Saturday, March 26, 2022

let the you know who’s bury their you know what’s

 Time will go by and

It will be hard to recall

Who or what he was

it’s a common mistake

 The next thing you know

Someone will say ‘He was good’

Not knowing better

as sure as rain

 One day, suddenly,

It will happen, just like that,

And I will fall dead

heavy exit

 Like a Mack truck, cat

steps on me, over body

on her way elsewhere

surprise face and name

 Shoutout over zoom

Former student saying name

Across crowded screen

No one expects the Spanish

Inquisition — muted smile

gone, gone, empty saturday, dooryard latched

 Get is closed. Anyone

know why get is closed? Damn odd!

Gate, Gate. (Ha!)

a new horizon

I hear what you are

saying, Thay is dead, gone. Yes.

Thanks! If you will now 

excuse me, I have to bring

Thay’s breakfast to where he sits

Friday, March 25, 2022

give me a break (she might have said)

 what did you say? I

thought I heard you say I'd be

 (boom!) --pregnant -- really?

I know I'm a peasant girl

but your ask is beyond dumb 

things as they are in themselves

What time is it?

What age do we live in?

Is now then?

Is now all that exists, now being the emergence of everything in infinite space of mind?

The uncrowded and undistributed home of multitudinous facticity and factotums laboring in vast emptiness to accommodate existence, being, possibility, and asynchronous arrival?

One such prayer-pericope of temporal piety, the Angelus

[℣.] Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae;
[℟.] Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
[℣.] The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary
[℟.] And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Ave Maria,
gratia plena,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria,
Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.
Hail Mary,
full of Grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.
[℣.] Ecce ancilla Domini. 
[℟.] Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. 

[℣.] Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
[℟.] Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Ave Maria,
gratia plena,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria,
Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.
Hail Mary,
full of Grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.

[℣.] Et Verbum caro factum est.
(here bow reverently or genuflect)
[℟.] Et habitavit in nobis.

[℣.] And the Word was made Flesh. 
(here bow reverently or genuflect)  
[℟.] And dwelt among us.

Ave Maria,
gratia plena,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria,
Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.
Hail Mary,
full of Grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.
[℣.] Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
[℟.] Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

[℣.] Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
[℟.] That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

[℣.] Oremus. 
Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine,
mentibus nostris infunde;
ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, 
Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus,
per passionem Eius et crucem,
ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.
Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.
[℟.] Amen
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

It is a timely thought. The chronizing of achronological mythology. Today is the feast of The Annunciation. Imagine an instant in deep metaphorical unconsciousness when something proposed, invited, and affirmed came to be.

When word was a vibration of breath, a corporealization of inchoate longing for something, someone, real, rational, relational, and reciprocal. Mirror reflection of intuited wholeness evoked and energized in, as yet, unawakened psyche ready for, listening to, and physically willing to, incarnate the complex completeness of verbum caro factum est.

Think it. Whisper it. Say it. Be it — and there it is!

Until when? (Thank you for asking!)

The phrase "unto the ages of ages" expresses either the idea of eternity, or an indeterminate number of aeons. The phrase is a translation of the original Koine Greek phrase "εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων" (eis toùs aionas ton aiṓnōn), which occurs in the original Greek texts of the Christian New Testament (e.g. in Phillippians 4:20). In the Latin Vulgate, the same phrase is translated as in saecula saeculorum.                  (-Unto the ages of ages, Wikipedia.)

It is nearly impossible to describe the movement from the unsayable to the incarnated, from absence to presence, from your considered love of your near-other to the hardships of broken communication. 

Is there a phenomenology of announcing-into-being?

By “phenomenology” Husserl himself had always meant the science of consciousness and its objects; this core of sense pervades the development of this concept as eidetic, transcendental or constructive throughout his works. Following the Cartesian tradition, he saw the ground and the absolute starting point of philosophy in the subject. The procedure of bracketing is essential to Husserl’s “phenomenological reduction”—the methodological procedure by which we are led from “the natural attitude,” in which we are involved in the actual world and its affairs, to “the phenomenological attitude,” in which the analysis and detached description of the content of consciousness is possible. The phenomenological reduction helps us to free ourselves from prejudices and secure the purity of our detachment as observers, so that we can encounter “things as they are in themselves” independently of any presuppositions. The goal of phenomenology for Husserl is then a descriptive, detached analysis of consciousness, in which objects, as its correlates, are constituted.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy


One year ago today a good man died. He'd been here at the beginning of meetingbrook, was a board member, kvetched and complained, and was dear to us. He disappeared from view. We'd not seen him for several years. Things like that happen. We're like that. We disappoint each other. We suffer such. We learned only months and months later of his death on the feast of the Annunciation last year

Well played, friend!

What, then, is revealed?

Everything is still and always here and now. 

No one age. No one ages. Aeons and aeons, ages and ages, we listen for invitation, we look at our hands, our feet, our eyes -- and we come close to saying "Yes!"

Close, but as yet, no cigar.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

between drops

 Rain, it could be snow,

all day. Prison calls. Soon time

Volunteers return

singing of arms and the usual suspects

Is it ours not to prohibit or sandbag what is taking place, or to stand as hapless witnesses as facts march by and morph into columns of history?

Someone, I suppose, tells the tale. A retrospective, not cautionary.

Out of the experience of such thinking comes the first piece.

I have entitled it in English "The Thinker As Poet' because in it

the thinker does what a poet does -- dichtet. We have no word for it

in English. I had tried "poetize" for dichten, but it has the wrong

connotation and excites annoyance in those who feel for the lan-

gage, suggesting affectation. Dichten -- to write or compose

poetry or other literature; to invent something fictional, make it

up, imagine it. So it gets translated rather as poetry, or the writing

of poetry, and often, where the word "poetry" appears, it is well

to remember its sense as a verb, as naming the act of composing

and writing--as, for example, in "The Thinker As Poet" (p. 13),

where poetry is the activity that corresponds in a neighborly way

to singing and thinking.

(--from introduction, martin heidegger, POETRY, LANGUAGE, THOUGHT



 The song of Ukraine is being composed. Millions of feet making way through men's eyes and women's hearts from their cities, across borders, through pain and suffering, into confusion of circumstance, incredulity of mind, and sorrow of soul.

So has it been, from long ago up to present, the paralysis of populace, politics, and empathy -- antagonistic ideology and covetous greed, the way of men who do not care who is pained.

The Aeneid, Book I, [Arms and the man I sing] 

Arms and the man I sing, who, forced by fate

And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,

Expelled and exiled, left the Trojan shore.

Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore;

And in the doubtful war, before he won

The Latin realm and built the destined town,

His banished gods restored to rights divine,

And settled sure succession in his line;

From whence the race of Alban fathers come,

And the long glories of majestic Rome. 

 From Book One of The Aeneid by Virgil, translated by Edward Fairfax Taylor. First published by J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, 1907.

 We see pictures of destruction. Newsreaders on cable stations overuse familiar words describing devastation. We look to cupboards and closets -- where's my gun? -- we look out kitchen window -- rain in dooryard, mud carvings at edge of winter sculpt where fuel truck heavy tyred load went too far off tired gravel drive.

Out thoughts are tired. Our prayers weary. The prose thinkers wonder "Where is god?" Poets are too cranky to ask such a useless question. They know where god is.

Living in a hermitage is like living in a reverberating emptiness. There's no address or phone number for god.  God is not yet. Not yet here. Not yet the other end of prayer. Not yet near.

Are hermits cranky? Yeah, they're cranky. Why is that? Hermits suspect something ordinary believers don't suspect. They suspect that god is suspect.


verb | səˈspekt | [with object ] 

1 have an idea or impression of the existence, presence, or truth of (something) without certain proof: if you suspect a gas leak, do not turn on an electric light | [with clause ] :  she suspected that he might be bluffing

believe or feel that (someone) is guilty of an illegal, dishonest, or unpleasant act, without certain proof: parents suspected of child abuse

2 doubt the genuineness or truth of: a broker whose honesty he had no reason to suspect

noun | ˈsəsˌpekt | 

a person thought to be guilty of a crime or offense: the police have arrested a suspect

adjective | ˈsəsˌpekt | 

not to be relied on or trusted; possibly dangerous or false: a suspect package was found on the platform


Middle English (originally as an adjective): from Latin suspectus ‘mistrusted’, past participle of suspicere, from sub- ‘from below’ + specere ‘to look’.

 All definitions apply.

Looking under ordinary belief -- or, looking from under -- one is surprised to find a vacancy of any supporting foundation to hold up the construct of thought engineered for structural confidence. Put differently, as some do these days, God is looking for someones, anyones, to bring into Being what God is meant to be.

God is not an historical fact. God is that which is coming to be. Not once and forever, but now and then.

God is the moving appearance of that which is God in each and every instance that God is needed to be in existence. 

You want God?

Don't go looking for him/her/it/them.

What to do?

Looking as-is God is-as looking. This is the palindrome of presenting God -- the same backward or forward.

Not backward if not forward. Not forward if not backward.

Is it possible to love what is coming to be?

(Be careful -- there are many who crave the lightless dark of cynical control.)

Think God -- be a poet -- "have an idea or impression of the existence, presence, or truth of (something) without certain proof"

Suspect what is being created with each sighting worded breath, each breathing worded sight.

nice try obituary

 there's little reason

remaining alive, death comes 

when you're not looking --

the obituary page,

Tommy said, grand praise fiction


 No one takes his joy

Black senator brings to church

Some who’ve lost their way

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


 I watch grace and intellect

Sitting at desk in confirmation hearing

And take delight

I watch smallness and cynicism

Yapping and sniping at black woman

They can’t hope to equal

The ugly senators falling in their vomit

The beautiful judge being beaten up but

Never lowering to their gutter

In America these days

Grace is obvious

As are disfigured souls unworthy

vorhanden, zuhanden

        In manu tua Dómine,  Omnes fines terrae

             (In your hand, O Lord,  are all the ends of the earth)

                   (-from psalm at Matins)

Where have the dead gone?

