February 28, 2013
We’ve got to change the laws of physics. Water should not seek its own level. I have a lake in my backyard. My house is an island. There is water in our basement. Flooding. For hours I couldn’t find my cat. I thought he had drowned. Why isn’t the government doing anything about it. I say its the fault of liberal policies. In the next election I’ll cast my vote for the conservative, Prime Minister Harper. He’ll change the laws of physics. Or promise to.
February 27, 2013
As I grow older, it feels as if there is no personal God, no great power watching over us. Like a lifeguard. There is just an empty beach. At the same time I have this faith. Not in God but in mystery. Both wonder and terror.
I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old in the back of my parents’ Pontiac. Driving down this two lane highway into this lush green valley. From the other direction there was a truck, a big transport. Roaring. A dog sat at the end of a farmer’s lane, near the house. You could tell that he heard the van. He started to run down the lane. To chase the truck, I presume. But he did not chase the truck. Instead he ran straight into its tires. And exploded into a bomb of blood.
No one in the car said anything. We’d all seen it. The image of that dog exploding has never left me. The incident was my metaphor for human kind. It was so random. And yet it made perfect sense. For that dog and that truck to meet.
February 24, 2013
Hate large public art galleries. They are like zoos for art. The art goes a little crazy. The Art Gallery of Ontario (known as ‘AGO’ from the latin word meaning ‘back then’) has appointed Andrew Hunter as its new Frederick S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art. (Sounds like a CEO of an oil company.)
“Hunter is a co-founder and co-principal, along with artist Lisa Hirmer, of DodoLab, an international program that focuses on research and positioning art as a means to explore broader community issues.” (Toronto Star, Page E3, Feb. 24, 2013)
Friends of mine, and friends across the planet, have been discussing these issues, in bars, over drinks, for years. No one paid us. Nothing against Mr. Hunter, but how do you get on this gravy train?
February 23, 2013
February 20, 2013
I haven’t done a movie review in a long time. This isn’t one of them.
That’s the kind of statement you get in Atlas Shrugged Part 2.
Pretending. That’s what the movie does. Pretend that the government is this. Pretend that the captains of industry are this. Pretend that the general public is this. A movie based on lies.
But that is not unusual. One suspends judgment all the time when watching a film. Except in this movie I found myself irritated. Because this isn’t Batman. Much like Ayn Rand’s philosophy, the movie is filled with holes. I am being asked to be stupid.
The movie should be renamed Atlas Yawned.
February 20, 2013
Capitalism and Darwin. Evolution is the intellectual underpinning for both capitalism and communism. Survival of the fittest. Things are constantly developing, changing, improving.
And yet. In America, conservative intellectual circles are bipolar. On the one hand they applaud the Darwinism of economics while at the same time denying Darwinism of history, religion and all other assorted disciplines.
All of this is a smoke screen. What counts for these people is power. Ideas are just makeup.
February 18, 2013
When I was in elementary school we read about saints. Such a statement as was made about St. Catherine of Siena would have seemed par for the course. This is what saints did. As a father I would have been deeply concerned. Catherine’s father was concerned.
Because of the accidents of life Catherine was in line to be married. She refused. Her parents insisted. I couldn’t blame Catherine. Her mother had given birth to 25 children (many did not survive birth). But her reaction was extreme.
She would later advise her confessor and biographer, the Blessed Raymond of Capua, O.P., (who went on to become Master General of the Order) to do during times of trouble what she did now as a teenager: “Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee.” In this inner cell she made her father into a representation of Christ, Lapa into the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her brothers into the apostles. Serving them humbly became an opportunity for spiritual growth. The greater the suffering, the larger her triumph was. Eventually her father gave up and permitted her to live as she pleased.
Catherine felt that she was the bride of Christ. For her wedding ring she wish to use the circumcised foreskin of Christ.
February 15, 2013
I’ve been working on the great novel for 50 years. More or less. Every writer wants to write War and Peace. I was big on form. The architecture of fiction. But I’d get bored and mothball the work. Or break it down for parts. The Death of Lou Grant was the orphan of such an enterprise. It was suppose to be one part of a large novel about Marshal McLuhan. Or someone like him. The Death of Lou Grant is a story about the characters in the Mary Tyler Moore Show appearing in the dieing moments of a man’s life. It is a tragedy dressed up as a sitcom. The piece below is one chapter.
Lou In The Elevator With Ted
LOU: I am back in the real world, in the middle of my backyard, in a lounge chair, having a stroke. I can feel my chest melting. The low sizzle of skin. Drops of perspiration tickling my breasts. A low breeze moves the trees slightly…
Ted looks around the elevator as if he thought we were on Candid Camera. There was always someone trying to pull a fast one on Ted and though he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, Ted knew that people were constantly trying to put one over on him. I was having a nervous breakdown.
