in the anus of diogenes

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

ALM

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.

998
01:31:14,869 -- 01:31:20,298
♪ Banjaxed and broken

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

1000
01:31:25,880 -- 01:31:30,675
♪ The only way

1001
01:31:30,676 -- 01:31:34,979
♪ That everything fits

1002
01:31:35,765 --01:31:39,810
♪ All held together

1003
01:31:39,811 --01:31:44,447
♪ With spitballs and string

1004
01:31:45,066 -- 01:31:48,902
♪ And splinters of wood

1005
01:31:48,903 -- 01:31:53,706
♪ On a wren's broken wing.

1006
01:31:54,117 -- 01:31:58,495
♪ Now what's together

1007
01:31:58,496 -- 01:32:03,716
♪ Will soon come apart

1008
01:32:03,876 -- 01:32:08,547
♪ And there's no going

1009
01:32:08,548 -- 01:32:13,309
♪ Back to the start.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605717/

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
hand-sanitizers.

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.

Note:
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

'Mindfulness'

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

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
sentimentality.
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

Statues

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.

Time
is just mathematics
strangely elastic,
cerebrally-tickly,
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

Backward.

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

Unique

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

Civilisation

'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' :
dissatisfaction

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...

I couldn't quite "get the hang"

of heterosexuality.  Nor, in the bitter end,
of  homosexuality.  But now I have
very much "got the hang" of
senile, erotic asexuality.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

'In the steps of' Diogenes ?

When I learned that "refugee food"
in the Middle Eastern camps was
tomatoes, onions and egg with flat-bread,
I realised that I had, once a week for years,
been enjoying "the food of the dispossessed".

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Jules Boissière: The Buddha (from the Occitan)

A poem about the  French colonisation of  what is now Viêt-Nam,
but was then Indo-China or Cochin-China,
translated by A.Z. Foreman




Our soldiers won then torched a domicile.

The owner with his sons ran half a mile
Under gunfire. On the ancestors' altar
Not guarding the old creeds or their old shelter,
The Buddha gave the wolfish men a smile.


How many hours has it been since! Where now

Is that house? Where's the pudgy god whose brow
And smile are sign of fate's indifferent law?
When man beneath mute Heaven prays or cries
I see again that Buddha's ruddy jaw,
His moonlike face and his too tranquil eyes.



Audio of Mr Foreman reading this poem in Occitan:




The Original:

Though Boissière was a native speaker of Lengadocian (Languedocian) Occitan, he, like the rest of his generation, wrote in Provençal Occitan, specifically the variety of Rhodanian (Rhône Valley) Provençal which had been raised to literary status in the late 19th century  by Mistral and others among the Félibrige movement. I give the poem in original Roumanille-Mistralian orthography, copied directly from Li Gabian, and in the more recent 'classicising' orthography. .

Classical Orthography

Lo Boddha
Juli Boïssièra


Brulavan un ostau, nòstei soudards   vincèires;

— Lo mèstre ambé sei fius peralin   fugissiá
Sota la fusilhada; e sus l'autar dei   rèires,
Luènh d'aparar l'ostau, l'autar e lei   vièlhs crèires,
Ais òme' alobatits lo Boddha sorrisiá

Quant d'ora' an debanat desempèi! Monte es ara

L'ostau? Monte es lo Dièu poput de   quau la cara
Sorrisenta retrais lo Sòrt indifferent?
— E sota lo cèu mut, quand l'òme   prèga e crida,
Revese dau Boddha lei gauta'   acolorida'
E sa fàcia de luna, e sei vistóns serens.

Original Lengadocian Orthography

Lou Bouddha
Juli Bouissiero

Brulavon un oustau nòsti soudard vincèire;

Lou mèstre emé si fiéu peralin fugissié
Souto la fusihado; e sus l’autar di rèire,
Liuen d’apara l’oustau, l’autar e li vièi   crèire,
Is ome aloubati lou Bouddha sourrisié.

Quant d’ouro an debana desempèi! Mounte   es aro

L’oustau? Mount es lou diéu poupu de quau   la caro
Sourrisènto retrais lou sort indiferènt?
E souto lou cèu mut, quand l’ome prègo e   crido,
Revese dóu Bouddha li gauto acoulourido,
E sa fàci de luno, e si vistoun seren.


from http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com

Thursday, 21 May 2020

"Bags for Life."

