The Poetic Meander

(Mikhail Vrubel – Flowers Of The World)

Two come about because of One,
but don’t cling to the One either!
So long as the mind does not stir,
the ten thousand things stay blameless;
no blame, no phenomena,
no stirring, no mind.

The viewer disappears along with the scene,
the scene follows the viewer into oblivion,
for scene becomes scene only through the viewer,
viewer becomes viewer because of the scene.
– Seng-ts’an, 600

The Poetic Meander

Well here we are. Burning Man is raging once again, kids are having their last summer adventures, the clouds are moving in from the coast and life stumbles fully into Autumn. Mary and I sat outside yesterday evening and it was a bit chilly. Rain this morning…. I think a lot of the weather weirdness this year revolves around the Iceland volcano eruptions. All the classic signs are there: crop failures, weird storms, too cold here, too warm there. Of course we are always in the middle of climate change. When has it not been changing? Nothing is static, it is just picking up a bit of pace as of late…. 80)

The title of “The Poetic Meander” refers to the Zen poems, parables and other bits mixed into this Entry. It also refers to the state that I am in as of late; drifting from one school of poetry to another, reading T.S. Eliot before I sleep at night, Sufi works during the day, Zen and Celtic works in the evening. There is a flow going on, and it moves my attention from here to there and back again. If one really gets down to it, “The Poetic Meander” reflects on the nature of the human labyrinth that we find ourselves in with our daily, and inner lives. It is a journey of discovery that we are about, and each of play our parts as Theseus within the Labyrinth confronting our own personal Minotaur… If we take the analogy further perhaps the soul is a skein of thread gifted to us by our own inner Ariadne to find our way in and out again, back to the spirit from which we originated.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
Asteroid Discovery From 1980 – 2010
Random Quotes
Robin Guthrie – Imperial
Quartet: Short Tales by Lord Dunsany
A Visitation: Octavio Paz Poems
Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd – She Is My Strength
Artist: Mikhail Vrubel

Thanks to Peter for this!
Asteroid Discovery From 1980 – 2010


Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find
A thousand regions of your mind
Yet undiscovered. Travel them and be
Expert in home-cosmography.

– Henry David Thoreau

Random Quotes:

Ralph Waldo Emerson | “Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.”

William James | “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

Dorothy Nevill | “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Samuel Johnson | “Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”

Adrienne E. Gusoff | “Any woman who thinks the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach is aiming about 10 inches too high.”

John Gaule | “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.”

Granville Hicks | “A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.”

Robin Guthrie – Imperial


Quartet: Short Tales by Lord Dunsany


I dreamt that I went back to the hills I knew, whence on a clear day you can see the walls of Ilion and the plains of Roncesvalles. There used to be woods along the tops of those hills with clearings in them where the moonlight fell, and there when no one watched the fairies danced.

But there were no woods when I went back, no fairies nor distant glimpse of Ilion or plains of Roncesvalles, only one giant poppy waved in the wind, and as it waved it hummed “Remember not.” And by its oak-like stem a poet sat, dressed like a shepherd and playing an ancient tune softly upon a pipe. I asked him if the fairies had passed that way or anything olden.

He said: “The poppy has grown apace and is killing gods and fairies. Its fumes are suffocating the world, and its roots drain it of its beautiful strength.” And I asked him why he sat on the hills I knew, playing an olden tune.

And he answered: “Because the tune is bad for the poppy, which would otherwise grow more swiftly; and because if the brotherhood of which I am one were to cease to pipe on the hills men would stray over the world and be lost or come to terrible ends. We think we have saved Agamemnon.”

Then he fell to piping again that olden tune, while the wind among the poppy’s sleepy petals murmured “Remember not. Remember not.”

“Seeing,” they said, “that old-time Pan is dead, let us now make a tomb for him and a monument, that the dreadful worship of long ago may be remembered and avoided by all.”

So said the people of the enlightened lands. And they built a white and mighty tomb of marble. Slowly it rose under the hands of the builders and longer every evening after sunset it gleamed with rays of the departed sun.

And many mourned for Pan while the builders built; many reviled him. Some called the builders to cease and to weep for Pan and others called them to leave no memorial at all of so infamous a god. But the builders built on steadily.

And one day all was finished, and the tomb stood there like a steep sea-cliff. And Pan was carved thereon with humbled head and the feet of angels pressed upon his neck. And when the tomb was finished the sun had already set, but the afterglow was rosy on the huge bulk of Pan.

And presently all the enlightened people came, and saw the tomb and remembered Pan who was dead, and all deplored him and his wicked age. But a few wept apart because of the death of Pan.

But at evening as he stole out of the forest, and slipped like a shadow softly along the hills, Pan saw the tomb and laughed.
(Mikhail Vrubel – Siren)


As he crawled from the tombs of the fallen a worm met with an angel.

And together they looked upon the kings and kingdoms, and youths and maidens and the cities of men. They saw the old men heavy in their chairs and heard the children singing in the fields. They saw far wars and warriors and walled towns, wisdom and wickedness, and the pomp of kings, and the people of all the lands that the sunlight knew.

And the worm spake to the angel saying: “Behold my food.”

“Be dakeon para Thina poluphloisboio Thalassaes,” murmured the angel, for they walked by the sea, “and can you destroy that too?”

And the worm paled in his anger to a greyness ill to behold, for for three thousand years he had tried to destroy that line and still its melody was ringing in his head.

It was the voice of the flowers on the West wind, the lovable, the old, the lazy West wind, blowing ceaselessly, blowing sleepily, going Greecewards.

“The woods have gone away, they have fallen and left us; men love us no longer, we are lonely by moonlight. Great engines rush over the beautiful fields, their ways lie hard and terrible up and down the land.

“The cancrous cities spread over the grass, they clatter in their lairs continually, they glitter about us blemishing the night.

“The woods are gone, O Pan, the woods, the woods. And thou art far, O Pan, and far away.”

I was standing by night between two railway embankments on the edge of a Midland city. On one of them I saw the trains go by, once in every two minutes, and on the other, the trains went by twice in every five.

Quite close were the glaring factories, and the sky above them wore the fearful look that it wears in dreams of fever.

The flowers were right in the stride of that advancing city, and thence I heard them sending up their cry. And then I heard, beating musically up wind, the voice of Pan reproving them from Arcady—

“Be patient a little, these things are not for long.”

(Mikhail Vrubel – Demon)

Gone, and a million things leave no trace
Loosed, and it flows through the galaxies
A fountain of light, into the very mind–
Not a thing, and yet it appears before me:
Now I know the pearl of the Buddha-nature
Know its use: a boundless perfect sphere.

– Han-Shan, circa 630

A Visitation: Octavio Paz Poems


My hands
Open the curtains of your being
Clothe you in a further nudity
Uncover the bodies of your body
My hands
Invent another body for your body

As One Listens To The Rain

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.


In my body you search the mountain
for the sun buried in its forest.
In your body I search for the boat
adrift in the middle of the night.

Summit And Gravity

There’s a motionless tree
And another one coming forward
A river of trees
Hits my chest
The green surge
Is good fortune
You are dressed in red
You are
The seal of the scorched year
The carnal firebrand
The star fruit
In you like sun
The hour rests
Above an abyss of clarities
The height is clouded by birds
Their beaks construct the night
Their wings carry the day
Planted in the crest of light
Between firmness and vertigo
You are
Transparent balance

Last Dawn

Your hair is lost in the forest,
your feet touching mine.
Asleep you are bigger than the night,
but your dream fits within this room.
How much we are who are so little!
Outside a taxi passes
with its load of ghosts.
The river that runs by
is always
running back.
Will tomorrow be another day?

Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd – She Is My Strength

Manjusri, a bodhisattva should regard all living beings as a wise man
Regards the reflection of the moon in water,
As magicians regard men created by magic.
As being like a face in a mirror,
like the water of a mirage;
like the sound of an echo;
like a mass of clouds in the sky;
like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water;
like the core of a plantain tree;
like a flash of lightning;
like the appearance of matter in an immaterial realm;
like a sprout from a rotten seed;
like tortoise-hair coat;
like the fun of games for one who wishes to die…

– Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra

(Mikhail Vrubel – Oyster)

Still Point

Whatever is material shape, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near — all material shape should be seen by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.” Whatever is feeling, whatever is perception, whatever are habitual tendencies, whatever is consciousness, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near — all should be seen by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.” – Buddha Gautama (born 563 B.C.)

Still Point…
So… Here we are at the end of August, drifting into September. The rains came this morning, Mary and I stepped outside as it was raining, and the sun was shining as well. Absolute beauty. The day here has had a softness that is beyond compare. Everything has been glowing with light, and even the vegs in the garden are getting a burst all of a sudden.

Life is sweet. Surrounded by friends, family, our furry ones and the creatures that inhabit our neighborhood (new Jays have arrived!) I sense the exhale at this moment in the web of life. We are off to Sauvie Island this week for pickling cucumbers, and celebrating the beauty of the Autumn.

Here is to your Still Point, and all the gifts that it brings.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
Kodak 1922 Kodachrome Test
Surrealism Quotes
Steve Roach – Halcyon Days
Chinese Folk Tales: The Spirit
T.S. Eliot Quartet Extracts
Steve Roach – Earthman

Thanks to Morgan Miller for this: Kodachrome Film Test, 1923…. as you may know, Kodachrome is no longer being produced….

Surrealism Quotes:

JEAN-LOUIS BÉDOUIN: “Surrealism is born of a consciousness of the derisory condition allotted to the individual and his thought, and a refusal to accommodate oneself to it.”

JOHN HERBERT MATTHEWS: “Surrealism was a perception of reality over which reason was denied the opportunity to exercise confining restrictions.”

HENRY MILLER: “Surrealism is merely the reflection of the death process. It is one of the manifestations of a life becoming extinct, a virus which quickens the inevitable end.”

CATHRIN KLINGSÖHR-LEROY: “For its adherents, Surrealism was a way of life, a kind of existence that left room for playfulness and creativity. It was about living for the moment, with spontaneity and internal intellectual freedom and a lack of materialism, all of which were completely opposed to the values of the bourgeoisie.”

ANNA BALAKIAN: “Surrealism has come to have two meanings: it was originally the closely-knit spiritual union of artists and writers who operated under the common trademark, worked out their artistic problems together, wrote for the same periodicals, sometimes even collaborated on works. But … in its broader sense it represents a spiritual crisis that stems from the ideological developments of the nineteenth century, and has succeeded in producing a technique of writing and painting that conveys a materio-mystical vision of the universe.”

KATHARINE CONLEY: “Surrealism is embedded in the everyday, in the daily experience.”

ANDRE BRETON: “The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood.”

Steve Roach – Halcyon Days


Chinese Folk Tales: The Spirit

In former times a poor kindhearted man, by trade a fisherman, lived with his family of wife and three children in a straw hut on the banks of a river in the middle of a thick forest.

Unfortunately, the fish had been nearly exterminated by the cormorants, and for several days he carried an empty basket home. There was nothing to eat in the cooking pot. His children cried, his wife scolded, but all he could do was to knit his brows.

One night, when the moon had just disappeared behind the mountains, he was restlessly tossing about in bed. His wife and children were sleeping soundly. Suddenly he seemed to hear a knock at the door. Thinking that no one could be about at such a late hour, he paid no attention, until finally the knocking became very insistent. Having no fear of ghosts, he pulled on some clothes and glanced out of the window near the bed.

The silvery-green disk of the moon was shining through the pines on the western hills, and an icy wind blew in through the window. Going to the door, called out, “Who is there?” “It is I,” answered the voice. “I am bringing you fish. Open the door quickly.” “Oh, are you Little Number Three?” asked the fisherman, because he had once heard that Little Three caught fish for other people. Since the voice answered his question in the affirmative, he opened the door.

A dwarf, clad in a raincoat and a large straw hat, came smiling into the room with a basket full of fish on his back. He told the fisherman to take out half the fish, and to cook and eat the remainder; on no account, though, must he talk to other people about who had brought them.

Little Three did the cooking himself in the simplest fashion. He used no spices—only salt and oil—but the food tasted delicious. When they had finished eating, he made an appointment with the fisherman for the following night at a certain place to catch fish.

The next morning the fisherman sold the fish, bought some rice, and told his wife that a friend had lent him some money. He sat at home all day and pondered over his experience. When his wife urged him to go out, he merely replied that there were no fish and that it was a waste of time to go down to the river.

Night fell and it was soon time to go. His wife and children were asleep; silently the fisherman took a large fishing basket and went off to meet Little Three. He met him by the wild rocks near the river. The spirit impressed on him the need of following closely and not saying a word and of breathing as softly as possible. The fish could not see Little Three, but if they made any noise the fish would swim away at once. The strangest thing was that the dwarf was able to walk on the water, and he only needed to spit on the soles of the fisherman’s shoes to enable him to do the same. Naturally, the fish could not see the fisherman either.

The fisherman did exactly as he was told. He took great care not to breathe too loudly, and when Little Three caught a fish he took it from him and threw it into the basket. He was kept very busy, and soon became quite out of breath. Before they had gone a quarter of the way, the basket was full; he merely threw the rest of the fish back into the water again, because the spirit went on catching fish without bothering to see whether there was any place to put them or not. A little later they both stepped onto the bank, and shivers ran down the fisherman’s spine at the appalling sight of the deep water they had crossed. They returned home, cooked and ate half the fish, and put the other half aside according to the orders the spirit had given.

Every night, except at the time of the full moon, they went out fishing, but the fisherman said nothing to his wife. To avoid all suspicion, he even went fishing during the day from time to time. But he earned so much money that his wife became suspicious, and eventually she discovered everything.

One night she pretended to be asleep and watched to see what her husband would do. She saw him eating fish with another man and then come into the bedroom and go to sleep. She made no sign, but when he had fallen asleep she got up and saw what they had been doing.

The next day she bored a small hole in the plaster wall and watched the two men cooking the fish. she saw how they only cooked half of them, and she thought to herself that if only they could keep the other half they would have food for several days.

She made a plan, and the following night, when Little Three came again and placed the pot on the fire, it suddenly went up in flames. The spirit saw at once that something was wrong and ran away. The fisherman was very angry, but not until his wife came into the room with a smile on her face did he know that the pot had been made of paper. From then on, the spirit never came to cook and eat fish.

from Folk Tales of China by Eberhard
One of my early great loves, the poetry of T.S. Eliot….

T.S. Eliot Quartet Extracts:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.
The detail of the pattern is movement,
As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always-
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Steve Roach – Earthman

Upon Mystery

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”

On The Music Box: The Fountain Sound Track

This posting is an amalgam of a couple of different threads running through my experiences of late. I have been contemplating Mystery, Labour and Class relations among other subjects as I have gone about the everyday life. I was surprised and saddened to find that the great Jimmy Reid had passed on August 10th. I have included his famous Glasgow University Speech from 1972. Jimmy was part of a long tradition of working class intellectuals that helped craft Glasgow and the Glaswegian intelligensia over the centuries. Though not known so well in the US, he had a deep impact on the ideas of critical thinking, class and labour relationships and the now lost and lamented traditions of shipbuilding upon the Clyde. I have included a eulogy from Billy Connolly as well. It rambles a bit, but it helps shape the image of Jimmy in your mind if you let it.

There is a wee article on Mystery that I have crafted, part of another work that I have been putting together elsewhere. Mystery, Poetry, Music make up the remainder of this posting.

I should have another Turfing out soon, as I have been crafting another as I was working on this one.

Here is to you all,

On The Menu:
Upon Mystery
Maps – I Dream of Crystal
Mystery Quotes
Fare Thee Well, Jimmy Reid: Still irresistible, a working-class hero’s finest speech
Billy Connolly’s Eulogy For Jimmy Reid
Sentient Fireballs and Biting Lights
The Poems Of Fedrico Garcia Lorca
Maps – Valium In the Sunshine

Upon Mystery
(The Mystery Of It All!) We are born from mystery, swim through our lives with mystery, and with mystery we return to the great depths at the end of life.

Mystery. Give me mystery. that is the heart of the matter. When I contemplate mystery I’m engaged upon a quest opened up to multiple, perhaps infinite possibilities. Mysteries evokes a state of mind that motivates on multiple levels. I would rather have mystery than answers, To have the unformed churning in the mind, is to be on the threshing floor of creation. Mystery by its basic nature shares the event horizon with you.

Answers are perhaps the death of curiosity on many levels. When people think they have the answer(s), they apparently turn off to other possibilities, other paths. Answers move from the fluid state that mystery evokes, to a static state. That which is connected with the quest ceases. With answers, finite horizons assert themselves, what was once wild and boundless, now caged.

Imagine this if you haven’t experienced it… You are on a small craft, beyond the horizon from land, late at night. There is no moon, only stars. The craft is absolutely dark, you kneel by the gunwale, and let your hand drift in the water in the darkness… This is entering into mystery, a mystery rife with surrender, danger, anticipation, questing…

We go through our lives assured by what we think are the answers. Answers are comforting, and assuring. They delineate and guide. They are in the main harmless… We accept answers from an early age, we put innocent faith in those who first answer our questions. For some, this is enough. For others, asking the questions continues. It can leads one down the most peculiar of paths. If you ask the right questions you can end up either on the world stage, in prison, or on the path of wonder. The questing is the key, and the interpreting of the signpost along the way.

Invoke Isis, and she will come forth. Life is the mystery to be lived fully and with intent. (and no… that is not an answer!)


MAPS new album: Turning The Mind….
Maps – I Dream of Crystal


Mystery Quotes:

Oscar Wilde: “The final mystery is oneself.”

Charles de Lint: “Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed. What would be left to strive for if everything were known?”

Albert Einstein: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

G. K. Chesterton: “The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment. They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.”

Henri Frederic Amiel: “Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the ploughshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring…”


Fare Thee Well, Jimmy Reid: Still irresistible, a working-class hero’s finest speech

Jimmy Reid, the Clydeside trade union activist who died recently, was an inspiring orator. This speech, delivered on his inauguration as rector of Glasgow University in 1972, was compared at the time to the Gettysburg Address. It has lost little of its relevance

Alienation is the precise and correctly applied word for describing the major social problem in Britain today. People feel alienated by society. In some intellectual circles it is treated almost as a new phenomenon. It has, however, been with us for years. What I believe is true is that today it is more widespread, more pervasive than ever before. Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.

Many may not have rationalised it. May not even understand, may not be able to articulate it. But they feel it. It therefore conditions and colours their social attitudes. Alienation expresses itself in different ways in different people. It is to be found in what our courts often describe as the criminal antisocial behaviour of a section of the community. It is expressed by those young people who want to opt out of society, by drop-outs, the so-called maladjusted, those who seek to escape permanently from the reality of society through intoxicants and narcotics. Of course, it would be wrong to say it was the sole reason for these things. But it is a much greater factor in all of them than is generally recognised.

Society and its prevailing sense of values leads to another form of alienation. It alienates some from humanity. It partially de-humanises some people, makes them insensitive, ruthless in their handling of fellow human beings, self-centred and grasping. The irony is, they are often considered normal and well-adjusted. It is my sincere contention that anyone who can be totally adjusted to our society is in greater need of psychiatric analysis and treatment than anyone else. They remind me of the character in the novel, Catch 22, the father of Major Major. He was a farmer in the American Mid-West. He hated suggestions for things like medi-care, social services, unemployment benefits or civil rights. He was, however, an enthusiast for the agricultural policies that paid farmers for not bringing their fields under cultivation. From the money he got for not growing alfalfa he bought more land in order not to grow alfalfa. He became rich. Pilgrims came from all over the state to sit at his feet and learn how to be a successful non-grower of alfalfa. His philosophy was simple. The poor didn’t work hard enough and so they were poor. He believed that the good Lord gave him two strong hands to grab as much as he could for himself. He is a comic figure. But think – have you not met his like here in Britain? Here in Scotland? I have.

It is easy and tempting to hate such people. However, it is wrong. They are as much products of society, and of a consequence of that society, human alienation, as the poor drop-out. They are losers. They have lost the essential elements of our common humanity. Man is a social being. Real fulfilment for any person lies in service to his fellow men and women. The big challenge to our civilisation is not Oz, a magazine I haven’t seen, let alone read. Nor is it permissiveness, although I agree our society is too permissive. Any society which, for example, permits over one million people to be unemployed is far too permissive for my liking. Nor is it moral laxity in the narrow sense that this word is generally employed – although in a sense here we come nearer to the problem. It does involve morality, ethics, and our concept of human values. The challenge we face is that of rooting out anything and everything that distorts and devalues human relations.

Let me give two examples from contemporary experience to illustrate the point.

Recently on television I saw an advert. The scene is a banquet. A gentleman is on his feet proposing a toast. His speech is full of phrases like “this full-bodied specimen”. Sitting beside him is a young, buxom woman. The image she projects is not pompous but foolish. She is visibly preening herself, believing that she is the object of the bloke’s eulogy. Then he concludes – “and now I give…”, then a brand name of what used to be described as Empire sherry. Then the laughter. Derisive and cruel laughter. The real point, of course, is this. In this charade, the viewers were obviously expected to identify not with the victim but with her tormentors.

The other illustration is the widespread, implicit acceptance of the concept and term “the rat race”. The picture it conjures up is one where we are scurrying around scrambling for position, trampling on others, back-stabbing, all in pursuit of personal success. Even genuinely intended, friendly advice can sometimes take the form of someone saying to you, “Listen, you look after number one.” Or as they say in London, “Bang the bell, Jack, I’m on the bus.”

To the students [of Glasgow University] I address this appeal. Reject these attitudes. Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”

Profit is the sole criterion used by the establishment to evaluate economic activity. From the rat race to lame ducks. The vocabulary in vogue is a give-away. It’s more reminiscent of a human menagerie than human society. The power structures that have inevitably emerged from this approach threaten and undermine our hard-won democratic rights. The whole process is towards the centralisation and concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands. The facts are there for all who want to see. Giant monopoly companies and consortia dominate almost every branch of our economy. The men who wield effective control within these giants exercise a power over their fellow men which is frightening and is a negation of democracy.

Government by the people for the people becomes meaningless unless it includes major economic decision-making by the people for the people. This is not simply an economic matter. In essence it is an ethical and moral question, for whoever takes the important economic decisions in society ipso facto determines the social priorities of that society.

From the Olympian heights of an executive suite, in an atmosphere where your success is judged by the extent to which you can maximise profits, the overwhelming tendency must be to see people as units of production, as indices in your accountants’ books. To appreciate fully the inhumanity of this situation, you have to see the hurt and despair in the eyes of a man suddenly told he is redundant, without provision made for suitable alternative employment, with the prospect in the West of Scotland, if he is in his late forties or fifties, of spending the rest of his life in the Labour Exchange. Someone, somewhere has decided he is unwanted, unneeded, and is to be thrown on the industrial scrap heap. From the very depth of my being, I challenge the right of any man or any group of men, in business or in government, to tell a fellow human being that he or she is expendable.

The concentration of power in the economic field is matched by the centralisation of decision-making in the political institutions of society. The power of Parliament has undoubtedly been eroded over past decades, with more and more authority being invested in the Executive. The power of local authorities has been and is being systematically undermined. The only justification I can see for local government is as a counter- balance to the centralised character of national government.

Local government is to be restructured. What an opportunity, one would think, for de-centralising as much power as possible back to the local communities. Instead, the proposals are for centralising local government. It’s once again a blue-print for bureaucracy, not democracy. If these proposals are implemented, in a few years when asked “Where do you come from?” I can reply: “The Western Region.” It even sounds like a hospital board.

It stretches from Oban to Girvan and eastwards to include most of the Glasgow conurbation. As in other matters, I must ask the politicians who favour these proposals – where and how in your calculations did you quantify the value of a community? Of community life? Of a sense of belonging? Of the feeling of identification? These are rhetorical questions. I know the answer. Such human considerations do not feature in their thought processes.

Everything that is proposed from the establishment seems almost calculated to minimise the role of the people, to miniaturise man. I can understand how attractive this prospect must be to those at the top. Those of us who refuse to be pawns in their power game can be picked up by their bureaucratic tweezers and dropped in a filing cabinet under “M” for malcontent or maladjusted. When you think of some of the high flats around us, it can hardly be an accident that they are as near as one could get to an architectural representation of a filing cabinet.

If modern technology requires greater and larger productive units, let’s make our wealth-producing resources and potential subject to public control and to social accountability. Let’s gear our society to social need, not personal greed. Given such creative re-orientation of society, there is no doubt in my mind that in a few years we could eradicate in our country the scourge of poverty, the underprivileged, slums, and insecurity.

Even this is not enough. To measure social progress purely by material advance is not enough. Our aim must be the enrichment of the whole quality of life. It requires a social and cultural, or if you wish, a spiritual transformation of our country. A necessary part of this must be the restructuring of the institutions of government and, where necessary, the evolution of additional structures so as to involve the people in the decision-making processes of our society. The so-called experts will tell you that this would be cumbersome or marginally inefficient. I am prepared to sacrifice a margin of efficiency for the value of the people’s participation. Anyway, in the longer term, I reject this argument.

To unleash the latent potential of our people requires that we give them responsibility. The untapped resources of the North Sea are as nothing compared to the untapped resources of our people. I am convinced that the great mass of our people go through life without even a glimmer of what they could have contributed to their fellow human beings. This is a personal tragedy. It’s a social crime. The flowering of each individual’s personality and talents is the pre-condition for everyone’s development.

In this context education has a vital role to play. If automation and technology is accompanied as it must be with a full employment, then the leisure time available to man will be enormously increased. If that is so, then our whole concept of education must change. The whole object must be to equip and educate people for life, not solely for work or a profession. The creative use of leisure, in communion with and in service to our fellow human beings, can and must become an important element in self-fulfilment.

Universities must be in the forefront of development, must meet social needs and not lag behind them. It is my earnest desire that this great University of Glasgow should be in the vanguard, initiating changes and setting the example for others to follow. Part of our educational process must be the involvement of all sections of the university on the governing bodies. The case for student representation is unanswerable. It is inevitable.

My conclusion is to re-affirm what I hope and certainly intend to be the spirit permeating this address. It’s an affirmation of faith in humanity. All that is good in man’s heritage involves recognition of our common humanity, an unashamed acknowledgement that man is good by nature. Burns expressed it in a poem that technically was not his best, yet captured the spirit. In “Why should we idly waste our prime…”:

“The golden age, we’ll then revive, each man shall be a brother,

In harmony we all shall live and till the earth together,

In virtue trained, enlightened youth shall move each fellow creature,

And time shall surely prove the truth that man is good by nature.”

It’s my belief that all the factors to make a practical reality of such a world are maturing now. I would like to think that our generation took mankind some way along the road towards this goal. It’s a goal worth fighting for.
Billy Connolly’s Eulogy For Jimmy Reid

Sentient Fireballs and Biting Lights

Strange luminous encounters, from fleeting sightings to lethal attacks
Text: Theo Paijmans / Images: Sybille Delacroix

At the fringes of those luminous phenomena which range from spook lights to freak lightning, there are some strange accounts for which there is no ready explanation. These involve lights that show a parti­cular interest in human beings – and not always to their benefit.

Take what befell 12-year-old George Campbell and his father, EW Campbell. They were riding along the ‘Eighty-foot Road’, north of the city of Sherman, Texas, on the night of 4 October 1898. Somewhat after nine o’clock that evening, the boy was witness to a startling phenomenon:

He is a bright, intelligent little fellow, who said he didn’t believe in ghosts; that his parents had never scared him with spook stories, and he is one of the best- behaved scholars in the fourth grade at the Franklin school building. His story as told to a News reporter to-day is as foll ows: “Last night papa and I were riding along the ‘Eighty-foot Road’, about two and a half miles [4km] north of town, when all at once everything got very bright. We saw a great ball of fire coming down toward the ground. It got within about three feet [90cm] of the ground and seemed to rest for a while and then it went back up until it got clear out of sight. There was a buzzing sound all the time.” George describes it as being about 10 feet [3m] in diameter and that it hurt one’s eyes to look at it. Although they were very close to it, he says that he did not feel any heat. [1]

It’s a puzzling tale, one which nowadays might be interpreted as a UFO account.

Another encounter with a mysterious fireball did not have such a fortunate outcome. Twenty-two years previously, also in Texas, near the town of Palestine, another “intelligent boy” appeared, out of breath and “as pale as he could be”. His story was that he’d been trudging along a highway at night.

There was a negro woman riding a horse in the direction the little coloured boy was going. The boy appeared that night in Palestine… He said he saw a ball of fire come out of the sky and strike the woman and set her ablaze. The horse ran away with the woman afire on his back, and he ran to town to tell the people what had happened. The people went to look after further parti culars concerning this curious incid ent, and they found the woman lying on the ground, her clothing burned off, but enough of life in her to tell that she had been struck in the breast by a ball of fire. She died the next day. The horse was afterwards found with his mane singed. People here think that she was struck by a meteor. [2]

In contrast, there are also numerous instances of death from above by freak lightning manifesting as balls of fire. These incidents are no less outré, but in such cases we might console ourselves with a natural explanation. In 1866, Miss Addie Murray, a schoolteacher in Ross township, Vermillion county, Illinois, met her untimely end in this way: “She was sitting in the schoolhouse with two pupils, when the house was struck, and she was found sitt ing in the chair dead, with her clothing nearly burned off, and the child ren severely stunned. The child ren describe the scene as a ball of fire falling into the room.” [3] Something similar struck John Whitton, a driver for a telegraph construction train in Leavenworth that same year. “He had occasion to lift the tele graph line off the ground, when a flash of lightning struck the line at that point, tearing it into small pieces, and instantly killing him. The men who saw the accident state that they saw a ball of fire as large as a man’s fist issue from Whitton’s breast.” [4]

An unfortunate death by a fireball in 1933 was accompan ied by a curious premonition on the part of the unfortunate victim. “In San Rocco, during a thunderstorm, a cleric was killed by lightning. The priest was involved in a discussion with several of his congregation in the village street, when quite slowly a one metre [40in] big, orange-coloured fireball came floating through the air straight towards the priest, which then erupted in his vicinity. The incid ent made quite an impress ion on the superstitious farmers, more so, as the day before the priest had presaged his own demise that was soon to come.” [5]

A different kind of strange light, again attracted by the presence of a human being, was experienced by Alec Campbell, working as a game warden in Southern Rhodesia (now Zim babwe). One night, Campbell was walking by an old burial ground when suddenly a bright light appeared beside him. “The light turned into a ball of fire about the size of a softball and moved along at Campbell’s speed, he said… he turned and stared at the mysterious light. Immediately, the ball started advancing on him.” Campbell remembered the tales that said that if one encountered such a light, the best thing to do was to close one’s eyes, which would cause the light to disappear. He did so, and the light vanished. [6]

Could there be lights not only possessed of some sort of intelli gence but which are capable of forming a unique rapport with a person and even delivering painful stings when they so choose?

This seems to have been the case in Richmond, Indiana, in 1978. The bizarre incident involved local resident Martha Grieswell, 46 at the time, whose house had been plagued by “flashing pinpoints of light” ever since one had come into her bedroom one night in early January that year. Grieswell described how it appeared to her that she and the light were watching each other. The little light approached her: “I said ‘No,’ and it stopped about one and half feet [45cm] away. Then I held out my hand and it came right over and sat in my hand and turned my whole hand a psychedelic purple. It glowed for a while, then shut down to a point of light, then rose from my hand – then the others started to come in…”

Over the following nights, dozens of the “floating, flashing lights”, mostly white and pinhead-sized, entered her bedroom through the closed window; after that, they became her constant companions as soon as evening fell. Grieswell also began to note some of these lights during the daytime, although then they seemed less active. She moved out of the upstairs bedroom, where the lights continued to manifest, and began conducting experiments to try to ascertain what the lights might be. She captured several in containers, including an aluminium cigar ette case, and saw them shining through the container walls. Grieswell also immersed the lights in water, keeping them submerged for two days: “The lights were observed to ‘swim’ freely, and when released, to ‘fly’ free, their lights undimmed.” She got the same results when she locked them up in a freezer. She was only able to conduct these experiments when the lights were willing participants, since at other times they simply escaped through the walls of the containers. Radiation tests and an attempted chemical analysis turned up nothing. She did find out, though, that one thing had an effect on the lights. When she touched one with a burning cigarette, the light made “a crackling sound, as if you had wadded up cellophane very rapidly in your hand”. She was unable to replicate that experiment: “You can’t burn them any more. They move away too fast,” she explained. It dawned upon Mrs Grieswell that the lights might learn from experience and therefore might possess some kind of intelligence. When asked why she wanted to get rid of them, she gave the unnerving answer: “Because they bite.” At times, when the lights became more bright, they would sting or bite, giving off a sensation like “the sting of a sweat bee”, and leaving a very small welt. “They go through a tapping motion… When they land, they raise up, then light again… they feel like bugs when they sit on you and that’s when they burn.”

One night, a light got in her eye, which was a painful experience. The next day, she noticed that the eye was bloodshot and the corner crusted. When the lights were not stinging her, they had a tendency to land and crawl over her during the night. They also stung her husband, who wasn’t able to see them. This might be a significant detail; some of the many curious people who visited her house were able to see the lights, yet others were not.

Trying to escape the lights for a while, Mrs Grieswell went to her mother in Decatur, but on the third night after her arrival the lights came in through the window and were also seen by her mother. Perhaps, she reasoned, they had been able to follow her or had hidden themselves in her clothing or luggage. She got the impression that the lights meant to say that she could not flee from them. She sought help, and consulted scientists, ufologists and psychic researchers, but to little avail. As she said to the reporter who visited her (he wasn’t able to see the lights): “I’ve just made up my mind that I’m not going to get rid of them.” [7]

One of the psychic researchers whom Grieswell contacted offered as explanation that she might be “experiencing a stage of consciousness preliminary to becoming a psychic medium”. A plausible suggestion, coming from a psychic researcher, as puzzling luminous phenomena manifest themselves often around mediums, and are well known in the field of para psych ology. It is said that Helène Smith experienced the manifest ation of mysterious globes or lights in her studio where she had taken up painting, long after her association and ensuing break-up with Theo dore Flournoy: “The visions were accompanied by luminous phenomena. They began with a ball of light which expanded and filled the room. This was not a subjective phenomenon. Helène Smith exposed photo graphic plates which indeed registered strong luminous effects.” [8]

Then there is the case of Ada Bessinet, a Toledo medium of the 1920s. Denounced as a subconscious fraud by Professor Hyslop, who had investigated her during 70 sittings between 1909 and 1910, she clearly made more of an impression on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He wrote, describing a séance with her: “Brilliant lights are part of the medium’s power, and even before she had sunk into a trance, they were flying up in graceful curves as high as the ceiling and circling back on us. One nearly rested on my hand. It seems to be a cold light, and its nature has never been determined, but perhaps the cold, vital light of the firefly may be an analogy.” [9] Hereward Carr ing ton was another who was not impressed, but he did state that he observed some very curious lights at a 1922 séance which, “on request, hovered for a few moments over exposed photographic plates and that the plates, when developed, showed unusual markings which he failed to obtain by artificial means”. [10]
1 “Aerial Phenomena in Texas”, Dallas Morning News, Texas, 5 Oct 1898; “Aerial Phenomena In Texas”, Galveston Daily News, Texas, 6 Oct 1898.
2 “Burned To Death By A Meteor”, Burlington Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, 23 Mar 1876; “Burned To Death By A Meteor”, Ohio Democrat, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 30 Mar 1876; “Burned To Death By A Meteor”, Decatur Daily Repub lican, Decatur, Illinois, 11 April 1876.
3 The North-West, Free port, Illinois, 23 Aug 1866.
4 Bangor Daily Whig And Courier, Bangor, Maine, 26 June 1866.
5 “Vuurbol Doodt Een Priester”, De Gelderlander, ed. Nijmegen, Netherlands, 18 Aug 1933.
6 Sanford Spillman: “Strange To Relate”, Winnipeg Free Press, Canada, 2 Aug 1969.
7 Barry Wood: “What Lights Through Yonder Window Broke?” and Barry Wood: “Others Say They’ve Seen The Lights At Mrs Grieswell’s House”, both in the Pallad ium-Item, Richmond, Indiana, 20 Aug 1978; also summar ised in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, 28 Aug 1978. An account of Martha Grieswell’s ordeal was also published in Wonders, Dec 1995, as “Life As We Know It Not”, by Mark A Hall, pp109–118.
8 Nandor Fodor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, University Books, 1966, 3rd printing 1969, p350.
9 Walter B. Gibson: “Human Enigmas That Still keep the World Guessing, No. 14 – Ada Besinnet”, Lethbridge Daily Herald, Lethbridge, Canada, 13 Jan 1925.
10 Fodor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, p30.

The Poems Of Fedrico Garcia Lorca

Before The Dawn

But like love
the archers
are blind

Upon the green night,
the piercing saetas
leave traces of warm

The keel of the moon
breaks through purple clouds
and their quivers
fill with dew.

Ay, but like love
the archers
are blind!

Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to withdraw from the tumult of cemetries.
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

I don’t want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood,
that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water.
I don’t want to learn of the tortures of the grass,
nor of the moon with a serpent’s mouth
that labors before dawn.

I want to sleep awhile,
awhile, a minute, a century;
but all must know that I have not died;
that there is a stable of gold in my lips;
that I am the small friend of the West wing;
that I am the intense shadows of my tears.

Cover me at dawn with a veil,
because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me,
and wet with hard water my shoes
so that the pincers of the scorpion slide.

For I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to learn a lament that will cleanse me to earth;
for I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

Gacela of the Dead Child

Each afternoon in Granada,
each afternoon, a child dies.
Each afternoon the water sits down
and chats with its companions.

The dead wear mossy wings.
The cloudy wind and the clear wind
are two pheasants in flight through the towers,
and the day is a wounded boy.

Not a flicker of lark was left in the air
when I met you in the caverns of wine.
Not the crumb of a cloud was left in the ground
when you were drowned in the river.

A giant of water fell down over the hills,
and the valley was tumbling with lilies and dogs.
In my hands’ violet shadow, your body,
dead on the bank, was an angel of coldness.

Gacela of Unforseen Love

No one understood the perfume
of the dark magnolia of your womb.
Nobody knew that you tormented
a hummingbird of love between your teeth.

A thousand Persian little horses fell asleep
in the plaza with moon of your forehead,
while through four nights I embraced
your waist, enemy of the snow.

Between plaster and jasmins, your glance
was a pale branch of seeds.
I sought in my heart to give you
the ivory letters that say “siempre”,

“siempre”, “siempre” : garden of my agony,
your body elusive always,
that blood of your veins in my mouth,
your mouth already lightless for my death.


Maps – Valium In the Sunshine

Number 900

Ever anticipated a dream, or wished one and had it occur? I had such an event last night. When I was younger, I had many “Flying Dreams”, where I would flap my arms and take off into the air; swooping, gliding, slowly drifting back to earth, and then springing high into the air. They don’t feel remarkable at all, and at times it seems the dream is more real than the waking. It was a bit of joy to return to this state again, oh the sense of freedom and limitlessness….

This edition of Turfing is made up of wild, rare and wonderful things… from the music of Bob Desper, a little known bard of psychedelic folk music from the Willamette Valley, a wonderful Coyote Tale from the Apaches, to the poetry of Bryce Milligan… I have had fun assembling this edition! Please check out Number 900 and The Great Bay as well.


On The Menu:
Number 900: The Entries
The Great Bay
Bob Desper – Time Is Almost Over Now
Coyote in the Underworld
The Poetry Of Bryce Milligan
Bob Desper – Liberty 1974

Number 900: The Entries…

So, let me explain. This is the 900th entry of Turfing. No. Really…
What started out as an almost daily event has over the years has slowed down a bit, but still, we carry on. It is perhaps the one defining act of art that I have stayed consistently with… Painting I go in and out of, The Invisible College is always around, Poetry comes when not beckoned (less frequently now), but the assemblage of Turfing has been a constant for almost 6 years now. It is the project that is always calling.

I have used it for good and ill; to bring obscure art, poetry and music forward, to ward off working on my other writings, art etc. In the end, it is all the same I think. In dodging something, I create something. That works. I found that I have edited individual postings up to 50 times, photos, music, articles, links… sometimes a post comes together in 15 minutes, sometimes I work off and on on a post for a couple of weeks entailing several hours. I do find myself at a loss on occasion on what to post. This is patently silly, there is so much poetry art, stories and music to publish, let alone commentary that could be made… yet there are times when inspiration flees, and can’t be coaxed back.

I began Turfing thinking I knew a fair amount about art, poetry, music, but over the years as I have expanded my materials, I have become convinced of my lack of true knowledge on these subjects. It doesn’t matter how much you read, there just isn’t enough time. The corpus is just so vast, and the more you discover, the more there is that you have not yet uncovered. I stand among riches beyond compare, and yet so much is unobtainable.

I often despair in the fact that there is a limit to what I can read due to lack of translations… Among many streams, I have a desire to dive into the Urdu schools of poetry, but the translations are so few and far between. As I have gone further and further into the Sufi poets, I realize that many of the gems are in the Urdu languages, and the translations are just not there. I will continue my searches, and true more stuff comes on line all the time. Hopefully, hopefully.

So, over the years, I have watched the postings evolve, and de-evolve. Sometimes I am pleased other times less so. What I do know is that it is an act of Magick: making sense out of the chaos of the last 5000 or more years of cultural tides, influences and dreams. The magick is in the mix, the elements that evolve out of the postings, whether it be Sheikh Nematollah, Ameregin, Oscar Wilde, Radiohead, Shpongle, Erik Davis, Jean Cocteau, Sappho, Petronius, Laura Riding, Allen Ginsberg, Christina Rossetti, or Aldous Huxley. Herein lies the Magick of cultural transmission. We sit together in the cave, seeing the pictures emerge from flame and shadow, out of dreams, and the stories of plants and daemons. Here we connect, across cultures, time, space, gender and different forms of consciousness. There is a stream that knows no beginning or end, that we have all dipped our cups into and drank of…

One of the sweet points of Turfing has been the feedback that I have gotten, most often directly emailed to me. People share that the poetry moved them, a story, or some of my musings. This is like gold to me. I do enjoy the contact with readers, and it is great to know that the assemblage known as “Turfing” touches people.

Off the top of my hat I would like to thank a few people: Ibn, who first put a blog setup together for me and gave it it’s name. He is now travelling around the world with his wife on a long deserved vacation, I wish I were in greater contact with him. Don Ford, for the encouragement and feedback over the years. Lo Ryder, Clark, Diane & Diana, Oliver, Chaff, Scott, Will Penna and many others who have contacted me over the years (Thanks especially to all on the Earthrites List). Col. Kurtz of course with software help, Morgan Miller for being an absolute champ, and a hero. Dale and Laura Pendell for their conversations and encouragement to explore even deeper, and last but not least, Mary who has been my constant Muse for many years. Without her, nothing would have ever floated.

Bright Blessings,

The Great Bay – Dale Pendell

In a year that has seen the highest recorded temperatures around the world (102f in Moscow), and with the various ecological disaster scenarios playing out (freezing temperatures in the Amazon, droughts across the northern hemisphere, the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico) the release of “The Great Bay” couldn’t be more timely. we are at a crossroads, there is no doubt, and have been for awhile. Whilst the crossroads remain the same symbolically, the scenario shifts and changes at what appears to be an ever quickening rate.

I have to admit, I have not read much science fiction as of late. I have not been reading Ray Bradbury (happy 90th birthday Ray!), nor William Gibson or Bruce Sterling. It seems most scenarios that I found fascinating in SF years ago have come and gone in rapid succession. (True, I have not seen the great worms of Arrakis, but I certainly have experienced the Spice./ )

The Great Bay moves into another territory altogether. Other books have had elements of it, but the story telling format within The Great Bay is unique. It has been remarked that this is a dystopian tale. Well yes, and certainly no. It has won “The Best Science Fiction” award from the 2010 Green Book Festival… The science is sound, and very well researched. There is great travail and obstacles presented in this collection of future tales and myths, intimately tied into Climate Change and its effects. In many ways it is a cliffhanger. Will the human race and the other inhabitants of earth survive the bumpy ride into the future? It is a chronology, of many characters spread over a vast expanse of time. (and what characters!) It begins with the melt down of world civilization due to the misuse of technology that results in the deaths of billions, leaving the survivors dazed, and scrabbling through the ruins of what once was. As the dust of years settles, that which went before becomes fading memories, stories, myths and then merely the faintest of distant dreams. Landscapes and seascapes change incessantly, and humans end up doing the same as well. Life finds new and unique patterns within the challenges.

I am reading it for a second time. I had to. I am absorbing the tales, the gyres and eddies of future myths and peoples. At times I want the book to hesitate over a certain period and cast of characters. Of course, it moves on. The book rises and falls like its namesake. The trick in reading The Great Bay is to relax into it, become absorbed. Give your self a couple of days; turn off the TV, the Computer, the Stereo. Sit outside, feet in dirt with natural light if you can. I found myself entering an (en-)tranced state several times, sinking down, down into the tales like one does in a lake or quiet river; with murmurs and waves. Some of the tales evolve in high drama; others the everyday of survival in difficult times. Tales of hunters, poets, future zen masters, warriors, priest, mothers, children and lovers swirl around you, drawing your attention this way and that. The characters are richly drawn, and I found an empathy for them. There is great joy and sadness in the tales, and at times a sense of grief early on. There is also more than a share or wryness and wicked sense of humour. It is a good mix.

One of The Great Bay’s subtext is often one of hunger. It lurks under many of the tales and stories, emerging time and again. Other subtexts that one can find, is the love of land, and place. There is a love affair here of California (read the dedication!). The detail given to the land in these tales speak of attention to the Spiritus Loci, and to the subtle shifts of seasons, wind and time as it plays out across the landscape. Several places that are named and presented in the book are near and dear to my heart. I found myself transported to these places in their future guises. Another subtext, and perhaps the one most important is that of community, and how community evolves and mutates. The communities in The Great Bay have a very wonderful part to play in the tales, truly they do.

I think you might enjoy this book as much as I have and am again. On reading the last chapter (for the first time) I felt the hackles rise up on my neck and arms. Prose that speaks as poetry, and fiction that brings out truth, grounded in the most ancient and future expressions of humanity. My one criticism is that I was left wanting more, but then I can be greedy. I hope Dale will re-visit the world he created in The Great Bay in additional stories down the way. This is one you shouldn’t pass up. A great book, excellent tales, and very, very timely.

Bob Desper – Time Is Almost Over Now

Jicarilla Apache Tales:
Coyote in the Underworld;
The Origin of the Monsters;
The First Emergence

This coyote was just like a real person in the old times. He was two-faced; he was evil, but he was also good. He had power in both ways, in the evil way and in the good way. The people often use him in the evil way; and in the good way, too, they use him, for he has power to help as well as to harm.

Coyote was down below with the people. The chief down there, before they started to come up, had a wife who seemed to be very sick with rheumatism. This chief tried in every way to cure her. He had all the men with power perform their ceremonies for her, but it did no good. This woman was not really sick; she was only acting sick and making her husband believe it.

She said, “Take me down to the river. It is the coolest place and there I feel well.”

A river was divided at a certain place and flowed from there in two branches. This place was called Divided Water, and it was here that she wished to be taken. The otter had spoken to this woman through his power; that was why she wanted to get to that place. He used his power as love medicine. Otter was a young man. The chief didn’t know about this.

The chief carried his wife down there every morning and took a lunch for her too. Each evening when the sun was going down he called for her.

After a while he got tired of this and wondered why she always insisted on going to this one place.

The next morning he took her there as usual. Then he turned and went back as though he was going straight for his camp. But as soon as he got out of sight, he ran around a hill and approached from another side and lay there in hiding, watching. Within an hour he saw someone come swimming to that place.

She, too, saw that someone was coming. She took off her clothes and jumped in the water. She and Otter met right in the water. So the otter is our brother-in-law.

Now the chief had found out what that woman was doing. He went back to his home. He was not going after her any more. He had seen that she was not sick, for she had jumped up and taken off her clothes and plunged in as though she were very active and entirely well.

When the sun went down he did not go there as usual. He stayed in his camp.

At nightfall, after waiting for him, the woman came crawling in on her hands and knees. She acted as though she was very sick.

She said, “The old man doesn’t feel sorry for this sick person. You see that I’m coming and having a painful time. See, here you are! You do not even come to get me any more.”

The husband had a grindstone at his side. He said, “Yes, I feel sorry for you!” and he picked up the stone and hurled it at her. The woman leaped up and escaped it. She ran to the home of her mother.

The mother-in-law of the chief was very angry with him. She thought the girl was really sick and thought, “Why does that mean man treat her like that?” [Another version relates that the girl’s mother was cognizant of her misbehavior but connived at it.] She called him all sorts of names, though she did not come into his presence. [I.e., despite her anger she did not violate the mother-in-law—son-in-law avoidance relation.]

She said, “The men are worthless! Look how this man has treated my daughter. I had a hard time to raise this girl and now he abuses her. The men think they do everything; they think they supply all the food and clothes and all the necessities. But the women work harder and do more than the men. The women know how to do things. They can do all the men’s work too if necessary.”

The chief came out when he heard her talking like this. He was very angry. He said, “All right! If you think you can do all the men’s work, we shall see. We shall see who has more power.”

He called all the men to him, even the boys, even the baby boys, and he told them that they were to separate from the women. Even the male dogs and male horses were taken on the men’s side. The men and all male things crossed to the other side of the river.

This chief had great power. He spoke to Kogultsude. He dropped four beads in a whirlpool in the water. [Four beads of different colors constitute a common offering to sacred rivers or springs for the Jicarilla.]

He said to Kogultsude [Kogultsude, whose name probably can be translated “he holds in the water,” is a powerful supernatural, the personification of the power of the water], “I want the water wide, so that the women cannot cross over.”

It was made so.

In the springtime the women and men both planted corn. They both hunted too. The women knew how to hunt too. That year the women as well as the men had plenty, all they wanted to eat. The second year the women had less. They were getting tired. They were afraid to go out and hunt as boldly as the men. They didn’t sow enough seeds. The third year they had still less. The fourth year very few of the women had anything to eat. None of them planted crops that year. The men had plenty every year. The women were beginning to starve and suffer.

The women were standing on the bank calling to the men, saying, “Come back and take care of us.”

But the chief would not let the men go. “Let them learn a lesson,” he said. “Let them be punished.”

All the older girls began to cry for the men now. They began to abuse themselves sexually. They masturbated with elk horn; and that is how the elk became an enemy of man. They used rocks also. That’s how it happened that the rock became the enemy of man. And they used eagle feathers too. That is how the eagle became a giant and killed many of the people. The girls also used the feathers of the owl. All the things that afterward killed men, all the monsters, came into being because of what these girls did. For these objects impregnated the girls, and the monsters were later born from these unions. These were the monsters which Killer-of-Enemies was to destroy later on, after the people came to this earth.

The men were affected in the same way as the women by the separation of the sexes. They became sexually aroused and unsatisfied. They tried to make vaginas out of mud and use them but they were unsuccessful.

This went on for a long time. Both sides were having a hard time of it and were punishing themselves because of what that old lady had said. The women couldn’t cross that river; it was too deep and strong.

About that time Coyote came along. Codi is always funny. He went into the river. He found a baby in the whirlpool. He swam in and got it.

He said, “Oh, this is a nice baby! I’ll take it and raise it myself.”

So he went back with it among the men. The child looked just like the babies of men, but it was the child of Kogultsude.

Kogultsude missed his child. He made the water rise so that his child would be brought back. He sent the water out to wash it back, to draw back his lost baby.

The chief was worried now. He said to the men, “We must go across the river and find out what has happened. Something has been done against this river that it acts this way.”

So the men swam over and were now reunited with the women. They all went to the mountains to escape the water which was still rising. Some of the men and women were drowned. The rest got on the top of a big mountain.

They said to Coyote, “You must help us. Save us from the water.”

So Coyote used his power to make the mountain grow. It grew and grew, but the water rose ever faster. All the time Coyote had the child under his cloak. At that time he had the same kind of fur that he wears now, only then he wore it as a man does a robe. No one knew that he had this baby under the robe.

The mountain rose and came right up to the present earth, this world. All the shamans were praying. But the water was still rising. All the people fell on this coyote. The water came right up to the edge of this world. It ran all over the country.

Now they were all getting after Coyote and scolding him. They said, “He is always the funny one! He must have done something.”

So at last he said, “I have this baby. I thought he was not going to get this baby again.”

The baby was almost dead; it was drying up. He took it out and showed it to the people, and then threw it into the water again. At once the water began to recede.

Before that there was no water on this earth, nor were there any mountains. The people didn’t like this place. They wanted to go down below again. So Coyote made the mountain go down again, and it shrank. But the water which had spread over the earth stayed, and this was the water that was present at the time of the real emergence. Before that there was none on this earth.

The people went down below again and stayed there for about nine or ten months. Then they started making the sun and moon down below after this. These people were supernaturals.

By the time the emergnce occurred, the girls who had abused themselves were already big with children. They had been impregnated from intercourse with the things they had used. These children they were carrying were therefore born here on earth, and they became the monsters that preyed on man, the monsters which Killer-of-Enemies had to destroy before men could multiply.

It was after the people went down below again that Hactcin’s dog asked that people be made for him as companions. So people of a different kind were made and these were the real Jicarilla. They intermarried with these first supernaturals who dwelt there, and so they were half human and half supernatural.

The supernaturals who were drowned when Kogultsude made the waters rise did not die. They turned to frogs and fishes. There was no death in those days.

That is why Raven and Buzzard had to decide whether man would die. It was half and half. In those days the dead were coming to life every four days. Then Buzzard threw a scraping pole in the water and said, “If this sinks man will die.” It came to the surface. Then Raven threw in a mano and said, “If this sinks man will die.” It sank; therefore man dies.

The Poetry Of Bryce Milligan: Lost And Certain Of It

Five Years Gone
for Jane Kenyon

Behind the house, Jane’s garden is overgrown;
between there and Eagle Pond only ghosts:
trains that run silent over the grade’s gray stones
littered with rusted steel spikes, heavy bolts.
Beside the lake, a favored spot, good for sun,
good for water, only slightly wilder than
Jane’s garden where her spring ministrations
kept the volunteer maples down, so eager
to see the seasons in and out, in and out.
Down the road a mile there is a stone where
anonymous hands swap scraps of poetry
and sea shells for pine cones, single ear rings
or other scraps of poetry, some of it
Jane’s, mostly not, some taking, some giving.
Just over the fence, a small apple tree drops
the sweetest fruit I have ever tasted.

Visiting the Painter Lady:
Canyon, Texas, 1917

Once a week for six weeks, while farmboys died in France
Pauline visited Georgia – packed up her precious paints,
her half-finished flower scenes, cranked up the Model T
and rattled down the rutted wagon track that led
away west to the newly grated gravel road,
gearing down and down toward the top of the one long hill,
pausing there to catch a breath of wind and pretend
for a moment that the scent of scrub cedar was sweet pine,
then sailing the other side in neutral, fast enough to skim
the sometime-quicksand crust of the Canadian River ford.
Pauline spent an hour with the painter lady at the College,
two neat brick buildings overlooking Palo Duro Canyon,
that sudden red rift across tawny plains so stark
as to inspire imagination in a fence post, just to fill in
the colossal emptiness. Pauline painted scenes
of mountain meadows she had never seen, portraits
of unborn daughters in starched pinafores,
a woman in a grass skirt with a ukulele. Georgia
shaped colors: rich red rifts across tawny dreams
beneath looming orchid skies.

Wild mustard

for Mance
Sudden sunlight steams the wild mustard,
heavy headed with the vanishing mist,
and for miles the scent makes the sodden heat
worth enduring: windows down, elbow slung
against the warm damp wind.
All along this southern highway clouds
rise out of the ground to surround treetop
islands, each mysterious just so long
as it takes the gray incensed fog to fade
into the yellow light.
One hot May morning thirty years gone
I walked these Navasota bottomlands
with old man Lipscomb: “I’s up way early
for a bluesman,” and he laughed at the sun.
We stood in that rich light
until Mama’s sausage and biscuits
drew us inside to a day of stories
and guitar licks I would never get right –
not even understand until I smelled
wild mustard in your hair.

Lost and certain of it

Lost and certain of it, the woods crowd in
allowing only glimpses of the track
that was so clear and broad and well traveled
only moments back where the sun fell bright
between the leaves to dapple the mast, but
lost and certain of it, the woods crowd in
spinning the senses like leaves in a wind
risen from the past to obscure the path
that was so clear and broad and well traveled.
A broad green stream appears for a moment
strewn with rippled light and autumn’s soft flames.
Lost and certain of it, the woods crowd in
and the stream slips away into the deeper shade,
taking with it the desire for the path
that was so clear and broad and well traveled,
taking with it the memory of the last
dregs of love and I am glad that I am
lost and certain of it.
Let the woods crowd out
all that is clear and broad and well traveled.

Find a copy here at the excellent Wings Press!



Bob Desper – Liberty – 1974

Information on Bob Desper’s Long Lost Album…

August 8th, 2010

When geometric diagrams and digits
Are no longer the keys to living things,
When people who go about singing or kissing
Know deeper things than the great scholars,
When society is returned once more
To unimprisoned life, and to the universe,
And when light and darkness mate
Once more and make something entirely transparent,
And people see in poems and fairy tales
The true history of the world,
Then our entire twisted nature will turn
And run when a single secret word is spoken.
– Novalis

Sunday, August 8th, 2010 – Today is our son Rowan’s 20th birthday, he arrived at 1:30PM 1990 on a very hot August day, in Mt. Shasta California.
(Here he is at almost a year old with his Mum)

He arrived in in a hurry (though not early), it was perhaps the fastest birth I have ever been aware of… anyway, he has always been in a rush, running before he walked leaping head long into one adventure after another. He spent his early life in Mt. Shasta and out on the coast at Arcata & Eureka, where he learned to love the beach and ocean, a passion he shares with his parents. He has lived in Oregon since just before his 2nd birthday.

If you have been a frequenter of Turfing lately, you know Rowan is in Art College now; becoming a cinematographer which has been his only real goal since he was five years old. (John Bormann’s “Excalibur” did the trick) He writes treatments and scripts all the time. I come home, and find scripts on my desk, or revisions for me to peruse. He recognizes that the Muse can withdraw her favours, so he works to please her, and offers up his hours of work with a joy and an enthusiasm that is moving to behold.

So here is to his new year on this blue orb; he is sitting now with friends in the back yard; some that he has known since kindergarten, and others from high school and college. They are laughing and shouting, full of joy and youth. Rowan moves through his world with a wonderful sense of grace and sharing; he attracts good people and situations… We love the lad as all parents love their offspring, we take great joy in all that he does.

Happy 20th Rowan!

On The Menu:

The Model of the Universe…
Brendan Perry – Babylon
A Machen Short Story
The Poetry of Pamela Uschuk
Brendan Perry – The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

The Model of the Universe…

Model describes universe with no big bang, no beginning, and no end
( — By suggesting that mass, time, and length can be converted into one another as the universe evolves, Wun-Yi Shu has proposed a new class of cosmological models that may fit observations of the universe better than the current big bang model. What this means specifically is that the new models might explain the increasing acceleration of the universe without relying on a cosmological constant such as dark energy, as well as solve or eliminate other cosmological dilemmas such as the flatness problem and the horizon problem.

I have never been comfortable with the Big Bang Theory. Big Pulse though, I can get my head (sorta) around. While we will never really know the scenario as our glimpse of the whole process is so brief, so minute, this feels “closer” IMPOV. This is a great article if you get a chance to read it…
Brendan Perry – Babylon

A Machen Short Story:

A Double Return (1890)

One of the first of Machen’s new racy and very contemporary tales of the early 1890s, it succeeds in evoking eeriness and being (at least a little) salaciously shocking, though without the faintest touch of crudity. Oscar Wilde read this tale and was impressed with it; on its strength he took the young Machen out to dinner and encouraged him in his chosen career.

The express from the west rushed through Acton with a scream, whirling clouds of dust around it; and Frank Halswell knocked out the ashes from his pipe and proceeded to gather from various quarters of the carriage his newspapers, his hat-box, his handbag, and, chief of all, a large portfolio carefully packed in brown paper. He looked at his watch, and said to himself: “6.30; we shall be at Paddington in five minutes; and only five minutes late, for a wonder.” But he congratulated himself and the railway company rather too soon: a few minutes later and the train began to slacken, the speed grew slower and slower, and at last came the grinding sound of the brakes and a dead stop. Halswell looked out of the window over the dreary expanse of Wormwood Scrubbs, and heard someone in the next carriage explaining the cause of the delay with pardonable pride in his technical knowledge. “You see, them there signals is against us, and if we was to go on we should jolly well go to kingdom come, we should.” Halswell looked at his watch again and drummed his heels against the floor, wondering impatiently when they would be at Paddington, when, with a sudden whirl, a down train swept by them and the western express once more moved on. Halswell rubbed his eyes; he had looked up as the down train passed, and in one of the carriages he thought he had seen his own face. It was only for a second, and he could not be sure. “It must have been a reflection,” he kept on saying, “from the glass of one window to the other. Still, I fancied I saw a black coat, and mine is light. But of course it was a reflection.”

The express rolled into the terminus with dignity – it was only ten minutes late, after all; and Frank Halswell bundled himself and his traps into a hansom, congratulating himself on the paucity of his bags and the absence of his trunks as he watched the excited mob rushing madly at a Redan of luggage. “153, the Mall, Kensington!” he shouted to the driver above the hubbub of the platform; and they were soon threading deftly along the dingy streets that looked so much dingier than usual after the blue mist upon the sea, the purple heather and the sunny fields. Frank (he was a very popular artist in those days – a rising man, indeed) had been on a sketching tour in Devon and Cornwall: he had wandered along the deep sheltered lanes from hill to hill, by the orchards already red and gold, by moorland and lowland, by the rocky coast and combes sinking down to the wondrous sea.

On the Cornish roads he had seen those many ancient crosses, with their weird interlacing carving, which sometimes stand upon a mound and mark where two ways meet; and as he put his portfolio beside him he could not help feeling a glow of pride at its contents. “I fancy I shall make a pretty good show by next spring,” he thought, Poor fellow! he was never to paint another picture; but he did not know it. Then, as the hansom verged westward, gliding with its ringing bells past the great mansions facing the park, Halswell’s thoughts went back to the hotel at Plymouth and the acquaintance he had made there. “Yes; Kerr was an amusing fellow,” he thought; “glad I gave him my card. Louie is sure to get on with him. Curious thing, too, he was wonderfully like me, if he had been only clean shaven and not ‘bearded like the pard,’ Dare say we shall see him before long; he said he was going to pay a short visit to London. I fancy he must be an actor; I never saw such a fellow to imitate a man’s voice and gestures. I wonder what made him go off in such a hurry yesterday. Hullo! here we are; hi, cabman! there’s 153.”

The twin doors of the hansom banged open; the garden gate shrieked and clanged, and Halswell bounded up the steps and rapped loudly at the door. The maid opened it. Even as he said, “Thank you, Jane; your mistress quite well, I suppose?” he thought he noticed a strange look, half questioning, half surprised, in her eyes; but he ran past her, up the stairs, and burst into the pretty drawing-room. His wife was lying on the sofa; but she rose with a cry as he came in.

“Frank! Back again so soon? I am so glad! I thought you said you might have to be away a week.”

“My dear Louie, what do you mean? I have been away three weeks, haven’t I? I rather think I left for Devonshire in the first week of August.”

“Yes, of course, my dear: but then you came back late last night.”

“What! I came back last night? I slept last night at Plymouth. What are you talking about?”

“Don’t be silly, Frank. You know very well you rang us all up at twelve o’clock. Just like you, to come home in the middle of the night when nobody expected you. You know you said in your last letter you were not coming until to-day.”

“Louise dear, you must be dreaming. I never came here last night. Here is my bill at the hotel; you see, it is dated this morning.”
Mrs. Halswell stared blankly at the bill; then she got up and rang the bell. How hot it was! The close air of the London street seemed to choke her. Halswell walked a few paces across the room then suddenly stopped and shuddered.
“Jane, I want to ask you whether your master did not come here last night at twelve o’clock; and whether you did not get him a cab early this morning?”

“Yes, mum, at least -”

“At least what? You let him in yourself.”

“Yes, mum, of course I did. But, begging your pardon, sir, I thought as how your voice didn’t sound quite natural this morning when you called out to the cabman to drive to Stepney, because you had changed your mind, and didn’t want to go to Waterloo.”

“Good God! What are you thinking about? I never came here. I was in Plymouth.”

“Frank! You are joking! Look here, you left this behind you.”

She showed him a little silver cigarette case with his initials engraved on it. It was a present from his wife, he had missed it one day when he was strolling with Kerr, and had regretted it deeply, searching in the grass in vain.

Halswell held the toy in his hand. He thought he was indeed in a dream, and through the open window came the shrieks of the newsboys, “Extry speshal! extry speshal!” The light had faded; it was getting dark. But suddenly it all flashed upon him. He remembered Kerr and the face he had caught sight of in the passing train; he remembered the strange likeness; he knew who had found the cigarette case; he knew well who it was that had come to his house.

The maid was a good girl; she had stolen away. No one knows what manner of conversation Frank and his wife had together in the darkness; but that night he went away, as it was said, to America. Mrs. Halswell was dead before the next summer.

The Poetry of Pamela Uschuk

Flying Through Thunder
(for John and Galway Kinnell)

From expectant sunflowers, mountain
blue birds, western meadowlarks
and the melancholy shadows
of their songs in sage; from
the spin and groan of the planet
we roar up, bucking through
the blue fury of thunderheads
on our final leg home.

The small turbo prop pitches
toward glacial peaks, saints gleaming
in the numen of autumn sun, while the pilot
warns us that it will be a rough flight.
As if we didn’t know, caroming
on the backs of jet stream storms, that
there are few smooth flights, as if we don’t read
headlines that daily explode the world.

Below us dump trucks erect a Denver landfill
into the shape of a Mayan temple
burying the relics of our excess
while lightning cracks its knuckles
on the Front Range and thunder
rattles the thin skin of this twin engine plane
shaking us from our loneliness.
Between bellicose clouds jut
sheer curtains of light.

In this space that freezes our imaginations
we bounce then drop through
air pockets rough as alcoholic fists,
dry sockets of turbulence.

I have no choice but release any illusion
of control, break my white-knuckled grip
on steel armrests that would splinter on impact
against rock crags that never learned my name.

In the row ahead of me the carefully coifed woman
checks her lipstick as a baby screams
and I wonder at vanity pitching
fragile as a cacoon 20,000 feet above tree line.

I think of the passion of poets
holding their hearts like worn ball caps
in their bruised hands, defying
the spiked teeth of hungry gods
swallowing truth whole before they eat them alive.

Even the stocky steward wipes sweat
from his forehead, groans as if he’s giving birth
when we yaw half-over, pushed
by stratospheric gusts we are blind to.

I remember the way my stomach dropped
as a child pumping my swing high,
pretending I was a pilot bombing enemies,
pretending I wasn’t afraid.
At the acme of my pendulum, the swing set ground
against its cemented feet, threatening
to slingshot me into space, and my brother
dared me to jump with him. His green eyes
were wild as a cougar’s, voice screech-pitched
with the blood of pretend death, hands
itching to let go of the chains.

Bomb’s away! We’re hit. Jump. Jump.
We’re on fire! Jump!

How could I refuse the catapult
out of my careening or forsee
my brother sent to paratrooper school,
to ruin his young knees
when he landed just off the training mark
preparing for Vietnam?
When the army found out he attended rallies, preached peace,
he was shipped to Da Nang, to dousings
with Agent Orange, to the burning
of village peoples, to daily mortar attacks
and sniper fire he still fights to live through.
Leaping from the swing’s apogee, what
I savored most was fear’s pure torch
scalding my body as it arced, suspended
before the plunge, that moment
gravity kicked in, and I knew
what real death would feel like,
hanging a long breath in space
astonished at the constellation of my life
coming into exquisite focus—family,
friends, ambition, anger, even love—before everything
ndropped away
like a billowing parachute.

Now as the plane lunges, engines
steady above the Continental Divide,
I regard razor backed ridges
older than memory, vaster
than scars. They comfort me
in their lack of pity, their indifference
to our cares. Perhaps this is
all I need to know. It is not until
we begin to fall that we might learn
what it takes to survive.

The Horseman of the Crass and Vulernable Word
For J.H.

The hemlock loses the tanager,
a bright blood streak
in a whirling gauze of snow.
Where do we go?
You told me the eye was lost,
old lens in a dish of milk
going to blue-veined cheese,
a lens that sneezed
when you laughed the mockingbird’s laugh,
the horse’s white laugh,
saying your brother accidentally
shot it out as you crawled
under barb wire, hunting.

I was young and fell in love
with your wounds, your tongue,
half-song, half-glands,
strong as the Calvinist hands
that whacked and fed your swampy youth.
I was young and drank vermouth
while you fell to your knees
in the Ford’s back seat where you teased
until I laughed too much
when you begged please,
and your one-eyed touch
stared up at the night jar sky,
blinked at Orion, your
archer, saying good-bye.
I laughed but I feared your tongue,
your thighs. I was young.
I had heard.
Never love a poet at his word.

You were the man who could maim me
in those days when whiskey
clarified any dark thing.
Like Bobby and Annette we’d sing,
Baby, you’re my beach blanket;
I’m your Mickey Mouse coquette.

You knew my crippled heart, my blind side
but I’d ride ride
ride on that edge where the heart’s not given,
can’t be taken
or lost to an archer or poet with one eye.
Oh, the heart has a spongy hide
believing in love’s bromide.
Mine found its bed unmade, undone
when you left with your joking tongue.

But I tell you this now,
horseman of the crass and vulnerable word,
love is damp as a cloud-blown beach
and crawls in your bones
that never lose their ache.
When I dreamed your face- –
so blindly polite, just the glimpse
of a lens of a face, just before
the horse, the dark and slippery horse I rode
so far out to sea
that the shore was a crumb the gulls couldn’t eat- –
I went numb in my sleep.
Even numbness passes.
I am half-blind in this half-blind night
but I’ve learned to ferment
wine from ash.
And you, it’s always late–
you’ve broken your horse,
now lie under it.

Finding Peaches in the Desert

They taste like a woman, you say
and bite deep into the sweet heat
squeezing through tender skin,
while I laugh, taking the fruit you offer.
We close our eyes and transport
this delicious host to our loves
flown distant as time in dreams.
You can never eat too many, I say and pull
another ripe peach from the desert tree.
It fills my palm, my mouth as I suck
the unhusbanded nectar.
It is delicious as stealing light,
such innocent grace, a holiday
from history and eternity.
We bare our breasts to sun
as women have done for centuries
beside the blue water pool at ease with rabbits, shrill
wasps, the shy steps of occasional deer,
while vultures funnel mid-heaven.
Struck dumb by sun cauterizing
the Sonoran sky that flings its blue skirt
all the way across the ripe hip of Mexico,
we feast on peach after peach, while
peach-colored tanagers, wet
green hummingbirds and the topaz eyes of lizards
attend our anointment.
When I wipe one quarter across my breasts
and down my stomach to my thighs, I
am amazed at the baked odor of love
rising from everything I touch.
This is our ceremony to alter the news
of troops that mass for attack
in the Middle East, to alchemize all hatred
and greed, whatever name
it is given by multinational interests.
There is no aggression in sharing rare fruit
priceless as the wide imaginings of sky
or the brilliant coinage of dragonfly wings.
Even squadrons of wasps and fire ants
armed with nuclear stingers turn
from attack to the pungency of this
ritual feast that celebrates love
in the desert stunned green by unusual rain.

Crazy Love…. At the wonderfully eclectic Wings Press!


Brendan Perry – The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea