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

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