Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Raise a Glass

If this were the last night of the world
What would I do
What would I do that was different
Unless it was champagne with you?
—Bruce Cockburn

Pink Elephant, New Year's Eve, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Tiniest Frog

With bland serenity
Gazing at the far hills:
A tiny frog.
—Kobayashi Issa (18th c.)

Dragon Knows Dragon

Morita Shiryu, Ryu wa ryu wo shiru (Dragon Knows Dragon), 1969. Four-panel screen, aluminum flake pigment in polyvinyl acetate medium, yellow alkyd varnish, on paper, 162 x 307 cm.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brightness Falls from the Air

Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector brave;
Swords may not fight with fate,
Earth still holds open her gate.
"Come, come!" the bells do cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!
—Thomas Nashe, A Litany in the Time of Plague

Alien Pilot

H. R. Giger, dead alien pilot, c. 1978. Concept art for Alien, directed by
Ridley Scott (1979).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


From the crest of the next ridge, he had a view of the land to the north: the broad ribbon of river looping through the dark hills; the moon above, a bright crescent. He began to search the skies. It was just past midnight. He waited and watched until he saw it. There, he whispered, then shut his eyes and opened them, to make sure his vision wasn't playing tricks. Against the black scrim of space, a star—but not a star at all—began to fall, flaring to brightness as it drew nearer to the earth, somewhere far to the north: one of their black ships descending from orbit.

A View of the Floating World (ii)

Click for larger image
Utagawa Hiroshige, Ishiyama no shugetsu (Autumn Moon at Ishiyama), ca. 1833–35. From the series Eight Views of Omi Province. Color woodcut, 22.4 x 34.5 cm. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Invådu • Hill House (Draft, January 2007)

The entrance hall was empty, the floor thick with dust. Garlands of dead leaves straggled along the baseboards. Many sets of footprints, booted or sandaled, tracked to and from the west corridor. Laila followed them into an old-style guest wing; none went farther than the first door. Kōdayū's room. She slid the door open and looked in.

A paper screen half concealed a folding camp bed, neatly made. On a tray beside the bed leaned a painted miniature of two women, wife and daughter.

—Let his spirit not be lost.

Against the far wall, Kōdayū's full-dress uniform hung like a decapitated ghost on a wooden clothesframe. She shut the door and went back up the hall.

One Hundred Ghosts

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Katsushika Hokusai, The Ghost of the Murdered Kohada Koheiji, ca. 1830s. Ukiyo-e color print, 9.3 x 11.2 cm. From the the series One Hundred Ghost Stories.