Taboo

Shatner & Nichols, 1968 I think the purpose of taboo is sort of as a last resort: When people cut their love lives short & isolation walls them off, like a collective urge to cough, taboos are broken, & people open up to the nakedest of things— love, which is why the caged bird sings.

poem for Socrates

Jacques-Louis David, 1787 If words transcended time I’d say thanks, Socrates, for to my day you set a golden standard & example, stand in sanity when truth is trampled, immortalize humor, lead leaders to love being wise & remind me there are always times to fly by the seat of your conscience.

poem for Jordan Peterson

Only after your time will Time decide how well you’ve served our species as a guide, but, since a leader’s life’s the life you lead, here’s how I hope (& think) we both agree: 1 A good teacher won’t preach what he thinks; instead, he shows the thirsty where he drinks. 2 The more he […]

poem for Ayn Rand

When Reason, man’s most perfect power, is exiled from the Ivory Tower, you stand outside as fearless proof of its unconquerable truth. While institutionalized minds grow coddled, sheltered & unwise, you teach bright people to be free & draw their strength from liberty. You set the tone, you set the stage for freethinkers of every […]

4 questions

How can something as dainty as a rhyme stretch to accommodate a paradigm? How could stone slabs, slowly inscribed by hand, carry the weight of 10 divine commands? How did the founding fathers—all mere men— give birth to a nation with a pen? How do hearts split apart by loneliness let themselves be vulnerable again?

Playtime

Want a useful thought? Here’s one: play is good for more than fun. Through play, even wild wolves explore in peace their readiness for war, & language (“give a thing a name”) is mankind’s first recorded game. The rest is simple to derive: we work hard & play hard to thrive. The most advanced tribes […]

island Utopia

On my island, Utopia, philosophy is king: we all get off on copious, prolonged examining; we all know we know nothing (which is all we need to know) & more than anything, we want to grow. Of course, like every paradise, it’s bound to self-destruct: something’s always sacrificed; someone’s always fucked. Whether in the bowels […]

labyrinth

Though close friends often know it before you, no one can tell you what you’re born to do. There is no Oracle who sees your fate. there is no guarantee it’s not too late. There are no pre-made maps to travel with; there is only a vast stone labyrinth whose pathways wind & wander to […]

Platonic

There is a cave where people are enslaved with manacles around their necks & ankles & made to sit silent & well-behaved beholding shadows cast from many angles. Eventually, one prisoner gets free & sees (in horror!) the machinery that’s been projecting his experience. He knows this is his disappearing chance & climbs out of […]

a definition of desire

Desire (n.) a self-devouring snake, its scaly tail convulsing in its fangs; whatever satiety it feels is fake; there’s not even a momentary break as it ingests its own abdomen’s pangs for emptiness alone fulfills Desire, which eating itself eats you along the way. what’s more to say? you’re empty of, or else feeding, Desire; […]

The Receiver

there once was a quiet dystopian town where the people had recently found one among them, from birth, had this uncanny gift: taking bad memories. he’d just lift pain from your brain like it was never there, each trace recollection erased. how it worked: this Receiver himself made space for your suffering in his own […]

i’m not a necrophiliac

i’m not a necrophiliac, but nearly— i’m turned on not by corpses & cadavers but dead minds whose ideas still survive, whose old insights still penetrate clearly & light the way my living self now travels, directing me where to go, what to strive for, how to push forward through tragedy— their force flows through […]

Gethsemane

Cold blood beading like sweat on his brow, he fell to his knees pleading, “Take my place, God, if you have any power now, & quench the bloodthirst ravaging my race! After I’m killed, they’ll only kill again, but maybe with your death, the killing ends.” The Lord supported troublemakers then, so before he felt […]

In Sparta (a true story)

In Sparta, in general, lived men of few words. However, whenever they used one, it burned. One day a tyrant, fresh conquests in tow, threatened Sparta by asking, “Will I come friend or foe?” Unamused, Sparta’s leader said: Neither. That’s when the conqueror’s patience wore thin. “If I ride in,” he warned, “with my brothers […]

wisdom

wisdom is moderation of all things: to neither be a puppet nor pull strings, to lead with strength but not an iron fist, to smartly borrow from but not consist of lessons learned in lifetimes besides yours, to seize the day while still doing your chores & take action, but give in when you’re wrong. […]

all the great Masters recommend restraint

all the great Masters recommend restraint of thought, word, action & initiative: always be ready to respond, but wait for the right time to strike. how do they live so disciplined, their only time around more competent than others, but less proud? as a dam may serve to irrigate the land & pens pinpoint the […]

Prometheus

Nicolas-Sébastien Adam My ancestors believed they were created out of red riverbed clay by Prometheus, a superhuman being. What possessed him to breathe life into us, just forgeries of himself, no one knows, but our creation brought him pride— so, the Lord Zeus let it slide. One winter, under cover of night, Prometheus climbed to […]