In dark cold waves

Church at night

Have you ever had a dream,
That you were all alone?
Have you lived with someone handsome,
With a heart like a cold stone?
Have you drowned in deep, cold rivers,
And been lost in shadowed caves?
Have you lived with too much fusion,
Till you drowned in ghostly waves?
The waves run down the sea shore,
Then up they come once more.
The tide turns and life alters
Deep on that ocean floor.
You were so beautiful and silent,
Like a sword without its sheath.
I should have let you take me,
The way you took away my breath.

So you can count, then

Waiter, there’s a fly in my eye.
Sorry,sir.I  thought it was dead.It must have flown out of the soup.
What was it doing in the soup?
Looked like the butterfly to me.
I’ll have  stroke if I stay here.
I promise not to touch you ,sir.
I might go mad
Don’t worry.We’re all mad here.
How do you know?
I have a Ph.D and I work as a waiter.
But was it in psychology?
No,it was field theory.
Who needs a theory about fields?
That’s just what I thought.
Yet you managed to write a thesis?
Yes,it’s not hard to write with a pen and paper.
Maybe you don’t understand me.
Let’s visit a field and find out
Find what the fly is doing?
It’s gone
What a shame.I planned to take it home with me.How about you?
I never take flies home with me.
Does your wife object?
She doesn’t like them either.
That makes two of you.
So you can count, then
Thank you so much,uno,duo,tres,quattore,qinque,sex
Are you sure it’s sex?
I know it’s septem after
A  long time after for some
Are you one?
No,I am 35.
Thank God.I don’t want children here.
People go to  the hospital for that
Are they free?
No,it’s all private now except for the sex.
What do you mean?
They watch you make love in case you do it wrong.
What is wrong?
You sound like Pontius Pilate
That’s an unusual name.Is he in a Soap?
The greatest of them all.
Sez who?
I’m tired of talking
Well, what else can we do?



The fretting waves cry out with love’s demand

Underneath the shallow pools lies sand
Where shells are  fractured by the ocean’s blows
We  soon  learn what  being alive demands

To bare feet on sunny days beckoned
The warm wet trickles in between the toes
Underneath the shallow pools lies sand

In whose sums is our living reckoned?
Calculation, not so bleak it shows
We learn by pain, true living makes demands

God allows the  abacus unchained
To sum us up as if we are unknown
Underneath the  pools,  are these his hands?

Who will be allowed and who detained?
Like refugees we come to love alone
We try  to be alive, despite the pain

Our hearts are fragile shells, not heavy stones
We, soft flesh enraptured by framed bones.
Darkly on the  beach we humans stand
The fretting waves cry out with love’s demand

Birth and death and joy and pain

Living life in all its fierceness,
Birth and death and joy and pain
We struggle on our unknown journey,
Sometimes lost and found again.

We are indeed like lambs to slaughter
Death will be our final goal.
But while we live, let us live bravely.
Let us not destroy our souls.

Climbing in the hills and moorlands
In the heather, children play.
The sun half blinds me with its light
Yet, still, I see the given way.

I received a call to climb.
These hills are my essential home.
My vocation is to dwell here
While in the silence,mind  may roam.

Noise in Cities is destructive.
Though nature’s fierce, she’s also true.
Struggling on life’s craggy slopes
I offer up my words to you.

What an undertaking,  how he’d laugh……

What an undertaking, what a drug
Better even than a cup of tea
To write 8,000 posts upon my blog

I did not know for I began in fog
I’d write all this stuff on here for free
What an undertaking, what a drug

9  years when my loved one suffered, dragged.
The final months were almost agony
So I wrote 8,000 posts upon my blog

Sometimes I felt  his doctors should be flogged
It is our   careless ,sick society
What an undertaking.I need drugs

If I meet a new man, is that  luck,
Or shall I pack my bags and screaming flee?
I prefer to  write new posts here on my blog

I paid the undertaker  their huge fee
I brought the ashes home, where still they be.
What an undertaking,  how he’d laugh……
I  found my way through  travails on  this blog

Levinas, Don Quixote and the hunger of the other man


Quote from the above article

Like many Jews over the centuries, I am fasting to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Now that I’m in middle of the fast, I’m having a hard time distracting myself from my hunger.  In the midst of being enthralled with my hunger, an academic memory came to my rescue.   I remember how the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, in apposition to the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, argued that it’s not about my death and suffering (as Heidegger would say (in translation) my “being-towards-death”), it’s about the death and the suffering of the other.  Echoing this, I thought: perhaps Levinas is right, it’s not about my hunger; it’s about the hunger of the other.

