Friday, November 11, 2011

Strange Fruit Loops

"Seed, Tree, & Fruit"


Return from Fruit to Root from Seed 
Has need of air, rain, flame and earth.
Latter's birth as pome, its
Flesh decayed, consumed; laid
To abide in hallowed mound for
Incarnation's clarion.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Adventures in Prose


Edward IV, just ruler of a mid-sized duchy, fathered two children by his first wife, who unexpectedly died giving birth to the last. Edward was not as grief-stricken as one might have guessed, for his marriage to Endleia had been politically arranged, and he bore no particular affections for the woman.
Four months after Endleia's death, was the celebration of the country's independence. Banquets, carnivals, and other festivities were held . Before the festivities were to begin, it was Edward's duty as the land's regent to say some words to remind the people of the true significance of the holiday. After he had finished speaking, the merry-making began.
Edward found himself ambling about from place to place exchanging words with his people, insuring all was proceeding as it should, and overseeing things in general. Well-loved by his citizens, there was little need for personal security; nonetheless, his bodyguards were present to ensure his safety. Edward amused himself by trying to spot all of them. He walked accompained by one armed guard in uniform, but several others moved throughout the crowds in disguise, never maintaining a constant position. Edward lamented the necessity of such protection, but knew that assassination was a threat everpresent, for reasons to be later explained.
He rarely participated in any of the festivities, not because he was above such things, but because he derived little enjoyment from them. Hearing a great cheer arise from the jousting fields, he decided to walk over to see what had occurred. After arriving, he took a seat and began to watch. Soon bored with the jousts, Edward began to watch the spectators at the jousting competition. Idly, his eyes swept the crowd. Occasionally, a citizen would catch him watching, and would wave in greeting. Edward returned all these salutations warmly, for even though he was of the royal house, he was a duke at one with his people. What bothered them, affected him to a similar degree. Unlike most other rulers of the realm, Edward disdained shows of fealty and obeisance. He was greatly respected, but without all the regale and pomp that others demanded. He preferred a kind word and a sincere handshake, to a token bow. This, Edward knew, was true respect, something most rulers secretly longed for.
He moved to depart, but his eyes fell upon a woman that looked faintly familiar to him, though he knew that he had never seen her before, for he surely would have remembered. Immediately, he was struck by her grace, poise, and loveliness. Her hair was dark as night interspersed with streaks of mahogany; it spilled down her back, past her arms to the bench upon which she sat, bound by a single silver band. Her skin was smooth, a deep chestnut brown, enveloping a slender, lightly-muscled frame. She had delicate, refined features coupled with full lips, and large, liquid, luminous brown eyes; eyes that changed shade as one looked in them. In a short span of time, Edward found himself hopelessly lost in the beauty he gazed upon.
Mali (her name as Edward would later discover) must have felt eyes upon her, because she turned abruptly and caught Edward unashamedly staring at her. Their eyes locked for a long instant, then Mali dropped her eyes and blushed deeply. Immediately taking the initiative, Edward made his way through the crowd to her side and introduced himself. She rose and curtsied, introducing herself as Mali of the house of Enduval. It was then that his unconscious suspicions were confirmed: she was elven, from the southern mountainous reaches of the Realm; virtually identical to the other subraces of elves but for their dark complexions.
They left the jousting fields and walked about, side-by-side, adjourning to the Botanical Gardens for refreshment and respite. The day was bright and warm, and large billowing clouds nimbly roamed the heavens, managing never to obstruct the sun's light. The planting season was upon the land, and sounds of farmers tillings the lands could be heard in the whispering breeze. Mali told Edward of her plans, already in progress, to buy a small estate on which to live. She also told him why she left her father's household.
It seemed that her father, Lord Enduval, held the office of Counciliator, first advisor to the Regent. However, the current Regent had just died from wounds sustained in a hunting accident, leaving the throne unoccupied. As Counciliator, he held the throne temporarily, until the new Regent was appointed. As Counciliator, he could not arbitrarily name the successor, but any seeker of the Regency with his support was virtually guaranteed to be the next occupant of the throne. Though Enduval had already chosen who would receive his support, a certain shadowy faction was exerting its influence, pressuring him to endorse their chosen successor. Foreseeing that the cabal might seek to subdue him through threat of harm to his only daughter, he sent her to safety.
At this point, she drew a silver chain from around her neck, revealing a small cylindrical pendant. Mali removed the small roll of parchment bearing a waxen seal embossed with an elvish rune. Before handing the roll to Edward, she incanted the arcane syllables to disarm the glyph that would destroy the message and grievously injure the reader who lacked such knowledge. Edward broke the seal and read the contents of the letter:


Edward,
I come to you a man in need. Due to recent political complications, It falls upon me to make a decision as to who shall become the new Regent. While I have already made my choice, a group not unknown to me intends to see their puppet placed upon the throne. This cannot be allowed. While I am in little danger, I fear that they may try to force me to alter my decision through threat of harm to my daughter. To thwart their intents, I have resolved to place her in a place of safety. This was where I found some difficulty. Obviously, I cannot send her to stay with any of my contingents, for she could be reached there. Amid all of the recent turbulence, I am not sure of who I can trust. Then I remembered the alliance meeting, and my answer was clear.
So, I send her to you, where she is least likely to be found, knowing you will keep her safe, away from danger. I have sent her with adequate funds to provide for her every need, as not to further burden you. Keep her safe. I am forever in your debt.


E

Edward finished the letter. Now he knew from whence he remembered Mali--her father; the resemblance between the two was uncanny. Thoughts of Enduval also revived memories of the alliance meeting. Edward had met Mali's father there, seven years ago.
In an effort to rid the countrysides of bandits, goblins, orcs and the like, Enduval had invited all the rulers of the surrounding lands to the treaty table to discuss a means to accomplish this goal. During the talk, Edward had been a cornerstone, keeping the discussion flowing smoothly, proposing new ideas, and ending petty bickering between the other attendees. This would not be so surprising but for the fact that Edward, not yet the duke, had been sent in his father's stead. Edward was merely a youth of nineteen years. In two years, Edward III would die, and Edward IV would assume the title.
In the end, the goal was accomplished, and more: and alliance had been formed. Now, many years hence, Enduval called upon the "youth" that had so impressed him at the alliance meeting.
Enduval, it seems, had made the wisest choice possible, for by now, Edward had already committed himself to insuring the welfare of this elven maiden he by whom was so irrevocably smitten. After Mali had become established (Edward had personally overseen all arrangements), they began seeing each other quite often....

FLESH THIS OUT

Edward courted Mali for six months, and by this time, she was deeply in love with this handsome, perceptive, sensitive young duke. He proposed to her in the castle's flower gardens, in classic style. She accepted, interrupting him halfway through his proposal and they closed in a tender embrace. Two weeks later, in early winter, during a private ceremony, Mali and Edward were married. To preserve her anonymity, the marriage was kept secret.

