Babel

The multilingual, multicultural online journal and community of arts and ideas. There's a heaven above you, baby.

Babel

Knock on Any Door

Rooftop for Babel

And hidden within
may be someone with a gun
who will shoot you for fun,
or massacre your children.
Knock on any door and hidden
within may be someone with
a bomb who will blow up a
marathon, or someone with a
dungeon who kidnaps helpless
woman for his twisted and
demonic idea of a love-in.
Knock on any door and hidden
within may be a bigot, rapist,
anarchist, racist, liar, cheater,
sexist, wife beater, child molester,
war monger, charlatan, corporate
raider, labor exploiter, blind
follower, manipulator, ethnic
cleanser, religious discriminator,
gay-basher, white supremacist,
trigger happy wannabe cop or
simple two-faced hypocrite.
Knock on any door and hidden
within may be the most monstrous
creature in the animal kingdom –
a human.

The Lady and the Tramp

Gallery image

ScanItem.bmp

Postcard

 

Swiftly Pass the Days

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

The big fat yellow sun, dawn,
and pretty soon noon, then the
moon, life goes on.
It is freezing outside, Tanner
knows, screw the phony baloney
glow in the walk-up window.
This is Chicago. He’d be
lucky if the temperature climbed
to zero and it didn’t snow. Tanner
showers, shaves, dresses in his
best, fully aware that in the flimsey
topcoat he’ll freeze off his nuts.
“How Not To Live While You
Die.” Tanner ponders the
title of his forthcoming novel,
as he hops the EL for his daily
journey through hell, applying
for jobs that, like the little man
upon the stair, aren’t there.
“The compelling story of a guy
trying to get by. It will make
you cry.”
The train speeds through the frigid
streets, racing toward noon, racing
toward night, toward the morning
of the next day and another big
fat yellow sun glaring at him,
like a blind eye in the winter
sky.

On Being an Intellectual…

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

 

Some people would think being smart means talking in big words about things nobody really understands. Of course, if one has learned enough SAT words from their SAT prep course with more than ten letters and is probably pronouncing them correctly (or, in some cases – like I sometimes do – use obsolete, long-dead words or their archaic pronunciation, pour l’amour de l’art (for the love of art), so to say, or, if this is indeed a linguistic troll/punk (as in the music and all, not necessarily the original meaning) – again, like I sometimes am –  most likely doing this pour les fleurs de coucou (for no apparent reason). …..click here to read more

Like a Circle in a Spiral

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

The view from Ingbar’s windows: skyscrapers, cathedrals, pricey boutiques,
upscale restaurants, wine bars, bistros, bookstores, cafes, parks with sparkling
fountains, marble statues, flower gardens. The gallery where he shows his art
regarded by many as the “best in the city.”

Life is beautiful, for Ingbar. And yet, he knows, this is a cold, mechanistic planet
we inhabit, for everyone, even those few blessed, as he is, with fate’s good fortune –
a world spinning like a gyro in a universe indifferent to our wishes, dreams, fears,
passions. One that will do what it must with us, just as trapped as we are in its
dominion of cause and effect relationships, jigsaw puzzle dynamics, laws of physics.

While all things aren’t predictable, all things are inevitable. The past and the future
are imbedded with each other. In this cosmic confection, we can forget about concepts
like free will, good, evil, god, the devil, or that bootstraps pull. We can forget about
chance or miracle. It is all much more illusive than that, the confluence that begets
blessings or regrets.

“I paint fate,” Ingbar writes in his artist’s statement, “dolls who dream, marionettes
who emote, toys and puppets with hearts and souls. I found life was a series of domino
events, falling down on each other along an existential terrain that I could predict but
not escape or prevent – like Vietnam, or its foremath, aftermath, that whole era, any era,
my father’s, grandfather’s, great grandfather’s, war, tyrants, discrimination, global
depressions, this one with the economy tumbling down, everyone rolling with punches
in a fight they didn’t start and could easily have been avoided by smart political action –
no more than a puppet can manipulate its strings.”

We are players on a stage, Ingbar quickly learned, not authors or directors, each with
preassigned parts to play, major or minor, good or bad it didn’t matter, predestined was
the operative word. The script was written long ago, in one big bang, over which, as the
stars burn out, the curtain will ultimately close.

Actually the “performance” is less a play than the actions and reactions of a motion
contraption – humankind a conglomeration of biological gadgets gyrating to the dynamics
of chemistry and physics. Which does nothing to diminish our intense capacity to experience
the miracle and wonder of it as we briefly robot through it.

Ingbar found it a pity that the mechanism cranking out our story has so little humanity,
so much suffering and misery for which there is no necessity.

Why can’t the script be changed, the gears rearranged, at least on our small planet
by social dynamics to make life balanced and fair so all the puppets can live better?
Since the game is rigged why not give it a little tweak or jig so that all get a share and
no one knows despair? Maybe it was already heading there as mankind slowly became more
mature and figured out its necessitarian nature?

As for that flat line? All in due time. Right now, in Philly, Spring is in the air, love is in
the air, cherry blossoms everywhere.

“POP”

I wander through the museum
and ponder my favorite painters:
Hopper, Turner, Gauguin, Daumier,
Van Gogh, Goya, El Greco, “Blue
Period” Picasso, Valesquez.
I like these most because they have
passion and soul and aren’t afraid of
the dark side of life and its mysteries.
Of course there’s the galleries where
wild flowers and butterflies dance on
walls under sunny skies – Matisse,
Miro, Calder, Mondrian, Sisley, Chagall,
and all the heaven-on-earth Impressionists
with those sweet colors and sumptuous
shapes making a harmonious symphony
of reality. Some artists can take you to
La La land, where life is beautiful and
living is grand.
I’m not sure where they’re coming from.
No place I’ve been. But more power to
them. We definitely need those rose
colored glasses to look through now
and then..
As for me, I paint what I see – the poor,
the wretched, poverty – the bottom of
the heap, where most of the world is,
has been, and always will be.
Someone said societies reveal themselves
by what they throw away. This was the
whole point of the “Pop” movement,
Warhol, Johns, Oldenberg, Lichtenstein.
Good point, rendering the swill of the
material world, an irony. But it misses
a better one. We discard lives in America,
perfunctorily, trash souls relentlessly.
Why not paint those?

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