Sunday, April 11, 2021

Can we hurt better?
Can we feel pain
           more precisely?
Can we cause pain
           more deliberately?
If so, and if I may say so,
we have a lot to learn.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Plato stands
between Pythagoras and

as an idea,
after proportion, before

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Why do you want
to believe
when you already have
your desires?

"Those who work at their studies increase day after day. Those who have heard the Tao decrease day after day." (Lao Tzu)

We study in order to learn,
hoping to gain wisdom.
We strive in order to be free,
hoping to find love.

We hope to find and gain,
but only when we lose
do we listen. And only when
we are alone do we hear.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Study & Strive

Cf. Paul Ricoeur

Science applies a hermeneutics of suspicion to our senses. Philosophy recovers them.

This is our method of study.

Politics applies a hermeneutics of suspicion to our motives. Poetry recovers them.

This is our mandate to strive.

See also: "Doctrine of Method."

See also: "Discipline and Freedom." The purpose of our studies is learning, wisdom; the purpose of our striving is freedom, love.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

We know a house confusedly
before we know its parts,
said Aquinas. So, likewise,
we know Man confusedly
before we know the part that
is his nature. Let me add:

We know ourselves confusedly
before we know our hearts.
So we grope, clumsy and unwise,
at the parts of others,
distracted by their flesh,
searching for their nature.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Life is the coordination
and deterioration
                of the hands
                and eyes,
with blood and bones,
                soul and flesh,
between them to take
the pleasure and the pain.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

It took him years to feel the loss
precisely enough to put behind him.
By then, he was involved with the next
woman he would lose to his rivalry
with his past, forever presenting
itself as though it had no future.

He walked for miles, only to find it
exactly where he threw it down.
And there he broke it to appease
the ghosts of two much younger lovers—
one dead inside him, and one interred
inside a happy woman far away.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

People exist.
Things are merely

Sunday, February 07, 2021

What are things like?
Other things.

What are people like?
Other people.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

The body coordinates
the hand and eye,
the heart and mind.

See also "The image interpolates..."

Sunday, November 29, 2020

"Literature is equipment for living."
Kenneth Burke

An education consists in the arrangement of lenses and levers around an individual. It establishes the perspective from which we view the world and the apparatus through which we make our history. It lays out the manifold paths through which all light comes to us, and all weight bears upon us. It focuses our thinking and locates our feeling. It establishes the place we inhabit. It engenders the way we proceed.

The eye is a lens,
the arm, a lever.

To the focus of vision,
the body joins
a locus of motion,

a perspective, to
an apparatus.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A poem has a subject,
      some private sorrow or
      distant woman,
but it is not about her
and is not involved
in anybody's grief.
Not even yours, dear reader,
who are so smugly certain
      that she won't come back.
The poem doesn't touch you.
It just lays out
      the private distance
      between men and women
and their broken hearts.

Likewise, though philosophy sometimes has an object, it is neither here nor there. You don't care about a solitary thing. It's the thinghood of the thing, its likeness to every other blasted thing, that draws your metaphysic in. But not hers. "If you've seen one thing, you've seen them all," she said. I have been of two minds about her ever since.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A poem extricates itself
from history, frees its subject
from the policies
that govern her face.

A philosophy implicates itself
in the world, binds its object
to the sciences
that study her smile.

Those who demand a culture to
nurture their natural
creativity and curiosity
must grant a place for those who
cultivate their innate
ambition and avarice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Between existence and institution,
the body stands.

Between inspiration and intuition,
the body breathes.

Between the nuance and the act,
the body stares.

Between the impulse and the fact,
the body falls.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

We are distracted.
We are pulled apart
by our reasons and passions,
our concepts and emotions straining
at the joints
of imagination.

We gather these images
in the arts. Marshaling
our thoughts and feelings,
our beliefs and our desires,
we get it together.
We find our composure.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

"Ideology is the 'faith' of progressives. Conservative 'ideology' is always religion." Discuss.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Belief is
to knowledge
as desire
to power.

Hunches are
to wisdom
as crushes
to love.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

All knowledge is objective:
it refers to something.

All power is subjective:
it defers to someone.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Objects are things
construed as possibitities,
as facts that may be,
ways they might be seen.

Subjects are people
delegated as necessities,
as acts that must happen,
deeds that must be done.

Concepts determine the ways
things can be seen
(even if they go unnoticed.)

Emotions determine the deeds
people must do
(even if they lack the courage.)

Objects are what you must think
of things, like it
or not. Thus, they are understood
or misunderstood.

Subjects are what people feel
they may become, whatever
they believe. They obey
or disobey accordingly.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

We see the world—
the things in it.

But history is done.
All those people!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The universe is a distribution
of light
        and weight,
of shimmering pleasures
and awkward burdens.

We carry them, and ourselves,
graciously, sometimes
Enthralled, forgiving,
we carry each other.

Friday, October 09, 2020

"It" is
to philosophy


"you" are
to poetry.

But note:

Philosophy clarifies
how you think.

And poetry intensifies
how it feels.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Prose is language taken for granted.
Verse is language turned for pleasure.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Sometimes, we can't repress what reason affords us. Sometimes, we must.

Sometimes, we can't afford
to repress a passion. Sometimes,
we can't afford not to.

Friday, October 02, 2020

The hero is no hypocrite.
He courts the danger openly.
When he falls, the coward
must not say,"I told you so."

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The aphorism plumbs a depth it cannot fathom. It hangs its light in darkness.