Friday, November 20, 2009

You Keep Interfering

A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.
-- Jessamyn West

This is such an obvious truth. And yet it would seem to contradict the thrust of my recent posts. I would suggest that she has used the term “heart” differently. She exercises the lead in making her statement and behind her lead Jessamyn’s “heart” is as surely broken as is mine or yours. There is no irony without that. In fact, that IS the irony.

Instead what is at stake is courtesy. What is at stake is what we used to call deportment, how one carries oneself in the world. To be broken is essential to the spirit, thus my heart must be broken, or else grace cannot enter. To the rest of the world, in which this brokenness within me may be an imposition, then I must act with courtesy, carry myself in such manner as to tread lightly. I cannot be too heavy a creature, spilling my weight over onto the lives and territory of others unless they invite me in.

What forms the irony is the apparent return of one’s former self, the appearance of a closed and shut off creature for the sake of courtesy.

This is one of the primary renditions of this Zen saying,

First there is a mountain (the heart is shut)
Then there is no mountain (the heart is open)
Then there is (the return of courtesy)

And here again is the appearance of Colton H. Bryant when he says, “Cowboy up, cupcake.” This is a fundamental statement of courtesy.

The question becomes then, how do we return to the world, broken in the flow of God, such that we do not impose, hold our boundaries as if in all humility we hold God back from unwanted display? How do we allow as He does, the continued full exercise of self will in others unknowing, unready, unwilling, and in rebellion? How do we even keep this from ourselves in those moments that we need to forget the mountain is gone?

Jessamyn replies. A sense of humor is not enough. A sense of irony is essential. Humor does not require humility and irony does.

Here is one facet of the irony. You cannot really behave otherwise than to keep to your right size in any case for long. To attempt to live too large, spilling over onto others cannot but at some point be your undoing, for you lack sufficient power without help and that power that is sufficient cannot be mastered at will unless some ultimate goal is yours as well God given. This attempt at power’s mastery will reveal your lack of courtesy for what it is, a form of gluttony. Those who become skilled at avoiding the price are catastrophes on the planet, never far from the scale that measures rudeness in the small and monstrosity in the large.

This is so common, such an everyday occurrence for us all in small ways, that we require of ourselves to offer forgiveness for such transgressions. Yet in larger ways we do not. Thus it is between us locally and between nations, the source for much displeasure and real suffering. Irony helps to keep the heart open nonetheless.

If you wish to be pain free, then you risk monstrosity.

You Keep Interfering

I tore up floorboards
and found a rainbow, hollered
What the hell is that?
This is just too much
the way you keep following
me around, catching
me up, sending me
skyward no matter how low
I still try to go.
Now I want to know
what you want from me. I don't
think I deserve this.

February 27, 2009 3:42 PM


  1. think I deserve this.
    what you want from me. I don't
    Now I want to know
    I still try to go.
    skyward no matter how low
    me up, sending me
    me around, catching
    the way you keep following
    This is just too much
    What the hell is that?
    and found a rainbow, hollered
    I tore up floorboards

    irony or humor?
    neither perhaps...
    it's just a U-tUrn to retUrn to yoU...


    to break or not to break
    that is the question

    an unpublished work written a while ago:

    i don't break your heart
    i've never broken one
    i give you heart
    to break mine...

    great discussion on irony and humor... really enjoyed reading it...

    peace and love to you dear poet and thinker...

  2. Thank you for your gifts. I am so pleased you have found your way. It does take time.

  3. Oh god...

    I think I deserve it.

    I love this. It is so....perverse, so real.

    So, an on going process huh....

    over and bloody over,
    always spinning me
    one toe ahead of the music
    love still held fast
    inside my broken heart,
    left wide open
    you, falling into me

    here, on my knees
    inside this rainbow

    break me all over again

    I laugh and lift my face to the sky, hollering why why why

    oh please,
    break me all over again


    here go I


  4. I am so full of gratitude at this moment, certain it was for this I was born among us.

    There is nothing in all the world that satisfies more than moments like this.


    Thank you. I just wish that I could touch your face right now, see you rise as I remain, sure that I am in my right place.

  5. *big smile*

    I wish you could too.


  6. Very interesting post, I am quite impressed with the coincident that I was reading the following paper

    "We investigate the accuracy of a set of surface patterns in
    identifying ironic sentences in comments submitted by users
    to an on-line newspaper. The initial focus is on identifying
    irony in sentences containing positive predicates since these
    sentences are more exposed to irony, making their true polarity
    harder to recognize. We show that it is possible to
    find ironic sentences with relatively high precision (up to 85%) by exploring certain oral or gestural clues in user comments, such as emoticons, onomatopoeic expressions for
    laughter, heavy punctuation marks, quotation marks and
    positive interjections. We also demonstrate that clues based
    on deeper linguistic information are relatively inefficient in
    capturing irony in user-generated content, which points to
    the need for exploring additional types of oral clues"
    here is some more detail just in case.

  7. Christopher, holy frig, and I haven't even gotten to your poem yet. Humility and irony. Yes. And it saddens me that this is work for me. I wish that it could be natural. And I am lucky that there are moments that it is natural, but that is fleeting. It is work. Life's work.

    And then this, "If you wish to be pain free, then you risk monstrosity." Hell, yes! And this is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes our society makes - not recognizing this. We as a society push too hard for a painfree existence, legislating the shit of of every day so that we might all stay safe. Let us live, I say, and fall and be hurt and be kinder, gentler, wiser for it! your poem...Oh Christopher, what is wanted is exactly what happens. Beautifully complicated you.

    And I so loved what you wrote at my house. I'm filled with gratitude, too. Imagine that. (I read something over at Selchie's today that I think you'd enjoy if you've time. She's quite a unique mind. if you've time.

    Have a beautiful day.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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