City Sonnet

A million lives are packed in this city,
and each one struggles to be its own self:
the starving, rotund, ugly, and pretty --
the tailored and those who buy off-the-shelf.

And everyone fails, yet they all succeed
in being different, while being alike.
And they all heal, while they also all bleed,
and almost all would survive a first strike.

Everyone knows someone - just not neighbors.
They love to remain enigmatic at home,
while transparent with those who share labors --
though some want everyone to leave them alone.

A city is a strange place full of strangers,
and those who choose it thrive on its dangers.

DAILY PHOTO: Klotild & Matild Palaces

These twin buildings, seen from Ferenciek tere [Franciscan’s Square,] were built in 1902 and were commissioned by Princess Klotild [daughter-in-law of Archduke Joseph] and were designed by Floris Korb and Kalman Giergl. In the background are the Elisabeth Bridge [Erzsébet híd] and one spire of the Inner-City Our Lady of the Assumption Church [Budapest-Belvárosi Nagyboldogasszony Főplébánia-templom.]

Dragon-slayer or Drunkard? [Common Meter]

I see so many statues of
dragon-slayers mid-kill.
The winged serpents pierced by a lance
conjures up such a thrill.

But there're no dragons, never were.
So, what were they slaying.
Dinos went extinct before our time
is all that I'm saying.

So, were they killing geckos, or
maybe a rock lizard?
Maybe chickens, given the wings?
Struck right through the gizzard!

Could it be St. George liked to drink
or was tripping ergot?
To earn so many statues, he'd
a publicist, I bet.

"The dragons were metaphorical!"
OK, that's really swell,
but shouldn't George's heroism
be figurative as well?

BOOK REVIEW: Identity: A Very Short Introduction by Florian Coulmas

Identity: A Very Short IntroductionIdentity: A Very Short Introduction by Florian Coulmas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

This book explores the slippery metaphysical concept of identity — not only as it’s presented in philosophy, but also in psychology, law, politics, anthropology, and literature. It begins with individual identity and expands outward to encompass gender, political, socio-economic, and linguistic identities. The aforementioned slipperiness of identity stems from the fact that we all have an intuitive grasp of identity that could be leading us astray. It tends to make us believe that aspects of identity are inherent features of the universe, when – in fact – they may be arbitrary designations – in which case, a given criterion or classification of identity may be chopped up in different ways than a given culture happened to glom onto.

I learned a great deal from this Introduction, and feel it was well organized and presented. How we see various dimensions of group identity (as well as how we weight them) has a lot to do with our social tensions and strife, and the issues around identity are worth dissecting — despite the fact that it might seem like a dry academic topic at first blush.

If you’re interested in learning more about identity, selfhood, and how various group identities feature in an individual’s overall identity, this book is worth investigating.


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