Refractions on a Day in Early Fall

Today dawned beautiful here in the city in the sky, nestled at the feet of the Cumanday in the central range of the Colombian Andes, although, as I have for the past few days, I awoke with trepidation, undefinable but perhaps due to world events and the horrible state of my adopted (and now somewhat abandoned) homeland to the North.  A land and a people I also love profoundly. 

Colombia seems embarked on a renaissance, a period of enlightenment and perhaps, even enlightened governance.  A great deal of its polarization has evaporated, almost overnight, a sign of hope to the world, which in its Northern Hemisphere, seems engulfed in hate, animosity and belligerent competition.

I live in both worlds though, and as in the case of apples, the bad negatively impacts the healthy.

So, despite the beautiful dawn, shadows of the dark clouds that blight the land where my sons, distant and silent, reside, impact even the brightest days in this renascent paradise.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Bastian

Sebastian liked his name, it meant “revered” in Latin.  It gave one something for which to aspire, not only a goal but a framework that ought to be followed to attain that goal, if that appellation were to be honorably earned.  And honor too was important to Sebastian, perhaps because of his name.

Not that it didn’t have drawbacks. 

What was its diminutive or affectionate form?  Seb, Sebbie, Baz and Bash came to mind.  Its Spanish variant, also Sebastian but pronounced differently, was both more popular and had easier nicknames, Sebas and Bastian being two.  Sebastian had tried to adopt Bastian, he liked it.  And not only because it seemed cooler than Seb, Sebbie, Baz or Bash.  It had style and not just a bit of power.  To Sebastian, Bastian seemed powerful.  Powerful and revered were as useful as they were complimentary.

Now to live up to the name and nickname, and to have the nickname accepted by his peers and by his future ex-wives (the latter was the trend).  Hopefully beautiful, interesting and honorable ex-wives, ex-wives who did not bear grudges or demand alimony, nor an unfair share of joint property.  Who did not irreparably break his heart or he there’s.  That would definitely not be honorable.

And what kind of an education and career would best suit a Sebastian whose nickname was Bastian and who sought to comport himself in an honorable fashion, but one not bereft of financial success and at least a modicum of fame?  An interesting and productive career following a fascinating education that ought to include a bit of adventure and a good deal of fun, perhaps even a bit of harmless mischief but in a good cause.  And dinosaurs and physics and astronomy too.  Perhaps even theoretical mathematics and study of quanta that might open portals to other dimensions or facilitate non-interval travel anywhere or, perhaps, even any when. 

That would be cool, and it could well be honorable as well.

Tough questions for a nine year old.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

A Measure of Sad Times

He is very sensitive to all kinds of external stimuli, which he internalizes and, after profound reflection, synthesizes and sometimes grasps an idle lie.  And he loves music, he considers it the primordial language, the most effective language, one speaking directly to the soul.  But for some reason, of late, he has not wanted to heed it.  An affirmative wanting not to listen to it.  And he is perplexed, he doesn’t understand the why of it.  But, then again, there are so many things he just can’t comprehend.

Perhaps it has something to do with the state of the world.  With the current dearth of truth and omnipresence of vitriol and violence. 

Music, without words, he has long believed, rarely lies, except perhaps for martial music.  In that case, it’s as though music was forced to perform, like a beautiful woman being ravished.  Beauty turned inside out and violated.  National anthems tend to follow that pattern, at least frequently.  Unfortunately, he’s come to feel that, like a virus, that pattern seems to be spreading.  Marketing “jingles” of course almost always lie, as do their political variants.  And they’ve overtaken beautiful instrumentals, symphonies and boleros and gipsy inspired variants of flamencos.

Words can apparently pervert anything, and he wonders at the folk wisdom that claims speech evolved to facilitate deception, and thus, of course, the legal profession, and journalism, and politics. But then, what of poetry?

It has dawned on him that truth is not always beautiful and that beauty is all too frequently dishonest.  Even, he guesses, where music is involved.  Perhaps it’s that epiphany that has him down.  Perhaps it is reflections such as these that are muddling and blocking his instinctive love, indeed his need, for music. 

A measure of sad times. 

Perhaps that’s what Don McLean once sensed when he wrote his epic and second best song (Vincent was the very best), without realizing it.

“A long, long time, ago, I can still remember how the music used to make me smile ….”
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Reflective Introspections

The central range of the Colombian Andes is beautiful, as is so much of that all too frequently tortured country.  Snow clad peaks overlook a paradise of perpetual spring which in turn overlooks a land of perpetual summer.  The weather changes seasons several times a day, sometimes dawning as a silvered wonderland, clouds blanketing verdant mountains, then a bit of rain quickly replaced by robin’s blue skies and in the evening, the sunsets that so delighted poet laurate Pablo Neruda.  Unfortunately, although nature does its best to provide an idyllic setting, as is the case in the United States and so much of the world, in Colombia we humans muck it up.

Inside a metaphorically reflective crystal mote, trapped within an imagined mirrored globe, a sentience engages in seemingly infinite introspection.  It is a bitterly sad period culminating during two days at the end of February; two days that have usually been very special.  They involve his three sons. It is his eldest son’s last day at thirty-four and first day at thirty-five.  For many years they have lived continents apart but until recently managed to bridge that gap.  The father plays with the new number noting that thirty-five is five times seven and three joined with five and that the son is the first of three, all prime numbers. He finds a strange delight in the magic he perceives in prime numbers.  The number two is special in that regard as the only even prime.  He recalls when his son was about eight and started to change, to become his own person, he recalls how proud he felt, how he believed he’d done well as a father.  Then he reflects on the present, a very different sort of reflection.

Like so many others in a bitterly polarized world, he and his firstborn are profoundly estranged.  On thirty four other occasions the father has written short missives shared with his son, celebrating the past and looking forward to the future.  This year the son has declined to receive them.  He has shut the father out, “ordering” him to refrain from any contact.  The son has judged the father’s political perspectives unacceptable.  They do not mirror his own.  The father does not despise nor deprecate those the son hates but rather seeks to understand and persuade them, and that is anathema in his son’s brave new world.  Not having succeeded through public ridicule to censor the father, the son has expelled him from his life.  His father was not “woke” enough, even though their stated goals may have coincided.  A strange new variant of “liberalism”.

That is the world of today.  But though his thoughts may not be shared this year, the father writes them anyway.  He reflects on what his son has attained, who he has become, gives him credit for his successes, such as they are, but blames himself for the faults.  In trying to make him strong he instead made him self-centered; in seeking to make him proud he planted the now-sown-seeds of hubris.  In seeking to make him love the concepts of honor and public service, he only made him politically ambitious and intolerant.  The father wonders if his son is a reflection of himself.  He thinks not, then wonders what it is his son perceives to the exclusion of so much.  The father recalls that he too was all too frequently sure of his own beliefs and that only when they had changed almost every decade did he succeed in opening his mind to the possibility of myriad verities.  Yet the father had always been open to others’ opinions, has long been aware that logic based on false premises only leads to false conclusions and that if actual results belie logic, then the premises are at fault.  But that logic, in and of itself, divorced from premises and conclusions, always seems pure and beautiful and infallible.  As infallible as Catholic Popes.

Father and son will not compromise their perspectives and while the father, being more experienced and mature can tolerate, or at least ignore the son’s, the son cannot accept that the father beliefs cannot be forced to conform to his.  A conundrum.  Perhaps to both, perhaps not.  Perhaps they will go their separate ways, the memories of each conforming to their decisions until it is too late.  That would be sad, very sad, but not uncommon, especially not today. 

Tolerance and free expression are not in vogue.  This is the age of hypocrisy, of overt manipulation, of censorship, concepts always ascendant but never as universal or blatant as they are today, except perhaps during the decade that started in the mid nineteen-thirties.  No, that’s wrong of course.  Human history and human misery encompass far more than the last century.  The problem is that history is a fiction woven by all too clever artisans so who knows anything but what one has lived, and even that seems all too flexible, memory being fallible and that fallibility artfully manipulated.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, from afar and in silence the father wishes the son a happy birthday and a happy future.  He has no idea what the son hopes and perhaps he now never will.  Then he smiles, somewhat bitterly, in the realization of how self-serving his observations are. 

