Serendipitous: Philip Larkin, THE COMPLETE POEMS

It’s always the bookshelves self ends up perusing first, when she is staying with friends.

This is self’s first visit to Angela’s home, so of course the books are so enticing, an undiscovered country.

In the study, self’s eyes landed on a hardbound copy of The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin, whose poetry she only began to read very recently. While she was in Ireland, earlier this year.

She spends the morning perusing his Complete Poems. Here’s one:

Posterity

Jake Balokowsky, my biographer,
Has this page microfilmed. Sitting inside
His air-conditioned cell at Kennedy
In jeans and sneakers, he’s no call to hide
Some slight impatience with his destiny:
‘I’m stuck with this old fart at least a year;

I wanted to teach school in Tel Aviv,
But Myra’s folks’ — he makes the money sign –
‘Insisted I got tenure. When there’s kids — ‘
He shrugs. ‘It’s stinking dead, the research line;
Just let me put this bastard on the skids,
I’ll get a couple of semesters leave

To work on Protest Theatrer.’ They both rise,
Make for the Coke dispenser. ‘What’s he like?
Christ, I just told you. Oh, you know the thing,
That crummy textbook stuff from Freshman Psych,
Not out of kicks or something happening -
One of those old-type natural fouled-up guys.’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Lives of Cities: Night, Chicago

Self is still somewhat stuck in last week’s Photo Challenge, REFRACTION.

Blimey, she can’t for the life of her think of anything for this week’s challenge, which is something to do with book covers.

So she’ll just go ahead and post these pictures of a Chicago office building, after hours.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1st Day in Chicago: “Smokefall”

Self embarked on this trip to see plays.

She’s always felt that Chicago is a much more exciting theater city than New York.

Every time she comes (this is only her 3rd time), she sees plays. Didn’t Second City originate here? Second City once did a play on Rod Blagojevich’s hair. It was called “Rod Blagojevich: Superstar.”  Second City is sort of like LA’s Upright Citizens Brigade.

Now Rahm Emmanuel’s in charge.

Last night, self and poet Angela Narciso Torres went to see “Smokefall.”

As in her last play at the Goodman, “Desire Under the Elms,” the set was a mix of realistic and symbolic elements. In “Desire,” there was a huge carcass of a butchered pig hanging above the stage (To give credit where credit is due, it was Angela who remembered about the pig carcass. Self is embarrassed to admit that the one memory that burns most brightly in her mind about “Desire Under the Elms” is Pablo Schreiber, Liev’s half-brother, appearing in the buff).  In last night’s “Smokefall” there was a 1950s kind of kitchen, yellow table and chairs, and a deep red sofa. At the very back of the stage was a slanted gray platform, which characters used to run up and down or to declaim inner monologues and so forth. Clever!

After the play, there was Q & A. Self must say, the first time she ever experienced this kind of after-performance discussion was at the Goodman. Now Cal Shakes has started doing this (at least, they did it last year, after the production of Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan”) It is wonderful to have discussion, right after, because everyone’s head is still popping with ideas.  There was a young man in the audience, sitting in the row directly in front of self and her friend, who looked like the Second Coming of Chris Blackett, even down to the voice (Chris is self’s nephew; he lives in New York City).

Someone asked why the play was called “Smokefall,” which was a very good question.  And the Goodman’s artistic director (who had said he would be joined by some of the actors, but wasn’t) said the word “Smokefall” was taken from a T. S. Eliot poem called “Burnt Norton.” Here’s an excerpt (which was printed on a bookmark inserted into the play’s programme):

Time past and time future
Allow but a little
consciousness.

To be conscious is not
to be in time

But only in time
can the moment in the
rose-garden

The moment in the arbour
where the rain beat,

The moment in the
draughty church at
smokefall

Be remembered; involved
with past and future.

Only through time
time is conquered.

– T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” (1935)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Refraction 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is REFRACTION.

Self really likes the way this blogger (Matt von P) and this blogger (Enjoying Life Wherever We Are) interpreted the theme.

And here are some of her own takes.

