A Dream, Not a Nightmare

“It was a dream, not a nightmare, a beautiful dream I could never imagine in a thousand nods. There was a girl next to me who wasn’t beautiful until she smiled and I felt that smile come at me in heat waves following, soaking through my body and out my finger tips in shafts of color and I knew somewhere in the world, somewhere, that there was love for me.”

Jim Carroll
The Basketball Diaries
1978

 
 

Patti Smith and his friend Jim Carroll. Photo (possibly) by Robert Mapplethorpe, ca. 1969-70

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Redeemed Through Pain

CATHOLIC BOY

“I was born in a pool, they made my mother stand
And I spat on that surgeon and his trembling hand
When I felt the light I was worse than bored
I stole the doctor’s scalpel and I slit the cord

I was a Catholic boy,
Redeemed through pain,
Not through joy

I was two months early they put me under glass
I screamed and cursed their children when the nurses passed
Was convicted of theft when I slipped from the womb
They led me straight from my mother to a cell in the Tombs

I was a Catholic boy,
Redeemed through pain,
Not through joy

They starved me for weeks, they thought they’d teach me fear
I fed on cellmates’ dreams, it gave me fine ideas
When they cut me loose, the time had served me well
I made allies in heaven, I made comrades in Hell

I was a Catholic child
The blood ran red
The blood ran wild

I make angels dance and drop to their knees
When I enter a church the feet of statues bleed
I understand the fate of all my enemies
Just like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

I was a Catholic boy,
Redeemed through pain,
Not through joy

I watched the sweetest psalm stolen by the choir
I dreamed of martyrs’ bones hanging from a wire
I make a contribution, I get absolution
I make a resolution to purify my soul

I was a Catholic boy,
Redeemed through pain,
Not through joy

They can’t touch me now
I got every sacrament behind me:
I got baptism,
I got communion,
I got penance,
I got extreme unction
I’ve got confirmation
‘Cause I’m a Catholic child
The blood ran red
The blood ran wild!

Now I’m a Catholic man
I put my tongue to the rail whenever I can.”

Jim Carroll

 

 

James Dennis “Jim” Carroll (August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009) was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician.

Carroll was born to a working-class family of Irish descent, and grew up on New York City’s Lower East Side. When he was about 11 (in the sixth grade) his family moved north to Inwood in Upper Manhattan where he attended Good Shepherd School. He was taught by the LaSalle Christian Brothers, and his brother in the sixth grade noted that he could write and encouraged him to do so. In fall 1963, he entered public school, but was soon awarded a scholarship to the elite Trinity School. He attended Trinity from 1964–1968.

 

Carroll identified Rainer Maria Rilke, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs as influences on his artistic career.

 

 

While still in high school, Carroll published his first collection of poems, Organic Trains. Already attracting the attention of the local literati, his work began appearing in the Poetry Project’s magazine The World in 1967. Soon his work was being published in elite literary magazines like Paris Review in 1968, and Poetry the following year. In 1970, his second collection of poems, 4 Ups and 1 Down was published, and he started working for Andy Warhol. At first, he was writing film dialogue and inventing character names; later on, Carroll worked as the co-manager of Warhol’s Theater. Carroll’s first publication by a mainstream publisher (Grossman Publishers), the poetry collection Living at the Movies, was published in 1973.

In 1978, after he moved to California to get a fresh start since overcoming his heroin addiction, Carroll formed The Jim Carroll Band, a new wave/punk rock group, with encouragement from Patti Smith, with whom he once shared an apartment in New York City, along with Robert Mapplethorpe. He performed a spoken word piece with the Patti Smith Group in San Diego when the support band dropped out at the last moment.

 

The front cover photograph was taken by Annie Leibovitz

 

The band was originally called Amsterdam, where they originally formed and were based in Bolinas, California. The musicians were Steve Linsley (bass), Wayne Woods (drums), Brian Linsley and Terrell Winn (guitars). They released a single People Who Died, from their 1980 debut album, Catholic Boy. The album featured contributions from Allen Lanier and Bobby Keys.

