Thursday, December 30, 2010

Memories of Jesus

The myth of the Eternal Jew (my Aternen Jew) first appears in literature, to the best of our knowledge, in the 1200’s. Over the next 800 years the myth expanded into a vast range of storylines, but the original tale seems to have been set in Jerusalem, with Jesus on his way to Golgotha.

The following scene is an interview with the Aternen Jew, found in the Jerusalem Post, dated 3796 (according to the Hebrew calendar, or 35 CE according to the Gregorian calendar) (smile). As such, it would be the earliest firm evidence we have of Jesus’ existence. Alas, it is merely my poetry.

The Aternen Jewz Tael

“O, how the spreeng awashen the staenz
“A Jerrusallem in brillyen hewz.
“Kreemee wiets, streekt an brusht
“With okerz and madderz, gilden ejd.
“The aerz all fresh with florrelz and spise,
“Kardammom, lavvender, mer, and lime,
“An the skiez unberden ov thaer charkoel raenz,
“Now dens azherrite and ultra-marreen
“Like the mannueskripten frum Gent and Paree.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Transforming our psychological ground

Our work:
Transforming the psychology of accumulation
To the psychology of sensitivity;
The psychology of control and conquest
To the psychology of empathy and compassion.

These are goals that cannot be framed in 12-step programs or 5 year plans. This is not a generation’s issue or a systemic flaw to be fixed with new laws or higher average wages. These are changes that work in evolutionary time, not human time, and our human engagement, if it is to be sustained, must be embedded in, and central to ideologies that have trans-generational endurance. I think specifically here of religious ideologies.

These ideals will come into direct conflict with political and economic desires, where accumulation of power and wealth is the guiding animus, and in which individuals are driven by nothing more than the dictates of self, which require an enemy, a competitor, or lower economic or social classes to motivate action and measure success. Respect and empathy, on the other hand, are values that require, in large measure, effacement of self, or more accurately, a higher sense of self. This is counter to our biological condition. Therefore, many will argue against the very viability of such an ideal, and those that argue for it will be working against a daunting gradient in biology.

However, I would argue that there is a counter-gradient in nature, a spiritual or divine gradient, more subtle than biology, and working on a longer wavelength, such that biology will appear dominant and more efficacious in generational time, but spirit will prevail in evolutionary time.

This is not mere fantasy or romanticism. It is now 2500 years since the Hebrew Prophets first articulated the basis for these ideals, and since then we see that for every cresting of political oppression and predatory economics, consistently and irresistibly there have arisen social, religious, political, and economic forces to counter and overthrow these regimes.

Witness: the re-emergence of Catholic faith in religiously eviscerated Poland, a re-emergence and resurgence strong enough to cast off the yoke of a superpower.

Witness: Marxist ideology, founded on deeply flawed sociological and psychological principles, which was yet able to swell in a single generation to effectively counter unrestrained predatory capitalism. Core principles of Marxism are now integral components of all high-functioning capitalistic systems, including unions and coops, workman’s comp and unemployment compensation, social security and universal health care. (Ironically, we do not yet see a similar, but opposite integration into most communist/Marxist systems, which remain predatory on the individual. However, Kerala state in India may be one of a few emerging counter-examples. Some might also argue that the Scandinavian countries are Marxist states that have successfully integrated capitalism.)

Witness: the emergence of a culturally, economically, and politically vibrant (and militarily powerful) Jewish state in the face of the most profound disaster to the Jewish people since the Roman destruction. Is there another example of such a reversal of fortune in all of history? Note also the rapid migration of anti-Jewish animus from Christian lands to Muslim lands, exposing the temporally local biological cross-currents and backwashes that are trying to counter the aeonic, spiritual tides of a Jewish national identity.

Indeed, I would argue that today the teaching of the Prophets is more well-known and more motivational than at any time in history, and that the force of their words, within and outside of religions, will increasingly shape political and economic systems.

Witness: the success of the American experiment based on prophetic ideals of freedom, justice, and equality, and of the value of the individual. America was founded to counter “divine right” and social and economic entitlement and ossification. The US continues to be a powerful magnet, drawing the best, brightest, and most idealistic from nations around the world, thus enhancing the likelihood of its continuing success. I would argue that America is the first example of a nation constituted on the prophetic ideals derived from the divine wavelengths valuing sensitivity and empathy over accumulation and power. The critical reader, of course, will immediately note how the biological cross-currents and backwashes of accumulation and power have swept across, and are disrupting these spiritual forces.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Myth of the Eternal Jew, 8

Superimposed identities is an essential part of human consciousness. Embedded in The Mith ov the Aternen Jew, this is Part IX of a multi-part series exploring the confusion and conflict caused by the porous boundaries of identity.

Heer the seeng the erth an Seel.
The kludz a rumbel, the leev akwake.
Thay wisper an ressel and russel it bak.
The sferen slip, shell within shell.
This wun griend and that wun brake
An porz owt the wind, gust attumbel.
Heer the roer the moen the siy.
A throng a liets in branch and vien,
Twitterren, trillen, the milleyen tweets,
The throetee wissel, the cherp an cheep,
The sunlite shudderz, it spekkellee lienz
In a partakkel wave, a brillyens a bliend.

