Free Verse.

Dear Time.

When did you turn into such a self absorbed, relentless jerk?

Remember when you use to stand still?

Now you wait for no one. You refuse to slow down.

How can you be so essential but preferential?

You’re where we are. Where we we long to be.

What we missed, our biggest fear, relative,, sacred,, profane.

All we have, yet so little.

-Tosha Michelle

Rome_Palatine_Hill

Museum

Life is a museum.
A thousand pictures display.
Of those who have come and gone away.
Some are seasonal.
An array of color.
Evocative, flashing, irresistible.
Seasons change.
Today tree limb’s snow exhibits a glistening arrangement.
Tomorrow fiasco
Water.
Forever paintings.
Purpose revealed in time.
Curiously congruent
Constantly accessible
Naturalistic seasonally unaffected.
These are the painting that illuminate every room.
They are few.
Museum.

-Tosha Michelle

index

ONE VOICE

ONE VOICE
by Tosha Michelle
I am one voice, just one voice, but
Strong and proud is my voice.
I am one person, just one person
Who strives to stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes I find myself surrendering to
The naysayers surrounding me, who talk so loud,
They drown out my voice with their droning sounds.
I cannot sit silently and expect my stillness
To provoke any changes, for
That is to be devoid of reason
Giving others season for no reason;
I must squash the fear
Stand on my own two feet
And testify to the love I feel and
Be a voice that resonates and
Resounds across the universe
Arousing in others in due season
The flames of their own
Impassioned reasons…
To keep on striving is not only the battle,
But the journey, the road less traveled,
Littered with rocky terrain and
Fraught with perils around every bend;
Love and hope must lead the way,
Beseeching us onward
Towards infinite harmony,
Beyond the limits of humanity’s mortal minds’
To change the world, to make an impact
That goes beyond the core
Into the depths of chaos and despair,
To redefine peace from something temporal,
Into that, which is permanent and
Forever affirming life, giving birth to love
Forever and ever beyond time’s last day.
Like the sun that rises and sets
Leaving its mark even after it goes down;
Signifying hope and renewal,
Illuminating the darkness,
Burning bright, hot and strong.
Bringing growth and life with
The birth of a new dawn-
I too want to change the world.

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City Haze-by Tosha Michelle

City Haze
by Tosha Michelle

Dance with me in the city haze,
Through September grooves.
under the beauty of a harvest moon,
in pattern fields of amber.
Colored by a heavenly mist, dust of serenity.
We’ll set the night ablaze.
While the shadows enfold us
as the willow whispers
And the wind sings us a melodic tune.
Our imagination sets the beat.
We’ll find solace and cohesion,
As melancholy drains away
on cracked sidewalks of urban decay.

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I Don’t Want to be Just Like You

I Don’t Want to be Just Like You.

By Tosha Michelle.

If we lose our individuality,
We lose what’s make us unique.
I don’t want to be just like you.
I don’t want you to be just like me.
Imagine if we were all the same.
A paradigm of indistinguishability
The world would be innate and banal.
We’ve walk around in a zombiified state,
trapped in our own egalitarian but bromidicdevices.
The world needs diversity.
There’s a rightness and purity in being different.
We’re all family, our mélange makes us beautiful.
Our commonality is our humanity, rooted in love we grow.

hands-in-sand

Twenty Random Questions with Philosopher Extraordinaire Mark Kingwell.

Mark Kingwell was kind enough to agree to answer twenty random questions, posed by yours truly. If you aren’t familiar with the Professor, please check out his bio at the end of this post. I have an innocent and platonic fascination with his mind. He’s my Glenn Gould. Mark will get that, and so will those of you familiar with his books. If you haven’t read Kingwell’s work, I promise once you do you’ll be just as intrigued. As an aside, Mark will on my podcast La Literati on Jan. 12th. You can find the details at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/laliteraticarpelibrum We’re excited to speak with him. In the meantime, check out his insightful and humorous answers to total randomness.

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to share your story?

Well, it’s a psychedelic trip, isn’t it? So I would come back, but I wouldn’t tell anybody about it. And I’d figure out a way to get back there at some point.

2. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?

“Everyone hates a sad professor.” (Yes, I stole that.)

3. If you were a drink, what would you be? Why?

That’s easy, because I once published a book about cocktails and I like to mix them for friends. So I’d say I am a dry gin martini, served straight up, with one of those big olives stuffed with a piece of blue cheese. Cold and clear, then some salt and pungency waiting for the right moment to show itself.

4. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?

Failure. And since you ask, I’m still not too crazy about wasps. Also frozen hockey pucks to the face.

5. If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?

No religious zealotry, thank you.

6. What’s your favorite poem?

John Donne, “The Ecstasy.”

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?

Very soothing stuff, darkness. Except when it isn’t. You know, that noise that doesn’t immediately make sense…

8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?

Cole Porter. Or maybe Hal David.

9. What makes you nostalgic?

This will sound weird if you aren’t, like me, an air force brat: seeing any military airplane. They make me think of the bases where I grew up, the funny houses with the same floorplan no matter where you were in the country, the kids you knew for a few months before their fathers got posted somewhere else. Games of Post Office in somebody’s garage. Sandlot baseball. Soundtrack by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, and Alice Cooper.

10. Clowns., creepy or cool?

You’re not seriously asking that, are you? Creepy of course. Creepy creepy creepy. Also, see Question 7. Bart Simpson had it right: “Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.”

11. Do you remember your dreams?

About once a week. They are usually extremely violent, David Cronenberg or Quentin Tarantino violent. I have no idea why.

12. What’s your favorite song?

That’s easy: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” any version, but maybe especially the Platters (1958) and Keith Jarrett (2009). I’m going to cheat and add that my favourite album of all time is Glenn Gould’s “A Consort of Musick Bye William Byrde And Orlando Gibbons” (1984); this just edges out Keith Jarrett’s sublime “Köln Concert” (1975) and “Armed Forces” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1979).

13. What’s your favorite season?

Autumn. Especially here in Ontario, where everything looks better when the leaves begin to change colour. Also: playoff baseball.

14. Does pressure motivate you?

Absolutely. The self-applied kind is the best, though.

15. To what extent do you shape your own destiny, and how much is down to fate?

I will quote Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise: “There is no fate but what we make.”

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. Also, The Republic.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?

I’m not paranoid, but I usually disguise my intense misanthropy under a facade of easygoing amiability. Does that answer the question? Maybe not… Might make sense of Question 11, though.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?

Well, there has to be sex with my sweetie in there somewhere, plus music, and art, and then cocktails at some point before dinner. Also a baseball game or a walk in the woods or some fly fishing. Hmm – I guess it matters whether I’m alone or not. Am I alone? Oh no…

19. Are you more like fire or the earth?

Can’t I be both? And also wind? I always wanted to play in the horn section on “Got To Get You Into My Life.”

20. Do you hear voices?

Just my own, incessant and various, about deadlines and ideas, quotations and turns of phrase, things to say and things I wish I’d said. Wouldn’t want it otherwise.

Bonus question:
What are you currently working on?

A new collection of essays about democracy and culture, to be published next year

About Mark kingwell:

Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine in New York. He is the author or co-author of seventeen books of political, cultural and aesthetic theory, including the bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould (2009). His articles on politics, architecture and art have appeared in many academic journals, including the Journal of Philosophy and the Harvard Design Magazine, and in more than 40 mainstream publications, among them Harper’s, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Utne Reader, BookForum, the Toronto Star, and Queen’s Quarterly; he is also a former columnist for Adbusters, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail.

Mr. Kingwell has lectured extensively in Canada, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia on philosophical subjects and had held visiting posts at Cambridge University, the University of California at Berkeley, and at the City University of New York, where he was the Weissman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Humanities in 2002. Mr. Kingwell is the recipient of the Spitz Prize in political theory, National Magazine Awards for both essays and columns, the Outstanding Teaching Award and President’s Teaching Award at the University of Toronto, a research fellowship at the Jackman Humanities Institute, and in 2000 was awarded an honorary DFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design for contributions to theory and criticism. His most recent book is a collection of political essays, Unruly Voices (2012); he has also recently published two illustrated pamphlets, Frank’s Motel (2013) and Democracy’s Gift (2014).

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The Music in Me.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Victor Hugo

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
Victor Hugo

Music is my safe haven and my sanity. Ergo, shameless plug time. I know. “Plug off.” “Go plug yourself” “Plug YOU.”
Now that we have that out of the way. If you’re so inclined, please check out my Soundcloud account.

 https://soundcloud.com/tosha-michelle-woody

Friedrich A Kittler: Essays: Literature Media and Systems: A Review by Tosha Michelle

Friedrich Kittler’s work describes a ‘post modern Tower of Babel’ which is paradoxically,
organized, or unleashed, by fractal theory which demonstrates that we, or society, do not
control technology but in fact technology totally controls and maneuvers us.

Kittler uses an iconic movement, or moment, from popular culture to define what he means
when he quotes Mick Jagger’s’ words: we can’t always get what we want but we get what we need. Meaning that the Frankenstein machine like monster that society has become gives us only what we need to exist.

Kittler is more or less saying that a fractal-army of techno-vampires has sucked the life
blood out of the human spirit and now that we, society, have been bitten there is no going
back: or undoing the processing of the fracturnally evolving system.