Aren't we all ?  Some of us last
only a few hours.  Others drift
in filthy alleys.  Many of us are torn.
A few of us are neatly folded up
and stored for crinkling years
by people like myself.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Today's might-be-good news

is that President Trump is dosing himself
with Chloroquine, a compound recommended
and used by some for Medically-Assisted Death,
and by others for the Unassisted Self-Extinguishment
which will end all woes and ills
for just one person.

The sad news
is that a huge dose is needed,
as well as anti-nausea pills.



I doubt that there has ever been

a Society for the Abolition of Souls,
because those who think that they have them
want to keep them,
and those who know that they don't have souls
don't feel the need to abolish them.
Nevertheless,
I am the founder and only member so far
of the Society for the Abolition of Goals.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Sunday, 17 May 2020

It is certainly not our capacity for rationality
that has made us Lords of the faltering Earth,
but our unique, irrational bloody-mindedness,
our convenient, systemic self-blindedness.



Saturday, 16 May 2020

The profound philosophical difference

between "hunter-gatherers"
and "civilised people"
is that the former
(who gather and collect far more than they hunt)
do not think that they are
inherently superior to animals.

Which is why they have pretty systematically
and religiously been subject to annihilation.

Nothing good has come from thinking
that we are the highest form of evolution
or creation.

Friday, 15 May 2020

'Living in the Present.'

"...the truth is
one lives in the present when the past
is too bad to remember
and the future too dreadful to contemplate."

- Ruth Rendell.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Nicolae & Elena.

Power
is male
and not only corrupts
but, unchecked,
makes men mad.

Strength
is female
though not
incorruptible.

Gender
is a patriarchal
social construct

but every cell in our bodies
is sexed according to our genitals.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

'Several'


is on its last legs (so to speak).
This sturdy, useful word
has been banished from the language,
and replaced with ugly multiple
and such awkward locutions as
there are a number of...
Even there isa lot of would be better.

RIP Several. Gone to join Wholesome, Swell, Spiv, Stuck-up,
Alternative (USA only), Aerodrome, Hansel, Glype and Darkie

in the burgeoning dictionary of superannuated words.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

The Pandemic that Nobody Mentions

and governments do almost nothing to stop:
depression - sadness-in-thinking,
the lock-in and shut-down of melancholy,
the bitterness of being, which,
according to the World Health Organisation,
afflicts over 200 million people
who are treated like lepers or heretics.


Monday, 11 May 2020

The Path

or the means
of contentment
is mainly
the abandonment
of expectation.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

The Destructive Æsthetic

What we like to fool ourselves
into thinking is order
is the imposed disorder
of neatness.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Friday, 8 May 2020

This photo

was taken in 1906 in South Dakota.
It comes from an article in Aeon
which makes no mention at all
of the Lakota in a cage...

William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody (third from left) alongside the author’s great-great uncle Sheriff Plunkett (right) at Deadwood in 1906. From Deadwood: 1876-1976 (2005) by Beverly Pechan and Bill Groethe/Arcadia Publishing

Thursday, 7 May 2020

True intimacy

has little or nothing to do with bed
or the loins
- but a lot to do with the head.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

A blog a day

keeps The Virus
(and the distant doctor) away.

A fine quotation

from the Argentinian film
Man Facing South-east (1986) :
     "They risked a resurrection
   rather than keep on listening
   to what he had to say."

Friday, 1 May 2020

I can say it only now

when I am 78: I would have been okay with dying
70 years ago when I was a happy little boy.
Given the choice - would I have been glad to die
(peacefully and painlessly of course) when I was 8,
before my happiness was hacked away by hierarchy ?

I was an introspective child, so perhaps I would have.
But I'm still living - now quite happily again
(and thinking as old people do about my past)
and quite content for each day to be my last.

My 18-year old self (reading Ibsen, Kafka Dostoyevsky)
would have been quite pleased at how I live now,
in the south of France, with a small but adequate income,
in what I consider to be winter wood-burning,
summer cool-breezy, wine-drinking luxury
close to trees and water, still reading voraciously with great pleasure
(currently White Nights by Dostoyevsky),
scribbling daily thoughts and observations on scraps of paper
some of which become my daily blogs (since February 2008),
surrounded by ceramics, paintings, rugs, plants...