But they are what they are. 

As are his son’s.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Reflections on the Nature of Divinity, and on its Delusions

Why do I feel compelled to take up the defense of those society considers the worst of the worst when, once upon a long time ago, as an attorney, I refused to either defend or prosecute, preferring to walk away from the legal profession, having sensed that it was soiled?

I don’t mean just ordinary villains, but legendarily evil forces like Lucifer and Cain?  Why do I sense that both history and myth have misjudged them and that it is my role to make their cases, at least through my writings?  Why do I sense that the entity so many of us humans worship is the real villain and that my role is to defend them and expose him, not only to my fellow beings but to the purported Divinity as well?   The Divinity I promised to seek so very long ago, and to honor whether I found him or not? 

With all due respect to current and ancient matriarchic and feminist concepts, the Divinity to which I allude definitely seems masculine, although perhaps not uniquely divine.

The evidence seems clear.  Being prescient, omniscient and omnipotent the mythical Abrahamic Divinity would also have to be guilty of every wrong ever committed, at least derivatively, and even more, the ultimate entrapper.  Lucifer’s sin was to love too much in the face of disdain, and, innocent Cain had no way to know that his actions would have terminal consequences.  Death was virginal then.  So how to convince the Divinity of his guilt, and that the only way to assuage such guilt is to admit the truth (there go the Bible and the Torah and the Koran), to seek the forgiveness of his victims and to make restitution.  In essence, to keep the promises originally made to Adam and Eve, and perhaps even more so, the promises to Lilith of which we’ve not been made privy. 

Why does this seem so clear to me but anathema to most?

Just what happened along the way that turned me into a contrarian?  Was it possibly Divinity itself who, in placing negative as well as positive aspects of destiny in my path, maneuvered me into this role?  Perhaps as a means of permitting itself to face its own guilt, and perhaps helping it assuage it an eventually heal?  Is that what the novel I started a decades ago is about and perhaps why, to make me understand complexities, it then placed Inanna’s avatars so precariously in my life?

Are good and evil inverted reflections in a chaotic sea, shifting with the setting sun and rising moon?

How can I ever know unless I accept the challenge and either succeed or fail?

So many questions.  And proof may be all around me, all around all of us; the world as it is seems so incoherent that it may well be proof that divinity and infernity are not what we’ve been led to believe.  Perhaps my contrarian intuition is the ultimate tool in my quiver, the one that long, long ago, at age seven, first led me to question the nature of the divine, and reject our age old conclusions.

Who’d have thought that after rejecting the legal profession as immoral I’d accept the ultimate contingency case?  Apparently someone or something did, which is why I am what I am and how I am, the essence of the inchoate but the inchoate always remains to be seen.

Infernal reflections?

Perhaps.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

The Last Guardian: A Divine nightmare

A mote in black on black.  An echo of a shadow of what once might have been once upon a time. 

He was the only thing that remained of the once infinitely expansive multiverse, everything else had withered and disappeared so many eternities ago, that an eternity was infinitely less than a grain of sand in everything that had ever been.  He’d volunteered to stay behind when both he and the multiverse were relatively young, knowing just how lonely he’d eventually be when everything, even time, was so long gone that it was impossible to recall that it had ever been.  But it had, and he remained.  And he recalled, there was nothing else.  The multiverse reduced to his own body or his body expanded to encompass the multiverse, it made no difference.  There was utterly and absolutely nothing else.  The body he’d worn so long ago somehow perfectly preserved and, despite the absence of air or water or sustenance or space, still fully, well, sort of fully, functional.  Despairingly so as it had no functions at all.  A relic.  A memorial of sorts.

His last breath had been an infinity of eons ago, the last trace of long forgotten gasses inhaled, and then, absolutely nothing.  No time, no space.  Just him.  Existing, and watching, although for what he’d no idea.  There was nothing else to see.  He was self-contained.  Only that which he was and would always be but had not always been, now and for very, very long, always conscious.  Eternities’ chosen scapegoat paying for long forgotten sins of long forgotten others.

There was no future, only a long distant past.  And a present out of time.  And the promise he’d made to stay behind so that everything else could end.  He recalled that on the day he’d turned seventy-six, he’d wondered for the first but not the last time, if divinity had once played the role he was now charged with assuming, the sole role at the end of time and space.  If so, that would explain a great deal, perhaps everything.  How could anything remain sane in any sense at all after being so utterly alone, and yet, knowing what awaited, he’d confirmed his commitment, which implied something about his sanity as well.

While still enjoying a normal life span, he’d watched as his contemporaries aged and passed on, and then his descendants.  He’d been there, albeit an oddity, a freak, as species, including humans, evolved and changed, and planets evolved and died, and as different species conquered space and even time, and then they too moved on, but he was cursed with anachronistic eternity, a never ending relic.  And on the last instant of time, everything was gone, everything but him.

The other side of panentheism.  The last guardian, long after the end of time and space.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Brief but Important Reflections on the Fourth of July

I’ve long believed that holidays, all holidays, are days best suited for introspection, reflection and reevaluation rather than celebration, especially those based on some ethical principle, like today.  So today is a day to reflect on Thomas Jefferson’s hypocrisy, which we’ve inherited, but also on the warnings of two presidents in their farewell addresses: Washington’s, to avoid entangling alliances (like NATO, our special status with the United Kingdom and Israel, and our disdain for Muslims, Russia and China); and, Eisenhower’s warning about the deep state which, without the one ring, still manages to rule us all more efficiently that Tolkien’s villain, Sauron, ever dreamed possible. 

Perhaps it’s also a day to reflect on the reality that until we vote our consciences, rather than permit ourselves to be manipulated through orchestrated fears and emotionally polarizing issues, until we develop empathy and tolerance for opposing viewpoints, we will never be truly free, or truly independent. 

Happy Fourth of July!!!
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

A Dark and Dystopian Diatribe.  Again.  They’ve become the Norm

An introductory query might go something like this:  Evil or merely inept? Which is worse?  In what combination?  An initial response might speculate:  Well, inept evil would probably be the least negative.  Unfortunately, evil and inept is what we have, with evil all too apt.  Would a less than perfect divinity find that funny?  Imagine Groucho Marx (or maybe just a grouchy Karl Marx) as God!

Another day, another trillion or so dollars; a few hundred thousand or so lives thrown into the pits needed to feed insatiable armaments industries, but we’re still giving birth to more and more babies so that’s all right: look at the newborns and weep but keep’em coming.  Fortunately (sort of, … at least for a few) there are still plenty of Ukrainians in the wings, and perhaps Lithuanians and Poles as well.  And of course, Muslims: a surfeit of Arabs and Iranians and Palestinians to dispel.  And when they’re gone, well, “first they came for ….” and there’ll be plenty left until, fighting among themselves, like Heinlein’s Igli, they eat themselves into oblivion. 

And then, merry Christmas and a good riddance to all. “Bah humbug”!

But till then we’ve got video games and Hollywood spectacles and Disney and Netflix, and new model cars and designer clothes, and aren’t the Yankees something this year and sure hope the Jets come through this time, perhaps God’s forgotten the promises we made during Super Bowl III.  The latest abortion decision has us up in arms (as did the first), that’s true, and murderous guns and bullets keep attacking our children in schools:  And inflation plus rescission, ain’t they depressing?  And gas prices rising are a pain (for some).  But still, all and all, ain’t life just sort of grand?  After all, we’re lucky to be Americans: the brave and the free (sort of, … at least in the movies and on television) who can solve any problem because we are so exceptional, except for the half that are too stupid to see the light (so sayeth each half).

Anyway, ….

What if synonyms and antonyms decided to have a war?  Or if verbs and adverbs formed a coalition of the willing against nouns and adjectives, with propositions and pronouns sitting on the sidelines confused, while social science majors removed all of those troubling and scary page numbers from their treatises and physics and math majors looked on with vacuous expressions on their faces wondering why mirrors had become anathema?  What would we get if all the odd numbers subtracted all the even numbers?  Would it be different if all the even numbers subtracted all the odd numbers?  And what about those prime numbers, all odd except the number two.  Interesting.  Is there a profound metaphysical meaning there?  Or at least some obscure symbolism?  And just what is a solipsism?