POLITICAL COMPLICATIONS BECAUSE EDWARD IS AN OSTENSIBLE BACHELOR

Ten months later, Rhys was born. He grew up strong and healthy, and as planned, only he and his parents knew the truth of his birth. Rhys was a darkly handsome youth. His complexion was roughly between that of his parents, but closer to that of his mother's. He inherited his mother's features, but his father's build. Rhys was tutored as if he were Edward's acknowledged son: he was taught reading, arithmetic, writing, archery, swordsmanship--all by the best masters available.
Early on, he showed a natural talent with weapons and tactics, so at fifteen, he was sent to an academy to learn the finer points of the martial arts. For a year, everything ran smoothly, and Rhys progressed well. He was not an overly friendly youth, but made friends easily. He was secretly envied by many of the other boys at the academy. Every Sixthday, the headmaster would allow them to enter town to enjoy themselves. There, Rhys's good looks and easy smile brought him the admiration and attention of many young ladies. While not a natural dancer, through practice he became moderately good, and this brought him even more attention. However, unknown to him, the jealousy of some of the other boys was gradually turning into hate. He had excellent coordination, and through much practice, had become exceptionally skilled with the short bow, short sword, and the spear. It wasn't long before he was besting some of the younger instructors in mock combats.
During in the second year at the academy, the boys began learning attack and defense against multiple opponents, and again, Rhys excelled. Later that year, the headmaster invited the parents of the boys to the school for them to view their sons' progress. The parents watched drills, arms practice, the daily exercise regimen, attended the classroom sessions, and more. For later that evening, contests were scheduled. There would be competitions in swordplay, wrestling, archery, and other combat arts. Rhys placed first in the archery and spear competitions, and close second in the blind-fighting and swordsmanship events. The last event of that evening would be the one-on-one swordplay competition, fought with tar-coated wooden blades. There were twenty competitors. They were matched off in pairs to fight. Four strikes total or two strikes in a vital area with the sword during a match would constitute a defeat. The first ten matches were single elimination matches. A defeat would eliminate the competitor from the contest. Rhys won his match, and the twenty was reduced to ten. The next five matches were also single-elimination. Rhys won this match also, and the ten was reduced to five. Each of the final five competitors was to fight each of the other four once, for a total of ten matches. The one with least number of losses would be proclaimed the winner. Quickly and efficiently, Rhys dispatched each of his five opponents, winning the competition, only suffering a total of three strikes in all. Then came the surprise: as a consolation for the losers, the swordmaster decided that Rhys would face four opponents simultaneously in a final match. The runner-up being the one suffering the least number of strikes. Rhys would need to take three strikes to be "killed", and his opponents, one each.
Early in this final match, Rhys suffered a slash to his right leg, leaving him with two strikes and four opponents. Employing all of his knowledge and skill, he slowly, carefully, "killed" two of the remaining four, leaving two. He took another strike. One more would be the end for him. He took a desperate gamble that paid off and eliminated one of the two. Now it was one-on-one, and the other boy couldn't match Rhys's skill. Foolishly, the other boy overextended himself in a brash overhead blow. Rhys calmly stepped aside and slashed him, gently, along the ribs. The match was over, and all of the parents were standing, applauding him. He stood, exhausted in the center of the circle and rested.
While none of the boys' parents was disappointed with their sons' performance, each of the final four took their defeats personally and felt humiliated. Among these were some of his jealous rivals who'd long conspired against Rhys. Later that night when the parents had left, the four congregated secretly and plotted revenge against Rhys. Meanwhile, Rhys slept, tired out from the day's efforts.
Two nights later as all was still (supposedly), this same group stole into Rhys's room. They entered the room singly, but before the first had taken two steps, Rhys was up and ready. The element of surprise already lost, the remaining three charged into the room. Outnumbered four-to-one and facing weapons (clubs and small knives), Rhys was still no easy prey. He downed two before one of the others caught him from behind with a lucky blow, downing him.
They bound him to a chair and gagged him, then after reviving the other two, began torturing him. First, they beat him in the face and head. Then, they broke his left arm and right leg. Finally, they took knives and cut him cruelly in the face, one scar going from the corner of his right eye to the corner of his mouth.
The agony was unbearable, and he blacked out several times, but they merely shook him awake and began again. About three hours before dawn, they finished and left him, tied to the chair, broken and bleeding.
The next morning at breakfast, the headmaster abruptly became aware of Rhys's absence. He walked up to the boy's room, and discovered him there, still tied to the chair. The headmaster ran back to the great hall, summoned three of the teachers and a healer, and returned to the room. They untied him and began to administer medical aid. They splinted the broken bones and rubbed healing ointments on the bruises and bandaged the cuts.

WHY WERE EDWARD OR MALI NOT NOTIFIED OF THIS EVENT?
WHY WAS RHYS NOT SENT HOME FOR TREATMENT?

Rhys regained consciousness three days later. The headmaster questioned him as to who had done it, but Rhys refused to implicate any of the four boys.
Over the next month, he slowly regained his health and strength. It was fully a month before Rhys was able to resume his studies and training, and the scars never went away. This time, Rhys was sure not to shine so brightly in his tutors' eyes. For the next two months, Rhys trained with a fury, determined to regain his former proficiency. One night, exactly six months after his ordeal, Rhys retired to his room with vengeance topmost in his thoughts.
Early the next morning, when the headmaster entered the great hall to begin preparations for breakfast, he was horrified to discover the bodies of four youths sitting at the table, tied to chairs, in a grim parody of life. There were signs of rope burns and strangulation on the necks, and by the way the heads lolled on the necks, it was obvious that the necks has been neatly snapped.
There was a folded piece of paper on the table addressed to the headmaster. With trembling hands, he took and opened it. Written in black ink, in Rhys's flowing script were the words:
Verdict: Guilty.
He did not bother to check the boy's room, for he knew the boy was gone...
Knowing that the fathers of the slain boys would see to his imprisonment and shortly subsequent execution, Rhys had gone to the one place where he knew he could be safe--the Rogues' Gallery.

WHAT IS THE ROGUES' GALLERY?

