poetry

sic cecidit Minos

Minoan_Bull_Leaping_Toreador_Fresco_Art_650px

out on the

lanai

dressed in sunset

hair

tangled

She took on

Rabelaisian

proportions

in my immediate

recollections

she yawned into

an Arabesque

nacre glint

signifying her eyes

staring at me

ceviche

on a glass plate

naevus

in the form

of an arrow

on her left buttock

salify my wounds

my eyes

gored

jumping the Minoan bull

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poetry

Idolatry

Almeida_Júnior_-_Saudade,_1899

bow before what I can’t see

an itch that galls eternally

a doubt that binds my mind and heart

and a nervous scold who won’t depart

rancid thoughts that roll and shred

a rot that spreads inside my head

Quell me now so I can sleep

A moments rest from eyes that weep

A respite from that primeval moan

when I’m in company, alone

I whisper to myself “I might”

but feel that I can’t set it right

At night my soul a desert land

filled with doubts as much as sand

I’ve made false idols of my fears

sacrificed to them my nonpareil years

Melancholia is none too kind

when in residence within my mind

Saudade the name of companions past

a long lost someone, an iconoclast

that hapless friend who lost their way

who once helped keep my tears at bay

that hapless friend who lost their way

who once helped keep these tears at bay

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Philosophy

Culpability of Kings (Part II)

kings

Archelaus: What is a just law?

 

Kallikrates: A law that will best satisfy the needs of the people and will preserve their lives and dignity.

 

Archelaus: But what of laws that will protect the people from harm?

 

Kallikrates: The people will come to harm or they will not. The law can only mitigate or enhance the effect of the harm done. No law will prevent harm, if by harm you mean violence done against the people from without as I assume you do.

 

Archelaus: I do indeed.

 

Kallikrates: There is no law issued from Athens that Persians will respect, at least not as long as they remain Persians. The Persians will act as Persians or they will not. If they will not then no law is needed to stay their actions, if they act as Persians then there is no law that will cause them to do otherwise. The only effect a law of Athens can have is upon Athenians.

 

Archelaus: I will grant you that, but, begging a pardon, so what? What of the culpability of kings?

 

Kallikrates: Now you ask the right question!

 

Archelaus: So give me the right answer then, my friend!

 

Kallikrates: Do you remember what I said of my son and his love for the fool Dionysus?

 

Archelaus: Yes, and I do not wholly understand why it is relevant to Pericles and his prerogative.

 

Kallikrates: Patience Archelaus. I am long winded but I do get to the point. My son loved the fool Dionysus for reasons that are his own. He could have just as easily had other reasons for not loving him. In much the same way the people of Athens will love or hate Pericles for whatever reasons are there own.

 

Archlaus: Yes, but they will also love him based on his deeds and words.

 

Kallikrates: Ah, but I say his deeds and words will be loved only so much as he is already loved. No act is on its own loved or unloved without the context of how the act is perceived by each man on his own terms. Pericles will impress many men in Athens with his martial prowess and skill and he will look a fool for the same reasons in the eyes of other men.

 

Archlaus: I see what you mean, but, what does is the point?

 

Kallikrates: The point is, the people will love or they will hate Pericles for their own reasons, individually. This will not be changed by his acts or by his words. For every convert to his cause there will be another lost to his enemies. Such is the way of men and those things that they love. In this way Pericles, and every other king or would be king, is like a beautiful youth: they will be loved, or they will not be loved.

 

Archelaus: I am beginning to understand what you mean. But, I have found a flaw in your logic.

 

Kallikrates: Have you now? Please, what flaw have you found?

 

Archelaus: Pericles is no king! Nor does he wish to be a king.

 

Kallikrates: I expected that was your problem with my argument. I shall answer your charge with a question: what is a king? Or at least, how would you describe a the characteristics of a king?

 

Archelaus: Well, a king is one with noble, proud blood who would deign to rule men. He is the best of men and rules by the royal prerogative.

 

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Uncategorized

Excerpt From Part I of the Dionysian Man

524px-Bacchusbycaravaggio

The following will be available for purchase in a more complete for as Part I of The Dionysian Man, a novel in April 2014: [All Spelling Errors are my own and should be fucking ignored as this is a rough draft preview of an upcoming book. History in the making people. super cereal]

 The Dionysian Man

Part I

December 1913

I.

            It is easy enough to be disheartened and depressed by existence. Often the events that unfold in a normal life are enough to unhinge even the sturdiest of minds from their delicate moorings to sanity. Optimists would have you believe that the things that happen to us and others have a purpose that will reveal itself at the appropriate moment. Pessimists… well, pessimists are nothing more than misanthropic optimists, truth be told. They are optimistic in the face of optimism and they take a certain degree of comfort if not pleasure in this notion. Professor Florian Tull was neither an optimist nor a pessimist in thought nor in deportment. He was equally happy and unhappy with the sundry little disappointments and triumphs that inflicted themselves upon him over the course of his 55 years. Florian Tull enjoyed nothing worth enjoying and was disturbed by nothing that would elicit a measure of disturbance. Herr Tull had grown up seeing the world as a puzzling and beautifully awe inspiring place. He was a rare specimen of man: he was not in a thrall to metaphysical ideas and tenants. Herr Tull was a free spirit in the sense that he was a freethinker: he did not let self-indulgent fear rule his mind or influence his personal morality. That is not to say, however, that he did not have his own petty phobias and foibles.

            Herr Tull was a Professor of Philosophy at one of the premier Universities in all of Germany, a University he proudly called his alma mater. His heart was an arrhythmic muscle devoid of the passion and lust for power and people that often fuels intelligent or unique minds such as his was. His bland and unimaginative seeming personality was ill-suited to the task of cultivating the potential of emerging geniuses and leaders on the surface. He reserved what little passion he had for his exploration of the real nature of philosophical and physical freedom in what he deemed a “world imprisoned by faith and fear”. His one remarkable trait as a thinker and a teacher was the uncanny ability to see the world in the most profoundly achromatic shades of grey. Sadly this talent was often mistaken for a depressive personality, and as a result of this erroneous observation many of Herr Tull’s colleagues and contemporaries went out of their way to ovoid him.

            He was respected and feared by his students, but he was also despised and pitied. One student pitied him so much that she condescended to marry him. Inga Tull nee Hoffman was a brilliant writer and a beautiful woman. She had all of the qualities that her husband so sorely lacked and more besides. She was gracious, pleasant, possessed an excellent sense of humor, and was generally beloved by all who met or beheld her. She was the rare woman in her era that was actually able to capitalize on the gifts and talents she possessed. She was one of the most celebrated young writers of either gender in Germany and Europe with three well received novels and two widely attended plays under the belt surrounding her lithe frame. But as is often the case with writers there was something lacking in her self-esteem. A Freudian would call her personal malaise a repressed hatred of her mother that led to a lack of self-appreciation. A Christian would see her as a lost soul who had never felt the love of God, and as a consequence never found a way to love herself. Most others would just call her a fool.

            Foolish was the only way to describe her decision to marry her professor and PhD advisor. She would later explain that she saw something safe in the man she called “Florry”. She would say that he was kind to her were no other man was before, and that he asked nothing of her besides patience with his morose temperament and the long hours he spent working on his “Philosophical Masterwork”. Herr Tull had never been the recipient of a woman’s affection (or in sooth interest) before, and he grasped onto Frau Hoffman like a terrified serf grasps onto the word of his God. Theirs was a short courtship. He proposed to her while they were both attending a colloquium on translations of early German Romanticism. Just around the time the speaker got around to De Stael Tull looked to his erstwhile Eve and asked her if she would do him the favor of marrying him. Not wanting to make a scene in the midst of dozens of her colleagues she said yes. They did not discuss the matter further until they had dinner that night. At that point the idea had sunk in and Inga felt that she could certainly do no worse. Tull was lucky in this regard: she was busy with her studies and her creative endeavors, so much so that her inherent insecurity urged her to reach out to the nearest kind soul. This just happened to be Tull.

 

 

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poetry

Semele

kingrichard

The following poem is an excerpt from my soon to be finished play “The Fields of Eleusis”

Oh Muses sing your endless song of lust and fatal abandon

Sing of Cadmus dancing mindlessly to this succulent threnody

Giving his seed to Harmonia, who wore the ill-starred brooch on her breast,

The world was given Semele, a beauty to tempt the gods!

It was not long before the ever wandering eyes of Zeus beheld her charms

As she stood upon his altar bathed in the blood of a sacrificial bull

The God-King was struck with love incurable

And he thirsted for her

Parched he set out for this fertile spring

And knew her like the rains know the yearning fallow fields

But she who wore the polos of Olympus, Hera, beloved of thunder maker

She was jealous of her husband’s new lover

And descended from her heavenly perch in the visage of a crone

Befriending Semele and sowing doubt in her love-struck mind

Pregnant with the child of Zeus she now feared he was not who he said

And begged him to grant her a boon worthy of his power

He swore on ever flowing Styx that he would abide

She begged him to reveal his splendor in full

Consumed with sadness and remorse Zeus did abide

And showed her his eternal form in all its terrible glory

And like the endless fire of the sun burns the deserts and the sand

She fell to ashes, consumed by his awful glory

But Zeus would not let the child of their union perish

So he clove his thigh and sewed the babe, not ready to be born, up into it

And after month passed on month the new god, Dionysus, sprung from his father’s wound

Twice born, once from the ashes of his stricken mother

And once again from the flesh of his immortal father

So great a god was Dionysus that the very earth rejoiced by given up

Its intoxicating berries

And the twice-born god made wine for all peoples to revel and celebrate

The union of mighty Zeus and fair Semele

And the child the created

Gift to earth and heir to heaven’s heights!

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Muses, Mythology

Alexander’s Conundrum

Alexander_and_Aristotle

Alexander seeks the Hellenic wisdom of the philosophers and the Gods. He is not a haughty King and he does not fear the advice of his betters, mortal and immortal. He inquires as to how to be a warrior worthy of respect and love

Alexander: What is required of a mans spirit if he is to become a successful man of war?

Aristotle: In his spirit he must seek the kindness inherent in the conqueror. He must fail in the attempt at ruthless dispassion.

Alexander: Why must the man of war attempt dispassion at all if he is to fail? What an exercise in futility!

Aristotle: There is no futility in failure if the endeavor is undertaken with a simple purity. The only failure I can contemplate is the failure to act upon our spiritual drives. We feel as men in a world of eunuchs do when we exercise our power over others. We further strive for that power by ignoring the instinct endowed in us for moderation in action.

Alexander: But why Master? Why must we fail at dispassion? Is it not healthy for us to distance ourselves from those we conquer?

Aristotle: How would that be healthy? To eliminate the humanity of those we destroy we eliminate the humanity, and the divine imperative, of the mission we set out upon; to unite the factions of the world under a singular banner and a singular rhythm, through the act of war we seek to forge an everlasting peace. Dispassion is the enemy of action, and action is the only route to power.

Alexander: But you evade my question: why must we attempt dispassion at all?

Aristotle: We attempt dispassion because we can never understand the wickedness of that state of mind until we see what it does to our own mind and soul. I repeat because it is worth repeating: Dispassion towards our enemies eliminates the humanity of our actions in favor of peace and unity.

Alexander: But how does a wolf whelp a lamb? How does peace come from war?

Aristotle: Grow to become a wolf and find out the truth for yourself.

Alexander: I tire of your riddles.

Aristotle: I tire of your willfulness, but  alas it is that feature of yours that keeps me well fed.

Alexander: So eat your fill old man, and I will think over your lessens while I wrestle with my friends.

Aristotle: Hark! Do not forget to treat your opponents with the passion befitting your rank.

Alexander: And what rank is that?

Aristotle: Youth, Prince, Philosopher, and Brazen hearted bull.

 

The modern youth turns to his drugs and to his modern philosophy when in mental turmoil.

In desperation the ancient youth turns to his gods, the resplendent Apollo and the deviously wise Dionysus

 

Alexander: Oh gods his is a foolish genius! Truly a blessed curse.

Apollo: The son of the gods in all but deed. He will return to us a star brilliant in a constellation of his own Creation. Nothing can be more true then this truth.

Alexander: A truth! An immodest declaration of opinion as fact! I live for these moments where I can frustrate the certainties of an honorable but simple mind. Where is the truth in the realization of Alexander as a god? How a god if he cannot even succeed as a man?

Apollo: There is no perfect man. Perfection is the nature of the gods, and to be a god one must be perfect. In     the act of attaining, reaching, perfection one invariable must have the immortal spark in his very     nature. Alexander is ours in nature and in potential. That is truth.

Alexander: But! But! I proclaim however and as a reminder: you stated that he will return to you a “star brilliant” as any and beyond what a mortal can hope to achieve. If that spark is indeed extant in him  then why trap his brilliance in this infernal flesh you so despised and only reluctantly deign to robe yourselves in? Why not plant the star yourself in the sky of your own sovereignty? Why waste a star? Why waste your time in games of fallible and inevitably fetid flesh?

Dionysus: Why waste a star? Indeed why waste a god? Haven’t we enough of those to last us the day and longer? A day is a day enough for me, and a hero is enough of a god for the men who fart most of their libations skyward anyway.

Apollo: Figh! A day with you is indeed a day enough. Sooth that ardent vine of yours brother and leave the     business of heaven to those who do no ruminate under the sway of mortal poisons.

Alexander: Oh how I must have pleased Olympus! They have sent me a quarrel worthy of my prayers and sacrifices. To obfuscate my own troubles with the quibbles and rivalry of greater beings is indeed a treat that I will not pass up.

Apollo: Great beings my eye! Look upon this fool I must call a brother. He is as much a god as I, and yet I fail to see the glory in gross inebriation.

Dionysus: The glory is not becoming drunk; the glory is in being drunk. Drunkenness can bring me to the post profound realizations about the nature of my existence… and in the nature of a fine woman’s ass.

Apollo: I need no wine to enjoy a beautiful woman!

Dionysus: Aye, but you might need a bit to enjoy a homely one.

Alexander: There are no homely women; only sober men.

Apollo: Do not encourage his crassness my son… He takes to concord like a babe to a teat.

Dionysus: I never left my teat… what is the point in that? As a babe it brings succor and milk, and as an adult succor and… a more joyous brew.

Alexander: I took in much more than sustenance from my mothers breast. I was, from my earliest days, fed the words and deeds of men great and proud. Stories of warriors, demigods, and yea, even gods like thee. I was brought up to be their equal, and in the case of mortals, their betters. Such a tiresome chore being a prince of man; no length run is long enough, no leap skyward high enough, and no foe fierce enough for the man who would be a new Achilles. And nothing less than Achilles is expected for the noble, mystic wife of Philip. I must be a man if men, but a man above from one moment to the next. Tell me O Lords… How does one live as a god and a man?

Apollo: You cannot. There is no god made man. You must live as a man to become a god, or be born a god  from the beginning of things. A man can reach immortality through domination of his fellow man, and through the mastering of his human emotions and thoughts. There is no immortality in man that can grow in a garden of earthly delights.

Dionysus: Why is it that you look at me when screeching your platitudes? The vine is not born of any “earthly” garden; it sprung from the rich and immortal slopes of Olympus. To drink is to live as a god. To engage in the fruits of drink is to live an Olympian existence! Men live in anticipation of immortality, a fate that most will never have. Here I find myself in partial agreement with my more stoical brother; Man at his best is indeed a god, for only a god can be the best among men. And as this is nigh impossible for a man to become god, then it is nigh impossible for a man to be at his best in the mortal world. Be as a man among men Alexander. Lead them as a cunning wolf would a flock of sheep. When you lead them to the pen, sup at you own pleasure.

Alexander: You vex me! I am wholly split in my admiration for both of your arguments. I see the wisdom of both points of view. How am I, a mortal man despite all my airs, to choose of these two paths? Must I live as a two-faced worshiper of duty and deviousness?

There is no God of final moral arbitration. There is no sage that can choose your path. Alexander must be an Oracle unto himself

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Fiction, Literature, Muses, Mythology

The Birth of Callidora

pan

Sing to me muse a tale of Pan and his ebullient and motley melodies. The shepherd prince was sleeping in the mint green fields in the Olympian hills. The flocks of a thousand nations lay bellow, all chewing the grass sprouts and lulling quietly and contentedly like flocks are want to do when the wolves are away and the sun is high in the sky. Pan lays upon a goatskin on a rock in the shade of an oak tree. He is the very picture of self-indulgent relaxation and coy passion. Beauty: his haunches solid as the marble of the quarry. His hair stolen from the storied stock of golden fleece. His swats at a fly with hands that could paint an eggshell with a lambs tears while the other is choking the life from a great she-wolf. He looks down upon his flock with eyes that could cause the moon to look away for their brilliance.

            Even exquisite and self-possessed Aphrodite has been known to fall for his charms… one winter day they met in a Thracian garden and made love for three nights and three days without end… Their ecstasy brought forth an early bloom of flowers in the winter months and Pan proudly renamed the site “The Garden of Winter Passion”, so it is still known to this day by the mortal inhabitants who come to admire its early flourishing blossoms. He was Pan. Pan of the Fields. Pan of music pure. And what music! The flock would sway to the melodies, and the lambs would skip to every honey sweetened note. There were five that he was especially fond of playing. One note brought to the sky the birds of all the world. Sparrows, jays, gulls, swifts, swallows, even the ferocious hawks, ravens, buzzards and eagles could not resist the enigmatic note. The doves would land about him and add their voices to the sharp whisper of his breath dancing upon the edge of the pipes. What so sharp a note can all but tame the wildest birds of the four winds? Pan has found it and Pan will hold fast its secrets ‘til the end of ages.

            Pan stirs from his perch upon the rock. He thinks he sees a creature prowling on the edges of the pasture. Dark and leering the shadow of this beast. ‘Tis a mountain lion looking for an easy lunch. Pan shows no fear in his handsome face. On the contrary! He smiles at the fun that will come for him. He lives for the times he can fight to protect his flock. He grabs his club, throws his goatskin onto his broad shoulders and runs like a spring breeze down the side of the steadily sloping hill. He puts his pipes to his lips and sounds a note of warning to his flock. The loud whistle resounds through the  valley and the sheep, goats, and cattle all take note. They turn towards their master and they run like Cerberus himself were on their tails.

            Pan continues to blow his note as he finally reaches the plain. He sees the lion pouncing upon one of his prized rams. Pan throws off his goat skin and charges at the growling creature, whose teeth are as long and sharp as daggers and whose hide is as strong as a soldiers shield. Pan grabs the beast by its muscled neck and throws it with all his might off of the ram. The lion roars in rage and swings its mighty paws, narrowly missing the God. Pan merely laughs and smashes home his mighty ash limb club. The skull of the mighty lion is crushed like an over ripened olive between the fingers of a young boy. The lion fell limp against the ground and Pan felt a thrill dance along his spine. He pulled forth his pipes and sounded a note of triumph to his flock. So proud the Lord of all nature! He plays his note for all the hear! As loud as a war drum, sharp as the tip of a spear. The flock was comforted by this martial note and came with heads held high back to their protector.

            Pan walked amongst the animals, looking for any more threats to their well being. Finding none he was able to rest once more upon the honor and the laurels of battle. He skinned the lion on the spot and used the pelt as another layer of comfort for his recumbent frame. The chief pursuit of the immortal is always comfort and pleasure, but on occasion even the perpetually blessed must tend to his duties. Tend to his duties… and to his needs. There was a sudden stirring in the loins of the god. The rush of war had given way to the rush of lust. Thus was the way of all immortal flesh. Man is truly a model of the gods, but where man composes poems, odes, and songs to celebrate the eternal yearning for flesh. The gods have the advantage in the pursuit however; the immortal hand may forge from the dust a greater art then any to soothe the burning passion of their desire.

            And so Pan in the misty thrall of delight did deign to make an opus worthy of his companionship. From the flock that in eternal trust and love did stand close upon his every step, Pan did seek the fairest lamb, the bravest and the most playful. It did not take long to find a little lamb that skipped and cried with unyielding abandon. He looked into its lively eyes and  saw an inner life a life that seemed by its very nature to be striving for a greater expression of itself. When found he took the little beast and pressed it to his sun kissed skin, and lifting hence from his breast did present the offering to the sky. At once the metamorphosis was done, and Pan let fall to earth the most nubile form that that ever blessed the fertile plains of earth. Her hair the richest russet, alike the deepest womblike dirt of the valley. When she stood unsteady upon her grass stained feet Pan could see his composition for the masterwork she was. Her frame was enveloped in the most splendidly dark skin, dark like the ripened olive. Her hands, now searching her own form in wonder at its constitution, oh her hands forged of mercury bleeding from arms that so sweetly frame the most succulent bosom that ever did grace the eyes and fancy of a fruitful being. With buds alike the rose in winters thaw placed upon the softest fleshly hill, a neck did rise like an oak to stand twixt to sloping peaks, the proudest shoulders ever seen upon a woman. Her eyes finally turn from the task of admiring her own new born form to survey the world around her. They flash the gayest green when they fall upon the person of her creature.

            For the first time the woman found the use of her tongue. It was a strange sensation to her newly minted mouth, but she spoke with the eloquence bequeathed to her by Pan. “My creator, I am humble in thy presence. I am most pleased by my creation, and to you I pledge my honor, my mind, my body, and my eternal gratitude. I am free from the flock that kept me safe, but also kept me estranged from the world. A flock is a warm, safe place, but therein lies the poisonous comfort that makes it a warm, safe prison for a form such as mine waiting to be made free. You looked into my eyes and saw the transformation within me lacked only the act to be made a full expression of life. I thank you so much God of all nature and living things, God of inescapable beauty, God of song that transcends all mortal melody, God who sang to me when I was but a lamb amongst lambs, who sang to me in a voice of mighty Olympus high above in the clouds, who protected me from the scourge of thunder, drought, and ravenous beasts. I salute your splendor and I confirm to you my eternal debt.” With reverence born of the bond between artist and creation the maiden fell to her knee. Pan laughed and immediately bid her stand.

            “Do not bow to me! For it is I who is enthralled, indebted to you.; your beauty is a gift I will never be able to match again. Do not worship me! You are forged of the sturdy, breathing stuff of earth, out of life and all its beneficial color. I am born of chaos, of harmony betrayed, of lost and ill framed emotion flung into a forge of fearful imagination. I am a haphazard concoction of eternal rage and incestuous starlit meanderings. You my dear are made of much more human stuff. Do not praise me! I am nothing more then the sum of creations, and you my dear confirm that in my finest moments I can reach true transcendence. I am reborn in you my dear! I am reborn anew! Into sunlight! Into a dawn of elation that should not ever see a dusk of fervor. You are my pinnacle… what is the use of being an immortal if one cannot use that divinity to create a beauty that needs no immortal justification? Take my hand and I will give you a gift worthy of your splendor.”

            And she looked at him, and he looked at her, and she knew what this gift would be.

Pan placed his hands upon her warm face, cooling her mortal fever with a divine chill that soothed her newborn frame. “I brought you forth, but I cannot truly claim you as a creation. I was given a gift by the earth that I so humbly tend. Allow me this loving indulgence though: allow me to give to you a name. You are Callidora. You are a gift of beauty to this world. I treasure you, do me the honor of treasuring yourself.”

Callidora did take a step into his arms. She felt her heart sing and her body move to its deep music. Twas the melody of passion playing upon her emotions and her form. Art met artist, expression met act. They met in the embrace that all lovers practice. A kiss to be remembered in poem, caresses to soften the most mordant heart. Between her legs a cloven fig, red and ready for the worshipful tongue of her god, her creator, her playmate. The nectar spread upon his lips as he brought her to the brink of possible bliss. To the heavens it sounded! To the air! To the clouds! What can ever feel so true as the truth that a man feels in a woman? Lust fully consummated, passions fully cooled, they lay together like to children caught up in some foolish game.

            With their caper complete Pan rejoiced at his new companion and played for her a song of love upon his pipes:

I sing a song of Callidora

Of pleasant fields and verdant flowers

In bloom

Alive

In spring a birth of ecstasy

A nymph as soft as the purest wool

Anointed with my kisses

You are spirited towards the sky

To Olympus

To the very vault of heaven

My heart a soundless song upon your lips

So did Pan bring the world Callidora, and so did Callidora first feel the pulse of the living world.

 

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