Food for Thought

Can we all go home now?






Lost to the Nth Degree.

(He even does Dylan!)

More Or

All Manner of Either/Or

Burrell puts the Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub to Shame

Kierkegaard Turns 200, Korrektiv Asleep at the Wheel

Thankfully our friend Mr. Burrell’s got our back:

Happy belated birthday, Søren*wp-content*uploads*2012*07*kim-kardashian-and-soren-kierkegaard-Kim-Kierkegaardashian

image source

Korrektiv Press in the news

“The word ‘Korrektiv’ is taken from the Dutch philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who wantd to provide what he called a ‘korrektiv’ to the German secular philosophy of his day. The Korrektiv Press “started as a group blog between a few converts to Catholicism who shared an interest in Kierkegaard and Walker Percy,” Lickona said. Members of the Korrektiv “discuss projects, we read and edit each others’ work, and in some cases, we collaborate,” Lickona said.

So far, the group has published a book of poetry called House of Words by Jonathan Potter, a novel called Birds Nest in Your Hair by Brian Jobe, and Surfing with Mel. Also in the Korrektiv pipeline [is] the story of the Great Seattle Fire told in Pushkin sonnets and a collection of short stories based on ancillary characters in the works of Walker Percy.”

– “Mel Gibson Becomes a Character in ‘Korrektiv’ Catholic Fiction,” by Cyril Jones-Kellett, The Southern Cross [diocesan newspaper for San Diego], April, 2013.

Kierkegaard Comes Up

Lance Armstrong is a big fucking asshole. That seems to be the emerging consensus in the wake of his confession. One of the experts on the subject is Mike Anderson, a former mechanic and personal assistant to Armstrong. In Anderson’s recent interview with Sports Illustrated, what may be of interest to readers of Korrektiv is that Anderson mentions Kierkegaard.

SI: Is there anything Lance can say to Oprah that would be meaningful to you or that you make you contemplate forgiveness?

Anderson: I’ve thought about that a lot in the last few days. I was reading [philosopher] Soren Kierkegaard. Part of what he talks about is forgiveness and guilt and anxiety and the roots of it all. … I still have these notions of forgiveness and turn the other cheek. But I wonder, what are the reasons? Who benefits from forgiveness. Me? To unload bitterness I have against Lance and Bill Stapleton and people who lied and ridiculed me? Or is it for Lance? The sinner, conceptually, if you will. Or for both of us? I just don’t know if it will do me any good whatsoever to say lets let bygones be bygones. The cynicism I have about the whole thing, there’s no contrition in Lance Armstrong’s heart. It’s a calculated effort. For what purpose, I don’t know. I don’t see it as at all meaningful.

Read More

I’m curious about that ellipsis (…) following “forgiveness and guilt and anxiety and the roots of it all.” Did Anderson say more about his reading of our man K that the SI editors deemed too philosophical for their brain-damaged readership? Here’s our chance for some real investigative reportage, K-team. Get on it!

See also: “[Catholic mom] Betsy Andreu always knew that Lance Armstrong doped”

Ja Kool

People may be asking (or maybe they aren’t), Why doesn’t that guy put up more posts? Well, what happened is that I started working on another essay and presentation on the way Walker Percy used the work of so called existential philosophers in his novels, this time Kierkegaard. Naturally, I moved to Copenhagen to do research at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre Foundation (FSKC).

And naturally, I drive a bus to support my independent scholarly activities. Yes, I grew a mustache.

The Despondent Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Polity

Mr. Buchanan, who consistently has criticism enough for both parties, plumbs the depths and spans the width of the fault that now ruptures the country. (Note that both legislating God out of existence and putting common sense up for a national vote are, for vastly different reasons, in the end, two sets in the same game of folly). To paraphrase a recent politico who, I suspect, is probably more at home guffawing with a claque of fellow peckerwoods in a barber shop in downtown Texarkana than on a national stage, puzzled in a small hour and stuck between things, to understand why when he’s with Ohioans he finds himself talking like an Ohioan: it’s the soul, stupid.

