Monday, November 24, 2008


gremlins goblins and trolls ... wizrds magic and spells ... magical combat spiritual combat at play ... novels films story-telling ... just how real are they ... I'm with plato up to a point ... and with aristotle too up to another point ... ideas are more than concepts but people are more real than ideas ... you may refuse to answer the door because it's gandalf or dumbledore ringing the bell ... but what you gain in respect for extension in space you lose from the pleasure of comprehension ... say a unicorn has an essence ... is that any reason to deny it existence ... say dumbledore has a personality but he's not real ... as a piece of fried bacon is real ... is that any reason to refuse his acquaintance ... say of good writing good characters good thoughts that they are perfections ... not like babies self-sacrifice or devotion ... but what perfect world could do without them ... finally say that reality as it is meant to be and surely will be is perfection ... then dickensian shakespearian tolkenian are and will be forever as real as socratic lincolnian christian ... not principally as real ... but by the right of derivation just as heavenly

Sunday, November 23, 2008


give the lord some credit ... in particular figure he knows how to love you and why ... if you gave him only that ... look how far ahead it puts you ... wouldn't it open up vistas of half-hours in every busy day ... wouldn't it turn the mind from defense to offense ... from a trivial logical worry to a "purpose-driven life" on the right side of the cosmic battle ... for two or three words that don't belong where you've put them will you throw yourself away ... for an argument whose conclusion you accept on faith and habit ... whose premises you will not examine ... will you be the judge who condemns you ... will the one thing be that you will not look at ... only the best part of you only the part he sees the closest ... will that be the part only you will not see ... and why ... why ... when only he sees clearly and your sight failing fails again ... or is it something else ... not sight at all but will ... and a will that will be blind lest seeing is to believe and believing is to obey ... why ... what is there in all that he will say that you cannot follow ... if you step back and let that right part forward ... fall back and let grace follow

Saturday, November 22, 2008


well if we've learned anything we know it's either a combination or a bank shot ... every time we aim straight for a one on one we either stop short or we rebound ... it's nice to get a good rebound ... it takes you where you wanted to go ... a bad one can hit you in the gut ... but it's the stop shot that over time wears you down ... especially the really nasty ones where you get just what you wanted and in the midst of the celebration you realize you didn't want enough ... so after a while you begin to finesse your shots ... here's where the curve and the spin the high and the low the sharp and the wide come in ... if I'm not going to be where I wanted to go then let me have fun getting there ... you can spend your whole life taking your time ... and there's a fascination a fine set of details can offer ... but I'm thinking there's something more basic going on that we wouldn't want to miss if we could get it ... if we could see where it was going and when so we could tag along ... take it for the long ride with its own twists and turns and figure out along the way that it was meant to be a surprise

Friday, November 21, 2008


the dead leaf from a distance looked like a live cautious insect ... this misperception was a misapprehension of the most momentous kind ... a category mistake confusing a system with a soul ... the living with the dead ... like calling the universe a spirit when you mean to say it has a soul ... or saying we're children of gaia mother earth who gave us birth ... a category mistake ... like mixing terms and concepts and words ... the private with the public with the physical ... or the physical with the mental and the spiritual ... what a talk soup it becomes ... we become ... lumpy half-cooked indigestible creatures of our own disordered dyspeptic minds ... why should it surprise us that our discourse is filled with hot air empty space and off-color smells ... that we sometimes say the thought in my head is as real as the lamp on the post ... but not the lamp or the post the brain or the thought can hold a candle to the photon and the atom the real heroes of time ... but that time itself marks no real divisions between imaginary entities shifting shapes babies and abortions life or death

cf kreeft, socratic logic, ch one

Thursday, November 20, 2008


how do you know our universe isn't a particle of dust on a policeman's coat button ... I don't but I don't believe it is ... it doesn't fit my experience my sense of deduction or the revelation I've been privileged to receive ... it hasn't been my experience that a piece of dust is large enough to hold a house much less a universe ... furthermore though I have seen it argued that a thing can be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside the people then were talking about spiritual and mental things like love and universals not about things that extend in space and are measured in time like buttons on coats or policemen in the flesh ... you might want to redefine these terms but they seem pretty steady to me and not in need of tinkering ... furthermore such a conclusion that we are no more than dust or points in a meaningless regression goes against my revelation ... the promises of meaning and purpose passed to me through centuries of thought and blood by an unbroken string of sages and martyrs calling me to have courage and hope

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


the hardest part against reason is the venom ... I think it comes from the wriggling ... the squirming in the dry dust and in the marshes ... it's the turning and tending to turn that makes the poison ... that churns the ingredients into such a deadly bitter point ... and in the coiling as if all the past irregularities could be reduced to such a perfect form and such a fine pitch just before release ... and such a splendid trajectory capsule flying into space ... the one straight shot in all the process ... so pleasingly precise the punch each point makes each fang so clearly through ... such a sharp release jaws now wide in triumph ... it all worked so well let's try another ... which I think is the real point ... it's not what you did ... well only at the end ... but what was done and done before that ... not just the wrong answer but having to hear it again and again ... not just the insult to coherence and good form but a whole siege filled with assault ... there now that's enough of that ... I'll give you here now in return this thing that's been working through me as I've twisted turned and returned to figure the damn thing out ... to get it out before I lose my immunity

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


there is someone knocking ... the bone can feel the wood but it's not the bone ... the door is meant to open onto wonder but it's not the door ... the voice is framed by language so that it can ask but it's neither the voice nor the question ... it's not the hero or the sage the action or the message ... it was meant to receive applause but more so much more to give it but it's not the applause either ... not all the stories told nor all the books written nor even all the words yet to be said surpass or surplace what this thing is by the grace above permission by the grace of creation ... eternally dependent of course and for that nothing it says or does is simply said or simply done but there's not the whit less for that when just for that it now always is ... and that's as simple as it comes as long as anything's still going for when we come to the end or just before the beginning of course all the bets are off ... I mean in between the two when the betting's fast and devious the asking the telling and the doing the begging and the granting the pounding and the pleading ... come all to a start here

For Monica on her birthday

Monday, November 17, 2008


I want to speak to the bird on my shoulder but he flies away whenever he gets us into trouble ... and otherwise I just take him for granted his presence and his advice ... I want to speak to him to get to know just who the hell he thought he was and who in fact he is ... his surety never shaken by his failures of good sense ... his certitude as heavy with good judgment as his flight away betimes ... I want to speak to him to get mine back again ... but of course he isn't there ... and when he returns I'll assume so much his presence I won't be able to see him to talk to or to think about ... but I'll still be wanting to ... to ask him what could he have been thinking to let me slide so far into perdition so far at times into a free fall ... but each time with his song of free flight in my ear ... singing singing far away on high as I continued to fall ... the whispers of his assurance as I rolled and wallowed in the muck tickled my mind in the midst and made me smile in the pit ... an empty smile opening on the abyss ... all the while in the shadow of his retreating wingspan my head and my hands I put up

Sunday, November 16, 2008


first he was so nice and I felt bad being a disappointment to him ... then I read the book heard what he had to say and knew that he was fierce ... so I turned away ... then I began to read about the spirit about grace power and predestination about pentecost as well as easter and I thought I saw a way of return ... an advocate to plead my case for me and get me back the original birthright ... then I got distracted and spent a few months doing something else ... and that pattern of on and off attention I continued in for some years ... I am not the recipient of direct revelation ... on the contrary I receive and sense it only by indirection as I suspect most of us do ... but if most do it by observation and experience I do it by reading ... not only about grace but about grace-filled people ... not only about the spirit but about spirited people ... and I begin through this comparison of theory and practice to suspect that more of what we do is done by the spirit than we suspect ... how else for example would we ever get a touch of joy ... what else would explain what teddy roosevelt abraham lincoln and sam grant clearly have in common

Saturday, November 15, 2008


spruced up but naked each of us goes to his trial ... and a particular trial it is ... with particular possible sentences ... one you are a son of perdition ... two you are a gifted son of humanity ... three you are a son of god a partaker in divinity ... which of these only one is a blasphemy ... number one of course ... the conviction of impiety ... which one only one is an invitation to impiety ... the second ... which leaves the third ... we may call it the only heavenly conclusion or who wants to go to hell or stay on earth as it is forever ... in court the benches are a clear marble but rather cold and the hours of testimony are long ... who is there to speak for any of us when the verdict desired is not the renewal of the species but a removal and replacement ... did they not say this was done on pieces of wood ages ago ... but who speaks for him now though he will speak hereafter ... if you say we do the question remains under a different inflection ... who will speak for us when we have neither tongue nor sense to say in a word what there is ... what we need above all else ... an advocate

Friday, November 14, 2008


a worm ... sometimes on a hook ... sometimes angle-free ... I like it better without the hook ... and I know as well there are things closer than a smooth shave in the morning ... and something brighter than the morning light on the floor of the closet ... something more satisfying than pleasant ... indeed the pattern of satisfaction ... the content of happiness ... the being content ... it has a level surface in my soul all the way up to the eyebrows ... until restless stirring I move ... giving the chemical shower a good shake ... the bath in my head a good slosh ... and something of it out onto the floor wet with intention ... the water has broken ... the head begins to crown ... I would say more but the body turns and crawls back up the stream ... the captain says put out the lights ... the fleet at anchor swells with the surge swivels with the tide opens up to a wide yawn smiles and goes to sleep ... what was it you meant to say ... what was it you wanted ... something with the smell of the sea ... with the sound of the living breeze among the dying leaves ... you had something on your mind ... it was a word almost forming ... why ... what did it say

Thursday, November 13, 2008


is it a dogma of faith to say the only real objectively true explanations are the scientific ones ... whereas spiritual explanations are private personal and subjective opinions ... may we start by saying one world speaks of causes and the other of reasons ... one looks at things and takes them apart to see how they work ... the other reads them and tries to see what they mean ... what follows if we may say these things with some emphasis is a civil war inside the soul ... with the north ... let's not be historical ... saying heaven is on earth in the neural flaps of religious fanatics and bigots ... while the people in the south say earth is in heaven ... a corrupt little corner of it studded with sign posts all pointing the way out ... one side the west let's say ... let's not be geopolitical ... looks at a thing squarely and puts it in context ... the other side the east looks through it ... let this mythical northwest take offense at this point ... I'm not just a pleasure and pain kind of guy fight or flight meat and potatoes ... I have feelings ... I know what sorrow is ... hell I've got a PhD in depression ... what have you mystical southeast to add ... only joy was the reply

cf kreeft, Heaven, pp112-117

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


the philosopher says ... that metaphysical law has it ... that the more spiritual the faster ... the faster the more widespread ... the fastest therefore is everywhere and at rest there all at once with the speed of eternity the speed of divinity ... its rest is not the body's rest feet up remote in hand ... how can it be when it's faster by far than the speed of light ... rather since its mobility is its universal presence it's the foundation for our own stability if we could just think to remember it ... in its speed is our security if we could just remember to think of it ... indeed everything is implicit in one divine command ... in one eternal word ... which actually takes no time to say at all since it predates follows time swallows time all the time ... in the final moments of the movie when the deuction falls into place it does so all at once because truth and even its apprehension are at the end aspects of eternity ... no longer research and development exploration and experiment but conclusion and endless implication ... not to mention joy ... or rather to say it now at the last ... the joy during which time flies when you're having fun in the presence of the lord

cf kreeft, heaven, pp89-90

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


the man I spoke with could be seen neither in silhouette nor in the round but only in rounding ... in turning round in space and in time ... now a swaddled newborn in his first day on the planet ... now an old man buckled at the knee and forced to bow by a coursing weakness throughout ... made to genuflect one last time before he fell ... now a zygote now a foetus ... now a spark now a dry tinder kindling ... a flame a flare a sputter a dark ... between that dark and the first dawn wrapping its one arm round to meet the other I slid a blade razor sharp one green blade from the morning's lawn the dew from the sprinkler still fresh upon it ... between the dark and that first jump of life ... to stab with the tip the center of the wheel to stop its spinning ... to pick the man up whole turn him up and turn him down ... there on the line from my one eye to the other to measure and to judge him ... such at least I intended but when the tip of the blade touched the center it was I that went spinning round through his life from one end to the other ... it was I that looked up the cone from the pit at the center ... it was my face that met his ... my shame now to wonder

Monday, November 10, 2008


is there a creature whose inception is a conception a joining of one to another looking to a third ... is there any creature which doesn't fit that description ... if all creation obeys the law of the trinity unfolding why can't we see it that way ... all together ... but are surrounded instead by this great mass of disparate points poking at odds throughout ... and through the membrane too ... I can tell you I can go to any of them as if they were dots on the map and stay there for years before I got my legs long enough to stand the fear and get on to the wonder ... what's then the use to having spent such a short time on earth before getting on to another ... I'd prefer a job at central control connecting the dots to read the message but I ask you sir if I did what would be the point thereafter ... perhaps another job a floor or two below condensing the message into sentences then slogans ... packing them up into bundles them mailing them out ... with a raise in pay to compensate for inflation and the demotion ... there are then too many inceptions and conceptions for any one true devotion ... too much power and not enough light

Sunday, November 09, 2008


ok let's say for one you've got a perverted ego twisted out of shape and tensed up to do wrong ... how's the healthy animal strength of the id going to respond to that ... what do you think the superegoistical voice of the cloud's going to say about it ... mustn't they both be opposed ... doesn't the first want what's good and the second what's beautiful or vice versa I can never remember which ... how are they going to get that if the ego is peddling lies ... isn't a lie ugly ... isn't a mistake bad ... isn't the truth necessary ... through a glass darkly you reply ... perhaps but it's the light beyond the glass that you can still see through the glass ... look hard ... look closely into the heart of the flame ... see the planet with the rings around it ... the gyroscope to put the ego back on track ... to stabilize the vector and restore the wings to balance ... the face with the halo round it that makes the heart spin like a top and take off like a rifled bullet ... something like that ... to pull the ego out straight heading true and on time to the bull'seye ... enough of near misses or worse taking the target away to open a clear field ... no ... not a field but a runway and we touching down

Saturday, November 08, 2008


when someone says everything is grace do they mean it ... or do they mean for the next thirty seconds ... or in this time and culture ... or for this the chosen people only ... everything is gratis they say ... do the research ... given with love they say ... what about hell and its whisper in a shout here on earth sin ... they are given because allowed ... so how is that with love ... doesn't the child say to the bad parent you should have known better ... you should have done better ... you should have stopped me ... but you didn't ... which means you couldn't ... or you didn't try hard enough ... you didn't love me when it counted ... but god isn't that kind of parent ... he has the power and he has the will ... and he doesn't stop us ... yet his power and his will are in such agreement that to say one is as much as to say the other ... which must mean that he will stop us ... it's part of the plan ... the part that's to come later ... which will include what a new identity ... an ontological protected witness program ... will there be a vending machine to pull out to put on a new person whenever you need ... you should be so lucky ... no ... you balance instead with the other two

Friday, November 07, 2008


what do freud and the parapsychologists have in common with mainline christianity ... they all three allow for communication between different planes of existence ... and in particular the forms this communication takes are not easily seen or heard recognized or manipulated as a clear set of simple words ... pictures and symbols how about those then ... yes and dreams as well as visions ... and don't forget sound ... the beat of a drum the blare of a trumpet ... or all together ... music ... play the same track over and over ... you can almost hear something in it if you can get past the hearing of it ... the feeling of it ... the I can't put it into words and neither can you honesty of it ... the forms of communication we put down as or away as inexpressible ineffable a shiver hair standing up I just knew it inspiration divination intuition a presence an absolute certainty a prayer a transportation an escape a joy ... a kind of communication I suspect so difficult to put into words I suggest because it's not truth that's the first thing it wants to convey ... but another thing more immediate ... much closer closer under the skin

Thursday, November 06, 2008


you may have a problem with abstraction ... not too much of it just too much of the wrong kind ... abstraction is subtraction ... one by one strip the qualities from a thing until what does it have left but the it alone ... and that's an example of the wrong kind of abstraction ... as well perhaps as the most typical of the modern age ... that the it could possibly stand alone ... there is no such it ... not even god stands alone ... it's a bad mistake but at least it's profound ... nonetheless the truth is there is no substance without relation ... you can say ultimate reality is irreducibly complex and the one thing that doesn't get it is this runaway abstraction an enterprise that has a strong suspicion that it must fail even as it figures out why it must ... because it's gone too far ... but it's too proud and stubborn to take those two steps back ... and it's fiercely determined to stand by its mistake ... so modern evolution says change is chance ... modern science says matter is all ... modern psychology tells us the self is primary ... and modern ethics does all it does do just to agree ... while modern politics theorizes equality to save the self but practices privilege just to make sure ... what a world ... it takes away takes away all

