Tag Archives: simple

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. Continue reading

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simply

one might walk
a hundred thousand miles

away from the city, crowded to heaven with utter coolness…
away from civilization, progress, perfection, circus…
away from people, apes playing dress-up…
away from places, familiar, unforgettable…
on and on…
over bridges, plastered with sludgy, crusted snow…
thru tunnels, a mile dark, dripping, creeping, damp…
thru forests, creaking ancient wisdom in the wind…
thru meadows, rolling plains unassuming…
thru mines of blasted, plundered earth…
thru thunderstorms, the wrath of gods unnamed, unnumbered…
up mountains, natural castles guarding nothing…
down valleys, humble paradises in plain sight…
across flooded rivers, our ancient agricultural blessing…
across a sea of green, daytime sight of sublime…
on and on and on…
under the scorching sun, death glare of the cosmos…
under the pouring rain, a million buckets overturned at once…
under the sleet and snow, flurries of tasteless confection…
amid the blustery wind, a reminder that all is in motion…
on and on and on…
where people shoot guns all night, the distant violent crack…
where deer scamper in all directions, unhesitating clairvoyant fear…
where automobiles passing provide cool breeze, how nice…
where churches dot every corner, clever bait and tackle for lost souls…
where sounds sometimes don’t make sense, alien lands neverending…
where light can please and frighten, the precipice of death and delight…
on and on and on…
through cottages and campsites, feasting in the lap of luxury…
through mud and leaves, wet hair, wet face, wet everything…
cross country, paved roads, rattled heart, steady mind…
again and again… on and on and on…
up mountains…
down valleys…
thru tunnels…
thru everything…
west always west…

simply

for a chance to be
alive and breathing. Continue reading

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Frank O’Hara favorites

POEM

I watched an armory combing its bronze bricks
and in the sky there were glistening rails of milk.
Where had the swan gone, the one with the lame back?

Now mounting the steps
I enter my new home full
of grey radiators and glass
ashtrays full of wool.

Against the winter I must get a samovar
embroidered with basil leaves and Ukranian mottos
to the distant sound of wings, painfully anti-wind,

a little bit of the blue
summer air will come back
as the steam chuckles in
the monster’s steamy attack

and I’ll be happy here and happy there, full
of tea and tears. I don’t suppose I’ll ever get
to Italy, but I have the terrible tundra at least.

My new home will be full
of wood, roots and the like,
while I pace in a turtleneck
sweater, repairing my bike.

I watched the palisades shivering in the snow
of my face, which had grown preternaturally pure.
Once I destroyed a man’s idea of himself to have him.

If I’d had a samovar then
I’d have made him tea
and as hyacinths grow from
a pot he would love me

and my charming room of tea cosies full of dirt
which is why I must travel, to collect the leaves.
O my enormous piano, you are not like being outdoors

though it is cold and you
are made of fire and wood!
I lift your lid and the mountains
return, that I am good.

The stars blink like a hairnet that was dropped
on a seat and now it is lying in the alley behind
the theater where my play is echoed by dying voices.

I am really a woodcarver
and my words are love
which willfully parades in
its room, refusing to move.

1954


POEM

Instant coffee with slightly sour cream
in it, and a phone call to the beyond
which doesn’t seem to be coming any nearer.
“Ah daddy, I wanna stay drunk many days”
on the poetry of a new friend
my life held precariously in the seeing
hands of others, their and my impossibilities.
Is this love, now that the first love
has finally died, where there were no impossibilities?

1956


SONG

Is it dirty
does it look dirty
that’s what you think of in the city

does it just seem dirty
that’s what you think of in the city
you don’t refuse to breathe do you

someone comes along with a very bad character
he seems attractive. is he really. yes. very
he’s attractive as his character is bad. is it. yes

that’s what you think of in the city
run your finger along your no-moss mind
that’s not a thought that’s soot

and you take a lot of dirt off someone
is the character less bad. no. it improves constantly
you don’t refuse to breathe do you

1959


THE DAY LADY DIED

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
there days after the Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with
her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

1959


POEM

Wouldn’t it be funny
if The Finger had designed us
to shit just once a week?

all week long we’d get fatter
and fatter and then on Sunday morning
while everyone’s in church

ploop!