 

Robert Downey Jim Carroll and James Spader, in Tuff Turf (Fritz Kiersch, 1985)

 

In 1982 the song appeared in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982), from which Carroll received royalties until his death in 2009. The song also appeared in the 1985 Kim Richards vehicle Tuff Turf starring James Spader and Robert Downey Jr., which also featured a cameo appearance by the band, as well as 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. It was featured in the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries (based on Jim Carroll’s autobiography), and was covered by John Cale on his Antártida soundtrack. A condensed, 2-minute, version of the song was made into an animated music video by Daniel D. Cooper, an independent filmmaker/animator, in 2010. The song’s title was based on a poem by Ted Berrigan.

 

Later albums were Dry Dreams (1982) and I Write Your Name (1983), both with contributions from Lenny Kaye and Paul Sanchez. Carroll also collaborated with musicians Lou Reed, Blue Öyster Cult, Boz Scaggs, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra and Rancid.

 

 

To watch a clip related to this post, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

The Basketball Diaries

“Little kids shoot marbles
where the branches break the sun

into graceful shafts of light…
I just want to be pure.”

Jim Carroll
The Basketball Diaries

 
 

The Basketball Diaries is a 1978 memoir written by author and musician Jim Carroll

 
 

Movie poster

 
 

The Basketball Diaries (Scott Kalvert, 1995) is an adaptation of poet and memoirist Jim Carroll’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) juvenile diaries chronicling his kaleidoscopic free-fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim’s life centers on the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach (“Swifty”) who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an appetite for cocaine and heroin all begin to encroach on young Jim’s dream of becoming a basketball star.

Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother’s mounting concern for her son. He cannot go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim “picked up a game” now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity, which ultimately ends with Jim’s incarceration in Riker’s Island. After months in prison, he leaves and later does a talk show about his drug life, after turning down free drugs from his old friend, Pedro.

The film is set in the early 1990s, while Carroll’s actual book recounts experiences from growing up in the 1960s. Jim started out as a practice basketball player, and moved on to write The Basketball Diaries.

 
 

Dancing Barefoot

Photographs by Steven Sebring

 

“She is benediction
She is addicted to thee
She is the root connection
She is connecting with he

Here I go and I don’t know why
I flow so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me

I’m dancing barefoot
Headin’ for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
It makes me come up like some heroine

She is sublimation
She is the essence of thee
She is concentrating on
He who is chosen by she

Here I go when I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me

I’m dancing barefoot
Headin’ for a spin
Some strange music drags me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

She is recreation
She intoxicated by thee
She has the slow sensation that
He is levitating with she

Here I go when I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly
‘Til I lose my sense of gravity

I’m dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you”

 

Dancing Barefoot is a rock song written by Patti Smith and Ivan Kral, and released as a second single from Patti Smith Group’s 1979 album Wave. According to the album sleeve, the song was dedicated to women such as Amedeo Modigliani‘s mistress Jeanne Hébuterne.

In 2004, this song was ranked number 323 on Rolling Stone‍ ’​s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. It has been recorded by many including U2, Simple Minds and Pearl Jam.

The version covered by Johnette Napolitano was included on the score of The Basketball Diaries (Scott Kalvert, 1995).

To watch a clip of this song performed by Patti Smith, please, check out The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC6sLQg3gkk

Illumination: Who Are Poets

 

We are constantly looking at still and video images through compressed formats, on smaller screens, on shrinking devices. I invert the approach to current media, by enlarging the minuscule detail of compressed imagery to a point of beautiful abstract distortion.

By breaking the image elements into enlarged color tiles, I strive to create two levels of viewing. I experiment pulling the eye of the viewer back and forth between the sterile smoothness of tiles and the composed depth of a lit portrait. It is a mediation of human emotion and experience contained from the perspective of the digital age. My subjects, who are poets – parse the human experience into measures of words, sounds, images.

