Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ideale (and translation)

I really like this.

The lyrics and translation (from "The Lied, Art Song and Choral Texts Archive")


Io ti seguii come iride di pace
Lungo le vie del cielo:
Io ti seguii come un'amica face
De la notte nel velo.
E ti sentii ne la luce, ne l'aria,
Nel profumo dei fiori;
E fu piena la stanza solitaria
Di te, dei tuoi splendori.

In te rapito, al suon de la tua voce,
Lungamente sognai;
E de la terra ogni affanno, ogni croce,
In quel [sogno]1 scordai.
Torna, caro ideal, torna un istante
A sorridermi ancora,
E a me risplenderà, nel tuo sembiante,
Una novella aurora.


I followed you like a rainbow of peace
along the paths of heaven;
I followed you like a friendly torch
in the veil of darkness,
and I sensed you in the light, in the air,
in the perfume of flowers,
and the solitary room was full
of you and of your radiance.

Absorbed by you, I dreamed a long time
of the sound of your voice,
and earth's every anxiety, every torment
I forgot in that dream.
Come back, dear ideal, for an instant
to smile at me again,
and in your face will shine for me
a new dawn.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Realist/Absurdist Jokes

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Robert who?
Robert Michaelson-Brown.

What time was it when the elephant sat on the clock?
6:43 AM, GMT.

How many kings does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A book never written: "Bleeding Chickens using Leeches" by Franklin McAdams.

What's the different between George W. Bush and a flower?
A flower has brightly-colored petals which help to attract bees.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Thoughts

Some thoughts and excerpts that I like to return to from time to time. (Painting by Monet.)

"My hope has returned! My heart pounds at the thought of standing up; at the thought of breathing and speaking. It's like a light has come bursting on in my chest, forcing me to spread my arms to the world. For a while, I thought that it never would. I wept and couldn't eat. I became angry easily and destroyed things I cared about to make myself feel worse. But a vision came to me. A stone building, surrounded by lawns and hedges. People stood outside of it and talked softly and thoughtfully. There was a small marketplace nearby. Some of the vendors sold bread and fruit, and others sold antiques, books and wine. The sea was not far away, just beyond the edge of the building I could see it on the horizon – the soft wind smelled faintly like salt and sand. I could hear music in the distance: a violin, a guitar and a stand-up bass, playing a quiet song that complemented the air and the pinkish edges of the sky. Happiness is verdant and bright. The past has left me."

The sun set and the doomed man stared at the blank wall, thinking on death. It would be soon, he thought. There must be something before then, things they should remember after he passed. What was important? What would they need? He clicked out a list on his typewriter.

To think quietly.
To seek simplicity.
To love openly and without regret.
To speak clearly and with feeling.
To paint what came naturally to the hand.
To hear revealing melodies without distraction.
To smile and laugh at the patterns of mortality.
To see the sunrise with an uncluttered mind.

He remembered falling in love in a shady park, in the afternoon when the light was beginning to yellow -- they held hands. It was beyond sex, attraction. It was a feeling of momentary, absolute peace, solidified in time. She glowed in her white dress and he in his dark jacket. They gazed at each other through the grass and they could hear the waves rolling into the beach down below.

Think seek love speak, paint hear smile see.

They lowered the casket and their heads. And the sun rose again.

(This is unrelated to the text, but also hopeful somehow.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Blob Painting

I made this using a free vector graphics editor called Inkscape. It has tons of features and I'm only starting to figure out how to use everything.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


And so the jolly beggarman came tripping o'er the plain
He came unto a farmer's door, a lodging for to gain
The farmer's daughter, she came down and viewed him cheek and chin
She says, "He is a handsome man, I pray you take him in."

We'll go no more a-roving, a-roving in the night
We'll go no more a-roving, let the moon shine so bright
We'll go no more a-roving

He would not lie within the barn nor yet within the byre
But he would in the corner lie, down by the kitchen fire
Oh, then the beggar's bed was made of good clean sheets and hay
And down beside the kitchen fire the jolly beggar lay

The farmer's daughter she got up to bolt the kitchen door
And there she saw the beggar standing naked on the floor
He took the daughter in his arms and to the bed he ran
"Kind sir," she says, "Be easy now, you'll waken our good man."

"Now you are no beggar, you are some gentleman,
For you have stole my maidenhead and I am quite undone."
"I am no lord, I am no squire, of beggar's I be one,
and beggars they are robbers all, so you are quite undone."

She took the bed in both her hands and threw it at the wall
Says "Go you with the beggarman, my maidenhead and all."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Philosophii, et al.

Man is but a leaf,
Floating on the ocean of time and space
Meaningless and alone in an absurd universe
Certain of himself only because of the echo of his thoughts
And the patterns of reason he so brilliantly discerns

If he is ever so clever.
He fancies himself an overmannish boy,
Unbound by the chains of his instinctual habits
His head skimming above the mundane smog of the everyday
Pulled up by the invisible hand of a objectively subjective god

Buried in a book.
By the light of day pacing
Endless lines along the campus way,
Unable to read a single word without expounding,
So moved by his own capability and intelligence as a thinker:

Man is but a leaf!
Write it with feeling into your copybook,
For ours is not to walk among the herd as diddlers
But to set proverbial caldrons bubbling upon the burners of reason;
And string words in comparative knots until all isms become one.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Andong Nonghyup, a place

In the Jeongha-dong district of Andong, South Korea, there is a Nonghyup supermarket on the bottom floor of the commercial “Gangnam” building.

