n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?

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the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

this month i listened to David Starkey read his poems: about not mowing the lawn; about yelling; about birdsong on the Lungotevere.  thank goodness for the Creative Writing Institute at JCU.  thank goodness for birds of prey and angels, for scientists and for St. Francis, for Jamestown and for Butterfly Beach.

this is David Starkey at his inaugural address (do you call it an address when it's a poem?...) as Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara.

thank goodness for words.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[martedì 12 aprile 2011 ore 09:09:37] []

the things that matter.

on the twenty-seventh of this month, it will be eight years since i landed at Amerigo Vespucci airport (and an afternoon gelato on the Lungarno).  CountrySTAT was not even a twinkle in my eye.

when i first started this latest of Jobs That I Have Had, i used to get to work an hour early, right when the Blue Bar opened up on the eighth floor.  you could take your cappuccino da portare via out to the terrace, and walk up to that corner where you can see the Colosseo, and the Circo Massimo, and St. Peter's, and the synagogue, and a hundred gazillion teeny tiny cars buzzing furious-but-faint through the very complicated intersections around Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Circo Massimo and Viale Aventino.  an everyday meditation on history, perspective, and the joys of coffee.

it will be good to teach again.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[lunedì 11 aprile 2011 ore 15:20:01] []


some days i am envious of the visual arts.  i am jealous of people who can draw or sketch the image before them.  it takes me twenty minutes and fifty-nine agonizingly labored-over words (labored-over all the more, to get them not to look so labored-over), to find a way to render the picture i have in my head, of the way a woman stands at a counter making bread, of the way her rolled up sleeves make little cereal bowls at her elbows, of the way flour on her finger tips makes her seem soft to the the touch, of the way her collarbone sticks out a little, every time she leans in to work the dough.

when i want you to see someone in the story i am telling -- i mean really see them, i have to set words up like i’m building a house of cards.  i need different suits and different colors, but they have to be from the same pack, and i have to set them up so that they touch each other just so.  i have to tell you whether she's tall or short, young or old, blond or bald, airbrushed or flawed.  i have to tell you about the varicose vein behind her left knee, about the way she pulls at her skirt because it keeps riding up, about the bruise on her arm that might be from that blood test this morning.  (and i have to tell you all this without really telling you, of course, or else the Show-Don't-Tell Police will be at the door to handcuff my adverbs.)  someone who takes photographs for a living -- to me, it seems that all they’d need to, is press one little button.*

*in the good tradition of the people behind Dogma, please note that we at nightingaleshiraz.com respect the noble photographers, and it is not our intention to slight them in any way.

seriously, i know i am simplifying all the hard work and talent that goes into a successful shot -- both before and after that "one little button" is very carefully pressed.  (and thanks to the Internet, i have SEEN what happens without that hard work and talent...)

but (as i said when i was five, and couldn’t win an argument any other way), STILL.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[sabato 10 aprile 2011 ore 16:06:07] []