selected past writing at 42opus


The American Scholar by RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things. The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man on the farm. The tradesman scarcely ever gives an ideal worth to his work, but is ridden by the routine of his craft, and the soul is subject to dollars. The priest becomes a form; the attorney, a statute-book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship.

In this distribution of functions, the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking.

26 November 2008 | nonfiction, classic, essay, speech



Try a sweeter martini,

flakes of a little dry laugh.

2 September 2004 | poetry


If Chekhov Robbed a Bank by CHRISTOPHER BURAWA

He gets out, leaving the gun,

opens the back door. He slides the double-

bladed axe off the seat. This, he thinks, is

what happens when you put off business.

14 March 2005 | poetry



There's a moment in every dog's life

when it surrenders its dogginess

to a greater good…

28 December 2005 | poetry, elegy, editors' select


Conversion Blues by CHRIS PEXA

tell us about evening and about the bright

star tell us about the huge dark wall

where it is pinned so if no one is looking

the sky is really burning and tell me it is my eyes

that douse it all to soot, black branches

with one root in carbon and budding eternity.

15 January 2010 | poetry

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