Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Images of my wife

For our 36th anniversary, I made a little card for my wife (sorry Hallmark, I NEVER buy cards). The cover picture was the Dancing Tara image I produced for my Ottoman Beachcomber ebook (you can view the image at: Inside the card I printed out a small collection of excerpts of the many images of Nancy in my poetry. Below you can read those excerpts. You will see that the long poem, Song ov Elmallahz Kumming (written in 6 books) prominently appears in this collection. That's because the poem is all about us. Of course, Elegies in Nance, a 9 poem series, is also about us. And then there are many dozens of individual poems, and an untold number of images and scenes appearing in other long poems, including In the Ruwenz of the Tempel, I Herd... and The Atternen Juez Talen.


From Weighing the Golden Thredz:
Her radient chambers, and the bed ov her luv
Ware she let fall her shados, and my Sol enkindeld with the lite.

From Elegy over the Sea:
Are the young girls now so fine as she, when I knew her?
Impossible to tell; I see her face in theirs.
She made me a pagan; I idolized her body.
And if that were a sin, I would not repent.
And though her face was pale it was yet more glowing
Than the worship of that God that made religion.

From Elegies for Nance:
Your body was the myth, I merging into it.
Your love was the liquor I drank till my mind swam with Ertha.

From Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 1:
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.

From Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 2:
No! I wil not sing ov separaten. No, not ov sorro eether!
Let me tel yu how I luvd her, tel yu how it wuz between us.
In this way, perhaps, I kan sho yu wy it wuz I kame tu her.

From Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 3:
Ritten the storee ov my huzbandz demize,
Him hu klaemd immorten knowen
And iz ded and awl hiz tablets ar krak....
Oenlee this tu tel:  wen, in my armz he lay
    And he wuz enlarjd,
    Awl the annallogz ov my luv
    Swam in hiz vaenz, awl the goedz
    Shot forth taelz frum thaer mowthz.
    Then I knu wut luv wuz!

From Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 4:
Az if the wind wer bloing and stirring the surfas tu Life...
Az if an oyster wer openning tu offer up its perl...
Theyodorra rizez tu the surfas ov the see
Eskorted by dolfinz hu playfullee sport at the wotterz ej.
She standz in korrona ov jem-like droplets
And steps owt ov the kristellin See.
Her boddee iz koppergoeld, strong, and naked;
Her eyz ar dark with shaddoez;
Yu ar staring and she knoez it.
She iz akting; she iz perfektlee at eez.

From Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 5:
O Ertha, O Ertha, abzorbd intu yur pashen
The werl iz bekum like a foggee beech.
Ware iz the Sol and ware ar yu
Hidden in the dens and dreemlike vaperz?

From Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 6:
Now in the getto, now on the beech.
Now in the smoke stak, now in the see.
Awl her moments wash owt ov her skin.
She iz Eve, she iz Addom, she iz Erthah aggen.

Frum affar seez Erthah her Elmallah
On Mownt Hermoen in the rizzen sun.
And he seez her rizen like Venes
Frum the see, her Soel koyeld in the waevz.

From The Atternen Juez Talen, Era 5, Part 1:
Surah! Yur pure an holee waez
Ar but a fadee memmer now.
Her, hu iz my neshammah, Nayomee,
Thaer I fownd yu ferst.
Thaer ar abbundens, ar luv, ar chieldz
Ar trubbellee dayz, ar wizdem fule.

From The Atternen Juez Talen, Era 8, Part 2:
An then az if an aenjel fliez intu the rume an seeng a salm,
The dotter ov Shah-ool, Batkoel, enkwiyerenz

In a seeng-song toen, she, 
Huze vois I nevver herden, so sweet an perfek in akkord
An like an ood*, she strum my seel,
            * Middel Eesten mewzakkel instrumen
    "Tel me wut yur Surahz like." [she sez tu me.]

My tung, my miend, the herts ov me awl taengel up.
Wut kan I say? An wuns aggen my fase tern red
Az I simmerz in the spise ov her.

Aggen she laf in my un-eez, but not a sharp or pointee laf,
But like she touk my han an sez
    ‘I even like that part ov yu.'

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Genesis/Beraysheet: an analysis

The Torah is read weekly in synagogues around the world. Indeed every synagogue reads the exact same portion each week. To this end, the Torah is divided into sections, parshiot (singular: parashah), each of similar length. Now after the holiday of Sukkot (tabernacles) ending in Simchat Torah ("rejoicing in the Torah"), we begin again, as we do each year, at the beginning of the Torah, with the parashah named Beraysheet (common spelling: Bereshit), pronounced ba-RAY-sheet. It is probably one of the best known parshiot (sections), the story of creation, including Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, Cain's killing of Abel, and then the next ten generations of humankind.

The following is a kind of structural analysis of Beraysheet, ala Levi-Strauss. It is my preferred way of giving a first reading to a Torah text. I break the text into its component sub-documents, based on perspective, information content, grammar-structure, and questions the text appears to be addressing. I also try to make sure that I look at the text both from the point of view (pov) of an author writing the text (what am I trying to tell my readers?), and as a reader, asking why does the author think this is important.

So here is a structural analysis of Beraysheet, Genesis 1:1 to 6:8.

1:1 - 1:23      myth; cosmology; early science including origin of species, with evolutionary perspective; source material for this narrative includes texts and concepts from other cultures, and thus is highly layered and multi-cultural; for the relationship of myth to science, see Malinowski, et al.
1:24 - 1:25    classification of species
1:26              hierarchy of life
1:28              a blessing
1:27 - 2:8     continuing with myth-science
2:9                origin of ethics
2:10 - 2:14    geography and mapping; geology
2:15 - 2:17    divine origin of law
2:18 - 2:20    continuing with myth-science
2:21 - 2:22    surgery, medicine, bio-engineering
2:23 - 2:25    continuing with myth-science
3:1- 3:7        origin of deceit
3:8 - 3:11     awakening of self-consciousness; developmental psychology
3:12 - 3:20   first crime and punishment; also origin of dissatisfaction, sorrow, pain
3:21              origin of clothing fabrication
3:22 - 3:23    origin of mortality; strange text - God speaks with other divine/eternal beings
3:23 - 3:24    human exile
4:1                etymology
4:1 - 4:2       origin of occupations/professions;
4:3 - 4:4        first sacrificial offerings described
4:5                God is partial and can appear unfair, for no reason
4:5 - 4:12      psychological analysis; impulse to anger/murder; human social responsibility
4:13 - 4:16    there are other humans!! where did they come from? clearly intimates that the text so far, or at least the Adam/Eve story, is not to be taken as literal, but metaphorical or allegorical
4:17 - 4:26    genealogy
4: 23 - 4:24   embedded poem with definite prosodic and conceptual structure
5:1                first reference of multiple books comprising Torah
5:2 - 6:1        genealogy; origin of nations; one explanation for the impossibly long lives of the people - they are tribal lives, not human lives; another explanation: the myth of human decline
6:2, 6:4         another reference to other divine/eternal/super-human beings
6:3                genetic/inherent limits to longevity
6:5                psychology
6:6 - 6:7       non-linearity of human development; (flood myth is reference to other cultural literary/historical sources)
6:8               God’s partiality; God’s merciful nature; reward of obedience

Friday, October 12, 2012

Atternen Juez Talen - the Dammaskis roed

The following is a 2-stanza excerpt from The Atternen Juez Talen, early in the story, as our hero flees Jerusalem and the Roman conquerors. I present two versions. The first is the "meta-English" (stevetok) version. For those who want to check their reading, reflect on the grammatical and linguistic changes, or just can't figure out the meta-English, there's a standard English version below. You'll see, the text is really not hard to understand. The stevetok version is simply more layered, conveying more effectively the essential translucency of "reality."
Meta-English (stevetok) version:

So thaer I wer on that Dammaskis roed,
North a Tavveeryah, an thru Gawlan*.        * Romen lanz noreest a Lake Tavveeryah
Romen masenz an us lokel slaevz
Laed this roed an pield its brijjez.
An now, the krossen eech humpbak brij,
Thay extorten a toelz, a buksheeshen too.
Thats wy I kawlz it 'that dam asskis roed'.
Tu pave a hiway for Sezerz troops,
Thay braken ar baks tu lay the makkaddem,
An taken ar skrach tu wok it now.

Heer ar fother, Yah'akkoev*                        * Jakeb
Wokt hizselz on the way tu Kharron.            * Beraysheet 28:10
Laen him hed on a stane that niets
An up raze a staerway, an aenjelz klime
Owt ov ar gravvelz* tu kristellee korts.        *eka d'omray: grovvelz
Now, jes louk at theze kerstee staenz,
Dustee an gray. Lay yur baenz
Uppon em a-nite, but doen expek
Seengen an starz an soren dreemz,
But steengen sarroez an a soren bak.

Standard English version:

So there I was on that Damascus road,
North of Tiberias, and through Gaulan*.        * Roman territories NE of Lake Kineret
Roman masons and us local slaves
Laid this road and piled its bridges.
And now, to cross each humpback bridge,
They extort a toll and bakshish, too.
That's why I call it 'that damn asskiss road'.
To pave a highway for Caesar's troops,
They broke our backs to lay the macadam,
And take our scratch to walk it now.

Here our father, Ya'akov*                         * Jacob
Walked himself on the way to Haran.        * See Genesis 28:10
Laid his head on a stone at night
And up rose a stairway, and angels climbed
Out of our gravel* to crystal courts**.        *others say: grovels; 

                                                                            ** quartz?
Now, just look at these crusty stones,
Dusty and gray. Lay your bones
Upon them at night, but don't expect
Singing and stars and soaring dreams,
But stinging sorrows and a sore back.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Announcing A Pilgrimmage tu Jerusalem ebook

I'm pleased to announce that my ebook, A Pilgrimmage tu Jerusalem is now available for purchase online at these locations:

Through Vook, where I built the book:

The Apple iTunes store:

Through Amazon, for the Kindle:

Soon to be available through B&N for the Nook.

It's great reading, including illustrations by the author!