Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Small Favors of Mourning - Journeys Through the Dark Night - "Fear was my father. Father fear."



Many years,
much is forgiven
or lost in cloud,
I've no idea still what
the inside of my father's
bomber
looks like, how
it smells laden
with fear
perhaps passed
off as gun powder, fuel,
flak flame
and smoke so
black and deep in the
pores
it stinks a lifetime.
Yours. Also mine by blood.
Still, your son
is proud though fear is
the meal
you often fed
dutifully eaten with sliced
bread so
white white
light in the shaking
hand,
dread was
the tarnished knife and fork,
simple
instruments to
quell the terror in you
served up to sons,
at least one
of them.
I know now your fear
made mine, yet, many
years in the making, this:
Dessert is a son's pardon.

<><><>

Betsy: "Warren, your father could not do anything to stop his violence and unrestrained compulsions, the storm is archetypal, is bigger than personality, is larger and more powerful than he is, than his ego...if you can begin to get this, to comprehend it, that he was and is gripped by a transpersonal force beyond his capacity to control and curtail then you can and will heal the father wound, yourself, and perhaps even your father in some deep way while he's wasting away with altzheimers, and this hurricane is that mythic one of Falcons who came west from Spain, the Canaries, entered the Gulf of Mexico like a hurricane, and settled in Louisiana, if you can heal this enough in you then you begin to depotentiate it, make it smaller, and also literally redeem your ancestors." - excerpted from below about how I healed my father wound.



Here's Dad, the brown-eyed handsome man, charming what, and his 3 youngest sons, and two of his nephews (the two on the photo right)..I am on dad's immediate right (I remember my loving that shirt I'm wearing), dad's holding Leonard, my youngest brother, and brother Richard, missing some front teeth, is to the (photo) left of dad. 
We're on my grandfather's front porch, my dad's dad, Simon Felix Falcon, middle name Felix is that of the ship captain who sailed the first immigrant Falcon brothers from the Canary Islands to New Orleans in the early 1800's when Louisiana was owned by Spain and called New Iberia (New Spain). Grandpa's house was formerly a popular dance hall before he purchased it for his bride and the soon to be ample brood of mostly boys, jeez, how many, what, 12 of them (with several stillborn or dead soon after birth and therefore uncounted), only 2 girls amongst the very hornery boys but one would not mess with those girls as they were fierce, had to be what with all the brat-boy energy running amok...Oraline, the brood-mother, my grandmother, whom I never knew because she burned to death before I was born by catching her long skirts on fire while trying to warm her rear end in the cold uninsulated cajun-style house (some suspect it was a suicide since she had been very depressed), she was a heavy handed force along with Simon, keeping the wild herd mostly on track, at least when said herd or some of them were in plain sight. 
I was terrified of those uncles, loud, mean, violent, prone to just thwack (cajun kids were for thwacking) a kid just for the hell and power-over of it. I learned to keep wide berth of them. Then though, there was the herd of cousins (Catholic families = brats a-plenty) some (too many - more than a handful doing time in prisons) who were just as hornery, mean, cruel and violent as their fathers. I tried to keep wide berth of most of them too. Something dark there is in those swamps, those old world customs which (my family of) immigrants brung with them (some with their slaves), mostly uneducated though methinks the two Falcon brothers who bore their seed and brood to the New World and New Iberia were plenty educated. But that apparently didn't matter much back then. Even some poor immigrants managed to own a slave or two. None too proud I am of this history. Ugh. 
We moved to South Carolina when I was in the second grade and it was a relief to be shod of daily/weekly "family" time with that scary bunch. South Carolina was another kind of darkness. But that's for another photo and some other time to tell. But I can declare here that my salvation there was the deep woods, those sighing pines, the large oaks and poplars, the sycamores and the holly with their fierce bright berries red red, and the foxes, the crows, the cardinals (!!!), scores of them bright as holly berries guarded by sharp pricks on light green shiny leaves, the rabbits, their stillness in the dew wet front field at dawn with layered fog low over the hay and garden, the bee hives already at work where nearby so still the wild and shagged hare proudly crouched (rutting time), I crept silently down the drive so as not to disturb his meditaion, the fishing lake down the hill, catfish as large as (I shit you not) a bathtub, and so many good though lonely nights on a spread blanket beneath the stars with my star maps, books on astronomy and constellations, and my emergency flashlight signalling into the night sky for what seemed hours, years, SOS SOS SOS.
Now, looking back, I did have solid signs, no, hints, big solid magical hints of some help that fueled my unthought hope-enough that there was some vague sense in the madness, an early Fall morning alone at the foot of the drive waiting for the school bus, the rust colored lake, Carolina red clay its banks and its hue, wearing steam brightly lit by the just dawning sun, I notice about 10 yards from me, as the light gathers, something nearby in the middle of the road, something alive and animal, and feathered. Blinking to make sure my eyes are seeing what they are seeing, and the animal blinking widely/slowly back at me, an owl! We gaze at each other for awhile. I gather courage (fueled by curiosity) to approach it fully expecting it to take fright and fly away. But it does not move. I get closer and it does not fly away. It's head turns up toward me, keep me in its gaze. I back away, find a broomstick-sized stick, and again approach the miracle in front of me. I lower it to the pavement and, again dumbstruck, the owl lightly steps onto it. This is too easy, too good to be happening. I carry (not sure I breathed for at least 5 minutes) my miracle up the drive, behind the house to the barn, open the heavy door and place the stick and owl in the trailer dad used to haul things in, and taking a last look at the owl that keeps me in its long gaze, I slowly close the door then run screaming excitedly through the back door of the house where my mother is distractedly drinking coffee while standing at the kitchen sink (this stance at the sink was a "thing" for her, I never understood what she was doing there looking out the small window over the driveway, the septic tank, into the always shadowed woods). I tell her what has just occurred, she's only slightly interested. "You can't keep a wild animal," she says after a sip of coffee, and my silent retort is, "then why do you goddamn keep dad around?" 
Back from school up the drive I run bypassing the house, straight to the barn where I stand for a moment catching my breath and hoping I will find my treasure and it is really real and not some wild hallucination too good to be true. I slowly heave the heavy door open wide. Late afternoon light, pretty dark inside. In the trailer where I had left it is the stick. Only the stick. On no! please! please be real. My eyes adjust to the dark interior and then, sigh of relief and joy, there it is, the owl's perched on a top shelf where dad keep his tools. It gazes at me. Awe. I gaze back. I say in a whisper, "Hello." Happy. Mystified. Enthralled. Here's a visitor just for me perhaps somewhat like an alien, a UFO, certainly out of my blue morning at the bottom of a hill, in the middle of a road, beside a lake eerie with its own steam cloud rising high brightly glowing with new sunlight - fright, joy, wonder. Just for me. Then. A silent flight in slow motion from the shelf, over the trailor and just over my right shoulder, it glides toward the woods but lands on a low limb of a dogwood my dad had planted, owl looks back at me, its body facing the woods, its face/head facing me. A long communion, joy rushing through me, my bones electric. According to some inner timing all its own, not human timing, never, I want it to be never, it just elevates/floats (it seems) up through the trees, circles a few times over the barn and me and then is gone. My own private UFO of sorts, in retrospect. 
It was enough for me. Had to be. And it was grace sufficient unto the 12 year old or so boy who would eventually forget the entire incident until a dream during my analysis jarred the memory vividly awake and, not too often in those early analysis years, I wept for joy. A kind of soul retrieval long before I'd heard of such. I began to tentatively "believe" and this a few years before this dream recalled just below. 

