Saturday, July 31, 2010

Poem: A String In The Air

A String In The Air

Snowy early morning, twisting
back. Road dark
drives between evergreen
valleys, reciting American canons.

Kitchen table portraits of index card birds,
    my hands are hers
    but they hold your conviction.

Coat and tie, Sundays, too,
in the pew, silent and tall.
Sipping from cups
too small for your hand.

That photograph of you, blue-green
bathrobe, sleeping boyish, beside
my dough-cheeked, hot, fat face.
Now, your beard, a Viking forest of firm,
    full of the stories of children.

There are days in a year,
and paper cranes in a day. Colorful,
strung, and we, the babes
swinging from wings,
quietly unfold these memories.

(For my father, on his 50th birthday).

                    - JVH

Monday, July 26, 2010

Music: Kelli Scarr

This is a song created by Moby and singer Kelli Scarr for NPR's Project Song, called Gone to Sleep. She also sang with Moby in his 2009 song Wait for Me, and has toured with him.

I just listened to Scarr's newest album Piece (found here, streaming on NPR until its release on Aug. 10th). I like her voice a lot (she's a Berklee grad, and very much in control of her sound). I hear a blend of Cat Power's Chan Marshall, Mirah, and Azure Ray's Maria Taylor. The album gets a bit too over-the-top, emotional, and operatic for me to recommend the whole thing in one go, but many of the songs taken by themselves, are quite lovely.

If you have a minute, do listen to the first song on the album, called Salt to the Sea.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trailer: "Life During Wartime"

This looks sublime. Limited release July 23rd.

Director: Todd Solondz (of Welcome to the Dollhouse fame... there is a movie that broke my heart).

Update! Playing at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago starting Aug. 6th! 

"Am I Blue" Hoagy Carmichael

An old favorite, the scene with a glowingly adorable babyfaced Hoagy Carmichael, Lauren Bacall, and Humphrey Bogart from To Have & Have Not (1944).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tea leaves.

Stunning July morning in Chicago, taken on my back porch.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poem: "Calm Before"

Calm Before


Pass through light
where the haloed rain seeks
shelter, unwinding north
in great, heaving exhalations.

The heart is a hummingbird, hovering.

Fingers, trembling blades,
        grass in a dim summer
        rain laced by fireflies, you catch
                me behind glass,


Pass the rough light
where hallowed brains speak
of shelter, suddenly recoiling
in great, heaving exclamations.

I pour myself a little pitcher
all cartilage and sound,
and last week's forgotten earring.

The mind is full of champagne,
the mouth, wet with celebration––
        bubbles breathe softly,
        head aloft, like the silence
        after a song.

                    - JVH

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Hark! A Vagrant!" Comics from Kate Beaton

Canadian Kate Beaton only started her webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant! a few years ago, but her bi-weekly dose of historical and social satire has really taken off in a wonderful way. Her sense of humor is nerdy yet tongue-in-cheek. She skewers political figures from history (Jane Austen or Marie Curie jokes, anyone?), and lovingly pokes fun at her own life in Canada. Discovered via my little sister, here are a handful of my favorites.

Kate Beaton, Surly Wonder Woman, found here.
Kate Beaton, Where is Franklin?, found here.

Kate Beaton, I'm a a boat., found here.

Kate Beaton, Fitzgeralds, found here.

Kate Beaton, Canada jokes, found here. 
Click the image for a larger version.