'Out of the cradle, endlessly rocking...'

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

something for this here election...

     Today we here in Ohio vote in our minor, inconsequential primary. This really is shaking out as the most important Presidential election since, o, 1980. So, it seems meet and right to keep these words from our first President in mind as I head to the polls. 

'In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated,' George Washington's Farewell Address.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Five more days and we here in Ohio will once again put the *swing* in swing-state. I am as yet undecided, though in good apophatic form I know those whom I shall not vote for. 

Sanders certainly is out - he's better as a gadfly in the Senate - and Kasich, should he remain on the ballot, shall be as a vessel of dishonor. As for the various strageric schemes to throw a spanner into Trump's hair, they're all too complicated and have only a faint chance, if any, of success. Besides, I can think of fates worse than Trump. 

If Romney screws this up I'm setting everyone's shoes on fire.

Incidentally, early this morning in New Albany I saw a fellow putting out signs for the Kasich campaign. Lea Ann and I speculated that perhaps he was an in-law who felt obligated to at least do something. I admired his quixotic dilligence in the face of certain, humiliating defeat. 

Anyway, the Ohio Primary is almost upon us. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Monday, March 7, 2016

a translation...

Antonio Machado, ‘Sobre la tierra amarga...’

   Upon the bitter land,
the dream holds labyrinthine
roads, tortured paths,
parks in flower and shade and silence;
   deep crypts, climbing above stars;
icons of hopes and memories.
Tiny figures that pass and smile 
- an old man’s melancholy toys - ;
  friendly images,
at the path’s flowered turn,
and roseate chimeras
that make a way . . . far away

Friday, February 26, 2016

today's fun thought...

     The most extreme manifestation of American Exceptionalism is the breathless condemnation of any manifestation of American Exceptionalism. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

rambling rambles about nothing at all...

     I need to start exercising again. Fell out of the habit thanks to the long bout of flu, infected sinuses, and general plaguiness. Still not back to full - in fact, I've lost my voice for like the fifth time or so. O well, this can't continue forever, no no no it can't I say. It's time for a return to cardio! Sounds like a movie - A Return to Cardio. 'Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks star in this Romantic Drama about two men who fall for the same woman in the same town after The War, and then return years later, each unbeknownst to the other, to rekindle their lost kindle with her - A Return to Cardio'.
     So like, yeah, I need to start exercising again. 

nothing to see here...

     Seems Noam Chomsky has seen fit to say something about The Donald. I don't really care about Chomsky, so no, I won't be reading the article in question. That would cut into my free time. I will simply note here the inevitable convergence of the twain, like the Titanic and its Iceberg riding the currents of Absolute Will.

it's like christmas has come early...

     O boy o boy o boy o boy o boy Facetube gave us cute virtual stickers we can use for anything! It’s like we’re kids again! Kids with debts and jobs and lawyers and doctors and accountants boy do we need accountants and kids and cars that need fixing and lawns and roofs and an ever growing list of regrets and doubts about whether we ever made the right decisions when pushed to it...but yay, we got some badass virtual stickers! Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

thoughts on this here election cycle...

     It seems that the fate of the Republic is at stake in this latest Hunger Games, Presidential Edition. That is simply not true. The fate of those who will live through the final death and fall of the Republic is at stake. That's totally different.
     Have a nice day.

Monday, February 22, 2016

a poem...

When it is Nearly Winter

A thunderstorm comes tearing from the west,
and once again the ground is thick with leaves
wet and matted, mottled brown and yellow; 
some few fly about the gathering dark
of early evening in November, as
curled shavings fly before the carpenter’s plane.
These are not yet the shortest days, but when
the dark slams down upon those rushing home, 
those who have seen so little daylight while
they worked or slept or ate in tiny rooms,
it seems an almost perpetual night, the day
an errant dream lost before we’re awake,
like some frolicsome snake we glimpse as it 
streaks out of sight along a garden path.

a query...

     Are we certain that Socrates isn't the villain?

Monday, February 15, 2016

the game's afoot...

     This, from Senator Elizabeth Warren, is making the rounds on The Social Media:

     Well spotted, Senator Warren, well spotted. There is no such clause. In fact, you will not find in The Consitution a clause that requires the Senate to do anything in particular. Article 2, Section 2 makes that clear:

'...and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, [the President] shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.'

