The Notion of Privacy: Spenserian sonnet

A private notion turns to public act
when it is witnessed by someone outside
your circle; once unloosed, it won’t come back.
These days, it quickly wends its way world-wide.

Your signal will of course be amplified;
within a moment’s span, your words extend
forever – an opinion, glorified
no matter whether real or let’s pretend.

A single line of text can make a friend,
or spawn a heartless legion filled with hate;
and no apology nor logic can defend
your thoughts, undo your speech. Too late,

expression, like an arrow through the air,
seeks out its target and is buried there.

02 JUN 2017

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If Privacy is Power

If privacy is power,
then our public-facing selves
are palimpsests of who we are;
and that which we pretend to be
(that hides our truest form)
has more in common with a mist
than blood, muscle or bone.

If privacy is freedom,
then construction of our cells
begins the moment we arrive
and lasts throughout all time.

If privacy is sacred,
then our gods are merely dust;
and our Valhalla in the clouds?
Bankrupt and turned to rust.

If privacy is power,
guard your every waking thought,
and never show just what you know;
your shy, divergent secrets
are what make you worth recall.
There is no greater good that needs
to know it all, right now.

15 DEC 2016

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8. Keep a Private Room Behind the Shop

It used to be that men had studies, libraries, dens, offices. Now there are “man caves”. As if the whole of the outside world isn’t already about patriarchal, testosterone-driven, sports metaphor-laden male dominance, for better or worse. Honestly, anyone who feels they’re being deprived of their manhood in today’s uber-macho, Art of War, Machiavellian study in pissing contest one-upmanship has no idea what being a man entails. Or maybe I don’t. That’s probably more the case, as I feel I’ve been disconnected from what society calls “masculinity” for almost my entire life. When I think of a private room, I envision a place to think, to read, to create – to work. I think of my father’s office, lined with books; and his workshop, filled with tools, various and sundry hardware, and projects in various states of construction or completion. I think of a garage or shed for doing your own auto repairs. Not a place where you can retreat from the female kingdom of your home – the kitchen, the bedrooms, the children’s rooms, the “parlor”, and gather with your so-called adult male friends to drink beer, eat junk food, and participate vicariously in simulated war games called sporting events, all the while avoiding either direct parenting, spousal interaction, or being forced into watching “chick” flicks or the Disney channel’s constant repetition of episodic inanity. That sounds like the modern equivalent of the Little Rascals, building a treehouse and then hanging a sign reading “No Gurls Aloud”.

What is this conception of manhood that always must include some minimum level of physical intimidation, hyper-competitiveness, vulgarity, and ultimately anti-social behavior – and often, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, an illusion of superiority, and a chance to unveil the worst of ourselves as humans: our resulting bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and innate mean spiritedness and poor sportsmanship? Even male nerds, geeks, and dorks participate in these rituals, at least privately, while publicly claiming abhorrence for them. By the way, for the purposes of this discussion, there is an easy way to discern between the intelligentsia’s nerd, geek, dork caste system. I call it the LOTR, or Lord of the Rings test: anyone who has read and can quote portions of the Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy can be assumed a nerd. Any nerd who can quote, read or write those portions in the Elvish language may be considered a geek. Any nerd who has on more than on occasion donned a pair of Elf ears, or otherwise actually imagined themselves an elf (or hobbit or dwarf, although there are limits) is probably best classified as a dork. Me? I am only a nerd. But then again, gaining eyeglasses, braces, and violin lessons at age eight probably predetermined that result.

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A Pond in the Forest

If through the brambles you carefully file,
deep in the dark wood a clearing is found.
Away from the outside bustle and sound,
hidden ‘neath the canopy a long while,

there a still pool of cool water waits,
its surface a clear and sparkling mirror.
Look deep in its midst – the world is clearer,
and your trouble and worry it negates.

Leave your clothes on a flat rock at its shore,
and slip down through the ferns and the damp moss
’til your body is wrapped in its soft blue,

letting its silken caress melt your core,
slowly dissolving your sad sense of loss
and leaving behind only what is true.

08 MAR 2003

for LJ user anoisblue

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