Some atheists place a belief in God or Christ as the Son of God on a par with believing in Santa Claus. Others regard religion and especially fundamentalist faith as an often-destructive force because of what they believe it has produced over the centuries — intolerance, inquisitions, massacres, martyrdoms, religious wars.

Among the evils a deep belief in the God of the Torah and New Testament has produced, they argue, is the systematic persecution of homosexuals. Thus, the Democratic platform declares:

“We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples,” while the Republican platform calls for a “Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Kierkegaard at 199

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (books by this author), born in Copenhagen (1813), the son of a wealthy wool merchant who left his son enough money to be financially independent for the rest of his life. Kierkegaard rarely left Copenhagen, but he enjoyed going to the theater, taking carriage rides out into the country, and chatting with people he met, including servants and laborers, whom wealthy people would ordinarily ignore.

Kierkegaard is widely considered the father of existential philosophy. His work touched not only philosophy, but also theology, psychology, literary criticism, and fiction. He also came up with two concepts that are commonplace to us today: One is “subjectivity,” the idea that we all perceive the world — and “truth” — differently; and the other is the “leap of faith,” that faith is not possible without doubt. One must doubt the existence of God to have faith in the existence of God. Belief without doubt is just credulity. He published several books at his own expense, including Either/Or (1843), Works of Love (1847), and The Sickness Unto Death (1849). Kierkegaard was unknown outside of Denmark until the early 20th century, when his work was discovered by European writers and philosophers. He influenced writers like Henrik Ibsen, Franz Kafka, and Albert Camus.

Today in Literature*


For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love…

 The book is called “50 Shades of Grey” written by TV executive E.L. James and it’s apparently leaving quite a dust in its wake. It’s being kicked about as the latest political football in the culture wars and has raised as many eyebrows for who’s reading it as for its content. A genre of erotic literature, it is attracting women of all sorts because it’s heroine, Anastasia Steel, is drawn sympethetically. A young women in search of love – and finding Christian Grey (I’m not making these names up!), a powerful young executive with a penchant for whips and chains.

First there were “mommy bloggers” and now, thanks to 50 Shades, there’s “mommy porn.” I pray that never the twain shall meet.

But the books – there’s a trilogy of them – while clearly meant to draw a new line in the sand for sexual politics are also a barometer of our culture’s loss of creature, of mystery and of manners.  This loss is nowhere clearer than in the cultural saturation of pornography. The more sexual “freedom” we gain the more we lose any sense of ritual’s place in relations between the sexes. The prevailing – and often conflicting – concerns for equality, individuality and pleasure not only prevent courtship from occurring and have bottomed out relations between the sexes to the lowest, rawest and most explicit denominators: flesh and fornitication. These same forces have rendered men as boys incapable of courting women and likewise leaves women lonely and desperate for some sort of courtship ritual. I am reminded of what Mary Eberstadt, quoting Roger Scruton, recently pointed out in her excellent work “Adam and Eve after the Pill” (a review of which will be arriving anon):

“…Roger Scruton has put the paradox about men and pornography memorably, ‘This, it seems to me, is the real risk attached to pornography. those who become addicted to this risk-free form of sex run a risk fo another and greater kind. They risk the loss of love, in a world whre only love brings happiness.” 

But reversing course on this matter is a bit like trying to stop an ocean liner on a dime.

Enter E.L. James, whose BDSM themes do nothing more than reinforce the fact that porn is here to stay – but with this difference, that unlike the conventional [sic] hard core pornography, BDSM requires that participants, as Wikipedia notes (I dare not look anywhere else for the info – and even Wiki’s got some rather disquieting images to accompany its text), take on “complementary, but unequal roles, thus the idea of consent of both the partners becomes essential.” Thus, the BDSM relationship serves as a bad imitation of the traditional courting ritual between the sexes.

 I haven’t read the trilogy and don’t intend to, but Carolyn Moynihan over at Crisis has stared into the abyss long enough for us (although it’s not clear whether she made it through the entire trilogy herself) and come back with much to tell about James’ literary efforts.    She complains, rightfully so, that the explicit nature of the material eclipses any literary effort invovled.

“The problem for those of us who wouldn’t touch this stuff with a barge-pole — let alone download it onto our iPad — is its popularity,” Moynihan writes. “It has been dubbed ‘mommy porn’ because it is allegedly being devoured by ‘mainstream’ and ‘suburban’ women over 30 and not just by young urbanites. It even has its academic apologists. Two of them writing on the CNN website invoke ‘the novel’s compelling relevance’ and suggest that its ‘abundant references to classic literature unlock a subtler commentary [than its fan-fiction origins suggest] on enduring obstacles to women’s individual freedom and rights.’ The classic references include Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Perhaps the popularity could also be a sign of the culture attempting to address the fact that because manchilds are not quite connecting with women, James’ readers see Ana Street as the spokeswoman for all those lonely women looking for a romantic connection at any cost. The disconnect between men and women, as Eberstadt points out in her book, is precisely due to the prevalence of porn – one of several rotten fruit, she says, of our sexual mores’ upset apple cart. “…[I]t is surely the sexual revolution that is the prime mover,” she writes, of sexual immaturity among men and a disparing attitude toward romance by women. “This seems so for two reasons,” Eberstadt continues. “First, it has led to an atrophying of the protective instinct in many men – because many have nothing to protect. The powerful majority desire for recreative rather than procreative  sex has led not only to a marriage dearth, but also to a birth dearth; as the old saying correctly goes, ‘Adults don’t make babies; babies make adults.'”

So what, then, is James trying to provide women in her stories? Again, Moynihan is helpful here in peering through the keyhole to the goings on in Christian Gray’s world. While Moynihan proposes that the popularity of the trilogy can be attributed to “the herd mentality among an entertainment and titillation focused public that sends people stampeding after the latest daring foray into forbidden subjects, whether blasphemy or bondage,” she dismisses the proposal that the work has a literary pedigree.

“Frankly, I think James has a cheek to even mention Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre and Tess in the context of an SM relationship, whose object is depraved sensual pleasure,” she writes. “Whatever male ‘power’ they contended with in their very different ways, they were women of moral sensitivity who aspired to married love and, to a woman, would have been revolted by the Shades of Grey conceit.”

True enough. But consider: Could it be that James’ work is attempting to flesh out (pun intended) the grammar of that “moral sensitivity” which Bennet, Eyre and Tess possessed and were guided in large part by? Fleshing out, in fact, in a way that your average Harlequin romance or other bodice rippers cannot?  As I’ll discuss in a bit, the BDSM comes with its own social norms and mores – and could it be that James – consciously or otherwise – has tapped into that deep well in women which desires to see that same sort of “moral sensitivity” – even if it’s not quite in keeping with the tastes of the Regency or Early or Late Victorian England.

But you can’t give what you don’t have – especially if you already gave away what you wish you had again. So there’s no question that we can see the BDSM culture as even a pale reflection of true society any more than a vampire can expect to see anything but the mirror when he looks into it.  Indeed, thanks to the Sexual Revolution, the social norms in 18th-19th century England were vastly different from what we have today. But if BDSM is not society then neither is much of what passes for culture today true culture, a point Eberstadt makes in her book:

“Ubiquitously, it seems, those who were once husbands and fathers and providers have traded in their ties and insurance cards for video games and baseball hats worn backwards. It is a message that the popular culture also broadcasts nonstop – from vehicles for women like Sex in the City and The View to those popular among men, including such commercially successful examples as the Jackass franchise, the Spike channel, and just about every comedy about idiot males to issue from Hollywood in recent memory.”

