Phil-ology

We all know the Japanese language has hundreds of words for ‘yes’

but virtually no phrases for ‘no’—at least none that are used in public.

And I am told Japan has perhaps 30 symbols for love, including 愛 好

き 恋 愛情 恋愛 愛好 愛着 思い 想い 恋心 慈しみ 恋仲 慈愛 恋着,

whereas English has many fewer to describe such differential emotions.

It’s even less surprising Eskimos have lots of nuanced terms for white.

Ditto indigenous Amazon rain-forest dwellers’ expressions for green.

Hate asking, but to what concepts do we in the U.S. give more name$?

 

 

Shapeshifting Morning Report

 

Quenching my thirst with sand  (“Pentecost,” Dana Gioia)

After a beauty of an all-nighter holding down the hospital fortress,
done signed out to one of its starched house officers
just come on ER duty

I soldier past the safe distractions of our museum’s masterpieces,
past some chartreuse-toupéed gander-necked wretch’s
exploratative full cry.

Triangulated among an abandoned seaside resort’s beached whales
who occupy every other satin stool along the counter
of town’s coffee shop

you shoplift loose goose-tail tendrils of the moose of a poet-mohel’s
Yiddish circumcision irrigation system which dripdrops,
Vorts neyn meyn vorts.

 

Ineffable Brain Torque

Till Timmy Leary’s antics (among other excuses)
led the US Gov’t to shut down research funding,
Stanislav Grof MD had been a Johns Hopkins
Professor of Psychiatry who studied the effects
of LSD. When that became illicit, he turned
to holotropic breath work which demonstrated
many very similar therapeutic outcomes.

Eventually Stan wrote Psychology of the Future:
other severe experiences including near-death
situations, prolonged fasting, extreme dancing,
intensive psychoanalysis and the like catalyze
the same final common pathway “altered states”
that astonishingly all connect the individual
with the universe pre-birth through post-death.

For thousands of years this unification process
had been integrated into the fabric of pre-modern
cultures through broad community participation
or delegation of holy functions to shaman types.

Often those folk were deviants in their perception
of reality—today they might be given DSM diagnoses
because of difficulty fitting into our complex society.

Then when we became “civilized” in our “enlightened”
post-industrial revolution scientific/ Freudian world,
these primitive ceremonies were generally made illegal,
ostensible exceptions being part of organized religions.

I’ve been fortunate, truly grateful to have such profound
consciousness induced by various stimuli. How about you?

 

 

Serling’s silverscreen loop-de-loop queen

encounters Roddenberry’s Dr. Spock

plus a Borg or more on the Holodeck

where Rod’s swooning [spooned] wife

husbands

pulsating

pattycake

serenity

prayer

Reuben

sandwich

tennis

ball

alcohol

climax

torque

dexterity

too soon—

ehhh

or maybe

not?

 

Sugar Plum Aeries

Ever since all of those Thanksgivings alone,
Mister Sandman has glowered frayed dream
threads that have weaved impending solstice
Christmas/ Hanukkah plantetary mass extinction…

Leaving plummy Manhattan’s lower troposphere
offices late, I hopped the D train hoping to make
it to a Bronx strip mall’s Anonymous Gluten-free
Organic Gumdrop Soylent Green Eggbeaternog Fest.

But by the time the subway got there, the faith-inflected
footsie-playing smug thug testimonials chock full of
hedonist bucket lists—which include my stocking stuffer
fave, aftermarket automotive tailpipe valves—were over

so for a very special after-party, I flogged the elevator
[also in the gravest disrepair] like a slow mule & rode
our expiration dates top of the Yule mark where I threw
bags of drug debts off the roof + me down the stairwell.

 

Vortex Of Baby-industrial Complex, 1952-2016

The hassle has escalated from back in the day
when accepted prenatal care basically meant
not too much alcohol plus cut down on tobacco.

Then at birth mainly fussy male OBs’d glance
for a penis, or not: today party planners slip results
of a hush-hushed early-on gender blood test

or later johnson ultrasound in a sealed envelope
they bring to the parents’ preferred chic bakery
which would frost designer cupcakes in blue or pink.

Next, the fanciest of boxes is opened at a “surprise”
white-tie event including fam/ friends face-to-face
and a circus xfinity of virtual FT/ Skype networks.

My youngest’s pretty sure after 3 out of 3 nephews
that her first child will be my only granddaughter—
but if not, she definitively plans to call the tyke Ike.

 

Gerard Sarnat

Gerard Sarnat

Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry Sarnat spent time in jails as a physician and social justice protestor, built and staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Sarnat's spent decades working for Middle East peace, including being a member of the US’s longest-running Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group and serving on the New Israel Fund international board. He is the author of four critically-acclaimed collections, Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016). Work from Ice King was accepted by over seventy magazines, including Gargoyle and Lowestoft Chronicle, and featured in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords and Floor Plan.

Comments

comments