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November 2018
Vol. VIII, No. 310

November 2018

Cry The Beloved Planet

“Epochs in Plains History: Mother Earth, Father Sun, the Children Themselves” (1976–77), oil on canvas by T.C. Cannon.

“Epochs in Plains History: Mother Earth, Father Sun, the Children Themselves,” oil on canvas by T.C. Cannon.

“Washington Landscape with Peace Medal Indian” (1976), oil on canvas by T. C. Cannon.

“Washington Landscape with Peace Medal Indian,” by T. C. Cannon.

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: This month, which I began in a wheelchair and ended with a cane (progress!), was not in any way conducive to editing a stellar issue of Weekly Hubris. Truly on Empty, however, I have been buoyed up by our writers, who leapt into the breach with new work (and old). So, here I am yet again, writing a brief editorial note, and introducing my cast of essayists and poets, all of whom have turned in wonders. My mantra, these past, dark weeks, has been, But I am not in Raqqa, I am not in Durayhimi, I am not fleeing Honduras, with my wee bairns, and stranded on this countrys southern border. I am, however, still a citizen-captive of Trumps America; a subject, really, of the communal madman, and his minions, at our helm. We look toward our midterm elections here as towards Lourdes, though I no longer believe in planet-wide miracles: November may well bring change, but not enough, and not soon enough. Cry the beloved planet! Meanwhile, Dear Readers, there is a glorious new book from Diana Farr Louis, and a revisitation of her hope-filled piece on The Big Olive (Athens, Greece). And we have Anita Sullivan, transfiguring the dismal view from her window with her numinous eye. We have Claire Bateman, introducing the poetry of William Thompson (and Burt Kempner, writing, teleologically, from his own poets heart). We also have a piece from equilibrist-wordspinner Dr. Skip Eisiminger, and an elegy from Dr. Guy McPherson (how I love these two so-different physics of mine). Then, William A. Balk, Jr., our Midlands and Low Country gardener, schools us about . . . boiled peanuts (well, peanuts, in general). And we close with an audio-visual digestif on A.I. from Assistant Editor Tim Bayer, without whom nothing at all would appear here before your eyes. (Next month, the Olympians willing, look for the rest of our literary lions/lionesses here . . . and perhaps even something from me.)

About the paintings featured here on Novembers Home Page: Tommy (T.C.) Cannon (September 27, 1946May 8, 1978) was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, to a Kiowa father and a Caddo mother. He was given the name Pai-doung-u-day, which translates into “One Who Stands In The Sun.” He displayed a talent for drawing and writing; at an early age winning numerous awards for his artwork. After graduating from high school, Cannon attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, studying with Fritz Scholder and working alongside many notable young Native artists. His sense of humor was reflected in the way he  married elements of traditional art with contemporary issues. While serving with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, Cannon won two bronze stars as well as a Medal of Valor from the Vietnamese government. He died in an automobile accident in Santa Fe.

To Valsamo, a sidewalk spice cupboard.

To Valsamo, a sidewalk spice cupboard.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Athens Is The New Athens (Revisited),” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—Last spring and summer, when Athens hosted Documenta 14, the first city outside Germany to host this prestigious, Kassel-based art festival, enthusiastic (foreign) reviewers started proclaiming, “Athens is the new Berlin.” “You’ve got that wrong,” Greeks retorted. “Athens is the new Athens.” Meaning that the city is indeed a cultural capital, but with its own distinct identity; and that, despite years now of deep economic depression, it is witnessing a resurgence of creativity in all sorts of sectors, from the visual and performing arts to the culinary—and, particularly, in the art of survival. (Read more . . .)

Today . . . to allow one small light to appear to its best advantage.

Today . . . to allow one small light to appear to its best advantage.