Which brings us back to the question of what makes Ana Steele such an atrractive heroine for women? To answer that, let us look at her motivations. Again, not having read the work, I can only speculate. But it seems that Eberstadt might have the answer in her analysis of the Sexual Revolution’s marvellous failure to produce anything but monsters such as Christian Gray. Moynihan states that if women are eating up the Gray trilogy, it is a sign that things have come to a bad pass indeed for women in America.  “The pornification of sex,” she points out, “if it has truly captured the imagination of wives and mothers, is a path to personal and social oblivion.”

And yet, as Eberstadt notes, the Sexual Revolution has rendered American society fertile ground for just such a view of sex. ‘Today’s revolution against traditional marriage amounts to two charges made repeatedly, almost always by women and with many echoes elsewhere in contemporary sources: first, that the combined pressures of motherhood and marriage and breadwinning are just too much to bear; and second, that many of today’s marriages – that is to say, marriages made among enlightened, older, educated, sophisticated popele – are sexual deserts” (Emphasis mine).

Doesn’t it seem that Christian Gray redresses both these charges in his “Red Room of Pain” – by enabling Ana to give her self exclusively to Gray with plenty of sex, even meaningful and playful sex  – in a context where roles and ends are clearly defined?

Furthermore, Eberstadt declares the war of the sexes over and the winner is – no one.

“There are no more sexes, only lists of chores that one gender unit mysteriously does better than the other” and in a more literal sense “because contemporary man, many comtemporary women charge, has lost interest in sex” (Emphasis mine).

Christian Gray takes the mystery out of the gender confusion by showing a fervid – some would say excessive – interest in sex. Perhaps I am saying nothing more than this – that it is easy to see why the female imagination might be ensnared by James’ work. But I would like to push it a step further and recall two other fictions, one classic (it is at least recognized as canonical) and one which is a modern cult-classic. I am speaking of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Brett Easton-Ellis’ American Psycho. 

It is the central thesis of E. Michael Jones’ book  Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film that the cause for the rise in horror as a major genre of literature and film has been the undermining of natural law in the individual and in society. The book – perhaps the best written on the subject – is rife with examples. Does culture condone abortion and pornography? We have a film which helps us work through this horror: Alien. Has modern thought rationalized what is evil into what is good – such as adultery and incest? We have a story for that too: Frankenstein. Is society feeling a bit queasy about sexual libertinism? Let’s look at Dracula and make sense of it, shall we? In each case, the monster created is an avenger out to unmask, wittingly or not, the unnatural and depraved state of society while at the same time hinting at some sort of – dare I say it? – korrektiv.

Jones does a good job especially of documenting Mary Shelly’s troubled relationship with her lust-crazed husband Percy Bythe Shelly (not to mention her batty mother, an Ur-Gloria Steinem who believed in polyandry inter alia). It’s too bad he had not taken up Easton-Elllis’ work in his book. Whereas Frankenstein channels the myth of Prometheus to reveal the depths of human depravity – science eaten by its own “quest for fire” – in Easton-Ellis’ 1991 novel (I never saw the film) the anti-hero and possible psychopath Patrick Bateman attempts to rip the mask off the excesses, as he saw it, of Yuppiedom in the 1980s through an overlay of Dante’s Hell. Although the correspondences are somewhat vague, and the ending anything but conclusive, it is clear that the rank abuse and objectification, whether real or imagined, is meant to touch the nerve that lies raw just below the consumer instinct and says, This stuff is just stuff. Is this all there is?

Here’s what the author had to say about his work: “[Bateman] was crazy the same way [I was]. He did not come out of me sitting down and wanting to write a grand sweeping indictment of yuppie culture. It initiated because my own isolation and alienation at a point in my life. I was living like Patrick Bateman. I was slipping into a consumerist kind of void that was supposed to give me confidence and make me feel good about myself but just made me feel worse and worse and worse about myself. That is where the tension of “American Psycho” came from.”

