
Gabe is asleep oh the back seat,
his wiry limbs limp and supple
except where his hard-on lifts his pajamas like the
earth above the shoot of a bulb,
I say his name, he opens one eye and it
rolls back to the starry white.
I tell him he can do last pee
on the gras, and he smiles on the surface of sleep like
light in the surface if water. He pulls his pajamas down and there it
is, gleaming like lilac in the dark,
hard as a heavy-duty canvas fire-hose
shooting its steel stream.
He leans back, his pale face Continue reading “Monday poem”

The exemplary sentence

I just finished Clever Girl, by Tessa Hadley.  I enjoyed this story of a woman in England, growing from child to teenager to mother to older woman largely because of the writing. Here are a couple of examples. First a description of Manchester that could be any 20th Century first world city:

“…a broad vista opened up across a stretch of wasteland overgrown with scrubby bushes and rugged with the flooring of vanished factories, the humped remains of brick outbuildings. Cranes stood up in the distance against a sky with a thin blue sheen like liquid metal, striated with pale cloud; puddles of water on the ground reflected the sky’s light as silver. The beauty of it took me by surprise. Dark skeins of birds detached themselves, shrilling from the bushes and ruined buildings while I stood watching.” Continue reading “The exemplary sentence”

Monday poem

I rarely do two poems by the same poet in a row, but I came across this poem from James Galvin’s latest book and really like it.

Wildlife Management I

All the trees kept their own counsel without any wind to speak of,
until one lone limber pine began gesticulating wildly, as if it
suffered from its own inner cyclone.
                                                                  It was like a lunatic in the
courtroom of other trees.
                                              We forgot about the sunset and the dark
coming on across the plain.
                                                   Then the reason appeared: a mother
antelope had twin newborns backed into the tree and fended off a
pair of coyotes who darted in and feinted out, knowing she
couldn’t defend them both.
                                                  The girl I was with shrieked, “Do
                         I thought of the rifle back at the house.
                                                                                                I thought of a
litter of coyote whelps in a den somewhere nearby.
                                                                                                I thought of the
three-hundred-yard sprint to the tree.
                                                                     The mother antelope would
be first to bolt, and those coyotes would have the aplomb to make
off with both twins.
                                    I said no.
                                                     The antelope struck out with her
forelegs, she butted the coyotes back, until one of them got the
chance they had orchestrated and caught a twin and trotted off,
dangling it by the nape as gently as if it were her own.
James Galvin, from Everything we Know Is True