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Monday, December 5, 2016

A Dark Cavern




a dark cavern
just behind me
just behind you
one voice away
from your present thought

what tremor
what shaking
sharply turning

nearly at your moment
not quite holding all your echoes
your dreams
your memories
your fears

it is solid
a mass of vertical rock
rising skyward
without a top
then it is a liquid abyss
plunging down
without a bottom
deeper than the ocean

oh mountain abyss!
are you just the Gods
standing around us?


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Redux for Nicole





The muse is his in minutes,
so a king faced a line, a bridge
I threw a thread,
a poem of rope, strong,
We pulled that thread along.

Getting ready to bless up
Sing of one love!
El of E, you and sea,
on D, eyes an' all
Muse I see all vibes.
ee oh, ee oh,
no good poor city jails.

Blues, unconditional music.
Positive goal minutes soaking
face past days past souls
a Reggae album so blessed oh . . .
an internally strong confident mountain.

A serendipitous foreshadow,
of love, on the mountain.
Getting arrangements tighter
Raspberry heart vibrations,
Seen on the floor of the forest.

Closed City




I live in a closed city,
far from warmth
far from voices heard only
on summer Saturdays.

Without buses or trains
there was a checkpoint
when finally we came
to our place on a map.

With four colors,
oh but the numbing choices of good things
to eat
assaulted our notions
of truth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Thought of the Day - Fear




Those that have neglected democracy now fear what might replace it. It's difficult to say muster up, get a life. But the fear is what leads to something truly terrible.

Fear replaces neglect.

The US government is not moral at any level of relationship, not in the Middle East, not in race relations, or taxes etc, pick any topic. However, in all fairness it is not logical or just to look for moral behavior from an institution. It's difficult to insist, when we export so much injustice globally, that we'll elect leaders who are just in character. Eventually all will resemble the despotic empire they're in charge of.

Here's where I become Buddhist. The desire to survive indefinitely is what motivates all this fear. Nothing lives for ever, the planet, the solar system, the USA least of all. A large asteroid will almost certainly hit Earth within the next 1000-25000 years and cause a mass extinction. History shows these events to be quite regular. So why sweat it?

Most are blind to what will hurt them the most. America has never had a true despot in charge. Not yet. But it could happen. And it could be in my opinion, either of the two current candidates for president.

And yes, climate change might lead to global starvation or world war, or genocide on a massive scale to reduce demands on a fragile environment. It's too difficult to try and predict what will happen exactly. Be moral, but be at peace. That's the hardest thing. Do your work, then do your best.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thought of the Day - Election Year




The rituals of election year, more than Christmas, Hanukah, Easter, or any religious holiday, reminds us the world is organized by belief systems, fundamental to our existence, and that without them, we're challenged and alone. Even science has boundaries of what is known, and what is believed. And yet, the agony of finding new leaders, puts us through a process of questioning that very stratum, so we at times, forget who we are. Ancient Celtic myth celebrated this loss of self, with regicide, the ritual execution of one king in preparation for the next. [Graves] The king in Jungian psychology, represents the self. To discover who we are, we must first eliminate who we think we are, and that is painful.

Thought of the Day - Bernie Undid It



About now about all just about everyone is tired of conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton.

Yes the forces that decided to install Hillary in Washington are mammoth. Presidential elections are huge events, dramas played before the American people. Lovable souls like President and Mrs. Obama give moving speeches. Bernie Sanders gives a moving speech.

But Bernie's candidacy evaporated mysteriously even before the convention started, like a drop of soda water in a vast desert. That's a warning light.

Let's back up and examine Sanders' behavior in Philly. I'm forced to agree with Chris Hedges that Bernie blinked.. Bernie held and missed a golden opportunity, one that any politician seeking election, would have used. He never once spoke into a microphone about the WikiLeaks emails. He had the high ground, but refused to take it. And throughout his campaign he refused to criticize Hillary for her actions and choices.

The answer I've offered myself for this is that he's a gentleman, and could never attack the character of another. I've written it's not in his DNA.

The overwhelming answer from most Americans is that he was towing the line. He had lost, so why defeat the only Democratic candidate left standing. He was behaving as any good Democrat should.

And the vast story gobbled by so many Americans is that we must vote Clinton to prevent Donald Trump from being elected.

But suppose, Bernie never wanted to run for President at all, but was simply asked early on to to help the first woman get elected, by mounting a progressive candidacy for a short while.

He did so, but as the mess around the email scandals thickened he was asked to keep it up. Advance his platform.

'Ignite the passion of the left around your platform. Some of the things you say may be included in hers. It's helping your party. You'll become better known. Your beliefs will have a huge audience.'

This is conjecture, a theory only. If it is true it doesn't implicate Bernie Sanders in the slightest, only means that he entered the race for the Presidency with a specific objective. What other facts are there that could support this?

For one thing Bernie's political affiliation: Bernie was a registered independent from 1979 until 2015, for 36 years, but in November of 2015 he suddenly registered as a Democrat. In May of 2016 he announced his candidacy for the presidency.

At best this is circumstantial. But membership in the Democratic party would have been necessary to run against Hillary, to then be able to turn his support base over to her.

Was there ever a history of Sanders campaigning for a Democratic candidate? Yes.

Prior to 1979 Sanders was a member of the very left wing Liberty Union Party, Liberty Union co-founder Peter Diamondstone claimed Sanders "became a full-time Democrat", in spirit, when in 1984, when he campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale.

We are left with questions:

Why did Bernie, an independent for nearly 35 years, so abruptly change his Party affiliation?

Why did Bernie abandon his followers, especially after they walked out of the convention in Philly.

And why do his supporters continue to believe in his candidacy, despite his self-debasement when success seemed so near?

History always shows that dreams sell better than reality. Elections are powered by a need to believe.

It's the hardest thing, not believing. For cynics life is hard, not believing in the Obama love-fest is difficult when contrary evidence exists of terror brought on by Obama's relentless drone campaigns. You believe in a person, or a party, or a nation, until something shatters that belief. Finding a replacement may be impossible. Belief is a cursed willingness to explore and find the thing that will upset your world order.

Beginning to believe that Bernie never had an intention to run his candidacy until the last possible moment was hard thought to absorb. But the facts were there, he did not persist. He stayed inside the Wells Fargo Center, rather than go outside to rally his supporters. He gave up early. He refused to do the things that could have shot him ahead in the polls and instead attempted to move his support base all at once to Hillary Clinton.

The campaign advisors to Clinton have known for years, she is not particularly electable.

Two essential factors were needed to complete her campaign. A way to deliver the left, the environmental and youth vote, since Hillary's politics couldn't by any reckoning be considered left wing or environmentally friendly. Another need was a way to frighten GOP voters and Clinton skeptics towards her camp. The fear vote.

I believe the answer to that first problem was Bernie Sanders. The second, was Donald Trump.

But three unexpected things occurred which endangered this strategy:

First, the climate started to change, rapidly. Temperatures recorded around the globe this past winter frightened even the scientists who studied global warming. Panic about the environment combined with Hillary's record on fracking began to erode her base of support.

Two, no one could have predicted the success of Donald Trump's venal verbalizations and bigoted remarks about women, transgenders, Mexicans, Muslims, blacks and just about everyone else. No one imagined such rhetoric would obtain the following it did.

Three, and that is the focus of this essay, I contend Bernie never wanted to become President. He wanted to see Hillary in office, and strengthen the support for his back office Senatorship representing the remnants of the true left. Bernie himself never thought he'd recieve the following he did.

And so, operating as Bernie, he used his new platform to strengthen his position within the drafting apparatus of the democratic party. Bernie has always been true to his ideas. He tried to deflect talk about White House plans, and instead prepared his followers for a withdrawal, like Christ at Gethsesame, the man was beginning to depart from the faithful. I will leave you.

At the convention Bernie embraced with a monumental speech all of the things he did not stand for, to support a candidate in moral purgatory. His followers booed him and walked out. How this must have hurt. Why didn't he go outside to address them there? Were his loyalties inside the Wells Fargo Center. Some must have been. He may have been hiding an agreement made a year ago, when he registered as a democrat in order to help the first woman make it into the presidency. I took him at his word when he said, and has repeated a thousand times, "I never imagined we would come this far."

To preserve Bernie as an honorable man, we know he imagined his bid for the Presidency would never achieve more than 5 or 10% of the vote. He was accustomed to being unpopular in Congress. of being too left wing for anyone to back seriously He assumed it would be an easy matter to bow out. So why not help Clinton get into office? He and his handlers never imagined that the 'radical socialist', as he was unfairly labelled by the Clinton right, would claim so many hearts and minds.

Establishment planners think big, planning out every possible outcome, that is the hallmark of election strategists. Establishment donors cannot afford the risk of an uncertain outcome. We've watched consent manufactured during many prior elections. We've seen 9/11 as a means of disemboweling Constitutional rights, and we've seen the Supreme Court used at the last minute to put a President in power. Each of these steps were rituals that were intimately rehearsed. The players went into action at top speed. Plans were in place.

Is it then too incredible to wonder if Bernie was asked to run, and then to withdraw, in order to cast support for the first woman president?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thought of the Day - Loss sets in - or does it?




Bernie Sanders' 'loss' at the Democratic National Convention has sunk in.

The 'New Republic' has run an article of questionable source, entitled: "Give Bernie’s Distraught Supporters a Break - The media is treating them like weirdos, but they're responding to Sanders's loss like ordinary human beings."

I ask this - whenever did it become dishonorable, or devastating to have one's candidate lose? Life goes on. As in any event with competitors, athletic, economic, or political, there can only be one winner. But being a contender does count for a great deal.

This election year more than ever, seems to be the one when citizens of the country are groping to be on the side of a winner, and seem in denial of various sorts when it appears that winning can't happen or is in jeopardy.

Yes Bernie Sanders has 'lost'. Not by fair means, not by democratic means in my opinion. Dirty tricks we know are part of politics, and have been since the beginning of time. I sure am over that. But I'm not sure that the supporters of Hillary Clinton are there yet. There remains a distinct possibility that she'll lose also.

While I've been saying all along this isn't likely, after all she has every force of government and capitalism behind her candidacy, it's evident, that since the first revelations about her breaking the law with her private email server and confidential documents, then having that crime verified by the Director of the FBI, and lately, having corrupted the Democratic Party to her own ends, these 'revelations' places her candidacy in a bit of a predicament.

GOP knives are out and being sharpened to a deadly edge. Rudy Giuliani is looking forward to being the prosecutor in charge. It's becoming more and more evident that politics in America is not taking 'no' for an answer. The cultures of two systems, neo-liberalism versus conservatism, has produced two hate-infused competing groups who want nothing short of blood from the other. And yet, line by line, their candidates are more similar than different. In fact, policy in America has not deviated wildly with swings from GOP to DNC since WWII. If anything, modern history has been a continuum, with presidents doing more or less the same things as their predecessors, regardless of party.

Bernie clearly was an outlier, a departure from the two very same old same old party choices that Americans have had for years. It's not surprising that he was defeated when you consider the forces arrayed against him.

Despite their similarity all the two major parties want is blood and payback. Along comes Donald Trump, who has broken a mold. He now verbalizes what we know that many past US Presidents thought, but kept to themselves. Woodrow Wilson, wrote of the 'great KKK', Bill Clinton made remarks suggesting that the motivation for his Clinton Crime bill was that blacks were 'animals'.  By in large our white male presidents, even the ones that were excessively bigoted, kept their bigotry to themselves.

But Trump broke that code of rulers, the unspoken but widely known secret that this is how many US leaders think. I said it's 'as if' because the ire for Trump, and the fear surrounding his candidacy approach the apocryphal. Let's examine his statements. He is not the first president to have considered a wall. He is not the first president to single out a group of nationals for imprisonment or deportation or religious beliefs for national prosecution. If you doubt this I'm glad to cite instances, many in fact. Everything that Trump says he'll do, though it strikes terror into the hearts of sane Americans, he shouts loudly and without taste, the same sins that many previous American Presidents and Americans citizens are guilty of.

It is as if in Donald Trump we have found a repugnant and all encompassing reminder of everything that's un-American. The opposite of fair, or loving, or just.

I'm not taking Trump's candidacy lightly. It will be an extreme challenge for our country if he's elected. But he will be marginalized, if by nothing else, by the very style of uninformed bigotry that casts whomever he talks to into the same despised role. He will not get his way, in Congress, or the Senate, or the courts, or at the state and local level. Though he will push our republic to the breaking point, it may be the best in America will come forth. The military may ignore his commands. He might be stripped by Congress to a know-nothing can-do nothing president and may ultimately be forced to defer to a manager with better sense.

His competitor Hillary Clinton, appears will not go down without a fight. But those voters who have defended her loyally to this point, are having a hard time justifying their stand behind someone who is so flagrantly dishonest and disrespectful of their support. The Trump loudmouth has forced a distasteful examination of DNC hidden secrets. The veils obscuring Hillary's loyalties are being stripped off in slow motion, like the unwrapping of a demoness in a Hindu myth. Hillary backers simply do not want to believe the 'dirt' surrounding her candidacy, even dirt that has truth or merit.

Which brings us back to Bernie, and the great disappointment his candidacy has become. He had a huge opportunity to hold Clinton's feet to the fire but didn't. He blinked. It may be for a strategy that in the end has equal merit, however in this moment to moment climate of dog-eat dog politics, he couldn't bring himself to put the knife in when he had the chance. Gentlemen always lose under such circumstances.

In my opinion Bernie lost the moment, the moment to make a stand and lead his followers towards a new third party. He may, and I only say may, have made a correct assessment, that his role could do no good except as gadfly to an otherwise corrupt administration that was going to get elected anyways.

Last of all to Bernie's followers who are headless, staggering about Philadelphia, and wondering what their master's strategy is or could be at such a moment, I'll repeat what Bernie himself said: "You'll need to find other masters. You'll need to go into politics yourselves." I've always told my friends here on FaceBook. "Don't try to game the system. Vote your conscience, even if you know you will lose. A vote executed any other way is simply not a vote, it's a shill."

Thought - Glue for a Democracy




The phenomena of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks may be explained as this: If honesty and truthful reporting cannot be obtained by the people from the media or the people's own government (Remember the words "of the people, by the people for the people") by operating within the framework of the law, then it shall be obtained from OUTSIDE the legal framework, which legally is no longer law.

America has more illegal procedures and laws in place today than at any time in history. Civil disobedience, and reporting facts about illegal activities is a constitutional right of all Americans.

But Assange is not American you say! Not by citizenship no, but by behavior he's 100x the American of either Trump or Clinton. He stands for what America used to be, and is helping to defend the rights of Americans.

He understands what holds a free democracy together. And whether you think he should be prosecuted or not, that glue cannot be LIES.

Thought for the Day - Pluto Carta




The irony of this election, is that the 1% are missing the greatest investment opportunity of a lifetime, by backing a candidate who stands for earth destruction, for ancient technology, and for a destructive defense industry.

Where will America's economy go if we destroy markets overseas with war? Where will workers come from if they are home sick dying from polluted water and cancer? Where will managers and executives, healthcare workers, doctors and engineers come from if we make education unaffordable? Where will crops come from if our farmlands are scorched to desert by global warming?

America needs progressive billionaires to step forward and form a pact to take this country forward. We need your wealth put into forward thinking economies that will build a rich earth with rich markets.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Love's Flower



I love such synchronicities,
They demonstrate love's power.
And prove we're just a bunch of bees,
Buzzing around love's flower.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dirty Processes




Oh to move our dirty processes,
to the moon or Mars or somewhere far from us,
And there mine gasses like Helium-three,
to supply our Earth with energy that's free.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Brexit




Would a re-referendum, put an end to the conundrum,
. . . of angry old Britons who claim,
That Sneferu was dumb when he said, "Khufu my son:
. . . Building bigger won't save you from pain."

The Scotch with their golf, can't add much to solve,
. . . this battle of old versus young.
"We're sold into slavery by racism and knavery -
. . . chattel of the British Union."

"Dramas of the past, today are recast,
. . . in matters of wit and good humor.
The plagues of the hour will not make us sour,
. . . if we keep stiff upper lips in amusement.

