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.
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.
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
in the dark
my son sleeps
dry and uneaten
to bright and resinous air a
strange lightning in his eyes