Until that age I told everyone who questioned me
that I wanted to be a doctor - since that was what was expected of me
by my semi-medical family.
By 18, however, I had begun consciously to drift.
Even if I had had the mathematical abilities to matriculate for medicine
I would have dropped out - as I later did from philosophy.
I'd have made a terrible doctor - though perhaps a competent researcher.

I can't think what I would have been good at
apart from the home-maker that I am
and played at being well before the age of eight.
Maybe a weather-watcher like my mother.
Perhaps a literary copy-editor. I would have been excellent at that.
My 18-year old self would have regretted
my failure to be a prize-winning poet
(itself sufficient reason for suicide).
But I have no regrets or shame at being blessed by fate
for 60 years: a quietly-creative, shiftless (but not witless)
burden on the planet and (thanks to the European Union)
more than one nation-state.


Thursday, 30 April 2020

For the last day or so

we have been hearing that Corona-virus deaths in the USA
outnumber American deaths in the Viêt-Nam war
(a quarter of a million).

Vietnamese deaths from that war, military, civilian and guerrilla
on both sides amount to well over three million. So,
Covid-19 has quite a way to go...

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

If half the effort

devoted to 'conquering' The Virus in such haste
were to be applied to 'de-conquering'
the environment and mitigating climate-change,
we could say that we had matured a little
as a species.  Instead, the War against The Microbe
is filling up the world with yet more plastic waste.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Linguistic sexism.

When a man says
that a woman "has balls" or "is ballsy",
he is (or thinks he is) being complimentary.
Does any woman in any culture praise a man
by saying that he "has cunt,"
is "really uterine,"
"impressively vaginal" ?

Monday, 27 April 2020

Mere reportage.

The lives of each under threat from Stalin,
Dmitri Shostakovich invited Anna Akhmatova to visit.
They spent just twenty silent minutes
in each other's company, which the great poet
described as 'wonderful'.
We have no opinion from the great composer
who hardly mentioned it.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Almost nobody patronised this village shop before The Virus came.

But it has had to close during Le Confinement.



The notice in the window gives thanks to the government
for its generous Closure Compensation of 188 euros/dollars.

It opened at the same time as an up-market Tattoo Parlour
just a hundred metres/yards away...

The café-restaurant de Lagardère is even closer.
A very famous (in France) late 19th century novel involved the Hunchback (Bossu)of Caylus and the Knight Lagardère...
                                 and there was a famous Anne, to wit:

Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d'Esternay, baron de Bransac (Anne Claude Philippe; October 31, 1692 - September 5, 1765), French antiquarian, proto-archaeologist and man of letters, born in Paris. He was the eldest son of Lieutenant-General Anne de Tubières, comte de Caylus...

You will have gathered that the village where I live is...Caylus.

Heroes and cowards:

reversible labels
in mind-blinding fables.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

My best friend

is on the Front-line of Dog-care
for his friend who is, at this difficult time,
on the Front-line of the War Against the Virus,
maybe injecting sufferers with bleach or Listerine.
I think he qualifies for a face-mask.
His Front-line friend could take him to a drive-in Face-mask Facility.
The dogs, being miniature Schnauzers,
are already charmingly disfigured - no: disguised.
.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Soon it will be time for

Showdown at Dead Man's Gulch.




And the casinos must re-open to launder the drug-money
vital to the Great American Economy.

Thanks for the picture, Al.

Now I understand the rise and rise of Shopping Malls !

Temperatures in the USA can be as cold as in Siberia
and as hot and humid as equatorial Asia and North Australia
or as baking hot as the deserts of Arabia..
They offer a regulated, anthropophilous environment.

But this does not explain their popularity in temperate Europe.

(Don't bristle at the neologism above:
                    the French for a shopping-mall is...un shopping.)

Thursday, 23 April 2020

The World

  Getting its Knickers/Panties in a Twist.

With acknowledgement and apologies to Jeff Muhs.

Swiss train-station toilets

cannot be used by people with dogs
(including chihuahuas in little bags or backpacks)
because people allergic to dogs
might want to use them.
Dogs are allowed on Swiss trains,
but station 'restrooms' are run by a different company.