Alas, owless, still living forlorn on the Carolina hill, the space ship never come to my rescue though I did have a dream of it years later in NYC while in Jungian analysis going through requisite anamnesis (not to be confused, as I once did, with amniosentesis though I could have used a numbing shot at times while in analytical recall trying in angst to give re-birth, even perhaps first psychological birth to myself as a human, not just the scream which survives the electrocution that I felt myself to be so early on in consciousness - I borrow this image Mike Eigen, psychoanalyst/writer extraordinaraire - while revisiting all this childhood/adolescence stuff there was this one apocryphal heartbreaking dream in which I was back home alone in the family house still on the never changing hill, Sorrow Hill, though dad called the place Cardinal Cove for all the cardinals in the woods all around. South Carolina 1960s days/years of sore and yore when in the daytime, this night dream, of a bright light and whooshing roar surrounds both me and the house inside and out. I just know it is THEM finally come to fetch me at long last! I am frozen with excitement/fright, the moment of rescue/salvation come at last, I cannot move when I so want to, to run out the front door arms raised me screaming, All praise to stars and ships! Get me the hell outta here!!!! but I cannot budge at all (I'm in the kitchen, I just now remember, at the sink like my mom, peanut butter sandwich in hand, a glass of milk freshly poured on the countertop), then, alas, at some point the light fades, another whoosh very loud then growing fainter then, soon after, a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning, rain that will not stop, I cower on the kitchen tiles. I have been left forever behind. No mulligans. No second chances. I awaken as the dream storm seems to invade the actual room I'm in. It's the din of West 142nd Street, the neighborhood revved and roaring. The world wags on.
Dear Betsy, analyst, after I share this dream, says to me, I remember tears in HER eyes which scares me, moves me, future paces me, 
"Warren, the storm is all the emotions you could not afford to feel in your family, now they are finally able to surface, to be felt and released, the dream tells me and you that you are ready for this part of the work, the solutio, the water phase, the dissolving of old, tired, worn out defenses which must go so that you may feel it all and in feeling heal and thus regain your more authentic self...this is an arrival of the work you are doing and now this storm, hard as it is, is actually a good thing...you see, an unfelt-but-present in the body/unconscious storm keeps one trapped in the past-as-present, and also trapped in who you know yourself to be which is mostly adaptation, an adapted self you had to grow around the trauma and deficit of your early years... 
"...You may not understand this now but thank god the UFO didn't take you away. I would have been very worried had it done so...The UFO represents wholeness that has been in safe-keeping in the depth of the unconscious, your conscious wholeness is also actually nascent within the very feelings of abandonment and forsakeness, it can rightly be called abjection [a new word for me], now you may more consciously experience those feelings no longer alone, a part of you may begin to bear witness and stay present with that weeping boy...and me too, I'm here to bear witness with and for you, to hold and keep you in that both easy, and by that I mean that the feelings are like river rapids flowing wild in your emotional body, and hard, meaning that such feelings are very difficult to bear in the overwhelming currents of release in the necessary dissolving of defenses that kept your emotions frozen now but now, now they are melting into surrender and shudder like an unshuttered and unfiltered typhoon."
Some weeks pass, difficult days of tsunami-filled night dreams and accompanying waking dreams of emotional storms, sobs, gut-convulsing cries, and shaking literally leaving me exhausted physically and emotionally. I call in sick at work often, would drive my van into mountains. I hiked, napped on rocks, listened to cascading streams and falls and at times soaked in or beneath them letting the chill currents flow through me. I haunted the comidas restaurant between West 139th and 140th (alas no longer there) to wash in odors and flavors of grease, pork, yellow rice, black and red beans, platanos, fried yucca, cafe con leches sixty cents a cup, the music loud full of heat and passion, humor and hips, the owners calling me Jack because they thought at first that I was Jack Nicolson (I kinda sorta looked like a thin Jack from the long jogs so...). The marvelous hold in El Flor de Mayo provided relief to the the grief work unleashed in me. 
Some few months after my "salvation abandoning me" dream, I shared a dream with Betsy where my father was a massive hurricane, I could see it/him from above covering the entire Gulf of Mexico and bearing down upon southern Louisiana just about to make landfall at New Orleans, I could see that there was an infant with my father's face curled around the storm's eye which turned very slowly. End of dream.
Betsy says upon hearing the dream, 
"Warren, your father could not do anything to stop his violence and unrestrained compulsions, the storm is archetypal, is bigger than personality, is larger and more powerful than he, his ego...if you can begin to get this, to comprehend it, that he was and is gripped by a transpersonal force beyond his capacity to control and curtail it then you can and will heal the father wound, and yourself, and perhaps even your father in some deep way while he's wasting away with altzheimers." Betsy is thoughtful for awhile, then says, "This...this force, this hurricane is also that mythic one of Falcons, generations of them before those who came west from Spain, and the Canaries, entered the Gulf of Mexico like a hurricane, and settled in Louisiana...this is important for you to begin to understand into integration, that as you can heal this massive ancestral inheritance enough in you then you begin to depotentiate it, make it smaller, and to literally redeem those ancestors...
"Warren, as you emote the storm with witness, and learn to comfort that young boy by showing up, by being present to your and your ancestral grief, then it is no longer sealed into the muscles and cells of your and in the collective family body. There is much meaning and correctness in all this now emerging consciously in you, that felt storm of grief and rage developed ages before you or your father ever came to be...Warren, this is when wholeness really arrives, through the felt and witnessed strom, believe it or not. At some time the eye of it becomes pure sky and the storm is no more. Well, there are always storms but the storms are then smaller and more doable. And the Earth can hold storms of all sizes so there's a helpful thing to know and you can go to HER, the Good Mother Earth who knows the sense of storms, and she can help you hold their tumult and overpowering forces. You see, storms are HER children too. Perhaps you are, you were, born of Her and Her children of storm and you are indeed one of Her much-loved and accepted storm children, you're her storm child and that makes your suffering all the more poignent and beautiful..." 
Moved. Shaken. My body undergoes palpable sensations never felt before, something deep in my gut burns, expands, radiates out from me, both energy and pain course through my limbs, my eyes are clear fire seeing with such clarity that I know I had never really seen colors before this moment. 
I believed and didn't believe Betsy but I knew intuitively, and I felt my body's knowing, a "knowing," that Christopher Bollas, psychoanalyst/writer, aptly calls "the unthought known". Now that which was unthought is turned into conscious cognitive thought and recognition, is affect born witness to and also born as weight and wait and is consciously suffered; Betsy shares that the word "suffer" in its root meaning means "to carry" "to bear" "to undergo" also "under carriage". In this and all her wise words, Betsy, dear Betsy, was spot on and welcomed my own Lear storm, she could contain it AND me, a child of the Great Mother of all storms. I had come to trust her much and she was correct again for as much as I resisted (and how could I not try, it being too too much for a man-child to bear?!) these inevitable and long overdue emotional storms they did come upon me, from where? from inside? from outside? hard to tell but in full bore they arrived and sometimes I literally held on to the walls of the big city for support, out of the blue a storm would suddenly mug me and I had to undergo it, suffer and surf it best as I could. Scary, yes. Embarrassing, much (and the kindness of strangers proved itself over and over, again and again). And the city walls did still stand tall, not fall, as eventually, gradually would I, stand, this it, not fall, but straighten up tall enough, not grand, gum on my shoe, a sharp dream in my dream's eye making me cry but not out of cruelty or having an indulgent wallow in Victimland, Same Old Iberia. 
"Take a stand," Betsy in time would often enough say. "Stand up." But before the unsought torrents came and I was just sharing the storm as father/father as storm dream, I could only feel that abandonment-trance. 


