Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi
On Radio Free EarthRites: Christophe Goze – Keep On
(John Singer Sargent Fume d’ Ambre Gris)
Wednesday! Portland had one of those beautiful days, around 57f and gloriously sunny. Oh, the spring promise! I have gone back to work, and pacing myself…. 80) well, working, ‘kay? It is great to be out. Confined for a week, even Fred Meyer’s on Monday afternoon was like a social outing.
Some interesting stuff on the Turf tonight… from Terry Riley to Steve Reich, I dig around the roots of minimalism, calling back memories of when I first heard these pieces…. We have a Tale from old Bagdhad, extracts of Charles Fort, and poetry from the Jewish Mumbai Community. A mixed bag, but I think you might enjoy! I am especially excited about the art, which I have to thank Roberto Venosa for making me aware of a couple of years ago.
On The Menu:
Terry Riley – A Rainbow In A Curved Air
Charles Fort Extracts
The Lady And Her Five Suitors
The Poetry Of Nissim Ezekiel
Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich
Art: John Singer Sargent & Vasily Vereshchagin
Lovely stuff from Terry Riley… the first electronic musician I listened to was John Cage. Terry Riley took me to another place all together. He pointed the direction so very well. – Gwyllm
Terry Riley – A Rainbow In A Curved Air – 1969
I was introduced to the work of Charles Fort at the age of 17. His works have been an inspiration and a beakon to me over the years. Here are some interesting extracts from various works. -G
Charles Fort Extracts
There is, in Philosophical Transactions, 16-281, an account of a seeming cereal, said to have fallen in Wiltshire, in 1686 said that some of the “wheat” fell “enclosed in hailstones” but the writer in Transactions, says that he had examined the grains, and that they were nothing but seeds of ivy berries dislodged from holes and chinks where birds had hidden them. If birds still hide ivy seeds, and if winds still blow, I don’t see why the phenomenon has not repeated in more than two hundred years since.
Senility as Sainthood
I now have a theory that our existence, as a whole, is an organism that is very old–a globular thing within a starry shell, afloat in a super-existence in which there may be countless other organisms–and that we, as cells in its composition, partake of, and are ruled by, its permeating senility. The theologians have recognized that the ideal is the imitation of God. If we be a part of such an organic thing, this thing is God to us, as I am God to the cells that compose me. When I see myself, and c ats, and dogs losing irregularities of conduct and approaching the irreproachable, with advancing age, I see that what is ennobling us is senility. I conclude that the virtues, the austerities, the proprieties are ideal in our existence, because they are imitations of the state of a whole existence, which is very old, good, and beyond reproach. The ideal state is meekness, or humility, or the semi-invalid state of the old. Year after year I am becoming nobler and nobler. If I can live to be decrepit e nough, I shall be a saint.
There is not a physicist in the world who can perceive when a parlor magician palms off playing-cards.
A Fall of Fish
The best-known fall of fishes from the sky is that which occurred at Mountain Ash, in the Valley of Abedare, Glamorganshire, Feb. 11, 1859.
The Editor of the Zoologist, 2-677, having published a report of a fall of fishes, writes: “I am continually receiving similar accounts of frogs and fishes.” But, in all the volumes of the Zoologist, I can find only two reports of such falls. There is nothing to conclude other than that hosts of data have been lost because orthodoxy does not look favorably upon such reports. The Monthly Weather Review records several falls of fishes in the United States; but accounts of these reported occurrences are not findable in other American publications.
Conspicuous by Absence
We shall now have an unusual experience. We shall read of some reports of extraordinary circumstances that were investigated by a man of science not of course that they were really investigated by him, but that this phenomena occupied a position approximating higher to real investigation than to utter neglect. Over and over we read of extraordinary occurrences no discussion; not even a comment afterwards findable; mere mention occasionally burial and damnation.
The extraordinary and how quickly it is hidden away.
Burial and damnation, or the obscurity of the conspicuous.
A Bouquet of Hippopotami
In Continuity, it is impossible to distinguish phenomena at their merging-points, so we look for them at their extremes. Impossible to distinguish between animal and vegetable in some infusoria but hippopotamus and violet. For all practicable purposes they’re distinguishable enough. No one but a Barnum or a Bailey would send one a bunch of hippopotami as a token of regard.
I have data of other falls, in Persia and Asiatic Turkey, of edible substances. They are all dogmatically said to be “manna”; and “manna” is dogmatically said to be a species of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor. The position that I take is that this explanation was evolved in ignorance of the fall of vegetable substances, or edible substances, in other parts of the world: that it is the familiar attempt to explain the general in terms of the local; that, if we have shall have data of falls of vegetable substance, in, say, Canada or India, they were not of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor; that, though all falls in Asiatic Turkey and Persia are sweepingly and conveniently called showers of “manna,” they have not been even all of the same substance.
By “beauty,” I mean that which seems complete.
Obversely, that the incomplete, or the mutilated, is the ugly . . .
A hand thought of only as a hand, may seem beautiful.
Found on a battlefield–obviously a part–not beautiful.
. . . every attempt to achieve beauty is an attempt to give to the local the attribute of the universal.
Vasily Vereshchagin – Solomon’s Wall)
The Lady And Her Five Suitors
A Woman of the daughters of the merchants was married to a man who was a great traveler. It chanced once that he set out for a far country and was absent so long that his wife, for pure ennui, fell in love with a handsome young man of the sons of the merchants, and they loved each other with exceeding love. One day the youth quarreled with another man, who lodged a complaint against him with the Chief of Police, and he cast into prison. When the news came to the merchant’s wife his mistress, she well-nigh lost her wits. Then she arose and donning her richest clothes, repaired to the house of the Chief of Police. She saluted him and presented a written petition to this purport: “He thou hast clapped in jail is my brother Such-and-such, who fell out with Such-a-one, and those who testified against him bore false witness. He hath been wrongfully imprisoned, and I have none other to come in to me nor to provide for my support, therefore I beseech thee of thy grace to release him.” When the magistrate had read the paper, he cast his eyes on her and fell in love with her forthright, so he said to her: “Go into the houses till I bring him before me. Then I will send for thee and thou shalt take him.” “O my lord,” replied she, “I have none to protect me save Almighty Allah! I am a stranger and may not enter any man’s abode.” Quoth the Wali, “I will not let him go except thou come to my home and I take my will of thee.” Rejoined she, “If it must be so, thou must needs come to my lodging and sit and sleep the siesta and rest thewhole day there.” “And where is thy abode?” asked he, and she answered, “In such a place,” and appointed him for such a time.
Then she went out from him, leaving his heart taken with love of her, and she repaired to the Kazi of the city, to whom she said, “O our lord the Kazi!” He exclaimed, “Yes!” and she continued, “Look into my case, and thy reward be with Allah the Most High!” Quoth he, “Who hath wronged thee?” and quoth she, “O my lord, I have a brother and I have none but that one, and it is on his account that I come to thee, because the Wali hath imprisoned him for a criminal and men have borne false witness against him that he is a wrongdoer, and I beseech thee to intercede for him with the Chief of Police.”
When the Kazi looked on her, he fell in love with her forthright and said to her: “Enter the house and rest awhile with my handmaids whilst I send to the Wali to release thy brother. If I knew the money fine which is upon him, I would pay it out of my own purse, so I may have my desire of thee, for thou pleaseth me with thy sweet speech.” Quoth she, “If thou, O my lord, do thus, we must not blame others.” Quoth he, “An thou wilt not come in, wend thy ways.” Then said she, “An thou wilt have it so, O our lord, it will be privier and better in my place than in thine, for here are slave girls and eunuchs and goers-in and comers-out, and indeed I am a woman who wotteth naught of this fashion, but need compelleth.” Asked the Kazi, “And where is thy house?” and she answered, “In such a place,” and appointed him for the same day and time as the Chief of Police.
Then she went out from him to the Wazir, to whom she preferred her petition for the release from prison of her brother, who was absolutely necessary to her. But he also required her of herself, saying, “Suffer me to have my will of thee and I will set thy brother free.” Quoth she: “An thou wilt have it so, be it in my house, for there it will be privier both for me and for thee. It is not far distant, and thou knowest that which behooveth us women of cleanliness and adornment.” Asked he, “Where is thy house?” “In such a place,” answered she, and appointed him for the same time as the two others.
Then she went out from him to the King of the city and told him her story and sought of him her brother’s release. “Who imprisoned him?” enquired he, and she replied, “‘Twas thy Chief of Police.” When the King heard her speech, it transpierced his heart with the arrows of love and he bade her enter the palace with him, that he might send to the Kazi and release her brother. Quoth she: “O King, this thing is easy to thee, whether I will or nill, and if the King will indeed have this of me, it is of my good fortune. But if he come to my house, he will do me the more honor by setting step therein, even as saith the poet:
“O my friends, have ye seen or have ye heard
Of his visit whose virtues I hold so high?”
Quoth the King, “We will not cross thee in this.” So she appointed him for the same time as the three others, and told him where her house was.
Then she left him, and betaking herself to man which was a carpenter, said to him: “I would have thee make me a cabinet with four compartments one above other, each with its door for locking up. Let me know thy hire and I will give it thee.” Replied he: “My price will be four dinars. But, O noble lady and well-protected, if thou wilt vouchsafe me thy favors, I will ask nothing of thee. Rejoined she, “An there be no help but that thou have it so, then make thou five compartments with their padlocks.” And she appointed him to bring it exactly on the day required. Said he, “It is well. Sit down, O my lady, and I will make it for thee forthright, and after I will come to thee at my leisure.” So she sat down by him whilst he fell to work on the cabinet, and when he had made an end of it, she chose to see it at once carried home and set up in the sitting chamber. Then she took four gowns and carried them to the dyer, who dyed them each of a different color, after which she applied herself to making ready meat and drink, fruits, flowers, and perfumes.
Now when the appointed trysting day came, she donned her costliest dress and adorned herself and scented herself, then spread the sitting room with various kinds of rich carpets, and sat down to await who should come. And behold, the Kazi was the first to appear, devancing rest, and when she saw him, she rose to her feet and kissed the ground before him, then, taking him by the hand, made him sit down by her on the couch and lay with him and fell to jesting and toying with him. By and by he would have her do his desire, but she said, “O my lord, doff thy clothes and turban and assume this yellow cassock and this headkerchief, whilst I bring thee meat and drink, and after thou shalt win thy will.” So saying, she took his clothes and turban and clad him in the cassock and the kerchief. But hardly she done this when lo! there came a knocking at the door. Asked he, “Who is that rapping at the door?” and she answered, “My husband.” Quoth the Kazi, “What is to be done, and where shall I go?” Quoth she, “Fear nothing. I will hide thee in this cabinet,” and he, “Do as seemeth good to thee.”
So she took him by the hand and pushing him into the lowest compartment, locked the door upon him. Then she went to the house door, where she found the Wali, so she bussed ground before him and taking his hand, brought him into the saloon, where, she made him sit down and said to him: “O my lord, this house is thy house, this place is thy place, and I am thy handmaid. Thou shalt pass all this day with me, wherefore do thou doff thy clothes and don this red gown, for it is a sleeping gown.” So she took away his clothes and made him assume the red gown and set on his head an old patched rag she had by her. After which she sat by him on the divan and she sported with him while he toyed with her awhile, till he put out his hand to her. Whereupon she said to him: “O our lord, this day is thy day and none shall share in it with thee. But first, of thy favor and benevolence, write me an order for my brother’s release from gaol, that my heart may be at ease.” Quoth he, “Hearkening and obedience. On my head and eyes be it!” and wrote a letter to his treasurer, saying: “As soon as this communication shall reach thee, do thou set Such-a-one, free, without stay or delay, neither answer the bearer a word.” Then he sealed it and she took it from him, after which she began to toy again with him on the divan when, behold, someone knocked at the door. He asked, “Who is that?” and she answered, “My husband.” “What shall I do?” said he, and she, “Enter this cabinet, till I send him away and return to thee.” So she clapped him into the second compartment from the bottom and padlocked the door on him, and meanwhile the Kazi heard all they said.