It is a medium-small supermarket. It has four double-sided shelves that run parallel along the length of the store, two at the front, two at the back.

On the right side of the store, looking in past the cashiers, there are two tables with produce and an island shelf with refrigerated goods. On the side of the island facing the front, they have yellow pickled radish sticks for kimbap.

The right side of the store has more refrigerated foods. Toward the front there are toys and school supplies and stationary, then produce, then sauces and soup mixes, then dairy products, and finally different juices and soft drinks in the far corner.

On the back wall, starting on the right, there are seafood products. On the left there is meat. In the evening, one of three men in aprons and brick-patterned blue and white shirts barks for the fish and meat.

Along the wall on the left side of the store there are specialty products, dried fish and packages of seaweed, a deli with packaged kimbap and fried fish, and a bakery guarded by women waiting to greet anybody pausing for a moment to look at the bread. They have pizzas topped with hotdogs and mayonnaise, and occasionally bags of croissants with an included tub of whipped cream.

Past the bakery toward the front of the store, there is a cabinet and a refrigerator with alcohol: beer, soju, fruit wine.

Next to the alcohol is a little island with deodorant.

Past this is a little alcove at the front of the store containing personal non-food supplies, mostly bras and tights and undershirts, but also car products: padded covers for steering wheels, seat covers, dashboard toys.

On the shelf near the front and on the left, there are kitchen and house supplies: pots, pans, spoons, knives, rags, cups, faucets, toilet paper. At the top there are candles and incense.

On the shelf near the front and on the right, there are snacks and hot drinks. The snacks are on the side facing the left, and the coffee and tea is on the side facing the right. The snacks are chips, cookies and crackers. They have only instant coffee and green tea, but many different kinds.

On the shelf in the back on the right, on the side facing the right, there are seeds and indeterminate beans. On the end of the shelf facing the front, there are noodles: rice, wheat, egg and glass. On the side facing the left, there are packages of ramen, including a cheesy one and one that tastes like spaghetti.

Across from the soups on the left back shelf, on the side facing the right, there are hygiene products: shampoo, hair dye, body wash, shaving cream, razors. On the other side there is more seaweed and dried fish.

There are four or five ladies who work the registers. They all wear blue vests, white dress shirts and matching hair ribbons. One is young and has an angular, roman nose and teardrop shaped eyes. Another has large eyes and a square face. She is very brusque and efficient. One is large in every way, with a strong chin and broad shoulders. Her makeup gives her a slightly robotic aspect, but she's very nice. The last two are easily confused. They don't leave an impression. They both have their bangs cut straight across in the front and slightly long faces.

The bags they hand out can hold a lot. They are sturdy and have the green, circular Nonghyup logo.

I always used them for trash and sometimes left them too long in my entryway.

Dead Man

The dead man lay on the floor of the shop. The blood pooling around his head pushed back the drying smears of dirty water left by crowds of winter boots. A salt and pepper mustache perched over his cakey, molded lips, which hung open to the side. The pupils of his eyes peeked flatly through a slit under their lids. His plaid coat was zipped almost to the top and the grubby knobs of his fingers curled just beyond the sleeves. Somebody had killed him.

We had only come to get something to snack on, cookies or crackers, maybe some juice. We passed him and took a good look. Strange to see a dead man in such a public place. The assistants were gathered around him, waiting, gripping their mops and clipboards. They had phoned already, the police would arrive soon so they could start cleaning everything up.

We didn't want to disturb them. We paid silently in acknowledgment of the inconvenience and went out.

Two hours later, they had moved him off the floor and mopped the spill. He lay in a shopping cart packed with bags of ice, his mud-spotted legs flopping out over the edge. The police had come. They were mulling around taking notes and crossing their arms, putting their hands on their hips.

We had run out of dish soap and it was annoying to leave dishes in the sink. It was sunny, anyway, nice for going out. We stepped around his cart. The ice was a good idea, kept him fresh.

Near sundown, we wanted a cake. We were surprised to find him still resting there in his cart. The ice had melted and left a pinkish puddle on the floor. They had caught the killer and chained him to a bar in the corner. He paced and muttered. The police talked into their radios. We locked a bag into the bin by the counter and went to browse. There were always many cakes to choose from. We picked one with cream and layers of flaky crust.

The clerk was eying the killer when we reached her. I had to clear my throat to get her attention so we could pay. “Sorok, shest” repeated the killer over and over. We took the bag out of the locker and went home with the cake.

I suppose they've taken him out and it's all cleaned up by now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Poem - "The Ballad of Burly Burt"

Burly Burt had on a shirt
He'd learnt to be right curt
His arms were burnt
His moustache curlt
He slurred his dirty words

Four kooky cops came clambering
Caps clasped in crooked claws
To catch a crabby chambermaid
Who'd broken all their laws

And Burly Burt was quite unnerved
He sawr it all proceed
They dragged her cursing, cane and cape
The strangest sight he'd seed

So Burly Burt got angry
He burst out from the door
He roared "have mercy on the girl,
you'll dash her on the floor."

But kooky cops, they cannot catch
Complaints called out this way
They crammed her crosswise in the car
Where she did kick, but stay

Then Burly Burt tore off his shirt
And bared his brazen breast
With bellowing he bashed their brains
Then went inside, to rest

And Millicent, her name it was
Climbed up his quiet stair
Big Burly Burt undid the door
To sit her on a chair

He looked into her face, so plain
And said, “Your eyes are two,
I'd like it if you married me.”
To which she said, “I do.”

And there they clung together
Dear Millicent and Burt
While lay the coppers conked outside
Their corpses cold, inert