Kittler argues that the only problem that this Transylvanian system of  technology has in completing it conquering of the human spirit totally is in how this system is to hide from us, or what is left of us, the fact that we the subjects have lost, or are losing, our identity.

We might argue that Herbert Marcue’s One Dimensional Man: 1964: offered humankind the chance of more possibities against the unfreedom of technological systems.

It seems for Kittler, as for Michael Focault, an authentic opportunity for individuals to
escape for humankind from becoming zombified, cyborgs, or vampires who line dance before the throwns of the technological systems is not even a remote possibility. The classic popular cultural movie Night of the Living Dead gives us a vivid and nightmarish aesthetic look at the phenomena of today’s society but we might say that their is a mocking humor in the directors cut.

Perhaps then the block buster, The Matrix is closer to the reality or non-reality that Kittler is arguing. The government originally banned this film for one reason or another?

However, we might argue that the development of fractal philosophy, or fractal theory, has other potential, and possible, and more optimistic ways of taking humankind forward in the 21st Century. Medicine and treatment along side the mapping of genes for instance.

Antonio Gramci said pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will is the way forward and even though the Frankfurt School seemed full of doom in some of its arguments of objectivity it did offer that people were political and that a great refusal was also possible if we in society took a critical distance and a gave our self the chance to imagine alternatives from other perspectives.

Walter Benjamin’s work without doubt influenced Marshal Berman’s extraordinary book of
hope: All That Is Solid Melts into Air: 1983: which certainly challenges the arguments of the system and fractal totalities of Foucault and Kittler. We might argue then that Gramci’s optimism of the will is a spirited challenge arguing that people in society can change society.

Gramsci said that culture means the exercise of thought, the acquisition of general
ideas, and the habit of connecting causes and effects together. He argued that culture
means thinking well, whatever one thinks, and therefore acting well, in whatever one does:
optimism of the will once more.

When Gramsci wrote the words pessimism of the intellect optimism of the will he wrote it
from inside a prison cell and he wrote it as a message of hope for others. Gramsci argued that we must speak of a new struggle for a new culture which is intuitive to a new way of feeling and seeing reality.

Gramsci’s cultural words of optimism challenged the hegemony of totalities and the grip of
power that systems of totality have on society. Gramsci argued that hegemony was active in all realms of culture and social organization Gramsci’s optimism of the will can be seen as a direct argument against Kittler’s argument that the human spirit is no more.

Gramsci argued that a development of the will, or freedom of the will, was not beyond the individual to achieve.

Stewart Hall’s understanding of political activism, alongside academic theory, as an
essential way forward is hopeful also. For example, the Popular Cultural movement of the
Punk Rock phenomena of the 70s and 80s demonstrated how politics and aesthetics are fundamentally linked together by the relationship between performer and audience. The performer is not beyond the reach of the the person in audience just as those who dwell in the academic ivory tower also have to get their hands dirty.

Kittler offers no hope to a society of free will through popular culture, and just as Foucault does, Kittler turns each and every possibility of a developing universal imagination of Milky Ways, somewhere over the rainbows, and Never Lands into cul de sacs. The magical
spirit of humanity and looking through the looking glass from either way is shaped into a mind bending barbed wire matrix from which there is no escape: or no freedom of thought.
Marshal Berman makes this kind of argument in the introduction of All That Is Solid.

Stewart Hall talks about the potential of global citizenship and the possibility of freedom in a way that is lost under the fixed ideas that there is one space, one globe, one citizenship, and one morality, but that the reality is that otherness is the way forward.

Hall argues that the interconnectivity of popular Friedrich A Kittler: Essays: Literature Media and Systems:and globalization acts as structures of power that creates conflict instead of the possibility a universal vision. Hall’s argument on popular culture is one that demonstrates how the interconnectivity of globalization is used in the dimensions that Kittler argues but Hall argues that such totalization does not prescribe humankind a definitive future under such a pessimistic cloud.

In support of Kittler theory someone quoting Einstein said that God doesn’t play dice with the universe. Einstein also said that those who think that they know what the true is are getting shipwrecked on the laughter of the Gods.

Friedrich A Kittler:
Friedrich A Kittler: Essays: Literature Media and Systems: ISBN 90-5701-071-2

Answers.com: Dictionary: A Dictionary which is a Part of Popular Cultural Phenomena:
Fractal: A geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular

shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry. Fractals are used

especially in computer modeling of irregular patterns and structures in nature

Antonio Gramsci:
Gramsci, Antonio, Selections from cultural writings. London (Lawrence & Wishart) 1985

Stewerert Hall:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBfPtRaGZPM
Interview of the sociologist and social thinker Stuart Hall:
by Pnina Werbner.Feb. 01. 2008: