Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Of Word and Number

In the beginning was the word.
(Sire of the image)
Defining of the facts
Of flesh and of mortality
Of time and space
And thought beyond the scope of all and either.

And then the number.
(Sire of the real)
Confining of the facts
Of flesh and of mortality
Of time and space
And thought beyond the scope of all and either...

I spoke before I counted
Cooed consonants and vowels while she pinched
my splaying toes and sang soft piglet melodies,
chanting with her dancing touch one, two, three,
and all the way home...

And so I knew at coming in this world, water spilt
into the shock of gasping air that words were
touch and song and wonder and giggling number
only hung on them to ornament their sense.

Time wore on me and taught me rigid math,
instructed me in minutes, hours, days and years,
spinning infant music into silent sums with which
to weave a world more solid than the dreamstuff
of my singing soul.

I fell into the real unwilling
caught in calculus, described in graphs,
balanced plus and minus, sine and cosine,
profit, loss, and times divided, arc and segment,
into all the creeds of common commerce.

Number gave us peace statistic
and I did not complain nor fault companions
overloud for lusting after space flight, making
metrics god, hanging scale on worth, nor hold
them guilty for its other stubborn sins.

Like birth, like death, eternity's a
word that will not compass measure,
so coming at the end I yearn again for
simpler thoughts that outpace calculation and
tickle soaring souls as singing fingers once did toes.

So now at last the number.
(Finished, summed, and bleak)
Confining of the facts
Of flesh and of mortality
Of time and space
And thought beyond the scope of all and either...

And soon again the word...
(Pray God)
Defining of the facts
Of flesh and of mortality
Of time and space

And thought beyond the scope of all and either.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

An Opinion (One of Many)


I am confused by the controversy over gay marriage. Indeed, I am wearied by it and wish to settle my opinion and move on.
From the point of view of a secular society --- which, properly speaking, is the only point of view permitted any state save a theocracy --- "marriage" is entirely a matter of contract law. The duties, rights, responsibilities and privileges attendant upon "marriage" are wholly civil matters. In granting a "marriage license" the State acknowledges the intent of the applicants to enter into a specific binding contract definitive of such duties, rights, responsibilities and privileges and simultaneously indicates that it will recognize the validity of such a contract and administer it as it does any other contract freely entered into, as a matter of civil law. The State, therefore, is itself responsible for the current confusion and controversy by virtue of its continuing to issue "marriage licenses," a demonstration of its failure either to understand or to clearly express the nature of its interest and authority.
As its interest in and administration of this contractual arrangement is exclusively civil, the State can only issue licensure for entry into a Civil Union. This limitation on its authority holds regardless of the gender of the contracting parties, and the State can only decline to issue such licensure, again regardless of the gender of the contracting parties, to the extent that the applicants fail to meet the common criteria of age, rationality, and free volition requisite by law for entry into any contract. The resolution of the conflict, then, lies in the State's ceasing to issue "marriage licenses" altogether and, in accord with its proper authority, to issue only licensure for Civil Union. As the State's interest is confined solely to reality under law --- to the contractual nature of the union --- it has no stake in the semantic squabble; parties bound contractually in such a union are free to refer to their joined status as a marriage if they so choose, whether it is formalized before an exclusively civil official --- a judge, magistrate, justice of the peace, etcetera --- or sanctified by a religious body in accordance with the dictates of its communal conscience.

Friday, April 3, 2015

An Autobiographical Note


Indentured (as are we all) to the implacable exigencies of material existence, I served a long, happy, satisfying, productive and profitable employment at the Cleveland Museum of Art, ending as its Director of Facilities, in which role I assisted in the institutional navigation of its complex and compelling re-imagining. Simultaneous with that social effort, I pursued several equally compelling private endeavors. I was for several years the cartoon editor of Eschatology Today, the renown (and too little referenced) journal of end time speculation. I sat for a number of years on the board of Escuela Oscura y Tragica, the highly regarded Life Preparatory Institute founded by distant relatives of Miguel de Unamuno, the Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, and professor of classical Greek. I still serve on the Collections Committee of the Museo de los Pecados de la Humanidad, the Institute's cultural  outreach center in Sonora, California. I was a contributing editor to Elucidations: A Compendium of Profundities for All Occasions, winner of the 2006 Writers' Forum Bukowski Bar Tab Award. An amateur gardener, I regularly contributed articles to West Virginia Hill Country Horticulture and New Age Gardening.
Upon my retirement from the Cleveland Museum of Art I was honored to be named Managing Director of Say What?, the litero-technic collective founded in the early 1970s by my esteemed mentor and teacher, the late Alexander Burnbridge (see this blog of 27 September 2014). Working across media disciplines under the umbrella of what we call the Cassandra Project, we are presently engaged in assembling Burnbridge's voluminous notes, drawings, film and video clips, wire frame sculptures, and musical fragments for theremin and baritone recorder --- what he referred to collectively as his "plastic intellections and psycho-active assemblages" --- into the "instantaneously accessible multi-loci simultaneity" that he predicted would only become comprehensible in the last decades of the twenty-first century. Determined both to affirm that prediction and to best its timeline, we hope to present it by 2026 as a "symphonic perturbation" under Burnbridge's own working title, The Big Whirly: Life As Ontological Theme Park.
Sustained in my private life by my wife, my son, and my cat, I age quietly, watching the changing of the seasons, listening to the music of the spheres.