What started out as a simple idea blossomed into an undertaking of some difficulty. Although almost everyone enjoyed knowledge of its existence, extremely few knew its location. Rhys began his search by asking the townsfolk of its whereabouts. After a week of such, he was amazed at the number of misinformed barkeeps, tongueless beggars, and ignorant whores and serving girls.
Two nights later as he returning to the inn that he'd made his temporary home, he noticed he was being followed by three burly, scruffy-looking men. Rhys led his pursuers through a maze of turns and branches, but they remained on his tail. Then, accidentally, he took a wrong turn into a blind alley. Two of the men grabbed his arms, and the last put a blindfold over his eyes and said, "Remove this blindfold before you're told, and you're a dead man."
Rhys responded by politely inquiring where he was being taken. He received no response, and correctly assumed that the short dialog was over. He heard a noise like paving stones sliding on each other, and was pushed into a passage that led underground to the sewers. Over the next hour, he was exchanged to other "escorts" at least three times, led out of and back into the sewers at least six times, and through so many turnings that five men could not have remembered them all.
Finally, he was led into a house, taken upstairs and roughly pushed into a chair and told to remove his blindfold. Rhys removed the sash from around his eyes, and was blinded by the the light of more than two hundred candles reflected at him. After a moment's contemplation, he replaced the sash over his eyes.
He was addressed by a deep, rumbling voice, and asked why he saw seeking the Rogues' Gallery. He answered truthfully that he was seeking to join.

flesh out

Three years later, late one night he was returning from "work". He headed toward the waterfront (the Guild's location), making sure he was not being followed. He never made it there. From a distance, he could see the City Guard milled all about the waterfront, and the men he had considered friends were being led from the waterfront in irons, and many lay dead.
Once more he fled-to the forest. It was here that he learned a solemn reverence for nature and a kinship with the animals. Later, he sought out and befriended a clan of sylvan elves who taught him further in the ways of the forest. He spent the next two years in the company of the elves.
Not having seen his mother in nearly (seven years), he realized she was ignorant of the fact that he still lived. He decided to leave and visit her for a fortnight. After traveling for two days, he arrived at her house. The reunion was all that he had hoped for, and more. That night, they sat and discussed the events of the last six years. He told her of his escapades (and escapes), and she told him of the death of his father.
Edward had been a man of noble words and actions, and it was these actions which had attracted the attention of certain enemies of the King. It seemed that Edward was aware of various plots to by an evil brotherhood to assassinate the King and assume control of the kingdom. One could only imagine of what would happen next.
Operating clandestinely, Edward and his forces had balked the cabal at every turn. Finally, the fell group decided to eliminate the problem at the source ... to kill Edward. However, Edward knew of the plot through a spy he had planted when he became aware of the group's existence. He and a group of his most trusted and powerful allies secretly stormed the evil ones' fortress, and met them in a final battle. In the end, the cabal was utterly destroyed, but Edward had suffered a fatal wound, and died.
That ended the recapping of the last six years' events, and they retired for the evening. Rhys stayed for the next two weeks, then left, though sadly, but knew he could always return. He began the journey back to the elven citadel.
On the second day he was alarmed to discover the tracks of a large group of trolls traveling to the elves' home. Anxiously, he began to run hoping that the elves had defeated the trolls, but he knew in his heart that it was not so. When he arrived, it was as he had feared. The citadel was ransacked, the halls had been burned to the ground, and elven bodies lay strewn on the ground horribly mutilated. The trolls had done a thorough job, and not a soul was left alive.
In later years, Rhys revenged the murder of the elves, and assumed his father's title and throne, but that is another story...

The Mind is a Ghetto

we may have been raised from humble circumstances, and we may have lived in what could be characterized by some as ghettos, but ghetto is a state of mind, and so we never truly lived in the ghetto, but in the estates of our imagination. for this reason, although we appreciate and love hip-hop, our experience lacks some crucial ingredient to hip-hop's most popular recipes. but for every deficit, a remedy is supplied, with a bonus. so while hip-hop has long been a language of political rebellion, a lament for the oppressive circumstances under which many of its adherents survive and labor, and a medium through which to vent rage and violence; we add to it an appreciation for things beautiful, a reverence for all the wonders of creation, and a somber respect for the horrific and fearsome.

