missing lionesses – Random gum of December 2018 soundtrack

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This isn’t the most complete or exciting ‘soundtrack’ – I found it hard to find time for music in November to put together something for December… then again, none of the playlists are “exciting”. But here’s to what I’ve been hearing.

Missing lionesses
Good Goo of Random Gum – December 2018

Follow along on Spotify.

01 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – (Forever) Live and Die
1980s reruns of Top of the Pops
02 Idlewild – Little Discourage
Scotland; memories of a long-ago concert
03 The Bats – North by North
04 X – True Love – Part 2
05 Erkin Koray – Cemalim
Türkiye
06 Deerhoof – Criminals of the Dream
07 John Maus – Walls of Silence
08 Deidre & the Dark – Unerasable Love
09 Kero Kero Bonito – Make Believe
10 Gwenno – Hi a Skoellyas Liv a Dhagrow
Wales
11 Camille Christel – Copenhagen
12 Jim White, Aimee Mann – Static on the Radio
13 Lee Hazlewood – For One Moment
14 Shannon Shaw – Freddies ‘n’ Teddies
15 Marie Möör – Pretty Day
16 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – So In Love
Realized that the singer of OMD resembles a young Donald Trump. Poor guy.
17 Yo La Tengo – The Ballad of Red Buckets
18 Melody’s Echo Chamber – Breathe In, Breathe Out
19 Irène Jacob – Souris
20 Eurythmics – Thorn in My Side
21 Radmila Karaklajić – To Naše Mesto
22 Cass McCombs – Sleeping Volcanoes
23 Piroshka – Everlastingly Yours
24 Mathilde Bataillé – Crying in Public
25 Orange Juice – I Guess I’m Just a Little Too Sensitive

equal ripeness

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Ripeness
Jane Hirshfield
Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.

To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.

And however sharply
you are tested —
this sorrow, that great love —
it too will leave on that clean knife.

Listening to the gut feeling

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It’s probably a weird hobby, but I tend to go to a lot of job interviews, even when I am not  actively searching for a job. Sure, I don’t apply for anything I wouldn’t want or for which I am not qualified (obviously I wouldn’t be invited to an interview without qualifications). I have probably written somewhere before that I think keeping the interview skills sharp is important, and even if I can’t claim to be brilliant at interviewing skills, despite my keeping my “hat in the ring”, I would be even worse if I weren’t actively practicing.

Because this is a common enough occurrence in my life, as a hobby, I give the process and the part of the process that involves gut feeling, a lot of thought. Possibly I am more interested in worklife/human resource linguistic anthropology than in getting jobs. I’ve written before about red flags and alarm bells experienced in interview situations. Sometimes, though, things are even more subtle. You get a sense for a company culture by the small things you see and observe. You might be wrong about the impression you get, but ultimately those impressions matter. You probably aren’t going to feel particularly comfortable in these places if you do get these inexplicable feelings or unusual observations.

I am thinking now about a few other examples. I had a great series of interviews with a company but to start with they rescheduled interviews multiple times throughout the process. I am flexible, so this was okay, especially when we were doing Skype calls and could be flexible. But then they invited me for some final interviews, which required moving around a lot of my schedule and traveling at the last minute. I flew to the city where the company was located. And late in the evening the night before the interview, they emailed to ask if I would mind postponing an entire day. Not just a few hours but an entire day. I already had my tickets to return home in the evening, after the originally scheduled interview. Looking back, maybe I should have said no. Instead I agreed to the change but told them that it was really inconvenient.

In the end, even though the interviews went well, I noticed as soon as I went to the offices that everyone I saw in the office except for a receptionist, everyone I talked to, everyone who was referred to as being a part of the global organization, was a man. And when they talked about their customers, they kept referring to the men who use these products and their wives. It may well be that the majority of their customers are men, but the framing was (unintentionally) gender imbalanced. And later, when they called to tell me it had been a hard decision, narrowed down to one other person and me, they ultimately hired the other person – a man. I don’t necessarily think that was conscious or had anything to do with it, but it was something that I clearly observed. The gender imbalance coupled with the multiple last-minute shifts in schedule led me to think that it was a good thing that things didn’t work out.

Photo by Rostyslav Savchyn on Unsplash

 

 

 

human-faced flies

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St Thomas Aquinas
-Charles Simic
I left parts of myself everywhere
The way absent-minded people leave
Gloves and umbrellas
Whose colors are sad from dispensing so much bad luck.

I was on a park bench asleep.
It was like the Art of Ancient Egypt.
I didn’t wish to bestir myself.
I made my long shadow take the evening train.

“We give death to a child when we give it a doll,”
Said the woman who had read Djuna Barnes.
We whispered all night. She had traveled to darkest Africa.
She had many stories to tell about the jungle.

I was already in New York looking for work.
It was raining as in the days of Noah.
I stood in many doorways of that great city.
Once I asked a man in a tuxedo for a cigarette.
He gave me a frightened look and stepped out into the rain.

Since “man naturally desires happiness”
According to St. Thomas Aquinas,
Who gave irrefutable proof of God’s existence and purpose,
I loaded trucks in the Garment Center.
A black man and I stole a woman’s red dress.
It was of silk; it shimmered.

Upon a gloomy night with all our loving ardors on fire,
We carried it down the long empty avenue,
Each holding one sleeve.
The heat was intolerable causing many terrifying human faces
To come out of hiding.

In the Public Library Reading Room
There was a single ceiling fan barely turning.
I had the travels of Herman Melville to serve me as a pillow.
I was on a ghost ship with its sails fully raised.
I could see no land anywhere.
The sea and its monsters could not cool me.

I followed a saintly looking nurse into a doctor’s office.
We edged past people with eyes and ears bandaged.
“I am a medieval philosopher in exile,”
I explained to my landlady that night.
And, truly, I no longer looked like myself.
I wore glasses with a nasty spider crack over one eye.

I stayed in the movies all day long.
A woman on the screen walked through a bombed city
Again and again. She wore army boots.
Her legs were long and bare. It was cold wherever she was.
She had her back turned to me, but I was in love with her.
I expected to find wartime Europe at the exit.

It wasn’t even snowing! Everyone I met
Wore a part of my destiny like a carnival mask.
“I’m Bartleby the Scrivener,” I told the Italian waiter.
“Me, too” he replied.
And I could see nothing but overflowing ashtrays
The human-faced flies were busy examining.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

“will any silence fit?”

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Oops – recorded the wrong title in the reading (named it as “Closing Hours”, which is a different Lauterbach poem)… too lazy to go back and fix it.

Not That It Could Be Finished
Ann Lauterbach
She holds a conversation with her ornaments,
stray or contingent, heaped in patches
darkly and then loosened
onto the table to be consumed.
Collect me, they seem to ask,
into an assembly; construe us
like any morning onto any day.
Bring us forward notch by notch
into a paradigm of comfort
to be clasped: any cup will do.
Any dance? Take a seed
and blow it toward the curtain
which, like a bright shield
hugging breasts into radiance,
is seen and spoken of and desired.
Will any silence fit? So many
columns of air are held upright
in inebriated passage,
so many paper stacks
brittle under the weight
of what was news to attentive readers
as zones of holy strangers
feed through tunnels their imported cares.
Stare at us, they seem to say,
we are windows propped up against the sky,
quotations of light waiting to sail
into your aperture, calling because because
and now now now. And the good body
is pulled over the original rapacious body
like a huge sock, its cornucopia
of sour wind and dust emptied into the firmament.