And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Monday, November 24, 2014

Scribing the Next Grand Narrative

The Gunfighter from Eric Kissack on Vimeo.

One summer evening (led by her /Nature/) I found
A little boat tied to a willow tree
Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in
Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
Leaving behind her still, on either side,
Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
until they melted all into one track
Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows,
Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point
With an unswerving line, I fixed my view
Upon the summit of a craggy ridge,
The horizon's utmost boundary; far above
Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky.
She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
Went heaving through the water like a swan;
When, from behind that craggy steep till then
The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
As if with voluntary power instinct,
Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,
And growing still in stature the grim shape
Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
And measured motion like a living thing,
Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
And through the silent water stole my way
Back to the covert of the willow tree;
There in her mooring-place I left my bark,
And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
And serious mood; but after I had seen
That spectacle, for many days, my brain
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
Of unknown modes of being; o'er my thoughts
There hung a darkness, call it solitude
Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes
Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
But huge and mighty forms, that do not live
Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
By day, and were a trouble to my dreams
- Wordsworth, "Prelude"
In the traditional metaphysical approach, art is about (beautiful) appearances, and science is about reality beneath appearances. However, today's sciences focus more and more on the weird domain of autonomized appearances, of phenomenal processes deprived of any substantial support; no wonder, then, that, in a symmetrical counter-movement, modern art is more and more focused on the Real Thing. Is not the most succinct definition of modern art that it is art "beyond the pleasure principle"? One is supposed to enjoy the traditional art, it is expected to generate aesthetic pleasure, in contrast to modern art causing displeasure-modern art by definition hurts. In this precise sense, modern art is sublime: it causes pleasure-in-pain, it produces its effect through its own failure, insofar as it refers to the impossible Things(1). In contrast to it, beauty, harmonious balance, seems more and more the domain of sciences: already Einstein's relativity theory, this paradigm of modern science, was praised for its simple elegance-no wonder that the title of Brian Greene's best-selling introduction to string theory is The Elegant Universe (Greene 2000).
- Slavoj Zizek "Burned by The Thing"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Living Alberich's Curse?

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fatal Flashbacks

She sat with fear in her eyes
Contemplating the upturned cup
She said "Do not be sad, my son
You are destined to fall in love"
My son, Who sacrifices himself for his beloved,
Is a martyr

For long have I studied fortune-telling
But never have I read a cup similar to yours
For long have I studied fortune-telling
But never have I seen sorrows similar to yours
You are predestined to sail forever
Sail-less, on the sea of love
Your life is forever destined
To be a book of tears
And be imprisoned
Between water and fire

But despite all its pains,
Despite the sadness
That is with us day and night
Despite the wind
The rainy weather
And the cyclone
It is love, my son
That will be forever the best of fates

There is a woman in your life, my son
Her eyes are so beautiful
Glory to God
Her mouth and her laughter
Are full of roses and melodies
And her gypsy and crazy love of life
Travels the world
The woman you love
May be your whole world
But your sky will be rain-filled
Your road blocked, blocked, my son
Your beloved, my son, is sleeping
In a guarded palace
He who approaches her garden wall
Who enters her room
And who proposes to her
Or tries to unite her plaits
Will cause her to be lost, my son…lost

You will seek her everywhere, my son
You will ask the waves of the sea about her
You will ask the shores of the seas
You will travel the oceans
And your tears will flow like a river
And at the close of your life
You will find that since your beloved
Has no land, no home, no address
You have been pursuing only a trace of smoke
How difficult it is, my son
To love a woman
Who has neither land, nor home
- Nizar Qabbani, "The Fortune Teller"

Friday, November 14, 2014

Keepin' it Simple


It opens, the gate to the garden
with the docility of a page
that frequent devotion questions
and inside, my gaze
has no need to fix on objects
that already exist, exact, in memory.
I know the customs and souls
and that dialect of allusions
that every human gathering goes weaving.
I've no need to speak
nor claim false privilege;
they know me well who surround me here,
know well my afflictions and weakness.
This is to reach the highest thing,
that Heaven perhaps will grant us:
not admiration or victory
but simply to be accepted
as part of an undeniable Reality,
like stones and trees
-Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cardinal Wisdom

SOCRATES: But then, my dear friend, if a man knew all good and evil, and how they are, and have been, and will be produced, would he not be perfect, and wanting in no virtue, whether justice, or temperance, or holiness? He would possess them all, and he would know which were dangers and which were not, and guard against them whether they were supernatural or natural; and he would provide the good, as he would know how to deal both with gods or men.

NICIAS: I think, Socrates, that there is a great deal of truth in what you say.

SOCRATES: But then, Nicias, courage, according to this new definition of yours, instead of being a part of virtue only, will be all virtue?

NICIAS: It would seem so.

SOCRATES: But we were saying that courage is one of the parts of virtue?

NICIAS: Yes, that was what we were saying.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Voters on Election Day

let's trade places you and I
and see what it like from the other side
would I want you as much if you were me
and if I were you would I yearn to be free

would you tread time like water waiting for me
would I rush through my day so your words I could see
would I check my phone the way that you do
to see if a text or an email came through

and would you sit at a screen and search for the words
that scatter like seeds left out for the birds
and try to pick out the ones that are real
the ones when combined that show how I feel

and would you start over and over again
giving thanks for a keyboard instead of a pen
thinking how trees must be glad that I write on a screen
and not on scrap paper tossed out by the ream

at the end of the day when we came face to face
would I be just like you with your poise and your grace
and would you be sat there trying for cool
while feeling inside like a kid still in school

I'm assuming of course that were different inside
yet both going about working out how to hide
the truth of the feelings we're longing to share
the breadth and the depth of just how much we care

so if we traded places and I became you
could I do the things that I ask you to do
and if you became me could you easily wait
or would you, like me, be afraid of "too late"
A Thomas Hawkins, "trading places"

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Night

I marked when the weather changed,
And the panes began to quake,
And the winds rose up and ranged,
That night, lying half-awake.

Dead leaves blew into my room,
And alighted upon my bed,
And a tree declared to the gloom
Its sorrow that they were shed.

One leaf of them touched my hand,
And I thought that it was you
There stood as you used to stand,
And saying at last you knew!
- Thomas Hardy "A Night in November"