Thursday, September 18, 2008

Works Cited

Zeno, the disciple of Parmenides, having attempted to kill the tyrant Demylus, and failing in his design, maintained the doctrine of Parmenides, like pure and fine gold tried in the fire, that there is nothing which a magnanimous man ought to dread but dishonor, and that there are none but children and women, or effeminate and women-hearted men, who fear pain. For, having with his own teeth bitten off his tongue, he spit it in the tyrant’s face.

Plutarch, The Moralia


LEAH: I'm not worried--our neighborhood seems to be pretty safe.

Actually, a friend of mine was stabbed in that neighborhood.

Stabbed? Ouch.

You think that's bad--someone I knew was beheaded.

Oh yeah? How's he doing?


Mark is not only the oldest of the gospels, but also much shorter than the others, leaving out the story of Christ's birth. The Greek apparently leaves much to be desired as well. Matthew and Luke, as I understand it, copied Mark's work and spruced it up, as well as elaborating at both ends of Jesus' life.

To their detriment.

For evidence one need only consider the undeniable genius of the original version of Mark, which ended at verse 16:8, so that the conclusion takes the following pendent form (from the King James):

[1] And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

[2] And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

[3] And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

[4] And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

[6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

[7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

[8] And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

No resolution at all, just an empty tomb, and three taciturn and frightened women. What pregnancy.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Works Cited

“Prisoner at the bar, you have been accused of the great crime of labouring under pulmonary consumption, and after an impartial trial before a jury of your countrymen, you have been found guilty. Against the justice of the verdict I can say nothing: the evidence against you was conclusive, and it only remains for me to pass such a sentence upon you, as shall satisfy the ends of the law. That sentence must be a very severe one. It pains me much to see one who is yet so young, and whose prospects in life were otherwise so excellent, brought to this distressing condition by a constitution which I can only regard as radically vicious; but yours is no case for compassion: this is not your first offence: you have led a career of crime, and have only profited by the leniency shown you upon past occasions, to offend yet more seriously against the laws and institutions of your country. You were convicted of aggravated bronchitis last year: and I find that though you are now only twenty-three years old, you have been imprisoned on no less than fourteen occasions for illnesses of a more or less hateful character; in fact, it is not too much to say that you have spent the greater part of your life in a jail.

“It is all very well for you to say that you came of unhealthy parents, and had a severe accident in your childhood which permanently undermined your constitution; excuses such as these are the ordinary refuge of the criminal; but they cannot for one moment be listened to by the ear of justice. I am not here to enter upon curious metaphysical questions as to the origin of this or that— questions to which there would be no end were their introduction once tolerated, and which would result in throwing the only guilt on the tissues of the primordial cell, or on the elementary gases. There is no question of how you came to be wicked, but only this— namely, are you wicked or not? This has been decided in the affirmative, neither can I hesitate for a single moment to say that it has been decided justly.["]

Samuel Butler, Erewhon

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Windlover

I caught your cadence, cooed in another’s voice—her choice of clauses
Cleaved with air, there! the twin of your tattoo, which clip-clops
Down the cobbled pitch of a cathedral tone—that yours alone: how it drops
In caverns of caramel and buckles stone. Tempo, pulses and pauses
Beating fresh between the terms, the rhythm draped on the stranger’s verbs, flung
As high as a bird unbound, each sound unwound and set to soar
On the winged wish of the word—I almost heard the thrumming reeds that moor
The silken syllables you swirl in the world behind your tongue.

Not you, I knew, but each trace chased, each collage cut collected by hand
One more mote of the wild winter that whirls
From the bursting pane of glass. And my love has lit each shard with a band

Of light so rare it colors the numbing night—and the coming white pearls
Of snow. So my heart hears the hum, the substance and the sand
Of you, not you, you, Osiris in the dew of a thousand scattered girls.