Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

It is a substantial record: Clues.
   The 1980 album by Robert Palmer took new wave sensibilities of the late ‘70s and ushered in the magnitude of what would become standard ‘80s popular music.
   I listened to the record intently last week, twice in a row. It has been decades since I have done that, but I had to. I enjoyed listening to the music that much.
   Years ago, I used to do it often. As a teenager, I remember the excitement of buying a new LP and listening to it repeatedly for hours and days. These were the times when radio wasn’t playing a lot of rock and roll. I grew up in a city that had only one AM station for the longest time (until a country music station took to the airwaves), and it was more focused on news, current events, and mostly my mom’s kind of music. Evenings they would play to a younger generation, but only the more popular pop songs (there was also an FM station but it played only classical music.
   Records and Rolling Stone magazine were then my link to real music.
   Back then you would play new records repeatedly, learning the songs, studying the lyrics and cover art. Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me comes to mind and, of course, Dark Side of the Moon.
   As my music collection grew over the years, as important as each record was, albums would be played less frequently; I had more albums to choose from. It had to be a damn good record to be played frequently.
   I know that changed when I owned my first car. The radio was still reliable, and I used to tape albums to play in the car’s cassette deck. Prior to that, listening to music was a stationary experience. Because of the limitations of the turntable, you had to stay in one place and listen, usually on headphones.
   I decided I wouldn’t buy any new albums this year, but instead listen to the music I already owned. I have a lot to select from, in all genres, on both vinyl and compact disc. I listen to music a lot, and in past years would frequently visit record stores to search out and both new releases and unfamiliar vintage albums by artists I was both familiar and unfamiliar with.
   I’ve now got a lot of alums that all need a good listening to.
   Clues was one of those albums.
   The album rocked a little harder than Secrets, his previous effort, but also dwelled in the synth-pop territory. One song, I Dream of Wires, written by new wave darling Gary New is sonically propulsive, a noticeable change of direction from the sophisticated strains of Palmer’s soulful, occasionally jazzy, sound. Palmer was the first artist I heard described as “blue-eyed soul”.
   This record captured the spirit of the times, without now seeming nostalgic. His albums that followed, both solo efforts and his work with The Power Station (an unlikely hook up with members of Duran Duran and Chic) continued in a similar groove, appealing to the Pepsi generation on MTV with his movie-star good looks and videos with the highly stylized back-up babes he became associated with.
   As I flip through my music collection, I am finding more and more albums worthy of re-discovering. All this music was purchased for a reason, and no doubt hasn’t been listened to with the intensity it deserves to be.

02/19/2024                                                                                        j.g.l.

truth or dare

Landscapes, like weather forecasts,
altered daily. Attitudes of how
we view our world, however,
remain stagnant.

Acid rain, climate change, dangers
inconvenient as carbon footprints in
freshly-fallen snow. We wait only
for it all to wash away.

Fossil fuels and solar flares, impotent
political dialogue of truth or dare.
Do we pay any heed past what
remains of the day?

Shame and blame living as we are.
What we do, or what we can do?
If only we would comprehend
how we have devolved.

Temperatures rising, though you
couldn’t tell it now. Common sense
approach far too common. We accept
what we cannot know.

We struggle, unknowingly, ignorant
of our ways. Messages lack meaning.
All talk. No action. Zero-sum gain
if all we do is complain.

02/16/2024                                                                                          j.g.l.

work in progress

I need to remind myself, more often,
who I am and what I have become.
More so, I need to remind myself of
what I am becoming.
If I am truly a work in progress, how
much progress have I made?
How can I tell if I don’t remind myself
or question myself?
Only I can really know.

02/15/2024                                                                              j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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No Other Word

Posted on March 19, 2022 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

I struggled with it. Yesterday, when the flow was right and each letter appeared to be falling into the correct order, and as each word seemed to propel me along, I stopped.

A dead stop, an unmitigated stop. An unintended stop; it was more than a pause, more than a period.

A stop, a full stop; a debilitating stop.

One word

One word was all that was stopping me from continuing with a deeply personal poem I’d been working on. It was a one-syllable word at that.