"The seeds of today are still on display,
. . . in bits of TV that are sinister.
Perhaps to redirect it, I mean the decision to go Brexit,
. . . I'm rerunning scenes from 'Yes Minister'."







Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Song of Paul - Octopus vulgaris





After the World Cup, our bandit curled up,
     perched atop his strand of pink coral.
Of all life on the reef, he stood tall in relief,
    Of course that octopus was Paul.

Perhaps an alien inhabited the head,
     the brain of an octopus on the lam.
Monoped shellfish claim these are mollusky hellfish,
     Scamming World Cups, for dinners of clams.

Around a tank stood, beer lovers from the hood,
    a TV in the bar was playing.
They all knew it was Paul, that sage of football,
   Who swam in that seawater aquarium.

Paul swung a long arm, and sucked up a song:
     "They've upgraded my lodgings since winning.
Much money's been made by visitors who've paid,
      Respects to my soccer ball singing.

"The vuvuzela song was a wave that's long gone,
       Faith in Aristotle mistaken
Cause and effect, if my physics is correct,
       Is the reason Germany got shaken.
     
"Uruguay will rust, Holland drowned by Spanish dust",
     the sage old octopus chimed.
"In my professional life, a bookmaker on ice,
     I never complained, or once whined.

"Life at behest of my barkeeper's jest,
   That his clients would lose to a pet.
Such was my karma, to excel at the dharma,
   Betting what's soft and what's wet.

"I constructed a temple, thank God I'm kept single,
     They granted me a bit more space.
I can straighten one tentacle while scraping off barnacles,
     from the walls of this glass carapace.

"Some short time ago - oceanic time is so slow,
     I cemented my cephalopoid fame.
I picked eleven winners, in return for my dinner
     And surpassed all fauna in name.

"You might say the internet, broadcast my dinner bet,
    And affected the outcome I'd agree.
My achievements were mortal, all for some morsels,
    Of clams that died for my creed.

"I'd could spin you tall tales, of sea monsters and whales,
    told by the lore of the sea.
The list of my heroes, is long although feral,
    Indulge while I sing to you three."

Three brunettes had just sauntered, towards the tank that Paul haunted,
     perched atop a pink coral remnant.
"How exquisitely formed!" one exclaimed so absorbed.
     "With eyes and brains, he's clearly brilliant!"

Paul overheard, so blushed pink at her words:
     "I practice the art of deep learning . . .
I'm glad you took notice, of my feats as a novice,
     when I selected the eight teams with discerning."

The beauty inferred, 'By what method, by what word?
     The thoughts this creature is sharing!
He knows how to entrain, his ideas towards my brain,
     'And so bridges our language barrier!'

"I broadcast my thoughts, via neural onslaughts
     radio waves so tuned to your brain.
That when you stand near me, I swear you can hear me,
     The tales I'm about to entrain . . .

"I'll enlighten you a bit, as you pull up to sip,
     that beer you just got at the bar.
Beauties listen closely, as I spell out a bit grossly,
     how we cephalopods have gotten thus far . . .

"The history of AI, is nothing to my . . .
     ability to boot up quickly.
Any subject you choose I'll learn and you'll lose,
  It's a matter of octal programming.

"Nerves will learn better, in an environment that is wetter,
     I soaked up what was taught at the Center.
A squid whispered tips on a technique to read lips,
    Ecologists became my close mentors.

"The news of the Times, does no justice to brine,
     the citizens of the sea are exploited.
Editors at the Post will have to play host,
     To denizens of the deep re-anointed.

"On the phone through the glass, from TV and in class,
     they speak of my neural network.
But none can surpass, the reality of that task,
     seven victories at prophetic bet-work,
   
"English is no trick - Octopus makes you sick,
     You haven't the stomach to watch it.
It's a light show of tentacles - not one limb writes identical,
      No one'll unravel our Gorgon logic.

"Back in the day, before evolution held sway,
     there was an early innovation of sex.
The birth of the mollusks, 'whatever' said Wallace,
     had Darwin most throughly perplexed.

"With my hectocotylus - think penis or think stylus -
     I write verse for the octopus nation.
This limb number three, I could offer to thee,
     then grow another by self-generation.

"A professor last week - I overheard him in speech,"
     joked Paul,  "said we're born of an alien race.
It doesn't make sense, our genome's so immense,
     Our proteins contend for first place.

"Of cephalopod suckers - think kisses that pucker -
     two-thousand does seem like a lot.
After counting eight limbs, it seems more like a sin,
     To have science so tied in a knot.

"Before I commence mumbling, about amorous tumbling,
     I'll get on with my tales in cadence.
I promised thee three, about the life in the sea,
     then take it a bit more X-rated."

"To remain in the sea - we're not plain but we're tasty,
   seems contrary to becoming archival.
Before I recount, let me divulge from my mount,
    the art of cephalopod survival.

"As a species we're fed, from birth by the web,
     On knowledge of the sea that surround us.
We gather the facts, and use them to match hats,
    That masterfully do camouflage us.

"Our eyes surmise texture, and analyze the deep structure,
    Of coral and anemone blossoms.
We pinch up our surfaces, to rhyme like these verses,
   With the flora and fauna on the bottom.

"In brains versus brawn, octopi have outrun,
    All reptiles, mammals and fishes,
Cephalopod three-hundred, like Spartans outnumbered,
     some have unfortunately gone missing.

"An Aussie-ringed cousin, once learned to use poison,
     as a chemical line of defense.
A tidal pool dweller, with azure markings so stellar,
    Spelled 'don't touch' to the birds that had sense.

"Another technique, for eight legs on the slink,
     is an cloud of melanin that stings,
It balances the equation, to jet away in evasion,
     in hopes that a predator rethinks.

"We've given up hard homes, we never had bones,
     Our children trade up what they find.
An old cousin's shell, or a junk sandbox pail,
     Will house them just perfectly fine.

"When octopeds get large, they needn't go forage,
     when wandering out on safari.
They sit in disguise, with photo luminescent dyes,
     our delectable flesh calamari.

"Once set up on top, of a coral outcrop,
     Color and texture to match.
When along swims some dinner, there's an octopus winner,
     and a crab to go up the hatch.

"Like humans we're soft, though not nearly so daft,
     As warriors we employ Musashi's strategy.
We reach out and tap, a shrimp on its back,
     So it swims right into our cavity.

"'Midst sharks and barracudas, in the dark sit like Buddha -
     in brains we're highly invested.
We co-ordinate eight arms, to avoid violence and harm -
     Our cerebellums have thoroughly been tested.

"On this topic of brains, let me now entertain,
     a mollusky tale of collusion.
How one octopus scholar, untwisted the top on a jar,
     and then threw his lab in confusion.

"After doctors went home, this octopus would roam,
     invading tanks with profusion.
He swallowed snails, the fish in their pails,
     then retreated to conceal his intrusion.

"He pulled shut his cover, when night missions were over,
     then watched the blame-game begin.
'Who stole from our lab? Who robbed all the crabs?'
     The PhD's were dismayed to their kin.

"A question was suggested, by lab tech who whispered,
     'Perhaps it's an eight-armed felon.'
But how could this morsel, of jelly corpuscles,
     navigate a dry floor with such talent?

"In an octopus escape, one becomes thin as a crepe,
    There isn't a void we can't wiggle free.
Cephalopod prisoners like Marseillaise safe-pickers,
    learn to pick locks with a paperclip key.

"He lowered himself down, suckers wound-round,
     the legs of tables and furniture.
Filling his mantle, with seawater he made gentle,
     his crawl across the dry tile desert.

"He squirted a puddle, across which he scuttled,
     then climbed each aquarium in turn.
Raiding the mollusks, he dined them in solace,
     and by dawn returned to his berm.

"Back to our story, I hope you won't worry,
    that our hero dried up on a rug.
Not at all, I enthrall, with a tale that's not tall,
  How this Octopus vulgaris got caught.

"The simplest of brains, displays intelligence in spades,
     the complex of Mensa chosen.
Survival on the reef is not easily achieved,
     with defenses of speed, ink or poison.

"We octopi hide with genius inside,
     Camouflage is better than evasion.
Sun Tzu's strategy of war, is indeed at our core,
     Passed to the next octopoid generation.

"And now that your here, I'll play to your ears,
    And explain how we octopi do it.
No need for protection from this x-rated section,
    Deep down you already knew it.

"Using eight arms gives a lover great charms;
     We males use an arm . . . as a penis.
It's not even bony, nor a fossil that's stony,
     Ideal for the octopus Venus.

The Colossus of Rhodes wasn't embarrassed to show,
    the rock that made him a God.
His statues on Delos, most definitely do tell us,
   of the thing that's so shaped like a rod.

Unlike a codfish, the cephalopod wishes
     To give a baculum's to his octopus Eve.
The tradition's to donate, a piece of his stone age,
    That rises from his tentacled weave.

"We'll often be urged, when out on a splurge,
     Take it off to donate as a flower!
She takes it right home to nurture with foam,
     and impregnate with cephalopoid power.

"The octopus bed, suddenly turns red,
     Exodermus and suckers to match.
A Pacific Striped Venus, takes hold what's keenest,
     in hopes of the sperm she will catch.

"One kiss beak to beak, a shudder and squeak,
     a great tangle of limbs get inspected.
The octopoid liturgy gets mumbled in synergy,
     DNA gets suddenly injected.

A painful admission, about cephalopoid emission,
     Bonding with Octopussy but once.
A sad truth to divulge, is that once we find love,
    We dry up and die, like a dunce.
 
The secret to living, for an octopus that's winning,
   Never provide him a dame.
A octopus bookie who successfully avoids nooky,
    Will live to make poetry fame.



This is part II of 'Song of Paul', for Part I go here.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

"In Service of Who?"

Lately I've been closing the draft on my gas kiln - choking it.

Heavy reduction. Starving it of oxygen. Almost all pleasant looking 'art' pottery is fired in reduction, but I've been carbon-trapping, reducing so much that carbon builds up inside the glaze itself, turning it a deep black.

I recently submitted a number of my figure drawn boxes to this treatment . . . the drawings previously were of mendicants, meditators in Buddha positions or some similar pose. . . but when heavily blackened and darkened by such a fire they became transformed.

One remains hopeful . . . I call one 'Job'. The affliction is from outside.

The other has the affliction boiling within. I call this one 'In Service of Who?".

The notion of an anti-Christ, or anti-Buddha, floats large in the world today. We live in a nation at war with its people.

So yes . . dark times are upon us.







Saturday, March 26, 2016

Preparing to Fire




Spent today cleaning up glaze that splattered everywhere. I've calcined many clay ingredients, this should allow some glazes to remain thicker without crawling. The downside of calcining is that glaze spills turn to a dust that is very toxic. So I clean up with a lot of mopping, water and sponges.

Yesterday I finished loading the kiln. A few of the glazes inside are still drying, soda ash crystals migrating slowly to the surface. I shut the kiln door, and every so often took a break from my work to peek in.

I'll probably light burners Monday evening, and fire on Tuesday the 29th. It's Mars' day, a day for warrior spirit.

My pre-firing mind turns archaic. I consult the I Ching, analyze phases of the moon, positions of planets. This is what farmers do, when so much energy is invested in a project, when there's uncertainty about the future. You rely on older modes of thought.

The I Ching gave me this concept to mull over:

"The things most apparent, those above and in front, are embodied by the upper trigram Chi'en (Heaven), which is transforming into Li (Fire). As part of this process, strength and creativity are giving way to brightness and warmth."

I turn to the moon. Many scientifically minded people will say that this matters not a whit, that the moon's gyrations have nothing at all to do with life on earth or the timing of men's affairs, and to this I say, "If you are scientific, then how could you possibly ignore the moon, which is so massive, moves all the oceans on the planet up and down every day, times nature's blossoms, fruiting and birthing, so why shouldn't an artist in any medium listen to lunar rhythms?"

The gravity of moon and planets has greater effect than any additions of fuel or energy. No farmer with argue with this. We are now in the third day of a waning gibbous moon. This means the moon is diminishing in size, rising later each evening.

I am planning to carbon trap most of my shino glazes. This means I'm inviting forces of darkness, of heavy reduction, of back flow, and retrograde into the kiln. A gibbous moon could be ideal. However the forces of decrease might be too strong at the start of the wane, so I've decided to either light up halfway into this phase, but before diminution into a daytime crescent.

The planets offer a similar story. The shadows of Jovian moons Io and Europa cross Jupiter simultaneously on Tuesday March 29th at 7:00-8:24 UT.

Io was a priestess of Hera, who slighted the goddess by submitting to the favors of Zeus. She was sent to wander in the form of a heifer, far and wide. Hera sent a gadfly to sting Io continuously, driving her to cross the world without rest. Io eventually crosses the Propontis, the isthmus between the Sea of Marmara, literally 'Sea of Marble", and the Black Sea.

Marble Shino creamy, but when carbon trapped turns black.

I'm flirting with decrease, with downward slope. Io lives in the underworld as a mythic beast for a time, eventually Zeus makes her whole. She bears his children. I'll make my preparations, be aware of the forces at work, but in the end, I'll go when my dreams tell me to. I always wait for confirmation.

The moon Europa also crosses Jupiter that day. Europa was the mother of King Minos, the progenitor of Cretan culture, rich in art and pottery. Europa like Io, was also abducted by Zeus. By carbon trapping I am in essence taking a conventional fire, and eloping with it to the underworld, abducting a clear flame to a dark realm. This has dangers.

This is also positive, for kilns are far older than the forge. Metal arts, bronze age weaponry in particular, converted worship from agricultural Goddesses, to warlike Gods, from Artemis's Moon, to Apollo, Aires and the Sun. The Oracle at Delphi was overrun by patriarchs from Athens. Ancient Greece converted from Muses to Zeus.

So it will be nice to see the girls again, crossing in front of Jove.

There are pots in the kiln that won't carbon trap at all. It is possible to seal off effects from the carbon environment, or on the contrary, invite the carbon in. This is possible by zone, and by individual pot. One may devise a clay body that will seal itself off from carbon, or a glaze. One can use soda ash which migrates when wet to the surface as crystals, and melts, sealing carbon in, or out, depending on how you use it. I divide the kiln into zones, provide some places where oxidation can occur, and control where the smokey flame goes.

These are the moments when months of drudgery turn to magic. I ready my supply of kambucha. It's a marathon. I plan to cool down after the firing, and hold at around 1900 to promote crystal growth in my glazes. Add another four hours to a ten hour firing.

Glaze firings occur during a conceptual night, with visibility almost zero, a route flown over a fogbound mountain ranges, high in the sky, or low over craggy peaks, screaming fast, or slow almost at stall speed. It may be light and brief, or ponderous and long in duration, rich with fuel, or lean with lots of air. The view is minimal due to the weather, a tiny glimpse of red or yellow suns through two tiny spies.

Yes there's a temperature gauge, and a measure of how things are proceeding indoors. The journey of a pot is metaphoric of a psychic transformation. It's not ceramics that are being worked on, but the soul.

There are many philosophies about the making of pots, and one could say these may be extended to any art, and even to life. One is a safe course, making sure your hard work ends up acceptable to others by adopting a process that is defined, repeatable and exact. To quote Mel Jacobsen, a talented potter from Minnesota . . "If you have total control of your reduction schedule, color can be the same firing after firing. Any potter should try for 100%, perfect firings every time.  . . . no rejected pots."

Another approach thrusts the pots before forces of nature. There will be a lot of rejects, but you may find a door that leads someplace exciting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nessmuk at Buttermilk Falls





A letter recently came to light from the archives of Field and Stream, by George Washington Sears, pen-name Nessmuk, to his New York editor, in 1889:


"I have never reported, either in my personal journals or missives to this fine periodical, that when paddling up the Raquette River during the spring of 1883, I met Morte de la Porte in his very person though we hardly exchanged a word of conversation. He at that time performed a favor for me, which in ways was perfidious in that it would have been damaging to my reputation were it ever to appear in print.

