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Hubris


tonyv

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Hubris

That foggy decade past
you were a headset voice --
we said a lot of things
and had so much to prove
we wrote a lot of poems
that always had the groove --
but now, you're losing me;
and if I were not strong
I would be someone else
admitting that he's wrong,
that you are leaving me.

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7 minutes ago, Tinker said:

Tony,  Are you writing more or just sharing more?   This image had me hearing voices.


This is a tight little gem that has me wondering who would leave you.  

~~Judi

Judi, you're too kind. Any sane person would.

Tony 😀

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Don't know what the original was, but thrust of the poem indicates that the 'fog' has cleared. The 'we'  drifting apart. Liked that internalised feel of 'headset voice'. Great title.

enjoyed

Phil

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21 hours ago, badger11 said:

Don't know what the original was ...

I changed the last line from "you're leaving me" to "you're losing me."

21 hours ago, badger11 said:

Great title.

enjoyed

Thank you, Phil.

Tony

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"Headset voice" is interesting. Does this mean she (?) was the station you were tuned into?

I like the flow of everything up till the last line. It had felt like you were slowly laying the groundwork for some well-developed point, but then, thump. The ending feels inconclusive, and not in a dramatic way: it's more like you were typing and then suddenly you looked at your watch and realized you had to leave for work.

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Thank you, A. Baez, for reading and your thoughts.

On 1/23/2020 at 3:23 AM, A. Baez said:

"Headset voice" is interesting. Does this mean she (?) was the station you were tuned into?

No, it would be more along the lines of a Skype call.

On 1/23/2020 at 3:23 AM, A. Baez said:

I like the flow of everything up till the last line. It had felt like you were slowly laying the groundwork for some well-developed point, but then, thump.

I agree and thought so myself from the beginning. I want(ed) to end the poem, and I wasn't happy with the underwhelming dropoff. I'll leave it at that until I come up with a replacement line (or at the most two), and then I'll notify when I edit the poem.

On 1/23/2020 at 3:23 AM, A. Baez said:

The ending feels inconclusive, and not in a dramatic way: it's more like you were typing and then suddenly you looked at your watch and realized you had to leave for work.

Work would be a bit of the sretch, more likely the club lol.

With appreciation,

Tony

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Oh, I see! The headset was a literal thing!

Quote

I'll leave it at that until I come up with a replacement line (or at the most two), and then I'll notify when I edit the poem.

I'm glad you agree with my thought on this. It's hard for me to imagine how any one line could possibly make this poem feel finished, though. Maybe two, if the lines were just right, but my instinct expects a good seven or so more to really take this where it seems to want to go.  

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On 1/25/2020 at 1:35 PM, A. Baez said:

Maybe two, if the lines were just right, but my instinct expects a good seven or so more to really take this where it seems to want to go.

I've taken your assessment of incomplete to heart and added lines eight to eleven. It's neither two nor seven, it's right in the middle: four.

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Okay, that is awesome, Tony!! You did all that was needed in those added lines, delivering a powerful rhetorical curveball thwop and turning the relatively nondescript preceding text into something much bigger--more resonant and universal. I must say, those new lines give the poem such a Frostian tone, with their pellucid depth; their confessional, lyrical, sonic, structural, "surprise," and understatedly ironic qualities, that it's almost like you're making it up to him for that sendup you did of his "The Pasture."

I just wish I could see some kind of punctuation after "prove." You have it everywhere else it's called for.

I so love the sense of compression you give with "strong/wrong" quickly following the more leisurely-unveiled pair of "prove" and "groove." Great job. 👍👍👍

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20 hours ago, A. Baez said:

Okay, that is awesome, Tony!! You did all that was needed in those added lines, delivering a powerful rhetorical curveball thwop and turning the relatively nondescript preceding text into something much bigger--more resonant and universal. I must say, those new lines give the poem such a Frostian tone, with their pellucid depth; their confessional, lyrical, sonic, structural, "surprise," and understatedly ironic qualities, that it's almost like you're making it up to him for that sendup you did of his "The Pasture."

I just wish I could see some kind of punctuation after "prove." You have it everywhere else it's called for.

I so love the sense of compression you give with "strong/wrong" quickly following the more leisurely-unveiled pair of "prove" and "groove." Great job. 👍👍👍

Thank you, A. Baez, for the encouragement and this first-rate reply. I couldn't have said it better myself. :happy:
 

20 hours ago, A. Baez said:

I just wish I could see some kind of punctuation after "prove." You have it everywhere else it's called for.

I purposely left it out, because I so wanted to use "so" as a degree modifier:

we said a lot of things
and had so much to prove
(that) we wrote a lot of poems
that always had the groove

I didn't want to use it the way people always, informally, do when they mean "very." (I never use "so" when I mean "very.") 😉

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Regarding "so/prove"--I see--that's not how I took it. Your intended meaning is more interesting. I think a comma after "prove" would convey this. Certainly, the voice pauses in such a context. 

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8 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Regarding "so/prove"--I see--that's not how I took it. I think a comma after "prove" would convey your desired meaning. Certainly, the voice pauses in such a context. 

I will defer to your knowledge of grammar/punctuation. Comma added -- thank you.

Tony

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Actually, sorry--I just looked up this situation and found that what I recommended is incorrect! One must punctuate such a sentence as if all the implied words were present, and a comma must never be used simply to indicate a verbal pause. I see your desire to omit "that" for metrical reasons, but I'm afraid that for clarity in the existing sentence, you need it. However, a reconfiguration of the words that follow could achieve a solution.

I just want to extend my sympathies because I run into this type of situation a lot in my own writing, and often, I find that an illegal comma does not even have the redeeming value of improving clarity.

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9 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Actually, sorry--I just looked up this situation and found that what I recommended is incorrect! One must punctuate such a sentence as if all the implied words were present, and a comma must never be used simply to indicate a verbal pause. I see your desire to omit "that" for metrical reasons, but I'm afraid that for clarity in the existing sentence, you need it. However, a reconfiguration of the words that follow could achieve a solution.

I just want to extend my sympathies because I run into this type of situation a lot in my own writing, and often, I find that an illegal comma does not even have the redeeming value of improving clarity.

Well, in that case, the comma is out. I'm okay with the "implied word" omission (great characterization -- I didn't know what to call it other than perhaps informal speech/writing) at the expense of crystaline clarity; I don't see it as a fatal flaw. In any case, thank you, again, for your hard work, the extra effort, research, thought you've put into it.

With appreciation,

Tony

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I got "implied word" from one of the websites I consulted. Initially I was not confident that I could actually find info on this question, so I had held back on researching, but when you said you deferred to my knowledge, I felt obliged to make sure that that trust was not misplaced! 😁 Then after awhile, lo and behold, I found what I was looking for. I'm really glad to get clarity on this point myself. I really do need to do a thorough review of grammar and punctuation rules, so this research was mutually beneficial.

If it were my poem, I might be inclined to try "That we wrote lots of poems/Which always had the groove" in order to get across the nice nuance of your intended meaning.

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I have found in The Chicago Manual of Style and on the site ProWritingAid what could be construed as endorsements of my initial advice to you. In the latter's exhaustive list of when commas should be used in a sentence is this item: "When a word is omitted intentionally for stylistic reasons." However, neither source's examples of this guideline resemble the case we've been discussing, so I'm not sure if the rule is really applicable here.

Then again, the Manual also says that "Aside from [the few obligatory rules of comma usage], the use of the comma is mainly a matter of good judgement, with ease of reading the end in view." This is exactly the opposite of what the source I'd cited earlier said!

So, it seems that the confusion is definitive.

 

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And you've just disproved the maxim of William Carlos Williams that there's "no ideas but in things".

 

Losing and leaving.....gut punches.

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On 2/23/2020 at 3:19 PM, A. Baez said:

I have found in The Chicago Manual of Style and on the site ProWritingAid what could be construed as endorsements of my initial advice to you. In the latter's exhaustive list of when commas should be used in a sentence is this item: "When a word is omitted intentionally for stylistic reasons." However, neither source's examples of this guideline resemble the case we've been discussing, so I'm not sure if the rule is really applicable here.