The Jew he sway az a vessel a waev.
The song an iz erth* in the sprayen a serf.          * utherz say “berth”
That demennee Jew in iz stripen a shawlz
All trembellee reelen the see ov iz God.

All the saelz a Jakob spred owt tu see
Thaer blak-striep linnen praershawlz asway
In the gustee breezen on the praerful tide,
The Lor iz breethen an iz Seel a swell.

Thay bent an twisten tu the goddee stress,
Serchen the koedz for them hidden orderz.
O weeree an lone on errashennel waevz,
Them aenjelz aflownder, thaer weeng spred owt
In the fomee brakerz, thaer iyz aggast.
Hu kan take weeng? Hu mite yet fly?

Ov this, thaer jentil brutherz oenlee see
Theze brood a yidden, all stripee, all flappee,
All wind awwave on thay stormee seez.
Arrivven frum annuther lan or time,
Az if thay rizzen up frum aer grave.
Korrupt ov ling; pollute ov mine.
Louk how em raze aer sattennee shawlz.
Ar foek astutter in a feerful pawl.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Interlocking Shins

Here's another image, as I work on new mezzuzah designs (thanx, Dooz). The lower image is 10 interlocking shins. The upper image was my first exploration of the idea, plus a Magen David. I learned to use a geometric grid from studies of Islamic design techniques. A few of the results of those studies will be viewable on the soon to be completed upgrade of my website,

Mezzuzah with grapevines

Here's an image of a mezzuzah I'm planning on making. It will be carved in African mahogany, with the shin and star highlighted with gold leaf, and other details brought out with acrylic colors.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Divine Causality and human will

The following poem seems to be an appropriate follow-up to the previous post. Actually, it was written a few months before I wrote the prolegomena, and oddly, it was not written in stevespell. Thus the title, assigning it to Jefferson as my way to honor him. The poem is part of The Pardaes Dokkumen, from the section Tranzkript ov the Hevvenlee Korten. You can find numerous other pieces from The Pardaes Dokkumen in this blog.

Found Beneath a Floorboard in Monticello

What is done in Ertha
That is true and good and compassionate
Is done also in the High Places
And established there in the Central Code.
But what is done here in Ertha
That is false or cruel or inaccurate
Is erased from Ertha
And barriers are erected in the High Places
That are compounded as those errors are repeated,
So that the good has amplified momentum
And what is not for good is increasingly diverted
And diminished in momentum.

However, even in the most corrupt actions
There are minute details of good.
Thus, as the ungood is thwarted,
Yet the fragments of good are promoted.

In all of our actions
Most is dross, to be cast off or thwarted
By the Divine Will.
But the pintele good,
Which is mostly poorly known to us,
Is amplified, that the Divine Will
Slowly, inexorably, works Its Purposes.

Those that act with most force in the world
Rarely achieve much good.
Those that act with most good in the world
Rarely act with force.

The measure of force required
Is a crude measure of an action's ungood.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Concerning the sacred and profane

Prolegomena to Rebuilding our Moral Foundations

A fundamental distinction that human beings make
     is between the sacred and the profane,
     the moral and the evil,
     that is, between what is holy and “Godlike”
     and what is merely animal.
I believe it is a presumption and a lie
     to claim to know God's will, God's “desires”.
     But by evolving our understanding of the holy
     and pursuing its manifestations in our life
     we can approach, to some degree,
     a certitude of God's being
     and a sense of awareness of God's Presence.
The primary value in being aware of God's Presence
     is that it may help inspire us
     to higher ethical standards
     and it may help support us
     in times of grief and trouble.

The Category of the Profane:
There is nothing holy about hatred.
There is nothing holy about anger.
There is nothing holy about violence.
There is nothing holy about bitterness.
There is nothing holy about cynicism.
There is nothing holy about controlling others.
This core of destructive emotions and behaviors
     all incline us towards the profane.

All of these emotions and behaviors
     are part of our being and part of our life.
We will express them sometimes, or often,
     And we must process them constantly,
     but there is, literally, nothing holy in them.
There will be times when such feelings
     may be an appropriate response
     to the world and its events,
     but because they may be appropriate responses
     does not make them holy,
     and therefore, they can never serve
     to elevate us towards the moral,
     and towards God's Presence.
     They are essentially degenerative.
Indeed, the more we feel and express them
     the further we will move away from God's Presence.
Finally, although there are times and situations
     when these feelings may be appropriate,
     even necessary,
When they become the guiding light
     of a person, a group, a nation, an ideology,
     they not only degenerate us morally,
     but they become a marker of a degenerative ideology
     and they can be called evil, unequivocally.
     As such, they become a dangerous enemy
     to the individual, the group, the species.

The Category Between Sacred and Profane:
This is the general realm of the existential,
     the psychological, and the social,
     and is the topic of many, if not most, books.
Most of what we feel and do
     is not inherently sacred or profane.
     Neither does it inherently move us
     towards evil or the moral.
Nonetheless, most of what we feel and do is driven
     by our sacred and profane feelings and motives,
     even though those motives
     may be hidden from our awareness.
Feelings and experiences such as
     fear, pain, suffering, and despair
     tend to damage the individual
     and stunt one's growth towards the sacred.
     It is uncommon for them to generate
     healing and growth
     although, in an environment of healing,
     later growth may occur.
This category of feeling, doing and experiencing –
     the human sitz-in-leben between sacred and profane –
     however compelling a topic of discussion,
     is not my topic here.

The Category of the Sacred:
Compassion strongly inclines us towards the holy.
Charity strongly inclines us towards the holy.
Love strongly inclines us towards the holy.
Prayer inclines us towards the holy.
Self-control inclines us towards the holy.
Respect inclines us towards the holy.
Gentleness inclines us towards the holy.
Some rituals will incline us towards the holy.
Art and creativity can incline us towards the holy.
Joy and pleasure can incline us towards the holy.

All of these emotions and behaviors
     are part of our being and our life.
We may express them sometimes, or often.
They seek to be constantly processed
     and integrated into our being
     although we may be largely unaware of them
     some or much of the time.
They do not originate from animal needs and drives,
     but animal needs and drives
     can sometimes express or further them.

               As an aside:
               The common scientific blindness
               to that aspect of being
               that is not animal,
               but rather of the holy, of the divine,
               is a fundamental stumbling block
               to scientific accuracy
               in theory and practice.

Yet none of these feelings and behaviors
     are inherently holy.
Neither can these feelings and behaviors
     be purely and exclusively holy
     even if done in the most exemplary manner
     by the most exemplary person.
These feelings and behaviors are always mixed
     with profane feelings and behaviors,
     particularly the profane desire to control others.
For this reason, even these feelings and behaviors
     that incline to the holy
     can become a means to do profane and evil things.
For example:
     to claim that there is only one correct way
     to do sacred behaviors
     is a blatant falsehood,
     and an active means of controlling others,
     and is therefore, profane, and inclines to evil,
     even though the conscious intention
     is to guide to the holy.

Shaping Communities to Incline towards the Sacred:
It is appropriate to punish profane action.
It is inappropriate to punish profane feelings and thoughts.
It is appropriate to critically challenge
     profane feelings and thoughts by exploring their motives
     and their potential consequences.
Proper education will incline
     away from profane thoughts and behaviors
     and towards the sacred,
     but no education, however exemplary,
     is capable of eliminating profane feelings
     and behaviors.

It is inappropriate to punish a failure to do sacred actions.
It is appropriate to critically encourage
     sacred feelings and thoughts
     by exploring their mixed motives,
     and their potential consequences,
     sacred and profane.
It is appropriate to encourage sacred action
     so long as care is taken
     to understand and evaluate
     the non-sacred motives within every sacred action.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homeostasis, evolution, and paganism

What follows is a non-poetic restatement of the ideas in my poem “XIII” of “Pesez ov an Unrevelen Narrattiv”, which is a poem-series in my longer poem Mith ov the Aternen Jew.

While exploring the psychological roots of anti-Semitism, it has occurred to me that the contents of consciousness can be generated by interior workings of the body itself. Indeed, much of what we call myth (such as the various myths of the Jew, or the idea of Messiah, or ideas and stories about God or The Gods) may be seen as a narrativization of biological forces. This is not so strange as it might, at first, sound. The idea is derived by understanding that homeostasis and evolution are two conflicting forces in nature, and it is further substantiated by the circularity of consciousness. Let me explain.

Homeostasis is, to quote that intellectual cornerstone, Wikipedia,

...the property of a system, either open or closed, that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition. Typically used to refer to a living organism, the concept came from that of milieu interieur that was created by Claude Bernard and published in 1865. Multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustment and regulation mechanisms make homeostasis possible.

Thus, all living creatures rely on homeostasis, the body-mind’s attempt to survive by maintaining balance and stability in an environment that is inherently, and ultimately, destabilizing and destructive.

One of those forces that is pitted against homeostasis is evolution. Evolutionary changes reconfigure both interior and exterior biological “landscapes”, causing organisms to constantly rebalance and reconfigure their systems to optimize survival. Exterior evolutionary and environmental changes threaten an organism’s ability to survive by changing the conditions of the niche in which the organism lives. Interior evolutionary changes, that is evolutionary changes in an organism itself, directly confront the homeostatic systems that manage an organism. The organism’s own systems now must compete for control of resources and management functions. From a homeostatic “point of view”, evolutionary changes are invasive and threatening systems.

I would suggest that these interior stresses, while largely subconscious, yet get converted to narratives, as the mind seeks explanations for its stresses. This narrativization of biological stressors is not surprising. One of the conundrums (or ironies) of human consciousness is that we are bound by the circularity of our senses. We use our senses to observe what our senses are. We are not able to step out of ourselves, to step out of our bodies, and perceive what our senses really are, or what our senses are truly perceiving. The notion that our senses are merely windows on reality, while alluring, is unfortunately just a simplistic attempt to step out of our inherent circularity. Acknowledging this circularity, we are forced to the notion that our minds, as our senses, are interpreters and mythmakers, not raw observers. Our identities are myths, as are our ideologies. Thus, our biology will serve our mythmaking, as part of our general experience.

