All Hallows Eve as Seen from Differing Perspectives

Ephemerally ethereal gossamer wisps whisper in the wind,
echoes of lost shades and shadows
whimpering morosely in dank, dark, saturnine hollows. 

The last and deepest nightfall of a year
few seek to measure,
at least while living. 

For the departed, it may be different.

It may be sunrise on the first day,
the first hour,
the first instant of a new year,

slender rays of faded sunlight seeping in,
scents of faded flowers returning to life,
the sweetness of remembrances shared with those left behind.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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.

Thoughts on All Hallows’ Eve, 2020

Circa 1993, Belleview, Florida

All Hallows Eve, in its incarnation as Halloween, has always been my three sons favorite feast day and so, brought me great joy, especially with Alex, my middle son, who loves it the most.  But All Hallows Eve has a deeper significance that becomes more and more meaningful each year as more and more of the people we’ve known pass beyond the veil. 

Many cultures around the globe, in their mythologies and religions (same thing really), hold that the veil that separates the living from those who have passed on is thinnest on that night.  Tonight. 

So, whether or not that is so, tonight I will be thinking of my mother and grandmother and aunt Carola, of my uncle Francisco, of my stepfather Leon; of my mentors like Leo Hedbavny and Jay Kaufmann and my former professors now long gone.  I’ll be thinking of my Citadel classmates and of those from Eastern Military Academy, and of my former students who passed on too young.  It will be a melancholy and nostalgic evening in which sorrow will meld with joys shared, while I also miss my sons and their own children and wives now reveling so far away.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 consultant 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.

Damned Abraham

Damn!!! he thought, or maybe yelled, he couldn’t be sure.

He was, as always, or at least for a very long time, feeling lonely, very lonely.

Since a nanosecond was as an eternity to him and eons as nanoseconds, feelings could be very confusing.

He relived the good old days in his mind which was the size and shape of the multiverse, at least he thought so, … his mother had told him it was so.

He’d just been one among many back then, each in his or her own domain with his or her own flock. A happy thunder god with a couple of wives and from time to time, intimacy with other divinities, usually female, and with humans as well.

Inanna and Ur, the good old days.

Before that damned Abraham had convinced him that he was alone in his divinity. And then asked him for the world. As if letting him screw his sister hadn’t been enough of a boon. Fuck Abraham and the horse he rode in on, although come to think of it, horses didn’t have humps on their backs.

Back then one could be a god of specific things, like creation, or destruction, or thieves.

Now he was utterly alone except for the echoes, and the damned prayers of all those babbling humans; they gave him migraines. And they wondered why he avoided them like the plague. They were a plague, look at what they were doing to the planet he’d made for them, well, not for the goyem, except perhaps for a few shiksahs. Funny that he didn’t really remember having made it, but all those books said he had, and if it was printed, it had to be true, revealed word of, … well, … him.

It was so damned boring!!!!

Damned Abraham!!!

And when he said damned, he really meant it.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 consultant 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.

Still Life Watercolors on a Now Late Afternoon

“It’s in the nature of immortality” he explained, “or more accurately, potential immortality”.

“One can still be killed by intervening incidents such as runaway trucks, bullets projected from firearms owned by jealous spouses, etc., but one doesn’t die from old age, or from most diseases, nor does one age beyond a point of full maturity, somewhat older than one might like but better than an awful lot of alternatives. But given the flows involved, it’s rather more like livestream than photographs. One tends to be unsatisfied with periodic meals, and periodic drinks, and periodic intimacy. One is sated only when they’re continuous, although sequentially. Not that being sated is essential, or even the norm, it’s just that satisfaction requires a bit more continuity, given the continuous nature of our existence.”

“Repetition is what really sucks”, he mumbled, a phrase seemingly coming from nowhere, although it’s one he interjected more and more as time streamed on.

Her look was odd, the expression hard to define; kind of like jaded incredulity faded by too many inexplicable realities. Nothing about him seemed to make sense, least of all his explanations (all too often couched in the plural or the indefinite person), but then again, they tended to be impossible to disprove. Only death would do that and it seemed he’d been around for a ludicrously long time. And he didn´t seem to age although he’d been verging on old for as long as she’d know him.

She seemed to be catching up to him and she’d been relatively young when they’d first met.

He was certainly far from infallible though, certainly as far as she was concerned. And omniscient? Forget about it. And certainly as far from omnipotent as everyone else.

“So” …, he sort of pleaded, “… can I have dessert now?”


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 consultant 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.

Just in Case

“Diaphanous” is not a mood, not really, well, not at all.

Still, if he’d had to express how he felt at that moment, that’s the only word that came to mind.

Or “diphthong”, but that clearly was not a mood. He couldn’t even really spell it without the help of an intuitively clever spellchecker. It didn’t even have a synonym (that he could find). He didn’t believe in absolute statements so he had to leave open the possibility that unlikely as it seemed, somewhere in time and space (or time or space) diphthong at least had a doppelganger.

Diaphanous had a synonym, plenty in fact, and in fact, metaphorically, it could have been a mood. It wouldn’t even have to try all that hard. Not all that hard at all.

Next he wondered what the onomatopoeic inference of diaphanous might be. Then he wondered why he cared. Then it occurred to him that he knew what his mood of the moment, of the instant was.

He was bored! Bored silly. He was not really diaphanous at all, at least not as far as moods went. Then a thought occurred to him and he ran to check his image in a mirror.

Just in case.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 consultant 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: a parable, or perhaps a fable, or perhaps introspection

“Strange”. 

Strange how often stories start with that word. 

Perhaps that’s healthy, a sign of varied perspectives and an open mind. 

Now, today, the latter is really strange, and uncomfortable to many, to too many, perhaps, really, to almost all of us.

“Lying” was a strange thing to a particularly strange fellow.  He was ambivalent towards the concept, ambivalent to the extreme, to the extreme end of extremism. 

He loathed being lied to and understood that lying destroys credibility when it is most needed, when it is most needed personally, collectively or on a society-wide basis.  Still, he saw art in lying, and while utterly opposed to it, … still, … he divided lying into diverse categories:

Lying as a tool for illustrating verity, as in metaphors and satire and perhaps, metaphysics. 

Lying as a tool for illustrating verity, as in metaphors and satire and perhaps, metaphysics. 

Lying as a tool for illustrating verity, as in metaphors and satire and perhaps, metaphysics. 

He was intelligent and perceptive so he understood the vast difference between lying and being wrong, between lying and changing one’s mind.  He also understood that there were numerous possible attitudes towards truth, from reverence to disdain with numerous shades centering on indifference in between.  And that there were hot lies, instantaneous emotion laden reactions, and cold, preplanned lies full of loopholes, and that the latter were by far the worst, and the most frustrating with which to deal.  The cooler liars tended to be educated professionals, masters of rhetoric, with the means to make their lies stick and to use them to victimize the innocent, and to make the honorable appear dishonorable.  The cooler liars seemed to congregate in the specific professions that most required honesty, in the law, in journalism, in politics, and in the pulpit. 

How strange.

How strange too that although he could not abide being lied to, in fact, that at times he reacted virulently to being lied to, he was not above lying himself, and not only when he found it essential for his protection or for the protection of those to whom he owed a duty of protection, but sometimes, just to win a point, one he did not deserve to win, or for the Hell of it, or in fun, but fun of which he would not have enjoyed being made the butt.

You see, although he did not realize it, or ignored it, or just didn’t care, like too many of us, he was a hypocrite.  Something he also detested.

Troubling reflections in an all too clear mirror.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 consultant 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.

Thirty-Four

He hadn´t realized that thirty-four was old but perhaps she had.

She’d had her first two sons when she was not yet thirty and not yet thirty-two, but the third one had come when she was already thirty-four and that had made a difference, a rather large difference, indeed, all the difference.

She’d suddenly grown and had started on the path that leads to old. But neither he nor she had realized it. They’d thought it was a passing thing, that her body would soon be slender again, yet curved in all the right places, and that somehow, their old world would be back, and that their newest addition would fit right in, and they’d be the ideal family everyone believed them to be, and which they’d in fact been.

He’d not started to grow old yet then. Strange, he’d started earlier, and then, started later too, fighting off the changes that assailed them on all sides, the darkness that kept seeping in and nesting and brooding and breeding insidious offspring. Insidious but frequently disguised as friends and though the disguises were thin, they were thick enough, … unfortunately.

Thirty-four seemed a strange age then.

He’d been thirty-four when they’d met and she almost a decade younger, but he’d not been close to old. Immortality indeed still seemed not only possible but probable, all but certain, but then again, time was not as old as it would be either. Time ages too. And during that first decade she’d not aged at all, or matured. And while he’d not aged, perhaps he’d had to mature facing more and more unpleasant things, unfair things, unexpectedly expected things, and apparently, while he’d been able to protect her from them for a time, when they hit, they’d all hit at once. When she’d turned thirty-four.

Thirty-four. Strange. He’d always believed that twenty-five was the age at which things crystalized and coalesced in the women who’d impacted him. But perhaps at thirty-four things calcified. Time aged. The world shifted in its restless dreams and carelessly crushed hopes and expectations, and opened crevices through which alternate realities crept in. Unpleasant alternate realities.

Thirty-four, an age which neither the Nazarene nor the Macedonian attained, but then again, they were both men.

Thirty-four. Perhaps, in forty years or so, he’d have a chance to start a cycle once again, perhaps with someone who was still just thirty-three, about to turn thirty-four, and perhaps, then things would coalesce in different streams, singing different themes. “Perhaps” is such a fascinating word, full of the inchoate and perhaps of chaos too. Everything possible. Spring and late autumn walking together into winter.

Wishful dreams perhaps, but wishful dreams sometimes come true, just as youthful dreams are too often crushed.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Shades of Cold in White on White

Snow sparkles as it falls from a cloud-clad sky; fields, verdant eons past, now just white on white.

A pale woman, clad in silvery fleece from head to toe, leaves prints on the crinkly ground, pale steam streaming through pearly teeth kisses pallid lips then mingles with swirling mists.

Crystalline trees caked in ice, limbs, too heavy, lie scattered on the frozen ground. Snow covers frozen meres and a frozen tarn, white on white.

A pale old man sits in a snow covered skiff, his hair and beard almost as bleached as the swirling eddies of crystalized rain that beat at his small dirty sail, his breath mixing with the pale mist, stars obscured but a pallid crescent moon peaks down on the homochromous lake-scape.

Shades of white on white cover burrowing elder seeds and ancient slumbering roots still dreaming of the spring they once knew as, from cavernous shadows, sibilant sighs echo, soon lost in the long arctic night.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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 http://www.guillermocalvo.com.