"The Raquette River, as I have described elsewhere, all but disappears into the earth at a place called Buttermilk Falls, a conflagration of a cataract if there is any such to be found in the Adirondacks. It was in the pool at the foot of this giant waterfall that I met the great man of the mountains, who stepped out into the sunlight on a sandbar and saw me looking puzzled up at the torrent of yellow water frothed with fallen trees hurtling down along with chucks of spring snow and ice.

"As you know my health has not been good, and the prospect of a heavy portage around the falls through uncertain terrain was not a task I anticipated with any ardor. My trusted vessel, the Sairy Gamp, was more loaded than a Winchester on the ramparts of the Alamo, and I am certain, to this day had I attempted to carry it all through the woods, I would have fallen victim to the fever, of which I had a terrible fear, since tuberculosis has been troubling me for some time. My goal was to explore the headwaters of this great river, which I did. How I got around Buttermilk Falls is heretofore unknown:

"I knew the great man was Morte, no one stands larger in my memory, and I have seen many, warriors and Indian braves. None held a candle to this creature, in size or form. His immense height hoarded a gaunt but kindly hunger packed in sinewed limbs, muscled as if Gods had proportioned him first from marble and then converted their handiwork into bronze and then lastly into flesh and bone.

"Nervously I addressed this mountain of a being and told him I wanted to achieve the top of the falls, so asked if he would accept the commission of assisting my portage. To this he wordlessly nodded. Then as I paddled towards the shore he stepped into the current and reaching out with a single arm took up the Sairy Gamp, with me and all my belongings within, tent, food, kit, journals, sketchbooks, axe, knives, rifle whisky, flour and what have you, and though I am a light man my senior, my whole boat plus me weighed a good bit more than our publisher in his considerable chair of mahogany. Mr. Morte held up the Sairy Gamp with me and all my worldly possessions more easily than a chip of birch seized from the water's surface.

"A cry of surprise burst from my lips. To say I was terrified is understatement of the kind that writers are loathe. The giant with his load cradled by one curled forearm strode toward the falls. My person, my books, firearm, tent, kit and supplies were certain to be destroyed by that torrent. I watched those limbs from above wade, and stride at the same time, boulder to boulder up the very falls themselves, while the cataract of water rushed around us.


"One cannot imagine the strength necessary to accomplish what took place. How he found footing I'll never know. How he resisted the thousands of pounds of force of that ferocious spring melt is beyond me. A log flew towards us like a projectile hurled by a cannon but Morte with his spare hand, flicked it aside mid course.


Within seconds we found ourselves at the queasy but comparative calm of the top of the falls, whereupon gently as a mother cougar setting down one of its kittens, Morte placed the Sairy Gamp, me inside, afloat upon those waters. Pushing the keel-stem with both thumbs, he set us skimming across the tremulous surface easily as a flake of slate flung by a happy schoolboy. We brought awash safely above where the headwater commenced its dive towards oblivion. When I spun to look, the giant had gone.

"Nearing my end of days, I have no objection to publishing this letter. Yes a confession at that time might have damaged my reputation as a man of the woods, as I would forever have been remembered as one unable to transport himself across a quarter mile of portage. Vanity must somehow kneel before the greater obligation of truth."


"I wish also in this missive to thank Mr. LaPorte himself whom I never met again, Every letter sent to him has since has returned 'Addressee unknown".  I remain sorry to this day that I've never been able to express a single syllable of thanks."  (Archives of Field and Stream, Nessmuk Letter, September 1889)


[This letter was never published, despite the revelatory nature of its content. A legacy advertiser within Field and Stream was Penn Central Railroad, which profited from traffic of tourists and fishermen, hunters and outdoorsmen, all fostered by Nessmuk's column. Morte as knowledgeable historians now know, was regarded as a terrorist by that rail corporation, a dangerous criminal who used every ounce of strength and cunning to incapacitate the iron horse, and with it man's reach into the Adirondack Mountains.]

Back Formation and our Latin Heritage



"Back Formation" is a grammatical term for describing the linguistic process of shortening and simplification caused by dropping a suffix. Burgle evolved subsequent to burglar and statistic formed after the field of study, statistics. A 'pea' is a shortened version of an older original, in this case 'pease' which was not plural, and meant 'a pea', but now means many 'peas'.

I remember a friend, a salesman who made comic attempts to repair damage caused by back formation. One of his favorite expressions was "It's not rocket scientry", in lieu of "It's not rocket science".

He also took liberties with the middle of words - "That's mathically unproven," instead of, "mathematically unproven." The word science dates from the 1300's and scientific, from 1589. Scientry is not a word at all but I wish it was. I love it.

My boeuf about Latin cognates is this: 

The Romans, via the French and Norman invaders of England, brought a Latin lexicon to English. Latinate roots, sprang from a military regularity of conjugation and syntax, and offered an ability to conjugate all variety of meanings.

Latin was designed like an all purpose tool-kit, an engineer's language, broadly covering such concepts as inside and outside (introvert and extrovert), or before and after (predict and postprandial). It's precise, superb at description.

It's a bridge builder's language developed as a kind of verbal math. The regulation of distant territories, the supply of far-flung armies and the construction of aqueducts and coliseums across the civilized world arose because of the precision of Latin as a language for dispensing military orders.

English inherits two major systems of expression. Latin, which excels at matters of business and government, for example liberty, and the older Anglo-Saxon cognates for poetic expression, for example freedom. These pairs are throughout English, inebriated vs. drunk, tolerate vs. stand.

Notice how in the last example tolerate is quite specific, whereas stand has a huge variety of meanings. The Germanic and Anglo-Saxon roots give English it's power.

"Hasten to the point would you!" I can hear my friends now. What do Latin cognates have to do with back formation?

Latin derived words are are built up of parts, often three or more. But language naturally does not tolerate pointless complexity. Some of those parts need to be dropped, over time. Back formation is the natural process by which English speakers often omit the front, middle or back portions of their words. One could say Latin syntax is ritualistic, a bit like Sanskrit, logical, and repetitive. In a ritual things are added or subtraced at the back, front, or middle. They subtract the same way.

-:-

Onto Celtic and Saxon roots of English poured a new vocabulary, in full force with William the Conqueror. At that magic moment, England inherited the power of Latin, as a language of Empire, through a Gallic filter. The new words conquered, literally:

     con·quer  (kngkr)
     v. con·quered, con·quer·ing, con·quers
     1. To defeat or subdue by force, especially by force of arms.
     2. To gain or secure control of by or as if by force of arms: scientists battling to conquer disease; 
     a singer who conquered the operatic world.
     3. To overcome or surmount by physical, mental, or moral force: I finally conquered my fear of heights. 
     [Middle English conqueren, from Old French conquerre, from Vulgar Latin *conquaerere,
     from Latin conqurere, to procure : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + quaerere, to seek.]

We may have lost the expressive power of Old English, but gained the power to dominate, to control, and to organize.

France and England reacted differently to injections of foreign linguistic power. The French standardized - beginning in the seventeenth century the Académie Française unified, codified, and deciding what was French and what was not. French has gone the way of Latin, dying from too much regularity, and planning.

Perhaps because of the organization imposed by William, the English subconscious became hungry for expressive power that got lost.

British upper classes held onto their irregular verbs, and used them as badges of birthright, and prestige. Language evolved a caste-system unto itself. Scotsmen returned from the Indian colonies, uttering new words like 'curry', 'thug' and 'pyjama'. The empire dispatched them back to their crass speaking realms with a curled upper lip. A similar division divided Cockney London from West End. The Scottish wag morphed into the badge of a servant engineer.

I'm for the power and innuendo of the street. Bring on the life of the word! Put me on the ground where a new lingo is evolving.

And so England's class strata, defined itself with the difficulty of spoken English, and injections of new vocabulary into a new street vernacular. Ports of entry for vocabulary were through the lower classes. New expressions flooded English Central from India, the Americas, Australia, and were shared on the streets of every foreign colony. England's upper crust assumed a select few of these expressions, but to this day reject many commonly accepted figures of speech.

In theory, a new word is English if a) it is pronounceable, and b) it has been used a number of times in English speech. If it bears the stamp of Latin logic, or has been formed by an organic linguistic process, it has an upper hand.  Isn't it true that any new English word has the upper hand?

Meanwhile French is slowly dying as a language, at least in France. The Académie Française is fighting back, by trimming the dictionary!

For centuries the Academy approved or rejected vernacular changes to French. Writers beginning with the Encyclopedists, defined what is French. As a result, spoken French retains little of the imported richness from French colonies in Africa and the Americas. The classic French dictionary, dies of malnutrition.

True, the brevity of French made it a wonderful vehicle for philosophers, thinkers, and existential poetry. But the starved vocabulary does quadruple or quintuple duty due to an overall paucity of word count, and thus excels at expressing abstract concepts. Slang combining existing 'legal' French words grows like weeds. The average French word has more dictionary meanings by far, than the average word English, but less words by far.

So, whether my friend was aware of his role in this process of converting common argot into new expressions, 'rocket scientry', since 1990, is emerging as an alternative way of saying 'rocket science', though he may have been joking, or pleading the scientrist's amendment.


Thoughts on 'Grassness' and Consciousness




 The Westerner defines life forms, in fact everything, with a materialist's boundaries and categories. A human being, a buffalo, a blade of grass. Books about nature display this preconception, the object of fascination, isolated on a white page. Horses, fish, or birds of the Andes, we regard them as defined iconoclastic entities, without reference to the world around them. We see stars separate from planets. Man separate from nature.

The Vedanta is ahead of us on this. Those ancient thinkers recognized no distinctions between the grazing bovid and the grass it ate. A cow was 'grassness', or the essence of grass. Grass included cows, and cows were grass. So humanity inhabits a film of life on this planet. We live as part of it. Bacteria and parasites live within us. The deer is the forest and we are the earth.

Could the subjective experience of intelligence, and sub-conscious forms of intelligence simply be ineffable cross products of material circumstances, for whose purposes our bodies have evolved? Look inside the brain, where there is seems to be little but nerves, flesh, and channels filled with fluid. Yet we intercept nervous impulses, and they do not explain themselves, or their contents. The act of searching for what is conscious is a lost quest, as difficult as locating an electron or computing the exact trajectory of a particular photon. The experimenter intervenes and destroys the experiment.

Other beings might see time much in the same way we look at a landscape. As earthlings we are possessed of three dimensions, aware conceptually of a fourth, time, which is not visible but is for our purposes, measurable. Surely there must exist life forms that directly perceive four, five or six dimensions with a kind of sight, and understand some final dimensionality, as a kind of fiction, much in the same way as we understand time.

We see space (1,2,3 dimensions), we think time (a 4th), but we feel conscious (the 5th)?

Or perhaps intelligence inhabits that fifth dimension, and the subjective self-awareness that intelligence has of itself, i.e. consciousness, could inhabit the 6th?

Asking 'where is consciousness?' is somewhat like looking for time within the three dimensional measurements of a cup of coffee. One may only perceive a cooling liquid if one admits time as a 4th dimension of study.

A 5th dimensional entity similarly cannot be measured by a 4 dimensional space. It can sit there, just as we in our 3 dimensions can park ourselves on a 2 dimensional carpet. Have we been looking for self-awareness in all the wrong places? Is consciousness, rather than a 'substance' which we can't see, is instead a dimension, from which other beings in turn see us?

Cause and effect? . . . Cause and effect are a temporal 'patch' over an eye that cannot see.

The notion of cause is a vestigial necessity for thinking about time, whilst being unable to see it. If consciousness is yet another dimension, then looking for it within 4 dimensions is as fruitless as looking for time within 3.

Suppose consciousness were everywhere and not contained within a 3 or 4 dimensional space-time continuum. It could be bound up within a 5th dimension. Once there, it might perceive us with the same clarity that we perceive a print on a museum wall.

The human mind/brain has no lock on consciousness. Water is conscious. Fire is conscious. Stones are conscious, and so is air. It all exhibits behaviors of consciousness. Infinite detail. Infinite complexity. Fire processes energy. Fire sorts out an infinite number of inputs and produces a result, computes a path, allocates resources etc. Water also. An ecosystem. An atmosphere.

We speak of 'light' from people who are uniquely intelligent A 'star'. But what of actual stars? The universe is a massive computer of possibilities, computing more conscious activity in just one bit of solar surface than all human life on earth.

Such a claim begs for clarification. What is consciousness? Isn't that the question we've been asking all along? Aren't we investigating where it occurs, how it occurs, what creates it, what are its thresholds, its behaviors, its realms?

I say this. . . The subjective "I" that is 'thinking'. . . . it's all real yes, but that's the only thing that is real. No other realities may be confirmed. The tags 'conscious', 'self-aware, or 'intelligent', may now be filed as endorsements by a lower set of vectors, that are aligning votes behind a power they cannot comprehend.

In other words language creates expression for quantities it does not fully understand to begin with. The word 'consciousness' is really only a sign, for an abstraction like 'God' or 'matter' or 'energy', useful only so far as we make them so.

The abstraction "God" has been useful to mankind, even though most in the current generation of scientists contend that the gods are dead, surprisingly the father of archetypal psychology would argue that they are more alive than ever. The most fundamental of man's technologies evolved when the prevalent paradigm of humanity was God fearing. Science was not even born. I'm making the point that paradigms of thought, whether dominated by gods or science, are complexes of behaviors, not self-evident truths.

Science, as the complete evolution of materialism, demands a return in practices and technologies that are useful for our survival. Viewed in this way the paradigm of science may be viewed as a set of conclusions from a thought process. Yet our science is hopelessly locked to the hip of materialistic assumptions. So we are unable to 'divine' higher concepts from our simplistic conceptions of matter and consciousness.

"Nothing is more vulnerable than scientific theory, which is an ephemeral attempt to explain facts, not an everlasting truth in itself." C.G. Jung

Feed it




Letters, lines, verses, page,
In fetters try to learn off stage.
Play on strings, feed the crow,
Tell you things you need to know.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Petal Fell




perhaps a petal fell
from a flower, to a well,
and floated there boat adrift,
a silent merely listening gift
has the water taken,
the color of some tea awakened?
ladies feel what Hades yields
the reality of a pachyderm,
or kraken attacking rationalism,
mite-sized product of mathematics
improved methods for observing antics.
the world thinks I like this cat
the dog it waits for dinner scraps
I'm supposed to feed it true,
then to walk it, with who?
the last un-dead dude on earth
how can you not be tripping birth.
inspire a brother, kick zombie ass
and try to tire your brain alas.
a brother needs no motivation
to amp up and protest this nation.

Phonetic Key to Love





I'm serious, as she writes:
"Sculptures, I see you all, but your ease.
  I see your LP, your record,
 As a call to your sword."

"Or as sculptures I see, you're a tourist.
 Imagine that I'm a genie who's come."
 I see you M, or I see you N.
I'll see you in six, see acts sexual.
 Thanks to you all!

Concrete, yes, I see on Crete, romance,
And her old man's Cretan understanding.
You and her stand under, you and her,
"Companion, do you see MP anyone?"

Giving jives are sinful, merciful.
What could please, what completes,
As I am Siamese, come see I'm a symbol,
An opportunity, to top your pint.

My Mother and my other,
Brother we are there.
Father, I have other Sisters as I stir
Investigating you, we are the gate.
You envy, observe my b's or v's
Enervated that we never ate.


Friday, February 5, 2016

A Beam of Light




From a lost dim star, beyond Sirius,
Some photons made their way to us
Waving hot, though cursed.
As centuries ticked by on Earth,
How many departed, in what record?
Of loves departed Orion's sword.
A hundred-thousand light year song
A galaxy across, stars played along,
Gathering news with waves of force,
Gravity bending, flew on course.
Cro-Magnon with flint tools bored,
Across heaven's expanse of space they soared
Pressed on, they must,
Brothers, sisters dead by specks of dust
Collisions to barely warm a comet's ear,
Made precious by light in just one year.
More lost than sand in all deserts
Of earth and Mars, that snow and dirt,
When light dies, oh how matter hurts.
Asteroid belts gunned down platoons,
And patrolled the solar system round.
Lepton corpses gathered in orbits muted,
Rather noticed by electrons recruited.
Survivors wander'd earthward lost in haze,
Ionic confusion to end their days.
Drowned by atmospheric streams,
Some hit my eye, my cornea dreams,
Outside cold, from star streams hot,
Photonic time was running out.
Yet at the cataract a few occluded,
Rushed the aqueous sea secluded
Past Cerberus, Iris, briefly crossed,
Those hit pigment flourished lost
Crossed vitreous, cracked by age,
Most killed, few paid a final wage.
A dozen or two made right of way,
Searching to disembark in quay
Or beach safely, a retinal landing,
How light works is understanding,
I've lost you star, you are gone,
I saw the gleam of one photon,
For an instant, pivot shined,
And knew just then, we died.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Delving




Delving into philosophical questions,
‘How did Paul guess?
What were his chances?
1/256 or 1/2^8
Five hundred twelve, into the number we’ll delve,

2 to the eighth
Now Schrödinger's cat, Quantum Theory and all that,
How a mollusk, forced into solace
Understood the waveform collapse.