Original post on MesOpinions.org :

Je voyage fréquemment pour mon travail et mon chien, un Chihuahua, m'accompagne partout. Récemment, je n'ai pas eu accès aux toilettes payantes d'une gare suisse. On m'a dit que l'accès au local où se trouvent les toilettes est interdit aux chiens. On m'a dit que je devais laisser mon Chihuahua ( qui était dans un sac ) dans le couloir passant de la gare, à l'extérieur des locaux. C'était ça ou pas d'accès aux toilettes. On ne me fournissait aucune solution. 
J'ai déposé une plainte à la Direction générale des CFF . On m'a contactée très gentillement pour me dire qu'il y a un risque d'allergie. Pas de réponse quant au fait que mon chien peut aussi causer une allergie dans le train où il est admis. 
On m'a dit que trop peu de clients sont concernés par ce problème. 

C'est la raison pour laquelle je propose aux propriétaires de chiens ou à ceux qui aiment les animaux de signer une pétition adressée aux CFF pour exiger qu'une personne seule avec son chien ait une solution qui lui donne accès aux WC.

Les français et les belges devraient signer aussi pour éviter que ce fonctionnement se généralise. 


Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Misanthropic Nursery-rhymes

from the Militant Fait-Néant Anthropophobe's Almanack.

1. Notre-Dame is Burning Down

Notre-Dame is burning down, burning down, burning down
Let it burn down to the ground:
The best of Man is his ruins.


2. (to the tune of Ring-a-ring-a-rosies)

Covid-19 Virus
Surely not the direst
Cough-wheeze mild disease
Too few fall down.

(not even I, alas! - so far...)

Monday, 20 April 2020

A contender

for the worst poem published in English
as read on (and transcribed from) the BBC this morning
by its distinguished author
Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate to Her Majesty the Queen of lots of
unfortunate countries.  It is called
STILL LIFE

but my title would be Bathos, Bathos, Bathos; Bla-bla-bla

The local cemetery is out of bounds,
entrance draped with a candy-striped helix
of incident-tape, chain and padlock
wreathing the gate.
We inch past on a path which flanks the hawthorn hedge,
exchange stares with an astronaut in a HazMat suit
and visor and mask and overshoes and white leather gloves
propped on his spade at an open grave;
the Universe breathless and muggy tonight,
a cold-blooded moon;
marooned villages under the hill,
a stagnant dusk that parts
to allow an ambulance through.

I have often said that poetry in English is dead.
Don't dig a grave for it.  Throw it in a plague-pit.

What you see

when you go through an airport
(especially an international one)
is the made-visible tip of the iceberg
of the Security State.
In a few years it will be able to read your thoughts
as you pass through 'Security'.
In a few more years, it will be able to
change your thoughts, your behaviour -
if by some accident of algorithm
it hasn't already done so.
Al-Qaeda did it an immense favour.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Another Liberation.

Now, for the first time,
people who like to 'have sex' wearing gas-masks
can come tripping triumphantly out of the closet.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The first cuckoo

this afternoon.
                          And surely not
snowflakes rising ... nor even the last
cherry petals ? 
                          No : shreds of styrofoam
blowing in the wind !

















One of hundreds of examples

of French-English meaning-drift :

Early Modern French escamper
(to decamp, bugger off, fuck off)
gave English the word scamper
'to run or skip about briskly',
like a little lamb or puppy,
via the (English) noun scamp :
'a villain'.
A village near me in France is called Escamps,
maybe once a nest of cut-purses, swindlers, thieves, 
poachers, highwaymen - or refugees.

Friday, 17 April 2020

After Ikkyū

Ikkyū  休宗純Ikkyū Sōjun, 1394–1481  一  [read more]




Cirrus caressing the sky.
Old man ejaculates alone.



Life by numbers. Long life.
Sequoias too.



torpid now nearly eighty I offer my little
hard turds to the Buddha



Avoiding shame.
What I say
and what I think are (I think I hope I think)
the same.



Flowers are silent
Silence is silent
My mind is a noisy flower with the corpses of insect-thoughts sticking to it



Half-dissolved gravestones
can, if you're desperate, be used for grinding coffee.



The painful path is beautiful
and leads to beautiful painless nothing



Memory is a bramble-patch
scratching your every thought
and producing drupelet scabs



Value-laden words
Dirt too is beautiful
and the spiral swirly flush of turds



Blind donkey stumbles over stones into walls and ditches
Pain, no words, no hope



Covid-19
just a drop in the ocean a neutral
drop in the bitter
ocean a tiny drop in
the viral soup



Wholesome
dog-shit can teach you more
than the writings of the holy wholly unholy
fakers of wisdom



I have never seen my brain



constant life constant death
wearisome
the moon is so attractive



一 after Ikkyū   Anthony Weir  17th April 2020

(from www.beyond-the-pale.uk/zentags.htm)

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Update on the panicdemic.

Since the beginning of March
over 45,000 pets in France
have been dumped
or otherwise abandoned.

Athlone, Hilversum, Helsinki, Moscow, Prague, Allouis, Oslo...


"When I was ten Mother had described me as 'having an interest in electronics'. In the September of 1977 I was going to college full time to further the interest that she described me as having had six years earlier.

In the parental house my interest in electronics did not get very far. As a decoration Mother had saved the glass that showed the radio stations on the radiogram that I used to idle my time with at the age of ten, when the rest of the radiogram was finally thrown out. I would gaze wistfully at that piece of painted glass with the radio stations on it and do very little else. It became yet another piece of useless bric-à-brac to cover the top of my bedside table like a forgotten part of a junk-shop window display."

- from Malcolm Walker's The Alien in the Attic.                            Read more >

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

'The Banality of Evil'

Hannah Arendt's ear-catching and un-perspicacious phrase
has itself become banal.
It is less easy to condemn the banality of the aggressively comfortable
hypocrisy which allies itself to evil,
which oils and fuels the ancient machinery of evil everywhere,
including Israel.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

On reading John le Carré.

I love psychological
and political thrillers
(with a minimum of violence)
because, despite having read Dostoyevsky and Zola,
I have never had a clue about the inside of other human heads,
nor about what is and was "going on".

I was just 25 when I met a fairly frantic
conspiracy theorist, but even so
I judged people by the faces that I
was poor at reading.

It was only a week or so ago
that I wondered (my unwanted father being 'unknown')
if I had or have a half-sibling somewhere.

The two men and one woman I have been most close to
have African feet.  "Africans maintain
that we derive our spirits from our fathers
and our blood from our mothers,"
wrote John the Perspicacious.

Monday, 13 April 2020

At the Airport.

The price of apparent safety
is the apparent loss of personality
- and sometimes the real loss
of something small and valuable
(if only sentimentally).

Sunday, 12 April 2020

'Zero-sum game'

This term gets bandied about mystifyingly,
usually by unpleasant people.
I looked it up on Wikipedia
and am none the wiser.
Does it mean Winner Takes All ?
If so, why not say so ?
A game to me is a kind of play,
not a nasty competition
which finishes with winners and losers.
Death recognises neither - nor anything.
Is it a 'zero-sum game' in non-existence ?

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Stupid Middle-aged Yellow Men.

If the Chinese had had the wit
and the good will to close
all their international airports
at the end of December, there would have been
no panic-demic. Hindsight, of course,
is easier and much more glib than foresight.

Friday, 10 April 2020

"Good Friday"

The Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster
told us on the radio this morning
that Jesus died of asphyxia on the cross,
not even considering a heart-attack,
tetanus, dehydration, battery, lack of food,
a combination of some or all of these - plus
of course, hematohidrosis and loss of blood...

I'm glad I failed

to do so many things,
to be as others wanted,
I'm glad
that I declined some invitations,
left early, failed to cope
with certain situations,
I took the earlier bus*,
didn't take someone's advice.

I'm glad I never had a job or wife or child,
brother, sister, father or grandfather;
I'm glad I was for so long immature
and challenging and wild;
I'm glad I kept away from hypocrites
and never myself pretended to be what
I was not and never could have been.

I'm glad I live alone
in what I (but rampant consumers would not)
consider to be considerable, unearned luxury.
I'm glad that I am glad to be such
a quiet, self-motivating, unconsidered parasite
within a culture and a horribly-parasitic species I'm ashamed of.

I hope that I do not 'protest too much'.

*Had I taken my usual bus on Bloody Friday 1972,
I would have been injured by an IRA bomb in the bus-station.


Thursday, 9 April 2020

'Spirituality'

is just a pretty, loaded word
for narcissistic and religiose psychosis.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

One of the many Lists of Love.

Desire and lust (of course),
hastilude and jousting,
infatuation, adoration,
possession and possessiveness,
great fondness, heartsomeness,
lasciviousness, lechery,
control, concern,
romantic foolishness,
sensual-spiritual fun,
debauchery, insanity,
sentimentality, servitude,
vulnerability,
blackmail,
escape, co-dependence,
tingling ecstasy,
pure empathy,
panic, hate, fear,
self-inflation, self-deflation,
self-suppression,
sweet fondness,
affectionate toleration...

...and more...

Monday, 6 April 2020

No country is too small to have a Gulag.

In Enver Hoxha's little "communist" Albania
(the size of Massachusetts)
a little group of "Enemies of The People"
was collectively sentenced
to 1,700 years' hard labour, exposure and starvation.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Johann Wolfgang von Gœthe

did not like humour.
He thought it beyond infra dig,
hateful.  Maybe in his early life
the only humour he encountered
was 'dirty jokes' - which indeed
are utterly hateful. 
And so  the sadly sententious von Gœthe
missed out on irony, and the ridiculous...

...which is also missing from the Grimm brothers'
Märchen or 'fairy tales',
many of which date from the Thirty Years' War,
when famine was so universal that wolves
actually did raid villages for what they could find -
food-scraps, shit or abandoned babies.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

I have already mentioned

that in Istanbul there is an old and Ottoman tradition
of being kind to dogs, especially on cold nights.



But I didn't say that Mehmet Ali Ağca,
the Turk who tried to assassinate the Pope in 1981,
now devotes himself to looking after dogs and cats 
in that ancient city of Byzantium.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Bears and the 'Pandemic'

The hideous industry of draining bile from the ducts of live bears
- the profitable glory of Traditional Chinese Medicine -
encouraged by the Chinese government,
is doing very well out of Covid-19.



In Thailand, there are Bear Bars where there are bears in cages
hardly larger than themselves.
Stupid, evil people can go in and choose the bear whose bile
will be "milked" on-the-spot for them.

This sort of thing makes me hope that 100% of humans die
of something much worse, and far more agonising
and protracted than a flu virus.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Rough Cloth.

When my mother, despairing
of 'my future' pressured me to join the Air Force (!)
55 years ago,
I declined the opportunity to be an officer
and joined the ranks as a trainee interpreter.

This one of several unlikely futures
lasted just six weeks because of my insubordination.
I certainly was not made of  'military material'
though, being of slender build, looked well in a uniform.

Already anti-British,
I had looked forward to being a spy in a tie.

Things have come to a pretty pass

when the only semi-sane leader
is the dictator of Belarus !
Vodka and saunas are certainly more attractive
than silly surgical masks.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-belarus-president-refuses-to-cancel-anything-and-says-vodka-and-saunas-will-ward-off-coronavirus-11965396

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Apparently, I am ... a Vulnerable Adult.

Vulnus is Latin for wound,
and indeed I have always been easily
(but superficially) wounded.

An adult is someone
compromised, perfidious,
impure, diluted - in fact,
adulterated.
But I never quite grew up.

Monday, 30 March 2020

The story so far.

Some 25,000 people (including combatants) have so far died, worldwide, from Covid-19.
Some 500,000 people (including combatants)  have died in Syria since 2012.
Some 230,000 people (including combatants) have died in Yemen since 2015.
Who is laughing ?

Democracy ? No, thanks.

I wonder about people who would have this
expensive Mazzega Murano object
hanging by its chromium throat
above a shag rug...




...but I suppose that they have the right to vote.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Hope is a trap

because it so often leads to
frustration,
and frustration can lead destructively to
rage.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Rhinorrhœa.

To emphasise how pointless are
the totalitarian attempts to prevent the spread of The Virus,
I woke up this morning with a runny nose.
For the past five days I have been isolated and alone
except for a visit to the almost empty grocer's
and two visits to the almost-empty bakery.

Somewhere, somehow I was infected with the common cold,
which is only slightly more infectious than Covid-19.

The story so far.

Governments have opted for the risk of psycho-social disintegration
in the ludicrous hope that they can prevent the spread of the virus
and hence economic collapse.
No life-skills are taught in schools,let alone the basics of epidemiology;
civilisations have progressively abandoned them,
and all sorts of independence and intelligence have been deliberately discouraged.
Social breakdown will automatically lead to economic 'crash'...

But perhaps I'm being over-optimistic.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Mined.

My mind
is my most intimate,
perhaps my most dangerous
enemy.

