Friday, April 30, 2004

I hunger for your mouth, your voice, your hair
and I prowl the streets, starving and silent,
bread does not nourish me, the dawn upsets me,
I hunt for the liquid sound of your feet all day.

I am hungry for your sleek laugh,
for your hands the color of a savage harvest,
I hunger for the pale stone of your nails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the burnt sunbeams of your beauty,
the stately nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shadow of your lashes

and hungering, I come and go, sniffing the dusk
looking for you, for your hot heart
like a puma in the solitude of Quitratue.

As a followup to an earlier post, I discovered this new web translation of Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets. I too had noticed the rough phrase "Rough Warehouses that growled: get lost." The question is whether it is apt or it is impertinent. This is a peek at the subtleties of the art of translation.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Underground San Francisco part 8: A woman in the Mission district projects 16mm films out of her window and onto a nearby wall. People stop and watch. Apparently the films were all silent but now she uses a baby monitor which she drops into the street so that people can hear. Its called The Electric Mural Project.

There is no formal calendar but tomorrow night (Friday) at 8pm they are showing old spanish educational films including Airplane trip to Mexico(1952) and La Cuidad de Mexico(1960).

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

My friend Anna has been doing some amazing things in the Renewable Energy space. She just organized this Kerry fundraiser here in San Francisco which I am posting here. Email me if you want more info. Its a minimum of $100 a person:


I am emailing to invite you to a CleanTech fundraiser for John Kerry on
April 28th. Hosted at the Fairmont in conjunction with the CleanTech
Venture Forum, its a great opportunity to come meet some wonderful Bay Area
investors, entrepreneurs, and technologists in the renewable energy and
clean technology space AND help John Kerry win back the White House!

Hosted by Andrew Beebe, CEO - Energy Innovations, Greg Gretsch, Managing
Director - Sigma Partners, Randall Hayes, Rainforest Action, Peter Liu,
Principal - LM Investment, Thomas Layton, Eric Macris, Sunil Paul, Founder
of Brightmail and Angel Investor, Barney Pell, Martin Roscheisen, CEO - Nano
Solar, Joel Serface, Venture Manager - Eastman Ventures, Sanjay Wagle,
Principal - Expansion Capital Partners, and me!

More details to follow.

Best regards and many thanks,


Thursday, April 15, 2004

"Take a twenty-four hour trip through the mind of Beethoven. Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime all-night pajamas-please sleep-over concert-event at 964 Natoma."

Friday, April 09, 2004

Did the ancients think that the stars were campfires burning in the sky?

Lately it is as if i were traversing a large dark field speckled with campfires. Each fire holds a small group of people who invite me to drink hot tea, to warm my body and listen to their stories. I introduce myself and listen closely. This metaphor has strength for me.

I remember walking on dark beaches in San Diego, beaches illuminated only by a string of campfires. Walking by the cold tides, our bare feet bouncing on the wet sand, we would walk from one to the next. As we approached each one, what seemed like dark stirrings took on a human face. A small band of people would emerge, mumblings became words, became conversations and each fire became an island. As we walked away, the warm chatter would again get washed out by the sounds of the ocean and we'd be again stumbling in the darkness, guiding ourselves by the light of the approaching flames.

The path is dark and uncertain and so it is natural that we create communities to huddle with, to exchange dreams.

The other day I lay in Dolores park with M. and her roommate, our bellies exposed to the sun. The day was warm and so we were surrounded by couples and groups on their blankets. I shared stories of things I had recently heard and seen. M. laughed as we agreed that you do not need to visit foreign cities to get a taste of the culturally strange.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.

This was the city of Zobeide, where they settled, waiting for that scene to be repeated one night. None of them, asleep or awake, ever saw the woman again. The city's streets were streets where they went to work every day, with no link any more to the dreamed chase. Which, for that matter, had long been forgotten.

New men arrived from other lands, having had a dream like theirs, and in the city of Zobeide, they recognized something from the streets of the dream, and they changed the positions of arcades and stairways to resemble more closely the path of the pursued woman and so, at the spot where she had vanished, there would remain no avenue of escape.

The first to arrive could not understand what drew these people to Zobeide, this ugly city, this trap.

Cities and Desires (Calvino)

Maps from Tangential University via invertebra

I was trying to describe to someone the level of graffiti I saw when I was in East Berlin. I looked around and stumbled upon this great site Urban Haute Couture which collects photos of street art from Berlin and Amsterdam and Hamburg. Their Bucharest section also includes stencils which can be found at the Romanian Stencil Archive.
Two literary puzzles I haven't been able to solve:

1. In Nabokov's "Speak, Memory" he writes "We subjected [Uncle Ruka] to a test one day, and in a twinkle he turned the sequence '5.13 24.11 13.16 9.13.5 5.13 24.11' into the opening words of a famous monologue in Shakespeare." The monologue is 'To be or not to be' from Hamlet but the question is whether this was an arbitrary substitution cipher.

Oddly, the first few letters follow the pattern of a rotational cypher where the next letter is x fixed places from the previous (e.g. O(13)=T-5. B(24)=O+13.) but that pattern collapses quickly. It may just be random but I cant get it out of my mind.

2. Borges, in his short-story The Rose of Paracelsus introduces the name Johannes Grisebach out of nowhere! Who is Grisebach? There was an Eduard Grisebach, a poet and the editor of the works of Schopenhauer who was known to Borges.