     The Senate can move with alacrity to a floor vote; the Senate can lollygag about as committee after committee vet chronologically a nominee's personal and professional life. If a gaggle of Senators wants to block a nominee, they are welcome to try. It is the prerogative of the Senate if so moved to allow a nomination to wither and die. Whether any given gaggle can so move the Senate is an open question. We answer it by means of all the Politics.      
     So, Senator Warren, you are correct, but what you say is not the whole truth. I do applaud your embrace of a plain-text reading of the Constitution, and encourage you to read farther, and deeper, in that work and the works of those who drafted it and saw it through a rather punishing ratification. (Hint - that was some first class Politics right there.) As you read the text, you might find all Penumbras disappear, but that is intermediate to advanced reading. For now, focus on the Article at hand concerning the various powers and prerogatives of the President and the Senate with regard to the appointment of Supremes. It will take practice, but with determined hard work you will improve over time. I have faith in your abilities.

Friday, February 12, 2016

wintery winter strikes again...

This is from a few nights ago. We had our usual early February Snowpocalypse. I've been too ill to go outside, but my wife tells me the city managed to survive. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

a poem...

Two-Fifteen A.M.

Who will conjure memory
at the end, conjure hope itself
from nothing at all? Stripped
bare, like tree limbs in a storm
one raw spring night, each 
must reckon with elements,
powers of the air, as light
as nothingness itself seems
when it seems most like being.

something from Denys...

     '"Suddenly" means that which comes forth from the hitherto invisible and beyond hope into manifestation. And I think that here Scripture is suggesting the philanthropy of Christ. The super-essential has proceeded out of its hiddenness to become manifest to us by becoming a human being. But He is also hidden, both after the manifestation and, to speak more divinely, even within it. For this is Jesus [hiding himself], and neither by rational discourse nor by intuition can his mystery be brought forth, but instead, even when spoken it remains ineffable, and when conceived with the intellect, unknowable,' [Epistle III, translated by Alexander Golitzin, Mystagogy: A Monastic Reading of Dionysius Areopagitica, p. 45, altered slightly].

I've noticed...

     Haydn's music is good for you, especially when you're awake in the night with the flu. 

good times...

     This time last year I was in Denver. That was only one stop in my whirling travels across the High Plains and back again. I may have been a madman. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

from today's reading...

     Here is Marina Tsvetaeva on Boris Pasternak:

'He is unique and indivisible. His verse is the formula of his essence. The divine case of "couldn't be done any other way". Wherever there may be a dominance of "form" over "content", or of "content" over "form", no essence ever set foot. And you can't copy him; only garments can be copied. You'd have to be born as another him,' [Art in the Light of Conscience, pg. 22-23]. 

The same of course can be said of Tsvetaeva herself. She goes on:

'Of the demonstrable treasures in Pasternak (rhythms, metres, and so on), others will speak in their turn - and doubtless with no less feeling than I when I speak of the non-demonstrable treasures. 

'That is the job of poetry specialists. My specialty is Life.'

Monday, February 8, 2016

late night pre-Lenten thoughts...

     The virus night shift is much more efficient and determined than the day shift. The nose is running and there's the coughing and the fever. It's hard to read while blowing le nez, so I'm listening to music.      
     I know what you're thinking dear reader - the earthquake in Taiwan, my cold, they're roughly the same in terms of how they raise the problem of suffering in a world created by a just God.
     Time to open another box of tissues. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

a translation...

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

But he who gladly shouts of Zeus's victories
shall make himself to be wise in all things -
Zeus who sets men on the path to wisdom,
who as Lord decreed that we have wisdom through pain -
Zeus lets fall before our hearts, even in sleep,
pain that brings loss to mind once again:
in such bonds man comes to be of sound mind,
a violent grace, from gods poised on the quarterdeck.

just a thought...

     Aeneas never should have left Dido. You know it's true, don't try to deny it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

growing...*older*...part deux...

     The circles round the sun grow faster and faster. Turns out you're better off not clinging to anything, while paying closer attention to everything.      
     Appetites change. Some grow stronger, some weaken, and some remain the same while their objects change. I'm still looking for new music, poetry, and art. It rarely happens that I find what I'm looking for.      
     Time is more and more immediate, nothing stunning about that. I care less and less for arguments, battles over dogmas and doctrines I've long ago either accepted or rejected, and what we used to call 'flame wars' online.      
     I read as much, if not more, with - one hopes - more discrimination. I just don't care to waste time on endless prattle.
     There is, for now, health and home and marriage and poetry. I have come close to losing each of those in the past couple of years, so I want to pay closer attention to them. That I can't hold on to them, or anything, is becoming more and more clear with each of these ever faster, sometimes dizzying circles round the sun.


It's come to this - I am content with yogurt and fruit. In fact, I find this repast delightful. 

not dead yet...

     So this is what the offices look like after long months of neglect. You would think I'd clock this by now, but no no no it has to be learned again and again and again.      Oddly, I'm not on the road. Been home since mid-Decemberish. It was an interesting year or so, and one day I'll try to make sense of it, but for now it's good to be home. It's in that spirit that I returned to the ER offices to find that a pipe had burst some time ago. Fortunately, everything floats around here.      Hey ho, so it goes, etcetera and suchlikethatthere. Where to start with the renovations I wonder. I never did like the carpet, or the tile in the bathroom.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

reproductive health is so healthy and good...

     Reproductive health - who could be against that? I mean, you'd have to be a right proper cold hearted bastard to be against something as benign and downright healthy as reproductive health. As for the people involved in assuring reproductive health, well, they are surely good-hearted people, the sort of people who separate their trash from their recycling, pay their taxes on time, and tell the truth when called for a jury. Decent, hard working people they are, and they really love women you see, and want to ensure that women have good reproductive health. If that involves killing the odd child, then that's the sort of sad necessity we find in this sadly necessary world of necessity. It's all so sad, really, when we have to kill a child, but it's necessary, and if you don't think so you haven't considered how complex this world of necessity really is. You're probably a religious fanatic come to think of it. Diocletian will have a word for you when he gets here, o yes he will. As for the rest, they know that in this sad world of necessary necessity, those charged with guarding reproductive health will always make the right decision for the women who need reproductive health. It's that simple really.

a sort of brief confession of a kind...

     Why yes, I know what God is like, sort of, in that apophatic, met-God-in-a-cloud-of-darkness kind of way. It's true, and I'm no longer going to soft-pedal it. That's why I love the Purgatorio of Dante. Think about it.

in other news...

     Tomorrow I will make arrangements to study Italian. Dante, I've my eye on you.
     Haydn is my new friend. 

     I still love Beethoven.
     Been reading the Gospel of Matthew in Greek. It changes you.
     I'm feeling a little done in by the scotch.
     Hölderlin and Dante are the two poets most on my mind at the moment. I've started in a new direction under their influence and tutelage. Damn it's hard.
     Pushkin is in there somewhere too.
     With that, this post ends. I'm not feeling well.
     Peace out.

in the news...

     Diocletian is coming...

public service announcement...

     Friends beware, I'm drunk, and incapable of bullshit. I feel a great separation coming, one that will make me sad beyond words. Remember, I didn't want any of this. 

i've been drinking scotch all night...

     O, but...but...there are *edits* you see...and this is all about tissue, not organs, o heavens no, that would imply that we've harvested organs from really, honest-to-the-God-that-doesn't-exist people, which, o no o no o no, we haven't. Honest. Cross our hearts (hehehe) and swear to That Which Doesn't Exist. Besides, did I mention, there are edits, and this is unfair, and this is wrong, and this makes us uncomfortable, and you're a bunch of theocratic bigots. QED, so there! 

reading the news...

     Really, I have to ask, how do the Little Sisters of the Poor threaten Diocletian's reign? Can somebody please explain it to me, using small words, preferably one syllable? I'm disgusted. Here we are, meant to be created gods, and we're crushing the Little Sisters of the Poor, killing children for profit and convenience, and generally mucking about with the poor and the infirm. We're supposed to be created gods, God-like if you will, and if you'll check your libretto, you'll find that God is not like that. Just thought I'd mention it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

notes from a commonplace book...

     Started reading Gregory of Nyssa's On the Making of Man.

