Abuse, Alienation, Alienation From Self, Art, Life, Marysa, Outstanding Bloggers, People, Poetry, Writing

To a Young Artist — Take Care of Yourself

(About a 3 minute read)

The snow came today and the cold,
The cold came with it so hard
It cut through the walls of my cottage.

But nothing today came colder
Than the news someone once
Had laid you on a white table
And under harsh and glaring lights
Stole your insides with a scalpel
To leave you only with your skin.

I am not a stranger to such things.

I have seen in my life how a man,
A man who can walk into a fire
And live to walk out again,
Can someday be taken up by a tornado
And without reason spun so hard his very self —
Everything that he is — is flung from him,
Cast by the winds so far away
That the man must travel decades
To find a few pieces of who he is again.

And I have seen how a woman
Whose spirit is light and tender,
Whose smile is a warm sun,
And whose laughter is a light breeze across flowers,
Can without warning or reason or mercy
Have molten lead poured into her,
Poured down into her to settle and freeze in her heart
By the man who professes to love her.

By the man
Who professes
To love her.

I am not a stranger to such things.
I am not shocked by the news today.
I did not cry for you when I heard
Of the table or the lights or the scalpel.

I did not cry for you
When I heard once again of the monsters among us —
Of what they had worked upon someone —
And I do not yet know you well enough
To mourn true and honest
Your pain, and your suffering, and your alienation:
I’d be BSing you if I said I could.

But you told your story
With such power and grace,
You told it with such insight
And with such understanding,

That you grabbed my guts
You chilled my blood,
You made the thought of you being abused
Rush through my mind like the broken ice
That crashes down a mountain stream
In the winter.

You can turn words on a lathe, my friend,
Turn them with precision and grace.
You can craft them
Into real and solid things
That punch with images,
Meanings, truths, and insights —
That punch.

There’s something great in you,
A seed at least.
I see it.
Do you?

If not for yourself,
Then for the sake of others,
Take care of yourself:
The world is better
That you’re in it.
Take care of yourself.

About This Blog, Carla, Outstanding Bloggers, People

Carla’s Space

(About a 2 minute read)

My Beloved Flesh-Eaters,

For several years now, Carla has been a loyal and frequent reader of Café Philos, despite all my fervent efforts to discourage her so I wouldn’t need to work so hard coming up with new posts to satiate her bizarre cravings for my views and opinions.

I’ve tried everything.  Every reasonable thing.

Continue reading “Carla’s Space”

Community, Cultural Traits, Culture, Family, Friends, Jane Paterson Basil, Life, Outstanding Bloggers, People, Poetry, Quality of Life, Society, Terese

The Currency of Community

(About a 2 minute read)

“Rihanna. I love her music, her style,
Just love her.”

One million or two? How many times today
Have I heard you praise one celeb or another?

Seems curious to me how the down to earth
Billionaires wear T-shirts, jeans, and sandals
To the office; how everyday became causal Friday;
How no one speaks more than two syllables
If they can help it, and none of us any longer
Are pretentious enough to learn the sciences,
But for all our down to earthiness, our hearts
Belong to the celebs, and only the celebs.

In the evening I once again tell you I love you,
But you only turn from your screen
When you want to say Johnny Depp
Has a new movie out that we must see.

Who lives next door to us now that Cheryl died
Do you remember? I never met her myself
More than to be surprised her voice was ice
When once I said “Hello”. I’ve fled from her,
And from you, to the blogs where my heart
Is still a bit malnourished by the distances.

But there I’ve found lives lived in immediacy
To the realities of mine. Terese is as gentle
As I try to be. Kat is as smart as I aspire.
Jane is like me a poet who tackles
Her life as it is. Riali’s kind and supportive,
Mark is brilliant as gold dust,
And most of the others have more than one thing
To recommend them to me.

You speak of Rihanna and Depp,
And others who are cocooned by wealth and staffs,
Who might as well live above us
On a station circling the earth.
Why are you so fascinated with lives
So unlike yours? It seems to me you’re chasing
Some dream of someday living among them,
But you’ve paying for that dream
In the currency of community.

Art, Artist, Critiques, From Around the Net, Outstanding Bloggers, People, Poetry

Blog Critique: “Lunarpoet”

(About a 1 minute read)

The Lunarpoet Blog, by Matthias

You cannot help but wish this young man well.  Matthias sees himself as a poet who is, “..searching for the magic sparks in the interspaces, between the cracks of reality”, and it is easy to prove that he is a talented conjurer of that magic.

This is no ordinary poetry blog.  Make no mistake about that.  Matthias has dedicated himself to the lifelong pursuit of pushing his talents and skills with words as far as they can go — and he might just one day be a voyager to the stars.

Most of his poetry is blank verse of moderate length and can be read in about a minute each.  But you might want to spend more time than that, savoring his works.  They are good quality poems even when compared to the great, traditional poets of history.  Someday, he might be up there among them himself.

