Announcement: Welcome

This Website will be devoted to essays and insights related to diversity, addiction/recovery, psychological growth issues, global perspectives, the disenfranchised,  aesthetics, and cultural values. The core value streaming throughout the essays I write will be about returning to our innocence, which sometimes requires a trauma, a jolt, an invasion of the “other,” or a paradigm shift.

Many of my comments will sometimes reflect a more radically progressive approach to an idea. At other times, I may very well see some healthy alternatives in a more reactionary, conservative approach. There will be few areas, if any, that I hold sacred, taboo territory.  In that sense, everything will be up for grabs.

I am also interested in international film narratives, stories whose voices are too often left out of the more powerful voices of the international film industry. They have much to teach us about aesthetics, cultural values, and morality.

For those wishing to participate, enjoy the ride!

John T. Marohn

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Fooled Again

A fortune teller told me
I would meet
A woman with
Dark hair,
That I would cross
Over water before noon,
That people would
Seem smaller
Than they are.

Walking across a bridge
I met that woman
And looked down
At a small canoe
Of children,
Fooled again
By the ordinary.

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The Rain, You Said

The rain, you said,
Was too common.
I disagreed.

Later, you blamed the leaves
For hanging on too long,
And snow, the burden
Of the shoeless.

Lightening, you affirmed, gently,
The storm’s revenge,
For my month’s silence.

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Clouds of Sils Maria, A Review

Surrendering to Age

Aging. For some of us, it is a gradual process of surrender. For others, it is a panic-driven free-fall into mortality.

Maria Enders (Juliet Binoche), in the latest Assayas film, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” is a middle aged actor who is thrown head-long into the realities of her age. After some grueling moments of rage in learning the lines of an aging lesbian character in a play she once starred as the older woman’s younger lover, she eventually, but reluctantly, takes the role.

She takes on the elder lesbian character only after being prodded by her assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart), and more forcefully by two other characters in the movie, particularly the new director (Lars Eidinger) of the play, who replaces Maria’s long-time friend and director who dies unexpectedly. Continue reading

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My Welcomed Adversaries

I loved you once.
A time that grew
From the simmering earth
Of my solitude.

Then, in the folds,
Of our ordinariness,
I moved from scents
of what we knew
On our morning sheets,
Bloodless deserts
To my August vines
Of supple thighs
And nameless palms,
These, my welcomed
Adversaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Missed Your Funeral, Yesterday

I missed your funeral yesterday
Not convinced I could gather
Enough solid grief
To moor me steadily
Into wanting to
Remember you.

But then again
We were married
For a time
When the earth,
By your own admission,
Did not move
Beyond its dry rituals
Of undizzying speed
And long corridors.

I read your obituary
Sufficient in its dryness
Of names pulled from
The family files.

Mary, George, Anna,
Siblings who died,
I am told,
From boredom
And unkempt gardens.

Eric, Vince, Julia,
The children,
Who left our nest
Grateful to breathe
Their own air.

I continue
To cross-reference you,
Hoping, in the end,
That some bleak category
Will open a rusted charm
I gratefully missed.

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I Cannot Tell a Lie, Sometimes

I said yes to you once
Because the angle
of the sun seemed right
At the time.
But now, in this
More cordial season,
Formality requires
My truant distance.

Remembering our
Backyard sandbox
Below the dining room
Windows, observing
The sweet chaos
Of your hands, I knew
You, even then,
As one requiring
Royal loyalty
I could not give.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love, Passion, Ecstasy, and the Ordinary

Love as Constancy

Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments,” says the bard.

So, my friends, are we to believe about “true” love that it is constant, as the poet would have us believe? Or, if you are a cynic, relentlessly constant?

We are consistently reminded in this famous Shakespearean sonnet that love does not change; “it is the ever fixéd mark/That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” It is the stable “star” in the heavens, the guide to every lost ship (“wandering bark”). Continue reading

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Consumerism in America

To Consume or Not To Consume

Politicians and economists love talking about how the “consumer”  is the main engine of the American economy.

Keep in mind that if they are Congressional politicians, they are probably making around $170,000 a year.

If they’re an economist being quoted by a newspaper, there’s a strong possibility they are a tenured professor at a university; on a speaker circuit; doing consultant work for the government; and on their fourth or fifth unreadable book.

On the other side of the coin (no pun intended), the religion I was brought up in taught me that materialism is not conducive to a spiritual life, that the “poor” will indeed “inherit the earth.”

So, my friends, the dilemma: Should I shop for things I really don’t need, or should I live on the fringes of society and only buy what I need to survive?

Or, since I can’t afford what the 1% affords, should I go for what I call “fashion lite”—a used BMW with over 150,000 miles; a winter Florida trailer five miles from the ocean; name brands at Marshall’s or TJMax. Continue reading

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Individualism, The Dream Realized

Following Their Own Paths

Let’s just imagine a group of Americans who have chosen to create and follow their own individual paths of self-fulfillment by separating themselves from traditional careers, institutionalized churches, political parties, and the American obsession with consumption.

Continuing on this narrative, imagine this group forming a very viable sub-culture of renters, musicians, writers, part-timers, sweat-lodge devotees, meditators, campers, vegetarians, used-car owners, and consignment-store buyers.

They don’t save. They have no pensions. They don’t have a mortgage. They don’t have cable. They only accept cash for their labor. They hate malls. They keep their shopping moments to a minimum. And they don’t have any health insurance. Continue reading

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