The portraits are large in scale, evoking sacred items to be viewed with a sense of awe and wonder. One thinks of stained glass windows in cathedrals; upon close examination, the exquisite tiles break the image into astounding squares of colored glass. The abstract color tiles invite the viewer to explore the surface texture of the image. When you take a step back, the image becomes whole, the work illuminated, shining light on the subjects – poetry itself.

I make a statement on the nature of a poet – we can see these faces at a distance, but tiles prevent us from recognizing the subjects at a closer range. the sum of their work and voices touches us, but they are, as all people are, ultimately unknowable.

Steven Sebring

 

 

It was in 1995 when the photographer Steven Sebring met Patti Smith while on a shoot for Spin Magazine. Many years later they collaborated on a film Patti Smith: Dream of Life, a book, and an exhibition. And they collaborated again. to celebrate the opening of Sebring’s exhibition Illumination: Who Are Poets at the Milk Gallery in Chelsea (2011).

The exhibit featured a series of portraits Sebring did of Patti, Jim Carroll, Joey Ramone, Michael Stipe, Neil Young, Philip Glass and Richard Hell. To honor the subjects, Patti and Stipe sang and played. Patti shared with the public few lectures stories and songs about all of them. Her passion and devotion to poetry made her the perfect voice for a special New York night. She shared the stage with her long time guitarist Lenny Kaye and her daughter Jesse (magic on piano).

 

The Actual Walrus

 
 

John Lennon received a letter from a pupil at Quarry Bank High School, which he had attended. The writer mentioned that the English master was making his class analyse The Beatles‘ lyrics (Lennon wrote an answer, dated 1 September 1967, which was auctioned by Christie’s of London in 1992). Lennon, amused that a teacher was putting so much effort into understanding the Beatles’ lyrics, decided to write in his next song the most confusing lyrics that he could.

The genesis of the lyrics is found in three song ideas that Lennon was working on, the first of which was inspired by hearing a police siren at his home in Weybridge; Lennon wrote the lines “Mis-ter cit-y police-man” to the rhythm and melody of the siren. The second idea was a short rhyme about Lennon sitting in his garden, while the third was a nonsense lyric about sitting on a corn flake. Unable to finish the ideas as three different songs, he eventually combined them into one. The lyrics also included the phrase “Lucy in the sky” from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band earlier in the year.

 
 

The Walrus and The Carpenter as illustrated by John Tenniel

 
 

The walrus is a reference to the walrus in Lewis Carroll‘s poem The Walrus and the Carpenter (from the book Through the Looking-Glass). Lennon later expressed dismay upon belatedly realising that the walrus was a villain in the poem.

The final catalyst of the song occurred when Lennon’s friend and former fellow member of the Quarrymen, Peter Shotton, visited and Lennon asked Shotton about a playground nursery rhyme they sang as children. Shotton remembered:

“Yellow matter custard, green slop pie, All mixed together with a dead dog’s eye, Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick, Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick.”

Lennon borrowed a couple of words, added the three unfinished ideas and the result was I Am the Walrus. The Beatles’ official biographer Hunter Davies was present while the song was being written and wrote an account in his 1968 biography of the Beatles. Lennon remarked to Shotton, “Let the fuckers work that one out.” Shotton was also responsible for suggesting to Lennon to change the lyric “waiting for the man to come” to “waiting for the van to come”.

 
 

The Beatles in costume filming Magical Mystery Tour

 
 

Lennon claimed he wrote the first two lines on separate acid trips; he explained much of the song to Playboy in 1980:

“The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko… I’d seen Allen Ginsberg and some other people who liked Dylan and Jesus going on about Hare Krishna. It was Ginsberg, in particular, I was referring to. The words ‘Element’ry penguin’ meant that it’s naïve to just go around chanting Hare Krishna or putting all your faith in one idol. In those days I was writing obscurely, à la Dylan.”