     '...the wisdom of God has transposed these properties, and wrought unchangeableness in that which is ever moving, and change in that which is immovable; doing this, it may be, by a providential dispensation, so that that property of nature which constitutes its immutability and immobility might not, when viewed in any created object, cause the creature to be accounted as God; for that which may happen to move or change would cease to admit of the conception of Godhead. Hence the earth is stable without being immutable, while the heaven, on the contrary, as it has no mutability, so has not stability either, that the Divine power, by interweaving chant in the stable nature and motion with that which is not subject to change, moght, by the interchange of attributes, at once join them both closely to each other, and make them alien from the conception of Deity; for as has been said, neither of these (neither that which is unstable, not that which is mutable) can be considered to belong to the more Divine nature' (I.4).

Friday, May 1, 2015

a query...

     So, ever had that feeling of overwhelming fragility? Like you could fall apart at any moment, but you have to get on with the work at hand?
     It's weird, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the world ends with this it's true...

     It's possible that I may, over the next few days, draw up a reading plan for the next few months. I've never had one of those before, preferring instead to mercurially read whatever I damn well pleased at any moment. Lately, though, my time is ever more constrained, and I find myself more and more distracted. Clearly some discipline is in order.
     You may return to your mundane lives now. 

from the commonplace book...

     'Of the three books of the Commedia, the Purgatorio is, for English readers, the least known, the least quoted - and the most beloved. It forms, as it were, a test case. Persons who pontificate about Dante without making mention of his Purgatory may reasonably be suspected of knowing him only at second hand, or of having at most skimmed through the circles of his Hell in the hope of finding something to be shocked at. Let no one, therefore, get away with a condemnation - or for that matter a eulogy - of Dante on the mere strength of broiled Popes, disembowelled (sic) Schismatics, grotesque Demons, Count Ugolino, Francesca da Rimini, and the Voyage of Ulysses, even if backed up by an erotic mysticism borrowed from the Pre-Raphaelites, and the line "His will is our peace", recollected from somebody's sermon. Press him, rather, for an intelligent opinion on the Ship of Souls and Peter's Gate; on Buonconte, Sapìa, and Arnaut Daniel; on the Prayer of the Proud, the theology of Free Judgment, Dante's three Dreams, the Sacred Forest, and the symbolism of the Beatrician Pageant. If he cannot satisfy the examiners on these points, let him be to you as a heathen man and a publican. But if he can walk at ease in death's second kingdom, then he is a true citizen of the Dantean Empire; and though he may still feel something of a stranger in Paradise, yet the odds are he will come to it in the end. For the Inferno may fill one with only an appalled fascination, and the Paradiso may daunt one at first by its intellectual severity; but if one is drawn to the Purgatorio at all, it is by the cords of love, which will not cease drawing till they have drawn the whole poem into the same embrace,' Dorothy Sayers.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

just a few thoughts on poetry and discipleship, or is it poetry as discipleship...

I find no virtue in moderation. Love knows nothing of moderation, sobriety, prudence. As necessary as those are for the preservation of life in this intertwining of times, they will pass away. 

As for imitation, the apprentice must, at first, be slavish in imitating the master. At some point, it goes from imitating the particulars and the manner, to seeking what the master seeks. All must be moved by love for both the master and the work itself. In the end, you will no longer resemble the master at all, but will work with the same skill, the same love for the new work never seen, that you learned from the master. 

As a poet there is a kind of elective affinity with those poets who are my masters. Everything I learn from them is in service to the practice of the art of poetry itself. So there is a unifying discipline to these studies. Indeed, at any given moment it is not so much Poetry in the abstract that I serve, as the particular poem at hand. It is more important than me, and my job is to find out what it is meant to be. 

An artist will have many masters on the way, and will always have something to learn, some new form or style that sets him on a different path. That's the curious mixture of ambition and humility required of an artist - humility in recognition of all there is yet to learn, all that he will never know, and the ambition to be great that spurs him on to learn and grow and change in service of the work made. Yet it remains true that those first masters, the ones that inspired the desire to make works in the first place, remain especially beloved. I hope that I will, before I die, make at least one poem worthy of those whose works moved me to take up the art.

Certain poets spend their lives trying to write poems like a particular poet whom they have anointed as The Greatest Of All Time. They don't see that in fact they have subordinated the poet they claim to revere to their own cramped needs. They never discover the joy of making something properly their own, and they sadly never understand the work of the poet they claim as their inspiration. They spend so much energy and time trying to strike that vein they imagine the Poet owns, it exhausts their abilities and their intelligence.