in the anus of diogenes

NEO-HERACLITUS_____________Qweir Notions in the anus of Diogenes: weBlog of a septuagenarian Binge-thinker since February 2008.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Dissident Bible, chapter I, 1-4.

In the Beginning was Plenty,
and Plenty was Enough,
and Man knew it not.

And God whispered in Man's Inner Ear
and told him that he could reproduce at will
unlike the Beasts and the Lily of the Field.

But reproducing plentifully was not enough
and overpopulation befell Man's habitat
which he called, variously Eden, Atlantis, Shangri-la.

And so we spread and spread
(we would say advanced)
until we populated the Whole World
while Satan danced.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Why I don’t write about George Floyd.

 a poem by Toi Derricotte

Because there is too much to say
Because I have nothing to say
Because I don’t know what to say
Because everything has been said
Because it hurts too much to say
What can I say what can I say
Something is stuck in my throat
Something is stuck like an apple
Something is stuck like a knife
Something is stuffed like a foot
Something is stuffed like a corpse

Copyright © 2020 by Toi Derricotte.
Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 3, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

I have long been puzzled

by Christian attitudes to Death.
If it promises a soaring to Heaven why are Christians
so frightened of it ?  If it threatens a descent to roaring Hell
why don't they even try to live elegantly, generously, well ?
Why are they obsessed with living longer
instead of better ?  Why do they bleed the resources
of the polluted and denuded  planet
in expensively extending the lives
of people progressively incapacitated by their age
- not to mention their disjunction from modernity
their distance from enjoyment and delight ?
Why do they (at such expense!) seek quantity
and not quality of life ?
Why can't they view it as release ?
Why have Christians trashed the world so they
can live more richly, consume ever more
and die so spiritually deprived ?
I guess they don't believe in Heaven or in Humility
or in anything much beyond draining to the very dregs
their cups of acquisition,
beyond multiplying themselves
and the consumer-goods of Christmas and chocolate Easter eggs.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

From the Ministry of Truth they came

to ask why they had not received my claim
to be a member of the Human Race.
I asked if I could choose - could I
for example apply to be a wolf ?
They said Don't waste our Time,
and if I didn't send in the requested claim
I'd be committing an Inhuman Crime
and would be expunged without a trace...
and if I did, and was successful,
I'd receive a New Improved Personality
and a more complaisant face.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020


Note to Self :

Look for other IMPORTANT note to self.
(not this one: In every cloud
                       I see the souls of dogs.
It won't be another poem
or be numbered among my many thousand blogs.
Dispose of it.)

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Adapted from the subtitle file for "Frank", 2014.

01:31:14,869 -- 01:31:20,298
♪ Banjaxed and broken

99901:31:20,333 --01:31:25,344
♪ Smashed up in bits

01:31:25,880 -- 01:31:30,675
♪ The only way

01:31:30,676 -- 01:31:34,979
♪ That everything fits

01:31:35,765 --01:31:39,810
♪ All held together

01:31:39,811 --01:31:44,447
♪ With spitballs and string

01:31:45,066 -- 01:31:48,902
♪ And splinters of wood

01:31:48,903 -- 01:31:53,706
♪ On a wren's broken wing.

01:31:54,117 -- 01:31:58,495
♪ Now what's together

01:31:58,496 -- 01:32:03,716
♪ Will soon come apart

01:32:03,876 -- 01:32:08,547
♪ And there's no going

01:32:08,548 -- 01:32:13,309
♪ Back to the start.

Monday, 29 June 2020

This is my modest Installation

called The Castle and the Chairs
upon the Terrace.

(In fact, the castle is a 12th century keep or donjon.
I live 200 yards and over 800 years away.
This sort of 'castle', rare in France,
became common in Ireland...
which was occupied for 800 years
- though not by the French.)

Sunday, 28 June 2020

I liked the term "Significant Other"

when it was current several years ago.
It has been replaced by the cardboard "Partner".
My Significant (or, as I prefer, Special) Other
has never 'co-habited' with me, lives in a different country,
visits me for a month or so at least three times a year.
He is my non-cohabiting, celibate end-of-life-partner.
We have many things 'in common',
but sexual congress is not one of them.

He is a Dead-Head. He has two Significant Others.
My surname is the same as that of The Grateful Dead's
great rhythm guitarist.
His other Significant Other (whom he hasn't seen for years
but talks with several times a week on the old-fashioned
landline telephone) has the same first name
as the G.D.'s brilliant lead guitarist with an Hispanic surname.
I think this is Otherly Significant.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Doing very well for themselves.

