The Great Disconnect

March 29, 2015

Down in de hood dhey don’t get it what honky be doin’

out in de wide lands where cream ‘o de crop be acruin’,

while out dhere where dhe green grass meet dhe smooth curb

dhey don’t get it what dem po’boys be doin’ to disturb

dhe status quo and de way t’ings are

cuz dhey don’t get the gravy but only smell it from afar.

You know the state of the country it aint right;

I say you too tight;

You say me too loose.

You act like engine, make me de caboose?

You even got a clue, man?

We gotta make a new plan if we can;

R u hearin’ me,

or r u fearin’ me?

Shit! now h’yah come do po’.

Even if I be friend, dey see me foe.

 

Peace and safety be upon them that work hard and do the drill

is what they say out in the wide lands filled with froth and frill,

while in the hood where the stoop step meet the street curb

hoods don’t get what honkys skim out suburb.

Out here they’re okay with the way things are;

they get the gravy; they drive the car.

They see the way things are as being all right,

and they’re comfy being a little uptight.

They don’t get loose,

aspiring to drive the engine, not ride caboose.

They have no clue, my friend,

preferring the same old plan, than to begin again.

They’re not hearing dhem,

but they are fearing “them.”

They say let the Po go–

let them search and seize the po’.

 

Now over in the Beltway everything is fine,

though talking heads strive to make events rhyme

by pontificating waltz in five-four times,

perpetually towing both Party lines,

keeping Libs on Left and Cons on Right:

maintaining constant Left-Right Fight.

Thou shalt not offend me! saith the Lib on the Entitled floor.

Thou shalt not tax me! saith the Con at Liberty’s door.

Occupy, Occupy! rings out the Activist refrain.

Fortify, Fortify! cries the Reactionary in our never-ending game.

Don’t destroy the middle class! and let them toke on grass!

You rob the middle class with tax! to let Elites sit on their ass!

Out! damned corporate ogres! the Left exhorts.

Oh quit your pout! retorts  the 1%, from their resorts.

Congress gets nothing done, because of you!

Government is the problem! Tippecanoe and TeaParty too.

 

Meanwhile all the masses come and go;

they twitter with glitter of the latest show.

 

Glass half-Full

While flying over the Alps. . .

March 25, 2015

Yesterday I heard the sad news about a German airliner that crashed over the French Alps. 150 people were killed.

When I heard about the crash, I thought about my daughter. In a few hours, she would be getting on an airplane to fly from San Francisco back here to North Carolina.

Will she be safe?

Don’t even think about it. Just pray.

As I write this, our other daughter is settling into a long trans-Pacific flight that will land her ultimately in Vanuata, the tiny island nation recently devastated by a hurricane.

Will she be safe?

Don’t even think about it. Just pray.

I’ve been thinking of a line in an old song from John Denver, singing about a plane trip . . .

“it’s a long time from this place to Denver, a long time to hang in the sky.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VATSdTRtK

Being a songwriter myself, I have always appreciated that line. . . a long time to hang in the sky. . .

How many people are hanging in the sky right now, at this moment?

How many people in the world are waiting at airport gates, about to walk onto an airplane. How many are walking through the aisle looking for their seat, then stuffing the walk-on bag in the overhead, having a seat, and . . .

and what?

We never think about what might happen, or what might not happen. We politely ignore the flight-crew’s recorded instruction about flight safety and emergency procedures.

Forget about it. If this thing goes down from 30,000 feet, what are the chances its anything but goodbye cruel world?

Don’t even think about it. Just pray.

Just about six weeks ago, my wife and I were hanging in the sky, high above the Alps, on a flight from Athens to London.

I snapped this picture:

AlpValyGood2
Two days ago, Tuesday morning, 150 travelers were sitting in their assigned seats, expecting to leave Barcelona, expecting to glide over the Alps like nothing happened and then land in a few hours in Dusseldorf.

But they never arrived.

Don’t even think about it.

Flying has always been a kind of escape for me. But the opportunity comes only every now and then, when my wife makes plans with elaborate arrangements for some exotic travel. In between those occasional, adventurous flights of our life, I have embarked on flights of fancy about getting on a jet plane, flying into the wild blue yonder to distant lands. Many a cold, crisp winter morning here in the Appalachian mountains, I would steal a few  daydreaming moments from my maintenance job, gazing up at sky, seeing white jet-trails that criss-cross against brilliant blue sky, wishing I were on a jet plane, flying over an ocean, maybe over the Alps, then having dinner that evening with my wife in some faraway place.

And we have actually done that, many times, because Love is a wonderful thing; we celebrate it as often as we can, by traveling together.

But we always got there, to our destination; and we have always returned home after a week or two.

We never crashed.

Don’t even think about it.

Upon hearing, yesterday morning, about the flight that crashed in the Alps, I was sad.

This evening, two days later, an old song, old sad song, is streaming through my head. It’s a song about a man who was at an airport, but he did not get on a plane:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OCnHNk2Hac

There’s a line in this song that I’ve always liked, although I have no idea why.

“.  .this old airport’s got me down; it’s no earthly good to me, ’cause I’m stuck here on the ground. .”

But in some cases, the ones who never got on the plane would be lucky ones.

You never know. . .you never know. . . Don’t even think about it.

Just pray, today.

 

Smoke

What Mr. Nawaz says about Islamism

March 22, 2015

Among the people of my Christian tribe, a big question these days is:

Does Jihadi extremism represent, in any appropriate way, real Islam?

This is, as you know, a timely question. And I am curious about the answer, so I thought I would get a Muslim’s written perspective on the matter.

The book I chose is Maajid Nawaz’ autobiographical testimonial, Radical.

http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Journey-Out-Islamist-Extremism/dp/0762791365

Now, having read it, I am inclined to give the “moderate” Muslims of our world the benefit of the doubt. So yes, to answer my own question, I am of the opinion that there is such a thing as a legitimately moderate Muslim, in spite of the Islamofascists who are striving terribly to drag all the Muslims of the world into their gruesome quest for khilafah domination.

My rationale is based mostly in Christ’s sermon on the mount, recorded in Matthew 5, which says this:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

My inclination is to make peace with Muslims in any way I can. There is nothing wrong with this.

Some of my Christian friends say, however, that it is dangerous to make peace with the Mohammedans. While that may be true in some cases, I believe Christ calls us, based on the beatitude stated above, to take a chance on peace with other religionists whenever possible.

Love your enemies.

For me to cast a blanket judgement on all Muslims, based of the atrocities of ISIS, al Nusra, Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk, would be like casting judgement on all my fellow Christians because of what has been done in times past by the IRA, or Bosnian Serbs, or pedophile priests, or Spanish Inquisitors, or medieval Crusaders.

That’s not to say there are no fundamental, prejudicial problems with the primary Islamic scripture, the Quran; it contains passages that assign second-class citizenship to non-believers, and displays blatant antisemitism in other commandments. This is nothing new, and we should, accordingly, keep an eye, and a legal reign if necessary, on their oppressive Islamic tendencies in places where Muslims are in charge.

And it’s not like we have no problematical passages in our own Bible Scriptures. As a realistic Christian, I can admit that, but I still believe our book is a very long account of our Creator’s deallings with a fallen, sinful mankind, starting with the Jews, then us Christians, and eventually the whole damned world.

So get ready for God’s judgement on all of us. I have an advocate in Jesus. Who will defend you in the final courtroom? Will you have a leg to stand on?

I have read the Bible, and I believe it.

I have not read the Quran, but that is no requirement for citizenship in this world. And I suppose that as long as there is no caliphate governing American lands, there will be no such requirement. And of course there is no obligation in my country, USA, for anyone to necessarily read the Bible, or Torah, or any other sacred book.

Let’s keep it that way.

I am a citizen of this world, and when I hear or read that the third Abrahamic religion contains scriptural judgements about Christians, Jews, and other kaffir types who do not subscribe to Muhammed’s legacy, I am paying attention, because I want to do whatever is necessary to protect me and mine.

At the present time, I am in no danger of harsh punishments from so-called Muslims who are mad as hell. There are, however, Christian brethren of mine who are, as we speak, enduring terrorism in other lands, such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and God only knows where else in this unstable world.

So recently, when I was seeking answers about all this, I did turn to Maajid Nawaz’ book, Radical, and I read it.

There’s a lot I could say about his testimony; I recommend the book. But I will wrap this up simply with a quote, which explains in a cogent, concise way, the essential relationship between Islam and “Islamism.” Maajid Nawaz writes:

“Important to grasp is how Islamism differs from Islam. Islam is a religion, and its Shari’ah can be compared to Talmudic or Canon law. As a religion, Islam contains all the usual creedal, methodological, juristic and devotional schisms of any other faith. In creedal maters, there exist ancient disputes, from which we have the two major denominations of Sunni and Shia, each giving rise to numerous sects within their ranks. From methodological disputes, legal theorists and traditionalists debated whether scripture was best approached through systemised reasoning or oral tradition. From juristic differences, major schools of law emerged. And from a devotional angle, lapsed, traditional, fundamentalist and extremist Muslims have always existed. Superseding all these religious disagreements, and influencing many of them politically, is the ideology of Islamism. Simply defined, Islamism is the desire to impose any given interpretation of Islam over society as law.”

And a little further down  page 80:

“. . .one can see that, ‘though religious extremism and fundamentalism may pose social challenges, it is Islamism that seeks real power. Like Mussolini’s fascists, who were also socially progressive, it is the toatalitarian aspect of Islamism that gives rise to major concern.”

Yes, Maajid, I am concerned about that, as are many other kaffirs. And that sounds like a “moderate” analysis if I ever read one.

Therefore, in order to, as posited at the start of this, give Muslims the benefit of the doubt, I must say: I  finished reading Radical thinking that if there were more Muslims like Maajid, this world would be a better place.

The book was, as we say in evangelical circles, “edifying,” which means: I learned something from it. Thank you, Mr. Nawaz. Help us keep a rein on those totalitarian-leaning ones among your tribe.

Smoke

Dat’s a Millennial trap Rap

March 21, 2015

Oh the Fed treadeth so so lightly

tryin to state the state of things so politely

gotta keep them interest rate so low

but them cant get much lower than half-point from zero;

now it be knockin’ hell outa euro,

propellin’ Dollar to once and future hero.

To raise them rates would be classically correct

oh but then them traders might eject

their programs from gliding oh so perfect

along HFT tracks that them algorithms select.

Autie Jan cant withdraw the punchbowl;

uncle Ben had schooled her ’bout that donut hole.

As you go through life, investor, whatever be your goal

keep your eye on the Fednut, not on the whole.

Kick that can, baby, kick it down the road;

we don’t want them bulls havin’ to unload.

Keep ‘em buying on the dips

with e-eyes fixed upon them blips,

Watch ‘em risin’, selling on the peaks

this trend could fly for weeks n weeks.

But hey! them near zero rates punish savers;

it aint like it used to be, with small-bank favors.

How them millennials gon’ pay back them college loans

while Zirpy Fed hover in zero zones?

Meanwhile, ‘though emerging nations buy them new cell phones

jihad jinx be out slashin’ no-go zones,

which aint no climates for no new homes,

juxt red-line zones with bloods n bones.

What kinda world is that

for anything but talkin’ skat?

And with no nest-egg savins in the bank,

wha you gon’ do, drive a tank?

Maybe risk your small-caps in data high-risk market,

or spend it at all while at walmart parkin?

I say this secular stagnation

it juxt stultify my ‘magination.

With nutt’n on balance sheets but diminishin’ returnin’s,

where I gon’ stuff my hard-earned earnin’s?

Wit dem central banks winkin’

and HFTs a-blinkin’

and all dem ole free-market opportunities shrinkin’,

I think I feel them fabled long-tails slinkin’

which means I need a different way of thinkin’.

Pshaw! nuf, that ole magic growth it refuse to come

even ‘though gas price be low as scum

While .gov employment indicators

morph to .gov-on-fumes manipulators,

central banks toss hot potato;

but feel to me like rot tomato

Gotta get them econ0my off QE methamphetamine,

get it back on track, American Dream!

Is that dream now juxt pie in the sky?

Just sayin, wtf, don’t ask me why.

But hey! I be tryin’ to discern these market dynamics

and hopin’ there aint no market titanics.

Someone said it juxt a rigged game

for the 1%, you know dem with wealth and fame.

But I’s gon’ get in this game;

ask me again n’ I’ll tell u the same.

It the only game in town that I know of;

I know it still be there when them push come to shove.

And when them market collapses, like them big house of cards,

then I’ll jump in the game; I’ll scoop up them shards!

As them fluffed-up values deflate in them crashes,

it’s then I’ll buy in, as them fall on them assets!

 

Glass Chimera

The River of History

March 15, 2015

About ten years ago, our daughter Katie was traveling through Europe when she snapped this picture:

ParisGarg

The scene is Paris, as viewed from atop the cathedral of Notre Dame.

That creature in the foreground is unidentified, but there is something about him that I don’t like. Even though he has managed somehow to position himself in a panoramic aspect on the pinnacle of a classic sacred building, I suspect he is up to no good. Nevertheless, in spite of his sinister presence in the photograph, I will just ignore the guy for now, because I want to tell you why I am thankful that my daughter captured this scene, and why I was amazed when I encountered it yesterday.

I was wandering around in the old Dell looking at photographs from years gone by.  Encountering this stark image launched my mind into a series of personal recollections.

Pat, Micah and I had sojourned through Paris during the summer of 2002. We visited the cathedral of Notre Dame, but we did not climb up to this high perch. We did, however, have a great time traipsing around in the grand old City on the Seine that you see here.  Alas, that trip, as vividly entertaining as it was, has begun to fade somewhat in mind. It was thirteen years ago.

But at about this time last year, 2014, I was writing the last few chapters of a third novel, Smoke. And it just so happened that a sizable chunk of the story took place in the area of Paris that you see pictured here.

Notice the Eiffel Tower in the background. Just below that steel-framed landmark people from all over the world were gathering, in the year 1937, for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques. In my story, a young American businessman, Philip Morrow, has a rendezvous with Lili Eschen, a German refugee. Lili is disturbed, however, by the looming facade of the nearby German pavilion. She tells Philip that she would prefer to leave the Exposition and go to a different place.

Long story short, the next day they are ambling on a bridge, looking out over the Seine River. In the photo above you see two bridges. Notice the further-away one, the Pont Saint-Michel. That’s not the one on which Philip and Lili are standing in my novel, but it looks very similar to the Pont Neuf, which is the next bridge downriver, around the bend. Imagine the scene. They are gazing at the river below, and Lili is worried because her family has fled Germany hurriedly, and now (in May 1937) they are in between a rock and a hard place, and faced with some hard decisions. Philip is speaking:

“. . .It’s a whole different world in the country I come from; we really don’t have a clue about what is going on over here in the old world. This Europe, this, well, France itself . . . Germany. It’s almost like a different planet. And Shirley Temple is just . . .” He was shaking his head and chortling at her naiveté. “You can’t take this Hollywood stuff too seriously. I mean, your brother is locked up back in Germany. That’s reality.”

She looked at him with a kind of fierce resolve, but a hint of the smile was still on her lips. “I can dream, can’t I? No law against that, no verboten on dreaming, hoping . . .”

“Sure.” He touched her hand tenderly.

A few minutes later, Philip and Lili complete their stroll across the Pont Neuf. They are on the île de la Cité, in the very heart of Paris; their next stop is an ancient chapel, the Saint-Chapelle. You can see its dark steeple in this photo. On the right, its ascending structure parallels the distant Eiffel Tower of the far background.

ParisSteepl

Gone from this pic is the ugly critter who had been lurking in the foreground of the earlier photo. I’m glad we got rid of him, although I have no clue where he got off too. But I fear he is still hanging around, and we may have to cast him out again before its all over with.

Smoke

The Problem with Women

March 13, 2015

The problem with women is that men desire them so much.

Excuse me–that’s not “the” problem. It’s just one of many.

And of course there are many problems with men too. Maybe I should restate the problem:

The problem with men is that they desire women so much.

The reason I bring this up is this: the sexual desire problem is bigger than it used to be. Back in the day, when religions were a formative influence on public morality, the various religions distributed specific, benevolently voluntary restraints on men’s desires for women. This made for a fairly well-disciplined society.

But nowadays, with religious disciplines waning, the benefits of God-inspired morality–which is to say marriage, fidelity, vigilant raising of children, etc–these benefits are diminishing among Western populations.

For my generation, the Baby Boomers, the whole situation took a turn for the worse back in the ’50s, when the Hefner doctrine came into fashion.

This ideology, promulgated in Hefner’s playboy magazine, says a man can do anything he wants with his private parts, and insert them anywhere he wants. This ribald world-view, later popularized through LIFE magazine’s promotion of mini-skirts, bunnies, drug experiences etc, exacerbated–or should I say masturbated–the problem.

By the mid ’60s, men were walking around in libidinous disorientation so severe that it led to terrible societal problems, such as: ubiquitously irresponsible sex, which implanted a new plethora of children without fathers, and provoked frequently rampant hookups among rootless humans, and sometimes porno-dependent behavioral patterns fixated on mammary obsessions, and even rape, with occasionally millions of jilted lovers hardening their hearts to true love, simultaneously with a pandemic of drunken sex, ultimately accompanied by STDs, and in certain locales a plague of AIDs-ridden bath houses.

It was a wild time for sex. For true love and familial development–not so much.

But now religion is trying to make a comeback.

It’s not the old religion you knew about back in the day. It’s not that old worn-out hypocritical ritualistic type of religious practice that went hand-in-hand for millennia with Catholic catechism, or Protestant doctrine, or Judaic Torah. It’s not even the fundamentalist bible-thumpers’ holy-rollin’ sanctification, nor the new-agers’ spacy universalism,  nor the scientology celebritive hoohah.  No, none of these are facilitating the big Religion comeback.

It’s the new kid on the block, Sharia.

The Sharia-promulgators have an effective solution for our sexual problem.

Keep ‘em covered! Keep those women veiled, dammit!

It’s the opposite of the Hefner doctrine, which required women to be more and more uncovered while in public places. The Hefner doctrine has, you see, run its playful, toss-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater course. The deleterious effects of the 1960’s sexual revolution will soon be neutralized! Maybe even neuterized, if the transies have their way.

And so the new religious Sharia movement, soon to go viral as a revolution, may take control. This development is enabled  because of the continuing historical operation of the Hegelian dialectic. The Great Struggle between Thesis ( Western Judeo-Christian tradition) being opposed by the Antithesis (Enlightened godless secularism),  will be resolved through the  new Synthesis: Sharia Law. It’s the Hegelian dialectic, as applied  to public morality instead of old fuddy-duddy academic ideologies.

Sharia-think will strive to obliterate the contemporary hot raving dominatrix godless hookup obsessive decadence of the West, which has, in its advanced stages, lately degenerated into a gov.campaign to make men desire men instead of women, and vice-versa. But that won’t  work in the human race writ large.

So the Sharia-propagators are sure they can take over in a big way, and rest assured of this: the women will be covered.

This is revolutionary! Are you ready for it? Men, all your sexual frustration will be over! Plus, the women will be yours for the taking with your right hand. And the women will be doing all the work by covering themselves discreetly so that you’ll be  spared  the crisis of unbridled desire.

The impending Sharia prescription, however, does come with a warning label:

Warning: Repeated use could provoke adverse side effects such as dogmatic repression and fascist behavior.

This could negatively impact your freedom and everybody else’s too.

So I propose a simpler, safer solution to our problem. Let’s just go back to the sixth commandment given to Moses. We’ll all be more satisfied, and it will be good for the kids.

 

Glass half-Full

We got Dem King n Burwell blues agin

March 8, 2015

 

Big Brutha don’t want no death spiral ’round here

can’t let this Law go down,

cuz they done made this deal downtown:

won’t let Dem peoples experience fear

nor even shed a tear.

You hear?

 

It would be Orwellian–

a tale beyond Dem tellin’,

tail waggin’ de dog  is what I say

what this gov’ment confusion is today!

Was it always this way?

 

It’d be flat out Orwellian

a scam beyond the tellin’

if they call it flexibility–

what is in fact hijackin’ state’s ability

to make an “Exchange established by the state”

but be really Exchange imposed by THE STATE

 

of the Union.

That be my umble opinion.

This new New Deal done fall apart

from its very Reconciliation start,

like peel’n of an onion

our Insured Federal union.

 

Big brutha don’t want no death spirals ’round here–

no mortal holes in coverage, no death-panel fear

as Dem brought on by Republican occlusion,

and then adjudicated wi’ judicial confusion

lest we suffer some delusion

that lead to big contusion.

Aint healthy that–

too much redundant Federal obese fat.

 

Ev’body covered–

that be the gov’ment plan.

‘though liberty now be smothered

we be gettin’ it while we can,

before the coverage run out

and Dem peoples begin to shout,

or maybe if we lucky they just pout.

Tha’s what I’m talkin’ about.

 

Glass Chimera

The Fab Four (reprise)

March 5, 2015

Of course all our baby boomer memory switches were tripped to the max last night, when we went to hear the Rain “Tribute to the Beatles.

RainTkt

Rain‘s first blast of the early song-hits immediately tapped into my personal storehouse of our collective boomer experience.

We were the first generation of TV kids. No one could have predicted what would happen with all us youngsters tracking on the same wavelength, although Marshall McLuhan did try, as the thing later unfolded, to analyze it.

Well this is what happened: the Beatles.

My first hearing of those Liverpool lads arrived through the transistor radio late one night in 1964. I was slumbering in bed at the end of another 7th-grade day; then suddenly there they were, filling the airwaves, filling my ears with wonder.

Nothing like it before that. The Beatles’ world-shaking harmony and jangly guitars suddenly carved a space in my brain that had not previously existed.

A few years later, I remember sitting in the front yard of our house in Baton Rouge, listening to Sgt. Pepper’s and wondering about its strangeness.

You know what I’m talking about.

Last night’s Rain revisitation, thanks to the excellent musicianship of that tributary ensemble, brought it all back. Of course our mounting audience appreciation culminated at the end when we all sang Hey Jude during the pre-programmed third or fourth encore.

This morning I was thinking about it all, reflecting, as it were, on the reflection.

Paul Simon’s poetic line from (Bookends: Old Friends) came to mind:

Time it was a time oh what a time it was. . . a time of innocence, a time of confidences. . .”

There we all were in a high-tech auditorium, a couple thousand Boomers. Pat, my wife of 35 years, was with me. Our daughter Kim had provided the tickets.

“Will you still feed me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”

Who’d’ve thought, back in 1968, that magical age of 64 would actually arrive? My 64th is this year.

RainBeatl

There is so much that could be said about this, but I will highlight here only one aspect of the Beatles’ rise to the world’s first-ever domination of the pop music. Think about it this way:

McCartney/ Lennon

Good boy/ Bad boy

Good cop/ Bad cop

Jekyll/ Hyde

Ego/ Id

John Lennon was  the kid in the back of the room always acting out, being reprimanded by the teacher and ultimately ordered to sit in the corner with (imaginary) dunce hat on his head. The circumstance only provided a new venue in which he gladly improvised new manifestations of clownish rebellion. Why don’t we d-do it in the road?

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM02WcvlKn0

Last night, on our hometown (Appalachian State University) stage here in Boone, Steve Landes of Rain performed the role with authentic Lennon irreverence.

Paul McCartney, on the other hand, perfectly embodied the choirboy persona: sharp and attentive, dutiful, ambitious, successful, the ladies’ man. He filled the world with silly love songs, in spite of John’s perpetually disruptive mischief. And the world loved Paul for it. He was always fixing a hole where the rain gets in, while John was spinning yarns about 4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire, or some other inexplicable collection of mysteries.

These two together, Lennon and McCartney. . . well, you know the rest. So let’s all get up and dance to a song.

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP_68prpJK0

Much of the Beatles’ success was attributable to the wizardry of others behind the scenes during their intrusion into the musical universe, most notably Brian Epstein, manager. Later, George Martin, producer.

In last night’s masterful Rain production, those roles were represented on stage by keyboardist-sound engineer extraordinaire Chris Smallwood. He was the man behind the scenes– back in the shadows, stage right, fingering those  mysteriously familiar layers of revolutionary sound–horns a la Sgt. Pepper, strings, sitar, and all those other audible elements that were so curiously present in the later Beatle albums, but not easily identifiable back in the day.

