Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

The Good  News of Public Libraries, 3.16.2017

This afternoon I walked eight blocks north to the Central West End’s Schlafly Library where I picked up three books by Bernard  B. Fall, whom Noam Chomsky once described as “the most respected analyst and commentator on the Vietnam War”—Last Reflections on a War, Street without Joy, and Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. The new trainee at the circulation desk said, “All these are very old books, look at the condition they’re in!”

The Good News of Midwifery, 3.16.2017

Today my friend, nurse practitioner and midwife Becky Hassler brought a baby into this world–9 pounds, 10 ounces.

The Good News of Bach, 3.14.2017

Listening to the Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043, performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter and Salvatore Accord (English Chamber Orchestra).

 

Start to listen here at 20:02 m.

“I Am Ora Thomas” by Natalie Long

I am pleased to share the following from compañera Natalie, who reentered my life with a bang five weeks ago. She is an environmental lawyer, educated at DePaul Law School by way of Chiapas.

When class wraps up, she hurriedly packs her things – computer in case, mouse, notepad. Her professor stoops – “Whose is this?” he asks, holding up a charger. “Mine, thanks!” she responds, hand extended to take the device.

Backpack loaded, she switches gears, from student to sister, making a quick stop at the bathroom then walking out of the law school, waving to classmates as she passes them in the hall. Stepping out into the night, she distractedly notes that, despite it only being mid-February, her fur-lined red jacket is a bit too warm for the night.

Reaching her car, she drives off campus and straight into town, making a left at the strip. Already 6:25pm; hopefully she wasn’t too late. She pulls into the parking lot by the old train car, pushing down the fleeting thought that, despite her wishes to the contrary, she’s still driving around in this dreary town. She keeps saying she’s going to find a way to get out… Read the rest of this entry »

Bella Levenshteyn Engages with Her Critics/1

“Why are you people here?
Why are you making this fuss?”

“Sir, people are suffering, that’s why.”

“But people are suffering right here, too
I’ve got buddies who were sprayed
Why don’t you think of them or lobby for them?”

“Sir, if you know of any specific actions
we can involved in to care for our veterans harmed by Agent Orange”—-
Bella has the most poignant conviction pervading her face—-
“Let me know and we’ll join you”

The septuagenarian stood silent
Then Bella continued Read the rest of this entry »

The Good News of Generating, 3.9.2017

I have 286 chapters in an almost finished first draft of a manuscript entitled, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris.

The Way It Looked In 1968

Within a short period of time there will be no Jewish workers in Israel. The Arabs shall be the workers; the Jews shall be the managers, inspectors, officials, and policemen and mainly secret service men. A state governing a hostile population of 1.5 to 2 million foreigners is bound to become a Shin Bet state, with all that this would imply to the spirit of education, freedom of speech and thought and democracy. This corruption, characteristic of any colonial regime, would be true for Israel. The administration will be forced to deal with the suppression of an Arab protest movement and the acquisition of Arab quislings. We must fear that even the army and its officers, a people’s army, will deteriorate by becoming an occupation army, and its officers, turned into military governors, will not differ from military governors elsewhere in the world.

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Israeli philosopher and scholar
Yediot Ahronot
March 1968
Quoted in George Baramki Azar, Palestine: A Photographic Journey

Yesh Leibowitz

 

The Good News, 3.8.2017

I once asked Mayuko and Minami (both in my fall 8 a.m. MWF Humanities class) if they had heard of Sei Shōnagon (清少納言). Of course they had!  They had read her years ago in school.  I only recently made acquaintance with SS through Meredith  McKinney’s translation for Penguin.

Reading her renowned Pillow Book, I thought of Allen Ginsberg’s maxim, “If we don’t show anyone, we’re free to write anything”:  

At times I am beside myself with exasperation at everything, and temporarily inclined to feel I’d simply be better off dead, or am longing to just go away somewhere, anywhere, then if I happen to come by some lovely white paper for everyday use and a good writing brush, or white decorated paper or Michinoku paper, I’m immensely cheered, and find myself thinking I might perhaps be able to go on living for a while longer after all.  212 Read the rest of this entry »

Refuge

The budget for an already hyper-bloated Pentagon is being increased
I take refuge in Henry Nagler

The sneering sarcasm toward Palestinians struggling for freedom seems ubiquitous
I take refuge in Safa Khalidi

The people busy inflicting wounds on others act as if it is a exciting avocation
I take refuge in Bella Levenshteyn

–from work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

The Good News, 3.7.2017

The  Good News is the radiance, wit, resilience, and hard-won wisdom of Elizabeth Quiros, with whom I was reunited today at RISE. I wonder: how many Share the Wealth evenings can she animate? How many books shall we read?  How much soul-sharing will ensue?