Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2012


after a trope by christina rossetti



many in aftertimes will say of me
that i was a wind in the chimes set free,
a trove of fear gone bad along the seams
a chest of ghosts, grease and dreams.
but you, you were the note in some refrain
that bent the trees, those lingering remains
of your one night kissing a boy to death.
then left by the road to die an end
cold torn. homeless.


Read Full Post »


about the poetry of Dick Allen,
it’s like a something you can’t quite put
your finger on because of the clutter in your office
or a tree that blocked your way on the way to work.
either way I wish I could enter that world more fully.
a world of events hinting that to go this way or that
might be best if only you could stop and listen.
but stopping isn’t really the point is it?


Read Full Post »


Since our institutions have become more important than the individuals whom they serve, we have, in deference to this inhumane system, been forced to suppress our shared humanity. Will we ever learn to put a stop to this runaway monster, before it grinds us to shreds in the gears of cruelty and greed?



Read Full Post »



disembarked with heavy
air and beset with
a quiet evening tide
to a world in nothing smaller
than this baby fist
not yet unclenched
round of the round
i search my belongings
but the toothbrush is gone
left at some lodging



Read Full Post »

Poems are the fictions we build out of our lives.

Read Full Post »


whisper silence to me
and then keep it up
i loved it so much
i drank it all up
you refused to refill
my cup of stone
it was not right you said
it was not alone
just only what it was
and so you left
left me alone


Read Full Post »


As I sat in zazen last night listening to my teacher describe his experiences growing up in a family that practiced meditation and mindfulness, my own growing up years were suddenly thrown into stark relief. I realized that I had grown up in a home beset by the constant threat of violence. And when I started to imitate the violence of my parents, as children will, my parents then used violence to try and suppress the violence that they themselves had taught me! Much of my adult life has been taken up with learning to live with the consequences of this violent early learning history. And in that moment of zazen that I have been speaking of, I realized that the thing I most try to avoid in my life is a sense of inadequacy, the sense that I am broken and that I am a creature that can only be confronted by violence, and that if there is a solution to any vexing problem in this world, then violence must be the answer, and must be the answer that people are approaching me with. I often assume that those whom I have not learned to trust are approaching me with violence in their hearts. The possibility, the very real and dependable possibility that non-violence might be a more effective solution was never taught to me, at least not in the realm of interpersonal relations. This was something I had to learn from other teachers, principally my psychotherapy supervisors and meditation teachers including my one and only al-anon sponsor of some years gone by. In the course of my professional career as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I have learned that my particular story is in fact quite common and I often stop to wonder: has the world gone completely mad?

Read Full Post »


Dialectics began in the west with Plato, at least as far as the written record is concerned. The classical Greek word dialectic refers to a debate or discussion in which multiple perspectives are presented. It is related to our word dialect, and captures the sense of verbal exchanges. Plato conceived of human experience dialectically. In a move that inspired the 18th century writer Immanuel Kant, Plato depicts Socrates, the first anti hero of the western tradition, examining classical Greek pretensions to knowledge as represented by a series of discussants, some portrayed as wise and sophisticated, some as rascals or buffoons. Through dialectic Socrates unpacks the implications of his interlocutors’ ideas of knowledge and demonstrates their inadequacy. With these discussions, Plato examines what must logically be true if our experience of knowledge is to be more than just a contingent illusion. The most famous account of knowledge is the myth of the cave and the divided line. These parallel metaphors describe Plato’s notion of how we may, through dialectic, escape the cave of mere opinion and rise to the eternal light of truth and knowledge. The divided line assures us that knowledge and opinion, though related, are distinct and separable. These metaphors have been redescribed many times throughout the course of western history as a series of footnotes to Plato’s original account. We have the dialectic of nature vs. society (Hobbes), cognition vs. passion (Hume), receptivity vs. spontaneity (Kant) or reasonable mind vs. emotion mind (Linehan).

Where we have finally begun to emerge from the redundancy of Plato’s cave is in the anti-philosophical undermining of words as representations. The notion of a thought which outlasts its thinking or a word that stands for something else is now no more useful to us than the notion of a walk that outlasts its walking. Where did walking go, when you were finished? The walking was an event in a series of events. Nothing more. So the notion of an unconscious thought is nothing more than what Quine called the “idea idea” whose cash value has never fully appreciated in 2500 years of maturation. Plato divided his line in order to convince us to get out of the cave on a road paved with true words, to en-courage our belief in a higher form of being. Yet we now understand that the cave is a cave of our own creation. And as soon as we allow the idea-idea to live and die a natural death, like all events that pass into time, we can live where-ever and when-ever we want. Indeed, I often wonder where we might alight at the end of an un-divided line? To say that a series of words may end at the truth is to say that we could arrive as a set of unconditional word-events outside of space and time. And although some still like to amuse themselves with talk of the beginning of all events (the big bang) or the end of all events (the big crunch), we understand now that this represents nothing more than the last faded vestiges of Plato’s smile, unregenerate glowing still in the warmth of a cave lit camp fire.


Read Full Post »


In difficult times I believe we need the courage of poetry.

Read Full Post »


Modern behavior therapy asks us to engage in an activity that Richard Rorty calls “redescription.” Redescription is the creation of new metaphors to observe and describe our experiences. The value of these metaphors is not that they bring us closer to truth understood as a set of theoretically uncontingent statements that need never be redescribed ever again, but that they increase our flexibility in the world. Achieving the Truth on this reading would bring an end to all creativity and effort. Instead, what I want is to continue to practice my “not giving up”-behaviors.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »