Saturday, February 20, 2021

repressed content with ensuing catastrophes such as bee hive hairdos, gilded eggs (not the lilies o nay nay) & the en/un-folding omelette of consciousness (or not)

I doubt if Columbia, major record label for decades, ever recorded gospel records unless by a major Gospel star...I suspect this is a "send up" or "down" except for the photos of the Beehive Ladies. I suspect Sigmund Freud's view of the unconscious was very much involved in coming up with album and song titles which is why I suspect the authenticity of this being an actual recording. Someone is funning in a Freudian vein. I've searched online for a copy of the Laid album to listen to or purchase but so far all I get is a dud, a very rare Golden Egg that so far I can't find hard evidence for.
I used to shop at Sounds daily around the corner from me on St. Marks Place. I found some fabulous Gospel cassettes, some amazing recordings of unheard of regional Gospel singers/choirs/groups. But NOT on Columbia record label. Columbia would know better.
But tis true re: Freud that repression guarantees the primacy of power to that which is repressed/oppressed (obsessions burst forth or insinuate tricksterishly full of the repressed content) because the more one represses (pretends/denies the reality and power of the energies of the content), and the deeper into the unconscious it goes, the more likely that the repressed energy will insistently emerge from the unconscious, bypassing the ego (and its fantasy of power over the unconscious) so the repressed content mugs/overrides the one who represses and all too often with ensuing catastrophes such as bee hive hairdo' can actually fruitfully imagine what repressions and creative expressions are indicated in the massive puffballs of hair erupting, or wanting to, viz creative intellectual capacities, leadership and more (ancient Greeks thought (word of ideas (above) & world of forms (here below) that hair, every/each strand, was refined sexual/creative force of course connected to genitals and fructive fluids emerging via the scalp/head thus hair was "sexual" creative logos/thoughts, another kind of creativity, the birth of intellect, reason, imagination, and therefore the creation of worlds within worlds within worlds and their equivalent outer amplifications as ripples from a central force of eros/logos.
Sorry. Some drive-by lectures erupt or, in the case of the album cover, HATCH, from the head (and more), perhaps mine is not a golden egg but begs more the ovular (not seminal) question. Both Freud and Jung were onto something, each nesting eggs all kinds, battling, belittling (well, Freud belittled Jung), but methinks Jung's say continues to amplify and expand beyond the, granted, rich soil Freud made us all aware of. Jung went deeper below the rhizome into Archetype (another lecture needing separate space).
Just look at the hairdos. Symbols for sure which do indeed convey heavy as they are, starched in place. We are two places at once, Dorothy, Kansas very much, and Oz or Mythic/Archetype complete with album references to pre-Christian myth!
Gods bless us everyone as we all collectively prepare the ongoing omelette of unfolding (but we must fold the eggs into) consciousness.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

from 'Inherited Brood Of Brothers, Wherever You May Sway, Remember To Be Gay - Imagined Letters Whitman May Have Penned To The New Millenium by Norman Nightingale

"I confess to myself a perhaps capricious fondness for it."
-- Walt Whitman on this photograph

But I shall use that 'net' and my still goodly paper and goodly pen to dim whatever ill tides there are and to come, as they surely will in spite of low wattage, jangle keys on the night watches, read my mystic books, make my prayers with roamers of wards and wharves glancing up considering bridges, edges, silty bottoms. The tides are here even now. But right now I wish to sing a lullaby in protest to those hurting departed, even to those coming ills, that I may sing innocence dumbly back to those who may come ashore again more gently having forgotten enforcing depths insisting them toward resistant yet resolved embraces...

...So breech then, waves. Feet first. Heads in the brine. I shall keep time on your wrinkled toes sticking up from the sand, play peek-a-boo. Then while you sleep I shall harvest gently, place them firmly in that old woman's shoe with 'so many children she didn't know what to do.'
She may yet have learned what to by now. I haven't.
I remain bitter. Abject, too, from the senseless loss of cast off young men who could not endure the flame, the rust, no fault of their own, who leap blasted from bridges, forced by killing human edges, who are broken open within and by hateful, fearful others forgetting, if ever had, those restorative burning constancies of a Mother's loving hand upon them.
I have placed their names and images upon my altar beside GarcĂ­a Lorca's portrait, and Hart Crane's young face, an image of a sweet Christ holding a lamb in perpetua, and the yellowed newspaper clipping from Spain of the Matador's death, all who have joined or will join Hart becoming ghostly visionary company. They now remain forever chaste not having lived long enough to be wasted, to be emptied loving deeply out into Love for more, endlessly bleeding out as Lorca, a corrida of laurel encircling his head no longer remembering but only one sound, guns exploding outward, extending, bullets, petals, one by one beyond the wall where he stood before the obedient squad stunned, 'how young and handsome are the assassins' faces.' Obedient to projectiles and projections he flew backward into the restraining wall, his brave shadow and blood, then fell, a last poem frozen upon lips but for circling birds, spirits, carrion or both, arriving after blood.
Reduced to foolish whispers, restoring moments, patient hidden gods, human hearts and bodies remove themselves from the potter's wheel too early broken, too tired, too alone to try to shape love from Love from the tiny shard, the remnant bone of the ancient mastodon, the last one, dreaming within each heart of that Love which all Nature yearns for.
Inherited brood of brothers wherever you may sway remember to be gay for all the gray afternoons in this sad but forgiving confessional while not forgetting mine and the cock's quarrel with life in the booth by the cracked window near the corner of 7th and Second.
from Inherited Brood Of Brothers Wherever You May Sway, Remember To Be Gay, Letters Whitman May Have Penned To The New Millenium by Norman NIghtingale

Sunday, January 24, 2021

...the ubiquity of normaity given the intolerable conditions of existence...

Building in downtown London, August 2016. Sunday stroll surprise for eyes.
Photo by Warren Falcon. All rights reserved.

"...the ubiquity of "normality" given the intolerable conditions of existence..."
Thus the corrective reorientation/enantiodromia of the Absurd and Beckett's version in the West aka Godot aka humor and/or of or with or from or by despair - the laughter born from the in-between them state and perchance AWAKE but for moment in time.
A zen master asks, "Of time, who is counting?"
There's resolution in't (the question orients)
the run-on
trousers limp
the cobbled
street where
a spring
avenue smells
too of singed
a humming
boy hums
pokes bits
of scalp on
the walk
his small
white thumbs
alone touch
the white
lattice kiosk
sells the
face again
"Have I ever mentioned that Michelangelo practically never took a bath in his life, by the way?
And even wore his boots to bed?
On my honor, it is a well known item in the history of art that Michelangelo was not somebody one would particularly wish to sit too close to. Which on second thought could very well change one's view as to why all of those Medici kept telling him don't bother to get up, as a matter of fact.
Although come to think of it even William Shakespeare himself was terribly tiny, which is something I did once mention.
I mean so long as one would appear to be getting into this sort of thing.
Well, and for that matter Galileo would never even ever shake another person's hand, once he had discovered germs.
I have just wrapped my head into a towel.
Having gone out for some greens, for a wet salad, this would be because of.
And in the meantime the more I have thought about it, the more sorry I have gotten about what I said.
I mean about Michelangelo, not about Herodotus.
Certainly I would have found it more than agreeable to shake Michelangelo’s hand, no matter how the pope or Louis Pasteur might have felt about this.
In fact I would have been excited just to see the hand that had taken away superfluous material in the way that Michelangelo had taken it away.
Actually, I would have been pleased to tell Michelangelo how fond I am of his sentence that I once underlined, too.
Perhaps I have not mentioned having once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.
I once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.
This was a sentence that Michelangelo once wrote in a letter, when he had lived almost seventy-five years.
You will say that I am old and mad, was what Michelangelo wrote, but I answer that there is no better way of being sane and free from anxiety than by being mad.
On my honor, Michelangelo once wrote that.
As a matter of fact I am next to positive I would have liked Michelangelo."
- David Markson, Wittgenstein's Mistress
I conclude re: the above so far -
Germs induce (eventually) other terms of engagement.
After a long afternoon at the Tate Modern Gallery pondering Agnes Martin retrospective I took this photo of the spacious ground floor at least 3 floors high of an higher even office building in the heart of London. In trance all eyes and legs only I had managed to stagger/spin/spend time in the museum's Surrealist Art gallery before needed air and exit/walk/gawk my kingdom for a New York sidewalk pretzel or what my old methodist grandmother called, down south, a 'pertzul'. Whatever. I happened upon it, the building, its glass, the hanging shards' color, the immensities thereof or in. Agnes-ed I was a pointillist blur wobbling about a London Sunday, all the city mostly closed advantage of which was city was mostly to myself but not much in the way of eats, no pertzuls to be found, not even bangers and mash and the horrid mashed peas splattering most served up meals as if a pigeon had flown over and shat splat on the platter before the mutter could be served. Most offal.
Me, accidentally, there are none, accidents, or so it is proposed, or was even so everly long ago pre-Socratical, I happened upon Cathedral of Saint Paul (not my favorite saint but), ethereal (interesting 'ether real' which it ether is after all though the word conveys the opposite) music, live choral large, wafting lures me waffling still the quiet avenue then into a packed house, Gothical standing room only, incense and holy water abundantly around for sniffs and dips forefingers (Michelangelo) only allowed in (note says it is so) hungred I stood so sprinkled shoulder to shoulder wondering why there were guards all about uniformed alert which dampened my mystical bent much but the Palestrina then the Thomas Tallis then a far distant priest and altar boy (man, really) Cathedral's other end, raises Chalice to commit the wine into Blood, glad I stood though tired for the Rite, the hand chimes demark the transformation of wine into Host then elbowed politely my way out into too too much brightness though late afternoon and more meander remembering Dostoevsky's "Alyosha, I shall set off from here...loving with one's inside, with one's stomach..."
and mine, stomach, successfully found fish n chips in a most deserted square near an open market (a farmer's but it was shuttered) near famed Brit poet's upstairs flat but ground floor door to upstairs John Betjeman, he decades dead, whom I had ne're read but knew the name and again chanced upon the night sky blue door because the pub with the fish and chips was below the dead man's flat. And no mustard in the place. The pub. Not the flat. Bet your man here, appropriate post-recall Saint Paul ethers and forefingers crucifixions and later apparitions ascents:
Aldershot Crematorium
Between the swimming-pool and cricket-ground
How straight the crematorium driveway lies!
And little puffs of smoke without a sound
Show what we loved dissolving in the skies,
Dear hands and feet and laughter-lighted face
And silk that hinted at the body's grace.
But no-one seems to know quite what to say
(Friends are so altered by the passing years):
"Well, anyhow, it's not so cold today"—
And thus we try to dissipate our fears.
'I am the Resurrection and the Life':
Strong, deep and painful, doubt inserts the knife.

Monday, December 7, 2020

"Teeth, In This Case, Is The Beginning Of Wisdom"

Sketch by Aris Moore

"Teeth, In This Case, Is The Beginning Of Wisdom"
Several of James Hillman's books, Dreams and the Underworld, and Healing Fiction, especially chapter two, "The Pandaemonium of Images, Jung's Contribution to Know Thyself", deliciously explore the dimmed yet dynamic dimensions of the Nightworld, the mythic unconscious where upon entering there, says Hillman, human Dayworld values must be left behind. In the Nightworld, in Dreamtime, in the Unconscious, the world of daimons and more, one enters often kicking and screaming or, dangerously to self and others, naively (viz. there's no darkness at all). According to Carl Jung dreams are often enough ruthless "impartial facts" from the objective psyche, many people resist them knowing that if taken seriously their whole view of self, other and reality will be profoundly altered and not so readily wrestled into the ever narrowing corrals of (dis)positivity (as in dispose-tivity). Out of site in this case guarantees out-of-their-mind for even apparently "sane" and "cool" dimentias will out, the nightworld, the daimonic will out by any means necessary and cares not a hoot whether one smells of light and sandalwood or is yogically stretched yet still karmically kvetched and shadow-projected, for the psyche, the daimonic, eventually, finally-had-enough, turns like the proverbial whipped dog and bites.
Such biting increases the possibility of wholeness, real wholeness, if one does not turn away from teeth.
Teeth, in this case, is the beginning of wisdom.
In Michael Eigen's immensely wise and helpful book, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, in a section describing the function of faith in psychoanalysis and therapy work, he speaks of "the explosive or catastrophic potential in every therapeutic encounter" (page 124). This is certainly so in any encounter with the daimon. Therapeutic work implies the goal of becoming conscious and making consciousness, thus a conscious explosive/catastrophic encounter with the daimon is an inevitable arrival in good, and extremely patient, therapy.
Eigen describes William Blake's Heaven, a similar description which my daimon depicts of Hell as does Hillman in his book on the underworld, "William Blake describes heaven as all out war between every human capacity in which all have their say without compromise yet incessantly enrich and are enriched by others. Here faith functions as a boundless or infinite container (Eigen, The Psychoanalystic Mystic. Pages 124/125)."
Blake's and Eigen's appreciation of Blake's view of heaven is that of an indestructible container (as that which is required in alchemy, a vessel capable of containing the most volatile and destructive of opposites), ever expanding, allowing for each energy as equally valid/vital to participation in the creation/destruction/reformation essential to Creativity and Creation on all levels (mostly unknown given human mental limitations to ken the subtle yet profound beyond-the-senses-and-rationality process and results). Heaven is not at all about "purity" which is too often confused as one opposite on top valued over the other on the bottom and of lowest value (sin/corruption), and vice versa. The goal of alchemy from the oevre or work (volatile cooking) of alchemy is that from the intensity of energies released in the combination of such conflicting substances, and the distillation of vapors derived from the mixing of both or many, a third thing, a refined substance, a new creation born of the foundational substances which are broken down, degraded, dissolved and adulterated in order to undergo refining fires and subsesquent phases, create a new thing, a unifiying refinement which advances/evolves a new creation/evolution in (at least human) consciousness.
This all sounds "heady" but is actually the exact opposite for, though linear and with consciousness operative, the processes incorporate irrationality as one of the elements cooking with other conficting elements...the resulting alchemical product is new and vital and brings about a profound paradigm shift from the inside out.
And that, my friends, is indeed a process called "heaven."
Heaven is not a place. It is a process ever ongoing, an eternal evolution taking place in space and time yet partaking of something, and within something, a vital allusion, called eternity.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Bone Texts - Father Will, Acedia to Concordia Discors - Confessions of Doubt on a Way of Thorns, - Reprise Essay [Originally published 10/23/2009]

Acedia (ah-che-dia)spiritual or mental sloth; apathy

Concordia Discors inharmonious harmony harmony of discordant elements

Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors. Empedocles deliret acumen?

What does the discordant harmony of things mean, and what can it do? Is Empedocles crazy? -Horace, Epistles I.12.19

....But to stand in the midst of this rerum concordia discors and of this whole marvelous uncertainty and rich ambiguity of existence… -Nietzsche, Gay Science I.2

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

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, 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:

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





Thursday, September 17, 2020

dark water charcoaled with orange sky - a brief moment of my life

Rereading the autobiography of Wright Morris whom I've never read before, his novels, rather, 'cept for this his autobiography, A Cloak of Light, when I was in my 30's feeling trapped by New York City. No, wait, not by the city but by myself on yet another shelf even in the most adventurous city in the world, or one of them. And I so wanted adventure thus New York and my Harlem basement room where I "ensconced" reading reading reading as I did everywhere I'd lived, rather, read, on night shifts, and in between shifts, more given by introversion to inner adventures though preachers warned me that these were the worst kind. But the outer ones, the stuff which made/compelled/miseried as my shadow, "will out" but I. not yet ready for the outing, found them in the books I read, and in the twice weekly sessions with Betsy, the patient Jungian analyst, who got plenty of shadow from my dreams. More than once she'd nod out while I was talking on and on which hurt my feelings but I now realize that my shadow was so very big and as yet to be touched that I put her to sleep, made her unconscious, so as to avoid a confrontation with the shadow. I'd silently steal away, ashamed, a personal check on her side table, and walk from East 92nd and 1st Avenue to West Harlem.

Much as I desired a life "in the world" I clearly wasn't ready so in sessions as with books I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to escape a destined, Jung would warn, "doomed" encounter a few years ahead. . .but I was determined to read only about it, dream about it, take notes, keep journals, yet on some occasions late night by the Hudson River near the corner of West 142nd Street I would relent, cave, rave, shout, weep, threaten the water, life itself on both banks, even and especially that Goddamned indifferent sentinel Maxwell House Cup forever tilted with it's petrified drop never dropping, I pledged revenge, retribution, a long list of bullies spilling out of my mouth where they'd at last flounder then flush beneath the dark water charcoaled with orange sky. Only to come to life and dryer land in me again come the morning. Fuck the pigeons. Then. Me and pigeons are good now.

Reading Wright Morris, his travels and dare-thee-wells was greatly satisfying back then. Still is. Now in my late 60's, well into shadowland and vigor mortis I am companion to others who turn pages or count days until the life sentence comes in again, morning after morning, the second act of the play of life trying to play it out, resolve the clot or plot. Or not.

I am nostalgic for another child in me who has yet to be lived, fleshed out, but now said flesh such as it is/I am is on the sag and hairing up gray to white, so what's to be done about it, this urge for lively living, for Blake's lost child?

Last night's dream reveals a golden pickle, yes, golden, and pickle (life's a pickle), unearthed in an ancient Egyptien ruin, that of a king named Horus. I was/am awed by the find but stumped as back then in ancient times, and now still this was/is the Key of Keys. An adventure for sure. But where's Betsy now that I need her, her dead for at last 20 years? Will make do and of it on my own. A close friend nickname in the '80's "McDoo" for "make do". I'm of a practical bent. A later analyst calls it "compensated oral." I'll not quarrel though I could. Perhaps should. The recommended healing collapse on the psychoanalytic menu offerings did not come with three sides nor a bread basket and I, basket, was already "case" enough. Humor in tact though.

The shadow boy's here in this Lorca bit truer and blue balled for LIFE as ever as I turn Morris pages, me yet again living vicariously:

"I am going to ask Christ to give
me back my childhood, ripe with sunburn and feathers and a wooden sword."

This passage, Morris's close encounter with what Jung calls the Anima, a vision real, but the road and Europe prevails so. . . . .

Friday, July 10, 2020

Mumps eyes plead 'no mountain' - from Covid Journals, Crow Flight Over Meadow

Spruce Hill Farm. Keene, NY.  Easter 2013. 

S'been a'swelter up here in higher mounts upstate NY. 90's. Humid. Like walking around with a large hot sponge over your entire head. Cue Darth Vader breathing soundtrack. But, ah, Keene in winter...glorious. Quiet. Still. Until the howl begins, the blow, the fury snow and cloud chaos obliterate all orientation but for sound. Then eventually return to stillness morning blue hues of sun and ice repainting the known world. The old barn stands a little taller proud of its long black shadow over the mascaraed field whom I affectionately call Mabel for memory of the late '70's Waffle House waitress who worked what I called the 'midnight waffles' shift from midnight to 8 am. Heavy on the make up, eyelids turquoised, eyebrows plucked out then painted in with blackest mascara, and all the rest, powder pink blush, cheek and forehead powdered sugar white, a high stack of blue hair, a Pall Mall cig stub stuck to her bottom purple lipsticked lip. Return to frozen field and qualities of color in sheer sunbright snow white clarity primaries with edged shadow subtleties. Unlike cities. Mabel and me. Now she's pretty with purple and shades of green, wild flowers sprinkled, butterflies so many that I tolerate the biting black flies to gestalt the field and flight/alight vision expanded to pixilations framed only by the extent of my unpainted eyelids. Hedge hog moves through the now tall grass. I track its movement across the wide field to the old once was a well, concrete crumbling, a good place to dig in for the season safer from the raven, the coyote and fox. Heard a yip after dusk last night. Might be the wary coyote hovering always just below the near steep lledge or at yard meets woods edge, Mumps I call him some sag or other at his left maw, a limp on forward left paw leg twisted suspect a car hit him survives now forever on edges nothing bold like a regular road crossing or crow flight over meadow or even straight up Marcie's ice scars' mountain dares still trying to pass but imperceptible cuz aeons - Mumps eyes plead 'no mountain' when we make rare eye contact I try to send some friendly thoughts trying what friend Valdosta does a wounded animal herself so, being wounded, is a healer she softly chants
come come come come
come come come come
showing both hands flat palms up for frightened animal to see
come come come come
I've seen her charm racoon-chewed dogs mauled-cats sick-horse motherless-runted-out-kittens into won-trust and life-enough
Mumps ain't having any come come come come
slow eats what's left whats offered in the meadow past dark and Mabel where ravens get to work moon or not peck for the better portions they like bones just like the furred do - Mumps near's watching content enough to eat what might be left of leftovers or excavated fare from back of fridge long forgotten all mold blue or green some slimed things even the barn cats turn their discerning noses to
Already mourning having to return to the City in mid-August.
But my Kobayashi Issa book gathers dust on the side table where I foolishly left it forgotten in my haste to escape the city return to Keene. One thing to look forward to though - Issa. And gathered things such are markers of a life, bookstacks of course, sculptures, paintings, totems, random rocks, crystals, rusted once functioning parts of machinery now in decline/dis/un-use objets d'art photos de de de epochs (brief though ever lingering) friends places meals buses' trains' windows passings through, milky filmy insides again dimmed though solid though artifact - a spider web a century(?) constancy inside containment's bottle excavated beneath 100 year old house 1980 or so who knows where the time tracking goes - dwelt in (alluded century) foot of Mount Mitchell Blue Ridge highest, more bottles 18th century an old tin of snuff snuff still in't and th' dipper one old spoon a bent fork a child's trinket gum machine ring (who wore that?), a silver metal comb needing dental work after ages hairs silvered time transluscent intwined....friends tell me it's time to sort, let go, release these things. I respond with these lines from poet and zen teacher John Tarrant:
There is a blessed fidelity in things.
Useless things grow lovely with good uses.
And these lines (to end it here) by maestro Nathaniel Mackey to sing once more for [I am] useless things -
ghost[s] of an alternative
life... They were we before
we were, ancestral, we who'd
never not be ill at ease.
A vocation for lack he'd have
said, she'd have said longing,
a world, were they to speak, be-
What wasn't, they'd
have said, went away,
would come back,
first fanatic church,
what would be...

All photos by Warren Falcon (all rights reserved to him)