This and That, Negated

is it not strange how our own feelings and motives are seemingly so transparent to ourselves,
yet are vague and obscure to others?

it is even more peculiar that we may cite the faults of others with facility,
yet be blind and ineffectual to our own flaws.

between the moments, i have made a science of inscrutability
and have calculated it out to superfluous precision.
it is the curse i have incurred of my own volition.

you are as the cure for my sickness,
but a cure i have denied myself out of an ill-placed sense of honor or dignity.

i ask a boon of you: i ask that you encourage me to listen more intently to the fragrant breeze that is your voice, that you help me to quell my own ego and contain the odd brand of cruelty that is my tattoo.

i am the sinning saint, the diabolical angel, the savior that destroys, neither this nor that.

(Untitled)

the Pains that Bind

Emotional scars are as iron bars; those
Adamantine chains retain Heaven's rains.
Earth's bountiful plenty thereby refrains from
Dispensing the life-giving force that sustains.



You Should Make More Music

Love is a melody that valiantly plays
To the length of one's span and the breadth of one's days.
To the depth of one's art, and the beat of one's heart, 
It shouts and drowns out discordant malaise.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On Loving

as commonly defined, to 'make love' is to engage in sexual intercourse.
put simply, 'making love' is 'having sex,' but this former phrase is
ascribed a status lacked by the latter. making love is sex with all the
frills--intimacy, emotion, affection, romance, et cetera; where having sex
assumes none of these things, and is more a general description of the act.

i am not sure whether the phrase under discussion qualifies as an
idiom or not, but for the sake of critical analysis, let us interpret it
literally to gain an alternate view on its meaning. 'make love,' as it is
commonly understood, means to engage in an act of loving, or to have sex
lovingly. what if 'make love' were interpreted as an act of creating love
where it previously existed in lesser quantity? more to the point, by way
of the physical act of sexual intercourse, the emotion, love, is elicited
from either participant and directed toward the other.this interpretation
casts our subject in a new light; it implies that love is a by-product of
the sexual act. while viewed somewhat distastefully by modern moral
standards, this understanding seems to jibe well with common experience.
it is certainly true that pleasurable sex can and does evoke a powerful
emotional response, and that this response in any other context would
qualify as love.

i do not ascribe any mystical or magical attributes to love. love, to me,
is a relative quantity, and may be understood very simply. it is the most
powerful feeling of affective attraction that a being has thus far
experienced. so often i have heard persons decry the "crushes" and
infatuations of youth as cheap folly. i deny this. those immature
feelings were as genuine as the mature love we come to experience years
later. the love from youth was likely not of the same depth of feeling nor
did it likely carry the same objective breadth. regardless of these
deficiencies, the feelings held as much validity in their own time as do
the loving feelings we now cherish.

juvenile love is simple, innocent, humble, undemanding. if love were
likened to a drug, our tolerance to it when young is pitifully low. it is
no surprise that adolescents can and do fall do irrevocably in love, as did
romeo and juliet. as our tolerance for emotion grows, we are better
prepared to forestall the gravitic effect of attraction in order to
deliberate in the experience of acquaintance. that process of "getting to
know you" (GTKY) is so precious, (normally occurring only once, if that
often) that i deem it essential to conduct thoroughly and enjoy just so.
for reasons not thoroughly understood, after initially making love, the
process of acquaintance sometimes changes in character. sometime the act
of sex can stunt an acquaintanceship; sometimes it can catalyze.
regardless of the outcome, it can hardly be denied that once physically
engaged, a couple will never be the same. the consequences are sometimes
obvious; without taking the time to determine what is required to allow the
personalities to mesh, relations are like to be ill-founded.

i am of the belief that most any two personalities can mesh agreeably IF
compromises, concessions, and the like are made and adhered. in this way,
relations are like nations sharing a border. war can be avoided if both
nations are dedicated to the idea of peaceable relations, and harmony can
thrive in an atmosphere of peace. during GTKY, assessments reveal the
initial level of compatibility, and the character of the relation to ensue.
even a passive nation can have harmonious relations with a warlike nation,
if it submits to the other. if the appropriate treaties are not set in
place and adhered, if the appropriate appraisals and compromises do not
occur, if the partners don't agree to agree, the relation may not work.

Night's Tour

While traveling o'er the barren moor,
the knight takes pause along his tour
to offer tribute and salute
the vision of a lady fair.

His speech, though brief, hangs in the air,
its strident tones dispel dispair.
The words resound with echo clear;
his visage mirrors the truth they bear.

