Beiträge von M.C. Blumenthal


FEAR What is fear, this thing that lives in the pit of the stomach and can find no home? We think of it, of course, as fear of the unexpected, the unpredictable, the unknown. And yet our greatest fears are quite to the contrary:  of the inevitable‑‑ death, separation, loss, loneliness, the splotched and sullied […]


LIVING POETICALLY A friend speaks to me of the ability, perhaps the necessity, of „living poetically.“ I ask her what this means, this „living poetically,“ how it might differ from living decently, living judiciously, living passionately, living morally. It is, of course, a question to myself, whose own life seems more and more‑‑as if by […]


WHAT REMAINS BEHIND, WHAT MOVES AHEAD   Youth, being still oblivious‑‑ at least, mostly‑‑ to the decline of the body, the upheavals and disappointments (as well as the rewards) of love, the repeated pain of separation, the ubiquitous dialectic of good and evil (what Wordsworth called „dialogues of business, love, or strife“ ), is wise, […]


ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FATIGUE AND WISDOM   You are sick‑‑ or just plain tired, ever slightly so. Perhaps a slightly off‑night of sleep, or the first vestiges of a cold. Yet there is something vaguely consoling about this, a sense of tranquility, desirelessness, a strange ability to suddenly focus. You find yourself  able, as […]


„SOMETHING IS HAPPENING WITHOUT ME IN IT“   Who hasn’t felt it? Raged against it? Slapped his or her own body around like a rubber ball in the hope of, somehow, taming the world’s large and multifarious nic‑nacs into an orderly event at which the one body can somehow find itself in attendance? At first […]


TOUCHED   It occurs to me, working occasionally as a therapist as I do and attempting to honor the frequently simple‑minded „ethics“ of that profession (and of academic life as well), how unnatural‑‑ indeed, violative of natural human affinities‑‑ such ethics are, their perversity extending to the core of language itself. For is it any […]


NOTHING IS FREE   „Always pay; for first or last you must pay your entire debt.“ So Emerson, in his infinite wisdom, put it, and yet we persist in our deep, irreconcilable wish that we might yet find the thing that carries with it no cost, the gift that asks nothing of us. FREE!! cry out the […]


AUTHOR’S PREFACE               „How can I know what I feel until I’ve seen what I’ve said?“goes the famous quotation from E.M. Forster, or– as Theodore Roethke put it in a more affirmative mode– „I learn by going where I have to go.“ As one approaches forty (the first half of our earthly life, in […]


OF GOODNESS   „And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.“  With these words, Chapter I of Genesis comes to a close, assuring us that the labors of God over the first six days of The Creation were of a quality taken so lightly in the present day that […]


Wings: Fortsetzung But let’s get back to the chicken wings, the apogee (were she to know of it) of my wife’s moral disapproval of the man she, in a long-ago fit of passion, romance and thin air, married. The chickens, as we all know, are tortured– raised and injected with hormones and antibiotics in cages so […]


Wings  So here I am, as I am every morning at precisely 11:00, at the Seven Eleven, ordering my six pieces of fried barbecue chicken wings for $3.21.  Six pieces are all I want, and all I can eat, at this time of day, though they are ten for $5.00– a better deal, especially when […]


Blood   When Rui Urayama’s fingers began to bleed while performing Bartok’s Piano Sonata BB 88 at the Cincinnati World Piano Competition in 2015, she just kept on playing, she played right on through the Allegro moderato and then the Sostenuto e pesante and the Allegro molto she played on through the dissonance of the […]


Exploration                             for Lee Petsonk   My friend Lee says I am in new territory. My back hurts, my legs, there is metal throughout my body, a shooting pain down my left buttock. Yes, I say, it’s new territory. Every day, I cross things I loved from my list: racketball, tennis, skiing, my bright future in golf. Soon, […]


Piano   These keys of elephant ivory or alabaster or whatever against my fingers are like my lover’s flesh: whether I press hard or softly quickly or slowly there is music and even I, who am not musical or adept, can make sweet sounds from time to time without dissonance I can feel the solidity […]

How Not to Die

How Not to Die   Diet is a good place to begin Then exercise, of course, And as much love As you are capable of, spread In as many directions as possible Sex, too, is a good thing, Especially when accompanied by tenderness And generosity And don’t forget the weather– All kinds, inclement and otherwise. […]

New Year’s Letter, 2018: How Not to Die

New Year’s Letter, 2018: How Not to Die     Diet is a good place to begin Then exercise, of course, And as much love As you are capable of, spread In as many directions as possible Sex, too, is a good thing, Especially when accompanied by tenderness And generosity And don’t forget the weather– […]


Doctors     They descend on us like seraphim in their white coats armed with pens, clipboards and prescription pads, stethoscopes dangling from their necks like opera glasses, visiting us in the small cubicles they have set aside for those seeking salvation, armed with battalions of note-taking residents and interns, adulatory nurses. They come in […]


Treasure   I dug I dug I dug I dug through stone I dug through dirt I dug through the fault lines of the earth All my life I dug Throwing dirt over my shoulders Casting boulders aside Ignoring the old skeletons of animals And of my ancestors I dug through the pain in my […]