Position, a prose poem

I am not up on all the latest literary theory but I feel that having surivived halfway through the second decade of the twenty-first century I have a unique perspective on philosophy according to one who thinks.

In my thirties I became interested in the work of Michel Foucault, a frenchman who lived a rather extraordinary life. I read a biography of him that revealed to me that he was someone I understood, a man who understood his essential nature and was determined to express himself to the fullest. Foucault is important in philosophy because he showed that society has created the terms by which I label life, and he was quite convincing in his explication of how sin became criminality.

A lot of twentieth century philosophy is just play by the children of Nietsche, demented badboys and girls fracturing the game in the name of individuality, proving the limits of imagination as modeling became parody. Freud gave me the metaphor to rename the old concepts of sin and salvation calling upon instinctual id and superior superego, poor soul, simple ego constantly weighing and measuring trying to work things to my advantage.

Bataille and the surrealists worked the hardest to strip ego from the equation and show how anything and everything is this particular combination, the expression of who and where I am. Bataille is scary because he does not shy away from the dark, the exotic, the id manifesting as the headless one, the unconscious, the dark pool of knowing that Carl Jung tried to hard to find. Eliot showed me through Prufrock that it is possible to survive in the Wasteland, King took me right up the dark tower but I reject his conclusion, his postmodern pseudoliterary eternal cycles ever spinning.

For me it all flows out of the nineteenth century, the derangement of the Romantics, Verlaine, Baudelaire, Whitman. The flowering of the enlightenment found it’s expression among a certain group that aspired to Cosmic Consciousness, that elevated state of awareness that only certain exceptional individuals ever attained, William Blake, John Milton, Beethoven and Bach.

The truth is not that there is no truth about the cosmos but that there is only the truth, the one truth that we all share, that we are all one with, that place within which each of us, alone, unique, distinct, inhabit a moment of awareness and how we fill out that moment, the attitude we exhibit. that we present when we present outselves to the world.

Point of view was fun but it’s time is past, we get so caught up in the whys and wherefores does the narrator say this or that that we quit thinking about the what and why whatever is being said is being said for. Was that awkward? Probably, the thought stumbled to it’s conclusion, English is a good language but it is not the end all and be all of languages, some things have been and can be said better in other tongues. The mystics hypothesized a mystic language that would be the key to all languages, on Star Trek they had a translator, a computer for their ear that translated everything.

Evil Flowers

I’m not real happy about it but I have accepted my age. I am old, I will be sixty on my next birthday. Thank you, God, for you have given me interesting times to live in and enjoying my life has kept me from getting old, turning into one of those old men I see everywhere dazed and confused by the twenty-first century.

My heart aches for B and D. I sit here on a sunny but cool Tuesday afternoon. The northwest campus of Pima Community College is a nice place to float for a couple of hours twice a week. The semester is half over so the fly-by-nights, the get their money and bail group, the didn’t keep up and now they can’t catch up group.

Wednesday afternoon, in Vail, southeast of Tucson, a bit windy but a beautiful day nonetheless. Doing the laundry and spending some time with the dogs. Here and now, it’s where I’m at, it’s who I am. Two thousand fourteen, November, the fifth day of the month, a little after noon.

The dawn of the twentieth century brought awareness into the literary mainstream, point of view, the person telling the tale, Joyce and Proust, Pound and Eliot, the song of the common man, not so common but understandable. For what have we now except the here and now of our individuated awareness and this tenuous tentative attempt to transcend the limits of my here and now, to communicate, with you.

Ah, you, now there’s a sticky wicket. I write because I want to mean something, to create something, to count, to matter. Oh, these tricky words they all express the sentiment but none of them mean what I’m trying to say. Argh!

I am a poet, it is my chosen avocation, it is the construct I have developed in order to maintain the social contract and preserve my dignity. I know, pride. Not good. I am not a very good person sometimes according to the prevailing social contract. Who I am is still forbidden, although I did not seek, it found me, totally unexpectedly, and I embraced the challenge of having some impact on the future.

This is the fecund soil into which I have planted my seeds,

These evil flowers flourishing in the desert sun as long as I

Continue to give them enough water to overcome

The natural aridness of this wonderful place.
 

Credo, poem

I am not a very nice person sometimes.

Sometimes I try and I can be quite nice

Just not all the time, my id overwealms me

And I’ll do what I want to, goddammit.

 

Superego says, pray, man, pray.

Jesus himself showed me how to bend

To the man, get along, adjust or die,

To surrender to the will of God.

 

Ego is prideful, covetous, adulterous,

An ambitious adult on the make, on the move,

Compromising all my compromises, disloyal

To a fault, I can and will protect myself.

 

In the twenty-first century I see myself through

A Freudian lens, man of faith obsolete. Dreamer

Wake up from this nightmare. I accept who I am,

An old bag of chemicals calling himself a man.

 

Carbon-based life-form, the natural evolution

Of something that once swam in the ocean, simple

And free, uncomplicated single cell. Instinctual I have

Evolved quite a bit since those soupy days. No longer

 

The prey of some larger life-form. I am human,

the dominant species on this planet. Random? I think

Not, non credo, I accept a greater truth, there is more,

Much more than dreamed of in my philosophy.

Consider – prose poem

Did the derangement of the nineteenth century French poets enhance their awarenesses or blunt them?  We understand why we think as we do because of the foundations they established to advance the idea that our environment is understood in large part by the ideas with which we understand our experience.  I am amused when I consider that this line of thought reaches its most lucid expression in a German, Wittgenstein, who was enlightened by a Russian, Tolstoy.  Welcome to the twentieth century, Enlightenment.

Certainty fractured, truth is post-modern mash-up of whatever gets you through the night, whatever floats your boat, don’t rock the boat baby.  Only here only now.  That’s true to a limited extent, to a certain degree, when you look at it a certain way.  But it is not all of it.  And we have to consider it all.  Yes, the personal determinations by which we assign meaning are individual in that our measurement of validity is determined by our experience.  But, I like big butts and I cannot lie, we are part of something that is greater bigger different than our individual experience of it.  And no matter how we mangle and mash our words, we are we feel we know we apprehend we understand, we perceive, we experience Life.  That’s enough for me, thank you, God.

Vonnegut Player Piano 1952

Player Piano, 1952, was the first published novel by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  Among the first fruits of the war to end all wars Vonnegut was born in 1922, which made him of age when lie was exposed and the twentieth century had to face death a second time.  He saw what the allies did to the Germans hoping to cauterize the Nazi out of them.

He came back, went to school, worked weakly at working, made a few children, and wrote when he could find the time.  He had seen heartbreaking things that he was going to fill with joyful remembrance, he would bring people peace by showing them how funny they are.

After the war, television, the ultimate isolation.  The twenty-first has given us social technology.

The visionary writers of the mid-twentieth century had seen the glory and the horror of the Industrial Revolution.  The promise of the Enlightenment was still attainable.  A player piano is a mechanized sound machine.  I reserve the right to have a refined definition of music that requires a human interpretation.  Machines were an important metaphor that worked and there was more and better food at least some places but machines aren’t human and there is a limit to efficiency, an invisible line where it becomes inhuman, transgresses those extreme dichotomies we struggle with daily.

Player Piano was an idealistic story, the inhumanity of perfection, the symbolic victory of defeat.  Paul Proteus, everyman, no man, a bag of chemicals walking and talking, finding meaning somehow, loosened from the traps of fame, fortune, competency, free to be at peace with himself at the end.

Vonnegut chose to write speculative fiction.  I believe he was a bit of a head in the fifties, open to the seeds sprouting all about him.  What if?  Is the question that opens, that begins.  Mankind was within a generation of stepping onto the moon.  Was it unreasonable to ask what if mankind were able to create machines capable of removing drudgery from life?  In a clockwork mechanistic universe everything is reducible to becoming yet another Piano Roll.

The satire, the irony, it works.

John Steinbeck’s Cup of Gold 1929

I read John Steinbeck’s 1929 first novel, Cup of Gold.  I finished it, which means I found it interesting, Steinbeck’s romance, his idealization of a real privateer.  Young Steinbeck left California only to discover just how insignificant he was in New York City.  The early decades of the twentieth century were a time of wonders that were to cumulate in the horrors of the trenches.

The first fifteen percent of the twenty-first century have also been years of wonder as have watched the dreams of our youth become our children’s reality.  But we have created and accepted a restrictive social contract that demands we either fight or submit.

Ed Ricketts came into John Steinbeck’s life in 1930 according to the Wikipedia, a real life counterpart to Captain Morgan’s unfortunate friend.  The most realistic part of the story though was the tale of Captain Morgan’s impotence when he finally got what he thought he wanted.  The preaching got a little heavy when Captain Morgan died, bringing the book to its conclusion.  I excuse Steinbeck because the times were full of spiritualism and evangelisms.

The prose was a bit turgid at first but eventually I fell into a rhythm that allowed me to step beyond the sterility of acceptable prose and allow my imagination to fill in the spaces that will flesh out the character… that will allow me to see them as being real.  And by the time I reached the end I had an understanding of this man, Captain Morgan, and I had an understanding of the man who created the man, John Steinbeck.  And I had a better understanding of myself as well.

Steinbeck makes clear early in the story that Captain Morgan is no innocent, no virgin.  His one detailed passionate relationship so reminded me of poor Charles Baudelaire and the fatal relationship that helped him craft his exquisite flowers of evil.  An English major at Sanford in the early years of the twentieth century could have and, if the major was worth his or her salt, should have been aware of the poets of nineteenth century France.

Just a thought, a consideration.  There are other things, too.  Unspeakable things, common, every day for some every so often but others, but some urges, some drives, some desires are universal, common to us all.  Deep breath, dive in, dare to consider.

I read because I want to know.  There are others out there like me who think and want to share.  I write to share and hope that someone somewhere will see my words and hear my voice even as I fill the air with the self-deceiving fragrance from this, yet another evil flower.

Am I out of line for thinking outside the box but I would rather Captain Morgan and John Steinbeck should live within my awareness, I have invited them into my Salon.

Salon

Salon


Welcome to my Salon, styled after the society of nineteenth century France.  Blake Sheldon was given a listen and he is interesting enough that he has been allowed a repeat performance.  Train and Maroon 5 are ready when I feel a change is necessary.

One dichotomy I think we all can appreciate.is that the one reality is not only what we have and be and know, there is also all that other, what we don’t know, what is not us.  Realize that I am not defining for either you or I the I that differentiates from other.  We are the earth, heaven is everything else.  Sometimes heaven hits earth with a mighty destructive force, fire burns.  Earth responds with soothing curative water to counter the fire.  Water on the earth forms a lake, water in the heavens is rain carried on the wind.  Fire in the earth is thunder, fire caught in the earth yearning for heaven manifests as a mountain.

My interpretation of the metaphor, eight quite logical potential considerations of this moment now.  A way of seeing things that gives us something to compare the way we see things with.  Learning to do this opened new levels of understanding for me.

I would be a better man. I believe in the Enlightenment ideals.  I am a twenty-first century man, post-modern, eclectic, sophisticated.