Then she went to the house door and opened it, whereupon lo! the Wazir entered. She bussed the ground before him and received him with all honor and worship, saying: “O my lord, thou exaltest us by thy coming to our house. Allah never deprive us of the light of thy countenance!” Then she seated him on the divan and said to him, “O my lord, doff thy heavy dress and turban and don these lighter vestments.” So he put off his clothes and turban and she clad him in a blue cassock and a tall red bonnet, and said to him: “Erst thy garb was that of the wazirate, so leave it to its own time and don this light gown, which is better fitted for carousing and making merry and sleep.” Thereupon she began to play with him and he with her, and he would have done his desire of her, but she put him off, saying, “O my lord, this shall not fail us.” As they were talking there came a knocking at the door, and the Wazir asked her, “Who is that?” to which she answered, “My husband.” Quoth he, “What is to be done?” Qhoth she, “Enter this cabinet, till I get rid of him and come back to thee, and fear thou nothing.”
So she put him in the third compartment and locked the door on after which she went out and opened the house door when lo and behold! in came the King. As soon as she saw him she kissed ground before him, and taking him by the hand, led him into the saloon and seated him on the divan at the upper end. Then said she to him, “Verily, O King, thou dost us high honor, and if we brought thee to gift the world and all that therein is, it would not be worth a single one of thy steps usward.” And when he had taken his seat upon the divan she said, “Give me leave to speak one word.” “Say what thou wilt.” answered he, and she said, “O my lord, take thine ease and doff thy dress and turban.” Now his clothes were worth a thousand dinars, and when he put them off she clad him in a patched gown, worth at the very most ten dirhams, and fell to talking and jesting with him, all this while the folk in the cabinet hearing everything that passed, but not daring to say a word. Presently the King put his hand to her neck and sought to do his design of her, when she said, “This thing shall not fail us, but I had first promised myself to entertain thee in this sitting chamber, and I have that which shall content thee.” Now as they were speaking, someone knocked at the door and he asked her, “Who is that?” “My husband,” answered she, and he, “Make him go away of his own goodwill, or I will fare forth to him and send him away perforce.” Replied she, “Nay, O my lord, have patience till I send him away by my skillful contrivance.” “And I, how shall I do!” inquired the King. Whereupon she took him by the hand and making him enter the fourth compartment of the cabinet, locked it upon him.
Then she went out and opened the house door, when behold, the carpenter entered and saluted her. Quoth she, “What manner of thing is this cabinet thou hast made me?” “What aileth it, O my lady?” asked he, and she answered, “The top compartment is too strait.” Rejoined he, “Not so,” and she, “Go in thyself and see. It is not wide enough for thee.” Quoth he, “It is wide enough for four.” and entered the fifth compartment, whereupon she locked the door on him. Then she took the letter of the Chief of Police and carried it to the Treasurer, who, having read and understood it, kissed it and delivered her lover to her. She told him all she had done and he said, “And how shall we act now?” She answered, “We will remove hence to another city, for after this work there is no tarrying for us here.”
So the twain packed up what goods they ha
d and, loading them on camels, set out forthright for another city. Meanwhile, the five abode each in his compartment of the cabinet without eating or drinking three whole days, during which time they held their water until at last the carpenter could retain his no longer, so he staled on the King’s head, and the King urined on the Wazir’s head, and the Wazir piddled on the Wall, and the Wali pissed on the head of the Kazi. Whereupon the Judge cried out and said: “What nastiness is this? Doth not what strait we are in suffice us, but you must make water upon us?” The Chief of Police recognized the Kazi’s voice and answered, saying aloud, “Allah increase thy reward, O Kazi!” And when the Kazi heard him he knew him for the Wali. Then the Chief of Police lifted up his voice and said, “What means this nastiness?” and the Wazir answered, saying, “Allah increase thy reward, O Wali!” whereupon he knew him to be the Minister. Then the Wazir lifted up his voice and said, “What means this nastiness?” But when the King heard and recognized his Minister’s voice, he held his peace and concealed his affair.
Then said the Wazir: “May Allah damn this woman for her dealing with us! She hath brought hither all the chief officers of the state, except the King. Quoth the King, “Hold your peace, for I was the first to fall into the toils of this lewd strumpet.” Whereat cried the carpenter: “And I, what have I done? I made her a cabinet for four gold pieces, and when I came to seek my hire, she tricked me into entering this compartment and locked the door on me.” And they fell to talking with one another, diverting the King and doing away his chagrin. Presently the neighbors came up to the house and, seeing it deserted, said one to other: “But yesterday our neighbor, the wife of Such-a-one, was in it, but now no sound is to be heard therein nor is soul to be seen. Let us break open the doors and see how the case stands, lest it come to the ears of the Wali or the King and we be cast into prison and regret not doing this thing before.”
So they broke open the doors and entered the saloon, where they saw a large wooden cabinet and heard men within groaning for hunger and thirst. Then said one of them, “Is there a Jinni in this cabinet?-and his fellow, “Let us heap fuel about it and burn it with fire.” When the Kazi heard this, he bawled out to them, “Do it not!” And they said to one another, ” Verily the Jinn make believe to be mortals and speak with men’s voices.” Thereupon the Kazi repeated somewhat of the Sublime Koran and said to the neighbors, “Draw near to the cabinet wherein we are.” So they drew near, and he said, “I am So-and-so the Kazi, and ye are Such-a-one and Such-a-one, and we are here a company.” Quoth the neighbors, “Who brought you here?” And he told them the whole case from beginning to end. Then they fetched a carpenter, who opened the five doors and let out Kazi, Wazir, Wali, King, and carpenter in their queer disguises; and each, when he saw how the others were accoutered, fell a-laughing at them. Now she had taken away all their clothes, so every one of them sent to his people for fresh clothes and put them on and went out, covering himself therewith from the sight of the folk. Consider, therefore, what a trick this woman played off upon the folk!
(Vasily Vereshchagin – Jerusalem Kings’ Tombs)
The Poetry Of Nissim Ezekiel
In my room, I talk
to my invisible guests:
they do not argue, but wait
Till I am exhausted,
then they slip away
with inscrutable faces.
I lack the means to change
their amiable ways,
although I love their gods.
It’s the language really
separates, whatever else
is shared. On the other hand,
Mother Theresa; her guests
die visibly in her arms.
It’s not the mythology
or the marriage customs
that you need to know,
It’s the will to pass
through the eye of a needle
The guests depart, dissatisfied;
they will never give up
their mantras, old or new.
And you, uneasy
orphan of their racial
Polish up your alien
techniques of observation,
while the city burns.
This normative hill
like all others
is transparently accessible,
and in the mind,
not to be missed
except in peril of one’s life.
Do not muse on it
from a distance:
it’s not remote
for the view only,
it’s for the sport
What the hill demands
is a man
with forces flowering
as from the crevices
of rocks and rough surfaces
force themselves towards the sun
for a moment.
How often must I
say to myself
what I say to others:
trust your nerves
in conversation or in bed
the rhythm comes.
And once you begin
hang on for life.
What is survival?
What is existence?
I am not talking about
poetry. I am
and calling it
I say: be done with it.
you’ve got to love that hill.
Be wrathful, be impatient
that you are not
on the hill. Do not forgive
yourself or other,
is all very well.
Do not rest
in irony or acceptance.
Man should not laugh
when he is dying.
In decent death
you flow into another kind of time
which is the hill
you always thought you knew.
