Bitter Angels

Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Uncategorized, War and Politics

“Rationality is uncool,”
he laments; “it isn’t seen as dope, phat, chill,
sick or da bomb”; no attribute of will
is more unlikely to be deemed “to rule”;
it’s like an outcast in some middle school.
You cannot even argue that you cannot kill
in pure percentage terms sufficient mill-
ions of men to match the Earth’s once miniscule
murder rate; Cain’s Abel was one full quarter
of the world, for instance; wouldn’t you rather take
the odds in Auschwitz with those awful chances?
It’s fall. Across each campus days grow shorter;
undergrads still kiss and fuck and fake
enthusiasm for science’s romances.

Labor Rites

Books and Literature, Culture, Economy, Education, Plus ça change motherfuckers, Poetry, Science, Uncategorized, War and Politics

Every job will be automated until four remain:
lawyer, farmer, dentist, soda jerk;
whaleman, scrivener, and grocery clerk;
rabbi, car mechanic, David Blaine;
professional impersonator of Mark Twain.
The rest will be done by one Mechanical Turk
with an indefatigable appetite for work;
its million metal arms will never strain;
its million pinprick eyes will never droop;
of course, it’s operated by an actual man
from a windowless room in drowning Bangladesh;
he gets one thirty second break to poop
and eat his lunch before the beautiful tan
attack dogs are released to tear his flesh.

Chicxulub

Art, Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Justice, Plus ça change motherfuckers, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Things that Actually Happen, Uncategorized, War and Politics

When exactly I should retire, or will
retire has many complex parts to it:
a chronometric set of gears that fit
through genius acts of unimaginable skill
and ratios whose maddening math would fill
vast desert racks of servers cooled and lit
by carbon burned by who came after it.
What tyrant lizard left by being ill,
or turned from prey to watch a meteor
descending through the North-American sky?
The seas may boil; the air itself may burn;
the liquefying stone may crack and roar.
A life’s lived best not knowing it will die,
instinct alone, and never paused to learn.

High Genes

Conspiracy and the Occult, Culture, Education, Media, Poetry, Religion, Science, Uncategorized

“More and more I find bathing to be less necessary.” -Jake Gyllenhaal

More and more I find bathing to be less
necessary; and I also think that there’s
a whole unbathèd world of finer hairs
and better skin, oil-anointed and blessed
like holy Israelites, or lettuce dressed
in vinaigrette as tart as winter air.
Don’t let the water catch you in his snare,
drowned Neptunian depths of scrubs and soaps,
skin pricked and puckered as a pickled bean,
good humors leeched and sunk like sand and grit.
God would not design us thus, one hopes:
his loving procreative beings are clean,
black nails or not, green knees, or greasy tits.

Horse Feathers

Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Poetry, The Life of the Mind, Uncategorized

Don’t ever start an email to your professor
with “Hi [first name].” He will take offense.
Unlike the world at large, his cloistered sense
of feudal order ranks mankind from lesser
beings to lords. Herrdoktor? Priest-confessor.
His ego’s delicate as it’s immense;
informal greetings puncture his pretense
of superior boredom. Unwashed rabble’s the oppressor:
yawping Christian names and slapping backs;
noticing the due dates on assignments don’t
line up with this week’s readings; asking for
extra office hours and a little slack
because their Starbuck’s supervisor won’t
let them swap shifts, and they’re very poor.

This 👇. Whee, the Verse

Art, Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Poetry, The Life of the Mind

Does morality come from science or God?
Neither. It comes from your mom and distracted dad.
They got it from grandma, who got it from bad
TV, dumb books, and the old country’s odd
belief that wrapping anchovies in goldenrod
the night before a wedding prevented mad-
ness and made the proper river spirits glad.
The moral genealogy you laud
as the unique inheritance of Western Man
is a robin’s egg that fell onto a sidewalk
in a storm; you take the yolk as augury,
back-build what moral sentiments you can,
a gurgling infant’s first attempts to talk:
I see you, Peek-a-Boo, and you see me.

Sefer Yetzirah

Books and Literature, Conspiracy and the Occult, Culture, Education, Media, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Things that Actually Happen, War and Politics

Capture

An expert I spoke with highly recommends
that America needs to appoint a reality czar:
no more lying to your buds at the corner bar;
the rack for all of your weirdo Facebook friends.
Plenipotentiary in all his means and ends,
affixed to Christlike truth like the wise men’s star,
remit of heights and depths, the near and far
corners of creation, where time or being bends
beyond the expanding cone of present light,
the baryonic effluence of matter, and the dark
deep gravities of truths unseen, unfelt,
perfectly wise and gifted with prescient sight,
Osiris, God, ayin sof, and holy ark,
proclaim on high what he who smelt it dealt.

22 Schnooks

Art, Books and Literature, Education, Media, Plus ça change motherfuckers, Poetry, The Life of the Mind, War and Politics

What books should Biden read? We went and asked
some of our best of midlist middlebrow
semi-celebs, and some replied. But how
can one find time to read when one is tasked
with convincing a doomer culture to put on masks,
building past glory back, and better, now,
projecting the saintly calm of a teenage cow.
It’s enough to make one wish for a starving asp
to clasp against one’s own bared breast,
the servants, in their startled Greek, aghast,
while at the harbor, underpaid stevedores
who don’t know Ptolemy from Rameses
are loading wheat as they’ve done for the last
two thousand years; a bored scribe snores;
a librarian pilfers some scrolls and coins and flees.

Chary Tree

Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Justice, Media, Poetry, The Life of the Mind, War and Politics

Screenshot 2020-12-19 092112
I declare and verify under plenty
of perjury: I cannot tell one lie;
they must be numbered as stars in the southern sky;
gorgeous as guys on Grindr claiming they’re twenty-
something long into their salted, empty
middle thirties; arthritic, old, and spry;
a shout as loud as a lover’s sleeping sigh.
Bullshit for the art of lying’s cognoscenti:
the facts contained in the foregoing complaint
are each correct and true, except when not;
valid to a point, believable when viewed
at the proper angle, under properly faint
and fading light: how Faust’s blood bought
not youth, not beauty, but the right to not be sued.

Exiled Thucydides

Art, Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Media, Poetry, The Life of the Mind, Uncategorized, War and Politics

As an empirical matter, democracy,
hallowed by usage and consecrated by time,
has never turned up, hastily dusted with lime
in a hole, shot in the back as it tried to flee
its own cackling imago, autocracy:
yes, some serene republics have declined,
but there their franchise was mere pantomime;
no well-begged question but can burst to be
its own best answer; the universe ordains
that if a country goes to shit, it must
be bad, its laws a sham, its votes a lie,
enraptured by its petty Charlemagnes,
pre-captured by its lack of civic trust:
it doesn’t happen; thus in this essay, I