Monday, 23 March 2020

"There will be no return to 'normality'

Projection by Matías Segura – Santiago (Chile)

























because Normality was the problem."


Rejoice in The Virus !

Hallelujah !
Covid-19 may Save The Planet (from us, for a time)
– but only if a few hundred million succumb.
Where do I volunteer ?

Sunday, 22 March 2020

The chief beneficiaries

of the present panicdemic
(apart from the predatory police)
will be the 'drug cartels'
supplying the 'needs' of rich
and poor alike,
who will continue
almost unhindered
to rake in the trillions
- much of which will be
suitably laundered
through Liechtenstein, Jersey, Grand Cayman, Curaçao...
for lending to
bankrupt governments.

PS  Current beneficiaries (at least in France)
include wild animals, which will not be hunted down
by the usual licensed gangs.

PPS  Online gambling will do quite well, too...

Saturday, 21 March 2020

In times of Crisis

governments treat the governed
(except for the very rich)
like naughty children.

At election times
governments treat the governed
like stupid teenagers.

At all times
governments are composed of stupid teenagers
and the governed actually are
recalcitrant children.

Frankly, most of us
are unqualified to vote,
much less to govern.

Friday, 20 March 2020

The police in France

are in Seventh Heaven
because they again
(after a gap of 75 years)
can stop, question and arrest
anyone who leaves their house
without a silly bit of paper
or a Permitted Reason.

France is always just one Presidential Decree from being a totalitarian state.



Christianity is a scant

and defective morality
without a philosophy
- let alone a basis in fact;
Buddhism a philosophy
upon which religion
and superstition
are often crudely tacked.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Yet another little irony.

Chloroquine
an anti-malarial favoured
in French Guiana -
and my drug-of-choice
to end my long life
of mild cultural neurosis
is claimed to reduce the symptoms
and severity of Covid-19
- in 500-milligram doses.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

As I get older

I don't too much regret the diminution of my faculties.
But when my taste-buds start to falter
and I cannot enjoy my cooking any more
will be the time to die (if not before).

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Panicdemic.


The god Pan was the god of extreme behaviour,
and is celebrated in the word panic.
But the pan in pandemic
as in pandemonium
comes from the Greek word for all.

Heraclitus is famous for his dictum
πάντα ῥεῖ (panta rhei): All is flow.
Life is tide and undertow.

A misanthrope like me,
Heraclitus reportedly did not like Pythagoras.
Some of his declarations
are cryptic or vague.

My village of Caylus,
during the continuing emergencies
of the Hundred Years War
and another hundred years
of religious, town-burning hostilities,
was visited five times by Plague.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Hierarchies

create unhappiness
- which is probably
why they are so popular
and (apparently)
so successful.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Three Cheers for Direct Democracy in France.

Local elections are coming soon in France. 
Remote Rochefourchat in the far south of the country has 6 stone dwellings, a non-functional phone-box, an old church - and just one permanent inhabitant, who was mayor until he resigned a couple of years ago.  His replacement is a Paris lawyer who has a holiday home in the hamlet which continues to be designated a commune, and thus must have a mayor and local council.  The seven councillors represent the total of seven families who are also holiday-homers.

Any public works (on laneways and the only street) are carried out (or financed) by the second-homers.  The requisite 4 council meetings a year take place over a meal around a private table.  There are few decisions to be taken 

"We have direct democracy, as in ancient Athens," declared the mayor.


Friday, 13 March 2020

The miasma

of money
inflates every ego
until it becomes
yet another airship
dropping shit (if not bombs) on the wretched* and the poor.


* Irrelevant aside : why was the title of Victor Hugo's book  Les Misérables not translated into English 
(as The Wretched [of the Earth]) ?

Thursday, 12 March 2020

On religious toleration.

Because almost all religions are insults to intelligence
rather than philosophies
we should be minimally tolerant of them all equally, doggedly.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Against the tide.

After the withering of heroic verse
poetry should be allied to prophecy
not to the banality of anecdote.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

In celebration of self-isolation.

(Today, for the first time, I looked in Twitter
after reading about this guy.
This is not a recommendation.)


Brian Bilston
@brian_bilston

March 6th 2020
PRECAUTIONS

Coronavirus for me
holds few fears:
I’ve been self-isolating now
for twenty-five years.