Friday, July 31, 2015

Means and Ends

On autumn nights, eyes closed, when, sensuous,
I breathe the scent of your warm breasts, my sight
Is peopled by far shores, happy and bright,
Under a sun, warm and monotonous.
A lazy isle which nature, generous,
Stocks with weird trees and fruits of strange delight,
Men with lithe bodies, powerful but slight,
Women whose candid eyes flash luminous.

Urged by your scent to such charmed lands at last,
I see a port with many a sail and mast
Still weary from the ocean's frenzied roll,
While the green tamarinds exhale their savor
To please my nostrils with a dulcet flavor,
Mingled with sailor chanteys in my soul.
- Charles Baudelaire, "Exotic Perfume"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Colouring the Mundane...

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
- Langston Hughes, "Dream Deferred"

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Give me, again, the fairy tale grotto
with the portico-vaulting overhead.
Let me walk beneath the canted columns
of Gaudí’s rookery, spiral
along his crenelated Jerusalem
of broken tiles, crazy shields.
Yes, it’s hot as hell and full
of tourists at the double helix,
but the anarchists now occupy
the Food Court, and the arcadian dream
for the working class includes this shady
colonnade cut into the mountainside.
I’ve postponed my allegiance to
the tiny house movement, to the 450
square feet of simple, American maple
infrastructure and the roomy
mind suspended like a hammock
between joists. Serpents and castle
keeps shimmer, and a mosaic invitation
to the Confectionery gets me a free
café con leche on the La Rambla,
Robin Becker, "The Barcelona Inside Me"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tearing off the Mask?

Written on the occassion of Mrs. Edwin's first appearance at the Belfast Theatre, and spoken by her, after performing the Character of Widow Cheerly, in Cherry's Comedy of the Soldier's Daughter, on the night of Friday, the 27th December, 1822
Dropping the mask Thalia lent this night,
The Widow Cheerly now is out of sight;
In my own Character I now appear,
To thank you for my kind reception, here. -
It has been said, if I aright remember,
"In months less wintry than a dark December,
That, as we journey north, the air grows colder;"
But Woman's smile had warm'd her first beholder.
Oh! if seduced by her persuasive pow'r,
Her fruits Man tasted in an erring hour,
So bright and beautiful she stood before him,
As her blue eyes were up-rais'd to implore him,
He felt, seeing her all nature's charms array'd in,
He gained Elysium, though he'd lost an Eden.
And Woman thus, in ev'ry age and nation,
Still lord it o'er the "Lords of the Creation,"
And wakes, with witching pow'r, and minstrel art,
That fine ton'd instrument of hers - the heart.
"What then?" you'll say, - why this I would infer,
That you'll be true to nature, and to her;
That Erin's sons Protection ne'er refuse,
When 'tis a stranger, and a woman sues.
Oh! could I touch with true poetic fire,
The Harp of Erin, or the Grecian Lyre,
To Ireland's Athens* their sweet chords I'd wake,
To pour that thankfulness words cannot speak.
*Belfast has been termed the "Athens of Ireland"

Thursday, July 23, 2015


To break an idea up into its original elements is to return to its moments, which at least do not have the form of the given idea, but rather constitute the immediate property of the self. This analysis, to be sure, only arrives at thoughts which are themselves familiar, fixed, and inert determinations. But what is thus separated and non-actual is an essential moment; for it is only because the concrete does divide itself, and make itself into something non-actual, that it is self-moving. The activity of dissolution is the power and work of Understanding, the most astonishing and mightiest of powers, or rather the absolute power. The circle that remains self-enclosed and, like substance, holds its moments together, is an immediate relationship, one therefore which has nothing astonishing about it. But that an accident as such, detached from what circumscribes it, what is bound and is actual only in its context with others, should attain an existence of its own and a separate freedom - this is the tremendous power of the negative; it is the energy of thought, of pure 'I'. Death, if that is what we want to call this non-actuality, is of all things the most dreadful, and to hold fast what is dead requires the greatest strength. Lacking strength, Beauty hates Understanding for asking of her what it cannot do. But the life of Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by the devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself. It is this power, not as something positive, which closes its eyes to the negative, as when we say of something that it is nothing or is false, and then, having done with it, turn away and pass onto something else; on the contrary, Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being. This power is identical with what we earlier called the Subject..."
- FW Hegel, "Phenomenology (Prelude)"

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Center of Gravity

Fantasy appears, then, as an answer to 'Che vuoi?' , to the unbearable enigma of the desire of the Other, of the lack in the Other; but is is at the same time fantasy itself which, so to speak, provides the co-ordinates of our desire--which constructs the frame enabling us to desire something. The usual definition of fantasy ('an imagined scenario representing the realization of desire') is therefore somewhat misleading, or at least ambiguous: in the fantasy-scene the desire is not fulfilled, 'satisfied', but constituted (given its objects, and so on)--through fantasy, we learn 'how to desire'. In this intermediate position lies the paradox lies the paradox of fantasy: it is the frame co-ordinating our desire, but at the same time a defence against 'Che vuoi?' , a screen concealing the gap, the abyss of desire of the Other. Sharpening the paradox to its utmost--to tautology--we could say that desire itself is a defence against desire: the desire structured through fantasy is a defence against the desire of the Other, against this 'pure', trans-phantasmic desire (i.e. the 'death drive' in its pure form).
-Slavoj Zizek, "The Sublime Object of Ideology"

Sunday, July 19, 2015

American Kourites?

Dancing atop Mount Psiloritis, worshipping the Kouros
An American Idol
Is making an oath
In allegiance for something greater
To have the opportunity of growth

Unselfishly devoting
Mind, body, and soul in
The countless years
To not allow anyone’s to be stolen

An American Idol
Is taking responsibility
In preventing danger by
Risking their selves in protecting society

With a rank and badge
Delivering justice to the 50 stars
Upholding the rights to all
Before and after behind bars

An American Idol
Is coming to the rescue
Of those in the face of immediate harm and death
With no hesitation because all life has the same value

They utilize multiple tactics
To defy the realistic matter of time
To complete their objective while
Putting their own life on the line

An American Idol
Is operating and saving lives
Constantly challenging
Losing a life with skills that revives

They optimize their critical thinking
As their ability is on a high demand
And pressure weighs onto their heads
Through each movement of the minute hand

An American Idol
Is taking time for a lecture
To educate each individual
With great pleasure

They experiment, travel, and
Encourage to be the best
They set aside time to help
And prepare all to test and attest

No matter which service path chosen
They honor their position and title
Because they love it and do it for America
So without a doubt they’re an idol
-Joel Till, "An American Idol"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

La Belle France

I know your love
I know the water that is spilled on my body
Feel one's body day after day
I raised the tortures to approach further
I have your desire fixed to mine
I have your desire fixed to my ankles
Come, nothing binds us on nothing
Everything is just up to us

I make you my essential
You make me get born between humans
I make you my essential
The one I would love more than anyone
If you want that we learn about each other
If you want that we learn about each other

You know my love
You know the words under my silence
Which are admited, covered and discovered
I can offer you my beliefs
To conjure the absence
I have the future engraved in your hand
I have the future traced like you write it
Take it, nothing brings us further
As a geste that comes back

Tu me fais naître parmi les hommes
Celle que j'aimerais plus que personne

Si tu veux qu'on s'apprenne
Si tu veux qu'on s'apprenne...

I will make of you my essential
My essential
If you want that we learn from each other
That we belong to each other

Monday, July 13, 2015

Down for the Count?

There shall be a song for both of us that day
Though fools say you have long outlived your songs,
And when, perhaps, because your hair is grey,
You go unsung, to whom all praise belongs,
And no men kiss your hands--your fragile hands
Folded like empty shells on sea-spurned sands.
And you that were dawn whereat men shouted once
Are sunset now, but with one worshipper,
Then to your twilight heart this song shall be
Sweeter than those that did your youth announce
For your brave beautiful spirit is lovelier
Than once your lovely body was to me.
Your folded hands and your shut eyelids stir
A passion that Time has crowned with sanctity.
Young fools shall wonder why, your youth being over,
You are so sung still, but your heart will know
That he who loved your soul was your true lover
And the last song alone was worthy you.
- Muriel Stuart, "A Song for Old Love"

Rabble Rabble Rabble...

Poverty in itself does not turn people into a rabble; a rabble is created only when there is joined to poverty a disposition of the mind, an inner indignation against the rich, against society, against the government, etc. A further consequence of this attitude is that through their dependence on chance people become frivolous and idle, like the Neapolitan lazzaroni for example. In this way there is born in the rabble the evil of lacking sufficient honour to secure subsistence by its own labour and yet at the same time the right to receive subsistence. Against nature a human being can claim no right, but once society is established, poverty immediately takes the form of a wrong done to one class [Klasse] by another. The important question of how poverty is to be abolished is one that agitates and torments modern society in particular.
- GWF Hegel, "Outlines of the Philosophy of Right" (244 - Addition)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Living in the Heart of the Blues

“We live as we dream--alone....”
― Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness"

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
― John Steinbeck, "Of Mice and Men"

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pour la peine - 1789 les amants de la bastille

Because of This Pain

When fear breaks in
On our illusions
We abandon,
And heaven forgives.

When the mind engages
In unreason,
The cannons sound
Cannons sound
And cries resound

Because of this pain
I bear you away

We want dreams
Which lift us up
We want flowers
Even in our sorrows
We want a sense
Of innocence
In the name of our free thinkers.
In the name of the tears
Which disarm us,
We must be able
To change history

Because of this pain.

In the name of our fathers who taught us
The worth of a man
Worth of man
Men such as we

In the name of our brothers fallen into oblivion
The rights of man
Rights of man
Right of men

We want dreams
Which lift us up
We want flowers
Even in our sorrows
We want a sense
Of innocence
In the name of our free thinkers.
In the name of the tears
Which disarm us
We must be able
To change history

Because of this pain.

I want to smile at your errors
To kiss your wounds
We will learn this outrageousness by heart

For our pains
Are the same.

We want dreams
Which lift us up
We want flowers
Even in our sorrows
We want a sense
Of innocence
In the name of our free thinkers
In the name of the tears
Which disarm us
We must be able
To change history

Because of this pain.
Because of this pain.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sirens of Cultural Capital

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can't remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don't enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don't enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.
-Margaret Atwood, "Siren Song"
Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia