Author Archives: Joe

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.

The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge

by Shane McCrae

The hastily assembled angel saw
One thing was like another thing and that
Thing like another everything depend-
ed on how high it was the place you saw

Things from and he had seen the Earth from where
A human couldn’t see the Earth and could-
n’t tell most human things apart and though
He hadn’t ever really understood

His job he knew it had to do with seeing
And what he saw was everything would come
Together at the same time everything
Would fall apart and that was humans thinking

The world was meant for them and other things
Were accidental or were decora-
tions meant for them and therefore purposeful
That humans thought that God had told them so

And what the hastily assembled angel
Thought was that probably God had said the same thing
To every living thing on Earth and on-
ly stopped when one said Really back but then

Again the hastily assembled angel
Couldn’t tell human things apart and maybe
That Really mattered what would he have heard
Holy or maybe Folly or maybe Kill

About This Poem

“‘The Tree of Knowledge’ is part of a tiny sequence of poems featuring a being I call ‘the hastily assembled angel.’ A lot of the poems I’ve been writing lately seem to me to be very belated responses to the Martian poetry that briefly appeared in the United Kingdom about forty years ago, and so feature protagonists to whom Earth seems even more strange than it seems to people who live on Earth in a more everyday way. If our country is going to be led by a comic-book villain, our poems might as well be filled with Martians.”
—Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae is the author, most recently, of The Gilded Auction Block forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.


Another Busy Week

As long as I am taking these museum studies classes, it’s going to be busy. I spend the week reading and preparing assignments, while at the same time getting my real work done on my job. I have so much to edit and it’s going so slowly. It’s like I can’t do two things at once when I know with good time management I can. I should have done some reading yesterday, but I had a headache all day which makes it hard to concentrate. Hopefully, today will be a much better day and I can get a lot done. One night this week, I have to take out our guest speaker to dinner. I’m not particularly looking forward to this, but it’s part of the job. Then this weekend I have to visit yet another museum. Last week’s was an art museum, this weeks is a history museum. So much to do, so little time to do it in.


Seeds of Deeds

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (KJV) ( Proverbs 11:30 )

Has someone done something thoughtful for you lately? Have they gone out of their way for you? It’s easy to keep moving on or get busy and forget about recognizing them. However, it’s important to express to them your grateful heart. Put a little thought into how you want to express your gratitude through friendship.

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Moment of Zen: Sauna

When I was in graduate school, we had a great gym at the university and I used to love to go to the sauna and relax after a hard workout.


Need to Do

I have to admit, I haven’t gotten as much work done at my job as I needed to get done this week. I’ve been working on other stuff. I know I should focus on my job when at work, but there is so much to do. I can’t get it all done when I get home from work. Some days I’m just too tired. I will work extra hard today and try to get caught up.

Tomorrow, I will be going to an art museum for my museum class. I think I’ve mentioned that I have to go to a different type of museum each week, and this week is an art museum. I will be heading up to Burlington to visit the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art. The Fleming is supposed to have quite an interesting collection.


Long Week

I was thinking last night that it’s been a long week. Then I realized that it was only Wednesday. I think I almost cried. Luckily, there are only two days left in the week. Work has been very busy, and what other time I have has been spent reading for my class. I’m behind in watching The Voice. It’s okay though, all of my favorites have been eliminated. Now we are down to my second tier folks. I haven’t gotten to vote because I didn’t watch the shows live. Work will be busy today. One thing I have to do is work on the paper that I am presenting at a conference next month. I have to edit it down from 25 minutes to 10-12 minutes. That’s half my paper. I’m so bummed. I had a really good paper, but it’s just too long. I also, and shhh because it’s not actually part of my job, but I need to write my assignment for my class this week. I’ve gotten most of it written, it just needs a few more things. So I’ve got those two things plus I still need to edit some more oral histories and I’ve got some emails that I have been putting off that need to be sent. There is just too much to do and not enough hours in the workday.


Goodbye, Mrs. Bush

Barbara Bush, the widely admired wife of one president and the fiercely loyal mother of another, died Tuesday evening. She was 92.

During her husband’s 1992 presidential campaign, Barbara Bush stated that abortion and homosexuality are personal matters and argued that the Republican Party platform should not take a stand on them, saying that “The personal things should be left out of, in my opinion, platforms and conventions.” Her personal views on abortion were not known, although her friends reported at that time that she “privately supported abortion rights.” She explained, “I hate abortions, but I just could not make that choice for someone else.”

Not everyone liked her because she was outspoken and loyal to her family, but I always thought of her as a true lady who spoke her mind.


The Mock Song

The Mock Song

BY JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER

I swive as well as others do,

I’m young, not yet deformed,

My tender heart, sincere, and true,

Deserves not to be scorned.

Why Phyllis then, why will you swive,

With forty lovers more?

Can I (said she) with Nature strive,

Alas I am, alas I am a whore.

Were all my body larded o’er,

With darts of love, so thick,

That you might find in ev’ry pore,

A well stuck standing prick;

Whilst yet my eyes alone were free,

My heart, would never doubt,

In am’rous rage, and ecstasy,

To wish those eyes, to wish those eyes fucked out.

John Wilmot (1 April 1647 – 26 July 1680) was an English poet and courtier of King Charles II‘s Restoration court. The Restoration reacted against the “spiritual authoritarianism” of the Puritan era. Rochester was the embodiment of the new era, and he is as well known for his rakish lifestyle as his poetry, although the two were often interlinked. He died at the age of 33 from venereal disease.


Cold

I have a bit of a cold, so I went to bed early last night.


Work

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (KJV) ( Genesis 2:15 )

Do you dread Monday mornings? Work was God’s first task to humans in the Garden of Eden. God didn’t give us work to make us trudge along in our days. He did it so we could receive joy from our accomplishments, seek Him, and bring glory to His name. If you don’t find what you are doing to be a labor of love, try changing your attitude. Or try changing your circumstances.

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