this mac-book is new today.
it resembles Legion.
its name is (hereby)
Mephistopheles.

Fisto, for short.

trouble mousing around. bailing.

Introduction
(Lines 1—40)

God (as I choose to call my higher power)
Grant me an audience for half an hour
And I will, if I can, do all the rest.
My subject is the story I know best;
I mean my own. It starts in a motel,
The night of my divorce. I felt like Hell.

Think of a pilot, learning how to fly,
Who, though he should know better, flies too high,
Then falls in the Atlantic and is drowned.
His body and the plane are never found.
There’s something like our marriage in that story,
The way it shoots to misery from glory.
The similarity might not be strong,
But, as to suffering, I’m never wrong:
Divorce is brutal. Trust me when I say
I’d rather be that pilot any day.

Lisa, in a voice that tore my heart,
Had told me, “From now on, we’ll live apart.”
I’ll keep your stuff till you’ve got your new place.
The First Street house is mine. I want my space.”
And so, a stranger in my own home town,
I left my room to have a look around.

Across the street, a Big Red liquor store
And Waffle House. A porno shop next door.
“The restaurant then. For now, I’ll do what’s right.
I’ve got no strength for sex and drugs tonight.”
The waitress, call her Ruby, perked me up.
I never saw the bottom of my cup.
A refill and a smile, and off she’d glide;
She wore her sixty years with grace and pride.

“Why look upon myself and curse my fate:
I couldn’t stand to only serve and wait.
I’ll bet that woman’s life is harder still
Than mine, by far. And, if I only will,
I could throw all my misery away
And love my life the way it is today!”

If that was true—and I don’t think it was—
I proved myself an awful fool, because
For years I didn’t love my life at all.
The story starts with my decline and fall.

These are the fathers of Joseph the Carpenter:
Abraham, Isaac, and so on. Why bother?
None of it’s relevant genealogically
touching on Jesus if Joe’s not his father.

“Make straight the way for a voice in the wilderness!
Here comes The Branch! He’ll be King of the Jews!
I, John the Baptist, preach soteriology!
This is the end of the world! That’s good news!”

Verily, verily, Jesus of Nazareth
sat on a hill and he spoke from on high,
never once mentioning parthenogenisis,
reincarnation, or how he would die.

Andrew, Bartholomew, Matthew and Thaddeaus,
James son of Zebedee, John his dear brother,
Phillip and Thomas and James son of Alphaeus,
Simon called Peter, and Simon (the other)
followed him faithfully all over Galilee
hearing his parables all through the land.
“Why won’t he talk to us nonallegorically?
Sure, we can hear, but we don’t understand!”

Then in the city of Holy Jerusalem
Jesus’s enemy, Caiaphas, said
“How dare he speak to me authoritatively?
Infamy! Blasphemy! I want him dead!”

Treacherous wretchedness! Judas Iscariot
came to Gesthemane leading a mob;
tipped off the enemy osculatorily.
Jesus forgave him, of course; that’s his job.

Jesus was sentenced by Pliate the Governor;
tortured to death as he ranted and raved.
“God has forsaken me! Lama sabachthani!”
He is still with us. Repent and be saved.

Photo on 2014-07-12 at 10.42

Photo on 2014-07-12 at 10.47

here’s a pdf of marta flanagan’s
we are unitarian universalists flier.

i picked up a hardcopy version on sunday;
one of those 8{1\over2}\by11 folded-twice-
-the-short-way jobs you see in flier-racks
in all manner of waiting-room-like venues,
with three, what i’ll call, “panels”
on each side of a standard sheet:
the front “panel” has white letters
on a red background and the rest have
red letters on a white background;
the only non-typographical graphic
elements being three UU “chalice” icons.

sez “WELCOME” under the chalice on the front,
tipped at a jaunty 45^{\degrees} angle like the
“banner” and “foldover” cover-elements you see on
magazines. anyhow. i can get behind most of this
stuff. mostly without much embarrassment.

in this context.

i mean, well, look: *any* statement beginning
“we” immediately calls for… or, anyway, usually
brings forth in me… the question “who is this
‘we’, you’re talking about, there, anyhow?”, but
in this case “we” more-or-less obviously means,
“we UU’s”; score one for the flier.

