Monday, June 29, 2009

Natural Gradients

Here, now, is Part 1 of Nacherrel Gradeyenz, first in a normspell translation of the first rough draft, and then the stevespell version, having gone thru 4-6 revisions.

I. Integral Moments in Higher Dimensions

Like a planet held in the grip of a star,
Slowly, slowly it spirals around,
Slowly accelerating inward and down
Til it plunges into its inevitable fate.

Like a lone hunter, like a mountain lion
Pursuing its prey; turn and cut,
Leap and slide, closer and close,
Its life more important than any other life.

Like a true coin, randomly flipped,
Approaching a perfect ratio.
Like nonlinear systems of varying phase
But boundaries form with a wandering nave.

Certainty seethes in the clashing currents
But the truth of the moment cannot be derived.
Yes, random events, but they have a direction,
As we: holy sparks glowing in the wind.

I. Integrel Moments an Hiyer Dimmenshenz

On ar planna appoold in the soel aspin,
Slolee, wobbellee, spirellee rownd,
Aksellen erazzistallee, koyelz ee down
Tu the lite koer fernassee breth ov it all.

The hungree liyen, hem Seel a rize.
Persu hem pray, all yern an seek,
All tern an leep. Hem Seel a roerz,
“O werl, o my deziyer serv.”

A monnark an priest ar wager all
Uppon the all faetful die. Enormus
Gaen an loss in the heven the erth,
Ov parallel, perfek perporshend werlz.

If thare ar orderz ov tohu an vohu
In the bliend unwiending and willess naecherz,
Iz thare not ashor ov hiyer arderz
Biending the hewman Seel tu konshents?

Godbeet seethen in the klashee kerrents;
The brethee groen, the proffet he drum
Owt Holee kwarks frum hem khashmal simbelz,
Orderen ar Seel in the Addomz a tiem.

Friday, June 19, 2009

some literary mechanics

Unpacking the literary mechanics of a work in progress:
I have been working on a 3 part poem for some time called Nacherrel Gradeyenz (Natural Gradients). Part one of the poem is a bit abstract, a kind of exploration into the causality behind randomness. My first draft of the first stanza looked like this:

Like a planet held in the grip of a star,
Slowly, slowly it spirals around,
Slowly accelerating inward and down
Til it plunges into its inevitable fate.

Besides some rhythmic roughness, it tells its story rather explicitly, and in a one dimensional manner. Like a painting built up in layers, it became the ground, providing the basic shapes and tones from which I worked. Borrowing a term from rabbinical exegesis, it provided the “peshat” meaning, the plain or most directly accessible meaning. After a series of overlays and glazes, the stanza took on a more complex and superimposed quality, attempting to merge inner vision and outer vision. As you will see, this version includes some unavoidable stevespell. Thus...

Like our planna spun in the solar sway,
Slowly, wobbly, spiraling around,
Accelerating irresistibly, coils it down
To the light core emanating breath of it all.

But of course, my actual composing was happening in stevespell, not normspell. That had a big impact on the evolution of the text. Now consider the stanza. With a further sacrifice of simplicity, for the sake of amplified communication, multiple and more complex impressions can sparkle out of the language. This is what it looks like:

On ar planna appool in the sol aspin,
Slolee, wobbellee, spirellee rownd,
Aksellen erazzistallee, koyelz ee down
Tu the lite koer emmannaten breethen ov all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Berer, shaved!!

So, the cancer club at school was struggling a bit. They wanted to raise $1000, but couldn't get off the ground. I said I'd shave my beard if they met their goal. Three weeks ago they had raised $200 and I began to goad them. "Not even a single hair off my chinny chin chin." Two days ago...
After taking this pic with Photo Booth I decided to play around. After about 2 minutes I had snapped the following two.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Concerning Israeli settlements

I just sent the President of the United States the following email:

Dear Mr. President,

Let me first say, may God guide you in all your endeavors to bring prosperity and peace to our country and to the world.

I am writing this email to explain to you why your demands for Israel to end its settlement activity is unjust. It is a position that is lacking historical substantiation. Rather, it serves the ends of the clearly stated and widely desired Arab commitment to destroy Israel. Let me explain why.

Since Israel's creation on Nov. 29, 1947 by a 2/3 vote in the UN, partitioning the land into Jewish and Arab regions, the Arabs have unconditionally denied Israel's right to exist. And even before 1947, Arab riots and terrorism, notably in 1919, 1929, 1936-1939, and then throughout the years preceding Israel's establishment, showed Arab bigotry towards Jews and Arab intransigence towards the Biblical, historical, and societal necessity for Jews to have a nation. That nation is meant to be a safe haven against the very hatred that is embodied by a majority of Arabs in the world today.

Before we can postulate an appropriate policy towards settlements, we must understand why Palestinians do not have a nation today. There are 3 primary reasons:

1. They rejected nationhood and chose war. This persistent choice since the UN partition plan has consistently denied them any possibility of national aspirations. It has also undermined any trust in the goodwill that some of their people have generated over the years. There must be a cost for promoting hatred and choosing war.

2. Arab nations have no interest in creating a Palestinian nation. When Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank (from 1948-1967), they aggressively rejected turning that territory into an independent Palestinian state. After 1967 Arab nations continued to vilify Israel, but made no effort to facilitate a Palestinian nation. Instead of investing in a Palestinian infrastructure, they fomented war, both in the halls of their governments and in the classrooms of their schools. There must be a cost to the cynical use of Palestinians as an excuse by Arab nations to justify their denial of Israel's unconditional right to exist.

3. Palestinians themselves have failed to invest in their own national identity and national unity. The Hamas-Fatah chasm is only the most obvious of the self-destructive fractures in Palestinian society. Palestinians have not, in any way, invested in their future, but rather have devoted themselves unrestrainedly to building only one kind of infrastructure: an infrastructure of hatred. They curse Israel for existing and in the same breath demand Israel support them. There must be a cost to the dysfunctional investment in hatred.

Israel's settlements are the cost of Arab hatred and Arab violence for over 60 years. This is the true, and ONLY viable meaning of "land for peace."

Israel must continue to build and expand settlements until the Arabs unconditionally commit themselves to non-violence and peace with Israel. And that must include the teaching of peace and acceptance of Israel in their schools. There will NEVER be peace when children are taught hatred.

I voted for you Mr. President, with the hope that you would re-establish the moral leadership of this nation. So far you have not let me down. You began that process from your first day in office, and you extended it last week with your speech in Cairo. However, moral leadership also demands the bold and honest exposure of hatred, and the condemnation of the double standards and lies that inform the vast majority of Arabs. Placating the Arabs by confronting Israel concerning its settlements is empty of realpolitik value, and empty of moral leadership. You are equivocating, perhaps with the hope of cajoling change in the Arab world. Enough equivocating, Mr. President. There is no future in it. You have read, and know well, the Hebrew Prophets. I ask you, judge your words and your policies by THEIR standards, not by the standards of the kings and dictators of the Arab world.

Proper policy cannot be derived when one includes hatred and ruthless vilification as a valid part of the political spectrum. Arab demands for a "just" solution are founded on their hatred and vilification of Israel and Jews. Take your hand and sweep these immoral demands from the table like so many marked and false cards. Then look at what remains. You will see that Israeli settlements are not the problem. They are merely one more excuse for refusing to welcome a Jewish nation into the community of nations.

I urge you to rethink your policy. And I wish you every blessing and all the good will that a man of your greatness and your clarity of vision deserves.

Your loyal supporter,
Stephen M. Berer

Friday, June 05, 2009

Images and poems, Sequoia National Park

On Feb. 7, 2009 I posted an image from a little book I drew and calligraphed while at Sequoia National Park. The book was done in pencil, and didn't scan very well. However, I finally took a little time to enhance the scans, using IPhoto on my Mac. I have Gimp2 on my PC, but the menu structure is obtuse, and the software requires the user know a large number of keyboard combos to accomplish the simplest task. Since none of those combos are intuitive or easy to find, I never really figured out how to enhance the scans.

So let this Mac skeptic say very clearly: sure was easy with IPhoto. Never used it before, and still it was, boom, boom, boom, done!

Anyway, here are some snippets I prepared for another document. Hope you enjoy them. Oh, and btw, "sequoia" is one of only a few words in English that has all 5 regular vowels in it.