“It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles’ work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, ‘I am the carpenter.’ But that wouldn’t have been the same, would it? [Sings, laughing] ‘I am the carpenter….'”

Seen in the Magical Mystery Tour film singing the song, Lennon, apparently, is the walrus; on the track-list of the accompanying soundtrack EP/LP however, underneath I Am the Walrus are printed the words ‘ “No you’re not!” said Little Nicola’ (in the film, Nicola is a little girl who keeps contradicting everything the other characters say). Lennon returned to the subject in the lyrics of three of his subsequent songs: in the 1968 Beatles song Glass Onion he sings, “I told you ’bout the walrus and me, man/You know that we’re as close as can be, man/Well here’s another clue for you all/The walrus was Paul”; in the third verse of Come Together he sings the line “he bag production, he got walrus gumboot”; and in his 1970 solo song God, admits “I was the walrus, but now I’m John.”

 
 

To watch the clip from Magical Mystery Tour, please take a gander at The Genealogy of the Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r52ZBx0KMI

Kind of Twisted and Memorable Characters

Illustration by John Tenniel

 
 

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are fictional characters in an English nursery rhyme and in Lewis Carroll‘s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). Their names may have originally come from an epigram written by poet John Byrom. The nursery rhyme has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19800. The names have since become synonymous in western popular culture slang for any two people who look and act in identical ways, generally in a derogatory context.

Carroll, having introduced two fat little men named Tweedledum and Tweedledee, quotes the nursery rhyme, which the two brothers then go on to enact. They agree to have a battle, but never have one. When they see a monstrous black crow swooping down, they take to their heels. The Tweedle brothers never contradict each other, even when one of them, according to the rhyme, “agrees to have a battle”. Rather, they complement each other’s words. This fact has led Tenniel to assume that they are twins, and Martin Gardner goes so far as to claim that Carroll intended them to be enantiomorphs — three-dimensional mirror images. Evidence for these assumptions cannot be found in any of Lewis Carroll’s writings.

The words “Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee” make their first appearance in print in “one of the most celebrated and most frequently quoted (and sometimes misquoted) epigrams”, satirising the disagreements between George Frideric Händel and Giovanni Bononcini, written by John Byrom (1692–1763):

Some say, compar’d to Bononcini
That Mynheer Handel’s but a Ninny
Others aver, that he to Handel
Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle
Strange all this Difference should be’
Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!

Although Byrom is clearly the author of the epigram, the last two lines have also been attributed to Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. While the familiar form of the rhyme was not printed until around 1805, when it appeared in Original Ditties for the Nursery, it is possible that Byrom was drawing on an existing rhyme.

 
 

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum features as the opening song on Bob Dylan‘s 2001 album Love and Theft.

 
 

The track includes many references to parades in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where participants are masked, and “determined to go all the way” of the parade route, in spite of being intoxicated. “It rolls in like a storm, drums galloping over the horizon into ear shot, guitar riffs slicing with terse dexterity while a tale about a pair of vagabonds unfolds,” writes Kot. “It ends in death, and sets the stage for an album populated by rogues, con men, outcasts, gamblers, gunfighters and desperados, many of them with nothing to lose, some of them out of their minds, all of them quintessentially American.

They’re the kind of twisted, instantly memorable characters one meets in John Ford‘s westerns, Jack Kerouac‘s road novels, but, most of all, in the blues and country songs of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. This is a tour of American music—jump blues, slow blues, rockabilly, Tin Pan Alley ballads, Country Swing—that evokes the sprawl, fatalism and subversive humor of Dylan’s sacred text, Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, the pre-rock voicings of Hank Williams, Charley Patton and Johnnie Ray, among others, and the ultradry humor of Groucho Marx.

