Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oddments No. 2

Weekly bric a brac from Padraig O'Morain

At last - a patron saint for procrastinators
In a church on Rue de France in Nice, a shrine to St Expedit. Never heard of him before but it turns out he is the patron saint of urgent business. In other words he's the guy to turn to if you want to get things "expedited." He's generally depicted holding a cross with the word "hodi" (meaning "today" perhaps from "aujourd'hui"?) and with his foot on a raven bearing the word "cras" (from the Latin, indicates "tomorrow" as in pro-cras-tination). So he's a patron saint for people who need to get things done fast. Since we procrastinators always need to get things done fast, he is the man for us!

Balloon man
Later, on Rue de France, in a café area, there are four sudden bangs. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Then there are more. The noise is made by a balloon seller whose balloons - twisted into novelty shapes but not very well - have failed to sell. So he kills them all - Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! To add to his woes, he's drunk. He shouts his frustration to customers sitting outside the nearest café. They feign interest. Then he turns towards a pharmacy across the road, gives them the finger and fucks them out of it (didn't think the French said fuck but this guy certainly did). Finally he is chased away by the security guard and leaves, calling down curses on all of us. I don't think he is cut out for a career in selling.

A pale lady on the subway
She sits on the subway from Canal Street to Times Square, a pale woman, her skin so white, so bloodless. She could be a figure from a wax museum before it is painted. A green, woollen, peaked cap on her head. A green, soft bag. She is leafing through a large book, what might be called a coffee table book. It is open at the chapter on floral cushions. Her eyes rest on the page with seeming scepticism. She has a sceptical mouth too. Now she's move on to "pretty aprons". Did she buy this for someone? No, it has "Brooklyn" and other words stamped on the edges of the pages. Borrowed from a library. Her eyes light on me for a second. I look away.

someone is dressing up for death today, a change of skirt or tie
eating a final feast of buttered sliced pan, tea

scarcely having noticed the erection that was his last

shaving his face to marble for the icy laying out

spraying with deodorant her coarse armpit grass

Click here for the full poem by Dennis O'Driscoll. Sobering stuff about the suddenness of death but a fascinating read.

The habit of ignoring our present moments in favor of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are.

a word has its own definite meanings. A word is its own little solar system of meanings. Yet we want it to carry some part of our meaning, of the meaning of our experience. Ted Hughes, Winter Pollen.

responds to some of its own supporters' emotional needs, yet changes nothing. Sydney Morning Herald on Kevin Rudd's apology to Aborigines.

(This is the complete post. Ignore "Continue reading" link below.)
And here is the rest of it.

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