by Jean Burden

I asked the birds
who sing at night
where they learned their songs,
and what they sang about.

They said, “We learn from
birds who sing by day,
but what we sing about
is hard for us to say.

“Only those with beak
and wing can fathom joy
in dark and doubt.
The sky may turn to evening
and the sun to moon,
but we sing
of what you do not speakĀ—
how night is sometimes noon,
how any season of the soul
can, with time, be coaxed to spring.”

Some links for perusal

Sometimes, I run across things online that I just enjoy the heck out of. Sometimes, I catch them at work, so, I can’t find them later on at home… because I’m an idiot. So, here’s my personal collection of the cool and bizarre of the net, an August the 24th edition.

Things to see, hear, and do:
Amazing art from 1920’s and 1930’s Japanese children’s magazines.
Watch Planet of the Apes turned into an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Nuclear Elephant’s growing File Sharing Experiment.
Historical election speeches reformed as techno songs.
Strange but true image of KKK members riding Ferris Wheel. Sickening.

Odd news stories:
480-pound woman dies after six months on couch.
Halo video game tournament held at theater.

What a wonderful world.

Many of my friends know I used to be into Magic: The Gathering. It’s a dark secret from a darker past… yeah, right.

Anyhow, one of the kids came in today showing off his new Yu-Gi-Oh cards, a game which I don’t pretend at all to know anything about. So, the first card I picked up is this:

“Sealed Dark Big Rabbi

[Usage Blackart Race/Effect]
The card superadd(sealed left feet & right feet & left hand & right hand), so far as all ghost collected together on the hand’s cards, victory will been decided.”
(that’s exactly what the card says, I swear)

WHAT?!??!?!?! I have no idea what the heck they could be talking about. And from the picture on the front, this “rabbi” looks pretty mean, and furry.

And this is what kids are learning their grammer from. Ouch.

by Billy Collins

The sun finally goes down like the end
of the Russian novel, and the blinding darkness
over the continent makes me realize

how tired I am of reading and writing,
tired of watching all the dull, horse-drawn sentences
as they plough through fields of paper,

tired of being dragged on a leash of words
by an author I can never look up and see,
tired of examining the exposed spines of books,

I want to be far from the shores of language,
a boat without passengers, lost at sea,
no correspondence, no thesaurus,

not even a name painted across the bow.
Nothing but silence, the kind that falls
whenever I walk outside with a notebook
and a passing cloud darkens my page.

Right now, the worst part of a long-distance relationship are those times when I just want to hold and be held, and not say a single word.

There’s no way to do that over the telephone.

This weekend, as with most others lately, ended with me thinking “Gosh, my car is broke.” The completely unfortunate thing is that this is not a new phenomenon for me for this Summer. There was the entire “chip thing” that my car decided to pull in San Diego; there was the “please Ben, for the love of God replace my water pump!!!” thing before I went to San Jose last weekend; and then on Saturday, showing up at my brother’s house, my car is leaking antifreeze all over the place. And that’s not what I’d call a good thing.

My brother, doing the brotherly thing, took me and my car to some Lube and Tune place. They looked at it and said “Yup, it’s leaking.” So, they told me I’d probably have to replace my radiator when I get back to SLO and then sent me on my way.

Well, after I get home, the next morning, I decide to just stare at it for a while. Typically, this doesn’t really cross my mind because I figure my mechanical aptitude covers pushing down the button on a toaster, and that usually doesn’t help on cars. Cars need muscle. Cars have movable parts. Cars could kill me, if they’d want to. These are the thoughts that usually cross my mind.

But, eh! I figure. Why not? Actually staring it into submission might do the trick. I might as well, seeing as a new radiator could cost me the $150 bucks that I don’t have. The funny thing is that it totally works this time.

I looked at it. Then I turned it on and off. Then I looked at it some more. Sure enough, there was some leakage. But the leakage wasn’t coming from anywhere above one of the hoses. And it’s a hose that I personally took care of putting back on when I replaced my water pump. So, that means I probably screwed it up. Which is totally possible. So, I talk to one of my roommates, and he says something to the effect of “Well, is it tightened?” To which I say, “Well, I didn’t tighten it, so I have no idea… How do you tighten a hose anyway?”

So, a dumb ape called Ben and a screwdriver attack my car, and I actually kept a good weight in my wallet.

Sounds like reality’s totally messed up.

96 Vandam
by Gerald Stern

I am going to carry my bed into New York City tonight
complete with dangling sheets and ripped blankets;
I am going to push it across three dark highways
or coast along under 600,000 faint stars.
I want to have it with me so I don’t have to beg
for too much shelter from my weak and exhausted friends.
I want to be as close as possible to my pillow
in case a dream or a fantasy should pass by.
I want to fall asleep on my own fire escape
and wake up dazed and hungry
to the sound of garbage grinding in the street below
and the smell of coffee cooking in the window above.

Today has been a very long day at work. And it’s mainly because I actually started working on my site redesign this morning. That’s right! I’m really doing something!

And so, yes. Really long day. Tum tee tee, tee tum.