Then again, the Manual also says that "Aside from [the few obligatory rules of comma usage], the use of the comma is mainly a matter of good judgement, with ease of reading the end in view." This is exactly the opposite of what the source I'd cited earlier said!

So, it seems that the confusion is definitive.

 

I like options, and based upon your research, in many cases it comes down to matters of style (options). I'll leave out the comma and use an analogy/example to illustrate why (my intent):

I was so hungry (that) I ate all the food.

We had so much to say and prove (that) we wrote a lot of poems.

Thanks so1 much for returning and looking into it more. I'm of the school of thought that grammar and punctuation matter, as do matters of style. That's where it comes down to craft.

Tony


1. Informal usage. How much? So much! 😄 Or did I mean "very" ... :unsure::tongue:

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On 2/24/2020 at 6:58 PM, dcmarti1 said:

And you've just disproved the maxim of William Carlos Williams that there's "no ideas but in things".

 

Losing and leaving.....gut punches.

After reading your reply, I read up some more about Williams' maxim. While there's a lot to like in what it suggests, there are other, limitless, possibilities!

Thank you, Marti.

Tony :happy:

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I was so hungry (that) I ate all the food.

We had so much to say and prove (that) we wrote a lot of poems.

Why did you change your phraseology in the second example? There, you've made the causal relationship between clauses clearer than it is in your poem's version, though I'd argue it's still not clear enough. In any case, to be perfectly scientific, let's compare your example #1 with the original version of example #2, and in the fuller context of the entire statement in which it's embedded:
 

Quote

I was so hungry (that) I ate all the food.

we said a lot of things
and had so much to prove (that)
we wrote a lot of poems
that always had the groove

In your poem,  by the time you bring up "proving," you've already told us that you and the lady had "said a lot of things." This seems to make it less likely that you two then went on to try to "prove" more things through the written word--poetry. Furthermore, while eating food is a common response to feeling hungry, writing poems is not so common a response to having a lot to prove. In fact, it is rather a stretch, at least in my universe--though not, I suppose, in that of the slam poet. Also, I don't equate poems that "prove so much" with poems that "have the groove." The former sounds aggressive, confrontational; the latter, mellow and harmonious ("groovy"). Finally, the causal relationship between proving and poetizing is further eroded by the sheer length of this whole phrase, which is, in turn, embedded in a sentence that's even larger.

I'm curious what you'd object to in "That we wrote lots of poems/Which always had the groove." It would alleviate at least many of these issues.

Of course, it's up to you how you want to roll with this, but I'm tellin' ya, if you leave it as is, I bet that you are going to be one of the only readers who understands it as you intend it. For all readers who do not, they will perceive what appears to be an awkward semicolon omission after "prove." 

Quote

Thanks so1 much for returning and looking into it more. I'm of the school of thought that grammar and punctuation matter, as do matters of style. That's where it comes down to craft.

Yes indeed--in this respect, we are both relics in our own time. 😉 Initially prompted by the above question, I wound up spending hours last weekend reviewing grammar and punctuation rules (many of which I last studied in second grade), and I even ordered the 18th edition of the Chicago Manual. (I recently inherited the 14th edition from my father, who was an editor.) I hadn't realized how unclear I had been on so many points. Now, I'm finding myself questioning my decisions with every comma, semicolon, and em dash--or lack thereof. As to "Thanks so much," that's yet another phrase to which I've become so accustomed that I'd quite lost sight of the fact that it is not strictly correct.

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1 hour ago, A. Baez said:

Why did you change your phraseology in the second example? There, you've made the causal relationship between clauses clearer than it is in your poem's version, though I'd argue it's still not clear enough.

Yes, I paraphrased it. 😀 I just dumbed it down (not for you, for the drive-by reader). The sentence within the sentence I crafted is certainly more complex than the example. 
 

1 hour ago, A. Baez said:

In your poem,  by the time you bring up "proving," you've already told us that you and the lady had "said a lot of things." This seems to make it less likely that you two then went on to try to "prove" more things through the written word--poetry.

The "groove" I'm referring to is more of an expression to mean the poems were good, of top-shelf quality (as opposed to much of the rubbish I generate today).
 

1 hour ago, A. Baez said:

I'm curious what you'd object to in "That we wrote lots of poems/Which always had the groove." It would alleviate at least many of these issues.

It would be a line of iambic tetrameter amongst lines of iambic trimeter. (No patience for flawed meter. 😃) I know I can change some lines in the poem that would work metrically, but I don't like them, because I see them as weaker. Two examples:

1.

That foggy decade past
you were a headset voice --
we said a lot of things
and had a lot to prove
and wrote a lot of poems
that always had the groove --
but now, you're losing me;
and if I were not strong
I would be someone else
admitting that he's wrong,
that you are leaving me.

2.

That foggy decade past
you were a headset voice --
we said a lot of things
and had a lot to prove,                      [comma or semicolon]
we wrote a lot of poems
that always had the groove --
but now, you're losing me;
and if I were not strong
I would be someone else
admitting that he's wrong,
that you are leaving me.

I don't like example 1 at all. Example 2 is okay, but I still like my controversial way in the original the most.

 

1 hour ago, A. Baez said:

Of course, it's up to you how you want to roll with this, but I'm tellin' ya, if you leave it as is, I bet that you are going to be one of the only readers who understands it as you intend it. For all readers who do not, they will perceive what appears to be an awkward semicolon omission after "prove." 

I do believe you, but I might be okay with that. I will think about it some more.

This discussion has been mostly to benefit the likes of me and you. I might be a bit of an elitist snob, but most people probably can't even reach this level of thought and discussion whether it has to do with poetry, politics (esp. current events), philosophy, etc. And that's okay -- not saying it in a bad way; I, myself, am stupid in a lot of ways. But as I've said before, my poetry isn't for everyone. And if my poetry is anything like what I've said to people about other matters in the past, it might not be for anyone considering the blank stares and complete lack of comprehension most people I come into contact with often exhibit when I'm asked to join a conversation. I just smile and nod my head when I listen to all the "experts"-in-everything around me, who in the past have discounted what I've had to stay (with things like "Put your tinfoil hat back on!") yet now profess to minister to me (e.g. "Did you see what they are doing?!?!?") after they see something on mainstream media that I warned them about decades ago. I just laugh and let them talk. Me: "This is the world you created." 😃

Thank you very1 much,

Tony :happy:

1. It's okay if we say "so" in a reply ...

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  • 3 weeks later...

"The "groove" I'm referring to is more of an expression to mean the poems were good, of top-shelf quality (as opposed to much of the rubbish I generate today)."

Okay; that was an alternative meaning I had guessed, but you can't escape the strong suggestion of the connotation I expressed. I think that it will factor into any reader's reaction, and so should be taken into account.

I'm using quotation marks to quote you now because my phone app doesn't have the quote feature.

"It would be a line of iambic tetrameter amongst lines of iambic trimeter."

Okay. It flows so well that I didn't even think of that. A lot of nursery rhymes make metrical shifts like this! I believe many feel that it can add some welcome spice to IT, which can easily begin to feel plodding uninterrupted. I see your points on the potential alternatives you've come up with. I'll leave you to accept the liabilities of your current version or think of something better.

"This discussion has been mostly to benefit the likes of me and you."

Naturally! We're the ones who are having the discussion! It sounds like this conversation has caught you at an apex of vexation with generalized lack of understanding. If it's any comfort to you, when I handed my mother a bunch of my poetry some years ago (with great pride, in the spirit of sharing with her the best I currently had to offer the world), she confessed that she couldn't understand (any of) it and that she had liked the way I wrote in grade school (better). However, she had told me another another point that she couldn't understand Shakespeare, either, so it felt appropriate for me not to take her mystification at her own daughter's prized artistic expressions personally. It might have even been a compliment!

