Saturday, June 01, 2024

believe me because you are wrong

We live upside down. It doesn't occur to us that we are living upside down. But we are.

It is a curious fact. But a fact nonetheless. We live upside down.

Bad is good. My flaws are really your flaws. I am perfect, you are crooked. I am pure, you are corrupt.

Do you see? Can you feel how this is going? Do you recognize how you have been so unaware?

If I commit crimes I am being persecuted. If found guilty for those crimes every one who pointed it out, laid out the facts, deliberated the details, judged the proceedings -- all of these people are liars, evil, conflicted, against me, and wrong.

In is out. Up is down. Bad is good. Everything is silly putty and magic marker. You are not you. Only I am I.

There are marvelous teachers lecturing the populace as to what it is like to live upside down.

They are ordinary citizens, elected officials, members of house and senate, those sitting on the highest court.

God is not in his/her heaven and all is not right with the world.

And here we are. 

No amount of education or study of history contributes anything to the alertness of the citizenry. It has all been edited and re-education into correct thinking has become a full-time job for the deranging rearranging of what we thought we knew into how we now must think.

We live upside down.

Be glad the torture has not yet begun.

Postscript: Some say there have been those who came to us to tell us we've been living upside down. You know their names. 


You do know their names, don't you?

Friday, May 31, 2024

what lives is what he left in air

In prison this morning: 

Farmer, Dying

                for Hank and Nancy

Seven thousand acres of grass have faded yellow

from his cough. These limp days, his anger,

legend forty years from moon to Stevensville,

lives on, just barely, in a Great Falls whore.

Cruel times, he cries, cruel winds. His geese roam

unattended in the meadow. The gold last leaves

of cottonwoods ride Burnt Fork creek away.

His geese grow fat without him. Same old insult.

Same indifferent rise of mountains south,

hunters drunk around the fire ten feet from his fence.

What's killing us is something autumn. Call it

war or fever. You know it when you see it: flare.

Vine and fire and the morning deer come half

a century to sip his spring, there, at the far end

of his land, wrapped in cellophane by light.

What lives is what he left in air, definite,

unseen, hanging where he stood the day he roared.

A bear prowls closer to his barn each day.

Farmers come to watch him die. They bring crude offerings

of wine. Burnt Fork creek is caroling. He dies white

in final anger. The bear taps on his pane.

And we die silent, our last days loaded with the scream

of Burnt Fork creek, the last cry of that raging farmer.

We have aged ourselves to stone trying to summon

mercy for ungrateful daughters. Let's live him

in ourselves, stand deranged on the meadow rim

and curse the Baltic back, moon, bear and blast.

And let him shout from his grave for us.

(--Poem by Richard Hugo) 

The poet and the subject, the man and the land, the reader and the conversation.

"Let's live him in ourselves..." 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

twelve ordinary citizens

Unusual day

thirty four felony votes --

justice finds its way

for something to be possible or necessary

Reading Apeirogon, A Novel, by Colum McCann, c.2020:

In geometry, an apeirogon (from Ancient Greek ἄπειρος apeiros 'infinite, boundless', and γωνίαgonia 'angle') or infinite polygon is a polygon with an infinite number of sides. Apeirogons are the rank 2 case of infinite polytopes.  (--wikipedia)

 In it, this:

The term mayday -- coined in England in 1923, but derived from the French, venez m'aider, come to my aid --is always repeated three times, mayday, mayday, mayday. The repetition is vital: if said only once it could possibly be misinterpreted, but said three times in a row, it cannot be mistaken. (p.20)

In undergraduate philosophy I especially enjoyed the obscure enticement of the Metaphysics classes. 

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the basic structure of reality. It is often characterized as first philosophy, implying that it is more fundamental than other forms of philosophical inquiry. Metaphysics is traditionally seen as the study of mind-independent features of the world, but some modern theorists understand it as an inquiry into the conceptual schemes that underlie human thought and experience.

Many general and abstract topics belong to the subject of metaphysics. It investigates the nature of existence, the features all entities have in common, and their division into categories of being. An influential contrast is between particulars, which are individual unique entities, like a specific apple, and universals, which are general repeatable entities that characterize particulars, like the color redModal metaphysics examines what it means for something to be possible or necessary. The nature of space, time, and change is also discussed by metaphysicians. A closely related issue concerns the essence of causality and its relation to the laws of nature. Other topics include how mind and matter are related, whether everything in the world is predetermined, and whether there is free will.           (Wikipedia)

It was the 1960's. Assassinations were startlingly familiar. The Vietnam War was biting at the heels of draft-age young men. Society and culture felt fragile. The traditional spectrum of life or vocation choices seemed irrelevant. The professor wrote on the board each class "Being is; non-being is not."

