I found a hair…

I found a hair on a book she read and knew it must be hers
Long and blonde with just a couple of curls
I thought I had lost it to the breeze when I saw it again
Clinging to the condensation on the side of a beer bottle

That temporary ornamental covering of her scalp
Grew like the leaves that sprout in spring on a mountainside
To hide the rocky winter dirt

Like evidence from the scene of a crime
Its speech small but elegant and irrefutable
A reminder – if one was needed – of impossibility

Imagine, once, that this loose strand
Was tucked behind her ear
Or twirled during a conversation
Yanked in frustration or in passion
Trimmed by an expert blade
Remnant of a thing alive
With no life of its own


Behind The Walls by Jaume Plensa


Like all new years, 2019 dawns with limitless  promise and if the past is any guide 2019, like 2018, will end with most of those promises unfulfilled. It is the few that will be filled that provide hope for our dreams.

Fear of the unknown causes so many problems, but their solutions also lie in the unknown. My one resolution for 2019 is to embrace the unknown, to hold it close, and to learn as many of its secrets as I can before it is whisked into the past, into the comfortable realm of experience.

Embrace the unknown, and the unknowable

CitySketch: Pomona

Pomona by Nicolas Fouche, circa 1700

Across a street that is more like a driveway to the Plaza Hotel stands this statue of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit trees, orchards, and gardens. 
Pomona is one of the few Roman deities who doesn’t have a Greek counterpart. She stands on top of the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, the source of the hotel’s name.
Pomona has kept her eye on the southeast corner of Central Park for more than a century.

CitySketch – Farragut

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” David Farragut (paraphrased)

David Glasgow Farragut was born in Tennessee and lived in Virginia prior to the Civil War but was a patriotic American who considered secession treason and moved his family to Hastings-on-Hudson before the outbreak of . He become one of the Union’s greatest naval officers.

Some of his exploits, from Wikipedia:

After two days of heavy bombardment, Farragut ran past forts Jackson and St. Philip and the Chalmette batteries to take the city and port of New Orleans on April 29, a decisive event in the war. Congress honored him by creating the rank of rear admiral on July 16, 1862, a rank never before used in the U.S. Navy. Before this time, the American Navy had resisted the rank of admiral, preferring the term “flag officer”, to distinguish the rank from the traditions of the European navies.
On August 5, 1864, Farragut won a great victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Mobile, Alabama, was then the Confederacy’s last major open port on the Gulf of Mexico. The bay was heavily mined (tethered naval mines were then known as “torpedoes”).Farragut ordered his fleet to charge the bay. When the monitor USS Tecumseh struck a mine and sank, the others began to pull back.


Farragut could see the ships pulling back from his high perch, where he was lashed to the rigging of his ship. 

“What’s the trouble?”, he shouted through a trumpet to USS Brooklyn

“Torpedoes”, was the shouted reply. 

“Damn the torpedoes.”, said Farragut, “Four bells, Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed.”

He died of a heart attack at the age of 69 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. A sculpture of Farragut was was dedicated in 1881, eleven years after his death, and is located in the northern end of Madison Square Park. It was created by Dublin-born artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose Diana is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Review: The Vesper Project by Titus Kaphar

The artist Titus Kaphar has created something simultaneously fascinating and creepy as hell in his installation “The Vesper Project,” on display through December 13 at the Katzen Art Center museum on the campus of American University in Washington, DC.

In the New Haven-based artist’s telling, a man named Benjamin Vesper experienced a psychotic break, attacked one of Kaphar’s paintings, was arrested, and admitted to the Connecticut Valley Hospital. The story of Benjamin Vesper’s life and history are recounted with the detail of a classic Gothic novel through the artifacts of the 19th Century building that was home to the Vesper family. There’s a sick familiarity in such once-common objects as a typewriter and a phonograph. Newspapers, rope, and splintered wood cover the walls and floors, immersing the viewer in Kaphar’s art. The observer becomes participant in the art as wooden floors creak underfoot and musty air invades the nostrils.

In addition to The Vesper Project’s macabre house, some of Kaphar’s paintings are on display, including “Watching Tides Rise,” from 2012. It is an oil and tar creation that drapes the canvas from the frame. The artist’s frequent incorporation of crumpled newspapers and cut, folded, and bunched canvas challenge viewers expectations and preconceptions about the place of fiction and boundaries in art.