I remember Betsy once saying, "Warren, family is a trance". 
Soundtrack 1981, my UFO gone away forever, "Last Chance Texaco", Rickie Lee Jones, though her song is about an abandoning lover, a love stalling as does a car, traffic buzzing indifferently by as she turns into cries echoing the sound of indifferent cars roar pass...but it still works for me, this song, as my long sought and hoped for salvation via rescuing space ship had me forever fled, and my last chance for transcendence teased me once then veered up and away, had come and gone. Hers, Rickie's, was my song, the emotions thereof, and tears. 
High school/early college before Rickie, "Wooden Ships" Crosby Stills & Nash, then the Jefferson Airplane version, my life theme song late teens/early to mid-20s then the Starship album, "Blows Against the Empire" soundtracked me through college, the dropping out my last semester till graduation, till my eventual mandatory departing the South, me literally pulling my van over along the interstate in order to dust the odious Southern dirt, symbolic and real, with a whiskbroom off my feet when I finally happily crossed the Mason-Fucking-Dixon line into the good (to me then, better/gooder) North.
Barefoot, back in the car, out the window I flip a comic, perhaps owl-sized, bird all the way to and from Good Riddence and Kiss My As from here to eternity. I am OUT, Yankee grass was greener to me and proved to be true, projections notwithstanding.
I made it into NYC ecstatic, overwhelmed, grateful where eventually other songs would serve the New Land/New World I entered - Cockney Rebel's "The Best Years of Our Lives" though I was no cockney gangster but the forlorn voice, the defiant cries of Ian Drury, the song's rough and tumble tale, the Birmingham Brit audience singing along in clearly cockney accents on the live album, served as a kind of homing device for what was still in my shadow, anger, rage, passion, sensuality, my ecstasy in intellectual thinking and ongoing learning, POETRY, and my resisted but acknowledged need to belong to some kind of human community of shared alienation. I wound up in Harlem, West 142nd Street pre-gentrification, there I could be a "stranger on this earth" and there begin to bear the burden storm of my father, myself, ancestral weal and woeing.
In my almost old age I'm still lookng to move abroad. Dark Side of the Moon will do as symbolic place and soundtrack. My once and future plans to shine on, a crazy diamond sending SOSs no more but wet kisses sail back home from afar, my home perhaps an owl wing, a home which is/are people, some good few but unexpected beloveds, I shall bray, "How I wish, how I wish you were here..." My once was secret longing to have a place, MY place, here on the earth come home to me at last as tissue and fabric of my very being, Earth my Mother and Lover, storm child holding storm in the palm of my hand, so near to hand a blessing, a pen storm breaking free of the page, overspilling, seeking boundary and place while displacing and remaking both...
...and a poem by Li-young Lee beginning with 
Lie still now
while I prepare for my future,
certain hard days ahead,
when I’ll need what I know so clearly this moment. 
Selah.

Small Favors of Mourning - Passages Through the Dark Night - Divine Encounters on a Greyhound


[sketch by Carey Adler]

"A song to go with your image de moi now that Value is and will be internalized, integrated and is foundation for the further raison d'etre revealing itself...my first unpublished book of poetry writ in my 20's and early 30's, pitiful things with some shining moments of image, a musical phrase, an imagistic apt saying/conveying, is titled, 

Small Favors of Mourning." - from a note to the artist 

It spilled out one basement morning in Harlem 1982 as I wrote a dream for my upcoming analysis session (Jungian)...I had moved to NYC, it suddenly occurred to basemented-me, to consciously mourn the first third of my existence...thank god for William Blake, Rilke, Roethke, Eliot, Kenneth Patchen (a constant companion in my coat pocket always), Asian poets and the very many other poets, writers, artists, musicians and, yes, mystics and misfits of the church and Church (Thomas Merton, others) who ratified the mystic in me whose name, Dark Night, was given to me by an old Swiss-German nun smelling of soap and incense (but not peppermint) on a Greyhound bus crossing the nation east to west late '70's middle of and through the long straight highway night, she with her rosary praying/sleeping/counting an occassional bead between snores leaning in hard upon my left shoulder...I was reading Merton, the Thomas Merton Reader, selections from his then published writing and though I was not yet officially Jungian (but one in soul already) I knew it, She, was no accident...she was curious about me and my Merton book and the other, The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen..."vas ist dis Chournal?" she asks me in the illuminated spotlight cone of overhead buslight to read by, "dis Passion fellow?"  

I explain what I know of him, his extreme physical anguish from crippling arthritis, his prolific creativity of writing poetry, prose, and paintings, collages, his readings with jazz musicians playing along with him, his profound mysticism which does not escape the world of suffering but finds the mystical within that very world and its very suffering.  

"Ah," she smiles, nodding her head, pleased, "like Ch-esus, like all mystics, dis suffering renders us to IT, zee mystical, or can...it ist alvays like dis but IT ist such sveetness dis...yah?" Silence. Her hands disappear into the massive folds of her habit, they appear to dig deeply into her thighs but then eventually a hand emerges in the cone of light overhead, opens, a handful of caramels. "So good," she giggles pulling up her shoulders joyfully partaking of a forbidden pleasure. She shares her candy soft and body warm from her deep, dare I say, mystical folds, a pouch, an altar in there somewhere with a crucifix, a scapular, and a bag of Kraft caramels. At her request I read her some Patchen:

"(In my foolish youth, beholding one noxious thing after another, I marvelled at the purity, the kindness, gentleness, sweetness, modesty, and essential goodness of mankind; the mystery increases within me. Right or wrong, rain or shine, I am a man of faith and good works. I no longer despair of the future; yet, having once more considered the matter, despair of it I must . . . 
I am hungry for a good, solid individuality...)" 

And:

"JULY 17 - My window is thrown open by the rain; it beats in with the aggressiveness of liberty. Somewhere church bells peal out over the drenched fields--the eaves drip Sunday. There is something vulgar and satisfying about it . . .On the bed Jackeen lies, her arms flung wide and a perilous spittal on her lips. The hour has come . . ."

Sister, or Mother (I was not at all savvy to Catholic heirachrical designations), nods her head once, slowly. Silence. "I vill pray...I vill pray for zis Passion fellow. He ist und gut man . . . not too long in zie purgatory . . . I feel he has made some-zing beautiful in "zie Hell, from zie fire, for God who ist also fire, who may, I pray, throw open all our windows," she opens both hands and flings outward, "like vat it ist, a rain of liberty..."  

I stare at her incredulously. Wha'? In all my Fundamentalist Calvinist upbringing and education/indoctrination I had never EVER heard such a miraculous statement. Unable to fully comprehend what she said, it IS indeed a Mystery, I nevertheless felt it resonate deeply in my very being, my body being. This, thought I, is Grace indeed...and a chore for me too. Like Passion's, to render "sompzing beautiful from zie Hell." 

Dawn is coming on and in between her dozes and caramels we speak of Merton. Between her sleeps and prayers, bead, snore, by bead, snore, of mystical presence, snore, and suffering, snore, the meaning of an eternally suffering "Jesus" (or Ch-esus in her Cherman charming accented English) who refuses to leave His Cross until all creatures great and small in all forms know the liberating loving presense of the Father is gently suggested...she is the first to reframe my own suffering, "zie Hell" and longing in such a way as I had yet been able to feel was possible/true/accurate and therefore orienting, making meaning of the chaos that was my history and zie then present on-the-bus-in-zie-veeds me.

Just before she exits in Phoenix, pressing another caramel into my palm she quietly says to me, "Here [or was it "hear"?], dear Dark Night [I look around for whom she's calling Dark Night] , some sveetness for your chourney 
t-rough zie Dark Night...He [the mystical Christ, the Shining Stranger] ist sveeter than zis hint [the candy] but take zie Hint und you vill find zat Joy comes as a surprise in zie morning..." She squeezes my hand, full. O full by buslight, in cone light. Darkness yielding to just dawning light, an always everyday new horizon.

Moved, uncomfortable, but knowing that she is probably an angel sent to me at the right time, I accept her candy, her message, and ponder silently as exquisite austere desert expanse passes by the window of my inward-searching and yearning.

Passion/Patchen writes, insists:

"Do not overreach the sky; you will only have another world to contend with...

With the policeman in the alley's black lip. The approach to the inner city. Cats clawing the face of a slobbering drunk. We men at washlines. Chimneys stretching up like the red, pocked thighs of siphillistic crones...

The green tea being poured down the rough throats of the cabmen...

The head of the universe pissing into the gutter...

The great deal of slack to that little lady's churchly ways...

The handsome behind me eats an orange by the garden wall...

The wind blows out the flowers' brains. Not too dark, God. Not too cold, God. Not too lonely, God. What is the case against me?...

I plead guilty. (Get my heirs to explain this.) My parents and friends will attest to the solemnity of my deportment...

Was that a drop of rain?...

Lower childhood into the furrow made by a hurricane of birds....

Close the door on this cell . . . I lament for mankind."

Next stop, unplanned, mid-desert, past midnight, nowhere, further west, opens a bus door. Enters a young Native American youth, probably 16 or 17 years old, sits next to me...he smells of booze and cigarettes. And sweat. He shivers from waiting for hours afer-sunset cold desert sands. He too falls asleep on my shoulder. First a nun, now a young Indian youth, hair long, thin frame pressed against my shoulder/body, perfectly shaped tears slowly falling from his sleeping eyes, I wonder "just what is this bus I have caught for my journey to the west?" 

At a bus stop in another town he awakens looking a little frightened and confused...looks at me puzzled..."we're in ______," I say (can't remember the town)...He blinks, shakes his head, rubs his eyes and face hard and long to adjust himself, to inwardly orient to the moment in his hands, behind his face, and beyond it/them. I offer him a caramel. He takes it. He offers me a sip of whiskey from a small bottle. I decline. A large orange moon slowly lifts though his proffered bottle from behind a jagged dark purple mountain range

Is it
feathers
dawn shoe

through
which
blood
casings
mourn
the Orange
Moon? 

Alyosha
the old
animal heat
turns in on
itself

burns
beneath skin

the bone bruise
fuses out
against what
yearning once
meant in
wetlands
between

navel

moon

corona

pubis

We strike up a conversation...he tells me he is on his way to ________ to get his brother out of jail. What? his younger brother is in jail, I can't remember why. He's going to get his brother out of the jailhouse and then they are going together, he says staring onto some distant but present invisible map of a plan, "to leave the res..." There are friends and some distant family in California so that is the destination.  

He was orphaned, raised "on the res by the res", grandmothers, families...he is devoted to his brother whom he is very protective of, AND he also loves to dance.  

Dance?  

"Yes, pow wow dance, but," looks shyly out the window, "I want to be a ballet dancer."  

WOW. What?! (this in my thoughts, not said)...

"I saw ballet dance on my cousin's tv and knew that's what I want to do...I love pow wow dance, too, but that's a different thing. I want to fly like ballet dancers do. And I can learn to dance ballet in LA." 

