Friday, February 28, 2014

A Brief for the Defense by Jack Gardner

A Brief For The Defense by Jack Gilbert.  Gilbert started out in San Francisco, lived abroad much of his life and recently passed away from his home in Berkeley.This poem is fierce, getting up in our faces to remind us of all the sorrow and suffering there is in the world, but the poem insists that God wants us to enjoy our lives, insists that pleasure matters even when babies are starving somewhere.  It's fierce but that is why I love it.  As Jack Gardner says below "To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil". Powerful thoughts.

A Brief for the Defense.

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered caf├ęs and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rain by Jack Gilbert


Suddenly this defeat.
This rain.
The blues gone gray
And the browns gone gray
And yellow
A terrible amber.
In the cold streets
Your warm body.
In whatever room
Your warm body.
Among all the people
Your absence
The people who are always
Not you.

I have been easy with trees
Too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
This rain.

Anonymous submission.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

to be hopeful in bad times . . . . Howard Zinn

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness." - Howard Zinn

secret life of wall street financiers

Wall Street Elite infiltrated by a reporter -- that part is cool, the rest sickens

the word patriarchy:

I stopped using the word patriarchy after reading Riane Eisler's 'The Partnership Way'. In that book, she calls for humans to move beyond matriarchy-patriarchy and enter 'the partnership way'.  Matriarchy and patriarchy are in opposition, perpetuating a negative dichotomy that is not unlike the deadlock we see in our politicans.

A new way, a third way, a third place, must be birthed for the healing human culture. I  think Third Place or Third Way would a good name for healing the dominator culture. The commons is  rooted in patriarchy. "Everyone didn't own the commons; men did."Ca;italism is patriarchal.  Letting go of old language might be necessary to manifest a better way, the Third Way. Like that famous Buckminster Fuller quote, we need new models instead of perpetually tweaking existing ones (obviously I extrapolate).  What we think shapes the world we inhabit.  If we think thoughts that assume outmoded patterns of culture, we get outmoded patterns of culture.

Many of our cultural institutions are rooted in what might be called capitalist patriarchy. Marriage only evolved so men could own their childbearer's womb and it's product, children. Men wanted to control their sperm so women had to be monogamous while men could do what they wish. In the late 19th Century in the good old USA, women and children were chattel. I don't want to participate in 2014 dialogues that refer to the dominator culture as patriarchy. I will not give patriarchal, or dominator culture,  power over  my language or anything else.

The experience of covering this material in a "partnership way" is what they didn't teach you in school. Learning to work together without ranking ourselves is a skill that we lost thousands of years ago. This book presents an opportunity for those who would like to reclaim that skill.

Why do you think Eisler's work gets so little notice that this book is out of print? Because of the dominatoar culture, because we have lost the skill to work together without ranking and women always rank lower than men.

I know some white men who will, in a token way, acknowledged their unearned white rank and privilege.  I don't know any that actually let go of their privilege and actually give women's power any real attention.

I have not used the word patriarchy since I first read 'The Partnership Way' in 1990.

I am bruised, deep in my being, that this visionary woman is not recognized as she should be. Her work has deeply impacted most of the women I most admire. I know no men who see the importance of her work. One collegial acquaintance read her book, The Chalice and the Blade and criticized it. He's never written any visionary work but he dismissed her genius masterpiece. So typical.

more on Celebration

As you may know, the director of "The Celebration" co-created Dogme 95 with Lars von Trier who directed Melancholia.

I actually saw 'The Celebration' when it came out and was already aware of Dogme 95. I was very serious about film in those days and interested in Lars von Trier after  his "Breaking the Waves" film, starring Emily Watson.  Although "Breaking the Waves' predates Dogme 95, I suspect making that film influenced von Trier to create Dogme 95.

Have you googled Dogme 95? Filmmakers all over the world followed its principles.

I cannot comment on 'The Celebration', no coherently or cogently.  My first level of experience with the film was as both an incest survivor and the mother of an incest survivor.

One note on your very well written commentary:  I blanched to read your repeated use of the word 'fuck', which you have not used much in our past interactions. Then I remember that for many years, whenever I told someone about my daughter's incest, I always said "he butt bucked her', even though most people winced at my language. I wanted them to wince. I wanted people to know incest and pedophilia go on all the time, it is ugly and they should, at the very least, wince to hear about it.

I can't write about 'The Celebration' without writing about my experience as an incest survivor and the mother of one. It is wrenching to write about it and you aren't my friend, so why would I risk needless suffering to relate to you theory that the film is a metaphor for how western, capitalist, dominator culture rapes, or violates, humans as a fundamental cultural mechanism. I am glad to read a male sharing such thoughts, though. And I reiterate:  you write so beautifully, Marc. You know I have long believed you should be writing books.

Anyway, longwinded as ever, I really just wanted to post a suggestion. Given your theory that in 'The Celebration' rape is a metaphor for the dominator culture*" I'd be interested to read your comments after you watch, if you haven't already, Breaking the Waves. It is a brutal film about, at a metaphor level, western society uses women and women allow themselves to be used.

*I have not used the word patriarchy since I read Riane Eisler's book, The Partnership Way. Using the word, I concluded long ago, only reinforces negative patterns humanity will release as it heals itself. Patriarchy and matriarchy are a bit analogous to the patisanship we see in politics. I see little gain in perpetuating the schism. And I know many men who are just as offended by women using the word matriarchy or feminism -- feminism is getting to be a dirty word! -- as I find myself feeling, if not quite offended, a bit dissonant, to hear the word patriarchy.

You now the way forward:  partnership, collaboration.

Good call on your observation that the real celebration was the siblings dancing, although I think the sixtieth birthday party was integral to that celebration. The whole celebration was needed for the siblings to get to that dancing together.  Too many humans want to skip past the hard bits of interaction. Not enough humans have the courage to do what the incested son did.

I confronted my father, who incested me from age 6 to 7.  You might remember how my mother put a stop to it:  I send you 40 pages single-spaced typed called 'she who must be loved' and you read it. As I have tried to engage with your well written, intelligence analysis of 'The Celebration', I have felt a lot of old pain around incest.  I can't share my real thoughts about the film without sharing those feelings and I have been unwilling to stir up my pain for a blog comment you probably wouldn't read anyway.

Check out Breaking the Waves by Lars von Trier, in the film debut of the brilliant Emily Watson. It may have predated Dogme 95 but it belongs in the Dogme 95 school.

And check out Dogville, starring Nicole Kidman. Dogville was such an interesting film. von Trier dispensed with conventional sets and showed he could create powerful film stories with minimal sets, like an off-Broadway theater with no budget for sets. He showed that the story people have to tell is what matters. And the story in the film is also about women's debasement by the dominator culture.

I know you don't care if I comment but ever since you posted this, I have ruminated a lot about the film, my past as an incest survivor and the mother of one.  It's not just society 'out there' that rapes the human spirit.  People violate one another every day and all the time, like treating someone like a scheduling detail when you have invited them to celebrate their sixtieth birthday. You might see parallels to the sixtieth birthday in the film and my sixtieth birthday last August and how you treated my birthday. Clearly it was not a celebration to you, eh? See?  this is why I have not posted. I keep going to the same places and I know it would anger and hurt you to read this so then I delete, as I will delete this.

always all right

Here's my favorite singing discovery from 2013, a black chick, just to show I don't just love white sound. If Kat Edmonson is a white Billie Holiday, this chick is the black Janis Joplin.

some of the lyrics

I don't give a damn about your intentions at all . . . - she also sings "I don't give a fuck about your intentions". The Saturday Night Live version may have been censored.

We're all right

We're all right

We're always all right

Sing it to me sister.

if someone wants to be a part or your life . . .

If someone wants to be a part of your life, they will make an effort to be in it.
No reasons.  No excuses.
I need to keep this in mind. I spent years believing someone wanted to be a part of my life even though he made no effort to be in it. I kept on believing, for years and years, that he cared about me and moved slow. Eight years is not moving slow. Eight years is not wanting to be a part of my life.
I hurt myself with my delusions.

today is gonna be a 'lucky me' day. every day is?!

In this video, from her performance at Austin City Limits, we catch a glimpse of a couple holding one another, swaying together to her sweet lyrics. I want that to be me, cuddling with someone who loves me as we listen to sweet, loving, life-affirming music.

Monday, February 17, 2014

the free soul is rare but u kno it when u see it

"The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it - basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them."

Charles Bukowski

how our soul becomes stronger

love is a clean sweep

I wanna see more starry nights

not a law of nature to have a debt-based money system

Arlo Guthrie w/Pete Seeger doing Amazing Grace

I used to wonder how someone could be anorexic, to just starve

Now I know.

If I eat almost nothing, my glucose doesn't spike. I need much less fast-acting insulin which tends to make me pack on weight so I am glad to avoid it as much as possible. I eat well when I do eat, I just eat so little that I almost always have a hunger buzz. It's a kind of high, which I used to suspect when my daughter was anorexic, that she felt a kind of high. For me, the high is a sense that I am in control after feeling out of control of my body for too long.

For the first time, I have a sense of the appeal of anorexia. I feel high and happy as I feel great hunger:   I know I am losing and I want to lose. I feel I am in control.  I have internalized this culture's hatred, stigma and bigotry towards fat and I don't want to hold that shit any more.  I want to be seen as a person, not a fat, asexual person, dismissed as less valuable because I am fat.

Warning to any man who knew me fat:  you'll never have a shot with me once I am down another fifty pounds, which I will be soon -- very soon. I am losing rapidly and going to continue. I am going to be trim soon.

I have mulled this criteria over a long time, for I have been fat a long time and see men constantly erase me as not really a woman because I am fat. None of those men will have a shot at me and, I iamgine, none of them want a shot at a former fatty any more than they wanted to love my fat self. I am not the most attractive woman in the world but I am attractive when slender and attract plenty of males.

So be forewarned, ambivalent men who didn't figure out how to get past your fat bigotry. Get over it soon before I get slim of you lose your shot at me. And I am special. Brilliant, visionary, radiant and loving.  Any man should be glad to have me as his lover and mate. And if you don't want a mate, don't bother with me because I want a life partner.  I get to be me, to want what I want.

I am going to be normal size within a few months. Act now or forever lose your shot at me.

Flash!!!!  I am no longer fat enough to be eligible for weight loss surgery. I am not fat enough!!! Yea!

Ode to Joy on Pete Seeger's banjo

You need Adobe Flash to see this. the lovely melody from Bach's Ode to Joy shines through. I have never heard this melody without being uplifted and feeling hopeful about everything.

I want Pete Seeger's vision for goodness for humanity to become real. Not being a musician, I cannot carry forward his legacy. But I can let folks know about it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

this chick's singing moved me to buy the whole album

She has been said to be a white Billie Holiday.

Why didn't I get such a sweet talent in this life? I love her and I don't even know her.

She sings "I didn't think the day we met, would be a day that I'd regret and I never thought someone like you could make me so hopelessly blue."

It is comforting to hear someone else singing about how I feel:   hopelessly blue.  I know it aint true that I will feel hopelessly blue forever but here inside the feeling, it feels like forever.

we have to love others as they are, not wish them to be who we wish they might be

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them” ~ Thomas Merton

Saturday, February 15, 2014

a golden dream

I'm watching the new season of House of Cards on Netflix. This crazy thought just cropped up:  what if all the politicians in D.C. and all bureaucrats and, what the heck, bankers and investment bankers and other capitalists, did everything with deep reverent love for humanity?

What if everyone competed to see who could be the most kindly loving? I mean seriously competed to 'win' as the kindest?

For a moment, I had a golden  glimpse of that love being real.  I was watching a scene with a politician stuck in the Vice President's office because some white powder was found and there is a lock down while they check out the powder. Both politicians are restless bulls, frustrated to be suddenly stymied in their day. Restless, unable to do what they would normally do, which is cutthroat politics. In my golden glimpse, the Congressman spoke about how much he loved another Congressman and the Vice President lovingly said "Oh yes, he is a lovely man. I love him.  I am sure he will agree with our plan to do good." And in this fleeting, golden dream, politicians plotted all the time with the only goal of doing good for the whole, with special tenderness for the poor.

That's the world I want to live in. It seems impossible. Does my skepticism enable the darkness in the world? I fear it does. All thoughts have energy. All energy affects everything.

I need to meditate more.  I need to swim more. Swimming is the best meditation I have known. When I swim at leats an hour a day, I am loving. I'd win kindness competitions, although it would be kind to let otheres win.

Continued hoping is our laborious job

I was only aware that Brecht wrote some astonishingly good plays.  And he was a big fan of my beloved Goethe, who I love for his science. I don't know any of Goethe's poetry.  Here is a snippet of Brecht's:

“Such scents of berries and of birches there!/ Thick-corded winds that softly cradle air/ [. . .]/ The refugee beneath the alders turns/To his laborious job: continued hoping.” (From: Finnish Epigrams)

Bertold Becht saw this world more clearly than most contemporary humans

Brecht died in 1957. Based on this quote alone, I gather he saw what happens in the world more clearly than most.

I was told, throughout my education, right through law school, that America was a great country, that we were really, truly based on the noble rhetoric of guys like Thomas Jefferson.  As this country slides into a Dickensian nightmare, I not only fear the future but I am choking on anger over the past.

I often see references to how Hitler skillfully used propaganda, esp. film by Leni Riesenstahl (If I spelled her name wrong, I don't care, she was in thrall to evil). References to Nazi propaganda usually implies 'thank goddess stuff like that doesn't happen here." Stuff like that does, indeed, happen here, and always have.

I know mostly liberals and New Age spirituality seekers who believe there is only love and goodness. Heck, I count myself among such believers. But I don't think we're pulling the 1% plans for us out of the crapper. It's way too late.

"Love is a spirit all compact of fire."

Wm. Shakespeare, of course.

Friday, February 14, 2014

love is the pull of God towards God

In the mind of westerners, love is usually understood as being the kind of positive feeling and attraction that one has for others of his/her own species, which in its higher levels helps an individual to be drawn to Reality. From this point of view the lover must learn the ways of love; but this is very elementary.

For the Sufis, love is not in the realm of sentiments or feeling but is rather, a divine attraction, the drawing of the lover by God towards God. Here the stress is not so much on the effort of the lover but rather on the pull of God. For this reason, Sufism says that love is 'that which comes', like a raging flood, and the Sufi looks forward to its coming and carrying him/her away.

We have said that Love is the ruler of the heart, the heart encompassing the soul, and the words convey the perceptions of the soul. Therefore all that can be said about Love cannot truly express it, since Love is beyond the realm of idle talk.

Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (Present Master of Nimatullani Sufi order)

the love of god

“The love of God, the love of the Spirit, is an all-consuming love. Once you have experienced it, it shall lead you on and on in the eternal realms. That love will never be taken away from your heart. It shall burn there, and in its fire you shall find the great magnetism of Spirit that draws others unto you, and attracts whatsoever you truly need or desire.”

words by Paramahansa Yogananda 

This quote reminds me of a quote I posted on my blog in the early days back in 2006.  I will reshare that old post after this. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

the truth must dazzle gradually

Who recognized Emily Dickinson?  I read her more and more. Here is the poem:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I felt it shelter to speak to you.

I felt it shelter to speak to you.

Emily Dickinson

I love her work more all the time.  I love this line. I hope everyone has had relationships with people they trust deeply and with whom they do feel sheltered to speak to those people. I have a very few such friendships and long for a romantic one about which i could say "I find it shelter to speak to you".

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Chomsky on football

Noam Chomsky  once said that cheering for your home team was a way of “building into people irrational submissiveness to power,”

This article link is about a Broncos player who announce, before the Super Bowl, that even though he could make one million to play next year, after reading some Noam Chomsky and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he had to quit playing the violent, control-the-masses game of football. Sanity emerging slowly in the world?

Chomsky is right about sports as a generated distraction. It's a central way to keep the masses preoccupied from the ongoing rape by the elite.  Imagine if sports fans actually applied their fan energy to something that mattered.All that matters about football is money for team owners.

There is no government; only banks and corps

Midsummer's Night Dream: Helena

If you don't know the story of Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream and you want to, look at the wikipedia entry.  I'll summarize what is relevant to my post.

The play opens with Hermia, a princess, ordered by her father, a king, to marry Demetrius, but Hermia is in love with Lysander. Hermia and Lysander escape into the nearby fairy forest to avoid Hermia's marriage to Demetrius. Demetrius is not in love with Hermia but he is in love with the idea of being married to a king's daughter so he chases Hermia and Lysander into the fairy forest.

Hermia actually is besotted with Demetrius so she runs after him as he runs after Hermia.

Fairies in this forest enjoy making mischief. There are many fairy layers to the tale. Again, I will recount what is relevant to my comment here.

King Oberson is angry with his wife, Queen Titania. Fairy King Oberon, Fairy Queen Titania. So he order Puck, his fairy servant and all around mischief maker, to sprinkle some special fairy dust on Titania that will cause her to fall in love with the first being she sees upon awakening. Then he turns one of the fairies into half man, half donkey's head, and arranges so the first being Titania sees upon awakening is the man who is has the head of an ass (like most men -- I'm kidding, yucka yucka, a joke. .. sort of a joke). I see metaphor in that man with the head of an ass. But this is Shakespeare, rife with metaphor, symbols and layers of meaning.

Then Oberon comes upon Helena, Demetrius, Lysander and Hermia. He sees taht Helena and Lysander are in love. He sees that Hermia is in love with Demetrius and he also sees that Demetrius only has eyes for Hermia. Poor Helena. Oberon orders Puck to sprinkle fairy dust on Demetrius so when he awakens, he will see Helena and fall in love. Puck misunderstands his orders and sprinkles fairy dust on both Lysander and Demetrius. When they awaken together, the first being they see is Herlena and both are besotted with her.

Helena is very upset by this, believing the young men are making fun of her.

Then Hermia comes along and is pained to see her beloved Lysander has shifted his affeiton to Helena.

Oberton becomes aware of the error, plus he may be mischievous but is not ultimately very unkind. He had had his fun, seeing his beloved Queen Titania in love with a man with the head of an ass. When he realizes that Puck sprinkled the fairy dust on both the young men, he orders Pucky to undo the dust on Lysander. Oberon decides to leave the fairy dust on Demetrius so all the young lvoers can end their time in the fairy forest with a lover they love. So Hermia ends up with her Lysander, Helena wings her Demetrius. All's well that end's well, more or less.

But who would want a guy who only loved one because of fairy dust?   Helena didn't care but she didn't know. If she had known Demetrius only loved her because of that fairy dust, would she ahve still wanted him?

Probably. The heart wants what the heart wants.

I don't want a man through fairy dust. I want a man to see me, really see me, love me and love me, really love me. No fairy dust. No potions. No wealth, no house to covet. Just me.

Another fairy tale in the making.