fredag, februar 24, 2006


I'm going swimming tomorrow. In the fjord, that is (5 degrees celsius in the water, 2 degrees below zero in the air). I'll certainly live up to my blog name, I think. My girlfriend don't think I have the guts. So, naturally, now I HAVE to do it. Wish me luck!

onsdag, februar 22, 2006

Reading this text was like a punch in the gut

"The husband and I had lunch with the priest last week at a peculiar restaurant with three counters for three different types of semi-hemi-demi fast food. "Pinnar eller bestick?" the girl behind the counter asked, and I held up the line for a minute, unable to decide whether to go for chopsticks or regular utensils (there, you've got your Swedish phrase for the day). Which was stupid, because wooden chopsticks always work so much better than plastic forks and knives for eating just about anything.

We sat down to our little cardboard cartons of food and dug in, and the conversation meandered onto the subject of funerals.

"The most horrible are the ones where it's just me, the organist and the funeral director in the back or outside smoking cigarettes," the priest said.

The husband and I were taken aback. Do they even have a funeral for someone if no one comes?

"Yes," she said, and sighed. "All the time. I just had one yesterday. It's unbearably sad. Instead of speaking to the people who have come, I speak to the person who has died. It's one of the worst parts of my job. And I think I couldn't stand it if I didn't believe in God."

We sat silently for just a second or two, among the clatter all around us. And then we moved nimbly on to the topic of the husband's trip to Spain, or the book I was reading, I don't actually remember what it was."

by Francis Strand.

fredag, februar 17, 2006


I can't sleep in case a few things you said
no longer apply. The matter's endless,
but definitions alter what's ahead
and you and words are like a hare and tortoise.
Aaaagh there's no description — each a fractal
sectioned by silences, we have our own
skins to feel through and fall back through — awful
to make so much of something so unknown.
But even I — some shower-swift commitments
are all you'll get; I mustn't guage or give
more than I take — which is a way to balance
between misprision and belief in love
both true and false, because I'm only just
short of a word to be the first to trust.


From The Thing in the Gap-stone Stile (1996).

fredag, februar 10, 2006

King George

Every word is stolen from Laurie R. King's blog. A great blog, by the way. And a great writer.

Andrew Sullivan’s essays at the back of TIME magazine are often the best part of the whole 75 pages. A week or so ago (Jan 23) he wrote “We Don’t Need a New King George”, which you can access, sort of, on the TIME web site. But since it appears to need a subscription, here’s part of it, retyped for you by my very own hard-working fingers. It concerns a little-known (at least, until this inhabitant of the White House) attachment to new laws called a “signing statement,” in which the President, when unable to veto a law because of the number of votes by which it has passed, is able to attach a sort of minority report which says, in effect, that he has no intention of actually obeying this law he’s just signed.

Now, I may be wrong, but as I remember my high school civics lessons, the president is the head of the executive branch, not the legislative, not the judicial. He is sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He executes laws, he does not make them. However, in this looking-glass presidency, I appear to be mistaken about this.

In his essay, Sullivan is talking about the McCain anti-torture amendment, which passed by enormous veto-proof majorities in both House and Senate:

“So Bush backed down, embraced McCain and signed it. The debate was over, right? That’s how our democracy works, right?

“Not according to this President. Although the meaning of the law was crystal clear and the Constitution says Congress has the exclusive power to ‘make rules concerning Captures on Land and Water,’ Bush demurred.

“He issued a signing statement that read, ‘The executive branch shall constitute Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power.’

“Translation: If the President believes torture is warranted to protect the country, he’ll violate the law and authorize torture. If the courts try to stop him, he’ll ignore them, too. This wasn’t quibbling or spinning. Like the old English kings who insisted that Parliament could not tell them what to do, Bush all but declared himself above a law he signed. One professor who specializes in this constitutional area, Phillip J. Cooper of Portland State University in Oregon, has described the power grabs as ‘breathtaking.’”

Sullivan concludes, “A President, Democrat or Republican, has every right to act unilaterally at times to defend the country. But a democracy cannot work if the person who is deputed to execute the laws exempts himself from them when he feels like it. Forget the imperial presidency. This is more like a monarchical one. America began by rejecting the claims of one King George. It’s disturbing to think we may now be quietly installing a second one.”

mandag, februar 06, 2006

Some people burn them, I think

The Darling Letters

Some keep them in shoeboxes away from the light,
sore memories blinking out as the lid lifts,
their own recklessness written all over them. My own...
Private jokes, no longer comprehended, pull their punchlines,
fall flat in the gaps between the endearments. What
are you wearing?

Don't ever change.
They start with Darling; end in recriminations,
absence, sense of loss. Even now, the fist's bud flowers
into trembling, the fingers trace each line and see
the future then. Always... Nobody burns them,
the Darling letters, stiff in their cardboard coffins.

Babykins... We all had strange names
which make us blush, as though we'd murdered
someone under an alias, long ago. I'll die
without you. Die.
Once in a while, alone,
we take them out to read again, the heart thudding
like a spade on buried bones.


Some people burn these letters, I think. But maybe not Curly. Read her story "re: the muppets".