Tuesday, 29 December 2009

SWALLOWS/GWENOLIAD - Menna Elfyn



Fe ddeallwn wenoliad,
briwsion ar fwrdd yr ardd,
yn llygad y drws.
Deallwn eu llwgu,
eu hawydd i dorri bara a ni.

Ac onid adar ydym ninnau,
adar nid o'r unlliw?
Eto'r entrych yw'r encil,
unigedd yn pigo'r pridd.

Ac ym mhob ffurfafen
mae mudo, cymysgu
a'r ddaear am nodded.
Fforddoloion ar aden,
eu clwyfo gan hanes,
yn chwilio o'r newydd, nyth,
man gwyn i orffwys.

Yr adar, a'u plu cynness?
Dylent gofio yr heb-ogion,
yn seri'r tir,
yn chwilio'r tir comin.

Un wen, a wna wanwyn,
un wnnol yn llunio'r haf.

Bird we understand,
spend crumbs in garden,
at back-door's eye;
undertand their need
to break bread with us.

And are we not birds who
don't always flock together?
The sky a high refuge,
lonely, knowing we'll land, meet
beak's needs, at heartbreak

And in every firmament
migrators mingle, mixing
heaven and earth for shelter,
wayfarers a-wing,
histories' hurted,
seeking anew a nest,
a fair resting-place.

So those birds, warm-feathered,
should remember the withouters
scouring the soil
in search of common ground.

One smile a spring,
one swallow making summer.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

ROUGH GUIDE - Grahame Davies



Mae'n digwydd yn anorfod,
fel dwr yn dod o hyd i'w lefel,
ond bob tro yr agoraf lawlyfr teithio
'rwy'n hwylio heibio'r prifddinasoedd a'r golygfeydd,
ac yn tyrchu i stydoedd cefn diolwg y mynegai,
a chael fy mod yn Ffrainc, yn Llydaw;
yn Seland Newydd, Maori;
yn y Unol Daleithiau - yn dibynnu ar ba ran-
'rwy'n Navajo, Yn Cazun, neu'n ddu

Y fi yw'r Cymro Crwydr;
yn Iddew ymhob man.
Heblaw, wrth gwrs, am Israel.
Yno, 'wy'n Baleteiniad.

Mae'n rhyw fath o gymhlethdod, mae'n rhaid,
fy mod yn codi'r grachen ar fy psyche fel hyn.
Mi dybiaf weithiau sut beth a fyddai
i fynd i un o'r llefydd hyn
a jyst mwynhau.

Ond na, wrth grwydro cyfandiroedd y cyfrolau
yr un yw'r cwestiwn ym mhorthladd pb pennod:
"Dinas neis. 'Nawr blw nae'r geto?"

It happens inevitably,
like water finding its level:
evey time I open a trvel book,
I sail past the capitlal cities, the sights,
and dive straight into the backstreets of the index
to find that in France, Im Breton;
in New Zealand, Maori;
in the U.S.A.- depending on which part-
I'm Navajo, Cajun, or black.

I'm the wandering Welshman
I'm Jewish everywhere.
Except, of course, in Israel.
There, I'm Palestinian.

It's some kind of a complex, I know,
that makes me pick this scab on my psyche.
I wonder sometimes what it would be like
to go to these places
and just enjoy.

No, as I wander the continents of the guidebooks,
whatever chapter may be my destination,
the question's always the same when I arrive:
"Nice city. Now where's the ghetto?"
d

Friday, 25 December 2009

8 Englynion


MEIRIONETH

Living paradise of flowers, land of honey, land of violet and blossoms,
land rich in crops, land of nut-bushes, and dear land of the hills,
John Machreth Rees ( MACHRETH)

HEATHER FLOWERS

Gaily they grow, the quiet throng, fair gems of the realm of sun and wind, the hanging bells of the high crags, flowers of the rocks, like cups of honey.

Eliseus Williams (Eifion Wyn) 1867-1926


THE POLE STAR

A lamp are you, above all stars of night, to guide sailors in the dusk;
lovely is your colour, sweet maid, standing in the doorway of the pole.

Colsett Colsett (Carnelian) 1834-1910


NIGHTFALL

Silence by the dark night; Eryri's
mountains veiled by mist;
The sun in the bed of brine,
The moon silvering the water.

Walter Davies (Gwalter Mechain) 1761-1849


EAVES

Giving, while the rain lasts, soft noises
Like a thousand being milked;
When the roof's thick with ice,
under it, strange teats appear.

Ellis Jones, 20th century


THE BELOVED

A fair cheek under a merry blue eye, two brows
Under a lattice of yellow curls;
For sure the sons of heaven were called
To splinter the gold for her hair.

David Roberts (Dewi Havhesp) 1831-1884


AN OLD WOMAN

Scant and straggling her yellow hair, from her lip
The bee's honey has fled;
Withered and poor is the white skin,
Briars insted of roses.

D.Gwenallt Jones (Gwenallt) 1899-1968

THE HOUR OF SLEEP

The hour of sleep has come silently, the hour of forgetfulness,
over the ranks of being,
A drowsy hour on the heavy shore
Of the sea men call mortality.

Robert Ellis (Cynddelw) 1812-1875

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A CHRISTMAS REVEL - Daffyd Bach ap Madog Wladaidd ( 1340 - 1390 )


I have seen a court, and a dozen courts,
And no court have I seen as gracious
As the court I love for its chieftain's sake,
Not weak is my praise, like Celligwen:
Heaven's bounty on earth in Bachelldref,
Where there is a revel each Christmas,
A crowd of kinsmen, a lake of liquor,
Bright the honour of Meurig's homeland,
Many a minstel and merry fiddler,
And much the mirth on a polished floor,
And a sound of strigs, a deluge of drinks,
And the constant cadence of singing,
And a red-hued lance of Cadwaladr's line,
A blood-gushing blade, promise of meat,
And minstrels' swaying, and children chirping,
And the bustle of boys bringing food,
The cup-bearer weary, kitchen sore-tried,
And three kinds of wine for the thirsty.
Three customs there are, a merry country,
At Daffyd's hight court, blameless boldness:
Whoever you are, whatever you sing,
And whatever the thing you're known for,
Come whenever you wish, take what you see,
And once come, stay as long as you like.




SEASONS GREETINGS EVERYBODY, PEACE AND GOODWILL TOO
UNLESS YOUR A FASCIST ******* THEN **** YOU

REFUGEES - Vernon Scannell (23/1/22 -16/11/07)



British poet, author, one time professional boxer, WW11 deserter, honory Gypsy and Anarchist.

In dusk of helmet brims the eye looks stern,
Unwavering; no matter what they see
Or where they gaze- Bluff Cove, Thermopylae,
Kuwait, The Somme - the pillaged cities burn,
And when the owners of those eyes return
And put away their weapons there will be
An alien music in a harsher key,
New words and syntax difficult to learn.

Wars never end. Across the livid plain
The dark processions trail, the refugees,
Anonymous beneath indifferent skies,
Somnambulistic, patient shapes of pain,
Long commentary on war, an ancient frieze
Of figures we refuse to recognise.

Monday, 21 December 2009

happy winter solstice.



Counting the possible ring of years
on this the shortest day
every thousand years a bird flickers past
and announces, all is not lost
reach out for another shore
quietly and slowly dive.
Snow flakes embrace the moon
finding the same root as us under branches,
breathe the air as needed, look to the stars,
in the evening be at peace among friends,
The earth still breathing
wonder at it's sacredness,
doubtless there will be storm clouds brewing,
the taste of future days to behold
all in the end must come true,
words will not fail us.
Life's mystery, there now
runs silently and deep.
We try to soar above
reaching out,rejuvenating
Let us Sing out

PEACE

HEDDWCH

Choose now gentle
rejoicing.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

THE SNOWALL -Gwerfyl Mechain (1460-1500)

Brecon Beacons

White flour, earth-flesh, a cold fleece on the mountain, small snow of
the chill black day; snow like a platter, bitter cold plumage, a softness
sent to entrammel me.
White snow on the cold hill above has blinded me and soaked my clothes.
By the blessed God! I had no hope I should ever get to my house.