Particles of light, infinitesimal yet bright,
Paul not at all.
Suppose it was planned, a soccer field
Rigged with dreams.


Death of Dark





this piece
gifted by your father
was lost
on your tour of the galaxies
stolen by that woman
who envied you
yet you learned
you're a bit of jelly in the sea
you grew but have stopped glowing
your body will be devoured
or you will be in Orion
before I ring the bell


Almeria



A solution came
Watched by fire, I held my tongue.
What kind of pen is this?
Raisin Bran means Raven or Bran
A clever boy plays a soldier’s tune

It’s a battle or a dream
This language given here
Come magical refrain, come on, come!
See Almeria, the bridge.
Soldier, you’re the trouble I needed to hear.




El Corazón de la Frambuesa




Mi amor,

Entender cómo., ni por qué,
valentines aparecen.
   en los pisos de los edificios
   o en el corazón de rubí bayas.

Estas son señales solamente,
   sientes lo que estoy sintiendo.

Mirar hacia arriba, mira hacia abajo,
  en todas las direcciones
    encontrará pruebas,
    como si, de todos modos no creer.

Entienda esto
y que entiende
el universo que nos une
           nos guste,
           o no.

Te digo esto,
    no porque no sea así,
    pero porque.

Ellos son.
Nosotros somos.
Es.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Frozen Words





How to put in code, what's not out loud
These words are frozen water clouds.
But love burns, inside the mountain of a sun.
Direct at your heart, center of my life,
Words won't carry weight, or try.
Words alone will swamp you,
A hunted seal, you could drown.
I'm not the orca, circling
Or a convent of hooded hashishins.
I am the raft that keeps you above water.
Losing you would come around.
So melt frozen love, I am patient,
For rays to turn ice, into ocean.
And bring you to your senses.
I'll warm the level of your sea,
And flood your city to its knees,
Then when you see the water rising,
You'll know it was love that made it so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Number and Rhyme



Twins, our shoes live separate lives,
They win and lose as husbands and wives.

If I can't write a rhyme, I'll have to just drop you,
With a name set in time of a gal who out talks you.

Tantric experiments in symmetry,
Make limbic merriment, naturally.

When poetry of youth is gone,
 . . . adultery hears truth in song.

Icarus fell, on wings of wax,
Gold as well, before April tax.

Mathematics of meter and rhyme,
Makes asthmatic all cheaters of time.
Equations with numbers our deeds are encumbered,
By meanings that feed us yet die.

Octopi are free-floating, an achievement worth noting
     Not just jellies for crustaceans we're hiding.
We've forsaken our shells, for a brain-system from hell,
     and mastered the art of beguiling.

A residency in poetry would makes tenancy a dependency.
The menacings of sharks at sea brings harmony to the ocean tree.

She's loaded, lit, pilots retiring,
Weather well-boded, and fit for a firing!

Some night when we're feeling fine
After a rich meal we've taken with wine . .
Tell me some tales of gals with young males,
And afterwards I'll tell you mine.

Natasha got married on a tour of the bay,
To a boy who spoke Russian as well as Anglais.
There were artists and critics and writers of reviews
Salmon and shrimp and fancy hairdo's.

A sentence does time, to restore the justice of rhyme,

An equation is persuasion: "Take an eon, on vacation."

When I know all Gnossiennes,
. . . Sienna I'll go home.
Adjust the moat with poetry,
. . . Wait to play Eric Satie . . . .

Bitcoins say that Gold is dead,
Goldbugs see a craze ahead.

"Don't fly too close!" old Dedalus said,
"You'll die like most in the cold sea like lead."

Though Natalie writes some poetry,
She knows she's not seen eternity.

Words fall to earth, seeds push up fruit,
The writer gives birth, or hides like a newt.

What heavenly yearning was sent,
All that poetry on Earth had meant.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Introduction - The Panther Pond Lumber Camp Cookbook




Whatever renown Batali, that chef of no small girth, achieves at the southern end of New York state in a place called Manhattan, his historical counterpart to the north in the forests of the Central Adirondacks and along the desolate station stops of Web’s old Adirondack railroad line, the one name in fact the only name, to have achieved greatness, despite the fact he is in all other ways a beast amongst men, is that of Morte LaPorte.

Morte LaPorte, or “Death's Door” loosely translated from French, descends from an unknown mother, probably from a brothel in Montreal. He was a foundling, put near the kitchen entrance to a house of ill repute, for rough men of the north who spent their money on liquor and women between bouts hunting, trapping or cutting Adirondack spruce. 

Drawn to kitchens and lands of endless provender, adolescent Morte carved spoons from logs to stir cauldrons of oatmeal, flayed deer carcasses for evening meals, and assisted in the blacksmith shops forging shoes for the giant draft horses that pulled stumps through the forest. Teen-aged Morte also served culinary stints at some of the fancy hotels along St. Catherine Street in Montreal, as well as at the first lumber-camps on Brandreth Park, in the Central Adirondacks.

An uneven temper caused many rifts between Morte and his employers. We notice the lad as a frequent troublemaker in his late teens working the New York Central line from Montreal to Albany where he wandered village to forest, consorting in part-time cookery appointments. His avocation after hours seducing bargirls, fine ladies and actresses in station houses, opera houses, lumber camps, bordellos and stagecoach lunchrooms helped spread the reputation of the giant. From the decks of river ferries, to the living rooms of great camps. Morte never could appease the wanderlust that coursed his giant veins.

Barging into strongman contests, sometimes entering mid-contest, he never lost a bout no matter the form, be it hoisting logs, lifting boulders, or immobilizing any number of opponents. Mort would amuse stage passengers from the city by idly leaping a loaded coach catty corner from bootbox to whippletree landing nimbly without making the whip or jehu duck.

It was rumored that Morte trained by leaping the Hudson from its source at Lake Tear-in-the-Clouds atop Mt. Marcy, past Newcomb to North Creek before the river's girth was simply too wide for any person or deity to leap in a single bound. Speculations that Morte could vault the Hudson at Schuylerville reached newspapers in New York, though this is probably exaggeration.

At eleven Morte expressed interest in the Standing Block Chop, a speed competition cutting through a vertical 12" log with a five-pound axe. One such contest was held in Saranac Lake in 1894:

Contestants preened and prepared in a practice area set about with plenty of odd sized logs and axes to put into use. Some of the woodsmen wrapped wrists with leather straps, and lower abdomens with giant hide belts to add power to their cuts.

Morte got the hang of it, and decided he would participate.

A crowd had assembled in a simple ring of bleachers three rows deep. The promotors wore green gaberdine suits and shouted through megaphones strapped to their jaws, They looked like muzzled St. Patrick's day dogs with brown top hats. Buxom women paraded jugs of lemonade and beer which they used to fortify the contestants and audience before each bout.

Morte stood a head and a half taller, but was leaner of build. His hands were as wide as the axe face he swung though his wrists appeared finely boned and forearms tapered. A few called bets for the stranger, introduced by the barker as "the man from Maisonneuve". The other lumberjacks were known to the attendees, a few were champions, and the share of the bets verbally shouted got placed on them.

An MC fired a pistol and contestants began swinging blades. Chips flew in every direction. After two blows, and hardly an quarter the way through his log, Morte put down his axe. It seemed he had quit the contest. He studied his piece of wood carefully. Then leaning down ever so slightly he broke it in two with his hands. Nine seconds.