This is solely a matter of personal taste, but I think Matthais and Jane Basil are the two best poets that I’ve come across in my surfing of up to 20 blogs a day.

The Lunarpoet blog is dedicated to poetry and publishes no other material than that.  Though Matthias’ native language is German, all the poems are in English, and all of them are written in accessible language.

 


FULL DISCLOSURE: This review was part of an arrangement between Matthias and I to review each other’s blogs.  His review of my blog can be found here.

Anger, Critiques, Emotions, Outstanding Bloggers, Sexuality, Sledpress

Poetry Critique:“To Carmen, Upon Belting Him One”, by Sledpress

(About a 4 minute read)

Dear Readers,

Sometime ago I spent a lovely afternoon in the Manitou Public Library reading a book of advice to poets.  The author was convinced that the secret to great poetry was “swing”.

More than anything else — including rhyme, meaning, imagery, etc — a great poem had to have swing.  By which he meant that the lines had to more or less seesaw back and forth.

Any theory of poetry that focuses us on just one trait to declare it the single most important trait is, of course, easy to quickly dismiss.  But before we dismiss this swing theory, I think we should consider a couple things about it.

Continue reading “Poetry Critique:“To Carmen, Upon Belting Him One”, by Sledpress”

Alienation, Angst, Critiques, Jane Paterson Basil, Life, Outstanding Bloggers, Poetry, Quality of Life

Poetry Critique: “Existential Angst” by Jane

(About a 6 minute read)

Dear Reader,

I have on occasion wondered whether it was possible to compose existential angst poetry without, however, coming across as so much whining.

The occasions have usually been when someone has asked me to read an angst-ridden poem of theirs.  That hasn’t happened recently, but it used to be fairly common back in the days I hung out with a lot of young people in their teens and early twenties.

So far as I can recall, the one thing all those poems shared was that they came across as whining.  Some of the poems were quite powerful: I still recall one that I thought at the time was so moving it could force me to eat three-o’clock-in-the-morning darkness.

Continue reading “Poetry Critique: “Existential Angst” by Jane”

Abuse, Aristotle, Consciousness, Ethics, Feminism, From Around the Net, Human Nature, Humor, Late Night Thoughts, Life, Love, Morality, Morals, Outstanding Bloggers, Poetry, Stolen From The Blogosphere, Wisdom

Late Night Thoughts: Love, Consciousness, Moralism, Red, and More

(About a 10 minute read)

The half moon is riding high tonight.  Silver light on the lawn.

The weather is warm enough now that I can leave the doors open most of the night to let the air in through the screens.   This is the stillest part of the night.  The city is for the most part asleep, so there is very little traffic on the nearby roads.  Besides, my cottage is far enough off the closest road that passing cars are usually muted.

In a couple hours, the birds will start singing.  Then a bit later, the dawn.

◊◊◊

One of the very few posts on Café Philos with more than 80,000 views is The Difference Between Loving Someone and Loving an Idea of Them.

The post’s core notion is that one sign we love an idea of someone, rather than love them, is that we are trying to change them to fit our notion of them.  Especially if we are trying to change them against their basic nature.

Of course, me being me, it took 600 words, two personal stories, and one reference to beer,  to get that idea out.

◊◊◊

Have you noticed how some folks seem to bill you for the love they give?  Maybe they can’t seem to say, “I love you”, without expecting you to feel obligated to them for it.  Or maybe it’s not so much when they say “I love you” as it’s when they do something for you that they charge you for it.  But they always send out a bill, and expect prompt payment on time.

My second wife was like that.  I didn’t hold it against her, I didn’t hate her for it, because I knew she got the behavior from her mother.  All the same, I couldn’t live with it, and it was one of many reasons I divorced her.

She liked to go to an all night restaurant and sit up as late as four in the morning drinking tea.  Her work hours allowed for that:  She started late in the morning and worked until late in the evening.   But mine often didn’t.  Still, she felt I was obligated to go with her because, as she explained more than once, “You have a monopoly on my heart”.  Which, if you knew her, you would have recognized as a subtle threat to cheat, to break that monopoly, unless she got her way.

Now and then, we’d have a falling out, during which times she’d burn all the poems I’d composed for her since our last falling out.  The first time, it surprised me, but afterwards, I just thought it was funny.

For the longest time, I was convinced I could change her, but in the end I was only kidding myself.   She had a lot of good qualities that woman, but the price of her love became far too great a price to pay.

 One Way to Pay a Bill

 I would rather sit beside evening waters,
Feeling air lift across my arm like lips,
Smelling moisture that could be breath
From one who comes near enough to care

Than go late into a restaurant
Where air is still as dust in a corner
And light twists through incandescence,
Malnourished, to strike at shadow with a rag.

Although if I told you this
You’d accuse me of disregarding now and forever
Your right to stay up until four with your tea;

Then some weeks later you’d accuse:
I lacked an enthusiasm for sunsets
Which deprives you of romance —

“Since I have a monopoly on your heart”,
You’d say.

I’ve lived with you and noticed
When your heart flicks on, “I love you”,
It sends a bill for the energy used,
Which it feels seldom is paid for gracefully
Or on time.

I’ve willed for your love in the absence of another,
But shouldn’t your heart account in its books
The warmth you’ve taken, now and then,
From burning my poems?

◊◊◊

For the most part, it seems to me the relationship between our consciousness and the rest of our mind (or brain) is like that between a monkey and an elephant.

The tiny monkey is full of pride at being atop the elephant.  It sits there stubbornly trying to direct the elephant’s path with its constant chatter, hops, and gestures.  And the monkey is always deluded into believing it is the master of the elephant.  But almost invariably,  the elephant ignores the monkey to go its own way, taking the monkey with it.

Consciousness, it so often seems to me, is almost entirely a commentator on our behaviors, and almost never the cause of them.

◊◊◊

Beauty is the Beautiful Lie

I’m never quite sure
When I look to horizons
If it’s brighter out there
At the dawn or the dusk.

And I’m never quite sure
When I look for the truth
If its the truth that I find
Or only my own dust.

And I’m never quite sure —
But when I listen to flowers —
Their lies seem the truest
Of the lies I’ve been told.

There lies seem the truest
Of the lies I’ve been told.

◊◊◊

Moralistic people are not necessarily moral people, just as you can be clownish without being an actual clown.  To be moralistic, one only needs to be swollen full of moral-sounding judgments.  “By the Faith, did you hear that Sakeenah divorced her husband! And he a good provider, too!”

I think one thing that so very often distinguishes moralistic people from profoundly moral people is that moralistic people usually think in terms of absolutes, while profoundly moral people usually think in terms of odds, or probabilities.  The former tend to see things as black and white; the latter tend to see things in shades of grey — or even better — in colors.

Which do you suppose is the more realistic?

◊◊◊

I am still looking for great and snerklesome blogs, by the way.  If you know of a blog that has some stand-out characteristic of it, something that makes it special or unique, please leave a link to it for me in the comments.  Even if it’s your own blog.  Especially if it’s your own blog.

◊◊◊

One of the very few things I find generally irritating about women is that so many of them undervalue, underestimate, and over-criticize themselves.

Of course, I realize it’s not their fault, that they are all-too-often trained to do those horrifyingly destructive things, and they are not to blame for it.  But spontaneous irritation doesn’t pay much attention to causes: It is a response to the fact of the matter, not to the cause of the matter.

Men do it too, but women do it more often.  Both are irritating as a cruise vacation on the River Styx when they do it.  Folks really should pay attention to Aristotle on this issue.  Aristotle believed that genuine humility was claiming for yourself no more and no less than is your due.

To him, claiming more than your due is arrogance, while claiming less is false modesty.

Of course, I am not talking about self-deprecating humor here.  I almost never find that irritating.  An ability to laugh at yourself is a precursor to wisdom.  I’ve never known a wise person who was incapable of laughing at themselves.

◊◊◊

Red

I like the red
the red of her red skirt
Her red skirt
Her red skirt outside
outside in the sunlight
outside in the sunlight
now.

◊◊◊

A young friend has been emailing me tonight for advice with a woman he’s romantically interested in.

Naturally, I told him a safe way for him to gauge her interest in him without his having to awkwardly ask her if she is indeed interested (because such frankness is so often embarrassing to both parties) is for him to quietly spread jelly on his chest and see if she offers to lick it off for him.   “If she does, Arjun, it’s a good sign!”

I pride myself on my “being there” for today’s youth.  So many adults these days refuse to impart their hard won nuggets of wisdom to the up and coming generation.  Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

But not me!

After explaining to me that she and he had very different political views, Arjun went on: “I’m more worried about losing the potential romance along with being rejected due to being perceived as unattractive than merely losing it due to something like difference in worldviews. Both scenarios wouldn’t be desirable for me, to be sure, but being seen as unattractive and rejected due to that would be painful for me.”

How would you yourself guide him?

◊◊◊

Adriana has written a good, solid blog post on the topic of whether the feminist movement should re-brand itself as the egalitarian movement.  It is, perhaps, a surprisingly important question.

I mostly agree with her points, but I’m thinking about challenging her to a mud-wrestling match to determine the truth or falsity of one of her points — a point I happen to disagree with.  I haven’t quite yet decided whether to write my own post about it, though.

You can find her article here.  It’s quite obvious she put a lot of thought and work into it, and it’s well worth a read.

◊◊◊

The sky is a pale blue-grey wash now that silhouettes the trees.  The birds are singing, their songs interweaving like the tree branches.

And now the first pinks blush on the horizon.