Bateman’s story is an attempt to get a handle on the male “consumer” – and the novel is flawed, I think, for trying too hard to convey this notion through the depravities that Bateman visits on his female victims. I imagine the same sort of excess destroys the literary pretensions of 50 Shades as well. Nonetheless all those men who have turned in their credentials to manhood and fatherhood for unlimited access to the Spike Channel and the Spice Channel are in some sense represented by Mr. Bateman (it’s even hiding there in his name – get it?).

Is it too much of a leap of logic to assume that Ana Steel could be the female response to the Patrick Bateman’s in the world? (Her first name, by the way, means “resurrection.”)

Moynihan in her essay on 50 Shades of Gray and Eberstadt in her chapter on porn in Adam and Eve both conclude on a hopeful note.

For Moynihan, it’s a matter of numbers.

“But, so what if a few million women read the sick fantasies of a television executive?” she asks. “There are roughly 3.5 billion women in the world, and when the erotica boom has finally spent itself there will be more than enough of them still with their wits and dignity to carry on the work of love and civilisation that women in particular are equipped to do.”

Likewise, Eberstadt also places hope in hope – although one that possesses a more theological framework.

“‘Where sin increased,’ as Paul’s Letter to the Romans has it, ‘grace aboundeth all the more’ (5:20),” she writes. “The record of what pornography has wrought shows that kind of abundance too, though it may not yet be an issue of academic study…Look at energy fuleing all those atttempts to repair the damage done – the turns to counseling, therapists, priests, pastors and other working in these awful trenches to help the addicted get their real lives back.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether this hope will translate into the sort of cultural crucible necessary to cure women of their loneliness and men of their immaturity. But in the meantime, we should understand that just as Patrick Bateman will be written into the contemporary literary canon as the Everyman of today, so too, Ana Steel will remain a barometer of exactly how lonely women are – and how the abuses of the Sexual Revolution have borne fruit.

In the book of Genesis, God made man and woman and saw that it was good. Adam and Eve, I’d like you to meet Patrick Bateman and Ana Steel. They’re pikers, of course, in the sin department, but since they’re your children and the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, I think they’re worth paying attention to – if only to learn how to work out own redemption – perhaps even with whips and chains.  

*I just can’t bring myself to steal Mr. Lickona’s excellent signature feature. But being a writer, I have no problem appropriating.

Burrell on Kierkegaard on Kierkegaard

Craig Burrell takes a look at Kierkegaard’s The Point of View for my Work as an Author.

Something for the Kollektiv to consider … “Points of View for Our Work as Bloggers”?


The other day, he goes down again, taking to the old couch
Like Raskolnikov awaiting a final plot point from Porfiry.

A shell-shocked survivor of war, his body feels the guilt
Because his head stands alone in resisting the violent coup.

On such days he doesn’t play at his Joplin rags or smirk
Between the give and take of Scott’s contrapuntal phrases.

Or smile at his sisters coming in and flopping across the floor
To The Maple Leaf and St. Louis, the syncopation arousing them

To dance like a gaggle of comic floozies in an old-time nigger revue.
On such days, when he goes down, it’s always the same routine –

I go find something to do. The restraints of masculine tenderness
Distract me from thoughts of tears and masculine tenderness.

One can kill him for love of the Father, Kierkegaard might say,
But why can’t one love a son at such times – is love going to kill you?

My wife tries to console with separation – she’s holding out
With headstrong femininity like a distant peal of thunder.

She sits in her least favorite chair, hands curled tight around
A hot cup of black tea, intent on not listening to his sobs

Across the room. But she is not without sympathy, not without
Patience. It is just her way to address the redress that pain must be

Since the world lost the honest need to make a fruitful account
Of itself. So pain is met with in this way – an obstreperous enemy

Flexing white heat in lightning arcs from our son’s nexus to his plexus
And massaging its piano assai into crucified wires, adagio assai.

