Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Long Games

Honesty tends toward the truth.
Decency bends towards justice.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Be honest about what you think
but not what you feel. Be decent
about your feelings. Be precise.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

The Actual Program Is Different

There is the program they sell you,
the program you buy.
It is a perfectly good program.
It will not harm you.
It will do you a lot of good.
But it is not the actual program.
The actual program is different.
It runs in the background.
Do your thing. Let it run.
Humor it, if you will.

The actual program will hurt.
But it will not cause permanent damage.
The actual program will not improve your life.
It will hurt and it will do you no good.
But the actual program never harms you.
There's no reason to fight the actual program.
The actual program doesn't care about you.
It does not hate you.
It is the actual program, that is all.
Actually, no. That's not all. Far from it.

Modernity Is Insufferable

Wisdom yields to knowledge,
knowledge to information.

Love yields to power,
power to indignation.

Character becomes personality.
Soul becomes identity.

And now, when given benediction,
we demand validation.

We seek affirmation
when we need forgiveness.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Our acts can be articulated as precisely as our facts.

Strive for clarity in your descriptions, intensity in your prescriptions.

It is only as a prescription that an act can be articulated precisely. The precision of the prescription is its intensity.

"A great clearness is the enemy of all enthusiasm whatsoever." (Edmund Burke)

A clear description of an act is no such thing. It is, perhaps, a description of a fait accompli. It merely states the fact that resulted from the deed.

When the fact is articulated with clarity its truth can be thought.

It is only in a command that the act is articulated. Only when actually ordered, can its justice be felt.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The world is
to our history
as a picture
to a melody,

as a map
to a story,
a place
to an event.

What is it?
Who are we?
Let it be.
Let them come.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Philosophy is conceptual notation, the art of writing down how we think; poetry is emotional notation, the art of writing down how we feel. How, not what. The point is to note the concept, not the thought; the emotion, not the feeling.

The concept makes thought possible in the void. It presents us with the conditions of the possibility of knowledge, the experience of things as objects. We think we can know (or ignore) something here.

The emotion makes feeling necessary in the moment. It gives presence to the occasion of the necessity of power, the experience of people as subjects. We feel we must master (or serve) somebody now.

Writing maintains the language, the grammar of knowledge and power, the words for things and people, the joint between objects and subjects. Philosophy makes it clear; poetry keeps it tight.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

State/change of mind/heart

We speak of a "state of mind" as naturally as we speak of a "change of heart". A thought is essentially a state of mind, just as feelings emerge from our changes of heart.

We may say that thinking (an act) changes our state of mind. Conversely (pangrammatically), we can say that a feeling (a fact) "states" a change of heart, i.e., it registers it. We notice our changes of heart by feeling. We trouble our state of mind by thinking.

Philosophy is conceptual notation; it takes note of our states of mind in order to bring our concepts to presence. This helps us think better.

Poetry is emotional notation; it notes our changes of heart and brings our emotions to presence. This helps us feel better.

Friday, June 09, 2023

It's natural to ask successful poets what "poetry" is. But would it not be more interesting to ask failed poets?

Now do "business" and "politics".

Fait Accompli

To read a poem, you must feel
the image, the act
implicit in it.

Prose saves you the trouble, making the fact explicit.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

I hate these things as much as you do.

I mean poems.
I mean reading them.
Out loud.
I don't mind writing them.
It's what I do.
I do it without complaining.
I put the words down.
It's lifting them off the page I could do without.
I wouldn't ask my worst enemy to do it.
I wouldn't put my words in their mouth.
It occurs to me that this is a perfect poem
to start a poetry reading with.