Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Any Decent Realtor Walking You Through a Real Shithole Chirps


Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.


  1. speaking of life's duration, as maggie smith's poem does - earlier this morning i was reading an aphorism of gurdjieff, and my exegesis of it

    One of the best means for arousing the wish to work on yourself is to realize that you may die at any moment. But first you must learn how to keep it in mind.

    gurdjieff revisits this theme in the final words spoken by beelzebub in his very long and intentionally hard to read book Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man:

    “The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ … of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.”

    gurdjieff’s prescription (assuming his fictional character is serving as his mouthpiece, which seems likely in this instance) is not just for the perfunctory intellectual awareness of our mortality and that of everyone we meet, but for actually FEELING it instead of running away from feeling it – it’s the difference between knowing by rote the words of the Lord’s Prayer, and living according to its principles

  2. So California is coming out of lockdown starting Friday. This should be interesting. The thing about people who believe that the pandemic is mostly hype is that it's comforting to believe that it is hype. But that doesn't make it so. I'm not saying I know. I don't. Here's something I like to believe - both Biden and Trump won't make it to November.