Monday, December 19, 2022

Philosophy makes you think better.
It makes your doubts stronger,
your convictions weaker,
your ecstacy precise.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

I wanted to be an artist.
But we seemed to have enough of them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Poetry makes you feel better.
It makes your pain sharper,
your joy brighter,
your suffering precise.

Modern Living

Must we suffer?
No. But we should.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Love is the movement
of the heart
through which we
become ourselves.

Wisdom is the stillness
of the mind,
where everything
is what it is.

Our poems bring precision
to the motion
of the heart — intensity.

Philosophy brings precision
to the calm
of the mind — a clarity.

When the tension of the string
in the lyre,

when the sharpness of the light
              in the lamp,

is tuned
              and focused,

I am alone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Always remember that melancholy is caused by a humor.

"True happiness is an illusion. Fortunately, most happiness is fake."

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The poet receives inspiration.

The philosopher endures existence.

The philosopher's obsession
with existence resembles
the poet's possession
by inspiration. For both

it is a matter of sitting:
the philosopher must sit and face
what is, while the poet has to
sit and hold what is to come.

Thus their labors are divided
between one's earnest being
and another's sly becoming,
between the essence of the thing

and the emergence of the people,
brought together in imagination.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

A story, said Hemingway, is a sequence of fact and motion.
Perhaps an argument is a consort of act and grasping.

To know how to act is to have power.
Knowledge is a mastery of facts.

Monday, November 21, 2022

The philosopher is inspired by the brute fact of existence.

The poet exists for the pure act of inspiration.

Friday, November 18, 2022

I may have to correct my thinking on discipline. Perhaps discipline is to power as intelligence is to knowledge. Cf. "Study & Strive", "Discipline and Freedom", and "Pangrammatical Laces"

I am literally looking for the spot where existence touches inspiration. I must find its figure in time.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

It was his tenuous hold on his existence that made him a philosopher, always tentatively groping in the dark for concepts with which to grasp the reality.

Ever attentive to her inspiration, by contrast, she was a poet, tensely straining at her bonds with an emotion that seized her ideally.

Thursday, November 03, 2022

The wisdom of the poet
must never become apparent,
as the philosopher's love
must stay below the surface.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Poets do not tell us how they feel;
they show us what our words can do.
Philosophers don't tell us what they think;
they make us see what words must be.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Do not try to get them to believe what you feel; just let them know what you think.

Many of the things you know are compatible with beliefs you eschew.

Many of the people you master are amenable to desires you despise.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

"Identity" and "personality" are amoral categories, structures without texture built in spaces without time. They let us posit souls untempted by flesh, character untempered by suffering. As though we could live with each other without having to live with ourselves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Gender is the way
we have sex,
the way we carry
our genitals.

Character is the way
we have soul,
the way we carry
our selves.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Intuitions must be mostly true or we would know nothing.
Institutions must be mostly just or there would be no masters.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Don’t attempt with mediocre emotion what has already been done with good manners.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

People are as good as they get.
Things are as true as they say.

Friday, September 30, 2022

I don't know whose side I'm on.
Unfortunately, they do.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Do not admire
the poet's pain
nor the doubts
of a philosopher.
They're both trying
to be precise.

Monday, September 26, 2022

As a poet, his feelings embarrassed him;
he sought his dignity in the intensity
of the emotion that is implicit in the act
that each of us is guilty of forever.

As a philosopher, he was loth to think. The clarity of the concept itself was to be the source of his authority. He would simply describe the facts that obtain everywhere, indifferent to our suffering.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Poetry and philosophy, both, address the image. One seeks the emotion there; the other seeks the concept. But poets, of course, are never pure, ever prone to philosophical digressions. And philosophers, thankfully, are easily diverted by poetic notions. The imagination gives them what they need. The image is all they have and, in their private suffering, all that they want.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Poetry braces us with words
against political violence.

Philosophy speaks lightly
into the darkness of science.

After two and a half millennia of Western metaphysics, you'd think we'd have learned to live with a little dualism.

Ignorance is to knowledge
as impotence, to power.

Freedom is to feeling
as limits, to thought.

