Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cheap Bookstore Finds

After reading Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress I wanted to read Balzac's work. Due to the fact our educational system in this country is dismal, the local library had no copies of anything written by Honore de Balzac and even the local Borders informed me they would have to order in. I was beyond livid. It seemed nobody cared he almost created realism, nobody even flinched. I set out to find some of his work today after Easter brunch and headed out to a remote used bookstore where I have found some amazing little gems. I found a bag full of fun and wanted to share the finds with you. I have decided to read all Balzac's work along with his autobiography. I have been trying to learn French this year and trying to read more. I am going to download some of his work from Itunes and listen to it while I am painting and creating. Born in the South of France, he was a prolific writer and I am anxious to delve into his life a bit.

I also found an interesting little set of rubber stamps that are courier type fonts. I have an idea for these and a wonderful idea for a little faded copy of the play Dangerous Liaisons. I have wanted to paint a Marie Antionette piece and I think I will use strips of the play ripped from the book for her hair.

There is a series of books called 2 X 2. This seems a great find. The 2X2 series pairs literature, usually by men and women sometimes from different parts of the world and with differing view points so that each lights up the other, allowing to learn from difference and different view points. This book paired up Old Mrs. Harris by Willa Cather and Gustave Flaubert presents A Simple Heart. Both are relatively short stories and look like an easy read.

I always look for poetry, off the wall and out of the way. It's how I found Pinsky. This book is Now that my father lies down beside me. It's selected poetry by Stanley Plumly.

Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me

We lie in that other darkness, ourselves.
There is less than the width of my left hand
between us. I can barely braethe,
but the light breathes easily,
wind on water across our two still bodies.

I cannot even turn to see him.
I would not touch him, nor would I lift
my arm into the crescent of a moon.
(There is no star in the sky of this room,
only the light fashioning fish along the walls.
They swim and swallow one another.)

I dream we lie under water,
caught in our own sure drift.
A window, white shadow, trembles over us.
Light breaks into a moving circle.
He would not speak and I would not touch him.
It is an ocean under here.
Whatever two we were, we become
one falling body, one breath. Night lies down
at the sleeping center--no fish, no shadow,
no single, turning light. And I would not touch him
who lies deeper in the drifting dark than life.

If I find another gem tearing through this book, I'll let you know. I am working on a poem about Lawrence's Wild Thing. It's turning in my head as a wild thing never feels sorry for itself.

The Visible world is a novel about WW2 and the heroic account of seven Czech parachutists who in 1942 assassinated a high-ranking Nazi. And of course mixed in here somewhere is a love story, or I wouldn't have bothered. I like that it's set in Prague. I'll let you know if it's passionate enough to look for later. and last but not least The Italian American Reader. This group of essays, memoirs, and poetry written by Italian Americans on Italian interests. I picked it up because Mario Puzzo had something int here on his mom and I love reading Puzzo and when I read the Godfather, I read it twice through.

If you have some favorite Balzac story you'd like to share you know how to find me. I haven't posted a song for awhile and then I find this, perfect for Balzac. I first heard Wainwright sing he sang this lyric, "I don't want to smell you and lose my senses." I was a devotee. Enjoy.

La lune, trop bleme, (the moon, too white)
pose un diadème (puts a tiara)
sur tes cheveux roux. (on your red hair)
La lune, trop rousse, (the moon, too red)
de gloire éclabousse (with glory splashes)
ton jupon plein de trous. (your ragged underskirt)
La lune, trop pâle, (the moon, too pale)
caresse l'opale (caress the opal)
de tes yeux blasés. (of your indifferent eyes)
Princesse de la rue, (princess of the street)
sois la bienvenue (be welcome)
dans mon coeur brisé. (in my broken heart)

The stairways up to la butte
can make the wretched sigh.
While windmill wings of the Moulin
shelter you and I.

Ma petite mandigotte, (my little beggar)
je sens ta menotte (I feel your hand)
qui cherche ma main. (searching for mine)
Je sens ta poitrine (I feel your chest)
et ta taille fine, (and your slim waist)
j'oublie mon chagrin. (I forget my sorrow)
Je sens sous tes lèvres (I smell on your lips)
une odeur de fièvre, (a scent of fever)
de gosse mal nourrie, (of an underfed kid)
et sous ta caresse, (and under your caress)
je sens une ivresse (I feel a drunkeness)
qui m'anéantit. (that kills me)

The stairways up to la butte
Can make the wretched sigh
While windmill wings of the Moulin
Shelter you and I

et voilà qu'elle trotte, (and there she goes strutting about)
la lune qui flotte, (the floating moon)
la princesse aussi. (along with the princess)


Mes rêves épanouis. (my thriving dreams)

Les escaliers de la butte (The stairways up to la butte)
sont durs aux miséreux. (are tough on the poor)
Les ailes du Moulin (the wings of the Moulin)
protègent les amoureux. (shelter those who love)

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