LOU: The sun slips behind some leaves and for a brief moment a chill crawls across me. I have known this feeling all my life. It is death. Death is a young girl skipping rope, reciting an old chant… I’m tired.
TED: Lou, are you feeling alright?
LOU: A few yards behind, the compost is groaning, the low growls and farts of digestion.
TED: Lou, are you quoting someone? I could give you my reading of Hamlet. I got glowing reviews in college.
LOU: Perhaps when we die, the spirit of the body is sucked into the soul like a star collapsing into itself. We have become a single moment, a thought. The definition of homo-sapiens: I am here… Everything is spinning. Round and round. Like its going to spin right out of…
TED: Excuse me, Lou. Am I supposed to be writing this down?
LOU: Murray already used that joke.
TED: Well, how was I supposed to know that, Lou. It’s not like you guys let me know what’s going on.
I started to babble on about modern consciousness and amino acids. And communications. God, I could hear myself. It was embarrassing. Without being interesting. Or profound. And all the time Ted kept looking around the elevator. At one point he reached for the emergency phone. I grabbed his hand.
LOU: Anger is the engine of despair. What is the rage that my soul sheaves? What is this drunken muttering in my soul? Let’s blame it on the fucking ozone layer. I have to get out of the sun. God, why can’t I stop talking. Talking like my mind is out of control. Stop me from talking, Ted!
Ted began to giggle nervously as the elevator doors opened
TED: Lou. You kill me!
February 13, 2013
The Pope has been fired. And being blamed for the ultra-conservative bend in the Church. But this started a long time ago. I remember John XXIII. He galvanized many young Catholics and the Church making it seem that there was room in the Church to fight the modern evils, poverty, colonialism, runaway industrialism (both Communist and Capitalist). But ever since those heady days in the 60s the Church has retreated behind a curtain of silence.
My days as an idealistic Roman Catholic are over. The Church has become, for so many, brick and mortar. Its just another building on the boulevard.
I love(d) T.S. Eliot. And then I found out that he was an American. It threw me. I had loved reading him because his work seemed to reflect that world we were told was out there. “Alienation” was the great buzz word of the 60s. Sartre, Camus, but especially Eliot reflected that cool antiseptic analysis of the human condition. Now I wonder. Were these big issues that we saw merely the individual pickles of these artists. Were they just unhappy?
The Manhatten Project was one of the first poems I wrote that was directed at the times. I was trying to write about important issues. This time I had picked on God.
THE MANHATTEN PROJECT
god is not dead
he was merely blown up beyond all proportions/made light of
dropped into a glass of water
where he burst into a million tiny bubbles
with the hope
that he would bring fast fast fast pain relief
from historic indigestion
and ise eno esc ape
noe sca pe
nof ork int her oad.
the ad-men sit in a trance at SAM’S
ironing out their problems
business is slow
a spider is spinning his fine web of suicide across their eyes
the janitor is sweeping around their feet
lifting the left leg when necessary
lifting the right leg when necessary
the dust continues to collect
piling up history
he files it away in green plastic bags
that bleed internally
god had tired blood
he was the multiple million eyed monster (incl. cable)
with multiple million cataracts
surrounded by crow’s feet
that slipped up on him at night – sorrow stalking sleep – ambush
god became irregular
short of the holy breath
tired of sticking his nose in other peoples affairs
swapped for ‘dialectical materialism’.
in the back of SAM’S the pinball machines is rigged
the ball leaping and shuddering like an orphan from pin to pin
in perfect retrospective patterns
“A thousand times i have recalled it
and a thousand times it remains the same,” smiles richard
richard bought out sam
but is now haunted by SAM’S habits
like the prisoner of a holograph
ica nse eno esc ape
ica nge tno ans wer
the exi tsi gns pum pou tth eir neo nes cap e
RES IGN RES IGN RES IGN RES IGN RES IGN RES I
our psyches have been burglarised
small bugs have been planted in the mob
small boys with their fresh pink bottoms torment the frenzied thought
love became the INFORME(D)R HEART
- who will pay the ransom ?
the barbarians are at the gate
you can hear the crowd noises .
the barbarians have been inside the gate for some time,
their standards well in hand
tapping their toes , “who are the hypocrits coming back ?
must be the lawyers dressed in black.”
SAM’S place is hopping
some sassy gals are dancing up a storm , dancing to a tune
“NO HIDING PLACE”
richard rubs his head that is beginning to swell like the
entrails of a puppet
the rest of us sit , and order , and wait
— hoping to outlive the funeral rites