On The Other Hand

“Spiritual Impressions Upon An Autumnal Shroud,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—Imagine a fence beside a driveway. An unfinished, six-foot wooden fence turned gray by years of direct exposure to sun and rain. A fence dappled with lichen. A fence with many of its boards warped sideways. A fence so typical throughout the suburban neighborhoods of the city that nobody would ever find reason to stop and look at it, much less raise a camera to record it in situ with all its immediate unremarkable surroundings. On this side of the fence are three trash bins in drab green, drab blue, and drab gray. The driveway gravel is overgrown with weeds. There are three dead or half-dead or six-seventeenths dead cherry trees on either side of the drabs, one of them this side of the fence, the other two in the neighbor’s yard. (Read more . . .)

William Thompson (Photo by Shannon Thompson)

William Thompson (Photo by Shannon Thompson)

Speculative Friction

“Two Poems by William Thompson,” By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—William Thompson’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the “Atlanta Review,” the “Saint Katherine Review,” and “Able Muse.” He teaches at Troy University, where he edits the “Alabama Literary Review.” (Read more . . .)

“The Four Elements,” by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1566.

“The Four Elements,” by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1566.

Pinhead Angel

“When I’m Gone,” By Burt Kempner

GAINESVILLE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—When I’m gone,/Don’t just give me to the earth./
I loved the wind and the sky, too./I fell under the spell of fire, hissing at me to partake of its secret knowledge./On bright days I skimmed the surface of the sea; on darker ones I plunged far, far below./Feed me to the elements. (Read more . . .)

Balance is all. (Photo: John Lund

Balance is all. (Photo: John Lund)

Skip the B.S.

“Balancing the Saddlebags: Equilibrium,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—One minute, I was doing sit-ups on our daughter’s large exercise ball; 30 minutes later, I was in the ER. The violent rocking motion of my exertions had put a thumb on my internal scale. But perhaps I should start at the start: the woman who leads a bi-weekly spin class I attend stated that an excellent way to improve one’s balance is to strengthen one’s core. She then pointed to several exercise balls that she uses in her “ab classes.” Since I plank at home, I figured I didn’t need that class, but I decided to use one of those colorful balls that I’d seen people using in Yoga classes at the next opportunity. Sit-ups never looked like so much fun. (Read more . . .)

“Dante et Virgile in Hell,” by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

“Dante et Virgile in Hell,” by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Going Dark

“What I Live For,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—Among the questions of the ages, for the masses: Why am I here? Does my life have meaning? If so, where does the meaning come from? I have long viewed myself as a social critic. I try to improve the lives of others by pointing out societal shortcomings that can be improved. As a teacher, my messages become personal. They are focused on individual learners and the changes each person can make. My life as a social critic has a significant cost: I have many acquaintances, but I’ve managed to offend most of my former friends. As an equal-opportunity offender, ever willing to speak truth to power, I’m largely an ascetic. To an increasing extent, I live as we all must die: alone. (Read more . . .)

Peanuts: boiled peanuts on the left.

Peanuts: boiled peanuts on the left.

Epicurus’ Porch

“Eatin’ Goober Peas,” By William A. Balk, Jr.

BEAUFORT South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—‘Tis the season, everyone! Boiled peanuts! That glory of Southern snackdom. There are unpleasant rumors circulating which suggest some people don’t care for the unique, mucilaginous, somewhat saline taste of this rare seasonal delicacy; I’m rather doubtful that these rumors are true, although I do understand that some unfortunate individuals are allergically responsive to nuts and must avoid peanuts. It would be sad to have to miss out on the joy of reaching into a damp brown paper bag, removing a fat, soft, whole peanut in its soggy shell, popping the entire thing in your mouth and gently biting/chewing/sucking out the salty juice and the soft-cooked nuts inside . . . and then spitting out the masticated fibrous shell. Fabulous! (Read more . . .)

See spot dance!

See Spot dance!

Won Over By Reality

“Fretting About the Upcoming Robot Takeover?” By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—For those of you currently living in fear of inhabiting a dystopian future dominated by artificial-intelligence-fueled robot overlords . . . fret not: for they can be entertaining! Allow me, please, to introduce you to UpTown Spot from Boston Dynamics. (Read more . . .)

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