She is unmoved; she speaketh not;
her face does not reveal her thoughts.
It would seem she did not see
or hear his act of courtesy.

He intends to find a friend
and may not pass this way again;
so he delays, a while he stays
to ponder how this path might end.

But as though she were made of stone,
this matriarch on her black throne
behaves haughtily and spitefully.
Our hero goes his way alone.

In days to come her face may change,
but he'll have crossed that lonely range,
and ventured to pastures more green,
to find a truly worthy queen.

Spectres of Together

At day's end, when slumber calls, so too your body beckons me: softly, urgently.

I muse of whispering caresses and pine for the feel of your limbs entwined about my body.
Memories of your skin, sleek and fragrant against my own, linger, wraith-like.

In semi-conscious reverie,
My mouth traces your placid peaks and tender valleys,
Kissing your lips and your lips.

As the honeybee seeks nectar from the demure rose,
I also delve between velvety petals, foraging for bliss.
Your face brushes against my own as we share the primal kiss.
I forget myself in visions of you: regal, graceful, in restful repose.

Passionate lament resounds through the halls of my remembrance.

Quantum Logos

we bind our thoughts in linguistic prisons,
confining them to stencils of semantic.

thought is fluid and chimaeric; prolific,
birthing twin siblings of homophone and homonym.

mental concepts dance and flitter, bridging
the lacunae betwixt a meaning and its shades
(for shade is shadow, and a spirit is a shade;
thus is a spirit of usage also a shade of meaning).

words are as diamond lattice, transparent entrapments
within which we cage these gleeful shapeshifters,
limiting them to singular dimension.

Mist in the Wind


Crystal-clear and placid is contemplation's basin;
a pensive splash of sustenance, remote, atop a crag.
Helios and Luna console and caress
yon humble creation, knows it aught of distress?

Yet surely you sense the wistful lament;
gay breeze bears aloft impalpable tears.
No image of weary wayfarer to echo;
no sojourning eagle to sip at its shores.

Idyll of the Calends

In sequestered place from time and space
surveying wordlessly the chase
of years by year, and day by days
as sundial's shadow seasons trace;
impassively he stands in place
hourglass eyes in square clockface.

The sun reigns hazy, mid-day heat,
fat droplets soak the asphalt street
forming puddles--deep, abysmal pools;
clear, cool draughts for muddled fools
that abruptly vanish and retreat
to distance safe from aimless feet.

In the evening of the year
red-orange leaves scorn passing feet
and trodden twigs make cryptic speech
like "whisper-crack" and "rustlescratch."
they gossip tactical retreat:
"earth withdraws strength for needed sleep;
summer has fled the fall frontier."

Silent, frosty, winter nights hide
joyous lakes 'neath skies of ice
gurgling ancient, arcane melodies,
unknown to all but archmage wise.
To him the water bodies sing
the ballad "Battle Winterspring."

But for return of life to a land near-dead
all beings, great and small, rejoice--
Behold the rebirth of dormant earth;
each child of nature lifts its voice.
Old rivals hail; loved ones embrace.
The game's rejoined; resume the chase!

Beyond the threshold of the world,
this fleeting realm of wroth and pain,
our sentinel keeps watchful eye
without surcease, without refrain.
His calendar reads dusk to dawn,
sunrise to set, and back again.

Heaven and Earth

How warmly, brightly her spirit shines
across his sea of space and shadow.
Her song moves him as the pliant willow,
whispers through him like a breeze through pines.

Cloaked in darkness, She undresses.
Under leather, wool, and cotton
next to her skin, are his caresses;
in ardent cries, her pain forgotten.

Amid the rays of brightest day,
they frolic within streams of light.
Yet, as radiance wanes away,
They sway to rhythms of the night.

Her form is grace and elegance,
primal wisdom, sensuality,
forged from femininity, quenched,
then honed with artful diligence.

Gaia's child devoted, true;
Her vitality is passion.
He is the Son and the Sun of Heaven,
restrained, possessed only by one.