1959


YESTERDAY DOWN AT THE CANAL

You say that everything is very simple and interesting
it makes me feel very wistful, like reading a great
Russian novel does
I am terribly bored
sometimes it is like seeing a bad movie
other days, more often, it’s like having an acute disease
of the kidney
god knows it has nothing to do with the heart
nothing to do with people more interesting than myself
yak yak
that’s an amusing thought
how can anyone be more amusing than oneself
how can anyone fail to be
can i borrow your forty-five
I only need one bullet preferably silver
if you can’t be interesting at least you can be a legend
(but I hate all that crap)

1961 Continue reading

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Olympia / Delphi [archive]

i have never tripped so hard in march.

~~~~~ Day One ~~~~~

early thursday morning, after picking up a chocolate croissant (for sam) and a cheese pie and orange juice (for myself), the long bus trip began. we reached our first destination, the dimitsana open air water power museum, after a couple hours of traveling. yes, it has its own wiki. no, it doesn’t deserve it. the welcoming placard:

Welcome to the open-air Water Power Museum ! Forget the city for a while, turn your back on the TV and the rat race. Surrender to the serenity of nature, to the joy of discovery! Turn back a page in the history book! Above all, take your time!
The museum consists of three separate exhibitions and displays a wide range of the ways in which water provided power and was used in production. The tour will take quite a while.

sheesh. it sure didn’t take me quite a while to see that there was nothing at this museum. still, it really got me away from the rat race, even though they had tvs with demos in every goddamn withered shed. in my favorite little shed, a tv sensually spoke to the dusty air about how to tan. seriously, it was the sexiest Greek voice i’ve ever heard, describing how to rub an animal’s hide just right. James and gregor demonstrating:

leaving the tannery and the gunpowder workshop, James and i went on a quest downhill, following the flowing water, to find more sweet exhibits. instead, we found a sweet car:

following classic cya field trip lunch (chips, sandwich, pizza, chocolate, apple), we were offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the 5-minute walk through the village of dimitsana. once safely on the other side, we decided that a spliff was in order. Elaina and i, but mostly Elaina, took care of that quick. i don’t remember if this was pre or post spliff:

sleepy stoned bus ride quickly passed and we found ourselves in sleepy Olympia, a town with double the population of Dimitsana (600) and half the excitement. seriously you could probably carry a conversation with somebody on the other side of the town. with half the day already done (meaning the site and museum already closed), we had the night to ourselves.

Elaina and i lazed around quite a bit, pretending to nap, before enough interruptions from nervous nick and awkward sam compelled us to give up on sleep and to instead give whiskey a shot. and a few shots we gave it. half a fifth and some indie rock later, we rolled in spongy bliss, not really caring about going anywhere or doing anything, except for the cries of our stomachs. so we went down to the lobby, walked the fifteen feet across the street, and walked into the taverna to sit with our friends who had been waiting. i love Greek food.

after dinner, the gang walked through downtown Olympia in about a minute, we walked back to the hotel with big delicious plant plans. Elaina wrapped up the plant in ten seconds flat and the whole room was flying in not much longer. so excellent. everyone left for their own hotels pretty quickly and Elaina and i went up to her room, where Olivia smoked a cigarette with us. laughing and high….

more holy than a monk, you
holy water monster, incense sex stain,
kill my brain
for what it’s worth, break down
my ideology with your brilliant emotion,
my smiley ideology, a cream puff underneath
the hammer of your frown, don’t cry
teeth tongue truck driving, dirt dumping dirt
thing risen on the 0th day from a swamp
to tell the world nothing/everything
to touch what our hands have touched
to fuck the pyramids i’ve struck, as if
my blue amulet
cursed your dress to glitteriness, as if
glitter waned.

stars wane.

