Posts by jvr

poet thinker writer teacher human being

Some Months at a glance

Septem, Octo, Novem, Decem. Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten in Latin. The last three letters forming the final syllable of all month names is -ber. Yes, Septem ber, Octo ber, Novem ber, Decem ber.

Yes, October is consistent with September, November and December.

So, there! All you Octemberists can stop it now.

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Feminology 101

I’m with Virginia Woolf, the history of woman’s literature is the history of “Anonymous,” the eponym for women everywhere, every-when.

Read again whenever you read anything ascribed to Anonymous.

Cross Genre, Cross Dressing? [Short Fiction]

Below is from among the papers found in a briefcase without identification, without any evidence by which we could ascribe authorship–the writer remains unknown. Perhaps we will find out who he or she is if we publish this, one of the more interesting pieces found among the papers in the briefcase, leather, brown, a bit worn, old, perhaps not treated or taken care of as others might their leather shoes or jackets or even other cases of other men or women; but then cases like these often get the lesser of attention when a person is inclined to attend to anything they own that is made of leather. The briefcase was found by a colleague of mine on a park bench in the park near our office where we publish our literary review, THE OCTEMBER REVUE. I am the Publishing and Contributing Editor of this review, an on-line literary review that we have published monthly while maintaining a daily blog that also publishes short fiction, flash fiction, short essays, fictional essays, whatever have we in the matter and manner of crossing boundaries, perhaps the way that some might cross dressing, one’s dress a matter genre, no?

 

[UNTITLED]

Faith has its uses, I’ve been told. I have had occasion to be in agreement, others to be in disagreement, flip-flopping, as we say, from one to the other, another game of hop-scotch played with what? Is it the Truth that I am playing hop-scorchers with . . . something else? What else is there to say about this faith in our politics because I am losing that fast? I use to think that the genius of America was for politics, but maybe I should have said government. They are not one and the same thing, are they? Of course they are not. What is it about these things we think that we frame as matters of course–are they as self-evident as we imagine them to be? Do not take heed from this and run away with your increasing doubt . . . imagination is quite necessary for the rational mind, for any pursuit of Truth, any scientific investigation which is a reference the method and not what we have restricted sense we assign to the word ‘science.’

I have no faith in our politics–I am not certain what kind of faith I have in God. I do have faith in The Constitution, and I am fairly religious about that, and that religiosity is bifurcated: I am religious in the traditional sense which rules our contemporary notions about how religion is and what expectations we are to have about how it has existed and what role it has played in our civilization and other civilizations; that is, what being religious means and how it functions in behavior, even its use in the connotations we apply to attitudes and behavior apart form what might strictly be called religious; and religious in the sense captured by its etymology, which is from the Latin re-legere, or to relink, that is, to reconnect, and with what? You do ask, I know. Reconnect with the One, the True, the Origin . . . and that is our Constitution.

American is an idea not an ethnicity, which is part of our success, I have a prejudice in believing.  But faith of this kind for our politics, or should I say, our politicking, no!. I have no faith for human intelligence, either, at least in general, and more specifically, for our contemporaneity. I remember many of my Italian student-visa friends from university, and the most frequent pejorative question asked was not Why are Americans so under-educated, under-read? No. But, Why are American liberals so stupid? And that I saw and continue to see. Conservatives are always going to be as conservatives are, have been, yes, will be . . . but it is the horror of how insipid America Liberalism was and has remained that is one of the first causes in how totalitarian our bourgeois capitalism has become.

We’re baboons. Just look at human history; just look at our current events. Can you imagine that we are not Idiots, all, most, still too, too many if not all or most.

Anonymous

Dark Room, Dark Box, Through a Glass? [short fiction]

From the papers found on the desk of Thomas Sarebbononato by his nephew a week or more after the former’s funeral during a summer when a lot of rain fell.

[a fragment]

The past is not past, interrogative or declarative? Yet–by now or then? Up until what? No! Moreover–of course! As a further matter (and we do remember that further and farther are not synonyms). The present is not present–it is always something more, else, another and another creeping in the petty tick-tock of conventional clocks. Digital clocks do not tick.

