“She’s positively monosyllabic,” Konrad said later, at the reception. Ferdinand watched as Helena waltzed on the arm of her father. Mr. Wittberg held his glass of champagne close to his face as a precaution against the many curious lip-readers present in the ballroom.Read more
Lay down your hands; lay down the endless reign / of spokes of wheels of wheeling Saturn: / the wile of dreams of sleepless maidens, / stealing out the summer from beneath you while you breathe.
The copperheads curled in the dark apple tree / their liquors burning in clefts deep and wide; / or thick in the brush and the loam sweet as leather; / unguent balm to some pierced ruby-side.
But the heat of her song rippled white through the morning; / casting the grey from the heap of the mind. / She broke every color with willful precision: / a knife to the tumor / of sorrow, / of night.
Standard Tower was as much a statement of man’s dominion over the landscape as a reminder of the Company’s dominion over man…
-Amelie Andrezel, Mementos of the Fall
In case you were wondering what’s happening with all the #mementos posts, here’s a beginning sketch of the top level of Standard Tower.
The Night and I - The Sovereign Nothings
(featuring Sally Fowler)
Here, it is, the first FINISHED song for the CD I’m working on. Special thanks to Sally Fowler for her amazing arrangement and performance of the violin parts on this one.
Some nights are made for gin glasses: for negligees and half-heard sighs and the laughter of open windows.
I drank sunlight today from a clear glass cup, down by the river where the men were fishing. They pulled monsters from the waves with nets. I heard them speak but I did not understand.
Some nights are made for the cold, dark air: for the wanton, surrendered sensation.
Liszt cried softly in the other room. I didn’t know him well enough to offer consolation. When summer broke on the winter moon, stretching chalk-white over champagne lawns, I offered my hand in the juniper swell and we danced to the sometimes piano.
I do not hear it now.
There is only the sunlight in my clear, golden cup: reflecting the weight of gin glasses.
Janey moved to Evanston in July after her junior year, to a little box situated at the back of a somewhat larger box, erected sometime before the war.
The pink and orange sunlight of Sunday morning filtered into its constituent wavelengths around the towers of unpacked boxes on the floor of her new apartment. Pushing one of the stacks aside to create an open place at the center of the room, Jane sat cross-legged, filling negative space with her hands and feet. Her hair was very long in those days, and she threw it back over her shoulder. She squinted her eyes, looking down at the copy of yesterday’s newspaper she’d rescued from her new neighbor’s recycling. But nothing would focus, so she lay down on her back to memorize the cracks in the plaster ceiling.
Gold-turned earth, frozen in knots under winter sky, when will you take me as I lay into your arms? I drove north today, just to be away. I stole your pulse in beats against the tires.
My fingers only spread so far, stretching the mud. I pace. I inhale. There is orange-pink clay along the backbone of the road, over the hill: down gullies, into the ground. I know the god who cursed the earth, who tread on my fingers and my hair like snakes, who gave lilies to the grave. He split my rib and he lives there, still, nestled in the blood and the bone and the fiber, coughing in his cage. We owe each other fists; we owe each other flames.
The starlings circle and I wonder about music. What good is the division from one breath to the other? Songs rise from the golden ground; the west curls in my veins. Away, away: I took the secret. I stole desire from the sun-sour cherries; I stained my fingers red.
Gold-turned earth, knife-edged grey, over the open expanse of heaven—you bind me and you pull me and you hold me from your gut.
Oh earth! Let me fall away.
To conjure the perfect feeling.
Hey, look, mandolin! And organ — oh my!
This isn’t finished yet and I shouldn’t post it but, damn it, I spent all morning on it and I feel like sharing.
It sounds like real music, guys.
Collier hated them—the smug bastards. They smiled and simpered and amassed their fortunes, as if their lives of comfort mattered. As if any of it mattered.
There were people out there, dying.
Jan sighed and rested his head against the glass. It was just nerves, that was all. He was so tired. He would have given anything just to sleep, to avoid this party. But appearances needed to be maintained, connections preserved. The League depended on it. He took a cigarette from his pocket and lit it absently. Damn it, he thought, he was getting as bad as Joberg. Still, it helped the nerves. It gave your hands something to do.
Jesus, he thought, blowing a puff of thin, blue smoke toward the ceiling—what did he have to be nervous about? Keeping up the airs of a rich man’s son was hardly a sacrifice. All the same, he’d been delicately bred, and the habit of self-pity died hard. Like it or not, he was nervous. Joberg could laugh if he wanted—it was the truth.
As if on cue, the trolley turned right onto the University high street. The Kam glimmered darkly in the canal, snaking along beneath bridges and bypasses. There was a little apartment block down one of these alleys that Collier knew well. Joberg’s sister lived there. Jan had visited her on several occasions with letters, under the pretense of having his watch mended. The Anglos were very good with clocks—or at least they had that reputation. The first time he had called on her, she had been out. He had spent a long time waiting in a dreary front parlor while her daughter made them tea.
It was a typical Anglo apartment, but at the time he had found it very queer. To Jan, Anglo decorating seemed particularly utilitarian—as if their collective tastes had never evolved past the Interim and the Wild. They rejected luxury and had little eye for elegance. Despite being immaculately clean, their houses always gave off something of a neglected air. It was not, as Jan had first suspected, the byproduct of poverty. Even the poorest gypsies and basques and romans brought a little light into their dwellings, or collected something frivolous. Not so with the Anglos. This was not to say there weren’t prized family possessions. Anglos were proud of the artifacts of their family lines—particularly anything with a provenance that could be traced to England. But these were matters of heritage, sources of identity—not objects of aesthetic value. Republicans had their own indulgence for the past, it was true—but as a treasure trove to be raided; a foundation for improvement. For the Anglos, it was different. The past, to them, was not a place one visited. It was a place one lived. The longer Collier spent time among them, the more he could trace the root of this sentiment to their thousand years of uncertainty. It wasn’t as though they had a distaste for beauty. Only, how could they bear to let it in, knowing all too soon it would be stripped from them again? They gave their hearts to other things instead.
Collier admired it, to be sure. But he had no connection with it in his gut. Try as he might, an evening in an Anglo household never failed to leave him feeling glum.