Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Night, Muggy

It's been (again) too long since I've posted, and just posting now at twenty past eleven on a Sunday night to say all's quiet, all is well.

More later, mes amis, more later.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Return, Goings On

Fresh, returned from a vacation spent mostly on the burgundy couch and battering Harvest Golden tiles off a bathroom wall, ready to speak to the joys of doing nothing for an extended period, of morning coffee in a Philadelphia café, how my girlfriend related how relaxed I looked, how relaxing, how relaxing.

Instead came to unbusy office on a muggy Tuesday morning and read that American soldiers intentionally laid waste to civilians in Iraq, the military covered it up, a Louisiana democrat was caught with $90,000 in his freezer during a bribery investigation, there’s a Left Behind video game in the works. This is where we’ve heading, the nadir, here but for the grace of God.

Philadelphia was beautiful.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Finnish Ditty

Derrier planted on the burgundy couch, twenty past midnight on a rainy Thursday, slightly rancid from tonight's men's league game, watching the last period of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks/Colorado Avalanche game with the sound turned down, not for the benefit of sleeping neighbors (I don't even think they're home), but so I can listen, incessantly, to Loituma, a Finnish vocal quartet that, thanks to a posting on a message board I frequent, has bored into my skull. Shared pain is lessened, shared joy increased.

If you prefer, there's an equally catchy dance remix and, should you like, a video.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Post Scriptum. I very nearly forgot to congradulate Ed and Linda on their excellent news. Here's to the three of you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Looking Up

Spent the early afternoon at work, but not working, looking up the files I'd sent myself to post here in some form or another, and stumbled over
I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor—that's not my business—I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible: Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls—has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say, 'Do not despair.' The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: The hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people will return to the people, and so long as men die liberty will never perish. Soldiers—don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you—who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate—only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers—don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty. In the 17th chapter of St. Luke it is written "the kingdom of God is within man"—not one man, nor a group of men—but in all men—in you, the people.
You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power—let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfill their promise: they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers—in the name of democracy, let us all unite! Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting—the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality. The soul of man has been given wings—and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow—into the light of hope—into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up.
Sadly, not a Robertus original, but from a movie written some thirty-seven years before I was born, a film that seems, somehow, prescient.
A small thought about a long block quote while sitting on the burgundy couch, quiet spring evening, the breeze fluttering through the curtains, a motorcycle roaring past in the night.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hey Little Bird

And the Barnes and Noble Cafe, half a state away, next to some guy in a pink tie chattering on a cellular phone, and so it goes. I have half an hour to get to there, across an intersection to Red Brick Station, to meet (again, for the first time) Dawn and Meredyth.

White Marsh is no Fells Point, but she is not without her characters, the child stoops slowly to pick up a rolling bottlecap, coordinating joints he's just learning how to bend, the woman munching on a meatball sub from the Italian place up the street, the street draped in neon and the false halogen moonlight, Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing the South African National Anthem over the soundsystem, the reverend sipping mocachino waiting for the nearly newlyweds
Rumors have started that you are in love again
Rumors that are completely unsubstantiated
The platinum countergirl is no Polly Harvey, but she'll do in a pinch.

After all, I've half an hour to get from here to there, to meet Dawn and Mere, sadly emptyhanded after all these months, that month it's been since Mad City, on about noon.

No Polly Harvey there to speak of, only Mark (or maybe Mike), who's owned the place since I lived there, very nearly a decade ago, and he's as bald as he was then, though I doubt it is intentional now (the scalp exceeds the shave), bu my hair's receeded since then, so I've no room to talk.

And no time to talk, to speak of, spent the last fifteen digging through coat pockets for a Day-Quil, a temporary fix for a sinus infection. It looks like I've been crying all day, though I've not shed a tear in a year.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Coffee Shop Ramble

Sitting in the Mad City Cafe, the old Columbia stamping ground, the first former Riverside, beneath Salvador Dali exclaiming the lone difference between he and a madman (he is not mad) and the neon Open sign. Two high school girs practice French, sounding American (like I did when I was their age, like I would, could I speak French), a man plugs in the ubiquitous laptop (is any coffee shop scene complete sans laptop? Perhaps that's the last bastion of a forgotten age, the wireless cafe), a cell phone rings. The door swings open, a blast of fresh and bitter January, a man pours unsteeped, steaming tea into a trash can, he did say room for cream. I've read Baltimore's Alternative Weekly (City Paper) cover to cover, waiting for my phone to ring.