Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Thursday, December 24, 2015



Summer Dusk

I put in my goddamn hearing aid
in order to listen to a bird that sounds
like the side of a drinking glass
struck lightly by a fork

and try not to hate a life
that dips you in time like a teabag
over and over and pulls you up
each year a slightly different color.

Yet I like this hour when the air goes soft
and leaves stir with relief at the end
of their labor of being leaves.
“What a piece of work is man,” I say,

not knowing Hamlet said it first--
“how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties,
in form and moving how express; in apprehension how like an angel,
and yet, to me, the quintessence of dust!”

This hour of the evening
with a little infinity inside,
like an amnesty from the interminable
condition of being oneself.

This half-hour when you look out
and see that it is sweet.
Even in my deafness I can hear
the bird whose name I do not know

speaking to someone in the dusk.

--Tony Hoagland

The Social Life of Water




Crazy Motherfucker Weather


Little Champion

When I get hopeless about human life,
which, to be frank, is far too difficult for me,
I like to remember that in the desert there is
a little butterfly that lives by drinking urine

And when I have to take the bus to work on Saturday,
to spend an hour opening the mail,
deciding what to keep and throw away,
one piece at a time,

I think of the butterfly following its animal around,
through the morning and the night,
fluttering, weaving sideways through
the cactus and the rocks.

And when I have to meet all Tuesday afternoon
with the committee to discuss new by-laws,
or listen to the dinner guest exhaustively describe
his recipe for German beer,

or listen to the scholar tell, once more,
about her campaign to destroy, once and for all,
the vocabulary of heteronormativity,

I think of that tough little champion
with orange and black markings on its wings
resting in the shade beneath a ledge of rock
while its animal sleeps nearby;

and I see how the droplets hang and gleam among
the thorns and drab green leaves of desert plants
and how the butterfly alights and drinks from them
deeply, with a stillness of utter concentration.

--Tony Hoagland 

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Nearly Perfect Morning

It was a nearly perfect morning—bucolic, pastoral—
so I found myself cataloguing my past humiliations.
Really, there was no reason for it! I might as well have
looked for an ant hill to lie down on in a meadow
of goldenrod. I can’t explain it but perhaps I thought
that with the rising sun as my witness, with the catbirds
crows, and whizzing hummingbirds my soundtrack
that I could ameliorate them, neutralize their charges
against me by holding them up to the woods now in wait
for the light to balance on their individual leaves, on
the absorbing vastness of my fortune. The concentric rings
of the spider web have the wiry shine of guitar strings
there’s been so little wind it seems the trees have not
yet shook themselves awake, but we are moving around
this light at such a pace that by now the sun is nested
in the crook of two thin branches that could not hold
anything else. I was barely up to the third count
against my integrity when the whole lake turned white
but I decided it was not aghast, just trying to erase.

--Jessica Greenbaum