THE HOSTESS OF THE FERRY INN

I keep the custom of the ferry, a tavern none can blame, a white-
robed moon giving sweet welcome to him that comes with silver.
'Tis my desire to be, to all men's content, a faultless world to my
guests, and to sing among them in familiar converse as I pour out
the mead



Note :- Gwerfyl Mechain was a poetess, and so a " rara avis " of the Welsh fifteenth century. What we know of her life would hardly fill a wren's egg. She has been credited with a number of avidly sexual poems, but this is to add the unknowable to the unknown.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

STEWART HOME - Excerpt from Sixty Years Of Treason ( Neoism, Plagiarism & Praxis, 1995).



Today, anyone who wants to write a book that's worthwhile has to write
it themselves. No one who fears new ideas need be afraid of the lifeless
commodities thrown onto the mass market by those publishing houses active
in Britain. Newspaper and magazine sales have been completely stitched up
by Smiths and Menzies, they control the vast majority of the trade, their retail
outlets are unimportant, it's their stranglehold on distribution that counts.
Book production is no different, a few conglomerates own virtually every-
thing. They throw one Martin Amis imitator at us after another, and hype this
garbage as the future of English Fiction. This is a joke, English fiction has no
future. Subversive ideas would certainly sell, but don't expect to find them in
your local high street, any analysis of books on terrorism and spookery quickly
reveals that non-market forces set the agenda in British publishing.

Maybe you've been knocking around for years and the literary establishmen'ts
stone-walling of your work hasn't succeeded in getting you to shut the fuck up.
No problem! A major publisher will buy you up, put out your new book and then
get cold feet. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy, how could the book sell if it
wasn't promoted or given proper distribution? Bought up or left in the cold,
history will prove us right. Those so called "writers" and "editors" currently stuffing their faces at literary luncheons will be forgotten in a few years time.
We know it, they know it, and this is why they're so vociferous in their attitude
toward talent. The literary establishment is eaten up with tension, with frustration, at not being talented, at not being capable of pleasure of any kind, eaten up with hate - not rational hate that is directed at those who abuse, insult
and enslave - but irrational, indiscriminate hate; hatred, at bottom, of their own worthlessness.

The crippled minds who support the dominant culture value decorum and good taste
precisely because they are incapable of understanding " ugliness " as anything
other than a mirror image of their own deformed intellects. The literary establishment hates the sterility of the writers it promotes and so it projects
this quality onto progressive cultural tendencies. However, the dominant
" culture " eventually becomes so desperate for an infusion of fresh blood that someone whose work has long been the subject of irrational hatred among the
" literati " will suddenly be invited onto the subsidised gravy train of luncheons, readings, residencies, lectureships and grants. The young dog taken up by these vampires will be bled dry in three weeks, leaving official " culture " as sick as ever. The zombies who promote traditional literary values are incapable of facing the fact that their every last thought is a conditioned reflex, entirely determined by past experience, it's much worse than suffering from halitosis, thes people have a corpse in their mouth.

Our most pressing task is to bury this " culture " of mediocrity.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

WINTER -Welsh, author unknown; c. eleventh century



sharp wind
stark hill
scant shelter
unforded ford
frozen lake
a single stem
would bear a man
wave on wave
drowns the shore
high cries
from the steep slope
hard even to stand
for a man outside
cold lakebed
before the winter
reeds withered
stalks broken
harsh wind
branches bare
cold bed of fishes
under ice cover
starved stag
bearded reeds
short evening
trees bent
falling snow
white cloak
warriors make
no foray
cold lake
of warmthless colour
falling snow
idle shield
hoar frost
idle shield
on a spent man's shoulder
shrill wind
grass freezing
falling snow
on the skin of the ice
billowing wind
through close trees
a shield sits well
on a well man's shoulder
falling snow
the valley fills
warriors go to war
but I shall not go
a wound forbids it

Sunday, 13 December 2009

PATRICK JONES - Poet Provocateur



Patrick Jones ( born 1965 ) is a Welsh political performance poet , playwright, activist and filmaker based in Blackwood, South Wales . A poet of our times, controversial, provocative , unflinching in his use of words, an uncompromising no to apathetic acceptance . He writes from the heart, with passion and integrity. Asking questions that a lot of people are afraid to talk about. He seems to want to tear down walls and divisions, and replace them with a better vision.
There have been decades of gradual opening out of media to open discussions on Iraq/Afghanistan War, sexual equality, oppression yet in recent times there has been a closing down of religious discussion.
It is not very politically correct to be an anti religious poet, which is what Patrick is, but he is foremost a poet of humanity, with all it's despair and ugliness. He reflects the closing down of dissent, is not afraid to stick his head over the trenches. Who remembers Thomas Moore, who are the new martyrs on either side. Remember People are still killing in the name of a God, we are in the age of basic new crusades.
Does centuries of struggling for womens liberation - political women's freedom and the right to vote mean we cannot now reach out to the Eastern World, to free their women from slavery, no vote, no education, no career, no equal property rights.
Patrick screams about such injustices as these, whether from a Western perspective or an Eastern one.
Here is a poet that actually challenges and confronts fundamental religion in all its forms, he dares to have the courage to use language some people in the current climate are afraid to raise. A People's Poet of the dispossessed and disenfranchised, an angry voice reflecting these angry times. He refuses to be silenced, a Christian group calling itself "Christian Voice " have called for his works to be banned, vehementally attacking Patrick's work, they have tried unsuccessfully to silence him. A disgusting symptom of reactionary Britain, if one does not enjoy reading something simply don't read it, it reminds me of book burning days , do we simply regress , or do we move forward. I don't agree with everything in the Bible, or other religious texts, but I would not seek to censor them, censorship simply fans the flames. The only weapons Patrick uses are his words, carrying swords of freedom, justice and equality , simply trying to heal the world, fighting division and all its causes, poverty social injustices. Seeking unity between us all . He also writes passionately about poverty, domestic abuse and violence. Fiercely opposed to fascism ,racism , bigotry in all it's forms. A Poet of peace then.
A powerful performer I have seen him a few times and I must say he is definitely worth checking out, he has also released two powerful records combining spoken word with music, collaborating with a numberr of musicians including Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield, Billy Bragg and many more.
Conversation and Amnesia (Big Noise Production) 1999
Tonques for a Stammering Time (Anhrefn Records) 2009
What follows are a selection of Patrick's poetry, not for the faint hearted, you have been warned

10 million christs

marching cadavers
inconsequential consequences
of another's lust and greed
stapled medals, a rosary for the cordoned
starving for successful failure

backpack messiahs
blinded by visions of paradise
unwashed feet caked in mud
a warrior psychosis
sold to souls
from
saladin's blood
on lionheart's sword
to bush's head
on bin laden's pole

crustacean crusade on overfed donkeys
a jism jihad on blurred video

an olive branch
an oxygen mask
a trident missile attack
purveyors of putrefaction
asinine dumb waiters
drunk on faith
fatah hamas hezbollah
idf scientologist taleban christianvoice

how many more christs
until we are all crucified?
_

in absentia

i light a candle for the absents
the almost forgotten, the waiting, the worn,
a day light for the dark nights
a filament of throat from thought
i light a candle for the absents
the dissapeared, the frightened
the watching, the saturday fathers,
disneyland dads, happy meal patriachs
contact controlled, access asked
permission prayed
the deadbeat, child support agents
no rights only deepest resposibility
i stare into the flame
see love and hate
unite
in
one
silent flicker
a black and white photograph in agolden frame

but
from the slit wrist
the rose will grow
from the distance
blazes the geography of the soul
like candles, we inhabit the night
absence is not abstension
what feeds the wick?
who starves the oxygen?

and

what man is not made from woman and man?
_

hymn

"Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces
his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head
unveiled disgraces her head - it isa one and the same thing as having her
head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off
her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to
be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not have his head veiled, since
he is the image and reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man."
1 Corinthians 11: 4-9

cover my face
with burkha so unatural
i'm so ugly in your eyes
or is it my vision is so clitoral

use my holes
to cleanse your souls
paint my image as your icon of immaculation
force the feminine into your crucifixion
an olive branch drowned in thalidomide
they said it would make the sickness go away.

away, away

For the pope and for the imam
all i preach is deicide
just like mary magdelene
i fucked jesus
just like mary magdelane
i have been deemed useless
i shall drift to dust
all around
within,
us
slit my wrist with rosary beads
blind my eyes with testerone veil
turn the other cheek
as you leave your seed

