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June 23, 2017

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The Little Ones

June 17, 2017

I have been thinking of unearthing some of my old prose pieces that I wrote when Extrasimile was a mere babe in my arms. Though some of the material is dated, most is not. Or it is dated in a good way: it will help by providing a perspective on our current situation. Much of Extrasimile was written during the internet explosion. And when I was teaching at City College. I remember asking a teaching assistant I had had he ever heard of the Wikipedia. He shook his head. No, what is it?

I will start with a short story. It name when first published was A Thanksgiving Tale; that is still a good name, but I like The Little Ones better.

When he read it John Looker (then John Stevens)  wrote:
I thought I’d save it for later but read as far as: “the enormous faux pas of inviting Friedrich Nietzsche for Thanksgiving dinner” and was immediately hooked. What a hilarious idea!
It’s several decades since I read a bit of Nietzsche in my efforts to manage a youthful transition from faith to unfaith. I remember thinking that he created such an appallingly bleak vision of a godless universe that it strapped crampons on my feet before I slipped all the way down into nihilism.
Then I reached your bit: “There is a kind of parallel between the idea, held in such contradiction to the facts, and the believer who thanks God for His blessing, even as this God (who must be responsible for the bad as well as the good) rains down adversity.” So by now I was hooked on the ideas in your story and not just the humour. Where would you take us?
Then at the end you gave us the phone call from Jocelyn, the gasp, and an explanation for that early reference to the hospital that had been left hanging in the air.
A clever tale and woven very tightly. Not very comforting, but then why should it be? We have to find a way to cope. Perhaps May in the story in right (along with many millions) but that way simply won’t work for many of us. It didn’t work for FN either but he didn’t offer much of an alternative unless you find comfort in the thought of eternal rebirth in an arbitrary existence.
Perhaps Voltaire had a point: keep digging the garden? Raise turkeys. Enjoy your turkey today Jim and happy Thanksgiving.

John is a good reader of my stuff; his comments are introduction enough,

“Look, he practically begged me to invite him. He’s alone, he’s lonely, but in truth, he’s a nice guy, we shoot the breeze now and then, he’s very smart. Once you get past the silly mustache…

“Yes, I did know he can be contentious…

“Yes, I did know he can be overbearing…”

“And he brought those horrid sausages.”

Well, yes.

“And that beer….”

Okay, yes.

“…which incidentally had everybody so blitzed there was no one to drive me to the hospital.”

Yes, true, but…

***

A short segment of a very long conversation I had with my sister after I committed the enormous faux pas of inviting Friedrich Nietzsche for Thanksgiving dinner.

Yes, I should have told her I was inviting a stranger, but it was a last minute thing. The man’s a famous philosopher, after all. Okay, a philologist. I still think it was more about turkey gravy in his mustache, then about what probably is a stupid idea—that which does not destroy me, makes me stronger. Sure, everybody had a little too much to drink, but that whole ‘grace thing’ my cousin May does every Thanksgiving set him off. It doesn’t mean that much to me. May wants to pray; I’m cool. But Friedrich Nietzsche…it’s obviously… you know, he’s made a name for himself, Mr. Anti-Christian.

“Father Sprit, blessed Jesus, Lord of the land, sea and air—please bless this table and those who sit in common communion at its portals…”

“This ‘Father Spirit’, liebchen, what does it signify…?”


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Cry, the Quiet Child

June 12, 2017

Cry, the quiet child, for there is such a stillness
in the air this morning, the meadow seems silent as frost.
So subtle is your murmur, it seems we must confess:
your voice must be the one—or be the one that’s lost.
For we were planned and planted deep at birth
to have the inner strength to free
the earth of all the world’s debris,
it must have all its hopes in grave and gravel earth.
So cry. Cry of august trees awake.
The sky, awake. The lake, awake. Stay, terrain.
Cry of song and psalm to shake
the house alive, massive in refrain.
Cry of moss and flowers frozen in the frost.
Cry the quiet child. Your meadow now is lost.


The Glories Undefined

May 18, 2017

Through a thrill of flowers that cannot be found
in any other meadow, the slimy vine is
thought to be extravagant; it seems to seep around
the luscious soil as if it were molasses
going uphill in January, cold and numb,
attached like wings to the ‘flesh-like’ roots:
Will the glories come? Will the glories ever come?
Many of the glories have routes
they have always used and have won with.
The glories grow inviolate in a violent mind.
The glories all want this urge to transform ‘kith’,
unprincipled, into a glorious morning, undefined.
But summer’s sun returns day after day.
The sky clears; the glories swell and sway.

 


The Moth

May 18, 2017

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May 15, 2017

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May 12, 2017

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May 7, 2017

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May 7, 2017

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May 7, 2017

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