Wise old crickets on the wall

Those who don’t like you – once you’re gone – will tell
Tales of you, sum you up; they’ll have their innings.
“Broken”, if that cliché is still around,
Though bright and charming now and then, they’ll grant,
Wise heads a-wag; sad case, an awful waste.
Oh and of course he drank too much you know.
That Commie thing; extreme; kind of a nut,
Really. Though bright and charming now and then.
“I blame the mother.”
— “Do you? I the father —
Thou misogyne.” This last subvocalized.
Both seek someone to blame, along with you.
And sure, there’s lots of blame to go around,
And you’ve your share, like everybody else.
The blamer seldom looks to blame himself,
Or claim his own blame due, unless neurotic
As you are. Blame: the water you’ve swum in
Since self-awareness dawned. You tried to shed it;
That never works, of course; one’s lot in life
Foredoomed, as the ancients knew; the blame and shame
Twin siblings, paired jaws ineluctable;
Oedipus never meant to kill his daddy,
Or bed his mommy; but the unpitying Fates
Had different plans. Not altogether harsh,
They gave him Sophocles to sing his song.
But as for you: you’ll have to sing your own.

The well-washed brain-washed

So, in the car again, NPR again; sorry, I just can’t do podcasts. Besides, NPR offers the morbid fascination of a five-car pile-up on I-95. It’s the consummate expression of the characteristic mental illness of my people, which is to say to the North American professional-managerial caste.

Of course it was all about the feckin Ukraine. They brought on — as an “expert” — a chick who used to be Zelensky’s media flack. Not any more, probably an interesting backstairs backstabbing story there. But she was staying with the story line, you know, the brave bold Ukies beating back the Russian bear’s gory claws, et cetera.

Her main schtick was Zelensky’s enlightened HR policies — she was a young fresh-faced woman, with reasonably good English, very Euro-oriented, and he picked her over all the old Ukie men! Why, say no more! The triumph of diversitarian meritocracy.

Of course about half the segment, apart from the chick’s resume, and fluffing her recent book, was devoted to unsourced, unexamined, third-hand atrocity stories. No skepticism shown by NPR; the former flack’s tale taken as Gospel. No “other side” mentioned, needless to say. The other side’s story is ridiculous a priori.

NPR’s audience eat this rancid shit up and beg for second helpings. Warm and fragrant from the steam table.

Oh, and China is pretty bad too. I recently had dinner with an old friend who assured me that tiktok was a sinister Chinese plot to brainwash the US public. And I’m not talking here about some Carl Hiaasen Yahoo; this is an intelligent, well-educated person — well-educated by US standards, anyway — with a fairly important job in the indoctrination sector, aka “publishing”.

I’m very glad the subject of Russia didn’t come up. My friend is Jewish — or rather — Jew-ish, as Seinfeld says; never darkens the door of a shul, doesn’t keep kosher, violates Shabbos with gay abandon. But there’s a kind of hereditary antipathy here.  Great-grandpa’s tales, reinforced by the propaganda system.

Meeting Pete

Suppose it true: the gate, the saint, the book;
Damned by the book, of course. So there’s a saint
Manning the gate; for going by the book,
The joint would be un-peopled. Can’t have that!
But trust a saint to err the right way.

Looks you up. Process due. His sad old face —
The files he’s read; you won’t shock him; he’s seen
Worse; O so much worse. Still, you squirm a bit.
Because you’re bad enough, God knows. He too.

Reads and his sad old face grows sadder yet;
Every poor sinner more one furrow more
On the immemorial cheek. And did he know
This was the job he’d get, back in the day
On the Galilean shore, so full of bounce?
Knew what the keys meant? This I strongly doubt.
Surprised like all of us.

     The storied keys
Hang at his holy belt: one side all rust,
The other bright with use, as if he turned
One way and not the other, generally.
I feel a bit more cheerful, seeing this —
No bouncer he, and no security
Needs guard henceforth forever. My ID
Superfluous here; they know me all too well.
Which is a somewhat mortifying thought.
I’ll blush aeonically, a Rubens putto
Or putain rather.

     Still the saint reads on.
I would have thought that half a page might do it;
But no; a dossier Omniscience
Only could keep; and there’s no hurry here —
Which seems to me like Paradise enough:
Summer and never more a back to school.
Behind, the continents still shift and shrug;
Empires rise, fall, who gives a shit. Plates slide.
Species die off — my own of course included —
And none too soon. My God, how we fucked up.

But that’s not mine to answer for. My own
Fucked-uppedness our topic here. The Saint
Takes time. Has nothing but.

     Or no, I see it
Now; in fact, he has everything but time;
Eternity to ponder, time forgotten;
No queue behind me, no deserving feet
Shuffling to claim their turn. It’s him and me.
Suddenly, I feel strangely confident.