You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
— “Wild Geese,” Mary Oliver
Black in the fog and in the snow,
Where the great air-hole windows glow,
With rounded rumps,
Upon their knees five urchins squat,
Looking down where the baker, hot,
The thick dough thumps.
They watch his white arm turn the bread,
Ere through an opening flaming red
The loaf he flings.
They hear the good bread baking, while
The chubby baker with a smile
An old tune sings.
Breathing the warmth into their soul,
They squat around the red air-hole,
As a breast warm.
And when, for feasters’ midnight bout,
The ready bread is taken out,
In a cake’s form;
And while beneath the blackened beams,
Sings every crust of golden gleams,
While the cricket brags,
The hole breathes warmth into the night,
And into them life and delight,
Under their rags,
And the urchins covered with hoar-frost,
On billows of enchantment tossed
Their little souls,
Glue to the grate their little rosy
Noses, singing through the cosy
But with low voices like a prayer,
Bending down to the light down there,
Where heaven gleams.
—So eager that they burst their breeches,
And in the winter wind that screeches
Their linen streams.
– “Waifs and Strays,” Arthur Rimbaud (1912)
I am afraid to own a Body—
I am afraid to own a Soul—
Possession, not optional—
Double Estate—entailed at pleasure
Upon an unsuspecting Heir—
Duke in a moment of Deathlessness
And God, for a Frontier.
– Emily Dickinson
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.
Jack Gilbert, Failing and Flying
Manhattan Beach is about 20 miles south of the Los Angeles Airport. When I visited Kimberly last month, this was the first place I went after picking up my car rental. I spent the morning walking along the boardwalk, peeking into the little shops along the streets, and taking some photos with my new camera!
Manhattan Beach’s City Motto is “Sun, Sand, Sea” which just about sums it up perfectly. There are volley ball courts all along the beach, mountain ranges on the horizon, and a lot of surfers hanging around. I thought it would be kind of silly to go from Manhattan, New York to Manhattan Beach, California, but I am so glad I did.
The drive along the Pacific Coast was absolutely breathtaking. I didn’t even mind being stuck in the famous California traffic, because it gave me time to take in the sights. I saw a beautiful white heron flying along the road, which was really neat! I will definitely go to Manhattan Beach again next time I’m in Los Angeles.
If you’re in the area, I would recommend the following:
- Manhattan Beach Post if you’re trying to impress somebody or go on a romantic brunch or dinner date.
- Wahoo’s Fish Tacos if you’re hungry and want fresh tacos and big serving sizes.
- Manhattan Beach Creamery for a sweet treat after your meal!
Have you been before? Where should I go next time?
These are some of the photos that I took when I went to the New York Botanical Garden’s Frida exhibit, which “reimagines the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City.”
One of my many new hobbies is learning how to use my new digital camera. One of my friends is so lovely and teaching me all about F-stops and apertures. It involves a lot of patience and practice, and I’m taking every opportunity to take photos.
The lines were very long to see the Frida sketches and paintings, but the walk through the gardens were lovely. I was a little too entranced and crowded to take photos the first half of the day, but I came to my senses and took a few in the second half.
After we walked through the gardens, we laid around in the softest grass and took a nap. It was absolutely lovely, and I might go again (maybe twice!) before the show closes in November.
A Note from Jessica: Welcome to the very first This Week in Review! Every Friday, we’ll be sharing the best things we’ve discovered and g-chatted about over the past week. Anything goes, from etsy shops to current events, political manifestos to music videos. What are some of the best things you’ve discovered this week? Leave a comment if you have something you’d like to see on this list next week! Without further adieu, here goes!
- Ambivalently Yours is one of my newest internet crushes!
- Studies Show that Chimpanzees Have the Skills to Cook
- Cameron Crowe apologizes for casting Emma Stone as an Asian-American
“So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.” – We’ll hold you to it, Cameron!
Tell hesitant campaign donors that you only expect 78 percent as much money as they would give a similarly qualified man. If you’re African-American, only ask for 64 percent.
- I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. In it, Marie-Laure learns about violet snails from Dr. Geffard in the Museum of Natural History.
“Now that shell, Laurette, belonged to a violet sea snail, a blind snail that lives its whole life on the surface of the sea. As soon as it is released into the ocean, it agitates the water to make bubbles, and binds those bubbles with mucus, and builds a raft. Then it blows around, feeding on whatever floating aquatic invertebrates it encounters. But if it ever loses its raft, it will sink and die…”
Are you intrigued? I was too, so I present to you, National Geographic on How Bubble-Rafting Snails Evolved
- Anthony Lane takes on Alice. Go Ask Alice: What Really Went On In Wonderland
- There’s a class on Building your own Zen Crystal Healing Terrarium – I can’t believe this is a real thing! Would you do this?
- The Wachowskis (most famous, still, for The Matrix) have a new show, Sense8, premiering on Netflix today! The NYTimes calls it “beautifully shot and sublimely silly” so I will most definitely start watching it tonight in my blanket fort.