Tuesday, December 4, 2018


the top of the earth the gamblers spin
a dreidle is loaded for eastern light

the game from birth burns blood and oil
bellies get bloated their haste to indict

grasping at mirth the chaser crawls
toward ash, and so did the rest of her might

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

required is a shibboleth

if you had no hands and could not see
what kind of artist would you be?

and if you lost your voice entirely
how would you reply the necessity

but obey her with your dying breath

when your faves hang out and talk education in Jacobs, A. (2018)

I have suggested that the cultural health of Europe, including the cultural health of its component parts, is incompatible with extreme forms of both nationalism and internationalism. But the cause of that disease, which destroys the very soil in which culture has its roots, is not so much extreme ideas, and the fanaticism which they stimulate, as the relentless pressure of modern industrialism, setting the problems which the extreme ideas attempt to solve. Not least of the effects of industrialism is that we become mechanized in mind, and consequently attempt to provide solutions in terms of engineering, for problems which are essentially problems of life.
—T. S. Eliot, 1944

To all of us, I believe, in the middle of the twentieth century, the Roman Empire is like a mirror in which we see reflected the brutal, vulgar, powerful yet despairing image of our technological civilization, an imperium which now covers the entire globe, for all nations, capitalist, socialist, and communist, are united in their worship of mass, technique and temporal power. What fascinates and terrifies us about the Roman Empire is not that it finally went smash but that . . . it managed to last for four centuries without creativity, warmth or hope.
—W. H. Auden, 1952


 Jacques Maritain, age fifty-six, philosopher and theologian, is in Paris, embroiled in a heated dispute with his fellow Catholic Paul Claudel over Maritain’s support for the leftist rebels in the Spanish Civil War.

Thomas Stearns Eliot, age fifty, poet and editor, is in London. He continues his work for the publisher Faber & Faber; he signs up to serve as an air-raid warden in Kensington, where he has a flat.

Clive Staples Lewis, age forty, Fellow of Magadlen College, Oxford, is in Stratford-upon-Avon to give two lectures on Shakespeare, though the second is canceled after the news comes that Germany has invaded Poland.

Wystan Hugh Auden, age thirty-two, poet, having left his native England for New York earlier in the year, is in a trashy dive bar, Dizzy’s Club, in Manhattan.

Simone Weil, age thirty, thinker, is ill with pleurisy—she is often ill—and taking a kind of rest cure, with her parents, in the mountains near Nice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

speak for your servant

Leaning on you for understanding
I fell out the window of mine
And was it that I fell so ill
That I lost your voice?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

It was the word avant la lettre...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

the grand forgery

For Mandela's centenary, a Penn prof writes that for South Africans,

His struggle was our struggle, his imprisonment was our imprisonment, his freedom was our freedom, his equality was our equality, his justice was our justice. He did it in the name of us all.
And it makes me think that all the things I ask in Jesus' name turn on all that He did in the name of us all.  A grand forgery that restores my true name, being, humanity.


My days in South Africa are drawing to a close. In 13 days I leave this beloved country. I dread returning to the pace and pressure of not Philly, but Penn. Fieldwork – wherein my sole professional and academic responsibility is to be fully present to and immersed in human interaction, to transcend cultural partitions, to observe deeply and finely, and to inscribe the full humanity of myself and others... Well, this has been rehumanizing and restorative.

Just wandering through.