The fuller measure only comes when the agony rears up across
And swiftly closes on the great open spaces. She looks away as if to say,

“Let the thing run itself out. Let it feel its legs. Sow its oats.
Yes, even catch its breath.” Then a severe sip from her tea that says:

“Fuck you. That’s my son.” She becomes deliberate: puts her cup down,
Erects a newspaper wall and buries herself among the columns –

She intuits that pain is looking for satisfaction (she will not give it),
Is looking for an out, an escape, an excuse (she gives nothing but distinctions

That cool her tea:) when pain comes back it always comes back
A demon full of demands, at pains to slough off any meaning from suffering.

Søren Says

We see less often a sincere wish to learn from life but, correspondingly more often, people’s desire and inclination and mutual encouragement to be deceived by it. Unabashed, people seem to lack any Socratic fear of being deceived. For the voice of God is always a whisper, and in the shape of a thousand-tongued rumour the demand of the age is not an almighty command that creates great men, but a stirring in the refuse that creates muddled minds; an abracadabra, as with all bringing forth, that brings forth its like. Even less do people seem, Socratically, to fear more than all else being deceived by themselves, and least of all do they realize that if of all the deceived the self-deceived are the most pitiful, then the most pitiful among these in turn are those who, in contrast to the piously deceived, deceive themselves presumptuously. A Literary Review, p 8

Felix Culpa

The latest Kierkegaard Newsletter is out, and includes some timely meditations for Lent. Here is the opening paragraph from a review of a new book by Jason Mahn.

“O happy fault, which merited such and so great a Redeemer!” is the joyous fifth-century Easter-Eve exclamation which resounds throughout Jason Mahn’s perceptive and theologically sensitive exploration of the felix culpa in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard. There are, as Mahn astutely elucidates in this admirable work (and as I also emphatically concur), few thinkers who possess Kierkegaard’s talent for transmuting the darkest night which is ostensibly furthest from redemption into an occasion for the dawning of faith. Kierkegaard’s works, as Mahn perceptively reads them, provide us with ‘an existential via negativa through which he labors to revive the possibility of faith.’ However, this ‘existential’ dimension does not, Mahn argues, lead so much to the Angst of modern existentialism as it does to the sacred praise of early Christianity. In this I am again in sympathy with the theological anthropology Mahn proposes: while Kierkegaard is clearly a progenitor of existentialist philosophy, his own source of ‘existential’ pathos can be discovered within the archives of devotional Christianity.

Read the whole thing here.


Jamaal, your sister was a cat and she killed me.
In the dark shadows she played with kingdoms
And I said I had only come to meet someone.
Then she pursed her lips and I knew I was mortal.
I said I had come for some sun and fun –
I had only come to shed some light on a shady deal.

Yes, I was there sipping seawater from a jar,
Tracing the ascendancy of a goddess.
Her luxuriant walk was a long slow century
As she dragged my eyes along the line of my hat brim.
I said I had come for the market price.
Your sister killed me, Jamaal, and she was a cat.

Carthage and its carnage bristled with industry;
A plague of things came from the boats in port
From wide, filthy decks lying dead off a sandbar
Flocks bleated out husky songs to Mecca.
But all that was behind me with the storm
Of dysentery for the moment subsided.
A million passages across fresh-fed water
Led to reenactments of Pharaoh’s humbling:
Pilgrims swarmed like flies around the mouth of the Nile.
Gnats and locust matted the sails of river dhows
Until a cough of wind finally promised land.

Shady and nameless, I wandered narrow ways
Past buckets of steam and meat, puke, spices and mint.
I dealt in a delicate trade of porcelain,
I traded bold disregard for a taste of gold.
How easily, so I have shown you, Jamaal,
Each can break: one in the hand, one the soul.
I was a careful man with foolproof eyes;
You would not find me wandering anywhere
But down the busiest streets in this ancient city.
That night was no different, that old Cairo night,
Held in the wet warm grip of a trembling night sky.
That night was the same, that Egyptian night,
Filling with smoke, light and celluloid wings.
But that night, too, the city was clever with eyes
Conspiring so with chance in the truck of pleasure,
Tricking my soul in the business of ruin.

