Taboo

I think the purpose of taboo
is sort of as a last resort:
When people cut their love lives short
& isolation walls them off,
like a collective urge to cough,
taboos are broken, & people open
up to the nakedest of things—
love, which is why the caged bird sings.

poem for Socrates

Jacques-Louis David

If words transcended time I’d say
thanks, Socrates, for still today
you set a golden standard & example,
stand in sanity when truth is trampled,
immortalize humor,
lead leaders to love being wise
& remind me there are always times to fly by
the seat of your conscience.

poem for Ayn Rand

When Reason, man’s most perfect power,
is exiled from the Ivory Tower,
you stand outside as fearless proof
of its unconquerable truth.

While institutionalized minds
grow coddled, sheltered & unwise,
you teach bright people to be free
& draw their strength from liberty.

You set the tone, you set the stage
for freethinkers of every age:
You brought, with your life’s burning blaze,
the truth to light, where now it stays.

Questions for Professors

Can one profess an intellectual profession
without a solemnly professed
commitment to upholding truth?
To understanding?
To questioning, above all?
How did this vicious
thirst for power force its way
into our sacred halls of learning?
With what does one rebuild the walls?

“Give me liberty or give me death,”
a great man, long dead, once said.

Advice for readers

Vacations taking nothing but your mind
exist in inexhaustible supply,
so never settle. Set your standards high.
Great writing takes you fast ahead, and far;
Bad drags you back, or leaves you where you are.

Great writers help their readers come away
equipped not just for tasks, but for the day:
Aware that facts can fail when given straight,
they aim to bring you face to face with fate,
with conscience, with desire, with suffering—
the greatest writers don’t communicate
so much as they illumine the innate.

So, don’t eat food for thought that’s bland or dry
or feed cheap candy into your mind’s eye:
Demand that we, your writers, satisfy.

Reflection on Oedipus

Oedipus was not superior in wit or intellect
to any other man in his class.
However, he was wise enough to defeat
the Sphinx at her game of impossible
truth — being ashamed neither of
the immaturity of past youth nor of
future senility.

SYNESTHESIA: A Depiction from Personal Experience

synesthesia

Synesthesia is a brain condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

 

People with a lifelong history of such experiences are called ‘synesthetes.’ I’m one! Ever since I first learned the alphabet, letters have appeared inherently colored to me. About 40% of words, in turn, take on the color of the first letter, almost as if the hue bleeds into the word.  I also feel strong, seemingly arbitrary emotional associations with most letters, and those seem to be related to the colors I perceive.

 

Explaining this has always been a challenge. Simply reproducing the colors, as I’m doing here, doesn’t really evoke that emotive association.

 

Recently, though, I came up with a new way to help non-synesthetes get into my head more genuinely. I asked myself, “If each letter could say one thing to match its personality, what might that be?” Then, rather than coloring all the words to correspond with how I see them, I introduced each letter and its color individually and attempted to present the unique feeling (or, perhaps, temperament) of each letter using the words below it. Please enjoy!

 

A

Is there anybody out there
with a LONG attention span?
Have there ever been such people
in the history of man?

B
Bullies much too silly sound.

The pain they cause is too profound.


C
Once upon a time,
in a land called Compromise,
two people could win
if they could share the prize.

D & E
There is a domino effect
when different forces intersect,

except when neither of them yields—
that’s how we get battlefields.

F
Fearless in the face of death
is no one, so enjoy each breath.


G
Grow if you want to overthrow

yourself again

& again & again, feeling

H
humility & triumph at the same time.

I
We act like the Internet is a place
(or at least a thing)
when it’s just an idea,


J
just like justice.


K
Even with the world’s
knowledge in hand,
no one knows what it means.

L
Levitation is a lovely word.

M & N
“We ain’t nothin’ but mammals”  – Eminem

O
(except when we’re ostriches)

P
Want a useful thought?  Here’s one:
play is good for more than fun.

Through play, even wild wolves explore
in peace their readiness for war,
& language (“give a thing a name”)
is mankind’s first recorded game.

The rest is simple to derive:
we work hard & play hard to thrive.

The most advanced tribes ever known
used playing as a shared backbone
as they passed down, against all odds,
their richly painted masks of gods.

Invention (i.e. “make cool tools”)
is simply play with self-made rules.

We use play to grow, learn, create,
communicate & propagate—

plus (Shakespeare said it) play’s the thing

to catch the conscience of the King.

Q

I think I should question

everyone & everything, although

I need more practice.


R
Religion is an invisible thing which to some

is real.

S
Shakespeare used the word supersubtle,

which to me sounds almost like newspeak.

T

Turbans, tunics, headdresses & robes are garb,

while gowns, white veils & tuxedos are attire.

U
You can’t unleash power—

it’s never been leashed.

V
The blind can see at the violet hour.

W
War.

X
NEXT!


Y
Yahweh.

Z
Everyone starts as a zygote right?

 

ABCDEFGHIJKLMN

OPQRSTUVWXYZ

Sometimes it strikes me as bizarre
how lucid, yet how blind we are.
Under this canopy of light,
this haven of our atmosphere,
all our visions, however clear,

all shapes & pigments that we see,

flash through time so fleetingly,
vague as the figments left behind
after a dream breaks from your mind.