~~~~~ Day Two ~~~~~

breakfast fucking SUCKED. the water tasted like cardboard, the juice tasted like piss, i heard the coffee blew, you can’t fuck up cereal but the milk seemed a year old, and by the time i got to my egg, i was just expecting shit. i basically just stuffed a roll with meat and cheese on it down my throat so that i wouldn’t pass out on ruins.

Olympia is epic.

okay, not really. it’s not visually stunning or immediately magically arresting like Delphi, but still. so much history here, so much tradition started here. i mean, the olympics! you have to be a little thinky to enjoy it, though. nothing there really caught the eye. for example, here’s the stadium, originally constructed in the 6th century bc:

after seeing the excessively epic Olympic stadiums of Athina and Roma, i felt pretty underwhelmed by this dusty oval. the same Greeks who built the sublime theatre at Epidaurus thought this was fit for a stadium? but the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. i decided that two of my favorite characteristics are “epic” and “simple,” which i swear aren’t contradictory. clearly one can see the simplicity in this track. you start at one end with whoever you’re competing, and race them to the end. that’s it. how is it epic? because somehow, just because two men were racing from point a to point b, “armies were forbidden from entering Olympia, wars were suspended, and legal disputes and the use of the death penalty were forbidden” (wiki).

oh my god, you want epic? read about pankration. easily my favorite sport event ever. basically it’s one-on-one, completely naked (nakedness was pretty standard for ancient olympic events) fighting, that ends when one side gives up. everything but eye gouging and biting is allowed. unless you’re in Sparta. Spartan pankration has no exceptions. apparently (and not unexpectedly) lots of people died in this event. if i had my own olympics, it would have two events: the foot race and the pankration.

the collapsed ruins of the temple of Zeus won me over pretty easily. even a monolith in utter ruin retains its monolithic nature. just look at the universe. as i learned while Elaina took the picture above, the dimensions of each column matched my height perfectly. interesting. possible conspiracy theories abound. on the opposite side of me, next to the temple, the ruined columns lined up perfectly with where they originally stood.

epic. i gave myself a hard time trying to climb over them and jumping from stone to stone while Elaina walked on the temple, waiting patiently for me to have my fun. winding to the temple to hera, we saw the same little puppy sleeping who had all day been visiting all the site’s visitors. i guess he got tired of switching between English and Italian. Elaina and i tried to figure out which god he was (hera? Zeus?), but she claims he responded to Dionysos. trickster god.

we slowly worked our way out of the site and with the hour or two break we had, looked for lunch. luckily, her and i out of everybody in our group stuck out around the ruins long enough to lose the crowd, so we only had ourselves to deal with while looking for a place to eat. we passed just two blocks outside of the periphery of the site and quickly found a completely empty taverna, where we ordered fanta lemonades and gyros. while we sat with our fantas and bread, in the middle of quiet Olympia, i sort of realized that i felt very high. neither of us had smoked that day, but she felt the same thing. we just laughed and smiled a lot and everything was good. our food came and we devoured it. then we just sat content and high. fucking everything. we walked back to the class meeting spot in front of the Olympia museum a little early, so Elaina took a seat on a bench and i laid down with my head next to her and took a picture of the beautiful everything laid before me that visually embodied how i felt that afternoon:

the museum stores many, many treasures. it’s as if Meryl was the only person bringing offerings to the sanctuary:

those winged guys would rest on opposite sides of these cauldrons…

….with those wild creatures all along the sides. how creepy. i didn’t pay attention, i guess, because i don’t remember their purpose. i’ll make a wild guess: offerings to the gods. this museum pretty much consisted of offerings that the travelers of the Mediterranean brought to the Olympic games. so if you were a warrior, you might bring a helmet:

what’s the site of the Olympic games without an image of Nike?

