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Court of First Model Tenement House in New York, 1936 by Berenice Abbott

This Week’s PairedBerenice Abbott + Maya Angelou

Awaking in New York

Curtains forcing their will  
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with  
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on  
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a  
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,  
unasked and unheeded.

Maya Angelou

Vanity Fair MAY08:pg269 (and, incredibly, looking not a day older) by Lauren DiCioccio.

Familiars, Lauren DiCioccio’s solo show at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco opens tomorrow, 9/6! The reception with the artist will be 9/13, 4-7pm. Check out Lauren DiCioccio’s 20x200 editions here.

Burning Down the Second House by Ann Toebbe

The Week’s Paired: Ann Toebbe + Margaret Atwood

Morning in the Burned House

In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,
yet here I am.

The spoon which was melted scrapes against
the bowl which was melted also.
No one else is around.

Where have they gone to, brother and sister,
mother and father? Off along the shore,
perhaps. Their clothes are still on the hangers,

their dishes piled beside the sink,
which is beside the woodstove
with its grate and sooty kettle,

every detail clear,
tin cup and rippled mirror.
The day is bright and songless,

the lake is blue, the forest watchful.
In the east a bank of cloud
rises up silently like dark bread.

I can see the swirls in the oilcloth,
I can see the flaws in the glass,
those flares where the sun hits them.

I can’t see my own arms and legs
or know if this is a trap or blessing,
finding myself back here, where everything

in this house has long been over,
kettle and mirror, spoon and bowl,
including my own body,

including the body I had then,
including the body I have now
as I sit at this morning table, alone and happy,

bare child’s feet on the scorched floorboards
(I can almost see)
in my burning clothes, the thin green shorts

and grubby yellow T-shirt
holding my cindery, non-existent,
radiant flesh. Incandescent.

Margaret Atwood

12 Bicycle Drawings by Christine Berrie

This Week’s PairedChristine Berrie + Michael Donaghy

Machines

Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsicord pavane by Purcell
And the racer’s twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away.

So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air.

If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.

Michael Donaghy