To know your thoughts
but ignore your feelings

is like mastering your feelings
only to be enslaved by thought.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Rain is not precise. It falls willy-nilly
here-and-there. It doesn't care whose
birthday it is, nor know when to let up.

It's not as if I know not seems,
but the surfaces the mind presents
as things to do break the heart
with all the people still to see.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Try only to understand your cowardice. Let your courage remain a mystery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Reference is to sense
as deference to motive.

Some words are indications,
others, supplications.

There are things we understand
and people we obey.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

I occasionally sacrifice pangrammatical precision to ordinary usage.

Style composes aspects with manners, appearances with surfaces.

A local style collates the aspects of things lying around in a vicinity with the manners of a people going about their business there. It coordinates the surfaces that are manifest with the appearances that are maintained.

A personal style does its own thing as someone or other sees fit.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

What is it about a fact that allows us to write it down?
By this aspect, it is known.
And what is it about an act that lets us put it in writing?
In this manner,* we master it.

*I had previously written "By this conceit" because I needed a "grasp" (ceit = cept) to go with the "look" (spect). I wasn't happy with it because "concept" belongs with knowledge, not power. Then "manner" occured to me and I looked it up: "manus" (hand).

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Sometimes I lack the courage
to tell the truth.
Sometimes I don't have the heart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Trying is to becoming
as seeming, to being:

between the doing
and the act,
the seeing
and the fact.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Privacy is an institution; secrecy is an organization.

Privacy is an institution; secrecy takes organization.

The beautiful woman goes outside
and is desired.

The intelligent woman opens her mouth
and is believed.

The talented woman gets to work
and suffers.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The scientist implicates the object in our knowledge.

The politician implicates the subject in our power.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The philosopher extricates the concept from the thinking.

The poet extricates the emotion
from the feeling.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Decency is to power
as honesty to knowledge.

The truth is cruel.
Justice is a lie.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

The modern fact
                      is extended.
The modern act
                      is intentional;

the modern subject,
the modern object,

The modern image
                      is a concept
backed like
                      an emotion.

The modern mind
                      is cracked.
The modern heart
                      is broken.

Let us see people again
and hear how they feel.
Let us do things, and let
us say what we think.

Friday, June 03, 2022


Don't act in desperation
nor disavow the deed.

Whatever the outcome,
it will not be yours to claim,
nor will you learn
from your mistake.

Let everything you do express
a promise or a hope.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Find the point of rest
and wait
for the universe
to come around.

Friday, May 27, 2022

What must happen in the mind when we write?
First, a fact must be imagined, or a motion.
Our concepts still the image, hold it firm.
Our emotions move its focus, draw us in.
The words come after to name the parts,
then sentences to make the pictures,
arranged in paragraphs to give them life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Lived Experience

To lose one's way.
To have a body.
To be a person.
To become oneself.

Monday, May 23, 2022

People who think well are good at using concepts.
Are people who feel well good at using emotions?

Friday, May 20, 2022

We try to discourage them
from going down
the roads we have known
and succeed only
in giving them the courage
to go further.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

There is no honest time to leave a summer masquerade,
but if you catch a woman's eye then why not go that way?

(With apologies to Leonard Cohen.)

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Your wisdom can no more justify your philosophy than your love, your poetry.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Philosophy is as much an art as poetry.
Poetry is as articulate as philosophy.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Some Applications

of "poetry" and "philosophy"

To be good (in this world) your emotions must be strong. Their strength comes from lifting, from pain. You must feel the weight (of the world) through them.

To find truth (with our history) our concepts must be sharp. We whet them in contemplation, hone them in conversation. We must think on the edge (of history) with them.

What Is Philosophy?

Cf. "What Is Poetry?"

Philosophy is an art. It is the art of writing down how (not what) you think.

Philosophy makes you think better. It makes you better able to think, better at thinking.

Concepts are how (not what) we think. Philosophy makes your concepts more precise.

Precision in thinking is clarity. Philosophy is clear.

Philosophy is conceptual notation, the art of writing concepts down.

Philosophy makes you think better by getting you to notice your concepts.

