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Month: January 2020

Finite Lives

Finite Lives

Kobe Bryant’s passing, at 41, is a tragedy, as are the deaths of his daughter, Gianna, just 13, and the seven others on board that helicopter. Millions across the globe have been impacted by this, perhaps especially the generation that grew up along with Kobe, watching his evolution into one of the NBA’s all-time greats. His peers in the game of basketball have spoken out, too, some tearfully, and it’s apparent they honestly grieve this loss.

My own reactions were heightened by seeing the reactions of others, the human family in moments most unguarded. There is something profoundly beautiful and moving in our ability to openly weep for others, to care inwardly and outwardly for persons we don’t even know. . . . Read more. “Finite Lives”

Only They Know What is Known

Only They Know What is Known

The Kiss (Lovers), oil and gold leaf on canvas, 1907–1908.

The eternal question(s): Does it matter what the artist intended? His or her background? His or her influences, research, working methods? Do these things matter when it comes to how an audience interprets or should interpret their work?

Yes and no and maybe and perhaps, in no particular order. As in, great works of art, at least, don’t require the acquisition of such knowledge (to be appreciated), though that knowledge may enhance the experience. It can also ruin it, or something in between. The continuum is there, with its myriad nuances and degrees. In short, only they know. The people on the canvas and in the museum. . . . Read more. “Only They Know What is Known”

The Ironies They are a Changin’

The Ironies They are a Changin’

Ulysses and the Sirens, by John William Waterhouse. 1891

Different times blah blah blah
Call for different blah blah blahs

As in
Right now there is no reason
For all of those blah blahs

And extra blah blahs

We need to be direct!
Tell it like it is
And not worry so much about
Offending the cliché police

The earth the sea the once blue air
     The glaciers the beleaguered soil

     The fires this time

So instead of stories about this or that
This or that endlessly nuanced set of
               Ironic      distances

It’s time for swords
     Right under your nose
And clear cut goals
     Right under your nose

And beating hearts
Right under your nose
Wherever they typically go

When they need immediate attention
     When they need immediate care

Of course fables and parables and
Allegories and multiplex symbology
Still rule   always rule   will always

But on some level it’s got to be
Night and Day
Right vs wrong
Because all this ironic detachment

Has led to exactly the wrong kind of
Simplicity and lack of nuance


So ring that bell
     Bang that drum
          On key
          On time


Disintegration at Four O’Clock

Disintegration at Four O’Clock

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali. 1954

John Wick is cool
If you like that sort of thing
And I do
But not for the usual reasons

He’s in-de-struct-able
And that can come in handy – a lot

That’s really it in a nutshell

And, no, he doesn’t have
Superpowers – per se

He just survives when others don’t
– like moi
For instance
Like when I’m fighting my usual endless battles

Against ancient but lively assassins and
I keep dying over and over again

John Wick just goes from one head-bashing


To another and another
As if he could and should say:

“Was that a fly a fly that touched me just now?” . . . Read more. “Disintegration at Four O’Clock”

I die a little inside when I see this

I die a little inside when I see this

The Blind Leading the Blind, by Pieter Bruegel. 1568

A farmer on the way to market
Told his beautiful muse
That we’re much too self-conscious
These days

So she said to him
Don’t I know that!
As if she were from New York
By way of Dublin

By way of a steamer
A century ago

Or was it a zeppelin?
Not that it matters

Because she flew on her own,

Muses can do that and more
Much more

Like make us think
We’re making the art
When it’s really the muse
Always the muse

But I digress . . .

So the farmer wasn’t nearly as
Self-conscious as he thought
Because years from now
Books will be written

Saying it was Laura
Not Boris
Who wrote the poems
Which is code

For this particular
On this particular
Road to the market

Which is code for another
And still another
Route pathway journey


Life was so much simpler
When conquest theft domination
Were cool
Were hip



Integration at Four O’Clock

Integration at Four O’Clock

Bridge of Shadows

I wonder about the ideal all too often. I wonder if we were ever, as a species, supposed to attain something even close to an ideal. But that doesn’t stop me from wool-gathering, looking at clouds, staring at the darkness in my coffee cup, etc. That doesn’t stop me from questioning, endlessly, the way things are.

How should we raise our kids and ourselves? Because, of course, all the while we think we’re raising them, they’re raising us in a sense, too, and all the things surrounding us shape what we do, and are sometimes shaped by what we do, and so it goes, on and on and on. . . . Read more. “Integration at Four O’Clock”

Out of the darkness, into the light

Out of the darkness, into the light

Are there such things as “generations,” and if there are, can they have a conscience? Can they have voices that represent those consciences?

I’m not sure about the first question, though I have my doubts. Far too many variables and feedback loops. But I’ll say yes for now and posit this: For the young at heart in the 1960s and 1970s, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young certainly qualified, as did Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Melanie, Cat Stevens and, of course, the Beatles.

The young, back then, actually looked to songwriters for inspiration, messages, a Way. They actually cared enough about what they said to act physically on the song’s behalf. . . . Read more. “Out of the darkness, into the light”

The Bridge/Part II

The Bridge/Part II

There are degrees
Of course

There are always degrees

So that one can connect
And still not know you

Like the friend who saw your face
Before you were born

Knew that face before it was here
And after it leaves the scene

After it moves on to that place
None of us can return from

Or talk about with the living

So bridges can range in size and strength
From the shaky to the permanent

From the earthly
To something far grander far stranger

Like omni
Like multi

Like a thousand and one
As they used to say

A thousand and one years ago

Far stranger in that
The bridge exists everywhere and nowhere

Which is why the greatest friend
Never has to try

Never has to struggle to be heard
Never has to shout

It just happens like a word
Opening up to the sea

Inside it
Provoked and calmed by it

Seized and released by it

You know it before you cross it
The water

The sky
Time and time again

The time before and the time after
We sail like first mates

We sail like dolphin Brendan hawk Odysseus
From dawn to dusk

The waves

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