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/.

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/.

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/.

Divine Introspection

Atrophying, withering and finally decaying, ties that once bound fade and perish, only the worst memories remaining, only the mistakes and misunderstandings, until it’s too late, as is so habitually the case.  The quest for purpose perdures but its objective seems more and more nebulous, more tenuous, ephemerally ethereal, slowly waning, goals becoming less and less visible and concurrently less and less viable.

As a child, in a form of waking dream, I would deliberately delve deeper and deeper into realms of disembodied emotional terror towards a singularity from which escape would be impossible, testing my limits.  I’d always just escape, fighting to wake.  A seeming exercise to enure myself, perhaps against the future I’d all too soon have to face.  And it seems that future is upon me now.

Today, I dream of a variant of immortality where I am utterly alone after times end, when all matter has disintegrated everywhere and gravity and entropy have died in a mutual embrace.  Where I have, by default, become the singularity, self-sentenced to eternal boredom and loneliness.  A melding of Heaven and Hell.  But I do not shy away from that infinite improbability.  Rather, I face it with determination as a sort of self-decreed fate. 

Self-delusive hubris imposed as propriative atonement.

_______

© 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 Mists of Time: A senryū of sorts in e minor flat

Vaporous, time flows down illusory rivulets, only seemingly linear and unidirectional, most obscured, each rivulet an individual, each a personalized instant. 

Each perceiving and perceived in an idiosyncratic manner. 

Haze hiding each of us from every other in an infinite variety of collective suspensions.

_______

© 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 Impersonal Ode to “You”

“You”!

A most generic word for a very specific term.  It’s singular and plural (although originally only plural, changed primarily because for some reason, we had a linguistically psychosocial antipathy for thou and thee and thine); it is male as well as female, androgynous really; and, as a final treat, subject as well as object.

“You”, a versatile, perhaps even athletic, little four lettered word.
_______

© 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 http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

An Ode to Old Shoes

I have a pair of very old shoes, now in pretty bad shape.  

When they were young and just out of the box they were striking, top of the line, perhaps dreaming of a life on board a yacht, or at least on some sort of vessel, sailing through exotic seas.  Perhaps the sea near their birth in the Charleston that I love so much.  Then, as the years rolled by, far from any ocean, they instead started archiving memories for me.  Memories of the family I once had and of the aspirations I had for us all; memories of the aspirations I had for our country, of the ones I had for our world.   Of the ones I had for me.

The years have passed and many people, many places, many things I’ve loved are gone.  Misplaced in some cases, perhaps wondering where I’ve vanished, beyond the veil in others.  I now live on another continent, the one that saw my birth, in a beautiful city near the sky where snowcapped peaks greet me on sunny mornings, high in the central range of the Colombian Andes.  A cycle seemingly renewed but now, again, seemingly awaiting a rebirth.  But there are so many people and places I miss, parts of my heart and soul sprinkled far away in time and space.  People and things gone long before their times.   But, … is there ever a right time for things we love to leave us, … or we them?

Those shoes are old and broken down now, but I still wear them, if only in lieu of slippers at home.  My sons are grown and drifted away.  The family in which I placed so much hope has turned to mist.  Almost as if it had all merely been a midsummer night’s dream.  My aspirations are much less than merely unfulfilled, apparently further from fruition than ever.  But still, they seem to be echoing in those old shoes that are beautiful to me still. 

Misplaced is very different than lost and hope still lingers there.  Hidden amidst bruised and battered old leather with wrinkles in the shape of the myriad memories and transitions they reflect.
_______

© 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 http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

On the Nature of Divinity: A sequential senryū of sorts in e minor flat

Incoherent ambivalence, characteristic of divinity,
synonymous with inchoate chaos.

Where everything and nothing are concurrently probable.

_______

© 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 http://www.guillermocalvo.com.