even in her nearly completely deconstructed state, she hovers off her pedestal, invisibly winged and free, eternal Victory. the walls painted blue might have helped the illusion. from Nike’s room we walked into a massive room with reconstructions of the two pediments of the temple of Zeus on opposite sides of the room. the east pediment (on the front of the temple), depicted the myth of the chariot race between Pelops and Oenomaus, with Zeus in the center, clearly demonstrating a favorite attribute of the Greeks: Order.

the opposite side of the room, with a reconstruction of the west pediment, depicted a myth involving a wild bunch of centaurs crashing a wedding party, with divine Apollo at the center trying to set things strange. here’s a detail:

before getting kicked out of the museum, we set our eyes on the gorgeously sculpted Hermes and the infant Dionysos:

look at that ass. it’s perfect. you see Hermes’ arm going up? supposedly he once dangled a vine of grapes in front of little Dionysos. precious, right? i love Greek religion (and that’s what part two of this trip was all about….. but that will come in a second).

Professor set us free after the museum, so we scrambled for the hotel and i napped. for almost four hours. i woke up with an urge. my iphone started playing Homework as loud as it could stand and i danced to it all alone in my room. so therapeutic. nothing can follow sleep and dancing. except food! Elaina and i met up, we met up with others, and we all made for the best taverna in the world (the one right across the street). delicious, delicious Greek food, i’ll never get sick of you. rounds of wine, i will never get sick of you. we paid and made our way two blocks down the street where you turned left and found yourself at the two only clubs in Olympia: kalypso and face. we chose face.

literally only five or so other people were already there. and they were cya. ridiculous and hilarious. knowing the dj didn’t have many people to account for, i immediately went over and yelled “daft punk!” and he nodded happily. about twenty minutes later, he played One More Time and everybody got up to dance. it ruled. i gave him a thank you!! gesture, but still couldn’t resist walking over, and saying “thank you!! if you have more, play it!!” about ten minutes later, he played Music Sounds Better With You. daft punk in Olympia. what bliss. another five minutes later, ’round midnight, club kalypso closed, so a massive party of high school Italians, mostly girls, invaded our private club, pretty much killing the night, though perhaps increasing its hilarity.

we capped the night pretty much exactly like the night before, a little more dangerously, a little more warmly.

~~~~~ Day Three ~~~~~

i tried to be a little more creative with my breakfast, but it still completely blew. right after we went to the other museum in Olympia, to see a few things real quick before driving towards Delphi.

i know it’s just a copy, but still: look at that fucking motion. beautiful.

back on the bus, Elaina, James, Molly, and i played pusoy, a card game based on poker hands but pretty different from any actual variations of poker. James pretty much owned for the 1+ hour we played, while Elaina and i pretty much blew. i still enjoyed it completely. Elaina, not so much. we eventually stopped in some city for lunch. went to a not-so-taverna on the shoreline, ordered a special omelette, and got a special burger. fucking pissed. couldn’t wait to keep going to get away from shitty-omelettes-equal-burgers-city. i slept too much. i mostly missed the utterly gorgeous views passing by, but the few times i did open my eyes i saw the highway 1 in all its foggy windy mountainous seafoam glory blanketing out before me. i was thrilled. and so we came to Delphi.

our hotel room smelled like shit. or man. gave it his all but missed the last touchdown and pissed about it man. goddamn. sitting in there long enough with the balcony doors swung open, cold means nothing when your room smells like shit, sam and i watched good old American tv (cnn on one channel and Godzilla on the other). it made me delirious. thankfully, after just a little over an hour, we went on a little walk through town, towards this:

that was literally a five minute walk from our hotel. in the words of Richard Caceres, “jesus christ.” i prefer “Athena Parthenos” and “Zeus Almighty” but you might like “om” and “shanti shanti shanti” or “Allah mine,” but whatever stupid sounds you string out of your little mouth, they are only divine whispers in the face of the sublime abyss that is this most beautiful site they call Delphi.

if you read up on it, you’ll get lost in the myths of how this place came to be dedicated to Apollo, god of light, truth, music, poetry, art, and, of course, prophecy. but none of that really is too important. i would travel half the globe, even if i were ignorant of the myths, just to see the chasm here. who could possibly still be blind to truth, to the future, to everything, in the presence of the infinite nothing spinning wildly across the mountains here?

we listened patiently to a couple lectures on the sublimity surrounding us. later, Elaina and i dug patiently into the sublimity of Johnnie Walker and Frank Zappa. even though we brilliantly decided to save money by stuffing our faces with delicious gyros instead of the quaint taverna experience, our persistent green friend tricked me into spending the money i saved on dessert. in the lobby of the hotel, i ordered an amazing chocolate gelato before sharing a chocolate cake with sam. i love decadence.

Elaina and i both wanted to get the hell away from everybody, as usual, so i proposed and she accepted a whimsical wander through the tourist town. i call it that, but it sure beat the hell out of Olympia. it actually seemed like something more than a giant postcard shop. when we wandered to the edge that gave us the epic view before, we saw nothing but darkness stretched out before us. i could hardly stand. my eyes slowly adjusted, meaning deep black mountains took shape against the blackish blue of the night sky. in the distance, little towns blinked like space stations on the edge of nothingness. we literally stood on the abyss. i could never imagine this place 2500 years ago.

