Passages records the books I'm reading, the live music I'm hearing, and the movies I'm seeing. Every now and then I'll throw in a passage from a book I read a while back or a trailer from a old favorite movie. Occasionally, there is something that simply caught my eye. But most of it is what I'm reading and hearing and watching in real time.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Museum of the Confederacy

I must lay down my pen and go to shooting.

Milton Barnett, 18th Georgia Infantry

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Siege Of Krishnapur

A weird, melancholy cry started up now, echoing over the moonlit hedges and tamarinds and spreading like a widening ripple over the dark cantonment. Beside Fleury, the Magistrate said: "Listen to the jackals...The natives say that if you listen carefully you hear the leader calling 'Soopna men raja hola...' which means 'I am the king in the night'...and then the other jackals reply: 'Hooa! hooa! hooa!' 'You are! you are! you are!'" Fleury could make out nothing at first, but later, as he was falling asleep, it seemed to him that he could, after all, hear these very words.

J G Farrell, The Siege Of Krishnapur

Sunday, June 23, 2013


O Bomb O final Pied Piper
both sun and firefly behind your shock waltz
God abandoned mock-nude
beneath his thin false-tale'd apocalypse
He cannot bear thy flute's
happy-the-day profanations
He is spilled deaf into the Silencer's warty ear
His Kingdom an eternity of crude wax

Gregory Corso, Bomb

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Just Kids

The intense community of musicians staying at the Chelsea then would often find their way into Janis's suite with their acoustic guitars. I was privy to the process as they worked on songs for her new album. Janis was queen of the radiating wheel, sitting in her easy chair with a bottle of Southern Comfort, even in the afternoon. Michael Pollard was usually by her side. They were like adoring twins, punctuating each sentence with man. I sat on the floor as Kris Kristofferson sang her "Me and Bobby McGee," Janis joining in the chorus. I was there for these moments, but so young and preoccupied with my own thoughts that I hardly recognized them as moments.

Patti Smith, Just Kids

Thursday, June 20, 2013

All The King's Men

“It all began, as I have said, when the Boss, sitting in the black Cadillac which sped through the night, said to me (to me who was what Jack Burden, the student of history, had grown up to be) "There is always something."

And I said, "Maybe not on the Judge."

And he said, "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.”

Robert Penn Warren, All The King's Men

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Just Kids

One Indian summer day we dressed in our favorite things, me in my beatnik sandals and ragged scarves, and Robert with his love beads and sheepskin vest. We took the subway to West Fourth Street and spent the afternoon in Washington Square. We shared coffee from a thermos, watching the stream of tourists, stoners, and folksingers. Agitated revolutionaries distributed antiwar leaflets. Chess players drew a crowd of their own. Everyone coexisted within the continuous drone of verbal diatribes, bongos, and barking dogs.

We were walking toward the fountain, the epicenter of activity, when an older couple stopped and openly observed us. Robert enjoyed being noticed, and he affectionately squeezed my hand.

"Oh, take their picture," said the woman to her bemused husband, "I think they're artists."

"Oh, go on," He shrugged. "they're just kids."

Patti Smith, Just Kids

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Devil I Know

We had unleashed something dire upon the land. I had extravagant nightmares about subterranean activity - caverns being excavated beneath the castle. The expansion of Hell was underway in these dreams. The demons were at work, or at play, and it was happening beneath my sleeping body, or sleepless body, more often than not.

Claire Kilroy, The Devil I Know

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Captain Stormfield's Visit To Heaven

As many as sixty thousand people arrive here every single day that want to run straight to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and hug them and weep on them. Now mind you, sixty thousand a day is a pretty heavy contract for those old people. If they were a mind to allow it, they wouldn't ever have anything to do, year in and year out, but stand up and be hugged and wept on thirty-two hours in the twenty-four. They would be tired out and as wet as muskrats all the time. What would heaven be to them? It would be a mighty good place to get out of -- you know that yourself. Those are kind and gentle old Jews, but they ain't any fonder of kissing the emotional highlights of Brooklyn than you be.

Mark Twain, Captain Stormfield's Visit To Heaven

What I Saw Of Shiloh

This humble edifice, centrally situated in the heart of a solitude, and conveniently accessible to the supersylvan crow, had been christened Shiloh Chapel, whence the name of the battle. The fact of a Christian church -- assuming it to have been a Christian church -- giving name to a wholesale cutting of Christian throats by Christian hands need not be dwelt on here; the frequency of its recurrence in the history of our species has somewhat abated the moral interest that would otherwise attach to it.

Ambrose Bierce, What I Saw of Shiloh

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This Republic of Suffering


Last word of T. J. Spurr of Massachusetts, Army of the Potomac, quoted in This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Drew Gilpin Faust)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Red Badge of Courage

The rushing yellow of the developing day went on behind their backs. When the sunrays at last struck full and mellowingly upon the earth, the youth saw that the landscape was streaked with two long, thin, black columns which disappeared on the brow of the hill in front and rearward vanished on a wood. They were like two serpents crawling from the cavern of the night.

Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage