Boîte aux lettres

He made his way up the steps slowly. By this point he was drunk; the sweat and humidity had reduced his shirt to a wet washcloth. After a considerable amount of effort, he managed to find his mailbox key and steal away into the alcove of the apartment building allotted for mailboxes. The night was alive with the cries and pleas of crickets, but he paid them no attention. His purpose was singular.

‘So long ago now. There’s no way. The way she looked in Galveston; the mayflies dancing where the red lines met the sea in glow. Prague, of all places. The postage would be expensive. She could have emailed me. She didn’t. It won’t be there.’ His thoughts were a maze and he was trapped in them.

The key slipped loosely into the lock — a lock too often abused in its dutiful service to this tenant and many tenants before. It was all the same to the key lock, all relative. It gazed upon him with cool indifference. With a faint click it acknowledged the keeper of its key, and yielded to the turning, unsteady, and uneven motion of his wrist. There in a yellowed envelope sat a letter — its neatness and perpendicular relationship to the sides of the mailbox suggested a postal employee with either immense pride in his labors or a manic attention to detail.

He ripped the letter open by prying his finger into the crevasse on the far right corner where an errant tongue had neglected the glue. His vision blurred, he read snippets of the letter and snippets of the snippets again. After an eternity entertaining the man’s pleading gazes, the letter’s essence revealed itself.

“Not coming back.”

The thin aluminum walls of the postal box clicked shut once more and the lock turned back over to its state of rest. There it remained long after the man crumpled the letter and walked away. There it would linger.

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Loading Docks

Wandering about late at night I came across these loading docks on the back of a strip mall nestled along Interstate 10 in San Antonio. The docks gave me a sense of loneliness – the good kind, of course. They sparked that sensation, which I can only describe as beginning at the backs of your knees, which I feel when I want to be alone with my thoughts. I thought of the men who will work these dimly lit cargo bays in the early morning and I thought of longshoremen cussin’ and cowhands whoopin’, as Woody Guthrie was fond of saying. It is in this lonely solitude that we are, perhaps, most ourselves. Such a possibility encourages one to keep good company, lest that outcome prove to be torture. Image

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Rest

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Bexar County Courthouse

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There is a building in the old county of Bexar, just on the other side of the square from San Fernando Cathedral, wearing a great bee hive for a crown. It’s old limestone walls look out into the market square, where Santa Anna’s great army made ready the machinery of war against the Alamo. Built to do justice, this old temple of the law has brewed Texas’ special recipe of the term for both good and ill.

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July 18, 2012 · 12:25 am

A walking spring day/The sun cuts starkly like a knife/And glows with hunger.

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Sexual Politics

The homosexual movement won a critical victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. As this timely issue marches its way to the United States Supreme Court, the hour is meet for a serious consideration of what victory in this area of civil liberties truly means.

Before we delve further, allow me to enumerate what this post does not purport to do. It is not a commentary on the ethics of sexual liberation or alternative sexual lifestyles. That’s a topic for another blog in another corner of the philosophy department. This post only endeavors to examine the impacts, positive and negative, of the homosexual rights movement on the individual freedom of human beings.

The law of equal protection looks at people in terms of “classes.” The entire body of equal protection law, from The Slaughter House Cases and the induction of the 14th Amendment to the present day seeks to foster the growth of a racially, ethnically, and sexually blind society through the creation of distinctions. Often these distinctions find their basis in immutable characteristics. Sometimes not. Whether homosexuality falls into the “immutable” category has been one of the hottest points of contention in the long battle towards sexual equality. See Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, 636 (1996) (Scalia, J. dissenting) (“The Court has mistaken a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite. The constitutional amendment before us here is not the manifestation of a “ ‘bare … desire to harm’ ” homosexuals . . . but is rather a modest attempt by seemingly tolerant Coloradans to preserve traditional sexual mores against the efforts of a politically powerful minority to revise those mores through use of the laws.”).

In part to better fit within the equal protection lexicon, the homosexuality movement has clung to the scientific evidence tending to suggest a genetic predisposition to a sexual orientation. There is no reason to dispute this evidence. Nevertheless, it is somewhat of a sacrifice to rest on the laurels of predisposition in order to obtain freedoms rightfully the province of all the human race. The gay marriage issue has been, for the majority interests in this dialectic, an exercise of power. The power to exclude and the power to discriminate. The power of the “moral high ground”. These structures seek to oppress those culturally unlike themselves — an age old human fascination. But ultimately, and most abhorrently in the mind of this Author, the present legal and social structure seeks to suppress legal (although possibly malum prohibitum) personal choices. True democracy is made of sterner stuff.

In Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, he argues that a man is not a homosexual the same way that he is red-headed or African American. He may have a genetic predisposition towards a certain class of sexual behaviors, but he still has free will, and thus the ability to act in a near infinite number of ways. The entire endeavor to categorize human beings into sexual categories has a dehumanizing effect – every single one of our gay and straight brothers and sisters are so much more than their sexual proclivity. It attempts to invalidate our choices. A human being’s choices should concentrate on the ethics of the choice, the well reasoned choice. They should not, save in those instances most crucial to human interaction — laws against murder, rape, etc. — become packaged into categories and shelved under the appropriate legislative heading.

I extend my congratulations to the attorneys, parties, and persons benefitting from the Ninth Circuit’s Ruling. As things progress, remember the costs of this small liberty. You may gain the right to marry, but at the expense of being appropriated into a category, sapped of individuality. The task of future court battles and future discussions is to direct the discourse away from such insidious ends.

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