Among the movies recommended by my daughter for weekend and early week viewing: Napoleon Dynamite and The Butterfly Effect.
About ND, I will say this: my daughter thought it was highly amusing. But then again, the beautiful and popular people in high school always think the lives of nerds, geeks, dorks and other assorted social outcasts are funny. In other words, crappy stuff is only funny if it isn’t happening to you. Other than that, the movie was a piss-poor imitation of other movies in which characters with no redeeming virtues complete absolutely no business, learn nothing about themselves and neither arrive at, nor help the audience to arrive at, any kind of epiphany or insight into anyone’s life.
About the Butterfly Effect: I appreciate the premise. But I could not watch the entire movie. It was too graphically violent. And perhaps events in recent weeks in my own life have overly sensitized me to the issues of institutionalization, psychology, severe depression and other various and sundry mental illnesses, but it was a troubling film in that it drew you in, so much so that you cared about the characters and were affected by the circumstances of what seemed a very horrible childhood. And once I was in that frame of mind, I felt blugeoned by the violence. Kids burning dogs. Parents molesting children. Kids beating the crap out of other kids. My brother, who served in Desert Storm, has indicated that since being in combat he has a difficult time watching war movies. Well, I have a difficult time watching mindless violence. Gratuitous violence. Even legitimized violence, such as the premise for the movie Troy (which was also on our rental list) recently makes me nauseous.
Perhaps its just TV. I can’t watch it anymore. It either takes itself too seriously, or not seriously enough. There is no balance. It is a tool for the delivery of advertisements. And frankly, that tool is becoming of less and less use on my personal mechanism. I’m becoming self-winding, so to speak.
I chose to walk a path of wildness;
though these modern city streets are paved
and seem to revel in a blindness
that believes the urban sprawl has saved
us from what nature could remind us:
somewhere beneath all this black and gray,
behind the masks that progress may wear
as it fumbles through lines of a play
it has not written, and does not care
to find meaning in what those words say,
there is an rough edge to our control.
Beyond that border the feral earth,
that patient presses diamonds from coal,
in each single instant gives birth
to the strange chaos that feeds our souls.
Where the sidewalk ends and turns to vine
is never clearly marked on a chart;
and your map is not the same as mine,
even if we would pretend to start
from the same place at an exact time.
What’s more, both paths may appear the same
(if anyone still took time to look)
and like gods often bearing false names
to confuse those who insist on books,
will merge at times; they are not to blame.
Instead, it is our pride that deceives;
we do not seek to balance, but rule,
and as a despot king we believe
our road divine, and others for fools
unfit to share the glory we perceive.
But it is there; the wildness can’t be tamed,
nor trimmed and manicured for too long
before it tires of such polite games
and flexes its muscles, lean and strong,
to escape the gilded picture frame.
I would go after, where it now stalks
amidst the dark, thickened underbrush;
sometimes just at dawn I hear it walk
right under my open window. Hush!
Can you hear it too? It likes my block.
18 FEB 2005
The hand that grips so tightly at the reins,
its fingers numb with effort after time,
will endure bruises, callouses and sprains
so long as it still feels the tugging line
that links it to life’s pulsing, straining steeds
as they careen along the path ahead.
In time, firm hands grown weak may start to bleed
and give the team, once strong and fresh, their head;
but then, their sullen backs and swollen legs
will want only their oats and warm, dry stalls.
Despite how earnestly the driver begs,
against such joys the thrill of travel palls.
And so it is with youth that is so bound
it does not love the road, only the goal;
and in its waning moments, can be found
just remnants of a whole and vibrant soul.
21 NOV 2004
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961
a bref double
Speak to me, if you linger at the trough
and hesitant to take a drink, hang back
while others have their fill and more besides,
expecting none will challenge their self-right.
I give to you a gift – the words you lack;
Do not refuse their use or doubt their strength.
Employ them, let their fiber warm your bones,
and fill your inside ’til it’s round and tight.
As weapons, are these few small words enough
to arm a soul, defenseless, for the fray?
They may not seem a danger at first glance,
but steel beneath their slack coat gives them might;
So drink, and what you find no use, give back;
as iron rusts, so words forgotten die.
06 APR 2004
for LJ user i_dread
How delicate the web that occupies
us, spider-like, in our attempts to mend
and build this world before the binding dries.
We toil from waking to each day’s end,
constructing fragile lanterns for our light
that sway unsteady in each tender breeze,
imagining a world beyond our sight
where lives some power that we seek to please.
Yet, at the close of all our labor’s use,
just simple threads of gossamer remain;
and all the tidy ends of things unloose
in one short afternoon’s soft, gentle rain.
Still, we build on, despite such evidence,
And cast our shadows, for experience.
03 DEC 2003