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A Spring Fall, or A Meandering Free-Verse Philippic on Political Victory


[Editor’s Note: Because IC asked for something, anything related to yesterday’s news (1:40 a.m. CST!) JOB posts the following]


Poets, priest and politicians
Have words to thank for their positions.
-Gordon Sumner

I too hate it, politics. And yet,
there it is. The right and left
the up and down
the over and under
the profit and loss, the heads and tails,
it doesn’t matter.

Winning doesn’t matter.

Losing doesn‘t matter.

Nothing matters except

So, as you stroll the Lyceum of your mind
with Cicero’s headless ghost, Demonsthenes’ humble pebbles
in your mouth,
watch as polity and equity embrace and kiss,
and remember
what the people ask you to keep in mind,
that the terms and limits of empire
begin with the three primary colors of reality:
first principles,
last things
final ends.

Incumbents last as long as the next emotion cycle….
So one by two by three
they fell – and the laurels
that looked so stylish
with broad gestures and
togas gilded with purple piping
(so say the Roman hacks
who lost their bets to Caesar
and hide their heads beneath
the epitaph of obscurity)
went to the next generation.

But what do you expect?
Anyone the age of Christ ought to know
as much about the world,
its modus operandi:

1. Nail down your agenda and crucify the data.

2. Throw your own gods of liberty into the marketplace.

3. Let other gods bleed for their liberty.

Usura slayeth the child in the womb.
Thus, Mr. Pound remarked in that way how summer falls
and makes a winter spring

from its sleepy lair, ravenous.
And thus, too, the fool will have had his day
(and so a king too…).

In chasing the specter of usura, though,
and denying error the privilege of rights,
I promise you will find the Son of Mammon’s address.

But if you see the birds of paradise, the sparrow’s nest
and the Son of Man who has no home,
you will know peace as sound as stone among the lilies.

Where yesterday was politics today is policy.
And always April fools day
with sunlight, and the day
is left to shrink and think that spring
promises warmth, acceptance, growth, new creation.

And always the annual portfolio promises
dividends, interest, diversified stock options,
no substantial penalty
for early withdrawal…
Yes, that sense of play lasts all of one day.

Then comes the real work.

The Wisconsin farmer climbs upon his tractor,
ready to spread
the true springtime message
acre by acre, row by row
in a steady stream, like oratory
shoveled out, and like public trust discharged
behind him –
“It’s time for a change.”

And now a new team of factional rivals
grab the rostrum of La Crosse
(by hook or by crook),
spinning at poles like a captain’s wheel
and as the bilge water flows
in their wake each member would augur
as much:
“It’s time for a change.”

First, for tactics, we countered the numbers –
then, for strategy, we counted the numbers
and last night, for victory,
we considered with nervous fingers on the tickertape
a mere 18 reasons
for overcoming the numbers.

But such integers of population pale
at least compared to what
the world has managed to put up:

And, lo, the City of Man
is like unto a boondoggle
which may make money for a few
but renders many with neither shirt nor honor,
nor bread to rise nor stone upon stone,
nor art its measure, nor craft its purpose,
nor love its gift to man.

And, lo, the City of Man
is like unto a boondoggle
which may spring a virtual Hippocrene of eternal hope
and speciously declare everyone a winner
but puts cliché upon a plinth
and truth in its place,
beneath a white stain beneath pigeon toes.

So don’t fear to scratch the marble
because dirty hands can also mean
honest men earning an honest day’s wages.

Meanwhile, the City of God awaits –
so like unto a certain county district
of unasked and unanswered questions.

So may it be in virtue of a truth
no speech can divide nor words divine
that you help the people find the courage

To ask the questions and find the answer.



    That was rather awesome (the unexpected title). The rest of it as well.

    I especially like:
    what the people ask you to keep in mind,
    that the terms and limits of empire
    begin with the three primary colors of reality:
    first principles,
    last things
    final ends.

    Thank you for indulging me. Many of us think this is a time near the end of the world, and it is hopeful to read something local(ish) and cyclical.

  2. I’ve been mulling, with Howard Thurman in the background, that this election cycle has proven again the need for the mystic prophets. Maybe that’s another name for a poet.

  3. Also, to give you all grist for the mill, this week has felt like a Flannery O’Connor story.

  4. Louise Orrock says:

    Can Microscopes Be Trusted for Cancer or Other Diseases? (ED/OP)
    By Louise Orrock
    In 2012, a few months after two cancer scares of my own, I guessed that all diagnosed diseases were fictions. I sent paragraphs, and later essays, to a number of people asking, could a cell travel from one part of the body to another, could an x-ray really see through the skin, why would viral cells destroy their host, could any number of invisibly small things cause harm, and did the account of how they altered cells make sense (as well as, later, was DNA philosophically compatible with living matter, in other words, was there a satisfactory account of how the body interpreted the instructions within it?). However, it wasn’t until later that I looked more closely at magnifying glasses and microscopes.
    Anyone who uses a camera will probably agree that although a zoom brings an object closer, you cannot magnify much more than twice without losing so much clarity that the object becomes unidentifiable. Slide projection produces a larger clear image but not one larger than the object itself (of what was photographed). I have observed enough using my own microscope, a Prinz 2801, to be certain that what is on the slide at most will appear as a pale image of the stain over an otherwise relatively unchanged image and that variations can be accounted for by parts of the slide appearing as patterns of light and dark and by variations in illumination. Is the unchanging image one sees of a hidden object? When I turn the microscope upside down, behind the glass at the end of the three small objective lens tubes I see what look like orange bird irises. I had already thought that one saw the lens of one’s own eye (the cornea) towards the top of the microscope cylinder and that the fixed image below this resembled it in structure. However, the microscope is indestructible, and I found no object in another microscope I acquired recently that comes in two parts (the Sunagor MagnaScope), so I thought more about the theoretical limits to enlargement, whatever microscopes might or might not contain and when they are not hollow.
    One can account for enlargement, although I am not a physicist, by first acknowledging from observation and deduction that magnification is reflection and that the image enlarges because as we lift a magnifying lens from a piece of paper, for the same angle of reflection from a convex lens an increasingly larger area is reflected so that a smaller individual object, re-reflected at the same angle, will appear as a larger reflection on the other side of the lens, the point of curvature (where the lens converge) being before the center of the lens, since only a part of the reflected image will be re-reflected. The image will become smaller when the original angle, or ratio, increases to the point that the re-reflected image becomes smaller or further enlargement may be restricted (as is the case also with Sunagor and the Prinz), by the rim (or funnel or lens tube), which determines the angle along with convexity. Otherwise, blurring will occur because of over-enlargement or under-illumination or there will be a return to normal size if we move the lens closer to the eye. Although, before then, we are not viewing the object directly, the width of the lens of our eye may be a factor in the image sometimes turning upside down, and in apparent magnification in general, because parts of the reflected image are no longer in our direct vision (as when objects beyond a glass of water may appear within it as displaced from left to right), as may reflection in the eye and the different resistances of the two media, glass and eye. Some time ago, I calculated that hypothetical enlargement of what was on the Prinz slide would only be 3.3 times. Although the calculation may prove wrong (for instance, the angle is based on hypothetical light projection from the mirror rather than from an unknown convex lens within the microscope or from the plane glass at the end of the objective lens tube), what one sees reflected within the microscope is at low magnification/reflection and it would be impossible to see a speck on the slide under the lens enlarged to the width of the lens or the tube aperture.

  5. Louise Orrock says:

    One Good Poem: pog rom com?

  6. Big Jon Bully says:

    He sounds like a great guy. Thanks, JOB.

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