“we believe”? well, one has longsince learned that
people hardly ever say interesting things about
their belief systems on cue. you’ll learn more
about their inner lives by asking ‘em about what
they love. but they’ll lie about that, too, usually.
ask ‘em what they *don’t* like and you can get some
pretty good accuracy pretty quick sometimes, though.

anyhow. (where was i?) the flier gets a pass here
again, for the same reason: i found this in the
front room of a church, for heck sake. people
actually do show up in this building wanting
to know exactly this, “what we believe”. some
of ‘em are shy to actually *ask*… i know *i*
would be, and i’ve more than hinted at one of
the reasons… so we do very well, in my opinion,
to offer suchlike fliers in plain sight.

but “we believe people should”
is something of a deal-breaker.

i’d rather not believe people “should” do *anything*.
whenever i find out one of ‘em thinks *i* should do
anything, that’s usually trouble for me and i don’t
like it. golden rule; game over.

i don’t say they *shouldn’t* spend their lives thinking
about better and better ways to push people around;
that would be hypocritical. but i damn well *wish*
they’d, you know, consider in the bowels of christ
that throwing-first-stones might be, i don’t know,
deeply fucking *wrong*. so, you know, just for me,
just for today, i’m not giving anything like full
assent to any “belief” with a “should” in it (until
more context is given; “if you want to learn any
advanced math, you should think about how equations
work” doesn’t give me much trouble, for example).

back to the document at hand.
“we believe people should be encouraged to think
for themselves.”
(but, i guess evidently, by using *our* courage
to do so.)

i’ve offered such encouragement *many* (many!)
times in my working life (and a little in
“real” life, too, i suppose). heck, i’ll
even urge anybody thinking they’d like to
try teaching to do the same.

the generous error.

strange loops indeed.

one song
two chords
three frets
four verses

one story
two versions
three gods
four horsemen

one people
two jews
three opinions
four gospels

one planet
two choices
three directions
four dimensions

in concerning that of which we cannot
speak
(2009), i posted what appears
maybe to’ve been a coinage of my own:
“quality comes from caring;
caring comes from suffering.”.
of course, the thought behind this
aphorism, such as it is, isn’t *at
all* new: “you have to suffer for
your art”, “no pain, no gain”, so
on. anyhow, ctowwcs has
four interesting links (and no
duds or outright dead-ends).
also sue v..
(her book’s almost ready
for release; check it out.)

then there’s wet snotty bawling,
(2009) wherein i posted the lyrics
“like all blues songs/this song’s
about/how much it hurts/to play
this song” (again, original to me
as far as i can tell and a pretty
sweet little lyric if i were any
judge though of course it’s not
for me to say).

here’s a record i learned about from
lisa (in the early lisa *era*…
[1983?]): david bromberg’s
suffer to sing the blues (1971).

happy birthday, american
independence. it sez here ol’
(doubting) tom jefferson said
somewhere “if a nation expects to
be ignorant and free, in a state
of civilization, it expects what
never was and never will be”.
but then. england expects that
every man will do his duty. nations
expect impossible things routinely,
i suppose.

uuce.net.
the schedule as of now… according to
my understanding as of now… is wrong;
i’ll *not* talk next week. but soon.
on “gospel exegesis” (as announced here).
or not.

some remarks on a talk there by me (9/2012).
thanks, rick!

“this next one’s a masterpiece”,
i’ll’ve said in introducing
the devil and mr. blake
(the words, not the tune…)

Luke 1–5: A Sestina
“Vlorbik”, 1997

Zechariah was a godly man;
Elizabeth, his wife, a worthy woman.
Gabriel, a messenger from God,
told them that she soon would bear a child,
and John, their son, would grow to baptize Jesus.
But Zechariah didn’t have much faith.

Then Gabriel told Mary full of faith
that even though she’d never known a man
she’d bear the Son of God, the baby Jesus:
“The Lord is with thee, oh most blessèd woman!”
And when, in Bethlehem, she’d borne this child
the hosts of Heaven sang in praise of God.

As Jesus grew up, wise and favored of God,
at twelve years old he went to teach the faith
to teachers in the Temple, though a child.
The Devil, when he’d grown to be a man,
tried tempting him, like any man or woman,
but found he had no power over Jesus.

In Nazareth, the people said that Jesus
could never be the chosen one of God.
But Jesus said, “Elijah met a woman,
who wasn’t Jewish, yet she had such faith
that God had chosen her to meet this man,
Elijah, who would resurrect her child.

You Nazarenes, who knew me as a child,
will not believe that I, your neighbor, Jesus,
might be more than an ordinary man.
And yet, I say to you, almighty God
would have you as his bride if you had faith,
but as it is, you’re like a fallen woman.”

In Capernaum, Jesus healed a woman
and Simon Peter, husband of her child,
decided he’d become a man of faith,
and fish for men with John and James and Jesus.
Then Jesus showed them by the grace of God
that sins can be forgiven by a man.