Night of the Scorpion
“I remember the night my mother was stung by a scorpion.
Ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice.
Parting with his poison flash of diabolic tail in the dark room he risked the rain again.
The peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the Name of God a hundred times to paralyse the Evil One.
With candles and with lanterns throwing giant scorpion shadows
on the sun-baked walls they searched for him; he was not found.
They clicked their tongues. With every movement the scorpion made his poison moved in Mother’s blood, they said.
May he sit still, they said.
May the sins of your previous birth
be burned away tonight, they said.
May your suffering decrease
the misfortunes of your next birth, they said.
May the sum of evil balanced in this unreal world against the sum of good become diminished by your pain.
May the poison purify your flesh of desire, and your spirit of ambition, they said, and they sat around on the floor with my mother in the centre.
The peace of understanding on each face.
More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours, more insects and the endless rain.
My mother twisted through and through groaning on a mat.
My father, sceptic, rationalist, trying every curse and blessing, powder, mixture, herb, and hybrid. He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toes and put a match to it.
I watched the flame feeding on my mother.
I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with incantation.
After twenty hours it lost its sting.”
“My mother only said:
Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children.”
Jewish Wedding in Bombay
Her mother shed a tear or two but wasn’t really
crying. It was the thing to do, so she did it
enjoying every moment. The bride laughed when I
sympathized, and said don’t be silly.
Her brothrs had a shoe of mine and made me pay
to get it back. The game delighted all the neighbours’
children, who never stopped staring at me, the reluctant
bridegroom of the day.
There was no dowry because they knew I was ‘modern’
and claimed to be modern too. Her father asked me how
much jewellery I expected him to give away with his daughter.
When I said I did’t know, he laughed it off.
There was no brass band outside the synagogue
but I remember a chanting procession or two, some rituals,
lots of skull-caps, felt hats, decorated shawls
and grape juice from a common glass for bride and
I remember the breaking of the glass and the congregation
clapping which signified that we were well and truly married
according to the Mosaic Law.
Well that’s about all. I don’t think there was much
that struck me as solemn or beautiful. Mostly, we were
amused, and so were the others. Who knows how much belief
Even the most orthodox it was said ate beef because it
was cheaper, and some even risked their souls by
The Sabbath was for betting and swearing and drinking.
Nothing extravagant, mind you, all in a low key
and very decently kept in check. My father used to say,
these orthodox chaps certainly know how to draw the line
in their own crude way. He himself had drifted into the liberal
creed but without much conviction, taking us all with him.
My mother was very proud of being ‘progressive’.
Anyway as I was saying, there was that clapping and later
we went to the photographic studio of Lobo and Fernandes,
world-famous specialists in wedding portraits. Still later,
we lay on a floor-matress in the kitchen of my wife’s
family apartment and though it was part midnight she
kept saying let’s do it darling let’s do it darling
so we did it.
More than ten years passed before she told me that
she remembered being very disappointed. Is that all
there is to it? She had wondered. Back from London
eighteen months earlier, I was horribly out of practice.
During our first serious marriage quarrel she said Why did
you take my virginity from me? I would gladly have
returned it, but not one of the books I had read
instructed me how.
In 1978, admidst all the upheavals, and changes in the world… a bit of beauty. I bought “Music for 18 Musicians” and swam through Steve Reich’s dream for a very long time… Now, what I consider psychedelic, or entheogenic music may run counter to what many people consider to be… This music lifted me, and I could sit and meditate as if I was listening to Shakuhachi and Bamboo Flute meandering on the Zen Path. This was a wonderful moment, as Mary and I were assembling “Grey Pavilion”, buying synths, and trying out new ideas, and along comes Mr. Reich, who set the bar several notches up. Wonderful. – G
Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich – Beginning
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians”-Section II
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section IIIA
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section IV
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section V
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section Vl
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section Vll
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section VIII
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section IX
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section X-XI
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Pulse
(John Singer Sargent – Ellen Terry As Lady Macbeth)