to a better place

He wondered if he could enter hospice care without a terminal illness, and how long before they'd notice he hadn’t died.


future perfect

We improve by moving morally ahead, and by avoiding the retrospective trap of trying to correct the past.


wisdom is

Wisdom is the habit of saying, “I think…” rather than stating, “I know…”


easy prey

It’s the compassionate and humane ones that are often fallen on by predatory woke-cancel mad dogs. The real prey is too hard for them to take down.


unable to solve

Each of us is an insoluble equation primarily because there was one or more errors in writing down its terms.


clearer present danger

We worry about AI’s dangers while we still have nuclear weapons in the world.


two kinds of edge

Impossible to tell from this distance whether it’s the horizon or the edge of an abyss—we’ll have to get closer as fate requires.


escape species

According to capitalism, he would be classified as an ‘escape species’.


dancing just the same

Standing in one place without moving for a long time is also dancing.


go round

Life may not have meaning but let's go round just the same and see what happens.


small talk only

At a certain point, he realized, sadly, that he couldn’t speak at length with most people.


trail to follow

This is the test? I’ll just answer the first ten questions perfectly, and they can figure out the rest.


things are you

Things don’t need to justify their reality and existence. It is only by things that you exist. They define you: by them you are you.


family ties

A king is a dictator with a pedigree.


two or more equals ethics

There is no need for ethics until two people (or more) inhabit the same place.


how things work

Many will see a problem, fewer will be able to describe and adequately explain the problem, fewer still will be able to propose workable solutions, and very few will have the will to act, to effectuate a solution.


literal litter

Litter is a kind of symbolic language, telling one about the life and times of a society. I’ve noticed the new litter features many discarded face masks.


where worth is found

How could anyone value a tiara over the brief beauty of a roadside flower?


o my flag

Another patriot flagellating himself with the flag.


nothing after this

Try not to die disappointed in the world.


Sam Francis' Aphorisms

This is a selection from a small book by the artist Sam Francis called APHORISMS. The entries tilt more toward short poetry (with line breaks) or perhaps being composed as back-of-an-envelope jottings on art/aesthetics, rather than ‘aphorisms’ as we tend to think of them:

The eye is
the light
of the body


Death has
no surface
only depth


I paint time
I am ruin rolled
I am rolled


Color is born
of the interpenetration
of light and dark


Color is a series
of harmonies
everywhere in
the universe
being divine
whole numbers
lasting forever
adrift in time


Red contains every color
even red

all colors in this
painting consist of

all other colors


The space at
the center
of these paintings
is reserved
for you


There are as many images
as eyes to see


As you know
energy can have
never begun
and yet is
taken up
again and
again and
lasts forever
and forever
until it is
taken up


We are always at the center of space
we are always at the center of time
we are always as far
as possible from both
east and west
we are always as far as possible from earlier
and later

—Sam Francis, APHORISMS (The Lapis Press, 1984)


room at the top of the control tower

Since we know of no other vessel for the soul, it must be housed in that room of the body called the braincase.


escape thoughts

The great thoughts you have lost for not being in a condition to record them.


utopian dope

I distrust utopian thinkers. Especially prescriptive utopian thinkers like Marx.


environmental damage

Why do car companies like to show SUVs and trucks tearing through wild landscapes while the voiceover intones about connecting with nature?


two kinds of us

There are two kinds of people in the modern world, those who are still soul-making, and those who are lulled by capitalist delights and entertainments.


don't ask

Unconditional love is not without risk, but only a mafioso would ask for unconditional loyalty.


importance of the polis

When someone lives in London, we don’t say he lives in England. A person is from Paris, not France. Certain cities earn their status as city-states.


pirate by another name

Am I the only one who hears the word ‘pirate’ in privatization? Of course ‘privateers’ were only government-sanctioned pirates.


garden guardians

They want to live in nature but they'd kill anything that would attack their gardens.


no blinders

Let me never be the kind of horse that doesn’t rear up against the blinders of faith.


slowly along

Meander me slowly, along the river of my mindscape.


beat about the head

The binaries were boxing my ears again.


sturdy enough

Find a few facts you can stack and then stand upon without fear of collapse.


city planning

For so many cities, was it urban renewal or was it the urban ruined?


vain and vital

Vanity is a vital force. You know you’re getting old when you feel your vanity begin to fade.


ancient ache

All the pain of history hurts us still.


all in

All in on the here and now, he’d spit out the spiritual long ago.


a fire too far

Always chasing after what was hot, and ending up with ashes in her eyelashes.


where the reward

The reward is in life itself: to live by kindness and with goodwill among other human beings inhabiting the planet.