isn’t a hair
out of place,
but a face
with no mouth
so it can’t shout
The Divine Ponzi
I hear a groan
in the skies.
It’s Leonard Cohen.
The light dies.
The secret of my (un)success,
is not that I'm the worst or best
but I'm industrious.
The only stone I leave unturned
is the one that hides the hard earned.
No matter where I am
I walk the sunny side.
I don't give a damn
if I'm baked or fried.
I take the cosmic plan
of the sun in my stride.
Plasma of the poor for sale.
Guaranteed fresh-drawn and hale.
Filtered of drugs, HIV
and all traits of poverty.
Almost virgin. We assure
the faint hearted it’s the pure
product of a leach blood-let
for the vampiric jet-set.
Ma Vie Au Cinema
Je suis Robert Redford.
Mais mon taille etait trop bas
par rapport cette grand beau gar.
mes amis hypocrite
‘tu es comme Alain Delon’
Gomme ca tres vite.
Le verite est ta gueule.
Je suis Peter O‘Toole.
Questionnaire for the Dying
All in all, has life been good to you?
If not, what would you reproach it for?
If you are reincarnated, how would you live your life again?
What are you looking forward to?
Any other comments welcome
If you have time please complete this questionnaire
and return to the address below
I was having my sunset swim at the jetty and I exchanged bon soirs with a fisherman who was glumly wrapping up his gear. I said ‘Any luck?’
‘No. Just little ones’.
‘The big ones are too intelligent’.
‘Yes. They are not biting’.
‘What big fish?’
‘Yes they have teeth’ and show the scar on my elbow.
‘Can I use a bit of you as bait?’
La mer, ma mere
After a swim I lose my French. Can it be a due to a linguistic pun? Immersed in la mer I recover my mother tongue.
A modest proposal
Je repere dans les plages cette ete beaucoup de gens qui resemble cochons. Le plus populaire viande a la France est porc. Peut-etre avec le austerite les defavouri sera retourner de cannibalisme.
I noticed on the beaches this summer lots of people resembling pigs. Pork is the most popular meat in France. Perhaps wit austerity the poor will return to cannibalism.
Madness and the law
The definition of madness had legal consequences going back to the Enlightenment.
If irresistible forces prompts the crime the plaintive is exonerated. By the mid-19th century not knowing the wrongness of the act was the criteria, a return to the theological definition of sin. That is, full knowledge.
The romantic view of madness (Shakespeare’s poets and madmen) wasn’t reflected in the not guilty. Bedlam wasn’t a good place to be locked up in. The range of definitions included the eloquent ‘’a morbid perversion of the natural feelings’ with a moral twist in its tail to the pragmatic ‘an incorrect association of familiar ideas’ which aligns madness with stupidity. What is ‘correct’? The poets would differ on that but not the moralists.
Nowadays madness is defined as an illness. The diagnosis though remains as uncertain as it ever was. Biochemical research is closing the gap. But its not convincing enough in Court or hospital or in the home.
What then must we do? Look at it in a social context. What damages lives is mad.
I think perhaps the need for treatment of that in the present age is almost pandemic.
And the law courts are no help. Who is to judge?
Dying for Showing their Ankles
Papal Pope John the Twenty-Second banned the shortened Franciscan habits. The monks protested that it was to show the poverty of their feet, and refused. He handed them over to the Inquisition. Several were burnt at the stake. The Order stood their ground, and compromised with sandals.
Hats off to the Col de Galibier
Henri Desgrange, founder of the Tour de France, on riding to the highest point on the route, Col de Galibier, shouted, ‘Oh! Galibier vous etes de la pale et vulgaire bibine. Devant ce geant il n’y a plus qu’a tirer son bonnet et saluer bien bas’. (Oh ! you pale and vulgar plonk. Before you, my giant, there is nothing to do but throw my hat in the air and bow to the below).
When I reached the memorial to him, a kilometre to the summit, I punctured and, repairing the tube, spilled my water. I was dangerously dry and ate snow.
Theresa May pays dearly for fidelity
Ulster Unionists get a billion pounds in exchange for free abortions.
Homosexuality was what persuaded Alexander the Great’s soldiers to stay away from home for years at a time. Homer gave it his nod. The same may well have been true for the Crusades. Time to open the Vatican archives.
Over dead embryos
On her death Simone Veil (89) was remembered for making abortions legal in France, and supporting Sarkozy. Life is unfair.
Well, blow me (said the fly in the wall)
Trois poules de luxe dans le terrasse du Cafe de Quai.
J’ai oublir mon briquet, et je leur dis.
Bon Soir, Je voudrais un feu…
Une femme me reponse :
Tu veux dire un fuck ?
Desoriente, je laisse echapper :
Non. C’est le pipe.
Tout le trois avaient le fou rire en semble.
I love people in the sense I could not do without them. Their weaknesses and mine keep us together.
Migrants should cut down trees and make seaworthy crafts rather than depending on pneumatic plastics.
Palmer Lyons won the Lee swim and built the public toilet on the Grand Parade. He conquered the sewers.
The natural cycle
Night rains makes the garden fragrant and the shrubs flower if the sun comes out next day.
Rada, mon voleur presume
Last robbery was my three-quarters violin (inherited from my first teacher, Mr Brady) and the box camera m took the photographs in Brazil. Both no doubt are at the bottom of the Port. Such loses are hard to bear.
I was sitting in the café terrace for my afternoon ice and coffee reading Le Monde.
Half way through an article on a six year drought in the North East of Brazil it began to rain. I cursed my luck. I had no hat and I was worried my bike would get rusty.
Kiss goodbye to your democratic right: Election special, 2017
Aucun marque dans le bulletin rendait le vote null, enchore rougre levre.
Any stain on the election card invalidates the vote. That includes lip-stick.
What once were called savings are now investments.
It’s sobering to note that the beginnings of democracy in Athens was the last resort of an unsuccessful politician (Cleisthenes) in search of votes. He used his dwindling power to give the vote to the demos. It got his some support but not enough to gain power.
Not my friend
"In the end, we get older, we kill everyone who loves us through the worries we give them, through the troubled tenderness we inspire in them, and the fears we ceaselessly cause."
― Walter Benjamin
Human beings would rather have the void as a purpose than to be void of a purpose
Kissing in the street troubles me. I feel excluded, unless it is same sex. The inclusion
is disturbing. Could I be…? Mais non.
The purpose of myth is to provide a logical model capable of overcoming a contradiction
Sur le tard
I put myself forward for adoption, but alas they didn’t think I was house-trained.
Sarkozy selon Georges Freche
‘Un grande mamamouchu a talon compenses’ (no trans necessary ?)
Trump is a crook. So he can be trusted.
‘Evil happens. It isn’t committed…
A referendum only complements democracy. It can’t replace it.
‘The will of the people’ is a fantasy of power mongers.
At best it manifests itself in a written constitution
drafted by civil servants for parliament to approve. Britain doesn’t have one
So it’s a matter of sovereignty. ‘The will of the people’ was drafted by
a question without any reference to consequences
The iron rule of recognition
Authorises what has been decided.
‘100,000 muslims are supporters of sharia’. The statistic was produced by Right Wing scaremongers. That it is only 0.06% of the Islamic population is reassuring.
On Easter Sunday a man entered a packed church in Nice wearing gloves and brandishing a sausage.. The congregation was evacuated. He was arrested while hyperventilating with an asthma attack.
What one must never do to Brexit voters and Trump supporters.
The basket cases must be coddled in a clothe and put in the hot press.
It used to be dead babies that were fashionable for poems. Now in literary works dead brothers with a drug habit are in vogue. Anne Carson led the way. Now Lisa Dickenson is number one in the best seller list for fiction.
Films versus novels
Rudolf Arnheim has been proved right. After watching French cinema from Renoir to Melville most evenings for fourteen years I’m certain written fiction has been superseded. I avoid subtitles.
The new pluralism is racism, misogamy, homophobia, religious and other intolerances. They live together, if not in harmony, atonally. The outcasts are those who don’t have strong feelings.
Noel a Toulouse 2016
Diners taking selfies of their dinner-plate
Young girls overdo rouge in their makeup. Witch-lips
Yellow and Red M signs for the metro same as for McDonnell’s.
Meanwhile soldiers in mufti trot through the crowds with their guns cocked,
smiling at one another. Boys having fun.
At the Christic age of 33, and in the year 1933, Hubert von Karajan joined the Nazi Party. ‘Before me was a form to sign. It stood between me and limitless power’ (musical director of Aachen Opera).
Hymns D’amour (Pyrenees.Orientale)
Catherine and Edgar, contrato/ organ, have been challenged as the duet d’amour of the region by Robin Hendrix and Michel Pressman, jazz soprano/ piano. Musical beds.
Theresa May is not another Iron Lady , but a Putin clone, a functionary who placed himself in a power position by clearing his in-tray. Such drudges are dangerous when they begin to have ideas.
Needing someone to tell him what to do, Putin’s own ideas must come from someone. So he gets God. Churches are mushrooming all over Russia. Divine authority supports what he wants to do. May’s mentor will be more down to earth. Not the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Bank of England, or Trump. It’s Putin.
James Meek on who?
‘Mean, vicious, violent, corrupt, cynical, up to his eyeballs in alcohol,
motivated by primal lusts rigidly divided by wealth and by an ugly set of racial and gender codes’
‘What do the police do with their time? They drive around in circles and
sometimes act as ushers at parades, car crashes and other public events. Now and then they ask obstructive people to move on or stop shouting at each other, but hardly ever do they catch criminals or terrorists. They have been known to add violence to peaceful situations. And are privileged employees. But now they are on strike for more protection…’
Thief at the Door
When not alone I’m frightfully brave and shout ‘go away’. That scares him.
On my own I’m introspective. It’s personal. And as the lock is being forced I clutch a hammer.
Plastic melt down
Constant interruption deflects human contact. The easy tap for information not only is damaging the memory but destroying accuracy.
Pas de Pub
I am a mad recluse in my tower
The moon tonight was closer to the earth than any time likely in my lifetime
It was so bright that you could read by it. Unfortunately I had finished my book.
Mass immigration is the just price paid for colonial (and oil) exploitation.
And boosts the ailing birth-rate.
Curiously it is most resented in the US and UK in communities where the influx is minimal.
Putting it in writing
I decided to be a writer before I could read. In fact the first writing I read was my own. I almost had a romance with Fidelma Murphy, the student actress, but she couldn’t read my writing. When she made a film with Pat Boone, Never Put it in Writing, the Abbey School kicked her out. I suffered remorse, but her career revived. I saw her recently playing the Screaming Woman in Murphy’s Law (2006).i can no longer read my own writing.
Kick-starting an Idea
Descartes advanced the idea that animals were mechanical devises and didn’t have ‘agency’. His follower, Nicholas Malebranche, kicked Monsieur Grat, Descartes dog, in the belly. Descartes was upset but Malebranche assured him the howl was merely an automatic reaction.
Descartes loved his best mechanical friend. When he scratched , Monsieur Grat, the dog would nose him affectionately. On walks he even talked to him.
He concluded it isn’t only sentient beings that can communicate
People with smart-phones would understand that.
I don’t think Descartes even backtracked on his theory. Though he didn’t update his Monsieur Grat when his mechanism fell apart.
Anyone who has a brain and thinks
Anyone who has a brain and thinks clearly
Anyone who has a brain and thinks clearly with backup facts
Anyone who thinks clearly and combines thoughts to make an idea
Anyone who thinks the unthinkable
Socrates said ‘I know that I know nothing’.' and Kierkegaard added. 'We must learn to know (or identify) the things we cannot understand’.
George W Bush's Donald Rumsfeld famously considered the question.
'There are things that we know that we know. but there are known unknowns. that is things we know that we don't know' (Socrates and Kiekegaard nodded their approval ). 'But there are also unknown unknowns. Things we don’t know we don’t know' (Socrates and Kierkegaard were lost). .
The reason that the invasion of Iraq was such a disaster was because of unknown unknowns. Intelligence services should have done their homework and identified the unknown unknowns rather than waiting to see what would happen as Bush and Rumsfeld were content to. And so philosophy would have saved the world from ISIS.
My mother had a way with fires. In five minutes she could have the hearth in the study or front room ablaze with blocks of wood, and the chimney too. That called for salt and a newspaper screen to prevent smoke entering the room. Afterwards she threw on slack, pulverised coal that was wet. When the chimney was on fire we went out into the garden to watch the sparks fly. Sometimes there were flames like from the Dunlop’s chimney on the way into town. Once, on a picnic, she set fire to a hill in Roberts cove with a primus stove. She appeased the enraged farmer by helping to put it out. We watched from a safe distance.
It is possible I inherited her Promethean touch. When I went to the national school I was given the task of laying and lighting the fire. I was taken away before the end of the year as the headmaster, an ex-student of daddy, treated me differently from the other pupils. I had been sent there to toughen me up after the nuns had spoilt me. As a college student I took to smoking my father’s discarded pipes and tobacco. Once the waste paper basket in my room was discovered smouldering and, since I could no longer smoke in the house, I took to the woods. In winter I lit a fire and studied there, sometimes cooking potatoes in the ashes.
December in Helsinki and we were caught in a snowstorm on one of the islands. I was worried as m had once suffered hypothermia in icy weather in Pau. But she was amused saying that ‘lost in the snow’ is like being in a children’s story. I wanted to shelter in an abandoned hut. But she plodded on until we found the bridge to the mainland. Afterwards she told when the snow came the temperature rose some and she felt less cold.
I recall she was wearing a combat coat with an oval-shaped fur-hat like the changing-of-the-guard in Buckingham Palace. My mother bought it for when m came to Cork for the first time. It was real fur from the Mockler’s haberdashery, and she could only wear it in Russia and Finland. In London she would have been assassinated. The hat particularly suited her features. Although the only photo I have of her in it gives her chubby cheeks.
William and Marie-Henri
When Hazlett met Stendhal what did they say to one another? I imagine it was a dialogue de sourdes. They didn’t understand one another. Stendhal's English was worse than Hazlett's French, but not by much. Communication for Stendhal would have been a matter of making manners, which might not have been Hazlett's strong point. Stendhal would have turned away to talk to someone else. Hazlett would have watched him making them laugh.