Thursday, July 31, 2008


I have begun to prepare a fair copy of Book 6 of the Song ov Elmallahz Kumming. This is long, long overdue. Here is the opening panorama. BTW, this book is tentatively entitled Gottverdammerung.

A Strobe Lite on Erthaz Werld

A man migraten tu a land, fownd dry dust.
He tilld with grate laber.
A lush garden bloomz.

An eegel bilt a nest in a windee krag
And hatcht an eg.
She fed her yung and raezd it,
Tu kast it frum the nest.
She kot it tu kast it aggen.
Her yung iz made tu sore.

A man tosst and ternz a fitful sleep.
He woud wake but be unnabel to rize.
He woud dreem ov being awwake.
He woud dreem a sereez ov awwakeningz
In eech, surprize! He iz not alreddee awwake.
The werldz swam, hiz dreemz,
En-dimmenshenz ov illuzhen awoven.

A yung liyon livd a grate plennatude.
Frum hiz abunden he enterd a nu land
A subdu it tu hiz rule.
A wield plase, full ov kunning.
Deseet, vermen, hunger.
Kan a liyon streng prevael in such?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I write verses

An angel came and plopped himself down in my study last night. No one listened to him but me. Some people didn’t even see him. Sad, sad world we live in, eh? Oh well. He said,

“It is difficult to see a way ahead for the human race--though I fully believe there must be ways ahead.”

I suppose he was checking to see how closely my thoughts aspired to his. I’ll have to ask him the next time he stops by. Anyway, this is what I said, more or less:

Defining and declaring those ways ahead is critical. As I've said many times, quoting/misquoting Fred Turner, ‘we cannot build a better world if we don't first imagine what it will look like.’

Putting aside those who can only look backwards and cluck their tongues at how bad the world has become. And those who can only make cynical comments about our current state, but who have themselves done absolutely nothing to find a better path forward. And those who draw realistic pictures of the world and say, ‘this is all there is.’ And those who exaggerate, twist up, misrepresent, and just plain lie about how things are, in their vicious hypocrisy. There are yet many with faith, who believe that we can find a good way forward.

But too often those with such faith look so far ahead, they lose touch with who/what/where we are. Most religious thinkers and moralizers are driven by messianic visions that hang only by a thread to this world. Or take Marx, in his socialist dream. He is a perfect example of a utopian who forgot that he had to work with real people. Can anyone articulate the next step, rather than the final step? The final step is easy: people who are moral, wise, happy, full of wonder and love.

So how can we invoke more love from ourselves? That is a question dear to my angel friend, and is a theme he is working on in all his mystical machinations. How can we inspire more wonder? That was A.J. Heschel's theme. The problem is, we actually need to build the tools, and not just talk about what we ought to do, or where we ought to be. Perhaps that’s what the Buddha intended with his 8-fold path. That is definitely the purpose of all the 12-step programs that have become so popular, but which, unfortunately, are mostly just intended to get us back to “normal.”

I would suggest that art must take a leading role here. We have all seen great films that were meant to inspire people to want to love more or be wiser or be kinder. And at least until the 20th century, this was a major topic for literature. But still, there’s a problem. There’s plenty of inspirational material, but little that gives us a detailed how-to. Real change is assumed, but the process is glossed over.

What a contrast to our technological world! We can build all kinds of wonderful tools, to wash clothes or to fly to the moon. But we live in a world of dearth when it comes to psychological and spiritual tools.

The US - Iran axis can be seen as a stereotypic model (remembering that stereotypes distort and misrepresent even while offering a template). In the US people live in a Roman wilderness of indulgence. Or more crudely, people grow fat and stupid on junk food and junk entertainment. In Iran people live enchained in harsh religious mores that suppress creativity and diversity. Crudely, people are xenophobic and ignorant.

In general, we see a medieval world of ruthless oppressions to control rampant sinfulnesses. In the example above it's the sneering ayatollahs vs the fat Americans. Both are lawless and revolting, each in their separate ways. In both states there can be no dignity. Dignity must be earned through restraint and sensitivity. There is no restraint where indulgence reigns, and nothing can be earned where behavior is controlled from without. This is the state of our moral and psychological technology. Medieval.

And therefore I compose verses, trying to show how real people come to grips with new ways to see the world. Ahhh, to such little avail.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Inside Yeats' Byzantium

Europa, Europa

And over and over the mockers mock
And the brutish bellow like a donkey brays.
Europe withers like an orchid in the heat.
It staggers like an old man and gasps for a drink.

Like an old cistern that is filled with trash,
Their empty churches molder and leak.
Like a library full of illuminated books,
But the whole population is unable to read.

The monarchists were right! The people are fools.
They cannot choose leaders or find their way.
They massacred the Messiah People among them,
Then mocked the Messiah followers’ faith.

Their little bigots, they call them prophets,
Whose manifesto reads, “You are the hollow men.”
And hollow they became, withered and parched,
And no one knows where to find a drink.

Like floodlands protected by levees and dikes,
Their skinheads and marxists are rotten and weak.
The seas rise and the flood rumbles
And the parched people only choke in the heat.

Their children already cry, "water, water!"
But no one hears them, or finds them a cup.
The dams will break, like Byzantium's did,
And choking they’ll drown in a Muslim flood.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Carried upon Eagle's Wings

Continuing with Ben Azziy's latest adventures in Pardaes, the higher worlds. He and his 3 chevruta partners are attempting to unlock the passageways to direct access to Pardaes. In Part 1 he tumbles out of the sky...

Ben Azzai Fallz Frum the Egelz Nest, II.
               And you shall say to them:
               ‘Shall they fall and not rise?’
                    Yermeyahu 8:4

Last nite, behoeld! Uddoniy relees me frum thoze tallenz
The grippee, kleengee, stickkee streengz, the Addom,
Hu luerz me in hiz kwest for erthee knowen.
     So saverree the wouman frute,
          The rownden, blushee, charee brests,
               The kerlee haer, the darken chantee iyz
               In all thaer deepen dizzee deths.
                    The snakee entiesmen,
               On and on;
          A liebraree a storeez
     Abbowt theze erthee boddeez and nekterree fruets.

But az I say, last nite releest.
A wonder in the pallas and its mazee thotwaez.
I wuz stept intu a passij;
Then a sens ov gaspee rizen. Like I say, releest.
Sumtheeng fell awway, I kno not wut, nor ware it iz.
But I am here, a song within a hartbeet
In the interweev a tiedz ammung a thowzen seez.
A vast, o serj, unnutterreenglee werd,
The all and nutheengness ov Godseeng, saeng, unsung.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Carried upon Eagle's Wings

Ben Azzai Fallz Frum the Egelz Nest, I.

Last nite, behoeld! Uddoniy relees me frum Hem tallenz.
The momen ov relees an its joy,
Till I awwake, fallen thru the aerz:
Bloen vilen in the wind, long haer streemen bak,
Kloethz billo, taren frum my limmz,
My werth az a messagger bloen awway with my kepa;
My werth az a hewman. Relees! Relees.
Fall, o messagger, wile the egel fly on.

This mornen, behoeld! Uddoniy relees me frum Hem tallenz.
The eternatteez ov relees an its thanks,
Even az I awwake in this aera a sepperraten
Ware I am laen in this garden. Uddoniy abbuv
Louks down frum Ware-I-Kno-Not
Uppon this braken boddee ov a skwerl
Or a lamm, or ennee ole praez,
Laen down beneeth Hem nest, a later feed am I.

Friday, July 11, 2008

C and the horizons of time, IV.

The fourth, and probably last, in this series begun 6/24:

Aenjelman Dreemz

IV. And the Dotter ov Sawl Had No Chield

Wen I kaem tu the wouman the garden a saje,
All fraegren az insens, an shining a gaze.
2 twisted loevz, a goblet a wine,
And a bouk a seengz in a soft resiet.

I approech her tabel, a deziyerren trueth,
And sed, "Du yu seek wut iz not in yur bouk?
     "I am seen yu naked. Wer I naked tu yu?"
She blusht. She blansht. She belied her louks
And sed, "Ive bin wunderen the saem ov yu."

But her fother overheerz and wuz graetlee dismayd.
He kloisterd her up ware she yet remaenz.
Then sendz hiz dogz, wonten my repent,
With thaer toothee grinz and kiendess skant.

For a momen I see her thru the serfassez a dreem.
Then the kerrents drag down and she kant be seen.
               "Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window,
               and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord;
               and she despised him in her heart."
               2 Shmuel, 6:16

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

C and the horizons of time, III.

Continuing with this series begun on 6/24, here is the third moment of

Aenjelman Dreemz

III. Theyodorra Owt ov Kostume
Wen I kaem tu the wouman the garden the keeng,
All kweenlee she wer, with her saffiyer reengz
And her jewwel-studdee, lasee, errottee vaelz.
Tho the keeng be distent, empereyus, feerd,
She meengelz in the pepel, street and skware.

Yet varee mistereyus her vois in the keeng.
Tu advize and exhort, or weep and plee?
Up tu my waest in her dreemz, I say,
     “Wy ar yur feeldz thik dust and stubbel?
     “Yur pepel weree, korrupt, and trubbeld.”
     “Wy du yu taree, yu hu karee the keez?”
Frum the skwallen wotterz ov dreem she siy,
     “Woud yu hav me sees my wisperree seeng,
     “And maek not a sownd frum my flutteree weengz?”

Allone in my studdee in the tide-run a praer
I resite nu powemz tu induse her Spere.

Sum say this vizhen iz grownded in:
               “and, behold, Miriam had become leprous,
               white as snow;
               Let her be shut out from the camp seven days,
               and after that let her be received in again:
               Bemidbar, 12:10,14