Strangely enough, Levinas writes about the “hunger of the other man” in relation to Don Quixote (a comic figure which has appeared quite often in Schlemiel in Theory).  In 1975 and 1976, Levinas gave a course at the Sorbonne. His course notes are included in the book God, Death, and Time (translated by Bettina Bergo).   On his February 13th 1976 lecture, Levinas addresses Don Quixote and the “hunger of the other man.”  This talk, to my mind, gives us at least one angle to understand Levinas’s approach to humor.

Let me sketch it out.

Before making his reading of Don Quixote, Levinas prefaces with a meditation on the relation of thought to the world. He writes: “thought contains the world or is correlative with it”(167).  He notes that by “correlative” he means that it comes “prior to” the world.  In this spirit, Levinas argues that thought “disqualifies” anything that would be “disproportionate to the world.”  He provides two adjectives to describe things that would be disqualified: “all thought said to be ‘romantic’ or ‘theological’ in its inception.”

“Disqualified” thought, argues Levinas, is not equated with the world (which thought contains); it is equated with what is to come.  It is, for this reason, equated with “a question” and “hope.”  Levinas goes on to say that “God” is also included as something which is “disproportionate” with thought and the world.   To be sure, God, hope, and the question are deemed to be “outside” thought and, for that reason, outside the world.

Writing of this, Levinas wonders how much we can be “affected by what is not equal to the world, how one can affected by what can be neither apprehended nor comprehended”(167).  In other words, how much can we be affected by that which is disqualified by thought?

Following this question, Levinas launches into a discussion about the disenchantment of the world.  He addresses this, like Martin Heidegger or the sociologist Max Weber, from the angle of technology.  Unlike them, Levinas sees the disenchantment fostered by technology as good.  Here, however, he notes that although it is good, technology “does not shelter us from all mystification”(168).  Now “there remains the obsession with ideology, by which men delude each other and are deluded.”  And, says Levinas, even “sober knowledge…is not exempt from ideology.”

Everything, even knowledge, is still threatened by mystification.  Levinas finds the source in what he calls “amphibology”: “technology cannot shelter us from the amphibology that lies within all appearing, that is, from the possible appearance coiled at the bottom of all the appearing being.”

Benjamin Hutchens explains that amphibology is the “confusion between what something is and the concept that enables what it is to be known.”  This, says Hutchens, leads to a “kind of ambiguity.”  John Llewelyn cites Martin Heidegger’s notion of Being – in his claim that “language is the house of Being” – as an example of “amphibology.”  Being is ambiguous and this ambiguity troubles Levinas as he sees it as the source of what he calls “bewitchment.”  And, as Llewlyn suggests, this ambiguity goes along with the ambiguity of language.  Perhaps this implies (and may even be a jab at deconstruction) that one can easily become enchanted with the play of words and language and this may distract us from the other.

What Levinas seems to be saying here is that what threatens the project of demystification most is the embrace of ambiguity as such and this kind of ambiguity is associated with how things show themselves or appear.  Levinas notes that the basis of “man’s persistent fear of allowing himself to be bewitched” is “amphibology.”

And, strangely enough, the writer who best illustrates amphibology and the attending fear of being “bewitched” (and “allowing” oneself to be bewitched) is Cervantes in his book Don Quixote.  In fact, Levinas says that “bewitchment” is the book’s “principle theme.”  Levinas finds this to be most pronounced in chapter 46.  Hinting at his own phenomenology of the face, Levinas calls Don Quixote the “Knight with a Sad Face” and points out that “he lets himself be bewitched, loses his understanding, and assures everyone that the world and he himself are the victims of bewitchment.”

I must be  of gigantic self-conceit

Since I became equipped for  sun and heat
I have two parasols and two white chairs
The rain plays on the walls in rhythmic beats

My wooden table  looks exactly right
I have a cat which likes to sleep on there
Since I became equipped for  sun and heat

I must be  of gigantic self-conceit
I assumed the Lord would answer prayers
The rain plays on the walls in rhythmic beats

And am I also guilty of deceit
To invite youths to step inside my lair?
Since  it is  equipped  for  sun and heat

In the end , our strivings bring defeat
We are  more like  leaves blown in the air
The rain plays on the walls in rhythmic beats

We must learn quite soon, life is not fair
And what is God that  he should even care?
Since I became equipped for  sun and heat
The rain plays on the walls in rhythmic beats