Is the future a tabula rasa? I ask. I do. It is relevant here. it is important elsewhere. What will be will be is indicative. It is neither conditional nor subjunctive. Mood is one thing, tense quite another–tense, though, has never been time. No, we must not confuse time with tense or tense with time, and I am speaking of the three orders of time, or the ordering of time we do out of vanity. Yes, vanity I think I recall having read that Einstein had said. More matters of course–yes, the three orders of time, this past, this present and tis future, all of them, they do not exist except as states of mind. Now if past were really past and future really future, neither one of them would be “this,” but could only be “that.” That past; that future–but then this here consideration. See the difficulties?

The three firmest yokes of our oxen-like existence? We are oxen when we are not baboons when we are not the highest ape. Yet, the greatest yoke ever put on humankind . . . what was it? Marriage or the twenty-four hour clock? Ah! Flying in the face of convention–a convention is just as often an unwanted finger up the ass. Conventional people are all of them proctologists. The clock with minute hands, then the one with second hands . . . have you ever glimpsed those digital clocks counting 100,000ths of a second? Nauseating, aren’t they? Yes? No? Perhaps? How are we not buried by this infinite regression as we imagine noting infinite progression . . . can you actually subdivide infinitely?

Is Time the moving arrow? The moving arrow? Not ‘a?’ If so, then shot from where? Or is it the tunnel we move through–and we do move through tunnels everywhere. What is passing in our hours? Yes, time flying by. Time is something we pass through, like shit through our intestines? Life a great beast and we the waste of its digestion. What slows it down? What speeds it up? Time is a multiple of relatives–not what you might think.

Can time be frozen? Except in metaphor? Much the way Music was for Goethe in Architecture, yes, music frozen in stone. Does photography freeze time? Can it, except in the ways we imagine? To imagine or not to imagine–what are we without this imagination, I hope not yet dead. To see what we see demands there be light–yes, let there be light! Light by which I can see what there is to be seen . . . all now the scene as it has been put or placed.

Photography? Light graphics; light etchings; images etched by light, not into light, yes, by. Literalness here helps us to reimagine photography. The fact that all vision is dependent on light, that all color is a matter of optics–what do we see when we see and the seeing is what we know when we understand; to stand under, no? Yes, post to lintel; architecture again, living architecture, the fundamentals. Metaphor once more. All of it is, you know, metaphor–this thing language–all of it is metaphor on metaphor extended and extended.

There is no color in the dark. Without light, everything is black. Etymology is not the first and the last of meaning, of what we ascribe to our semantic comprehension–no! But it does help. Words never escape the effects of their history anymore than nations or a people or a person does, right? There is always residue in a word of all former meanings and uses. We are heaped by residue following residue.

Digital photography has no more presentness about it than film photography. Barthes is wrong about photography, although he does not discuss digital photography when he wrote what he had a written about photography–or his interpreters have been wrong. But then it remains a puzzle to me how much American semi-literacy has been fostered by its contact with French Post Structuralism? Am I too harsh?

Ah! The lucidity comes across more clearly now. Still, though, the camera is dark within, much as memory is dark until we shed light–the apertures of mind in re-memory and that of the dark box in etching film with light. The light in memory is the light in film, the light of the stage, all of it everywhere, my life is a theater. How could what I remember not be this, theatricality presented with a certain lucidity?

I am, therefore, I think. Please! No referrals to Descartes. I have flipped the Cartesian syllogism–that is obvious enough. Why do I imagine that my readers will miss the point and draw a semi-literate conclusion–because I do condescend from time to time, and I no longer have faith that my culture has enough faith in literacy to maintain it, support it, teach it, train it, foster it . . . what have we in words to say what words no longer bear from us, respect.

Digital has no more presentness than an old polaroid might have had when it was taken–how it is immediate as we want to mean when we say, immediate–but immediate what? Immediately is always a future time realization.

Polaroids are no more present with their implied presentness than the film I shoot today and have developed today after having shot it.

The camera is not lucid. It is dark and remains dark. It will always be the dark box–digital has removed the dark box, the chamber within which it all happens. Digital has side-stepped all relations with Camera obscura.