An amazed crowd gasped in disbelief. Morte had hardly used his blade at all. Ten seconds later the strongest contestants hacked through their logs. Ten seconds after that the competition had finished.

Judges huddled. A nervousness descended. One of the barkers shouted a decision. Morte was disqualified. Rules stated that logs had to be cut with an axe.

Morte became furious. He smashed every other timber for the contest into bits. Police were called but only watched. The mood of the crowd shifted to the side of Mort. The promoters who bet on other contestants looked worried. Police conferred with contest management. Anxious to pacify the mob, and preserve the potential of Morte as a future contestant, a consolation prize was offered, an oversized ice figure of a lumberjack, intended for an end of festivities celebration. Mort carried it to the home of a young lady he had met during the day, but it melted that evening.

Morte distrusted cameras. To this day one shot of the giant survives, believed to have been Morte at ten, standing beside his life friend Knut Deergarten in the kitchen at Paul Smith's.

At fourteen, it was said LaPorte could seize a draft horse by girth harness and hoist it over his head. This is likely a myth, as any live horse would kick terribly. Middle-aged Morte did steal a post-prohibition run of beer from Mssrs Budweiser. He detached the team and pulled the giant keg of beer himself to a private section of woods where he camped for a few days One wonders why Morte did not have the horses pull the wagon since he had already dragged out both drivers and kegmen, and was in total control of the precious load. A quarter of the beer was recovered a week later with Morte alongside it, a crime for which he spent a week in jail. (Champlain Times, July 1935)

At an international competition held in Portland Maine, Morte entered the Caber Toss, a Scottish event where a single 19' 6" Larch log weighing 175 pounds is lifted and thrown. The champion, Mitch McDuggin, a brawny Highland giant, had booked a steamship from Inverness to participate.

Upset from the journey, McDuggin's log bettered a previous record of 17'. Morte strolled into the match grounds and before the shot was fired to begin, kicked a giant timber into his grasp with his instep, caught it, then spun it baton-wise over his head and hurled it like a spear 29' 6".

The crowd roared, convinced that Morte had won, but officials charged Morte with ignorance of the rules, and improper stance at the start.

Disqualified again, Morte attempted to smother his rage,. When the judge's decisions were announced he stood before the pile of larch logs, grabbed two, walked towards the judge's booth in the stands, and threw both simultaneously over their heads and into an empty patch of bleachers. The timbers crashed through upper seats and destroyed concession stands below. No one was hurt.

"Mr. Laporte was asked to accompany Portland police to a holding cell until he cooled down. Much to their surprise he complied and did not break his way out of jail." (Bangor Morning Dispatch, May 1922)

In wrestling bouts Morte could not be bettered by any mortal, though they might rush him ten or eleven at once. Word of the Adirondack giant who was nimble on foot and more agile than any cat reached P. T. Barnum who announced he would train an elephant to take Morte on in a contest of strength. Morte declined. Barnum persisted and offered Morte a chance in his ring with his lions. Morte went to the circus in Albany, met Barnum but was horrified at how the animals were treated, so left in disgust.

Offered contracts to fight across the country Morte had already gravitated towards cooking. Somehow the peaceful stress of an Adirondack kitchen put Morte's aggressive side to rest. He resisted temptations of fame, much to the chagrin of local promoters:

    "Let's sing the hymn of Morte LaPorte
     Who lives in kitchens but also in court.
     At least part human, part Titan in breadth,
     Also a beast, with a gorilla's chest,
     Morte LaPorte has a fearful rage,
     He can hold back an engine of any gauge.
     Can hoist a horse above his head,
     But has no enemies, 'til he's dead.
     When all the contests are finally done,
     One man is standing and Morte who won.
     Is he a human, or is he God?
     From what clan, from what pod?
     What make or use of brawn is meant,
     Unless Morte is Zeus or Neptune sent.
     We see no brothers, he hasn't any,
     Nor his mother, or even a Granny.
     One thing is sure, of this we're proud,
     Morte is the strongest man around."   (Whitehall Evening Gazette, May 1912)


Authorities assert that at the age of twelve Morte reached three hundred-fifty pounds, though here we lack for facts.  Most arguments about Morte's size and girth are not substantiated. Other historians put his maximum weight at thirty stone, which is four hundred and twenty pounds. Admirers say Mort was of athletic build, but heavy because he was muscled and extremely tall. Yet other sources claim he reached forty stone. What's true is the following:

Morte Laporte once carried a Steinway grand piano a mile as a service for a young lady he admired in the town of Glens Falls. She wanted to practice at home over the holidays. (Glens Falls Post Star, November 1884)

Morte himself did not play piano, but kept his fingers in tone uprooting steel rails from their beds with his bare hands, much to the chagrin of Mr. Vanderbuilt. He hated railroads and considered them the bane of nature. (Penn Central Railroad Newsletter, April 1919)

He lifted a fifteen-hundred pound granite founding stone for the Tupper Lake Public Library but after misinterpreting cues from the master of ceremonies, held the thing in his hands during a twenty minute speech by the mayor. (Tupper Lake Republican-American 1928)

It was rumored that at sixteen Morte strangled several large black bears to death, though this has not been substantiated by this author, and is doubted because it is known that Morte loved animals, though one must also acknowledge bear fat was Morte’s preferred cooking medium, and he never delayed an opportunity to procure more.

In 1923, again in a furious rage because his famous Deer Head Stew had been ridiculed by a party of politicos, Morte obstructed the progress of a gubernatorial campaign train to Albany:

“He countered that engine at startup with the thrust of a giant arm outstretched. The head of steam, built for ten minutes at the crossing, could not achieve any degree of movement. Morte was lured aside with the promise of as many apple pies as he could eat in a single day and went from that argument happy as a pussy cat, much to the relief of Mr. Vanderbuilt who had been informed of the train’s delay.” (Glen’s Falls Gossipmonger, 1923)

One day in March 1921 Morte, having not been provided enough firewood to properly cook the feast for a Champlain Boy Scout Muster, tore the picnic tables to shreds with his naked hands to provide enough kindling to cook his famous “Morte Laporte's Flash-Fired Corn Dogs”. That recipe, born of rage, omitted the corn. “ Morte Laporte Arrested for serving Dog to Boy Scout Troops!”. Morte later confessed to police that the dog had already died, and that it was a sin to waste good meat. (Saranac Chronicler, 1926)

-:-

We hereby submit, respectfully, the recipes of one Morte Laporte, a man of enormous stature, but modest renown. His cuisine, collected throughout his later years at Brandreth Panther Pond Lumber-camp, was transcribed by his kitchen assistant Knut Deergarten, whom Morte kept as a sort of pet. Knut could write but could not read since being blinded during a kitchen accident at Paul Smith's. So please excuse Knut's penmanship.

We shall supply details of Knut Deergarten in another chapter of this compendium. We will say had been the most agile of man ever to scale the spruce. His exploits at limbing giant conifers have never been equaled by any lumberjack since. Axes were to Knut what the six shooter was to Jesse James.

The loss of sight put Knut into a deep depression, from which he might not have emerged were it not for Morte, who insisted that Knut be hired at full wages wherever Morte took a job. Peeling carrots and potatoes and chopping game was an easy task for Knut, what gave him life was his compendious note-taking on the craft of the Adirondack chef.

The first known recipe created by Morte de la Porte is mentioned in Vaughn, whose compendium of Adirondack tales freely mixes fact with reminiscences often doubted by scholars. Vaughn comments on this entry, saying it is myth, concocted by an ill mannered co-worker who hated Morte for reasons of his strength and physical beauty and his success with women. Nevertheless Vaughn makes the following citation:

"An early dish "Chat abandonné en Croûte", fashioned by Morte at "Hotel du Monde" in Montreal, features alley cat, parboiled in clarified butter, packed with french toast, and wrapped in a sheet of pastry. Morte was just eight. He had not yet been taught to fillet or de-bone a carcass, or remove outer layers of fur." (Arthur Vaughn, Heroes of the Mountains, 1972)

Imagine for now, if you would, the culinary masterpieces, as Morte dictates to Knut these immortal recipes:


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