Monday, May 02, 2022

What Is Poetry?

Poetry is an art. It is the art of writing down how (not what) you feel.

Poetry makes you feel better. It makes you better able to feel, better at feeling.

Emotions are how (now what) we feel. Poetry makes your emotions more precise.

Precision in feeling is intensity. Poetry is intense.

Poetry is emotional notation, the art of writing emotions down.

Poetry makes you feel better by getting you to notice your emotions.

Cf. "What Is Philosophy?"

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Present

The world appears
in intuition.

Institutions are
the immediate
surface of history.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Our concepts determine the structure of our intuitions; they tell us what to make of the appearance of the world, what to think of appearances immediately. Intuitions are conceptual; they occasion the presence of things in experience.

Our emotions determine the texture of our institutions; they tell us what to make of the surfaces of history, who to feel for immediately. Institutions are emotional; they occasion the presence of people in experience.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Arts

Painting is the art of seeing.
Music is the art of hearing...

Science is the art of knowing.
Politics is the art of ruling.
Poetry is the art of feeling.
Philosophy is the art of thinking.

It is okay to specialize.
It is okay to live artlessly.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

A clearing is
to a tension

as a thought
to a feeling,

as a light
to a touch.

Friday, April 15, 2022

How do you have to live in order to discover a deep truth about the human condition?
Or is there some way to do it that doesn't require a change of lifestyle?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Socrates discovered the soul.
Jesus redeemed it.

Someone had to.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Let us consider the courage
of trees: to emerge, blind
from the seed, in the cold,
dark ground, seeking light,
laying down roots, and then
simply grow, and weather and
grow and be trampled and
grow and spring and fall and
grow and fire and lightning
and grow and night and day
and grow and wind and rain,
the centuries, standing, grown.

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Rights are never simple facts.
It is never simply true
that you are free.

Truths are never simple acts.
It is never simply right to say
that this is so.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The lie gets the job done.
The truth cleans up the mess.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The philosopher converts
emotion into principle
in a process guided
by a principle that was
itself once an emotion.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on "evidence" takes a remark of A.J. Ayer's as an epigraph: "For my own part, I think that if one were looking for a single phrase to capture the stage to which philosophy has progressed, ‘the study of evidence’ would be a better choice than ‘the study of language’."

We might say that modern poetics is likewise the study of fabrication. "Il miglior fabbro" and all that.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

People don't kill people; God kills people. If it were up to us there'd be no end of murder. There's too much hate and greed in us. No, let us leave it to God, who loves us and wants for nothing. One day, he'll stop killing us forever.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

To understand an ideal is simply to obey. There is nothing more to see. Likewise, to "obey reality" is but to understand it. That's all it's asking you to do.

(More here.)

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Be honest in your knowledge,
         decent in your power.
Neither truth nor justice
are yours entire. The world is
everything that is the case.
History is all that happens.
Your place is not for you
to choose, nor is the side.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Scientists seek the authority to state facts.
Politicians seek the authority to order acts.

To this end, scientists develop methods
politicians procure mandates, i.e., authority.

A method does not ensure truth, nor does
a mandate guarantee that justice will be done.

Authority is not an end in itself but a means
to assign responsibility when error occurs.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Faith keeps you from despair over what others believe.

You have a right to be angry.
Any rage you contain will be turned
against you in the theatre
of your own mind. You have a right
to talk to a friend before you act
on your impulses. Your friend may
stay the night with you. Or not.
If you cannot afford to lose
your friend, you may take a
a lover — one who feeds upon your
peerless eyes and lets you rave.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Power/knowledge can't be mastered,
can't be known, obeyed, or understood.

We imagine we resist and,
in imagination, it insists.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

To let the rain come
for its own dumb sake
and not because it is
good for the farmers,
that is what the mud
has been teaching us
all these many years.

Monday, January 17, 2022

At dawn, the moon,
to the west, through the trees.
Of course, it is full.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Facts must have sufficient reason;
acts, excessive passion.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

We disappoint, not by
failing to be
what the others thought we
were. But by
becoming something other
than they hoped.