Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Riffs for a Tuesday morning

Language is a monkey wrench. -Charles Simic

If I'm wondering what I think, what I have to say, I can always turn to Simic to ask me the right questions. To make pronouncements that remind me both that: 1) language is just a tool, not an end in itself, and 2) I don't like the Foo Fighters.

Being a man among words, it's sometimes easy to get so hung up on finding just the right word, that I am left sitting, silently, with something to say.

Employ the right tool. You could try to cut down a Christmas tree with a monkey wrench, but you better have a lot of time and a big tree skirt.

Sometimes, a smile is the right word.

Philosophers who seek those moments in which the senses, the mind, and the emotions are experienced together. -CS

There is no instruction manual for that kind of integration. Or if you find one, let me know. Maybe just sitting for long stretches in front of a bowl of gumbo at the dinner table, pausing between spoonfuls to look at my wife and daughters. Eating and being, mindfully in love.

Laughter undermines discipline and leads to anarchy. -CS

Some of my favorite memories are filled with fall-on-the-ground/spit-take laughter. Playing wiffleball in our back yard with my godfather, Doug Hanks, Jr., who could break up a game at any minute with a pronouncement at the plate. That's something he could do, and did, throughout his life.

If philosophy, cosmology, poetry, life--if the big, noble pursuits don't include, seek out, or make room for laughter, then I'm not playing. That's maybe why I'm drawn to those folks who think, who write, who live, or try to, with a smile.

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