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, A. Baez said:

Okay. It flows so well that I didn't even think of that. A lot nursery rhymes make metrical shifts like this! I believe many feel that it can add some welcome spice to IT, which can easily begin to feel plodding uninterrupted. I see your points on the potential alternatives you've come up with. I'll leave you to accept the liabilities of your current version or think of something better.

I was about to address this in our discussion backchannel, as to why a metrical abberation that is unnoticed by most readers matters to me. It's not that I think it exerts a negative effect, it merely amounts to metrical embarassment to me. People who know will know it's a flaw. I want that aspect of my work to be flawless ... unless it's an intentional flaw (which I'll sometimes present) which will hopefully be obviously intentional. 

3 hours ago, A. Baez said:

Naturally! We're the ones who are having the discussion! It sounds like this conversation has caught you at an apex of vexation with generalized lack of understanding. If it's any comfort to you, when I handed my mother a bunch of my poetry some years ago (with great pride, in the spirit of sharing with her the best I currently had to offer the world), she confessed that she couldn't understand (any of) it and that she had liked the way I wrote in grade school (better). However, she had told me another another point that she couldn't understand Shakespeare, either, so it felt appropriate for me not to take her mystification at her own daughter's prized artistic expressions personally. It might have even been a compliment!

Not sure what you mean re a generalized lack of understanding, but it makes me feel like those times when someone is yelling at me and keeps hammering, "Are you hearing me?!? Do you understand me?!?!?" and I reply, "I'm hearing you, and I even understand you, but I just don't agree with you." In any case, it takes a lot of nerve to imply I'm as incomprehensible as Shakespeare! 

Thank you again,

Tony

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A lot nursery rhymes

Oops! "A lot of." I corrected my post...and please feel free to correct your quote of it! For my part, I've corrected two spelling typos in your quoted words below. Friends helping friends! 😀

Quote

...why a metrical aberration that is unnoticed by most readers matters to me. It's not that I think it exerts a negative effect, it merely amounts to metrical embarrassment to me. People who know will know it's a flaw. I want that aspect of my work to be flawless ... unless it's an intentional flaw (which I'll sometimes present) which will hopefully be obviously intentional. 

Okay. I know the feeling of metrical self-consciousness and the desire to avoid embarrassment thereof (though I do believe in the principle of subliminal metrical effect, too). But I'd argue that my suggested revision of the lines in question would be perceived by most discerning readers as an intentional injection of welcome metrical variety. However, I imagine you feel that a stronger justification is always required for metrical variation--i.e., a mirror of meaning in form.

Quote

Not sure what you mean re a generalized lack of understanding

You had alluded to many interactions you'd had with others in which they displayed lack of understanding toward you in various areas and in various ways. The density sounded pandemic!

Quote

it makes me feel like those times when someone is yelling at me and keeps hammering, "Are you hearing me?!? Do you understand me?!?!?" and I reply, "I'm hearing you, and I even understand you, but I just don't agree with you." 

I'm not sure if, in such situations, prior to such hammering, you'd proactively spelled out and demonstrated to the person that you do indeed register (both technically and substantively) what they're saying, but if not, maybe that would help stave off such escalations! If this type of scenario occurs with you a lot, as it sounds like it does (especially since this is the second time you've mentioned it), that suggests to me that 1) maybe you haven't done as much overt acknowledgement as you could and/or 2) you have managed to associate yourself with many difficult people! (I haven't had an interaction like that in a long time.)

Quote

In any case, it takes a lot of nerve to imply I'm as incomprehensible as Shakespeare!

Nerve? Well, it wasn't meant as an insult and I hope you didn't take it that way! To me, Shakespeare is eminently comprehensible...as are you. ☺️ I was just driving home the point that it takes two to comprehend, or not, and when one is not understood, that one needn't either assume all responsibility for the lapse, nor place the blame wholly on those parties who have failed to understand. In communication fall-throughs, the relativity of the dynamic of understanding gives me some comfort.

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41 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

You had catalogued many interactions you'd had with others in which they displayed lack of understanding toward you in various areas and in various ways. You portrayed the density as pandemic!

If you're referring to what I said about the times I've warned people about serious political problems of which I've become aware, then yes. I've found that most people have been deluded while claiming that I am. Only when the problem has become so bad that it hits mainstream media has it become like "light has dawned on marblehead," and those same people come to me purporting to teach me something new. 
 

41 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

But I'd argue that my suggested revision of the lines in question would be perceived by most discerning readers as an intentional injection of welcome metrical variety. However, I imagine you feel that a stronger justification is always required--i.e., a mirror of meaning in form.

Not necessarily. I'm just not such a direct believer in democracy. The opinion of a majority is not necessarily right. Elaboration below.
 

41 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

I'm not sure if, in such situations, you'd proactively spelled out and demonstrated to the person that you do indeed register (both technically and substantively) what they're saying, but if not, maybe that would help stave off such escalations! If this type of scenario occurs with you a lot, as it sounds like it does (especially since this is the second time you've mentioned it), that suggests to me that 1) maybe you haven't done as much overt acknowledgement as you could and/or 2) you have managed to associate yourself with many difficult people!

I'm used to dealing with certain people to whom there is only one right answer: theirs. And even if/when their answer is right, they don't understand that there can be more than one right answer ... and more than one wrong answer. Both parties can be right, and both parties can be wrong. 
 

41 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Nerve? Well, it wasn't meant as an insult and I hope you didn't take it that way! To me, Shakespeare is eminently comprehensible...as are you. ☺️ I was just driving home the point that it takes two to comprehend, or not, and that one needn't either assume all responsibility for being non-understood, nor place the blame wholly on those parties who do not understand. The relativity of the dynamic of understanding gives me some comfort.

Not at all. I loved it. I should have used a smilie. 😊

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If you're referring to what I said about the times I've warned people about serious political problems of which I've become aware

Yes, but beyond that, I got the sense that others' lack of comprehension and receptivity toward you was something that happened almost any time you opened your mouth!

Quote

I've found that most people have been deluded while claiming that I am. Only when the problem has become so bad that it hits mainstream media has it become like "light has dawned on marblehead," and those same people come to me purporting to teach me something new. 

It can feel maddening to be a Cassandra! Indeed, I consider it one of my archetypal roles. "Light has dawned on marblehead"--I love it!! 🤣 I guess the best thing we can do to protect our sanity in these matters is to step back, try to become less involved in discussing serious issues with such people, breathe deeply in and out when we can't avoid such discussion, and remind ourselves that truth and karma always win and that we always have their company and support.

Quote

I'm used to dealing with certain people to whom there is only one right answer: theirs. And even if/when their answer is right, they don't understand that there can be more than one right answer ... and more than one wrong answer. Both parties can be right, and both parties can be wrong. 

Ah, it sounds like you may have been an Indian in your last life! I've heard that their natural bent is non-binary. Believe in the Hindu gods and embrace Jesus? Not a problem. This catholic tendency of Indians was maddening to Christian missionaries to the country--although it seems to be in fast retreat with the rise of Modi.

Quote

Not at all. I loved it. I should have used a smilie. 😊

Oh, good. I would have thought so, but I was missing that customary smiley! :biggrin:

 

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On 3/19/2020 at 9:48 AM, A. Baez said:

I guess the best thing we can do to protect our sanity in these matters is to step back, try to become less involved in discussing serious issues with such people ...

Yes, that's the approach I took a long time ago. I used to be active on some political forums, but now I just check in there from time to time when I need a laugh. Right here in my poetry world is where its best.

On 3/19/2020 at 9:48 AM, A. Baez said:

... truth and karma always win and that we always have their company and support.

That's a great way of putting it. 

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Politics--oh, 'sdeath! That's one realm this lady has ever feared to tread. Who is wise enough, who sees broadly and deeply enough, to truly divine the best course of action in the political arena? Only the saints, methinks--and they usually shun it.

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