A Pledge from Paradise

“If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake – Aye, what then?”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Anima Poetæ : From the Unpublished Note-books of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1895) edited by Ernest Hartley Coleridge, p. 282

 
 

Alice’s Evidence. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as interpreted by Salvador Dali (1969)

Wine and Whore of Babylon

Wine of Babylon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984

 
 

In May 1984, Jean-Michel Basquiat has his first one-artist exhibition at the Mary Boone Gallery. Paintings include Bird as Buddha, Brown Spots, Eye, Untitled (Africa), and Wine of Babylon. The show was met by mixed reviews:

“The early work is of an original primitivism, with a graffiti heritage. The originality has quickly become stylized and somewhat self-conscious in this current show” (Donald Kuspit)

“The young artist uses color well …. But more remarkable is the educated quality of his line and the stateliness of his compositions, both of which bespeak a formal training that, in fact, he never had” (Vivien Raynor).

“And throughout floated a disembodied eye, which seemed to allude both to the self-the ‘I’-and to the witness or seer. But one sensed little of what Basquiat is witness to, or of why it bears accounting” (Kate Linker).

 
 

Whore of Babylon, William Blake, 1809

 
 

Babalon (also known as the Scarlet Woman, Great Mother or Mother of Abominations) is a goddess found in the mystical system of Thelema, which was established in 1904 with English author and occultist Aleister Crowley‘s writing of The Book of the Law (although the name Babalon does not occur in that text). In her most abstract form, she represents the female sexual impulse and the liberated woman; although in the Creed of the Gnostic Mass she is also identified with Mother Earth, in her most fertile sense. At the same time, Crowley believed that Babalon had an earthly aspect in the form of a spiritual office, which could be filled by actual women—usually as a counterpart to his own identification as “To Mega Therion” (The Great Beast)—whose duty was then to help manifest the energies of the current Aeon of Horus.

Her consort is Chaos, the “Father of Life” and the male form of the Creative Principle. Babalon is often described as being girt with a sword and riding the Beast. She is often referred to as a sacred whore, and her primary symbol is the Chalice or Graal.

As Crowley wrote in his The Book of Thoth, “she rides astride the Beast; in her left hand she holds the reins, representing the passion which unites them. In her right she holds aloft the cup, the Holy Grail aflame with love and death. In this cup are mingled the elements of the sacrament of the Aeon”.

Perhaps the earliest origin is the ancient city of Babylon, a major metropolis in Mesopotamia (modern Al Hillah in Iraq). Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bāb-ilû), meaning “Gateway of the god”. It was the “holy city” of Babylonia from around 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian empire from 612 BC.

One of the goddesses associated with Babylonia was Ishtar, the most popular female deity of the Assyro-Babylonian pantheon and patron of the famous Ishtar Gate. She is the Akkadian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and the cognate to the northwest Semitic goddess Astarte. The Greeks associated her with Aphrodite (Latin Venus), and sometimes Hera. Ishtar was worshipped as a Great Goddess of fertility and sexuality, but also of war and death, and the guardian of prostitutes. She was also called the Great Whore and sacred prostitution formed part of her cult or those of cognate goddesses.

Bread-and-Butterfly

Illustration by John Tenniel

 
 

Stills from Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi; Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1951). This British-American animated fantasy comedy-adventure film was produced by Walt Disney Productions and based primarily on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with several additional elements from Through the Looking-Glass

 
 

‘And then there’s the Butterfly,’ Alice went on, after she had taken a good look at the insect with its head on fire, and had thought to herself, ‘I wonder if that’s the reason insects are so fond of flying into candles — because they want to turn into Snap-dragon-flies!’

‘Crawling at your feet,’ said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet back in some alarm), ‘you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.

‘And what does it live on?’

‘Weak tea with cream in it.’

A new difficulty came into Alice’s head. ‘Supposing it couldn’t find any?’ she suggested.

‘Then it would die, of course.’

‘But that must happen very often,’ Alice remarked thoughtfully.

‘It always happens,’ said the Gnat.