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have an interest sometimes passionate in all kinds of things ... in truth in war in mental inquiry and sex ... in the universe and jokes ... in history in general ... but I don't know god ... I use words like a and the and the forms of be constantly but of their father in thought and idea I do not think ... and in the daytime when I keep myself busy especially at leisure I think this sin of omission less heavy than venial ... but at night when I should be sleeping and sometimes when I am I'm horrified by that kind of day ... a day so effective at blotting up that kind of horror ... so there I am between night and day with the wheels round me constantly spinning but all the cogs in my hand because I will not think of god ... but even the madman that I am hears the hum behind the voices ... the motor of desire revving up wanting the gear to engage ... soon they must send the repairman and when he finds the cogs in my hand and sees what I have done god forbid he must write me a prescription ... how it has been my desire to die peacefully in my sleep before that could be done ... before he writes my name and gives me meaning

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


the fall broke us but it didn't break us into three pieces ... we were those already ... what it did break was the balance the proper balance in their proper relation ... what would the world be like if god had no parts or attributes that we could name ... what would it be like ... what would the world be like if we could name these aspects and understand them and comprehend them ... I know you will agree that goes too far ... one step too far out of three ... we can see we can understand to a degree but we cannot comprehend what god is ... we can understand what he's like ... we can never understand what he is ... we easily understand what he's like ... naturally ... to the extent that we're human ... because that's what humans are ... not god but like god ... some more like and others not ... some humane some inhuman ... but all like and never more than when seen as three ... but don't forget to be fair ... to be honest ... a marionette in three disjointed parts ... the heart jerking above the groin ... the head snapping west and east ... completely out of touch ... creation reason passion all lost ... because out of joint ... the proper relation broken in a fall

Monday, November 03, 2008


the occasions of sin what are they but occasions to lie ... every sin is based on a false statement but is it also based on a lie ... we all know very honest people who are sincerely mistaken but in this they do not sin ... there are no sins of the intellect only mistakes ... sin is a disease of the will ... it will take the truth and the intellect with it and abuse them ... there is nothing on earth sweeter or more innocent on earth than the truth ... that's the sweetness and the innocence that sin has to kill ... and the only way it can do that is with a lie ... the truth in us is the real inner child modern psychology tells us to find ... not for our spiritual comfort though or good sense of well-being ... but to prevent her murder in the back room of the house ... not for the self-assurance final things must give us ... but to stop the lie that will kill her ... the sweet little girl in the bedroom upstairs we smother repeatedly as we sing her goodnight ... the first-born and the last ... all the children in one ... she's the one we murder in a whispered lie ... cotton tumbled suffocation ... or maybe only a puff of smoke and flashing mirrors ... she is not there ... no ... no ... she never was

Sunday, November 02, 2008


it's not just that it's bad ... it is bad but it's worse ... it never works out ... it kills time and wastes effort ... it makes boomerangs where we want arrows ... and oh those boomerangs are sharper coming back in than they were going out ... even so you're better off catching them in your hand than you are letting them catch you unawares in a tender moment or a vital spot ... pride greed sin ... it gets you one way or the other coming back sharp ... well I'll say it again and add to it ... let it go let it come ... it will slice you and dice you to pieces but it will slice you whole again ... it'll break your bones and wither your skin ... it'll turn you to dust ... but you'll be right ... what were you before anyway ... a bagful of sticks that can be broken ... the skin of a peach already in decline ... the vine man the vine ... you are detached ... you should not you would not complain ... if as a dry leaf you scuttle across the pavement autumn is the price you pay for spring ... no not complain ... but you will want and want more again ... it's only natural ... but there is an end ... only natural if there is ... it'll have you say enough then ... just once ... now

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I can't say for others but I pick this one out in myself ... maybe some others will recognize it too ... though I never notice it in time to prevent it the signal moments of my pride are marked by ruthlessness ... not against myself mind you because I'm not at this point thinking of myself ... I'm thinking of what I want and just how no one is going to stop me getting it ... it's very simple very brutal ... the sophistications and they do come are never in this part of it ... they are rationalizations after the fact or prefabrications before it ... they say things like this person his will against mine I will put aside and they'll thank me for it later or others will in their stead ... or later when it didn't go well ... it never does ... I didn't mean it or at least not in that way ... the apology if it comes does nothing but extend the claim for truth in the original will ... the purity of which will pierce any heart ... the effect of which is to ruin all opposition ... the purpose of which despite the ostensible object is simply to be what it is ... my will ... my way ... why it's so determined so defined I wouldn't think but to admire it and to follow it

cf kreeft, back to virtue, pp97-107