Pic: S W A N S  Commentary - logo © Gilles d'Aymery 1996. All rights reserved. - size 6k

c o m m e n t a r y

(Since 1996)

February 7, 2016


Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves.
The power of questioning -- not simply believing -- has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it.


Note from the Editor:  It's been just over a year since Swans was last updated because, I am heartbroken to report, nearly 9 months ago its founder Gilles d'Aymery -- my co-editor and husband -- died, leaving me at a loss for words. At the same time, the flock of contributors that made Swans what it was have been silenced from these pages, and there is so much to write about. With their support and encouragement, I shall endeavor to resume publishing in some fashion and frequency. There has been a great deal of technical work going on in the background to make this happen, not the least of which was migrating Swans' Web editor from Homesite to Dreamweaver; now I just need to learn how to use it... Many thanks to Philip at Actnet Computer in San Francisco ("Saving the World. One computer at a time..."). He has changed my computer world for the better. It is my hope that a few readers are still out there, and that you will continue to visit these pages while a new incarnation of Swans unfolds in its 20th year of publication -- a milestone Gilles was looking forward to reaching.

One day I will find the words to write a fitting tribute to Gilles. In the meantime, you can read his obituary here -- it's a bit of both our words, as the Note from the Editors always was. He would laugh to know that he was published in The New York Times...


                                                                         Gilles d'Aymery

                                                                           1950 - 2015

Ecrasez l'infâme


San Francisco

ISSN: 1554-4915


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Arts and Culture

"White-Girl" Problems
by Grace Williams

I am 5'6" and 150 pounds. I wear boot-cut jeans and unflattering shirts. I own five pairs of shoes, three of which I wear on a day-to-day basis.

I get frequent headaches, and caffeine and sugar make them worse, so I rarely drink soda or any sort of coffee-like beverage.

My father is an alcoholic.   More...

Grace Williams is a pen name for a high school student in Oakland, CA.


Death In Context Or Infamous Last Words
by Peter Byrne

Readers of book chat have sniggered over Alfred Jarry's last words for a century. But few could say what he meant when he asked the priest at his bedside for a toothpick. They knew him for a drunk and so laughed at what they took for his delirium. They were Jarry's lifelong bugbear, the bourgeoisie, who need a display of flamboyant self-destruction to feel cozy and safe themselves.   More...

Peter Byrne is an American-born teacher and writer who lives in Lecce, Italy.


Blind To The Eclipse
by Glenn Reed

A bare tree. Gnarled branches. White light with solid brick patterns. Black background. Yin-yang or photograph reversal.

A name whispered. Sounds like...."George?"

Between old buildings. Industrial. Still another old mill town that died away through the mid 20th century, now reborn in art and coffee shops and used book stores. Irony converging on a new connecting wall beneath ceiling that shelters from winter chill. Illusions of security.

I detect a tiny bit of movement beyond the tree. Something coming this way. Tickling at my subconscious. Something remembered?   More...

Glenn Reed is a long-time activist and author from Fair Haven, Vermont.


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

War From A Different Perspective
by Paul Buhle

This is a nifty little volume, with wonderful, moving poems and comic art. But perhaps "nifty" is not exactly the word for memories of the ghastly slaughter, this time between soldiers in all sides of the war that no one expected. The following wars, up to the present day, have been waged largely against civilians, with the supposed civilized West (including the U.S.) arguably as active in the mass murder of bystanders as anyone else. The difference, since 1945, is that we Westerners don't mostly murder each other.   More...

Paul Buhle is a retired academic and comics' editor who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


Multilingual Poetry

by Guido Monte

dans mon sommeil...
to be many ones,
to be the touch
of some bodies,
the flow of blood
on the moon cycle,
to be many ones on the sheet
of crosswords,
in homes in hospitals
en hogares en los hospitales
in the river in the galaxy.   More...

Guido Monte teaches Italian and Latin literature in Palermo, Italy.



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