Thursday, January 19, 2012

Remembering Bro. Kyrin [Ed Powers] CFX

My most inspiring St. John's Prep. (Danvers, MA) lit. teacher was Bro. Kyrin [Ed Powers] CFX who began the 1st-day of Senior English (early SEP.'58) with the command: "Activate the Illumination!" directing the student sitting nearest the light-switch to snap it on.

Sometime that year, he suddenly wrote on the blackboard: "With a Ki-yi-yi... the Emperor of Ice-cream..." (from the eponymous poem by Wallace Stevens), revealing us to a fancifully surreal poetry we'd never imagined: suddenly I saw that poetry could be anything, anything, poetry & was instantly baptised into 20th-century modernism..

So I eagerly went in to Harvard Sq. (by MBTA) & bought him both a paperback & a hardbound copy of William Empson's 7 Types of Ambiguity (Noonday Meridian, 1955) that he had praised, & handed them both to him, much to his surprise. (I have a green-covered 1955 ppbk copy of it sitting on the shelf before me as I type this.)

After I graduated St. John's (JUN '59), Kyrin & I corresponded; the next year, I, as a Boston College freshman, I once advanced the idea that one could derive a theory of drama from Heidegger, theory of poetry from Husserl (who I was reading then.) Kyrin grandly 'tushed' me off.

After he became the principal of Xaverian Prep. (Brooklyn NY), he invited me to go to with him to the White Horse Tavern, Dylan Thomas' 'local' (pub) while he was in NYC, but I was never able to take Kyrin up on it - because I couldn't afford to travel down to NYC from way up in Lynn MA where I lived with my parents (until 1963.)

Kyrin & I lost touch after I graduated Boston College (Summer '63) because my life was in turmoil, partly because of the draft (which I beat by claiming to be gay, a story in itself.) I wrote him many years later that I was grateful that my son Alex was actually gay & so couldn't be drafted. Response: silence; Kyrin was probably closeted, but occasionally burst brightly into flames (see pars.1-2, above.). I owe him my sincerest thanks for his poetic influence. (I've just found out by calling Xaverian Prep that he died in 1982.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crackers & Appalachia


Ethelyne ‘cracker’ to be built in Appalachia.

– NPR 12 JAN 12

My uncle Tom told how his wife Vi(olet)

once took him to a ‘cracker’ party: a boy

stood in the center of a room with a pail

of water & box of saltine crackers; she

said: “Be nice Floyd dance!” & so Floyd

danced around the pail with the crackers

that never got wet & no one ever ate.

No matter how intended, Southerners

take it badly at being called ‘crackers’

recalling indentured servants ‘cracking’

tars from pine trees in Georgia. What about

high-octane fuel for combustion ? Will

‘cracker’ rise in occupational status? Will

boys wear T-shirts saying CRAYKUH!

& dam’ proud of it, y’all!” (Wait & see.)

(12 JAN 12, Santa Clara CA) v2

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Warren Buffet's (alleged) Fix for Congress

A CHAIN-LETTER IS CIRCULATING (allegedly) FROM WARREN BUFFET ON HOW TO 'FIX' CONGRESS, & as usual, asks you to send it to 20 friends to make the entire country aware of its terms in 3 days. Mine came from my longtime friend, poet & biologist Dr. Bob Chute Sc.D. in Poland Spring ME.

Usually omnibus 'fixes' like this are superficially appealing, but reveal unobvious conseqences in their details:

I.] Are congress's salalries supposed to pay for more than just their personal living expenses in DC?

If so, 1) It will cause independently rich/self-sufficient congresspersons to predominate.

2) If, however, their salaries fund their entire office, not just their persons, (by whatever means rich) congresspersons will obviously be able to live richly in D.C.

II.]The terms of their collecting Social Security sound OK; however. would the wealthy's not being able to collect SS above a fixed income cap (not cited.). They obviously don't & won't need it. But many wealthy people do collect it, nonetheless. Proposal: It should be ended immediately, congress included, nobody excluded; enforced across the board, it would obviously save the federal budget much more than just reducing congressional salaries & perks.

Anyway, can we safely assume that Warren Buffet fully-researched these fixes & consequences before promulgating them? - if indeed he did. It might well be a bogus Buffet proposal. Anti-incumbent cranks come up with proposals like this year after year, esp. federal election years. It has the popular mania of a Tea-Party iniative to me. But what if it were proposed by U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (R.I.) - would you be inclined to believe it? Why/not? Let me know.

UPDATE: I've finally done what carolin always did, after saying "I'm one of Nature's suspicious people." Consult the debunking SNOPES website ( where I quickly found that the alleged WarrenBuffeted 'fixing' Congress ACT 2011 is mostly based on an anonymous 2009 predecessor then called: "A 28th Amendment." Google: Buffet fix Congress SNOPES Then send its correction to whomever you sent the mostly-fake chain-letter - which in itself should have been an adequate tip-off: billionaire Warren Buffet recco chain-letters to communicate nationally? Hardly.