Last Tuesday, for kicks, the cachinnate sea-crew Downed an albatross, a vast sea-bird, The indolent companion of our wake, who lazily traced Our ship's slippage through bitter breakers. Once deposed to the common planks, This king of the wild blue stumbled in shame, Piteously dragging his white infinite wings Like chalky oars unmoored beside him. Winged voyager! Now dementedly frail! O royal one! Now splay and exposed! One sailor crams His Highness' beak with a burning pipe; The next limps and mimics this cripple who soared! The Poet is one with this swift prince of the clouds Who haunts the tempest and mocks swart archers: Exiled to earth's low hoots and threats, His giant wings hobble each inch of his step. --Charles Baudelaire
Let me elaborate (without belaboring) my point in print. Let’s say one questions the status quo: Hey Quo, what’s up with that, yo? The question, by its very nature, throws doubt upon the validity and durance of the status quo, or things as they are. Maybe things should be arranged otherwise, maybe other arrangements or interpretations would be more penetrating and correct, or would open avenues of action that would be grander or more satisfying. Questions, in this respect, are like headlights that can help us sketch out the dimensions and "give" in the fog that surrounds us.
What questions, in and of themselves, cannot do in these circumstances is prove anything about the validity of the status quo one way or another. Because one can formulate a question about the status quo does not, in itself, undermine things as they are in any way. Hey Quo, are you sure that the ground is under my feet? This question does nothing to remove the ground from under your feet–it is simply a question–a question that can start a process of discovery that itself should be questioned and not simply assented to because it undermines current understanding. This is what I meant about "questioning the questions."
A question is simply the first step on a path that may eventually lead to the heady heights, and vast new perspectives, of disproof of the status quo; but the question is not the map, the donkey, the traveler, the sweat and the path all in one. The ground under your feet is solid until physics comes to eventually prove–through assertions and demonstrations (the sweat and donkey, etc.)–that in fact the ground is mostly made up of empty space between those tiny head-spinners, atoms.
Questions start the discovery, but the doubts are only worth paying attention to when evidence begins to solidify their guesswork with a bridge to a new reality, a new solidity. This goes on forever and ever, and even our views of bridges past begin to be swallowed up in the present fog and our next new journey can be to re-tread the paths of discoveries "past."
But then, what is Time, really?
2004 matured me in "one fell swoop" from deranged nerd to poised politico. The Public Library lions lean meekly on their paws, the spirit's menace, but not a doit against the grinding real-politick of Kerry's crash. "Let the repugnicans run things from here on in. The people'll be fed up by 2040 or so." So much for plots and plans. The streets were picked clean as a district attorney's grin. Sniggering drunk on cheap gin, I watch the awkward, waddling, ludicrous, heart-felt and foible-filled ANSWER's parade float down 5th avenue, the partisans a pastiche of president-haters and cranks.
A low, scornful comedy, Politics forgets man's nobility and grace; Each actor on the scene is given A monkey's scornful face. Politics is misprision, Goals the only good; An opposite to ethics' missions Where the Way is weighted All. Who knows themselves knows this well, Nor loves the news' intrigues; Stark farce and frighted faces, Dumb noise without a bell.
No "Grand Design" marrs my mouthings with a dictator's mania for perfection. Let what clues there are assemble themselves into some workaday conclusionary attitude or not. Man's a pattern-recognition device scanning horizons alert on his hind legs for threat or profit ever since we left the high cradle of the trees. "Rock-a-bye baaay-beeÖ." We call on God like a waiter when our intuition sours. The least we expect is that He'll take away the mess we've made of our plates; slashed lobster tails, cold soup, napkin blazed in butter or blood. How many settings must we sully in our time? Small fry sizzle in the stream, bearing the emptiness of air to eat gnats; so we leap and gulp off-balance, out of our element, full of longing, blind mouths open with prayer or gossip. Job managed both, but suffered unduly because he gave a damn. I see you there; my horizon's a page edge, these words my birder's net. The best eating never flocks, but steps singly to the trap.
I've seen scrawled by the chapel door "All's fair in love and war." Now that every heart is fed on hate The worst hunt down the great And ambush keeps the score. Sweet chimes ring the schoolyard home, No tattle of Chechnyan children comes; To keep their captive guests at peace Brave tales are told in a darkened space Of the rock and the dome. Nor love nor war are at our door But assassins at the window sash; A knife that flits in the flesh Troubles the unhealed gash Forevermore.
Bad poets write the cowardly words. Bolshevik importunings crowd the square: "Hitler, fascisti, retrograde!" Crow the opiated opinion-makers, Loudly lulling "the masses." Children doodle decapitated presidents Under the mildly smiling instructress Stitched drip by drip To the federal nipple. Witticisms stripped to shitticisms. "The world is not as once it was!" Cry the fanged bunglers Sullenly sipping tomato puree Where once the blood had come fast and rich and fauceted. Fighting a ragtag rearguard action for culture, No fine-spun sensibilities appear Delicate as Charlotte's web, As human as rumor That clotted democracy yet, Matted and mottled with muds, might yet, Yet might be, might still be "Some Pig."
The inverted bodies hang themselves, Interpenetrated, peeled For us to write riven songs upon their skins! Sullied sufferers hang themselves from a glass cross 200 floors toward heaven. Bitter Christs! Loudly you fly from flames to the asphalt, Absent-minded of your mission: Your religion has not yet arisen. We may yet decide to be extinguished. The gossipy mendacity of the Left Aligning with bin Ladens To win the miniaturized Bickerfest with the neighbor; neighbor Same as them, hung from the cross the same. Orange flares Line the flyway to infinity Or incineration. Coda Here's a brave man, indifferent to kicks, Somber under DC's browning ferns, Ready to kill the willful killers And treat his countrymen, confused As the winter-wind infused weathervane Like a drunken beloved.
Alertly lifts the martyr's rifle-- Agonized prayer awaiting divinity's hit. God never talks to the dogs, the dogs never stop barking. "I remember her blue burka; Rough cotton; wife. The trigger invites me.... And I see you, mad and scrambling, insipid in your freedoms. When God God God crushes you I shall rise."