In the well of understanding

In the well of understanding

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tati Le Dit

My great-aunt, affectionately known as Tati, is often my confidant and conversation partner. She has an uncanny knack, which I believe I have inherited, for summarizing a situation succinctly and pointedly; and when she does I always remark to myself, "Tati le dit." (Tati said it):

On the recent flap between the Vatican and US Nuns - "The Pope had best take care with ostracizing nuns. While the Cardinals may be the princes of the Church, the nuns are the mothers; and in any culture, motherhood always outstrips other ranks in the family. His Holiness should reflect that upon resurrection His Lord appeared to women first to carry the announcement, and that at His Lord's birth a mother was required without the aid of a man."

Quillsby Quip of the Day

Says Sable Quillsby, "The Syrian government has killed and continues to kill innocents. The United States, through drone attacks and euphemistic military engagements, has killed and continues to kill innocents. There is no moral relevancy to justify and distinguish one from the other: both are equally repugnant and criminal acts against the whole of humanity. You cannot mouth the words of freedom and democracy while your right and left hands are actively participating in terrorist acts. One would have thought the Janus-head would have died in the ashes of Rome."

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Lady Has A Necklace

Inspired by Diana Wynne, a Lady of rare wit, intellect, and emotional fortitude

'Twas in the garden of friendly delights
My Lady, the Huntress, came in summer's allure;
She, who girds the Earth from her lunar abode,
Bestrode the path to the African's lair,
Darkling boots chased with fire crackling,
Each step whispering silver on verdant plane,
Bright day caressed by sinuous night

With horn upturned, My Lady, summoned with song
And I hastened to attend from my starry perch
For I yet bore the fruits of country in tribute
To her personage and fealty to her honor-
Apples of elder wisdom, oranges of blushing passion,
Resplendent pears of tart desire, purple plums of supple strength;
Her bounty near its' fullest measure in all graces save one

Longing and anticipation equally combated and
Animated her lithe glide as she sought the arbor of Love's priest
And I danced in her shadow, following on heel,
Blessing the flowers of field and larks of the meadows
Until at length we arrived at the mouth of hallowed grove
An unseen gong bellowed a welcoming call
And we entered into audience with the kindred soul within

My Lady was shown a multitude of wonders
A menagerie of assorted pleasures, but her heart
Sifted through the flour of gloss, seeking intently
Settling upon the glassy luminous stones of a sister Goddess
A gold-tipped arrow fletched, and the auric gleam upon her brow;
The music of one hunt enchanting the roving spirit of Huntress,
And a breathtaking stag of the purest yellow crept in range of her bow

Faster than a heart can beat, My Lady was in pursuit
She negotiated the terrain as the cleric shouted encouragement,
Notched the arrow of her Will, and aimed, fire alight with her skin
Ignoring blandishments of other colorful prey, she loosed the shaft
Which blazed towards the heart of the stag and struck true
And the Lady, with mercy, chanted the dirge of Ending
Transforming carcass and bone into the trophy of spoils

As was her want, she gifted the remains to the priest
And bade him work his craft upon the stones and bones
With soul and sinew he bound the elements
With heat and light he wrote the runes
The African called to witness Wind, Water and chthonic spirits of Earth
Birthing with his labors the scintillating Brisingamen
And by her divine leave clasping it around My Lady's curvaceous neck

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Familyspeak (The Beginning)

It walks amongst us and mimics

The news shocked Sere, not just by what it conveyed but how it was transmitted. He could feel the ache of detachment, almost taste the bitter, acid fluid of grief. But tears would not come, could not come. Not here. Sweat beaded on his arms, and trickled from his head, down his back, as if in answer to the moisture which hid just out of the reach of the ducts.

It walks amongst us and mimics

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Short, Short, Short Story

Somewhere in time - certainly not the past, definitely not the present, potentially the future - a country which had come to interact with the rest of the world chiefly through its militaristic hegemony, passed new laws. After many years of the tin-eared drumbeat for warfare to create peace, of promises never realized and iniquitous perjury by the elected officials of the national government organs, the people reclaimed their power and own destiny via a populist referendum. It simply and unerringly dictated that any said officials authorizing new military engagements forthwith forfeited their standing in the body politic and entered as combatants in such police actions.

This chilled the fevered blood, and calmed the clamoring hearts of legislators to such a broad degree that diplomacy was reawakened. Their thoughts ran something like this: I am too old to fight but wise enough to know when to fight. And it was the singular characteristic of the first portion of that thought which henceforth drove their policy of warfare. Needless to state, in the absence of battle-mongering crusades, peace accrued in great measure and real attention turned to the previously obfuscated domestic matters.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Disquiet at our power

I hear the night song of the cicadas;
I hear the lamentations of my soul;
I hear the disquiet of an uncertain world
amidst the cawing of the traditional order;
we are not too few to bring change
but too many not to realize it

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Running in the Patient Morning Hours

In the stillness of your breath,
under the crepe silk of your jet skin
my solitude is met in its quest:
when I would ask less of myself -
when I would allow fear to strand me
on the barren marl of grainy doubt -
your tranquil susurrations minister
to the lime-strewn valves of my heart
and the sweat-streaked muscles exerting,
"Keep moving, Son of Eve"
And just as I crest over the apex,
beginning the descent towards the glint
of the incipient dawn, of gilded transit,
your chill-tinged arms embrace my dream,
more than a friend, more than a lover,
quelling disquiet, returning me once more
to the choice of possibilities
and the boundless expanse of all that is

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Evening

Loneliness, sometimes, allows us to connect with ourselves in ways we often avoid before the onslaught of fears which riddle the armor of our lives:

An Evening

Alone with music of silence

I gather from the darkness

from the stinted limbs

of hope's shortened corpse

instruments in lonely symphony

plying their melodies

to connect each to a chord

of memory that spans the

sheets between here and

morning's birth but the

key of life is elusive, and

in the cools arms of night

I assemble the notes,

orchestrating final movements

before quiet settles over

my brow and I am

again holding myself

to ward off despair

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fighting Life: A Poem

As a child when I or my siblings would rail against naptime, my mother and grandmother would say that we were fighting sleep. As adults ironically we frequently take refuge in sleep, seeking escape from the peaks and troughs of our lives; nothing is more telling than the struggle which ensues in our waking moments:

I fold back the mesh
raising up out of
Sleep's warm netting;
I press my back down
listless against softness
desperate to recall dreams;
a blink, a nod, a yawn
acknowledging the inevitable
but defiant in the face;
I grasp firmly my pillow,
thrusting my legs forward
in pointless mimicry
yet all argument is moot,
squelched before absoluteness:
Morning has come, and the day begun

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Haiku Couplets - Answers Between

Our most conventional stories portray the journey of our lives as a struggle between light and darkness. Rarely do these tales realize that the truths we seek do not lie at either end of the polarities but somewhere between all the layers of fleshy occultation. Here I employ the haiku in a less customary format to make such a case.

Shadow clips edges
promising coolly, bluntly
Desire's veiling

Glaring brightness hides
Love's unyielding penumbra
shining concealment

From the womb of both
past, present, future echoes
invites the birth - Choice

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Crisis of Commonsense

One cannot help but being bemused by the numerous items in conventional discourse regarding what the federal goverment should (or should not) be doing to propel the economy back to a bullish state. This confusion derives in part from the cavorting game-play of two headed beast we usually refer to as the Democratic and Republican Parties,in part from the equivocations of the Executive Branch and, completing the triumvirate, the expectations and (yes!) hopes of the public at large. It is an unholy convocation abundant in recalcitrance, rife with division and replete with unwieldy suppositions. In such inclement conditions, politicians seek out the usual anondynes and busy themselves in a flurry of bill proposals to fix what ails, that which may curry favor and insure reelection; the President and his clerics launch raucously into the gray water depths of policy, attempting to reconstitute the mantle of change which gave rise to his assumption of the regal purple of seal of office. And the public fractures into splinter groups, each staking claim that they represent the true interest of the American people. It is all a colossal spin, chocked to the gills with regret, recrimination and despair.

Lost in the helter-skelter are the simple facts of how this situation came to be and what needs are immediate. We consign ourselves to complexity, neglecting what we learned in mathematics as wee tots: all large fractions are reducible to their constituent elements.

Divorcing and divesting the emotional and psychological angst which understandably plagues the current conditions, we can stand on the precipice and see what is necessary.

First, if a free market is desired, the banks and financial institutions should have been allowed to fail. Period. No crocodile tears of remorse should have moved the iron manacles of government regulators. After all, if theory is correct, other more capable institutions would have come into being and subssumed these bastardized organizations; and all would be right with the world. Correct?

Now if we accept that there is no pure free market and these crises are cyclical - especially when commingling and cosiness between interested parties is not rebuffed by federal regulators - the government should recall its accountability is to the citizens primarily and act accordingly. Distribute money to those directly in need and still hold them responsible if in their decisions they have aided in the creation of these affairs. Did the banks engender this all by themselves? No, of course not. In fact mortgage brokers bear more than a little of the onus and the citizenry by burying their heads in the sand and borrowing on assets they did not possess were in collusion as well. Consequently, all must sacrifice.

Likewise remedies must be smart and proportionate. Neither the President nor the Congress can create jobs. The hue and cry for tax cuts to enable and encourage companies to hire more workers from the evergrowing till of the unemployed serves only large corporations. The majority of Americans are employed by small and medium businesses. What is requisite for them now is access to capital, and with banks not lending rigorously the lifeline for them is at a trickle. Foreclosures yet loom, and a legion of Americans are next in line to be thrust on the street. Why not legislate with a bit of thought and force banks to renegotiate loan terms based on current market value? It saves the banks the cost of foreclosure and retains for a tremulous public their residences without forgiving them their culpability. This should be the hour of clarity and commonsense or it will be a millenium of bitter sorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nightmare: Poetic Prose Gone Awry

One sometimes feel it peering around every corner. Seated in a cafe, resting in a theatre or just in conversation with family, the ubiquitous presence is a pestering pressure, a constant reminder of what crouches in the shadows. We hear it in the discourse of our peers, colleagues and friends; it perambulates the corridors of our thoughts, rises shrilly from the throats of our children and admonishes brusquely in the utterances of our parents. With authority it issues orders from the professional cloak of our bosses, commanding and terrible, pillaging confidence and plundering acumen, raping certainty into oblivion. The media conveys it, tickertape-fashion, in a bubbling stream, challenging all we thought we knew and brutalizing the prostrate form so bloody and bowed as to be near annihilation. Politicians rail in polemical screeds, seeding the wells of government chambers, planting spores and fertilizing disquiet. It mocks us, pierces the soft tissue of our flesh and extracts a sanguine weal, beading our breasts with a ruddy, embarrassed glow. Ministers declaim its power from the pulpits weekly, and lash us with the brand of our sins. And when we lie abed, trying to fall into the darkness, into the feathery arms of sleep, it dogs our breaths and quickens the heart. What is this creature of such unimaginable horror? What harpy alights and savages comfort? It is judgment, the instrument we wield and deny. Our pain stems not from those external sources which we readily give causality and blame but our own internal experience and the yardstick of judgment which we use to measure it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Potential & Realization

Petals, like pearls, gleam
scintillating in a smile
welcoming, blushing

expand your tendrils
enfold ambivalent buds
from seed to jewel

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boxed: A Poem

describe, detail, define
the line which separates
you from me, idea from actuality;
characterize, construe, convey
the intersection dissecting
inner from outer, nature from artifice;
depict, delineate, differentiate
the borders circumvolving
one country from another, brother from brother;
construct, chronicle, communicate
the cubicle abscinding intimacy
singularity divorced from plurality
heart from the soul, spirit from body
creating distinction in some dark corner,
some inchoate cell apportioned from the collective

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Position: Hope Meets Despair

You are invited to submit an application for a heady but mysterious position with the cryptic corporation known as the Concern. Against a backdrop of economic and societal collapse, the very underpinning pillars of country and kin obliterated in the Great Downturn, the Concern offers a sirenic sinecure to a select individual from amongst the hordes of multitudinous candidates. If chosen as a finalist you will be conveyed to the Compound where the irrevocable evaluation will ensue with unknowable nuances, and you may be elect enough to ascend the pinnacle, master the tasks and be saved from the ravages of an uncertain future in the chaos from which you have emerged. Such begins the play The Position currently running at the Off-Market Theatre in San Francisco.

The next layer is the shedding of singularity and identity, a stripping of the epidermis which the applicants have borne for the totality of their existence to this point. Exuvation of clothing initiates, followed closely thereafter by the imposition of an alphabetical assignment displacing given names. This reduction to bare essentials, decoction of former selfness, is reflected in the minimalism of the stage sets and heightens the emotional intensity of all subsequent action; and the scantiness has the opposite effect of making something which appears at first blush to be insubstantial - inconsequential props, threadbare dress, the controlled tension of the players - in reality immeasurably significant, transforming nugatory elements to quintessential portions of the play’s bodily composition. There is profound depth beneath the skin and it rapidly reveals itself.

The panoply of personages fuels the furnace of the transpiring events. A Faustian HR Consultant is the puppet-mistress (Lady MacBeth, did you say?) who dangles the fatalistic carrot before starving supplicants who have come to prostrate themselves in hope of the saving grace of the Concern. She advises them to make no assumptions and invites them to engage in whatever behaviors they deem fit, to give vent to passions and emotions as if on a stranded, paradisiacal island. One cannot help but summon up the ghost of Lord of the Flies in an updated adult version. All the applicants are aware of is that they are being surveilled. Will their commitment be questioned, their worthiness judged and found wanting? Hope is inglorious, not the thing which “perches in the soul” but the awl used to rip out your eyes and steal vision: hope wielded as a sword of despair over the benighted and benumbed reeling from the abandonment of government and left to the manipulative intrigues of corporations. This vacuum creates the perfect tableau for the welling up of all the baseness of human nature, and these newly minted children of the alphabet meld into their milieu with rage and savagery which ever lurks in the heart of our darkness.

The Position provides an excellent exposition on what happens when the boat is only big enough for a few. The actors are crisp, polished and focused; the direction is unrelenting and the story so compelling that you are inexorably drawn in and almost forget to breathe as the contestants vie, each in their own way, for the shining medallion. As with London’s People of the Abyss and The Iron Heel, the characters possess a freshness which means any of them could be your neighbors, your friends or family, and are equally crushed under the weight of their devastation and ambition. Yet surprise remains in play. Even the Concern cannot anticipate everything which may occur; and where there is frailty in human nature there is also adamantine strength. In the end, one comes to know that the meat factory is constantly in motion, the gears always ready to grind fresh meat and make ubiquitous burgers which we readily consume as we ourselves are being consumed.