Capiz Shell Ceiling Light, Café Uma, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Capiz Shell Ceiling Light, Café Uma, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Street Corner, Venice: April 2013

Street Corner, Venice: April 2013

Taken from a vaporetto crossing the Venetian Lagoon:  April 2013

Heading across the Venetian Lagoon on a vaporetto: April 2013

Further Dreaminess: Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga

Abe's Farm in Magalang, Pampanga is a working farm, but also a resort. Self took this picture in the resort's restaurant.

Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga is a working farm, but also a resort. Self took this picture in the resort’s restaurant.

Breakfast (Philippine mangoes are the BEST in the entire world)

Breakfast (Philippine mangoes are the BEST in the entire world)

Suman/Ibus for Breakfast: The sauce consists of melted brown sugar.

Suman/Ibus for Breakfast: The sauce consists of melted brown sugar.

More and More Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga

The Main Guest House on Abe's Farm

The Main Guest House on Abe’s Farm

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Capiz Shell Lamp Overlooking the Sala (Living Room) of the Main Guest House

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A View of the House Belonging to E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz

Still More Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga

Self spent the weekend poring over her pictures from last year’s sojourn to Magalang, Pampanga, where she was invited to address students of Pampanga Agricultural College.

She wouldn’t have looked back if it hadn’t been for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, posted Friday: DREAMY.

Words from The Daily Post prompt:

real but not-real; silent, peaceful, perfect

House of E. Aguilar "Abe" Cruz in Magalang, Pampanga

House of E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz in Magalang, Pampanga

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The house of “Abe” Cruz is clearly a house that was designed by an artist. Each door, window, and screen has its own unique pattern of metal fretwork. LOVE.

The first floor of the house has been turned into a kind of museum, filled with family memorabilia and art. Self has no clue who the model was for this bust, but if she were to take a guess, she'd say it was Abe Cruz's wife.

The first floor of the house has been turned into a kind of museum, filled with family memorabilia and art. Self has no clue who the model was for this bust, but if she were to take a guess, she’d say it was Abe Cruz’s wife. Interesting, the woman’s face isn’t exactly beautiful but it’s a very strong face. The cheekbones!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is “Dreamy” :

“A misty morning, your handsome spouse, your grandmother’s house . . . this week, show us something dreamy.”

No question, self’s ultimate dreamy dream is anywhere in the Philippines:

Self's Room on Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga, 2013

Self’s Room on Abe’s Farm, Magalang, Pampanga, 2013

Abe's Farm is a working farm. Self's unit overlooked a small creek. Every day, self woke up thinking she was in Paradise.

Abe’s Farm is a working farm. Self’s unit overlooked a small creek. Every day, self woke up thinking she was in Paradise.

The home of E. Aguilar Cruz, writer and painter, born in Magalang, and the original owner of Abe's Farm. It now belongs to his son, restaurateur Larry J. Cruz.

The home of E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz, writer and painter.  Abe Cruz was born and raised in Magalang. Abe’s Farm now belongs to his son, renowned restaurateur Larry J. Cruz.

Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Last year, self went on two major trips: one to Venice, the other to the Philippines.

When she was in the Philippines, she visited Pampanga Agricultural College in Magalang, Pampanga. Her friend Alawi Canlas suggested she stay in a place called Abe’s Farm.

Self never wanted to leave.

Which is why, in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge — DREAMY — self decided to post three photographs she took while she was at Abe’s Farm.

Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga:  September 2013

Abe’s Farm, Magalang, Pampanga: October 2013

Behind Self's Unit in Abe's Farm

Behind Self’s Unit in Abe’s Farm

Reading, Dreaming in Her Room in Abe's Farm

Reading, Dreaming in Her Room in Abe’s Farm

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Signs 4: Out and About in London, Spring 2014

Self stopped by London in April 2014. Her friend, poet Joan McGavin, accompanied her to Kensington Gardens. We looked for the new Serpentine Gallery but never found it. Instead, we stumbled across this:

Kensington Gardens, London:  April 2014

Kensington Gardens, London: April 2014

The Serpentine is a beautiful, meandering river. Signs alongside tell viewers what kind of water fowl to be on the lookout for.

Sign along the Serpentine: April 2014

Sign along the Serpentine: April 2014

The day after self arrived in London, there was a tube strike. This sign at the entrance to the Russell Square Station said it all:

London Underground, Russell Square Station: April 2014

London Underground, Russell Square Station: April 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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