Sentinel (I). © Chris Bronsk 2014.
Sentinel (II). © Chris Bronsk 2014.

Jacket worn and shabby like a pack of wolves.
Face like a marble chip.
Sitting in a ring of his letters in the grove that sighs
of mocking and mistakes.
Yes, the heart is blown like paper through inhospitable passages.

Now sunset steals like a fox across this land
setting the grass on fire in a moment.
The sky is filled with horns and hooves, and underneath
the calèche glides shadowy between my father’s
illuminated estates.

Tomas Tranströmer, excerpted from “Gogol”

(from the archives)

Red Carpet

Red Carpet. © Chris Bronsk 2015.

“Morris Graves used to have an old Ford in Seattle. He had removed all the seats and put in a table and chairs so that the car was like a small furnished room with books, a vase with flowers and so forth. One day he drove up to a luncheonette, parked, opened the door on the street side, unrolled a red carpet across the sidewalk. Then he walked on the carpet, went in, and ordered a hamburger. Meanwhile, a crowd gathered, expecting something strange to happen. However, all Graves did was eat the hamburger, pay his bill, get back in the car, roll up the carpet, and drive off.”—John Cage, A Year from Monday: Lectures and New Writings

(You can download Cage’s book from Monoskop at the link above.)


Veiled (I). © Chris Bronsk 2015.

Veiled (II). © Chris Bronsk 2015.

Veiled (III). © Chris Bronsk 2015.

“The fact that human beings have created, and daily create, this self-directed system through which they divest themselves of their innermost identity, is not therefore the result of some incomprehensible misunderstanding of history, nor is it history somehow gone off the rails. Neither is it the product of some diabolical higher will which as decided, for reasons unknown, to torment a portion of humanity in this way. It can happen and did happen only because there is obviously in modern humanity a certain tendency towards the creation, or at least the toleration of such a system. There is obviously something in human beings which responds to this system, something they reflect and accommodate, something with them which paralyzes every effort of their better selves to revolt. Human beings are compelled to live within a lie, but they can be compelled to do so only because they are in fact capable of living this way.” —Vaclav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless,” Living in Truth

The Last They Spoke

Booth. © Chris Bronsk 2014.

“The last they spoke was the morning she called for money. She said he’d left without paying his part of the last week’s rent on their summer room. They both knew this wasn’t true. Neither said so, but she confessed anyway the money was only a ruse to hear his voice. But that wasn’t true either. He knew when she said it was about money, and then not, that it was just about the call. About who would cut up the facts and spread them across the miles and weeks since the morning he left as night held in the places where he’d arrive.” —from “The Visitor”

(Words and image by © Chris Bronsk 2014.)

Pattern of Strings

Warm Sunday Morning. © Chris Bronsk 2014.

“They rebuild Ersilia elsewhere. They weave a similar pattern of strings which they would like to be more complex and at the same time more regular than the other. Then they abandon it and take themselves and their houses still farther away. Thus, when traveling in the territory of Ersilia, you come upon the ruins of the abandoned sites, without the walls which do not last, without the bones of the dead which the wind rolls away: spiderwebs of intricate relationships seeking a form.”—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Whoever Is Near

Here (I). © Chris Bronsk 2014.

Here (II). © Chris Bronsk 2014.

(for my ongoing Two by Two series)


“Everybody’s looking for something”
and everything smells good.
My sweating partner’s hips
push harder into mine,
tequila yeasting through our skin
and we’d lick each other dry,
drink more, do it again
while blue lamps twitch
between the others lost,
until someone at midnight
kills the music, calls us
to the front door where we grab
and kiss whoever’s near,
squeezed out into the night
where woolly pops like corks
or muffled distant gunshots
are gunshots in fact, high times,
bullets to the stars.
They won’t fall to earth here
where in June mysterious
citron lilies bloom, a perfume
more intense than lemons.
How did they get here?
Eyewitness News tells us
what guns cost beyond
the freeway. We smell ourselves,
the grand cedar by the door,
peanuts, booze, and sweat.
How can we not love them?
When the music snaps on again,
we weave back to the floor
adrift in each other’s arms,
and love it more, that constancy
of beat and song,
she presses her mouth
to my ear, rubs harder with me
and sings We’re here because
we’re here because we’re here.

(from Brother Fire, 2004, Knopf)