After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering. The Gnat amused itself meanwhile by humming round and round her head: at last it settled again and remarked, ‘I suppose you don’t want to lose your name?’

‘No, indeed,’ Alice said, a little anxiously.

Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass
Chapter 3, Looking-Glass Insects

The Girl and The Sunflowers

Elle Fanning wears a Rodarte Spring 2012 Collection gown inspired by Van Gogh to the 2012 Critic’s Choice Awards

 
 

Phoebe in Wonderland (Daniel Barnz, 2008), theatrical release poster

 
 

This movie is Elle Fanning’s first lead role in a feature film. The first draft for the script was written one year before Elle Fanning (Phoebe) was even born.

Truman Capote Through the Looking-Glass

Truman Capote at his Black and White Ball in 1966

 
 

“…My eyes distractedly consult it – are drawn to it against my will, as they sometimes are by the senseless flickerings of an unregulated television set. It has that kind of frivolous power. Therefore, I shall overly describe it – in the manner of those “avant garde” French novelists who, having chosen to discard narrative, character, and structure, restrict themselves to page-length paragraphs detailing the contours of a single object, the mechanics of an isolated movement: a wall, a white wall with a fly meandering across it. So: the object in Madame’s drawing room is a black mirror. It is seven inches tall and six inches wide. It is framed within a worn black leather case that is shaped like a book. Indeed, the case is lying open on a table, just as though it were a deluxe edition meant to be picked up and browsed through; but there is nothing there to be read or seen – except the mystery of one’s own image projected by the black mirror’s surface before it recedes into its endless depths, its corridors of darkness.

 
 

Self-Portrait by Paul Gauguin, 1885

 
 

Young Woman at the Window (Jeune femme devantune fenêtre), Paul Gauguin, 1888

 
 

Clovis, Paul Gauguin, 1886

 
 

“It belonged,” she is explaining, “to Gauguin. You know, of course, that he lived and painted here before he settled among the Polynesians. That was his black mirror. They were a quite common artefact among artists of the last century. Van Gogh used one. As did Renoir.”

“I don’t quite understand. What did they use them for?” “To refresh their vision. Renew their reaction to colour, the tonal variations. After a spell of work, their eyes fatigued, they rested themselves by gazing into these dark mirrors. Just as gourmets at a banquet, between elaborate courses, reawaken their palates with a sorbet de citron.” She lifts the small volume containing the mirror off the table and passes it to me. “I often use it when my eyes have been stricken by too much sun. It’s soothing.”

Soothing, and also disquieting. The blackness, the longer one gazes into it, ceases to be black, but becomes a queer silver-blue, the threshold to secret visions; like Alice, I feel on the edge of a voyage through a looking-glass, one I’m hesitant to take…”

 
 

Excerpt from Music for Chameleons
Truman Capote

The Anniversary

Portrait of Venezuelan painter Armando Reverón as The Hatter, by Luis Xeiroto

 
 

All Kings, and all their favourites,

All glory of honours, beauties, wits,

The sun itself, which makes times, as they pass,

Is elder by a year now than it was

When thou and I first one another saw:

All other things to their destruction draw,

Only our love hath no decay;

This no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,

Running it never runs from us away,

But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.

Two graves must hide thine and my corse;

If one might, death were no divorce.

Alas, as well as other Princes, we

(Who Prince enough in one another be)

Must leave at last in death these eyes and ears,

Oft fed with true oaths, and with sweet salt tears;

But souls where nothing dwells but love

(All other thoughts being inmates) then shall prove

This, or a love increasèd there above,

When bodies to their graves, souls from their graves remove.

And then we shall be throughly blessed;

But we no more than all the rest.

Here upon earth we’re Kings, and none but we

Can be such Kings, nor of such subjects be;

Who is so safe as we? where none can do

Treason to us, except one of us two.

True and false fears let us refrain,

Let us love nobly, and live, and add again

Years and years unto years, till we attain

To write threescore: this is the second of our reign.

John Donne