Where are we today anyway? 

Perhaps happily mired in banalities while in a real world, one on the other side of a looking glass, a one way mirror of sorts, sad eyed, lean and hungry people deal with our residue.  An image:  Insane mariners cruising on a ship of fools doomed to disembark onto quicksand flavored shores singing songs about how happy pigs are when they wallow in mud (or less desirable excrement oriented substances), collectively following piebald pied pipers playing merrily discordant tunes, vacuity become an art form.

But out there, rocking boats, a few just won’t let sleeping dogs lie.  The ones who, like that pain-in-the-ass (or is it arse) Cassandra, keep finding dark linings surrounding silvered clouds, insisting on freeing bluebirds from gilded cages, for some reason believing that it would be hard to imagine anyone or anything more troubling than the world around us, a world seemingly careening from crisis to crisis, … but profitably so.

Anyway, … again:

Is pure evil a tangible thing?  As tangible, or perhaps as intangible as truth?  Or are they both moronic oxymorons.  Or perhaps, they’re a curious blend reflected in the eyes of billions of confused beholders, beholden beholders, although beholden to whom may be a puzzle writ by an insane enigma following lemmings of a cliff in Dover.

I can’t really personally vouch for the existence or impossibility of absolute truth, although math seems to echo that something must be at least somewhat accurate, but as to absolute evil, the scent seems omnipresent, and it smells a great deal like rotting corpses doused in expensive perfumes.  Pure evil kind of sounds like an ambivalent oxymoron though, doesn’t it?  Oxymorons seem popular today.

What might it be like to drive to hell in a handbasket?  Perhaps Toto knows which may be why he barks as Momba (more recently renamed Evillene to avoid racist undertones), slowly melts, albeit soaking wet, bemoaning the world in which we live, and Dorothy laughs as Lucy once more pulls away the football and Charley Brown falls flat on his back wondering who the hell “Peanuts” is.

Do you think Biden will really win this time if he runs again against Trump?

Things on which to reflect or introspections to avoid?
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

In Defense of Divinity

What if sentience was first?

Self-awareness with utterly nothing about which to be aware? 

Absolutely nothing existing, no being of any kind in any sense, just the sentience. 

How not to be traumatized, but for the fact that trauma did not exist.  Absolutely nothing did.  Not even timid time.  Certainly not space.  Nor any heaven and, of course, no hells.  Not even an incipient big bang, nor a little one, not even an infinitesimally tiny one.  Not even solitude. 

No right or wrong, no morality or ethics, no echoes or shadows or hints of things to come.  No infinity or eternity.  Nothing. 

Nothing, but a newborn sentience with nothing to sense. 

That’s what it would have been like to be god, in the real beginning. 

No wonder divinity lacks stability and perspective.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

An Ode to Estranged and Forgotten Fathers

Fathers’ day is a mostly ignored holiday, a superficial holiday, one taken for granted and most good fathers understand and don’t take being mostly ignored badly.  Those that are recognized and treasured have an awesome reward.  But too many who deserve some sort of recognition are not remembered at all, or if remembered, remembered in ways that don’t do them justice.  Most great fathers don’t look for recognition or praise, they’re too busy doing.  Good and dutiful fathers who are there for their families.  But it’s a particularly difficult day for those fathers who would be there but for fate, for fathers estranged from their children, often as a result of family bitterness, manipulation and distortion.  And it’s a very difficult day for the forgotten fathers, those whose duty done, are pretty much discarded. 

I was estranged from my own father for most of my life and am now pretty much estranged from my own sons, two of whom are now fathers on their own.  And they’re great fathers I think.  I’ll be thinking of them all tomorrow, but I’ll also be thinking of estranged fathers everywhere.  

Freud once wrote something that comforts me in dark times, it went something like this: “in darker times there lived a man who thought as you do”.  For me, its meaning is that, regardless of how alone we feel in the quest for the right, if we recall that there were, are, or will be others in the same position, who also realize that there were, are, or will be others like them, a bond is formed among us and we are not really alone. 

So, to estranged and discarded fathers everywhere: “in dark times there lives a man who feels as you do, and doing so, remembers you today.”
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.