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March 2019
Vol. IX, No. 3

March 2019

Keep Ithaka always in your mind./Arriving there is what you’re destined for./But don’t hurry the journey at all./Better if it lasts for years,/so you’re old by the time you reach the island,/wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,/not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.―from Ithaka, By C. P. Cavafy, transl. Edmund Keeley

“Bohemia Lies by the Sea,” by Anselm Kiefer, 1996, oil, emulsion, shellac, charcoal, and powdered paint on burlap.

“Bohemia Lies by the Sea,” by Anselm Kiefer, 1996, oil, emulsion, shellac, charcoal, and powdered paint on burlap.

“Book with Wings,” by Anselm Kiefer (1992-94)

“Book with Wings,” by Anselm Kiefer (1992-94)

This March, we open with a short essay by Helen Noakes, the daughter of Greek immigrants cruelly buffeted by the winds of forced exile in the early 20th century; now a cultivated, thoughtful woman-of-a-certain-age, long a United States citizen, who raises her plaintive voice in the evil time of Trump, and Trumps enablers. I read, you will read, Helen Noakes and weep for an electorate who have largely lost their way. Poet Don Schofield, who made the crossing in the other direction, from America to Greece, binds our wounds, then, with a lyrical essay (with poems) about the land that took him in and nourished him, as man and writer. Poet/Essayist Anita Sullivan and photographer Chiara-Sophia Coyle, both women also stunned by Greeces beauty and its peoples enormity of heart, follow with meditations upon their and my own other home. Claire Bateman, Weekly Hubriss Ur-Poet, quietly introduces us to the work of Glenis Redmond. Mark Addison Kershaw, cartoonist and photographer, offers up his monthly collection of hand-penned whimsy. Blogger Annie Carroll Maffeo, and her aunt, Poet/Essayist Jean Nolan, then bring us spring essays on the subject of motherhood, new and of long standing. William A. Balk, Jr. takes us back to his own beloved South Carolina soil, and plunges our dry winter hands right down into it. The Reverend Robin White and Dr. Guy McPherson, from the adjoining pulpits of faith and science, address how we must live in impossible times. Burt Kempner has a sly political fable for us, about power and potentates. And, not in closing, but in grand style and at length, Sociologist/Philosopher Dr. William Ramp creates constellations of found objects in our shared night sky: his is an important read.

About the artist featured here this March: German painter Anselm Kiefer took the title of his landscape, Bohemia Lies by the Sea,” from that of a poem by Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachmann (1926–1973), who may herself have been inspired by Shakespeares stage direction in his play The Winters Tale”: Bohemia. A Desert Country near the Sea.” Both painting and poem explore the longing for utopia, a longing that can never be realized (just as the former kingdom of Bohemia, landlocked in Central Europe, can never lie by the sea).

How beautifully we persist.

How beautifully we persist.

Waking Point

“We Persist,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—How can I possibly exist? In 1914, the Turkish government ordered the systematic extermination of Greeks and Armenians who had been living in Turkey for centuries. Genocide ensued. Atrocities were the order of the day. Children were slaughtered along with adults; villages were burned to the ground. The bloodbath was largely ignored by Europe and the United States because of business interest in Turkey; because of greed and political skullduggery. (Read more . . .)

Paros.

Paros.

Imagination’s Favors

“Homage to Place,” By Don Schofield

THESSALONIKI Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—I first came to Greece in 1976 as a tourist, at the age of 26, the summer before I started my MA in literature. By that time, I had read umpteen books on Greek mythology and its significance—Joseph Campbell, Robert Graves, Carl Jung, etc. I also had swatches of Bible stories wafting in the shadows of my memory from all my years in Catholic children’s homes. What a delight it was then, when I first came to Greece, to encounter men named Odysseus and Socrates, women named Artemis and Penelope and, wherever I traveled, real shepherds tending their flocks, real fishermen mending their nets and real donkeys bearing their burdens along dirt paths. (Read more . . .)

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

His failing heart; his heartfelt joy . . .

On The Other Hand

“What is the Heart?By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—Recently I began a study of the spiritual practice known as the Enneagram. As with most spiritual disciplines, each session begins with a series of breathing exercises designed to slow and clear the mind and to focus attention on the immediate moment—what is here right now. This is called Mindfulness. In this particular teaching, it was called “Being Present with your Heart.” Unfortunately, no matter how much I trust and believe that focused breathing is a good idea, my quirky personal logic always reacts the same way to these exercises. Rather than bringing me, body and mind, into an emotionally neutral, open and relaxed state, the preliminary breathing ritual ramps up my attention once again to the odd fragility and raw uncertainty of this natural process. Breathing is not automatic and smooth: no two breaths are exactly alike. In fact, each breath turns out to be barely certain, open to negotiation, and totally vulnerable to terrorist attacks from the clever part of the brain. (Read more . . .)

Clicks & Relativity

“The Essence of Rust,” By Chiara-Sophia Coyle

OAKLAND California—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—Rust. It happens. Reflections. They just occur, when all the elements align. Reflections in rust? Yes, just one more form of a reflection. An echo of time imprinted on a surface. I am very familiar with rust. Having grown up on a very damp, salt- and wind-kissed island, I can assure you rust was a frequent sight and part of everyday life, one usually depicting the end of something’s life cycle. Bringing with it the requirement to replace the rusty object, no matter the size, no matter the purpose it served. Rust screamed danger for the shoeless running in the summer countryside, not so much because of the rust, itself, but rather because of the natural environment and the bacteria rampant underfoot. Simply put, there was nothing gratifying in its appearance; it only signified decay, a form of irreversible death. (Read more . . .)

Poet Glenis Redmond.

Poet Glenis Redmond.

Speculative Friction

“The Poetry of Glenis Redmond,By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—Glenis Redmond travels nationally and internationally and has earned the title, “Road Warrior Poet.” She serves as the Poet-in-Residence at The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, South Carolina, and at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, Redmond is listed in their National Touring Directory. In February 2016, at the request of US State Department for their Speaker’s Bureau, Redmond traveled to Muscat, Oman, to teach a series of poetry workshops and perform poetry there for Black History Month. Between 2014 and 2018, she served as the Mentor Poet for the National Student Poets’ Program to prepare students to read at the Library of Congress, the Department of Education, and for First Lady Michelle Obama at The White House. (Read more . . .)

Addison

“Addison Al Fresco,” By Mark Addison Kershaw

ATLANTA Georgia—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—If you’re seeking some almost non-verbal, linear distraction, you’ve come (back) to the right place: Mark Addison Kershaw, Weekly Hubris’s constant cartoonist, has another batch of single-panel cartoons, drawn (and quartered) in deepest suburban Atlanta, for your particular amusement. Addison was, too briefly for his lights, away in Hawaii, but now hes home, yall, and back at his drawing board.  (Read more . . .)

The First Meeting. (Photo: Michael Maffeo.)

The First Meeting.

Working Through Motherhood

“The Absence of Him,” By Annie Carroll Maffeo

BATAVIA Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—When I was pregnant, before I would fall asleep, my son would spend a fair amount of time flipping and kicking and punching inside me. This meant hours of me feeling him. He was incredibly active, mostly at night. He definitely had a pattern, according to which I could almost count on him waking me up at 3 a.m. to get the daily party started again. Every day at about 2 in the afternoon, he would get the hiccups in utero. Which was funny and something I felt all the time. He still gets the hiccups now, whenever he laughs too much or eats too quickly. But I could count on that almost every day. The little blip of him hiccupping. (Read more . . .)

Jean and Claire Elizabeth, today.

Jean and Claire Elizabeth, today.

More Light

“Morning Has Broken,”  By Jean Carroll Nolan

SEASIDE California—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—I love spring. Spring is the beginning, the genesis of the natural year, the open door. All is new, all is possible, the sun smiles, the sky kisses us with rain, the earth explodes with joyous, brawling life, and Persephone comes home to the waiting arms of her mother. For me, spring is full of gifts, and the month of March, in particular, overflows with celebration. On March 2nd, John and I will mark 51 years of living in each other’s lunacy and loss and laughter and love. On the 13th, our astonishing daughter, Claire, was born (of which more, presently) and, two days later, our daughter-in-law, Sharisse, put the Ides of March squarely on our calendar with her own birthday. See? We have a list of things to be happy about in this season of burgeoning growth. (Read more . . .)

Magnolia Leonard Messel.

Magnolia Leonard Messel.

Epicurus’ Porch

“Winter’s Toll,”  By William A. Balk, Jr.

