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1 May 2021
Vol. XI, No. 5

May 2021

to whom it may concern/in the dead stones of a planet/no longer remembered as earth/may he decipher this opaque hieroglyph/perform an archeology of soul/on these precious fragments/all that remains of our vanished days/here—at the sea’s edge/I have planted a stony garden/dragon tooth dolmen spring up/to defend the porch/steadfast warriors.—Derek Jarman

“Hydra,” by John Craxton.

“Hydra,” by John Craxton.

“Portrait,” by John Craxton

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: This lede paragraph by Dr. Skip Eisiminger illustrates why it is I love reading (and publishing) this man: “Thirty or more years ago, the state restriped SC 93, and in doing so, sprayed over a flattened crow, gluing it unceremoniously to the shoulder like some stray hair under Scotch tape. For days, riding my bike to school, I noted the reflective white stripe across the wings, a few feathers of which flapped in a futile effort to rise every time a vehicle passed. In short order, the wind, rain, shoulder-dusting tractor trailers, and even a few crows removed all trace of the roadkill, leaving a black icon on the asphalt. Until another restriping a decade later, there was this carbon-copy of the bird for the pedestrian and cyclist to meditate on, a black hole, as it were, in the guardrail, a light out in the glide path, and a foreshadowing of the cosmos.” We open with the rest of Skip’s monthly meditation (on cynicism and optimism), and continue with other rich non-fiction offerings from Chiara-Sophia Coyle, Diana Farr Louis, Anita Sullivan, Michael House FRGS, Ross Konikoff, and Dr. Guy McPherson; poetry (via Claire Bateman) by Sarah McCartt-Jackson, and by Mimi German; and single-panel-cartoonery by Mark Addison Kershaw

About the artist featured on our May Home Page: English painter John Leith Craxton RA (1922—2009) was sometimes called a neo-Romantic artist but preferred to be known as a “kind of Arcadian.” Craxton applied to the Chelsea School of Art but was considered to be too young to attend nude life classes. Instead, he studied at the Académie Julian and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris during 1939, until the outbreak of war. After the war, he traveled to the Isles of Scilly, Switzerland, Istanbul, Spain, Italy, but mainly Greece and especially Crete, from 1946 to 1966, moving permanently to Crete in about 1970. The writer Richard Olney remembered Craxton in Paris, en route to Greece during the summer of 1951: “Most nights, John Craxton, a young English painter, arrived to share my bed; we kept each other warm. He moved in a bucolic dreamworld, peopled with beautiful Greek goat herders. Soon he left for Greece.” Craxton illustrated the books of Patrick Leigh Fermor. His love of Crete extended to his being one of the British Honorary Consuls there. He died aged 87, survived by his long-term partner Richard Riley. A biography by Ian Collins, John Craxton, was published by Lund Humphries in 2011. (Biography excerpted from Wikipedia.)

The unforgettable crow. (Image via NextLuxury.)

The unforgettable crow.

Skip the B.S.

“Looking for a Label: Cynicism to Optimism,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—Thirty or more years ago, the state restriped SC 93, and in doing so, sprayed over a flattened crow, gluing it unceremoniously to the shoulder like some stray hair under Scotch tape. For days, riding my bike to school, I noted the reflective white stripe across the wings, a few feathers of which flapped in a futile effort to rise every time a vehicle passed. In short order, the wind, rain, shoulder-dusting tractor trailers, and even a few crows removed all trace of the roadkill, leaving a black icon on the asphalt. Until another restriping a decade later, there was this carbon-copy of the bird for the pedestrian and cyclist to meditate on, a black hole, as it were, in the guardrail, a light out in the glide path, and a foreshadowing of the cosmos. (Read more . . .)

Chiara-Sophia and Lola; Michael and Chiara-Sophia on Lola, Mykonos, early 1960s

Chiara-Sophia & Michael with Lola.

Clicks & Relativity

“Letting Go of Donkeys,” By Chiara-Sophia Coyle

SONOMA California—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—Growing up on the island of Mykonos in the 1960s, my brother and I were the only blond and blue-eyed children in sight. In fact, we were among the very first foreigners to live on the island. Our shared nickname was, simply, “The Americans.” As far back as I can remember, I was always desperately trying to fit in. Blend in. Like a fly in a glass of milk, as a friend said, oh, so eloquently. “Be” one of them, not the one they pointed at while making various comments (positive ones, for the most part, at least while I was a child, but still). My parents had various ways of our “being,” however, that ensured blending was never going to happen. (Read more . . .)

Didi dancing in Calvi.

Didi & Diana on Corsica, 1964.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Corsica (Without A Hint Of Napoleon),” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—A delightful recent read, Harley and the Holy Mountain, in which a philhellene Brit named John Mole describes traveling from his island home in central Evia to Mount Athos on his ancient 50 cc motorbike, inspired me to take a look back at my first vacation with a Mobylette or moped. A Moby is even tinnier and tinier than a papaki or little duck, which is how the Greeks refer to a 50 cc bike, but I didn’t feel secure enough to rent something more glamorous like a Vespa. It was the summer of 1964 and I had been living in Paris since October the year before, with side trips to Madrid for Christmas and the French and Italian rivieras for Easter. But no one stays in Paris for August and so I leapt at the chance to go to Corsica. (Read more . . .)

Set down somewhere in a very oblong past. (Photo: Anita Sullivan.)

Set down somewhere in a very oblong past.

On the Other Hand

“Frog Dish,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—When it shows up again after five years, the object surprises you because it is so small. Yet even as you are confronting it from the almighty distance of your head, you realize it is duplicating itself every few seconds into a space slightly higher than before, as if rising through a forest of trees with enormous leaves, which it aspires to ingest one by one so as to appear simultaneously in as many dimensions as possible. Fulness soon intact, the object continues to press relentlessly upwards from the brick on which it was set down somewhere in a very oblong past, until it hovers just at the level of your nose and then settles back onto the brick. All this occurs quickly but distinctly and thoroughly as a part of whatever might occur next, not merely as a set of tiny, imagined movements lacking the sanction of space or time. (Read more . . .)

Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern

Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern.

The Polemicist

“The British Monarchy: Birds in a Gilded Cage (or Brilliant Scam-Artists),” By Michael House FRGS

WEST HAMPSTEAD London England—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2020—To be a Republican in the US is to be a hissing and a byword. To be a Republican in the UK is a badge of honor, as will be explained below. I did not watch Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle. I am not interested in these people, with their silly titles (baby Archie is apparently an Earl) and their tedious feuds. But anything that undermines the monarchy and encourages the UK to grow up as a nation has to be a good thing. The interview also, I understand, pointed up the everyday racism here that people of color know only too well. Young nations, or old nations that have run out of viable monarchs, have tended to seek a king among the minor royalty of Europe. Greece did it twice in the 19th century, first with Otto, a  German princeling. That didn’t work out too well, so, second time round, they went for a Dane who proved to be a better bet. (Read more . . .)

Ross and Deborah at the Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing.

Ross and Deborah at the Midsummer Night Swing.

West Side Stories

My Three-Minute Love Affairs,” By Ross Konikoff

MANHATTAN New York—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—Of all the things Deborah misses most due to the past twelve-month lock-down, the annual three-week-long Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing dance festival tops the list. Deborah, being a fantastic swing dancer, having competed in numerous ballroom competitions, insisted I learn to dance at the very start of our marriage. We’ve attended this celebration every year since its inception 26 years ago. They feature a different live orchestra every night, a rarity in these days of taped music and DJs. In fact, many of you musicians reading this have appeared up on that bandstand over the years, playing two sets of great music while watching me flounder around on the floor! Dancing has never been easy for me and, a few nights ago, after downing several vats of gin, I finally broke down and related to Deborah the sad story of how I developed a deep-rooted aversion to dancing, tearfully recounting the trauma I suffered as a young teen in the seventh grade. (Read more . . .)

The planet’s last two northern white rhinos; both female, mother and daughter. (Photograph: Gurcharan Roopra.)

The planet’s last two northern white rhinos.

Going Dark

“Maybe I’m Wrong,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

POULTNEY Vermont—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—I’m not known for my optimistic perspective. Indeed, I’ve referred to hope as a mistake and a lie at guymcpherson.com. However, I hope I’m wrong. About everything, with respect to abrupt climate change. Sometimes the peer-reviewed literature gets it wrong. Science offers the best available process for understanding the universe and our place in the universe. And yet, sometimes projections and predictions prove to be incorrect. This does not mean the process of science is poor, and it certainly does not mean science is a belief system. Rather, the process of science is self-correcting: When evidence points to an incorrect outcome, scientists learn from the process and make appropriate adjustments. Unless the United Nations Environment Programme is wrong, the ongoing Mass Extinction Event has been under way for more than ten years. (Read more . . .)

Sarah McCartt-Jackson. (Photo: Bryan Jackson.)

Sarah McCartt-Jackson.

Speculative Friction

“The Poetry of Sarah McCartt-Jackson,” By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021— Kentucky poet, educator, and folklorist Sarah McCartt-Jackson has been published by Indiana Review, Journal of American Folklore, The Maine Review, and others. Her poetry books and chapbooks include: Stonelight, Calf Canyon, Vein of Stone, and Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River. She has served as artist-in-residence for Great Smoky Mountains, Catoctin, and Acadia National Parks. She teaches poetry and kindergarten. Read more at the poet’s website. (Read more . . .)

“Les Colombes,” by Michael Pendry. (Photo: Washington National Cathedral.)

“Les Colombes,” by Michael Pendry.

Miriams Well

“Ferlinghetti’s Interruption & Burning Prayers,” By Mimi German

PORTLAND Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1 2021—Ferlinghetti’s Interruption: she brought me coffee in the rain   and later   in pink pajamas and slip on slippers   she entered heaven   where i was   painting the doors white   keep painting   she rattled   ruffling her papers   then began reading ferlinghetti’s    i am waiting    i turned down the volume of the livestream on death and dying at the end of the world   to hear   between the silence   the words   for anarchy   and   rebirth of wonder   i shifted my position on earth   bending my weight above my knees   to witness this pink bird in flight in heaven’s towering teepee   the drift of this long careless rapture   from aphrodite to the gentle spatter of spring rain entering this open vestibule   unpremeditated art   making all things clear  and then my tears like petals fell upon the fleeting lovers and  the line and embrace   indelible   perpetually and forever (Read more . . .)

Addison-work

I’m going to let the internet work for me.”

Addison

“South Paw in Spring” By Mark Addison Kershaw

ATLANTA Georgia—(Weekly Hubris)—May 1, 2021—Editor’s Note: As a former journalist (or, rather, recovering journalist), I still retain some sleuthing chops, but I must admit that I have not been able to discover any salient details about Weekly Hubris’s resident single-panel cartoonist, Mark Addison Kershaw. I haunt (a term of art) his Facebook page for clues, and have recently (see above) inferred that he (or a furry right hand purporting to be his) is left-handed. However, never having met Kershaw, I am compelled to admit: 1) that that furry, videoed paw may not indeed belong to the cartoonist known as Addison; 2) that Addison may be a collective noun (covering any number of creatures great and small); and/or/even 3) that Addison may exist slightly outside, or inside (Schrödinger-cat-wise) “our” shared dimension of being. (Here, I would insert a Schrödinger smile, if I had one.) (Read more . . .)

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