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30 August 2012

On Emily

There was an increasing divide
Between people she wished to know
And those she did not.

Her clarity could not endure
Social talk instead of truth;
Piety instead of “The Soul’s Superior instants”.

Her directness would have been disconcerting
If she did not “simulate” conventionality,

And this was “stinging work”.

But a more threatening challenge,
Deeper below the surface,
Fired the volcanoes and earthquakes in her poems -

An event,
As she put it,
That “Struck - my ticking - through -“.

Taken from a Guardian article about Emily Dickinson, 13th February 2012. 'Didn't' has been changed to 'did not' in the first stanza. Submitted by Susan.

28 August 2012

A day without deference

Let the nation’s doormen do their jobs without smiling
Let waiters at suburban restaurants leave their flair at home
Let the janitors at Princeton mop no vomit from the dormitory stairwells
Let retail greeters of every description call in sick
Let the first-class passengers board at someone else’s leisure
Let the nation’s limo drivers require their passengers to open their own damn doors
Let the production interns at CNBC send the on-air “talent” to fetch the coffee
And, for just one day, let the talent ask their interviewees hard questions

From the essay Servile Disobedience by Thomas Frank, February 2011. Submitted by Rishi Dastidar.

23 August 2012

What Pocket Money Was Invented For

29 x glider planes
4 x toxic slime
9 x glitter cowboy hats
30 x flashing dinosaurs
20 x aeroplane bouncy balls
15 x animal bouncy balls (seals etc)
10 x squeaky smiley face yellow things
9 x gigglesticks
1 x box of rings
5 x large flower hair bobbles
1 x box of flashing frog rings
7 x stretchy lizards
5 x stretchy snakes
7 x stretchy frogs
3 x dinosaur skeletons
6 x toxic toilets
4 x tool kits
box of eyepatch + moustach + loopy lou’s
box of turkey and eggs (24)
box of mouse waterballs (12)
box of roll tongue animals (28)
4 x Dr Who pinballs
Stretchy men
Stretchy aliens
10 wooden floppy type animals
5 wooden animal rulers
10 ‘fly back’ gliders
10 spider man keyrings

A stock list from a novelty stall, picked up while tidying up from school summer fair in Macclesfield, 2012. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

16 August 2012

Dissecting Myself

Now I can start by
pulling the heart
And cutting through the inferior vena cava
Which is bringing the blood back
From the regions of the body
Inferior to the diaphram

Again I'll take the scissors
And cut through the aorta
and the pulmonary trunk
So those major outflow vessels
have now been cut

The last large vessel
That I need to cut through
Is the superior vena cava
Returning blood from
the upper limbs
and the head
back to the right atrium

So, again, I will cut through that
And the heart will be free.

Taken from a human anatomy dissection video, uploaded to youtube on 25 September 2010. Submitted by Isart.

14 August 2012

A night at the opera

Big ideological statements
Giant snakes
One expects to get one or the other
One is rarely deprived of both.

The means are the simplest
As the audience files in
a small army of white-dressed people
are placidly picnicking.
As the music starts
they strip off their clothes
and paint each other blue.
Yes, it sounds weird
but the Ring is weird.

Sometimes they are slaves
Sometimes they are even inanimate.
The gods all sport matching platinum hair.

They don’t try to fool us
and yet something about them
is perfect anyway.

Picked out of a review of Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold on the blog Likely Impossibilities. The word 'are' replaces 'seem to be' in line 8. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

10 August 2012

Orange Juice and Ecstasy

I'm not going to lie,
it can be fun
throwing money over a naked midget
in one of the most famous
gangster strip clubs in America.
But after a while,
throwing money around is not sensible,
even if the midget is willing.

Dizzee Rascal in an interview with the Guardian, Thursday 21 June 2012. Submitted by Marika Rose.

07 August 2012

Lined yellow paper

feel like I don’t have to
know everything

feel strong like I could
do anything I want to

feel unrushed

something got after

feel like I know what I’m doing
at this moment

don’t feel alone or crazy

An anonymous pencilled note handwritten on lined yellow paper, found at the Charlottetown Confederation Centre Library in a book on Buddhism in 2008. It was topped off with a green organic banana sticker. Submitted by Steven.

03 August 2012

Whether you could bear the idea of marrying me

I can’t advise you in my favour because I
think it would be beastly for you, but think how nice
it would be for me. I am restless & moody
and misanthropic & lazy & have no money
except what I earn and if I got ill you would
starve. In fact it’s a lousy proposition. On

the other hand I think I could do a Grant and
reform & become quite strict about not getting
drunk and I am pretty sure I should be faithful.
Also there is always a fair chance that there will
be another bigger economic crash in
which case if you had married a nobleman with

a great house you might find yourself starving, while I
am very clever and could probably earn a
living of some sort somewhere. All these are very
small advantages compared with the awfulness
of my character. I have always tried to be
nice to you and you may have got it into your

head that I am nice really, but that is all rot.
It is only to you & for you. I am jealous
& impatient — but there is no point in going
into a whole list of my vices. You are a
critical girl and I’ve no doubt that you know them
all and a great many I don’t know myself.

From a letter written by Evelyn Waugh in 1936, after his first wife had left him, asking her cousin whether “you could bear the idea of marrying me”, found at Futility Closet. Submitted by Marika Rose.