BEAUFORT South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—It’s an already-exhausted trope that the weather has just gone crazy, though we’ve seen little, yet, of what changes climate has in store for us in the future. Here, at least, in the Carolina coastal plain, it’s been wetter than usual, warmer than usual, and the gods have spiced it up a bit with some quite cold periods which can wreak real havoc with the weather-whipsawed garden plants. The waterfront “garden” (the euphemism is convenient for allowing me to gloss over its rushing return to jungle) in Beaufort County actually has come through it all relatively unscathed; I’ve long since abandoned trying to be too sly about terribly tender plants in that garden, and the moderating influence of the tidal creek makes some things that would be quite marginally hardy persistent through most conditions, both heat and cold. (Read more . . .)

“The Miraculous Draught of Fishes,” by Raphael, 1515/16.

“The Miraculous Draught of Fishes,” by Raphael.

Wing + Prayer

“When Simon Becomes Peter: Luke 5: 1-11,” By The Rev. Robin White

LAKE HARTWELL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—At 15, Derrick* had already spent significant time in drug rehab and a psychiatric hospital. He’d been expelled from school and was meeting his tutor in a room down the hall from my office at an inner-city church. My study, its door almost always open, was adjacent an exit to a side street where Derrick made his way several times a day for a smoke. As time went by, his trips to the street became more frequent, and his pace decelerated. Eventually, he began to linger, and even stop for a moment, his face, once pinched with anger notably softening over time. Across my threshold, I knew I was being scrutinized: Derrick had no reason to trust adults. His father had abandoned him years earlier and his mother, who loved him deeply, had her own problems, many of which she treated with drugs and alcohol. (Read more . . .)

Whale installation made from trash found in the ocean. (Image: Greenpeace Media.

Whale installation made from trash found in the ocean.

Going Dark

“Living with Urgency on a Dying Planet,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—American professor of evolutionary biology George C. Williams died in September 2010 at the age of 83. I doubt he knew we were facing our own imminent extinction when he said, “Most evolving lineages, human or otherwise, when threatened with extinction, don’t do anything special to avoid it.” By the time Williams died, I’d been sounding the alarm for three years. I was hardly alone. The warnings I’ll mention in this essay were hardly the first ones about climate catastrophe likely to result from burning fossil fuels. A little time with your favorite online search engine will take you to George Perkins Marsh sounding the alarm in 1847, Svente Arrhenius’s relevant journal article in April of 1896, and young versions of Al Gore, Carl Sagan, and James Hansen testifying before the United States Congress in the 1980s. There is more, of course, all ignored for a few dollars in a few pockets. (Read more . . .)

Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley, in “The Dictator.”

Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley, in “The Dictator.”

Pinhead Angel 

“Under Control,By Burt Kempner

GAINESVILLE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—A few years ago, I began wondering what would happen if a dictator could be secretly controlled by the people he ruled over and despised. How cool would that be? So, I decided to have some fun with the idea, and this was the result: The President for Life stood up as his motorcade made its way through the main street of the town. The townspeople lined either side of the street, cheering, holding up their children and waving their hats. It was his first visit here. He’d heard strange, unsettling things about the place, but it appeared no different from the other stops he’d made on his tour. Here, as everywhere, his people loved him, even if he often had occasion to be a stern father with them. He was content. He shouldn’t have been. (Read more . . .)

“Three Girls,” Zuzanna Dolega (2019).

“Three Girls,” Zuzanna Dolega (2019).

Small Things Recollected

“How Images Unsettle: Learning from Photographic Diasporas, By Dr. William Ramp

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—Welcome to Shoebox Archaeology, Round Two. My last column took up a box of old, poorly-documented photos and ephemera to analyze as cultural artifacts with possible tales to tell “about technologies, techniques, and materials; about possessions, relationships, families, ways of life, fashions; about change and revolution.” I hinted that they might also tell us something about ourselves if we attend to how our interpretations negotiate “family membership, academic training, cultural habituation, and personal impression.” In that spirit, I asked how you might respond to them differently; what you might find surprising or disconcerting in them. “Does this approach sound trivial or idiosyncratic?” I asked. “Well, the definition of trivia is always relative and provisional, and attending to the idiosyncratic can reveal the politics of relevance.” (Read more . . .)

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