The Golden rule don’t always work
I dated a horrible sociopathic lunatic for about year.
Yes, I’m a slow learner. My friends hated her. Her kids hated her. In the end, I didn’t like her very much either.
But I turned her onto Noam Chomsky’s political writings in those first golden days of a new romance and she has walked around for the 30 years since then, from what I’ve heard anyway, criticizing anyone who hasn’t “Read Chomsky” as though this is a litmus test to whether you are a decent, smart, honorable human being.
This is the one and only thing, I can recall, about which she was and is right.
Because it turns out that Chomsky was and is right about pretty much everything.
I must add this note to Noam, Sorry we didn’t believe you more fully before the authoritarianism of our lives today, But I gotta tell you brother, we believe you NOW, Even if your biggest fan is a nasty nut, and proof that loving you, in some rare cases, isn’t quite enough to make a crazy person sane.
Sex And Universal Truths
Sometimes when you have sex, you get love, and sometimes, you get something else altogether. Power, release, closeness, distance: big mixed bag of stuff. Sometimes you get both, sometimes you get neither.
Maybe both, maybe neither.
Her Text . . .
… came at a bad time but the content would have made any time seem bad.
She called me evil and rotten, a narcissist and abusive, and she said she was glad to think about dancing on my grave after I died if she felt like it (and it sure seems like that’s how she’s going to feel).
She further said that she knew I’d be totally forgotten and all my books would be forgotten as well and therefore my life would be meaningless and that’s exactly what I deserved. And she made it clear that she didn’t have to be drunk to tell me how much she hated me and hoped the rest of my days would be a living hell until I die and was sent to the real hell for all eternity, where I deserved to go. (Did I mention that She was the sexiest woman in bed, by far, that I’ve ever known?)
As you might imagine I read her text with some discomfort, despite not believing in hell nor agreeing with very much of what she said about me.
But sometimes the best way to escape a terrible situation is to let the person who hates you have the last word So please ignore this response and let’s just leave it where she left it last.
A Witness to Our Worth
For my friend and witness Richard Baldasty
Receiving a wonderful e-mail from a friend and writer I respect about a new poem I’d written and sent to him, it occurs to me that all of us need, from time to time, a witness to ourselves, our work and our purpose for what we’re doing.
Friendships come and go, regrettable as that often feels.
Family comes and goes as well, getting sick, dying, dead —
This is very depressing to many people.
So some tell themselves that there’s a Big Daddy God in the sky counting their hairs and sparrows falling and such, and of course HE’S watching them and approving of all they do that pleases HIM.
And, of course, HE’S rewarding them, thinking a lot about them ALL the time, etc etc etc.
And despite their insistence on their faith, and the great comfort they claim it provides, somehow when the chips are not just down, but angrily tossed into the muck of chips in the middle of the loser’s table, and all feels lost because all is lost, it’s always these faithful types who go nuts and lose all sense of mission and purpose, muttering into their drinks, curses at/to their imaginary caretaker in the sky.
I suspect that their whole impression of HIM goes through some big changes.
“How could you let me down like this? I gave money on Sunday and all that shit!”
For those of us less “lucky,” that is, absent this great gift of ‘faith,’ I think we need a witness, at least one, to look at us.
We need somebody to see what we’re doing and to express the view that we’re worthwhile.
We need someone to suggest that we are worthy of being here: taking up space, air, water, eating, sneezing, shitting, walking, sitting, making noises and using resources and just generally being alive before we join all those long gone friends and family.
To extend this metaphor, if you think about your own life you can see that The Witness pool consists of potential people for both the defense and the prosecution (“persecution?” But I digress).
Each side has their lists and agendas and hardly ever does a witness, once called and up there on the stand, go against the side by which he’s being paid.
But once in awhile someone lifts his hand and swears to speak the truth and that truth is real and sincere. And it attests to what I’m talking about here: to the defendant’s, or the respondent’s value and purpose, that person’s contribution and significance.
Perjury may be a serious crime, yet it’s so rarely prosecuted because truthful testimony is so scarce. Indeed, the truth is so unusual to hear in and of and for itself.
Still, it’s always a nice surprise to hear someone say to us that we are worthy and when we do hear it, and an even greater joy, is to be able to believe it, especially when the person testifying happens to be an excellent witness.