Friday, September 30, 2016


R O L A N D      B A R T H E S

Signs & Images
essays on art, cinema, photography
translated by Chris Turner
Seagull Books 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


E T E L     A D N A N

Still from I See Infinite Distance Between Any Point and Another. Courtesy LUX

"Poets used to walk across countries; they now sit motionless."


O the Syrian desert mounted by its young emperors in the steel
days of Rome! Its salt has melted in the Euphrates. Further north
the spring has planted miles of orchards. Frantic flowers whisper
to the wind. Birds use corridors of air within the air for their flight.
Their shadows come from the soul. It is necessary not to stay still;
the voyage is family.

Shiny red peppers!  Green peppers!  Women walk between
tomatoes and leeks, in a season of war; that's not unusual. It's
rather like swimming in the summer. Things move fast in a world
of silence and disruption. In the morning, pushing dreams aside,
it's good to take a walk down alleys linden trees, vegetable

Writing: the body's imprint on wet sand. Spring is element of
thinking; perfect tool. Poetry is a question of speed and time,
speed and time. For insomniacs, mind — while all other things are
excluded — plays games with itself. Then language, in those nights,
reveals itself as being our essential self. In dreams, we fly as fast as
we think, and we're rather happy.

When the world and the mind face each other with ultimate
intensity, they cannot cancel out. With its electrical system broken down,
the body doesn't qualify anymore for a name. One can then water
the garden with wine.

Eucalyptus doesn't grow for the shade it provides but for sheer
pleasure. Plane trees spend their nights on the county's lower
meadows. During the winter their branches burn in the
woodstoves. Silence falls gradually. Sleep becomes another form
of awareness.

Small towns suit the full moon. In the bars, loud music increases
the nature weariness of the customers. The season is undamaged
but there's danger in the grass. An apprehension of things to come.
That woman doesn't shoot heroin, being naturally high. Fate is
cruel and its damage irreparable.

Women enter their bed with their lover and feel their loneliness.
There's mystery to their flesh. On Saturn's moons a watery stuff
has been found. This night is not a night although it's not a day.

It's late at night. In a matter of a few hours a motion picture
has covered the lives of a bunch of people. In the same lapse of
time the air has hardly stirred, the trees have hardly grown and the
animals in the surrounding farms have not turned in their sleep.
The season is passing by.

A silver box on a table was considered one's Greek temple. To
teach the Veil's other side one needs to already by there. Obviously.
Winter is mystic season: a time for the transmutation of the cold
into intimacy; of terror, into certitude. Old Tolstoy, where are you,
you who knew departure on trains as liberation?

Are we a dream, a nightmare, a fulfillment? The desire for
permanence has given way to the eminence of the ephemeral.
That's why air drafts, dance, cinema or fire are privileged; they
disappear as they come. To be is a process that we're searching for
while it's already here. We are the looking, the heat, and the


E T E L     A D N A N
The Post-Apollo Press, 2008


Tuesday, September 27, 2016


This article is part of the Opinion Today newsletter. You can sign up here to receive more briefings and a guide to the section daily in your inbox.
He lied about the loan his father once gave him.
He lied about his company’s bankruptcies.
He lied about his federal financial-disclosure forms.
He lied about his endorsements.
He lied about “stop and frisk.”
He lied about “birtherism.”
He lied about New York.
He lied about Michigan and Ohio.
He lied about Palm Beach, Fla.
He lied about Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve.
He lied about the trade deficit.
He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.
He lied about her child-care plan.
He lied about China devaluing its currency.
He lied about Mexico having the world’s largest factories.
He lied about the United States’s nuclear arsenal.
He lied about NATO’s budget.
He lied about NATO’s terrorism policy.
He lied about ISIS.
He lied about his past position on the Iraq War.
He lied about his past position on the national debt.
He lied about his past position on climate change.
He lied about calling pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers.
He lied about calling women “pigs.”
He lied about calling women “dogs.”
He lied about calling women “slobs.”
So… who won the debate?
I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@DLeonhardt) and join me on Facebook.


