n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
Something like hope.

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Before Jennifer

Listening to Nina Simone on her birthday.  Gratitude comes in the smallest of packages.  Sometimes, solitude too.


For some reason, then, the sound in my head, of Nicole Kidman reading that bit in To the Lighthouse, where Mrs. Ramsay says to Mr. Ramsay, “Oh, Scholarships!”

He should be very proud of Andrew if he got a scholarship, he said.  She would be just as proud of him if he didn’t, she answered.  They disagreed always about this, but it did not matter.  She liked him to believe in scholarships, and he liked her to be proud of Andrew whatever he did.

(This, for a long time, has felt to me like something important, about how we love.)


Reading Darwish, reading Memory for Forgetfulness, in Ibrahim Muhawi’s introduction, this:

When I asked him whether he thought the text was poetry or prose, Darwish replied that the poet is always a poet; he remains true to himself whatever he does, in life or letters.  He pays attention to rhythm and other verse values in all his writings.  Therefore, he, Darwish, does not distinguish aesthetically between poetry and prose and takes equal care in the form and content of all his writings.

Later I will know how good today will be.  But already too.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[domenica 22 aprile 2018 ore 11:05:15] []

Interpretation, lilacs, and a guy whose name was maybe Craig.

Two things from a prose poem this week, by Maureen Seaton:

One.  “People who look for symbolic meanings fail to grasp the inherent mystery of the image.  No doubt they sense this mystery, but they wish to get rid of it.”—René Magritte.

Two.  “Vanilla is the purest form of truth.”—someone named Nick.


I come home from a weekend filled far too hard with planes, trains, automobiles.  I find lilacs in the living room.  I get to gather them up, smell the smell, and think of twenty-three in New York City. A deli on the corner of Spring and something that wasn’t West Broadway.  A steeltable in a loft office at 107 Grand.  Thai noodles with Tolerance.org.  Butter chicken with Bikeshop.  And maybe a thousand mornings in which the first human being you spoke to was the curly-haired boyman barista at Porto Rico Importing Co., on Thompson between Prince and Spring.  (You remember he did bit parts for Law & Order. Kept your Thinkpad safe one time when you forgot.  Never talked at you more than you needed him to.)  Quite likely, given how often you would stand by the half-up store-shutter—SoHo sunlight and the way wet sidewalk smells nowhere and no time but on a New York City morning...  Quite likely you too, were his first human being.

Some of this you try to put into a sentence to someone, about how lilacs remind you, of all places, of New York City.

All one’s life it would seem, the list of things that make one strange, gets longer.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[domenica 15 aprile 2018 ore 20:18:18] []

Weapons of Manipulative Deception

The problem is that you cannot fight a dishonest person by being dishonest yourself.

But what I mean here by “you,” is not the generic, impersonal, or indefinite.  I do not mean that one cannot fight—or defend oneself from—a dishonest person by being dishonest.  Because some people certainly do that.  Some people even, that you have loved.

I mean that you cannot.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[lunedì 09 aprile 2018 ore 08:30:20] []


Every once in a sometime, comes along a something, like this:

The music has a sinewy, ductile curvature that folds itself into the piles of fabric, weaving its way into the lining as the cloth becomes a dress.  The main theme is a tense piece played by a string section in its upper register, where things cease to sound sweet and become eerie and diaphanous.  Other cues are full of wide, warm major-ninth chords that flutter around like pastel ribbons.  There are voicings that remind one of Bill Evans at his most fragile; instrumental color that brings to mind the Ballet Russes; airy chromaticism à la Miles Davis circa Nefertiti.  Solo piano lines pick out patterns in the music like animate glowing lace.


The sound is the texture of the film.  The different timbres are like different fabrics; the viola feels different from the piano in the same way linen feels different from silk.  And near wall-to-wall music means that the few sustained stretches of silence gather dramatic weight.

You know that sex scene in 9½ Weeks?  The one in which she swallows down, with a hunger that has nothing to do with her stomach, every many-colored thing he places in her mouth?  That is a little like how it feels to read this.  Every molecule of your synesthetic self is suddenly awake, electrified, glittering across your mind-sky of consciousness in a shower of chrysanthemum fireworks.

Forty-shmorty.  There are worse ways to spend a Friday night.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[venerdì 06 aprile 2018 ore 22:15:15] []

Things to Remember (Buenas Días)

That the cabbie who drove us from Bologna Aeroporto to Bologna Centrale called Firenze a gioiello (and if you know how miserly Italians can be with their compliments for cities that are not their own, you will understand how precious a word like that is, from a Bolognese...).  That he reflected with us on all the pretty churches, and asked, when we told him what part of Florence we live in, whether Brunelleschi's Santo Spirito was really as beautiful as he had heard?  So then, he must see it?  Yes, we said.  He must.

That this cabbie, when he asked what we did, and when we said editing, writing, etc., told us that he's a writer too, a songwriter.  He mentioned, in passing, how he'd written songs for Fornaciari, some others.  I asked if he sang his own songs too.  He said he did.  As we were getting out of the car, I asked if we could find any of his songs online.  He said, basta cercare Davide Lucchini, e così mi trovi.  Così I did.

That the fantastic sommelier at Vinacoteca was Marcos.  At Casa Gonzalez there was sweet Ameen, at Triciclo the muy suave Luis, and at Bodegas Trigo, the ever-patient Jose and Cristina.

That you can look at a painting you have not thought about—not even once—in the fourteen years since you last stood in this very room and stared up at it.  But somehow you must have carried quietly, weightlessly all these years, the things you loved about it.  Because now they rise up like instinct.  And suddenly it seems possible, that the girl you used to be, she might maybe recognize this person you have become.  Maybe.

That godello can be sharp-edged and wide-winged in the mouth, acidity skimming in perfect symmetry off the sides of the back of your tongue before disappearing cleanly into a feeling of more.  Or it can be ever so slightly cremoso, like someone sandpapered all the edges off the word ‘cool.’

That garnacha blanca, and istan blanco, and mencia too—they are not so bad either.  (And that we'll soon find out about treixadura...)

That the van der Weyden really is in Room 58.

That when you watch Breakfast at Tiffany's at the 1920s art-deco cinema in Las Letras, it’s Desayunos con Diamantes.

That pan tostado con tomate still tastes as good as it did fourteen years ago.

That the fruit tree of Patinir's hell is quite possibly, the loveliest fruit tree you know.

That it is just as much fun to say “alcachofas,” as it ever was.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[mercoledì 04 aprile 2018 ore 13:28:28] []