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Model the emotions

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — if you don’t like most poetry, try this ]

While I’ve been confined to bed, my poetry has been moving towards the topics I write about here on Zenpundit — and here I want to present one such poem, clarifying my view of the importance of emotion:

Model the emotions, and aha!

Model the emotions, map them against a globe,
color here rage, here despair, here
indifference. Color the subtleties,
the overlaps, undercurrents.
Note the sectarian passions,
pilgrims sweeping towards Karbala
for Arba’een, for whom
every day is ‘Ashura and every land is Karbala.

Color their thirst for martyrdom,
the sparks of attacking Sunnis,
get down to the gritty level where you model
explosions and bullets themselves,
the broken limbs of children:
model the emotions, you have the world.

Pinging Madhu?

Mourning the lost Ka’aba

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

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As sea levels rise, so also..

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I am truly sorry to say this, but as
the globe warms, so warms the cube..

A heatwave emanating from a black stone
sweeps the desert:
will hit and kill pilgrims, is
already hitting and killing handfulls
among the millions of pilgrims
as they approach the stone,
but there will be –
I am truly sorry to say this,
may God forfend it —
there will be disasters at the stone,
hundreds, thousands dead of sheer heat exhaustion,
and the government will order
stricter controls on pilgrims,
that they be in best health,
physician verified,
that they carry much water
against dehydration,
wishing the sun itself were other
than it is, under the mercy,
where no legislation can forestall it,
attempting traffic control
against a myridad photons, light
in the niche for lights.

Pilgrimage is compulsory, thus
after the city has been shut down,
the last strays and hiders
pried from their places by special police,
some few from around the gasping
globe still will strive
with devotion
to make their way toward Mecca
and the cube on the globe,
the black stone,
some, after the last police have withdrawn,
still arriving, circling the stone,
holding tight to the thought that Ali
was born within the cube,
athirst with devotion, with dehydration
ablaze, pressing in to die
where Ali was born,
and one, one shall be the last to die there.

I grieve for that last, now,
some few decades ahead of the obvious,
to which we are oblivious —
the oncoming, blasphemous, wave.

Heartless? What’s heart? Since when did that have anything to do with anything?

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — and to think I thought that little red heart was just an emoticon! ]
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The Washington Post, supposedly a paper which takes political matters seriously, featured this caption in its email to me today:

Is this heart thing something to be taken seriously? Just on occasion, as with the impact of cancelling DACA on people who were, at least recently, children? Or in matters of economics, too? And the deployment, threat and use of nuclear weapons? In diplomacy?

I mean, the number of situations in which this somewhat vague “heart” entity might be invoked and prioritized is hard to estimate. What was it Pascal said?

The heart has reasons reason knows not of..

That in itself is a somewhat confusing statement. Is it a paradox?

Ah well, I’ll retire to poetry: poets, after all, think themselves the “unacknowledged legislators of the world” — and as one of them legislated not so very long ago:

My heart rouses
          thinking to bring you news
                    of something
that concerns you
          and concerns many men. Look at
                    what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in
          despised poems.
                    It is difficult
to get the news from poems
          yet men die miserably every day
                    for lack
of what is found there.

What is found there? This heart thing, perhaps? Heart’s the second word in that poetry bit — it could be worth a try.

Hunger, in the closing lines of a poem

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — of the space race and children unborn, hungry ]
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Here are the closing lines of the poem, The Earth is a Satellite of the Moon, by Leonel Rugama:

The children of the people of Acahaulinca, because of hunger,
are not born
they hunger to be born, only to die of hunger.
Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the moon.

I find these lines quite striking.

Rugama’s moon is a bleak moon, but that’s a function of Rugama’s comparison of the cost of moon shots with the fate of generations hungry in Acahaulinca, wherever that is. I can point you to the moon, though — with the mandatory zen caution.

Ouroboros, btw.

Boustrophedon reference, plus Orpheus

Friday, September 1st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — party time! — i have a strange sense of party, oxen invited ]
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I’m delighted to note a Boustrophedon reference. first by a poet, naturally, Ange Mlinko, in her poem:

A levitating anvil. Omen of seagull
Blown inland. Ranch gate said riverstyx,
but it was the woodland that looked lethal:

no place to put down your foot. Bucolics
demand boustrophedon.

— then in the New Yorker cmmentary by Dan Chiasson:

Art imitates life imitating art: “boustrophedon” describes the path that a plow takes as it moves back and forth in a field, the same serpentine path followed by rivers and by classical manuscripts that alternate between left-right and right-left lines of text. Soon, our contemporary Eurydice in the wrong footwear makes the momentous decision to “shed her red wedge / with its Mary Jane band.” Orpheus, who knows how the story ends, steps in to mansplain her error.

Boustrophedon — plus Orpheus!

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You remember how obsessed I am with boustrophedon?

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Yes indeed, something to watch out for.


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