The influence of gaslight or electric light on the growth of paraheliotropic trees

bonebrushing the edges of the res interna (upper transcend)

Month: June, 2010

Orpheus at the Second Gate of Hades, by Yusef Komunyakaa

By Yusef Komunyakaa
from the New Yorker

My lyre has fallen & broken
but I have my little tom-toms.
LOok, do you see those crows
perched on the guardhouse?
I don’t wish to speak of omens
but sometimes it’s hard to guess.
Life has been good the past few years.
I know all seven songs of the sparrow
& feel lucky to be alive. I woke up at 2:59
this morning, reprieved because I fought
dream-catchers & won. I’ll place a stone
in my mouth & go down there again,
& if I meet myself mounting the stairs
it won’t be teh same man descending.
Doubt has walked me to the river’s edge
before. I may be  ashamed but I can’t forget
how to mourn & praise on the marimba.
I shall play till the day’s golden machinery
shops between the known & unknown.
The place was a funeral pyre for the young
who died before knowing the thirst of man
or woman. Furies with snakes in their hair
wept. Tantalus ate the pears & sipped wine
in a dream, as the eyes of a vulture
poised over Tityus’ liver. I could see
Ixion strapped to a gyrating wheel
& Sisyphus on his rounded stone.
I shall stand again before Proserpine
& King Pluto. When it comes to defending love,
I can make a lyre drag down the moon & stars
but it’s still hard to talk of earthly things–
ordinary men killing ordinary men,
women & children. I don’t remember
exactly what I said at the ticket office
my first visit here, but I do know it grew
ugly. The classical allusions didn’t
make it any easier. I played a tune
that owrked its way into my muscles
& I knew I had to speak of what I’d seen
before the serpent drew back its head.
I saw a stall filled with human things, an endless
list of names, a hill of shoes, a room of suitcases,
tagged to nowhere, eyeglasses, toothbrushes,
baby shoes, dentures, ads for holiday spas,
& a whide roll of thick cloth woven of living hair.
If I never possessed these reed flutes
& drums, if my shadow stops kissing me
because of what I have witnessed,
I shall holler to you through my bones,
I promise you.


This kid. Avoided the curse of 27. Now just the rest of my life.

Not that. Pull another card. It’s your birthday. Online tarot reading. I ask “What will happen to me?” It gives me the Creative Process spread, a layout that will tell me about a future creative undertaking.

The card in the middle represents the creative force behind the project, be it a person, organization, or other entity. Ten of Wands (Oppression), when reversed: Refusing to take on burdens greater than you can carry. Noble leadership restrained from transforming into tyranny. Bearing the weight of ultimate responsibility without being crushed. Through careful conservation of their fuel, the engines of creation continue onward.
The card on the top represents imagination – the prophetic image that stems from the creative force of the previous card to initiate the project. This is the poetry or voice of the undertaking. The Tower, when reversed: Unexpected upheaval leading to a positive change in life. Catastrophe survived or narrowly avoided. A new lifestyle and enlightenment. May indicate a broken relationship, divorce, or failure in business or career.
The card on the left represents emotion – the feelings aroused by or surrounding the ideation of the project that takes place in the previous card. This is the music or scent of the undertaking. The Hermit, when reversed: Detachment based on fear, irresponsibility or naiveté. Self-imposed isolation from friends and loved ones. Listening to the wrong advice or ignoring good counsel. Concealment, disguise, and unreasoned caution.
The card on the bottom represents thought – the analytical process of organizing the project and capturing the emotional content of the previous card. This is the science or vision of the undertaking. The Hierophant, when reversed: Authoritarianism. Inflexible and dogmatic thinking. A calcified old regime. Bad or incompetent advice. Inability to hear a higher or inner voice, or pretending to hear it for personal gain.
The card on the right represents manifestation – the real work involved in completing the project, and the form it will take upon culmination. This is the painting or touch of the undertaking. Knight of Cups: The essence of water behaving as fire, such as a rushing river: A passionate romantic, full of charm and beauty, but prone to extremes. Forceful idealism blended with gentle kindness. An eager and intense person, forward with their emotions and tender in their support of others.

To translate: The creative project in question is the continuing perfection and flourishing of myself, my own being. [not my only job, but one of them — the project of self-perfection and rejuvenation]. What drives this project? Refusing to take on burdens greater than I can carry — Responsibility and its Limits. Action without Overaction. The Essential Problem: how to live in the world — how to love — Next, what Prophetic Image is called forth by the Essential Problem? The Tower, Reversed — Catastrophe Averted? Catastrophe Resisted — New Life — but through Pain and Discomfort. This is the poetry of my life — the Resistance to Change even though I need to Change. Next, emotion, the feelings, the turbulence that is aroused by the Great Idea? And of course, it is the Hermit, Reversed, I, Crab, hiding in Shell, Hiding, Wrongly Imposed Isolation — indeed, that is what my Ocean of Feeling dictates — Next, Thought, the Analysis that will further the project? Here again, I go inevitably wrong, the Hierophant, Reversed, counterorthodox, in society but against it, bad advice, a broken regime, the force of the divine as expressed through society, associations, people — or possibly being fooled and seduced by the corrupt old forms — Finally, the Completion, the Manifestation — and here, finally, I am redeemed, the Knight of Cups —

The Suit of Cups is the Suit of Water. In America, it is the Suit of Hearts. Represents the West, and Autumn.

I am the Knight of Cups.


The knight of the cups denotes the arrival of someone or something. An invitation or request may be received. An appeal or proposal may be made on behalf of someone else through a third party. Want something so bad, you think it will come to pass if you close your eyes to the possibility of defeat and hope for the best. You may also want to change your residence. You will be advancing towards your goals. Expect positive changes because things are Looking up.

Remember, cups are the suit of emotions. The knight is looking to his emotions to provide a map. He is the person who is ruled by his heart rather than his head. When faced with a decision, this person will always go with what his heart tells him, whether it is logical or not.

The Knight of Cups represents the undertaking of the creative adventure hinted at in the Page of Cups. Whereas the Page encounters the mystical fish out of the golden goblet and is thus initially inspired with creativity, the Knight has already encountered his inspiration and is about to undertake the journey of imagination and creativity to which the unconscious has impelled him.

Charm. You need to be charming and attractive to others, regardless of their sex, while still expressing the romantic, poetic view of life in your unique way. You maybe in love with love itself. You need to explore your sexuality carefully.

The Wise tell us to seek balance – the middle path of moderation. Well, the Knights don’t agree! They want to do things all the way, not half-way. They push the energy of their suit as far as it will go, maybe farther. That’s why each Knight has a positive and negative side.

A young man of high intelligence. A romantic dreamer. If querent is a woman, she may be falling in love with such a man. The coming or going of a matter involving emotions. A young man is friendly toward the querent. A bringer of advice and a message.

Physical description – light brown hair, fair complexion. May be a “traveller.” Casual appearance. Well travelled.

Personality traits – temporary enthusiasms. Enthusiastic, passionate, amiable. Often poetic and graceful.

Syllabus of Errors

Bloomsday 2010

Day 10,221

Went to bed last night in the midnight with great intention and thought. Woke up this morning, with great intention and thought, late. 10 Am. Thinking about who woke up late in Ulysses. Only Molly. Guess that’s me. Moved my bowels with great intention (though mostly I was reading the newspaper.) Poured my breakfast cereal and coffee with great intention as I again mostly read the newspaper. Had a moment to myself, with great intention. Went searching for my wallet, on every surface of the house. Got in the old Corolla automobile, and drove up Church Road and Glenside Avenue, listening to the news about the Gulf Coast Oil Catastrophe for a moment, then turning it off. Driving down Easton Road, and watching Glenside become Roslyn, and a very nice suburb become more of a middle class one — came to the Willow Grove Mall, and thought about FK and my father’s story of going to that place when it was an abandoned amusement park, no mall, and finding a beautiful ancient ornate cash register that weighed a thousand tons and having it stolen — unclear if I thought about that whole story at the time or just the Park, and my young father and his friend — and then went to the Food Court and walked around a bit in a daze and a dream looking briefly at teenage girls who are too young, uninterested in them, really, it is the young mothers — some beauty there — and watching an old couple, so old, walk across the Food Court to the exit doors, slowly, so slowly, he leaning on her, one step at a time, the great love — and then looking at others, eating, talking, a man with his baby, and then walking walking trying to find shorts to buy shorts to wear Gap, then J Crew, then Macy’s, oh yes, bought coffee, gave the cashier a winning smile, she can sort of see the gazey dream I’m walking in, walked behind a beautiful girl for a moment, while I was riding the escalator down in Macy’s, the sun burst through the clouds and the skylight and I looked up at it, bright, and there was a makeup girl doing a girl’s makeup, and all her coworkers had gathered around to watch, and the makeup girl was smiling, and I watched a young boy and his mother look briefly at shorts, it is hard to pick out shorts, I know what you’re going through, and then left, and drove home, and turned on the music, and it was Frightened Rabbit, a Scottish Band a girl played for me one morning after I woke up in her bed this past February, and they played a wonderful song about breaking up, about seething with anger when your ex-lover winds up with someone new, but nevertheless, it didn’t seem that angry, it was just beautiful, my windows were rolled down, I thought about the girl/woman who I had spent time with and wanted to write her a letter, a message, something Bloomsday related, but got home, and didn’t, don’t know what to say, she is online, could chat with her now, I prefer the asynchronous, were catching up with the present here, my brother is downstairs yelling for some reason — on the telephone — deep dull — mean to him — what else — the clouds have returned — it is 3:30, ancient time when elementary school ended, played hooky today from myself and responsibilities — Torts — I know what a Tort is — let it go — a pint, a guinness, I am fucking this up, I am foam on waves — see the ocean — wanted to drive out and see the ocean — oh oh — oh oh — a book came for me today — Wittgenstein’s Mistress, by an author who just died, oops, Fell off the World, the way of us all, my mom’s friend died yesterday, oops, oops, Fell off the World; Caught up. Wrote this. Shakespeare is his own Grandfather. In Love’s Labour’s Lost, there’s a wit named Boyet. Old Man. Hangs with the Maidens. Sounds like someone I’ll know.

Odysseus goes to the the Hall of Maidens and finds Achilles in a dress playing with a sword. Ten years later, Odysseus is lost, and Achilles is dead. Their names have lived forever.

An Email

From April 19, to a friend

Hey —

Felt like writing you an email. Like the old days.


I’m really loving this Jamie Oliver show , btw — Hollywood as it is. It really hits all my Obama/Change buttons — and has some of the practical meat that Obama’s oratory sometimes lacks. I really like how he uses storytelling — setting up antagonists, taking them on staged visits to places, setting outlandish goals for himself to build tension — is he gonna make it — to push the agenda. As if the momentum of narrative will help do some of the work. Makes me think about the law and storytelling, and storytelling and storytelling —

Of course, that might just be little old literary me — and me watching him do it, that might be the difference between Oliver and America — Oliver makes the TV, and America watches it — I don’t know if it’s fair to say we are passive, I think that’s a cliche and fairly obvious, and like anything fairly obvious, probably wrong in the details — but I do think we are tired and confused and busy. We respond to narrative, but have difficulty creating it. A lack of resources might come into play as well — to create a story out of real life requires work, hard work, unceasing work —


I went down to Florida with my father this past weekend for an Allman Brothers Band music extravaganza jamfest. It was pretty intense, a little jammy, and I was pretty stressed about taking a weekend off with so much work to do — we had bought the tickets awhile a go — some harebrained scheme of mine that seemed better on paper than in the very real light of massive amounts of unfinished work — but I brought my laptop, and worked in the airports, etc …

We met up with and camped with my Dad’s best friend from high school (in Florida), who he hadn’t seen or really spoken to in 30 years, until a couple of years ago, I guess, when via the Internet (Tagline: Where Nothing Is Lost) they restarted a tentative correspondence.

It was crazy watching them re-meet. My dad and the friend, Fred, they had last seen each other on a mountain outside of San Francisco thirty years ago, with the friend calling the dad a sell-out or something for not wanting to go live the hippie dream. The friend stayed on the path, made it work, became a carpenter, then a general contractor, can build anything, moved first to Hawaii, and then to Alaska. Pretty amazing life. Great stories. Sailing boats using the stars to navigate. Swimming with humpback whales. Building a Zen retreat in Hawaii and dealing with all the lost souls/crazy hippies who wandered through. Building an organic farm on land leased from the Mormons, building a model farm, with the best stuff, and then having the Mormons try to take it all away —

My dad was shyer about his stories. Never got the chance to swim with whales. Moved to Philadelphia and stayed there, looks like it will be forever. Three children, normal set of minor problems, some middle class ennui, mostly in the kids, mostly in this kid, some learning trouble in the youngest, a happy normal stable marriage, the couple of inevitable bad deaths every person that age is acquainted with —

Then there was me, watching them both watching each other, looking for their old lives, talking about their new ones, but its just one life, that’s been continuously happening to each of them, separately, one damn thing after another, and now, for a moment, back together —

Made me think about life, and making one, and the intention that goes into it, and not sleepwalking. It made me want to be a better friend to my friend, and then, on the airplane back, was reading a definition of friendship, about desiring your friend’s good for his good, that his good becomes a part of your good — and it made me think of stories, and how they are like and different from life — and yet how we can’t help but share them with each other.

I wanted to share this one.


LOST tomorrow. I can’t wait. Have you seen Treme yet? Thoughts?

Hope you’re well.

Got him

Fuck that guy. Fuck him, fuck him, fuck him. Throw him in a pit and throw away the key, until every thing he is is gone and the person who emerges is someone else.

Idea for A Play: Death Camp Reality TV


Nazi Commandant at Death Camp receives a new state of the art television camera. He organizes one a prototypical reality television show, with competition, immunity, and of course, elimination.

See Rock City

I Can’t Write Left-Handed

Bill Withers

Dreams of the Nine

I had a dream I’d been invited by one of the Supreme Court clerks to go to dinner with them and the Justices. Some maitre d’ made a crack about the riveting conversation I was in for. I was not concerned.

I sat next to Justice Marshall. He stayed somewhat quiet. I believe someone asked a commerce clause question I didn’t know the answer to. (Though the answer was textual). I decided I needed to go reread the Constitution.