This light etching–yes, graphic, is it not? But what of digital in this Photo Graphy? Can I ignore what happens with digital photographing? I can do whatever I want in writing–but my saying something does not make it so. I am the final authority over this text, no–yes! So then, does digital etch by light, with light as traditional pre-digital photography did? What is it that happens when I take a digital photo? I am really not sure. I know what happens to the film I still shoot–and they are different, will remain different, the sense? that is, the feel? Even when prints are made you can tell–film re-presents skin more naturally, we have said.

Yes, camera obscura, always.

My AE-1 in hand, manually focussed with black and white film. Lucidity is a state of mind. What means this? Pictures on a computer screen; photos printed on paper and in hand examined, looked at, pawed over, what then happens in the handling that does not by right clicking a mouse? This question is not incidental, is not irrelevant–relevancy is often debated without thinking, so therefore is not debated but played with as in a ping pong match of slogans and received ideas.

I wish I could say what it is or was that I feel or felt for photography, my photography, to shoot or not to shoot was my most pressing question dozens of times a day, day in and day in again for years. What is it we measure by these means we create to help us maintain our delusions about Time . . . Past, Present and Future? I would make scoffing sounds at this point, but you cannot hear me except in the way we see, say and hear with and by words on a page. Only this is not a page, now, is it? That diction dates me, doesn’t it?

 

The Monologic Imagination, Again [short fiction]

A Scene Description of an Untitled Play Never Finished; a Fragment without Explanatory Notes Found in a Spiral Notebook Left on One of the Benches on the Platform of the Manhattan Bound side of the 20th Avenue station of the West End BMT D Line around 2 o’clock in  the Afternoon of a Suddenly very warm May Day in the Year 2018 and after many Unseasonably Cool Days Passing, thus Making Most People Think that Spring would never Arrive.

 

THE MONOLOGIC IMAGINATION, ONCE MORE

SCENE One

Scene: A room, sparsely furnished. A desk and chair facing a window upstage exposed by open curtains. It is afternoon sometime in a future always near. It is raining.

A mansitting at the desk looking out the window onto concentric circles forming and reverberating on the surface of the puddles two-stories below. The puddles have accumulated here and there along the paths that wind in a snake between the lawns mis-kept on purpose by the sought-after incompetence of the maintenance workers hired by the landlord’s managers who consciously or unconsciously impose the will of the landlords.

The landlords remain invisible to the tenants and many of the managing agents. They have little or nothing in common with the residents. They do bear an oblique resemblance in their manners with many Wall Street CEOs, at least insofar as the residents are concerned, that is, by the contempt they have for those their greed allows them to condescend to, these owners of the building complex where our man lives. This notion is a certainty in the imaginations of the residents, or so the owners think and say to those they know as an attempt to deflect bigotry but remaining a protestation too much. 

As far as anyone concerned for minor truths could find, if he would only open his eyes, as so many who do not question what others in their imaginations have concluded for the landlords . . . yes, if he would only open his ears, but what then is gained by opening one’s eyes and ears in a manner dictated by some very special or specified conventions?

Our man has special concerns for the capital ‘T’ version, Truth. Any other anonymous man would say, as our man sitting at his desk then might say, “Truth does not meet in a one-to-one correspondence with the received ideas of a society. Truth and what is true are often at variance, no?”

What then does this mean or say-at, by intent or by accident? This society is now no different than any other has ever been, or that any other is now, or then might be in any future, there are universals, there are generalities, there is a human nature and thus a political nature, irrespective of what too many idiot Americans conclude from mis-reading (or dis-reading) in their second, their or fourth hand reading of French Post Structuralist thought, if the successive regurgitations of some other ejaculatiobns could be called thinking?

What the landlords are is of little factual concern for those intent on playing hop-scotch with the Truth, or anyone so formed or framed by contemporary received ideas, the propaganda disseminated, as our writer might think, by our media, meant to keep power and money in the shadows, as well as maintaining marketed images of people and peoples to suit the interests of Order for the sake of order kept in line with the demands of Money and Power, never the People, always now functioning as a Public, the latter always the people in service of the State for which it always stands in support of Power and Money . . . landlords are landlords are landlords, especially the kind you meet in New York, most of the worst kind of landlords.