By the way, I use the term “myth” here both in its lesser sense as “illusion”, and in its more elevated sense as a foundational layer of consciousness. Our myths are full of illusion, and yet they can also be our best attempts to understand the circular reality into which we are bound. Thus, for me, “science” is also myth.

We humans are a species in the midst of evolutionary stresses, both interior and exterior. Our particular interior competitions and stresses generated by evolution amplify the exterior stresses of survival, causing a persistent tendency to build a narrative of ethnic invasion. Thus we have biological as well as social stresses tending to create myths of the “other”. This would help account for the persistence of anti-Semitism and its many underlying narratives, including its most modern incarnation, anti-Zionism – hatred of the idea of a Jewish nation.

One final detail, critical to my semi-narrative poem Mith ov the Aternen Jew. While evolution is generally believed to proceed randomly, evolutionary forces are well known to pursue gradients, that is, to fill niches in nature. In my poem I claim that there are gradients in nature that are working to eliminate paganistic thinking. In this case I define “pagan” not in the traditional religious way - the worship of idols and “false” gods - but in psychological terms. Paganistic thinking claims that law and ethics are relative and human productions, and that therefore, there is no one correct system of law or ethics.

I would argue that history suggests the opposite. It appears that humans are moving towards a singular and unified definition of law and ethics. Tribal borders and ethnicities are rapidly breaking down (the foundational cause of Islamic terrorism, by the way). In this process, languages, too are rapidly disappearing.

It seems the biblical prophets understood this particular gradient working on human consciousness, unabashedly claiming that one law and one moral standard would dominate the world. There now seems to be much evidence to that effect, even as we struggle to know, and to shape, what that law and ethics is. What were once prophetic statements that appeared to be arrogantly ethnocentric and wildly implausible, now seem to be the first harbingers of the obvious and the necessary.

Thus I say, there ARE gradients directing evolution, and it seems some of them became a source of ideological belief, long before there was evidence to substantiate them.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Myth of the Eternal Jew, 7

Here’s a brief excerpt from The Mith ov the Aternen Jew, in which we meet the four brothers united in their hate of Jews. They will come and go in the narrative, commonly bringing some comic relief.

Sheep bleet an the sof klipklop
Az thaer keeper herdz them down the lane,
Thwak ov hiz swich uppon thaer baks.
Behiend him a donkee, hiz prodijjes piss.
Ammung the kobbelz it spatter an run,
Sparen not the brutherz sprawld in the dung.

Still ly thay drunk wile the sky groen pale,
An sleepee Jerusalem beginz tu exhale
The mixxen texcher ov fraegren and fume:
Frying fish an rotten flesh
The siklee sweet an moldee daets,
Goet an its rut, lemmen an tee,
The raenk porterz, thaer grunt and weez.
A flute maeks maree, the lilt an kroek
Ov voisez in aksent, lafter and kers.
The skweel a chieldz and the kaw ov kro.
Hammer on bronz, a kart its groen.

     "Yo Iven; yu Fritz; hay Paydro and Husson.
     "Drag yersellz frum the filth ov the roed.
     "How long in yur drunk will yu snor and spowt?
     "The tavern maetren haz throen yu owt."

Thursday, November 04, 2010

from The Fawl ov Helloweez

While working on Gottverdammerung, my notes indicated I needed a quote from an earlier book in the series, Bouk 5, The Fawl ov Helloweez. As I began to search for it, I read this opening scene and was blown away. Were these my words?? This is not an uncommon experience for me, and thus I have come to understand that I do not write these verses. They write me. I'll let your imagination decide on the source of them. The following excerpt from Bouk 5 will point to my own opinion on that matter.

A bit of context: Bouk 4 is the story of Justinian and Theodora, and Bouk 5 is the story of Abelard and Heloise. In this scene we are in the liminal or transmigrant space between them, elevated to the perspective of Ertha and Elmallah. Thus, Theodora and Heloise are incarnations of Ertha, as Justinian and Abelard are incarnations of Elmallah, the messenger of God, come to lift up Ertha from her lowly place.

A note on the layout of the text: indents indicate the various voices. Elmallah's words are given one indent; Ertha, 2; Theyodorra, 4; comments, 5.

Swooning Allong the Kurvacherz

                    Theyodorra lay on her bed, benummd
                    Frum exxosten ov emoshennel diskor.
                    She lay with her armz krosst on her chest
                    Az she woud in deth, in a kase ov stone.

Ertha opend her eyz. She staerd
For a moment at the ultra-vilet globe
In wich she lay; a bewtafful pattern
Ov liets surrownding. "Starz," she reyaliezd.
Her etherek boddee pulst, florressen.

Beside her Elmallah stoud, louking down,
Werree, kompashen, joy in hiz eyz.

