All posts by Matias Masucci

Theodore Roosevelt and Our Economy

Written over a century ago, these observations by Theodore Roosevelt deal with the relation between education and economy.  They furnish a partial explanation for the widening gap between economic classes in today’s society.  I hope you find them as insightful as I did.

The teaching which I received was genuinely democratic in one way. It was not so democratic in another. I grew into manhood thoroughly imbued with the feeling that a man must be respected for what he made of himself. But I had also, consciously or unconsciously, been taught that socially and industrially pretty much the whole duty of the man lay in thus making the best of himself; that he should be honest in his dealings with others and charitable in the old-fashioned way to the unfortunate; but that it was no part of his business to join with others in trying to make things better for the many by curbing the abnormal and excessive development of individualism in a few. Now I do not mean that this training was by any means all bad. On the contrary, the insistence upon individual responsibility was, and is, and always will be, a prime necessity. Teaching of the kind I absorbed from both my text-books and my surroundings is a healthy anti-scorbutic to the sentimentality which by complacently excusing the individual for all his shortcomings would finally hopelessly weaken the spring of moral purpose. It also keeps alive that virile vigor for the lack of which in the average individual no possible perfection of law or of community action can ever atone. But such teaching, if not corrected by other teaching, means acquiescence in a riot of lawless business individualism which would be quite as destructive to real civilization as the lawless military individualism of the Dark Ages. I left college and entered the big world owing more than I can express to the training I had received, especially in my own home; but with much else also to learn if I were to become really fitted to do my part in the work that lay ahead for the generation of Americans to which I belonged.

(Original source: Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography by Theodore Roosevelt)

Take Two

Practical nonsense is the art of saving my life from ordinary detection.

Practice invisibility and start the first two with the same seven letters.

No one writes them anymore and yet we use them all the time.
Who is we? Me plus the imaginary monster at the scene of the crime.

Get everything you came here for. We are all cheering for you.
Thank you, I’ll waste the chances all by myself.

Apologies are in order for who I was and for who I am.
Victim of my own element of surprise.

There are too many alwayses in what I write.
Look, a rhyme.

Paragraph new and things look brighter.
Dinner is ready and steady and nice. Zeitgeist.

Fresh start. Political indoctrination, screens, figures and stage.
The conspirator always rings twice.

Organizing The Steady Stream of Voices in My Head

Chapter One: Manhattan.

I see a bridge in black and white
A voice saying something about New York
Enough Woodie!
This doesn’t interest me anymore.

There’s a black woman
I know her name but I won’t tell you
She’s my last connection to a world full of rudeness,
at least that’s how she remembers it.
A world of shoes I didn’t like,
full of good people too afraid to be bad.
This world wasn’t made for you my friend.
You’ll never live up to the expectations
you are decent and that’s your sin.
She came in and out of that world wanting a piece of it,
She finally got it.
She’s dead now but still breathing.

The guru says, stop thinking.
But it won’t stop.
Get out of your head, is the master’s advice
But I’ve got no place else to go.
It’s the curse of the outsider,
you get to witness but you don’t get to join.

There’s something broken inside my chest.
It hurts when its unjust.

I see a man with a hat and dying skin,
with a scarf and this space for rent.
A poet and his friend plays the violin.
Two girls, they look-alike.
They love him and his friend owes me.
It hurts.

Organizing thoughts is no easy task.
Playing for no reward would be nice,
but I already see the room and the microphone and the tongues sliding across my neck.

Someone is bound to pity
the pretty boy who could not understand.

Jack’s World

Jack had a secret, something he had never told anyone. Ever since he could remember he fantasized about killing anyone he met. As a child he had assumed everyone was spending their time plotting means for the extermination of their fellow human beings. The planning started out very simple, a brick over the head, a knife in the back, but over time it became more and more complex and the culprit always remained undetected.

When Jack was old enough to realize others didn’t share his inclinations toward premeditated murder he did all he could to modify his way of thinking. As a young boy, he established what he aptly named ‘a course of purification’ through a series of mental exercises that ultimately proved futile. The more he tried and the more gruesome were the fates of his victims. Unable to eradicate the evil, he learned to coexist with his mental habit vowing to never let another soul discover it.

A few schoolyard confrontations had proven to him beyond a doubt that he was a coward. After getting past the initial shame he welcomed this discovery that would most likely prevent him from ever acting upon his secret impulses. From then on he busied himself in becoming the man his cowardly ancestors would have wanted him to be, an invisible man.

Continue reading Jack’s World

Hello World

“It pours out of you like a torrent.”
“What does?”
“The work!”

Michael moves up to the window. The fog crept slowly over the hills leaving the trees exposed to the last remaining sunlight.

“Do you see that?”

John turns his face away.

“You’ll never see it if you don’t look.”
“There’s nothing to see.”
“Yes there is.”
“The world! The whole wide world is out there.”

Continue reading Hello World