Friday, February 26, 2016

Your "Spell" is My Desire

Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Desire"

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Leapin' Lizards!

I am an orphan of the heart,
wandering thin branches,
searching for home.
I could find my legs,
if I didn't fall down
believing in lies,
believing in lies.

I could fly like you, leapin' lizard,
scaling a twig like a highway on a bridge,
holding to tree trunks as if horizontal,
unafraid of gravity, climbing straight up.
Brave little heart, if a fear should enter,
you launch, and you fly,
faith in a leap--
to green exaltation,
across a blue sky.

Please take me with you,
before my heart dies,
as you sing a new song,
through expanded pink throat,
that I may be adopted
by what I now borrow,
the green of your hope
to take heart in tomorrow.
- Memory Trace, "Leapin' Lizard"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

This Winter Blues

O winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.

He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathed
In ribbed steel; I dare not lift mine eyes;
For he hath rear’d his sceptre o’er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs, the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch! that deal’st
With storms, till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driven yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.
- William Blake, "To Winter" (1783)
In the 16th century Caspar Peucer wrote that the Gates of Hell could be found in "the bottomless abyss of Hekla Fell". The belief that Hekla was the gate to Hell persisted until the 1800s.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Over It

The rainbow arches in the sky,
But in the earth it ends;
But if you ask the reason why,
They'll tell you: “That depends.”

It never comes without the rain,
Nor goes without the sun;
But though you try with might and main,
You'll never catch me one.

Perhaps you'll see it once a year,
Perhaps you'll say: “No, twice”;
But every time it does appear,
It's very clean and nice.

If I were God, I'd like to win
At sun-and-moon croquet:
I'd drive the rainbow-wickets in
And ask someone to play.
-David McCord, "The Rainbow"

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Human Toolishness

Thereupon many statesmen and philosophers came to Alexander with their congratulations, and he expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise. But since that philosopher took not the slightest notice of Alexander, and continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion, Alexander went in person to see him; and he found him lying in the sun. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many people coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, "Yes," said Diogenes, "stand a little out of my sun." It is said that Alexander was so struck by this, and admired so much the haughtiness and grandeur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him, that he said to his followers, who were laughing and jesting about the philosopher as they went away, "But truly, if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes."
- Plutarch, "Lives..."

Ignoring "the gap", the "mad" cynic's oversight:
Insofar as symbolic castration is also one of the names of the gap between my immediate stupid being and my symbolic title (recall the proverbial disappointment of an adolescent: is that miserable coward really my father?), and since a symbolic authority can only function insofar as, in a kind of illegitimate short-circuit, this gap is obfuscated and my symbolic authority appears as an immediate property or quality of me as a person, each authority has to protect itself from situations in which this gap becomes palpable. For example, political leaders know very well how to avoid situations in which their impotence would have been revealed; a father knows how to hide from the gaze of his son his humiliating moments (when his boss shouts at him, etc.). What is protected by such strategies of “saving one’s face” is appearance: although I know very well my father is ultimately impotent, I refuse to believe it, which is why the effect of witnessing the open display of his impotence can be so shattering. Such humiliating moments fully deserve to be called “castrating experiences,” not because father is shown castrated-impotent, but because the gap between his miserable reality and his symbolic authority is rendered palpable and can no longer be ignored by way of the fetishist disavowal.

For Hegel, the definition of a king is a subject who accepts this radical decenterment, i.e., to quote Marx, the fact that he is a King because others treat him as a King, not the other way round – otherwise, if he thinks that he is a King “in himself,” he is a madman (recall Lacan’s claim that a madman is not only a beggar who thinks he is a King but also a King who thinks he is a King). According to a legend, during the decisive battle between the Prussian and the Austrian army in the 1866 war, the Prussian king, formally the supreme commander of the Prussian army, who was observing the fight from a nearby hill, looked worried at (what appeared to him) the confusion in front of his eyes, where some of the Prussian troops even seemed to be retreating. General von Moltke, the great Prussian strategist who planned the battle deployment, turned to the King in the middle of this apparent confusion and told him: “May I be the first to congratulate your majesty for a brilliant victory?” This is the gap between S1 and S2 at its purest: the King was the Master, the formal commander totally ignorant of the meaning of what went on in the battlefield, while von Moltke embodied strategic knowledge – although, at the level of actual decisions, the victory was Moltke’s, he was correct in congratulating the King on behalf of whom he was acting. The stupidity of the Master is palpable in this gap between the confusion of the master-figure and the objective-symbolic fact that he already won a brilliant victory. We all know the old joke referring to the enigma of who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays: “Not William Shakespeare, but someone else with the same name.” This is what Lacan means by the “decentered subject,” this is how a subject relates to the name which fixes its symbolic identity: John Smith is (always, by definition, in its very notion) not John Smith, but someone else with the same name.
- Slavoj Žižek, "King, Rabble, Sex, and War in Hegel"

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Life on Mt. Helicon

...Desperately Seeking Shade...or at Least the Arrival of Night...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

When I Grow Up, What Will I Be, Mommy?