I didn’t want to use it.

I searched for alternatives, but nothing else worked. Not one other word, or a series thereof, could substitute for the word I had used. No other word could convey the rage, or the frustration, in the exact way this word did.

Fuck.

The F word: it’s one of those words. It’s one of those words that traditionally raise eyebrows. It’s one of those words you are told, as a kid, you shouldn’t say. It was a bad word. I remember my brother said, “fuck”, one time, in the company of my parents. It was the only time. I recall Mom’s eyes bugging out, and Dad always had that look when he turned angry. I learned then I wasn’t going to make the same mistake, ever. Fuck, no way.

Yes, it’s one of those words, one of those fucking words there are really no replacements for, certainly in certain circumstances and depending, of course, on its usage. Check your thesaurus; in many or most (probably all) there are no offerings. I’ve got Roget’s Super Thesaurus 4th Edition on my desk, and it’s not in there. It’s not even offered as a synonym under ‘intercourse’ (which casts doubt upon the book jacket’s “Amazingly Comprehensive” claim).

I don’t use it often, not as often as I should or feel like (more in dialogue than description), and it really has lost its shock appeal; you hear it often in movies and music.

It’s one of those words.

It’s one of those words that has been censored, avoided, painted over, hushed, and stifled for generations. It still appears on public broadcaster’s list of words you cannot say on the airwaves. It’s one of those words that will get bleeped out. It’s one of those words that would get your mouth washed out with soap, or get you sent to the principal’s office. It’s a bad word.

It’s one of those words there are no real replacements for, like ‘peace’ (and I realize the folks at Roget have listed a handful of options for this word but, when you think about it. there are no synonyms, not in the true sense of the word).

Now fuck is in the dictionary, noun and verb (Oxford here). ‘Sexual intercourse’, ‘mess about’, ‘fool around’, and, ah, there it is: ‘expressing anger’ (I knew it fit into what I was writing). It’s no longer listed as slang, as it once was, but it is listed as “A highly taboo word.”

Come on, fuck off: “highly taboo”?

It might have been taboo, at one time, like even before my Grandparents were procreating. Yes, there are times when the word just doesn’t seem appropriate (but they did, by my calculation at least four times), but these days most everybody uses the word, from politicians to sweet little Grade 3 students, and their mothers.

You hear it all the time; sometimes it is not well used, and other times it is placed properly. A lot of times it’s as common as ‘um’ or ‘uh’ or ‘like’, like, you know, like, like that (and I’m sure you do).

It is a word that means so much, and can say so much. It is a word like love (and if you love, you are probably going to fuck, but you don’t have to love to fuck then it’s just sex and if it’s just sex then you are going to fuck a lot . . . but I digress).

I’ve heard fuck described as the Swiss Army Knife of words: a word for all purposes (perhaps not all occasions). It’s so utilitarian, with many functions. It describes rage (fuck you) and joy or happiness (fuck yeah), sheer disappointment (oh fuck), sexuality and sensuality (depending on the accent), be it a mistake or a misfit (fuck up), and for a one-syllable word there are so many inflections which make it sound bigger.

It is a useful word, in the right circumstances, and it is a wholeheartedly purposeful word.

Fuck is a great curse word. It could, or can I suppose, be a hurtful word. But there are many and more hateful words in the vernacular that are publicly acceptable and are used far too often. I can think of words associated with any of the isms (racism, sexism, fascism, capitalism) that I find more offensive, and you can say those words on television and get away with it (it still doesn’t make it right).

It should probably be used more than it is, but it may never be. There are far too many stigmas, stereotypes and old wives tales that will continue to silence the word. Sadly. This world has made progress in so many ways. Times have changed: women can vote (at least on my continent), my gay friends can marry, and even prime time television images can graphically illustrate the actions involved when fucking (they just can’t show certain parts).

Still you can’t say fuck, not everywhere, not when you want to or need to. Not always. 
It’s a bad word. Fuck.

But yesterday, despite my best efforts to find another, it was a good word.

It was the right word.

Fuck yeah.

 

© 2015 j.g. lewis

 

 

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