Ice Friday: Italo Calvino’s “Enchanted Garden”

The pale boy was wandering about his shady room furtively, touching with his white fingers the edges of the scales studded with butterflies; then he stopped to listen. The pounding of Giovannino and Serenella’s hearts, which had died down, now got harder than ever. Perhaps it was the fear of a spell that hung over the villa and garden and over all these lovely, comfortable things, the residue of some injustice committed long ago. Very quietly, Giovannino and Serenella crept away. They went back along the same paths they had come, stepping fast but never at a run. 

Ice Friday: David Mamet’s “Oleanna”

Ah. (Pause) When I was young somebody told me, are you ready? The rich copulate less often than the poor. But when they do, they take more of their clothes off. Years. Years, mind you, I would compare experiences of my own to this dictum, saying, aha, this fits the norm, or ah, this is a variation from it. What did it mean? Nothing.

Ice Friday: Richard Adam’s “Watership Down”

Like the pain of a bad wound, the effect of a deep shock takes a while to be felt. When a child is told, for the first time in his life, that a person he has known is dead, although he does not disbelieve it, he may well fail to comprehend it and later ask–perhaps more than once–where the dead person is and when he is coming back.

Ice Friday: Robert Hunter’s “Loser”

All that I am asking for is ten gold dollars
And I could pay you back with one good hand
You can look around about the wide world over
And you’ll never find another honest man. Everybody prayin’ and drinkin’ that wine
I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines
Come to daddy on the inside straight,
Well I got no chance of losin’ this time

Ice Good Friday: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

My da had more wrong with him than my ma. There was nothing wrong with my ma except sometimes she was too busy. My da sometimes lost his temper and he liked it. He had black things across the top of his back, like black insects clinging to him. . He was useless at lots of things. He never finished games. he read newspapers. He coughed. He sat too much. Usually he was fair, and he listened when we were in trouble. He listened to me more that to Sinbad. There must have been a reason why he hated Ma. There must have been something wrong with her, at least one thing. I couldn’t see it. I wanted to. I wanted to understand. I wanted to be on both sides. He was my da.

Ice Friday: Raymond Carver’s “At Least”

I want to get up early one more morning,

before sunrise. Before the birds, even.

I want to throw cold water on my face

and be at my work table

when the sky lightens and smoke                          

begins to rise from the chimneys

of the other houses.

I want to see the waves break

on this rocky beach, not just hear them

break as I did all night in my sleep.                                    

I want to see again the ships

that pass through the Strait from every

seafaring country in the world—

old, dirty freighters just barely moving along,

and the swift new cargo vessels                              

painted every color under the sun

that cut the water as they pass.

I want to keep an eye out for them.

And for the little boat that plies

the water between the ships                                   

and the pilot station near the lighthouse.

I want to see them take a man off the ship

and put another up on board.

I want to spend the day watching this happen

and reach my own conclusions.                               

I hate to seem greedy—I have so much

to be thankful for already.

But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.

And go to my place with some coffee and wait.

Just wait, to see what’s going to happen.