David Budbill
June 13, 1940 – September 25, 2016

David Budbill died peacefully at his home in the early morning hours of September 25th with his wife of 50 years, Lois Eby, and his daughter, Nadine Wolf Budbill, by his side. A passionate lover of his family and friends, the woods, and all things human, he did not want to leave this life but over the past three years his Progressive Supranuclear Palsy—a rare form of Parkinson’s Disease—brought him to this moment.

David was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940 to a streetcar driver and a minister’s daughter. His colorful life included being a track star in high school, attending Union Theological Seminary in New York City, teaching at Lincoln University (a historically Black college in Pennsylvania), moving to Northern Vermont in the late 1960s and building his own house, laboring on a Christmas tree farm, playing myriad musical instruments, working for racial and economic justice, tending a large vegetable garden, cutting his own wood, and writing a staggering amount of creative material.

He is the author of ten books of poems, seven plays, two novels, a collection of short stories, two picture books for children, and the libretto for an opera. During his prolific career David performed his work in many venues—from schools and prisons in Vermont to avant-garde performance spaces in New York City—often with William Parker and other musical collaborators. Several new books of David’s will be published posthumously, including his newest book of poems titled Tumbling Toward the End (Copper Canyon Press) and a novel titled Broken Wing (Green Writers Press). More can be learned at

David is survived by his wife, Lois, his daughter, Nadine, her partner, Mia Roethlein, and his granddaughter Riley Wolf Budbill-Roethlein who gave him much joy in the last two years of his life and the first two of hers.  He is also survived by his cousins Martha Cross and Dick Miller, his brother in law and sister in law, Frank and Gayle Eby, many good friends and readers of his work, his work itself, and the woods where he loved to be.

His ashes will be returned to his favorite white pine stand in the woods at the home in Wolcott, VT, where he lived and wrote for 45 years.  The family wishes to thank the wonderful team at Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice who guided us and our dedicated caregivers through this challenging time with great skill and compassion.

An event to celebrate David’s life and work is planned for 2017.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Copper Canyon Press, his longtime publisher, or an arts or peace and justice organization of your choice.

Out in the Woods

The only time I’m really free is when I’m out in the woods
cutting firewood, stacking brush, clearing trails. 

Just the chain saw, the dog and me. 
Heave and groan, sweat and ache. 

Work until I can’t stand it anymore. Take a break.

Sit on the needle strewn ground up against a big pine tree, 
drink some water, stare out through the woods, pet the dog. 

Stretch out on the ground, take a nap, dog’s head on my lap.
Ah, this would be the time and place and way to die.

Davd Budbill
from Nine Taoist Poems
Longhouse 2007

Monday, September 26, 2016


Is It




the stars

or stars


over the



4-foot wing span

Opens above me

Calls nothing

Flies over the river

Almost hides itself

Into a dead elm tree

And I stand in place watching

Solitary, the books say —

In 200 yards I’m standing

Across from the bird

And it hates it —

Quick screech calls

Fly backwards

200 yards

Lands where it began

A Tree Full of Birds

                                          for Janine Pommy Vega

That’s what I heard one morning

In a no-nothing town between

Phoenix and Tucson, where it

Appeared desolate and desperate

With a mall and motel and a big

Highway running through it all

And even the motel desk didn’t

Know the name of the route number

Of the highway when I asked the

Next morning with a desire to go

To the mountains north — as if no

One went to the mountains from here —

But I did, and before I left, hours

Before I asked any questions, birds

By the hundreds came to the trees and

Bushes of this motel square, dipping

Even into the swimming pool, and whether

It was sunrise that lit each bird yellow

Or if in fact they were yellow and each

Singing magnificently in the coolness of

Daybreak when I was awakened gladly

And stepped out my door and onto a long

Balcony to see and hear and feel the most

                                           Beautiful day in the world begin


B O B     A R N O L D
Once In Vermont