Camus' Cahiers and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, Heidegger's Being and Time and Martin Esslin's The Theatre of the Absurd --  teetered me towards D.T. Suzuki's books of Zen Buddhism; then Aurobindo, and Alan Watts' entertaining explorations of Hinduism, Taoism, and the Taboo of self knowledge. It was heady and oftentimes obscuring. Thales, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Anaximander, Anaximines. This while studying Rahner, Pannenberg, Kung, Schillebeeckx, Macquarrie, Richardson, Tracy and other theologians. I read John Wu's Beyond East and West, Thomas Merton's works, Daniel and Phillip Berrigans' writings, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, as well as Japanese and Chinese poetry.

The nature and structure of reality has remained an interest.

As does mind and consciousness. So too the creative nature of intuition and imagination.

I was surrounded by poets, artists, intellectuals, and characters of all stripes and persuasion. 

Still am.

Happy to be so,


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

much appall about nothing

 When I enter god

There is no time 

No space

Just interval

A nowhere

Neither proceeding

Nor departing 

Mere hypostasis*

...   ...   ...

 *  Hypostasis (plural: hypostases), from the Greek ὑπόστασις (hypóstasis), is the underlying, fundamental state or substance that supports all of reality. It is not the same as the concept of a substance. In Neoplatonism, the hypostasis of the soul, the intellect (nous) and "the one" was addressed by Plotinus.[1] In Christian theology, the Holy Trinity consists of three hypostases: that of the Father, that of the Son, and that of the Holy Spirit.[2].     (--wikipedia)

this tiny respite

 Twelve citizens are 


in trial of Mr. Trump --

for a brief few seconds

things are unknown and up

in the air --

it might be the only stretch

that casts doubt on his

becoming next president

of the United States --

savor this unknowing,

this lacuna, 

the future will become

one known thing after 

another -- we will have no


and stare unblinking at

a fog wall of irreconcilable 


The term philology is derived from the greek φιλολογία (philología)

It occurs to me after years of teaching philosophy and ethics at university that my so-called actual field of study and interest is philology. This became apparent two years ago when working with some college students who reside in prison to create courses for the university that we called 'turtles all the way down.' 

An inmate scholar would create with faculty member (myself) a course which is co-taught to student scholars, After completion of the study for college credit members of the class would then facilitate non-academic groups inviting other inmates to four to eight week conversation groups incorporating the material of the study into the ordinary interests/concerns of the participating population.

 The term philology is derived from the Greek φιλολογία (philología),[7] from the terms φίλος (phílos) 'love, affection, loved, beloved, dear, friend' and λόγος (lógos) 'word, articulation, reason', describing a love of learning, of literature, as well as of argument and reasoning, reflecting the range of activities included under the notion of λόγος. The term changed little with the Latin philologia, and later entered the English language in the 16th century, from the Middle French philologie, in the sense of 'love of literature'.

The adjective φιλόλογος (philólogos) meant 'fond of discussion or argument, talkative', in Hellenistic Greek, also implying an excessive ("sophistic") preference of argument over the love of true wisdom, φιλόσοφος (philósophos). (--wikipedia)

It was ambitious. Several of the men were engaged in graduate studies of their own. The structure of the university/prison partnership fell apart for reasons I, as an outsider, could not discern. So we continue, as we have for the last 25+ years, our weekly open conversations at the prison (now also at the Farm) for general population. We call them meetingbrook conversation. Many of the men call it the philosophy group. There's poetry, philosophy, politics, spirituality, theology, meditation mindfulness, personal issues, addiction and recovery, anthropology and archeology, systems thinking, and whatever comes up from week to week.

I realize it is about words. How we contain our experience in worded expression, exploring the meaning of the words we use, configuring experience and emotion as conveyance to others of the deep hidden artifact we call self/mind/soul.

Last evening's Tuesday conversation (introduced by Eli, Doris' grandson) wondered about the twin ideologies of goddess culture and warrior culture as spoken about by Marija Gimbutas. What if the goddess/warrior issue was not a gender/biological difference but, rather, an ideological/consciousness divide that persists to this day? Are we better off as a species when we incorporate, include, and assist one another? Or, when we divide, conquer, and eliminate one another?

If goddess culture means bringing to birth, nurturing and nourishing one another; and warrior culture means overcoming, possessing, and dominating one another -- I'm more interested in the ethos and the philology of the goddess.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

he's back from walk, she's welcoming him

war dead meet in counsel

 Where there is war comes

Suffering and heartache — change

now  --  embody peace

Monday, May 27, 2024

this memorial day…

We remember, honor, and pray for all those dead and deadened by war.

(Photo by s.h.)

Sunday, May 26, 2024



     As One Itself



     As Creation



     As Enkindling