New Orleans 1 Cleveland 0

Thursday, 28 September 2017

It’s no secret that I don’t get out much. I’ve been in New Orleans for a conference the past few days. The conference itself (NRPA) has been great, but I’m not planning to talk shop on my personal weblog. What’s been revelatory to me is that I have room in my heart to love more cities than just Cleveland. I’ve roamed over the French Quarter, Marigny, Garden District, et al.; and, like Cleveland neighborhoods, they’ve all had distinct, unique personalities. They’re all people I want to get to know better.

The best restaurants in Cleveland would be middle of the pack in New Orleans and the music (as much as I love Cleveland’s music scene) is incomparably better. There is no road rage — cars don’t have nearly the market share.

I’ve been told that it’s a very different city since Hurricane Katrina, but what’s clear is that New Orleans is a city that’s never doubted itself and Cleveland remains a city that doesn’t know what it wants to be.

Lafayette Park, New Orleans
Lafayette Park, New Orleans

Magnanimity

Monday, 18 September 2017

Back in January, I briefly talked a bit about the need for more sincerity in the world. I still think that post holds true, but, as in most things, could be expanded upon after more reflection. I’ve had chats with friends about call-​out culture & seen eye-​rolling amounts of outraged headlines & no end of online chatter about how some thing or some one didn’t do some thing well enough to please some one. As cliché as it is: perfect remains the enemy of good; and those who expect their definition of perfection to be met will forever be outraged by the fallibility of every one.

What I almost never see is magnanimity — I don’t see acknowledgement and praise of effort, or understanding & encouragement when someone is trying but makes mistakes. I understand that it may be hard to be magnanimous when most people are pushing their own agenda (either disingenuously or sincerely), but I fail to see how the excoriation of imperfection & fallibility is useful for anything other than vainglorious virtue-​signaling & self-​aggrandizement. It’s a neat little tautological flip to support the type of pride that was once considered sinful back when people believed in sin. Without a sense of humility, it’s nigh impossible to be magnanimous. The world would certainly be a bit better off if we practiced it from time to time.

People need to chill.

The Conversion of Saint Paul, Caravaggio
The Conversion of Saint Paul, Caravaggio

Something in the hills is angry

Friday, 1 September 2017

I am deaf but for rumbles and blind but
for the way the night lights when I strike the ground
I am outside searching deep into black fractal hills for the drum
summoning. A great spirit is awake tonight and haughty.
I am some beast long-chained attempting a great labor
The sky furrows and crouches on the ridge-lines
and nothing will hear me yell as I stalk amid the pines
I am bravado shaking trees and slapping the wet red earth
I have seven league boots and a peacock’s tail but
everything in the dark is much larger than me

I am awake inside a drum 
I am asleep inside a drum
I am rent haggard and
something in the hills is angry and enjoying this

Behind me
in the dark
my son sleeps
dry and uneaten

he wakens
to bright and resinous air a
strange lightning in his eyes