Envoi
“Everyone with faith,” said Our Lord Jesus,
“Is like a child of our Father, God,
and full of love for every woman and man.”

i was at an all-time peak of productivity
in verse-and-fiction at around this time
(and most of the best stuff went into the
ten page news
). somewhere in there i
figured i’d try a sestina.

here’s a great trick i stole from the masters:
steal from the masters. “my soul doth magnify
the lord” has been popular for centuries; you
can hardly go *wrong* with material like that.
another trick: pick easy end-words related to
the “theme”. two triples? (man-woman-child and
god-jesus-faith.) so much the better.

i remark now… as i could not have done then…
that the permutation-pattern found in sestinas
is vaguely reminiscent of my “Mister-Big-Pie-O”
construction permuting colors-of-the-rainbow
in such a way as to reveal an interesting
interplay of “algebra” and “geometry”
(so called… it’s only marks on paper,
folks).

anyway, once you’ve got an already-well-
-loved story to tell, mashing it up into
a simply-defined form using common-in-
-context vocabulary is simply a matter
of trying stuff out until something fits
(and doesn’t offend the ear too *damn*
badly). then keep going over and over
it until improvements stop suggesting
themselves. the whole thing took maybe
part of an afternoon; whoever keeps
spreading around this rumour that
sestinas are hard probably has
limericks or haiku in mind by way
of contrast.

here begins the exegesis of vlorbik (kv) kibrolv.
philosophy and other altered states of consciousness;
poring over one’s past porings-over-of-the-past with
joy and awe like i were some kind of a dick.

evangelical strip
Photo on 2014-07-01 at 12.35

(from the ten page news, number 16
[november 1997]. also from that issue…
and already posted to the net…: the
gospel according to matthew according to
vlorbik
and luke 1–5: a sestina.)

here’s a picture of sam arr.
there’s another one (way at the bottom)
here, along with a comment by
me that i intend to repost right here in a
moment (spoiler: long). ah. here’s the
best version i know.
anyhow, i’ve done a lot of (so-called)
“comical strips” with this character
and he usually just faces front and talks
as we see mr.~christ doing here.

so that’s *one* joke “explained”.
“there was things [...] he stretched…”
is of course by mr.~twain, but it
sure seemed to fill the bill here
so i gave the line to jesus. the
chapter-and-verse citations were
right when i checked them years ago;
i sure don’t vouch for them now.

no “resurrection”, you’ll notice.

enough for today.

[BEGIN QUOTED MATERIAL]
i too “wasted” school like dave
and his friends. but there were
always plenty of cool kids all
around me doing school-like stuff…
but cool!… in elementary years.
this was bloomington and we…
the kids i knew and loved…
were many of us “faculty brats”
like i was; i’m a child of IU
every bit as much as of bloom-
ington, particularly in these
early years. anyhow.

so i was way ahead in reading;
this became such a point of pride
for me that you could call it
a defining characteristic.
my whole theory of *academic* learning
is: books will replace your life with
something far better. deep literacy
is like mecca or the gohonson or something:
hold it in your heart and pray
without ceasing (find *something*
to read that induces that
“*this* is what matters” feeling
[that otherwise mostly comes only
from... but this is a PG rated blog]).

but back to schools. somebody said
something about, essentially,
communities of scholars. and *this*
is the heart of the matter where
“schools” as opposed to “learning”
is our topic. the neoliberal occupation
imposes the doctrine that the purpose
of all organizations is to make, some
big pile of money somewhere, grow.
while at the same time to make,
as many people as possible,
sit quietly and listen. ideally,
for example, one is a “communications”
company designed to get people
to try to debug deliberately-broken
software… i’m talking to you mister gates…
at their own expense with the help
of *as many incomptent*, first off
*robots*, but then layers-of-dim-workers,
as can be made to pay or to get
people to quit trying to solve
their problem (while still of course
paying in; the problem with
“contracts” being that the entity
living in real time with a body
cannot *get anything from*
a monster existing only in
men’s opinions and the
laws of the god-damn land;
whereas they can send goons
of ever-increasing scariness
and will you better believe it).

and schools must be made to
run the same way. or else.

so the communities of scholars
that formed so naturally back home…
and still do in lots and lots of places
i’m sure; the occupation is not yet
complete but the real america gets
harder and harder to find all the time…
are *damage* to management if
they can’t be made to visibly
*serve management’s goals*.
which are that everybody sit
quietly and listen of course.
this is the only job power wants to fund:
make ‘em listen to us peacefully so we
don’t have to get nasty.

you’ll never get anything else
from government schools.
read the bible for hecksake.
the “jewish” program is the
biblical program for the priests.
the biblical program for the
masses is frequent brutal asskickings.
that’s why there’s a book of kings
(actually several; samuel counts)
and that’s why when j-h wants
to punish the people he imposes
a census. why the cross…
a torture device… is the symbol
of a god-the-father religion
and “submission” is the name
of the other. if you want it done
right, well there’s nuns and rabbis.

more likely to value scholarship
than teachers carefully bred to
act as slaves of robots run by
moneysimple thirdraters.
dig in and hide if you’ve got
a good thing going.

end morning ramble. anybody still here?
i love you for it then you better believe it.
& oh how i love being me. thanks, u-school!

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