Thursday, July 31, 2003

Forever gets shorter the longer you live.

Monday, July 28, 2003

RIP Bob Hope

I wanna know at what point Dennis Miller decided he was the new Bob Hope? Meaning he's allowed to skip the standup routine & proceed directly to the Tonight Show guest chair, where he pretends he's a quick witted, ad libbing political humorist as he reads the misanthropic wisecracks his writers put on the cue cards. I bet he'd run out of memorized topical comments after about five minutes & get chewed up by a Bill Maher. & this from a guy who never chased Dorothy Lamour through a Hollywood back lot Casbah.

Groucho Marx complained that Hope was not a comic but a translator of what others wrote for him. Odd thing for The Grouch to say. But at least Groucho could load up a line from a cue card on "You Bet Your Life" & retain it in his memory long enough to turn his head & fire it at a contestant. & I can't imagine Hope holding his own at the Friars with Jessel, Groucho, Burns & Benny.

My reaction to stoicism is admiration, usually followed by the thought, "Well, I'm not needed here right now." Unless there's some problem I can help with, some action. Like the homeless man who asks for a cigarette. He knows I cannot give him a home or clean clothes - that burden he bears stoically. But he also needs a cigarette, & so exposes a vulnerability to me: a craving. & I admire that, also, for we have in a sense guided each other though a dilemma.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Think of "art" as an artist's "longtime companion."
If you keep inviting an artist into your home without inviting the art, the artist will eventually recognize this as an indication of disapproval, of not accepting or trying to understand what makes an artist's life worth living. Artists don't suffer FOR their art - how can one suffer from such a source of joy? The suffering is caused by indifference.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Britney Spears Meets the Terminator
All Dialogue Guaranteed.

Britney: I haven't had a boy in a really long time ... just a kiss, man.
Just a kiss would be nice.
Terminator: I am unable to comply.

Britney: I know it sounds cliche and cheesy, but I really believe that
if it's meant to be, it's meant to be.
Terminator: No sign of brain trauma.

Terminator: Take off your clothes.
Britney: He's the cutest, hottest thing in the world -- wooh! He's such a
bad boy.

Britney: Where I come from, the woman is the homemaker, and that's how I
was brought up -- you cook for your kids.
Terminator: You are terminated.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

No artist lives to know the true value of his or her work. Who reads the once famous poetic "masterpieces" of Stephen Vincent Benet now? Yet other poets of his time who lived & died in relative obscurity are remembered, enjoyed & studied. Artists can only seek the true value of the creativity & ideals in themselves, & not count on public applause; but can insist that value be mirrored in some way by the people the artist knows & trusts. Otherwise, the artist exists, like one in abject poverty, in a living death, without "bread or Torah.' Without food or hope.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Writers of fiction are often stay-at-homes. The writing is hard work. But fiction can come from pure imagination & fantasy., building a world. I'm not especially talented in that respect. I have to go out, observe, listen, witness, eavesdrop. Even be invisible if I can. My art comes from within, the content usually from without. This is why poets & The Fourth Estate are fond of each other. For millennia prior to the invention of the printing press, we had the same job. The modern novel happened in the 18th Century. Objectivity in journalism is even more recent.

It's not about talk, talk, talk. It's about write, write, write. Writing is not talking. The only way to show respect for a writer is to read the writing. If you don't read it, the writer might look for ways to make you read it. What changed in me, slowly, over the past few years was that I began respecting myself as an artist, at last. & I had so much work to to do, dragging over twenty years of writing & ideas, none of it "collected" much less "selected," sorted. Other concepts had followed the "Boardwalk," assemblage & been put aside. Experimental work had been put aside. 100 short essays had been written, published in the newspaper, & put aside. WFMU, as great an experience as it was, had grown up, expanded & gone off in a direction I wasn't up to following because my literary work & music knowledge hadn't kept up. I couldn't get a clear reflection of myself as a poet / performer. A few people who bullshitted me had to go. People who disrespected or were indifferent to my art had to become engaged with it in some way or other - I could not afford hiding it for the convenience & comfort of those who refused to deal with it. Most unsettling of all, I know I have to protect my art - try at least - from having it all tossed in the paper recycle bin when I die. Which means I have to get it all out of New Jersey & into a university archive next to some poets with whom I've shared a kinship of purpose over the years. It's a world & work & art I created without the endorsement of a single blood relative, but with the support of another small "family" of friends & allies.

The Pier, a webzine

Friday, July 11, 2003

For Madeline, a Great Dane

St. Maximos the Confessor says:
Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation; by his very nature he is bound up with the whole of the universe... In his way to union with God, man in no way leaves creatures aside, but gathers together in his love the whole cosmos disordered by sin, that it may be transfigured by grace.

St. John of Kronstadt says:
"All things are near to God." says the Russian proverb. Truly everything is near: all spiritual, and sentient creatures, the Angels, the souls of the departed, all living men, all animals, all material worlds. The Spirit of God passes through all things, a reasoning pure, most refined Spirit, dwelling in every believing, pious soul. "The wild beasts of the field are in my sight (Psalm 1:11)," says He. "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20)." As an infinite Spirit, to God nothing is far away, but all things are in Him. All things live and exist in Him.

St. Basil the Great says:
The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof.
O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us.

May we realize that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life even as we, and serve Thee better in their place than we in ours.

For those, O Lord, the humble beasts, that bear with us the burden and heat of day, and offer their guileless lives for the well-being of mankind; and for the wild creatures, whom Thou hast made wise, strong, and beautiful, we supplicate for them Thy great tenderness of heart, for Thou hast promised to save both man and beast, and great is Thy loving kindness, O Master, Saviour of the world.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

In love, I need to dream lovers' dreams.
In love, I need to be near my lover.
In love, I need to physically touch & be touched by my lover.
If these needs are not met, then I cannot be in love,
for my love, which is precious, goes unrequited.
& unrequited love is very foolish,
for I may then miss having the requited love I need.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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