This is for all the lonely, broken people

“Her name was like an echo of an ache in her.”  Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Some texts are memorable by a single, sublime sentence: “Call me Ishmael.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” “Gregor Samsa awoke one day to find himself an enormous vermin.”

Rothfuss’ Auri story reads like a long prose poem, so lovely for the logophile in its wonderland of creative and created words (I looked them up) and specificity in naming things.

On to Book 2 of The Kingskiller Chronicle, a place I have enjoyed inhabiting almost as much as living in Middle Earth 40 years ago. Feels as good to wend my way through the words of this world as it was to learn to speak Elvish. 

However, Rothfuss’ little side venture tale of one of the mysterious waif characters in the main plot appeals more to the poet in me than the entire lengthy two-volume story appeals to the fantasy-adventurer. And this from a Game of Thrones fan. 

A short but delicately sensual read, I recommend the novella–an echo of an ache itself–to all the beautiful broken people the author addresses through it.


Pissing up Ropes

Read a Reddit post about the plight of being white, cultureless, unoppressed and bland that someone replied to by stating, “I’m not going to waste my time pissing up ropes.” 

I had never heard of that expression prior to reading it there so researched with little success. My procrastination limits have already been reached today, so I could not spend the requisite time to do the slang expression justice, but I did find this on

“Piss Up a Rope” is a song by the band Ween in 1996 from the album 12 Golden Country Greats. It was released on 7″ yellow vinyl single on Diesel Only Records.

When asked about the lyrics “You can wash my balls with a warm wet rag” and “On your knees, you big bootied bitch,” Dean Ween stated that he wrote the song for his wife. The inspiration for the title came from his father: “[It is] a funny expression that I copped from my dad. When I was a kid, he used to say, ‘Aw, go piss up a rope.’ It was just nonsense. It was like, ‘Aw, go shit in your hat’ or whatever.”[1]

I gather it is a British expression for some futile exercise, but I would love to find the origins of the expression, just because…well, being a logophile, I like that sort of thing. Who first thought of it and in what context?

Oh, and there is a Facebook page with the title “Pissing up Ropes” that has one like.

Anyone know something about this expression?

The Good, the Ugly and the Human: a Tuesday Musing




To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the human condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.
Martha Nussbaum, philosopher

Ruminating about abandoned love lately, I wonder how humans, a number of them anyhow, can open and shut their hearts with such certainty in such an uncertain world. How does one end a relationship, long and loving hard, and thereafter eviscerate the heart-memory of the once cherished object of his or her love, the light in his heart, the heat in her loins, never to speak or think of the other? Where, precisely, sleeps the graveyard of deep emotional attachment?

No one can control another to the degree necessary to keep and savor that other, to anticipate fear and resentment, illness and death–no way to squeeze answers to the riddles of human behavior.

To be exposed is to be vulnerable, open to danger, criticism, injury or death, whether physical or emotional. Who does not fear the ending of a relationship that houses everything, one that contains all of the self thrown into it?

Dedication to the notion that love means giving all to another bears some responsibility for the resulting grief and betrayal after the end. A piece, some important part must be held back, some core or foundation must be withheld in order to keep the self and the other intact. To invest all is to have everything to lose in life’s uncertainty: love’s cessation, life’s leaking despair, disability and death. 

The burden of possessing every morsel of another being trumps pleasure, smothers desire. 

Many believe the heart cannot survive loss, a conviction that obstructs the happiness that inclines a good human. To withdraw from others, from a lover or society that disappoints, having been badly burned, merely reduces risk of exposure; it does not prevent calamity or inevitability and so a doomed attempt to control a world in hopes of preventing further hurt and loss. 

Humans cannot surrender their frailty without losing their humanity–or their beauty, according to Nussbaum. The good and happy human is unafraid. The tremulous unhappy merely encircle the tenderness and delicate skin of being with armored excuses and persistent tasks that disengage and anesthetize the will to enter the fray of the raw and unknowable–the human circus of flight, fancy and faith–forever locking doors behind them.

Picture Me Picturing You

Man is the only picture-making animal in the world. He alone of all the inhabitants of the earth has the capacity and passion for pictures . . . Poets, prophets, and reformers are all picture-makers, and this ability is the secret of their power and achievementsy: they see what ought to be by the reflection of what is, and endeavor to remove the contradiction.
Frederick Douglass

Edward Jean Steichen’s Gloria Swanson

In manipulating the presentation of information in a photographic negative, the Pictorialists injected their own sensibility into our perception of the image—thereby imbuing it with pictorial meaning.

We are all poets for what is a poet but an image maker?
We are all imagists.
We imagine we see in others what is, what will be and what we have always wanted.

The fiance envisions the perfect wife in spikes and aproned pearls,
nymphomaniacal lover and cookie-baking Cleaver mother.
No matter that she is not the one;
he sees those features in her nevertheless, more or less.

She can cook.
She likes children.
She looks great in heels.
He makes her fit the dream of his waking.

Who is a husband but a movie projector to the screen of the chosen one?
He depicts desire–figure framed photo of his ideal in ribbon and steel.
Meanwhile, she is his pocket and his purse, the hand up his sleeve making his jaw move.
Her world spins his above their heads.

What is a lover but someone who ‘shops the photo of her future mate,
rich in charms, clever to the touch,
sexy in her arms, ambitious enough for a sensitive side–
though she has never met him?

What is the unfaithful but a husband who paints his mistress the un-wife?
What is a poet but the mistress of make-me-love, hers for the taking?

Castell Photography on Vincent Serbin

I generally experiment with ways to artistically illustrate human thought. By human thought I mean- to present an image that expresses the way we perceive the world. The way our visual system assimilates information ( i.e. two eyes see two images and those two images are processed by a brain) and creates an interpretation of a moment. So in my work , when I juxtapose two images ,it reflects the way our visual system works but, in a sense I’m eliminating a function of our visual system by presenting two images instead of one. This I believe offers a fascinating way of reinterpreting the world.

Oscar Wilde on Confession


There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

Oscar Wilde