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Alfred
09 May 2020 @ 05:48 pm

“To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing.
One does not see anything until one sees its beauty.”


Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying.



Activity here will be minimal. This is where I lie low.

Books read: 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Films seen: 2011 | 2012
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Alfred
30 March 2013 @ 01:42 am
"Scudder missed his boat?" cried the squire with indignation. "These people are impossible." Then he stopped, faced by the future. "Maurice, Maurice," he said with some tenderness. "Maurice, quo vadis? You're going mad. You've lost all sense of—May I ask whether you intend—"

"No, you may not ask," interrupted the other. "You belong to the past. I'll tell you everything up to this moment—not a word beyond."

"Maurice, Maurice, I care a little bit for you, you know, or I wouldn't stand what you have told me."

Maurice opened his hand. Luminous petals appeared in it. "You care for me a little bit, I do think," he admitted, "but I can't hang all my life on a little bit. You don't. You hang yours on Anne. You don't worry whether your relation with her is platonic or not, you only know it's big enough to hang a life on. I can't hang mine on to the five minutes you spare me from her and politics. You'll do anything for me except see me. That's been it for this whole year of Hell. You'll make me free of the house, and take endless bother to marry me off, because that puts me off your hands. You do care a little for me, I know"— for Clive had protested—"but nothing to speak of, and you don't love me. I was yours once till death if you'd cared to keep me, but I'm someone else's now—I can't hang about whining for ever—and he's mine in a way that shocks you, but why don't you stop being shocked, and attend to your own happiness?"

"Who taught you to talk like this?" Clive gasped.

"You, if anyone."
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Alfred
28 March 2013 @ 02:40 pm
I am inclined to believe that Brideshead Revisited is a book about missed connections & misunderstantings, of, yes, thwarted passion; of giving a sad proud look when one should weep; of the “well then”. Most of the characters try too hard, or not enough.

Charles left, after being made a sufferer. I suppose missing Sebastian was better than sharing in the misery – but the smell of summer, made the stench of sickness, is not one that washes off. It is a dark stain on the breast.

Stifled grief, English charm – composure. So he wore the mask and saw himself become it. So growth stilled.

APRIL IS THE CRUELLEST MONTH, BREEDING
LILACS OUT OF THE DEAD LAND, MIXING
MEMORY AND DESIRE, STIRRING
DULL ROOTS WITH SPRING RAIN

Eliot


Yellow finches dart in pairs, unencumbered by Fate, no red string to trip them in their flight. It is said this long red string is used by men to remember the way out – as one lost in a dark wood, where trunks make walls and rivers rush beneath the earth, to swallow one if he missteps. (Of course one is never in danger – a tug and one misses a trap – as if a strange god whispered, Turn left, turn left, one unaware they had heard him.)

I do not think a finch would know what that is.

Man should know the string for a safety – fallible, as in truth it may be cut. But men live of what isn’t theirs. (You can’t live off what isn’t yours!)

TRUTH IS AN ODD NUMBER, THERE IS SAFETY IN A TRIAD

The dead come out the strangest doors. The wan face a familiar sight, all fear is struck from one. (What one fears is the lifting of veils.) The smile is a stiff lip on yellow waxwork. Still there is light in the eyes – a taxidermist’s prize, such shine one would think they had blinked away a tear. Our precious dead! Are we not ghosts all, loves and hates and curious scenes, misremembered? A distortion, approximation, which is imagination, (which is Poetry, which is Truth).

What is dead will go the moment one raises a trembling hand – to the face, perhaps, in a fever of feeling. If dead men have fevers of feeling I do not know. The dead may stir in alien ways. For even the soulless are capable of some fondness, a detached benevolence, in spite of their diminished capacities.

The small man in spectacles no longer says, “My wife is lost at sea!” She has come to him in dreams, mottled and bent, to tell him of her marriage to a sea-prince.

Come morning he coughs a wad of green. A piece of soul is broken off and drifted, like an aether, not to be held in cupped hands or blown on lover’s lips.

Ah, to have many affections in place of one mad love! That is what he should have done. Grief would be brief (being not quite grief, then). “Wait, wait, give me a minute,” to put a stopper to the wound as easily as one caps a bottle.
Ah, had he not loved his wife…!

When they wed he did not care much for her. Then he was certain of everything. That she was a practical, sensible sort; that she would have his best interests in mind, and try not to make him unhappy. A good prospect, in appearance unremarkable.

One night he woke from a dreadful dream, since forgotten. (Vines, and vines, and damp.) Crinkling an eye at the back turned to him – the curve of that bone! That steady breath – he knew he loved her then. For quite some time, he had loved her; but it was then that it hit him, that he was made aware of the fact. “Well then,” he said, for in his many years he had never been in love, and knew it not as a cruel master.

A year from then she was sailing the Atlantic. Misty-eyed, she promised him a letter; she gave him her love, though he knew she’d find another. All her things, she too shipped west, answering thus the question of return. She had lost something he could not see, she said, and could not help her find. A burden, he would be – this, in kinder words. (“You would not know it,” which is a form of saying, “You do not know me.”)

In a week the ship was wrecked, her bones picked clean by bottom-feeders.

(“Do terns flock here in the summer? Do they hatch soft, speckled babes?”

“That was somewhere else.” There lives a shade of myself, who faces West at the cry of gulls, and dreams of mine own sorrow; a small man like myself, when I had but one chin, and bled brackish blood.

I’d call my man at Ingolstadt to electrify my loins, if sheer vigour were enough to rouse you from the deep. If white worms grace your chest like flowers, slick stalks nibbling here and there, I will tie them head to tail in a funereal wreath.)
 
 
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Alfred
01 February 2013 @ 10:27 am
I am a small man, and my wife is lost at sea. She took everything, and promised me a letter. I get the news with a dinner invitation.

You can't rely on what isn't yours.

Your wife is dead! (I heard gulls in the night.)

What does the man do? He goes to the party. What he has left of her is a pipe of stone -- had I a heart of stone! -- she had a sad look, wrapped in smoke. (That was when she wasn't smiling.) A pipe of stone, and a brown picture he keeps hid in a book.

This, too, shall pass -- the shackles will crumble in red dust. ("I will show you fear in a handful of dust!")
 
 
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Alfred


handjob susan, private eye.


[More of my favourites.]



this place makes me an animal, I will not die in here.

it was like being high. nobody wanted to be around me.

I wish I were close to my mother.

no jury will convict me.



We can go to the rodeo after I pick up her medicine.


 
 
 
Alfred
17 January 2013 @ 01:34 pm
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Maurice by E. M. Forster.

Todas las almas by Javier Marías.

The works of Shelley.

The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil.

Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf.

The letters of Keats.

The Art of War.

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot.
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Alfred
29 December 2012 @ 11:04 am
The morning after, as they sat at breakfast, he told her his name. It was Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, Esquire.

'I knew it!' she said, for there was something romantic and chivalrous, passionate, melancholy, yet determined about him which went with the wild, dark-plumed name--a name which had, in her mind, the steel-blue gleam of rooks' wings, the hoarse laughter of their caws, the snake-like twisting descent of their feathers in a silver pool, and a thousand other things which will be described presently.

'Mine is Orlando,' she said. He had guessed it. For if you see a ship in full sail coming with the sun on it proudly sweeping across the Mediterranean from the South Seas, one says at once, 'Orlando', he explained.

In fact, though their acquaintance had been so short, they had guessed, as always happens between lovers, everything of any importance about each other in two seconds at the utmost, and it now remained only to fill in such unimportant details as what they were called; where they lived; and whether they were beggars or people of substance. He had a castle in the Hebrides, but it was ruined, he told her. Gannets feasted in the banqueting hall. He had been a soldier and a sailor, and had explored the East. He was on his way now to join his brig at Falmouth, but the wind had fallen and it was only when the gale blew from the South-west that he could put out to sea. Orlando looked hastily from the breakfast-room window at the gilt leopard on the weather vane. Mercifully its tail pointed due east and was steady as a rock. 'Oh! Shel, don't leave me!' she cried. 'I'm passionately in love with you,' she said. No sooner had the words left her mouth than an awful suspicion rushed into both their minds simultaneously.

'You're a woman, Shel!' she cried.

'You're a man, Orlando!' he cried.

-- Orlando: A Biography, by Virginia Woolf.
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Alfred
Of the friends I've lost, the ones I miss the most are the ones who dwelt in my brain.

Erik has much of Klaus in him. That charming man, that budding alcoholic, my German clockmaker. Both can sweet-talk a man into leaving without his boots. Klaus had it much more difficult – his father left him nothing, and he lacked a benefactor to have statues carved of him, to compare him to the Undefeated Sun. And he lacked the mean streak that has Erik cutting into children’s thighs. I miss him so.

He has gone away and will never return to me.

I, who loved him first.

In truth I was the only one to love him. Me and Gerard’s father, who could never truly have him. Last I knew, they had fought, and Marcus was dead, his brains a pink mist. He left a young son, whose name I can’t remember, and a sick wife, whose character escapes me. I see the boy pulling at a curtain, and her whispering a name; a nurse comes by to take him away. Their gilded life is peeling.

I see Klaus, too, but I cannot speak to him. He would not see me from his Camden flat, eyes blue as marbles – Erik’s eyes are blue as marbles – a bite by his Adam’s apple. (Is it the Adam’s apple that makes the man? If so I am the littlest one.)

Scarf and cigarette. A striped woman’s shirt, the neck stretched to the hint of ribs. Ah, how thin you are, Klaus, my dear! To see the ribs just under your clavicle. Your mouth is lined with worry. Your fingers have turned yellow.

How I love you, my sweet! But I know I could never write you again. You’ve cried enough, and made your life without me. It gnaws at me that I will never see you off to meet some boy in a sorrow that is half drink. Marcus’ death was not your doing and by now you must know it. The other one still looks at you with longing. Will you have any of it? Will he utter a word? Will I…?

I like to think you will look at him in tears, and smile, (wiping your nose with a sleeve), “You’ll do, you’ll do,” and take him into yourself, all that he is, even the hurt in his heart, and the silence, the bandage unchanged that let it fester. That’s repression for you: you know him since you were a boy and it is the first time he weeps before you. When Marcus died, he turned before breaking, and breathed deeply into his coat, ashiver. You did not see him then.

This may do. If not I entreat you to find happiness elsewhere, anywhere, for you have a gentle heart, and I do not.
 
 
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Alfred
19 December 2012 @ 12:36 pm
 

A Museum-Goer Suggests That John Singer Sargent Must Have Been Gay Because He Drew So Many Male Nudes, Another Museum-Goer Objects, and a Fight Ensues. Philip Gladstone.
 
 
Alfred
17 December 2012 @ 01:03 pm
Boy, you're gonna carry that weight a long time.