Aimless Love: a poem by Billy Collins

Aimless Love
by Billy Collins

This morning as I walked along the lake shore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door—
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor—
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

Original source: Billy Collins, Nine Horses, Pan Macmillan and Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2003, accessed via Pan Macmillan on 9 August 2018. Continue reading “Aimless Love: a poem by Billy Collins”

Dean Fidelman finally getting the kind of attention he deserves (and not only for StoneNudes)

I met photographer Dean Fidelman while living in Yosemite National Park in 1999, and for years I invested everything I had—physically, energetically, spiritually, and financially—into his StoneNudes project. This attempt to build a something that would financially support a complete immersion into art, nature, community collaboration, social activism, and a life well-lived sparked a sense of purpose I’ve been both refining and expanding ever since. Though I ultimately chose to distance myself from the always-fraught business side of StoneNudes, Dean and I have remained very close friends and artistic collaborators.

Climbing podcast Enormocast recently published not one but two entire episodes’ worth of an interview with Dean (here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2), and they’re fantastic. As someone who came of age listening to climbers’ yarns around Yosemite campfires, and who regularly groans at the media’s lazy sensationalization of Dean’s work, I have to say that it is a rare treat to hear the man himself explain, at length and very eloquently, why he does the work he does.

All other accounts leave out what I believe are the most important elements of his story: his deep appreciation for his mentors, his community (including those who have left us), the places that inspire his work, his commitment to giving back, and the reality of what it’s like to walk in his shoes… the mismatched shoes of our deceased friend Sean, as the case happens be.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deanfidelman/stone-nudes-2019-20th-anniversary-calendar-final-e

This year marks the 20th and final edition of the StoneNudes Calendar, and I’m thrilled that Dean’s Kickstarter campaign is doing so well! Continue reading “Dean Fidelman finally getting the kind of attention he deserves (and not only for StoneNudes)”

Lydia Daniller – Finding your sweet spot

Listen in iTunes

Female pleasure is still largely a taboo topic in most societies, which is exactly why Lydia Daniller knew she needed to use her voice as an activist and storyteller to speak up. Driven to educate, inform and destigmatize, Lydia launched into a truly ambitious project: a sexual pleasure research website called OMGYES. This kind of honest radicalism isn’t new to Lydia – from early on in life she’s been crafting the unexpected through her love of poetry, photography and videography. “It takes a lot of bravery in general to do anything big and bold and new,” Lydia tells me. “Trust in that thing that you want to do… Of course, you’re going to doubt it, and of course you’re going to be insecure at times.” Listen in as Lydia talks about making time for the things that are really important to you, and why sometimes the best move might just be to step back from something you started. Xero Gravity #81 – Get ready for a feel-good episode!

Live music + visual art = yes please

I just caught a fascinating performance on KALW, a live interpretation of an essay written by an inmate comparing and contrasting two photographs of movie screens with eerie music in the background… was hoping I’d be able to Google up the photographs described and was thrilled to find a video of the entire performance:

I was quite moved by the live music / commentary + film performed during Brent Green and Sam Green: Live Cinema at the Exploratorium a month ago

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFYHMKjEY9l/?taken-by=aelizabethu

and so if I weren’t going to be out of town that weekend, I would definitely be checking out Paul Dresher Ensemble’s They Will Have Been So Beautiful: The Electro-Acoustic Band In Concert with Guest Artist Amy X Neuburg at Z Space:
Continue reading “Live music + visual art = yes please”