~~~~~ Day Four ~~~~~

i just realized that exactly half the pictures i uploaded to facebook are from Olympia and the other half are Delphi. that’s cool. anyway, after a slightly improved breakfast, we made another morning museum trip.

offerings, offerings, offerings. the offerings here dwarfed the offerings at Olympia, because the people who came here we’re serious. giant silver bulls, gold jewelry, statues, images, anything to appease the gods, especially Apollo, and the chance of a fair prophecy from the pythia.

“i got your oracle right here….” said as you draw an invisible joint to your mouth, squinted eyes. that was my joke with myself for the day. after the museum, granted a twenty minute break, Elaina, James, and i took the perfect opportunity to induce the prophetic visions naturally. we walked a little down the highway, where we could see the epic view and smoke all by ourselves. i’m ready for Delphi!

walking up, up, a treasury (literally a building for holding all the treasures brought by pilgrims):

the temple to Apollo:

probably the most epic theatre in the whole fucking world:

views from the theatre:

hopefully all that gives you some idea of what the site looked like. you’d start at the bottom and zig-zag all the way up. up, sharp turn, up, treasury, sharp turn, up, up, up, temple, sharp turn, up, theatre, up, up, up. now what the hell was this place? read that wiki on Delphi and on the Pythia for something in-depth, but this is what i remember. nowhere in the world did you have a human being so connected to a deity. the Pythia, a girl selected from the nearby village, was literally the mouthpiece of Apollo. she would only prophesy once a month, nine months out of the year. the other three months Apollo went on vacation to northern Europe, during which Dionysos would watch over things. but when Apollo was home, he would make those nine days of prophecy spread throughout the year a big deal. early in the morning, the Pythia would wake and take a bath in the sacred castalian spring based at the bottom of the site (our professor joked that if he had to get in the water there, in the morning, with the weather that cliff gets, that he would be put in a prophetic state as well). she would then make the long march up the cliff to the temple of Apollo, chewing on laurels (supposedly would give you bad diarrhea for a week) all the way. once in the temple, she would sit in her tripod (like in the picture i posted above) and spend the day dealing out oracular statements. i received just one and it was very simple: a great religion will fall. thank you, Pythia.

we left the archaeological site, driving to a cliffside town just ten minutes away. it had been snowing very, very lightly when we landed, but by the time i took this picture (after a delicious lunch with Elaina), everything was photo-perfect. nothing was left but the long bus ride back and the last one at that. <3 cya.

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