i was reading some old man’s poems this morning


The title to today’s blog is a quote from the poem, “Betancourt,” by Amiri Baraka, I read this morning as part of my morning reading time. It struck me as ironic that this poem from Baraka’s youth had this line in it. I have been finding more and more poems by Baraka that I admire. I’m attracted to his blend of erudition, politics, beat poet resonance and love of Jazz.

I love these lines:

“… Walking all night
entwined inside, I mean
I tasted you, your real & fleshy
inside my head
& choked
as if some primitive
corruption re-sat
itself in full view
of a puritan flame. And flame
is the mind, the wet hands
mark on strange islands
of warmth.”

Amiri Baraka

I was talking about Baraka yesterday with my student Rudi. Rudi is an odd blend. He is a devout Roman Catholic. But his politics are similar to mine. He also is very interested and aware of a lot of the African American issues and history, being himself a black man raised in the south.

Yesterday I asked him if he was interested in learning some music besides Liszt, Scriabin, and Fauré. I told him that Baraka had inspired me to listen to Thelonious Monk on my tablet on the ride up to the lesson from Holland. I believe Monk’s music is largely the music of a genius. As Scriabin is sort of a pianist’s composer, Monk is a musician’s musician.

Rudi said he likes Jazz but wasn’t interested in learning to play it. This led us to talk about Baraka. With a few reminders Rudi remembered who Baraka was.

I’m afraid that having Matthew and Sarah around has sort of primed the pump of my talking and thinking. I need to work on turning down the intensity a bit, even though I don’t think I’ve driven anyone crazy quite yet. It would be good if I could avoid it.

I finished Chaucer’s House of Fame yesterday. I decided I had enough of Chaucer for a while, having read “The Book of the Duchess,” “The Parliment of Fowls,” and “The House of Fame.” It’s lovely stuff to read out loud, but I think it might be fun to read some Shakespeare systematically, so this morning I began “King Lear.”

It’s fun to read (reread?) this and factor in a bit of Family Systems. You know the Father with the three Daughters, two of which falsely proclaim their love and the youngest of which only will love deeply but not profess it due to modesty. Fun stuff.

Justice Dept. Presses Civil Rights Agenda in Local Courts – The New York Times

Rudy and I were talking about voting rights as well since I’m reading Give us the Ballot. This article is interesting in the light of such voter and other rights repression. I was trying to tell Rudy that while things are dire, all is not lost yet.

Good guy with a gun myth: Guns increase the risk of homicide, accidents, suicide

This is a Slate article from January of this year. I bookmarked it for possible sharing when misinformation abounds on Facebooger.

How Not to Think About Bears – The New York Times

The gun risk link above came from this entertaining article.

The Middle East’s Morality Police – The New York Times

Many countries in the Middle East have a very weird relationship to women. In this case, bellydancers.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, Co-Founder of National Front, Is Ousted From French Far-Rig

Family systems in the news. Father founds mad organization. Daughter climbs the leadership ladder of it. Daughter ousts father.

Review: In ‘Grandma,’ Lily Tomlin Energizes an Intergenerational Road Trip – 

This movie looks good.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.