I ruined my mother's life
by getting conceived
- even if it was my mysterious father's fault.
(It's possible he never knew, unless, of course,
he was a member of the non-immediate family -
but that's irrelevant.)
Perhaps I suffer from Survivor Guilt.

'When I was young' I used to hear about people
who 'had done very well for themselves'.
I did very well for myself quite quickly
by jumping off the social ladder, and, much later,
thanks to the mother whose life I did not enhance,
guiltily acquiring a modest and delightful home in France.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Pilate Syndrome Updated.

As well as bullet-proof vests,
guns, radiophones and tazers,
police now carry

The achieving do-gooders and saviours

may, 'in the larger scheme of things',
do less good than is commonly supposed -
by making so many of those that they work with and on
feel like failures.

(There must be exceptions - of course.)

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

You might think that you wouldn't need to treat the French police

with quite as much caution as police, State Troopers or the National Guard in the USA,
or, indeed,  the Revolutionary Guard in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Think again...

On the third of January this year, Cédric Chouviat, a courier on a scooter
was stopped by French police, thrown to the ground, throttled,
and passed out, shouting  "I can't breathe!". (J'étouffe!)
Two days later he died.  [read more]

Show annoyance, anger, outrage or contempt for such bullies
and you will probably not be beaten up, but will end up in court,
receiving a 3-month prison sentence (suspended for five years),
and very likely personal damages to the gendarme you annoyed
 - for to annoy a gendarme is Verbal Assault as well as a Crime against the State.

For calling a gendarme un con (an asshole)
when he gave me twenty minutes' petty, xenophobic grief,
I had to pay him six hundred euros 'compensation'
 on top of the mandatory suspended sentence
- plus administrative costs. But my obligatory,
charming, and quite useless advocate came free
because of my considered poverty.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

I have always loved

the Grimm story of The Feisty Little Tailor.
who, like governments and corporations everywhere
boasted successfully of his achievement,
not letting on that the Seven at One Blow that he killed
were flies, not men.

Today, single-handedly, I changed the cover of my king-sized duvet*.

*Formerly known as Continental Quilt, the French word applies only
to a couette filled with goose- or eider-down.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Sooner or later

(probably sooner for me than for you)
everyone will discover, with their last breath,
that the New Normal is the infinitely-old Death,
the non-experience of liberation entirely new.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

What's in a name ?

Swiftopecten swiftii 'Hamburger'

A "New Normal" is unlikely.

Double and triple air-kissing
is back in France, alas! 
though hand-shaking seems not to be...yet.

Perhaps touching cheeks isn't particularly infectious
if both parties hold their breaths...

The figures will show if, two weeks from now
there will be a rise in the number of deaths.*

*currently only six in this département of little more than a quarter of a million humans.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

In Shakespeare's time and later

people would unashamedly swear and curse:
Zounds! for example (= Christ's Wounds)
and Plague Upon You! 

Not many today
would shout at others: Covid Get You!
or Cancer take you in a hearse!
- not even in a controversial play.

I curse the voracious little Bambi
that ate the red-flowered horse-chestnut seedling,
which I planted in my unfenced acre of deciduous trees
to enhance it and attract the bees.

In Ireland I left behind my little badger-sanctuary
of elder-trees so dear to brocks
in which I planted dozens of trees, both native and exotic
- including Eucryphia and Embothrium from Chile,
Rhododendron macabeanum from Nepal,
and from New Zealand, Pseudopanax ferox.
from cool, damp climates all.
By now it will be impenetrable
to all but the badgers and the fox.

Friday, 19 June 2020

The Forward Fixation

People have been coming forward
constantly in this (difficult) (testing) time (of crisis)
to tell us (more or less straightforwardly)
about the way forward to meet the challenge,
boldly proceed along a road-map through uncharted waters
so that we can advance, move forward (if not look forward)
towards actually going forward to a future
called The New Normal
in which, indulging in the old, familiar vices,
we can again advance our aspiration
to be very comfortable being backward.

                 Fifty Ways to avoid being The New Normal
place your order now with  Heart of Albion Press.