Disappeared off edge of earth —

Invisible there.

If thinking is seeing, look

long, carefully, handily

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

logic corresponds to given laws of nature

 We still

Are not


The law 

Of the universe

Must be obeyed

While we

Continue to believe

Our beliefs

hermeneutic of solitude, misreading crowd

 Have you come here to 

be alone? Think again. We

are always alone.

Yet -- the nature of being —

nuptial, interfused, mitsein

russia remembers the blokadniki, if they remember to remember

 Bread During the War, 

by Andrei Drozdov, 2005

Monday, March 21, 2022

poets can spare some words for the dead

I watch "Seats At The Table" a documentary film by Chris Farina (Rosalia Films).

Then this:

Barskova: I think you are touching here upon a very important question: for whom — that is, on whose behalf — do we speak? We know (that is, we were taught) that literature is nothing but a dialogue — continuing through time. And, allegedly, we can choose our interlocutors. What interests me, perhaps, are interlocutors having speech troubles. A million blokadniki — the inhabitants (including dozens of poets) of besieged, starving Leningrad, the city where I grew up. In spite of all our efforts, we’ll never hear from most of them, they are traceless in history, voiceless. And something really upsets me about that, really troubles me — and makes me write. That was the case with Zinaida Bykova, the hack translator who disappeared in the snow drifts of the dying city: this very word “disappeared” fills me with anger towards history and tenderness towards her. Yet, obviously, it’s not only about the tragedy of the Siege. The disappearance of Catullus, or, differently, of Pushkin or Chekhov also ignites some reaction of writing — Chekhov spent his last years coughing up blood, with his voice completely changed. Because of TB, he looked like an old man at 42, and he already knew that he’d never write that novel of his. It might be a delusion, it might be a grave moral mistake, but I feel that sometimes poets can spare some words for the dead.

Auden said, “poetry makes nothing happen,” and we’ve been wondering ever since — are we so impotent, so powerless? Poetry cannot shoot, cannot heal, cannot abolish death. Poetry’s jobs are minor: to comfort a mourner, a lover, for a brief moment. Elegy, one of the earliest forms of poetry, was born as funeral song. As I see it now, the job of consolation is crucial, the job of giving medicine — even if it cannot bring anybody back to life, it can patch the texture of life as it is, make it softer, warmer. Damn it, make it prettier.

(-from, A Conversation between Polina Barskova and Valzhyna Mort, The Calvert Journal, 26Nov2021)

Sometimes our interlocutors are inside prisoners and some are outside university students who sit together for a semester studying themselves and Russian literature. 

And who knows which is which. 

learning to walk away from what you think is true

When you've met, shared something, learned something, then left, there's a residual feeling that lingers. 

“You have learnt something. That always feels at first as if you have lost something.”

    (― George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara) 

You have lost something. You've lost the belief that things are as you thought they were.

They're not

They're always as they are

There's no changing that

There's only the deep feeling 

Things as they are

Good and bad are not separate from one another.

introducing prison education partnership fellow

It occurs to me that each greeting we engage in is one filled with both curiosity and wonder. Who is this person? What is this place? How do I make way through this situation?

My name is Bill Halpin and I've taught as an adjunct lecturer for UMA since the late 80's. I began in the old Maine State Prison in Thomaston in '88 or '89 and migrated in early 2000's to Warren and up to the present

I've taught philosophy; fantasy, myth, and enchantment; ethics; East Asian thought; philosophy of education; aesthetics; bible as literature; the code of the warrior; existentialism; poetry and autobiography -- and several other topics -- all at Maine State Prison. It has been a gift to have been so invited.

I am pleased to be part of the PEP Fellowship and look forward to learning what wonder continues to offer. I find myself interested in the pedagogy of presence. I'd like to think further with others about what the German notion of mit-sein, (being-with), contributes to education for carceral students. To be present goes beyond just standing next to another. Prison throws those living there into unrelenting proximity and difficult nearness. What, I wonder, would an ongoing education -- (a "leading out") into more reflective, thoughtful, insightful, and liberating understanding of oneself, other ones, and the structures of thought and society that surround and impact us -- what such dwelling-thinking would contribute to the individual student and, expansively, to the system of incarceration?

I'd like to contribute to a pedagogy of mit-sein (to be-with) that can be looked at across the spectrum of disciplines of study so as to assist in knitting a community of sorge (German = care/concern) and aletheia (Greek, ἀλήθεια = unconcealedness/truth) going forward.

Good to meet you!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

pride and belief

 One man destroys earth

Because he doesn’t know god

A sad sad story

you were a difficult friend

 Final four hours

winter packs to leave Maine —look —

woodpile exhausted 

muddy empty parking scads gone

 Neighbor snow bowl wraps

season fog and rain nix last

day — slush slosh shush — fin