I admire his clear vision though his daily vision is blurred by orphan light and deserted desert plight. He has had his "vision" though via television as have millions of youths now. And he is going to get his brother out of jail, get to LA, settle in, find a ballet school, and dance. Stunned. How much poignancy can I stand from this vortex of a bus ride, this waking dream? The Sister and the Warrior Dancer and me with my lost fartedness and nunfall of caramels, a mystic book, no, two, to eat/drink/think from.  

We connect. Daniel, his name. Daniel Eaglefeather. He thinks that I am Indian (I have some Cherokee from my mom's side and, then time of that ride, I have long dark brown hair and her (mom's) high cheekbones, I am thin with a dreamy but thoughtful look my head always in a book or a cloud reverie) and when he hears my name he exclaims, "Falcon! you Indian, man!" 

Whiskey bottle almost empty, the bus pulls into his destination for brother retrieval. We embrace after I buy us some coffee, some donuts, some peanuts. "No whiskey. Buy you and your brother a good meal then move on out toward the Pacific." I give him $5 bucks of the $10 that I have to my name. He grins, intense, concentratred eyes flashing, turns quickly toward his mission, he is prepared to battle and to even kill to set his brother free, so rushes out the door into the blinding glare of the too too clean streets the 

too too straight 

too too rigid streets 

their planned

murdering geometry

their belly laugh

their gut punch
and rabbit

that moment
of consent
entwined
with bridges
rooftops
orange sky
concrete

asphalt
and assholes
a cigarette
each hand a
bottle of gin

a back pocket
search for
quinine the
brine of men

the run-on
trousers limp
the cobbled
street where
a spring
silvers
beneath

navel

moon

corona

pubis

Why all this recounting? 

All this recounting has to do with the sketched wings, I think.  

And Calling/Vocation, or "raison d'etre" which is daimon - the unique force that drives the stem of the flower, or life, and prayer even when I could then, though young, only "kneel where prayer had once been valid" (T.S. Eliot), already disconsolate.

As the bus pulls out of the jailing city I am conscious enough to pray to the "Mother/Sister/Angel of Mount Caramel" and Thomas Merton and to Daniel's ancestor spirits, the Elements, the Great Spirit, that he be successful in his mission to liberate his brother O Israel from captivity and to become his dream, his wounding into Beauty ("Beauty before me, Beauty behind me...that Hopi Prayer), a ballet dancer.  

I didn't know it then but I was already at my own work in my own way and with my own fledgling already molting wings - "what I do is me/for that I came" (Gerard Manley Hopkins) - what I DO now, who I am now...those early years of childhood/youthful mourning, by the time I got to NYC, not Phoenix, not at all rising, but deeply depressed "these my greatest sufferings (Duino Rilke), had begun to yield some small but signifant and signifying fruit and though the inner weather was despondency-much I began to find that hope, as Emily Dickinson sings, "is that thing with wings" a feather of meaning beginning to arrive from the alchemical sullenities the post-teen murmurs mutters smatterings which brought little surprises of grace - insights, aha's, what I found myself writing down in a Harlem basement room o dark dark as - "small favors" arriving from the big fissures and fractures already

much the
Monk 

falls for
(One) love
each night
from the
belfry

smells
of pitch 

the
avenue smells
of singed
hair

a humming
boy hums

pokes bits
of scalp on
the walk

small
white thumbs
alone touch
the white
lattice kiosk

selling the
Stranger's
face again

navel

moon

corona

pubis

- from "Midnight In Dostoyevsky", Norman Nightingale, from The Cathected Poems.

So, good news is - 

joy, new Value, new meaning, continually comes through the mourning into the new morning, the new Center, the new raison d'etre formed from/built upon the foundation of the earlier one(s) and always based upon transpersonal fundaments/dynamics seeking to be lived uniquely new life by life, person by person.

I am still, now more than ever 
"Madly Singing In the Mountains" 
- Po Chu-I (772-846)  

There is no one among men that has not a special failing; 
And my failing consists in writing verses.
I have broken away from the thousand ties of life; 
But this infimity still remains behind.
Each time I look at a fine landscape, 
Each time that I meet a loved friend, 
I raise my voice and recite a stanza of poetry
And marvel as though a God had crossed my path.
Ever since the day I was banished to Hsun-yang
Half my time I have lived among the hills.
And often, when I have finished a new poem, 
Alone I climb the road to the Eastern Rock.
I lean my body on the banks of white stone; 
I pull down with my hands a green cassia branch.
My mad singing startles the valleys and hills; 
The apes and birds all come to peep.
Fearing to become a laughing-stock to the world, 
I choose a place that is unfrequented by men.





Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bone Texts - Father Will, Confessions of Doubt on a Way of Thorns - Reprise Essay



Bone Texts--Enter Father Will.
He has an impulse to confess more than is likely.--Randall Potts

Our path is a path of roses, but it is also a way of thorns.
 --Father Giovanni Melchior Bosco, now canonized, of the Salesian Society

I am walking among the emerald trees
in the night without end.-- Mark Strand



W
hen Father Will arrived for session after yet another extended retreat to the desert hermitage in the American West he was subdued.

"My text was Mark Strand," says he.

"Stranded, huh?" I wink.

An amused groan. A shrug. "Completely in the dark this time. Not the luminous journey beneath the desert stars I had hoped for. Absence. Cold. Absolute. My bones hurt from such emptiness. If they were straws to suck on they would collapse, bend inward upon themselves too weak to crack. Fold they would. I am, as it were...folded."

We remain quiet for awhile.

His silences flay me. Viscera exposed without any drama. Well, not much. Mute. But not numb. Rather, more feelingly alive, as Rilke says, "beneath 'the more deeply untellable stars' (Ninth Duino Elegy).

Old men lose drama, I think. They simply fold. What then from the folding?

"I always expect, expect, expect...but eventually fold into circumspection. I chase my tail in circles like a miserable cur stupidly spinning in one spot without dignity before flopping into a body curl, nose to haunch, canine yoga, dumbly pleased...(bemused)...And dumb. Did I say dumb yet? After all these years?...humiliating, really...Ah, what a pity party I am today." He smiles sadly. "But I'm catching hold of that tail...beneath those cold, blinking stars above...that goddamned, even colder Bone Cabin. Jeez...(musing)...What bones I be?...they caper in dreams alone, and free... where I wish to god-a-mighty... for once, O Solitude, to...to remain dreamless... for a little while...just a little, y'know...Can't an old man...a Catholic priest, for god sakes, go for awhile...without dreams?"

More Rilke, his epitaph, comes to mind but I keep still and quote to myself silently,

O Rose. O pure contradiction.
Delight to be no one's sleep beneath
so many eyelids.

I see the old Duino poet tenderly working his beloved later roses in Muzot. He winces, brings a finger to his mouth, sucks blood drawn by a fateful thorn, a slight smile for the hazardous love of roses, this small cut a reminder of the greater gash which opened the floodgates of poetry in him. This tiny wound on a late summer day bloomed into an infection, septicemia, which killed him:

O Rose...I address the Rose...
Poets embrace irony between
The petal 
and the thorn, one's infectious
Absence a lover's flag of surrender,

"No one's sleep beneath so many eyelids.
"

Dissent no more,
Yield the insistent argument of
Dirt no longer animal.


I listen. I empty out though Father Will's words fill me richly.

When I can empty I hover between attentions, solar plexus opening. Running. Returning. Hear and feel those desert winds blowing through. I pull a shawl around my shoulders. Reach for the hot tea in the more meaningful cup, its unquestioning solidity.

This harrowing wind carves out the space between and around us. Vast sky and earth open out. One shouts over the silence portended in such immensity, to hear a howling wind a mercy then, a reference point amidst the disorientation with all directions spinning away, sounding:

"Father Will... Father Will...Father Will...forty years serving the most weary and wretched of human souls in the most desolate famine places, in war's most wasted erasures of human face after human face after human face, uncomprehending events of erasure, of becoming absent, once and no more (Rilke again) and yet to be as he, the face that remains after the unfathomable, uncountable erasures? What then, beneath 'the more deeply untellable stars'?"



In his book, Damaged Bonds, psychoanalyst Michael Eigen gives us an image for such erasures, the perpetual presencing of absence depicted in the startling, heartbreaking image of one who is electrocuted yet survives as the ongoing, unending, remnant scream, a horrible locution. Or, Father Will's approximations, a folded bone. Or remaining a living face in the face of human erasures by the unknown, untold thousands, one's very presence, Father Will's, a reminder of faces lost, absent yet present in a most terrible gape. What locution can say any of this? What poetic device? What form of therapy or religion can get near much less stand against or stay with such absenting-as-a-verb, ongoing erasure, unending evacuation?

Heart broken and breaking in it's endless capacity to do so, binding up my own folded bones loosely, o loosely, butterfly netting my own post-sparked scream, breathing into the empty space of ongoing erasure I bear witness. I must. I will. Can I?

I must.

I watch my own gathering defenses against Nothingness hammering at the barricades, my impulsive, natural stiff-arming away, or trying, the scraping defacement, the depersonalizing isolation, the waiting on the narrow ridge, the liminal plank stretched over the sucking drink [the unfathomable depth], the unknowing unutterable which begs to be said, moved, demonstrated, given form, not guarded against--build a fence around it it yet remains the Void. Funny to have that word for such a thing which is no thing at all--enter Groucho Marx, eyes rolling, cigars blazing, "You said the Void, you got the boid."

To be present one must entertain (wrong word! wrong word!) absence, erasure, caesura, fall through and into the stark clarities, the resisted fogs. Once familiar knowns, real then, are now chimerical.
 With haruspicate hiccups, with hallowed hysterics, with magical passes we in the human analgesia trade ease and/or appease such voiding striving to drive away that which encroaches or more horrifyingly wells up from within and around us, kith, kin, klan, kultureeven worse, konjurers. We a-void this voiding with platitudes and cures all too quickly tapping and hypnotizing, reducing-exorcising-excising history, the past, the symptom. And we call it cure, absolution, salvation, enlightenment. Or adjustment. Or even more absurdly, citizenship. 

[Waterfall. Artist - Hiroshi Shinju]

What replaces in disorientation? What displaces one's foot on the straining liminal plank when one is haplessly pushed by Fate, or stumbles, or purposely leaps, falls, drops into dizzying isolated spins to become lost in order to gain, one hopes, another--The--Orientation, True North, a foothold, a toehold even, in the Void? how does one remain present with that one who returns to you a surviving scream, a folded bone? Where is the witness, the with-ness, then? A therapist, a guide, a zen master, a guru, a pastor, a priest, a rebbe, a doctor, a psychoanalyst and other wheezing analgesics like me are loans then against the client's nothingness, the client who banks upon your/my realness/reality until the folded bone, O Ezekiel, O Koan, connects to another bone (me) and another then another all born of desertion or theft or loss or death of historical knowns, nostrums and formulas in order to grow more substantial Bone, little death by little death, to arrive at a more enlivened, embodied Bone-soul retreaded for more grab in the Void until the final summing spin.

Father Will and I hang together, beside--like the two Biblical thieves, two opposing attitudes present at once in the Hanged Man proposing surrender, both blessing and cursing--between the "Why has Thou forsaken me?" of the God-man on the Golgotha Tree and the "Gate Gate Parasamgate"--Gone Gone Gone Beyond--of remotest Siddhartha Gautama riveted to the Bodhi Tree who smiles enigmatically perhaps delighting to be no one's sleep beneath so many eyelids. The joke and yoke upon us, we two thieves, Father Will and me, have both agreed to hang together though he has in the wilderness Bone Cabin endured and broken apart in infernal, internal weather, violent storms which now shake me, fold my bones. Yet somewhere within, a kind of madness it is, there is a soft yet enduring and endearing gratefulness for this shared wound, chronicity, which opens, one hopes, through absence into infinity into Presence. Perchance to find the dream in the remnant scream which is prayer by another name--location arrived from locution.

Father Will opens a book 
fetched from a deep cassock pocket, worn, torn like his book, an early work by Mark Strand. He gives me the "listen up, listen close, listen well, listen deep" look to which I nod turning my better ear to hear toward him.


"This was my major text at Bone Cabin," he reports.

He pauses, sips tea, then reads some lines to me from his text, friend to friend, warmly, Autumn darkness coming on, the Harvest moon gathering clouds out the office window. There's going to be rain:



How we wish we were sunning ourselves
In a world of familiar views
And fixed conditions, confined
By what we know, and able to refuse
Entry to the unaccounted for...
We do not feel protected

By the walls, nor can we hide
Before the duplicating presence
Of their mirrors, pretending we are the ones who stare
From the other side, collected
In the glassy air.
A cold we never knew invades our bones.
We shake as though storms were going to hurl us down
Against the flat stones
Of our lives. All other nights
Seem pale compared to this, and the brilliant rise
Of morning after morning seems unthinkable.
Already now the lights
That shared our wakefulness are dimming
And the dark brushes against our eyes.


"Next week?" he asks, slowly standing up.

"Next week."


[Read the entire poem, Violent Storm, below]


****************************************************************


**"Violent Storm" from New Selected Poems by Mark Strand. Copyright © 2007 by Mark Strand. Reprinted with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Violent Storm**

Those who have chosen to pass the night
entertaining friends
And intimate ideas in the bright,
Commodious rooms of dreams
Will not feel the slightest tremor
Or be weakened by what seems
Only a quirk in the dry run
Of conventional weather. For them,
The long night sweeping over these trees
And houses will have been no more than one
In a series whose end
Only the nervous or morbid consider.
But for us, the wide awake, who tend
To believe the worst is always waiting
Around the next corner or hiding in the dry,
Unsteady branch of a sick tree, debating
Whether or not to fell the passerby,
It has a sinister air.
How we wish we were sunning ourselves
In a world of familiar views,
And fixed conditions, confined
By what we know, and able to refuse
Entry to the unaccounted for. For now,
Deeper and darker than ever, the night unveils
Its dubious plans, and the rain
Beats down in gales
Against the roof. We sit behind
Closed windows, bolted doors,
Unsure and ill at ease
While the loose, untidy wind,
Making an almost human sound, pours
Through the open chambers of the trees.
We cannot take ourselves or what belongs
To us for granted. No longer the exclusive,
Last resorts in which we could unwind,
Lounging in easy chairs,
Recalling the various wrongs
We had been done or spared, our rooms
Seem suddenly mixed up in our affairs.
We do not feel protected
By the walls, nor can we hide
Before the duplicating presence
Of their mirrors, pretending we are the ones who stare
From the other side, collected
In the glassy air.
A cold we never knew invades our bones.
We shake as though storms were going to hurl us down
Against the flat stones
Of our lives. All other nights
Seem pale compared to this, and the brilliant rise
Of morning after morning seems unthinkable.
Already now the lights
That shared our wakefulness are dimming
And the dark brushes against our eyes.

For online reading click here or copy and paste:

http://books.google.com/books?id=I9-IBpQfghEC&pg=PT20&lpg=PT20&dq=mark+strand+%2B+reasons+for+moving&source=bl&ots=P6UUyl_bX7&sig=-pTesOGSguae7Z8iHQEIuB6eH6M&hl=en&ei=qODlSrj4GsbUlAepltnoCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=15&ved=0CD4Q6AEwDg#v=onepage&q=&f=false


Reasons For Moving

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is 
always the case. 
Wherever I am 
I am what is missing. 

When I walk 
I part the air 
and always 
the air moves in 
to fill the spaces 
where my body’s been. 

We all have reasons 
for moving. 
I move 
to keep things whole. --Mark Strand

“Keeping Things Whole” from Selected Poems by Mark Strand. Copyright © 1980 by Mark Strand. Reprinted with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

***
from "The Mental Traveler" by William Blake, Complete Poems of William Blake

****The Marquet Affair: While in Berlin, Schopenhauer was named as a defendant in an action at law initiated by a woman named Caroline Marquet. She asked for damages, alleging that Schopenhauer had pushed her. Knowing that he was a man of some means and that he disliked noise, she deliberately annoyed him by raising her voice while standing right outside his door. Marquet alleged that the philosopher had assaulted and battered her after she refused to leave his doorway. Her companion testified that she saw Marquet prostrate outside his apartment. Because Marquet won the lawsuit, he made payments to her for the next twenty years. When she died, he wrote on a copy of her death certificate, Obit anus, abit onus ("The old woman dies, the burden is lifted.-http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer#The_Marquet_Affair


"Point of No Return", Collision Center, Randall Potts, O Books (January 1994)

The Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Spender & J.B. Leishman, Norton Press.

Dreams and the Underworld, James Hillman, Harper & Row,

Damaged Bonds, Michael Eigen, Karnac Press

Winter Field.  Keene, NY

<><><>


ALL  PHOTOS BY WARREN FALCON.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED TO HIM.  SHOULD YOU WISH TO USE A PHOTO THEN CONTACT WARREN ON THIS BLOGSPOT SITE.

Reprise Essay - The Stark Clarities, The Folded Bone, The Horrible Locution--Father Will In From The Violent Storm

[A violent storm moves toward Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico and its central church, La Iglesia de San Jose, August 16, 2009. Click on the photo to enlarge the image. Photo by Warren Falcon]

Pretext

O
f storms and absolution at the outset, a context for Father Will, for us all as we fall with our Falling Star:

We know mythically that violent storms have served the offended Higher Powers to destroy old and no longer viable divine and human (cultural) orders. These storms arrive, post-destruction, to restore, renew, relink Creative Power(s) with creation and from that tempestuous interaction, with culture. It can be said, then, that culture is a crime of passion for even the gods fight amongst themselves (as they should for it is from this divine conflict that the "10,00 things" of creation are manifest), are subject to an Order/Disorder which we humans continually try to divine from which neither the gods nor we can escape, as poet Mark Strand writes, now "hurled down against the flat stones of our lives." Gods, too, are hurled down upon those stone tablets, unyielding codes, calcified cosmologies representing the flat world of old orders no longer viable because they cannot accommodate the horrific fact of their own shadow (projected upon creatures/creations), the shadow of the institutions formed around them, and of what humans with their brilliant but deadly shadows have been able to technologically create and in the creating awaken globally destructive powers. As our gods are so are our determined destructions. Our annihilating bombs along with our balms are images of our contrary and contradictory gods. It is we and creation who suffer them.

Thus we are startled awake, overwhelmed in this age of authentic anxiety, of pandemic sleep disorders, of pathological gods (Jung says our gods now show up as pathologies, as symptoms), their religions and our consequent spiritual bypasses warily, scarily aware of this cosmic set up in this crushing, cranking cosmological turn of the Wheel since the old and current centers and the meaning they once provided do not, apparently will not, hold because they carry internally their own apocalyptic seeds of destruction in order to be renewed, a process en perpetua, called renaissance, which is a hope but not a guarantee or given. We are in this condition where "the center cannot hold...things fall apart," to quote William Butler Yeats. Carl Jung indicates that we are moving through the threshold of chaos and kairos:

"A mood of universal destruction and renewal has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the KAIROS - The Right Moment - for a “metamorphosis of the gods”, of the fundamental principles and symbols... So much is at stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of the modern human.” -C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self 

"Kairos is the passing moment in which something happens as the time unfolds...it is a small window of becoming and opportunity. One of the origins of the word comes from shepherds watching the stars. As the night progresses and the stars turn in the sky, they appear to rise and then fall against the horizon. The moment when a star has reached its apogee and appears to change direction from ascending to descending is its kairos." --Corrigall, J, Payne, H, Wilkinson, H (eds), About A Body, 2006: pg. 201

Like it or not, Father Will expresses/compresses/distresses within this context of chaos and kairos, the falling star of our Aeon (symbolically, stars represent particular points and specific constellations/apparitions of consciousness). In so doing he speaks for us all though we may hide our heads in bestseller, consumerist New Age and similar sands, vacuous, temporary spiritualish confections, or alternately/alternatively, calcified and calcifying Fundamentalist invectives and insurrections, denial or bile by any other name, sympathetic magic flailing or doctrinaire dogma flagellating against the tragic condition of gods and man, self-righteous fingers or hand folded namastes pointing actively or passively at the scapegoated causes. This understandable but narcotic narcissism in the end will not lead us through this nekyia ("night sea journey") like Odysseus to that newly discovered inland terra firma where we must plant our hand hewn oar carried far from familiar seas and shores.

The fullness of this time, Kairos of the falling star (which is a violent storm, indeed), of cultural/cosmological dis-aster (meaning, ill-starred), is reliant upon human capacities such as they are, but effective enough, to proclaim, reclaim and proceed to ongoingly integrate shadow, human and divine, for it is the work not only of egos but of eras. It is also a time to grow equally enduring capacities for disorder, for chaos so as not to blame or punish gods, Nature nor humans for what appears to be a primary given of existence, entropy, which is inevitable social, physical and energetic decline and degeneration. In tandem with entropy there are or can be evolving human capacities for what I call syntropy where we may more consciously witness and participate in the inexorable falling apart while keeping meaning-threads in mindful hands while winding and finding our way within and potentially out of one labyrinthine Wheel Turn into newer ones of potentially creative/destructive formations. Ensuing personal, collective and cosmological gains may be derived from willful Time's twining whorl and wheal* for this Fateful ordeal of inevitable wandering is imposed by appointed rising and falling stars, ours and our cultures' scars the signatures of their greater impositions.

Ah, but now I hear Father Will growling, "But who or what is it appoints the stars?"

[* "wheal -- mark made on the skin by a whip," 1808, probably an alteration of wale, possibly by confusion with weal "welt," and obsolete wheal "pimple, pustule" (1440), from O.E. verb hwelian"to form pus, bring to a head."


[Portrait of Arthur Schopenhauer, the 1800's German philosopher and inspiration for our Father Will who reappears in this month's essay to quarrel, and in quarreling make confession, with Existenz, his own, mine, the Church's, the New Age and more because of and amidst the persistent agonies. Father Will returns to us here first introduced in my March 2009 Learning For Life Group Newsletter essay also found here on the blogspot (click 'March (2)' under 'Blog Archive'). The retired and retiring, troubled and troubling, goodly Father is a composite character, a convenient and necessary fiction drawn from my practice comprised of many, composed by one. I've chosen his name, Father Will, to signify Human Volition, Will to Power/Will to Cower in homage to Schopenhauer who wrote The World As Will And Representation (To get a sense of his philosophy go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer). However, any resemblance to an actual person is completely accidental unless it is an oblique locution referring to me. Credit for the painting here of Herr Schopenhaeur is from wikipedia online: "This portrait of Schopenhauer was painted in April 1859 by J. Lunteschutz...This image... is in the public domain because its copyright has expired."


Further Pretexts for Absence:

Artaud warns his readers and listeners that each person who knows conflict and seeks to grow, must expect a shearing of flesh and a letting go of blood in the act of life which is a cruelty.

To be you can let yourself go until you just exist,
but to live,
you must be someone,
to be someone,
you must have a Bone,
not be afraid to show the bone
and to lose the meat by the wayside.

And what is infinity?
We do not know exactly.
It is a word
which we use
to indicate
WIDENING
of our consciousness
toward the inordinate,
inexhaustible and inordinate
feasibility.

...but there is one thing
which is something,
only one thing
which is something,
that I feel
wants to
COME OUT:
the presence
of my bodily
pain,

the menacing
never increasing
presence
of my
body.

To live meant to Artaud--to act, to hurt and be hurt, to experience fully joy and pain, and in so doing, to mold, create--and recreate oneself in the process..."I hate and renounce as a coward every being who consents to live without first having created himself."

--from Artaud, Man of Vision, Bettina L. Knapp, First Swallow Press / Ohio University Press edition 1980, from the Preface, pg. 217-218, pg. 214

And if the babe is born a boy
He’s given to a woman old,
Who nails him down upon a rock,
Catches his shrieks in cups of gold. -- William Blake***

Obit anus, abit onus ("The old woman dies, the burden is lifted") --Arthur Schopenhauer****

According to Julia Kristeva in the Powers of Horror, the abject refers to the human reaction (horror, vomit) to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other. The primary example for what causes such a reaction is the corpse (which traumatically reminds us of our own materiality); however, other items can elicit the same reaction: the open wound, shit, sewage, even the skin that forms on the surface of warm milk.--from a Purdue University web article:
The abject for Kristeva is, therefore, closely tied both to religion and to art, which she sees as two ways of purifying the abject: "The various means of purifying the abject—the various catharses—make up the history of religions, and end up with that catharsis par excellence called art, both on the far and near side of religion".

--http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/psychoanalysis/kristevaabject.html

At times one might say: "In the beginning there was nourishment."

At times one might say: "In the beginning there was catastrophe."

Bion's writings give voice to the traumatized self. If Walt Whitman sings the body electric and catalogues joys of self, Bion details what it is like for self to be electrocuted and to continue as the remains...Destruction turns up and screaming substitutes for satisfaction. Bion is most keenly Bion in depicting destructive transformations of the scream as link. He is particularly master of the fading scream, the scream that dies forever, background radiation of spaceless space, the dispersed scream...Silence explodes...From nourishment to explosive wipe-out."

--from Damaged Bonds, Michael Eigen, H. Karnac (Books) Ltd, 2001, pgs. 29-30

In a field I am the absence of field. --Mark Strand

Becoming and transformation are tasks imposed on man by Fate, working both from within and without him, and this is something which man becomes aware of at the turning points, the crises of his existence. In so far as man experiences such crises with anxiety and under the image of inescapable death he also experiences himself as one disposed by nature to transcend his existence as it is at any moment and to experience and express previously unknown possibilities.

-- The Dream and the Underworld, James Hillman, New York: Harper & Row, 1979, pg. 113

This essay is dedicated to dearly departed Karen Eberle, Tien Ho, Walter Schell, and last but not at all least, the astonishing Marianne Annur:

"It means so much that we can be broken..." --Raul Voz, from Las Poemas Cornadas (The Cornada Poems)