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An aristocratic Dane, draped in tweed, blonde hair whisked to side, clunked a bottle of
whiskey down on the desk, waved his hand easily into the smoky air as if shooing
a fly: "This is so vulgar. It really is," meaning the Brahms Festival Overture, and
the light for one small moment over the library glinted into the window.
"The ocean will never cease to give us pleasure, Doctor." She posed on wet rocks against
a distant storm; he stood beside a yawl overturned beneath the seawall and
complained: "My friends, they either disappoint me or compel me to jealousy."
The way he discussed the more decadent Roman Emperors, one suspected that he wished
historical circumstances had permitted him to speak of himself in such terms.
A letter arrived from the coast: "I just returned from a stroll. Here are some thoughts.
This time of year the gulls feed on the juniper trees. They cannot perch on the
branches because the branches cannot support their weight, so they slowly flap
their wings to keep in place to eat the berries. It is beautiful, this swaying."
And he asked: "What rivers, what air, are my men to cross?" The enemy replied: "If you
can give me seven laps across the Bosphorus, you may drown at your discretion.
That was our deal."
Typed at a portable desk on the Normandy beachhead, beneath clouds of naval gunfire,
bodies soaked in sand: "The wreckage is vast and startling."
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In her new book, Danish poet Olga Ravn writes with open love, pity, and compassion for her strange yet familiar creations.
Draconian individual punishment distracts from systemic change and reinforces the cruelest and most racist system of incarceration on the planet.
Our well-being depends on a better understanding of how the logic of labor has twisted our relationship with pleasure.