* * * * * *
Bemused by conviction, buried in desire
(Like electric L.A. seen from afar
On a balcony in suburban Burbank),
The city asserted seduction without purpose.
I made a cantina on a busy corner,
A coarse place harried with worn out welcomes,
Full of tourists and turbans; – there was your sister
While I, in fine white linen and local silks,
Represented the best in tropic composure
To endure a few lantern hours of low-lit sweat.
A portable transistor in some dark corner
Played songs, most of which I could not translate,
From the tiny mouth of its transmission.
But, clawing through the noise, Gilberto sang softly,
Ah, Love is the saddest thing when it goes away . . .
I liked that foreign something under her voice,
Something husbanding a candid lyricism.
There was the squalor and my own lights to go by . . .
And your sister killed me. She was a cat
With scarab eyes crawling slow and gleaming
Like the clear ripple of cataract tides
Drawing thin the muddy river’s recession.
But now she was suddenly flooding out into
And turning the screws of my vanity,
Irrigating the dry sinews of my heart.
I was there to lift a few dishonest dollars
From a hieroglyph or cracked monument,
Practice a few queer traditions for good appearance
And get back to my hotel room in time to count
My winnings, make a survey of my ransoms,
A quick synopsis of curses and kings,
A perusal of split stone and forgotten time.
I was there to order drinks and smoke leaf
By the hour, not to cower at statues and sand.
I was not there, Jamaal, to die so carefully.
The sand and balanced stone of a thousand years
Have nothing on your sister, to whom, even so,
After Carthage, I came (as recommended by
A friend and partner). So it was to be,
So you said, The Purchase Of The Season:
Her face is dark porcelain – to stare at her is to
Stare at the night! Ah, her skin shines a gold
Of the rarest kind! Go at once! She will give you
All of it and more! Go now! To think about it
Is to lose! Go! She awaits your every move!
Her love, it is porcelain-fine! . . . . Ah, but her soul
Shines like gold! . . . All of it and more! By the buy, Jamaal,
She killed me well before the morning came,
Well before the first king stirred in any kingdom.

Well before the first fly stirred in any kitchen
Her tracks covered themselves in the cool shifting sands,
Faded like the importance of empty coffers,
Hiding from the hot justice of the rising sun.
To look at pyramids is to think a long time,
So do me a favor, Jamaal, and go to hell.

When I was in old Cairo, my old friend,
I found your sister alright – she  felt exactly like
The slim horn of a golden moon piercing
My porcelain breast as it dipped to the farthest dune.
Expenditures were easy, money no object;
The thing was finished, liquidated in no time.

Jamaal, it’s quiet beneath the pyramids tonight,
All except for a wind – or something like a wind
Shifting in the spirit of profit and loss;
The desert is the business now, and business is good.
After all, sand supplies a great demand . . .
Perhaps I should feel betrayed, my old friend. Perhaps I should.

I only feel silent. I hear wind, her profit,
Or I hear something very like the wind, my loss.
A silent partner of the night, I rest
In the peaceful counting house of sand grains and stars.
Now the dunes arch their backs against the sky
And the desert stirs with the steady purr of aeternity.

The Danish Doctor of Dread

The NYT takes note: 

“In one journal entry, he wrote, ‘All existence makes me anxious, from the smallest fly to the mysteries of the Incarnation; the whole thing is inexplicable, I most of all; to me all existence is infected, I most of all. My distress is enormous, boundless; no one knows it except God in heaven, and he will not console me….’

Is there any doubt that were he alive today he would be supplied with a refillable prescription for Xanax?”



…y’all heard The Beer Song down in New Orleans.  I don’t want to be in any was presumptive, but given the Kirkegaaaardian Kharakter of the Korrektiv, whaddya think of naming our eventual album Beer and Stumbling?