He sometimes let’s himself imagine what murdering them would be like, the landlords of his building complex, understanding that the Good of any society are those content to dream what the evil ones actually practice. No? Not very Christian, I know, and I am talking metaphysically, not the everyday Christian who is not in tune with Christ.

He sits watching the rain drops dropping in the puddles outlining the path. He seems intent on continuing his gaze, watching, looking, at least until he feels the spark to write. He does for a very brief moment think about having walked the other day in the sunshine on the path outside his window below; yes, on the path to the laundry with his laundry cart full to the brim. He would not go to the laundry on this day; if he were to need clothes to wear, he would dress for the rain and go buy the clothes he needed rather than wheel his laundry cart full in the pouring rain.

The man begins to type on his laptop on his desk facing the window with the curtains opened. He is writing in his blog. It does not matter what political affiliation he has in this America. He writes a political blog for anyone who understands but most especially for those who never will.

The window the man is looking out of onto the rain is upstage. The curtains of the window are parallel with the curtains of the proscenium. There is nothing down stage, there are no other objects on stage–the property is scarce, sparse is what it is. There are no other suggestions of a room or an apartment. There are only these curtains, this window, this desk, its accompanying chair and the man with his laptop. That is all. One must never allow oneself completely to suspend disbelief, yet one must never persist in concluding that this is only a play.

 

He

[typing; speaking out loud as he does]

Only in America can the People be co-opted into serving a propaganda function for the State through social media while being lead to believe that they are furthering democracy in their continued dependence on social media for most of what they think they need to think, most of what they imagine they should imagine, too much of what they have habituated, addictively, as necessary for connecting to other people, thus what each of them needs to be complete.

American pluralism is where being American now means the people have lithified, where they have become a monolith of the most massive proportions. Pluralism here is a brand of politics seriously devoted to praying before the icons of our mass media, in imitatio de stelle. And we do look to our media icons to pray to devotionally; what then is TV than pseudo-live-motion saints, chapels in a box with an aerial tuner.

There is a ritual life in our entertainment world aligned secularly, one we gratefully participate in. True enough, for sure; but then there is often nothing more difficult to see than the truth. The media president is no different in this way; he has been one thing every four years–perhaps we believe she will differ?

President Obama is as much a media president as any other, if not more so than any other, including Reagan. But what about the media man and the media woman, the media American; the media person complete with media personhood, a media sense of self, a media informed sense of duty of obligation of freedom of liberty of pedagogy of voting behavior of ethical conduct et cetera . . . television has been ruling our minds, almost as near to how people feared the medium in the fifties . . . we do take too many history and political lessons from Hollywood, as heinously complicit in the degradation of the American people as a public as any media institution. Flip the coin of greed and manipulation and see the faces and tails of Hollywood and Wall Street; other denominational coins will reveal the White House, Capitol Hill, Major League Sports, Oil, and so on.

TV evangelists have always bugged the American liberal establishment because the former are simply more overt forms of what the latter is politcally, secularly. Obama is none other than a new Billy Graham of the contemporary secular liberal establishment. True enough, we might know if . . . ; enough truth, though, we wonder in exactly that way doubt has become wisdom.

And this is for mass media, particularly the designs and the in-effects of TV, but now then what of social media, now come into its own . . . if Kennedy was the first TV President, then the Donald is the first Social Media President, as scary as that might be, and I cannot stand too many of those who have fallen in love with the antics of dismissing critique as a way of not being real or as an inability to cope with the painful president, as if everything has always been exactly as it is today, just those of us without historical consciousness, or the correct social and historical consciousness, have misread this heinous present. I no more believe in a Golden Age any more than I think that Now is the only time, any more than I imagine that there is a Golden Age in our future, any more than  I do in any other way of thinking about time, history, its progression or regression or  . . . time and history are not rivers asI have read somewhere recently . . . history as time is an ocean.