Go to bed with jihad so young
fasten my vulva with catholic tonque
decapitate me while i kneel
as all my sisters bow like culled seals

just like mary magdelene
i fucked jesus
just like mary magdelene
i am in each of us,
-

cut-up/morning prayer

onward christian soldiers marching as to war
with the cross of jesus going on before
the confrontation that we are calling for
does not know socrates debates or platonic law
but it knows the dialoque of bullets the ideals of
assassination
bombing and glorious destruction
gates of hell can never
gainst the church prevail
we have christ's own promise
and that cannot fail.
there shall be no peaceful solution
only pen and gun
by word and bullet
by teeth and tongue
onward christiian soldiers marching as to war
with the cross of jesus going on before
the sinners shall be known by their marks and shall be
seized by the forelock and the feet
run the straight race through god's good grace
lift up thine eyes and seek his face
life with its way before us lies
make a covenant o sister to make
their women widows
and their children orphans
to make them desire death
and slaughter them like lambs

and

let the nile and euphrates flow with their blood

we are brothers and comrades

we stand side by side...
sidebyside
s i d b y s i
d...
_


incursion

i

a bomb is not a bomb until it lands in your living room,
again,
religion gets off its knees,
and attacks,
like sand thrown into eyes,
it blinds,
flags stab borders
and dialect drowns intellect
as the bomb bloated thin line
marks our space, our place
you and i
becomes us and them,
"the birth pangs of a new middle east" says condelozza rice
but the baby will never be born,
as children lay dazed in wrecked hospitals,
oh father, which art in heaven, we praise you
"we have the right to self defence"
but a warplane knows no mortality
just another precisioned target on a silent road
in another country, another country...

ii

you fire
cowardly rockets
that sneer into small villages
then run and hide
pray to your god,
speak of your good deed
and yearn for a fake paradise

as retaliation cannot find you
only the family fleeing their home, unsheltered,
innocent victim
to a crucifix game
they did not begin...
_

cathedra

we must overcome this
we must move higher
clasp branches
hold firm
feel again
know again
real (r) ise
real ise
what we are were and will be
again
know
no
now
this pain can only exist upon the body
there must be a residing place
where one day
we shall be whole
in holes
again
again
for this time these days
the minutes stick like flies in honey
falling
uncompromising
unfeeling
unlistening
unhearing
un dis ir dys an de
everything starts with a negation
can something begin with an affirmation
a somewhered
verb of
unatrophied flesh
to heal
this
again
again;
we have to overcome this/

_
with the sense of an ending

still the mountain
still the walking
still the breathing
still the choking
still the cutting
still the bleeding
still the feeding
still the loving
still the clock ticking
still the leaf shaking
still the silene screaming
still the ink leaking
still
still
still
be
still
still
bestill
be
still
still
be
still
be; still-

the ending
still
still this this still
be beginning
_

For further details of Patrick's works and readings , here is a link to his website.

http://www.patrick-jones.net/

Thursday, 10 December 2009

MARK ROTHKO - The Romantics were prompted...


Born Marcus Rothkowitz in Divinksk, Russia on the 26th of September 1903, he emigrated to America at the age of 13, settling in Portland, Oregan, his fathers untimely death a year later shook him badly. In 1921 he won a scholarship to Yale University and commenced his studies. Eventually settling in New York exploring mythological subjects and iconography and begins to get known for his abstract surrealism. He married Mary Alice Beaistle in 1945.
What I know about his earlier life is that he was initially drawn to writing and acting and had varied interests ranging from music and literature and was drawn to surrealism and radical causes.He was a member of the IWW the union for all workers. He explored many forms of art " artfully scribbling" becoming drawn to ancient myths which he saw as eternal symbols.



It was not until 1950 when he was in his forties did he develop a more mature form, that he continued to practice until his suicide on the 25th February 1970. He explored colours in all its depths and hues using deep colours laid out on huge canvasses ,developing a new language of feeling, exploring freedom and movement.
Rothko was both fortified by his powerful Jewish heritage, a heritage which is one of the oldest, most tenacious and demanding to be found anywhere - one embodying a collective superego and an ethic of cosmic proportion.
I went to see an exhibition of his work in the Tate last year and standing before his huge, mute abstract canvasses was drawn into an experience that required no real knowledge of the aeshetics of art - to something quite transcendent, pretty powerful stuff!

Rothkos painting technique was of painting canvasses with layers and layers of diluted color, offering a timeless time without end. He himself often used the phrase " the weight of emotions ". As a lover of music he sought to make the same emotional equivalents that he experienced while listening.

He wrote in 1947

" I think of my pictures as dramas, the presentation of this drama in the familiar world was never possible, unless everyday acts belonged to a ritual accepted as referring to a transcendent realm. Even the archaic artist who had an uncanny virtuosity, found it necessary to create a group of intermediaries, monsters, hybrids, gods and demi-gods. The difference is that, since the archaic artist was living in a more practical society than ours, the urgency of transcendent experience was understood and given an official status....
with us the disguise must be complete. The familiar identity of things has to be pulverized in order to destroy the finite associations with our society increasingly enshrouds every aspect of our environment.
Without monsters and gods, art cannot enact our dramas: art's most profound moments express this frustration."



Rothko himself did not actually adhere to any particular religious faith, but to me his work seems very mystical. What follows are some notes, statements and ideas Rothko committed to paper throughout his life revealing his underlying talent as a writer.



The Romantics Were Prompted
to seek exotic subjects and travel to far-of places. They failed to
realize that,though the transcendental must involve the strange and
unfamiliar, not everything strange or unfamiliar is transcendental.

The unfriendliness of society is difficult for the artist to
accept. Yet this very hostility can act as a lever for true liberation. Freed
from a false sense of security and community, the artist can abandon his plastic bank-book, just as he has abandoned other forms of security. Both the sense of community and of security depend on the familiar. Free of them, transcendental experiences become possible.

I think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in pictures are the performers. They have been created from the need for a group of actors who are able to move dramatically without embarrassment and execute gestures without shame.

Neither the action nor the actors can be anticipated, or described in advance. They begin as an unknown adventure in an unknown space. It is at the moment of completion that in a flash of recognition, they are seen to have the quantity and function which was intended. Ideas and plans that existed in the mind at the start were simply the doorway through which one left the world in which they occur.

The great Cubist pictures thus transcend and belie the implications of the Cubist program.

The most important tool the artist fashions through constant practice is faith in his ability to produce miracles when they are needed. Pictures must be miraculous: the instant one is completed, the intimacy between the creation and the creator is ended. He is an outsider. The picture must be for him, as for anyone experiencing it later, a revelation, an unexpected and unprecedented resolution of an eternally familiar need.

They have no direct association with any visible experience, but in them one recognizes the principle and passion of organisms.The presentation of this drama in the familiar world was never possible, unless everyday acts belonged to a ritual accepted as referring to a transcendent realm.

Even the archaic artist, who had an uncanny virtuosity, found it necessary to create a group of intermediaries, monsters, hybrids, gods and demi-gods. The difference is that, since the archaic artist was living in a more practical society than ours, the urgency for transcendent experience was understood, and given an official status.As a consequence, the human figure and other elements from the familiar world could be combined with, or participate as a a whole in the enactment of the excesses which characterize this improbable hierarchy. With us the disguise must be complete. The familiar identity of things has to be pulverized in order to destroy the finite associations with which our society increasingly enshrouds every aspect of our environment.

Without monsters and gods, art cannot enact our dramas: art's most profound moments express this frustration. When they were abandoned as untenable superstitions, art sank into melancholy. It became fond of the dark, and enveloped its objects in the nostalgic intimations of a half-lit world. For me the great achievements of the centuries in which the artist accepted the probable and familiar as his subjects were the pictures of the single human figure - alone in a moment of utter immobility.

But the solitary figure coould not raise its limbs in a single gesture that might indicate its concern with the fact of mortality and an insatiable appetite for ubiquitious experience in face of this fact. Nor could the solitude be overcome. It could gather on beaches and sreets and in parks only through coincidence, and with its companions, form a tableau vivant of human incommunicability.

I do not believe that there was ever a question of being abstract or representational. It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and stretching one's arms again.

THE ROMANTICS WERE PROMPTED

"Possibilities 1 , winter 1947 -1948


..

Sunday, 6 December 2009

CHARLES BUKOWSKI -The Captain is out to lunch and the sailors have taken over the ship. ( a brief extract)

Charles Bukowski, a determined outsider, he may not have been a beat, but he lived a cruel driven sort of life, always thirsty, hungry, a prolific writer of both prose and verse. He is itinerant America, with all it's dumb failings, he is it's voice, from the street; his stories full of America's downtrodden, the frowned upon ,the dispossessed, the fallen, the lonely, forlorn and forgotten. For me at least he was beat, truly beat, his life like a heartbeat gradually whittling away, money running out, desperate for the rent, the dark underbelly, America without it's shiny white teeth, destitute, naked , his voice reflecting its dark underground. His words scrambling in America's darkness looking for some sweet sanity!

He was born in Andernach, Germany in 1920 , and came to the U.S.A at the age of 3. He was raised in Los Angeles, where he worked for many years for the U.S Postal system. His words were wild confessionalisms , containing existential bleakness, combined with a conversational style, using American speech and a gritty alcohol infused lyricism.

He died in 1994 but kept on writing to the very end. This act of writing sustained him for sure, it kept all sorts of demons away. Despite the crippling ravages of a disease which overtook his body, his mind was adept at stealing a moment here, a moment there. He knew his writing was what validated his life, it made him something in a society that did not care for him, or him for society. Their have been numerous posthumous Bukowski publications, so prolific was he. So many books, so many titles. In his poetry you will ,a post modern rejection of metaphysics that pushes sometimes an experimental style that casts asides so called proper poet's rules. A great anti- literary literary writer then! He did occasionally grapple with tenderness, he did have a soft side, which does not undermine his sometimes excessive macho role. What follows is a bit from a collection of journal writing with it's fantastic elongated title, the title of this post.It displays him , as a poet of the racehorses. Enhanced at the time with classic Robert Crumb illustrations.
Off we go then.

9/26/91

11:36 PM

A title for the new book. Sat out at the track trying to think of one. That's one place where one can't think. It sucks the brains and spirit out of you. A draining blow job, that's what that place is. And I haven't been sleeping nights. Something is sapping the energy out of me.
Saw the lonely one at the track today. " How ya doin' camaraderie. He wants to talk about things. Horses. You don't talk about horses. That's the LAST thing you talk about. A few races went by and then I caught him looking at me over an automatic betting machine. Poor guy. I went outside and sat down and a cop started talking to me. Well, they call them security men. "They're moving the toteboard," he said. "Yes," I said. They had dug the thing out of the ground and were moving it further west. Well, it put men to work. I liked to see men working. I had an idea that the security man was talking to me to find out if I was crazy or not. He probably wasn't. But I got the idea. I let ideas jump me like that. I scratched my belly and pretended that I was a good old guy. "They're going to put the lakes back in," I said. "Yeah," he said. "This place used to be called the Track of the Lakes and Flowers," " Is that so?" he said. "Yeah," I told him, "they used to have a Goose contest. They'd choose a goose girl and she went out in a boat and rowed around among the geese. Real boring job." " Yeah," said the cop. He just stood there. I stood up. "Well," I said , " I'm going to get a coffee. Take it eary." "Sure," he said, "pick some winners." "You too man," I said. Then I walked away.
A title . My mind was blank. It was getting chilly. Being an old fart, I thought it might best to get my jacket. I took the escalator down from the 4th floor. Who invented the escalator? Moving steps. Now, talk about crazy. People going up and down escalatoes, elevators, driving cars, having garage doors that open at the touch of a button. Then they go to health clubs to work the fat off. In 4,000 years we wont have any legs, we'll wiggle along on our assholes, or maybe we'll just roll along like tumbleweeds. Each species desroys itself. What killed the dinosaurs was that they ate everything around and then had to eat each other and that brought it down to one and the son-of-a-bitch just starved to death.
I got down to my car, got my jacket, put it on, took the escalator back up. That made me fell more like a playboy, a hustler- leaving the place and then coming back. I felt as if I had consulted some special secret source.
Well I played out the card, I had some luck. By the 13th race it was dark and beginning to rain. I bet ten minutes early and left. Traffic was cautious. Rain scares the hell out of L.A drivers. I got on the freeway behind the mass of red taillights. I didn't turn on the radio. I wanted silence. A title ran through my brain: "Bible for the disenchanted." No, no good. I remembered some of the best titles. I mean , of other writers. " Bow down to Wood and Stone." Great title, lousy writer. "Notes from the underground." Great title. Great writer. Also "The heart is a Lonely Hunter." Carson McCullers, a very underrated writer. Of all my dozens of titles the one I liked best was "Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts." But I blew that one away on a little mimeo pamphlet. Too bad.
Then the freeway stopped and I just sat there. No title. My head was empty. I felt like sleeping for a week. I was glad I had put the trash cans out. I was tired. Now I didn't have to do it. Trash cans. One night I had slept, drunk, on top of trash cans. New York City. I was awakened by abig rat sitting on my belly. We both, at once, leaped about 3 feet into the air. I was trying to be a writer. Now I was supposed to be one and I couldn,t think of a title. I was a fake. Traffic began to move and I followed it along. Nobody knew who anybody else was and it was great. Then a great flash of lightning crashed above the freeway and for the first time that day I felt pretty good.


THE CAPTAIN IS OUT TO LUNCH AND THE SAILORS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE SHIP
by Charles Bukowski ; illustrated by Robert Crumb Black Sparrow Press


Some of Bukowski's poetry :-


I AM DEAD BUT I KNOW
THE DEAD ARE NOT LIKE THIS..


the dead can sleep
they don't get up and rage
they don't have a wife.

her white face
like a flower in a closed
window lifts up and
looks at me.

the curtain smokes a cigarrette
and a moth dies in a
freeway crash
as i examine the shadows of my
hands

an owl, the size of a baby clock
rings for me, come on come on
it says as Jerusalem is hustled
down crotch- stained halls.

the 5 a.m. grass is nasal now
in hums of battleships and valleys
in the raped light that brings on
the fascist birds.

I put out the lamp and get in bed
beside her, she thinks I'm there
mumbles a rosy gratitude
as I stretch my legs
to coffin length
get in and swim away
from frogs and fortunes


STARTED INTO LIFE LIKE FIRE.

in grevous deity my cat
walks around
he walks around and around
with
electric tail and
push-button
eyes

he is
alive and
plush and
final as a plum tree

neither of us undertands
cathedral or
the man outside
watering his
lawn

if I were all the man
that he is
cat-
if there were men
like this
the world could
begin

he leaps up on the couch
and walks through
porticoes of my admiration.


MY OLD MAN
16 years old
during the depression
I'd come home drunk
and all my clothing-
shorts, shirts, stockings-
suitcase, and pages of
short stories
would be thrown out on
the front lawn and about the
street.

my mother would be
waiting behind a tree:
"Henry, Henry, don't
go in... he'll
kill you, he's read
your stories..."

"I can whip his
ass..."

"Henry, please take
this... and
find yourself a room."

but it worried him
that I might not
finish high school
so I'd be back
again.

one evening he walked in
with the pages of
one of my short stories
(which I had never submitted
to him)
and he said, "this is
a great short story
I said, " o.k.,"
and he handed it to me
and I read it.
it was a story about
a rich man
who had a fight with
his wife and had
gone out into the night
for a cup of coffee
and had observed
the waitresses and the spoons
and forks and the
salt and pepper shakers
and the neon sign
in the window
and then had gone back
to his stable
to see and touch his
favourite horse
who then
kicked him in the head
and killed him.

somehow
the story held
meaning for him
though
when I had written it
I had no idea
of what I was
writing about.

so I told him,
"o.k.,old man, you can
have it."
and he took it
and walked out
and closed the door
I guess that's
as close
as we ever got.