The outcome of last nights recollective reverie is, methinks, represented in this:

Once there was a way to get back home.

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTUi9l84fRw

And the words that ring out at the end:

“Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight a long time.”

Any boy who has ever played the game of love with his heartthrob girl and then lost her knows what “that weight” is.

All the while, from then ’til now, it’s getting very near end.

“It was twenty (or forty) years ago today,

Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play;

they been goin’ in and out of style,

but they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.”

And raise a smile they did, last night,  many and many a smile . . .

Glass Chimera

Life cycle of Art

March 1, 2015

Oh, wintry flakes pile up on our dwelling place

while summer’s green be gone with little trace

until one day stalactite ice gets a grip,

and another day begins to drip.

IciTreeSky

Soon the forest floor, laid with humus deep

will send up shoots and begin to peep;

from little bits and bites that life discarded long ago

life will resume its spritely show.

Mushrm4

Then peeps pop up from forest floor,

their thriving purpose soon to restore;

with us inside our dwelling safe and sound

this man considers what is all around.

ReaderStatu

See, sprouting life is nestled in a natural place,

‘though we have assigned unto it all some human trace.

And so, as if the real thing were not interesting enough,

we go and imitate life with our arty stuff.

TreeInStone

And though we so cleverly form our stuff into some crafty work

to promote our art as masterpiece, or some other querk,

we really do just throw our weight around in this natural world

as bull in china shop, while shards get hurled.

LittleMosaic

That movement comes; this stillness goes

until living dies; then dying throws

its soulful cycle through an open door,

returning it to the earthen floor.

MosaicFloor2
Selah.

Glass Chimera

The Ascent of Man

February 22, 2015

In the beginning

of his life, the man is born into this world. He is born and raised as a child.

Over years of time, the boy becomes a man. Finding himself in the midst of mankind, he looks around at the world and the people in it, and he  wonders what it is all about.

The man tries to make his way in the world, striving to find his place in it, but the attempt is not easy, nor is it simple.

One day, he sees the mountain. MtnCity

He is drawn to the mountain. He begins ascending it. After climbing to the top, he pauses to consider the city below, from whence he has just come. AcropEdgWal2

That’s interesting.

But there’s more to getting perspective than just climbing a mountain. Because he lives in the 21st century, the man is afforded even better opportunities to get a lofty view of the world. And so he ascends even further. AirAlps10

After the man comes down, and his head is no longer in the clouds, he finds himself once again in the midst of the world, struggling to attain mastery over the elemental forces of nature, and contending among the diverse populations of mankind for his very own place of fulfillment and destiny.  QuirnalSculp

After a while, he pauses to  gather his thoughts. Writing them down for his children, for posterity, for whatever rhyme or reason, he attains a certain satisfaction in having experienced life. Reflecting upon his experience, he writes. RomeWrite

Life is good: life. But he knows there is something meaningful behind it all, some lofty purpose, but it is beyond his field of vision. He he cannot see it, and so he cannot readily identify it.  He is not quite sure what is up there. ColmRestor

Nevertheless, the man continues. He rises from his reflection, and trudges on, moving through the opinions of mankind, and among the great monuments and feats of men and women upon the face of the earth, and the revelation of God among the men and women of the wide world.

For many and many a year, he sojourns along the path that is laid before him, for many risings and descendings, many decades, and yeah I say unto thee even, vicariously, through many historical epochs of mankind, and upwards into the mountain peaks of experience and downwards into the valleys to drink from cool, babbling brooks of refreshment, and then quieting himself to discover still, quiet pools of reflection.

It is good.

Then one day, he finds himself at an unprecedented place. A place he has never been before, nor will ever be again, a place from which there is no egress.

The man opens wide his eyes and looks fearfully, studying with wonder whatever it is that is in front of him. There, between the two constructs of experience and reflection, there directly across his forward path, he sees the obelisk of his destiny. He looks up; he squints, trying to figure it out.

There, at the top of the monument–there is nothing there.

No, wait. There is something there. What is it? ColCross

At the top of his obelisk of destiny, there it is: the way of all flesh. But beyond the way of all flesh, he could see only open sky.

And so he entered into it. But that was no end; it was the beginning.

 

Glass half-Full


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