Yesterday, I posted a notice on Facebook that I was closing my account at some point within the next two weeks. I am also on the verge of making a similar announcement about my Twitter account followed by closing my LinkedIn site. For many of us, the social networks are neither social nor real networks. They steal our time, they steal our independence, they even change who we are. And what makes it insidious is we choose to let it happen. I choose not to let it happen to me any more than it already has. Continue reading
Can you explain something to me? I heard Paul Ryan at his press conference describe how the new tax code will help America “recover.” And to give an example of how cutting the corporate tax to 20% will bring American businesses back, he used an example from his own state – Wisconsin. He said the biggest company headquartered in Wisconsin used to be Johnson Controls (or something like that), but they’re not there anymore. Instead, they’ve moved their business to Ireland where the tax is something like 12.5%. But when America cuts its tax rate to 20%, the company will come back and build new buildings and hire new workers.
Now I know my mind’s been clouded by all those years of teaching and defending the teaching of critical thinking. But I don’t even need to use critical thinking to figure out that 12.5% is significantly less than 20%. So are the operators and stock holders of Johnson Controls, who moved the company from America because they wanted to go where the tax was lower, just not smart? If that’s not the case, why will they be bringing the company back to America?
Maybe it’s just something about trickle down that I don’t understand.
First, you’ve got to clear your head. Because your head just keeps saying things that aren’t true. Well they are true most of the times you’re saying them. But sometimes like last Wednesday, they aren’t true. That was the day I saw the biggest, most beautiful butterfly I’d ever seen….
Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t answer when you called on the day after my birthday to congratulate me for getting through another year. But I was busy. See. It was my night to make the dinner, but I’d forgotten where the kitchen was. So I had to remember this whole series of mental exercises the therapist gave me so I wouldn’t get lost if I couldn’t remember where I was going. And I did get through them and found myself at the end standing outside of Publix Grocery Store. So first I was mad, but then… Continue reading
Before I get to poetry, I want to pose another question particularly for two groups: Actors and real people.
The other day, I saw an add on TV for Chevrolet and the awards they’ve won. As the add opened, The following appeared on screen laid over a group entering the set:
Real people not actors.
I know a few actors. Several, in fact, who are not only good at acting but are very good friends. It never occurred to me to ask them if they were real people. I just took it for granted. Now I wonder what they would have said to me.
Have any of you out there who have actors for friends or who just know some actors well enough to talk to them ever asked if they were real people? (We’ll assume they are real something — but it’s the people thing we need to know.) What did they say?
Now for the poem. “The Telling” was originally published in Aberration Labyrinth February 1, 2014. Continue reading
In all seriousness, I’m curious. And I have a question that I invite astronomers, physicists, or mathematicians, none of which I am — beyond that of a lay person’s dabbling, — to answer. By way of preface, I watched a number of you tube explanations of an expanding universe in hopes of finding an answer to the question I’m about to ask. Some were fascinating, some were boring. But two different approaches to explaining what scientists think we know, while effectively demonstrating expansion, clearly illustrated the nature of the problem the question addresses.
The expansion of the universe is at the heart of the inquiry. One of the explanations invites us to consider the universe as a balloon. Dots on the balloon represent the galaxies. As the air fills the balloon, it expands and the dots move farther and farther apart. The other explanation, which I like better because it illustrates the same principle in a more realistic, complex way, compares the universe to a loaf of raisin bread baking in the oven. As the bread rises, the raisins separate and move farther apart throughout the loaf.
So now to the question. We know for a fact that galaxies collide. The Hubble Space Telescope, named for the astronomer who gave us the concept of an expanding universe, has captured images of it happening.
The collisions are dramatic, chaotic, beautiful, frightening, and at the heart of both endings and beginnings. We also know by witnessing the phenomenon of the red shift that the universe is not only expanding but doing so at a continuously increasing rate. All of which brings us to the question.
It’s been a while, but I can’t not post anymore. Please take a moment to visit the Bacopa Literary Review Editors’ Blog and read the post for today put up by Mary Bast, the Bacopa Literary Review Editor-in-Chief. My story “Eva” was published in the 2016 issue and was the 2016 Fiction Runner-up Prize Winner. Mary’s been very gracious and generous in her comments to me about the story, and now she’s taken them public. I know it’s not nice to boast, but I feel very honored to have a blog post about my work that starts with the mention of Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), Alice Walker (The Color Purple), Russell Banks (The Sweet Hereafter) and Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale ). And then while you’re there, don’t just look at today’s post. Spend some time looking around. It will be time well spent.
And now for something different…
The pigeons in the picture are not at the Frick. They’re part of a fountain at a former convent that now houses a school of art in San Antonio. The Frick is an art museum in New York. The poem below is a repost from a few years back.
At the Frick
In the museum, the bronze statuary,
Small enough to be held in hand, excites
You. The artist’s craft, his love of form both
Transparent, his hand invisible, his soul,
Poured like liquid stone, became these figures,
And we become the air through which they move.
Yet in a poem, I could give you more
Than these perfect bodies. I could give you
All of their warmth, all of their hue, and more.
I can give you the sun in a blue room,
Balconies with no way down, salt-laced rhythms
Of tides, sea birds unreachable. But still
I can never see nor feel in the cold
Dead bronze the things you see, the things you feel.
Originally published in A Matter of Mind, Foothills Publishing, 2004.
© copyright 2004, 2015, 2017 Joseph Saling and The New Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved.
I have some writer friends that I know will recognize an exchange similar to this:
“You should get out if these dreary rooms, Henry. They’re half the reason you’re blocked.”
“Am I blocked? I’d just thought of myself as a slow typist.”
“What do you do, hit the space bar once a day?”
John Updike in “Bech Panics” in Bech a Book (1970)
Just my way of saying, like I said in the comment on the last post, I’m coming back. Just watch this space. Things have happened.
Enjoy your day —
Here’s how Five 2 One announced the inclusion of my poem The Road to Nirvanah (a Drama Review) on its blog.
Check it out! Another celebration! Road to Nirvanah by Joseph Saling
#thesideshow is a National Poetry Month project in which the journal is posting on its blog a daily “freaky midget poem or fiction piece.” My favorite so far is The Cow’s Fault by Monica Lee about the ideas that get into cows’ heads and their consequences. When you go to see The Road to Nirvanah, the subject of which is a Harvard Square production of Road to Nirvana, a play by Arthur Kopit, stay around awhile and read the other works in the #Sideshow. They’re short and they’re freaky. Who needs more reason to celebrate?
That just makes me feel good.