THE MOCKINGBIRD

the mockingbird had been following the cat
all summer
mocking mocking mocking
teasing and cocksure;
the cat crawled under rockers on porches
tail flashing
and said something angry to the mockingbird
which I didn't understand.

yesterday the cat walked calmly up the driveway
with themockingbird alive in its mouth
wings fanned, beautiful wings fanned and flopping,
feathers parted like a woman's legs
and the bird was no longer mocking
it was asking, it was praying
but the cat
striding down through centuries
would not listen
I saw it crawl under a yellow car
with the bird
to bargain it to another place

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Copenhagen and beyond

Today promises to be the largest climate change mobilisation in the UK, known as the Wave.Hoping and demanding that politicians finally take serious action in Copenhagen next week when world leaders meet to discuss climate change.. We are, I am afraid a little to late. We are way beyond pressure and turning point. The world is boiling as you read. Concrete proposals are needed immediately not next week. Words will be casually used, promises will be made. Commitments will be made, but in all probability will be quickly forgotten.
We will be greeted with images of smiling politicians, happy looking and shaking hands, falsely agreeing to fix problems they have no intention of fixing. Obviously action needs to be taken globally, now not tomorrow.
Binding agreements should be non negotiable, sadly they are not. Expecting major polluters to sort out the climate is like putting hooligans in charge of your neighbourhood watch. The basic injustice is, it is the poor who have contributed least to climate change who will be the most effected by it. They will be forced to go begging to the nations that have created this situation in the first place.
With the best will in the world we will be unlikely to see any serious challenge to industry from our world leaders. Rich governments will simply play lip service to combatting climate change, probably achieving absolutely nothing.
Immediate priorities should be halting deforestation, supporting adaption in Africa and other vulnerable nations and supporting technological change and exploiting ambient energy resources.Their is a fierce urgency to all of this, their is a need for strong leadership, alternatives to current practices have to be explored. Capitalism does not seem to be working, but we cannot afford to give up hope, we must demand the impossible.
Sorry for little rant , and my general pessismism, normal sevice will presume sortly. I try to keep on dreaming!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

DECEMBER by John Clare

While snow the window-panes bedim,
The fire curls up a sunny charm,
Where, creaming o'er the pither's rim,
The flowering ale is set to warm;
Mirth, full of joy as summer bees,
Sits there, its pleasures to impart,
And children, 'tween their parent's knees,
Sing scraps of carols o'er by heart.

And some, to view the winter weathers,
Climb up the window-seat with glee,
Likening
the snow to falling feathers,
In fancy infant ectasy;
Laughing, with superstitious love,
O'er visions wild that youth supplies,
Of people pulling geese above,
And keeping Christmas in the skies.

As tho' the homestad trees were drest,
In lieu of snow, with dancing leaves,
As tho' the sun-dried martin's nest,
Instead of ickles, hung the eaves,
The children hail the happy day-
As if the snow were April's grass,
And pleas'd, as 'neath the warmth of
May,
Sport o'er the water froze as glass.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Gregory Corso - wayward genius,an appreciation


When people discuss the Beats it is usually to revere the three key ones; ie Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and of course Jack Kerouac. Strangely and sadly Gregory Corso is often overlooked. For over 40 years , his bad- boy persona tended to cloud in my opinion his very real poetic talent. He often got drunk and pretty wasted, yet what should be remembered about this man was that he was a poet. A damned good one in my opinion.Born Nunzio Corso on March 26, 1930, in Greenwich Village in New York City. Within Italian community he was " Nunzio " while to all others he was known as " Gregory ".

I can excuse his waywardnesses because of his genius. Let us remember as a young child he was abandoned by his mum, who he believed to have gone back to Italy, who then had to endure a series of brutal foster homes, and in his infant day's did not enjoy comfort at all,(Unlike the more famous Beats) forced to live on the streets, at the age of 17 he was sent to 3 years in Clinton Correctional Facility, New York State's maximum - security prison. Here he was befriended by powerful Mafia inmates, and luckilly was protected, mainly because of his Italian heritage and the fact he was the youngest inmate in the prison. It was on all accounts a terrible regime.

Is it any wonder that he became bitter and angry with the world spending his adult days addicted to drugs and alcohol, enduring a number of failed affairs and marriages. It was whilst in prison he discovered the world of literature. He studied the Greek and Roman classics, and was a vast consumer of encyclopedias and whole dictionaries. He was particularly drawn to the works of Keats and Shelley. In 1949 he was released from prison and began writing poetry in ernest.In 1950 he met and befriended Allen Ginsberg who ensured that though often wayward, Corso stayed reasonably focussed. He consequently befriended most of the key Beats, and it was Corso's seduction of Kerouac's girlfriend " Mardou " during the summer of 1953 that was the plot of Kerouac's novel " The Subterraneans ". He fitted easily into the group , having in common with them - as one critic observed- " that he was a misfit, self-invented, rebellious, and blessed by the Muse." Also a bit of a hustler , he had had to be. He had an outsiders vulnerability, with sad prophecies to tell!

He started to get published himself in 1955,when his poems were published in a volume titled " The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other poems. Three years later City Lights published " Gasoline " and his fame was guaranteed. Corso having by now got close to William Burroughs, headed of to Europe with him and Peter Orlovsky and a few others. Corso ended up at the " Beat Hotel " in Paris, then onto Tangiers and London where he lived up to his rascally image , upsetting the poetry establishment of the time with his spontaneous drunken outbursts and general unruly behaviour.

It was while in Europe that through Olympia Press his only novel " The American Express " was published in 1961. Olympia Press were also notable for having championed the work of Burroughs and Alexander Trocchi. Often his behaviour and casual rudeness got him into trouble. Perhaps it was a need for attention and some kind of love that had been absent in his formative days. Despite all this, throughout his works the gloomiest subjects turn comical, projecting his inner sarcasm, wit and sharp humour. His poetry is infused with his deep knowledge of the classics, and instead of fostering rebellion which was the trend of the time was quite happy not to toe the line. Sporadically releasing some outstanding collections over the following years, notably "The Happy Birthday Of Death, 1960", " Earth Egg, 1974 ", and "Herald of The Autochtonic Spirit,1981" and finally "Mindfield, 1991"

It's not exactly clear what he did with his time in the last 20 years or so of his life, their are some fantastic pictures of him out there looking suitably wasted in a cool elegant but I dont really give a fuck kind of way. He never really liked public appearances and was known to dislike the cult of celebrity, especially around the Beats. There is a story doin the rounds that he was initially reluctant to attend the funeral of his mate William Burroughs because he did not have enough methadone to support his journey to Kansas. The story goes that one of Burroughs assistants said to him " Dont worry there's a stack of the stuff in the garage, William kept it in case of nuclear war."

He had always yearned for his mother , who after Ginsberg's death he found alive living in New Jersey whereupon they were reconciled, sadly he died soon after of cancer in Minnesota on January 17, 2001. In my opinion a giant of modern poetry. His ashes were scattered next to the grave of his hero the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in the Cimitero Acattocilico, the Protestant Cemetry , Rome, he had finally returned to the land of his mother. Here's a selection of some of my favourite bits of Corso, hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

NO ONE IN PARTICULAR

I feel there is an inherent ignorance in me
deep in my being
to the very core
I know its prescence is my essence

Yet the very essence of being
has no signature -

Everyone knows the motherless boy
he stads alone in the street
picking his nose

Mother, I weep for you
as I watch the child
weeping for his mother

HUMANITY

What simple profundities
what profound simplicities
To sit down among the trees
and breathe with them
in murmour brood and breeze-

And how can I trust them
who pollute the sky
with heavens
the below with hells

well, humankind
I'm part of you
and so my son

but neither of us
will believe
your big sad lie

I AM 25

With a love a madness for Shelley
Chatterton Rimbaud
and the needy-yap of my youth
has gone from ear to ear:
I HATE OLD POETMEN!
Especially old poetmen who retract
who consult other old poetmen
who speak their youth in whispers,
saying:- I did those then
but that was then
that was then -
O I would quiet old men
say to them:- I am your friend
what you once were, thru me
you'll be again-
Then at night in the confidence of their homes
rip out their apology-tongues
and steal their poems.

THE MAD YAK

I am watching them churn the last milk
they'll ever get from me.
They are waiting for me to die;
They want to make buttons out of my bones.
Where are my sisters and brothers?
That tall monk there, loading my uncle,
he has a new cap.
And that idiot student of his-
I never saw that muffler before.
Poor uncle, he lets them load him.
How sad he is, how tired!
I wonder what they'll do with his bones?
And that beautiful tail!
How many shoelaces will they make of that!

THE SHAKEDOWN

I spun another man's prayer
with the wind of my words
and another man,s god
answered me with death.

It came in form of a mouth
and it kissed my mouth with breath
Passionate breath; cold breath,
freezing my body in lifeless snow.

It floated before me, smiling;
and soon the sun appeared.
It melted me,
and the mouth knelt down to drink my terrible flow

THE WRECK OF THE NORDLING

One night fifty men swam away from God
And drowned.
In the morning the abandoned God
Dipped His finger into the sea,
Came up with fifty souls,
And pointed towards eternity.

LAST INDIAN DREAM

Gone the day
Gone the song and dance
Like the sun of the drying grass-

the sun I don't even trust
- can blow up anytime

All the goings gone
All the comings came


from VARIATIONS ON A
GENERATION

- What do you think about the Beat Generation?-
- I don't think it's anything. I don't think it exists. There's
no such thing as the Beat Generation.-
-You don't consider yourself beat?-
- Hell no! I don't consider myself beat, or beatified.-
- What are you if not beat?-
- An individual, nothing.-
- They say to be beat is to be nothing.-
- I don't care what they say, there's no Beat Generation.-
- Don't you care about the existence of the beat?-
- Hell no! man!-
- Don't you love your fellow men?-
- No I don't love my fellow man in fact I dislike them very
much, except the individual if I get to know him; I don't want
to govern or be governed.-
- But you are governed by laws of society.-
- But I'm trying to avoid that.-
- Ah, by avoiding society you become seperate from society
and being seperate from society is being BEAT.-
- Oh, yeah?-
- Yeah.-
- I don't understand. I don't want to be in the society at
all, I want to be outside it.-
- Face it, man, you're beat.-
- I am not! It's not even a conscious desire on my part, it's
just the way I am, I am what I am.-
- Man, you're so beat you don't know.
- Oh, yeah?-
- Yeah.-
- Crazy, man.-
- Cool, here, light a joint.-

SAUSAGES

I ate sausages with you at the feast.
I ate sausages, and across the street
the butcher counted his daughter's feet!

MY HANDS ARE A CITY

My hands are a city, a lyre
And my hands are afire
And my mother plays Corelli
while my hands burn

Saturday, 28 November 2009

H.G.WELLS - New Worlds For Old


That Anarchist world, I admit, is our dream; we do believe - well I at any rate, believe this present world, this planet, will some day bear a race beyond our most exalted and temeraious dreams, a race begotten of our wills and the substance of our bodies, a race, so I have said it, " who will stand upon the earth as one stands upon a footstool, and laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars," but the way to that is through education and discipline and law. Socialism is a preparation for that higher Anarchism; painfully, laboriously we mean to destroy false ideas of property and self, eliminate unjust laws and pisonous and hateful suggestions and prejudices, create a system of social right-daling and a tradition of right-feeling and action. Socialism is the school of true and noble Anarchism, wherin by training and restraint we shall make free men.

H.G.WELLS, 1908


AND WE STILL HAVE A BLOODY LONG WAY TO GO!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

PARC ABERPORTH LINKS WITH ISRAEL

What a tangled web of arms companies the Welsh Assembly , the UK Government and the MOD are welcoming to Parc Aberporth.
On the one hand the UK Government's attempts to avoid controversy by telling Elbit Systems - the maker of the Hermes 450 UAV ( being used by Watchkeeper) not to test the drone over the occupied Golan Heights in the West Bank, on the other hand it is happy to ignore Elbit Systems' other activities, such as supplying surveillance equipment which is used along the Judea and Sama on the other side of the Israeli Security Wall.
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund withdrew its investments because of a certain company's role in actually building the Israeli security wall. Guess who ? That's right. Elbit Systems!
The prime contractor for Watchkeeper is Thales UK, which awarded a contract for a large part of the program to U- Tacs, 51% owned by Elbit systems, the other 49% of UTacs is owned by Thales. U-Tacs is more formally Known as UAV Systems Ltd., of Scudamore Road, Leicester, UK.

Full story with links here

http://www.bepj.org.uk/no-to-west-bank-yes-to-wales

Sunday, 22 November 2009

HENRY VAUGHAN - Silurist, Hermeticist Welsh Poet and Doctor



Henry Vaughan, was a seventeenth century poet and doctor,who appended the term Silurist to his name.It was said that Locrinus, the son of Brutus, after his father's death divided the lands of Britain between himself and his two brothers. After overcoming Humber, Locrinus found in one of the king's ships, three damsels of celestial beauty, one of which was called Esyllt. She became associated with the country around the rivers Wye and Usk. Esyllt had a daughter with Locrinus called Hafren, who became immortalised in Mor Hafren, which is the Welsh name for the severn Sea, in which both mother and daughter drowned.

The Silures were natives of the regions arond the rivers Wye and Usk, including parts of Herefordshre, Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorgan. The name Siluria came from a corruption of Seisyllwg. The people were a hardy race ,ruled by princes, the most famous of whom was Caractacus, whose seat was said to be at Isca Siluram, known now as Carleon, belived to have been the seat of King Arthur. Patriots of this area became known as the Silurists, which is where Henry Vaughan took his name.

Henry Vaughan dedicated his life to poetic writing, medicine and Hermeticism.We know he died at LLanstantffraed and was buried in a little churchyard here, in a quiet corner of the churchyard, under a yewtree, here we see that Vaughan died in 1695. On his gravestone are his coat of arms consisting of a chevron between three boys heads, each with a snakes entwined about the neck. Included on the stone are words from Vaughan's poem, " The Mount of Olives ".

On the stone it says he died at the age of 73, so he must have been born in either 1621 or 1622.He was born the elder of twin brothers at Trenewydd, or Newton St Bridget in a house in the hamlet of Scethrog, in the parish of Llansantffraed.

Henry's younger twin Thomas was to become the famous mystical poet, Eugene Philathese.He also had a younger brother called William. Not much is known of his childhood, but is believed to have gone with his brother in 1638 to study at Jesus college, Oxford. His brother finished his course but Henry did not and was taken by his father to London where it is thought he studied at the Inn of Court at the same time as the mighty Oliver Cromwell was studying at Lincolns Inn. Henry was not called to the bar.

From 1642 until the battle of Naseby on 14th June, 1645, Henry was a clerk to the judge, Sir Marmaduke LLoyd. Unfortunately for me at least he became a strong Royalist supporter, but whether he actually saw any armed combat is again speculative. Henry wrote a poem in 1646 to being a captive at Raglan, which fell to the great Cromwellian army on 19th August 1646, shortly before the end of the Civil War.

At the end of the war Henry returned home to concentrate on writing poems and began translating many important philosophical works. He was fluent in Welsh and English, although he mostly used the former. He also knew Latin, Greek, German and French.

In 1646 he published a translation of Iuvenal's " Tenth Satyre", along with 14 other poems, and in 1650 saw him publish "Silex Scinillans", which was a volume of 122 sacred poems he had written and compiled wen he was only 22 or 23. Poetry was very much in the air, a time when people seemed to actually breath it. Around this time he translated the works of Plutarch, and one of these was "Of the diseases of the mind and the body". In 1651 his most famous work was published " Olor Iscanus, The Swan Of Usk". He became interested in medicine, especially the causes of diseases and their relation to the different schools of philosophy. He began to believe in to different kinds of diseases, the diseases of the soul and the diseases of the body. times !

In 1665 at the age of only 34ish came the second part of "Silex Scinillans" completed after a serious illness and a religious conversion, being completely different to the first part, and dealt chiefly with the concerns of metaphysics. Included were large references to medicine which had been found in previous works by John Donne and George Herbert, who I believe he must have studied at some point.

In the late 1640's he started practicing medicine in an area near Brecon. Here again their is not much evidence as to where or how he actually got his medical degree, he had M.D caved on his tombstone anyway, and like plenty of this era there is an air of mystery about it all. In 1673 he was to writ to his cousin sayin "My profession is in Physics which I have practiced now for many years with good success ( I thank God ), and a repute big enough for a person of greater parts than myself".

In 1655 Vaughan published "Hermetical Physick, or, the right way to preserve, and restore Health".It contained physics based on the "principles of true philosophy" as was the "Physick Of Hermes".It was a tranlation of the work of one Henry Nollius.

The Hermeticists related the causes of all diseases to the powers pf philosophy, especially the astrological ones, so Hermeticism has been regarded as an esoteric religion, full of counter signs, fantastic beiefs and exotic rites, though based on doctrine and demandind spiritual preparation. Fantastic really ,in an age where belief in superstition was rife, religious fundamentalism nothing new ,one had to be careful what one believed. The Hemetcisists also thought that where some diseases were caused by gods, others caused by fire, and that pregnancy was due to impregnation by a star, unbelievable perhaps, but even today belief in fantasticals all around, an age where some peoples absolute truths are still being fought for.

The most famous of the Hermetical Physicists at this time was Henry's brother, Thomas, who died in year of the great fire of London. His death recorded in true Hermetical fashion when " as twere suddenly when he was operating strong mercurie, some of which by chance getting up into his nose marched him off".

The Hermetical Physicians, Henry included believed they could cure diseases which the Galenists could not including epilepsies. Their basic message though were for the prevention of diseases. Several ideas were -
1.Lead a pious and wholly righteous life.
2.Follow after sobriety.
3.Eat not greedily and drink not immoderately.
4.Eat simple foods.
5.Eat only one type of food and drink at each meal.
6.Eat only foods to which you are used.
7.Use antidotes freely.
8.Change habitation if the air is contagious.
9.Use not too frequently the permission of marriage.

That's me fucked then, along with many of my fair-weathered friends. Hey ho!
Vaughan was perhaps attracted to the Hermeticists by their principle not to accept anything at its face value, but to critisize even the most accepted of theories by testing it with experiment. He was convinced that to be a successful physician one must be addicted to no particular school, but must be prepared to learn from all. Fair enough I say. I too like to learn, at the foot of mystics like Henry Vaughan their will always be questions to ask after all.

In 1695 Vaughan died a Welsh poet with an English tonque.In the words of Siegfried Sasoon-

Here sleeps the Silurist; the loved physician;
The face that left no portraiture behind;
The skull that housed white angels and had vision
Of daybreak through the gateways of the mind.
Here faith and mercy, wisdom and humility
(Whose influence shall prevail for evermore)
Shine, And this lowly grave tells Heaven's tranquillity
And here stand I, a suppliant at the door.

The Retreat

Happy those early days, when I
Shined in my angel-infancy!
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy aught
But a white celestial thought;
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two from my first love
And looking back, at that short space,
Could see a glimpse of his bright face;When on some gilded cloud, or flower,
My gazing soul would dwell an hour
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tonque to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness

O how I longed to travel back,
And tread again in that ancient track!
That I might once more reach that plain
Where first I left my glorious train;
From whence the enlightened spirit sees
That shady City of Palm-tress.
But ah!! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way.
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move,
And when this dust falls to the urn
In that state I came, return

Henry Vaughan



FURTHER READING

Bennett, Mrs. J. (Frankau) 1953. 4 Metaphysical Poets; Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw, Cambridge University Press.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

SUN RA! - hattie gossett


PHOTO CREDIT of Sun Ra (THE PROFILE) IS - MICHAEL WILDERMAN/ Jazzvisionsphotos.com
apologies for not crediting him earlier his site hosts an excellent archive of portraits of Jazz legends at http://www.jazzvisionsphotos.com/

1.

ive been dancing all my life
probably came out of the womb doing a liitle step
i've danced on 4 continents plus several islands
in places hifly la la la and lowdown lowlife ummmph
i got a dance major masters degree
someones even doing a thesis on me
danced solo duet trio quartet and ensemble with my own dance company
with music
witout music
even got rave reviews in new york times
but more than anything else i've always wanted to dance eith sun ra
now hes left this planet
guess i gotta wait til we meet somewhere over there on the other sideof
space is the place space is the place space
2.

voice of the universe
sun ra speaking:
"there are other worlds they have not told you of
somebody elses idea of how the world should be
aint necessarily how its got to be
there are other worlds they have not told you of
them
folks
been
a walkin
they a walkin
a walkin up
on the moon
if you wake up now
if you wake up now
if you wake up now
it wont be too soon
take your first step into outer space
like a little baby who never walked before
if you fall down get up and walk some more
like a little baby
go on & walk some more
walk some more
travelling the spaceways
from planet to planet
rocket number nine
second stop is jupiter
rocket number nine
from planet to planet
traveling
second stop is jupiter
rocket number nine
second stop is jupiter
rocket number nine
from planet to planet
traveling
second stop is jupiter
second stop is jupiter
second stop is jupiter"
3.

sun ra & his myth science arkestra
live!
from the universe
the entrance will last 2 centuries at least
just the entrance alone
imagine the costumes
cant you just see all those singers elephants capoeraistas birds lifesized
puppets giant lizards mimes musicians and tigers all working together for
"precision discipline & beauty" cant you see sun ra with all his sequins
glitter feathers jewels gowns & crowns doing the space walk walking space
spinning infinitely spinning spinning spinning infinitely spinning the
universe spinning & somewhere among all that " precision discipline &
beauty" will be lil ole bow-legged
jawole willa jo zollar from Kansas city
me
dancing with sun ra & his myth science arkestra
yes
4.

when i was in paris & spoleto i did it like this
in brazil & chicago they screamed when they saw this
in boston & new york i whipped it on em like this
in jerusalem & miami they were speechless when i did this
in jamaica & los angeles they couldnt get enough of this

4a.

sun ra speaking
the voice of the cosmos
"this is the creators song of tomorrows world
cosmic paradise
its sprigtime again
song of tomorrows world
springtime again
song of tomorrows world
cosmic paradise
song of tomorrows world"

4b

me & sun ra
when we do our duet
just me & sun ra
iam gonna do it like this
thats good for the duet dont you think
then when i do it with the arkestra
with sun ra & the whole big myth science arkestra live!
& me
i am gonna do it like this
"from planet to planet"
& like this
& like this
& then "from planet to planet"
i am gonna
gonna
gonna
"from planet to planet"
gonna
"from planet to planet"

4c.

voice of the omniverse
sun ra speaking
excerpt from a cosmic musical:
" lets go slumming
please
take me slumming
lets go slumming
on park avenue
lets hide behind a pair of fancy glasses
lets make faces when a member of their classes
passes
lets go smelling
where theyre dwelling
sniffing at everything the way they do
they do it
why cant we do it too
lets go slumming
on
park
avenue"

5.

sun ra
sunny
a/k/a herman sonny blunt
earliest earthly manifestation date: 22 may 1913 or 1914
bir
ming
ham

al
a
ma
bam
a
earthly transformation date: 30 may 1993
at his sisters house
bir
ming
ham

al
a
ma
bam
a

5b

danced on 4 continents
plus several islands
in places la la la & ummmph
with music
without music
more than anything i always did want to dance with sun ra
now hes left the planet
guess i gotta hook up with him somewhere space is the place space is the
place space

6.

sun ra speaking
voice of the universe:
"this is the song of tomorrows world
you cant just play the notes
you gotta fell the spirits
4/4 time point 2
fractions in rhythym harmony melody
spirits dont need to count"

7.

listen i gotta go now cuz idont want to be late for my gig in the omniverse
with sun ra & the myth science arkestra live! with me
the original urban bush woman infinitely spinning spinning
spinning the omniverse infinitely spinning the entrance
alone will last 2 centuries i am gonna do it like
this " from planet to planet" & like this & like
this travelling & then " from planet to planet"
traveling gonna gonna gonna " from
planet to planet "
"from planet to
planet"


NOTE: all material in quotation marks is either a direct quote or paraphrase from sun ra. some quotes are from songs by sun ra. some quotes are from the 4 hr interview between sun ra & phil schaap originally broadcast live during the sun ra festival on radiostation wkcr-fm at columbia university.

Poem originally appeared in
ALOUD,Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe- henry holt and company,New York 1994

Sunday, 15 November 2009

David R Edwards - Y TEIMLAD (the feeling)

portrait by Macolm Gwyon Picture by Malcolm Gwyon

Ah, Mr Edwards, a person who I regard as a dear friend,so the following is a little biased.
Formerly of the greatest band to emerge from Wales, Datblygu were a firm favourite of the late great John Peel, Dave's band managed in their time to record 5 brilliant sessions for Peel between 1987 -1993.They sang in Welsh, but that in itself does not really matter.
A unique acerbic point of view, a masterly command of language ( which just so happens, was in the medium of Welsh) . His live performances were legendary and incendiary, a real tour de force, I was lucky to see him in full flight a couple of times, unforgettable . His uncle used to live down the road from me  when I was younger, so I'd see a lot of Dave (my sister became his nephews godmother)... he'd mention bands that sounded exciting, and had me searching furtively at night for John Peel. Daves' musical influences  werevery wide ranged from the mighty Fall, the mekons, to the outer limits of Can, Beefheart  to Frank Sinatra and Charles Bukowski. Sadly ignored by the Welsh establishment of the time, he raged too hard you see. His music always seemed to convey a pissed- off, phlegmatic menace. Fucked up on Thatcherism, and general shitty Politicianism , a real peoples' poet he spoke for everyone, and the people still love him. His influence on the modern Welsh music scene enormous. He is acknowledged ,rightly so I say as a living legend.
Sadly Dave succumbed to alcoholism, depression and mental illness at the height of his creativity. Musically his voice has remained silent for over ten years bar one final single "Can Y Mynach Modern"(ANKSTMUSIC 121)2008. Perhaps he had nothing more to say. Yet he left behind a recorded legacy that anybody could be proud of, it all sounds great today. Bloody brilliant, in my opinion. Most of his output still available through the ANKST record label,and I believe they are all essential purchases, but if you unfamiliar with his work I strongly recommend " Datblygu The Peel Sesions 1987-1993(ANKSTMUSIK 119)2008.
Well he's just broken his tacitum having recently bought out his autobiography - Atgofion Hen Wanc (memories of an old Wank) Y LOLFA £6.95 ,well worth checking out,an honest account of his life up to now. Told with humour and candour.When you suffer from a mental illness it is not very easy to get motivated, so I admire Dave's new thirst for words.
" Y Teimlad" is a song that Dave and his band Datblygu recorded in 1984 and literally translates as the feeling, it was later covered by The Super Furry Animals on their Mwg album, and in Welsh sound more profound than in translation.Here Dave shows his emotional depth and lyrical genius. It was in all probability the most straightforward song he wrote. Datblygu meant "developing" and a lot of the music he created was very improvised and experimental. Y Teimlad is a song about love, or about not knowing what love is or what love means. When sung it had hints of melancholy and dissonance. It has so much emotional depth for me, the hairs on the back of my head stand up, a truly beautiful song. A reason to learn Welsh in itself. I will not translate it, I would not be able to give it justice. In the words of John Peel " You'd have to be a bit of a ninny to ignore Datblygu". Check them out, you will not be dissapointed. Such beautiful music, makes me proud you know. Long may he inspire. He currently lives in Abertefi, West Wales.
Oh and he does the usual things that legends do, spends time in the bookies, spends money in local supermarkets. His articulacy still shining, happy in himself, motivated by his own reasons,sometimes the days are strange, but legends do not have to explain themselves, now if you want to understand the meaning of his songs, well perhaps it's time to learn some Welsh.

Y TEIMLAD ( The Feeling)

Y teimlad sy'n gyrru pobl
i anghofio amser
y teimlad sy,n gyrru ti feddwl
nad yw'r dyfodol mor fler
y teimlad sydd yn dod
ac yn sbarduno gobaith
t'in gweld y tywod llwch
ond ti'n gweld fod yna flodau

Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad?
Y Teimlad
sydd heb esboniad
Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad
Y teimlad
Sy'n cael ei alw,n gariad
Y teimlad

Mae Hapusrwydd yn codi ac yn troi
yn wir rywbryd
ac mae'n dangos fod yna rywbeth
mewn hyd yn oed dim byd
a pan mae'r teimlad yno
mae bywyd yn werth parhau
ond yn ei absenoldeb
mae'r diweddglo yn agosau

Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad?
Y Teimlad
sydd heb esboniad
Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The voice of Sun Ra


If you're not suitable for the future,
you probably won't make it in the present either.

- Sun Ra

Sunday, 8 November 2009

MICHEANGELO ANTONIONI ( 29/9/32- 30/7/07) - Reflections on the film Actor.


The Film Actor need not understand, but simply be. One might reason that in order to be, it is necessary to understand. That's not so. If it were, the nthe most intelligent actor would also be the best actor. Reality often indicates the opposite.

When an actor is intelligent, his efforts to be a good actor are thrre times as great, for he wishes to deepen his understanding to take everything into account, to include subleties, and in doing so he trespasses on ground which is not his- in fact, he creates obstacles for himself.

His reflections on the character he is playing, which according to populat theoryr should bring him closer to an exact characterization, end up thwarting his efforts and depriving him of naturalness. The film actor should arrive for shooting in a state of virginity. The more intuitive his work, the more spontaneous it will be.

The film actor should work not on the psychological level but on the imaginative one. And the imagination reveals itself spontaneously- it has no intermediaries upon which one can lean for support.

It is not possible to have a real collabotation between actor and director. They work on two entirely different levels. The director owes no explatations to the actor except those of a very general nature about the people in the film. It is dangerous to discuss details. Sometimes the actor and director necessarily become enemies. The director must not compromise himself by revealing his intentions. The actor is a kind of trojan horse in the citadel of the director.

I prefer to get results by a hidden method; that is, to stimulate in the actor certain of his innate qualities of whose existence he is himself unaware- to excite not his intelligence but his instinct- to give not justifications but illuminations. One can almost trick and actor by demanding one thing and obtaining another. The director must know how to demand, and how to distinguish what is good and bad, useful and superfluous, in everthing the actor offers.

The first quality of a director is to see. This quality is also valuable in dealing with actors. The actor is one of the elements of the image. A modification of his pose or gestures modifies the image itself. A line spoken by an actor in profile does not have the same meaning as one given full-face. A phrase addressed to the camera placed above the actor does not have the same meaning it would if the camera were placed below him.

These few simple observations prove that it is the director- that is to say, whoever composes the shot - who should decide the pose, gestures, and movements of the actor.

The same principle holds for the intonation of the dialoque. The voice is a noise which emerges with other noises in a rapport which only the director knows. It is therefore up to him to find balance or imbalance of these sounds.

It is necessary to listen at length to an actor even wken he is mistaken and at the same time try to understand how one can use his mistakes in the film, for these errors are at the moment the most spontaneous thing the aqctor has to offer.

To explain a scene or piece of dialoque is to treat all the actors alike, for a scene or piece of dialoque does not change. On the contrary, each actor demands special tratment. From this fact stems the necessity to find different methods: to guide the actor little by little tothe right path by apparently innocent corrections which will not arouse his suspicions.

This method of working may appear paradoxical, but it is the only one which allows the director to obtain good results with non-professional actors found, as they say, "in the street". Neo-realism has taught us that, but the method is also useful with professional actors- even the great ones.

I ask myself if their really is a great film actor. The actor who thinks too much is driven by the ambition to be great. It is a terrible obstacle which runs the risk of eliminating much truth from his performance.

I do not think I have two legs. I have them. If the actor seeks to understand, he thinks. If he thinks, he will find it hard to be humble, and humility constitutes the best point of departure in achieving truth.

Occasinally an actor is intelligent enough to overcome his natural limitations and to find the proper road by himself - that is, he uses his inate intelligence to apply the method I have just described.

When this happens, the actor has the quality of a director.

From "Film Culture", nos.22-3, Summer 1961, pp. 66-7.

Friday, 6 November 2009

A Listening ear?



The Government reclassified cannabis to a less serious category in 2002 after recommendation of their own appointed drug advisory council.Yet by 2004 cowing to the right wing press the government went back to their advisors looking for some reconsideration, or bullying by any other name.The advisors looked into the issue again and their advice remained the same.Fair play to Charles Clarke, home secretary at the time , he accepted their advice.
That was then,but then Mr Brown became P.M and realised he had to appear tougher than his predecessor,so he went back to his advisors to try and get them to reverse the situation. Yet again the advisors stayed true to their original findings, but this time the then home secretary Jacqui Smith overode them.We have to remember this in light, this week of Professor David Nutt's sacking by present home secretary Alan Johnson.
My point is this, the government pretends to listen but fails to do so, why do they set up advisory committees and so forth, pandering to some kind of high sensibility then refuse to listen to the advice given to them, politics is a dirty business, and the government has to appear tough, but public debate is essential, and to sack an expert just because of one remark is clearly farcial.I'm not goin to say here whether the effects of cannabis are harmful or beneficial but scientific experts are appointed because, well their experts in their fields.What is the point of seeking scientific advice that when offered is simply rejected. It does not seem logical to me, but then maybe I've been smoking too long.
It seems to me Professor Nutt was sacked not because of of him crossing the line into politics, he was sacked because his advice does not fall in line with the government's own political position.Professor Nutt and his colleaques are experts in their fields, to snub them so publically is mind boggling!

It appears they missed the ball on this occasion, to much time listening to the editors of the Daily Mail, Express et alle, giving two fingers to everybody else.Personally this is what I have come to expect from this government, when their comfort blankets are taken away, they throw away their toys like spoiled kids. Not saying the other lot would be any different in the end, perhaps the only thing they are all able to listen to are the sounds of silence.


Further listening.

Carl Carlton - " I can feel it "

Brian Eno _ Needle in the camel's eye

The Beatles - Ticket to ride