Desire's Reply


to embrace her, to be embraced by her;


to partake in the same spark of warmth that infuses her being;
to sustain it so that the burdens of my soul are made lighter;


to know complementarity in four dimensions:
harmony of spirit, peerage of intellect, mutual empathy, and physical compassion;


to find sanctuary in her presence;
to feel the care that she bears for me even in her absence;


to share peace within a joyous sphere;
to replenish and have replenished the vessels of truth, love, and courage;


to understand how i have come to feel this way;
to know why i yearn for her affections as for no other;

to love her, to be loved by her.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Character Dis-armoring

When people are born they are soft and supple when they perish they are hard and rigid
--TTC ch.76


In this verse, rigidity and stiffness are associated with death while softness and suppleness are associated with life.  This comparison can be interpreted literally or metaphorically, as can virtually all of the TTC.  The obvious literal interpretation is that toward the end of his span, man is often physically rigid. Muscles, joints, and tendons are stiff from disuse. Bones have turned brittle, more likely to shatter than bend at a fall.  Certainly after death this is the case. 

We could likewise discuss spiritual death.  We could say that people are mentally or behaviorally inflexible towards life's end.  Their experiences have often closed them off from the ultimate variety to be found in life, and they dwell in the pain of the past errors or in the staid comfort of habit.  Near unto death, many humans generally will have ceased learning and growing.  Opinions have become fixed, attitudes and habits likewise ingrained. 

One might be inclined to infer a cause-effect relationship here.  Old age brings hardness, brittleness, and stiffness, and eventually death.  In the U.S., for example, it's fairly common to observe middle-aged citizens who can scarcely walk unassisted, and even with assistance, move rather slowly.  Contrast this with a common depiction of elderly Chinese citizens, who are often vital and active well into their twilight years, having practiced Tai Chi and Chi Gung.




One of the author's worst fears was once the long decline into old age, and the suffering that often result from progressive loss of health.  Since discovering yoga, I know that this is a foolish fear.  Stiffness, pain, and brittleness need not herald death's approach.  In fact, flexibility training will likely will do much to forestall death and the chronic suffering that often signals it.  Understanding this, is there any surprise that women tend to outlive men on average?

I've already written an essay about the great benefits I derived from adopting yoga into my fitness practice.  For most of my adolescent and adult years, fitness was predominantly geared towards strength training.  While I acknowledged decline in my ability to flex and bend limbs over time, I ignored the symptoms until they became too painful to ignore.  Yoga's benefit is that it requires limbs to act in concert with each other in equilibrium.  Some of the postures can be navigated for a time with strength alone, but this is rather exhausting. Moreover, difficulty in yoga indicates regions of the body where stiffness has taken hold.  When one experiences fatigue in yoga, the cause is often not weakness, but stiffness and unbalanced muscle groups.  This is a common affliction in the western culture, where one's ability to lift and push is prized, but one's ability to reach, stretch, and bend is generally not.  As a result bodily abductors are exercised more than the adductors; consequently,  yoga is difficult and wearisome.

Yoga taught me that I bear stress in the hips, back, and upper legs.  Through sustained practice, I've located several pockets of muscular rigidity in those regions, so I'm now in an ongoing campaign to banish such rigidity wherever I encounter it.  My practice has also made me more aware of any difficulty experienced in movement so that I am more likely to notice it whenever bodily movement betrays it.  In theory, the body should be balanced across its central axis, the spinal column.  I should have the same range of motion on one side as on the other.  Granted, the left and right halves of the body are not identical; practices and habits will have modified the natural balance between left and right hemispheres for better or worse.  I am developing a practice intended to bring the left and right halves of my body into closer balance and harmony.


The deeper connection is that evolution generally flows from within to without, and here is the reasoning:
     1) Our bodily condition is largely the sum of decisions, attitudes, actions, habits, and practices over a lifetime.  I've seen it written that the only true exercise of so-called "free will" is the object of one's attention.  At any moment, we are free to choose which objects to attend with our mental faculties, again for better or worse.  We are conscious of those objects to we we apply our attention, and we tend to develop and evolve "in the direction" dictated by our consciousness.  Our power of will is exerted exclusively on those objects in our sphere of attention.  We co-create our existence around those objects in our sphere of attention, and this is how we exercise our vaunted free will.  Consequently, it becomes very important to exercise some judiciousness over the objects we allow access to our power of will and sphere of attention.  Maintaining improper focus can have negative effects over a lifespan, as we might imagine.
     2) Any inflexibility or stiffness in the body therefore has its likely cause not in the body (barring congenital or acquired defect), but in our non-material essence.  Therapy is a long, drawn-out process aimed at locating the source of such internal causes and curing them through some sort of cathartive process/method.  What should be apparent, is that non-material causes cannot be remedied through material means.
     3) In quantum mechanics, there is a principle known as time-reversal symmetry (TRS).  TRS essentially posits that processes can be undone by reversing in space-time the process of creation.  I don't know how to reverse the flow of time, but I do know how to undo stiffness through the practice of yoga.  The logical consequence, is that by undoing the material effect, you can confront and dispel the cause of stiffness, which is ultimately non-material (mental/spiritual) in nature.


This is still a work in process, so I can't sell you a DVD yet, but let's determine if it makes sense from a logical perspective.  Let's suppose that somewhere in our consciousness, there is a bastion of rigidity, based in belief, attitude, habit, or practice.  It acts in such a way to diminish our physical capacity to act/move (i.e. pain).  We do not need to know the precise mechanism by which the illness acts.  What we do know are the features of our experience which attempt to inform us that we are suffering.  In response, we engage in activity to counteract the effect of the purported illness.  The question we need answered is whether the activity performed is sufficient to remedy the effect of the illness  -- not simply to negate the effect, but to eradicate the cause.  The root cause was clearly sufficient to create a physical manifestation of pain.  Can our response defeat the cause?  Not directly.  Our response in this case is physical, corresponding to the effect.


Pain is a signal of an unhealthy condition, it can be understood as a cry for help or attention, which as you may recall, is the source of consciousness.  By stimulating the pain response, a phenomenon attempts to enter your consciousness and receive attention.  By engaging in measures to alleviate the pain, you answer the call for help.   By performing behaviors to address the pain-effect you now demonstrate self-compassion or self-love.   By sustaining those measures, you move toward wholeness and health.  The decision to change behavior is a non-material response to address the non-material cause of the pain.  So long as the behavior persists, reason for the pain has no longer cause to persist.


In the film, "The Matrix" is a scene where a young adept is bending spoons with the power of his mind.  He admonishes Neo, "You cannot bend the spoon, it is impossible.  Instead try to understand the truth that there is no spoon, then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."  Reflecting on this and the opening quote I now suspect that "bending the self" is not metaphysical advice but practical counsel.  We all enter this world soft and tender, pliable and supple.  It is only through experience and our response to it that we acquire the attributes of death.  Perhaps all we require is sustained training to return to the primal state of suppleness and softness in order to cultivate life and greater power as suggested in the film.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jewelry Ensemble

"Book of Changes"


An hexagram from the Book of Changes consists of an inner trigram superposed by an outer trigram.  Each of the hypercubes comprising the sculpture represents all eight discrete trigrams.  Thus, the sculpture simultaneously depicts the 64 hexagrams.  The jewel at center represents the querent.

"Pieces of Eight"

"Heaven's Heart"

"Three Faces of the Cube"






Vesica Piscis features prominently on this representation of the Tree of Life superimposed on the Flower of Life depicted in cubic form.



"J├Ârmungandr" (working title)




One strand, formed into a loop, re-formed into three orthogonal loops, thus creating a sacred space or consciousness.

"Cosmogony"



"Therefore there is in the Changes the Great Primal Beginning. This generates the two primary forces. The two primary forces generate the four images. The four images generate the eight trigrams. The eight trigrams determine good fortune and misfortune. Good fortune and misfortune create the great field of action." (Commentary on I Ching, tr. Wilhelm and Baynes 1967:318-9)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Quincunx"






"Quincunx"


how deep is your water?

how hot burns your flame?

how far range your heavens?

how curves your terrestrial frame?

how empty the void within, which contains?




Inspired by Tao-te Ching verse 54

Big Bang (femto-seconds later)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tantric Pilgrimage


She is as Mecca, an enticing, engaging, enervating journey at which destination comfort and solace are found and passion sated. Hers is a delightful temple of splendor at which priestesses submit to every fantasy as I attend their Goddess.


Her lacquered talons clutch and tear at my flesh with every rapturous wave, shudder, and pulse of Her taut, muscular, dewy, mahogany form. Whispers, whimpers, wailing, flailing, commanding, demanding, pleading. Then...silence, as She receives my entreaty and releases Her blessing, and I am awash in the light of Her glory.


Opaque pools of calm strength and wisdom gaze upon me with approval and satisfaction, and bated desire. We then abide wordlessly, Deity and devotee, each affirming commitment. Communion renews my devotion to Her, as it satisfies my soul and restores my essence.