Sunday, June 28, 2009

More MJ

The best Michael Jackson obits I've read:

Marcello Carlin (he hears Martin Fry and Trevor Horn in "Beat It"; about Off The Wall: "a pop-up encylopedia containing everything everyone should reasonably or unreasonably need to know about pop and how to walk it and breathe it").

Rick Juzwiak: "I'd never give the public that much credit if I hadn't observed countless examples of the unmitigated joy that results en masse when anything from Thriller is played at a party, no matter the attendees, no matter the occasion and still to this day."

Chris Molanphy dissects the probably-unsurpassable chart facts of Jackson's career. I reminded friends yesterday that Bad scored an astonishing five Number One singles (most of which I think are meh, but that's another story).

Rob Sheffield rushes home from a high school dance to watch Michael. I'm not sure I believe it, but it's touching and emblematic.

Hua Hsu drinks and stumbles his way through an evening of Jackson ("ifferent versions of Michael Jackson had already died years ago. Sometimes he had reinvented himself and found his way back toward his fan's good graces, sometimes he had only grown more illusive and erratic-seeming").

Singles Jukebox reviews

New bits on Kanye West ft. Mr. Hudson (people really do love 808 & Heartbreak), Calle 13 ft. Ruben Blades, the inexplicable Phoenix, and Wale ft. Lady Gaga (Wale and Drake are neck in neck for Most Egregious Squandering of "Promising Newcomer" Status).
Bravo, Frank Rich:
No president possesses that magic wand, but Obama’s inaction on gay civil rights is striking. So is his utterly uncharacteristic inarticulateness. The Justice Department brief defending DOMA has spoken louder for this president than any of his own words on the subject. Chrisler noted that he has given major speeches on race, on abortion and to the Muslim world. “People are waiting for that passionate speech from him on equal rights,” she said, “and the time is now.”

Saturday, June 27, 2009

As the President and the House crow about a cap and trade bill so diluted that business leaders get to smack their lips over its "sweeteners" (by the way, isn't there something...weird about the notion of trading "energy credits"?), the White signals its intentions to draft an executive order that would keep some detainees jailed indefinitely.

The next four years will amount to win-some-lose-some with this guy. As I've written before, Obama, so clearly interested in presidential greatness, would be a fool not to use the nifty new expanded-executive powers that the Bush White House left him. Thursday's episode of "The Daily Show" highlights the absurdities.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You are not alone, so leave me alone

The Michael Jackson Phenomenon was such that I could tolerate him on my parents' turntable and sheer radio ubiquity between 1983 and 1984 (and again in 1987-1988) without being much of a fan. He was something pleasant you didn't think much about, like making a Christmas list. During school Halloween costume contests in those years, teachers handed out vinyl copies of Off The Wall and Thriller as prizes. By the time Captain EO premiered in fall '86, he was a joke -- we all knew about the Grammy menage a trois with Bo Derek and Webster, Bubbles the Python, the sudden lightening of his pigment. The movie was a sensation, and a laughing stock; the audience snickered through MJ's strutting and snarling (which presaged the "Bad" and "The Way You Make Me Feel" videos by a year). No longer was his preening tolerable. Maybe it never was, and we believed the fiction for too many years. Like the Beatles in India, who wore bad clothes, stuck daisies in their hair, and endured an intolerable bore and fraud like the Maharishi, his peccadilloes made him the best kind of superstar: he acted like an errant cousin whom you love anyway.

Michael Jackson taught me how to listen to music: the indivisibility of rhythm and vocals, the sublimation of horrible childhood memories and grotesque fantasies into disco. He was also my first exposure to the phenomenon of loving a performer who went through periods of being very uncool and eventually batshit and possibly a pedophile. No more serendipitous event in modern pop music exists than the moment when a Seattle band released an album called Nevermind knocked Dangerous off the top of the Billboard album chart in early '92. I know it's an obvious paradigmatic moment beloved by Anthony De Curtis types, but it's true: in my senior year of high school, the mass popularity of Nirvana confirmed what we'd suspected since Bad. It didn't matter that he was releasing singles like "Jam" and "In The Closet," which subsume the hard-diamond beats of New Jack Swing to Jackson's weird, one-of-a-kind rhythmic savvy and melodic finesse into the slammingest music of his career; his moment had passed, although he would continue to find chart success, like Clint Eastwood movies, as a freak show good for a laugh, with the added benefit of an MTV world premiere.

As the pundits pundit and the obit writers exploit the King of Pop and Jacko nomenclature, they're going to overlook what an amazing songwriter and producer Jackson became. With a tip of the hat and a deep bow to Quincy Jones, Teddy Riley, Rod Temperton, and other collaborators, it's quite obvious that even a facile acquaintance with Jackson's songs proves that no one else could have sung or written them. I don't know whether he played any instruments, but listening to the demos included on the Thriller re-release a few years ago, especially "Billie Jean," I was struck by how closely his melodies hewed to his sense of rhythm; it's like he wrote songs to his dancing, sung them to the syncopation of his feet (his inimitable hiccups and quick draws of breath almost scanned like verses). Better writers have studied Thriller, which is why I'm focusing on Dangerous. Jackson always performed as if he had something to prove; maybe he imagined his father, the horrible svengali Joe Jackson, watching him from the audience. But Dangerous sounds like the work of a man (yes) who felt the walls tumbling down. Unlike Prince during this period, his music evinces no insecurities about hip-hop or a shift in popular taste. He's challenged, not threatened. Something nibbles away at him, though -- he expands the paranoia in "Billie Jean" and "Leave Me Alone" to their exponential limits in "Can't Let Her Get Away," "In The Closet" (with its creepy, knowing chorus), and "Jam." It's perfect sense that the apologia/credo "Black or White" (which has aged better than you remember) features Slash playing power chords and pistonbeats that Bell Biv Devoe would sell their misogyny for; instead of an "Ebony and Ivory"-esque plaint for brotherhood, he's selling racial transcendence to his mass audience as if he thought the limpid grace of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" demanded an answer commensurate with the times and the awful will of an artist who changed his face and color for -- what exactly?

The beats only got sparer and stranger as the line between the pop star attempt's to embrace his mass audience for self-actualization and moneyed isolation vanished like his blackness: in Jackson's soul "You Are Not Alone" fought "Leave Me Alone" for control. "They Don't Really Care About Us" has a go-on-I-dare-you taunting quality that reminds me a little of the "reverse racism" self-pity in which certain segments of talk radio still traffic. And Blood on the Dance Floor's "Morphine" -- well, this is the pop/R&B world equivalent of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey." I wish Eric Weisbard's original SPIN review was posted somewhere; it nails the lunacy of a track whose splintered, staccato drum programs cut into the filthiest, most confessional lyrics of Jackson's career, with singing to match. There's even a bizarre, virtually a cappella section in which the singer moans about his lover getting hooked on Demerol. His audience never abandoned him; he just assumed, with a megalomaniac's hubris, that they'd accept his music's weirdness on his terms. When they didn't, he resorted to videos with faded pop culture icons like Marlon Brando for support. I never bought Invincible, but the craft of "Butterflies" suggested that a comeback was his for the asking if he didn't try so damn hard.

So, rest in peace, Michael. I don't believe in an afterlife, but for a life as tormented as yours, death is peace enough.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

As if the Academy of Motion Picture Farts and Biases needed another reason to promote a longer show: it expands the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten. Academy President Sid Ganis cites 1939 as the annus mirabilis; yet, glancing at the list, Dark Victory, All This, and Heaven Too, Our Town, and Kitty Foyle are trash that would still get "green-lit" (and nominated) today. Ratings motivated the decision.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I've said it many times: the Richard Nixon White House tapes are the gift that keeps on giving. Charlie Savage's story offers more goodies:
“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”
This exchange between the President and Republican National Committee Chairman George Herbert Walker Bush belongs in a novel:
“I noticed a couple of very attractive women, both of them Republicans, in the legislature,” Nixon tells Bush. “I want you to be sure to emphasize to our people, God, let’s look for some... Understand, I don’t do it because I’m for women, but I’m doing it because I think maybe a woman might win someplace where a man might not... So have you got that in mind?”

“I’ll certainly keep it in mind,” Bush replies.

“Boy, they were good lookin’ and bright,” Nixon continues. And he had been informed, further, that “they’re two of the best members of the House.”

“Well, that’s terrific,” Bush says
I consider, for the hundredth time, the humiliations that Poppy Bush endured for the sake of careerism.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More singles: Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Drake.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Peggy Noonan is a fool, but as a draftsman and apologizer for power she understands how to create Special Moments. What's happening in Iran now, she insists, is not one of them. For an American president to tempt another international crisis by openly supporting the protesters in Iran this week (emphasis mine: who knows what will happen tomorrow or next week) is to lapse into the kind of messianism and democracy-building that we thought neoconservatives and their allies got out of our systems after the Iraq debacle:
To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous. The ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week. John McCain and others went quite crazy insisting President Obama declare whose side America was on, as if the world doesn't know whose side America is on. "In the cause of freedom, America cannot be neutral," said Rep. Mike Pence. Who says it's neutral?

This was Aggressive Political Solipsism at work: Always exploit events to show you love freedom more than the other guy, always make someone else's delicate drama your excuse for a thumping curtain speech.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Get up, get out, into something new: The Rolling Stones' Mall Rat Years

"The Mall-Rat Years" is Rob Sheffield's apt description of Ye Olde Rolling Stones between 1978's Some Girls and 1983's Undercover -- the period when the death of disco as a commercial force signaled a return to AOR verities (I would have included Mick Jagger's 1985 solo album She's The Boss; I didn't have MTV but I did hear "Just Another Night" a lot on the radio). The Stones were uniquely qualified to exploit conservatism regnant, as their sales proved. Checking the figures, I was shocked to learn that Some Girls is their best-selling album, period (six million), with Tattoo You not far behind (four million). Then again, "Start Me Up" was a monster hit (Number Two for several weeks); Sheffield rightly points out that teens in that period didn't give a damn about history and context -- the kids "shook mullet when `She's So Cold' or `Little T&A' hit the radio in between Journey and Foreigner." The kids knew the Stones as just another damn fine rock band. This was pretty much my take when I jumped on the bandwagon in 1989 after hearing "Mixed Emotions," which I still rather like.

Despite the welcome news that the 33 1/3 series has commissioned a book on Some Girls, this remains a comparatively unexplored period in the band's history. Credit engineer Chris Kimsey, the engineer who got a thin, hard sound out of the band's guitars (Jagger now joined Keef and Woody, a move which did much to change their sound) and a new suppleness out of Wyman's bass. The first album is an acknowledged classic, part of the oft-used bit of rockcrit taxonomy which includes Scary Monsters and Blood on the Tracks, among others (as in "Bridges to Babylon is their best album since Some Girls...").

The rest:

Emotional Rescue remains underrated, despite "She's So Cold" and the terrible title track; Jagger and Richards were writing so many good songs in this period, together and separately, that any album comprised of Some Girls leftovers will hold up better than Black and Blue (I rep for "Summer Romance" and "Let Me Go"). Hell, on a good day it might even top Some Girls. The great thing about being cynical veterans who've scored a comeback coup is that you have little to prove on your next outing except justifying that advance. Spend more time with "Dance (Part One)," a crunchy punk-disco tune with a great call-and-response Mick and Keith vocal movement that Franz Ferdinand should spend more time studying.

Tattoo You represents their professional peak. It doesn't matter that "Start Me Up" is my least favorite major Stones single; the second and third ones ("Waiting on a Friend" and "Hang Fire") are vulnerable and political, respectively. If you can smell the calculation behind them, well, si si ils est rock stars; their craft helps them simulate vulnerability and political conviction. "Neighbors" is a thrashy number about how Keith won't let Mick sleep. "Little T & A" lets Keith try his best Pepe Le Pew accent ("She's my little rock and roll, haw haw HAW!"). My favorite track, though, is on the second, "slow" side: "Heaven," featuring Jagger whimpering love man jive while playing a heavily phased guitar over minimal accompaniment from Watts and Wyman. It completes a transformation some of us have waited years to see: Jagger into sound effect, voice so distorted and flanged that you wonder if Eno or Lindsey Buckingham snuck in behind the boards (the most moving part occurs when he sings "nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah").

Notorious Stones booster Bob Christgau comes down notoriously hard on Undercover ("what do people hear in this murky, overblown, incoherent piece of shit?"). It's a better album than, say, Steel Wheels, but liking this album depends largely on your tolerance for Mick bellowing lines like "feel the hot cum, drippin' on your thighs." Keef and Woody play their asses off, as if they still think they're recording Some Girls. I think you won't miss it if you forget to buy it. The videos at this point are more entertaining than the songs. Keepers: "She Was Hot," in which Woody's guitar melts in the presence of hotness; and "Too Much Blood," in which Keef runs after a mugging Mick with a fuckin' chainsaw as Sly and Robbie churn a helluva groove (Arthur Baker's twelve-inch mix is pretty phenomenal).

Dirty Work (1986) doesn't fall within the parameters of this discussion. Here's hoping the band realizes the worth of the greatest sleeper of their career.
Since I loved Sonic Nurse and Rather Ripped more than the rest of their catalogue going back to Daydream Nation, I was ready to embrace The Eternal (in anticipation I relistened to Murray Street for the first time in four years and realized I'd underrated it). They'd entered their most artistically febrile period, with enough craft to sleepwalk through another half dozen albums on which whispered stories about domesticity on the road collide with third-rate Beat poetry. The Eternal proves I'd underestimated how even the familiar elements can grate. Like Dylan's Together Through Life, it's often very far from uninteresting; but the music is blurry, the lyrics unfocused. The most difficult part about assessing modern SY is distinguishing between tracks that serve as rest-stops before anarchy and tracks constructed as proper songs. Some critics never got over the band hiring a drummer that believed in forward momentum and crunch; listening to the middling experiments with three-minute noise bombs collected on Dirty, I'm ready to believe them – before reminding them as they leave the room to check out A Thousand Leaves, on which the textures signify as songs. 

The Eternal sounds like an even less focused Dirty. All the rhythm strumming I hear doesn't produce songs that aren't mere homages to tunefulness or their own recent past (but there is a Gregory Corso dedication, how 'bout that). "Malibu Gas Station" uninterestingly rewrites Rather Ripped's "Incinerate"; "Antenna" actually has power chords, as it should, since it's a song about radios and girls. The album has no scary-Kim moments; it could use some (one song uses "rapacious" in the same sentence as "vagina"). Prediction: in 2014 the band's walk through the tempo shifts of  "Massage The History" will feel less rote. Which is okay. If SY albums feel like quick tours through public libraries whose books remain in the same place for years, there's always the chance another visit will bring my attention to a oft-scanned spine. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last week's singles: The-Dream featuring Kanye West's "Walkin' on the Moon" (ehhh); single of the year contender Yeah Yeah Yeahs; and Ciara's "Tell Me What Your Name Is."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I love this song: Macca doing Hall and Oates, with even better vocals. How weird that everyone in the video's playing keyboards.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mere discriminations

I know: how reassuring to have a President follow the rule of law after eight years of unitary executives and signing statements; a Bush appointee in a Cabinet department is not a Bush apparatchik; but why do I still feel sick about the kind of language employed the Department of Justice's brief? Law Dork gets it exactly right:
It’s offensive, it’s dismissive, it’s demeaning and — most importantly — it’s unnecessary. Even if one accepts that DOJ should have filed a brief opposing this case (and the facts do suggest some legitimate questions about standing), the gratuitous language used throughout the filing goes much further than was necessary to make its case.
I'm referring, of course, to DOJ's motion to dismiss a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act policy on Thursday afternoon.

It is entirely possible that the Obama administration sees this as a tacit request to gay-lesbian organizations to reach such a angry froth that public or congressional outrage forces him to do what he really wants anyway: repealing DOMA. We've been told over and over again by reporters how much Barack Obama analyzes each issue exhaustively before making decisions. Even if this were so, words and intentions matter little from a politician, especially one as smooth as Obama: only deeds do. This is a pretty disgusting deed.

So note the similarities between the language in the motion:
Plaintiffs also maintain that DOMA discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of their right to the equal protection of the law, see Complaint, ¶ 20, but DOMA is not subject to heightened scrutiny on that basis. As an initial matter, plaintiffs misperceive the nature of the line that Congress has drawn. DOMA does not discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of federal benefits. To the contrary, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited in federal employment and in a wide array of federal benefits programs by law, regulation, and Executive order.... Section 3 of DOMA does not distinguish among persons of different sexual orientations, but rather it limits federal benefits to those who have entered into the traditional form of marriage
...and this decision:
When a man has emerged from slavery, and, by the aid of beneficent legislation, has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state, there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when he takes the rank of a mere citizen and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws, and when his rights as a citizen or a man are to be protected in the ordinary modes by which other men's rights are protected. There were thousands of free colored people in this country before the abolition of slavery, enjoying all the essential rights of life, liberty and property the same as white citizens, yet no one at that time thought that it was any invasion of his personal status as a freeman because he was not admitted to all the privileges enjoyed by white citizens, or because he was subjected to discriminations in the enjoyment of accommodations in inns, public conveyances and places of amusement. Mere discriminations on account of race or color were not regarded as badges of slavery.
The last quote is Joseph Bradley's opinion for the Supreme Court in the 1878 Civil Rights Cases, in which the Court argued that the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect black Americans from being refused admission to public places like inns and restaurants. The subtext of Bradley's opinion is, "If you're a ex-slave, get over it. You're only discriminated against if you choose to look at the situation that way."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art Brut vs Satan still pledges allegiance to Britpop, 2005 edition: post-punk infected guitars, a high degree of lyrical literacy. Often the music can't match the lyrics, and a couple of times neither works at all. A forgotten minor band called The Auteurs did this kind of middle-class observation (especially in Now I'm a Cowboy) with more finesse and a rage suppressed enough to qualify as homicidal. But on "The Passenger" and "The Replacements," Eddie Argos' voice matches the dry wit of the guitars and the unsentimental bits of secondhand observation (I still get the sense that he read about these memories rather than experienced them). A British band writing smartly about certain Minneapolis avatars of shamble-punk is certainly preferable to a dismissal of U2 and Eno, however welcome.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The L.A. Times has a profile of Frances Kroll Ring, F. Scott Fitzgerald's secretary during his harrowing exile in Hollywood shortly before his death. It's rather soft, and I get the sense that had she been asked she would have said waspish things about the quality of Fitzgerald's work in 1939 and 1940. Since it's impossible for us to appreciate him without viewing the fiction through the prism of myth, the burden rests on survivors like Ring. It's comforting that he returned to serious fiction writing and, ever conscious of history, penned a series of didactic letters to his daughter loaded with aphorisms more apt to be remembered by biographers and critics than a teenage girl. Myth aside, though, I can't take The Last Tycoon seriously -- it's not even a finished first draft, in which I find several structural problems (is this a first- or third-person narrative?) and more serious conceptual ones. Kathleen is the most innocuous of Fitzgerald's golden girls, and the mythologizing of a hack like Monroe Stahr confirms that the writer learned little about Hollywood from his infamous run-ins with Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Irving Thalberg. Maybe Fitzgerald would have fixed this stuff. It's all conjecture. On the other hand, the terse, brief stories he published in Esquire -- distillations of the Fitzgeraldian flourish without succumbing to imitations of nemesis Hemingway -- look better every year. If you can get copies of "The Lost Decade" or "Three Hours Between Planes," by all means read them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In no order, my favorite albums of this half-finished year, on my most indiecentric list ever:

Wussy - Wussy
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Marianne Faithfull - Easy Come, Easy Go
DOOM - Born Like This
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
Amadou & Mariam - Welcome to Mali
Art Brut - Art Brut vs Satan
Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Electrik Red - How To Be a Lady, Volume 1

I'm not as enthusiastic about any of these as I was at this point last year about Erykah Badu, Robert Forster, and Portishead; it's possible that I expended more energy hating Animal Collective than in listening to new music. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New single reviews: Grizzly Bear's piss-soaked bedsheets are hung over the balcony railing, the Manic Street Preachers remind us why their politics and music never set Yankee charts afire, Amerie watches with amusement, Charlie Wilson drops a really big bomb on us, baby, Clipse and Kanye West release a track that's kinda no big deal, Rob Thomas struggles against his genetic boringness, and Keyshia Cole is boring, period.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm getting very tired of white people and, worse, Cuban people complaining about "identity politics." The latter have no business bitching about it because they've been the beneficiaries of relief and immigrant policy exceptionalism since the early sixties (I won't go into the politics – how for many years it was a morsel offered to distract them from the suspicion that the United States would never topple the Castro regime by force); the former, well, I have no idea about the former, except

Anyway, Stanley Fish (who's currently a professor at FIU's College of Law) wrote this essay in 1993 as the reaction to political correctness had reached the boiling point. Best moment:
At this point someone will always say, "But two wrongs don't make a right; if it was wrong to treat blacks unfairly, it is wrong to give blacks preference and thereby treat whites unfairly." This objection is just another version of the forgetting and rewriting of history. The work is done by the adverb "unfairly," which suggests two more or less equal parties, one of whom has been unjustly penalized by an incompetent umpire. But blacks have not simply been treated unfairly; they have been subjected first to decades of slavery, and then to decades of second-class citizenship, widespread legalized discrimination, economic persecution, educational deprivation, and cultural stigmatization. They have been bought, sold, killed, beaten, raped, excluded, exploited, shamed, and scorned for a very long time. The word "unfair" is hardly an adequate description of their experience, and the belated gift of "fairness" in the form of a resolution no longer to discriminate against them legally is hardly an adequate remedy for the deep disadvantages that the prior discrimination has produced. When the deck is stacked against you in more ways than you can even count, it is small consolation to hear that you are now free to enter the game and take your chances.
Lots of progress made since those heady days, including, yes, the election of the first African-American president. Lots more to go, etc.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Following a tradition, Jonathan Bradley commissioned a series of summer mix tapes from former Stylus alums. This year Tal Rosenberg and I compiled a mix we called "Risottoberg" )we included a not entirely convincing etymology), concentrating on 12" mixes of big beat eighties stuff, a sprinkling of obscure post-punk, and lots of R&B. The link, along with blurbs for each song, is available above on Jeff Weiss' blog.
Whoa. Rich has got me really excited about Electrik Red, a Vanity 6-esque side project by The-Dream, and I'm ready to be excited. After three months of increasingly distracted listening, I think I'm filing away Love vs Money as a nice try. Denser than its predecessor, the album puts more pressure on Terius Nash's pipes than they're able to support. He's saying more with a lot less. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

A few more single reviews that ran in the last seven days: Keyshia Cole, Clipse featuring Kanye West, Mos Def, Ace Hood featuring T-Pain and Akon, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell, and Pet Shop Boys, and Lil Kim.

Maxwell excepted, an uninspiring lot, maybe the dullest hip-hop and R&B batch I've heard in years. I'm still trying to figure out how to calibrate my scores against my blurbs, so I plead guilty to grade inflation (some wiseacre will no doubt laugh at "grade inflation" and "Alfred Soto" in the same sentence, especially former students).

Welcome, June

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near 
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose 
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending; 
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing 
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.

– e e cummings