Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wolfgirls Dance under June's Moon

Caesar nominates
the lion month

its blonde
rays retain
the sun's
within a jar
with beeswax

it contains
oyster beds
marinated in Mexican

groves of palms
spitting purple dates

and their astral
love preserved
during the white nights
of die Deutsche Zeit

but finally
it is time
to spike the seal
and shuck
the shells

he refrains
from flight

and howls
beneath June's
green moon

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


aten is god
of the sun

the son
of big mind
outside the tent

in his heavenly
the sense
that oneness
exceeds many

clowns divide
the circle
twice squared
and their gods

a panoply

while without
the circle
and the tide

Polytheism during the Time of Akhenaten

the stars
and shine
on the maker
of the mannered
and pyramids

gods of bronze
silver and gold
with stone
a plural
of imbued
natural rock
and made fabric

god-ness in single-ness
outside the outer

both relinquishes
and supports

Circus Arrives in Munich in Oktober

the ring
beneath canvas
in tiny cars
and ladies
with big whips
to perform

big mind

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Short Review of Dan Abnett's "Traitor General"

In 1967, Alistair MacLean published "Where Eagles Dare." The book was made into a film with Richard Burton and a young Clint Eastwood in 1968. The plot involves an elite force of British and American Commandos who go behind enemy lines to rescue a United States general captured while enroute to Crete to meet with Russian counterparts. The story is replete with secrets and betrayals plus wholesale mayhem.

As a young man in 1968, I was enamored with the film and even today I will happily re-watch it. What does this have to do with "Traitor General," you may ask? Just this, the plot of the Maclean Book and Abnett's book have the same plot. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. The two works may have the same skeleton but Abnett makes the material definitely his own.

In "Traitor General" Gaunt and twelve of his "Ghosts" drop onto a planet controlled by the enemy. This planet, Gereon, an agri-planet within the Sabbat system is brilliantly and I would say beautifully rendered through Abnett's almost perfect prose. In addition, Abnett looks behind the curtain and begins to develop the Chaos world. In a recent interview, Abnett shows that he has been contemplating the workings of the forces of Chaos carefully. He has puzzled out the irrefutable conclusion that in order to function, it (the Chaos worlds)needs organizations, bureaucracies, and technologies. In this novel he illustrates the working of the world and the mind of the people trapped there and living there.

I cannot praise this novel enough for its execution and its depth. Abnett creates believable characters throughout. It doesn't matter if the character is a Ghost, a Chaos Space Marine, or a partisan; they are all roundly and soundly developed.

Finally, no one writes about the mechanical and technical aspects of modern war better than Abnett. I could smell the oil on the barrel of the las-guns while I was reading the novel.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Seven Steps in Sense Sequence plus Two

we have
the primal word
and magic numbers
but do not forget
the sense of color

Wittgenstein and Goethe
knew its worth
and the cabalists
its symbol

expect now
both number
and color
when we do
what we do

to make
or un-make
poetry of
nine levels
three squared

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reading John Dee in the Bath

the primal word
to expansion

emotional flutters
within my ear

a buzzing
of silk wings

and muttering
of a gibbering ghost

a précis of
John Dee

to the next
perhaps Bes

therefore Lull
lull me
into an alphabetical

count ten
on my fingers
and label them
B to K

A Sunday Fight Ends Now


we have

the memory
of the not now

the next now
is not yet now
and maybe
never will be

our now
until there is no now

a point
as the final


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Tiny Bats

hang like green grapes
beneath Congress Street Bridge

at dusk
they drop

gulp air
and jettison

their numbers
paint the sky

they spread
like treacle
through ebony

on Bollingen Island
fox bats
fall free
under ebon

at dusk
they eat
with simian hands

at dawn they sleep

in sour wind

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Freud's Pillow or Lot's Lot


in her juices
for six decades

he now awaits
her second nonage
to air his fate
and faults

maybe chalk
from Dover cliffs
is his place
to crumble
into white waves

but before the stone
hardens into sulphur
and flakes into salt

he looks back
and sees flames
engulf city walls

and salamanders
dance in red


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Order in the Time of Ramses

twelve hours of day
balanced against twelve of night

the rule writ
on papyrus

work in light
sleep at twilight

but to be safe
light the oil lamp
at dusk
to drive
daemons away

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Futility of Strategems

gardens grow wild
within the squared
of big mind

throughout its spheres
nature orders
chaotic growth

and cosmic mechanics
whirl metallic wheels
as daffodils drip
drops of oily dew
onto blind eyes

Review of "The Serpent and the Moon" by Princess Michael of Kent

I agree with several reviewers that the book is repetitious but I never found it tedious. I also agree that Catherine de'Medici gets lost in the telling. The book might have best been posed as a love story between Henri II and Diane de Poitiers or a sociological look at Renaissance life.

The book seems to be written in discreet chapters with little concern for the overall narrative structure, although the book does progress sporadically from the rule of Francois I to Charles IX.

Now, you might ask, why have I given it four stars? The answer is simple: I liked the book for its digression into the minutia of the daily life of the Renaissance Courts of Francois I and Henri II.

God is in the details (Le bon Dieu est dans le detail-Flaubert)and reading Princess Michael of Kent's imagining of the French court is to be dazzled by the details.

No fact is too trivial for her to catalog and discuss. For instance, She delves into the social and sexual practices of the nobles with a eye for the mundane and quotidian. She discusses the utensils they use at dinner and the clothes they wear or don't wear--such as undergarments.

She also looks closely at the the familial relations and the political machinations that arise from those relationships and she discusses the wars between the Renaissance Kings and their petty and brutal bids for power. There are any even side-roads into English politics and appearances of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Mary Tudor, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

And within this broad historical panorama, we learn about dog breeding, hunting, best sexual positions for conception, use of cosmetics, hygiene (or lack thereof) of the royals, de Medici's use of alchemy, soothsayers, astrology, and poison, expansion of Paris, Renaissance gardening and architecture.

In the end, as I read the work, I felt I had an understanding of one aspect of French society--the court. Perhaps, a criticism is that we don't see the filth and poverty of the peasants but, of course, that was never her aim. All-in-all I found the book to be a pleasant, breezy, romp through a complicated and brutal period of French History. And in that description lies both the weakness and strength of the book.