Friday, October 22, 2010

CombatWords, October 22, 2010: Vice, Virtue and Free Will

CombatWords, October 22, 2010: Vice, Virtue and Free Will

I usually keep a torn up copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius on my desk. To create order in a world that is full of inconstant people, he urges one to focus on knowing rightness (which he doesn't axiomatize) and then applying it, regardless of conditions around one. Bold philosophy, but I wonder how well it holds up in a cattle car filled with freezing, starving, dehydrated people on their way to a death factory? He would say that sticking to virtue, even when self-detrimental, is evidence of free will. I think I agree with that notion, having cooked up my own proof for free will before I even read MA: suicide & celibacy—two actions which contradict models of genetic determinism. Oh, but the cattle car, the cattle car! Maybe there are triggers that exist so deeply within us that most people don't encounter them even once in life? And jammed in a cattle car, must we return to our origins as meat circuitry?

Combat Expiration: 12am PST, 10/24/2010

Critique Expiration: 12am PST, 10/25/2010

Bonuses/Penalties: +2 by 8pm PST, 10/22/2010; +1 by 2am PST, 10/23/2010; -1 by 6am 10/25/2010, -2 by 12pm 10/25/2010

The rules:

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. In prison, child molesters are looked down on
    Often assaulted and sometimes killed
    And I think this is fantastic
    It's proof that even if the world goes to shit
    Humanity will survive
    We can be cold killers and still agree
    It's wrong to fuck with kids

  3. Until There's Nothing Left to Catch [CombatWords Poem, October 22, 2010]

    Valor triumphant, with courage we smote
    Rabbits and sloths—what a glorious battle!
    Bloodied on danger that fled—that we speared—

    Hunger, we fenced and defeated your point.
    Cruelty is stronger than entropy's turbines,
    Greeting the nether to make it our own.

  4. @The Humanist
    Liked it: +1
    Funny: +1


  5. @Khakjaan Wessington

    Your entry reminded me of Daniel Day Lewis in 'There Will Be Blood'.

  6. Wow Jesse types fast! +1

  7. Ha! Should we bring CombatWords over to Jesse's?

  8. Jesse Noe Mendez is Probably a Pedophile [Bonus Poem, Re: CombatWords Spammer, Oct 22, 2010]
    Alexa shows he has no rank:
    It's wrong, his page is ripe with skank;
    But Jess prefers a whiff of fart
    And rolls in turds he calls his art.
    His many fans are spammers too;
    They're circle jerks: a smegma crew.

  9. Practical Philosophy

    She takes Prozac with Petrone,
    because it makes her feel good,
    like falling for bad boys
    and shoplifting pantyhose
    at the A&P.

    Sometimes I will lift a twenty
    from the collection plate
    when I am a few dollars short;
    God helps those
    that help themselves.

    We only say we are in love
    because there is no term
    to describe two people
    too scared to let go.

    She told me that it’s only a lie
    if you don’t believe it
    and then asked me
    if her ass looked big.

    To know the good means
    you have to ask for forgiveness.
    Sometimes ignorance
    is its own reward.

    We may never find the answer
    in Schopenhauer or Socrates
    but that girl across the bar
    looks like she could teach me
    a thing or two

  10. Butterfly Effect

    When I see the beggar on the corner,
    his cardboard headstone Sharpied with the epitaph
    I dig in my pocket for change,
    then hesitate, thinking,

    What if my thirty-seven cents
    gives him just enough
    to buy that bottle of Old Granddad,
    and after chugging it
    he stumbles drunkenly
    in front of a station wagon

    which swerves and hits
    a telephone pole,
    killing the entire family
    inside the car
    including the infant child

    who would have grown up
    to be a serial killer
    whose life story would become
    the basis of a hit film,
    the popularity of which
    would make its director a wealthy man.

    The killer ends up on death row.
    The director gives copious amounts of his fortune
    to various charities, before continuing on to create
    powerful films of great beauty

    before being found floating face down
    in his swimming pool,
    his stomach stuffed
    with a medicine cabinet’s worth
    of barbiturates. His garden
    would have been lush and well-tended,
    teeming with blossoms to attract
    Monarchs and Swallowtails

    and home to the happiest cat
    in all of Santa Monica:
    with the glittering emerald eyes,
    the silky black coat,
    the piercing claws.

    I can’t bear the thought
    of those fucking claws.
    I shudder as I picture them
    shredding the wings
    of every fluttering, flowery
    creature in sight.

    I drop the coins
    in the beggar’s gray, outstretched palm
    and continue on my way.

  11. rToady, I really enjoyed your poem. I would have liked to have done more of a continuation on your theme, but I became obsessed with the image of the cat. The end result is this:

    The cat is the city
    Out stretched urban sprawl with concrete and rebar claws
    On it's back in the lap of a creator asleep in front of the tv
    Flashing violence on the wall behind them
    The news crawl slides across the bottom like a snake swallowing it's tail
    It's emerald eyes reflecting the televisions glow
    Like so many faces staring through store front windows
    Watching eagerly as the world unfolds
    Wishing a fraction of the money spent on tanks and bombs
    Could be spent on snot nosed snowflakes to teach them right from wrong
    Not allocated after the fact to keep them in cell blocks
    Organized like a bee hive and buzzing with painful potential
    Just a few missed paychecks away from chaos
    Somewhere deep in the beast, a black throated purr begins to boil

  12. @SMG:
    Liked it: +1
    Laughed at finish: +1
    Sharp thoughts: +1


  13. @Rtoady:
    Loved it: +1
    Hilarious: +1
    A poem of tangents: +1
    Especially good riff off theme imo: +1


  14. שירה בחיים הוא מת, הוא אינו זמין אפילו. בהכתם הוא כהה, ויש חיים נותר ללא חרטה. העתיד של האפשרות היא צרפתית, והיא האוכלוסייה ענבים חמוצים כמו הטעם של שמנת חמוצה. אם החיים דירוג, לאחר מכן מה מצפה מות אמו ב- לאחר יש סבלה שש שנות מהמצפון רציף. הבורות של ההמונים הוא העצבות של דשא הכתם של...

  15. Olmec Dragon: Amen, sister! +1
    (I'm sure this was rendered much more hilarious than you intended by my friend Google Translator.)

    Humanist: I enjoyed the sentiment of your first piece, but thought the writing itself felt slapdash and weak, so I'm just going to give it a zero. I have to say, though, I loved your cat piece. Lots of great lines; "snot nosed snowflakes," newsfeed like a snake eating its own tail, rebar claws. What a weird, delightful piece. +4

    KW, I also preferred your second poem to the first, which seemed quickly done and slighter than your usual efforts. Your brief tirade against Mr. Mendez (what the hell kind of middle name is "Noe" anyways?) was funny, mean, and probably accurate. +2

    SMG: some good stuff in here, but this needs work. The back and forth is mostly pretty good, I'd think about dropping the hackneyed collection plate reference and put in something more original. +2

    Sorry for the lazy scoring this week but I'm just not feeling precise or analytic right now.

    I also have to mention that my original verification word for this comment was "roidy," and that I found this inexplicably hilarious.

  16. rToady: I loved this post!
    Content +1
    Humor +1
    Way better than mine +1
    Reminded me of “String of Pearls” by Soul Asylum and Matt Damon’s rant in Good Will Hunting (sorry no points)



    There's much in the world that you can't explain.
    It's revealed for you to remember
    by the whispering voice of a distant train
    or a midnight rain in november.

    Horizon within! You can always find
    the keys to Enigma. Let's mention
    one basic Truth: of spirited Mind
    is Nature naught but extension.

    Internal expanses! In dreams, ridden
    by fear and longing you roam
    that deep Southeast in your soul hidden
    ...on your random journey back home.


    As a native Swede, I am particularly proud of my love poetry suite Sonnets for Katie.

    My Poems


    La présence; un coup de vie morte? non, ce n'est qu'être. Et puis pour l'errante fenêtre: étant vue la nuit, dans tous le coins des rues de la veille la même étoile.




    Schwarzez birne!
    Aufforderung zur Erotik.

    Fremde Gedichte


    My Spanish Poetry


    My Laptop Wallpaper Art

    And: reciprocity: for mutual benefit, you will do me a favor promoting your own blog on mine!

    The best way to do it is lining up as a Follower, since then your icon will advertise you indefinitely, and I will follow you in return. Let's forge a mighty alliance of synergy and common interest.


    - Peter Ingestad, Sweden

  18. Wow, the quality here is upped since last I read, regularly. I like a lot of stuff, even the post that looks somewhat familiar from my pre-Bat Mitzvah classes. The latter proved one never knows what one will find here. Toady's was incredible, I loved the trajectory though I was disappointed at the end. I thought he'd give me a solid reason not to dig into my pockets. But that's not a literary comment.

    And to borrow shamelessly from Stephen Marty Grant:

    "We may never find the answer
    in Schopenhauer or Socrates"
    but those guys at Combat Words
    look like they "could teach me
    a thing or two"

    Thanks for the great reading.


  19. To Olmec Dragon

    "...after six years suffered continuous conscience" (according to the translator I found). That moved me. It's like the unceasing nature of The Jesus prayer.

    Maybe I envy those who I can sustain - either virtue or vice.

    To KW: I should re-read the rules. I think one has to contribute to score, but I don't particularly want to score anyway. Mainly, I enjoy the reading and then the thinking the participants here inspire in me.

    I also enjoy your essays on the competition subjects to start things off.