                    Theyodorra opend her eyz. Az if
                    The sunrize had not yet begun; the werld
                    Wuz blurd, shadoez hung like nietmaerz.
                         Az if thay wer smoke
                         Frum a smoldering fiyer... -- Levvel 1:1
                    Her thots drifted in konvolving eddeez.
                    Her miend in superpozing boddeez

                    Justinneyan stoud abuv her skowling.
                    He muevd and disappeered in the tennuwus lite.
                    Theyodorra, grippt with revulzhen and feer,
                    Lay, unnabel tu stir or make a sownd.

Hors, Ertha wisperd, "How kan this be?
          "A moment aggo I had been abbandend
          "Tu a werld, a prizzen, an opake boddee
          "Huze bowndreez, huze wawlz koud not be breecht;
          "A karben web that koud not be torn
          "Withowt destroying the life it restraend."

     "Ertha, Ertha, in mennee boddeez
     "Livz the Sol ov the Lor and its hewman sensez.
     "Az the siv filterz sand; az kurtenz kut lite;
     "Az the boddee akts az a sheeth tu thot,
     "Restrikting superpozing lievz and werldz;
     "Yet eech filter iz permeyabbul.

     "Yu ar still passing thru Theyodorra
     "Tho her werld groez dim and her thots dizzolv
     "In yur hiyer perseptenz, like salt in wotter.
     "She iz not destroyed, but interleeving.
     "And within Theyodorra dwellz Innonna,
     "And within Innonna the dizzolved beingz
     "Kannot be distingwisht frum your awtonommek self."

Haf heering, Ertha gaezd at Elmallah,
Joy and releef washing over her fase
Like waevz in tide run, a slow immersen.
Behind hiz eyz a spirel ov starz
Wer terning, surrownding hiz hed like a krown.

                    Az if she wer lasht tu her bed, arching,
                    Aggenst her roeps, straening, fureyus
                    Tossing her hed from side tu side,
                    Still Theyodorra koud not withstand
                    The tiedz, and sank beneeth the waevz.

The spirel ov starz irrezistablee spinz,
Owtstreching its armz in the dans ov ajez,
Behiend Elmallah, a jyant vortex
Sentering arownd hiz etherek shaedz.
          "Yu hav alwayz been here," Ertha fienlee mermerd,
          "Tho time had passt and yu wer gon.
          "Now kumming tu see yur shape in awl shaeps
          "Yur thot in awl Thot, yur luv that endorz.
          "My yeerz allone have tellaskoept
          "Tu a moment, have dissappeerd and ar gon,
          "Like a grane ov salt dizzolvd in the see."

Tho the moshen ov the mereyad starz seemd randem,
Az Elmallah muevd, so thay tuu muevd,
A dimend korrona tu hiz silluwet;
Or perhaps it wuz he konforming tu the sky.

     "I am alwayz being, I am always reterning,
     "I am alwayz at thresh ov the Moment ov Bliss.
     "Yu ar alwayz krying, yu ar alwayz dying
     "Yu ar alwayz in need and rezisten my help.
     "Wen I hoeld yu, yu fade intu annuther boddee.
     "Wen I tuch yu, iz it assid, iz it ise I will feel?
     "How kan I make yur prezzens harmonek?
     "Wut yur eyz see, wut yur miend knoez,
     "It chaenjez in yur alkemmekkel moodz."

          "Not so! Yu ar kruwel! Yu meerlee make exkuse
          "For yur lak ov luv for me and my werld.
          "Yu hav kum heer, yu say, tu lift me up,
          "Tu leed me owt ov my artiffis ov babbel,
          "Tu press a messij intu my blud.
                         I will put my teaching into their inmost being,
                         and inscribe it upon their hearts.
                         -- Yermeyahu 31:33

          "But du yu lift me, or am I raezd?
          "A moment aggo I lay suspended
          "In an ultra-marrene dome ov lite.
          "Now it unjulaets in a brillyent arrorra,
          "Fraktelling spirelz ov sinnabbar and goeld.
          "Wut wuz wuns a sky, and meerlee a sky
          "Had bekum an intrakket, dazzling mozayek,
          "But now aggen it haz darkend and dulld."

                    In oppressiv sleep Theyodorra moend.
                    Swetting beneeth her velvet kwilts
                    She koud not wake up; she koud not even tern.

Like a distent sittee, seen long aggo,
Like a plase deskriebd in an aenshent powem,
Like a straenj land in a straenj dreem,
Ertha rememberd Theyodorra.
She shudderd and ternd bak tu Elmallah.

          "Am I uther than wut yur Lor kreyated?
          "Dizzolvd intu Naecher and fawlowing its kontorz
          "I kling tu the freedem tu think and tu akt.
          "And with that freedem I hav tryd tu chaenj
          "A werld that iz harsh. Ware I hav faeld,
          "The ellements prevael and I am tranzmuted;
          "I am batterd; I am skarrd; I am klose tu ruwin.
          "But in my struggel at leest I am free.
          "And woud yu withhoeld my freedem tuu?"

     "Wut iz the freedem that I mite withhoeld?
     "Duz a meteyer taring thru the sky hav freedem?
     "Duz the sun in its serkelz or the unrulee wind?
     "Deskribe the freedem ov the timmid deer
     "Hiding frum the woolf. Or the silent hunter
     "Hungree and bending thru the bloing sno.
     "And my oen krooked path inside this darkness...
     "Tell me wut du yu need tu be free?
     "Then tell me how I mite giv it tu yu."

          "Doent tell me nuthing iz free in this werl!
          "If that wer so, wy hav yu kum?
          "I nevver konsidderd wy befor,
          "But yu hav shoed me: Luv, Saekred Luv!
          "Yu hav torn a vale frum akross my eyz,
          "And my Sol haz opend tu a vast reflekten.
          "This yu hav dun! Kreyated my purpos!
          "Then you take it and say it wuz nevver thare!

          "Duz the bee reflekt uppon hiz stashen
          "And deside if he will gather hunnee?
          "But the beeten dog may fienlee revolt
          "And flee tu the forrest, tu be wield aggen.
          "How much mor ar we made free,
          "Hu kan speek with yu; hu kan hoeld yur luv?

          "But now yu lay annutherz thots,
          "Annutherz sinz intu my Sol,
          "And say, This tuu iz yurz. And mor!'
          "But I say, No! I will not karee!'
          "Take this Theyonorra frum me!
          "My steps ar not my oen enneemor.
          "Like a mule yu lode me till I fawl."

     "Ertha, wut yu say iz tru.
     "Yu hav sed it tu me; I'll repeet it tu yu,
     "And it will be like a bouk in yur Sol.
     "In eech ov yur ajez yu will studdee a porshen
     "Ov this treetis that I will kawl Yes and No.
                         (Note: in his incarnation as Abalard
                         this is a book he will write.)

     "In eech ov yur ajez yu will diskuvver
     "That yu ar not free, and yes yu ar.
     "The werl iz like a vizhuwel trik:
     "Yu kan see the staerwell az if frum abuv,
     "Or frum belo wen yu bleenk yur eyz.
     "Freedem iz but a twist ov perspektiv.
     "Ware yu ar iz hard but fixt;
     "Yur destinnaten iz wut iz at risk."

For moments and ajez Ertha ponderd; then:
          "Ware tu Elmallah? And how?"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, seen 6

As I mentioned in my post of 10/22, this is the opening scene of Bouk 6, Gottverdammerung, of The Song of Elmallahz Kumming.

Fragmenz ov the Rivka Sikel
     Ertha by the Side ov the Rode

Az if the twilite had not yet begun.
Thare on a hill ware the fool moon hung
Liefless and koeld in a parcht blak awlder,
She lay kerld up, her owtlienz obskure.
                    Az if the sunrize had not yet begun... -- Levvel 1:1

Like wisps ov smoke frum a smoeldering fiyer,
Gray and loopee in kaerless koyelz
Thay rize thru the charkoel awlder branchez,
Wile kriez faentlee tumbel down thru the hillz.

Az if it wer eevning and the faent kry ov loonz,
Made faenter by distant thunderz that shrowd
The marshland and peers the aer with terrerz;
So her kryz wer vage, misteereyus, raw.

     Az if a chield emerjen frum a hows
     In flaemz, moenz ov the dying behiend her,
     A straenjer laez a babee in her armz,
     And sez tu her, “Take this and run for help.”

Az if just annuther bereevd wouman
Beside a kart-path weeping allone;
But in that deseptivlee mundane snapshot
     A werl ov unnerthlee impressenz swerld,
     Driven this apparentlee hoemless wouman
     Beyond the borderz ov her feer.
                    Her mind holds an unrevealed focus
                    in spite of her great anxiety.
                    But what has she to fear?
                    – Comment

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, seen 1

This post presents the first scene of Bouk 1 of The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming. This is work from over 15 years ago. You can find the whole poem, properly typeset, in the Reading Room of my website at However, as I complete Bouk 6, Gottverdammerung, of The Song, (a work long overdue, I confess), I wanted to compare this opening scene to that of Bouk 6, which I will post in a day or so. I hope you will find it an interesting comparison.

So, Bouk 1, Seen 1:

In which Elmallah is overwhelmed by his first impressions of Ertha. He is not yet aware that it is his Presence that has amplified Ertha’s Life with so much more power, beauty, and desire than ever she possessed before. Who is this Elmallah? They are a Being -- compared to you and me -- whose orbit is much wider, whose horizons are far more distant, whose temperature is higher, whose velocity is faster, whose knowledge is not passed down from old time but is direct comprehension.
                    When our Lor comes down,
                    they make us change;
                    They make us greater.

Az if the sunrize
Had not yet begun
And thare on a hill,
Ware the ful moon hung
Entangeld in parcht akkasiyaz,
She muevd, her owtlienz obskure.
                    Elmallah, as he approaches Ertha,
                    is struck by her obscurity and illusoriness.
                    – Comment

Az if thay wer smoke,
Frum a smoldering fiyer
Koiling in kazhewal ternz
Like tendrilz abowt the akkasiya branchez,
Her thots drifted in that wilderness.

Az if erlee don
And the faent kry ov loonz
Made faenter by vaperz
That shrowd the salt marshez,
So her vois wuz vage, misteereyus.

Az if a wouman
Meerlee puling a brush thru her hare,
But in that deseptivlee simpel moshun
A meerreyad illuzhenz surrownded her prezzens,
Exerting thair powwer like a werlpull
Agenst my feer ov her inkoherens.
                    Her image has begun to sharpen
                    as he draws near, but fear stops him.
                    What has he to fear?
                    – Comment

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Forbidden Fruit

Written on Shabbat Lekh Lekha, in which Abram hears the call, 'Go Forth! Go Into Yourself!'

For Bidden and For Givven Frute

Az Addom and Khuvva* truj owt ov Eden
                              * “Khuvva”: the actual Hebrew for “Eve”
In all thaer shok an bitter sorro,
Khuvva she say, iyz down uppon her ertha,
          “I havven no regret for that wun taesten,
          “An woud du enneetheeng tu hav annuther.”
Then ternz he, Addom, an grunten laff.
          “We will fienden that tree, serten heer,
          “And du ar evvolueshenz* beneeth it.”
                              * Others say, “ablueshenz”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Son Reunited tu Hiz Fater

About 30 years ago I did a painting entitled The Son Reunited tu Hiz Fater. I gave it to my parents, and it hung in their house all those years until my dad died a year ago. It's now in my son Josh's house. It never occurred to me to photograph it until this morning. Josh just emailed me the image.

The painting doesn't hold together as a whole, but it has some interesting details. Here's one. It's a field of gold leaf work with a spiral etched into it, and a portrait in the center, done in acrylics. From the lower right issues an energy field in gold leaf and acrylic. From the middle right the first letters of the painting's title, in reverse gold leaf calligraphy, can be made out.

This whole detail is about 3 inches square in the original painting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Strolling the Appalachian Trail

We took a 2 day trip to Shenandoah National Park, staying in a log cabin west of Luray, across the Shenandoah River. Here are some images of our stroll along the Appalachian Trail, Oct. 10, 2010.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Zeno's Paradox

I have been fascinated by Zeno's Paradox for at least 4 decades, and there must be many dozens of musings scattered through my notebooks on the topic, including not a few solutions to the paradox. This is my latest musing.

5/15/2010, Shabbat Bemidbar, plane to DC
Reading Bohm, Implicate Order, pp. 199 to a third of the way down 201.

Zeno’s paradox, although appearing to pertain to motion, really is about consciousness and the perception of time. In consciousness, time is overlapping, like a series of semi-transparent images arrayed and overlapping each other. The term I have used is “superimposition” and in some cases “embedded,” while Bohm uses “enfolded.” As our sense of time is superimposed (a fundamental property of consciousness), so events are embedded in each other, and “now” includes some indeterminate component of “past” and “future.” The more expanded and expansive (expansen) our consciousness, the more the past and future is “embedden” in our “now.” Indeed, we must not think of time as a single thread, and in the same way, we must not think of consciousness as a single thread, or even as just a few threads. Our math, Aristotelian, Euclidean, as it is, distorts and misrepresents reality. We mathematically represent motion as a vector, but it is really multiple vectors, which in the calculus of consciousness are synthesized and unified, a simplification useful for most applications, but inaccurate as we begin to unpack the actual “workings” (in quotes because the term implies a mechanistic representation, and consciousness is not mechanistic) of consciousness and our awareness of minute periods of time and motion. When we try to stop-frame time, we realize it can’t be done. Just as a geometric point is a fiction, so is an instant in time. However, an instant in consciousness is not only an indeterminately short moment, it is a series or compilation of time frames, long and short, extending back, potentially thousands of years, or more, and forward in ways and “distances” we cannot calculate or comprehend.

Hercules overtakes the turtle because the geometric model that would restrain him with its infinite regression is fundamentally flawed. It posits time as a single line made up of an infinite number of tangent points. But time is not a single line, it is not even linear, and there are no such things as instants.

At my horizon, and hazy still:

1. Time is a complex superimposition of multiple frame-periods, individually discontinuous (?), and variable in their endurance/extension, (reified, integrated synthesized) by consciousness.

2. Human will/intentionality is the (necessity)(?) that generates this uni-dimensional synthesis, this illusion of a single thread of time, of moments, of motion, and of divisibility. I say will is what drives us to create the Euclidean illusions of time because will is what motivates us build, make tools, hunt, plan, and calculate, and all these functions require that time be simplified into one dimension in a series of causally connected moments.

3. Concepts and perceptions of predictability and control derive from archaic portions of consciousness that incline us to strip reality of its complexities.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Year number 5771

This is a meditation on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. This holiday, unlike the secular new year, is not about public celebration and inebriation, but rather, personal meditation and a desire for greater clarity. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a period called the Days of Awe, which is a 10 day period of atonement and renewal.

New to DC, I had no community among whom I wanted to spend these days, so instead I composed this poem. This is Part 1 of a 3 part poem.

BTW, this is year number 5771 according to the Jewish calendar. That number, based on calculations derived from the Bible and its genealogies, is the number of years since the world, and Adam, was created. While having no scientific-cosmological significance, it does have the virtue of being an attempt to be inclusive of all histories, nationalities, and ethnicities.

Rush HaShunnem 5771

Hoemless, shuelless, lostful. In time tu kum
Wut will Hem Jujjen rekord on me?
Knowen, az we du, this iz the time tu kum,
That we ar thare an it iz now.

The five thowzanth, sevven hundreth,
And sevventee ferst ov now
Akkorden tu them kownterz a yeer an jennerratenz
Ov the Bouk a Kreyatenz, Braysheet*
                    * Rabbinic name for Genesis
Wen the ferst toklee Speren* dessenden frum Uddoniy.
                    * Targum Oenkelos
                    a targum being a translation of the Bible.

This the yeer, in all iz pasts an fewcherz,
And I allone in this garden
Not ware moest ar kongraggaten
Tu intoenz mellodeyus ov theze ten day.
I insted, a sakraffise led asside.

Theze five thowzen sevven hunnert
Sevventee wun faddemless moment
Ov Divvine Invadenz by ar Uddoniy,
Hem enterree intu an Addomful werdz.

Fathemfil werlz ov Hem kreyaten.
Intu the rivverree Now Hem por
Iz milk an hunnee, bownteeful longenz.
All ov us laden with sweet beleevenz,
Sharplee for battelz, this Divvine invaze.

Sum ov us kleegen tu ar lanlock goedz,
     Say Baal an Baldor,
     Say annammel tokkenz.
An sum at the hed ov Uddoniyz charge
Say thay ar wonten tu slotter them foek.

The Preesthoud strenthen thaer armz a Torra.
Not all bludee, not all Dethee,
Not by forsen, not in feersen
Will Uddoniy konkers be fownd.

Studdee the werden and studdee the werlen
And the lanlock goeden will submit themsel,
Groenen ov weeng, anjellek minyenz
Rizzen frum the nativ soyellen.

Yes, annuther yeeren in Divvine evazen
And I allone in this nativ gard,
My vois but a silent kord in the nusakh*,
                    * Melody and tonality of prayers,
                    particular to each Jewish holiday
Lone sakrafise that I am intoenz
Ov theze Awfild Dayz a Nu Yeer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The 102 Voices

I have come across a rare and ancient archeological find(!) while unpacking a hundred or so boxes into my study. (Re: our move from LA to DC).
In a box we recently removed from a storage locker in Pittsburgh remaining from when we packed up my parents' house after my dad died a year and a half ago, I found this poem, probably from 1971. It was mimeographed (yes, before photocopying became generally accessible!), which is to say, blue print, typewriter font, on a crumbling sheet of 16 lb. paper, brown and jagged around the edges.
One of my earliest extant poems.
The images come from many troubled dreams and troubled days. Oddly, I can still remember the context of many of these images. Dare I mention some? Vietnam War, hippies, drugs, revolutionary talk, a university campus, and I am immersed in surrealism, psychoanalytics, and dreams.
I will try to reproduce what the poem looks like, typos and blotted out lines included:

               The 102 Voices

Time of light voices.

City traffic backing up
A jet landing
A dog howling
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx At a door a knock
Chains rattling
A radio and TV
Unsettled turning of an old man

An undercurrent of whispering.

Chopped Harleys on the expressway
A junkyard in the forest
A broken wine bottle
Children playing
The theatre is full
The one sitting opposite, his head gone
Others leaving

More voices.

An open library
A free museum
A green statue in a park
The light changes
A glass high school
A finger pointing
The inocent confess
Music in an auditorium
A dead cliché
People leaving a speech
A recurring fantasy
A nightmare
A thief protects a crying child

Voices shouting in the night.

A doberman tearing at a fence
Forbidden country
The badlands of South Dakota
A rocky shoreline
A carriage stops
Those lying in the dust run off
A tornado walks east
Running steps on a bridge
Heard from below
A nude is being painted
A fire burning
A world created

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gottverdammerung, 5

This poem is a brief flash of lightning in Gottverdammerung: In the End ov Time, Bouk 6 of my poem, The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming. The poem is set in the Shoah. You can read other scenes from this Bouk by clicking on the label “Shoah,” a screen or two below, on the right.

Technically, the poem tries to emulate the unfolding of a fractal geometric pattern.


Likwid data,
It drips thru yur feengz.

Likwid naeshen,
We slipt thru thaer faengz,
Afraed, fraed intu driplets.

Ript thru thaer draeng; maengelled intu greefs,
Graevz in pitlets,
Blud drips and leengerz in ravveenz.

Likwid data.
It draenz in rivvulets, drips intu ravveenz.

Likwid naeshen.
Raenz and the leevz ar shivverreenz,
Runz intu rivvulets: greeverz, disappeererz, disseeverz.

Leevz shivverreeng in thunderz,
Drippen a droplets intu deep ravveenz,
A disbeleeverz feengz reech frum a shallo graev.

Blud and feerz and diyer ideyaz.
Beleef drips intu ravveenz.
Feengz grip at oeld deseevenz.
A pepel kleengz tu frinjen, torn tu slivverz,
Drivven intu faenten shaedz a shaddo.
But duz not dissappeerz.