Thursday, 18 June 2020


is just a silly version
of the Attention or Attentiveness
described at length by Don Juán Matus
in Castaneda's allegories

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Fawn seems now to be called Beige

Nigger was what black labradors were named when I was young
 (though nigger-brown meant chestnut-coloured)
Puce is the colour of squashed fleas
Magenta was a battle celebrated by an early artificial dye
 and by a famous Paris boulevard
Reds are found beneath Louisiana beds
 and (with black) is the colour of Hell
Yellow were the bellies of eels and men of Lincolnshire
 who may have been unusually prone to jaundice
 (and is The Colour of Coyotes - another good title for a book)
Purplish are the acorns of men's cocks
 and many find it suitable for scarves and socks
 Red-Purple dye came once from boiling small Tyrrhenian molluscs
 now choked by microplastic
White is the colour of the Most Evolved Zincky-Flakey and Callow
 - and probably of God and Racism and fantastic Chance
Mauve is named after the flower and was also known as Mallow
Orange is the brazen shade of the monarchs of the Netherlands,
 is a town in France, and (as a fruit) lost its initial N in France
Blue meant sad (or beaten black and) way back in the 1300s
 A ship which lost its captain flew a blue flag

Brown was the mistress of a notorious German leader
Black (see also above) was an Irish Augustinian hag
 (Cailleach Dhubh) reputed to have been a witch
Grey is the polluted water in a ditch
 and the colour of money the minds of the rich
Green composed Aida

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Maybe it's not quite true,

but it sounds good:
only tourism and dumping waste
are more banal than human reproduction.

Talking of waste: the thousands upon thousands 
of tons of fantastic
anti-virus protective gear
manufactured in such haste this year
is made of plastic...

[composed 18th April 2020]

Monday, 15 June 2020

Talking of statues

(but it's time to stop it even in joking) -
here is a very fine statue
of a clothed white writer...smoking!

James Joyce

While everyone's mentioning statues

(most of them hideous)
why not talk about 19th and 20th century
crosses in concrete or iron or stone
on streets or on squares or by roadsides
all over Europe and over most of the world
taken over, converted by Christians -
those ugly, obsessive
erections which mildly-to-sorely offend
millions of non-Christians ?
Get rid of them.  They are all
triumphal, aggressive.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Social, Philosophical and Artistic Distance.

My Netherlandish Neighbour
(and successfully-bad painter
born a few miles from the birthplace of van Gogh)
who invited me to dine and came to dine with me
called me (online) The Man without Empathy
(good title for a book!),
No-one has hitherto suggested that I am
'a cold fish' - but perhaps he thinks that men
who are not fathers are unfeeling.
Empathy's a fancy word for sleeve-worn
In return, I called him (in an e-mail)
an Abrahamic dynast.
Now we ignore each other in the street
on the very rare occasions that we meet.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Pondering racism,

thinking of Covid-19,
I'm wondering
do bleak lives matter ?
Mine is not bleak
and doesn't matter at all,
not even to me.  But of course
I'd rather not suffer.

(I write as an inside-sort of outsider.)

Pondering racism
I notice that no-one is saying or writing
that many brown people,
(most of them Hindus locked into Caste)
are racist, and in countries where skins
are a pale shade of yellow
people in the quite recent past
have been known to avoid or attack
humans with skins which are black.

"We treat airport luggage

far better than we treat
the animals we eat."

- Bill Maher of HBO an American tv network.

NO!  We deal with garbage
 better than we treat
the animals we eat.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Thursday, 11 June 2020

I was right...

...of course !
There are demonic mega-business profiteers from the pandemic.
Big Pharma
(who also sell environmental poisons like there's no tomorrow)
are selling millions of unreliable - indeed bogus - testing kits.
Medico-agri-pharma-corporations rule the world!
Of course the quack-junk and the quick-fix merchants
(like slave-traffickers) won't see (or even acknowledge) the sorrow.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020


are In The News today -
slave-owners' effigies toppled or quietly removed.
But statues of Leopold II, monstrous King of the Belgians and of the Congo, remain
(in Belgium).

The Chancellor of Oxford University
revealed this morning that a statue of him,
the last Colonial Governor of Hong-Kong,
is to be erected in Beijing.

No-one is remarking that full-length, clothed portrait-statues
on pompous plinths are almost always ugly,
often ridiculous, grotesque.
It would be better to celebrate celebrities with busts
that can easily be put on or taken away from
a ledge, a modest pedestal - or a back-room desk.

Perhaps the falseness of friendship

is merely precautionary
self-defeating defence ?

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Another view on it.

is just mathematics
strangely elastic,
wobbly like a nervous soufflé.
Suddenly, this year, in an exciting way,
it has begun to pass delightfully quickly.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Property matters more

than Black Lives, of course.
The bandwagon rolling briefly
through the cities and the towns
avoids those areas where house-prices
will decrease or have decreased already
due to inflow of yellows, blacks or browns,
or Muslims (though, mostly,
no longer thin or fat Jews).

The vicious circle
of property-value racism
can't be broken.
But the most aspirational
protesters can topple the statues.

Like Diogenes,

I despise the rich and the smug
and of course the police.
Like Diogenes
I'm more emotional than intellectual
which is why I failed to acquire a degree.
I wonder did he, too, distrust the sea...

Sunday, 7 June 2020


It took me over seventy years to learn
that I can learn nothing,
guess nothing from human faces,
unlike the faces of dogs, and of dogs
in the sky and the earth.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

They risked a Resurrection

rather than take heed
of what he had to say.

Man's deadliest weapon
is stupidity.

Friday, 5 June 2020

On Property

"Poetry does not belong
to those who write it,
but to those who need it,"
says the postman to Neruda in the film*.
The food is now the dog's
though it did seem to belong
to those who, daily, feed it.

*Il Postino, 1994.

Thursday, 4 June 2020


photo by Frank Liu

spotted zebra, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tanzania.l Reserve

It is difficult for a poet

not to be sententious or, on the other hand, banal.
There was once a smug New Englander who ventured in a wood,
saw two paths and chose one, Sinatra-like, his way.
He was probably not a nature-lover, nor philosophical,
for in any wood or field or life
there is a multiplicity of ways
for those who see beyond the daily daze
and have the subtlety to sense the maze.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

'Might the history of thought be actually driven by aphorism ?'

asks a philosopher in Aeon magazine.

                          Montaigne replies:

'Reason is forever defective, lame and lop-sided.'

One of the crimes

that capitalism is not accused of
is the gradual abolition of ritual
except where it can be monetised
or ghettoised to rite. This is one reason why
outrageous, evangelistic religions stamp triumphantly on reason.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020


'progresses', ever 'going forward'
by ever more individual isolation.
Just recently came (pseudo-) social media,
then the oxymoronic social distancing -
and louder come the cries of Family!

I was alienated before I was born.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Black is sheer brilliance.

Why hasn’t anyone written a story from the view that Man is a blemish on the cosmos 
who ought to be eradicated?'  - H.P. Lovecraft.

'The Universe' is just an impenetrable thought.

Is there a gene for the sense of humour ?

Friday, 29 May 2020

On language and thought.

‘A great many people think they are thinking
when they are really rearranging their prejudices.’

(attributed to William James, and quoted in Daniel Everett's article about language in Aeon.)

Nobody except me seems to think that language
(and indeed thought) might be unfortunate developments
which we are stuck with...

On the other hand, on language depends a sense of humour,
evidence of sanity and a sense of proportion
which the brave Diogenes had 'in spades'.  

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Narcissus revisited

Archæologists now think
that the disaster of human language
appeared around the same time as the Olduvai Axe.
One word can  sum up the essence of humanity,
every technological advance, every war, every 'brilliant idea' :

and our glorious revolution against evolution
amounts only to the 'progression' from
looking at our ugly faces in pools of water
to looking at them via a cellphone camera
and a defoliated planet.

Monday, 25 May 2020

The discreet charm of superstition.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tiger bone wine 
(Chinese虎骨酒pinyinHǔ gǔ jiǔ
is an alcoholic beverage originally produced in China using bone from tigers as main ingredient. 
The production process takes approximately eight years and results in a high alcohol concentration. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the specific use of certain body parts is capable of healing diseases according to the characteristics of the animal used to obtain the product, that is believed to be connected with the disease of the person...

... Tiger farms are located in China,South East Asia and South Africa.[6] In February 2018, these facilities were estimated to host more than 8,000 tigers, double the number in the wild. An investigation in Thailand led to the discovery of a disguised tiger farm with an income of about 3 million dollars a year. In a raid in 2016, Thai authorities seized the 137 tigers in a temple that lead to the discovery of tiger parts and 40 dead tiger cubs which were about to be used for wines and medical purposes...