Dealing with Daughters
When times seem too hard to bear and I feel like giving up
I vision your beautiful face, the twinkle of your eyes and things of such
The bond we created from my womb to the day you were born
Is a mother and daughter bond that can never be torn
With the strength and guidance of God and the blessings he pours down from above
I want to be the best mom I can be to you and embrace you with all my love
You are as precious as a flower and as gorgeous as a rose
You have been specially made to the very tip of your nose
You are as sweet as honey; such an innocent young child
You are brighter than any star in the sky every time you smile
I want you to be proud of who you are and strive to be the best
Put forth efforts to achieve your goals and let God do the rest
I will always be your mother first, but I'm also your friend
You are the most precious gift, that I've ever been given

With All My Love,
Sherri Lawrence, "Precious Gift" (February 2006)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Losin' It

...then pullin' it back together!
Striving for greatness, but destined to fail.
Reaching for heaven, while living in hell.
Anxious to take, but reluctant to give.
Fearful of dying, and hasn't yet lived.
Wants to bask in the sun, but a creature of night.
Keeps doing wrong, but wants to do right.
Trying to stay young, but feeling so old.
A warm person at heart, but comes across cold.
Has it together, but falling apart.
Ready to finish, and has yet to start.
Living a life doing nothing, but dying.
Keeping a smile, at the same time crying.
Wanting it all, but has just a bit.
Desperate to stop, but can't seem to quit.
Happy here, but wants to be there.
Running in place and getting nowhere.
Craving that poison, but trying to refrain.
Feeling just great, when really in pain.
Staring in awe, but trying to ignore.
Wanting just a little, but swearing, "NO MORE!"
Keeping a promise, but feeling so torn.
Proud of one's self, and too, feeling scorn.
Thinking no one cares, but sensing concern.
Don't worry, it's cool, but the flames still burn.
Feeling so lonely, but afraid of devotion.
Wants to love openly, but can't show emotion.
Want's to take it easy, yet looks for storms to weather.
With God by my side, we'll do it together.
- Jennifer, "Conflicted"

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Blogger Blues...

The Typical American's Response to Post-Modernism

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


"Didn't the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy the next evening.

"He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho's you born--Brer Fox did. One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun w'at he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwine ter be. En he didn't hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road--lippity-clippity, clippity -lippity--dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wuz 'stonished. De Tar Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"`Mawnin'!' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee - `nice wedder dis mawnin',' sezee.

"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin', en Brer Fox he lay low.

"`How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

"Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nuthin'.

"'How you come on, den? Is you deaf?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Kaze if you is, I kin holler louder,' sezee.

"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"'You er stuck up, dat's w'at you is,' says Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en I;m gwine ter kyore you, dat's w'at I'm a gwine ter do,' sezee.

"Brer Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummick, he did, but Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin'.

"'I'm gwine ter larn you how ter talk ter 'spectubble folks ef hit's de las' ack,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Ef you don't take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I'm gwine ter bus' you wide open,' sezee.

"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"Brer Rabbit keep on axin' 'im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin' nothin', twel present'y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis', he did, en blip he tuck 'er side er de head. Right dar's whar he broke his merlasses jug. His fis' stuck, en he can't pull loose. De tar hilt 'im. But Tar-Baby, she stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"`Ef you don't lemme loose, I'll knock you agin,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, en wid dat he fotch 'er a wipe wid de udder han', en dat stuck. Tar-Baby, she ain'y sayin' nuthin', en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"`Tu'n me loose, fo' I kick de natal stuffin' outen you,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, but de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nuthin'. She des hilt on, en de Brer Rabbit lose de use er his feet in de same way. Brer Fox, he lay low. Den Brer Rabbit squall out dat ef de Tar-Baby don't tu'n 'im loose he butt 'er cranksided. En den he butted, en his head got stuck. Den Brer Fox, he sa'ntered fort', lookin' dez ez innercent ez wunner yo' mammy's mockin'-birds.

"`Howdy, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. `You look sorter stuck up dis mawnin',' sezee, en den he rolled on de groun', en laft en laft twel he couldn't laff no mo'. `I speck you'll take dinner wid me dis time, Brer Rabbit. I done laid in some calamus root, en I ain't gwineter take no skuse,' sez Brer Fox, sezee."

Here Uncle Remus paused, and drew a two-pound yam out of the ashes.

"Did the fox eat the rabbit?" asked the little boy to whom the story had been told.

"Dat's all de fur de tale goes," replied the old man. "He mout, an den agin he moutent. Some say Judge B'ar come 'long en loosed 'im - some say he didn't. I hear Miss Sally callin'. You better run 'long."
- Joel Chandler Harris, "Uncle Remus, 'Legends of the Old Plantation (1881)'"