Entropy Road


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entropy road

time slips from great to good, or from terrible to wors’ning
down that entropic road we pay our toll
from hot pavement toward dirt road endings

that god, what god? the mirror asks, tone optimistic, while condescending
life’s urge to organize is quite strong
make amends, then share the booty’s blending

time slips from me to us, then from “you and i” to loving
our valentine then seeks it’s mate
on goes the prolific downward sending

that god, what god? the reflection quests, as the last winter snow’s still clinging
that Holonic symbol, our family crest
bears family blood from each upbringing

the urge to mate is as strong to hate, we blend, then split the winnings
our Junior a mixed-sum of both
then adds new moment’s vendings 

time drives us from then to now, our final destination reaching
tho’ next can never touch our lips
it’s law, Relativity speaking

that god, what god? the question begs, who should i tell him’s asking?
our urge to love and to proliferate…

life’s sentence, and time’s unmasking

 

-30-

2nd law of thermodynamics

A Critique by Jendi Reiter

I was lucky to have had this poem selected for review by The Winning Writers, a respected site for amatuer poets with top writers as owners who run the site. Jendi Reiter is an excellent and respected poet in her own right.

Critique by Jendi Reiter

The form of this month’s provocative poem, “Entropy Road”, embodies its theme of order struggling to remain distinct from chaos. The headlong rush of syllables in the longer lines and the fragmentary, zigzag presentation of the poem’s argument give the poem a restless energy. Meanwhile, the “-ing” rhymes repeating in the first and third lines of every stanza, the refrain “that god, what god?” and the semi-regular meter attempt to corral that energy within a poetic framework.

Making the rhyming words present participles (verb forms, or nouns derived from them, ending in “-ing”) was an inspired choice. These words describe action in progress. Just as the stability that the narrator seeks is always a moving target, the concepts on which he depends to convey this argument will not stay put. Each rhyming line also ends on an unstressed syllable, which gives the poem an open-ended, unfinished cadence.

Entropy, of course, refers to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which basically states that the energy levels in an isolated system will tend toward equilibrium. Entropy has sometimes been described as a measurement of the disorder or randomness within a system. In the poem, as in popular usage, it symbolizes universal mortality and dissolution. If evolution drives organic life to ever-higher levels of self-organizing complexity, entropy is the opposite force, that which pulls down and breaks apart complex systems into nature’s simplest building blocks. It means that all material energy will ultimately spend itself and be unrecoverable.

As self-aware components of this dying system, how can we find the motivation to go on living, loving, procreating, and planning for the future? Which will win, our philosophical sense of futility or the inward compulsion to survive and create?

Perhaps no one wrote about entropy in this sense more powerfully than the 20th-century British poet Philip Larkin. A sample poem can be found here.

Larkin generally settles the question on the side of death, but Adams disagrees: “the urge to love is as strong to hate”. The life force has a fighting chance. Yet it is hampered by our inability to articulate a reason for hope. “that god, what god? the mirror asks, tone optimistic, while condescending”.Existentialist philosophers looked to the self to create meaning in a universe made absurd by death’s finality. The poem suggests that this answer is insufficient. The individual is merely part of the closed entropic system. He cannot inject it with new energy to reverse its decay.

There are positive, hopeful moments in “Entropy Road” but they come from outside philosophy and science. Whatever the intellect may say, instinct confirms that human connection and creativity are not futile. “time slips from me to us or, from you and i to loving/our valentine then seeks its mate/goes the prolific downward sending”. The opaque last phrase may have been chosen mainly to fit the rhyme scheme, but its vagueness felicitously makes it more symbolic than a specific description would have been. It called to my mind both the release of seed in copulation and the movement of the child through the birth canal, but other associations are possible, such as rains watering the earth to bring forth crops, or the descent of angels.

The birth of a child does seem like a miraculous creation ex nihilo, the opposite of entropy. First there were two, now there are three. “Holonic” is a word coined by 20th-century philosopher Arthur Koestler to express the observation that entities in biological and social systems are always interdependent, never completely self-sufficient units. This law of interconnection and symbiosis contrasts with entropy’s pull toward disconnection and stasis.

“our junior is the sum of both/but adds ‘new’ moment’s vendings”. Is “new” in quotes because the narrator’s intellectual side reminds him that this is not a real solution to the problem? On the human scale, parenthood may feel like a triumph over mortality, but on the level of the cosmos, it does not stave off the decay of the whole system, looked at in purely materialistic terms.

The poem ends by leaving the question open, a humility that rings true. Adams does not claim to decide whether the emotional or the scientific perspective on the human condition is correct. He suggests that it is really a question about the nature of the self, or perhaps its very existence. “that god, what god? the question begs, and who should i tell him’s asking?/an urge to love and proliferate…”

If pressed to define the self, Adams would emphasize the impulse to love and create, however blind that impulse is, over the scientific description of the individual as a collection of atoms arranged in a temporary order. He chooses the insider’s perspective over the outsider’s, life as it feels to us, rather than life as the scientists say it is. (After all, they too are part of the flawed system, not truly above it.) Yet the final line, “life’s sentence, and time’s unmasking”, expresses the fear that some trans-human perspective would prove us wrong; the joke of the universe is on us, after all. The dilemma brings us to the limits of reason, where some have found faith, and others merely the willpower to live without it.

Nostradamus Lives!


this was posted on SeaofBlue.com BEFORE the NCAA Elite Eight Cats/Carolina slugfest in March 2011 which saw Kentucky outman, outgun, outdefend, (like all get out) a formidable, but very beatable Tar Heel squad…

john-calipari-shocked2

though i usually can’t pick my nose in the ncaa, this time i predicted that only one-1 seed and no two seeds would see the final four this year. the Cats can make that happen today with a win. let’s take a look at some numbers and facts borrowed from kenpom.com:

generally carolina plays faster paced than kentucky, thus scoring more points per game. carolina wants to push the ball looking for open 2pt shots, and i doubt that calipari will mind.

carolina plays its offense primarily through their bigs. they are monster offensive rebounders, while kentucky is slightly better at defensive rebounding. keeping the heels off their offensive glass is crucial.

the teams are fairly equal at offensive shooting % inside the arc. but, carolina scores most of its points inside the arc, as they shoot a few threes, and those are not shot that well (33.2%). kentucky shoots the three very well (39.2%), and relatively more often, though they are not simply a three point shooting team that lives (and dies) by the three. kentucky shoots free throws better (71.7% vs 67%), but carolina does not foul nearly as much as kentucky and relatively little period.

kentucky takes care of the ball much better (makes fewer turnovers), ranked #9 div 1 vs #166 in offensive TO%.

kentucky defends the three about the same as carolina (opponents shoot 33.2% vs 32.5%) but defends inside the arc better (opp shoot 41.7 vs 44.4%). kentuckys opponents shoot fewer three than carolinas. kentucky typically blocks a slightly higher percentage of shots than carolina.

kentucky’s effective field goal % is higher than carolina (52.5 vs 49.2). this factor is calculated combining 2pt and 3pt shooting %. and its adjusted offensive efficiency (all factors combined – shooting %, TO%, OR%, FT%), is better (ranked #7 in division 1 vs #39), although carolina has a better adjusted defensive ratio (same factors only defensively – ranked #5 div 1 vs #20). yet, kentuckys effective defensive field goal % is bit higher than is carolinas (ie guarding 2pt and 3pt shots combined).

this adds up to a game being decided on how well kentucky can shoot the three against a carolina defense that does not guard the three well, and then defend their own basket in the paint against carolina’s bigger frontline, and how well carolina’s somewhat shaky guards take care of the basketball against a formidable defender in kentucky.

 

AS in, Season's ends in...
AS in, Season’s ends in…

also carolina’s free throw shooting may become a factor, since they are likely to be at the line more often.

Based on the games importance, it is likely to be a dogfight through the end with the numbers suggesting (to me) kentucky winning by 2-3 pts, say 76-74.

of course, we all know how the game is not played on paper, but in the hearts and minds of the players, and at the coaching box. for my money, i like kentucky here too, with the 4 seeding being a large factor in the chip they seem to be wearing on their shoulders. to me, the Heels seem satisfied to just have the monkey off their backs from last year’s debacle season, and seem a bit soft. Getting pounded by Duke and Georgia Tech this year shows they are vulnerable to a blowout.

Look for Liggins to possibly step out on Marshal early to test his fortitude, then settle in with defending Barnes.

If kentucky goes cold from the three point line, look for a long afternoon watching carolina rebound and head off to the races, ending in many contested layups, dunks, and foul trouble for the Cats. this will not end pretty for our boys, and we go home to watch on TV.

The play of Terrence Jones and Darius Miller seems important here in how well we can contain the big Carolina frontline. we already know Harrelson, Liggins, Lamb, and Knight will show up ready to play.

(sorry, i just hate to capitalize while huntin and peckin)

The Brain Trust/Fart


the brain trust at my house sat on the outside porch all last night and rehashed the entire closet of skeletons. we added body language, analyzed metadata, multiplied metatarsal fragments, DNA, hairs and bodily fluids found at the uh, under the couch… just figured it all out. though i’m no math whiz, i know when it all doesn’t add up. it’s truly amazing how much we let go by us when inside we really want the math to work out. but inventory day, counting the left withs and subtracting the outgoingz to match with the incoming… is a day of…well, reckoning. it’s all right there in the data.

in the end, the good chairman (senator evaroosky, CT-missouri) acknowledged the glaring logics shortfall, right after excuse number (catch this) 23, shook his head solemnly and said, “you’re right. it just dudn’t jive duz it? damn. she seemed sincere to me…”

my wry smile hid the heartache as i got up to ponder the new findings. i exhaled, and thought to myself:

“well OK. so you figured out what you already knew. what did you expect anyway? to find out that the obvious lies were not so obvious? quit wasting time and energy. get up. move on. be done with it…”

so much fucking wasted time on a glimmer of hope that what i had suspected to be true wasn’t after all…that it was really my own insecurity’s reflection. actually i think she had suggested that to me once.

did i hope that universal truths would be proven false, that actually having no proof would translate into innocence, and that her deafening silence to questions only she could answer were really…uh, well… an expression of dumb love that froze her up, and she just couldn’t explain her true feelings in a meaningful, coherent way? all smoke and mirrors buddy-boy, wake the fuck up!

the famous INDICATORS were guess what? indicating…pointing in a direction…providing guidance in otherwise non-specific art/science. the art of understanding the meaning of one’s actions despite implicit denials of what those actions mean.

Hmmm… the INDICATORS were not so much hocus pocus after all- (or the twisted, metaphorical bullshit that i was regularly accused of pulling out of my ass). yet incredulously sometimes even i can be led off the trail, albeit momentarily, by some wacked out blowhard insisting that i am the fraud.

it’s like catching someone holding your money, wallet, credit cards, and favorite lamp standing outside your home saying they were trying gather up your things for you in case the house caught fire. they feel you should thank them instead of freaking the fuck out. NOT.

and like my daddy used to say, “only the nose knows for sure.”

and just like my daddy, i can still smell the aroma of freshly minted bullshit at fifty paces…and just whom…i mean really… who is surprised by that?

no one. not today. not even insecure little ole me.

-30-

Buddy Fuck or Buddy Love?


Romantic love and real friendship are as vital to the human soul as basic nutrition is to our bodies.

We spend our lives affecting and becoming infected not just by the many interpersonal relationships we initiate, develop and sustain, but also those that for various reasons we let slide into the immensity of no return. though we might notice an occassional mistake in judgement and adjust, sometimes it’s too late. it pays us to take careful heed of the precarious nature of love and friendship as we move through our lives if happiness is our ultimate goal..

Our hearts can somehow sense what is intrinsically good or bad in relationships despite conflicting advice sometimes being shouted at our inner-self by our rational mind; then it attempts to sublimely guide our actions, while our rational mind factors in real issues and pressures that are exerted from the outside world. our inner-self does the math and our conscience agenda is set.

With love the truth always eventually rises to the surface.

Love chooses us, not the other way around. it is somewhat preordained as to whom we are attracted to and those we find unsuitable and reject. sometimes, to our brains our heart’s choice doesn’t make good sense. at this stage of my life (53), when it comes to love, my heart rules over my brain in a close one.

But it wasn’t always that way, and in fact not for most of my life. our lives are lived in segments, which stitch together as one in the end. our loves lives can seem incongrous to us because of the inner battle between heart and mind can sometimes become unbalanced.

Youth is impetuous and idealistic; the perfect stage for a heart in firm control over the brain. young people are notorious for their poor decisions when it comes to love.

as we enter our 20’s the balance changes and so too do our needs and wants in a mate. as life gets tougher and our responsibilities grow, we begin to be more practical. our expectations in love relationships become more grounded as we project how love will look in the future instead of seeing only the immediate benefits of a love interest we weigh and project a forecast for the future. does it show promise of providing us an easier life(style)? more loving and secure family? is it a friendly partnership? physical attraction is still important but becoming less weighted.

here is also where the brain can trick us into thinking that love can be bought and sold like any commodity. our heart takes a back seat while the rational mind does most of the driving during these formative years. after all the brain counts the money, not the heart.

later on goals adjust again and the heart begins to demand attention once again. we see that true happiness IS a matter of the heart, a concept our brain would just as soon we had forgotten. if we’re too impulsive, we may make life altering decisions that we will regret later, when the mind regains it’s footing and begins to assert it’s valuable wisdom. like every thing else in life, a good balance is what we’re after.

and then again, sometimes we’re just lucky and we meet a special person that satisfies our brain and our heart equally, and as much as we satisfy theirs. that’s true love and it usually lasts.

so when you meet someone and begin to form a relationship with them be careful not to make rash judgements that you may regret later. keep in mind (and heart) who your true friends are likely to be later on. in life. Love can become friendship and vice-versa. i know because both have happened to me.

FAREWELL EVEROOSKY


 Man Up O’ shallow prisoner of the flame

leave us fat ogres and hot strippers

to wallow in your shame… and OUR bed.

A misery worth no less than a ticker tape parade… I guess.

Go dig up the varmints and find the crooks

whom you admire and slither with in the darkness

 Nothing less is deserved for your brand of ignorant enlightenment.

 But stay meek, for it is your only trump,

 Though it is low and face cards await your play.

In your heartless shadow there lurks a black queen who wants you to take her home.

So, use up your new friends like minutes on a pubescent’s phone

never waiting for when the time strikes a better value

For You Are A Prime Time User

Consume, inhale, imbibe and partaketh…

Always knowing there’s an Amscott on every corner

where you always attract lot’s of interest.

 You can keep your two faced women

where i’ll remind you that while it may look good on paper

In reality it seems there’s no monopoly on ugly… Oh well.

But you never stooped my roomie… for trash or garbage.

Content to leave it lay where your sleeping dogs lie

where for you lying has been elevated to a new art form

And you… the Salvadore Dali of the downtrodden

who very few can understand, and even fewer can appreciate.

Knowing your wonderfully fragile acid burnt out heart

your backstabber friends will patiently wait… for when the bottom falls out.

LIKE IT DID…TODAY

  I mean for you.

 

-30-