POTENT QUOTES DEPARTMENT*

‘ENTELECHY’

en-TEL-uh-kee noun; from Late Latin ‘entelechia’, from Greek ‘entelecheia’, from ‘enteles’ (complete), from ‘telos’ (end, completion) + ‘echein’ (to have)]

NOTE: I was first exposed to the Aristotelian notion of “entelechy” in a brilliant lecture by Dr. Jean Huston at The Parliament of World Religions (Centennial), in Chicago, 1997. It was referenced with respect to theories of the 20th century French visionary-philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. This resonated deeply with my own core intuition that the Major Arcana of Tarot was really a cosmographic map that revealed the “entelechy” of higher consciousness. I went on to develop TNP with this principle in mind, coupled with the very similar philosophic construct of ‘finality’ as postulated by C.G. Jung. (See also my notes posted on “Absolute Knowledge” from Jungian Robert Aziz on Jung’s theory of ‘finality).

For Aristotle entelechy was effectively the “end within” the potential of living things to become themselves, e.g., what a seed has that makes it become a plant, namely, actuality rather than what might later be fruitfully expressed. In Aristotle’s use: “The realization or complete expression of some function; the condition in which a potentiality has become an actuality’’ (The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, London, 1933).

1. Perfect realization as opposed to a potentiality.

2. In some philosophies, a vital force that propels one to self-fulfillment.

I believe the term is used like this: “In the entelechy of the acorn lies the oak.”

3. “It concerns our final end, our entelechy, the purpose of our existence, where we are going to go.” Gray Henry; The First Prophet; Parabola (New York); Spring 1996.

4.  A term from philosophy of biology, introduced by Hans Driesch, to explain the appearance of life. This reflects an episode in the history of biology when it was debated whether life arises from biological complexity alone, or whether a non-material entity needs to be added to organic material to produce a living being.

5. Entelechy is considered to be an inherent regulating and directing force in the development and functioning of an organism, the actualization of form-giving cause as contrasted with potential existence (with which future orientation is strongly associated).

“Derived from the Greek word for having a goal, entelechy is a particular type of motivation, need for self-determination, and an inner strength and vital force directing life and growth to become all one is capable of being. Gifted people with entelechy are often attractive to others who feel drawn to their openness and to their dreams and visions. Being near someone with this trait gives others hope and determination to achieve their own self-actualization.(Deirdre Lovecky, “Warts and Rainbows: Issues in the Psychotherapy of the Gifted”, Advanced Development, Jan., 1990)

From Rosengarten’s Tarot Of The Nine Paths:

VIII STRENGTH: Strength of character, natural confidence, basic trust; vitality, libido, chi, shakti (creative power), the life force; the regenerative power of the feminine, taming the beast, beauty and the beast; also the triumph of intelligence over brutality, Leo vanquished by Virgo. Kindness, the “charm offensive,” soft muscle,  aggression subdued by diplomacy (“We confide in our strength without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it” Thomas Jefferson); incorporation of one’s “instinctive” side, sympathetic magic, homeopathy, akaido, fortitude, endurance, regeneration, courage to take risks; overcoming obstacles; (reversed) psychic weakness, fear of the unknown, machismo, bullying, cowardice, or else (subjectively) inner strength, natural intelligence.”



APACHE SECRET

July [28] 2008

(Poem)


The hardest thing is doing nothing–

in love as in life.


My boy will always believe that

right action in the end wins.

My boy does not like much 

the world of his father.


I tell him it’s not that way,

I tell him get it while you can,

but I know he’s right.


Yesterday I took him to the park and

we hid behind the bushes

quiet as two fawn

studying the dogs and wind on trees.


He said tomorrow

he will show me the Apache secret

of burying fallen soldiers by the brook.

I inquire for more detail

but he said it didn’t matter

whose soldiers they were.


Knowing nothing on Apache love

but sensing no where else in truth to turn,

I told him about my lady acquaintance,

alluding even to desires and adult matters,

which he pretended to understand.

He simply said “just be real nice to her.”


That night I called a friend, 

we had our yuks and chitchat

but my heart wasn’t there.

I yearned for the Apache secret.


We went down to the brook early 

that Saturday morning,

he walking about ten paces ahead,

occasionally stopping for small sticks.


By the side of the brook

under a large and carefully chosen mossy rock

he drew a giant X deemed for the soldier

(nothing recognizably Apache)

and then he fashioned a quick parlay of indian

chants learned, he admitted, from old reruns of

Cochise.


He reached for my hand,

had me close my eyes,

and repeat after him the following Apache prayer:


Brave soldier  who is dead,

Spirits behold,

When the good princess sits on this rock

Rise up and be free!


I gasped but the truth was transparent.

I wanted to ask how the princess

would find the rock, but I knew better.

I’m certain he saw it in my eyes.


Shaking his head like an old fur trapper

he insisted once again,

“just say it over and over.”


And precisely in that sober moment,

like the first glimpse of an eagle at early dawn,

I too felt the haunting soar of the Apache spell.

 

(1990)  

 

 

SUCH THE WOES

July [28] 2008

  (Poem)


                               

Hershel, may I knock on your door?

I simply wish to ask you–

is it grandeur

in the end 

that so disappoints?

 

Or would you think it’s more

a situation of some

cruel, divine fortune?

 

Your comfort in matters that grieve

makes me this time the eager student,

as I too live in many houses now

and hope like you 

to become abundantly lost.

 

My demons, god bless them,

next year go to college,

and the less I work 

the harder my portfolios 

itch to multiply like the African fruitfly. 

 

Please old boy, have some more orange juice.

I’ve had it flown in fresh-squeezed from the islands.

 

You know, old Uncle Vanya

The Imperious,

says a man overstocked eats purely.

But surely the flanks

of roast sow you’ve licked

somewhere stung in you

like head gout?

 

Perhaps your core inclination

has been the correct one,

and suffering truly is

the more satisfying?

 

For my money

this “nonduality” schtick’s

a bit too dense and high flow.

But I ask you Sir,

must we now smoke fish to grow?

 

Sadly, I should think,

we accept this undue happiness–

with all it’s silken pleasantries–

and draw small comfort

from our stainless capacities

to lament wisely, as have the poets,

those many tortured moments

we have all glanced upon.

 

I propose we now see fit

to take our medicines in short swallows

like we sip a perfect sherry in Oxford swigs

with the full bunch of leggy madamoiselles

of this tiresome french parade…

 

Because Herschel, we have what choice?

 

Go ahead, keep the boats

and spare the wife–

 

Such I think (and you’ll agree),

are the pricklier woes

we must grieve in life.

 

                       1994

 Potent Quotes Department

This is adapted from the marvelous essay: “Coming To Meet: Advice From The I Ching,” by Carol Anthony,  [included in the anthology, Challenge Of The Heart, John Welwood, Shambhala) . Those seeking my advice for relationships are encouraged to read this enlightened  philosophy. It will  greatly enhance the process : ) Art

Excerpted from the classic Chinese Book Of Changes (I Ching)

  On “MEETING HALFWAY”

                                                                                     HEXAGRAM 44

 

“Coming to meet halfway is possible only between people who are mutually  honest and sincere in their way of life.”   I Ching

 

Key Points:

  1. This hexagram describes a “correct” relationship as one in which two people come to meet each other halfway.  Halfway means that both are open and receptive to each other.  It  must be mutually voluntary.

  2. We must maintain reserve in our relationships until the coming to meet is mutual.  Maintaining “reserve” is the correct action (or nonaction) during turbulence and communication breakdown

  3. Coming to meet halfway is possible only between people who are mutually honest and sincere in their way of life.  It is the great joy of such relationships that they are full of mutual trust and sensitivity

  4. “Coming to meet” is best understood as a contract made between two people.  If one is indolent in performing his part, or has mental reservations about what he is willing to do, the contract may fail.  Although such a person may have entered the contract without any immediate objections, his attitude may contain objections which arise only at the time his obligations are to be performed. Such a person may secretly feel that contracts are not to be taken seriously, or, on seeing how difficult it is to fulfill his part, he may hedge on doing it because of some idea that all contracts are subject to fitting into his concept of what is “reasonable.”

  5. It is impossible to come to meet such a person halfway and it is better for us to go on our way alone and to wait until the fundamentals of unity are firmly established before we commit ourselves to other people.

  6. When we cater to another person’s ego because it is uncomfortable to go on our way alone, we choose the high road of comfort rather the low road of modesty and loneliness.  Withdrawal from the high road is the action often counseled by the I Ching (The Classic Chinese Book of Changes).

  7. If a person is treating us presumptuously, and if we remind him (or her) of this, he may correct his habits for a few days, but gradually revert to the same pattern of neglect.  This he does from egotistical indolence (apathy), something in his point of view makes him feel he has the right to be indifferent.

  8. Likewise, we must withdraw from the indolent person, “cutting our inner strings” of attachment to him, and no longer look at his wrongdoings with our inner eye (preoccupations, self talk, ideations etc.).

  9. This enables the person to see what he is doing in the mirror created by the void.  By dispersing any alienation we may feel, we also lend strength to his superior self. Momentarily, his ego is overcome.  We need to realize that his change is short-lived, but it is an essential beginning.  The change does not last because it is only founded on his response to feeling the void.  It becomes permanent change when he sees clearly that unity with others depends upon his devoting himself to correcting his mistakes.  Only then can we abandon a more formal way of relating to him.

  10.  The sense of loss, loneliness, or poverty of self a person feels on our withdrawing from him is called “punishment” (in the I Ching), but I prefer the term “mindful disengagement.” Mindful disengagement works only if it is applied in the way described—we must consistently and immediately withdraw, neither contending with him nor trying to force progress by leverage.  We withdraw accepting his state of mind, letting him go.  We must take care not to withdraw with any other attitude than that required to maintain inner serenity, and to keep from “giving up on” him (or her).

  11.  If on the other hand we withdraw with feelings of alienation, or of self-righteousness, our ego is involved as the punisher. The ego lacks “the power and authority” to punish. The culprits not only do not submit, but “by taking up the problem the punisher arouses poisonous hatred against himself.”  One person’s ego may not punish another person’s ego.

  12. When a person returns to the path of “responding correctly” (being open and receptive) we likewise go to meet him (or her) halfway, rather than tell him he is doing things correctly. In this way he comes to relating correctly from his own need to relate correctly and we do not force it on him.  Our consistence and discipline in feeling out each moment and responding to it does the work.

  13. It is unnecessary to watch a person’s behavior to see if he is becoming worse or better; we need only be in tune with ourselves.  Our inner voice warns us precisely when to withdraw and when to relate. We need only listen within.

  14. It is important to work with a situation only so long as the other person is receptive and open, and to retreat the instant this receptivity wanes.  When we understand that this represents a natural circle of influence, we learn to “let go” when the moment of influence passes, and not to press our views.  This gives other people the space they need to move away from us and return of their own accord.

  15. We must avoid egotistical enthusiasm when we think we are making progress, or discouragement when the dark period ensues.  Throughout the cycle we learn to remain detached. Holding steadily to the light within us and within others.  The instant we strive to influence, we “push upward blindly.”  If we insist on accomplishing the goal at all costs, our inner light is darkened and our will to see things through is damaged.

  16. The strength of a person’s ego corresponds to the amount of attention it can attract.  On the most simple level this recognition is by eye-to-eye contact; on the more basic inner level we strengthen other people’s egos by watching them with our inner eye.  Only when we withdraw both our eye-to-eye contact and our inner gaze do we deprive his ego of its power—“We cannot lead those whom we follow.”

  17. Inner withdrawal is an action of perseverance that has its own reward, but only when it is modest perseverance, not an attempt to impress others by getting them to notice our withdrawal.  In many situations the problem is resolved, not through any external action that arises spontaneously on our part, but by simply “letting it happen,” through letting go of the problem. Our “action” is to “let go.

 

This is adapted from the marvelous essay: “Coming To Meet: Advice From The I Ching,” by Carol Anthony,  [included in the anthology, Challenge Of The Heart, John Welwood, Shambhala) . Those seeking my guidance for relationship are encouraged to read this basic philosophy. It will  greatly enhance my ability to counsel you : ) Art

EXCERPTED FROM TAROT AND PSYCHOLOGY: SPECTRUMS OF POSSIBILITY (Rosengarten, 2000)


If the place I want to arrive at could only be reached by a ladder, I would give up trying to arrive at it.  For the place I really have to reach is where I must already be.  What is reachable by a ladder doesn’t interest me. –Ludwig Wittgenstein


For centuries Tarot scholars have approached the 22 Major Arcanum through their esoteric roots and properties. In his landmark study of the Major Arcana’s historical and esoteric foundations, Robert V. O’Neill (1986),  has detailed Tarot’s likely emergence in the Italian Renaissance, along with its philosophical and metaphysical underpinnings to the ancient teachings of Plato and Neoplatonism, Gnosticism and the mystery religions, Hermeticism, Christian mysticism, Jewish kaballah, Eastern religion, alchemy, medieval memory arts, numerology, and astrology.1  

            Many scholars have imagined the Tarot trumps to chronicle The Fool’s movement of psychospiritual initiation through the essential twenty-one “doors” of personality development and transformation that comprises the Major Arcana.  The Fool, alone of no real number, the great unmanifest zero, is thought to embody everyman (woman, and child) in all his or her innocence, potentiality, and absence of fear.  The Fool is the blank slate of infinite possibility (or as Rupert Sheldrake suggests, the ready and waiting fully-loaded automatic camera) who now is possessed to make his way through the rigors of experience and the phenomenal world.  Each numbered key (or trump) opens for The Fool one essential door on a sequential procession through psycho-spiritual initiation, growth, maturity, and integration.  As one step is trodden and assimilated, a natural progression is made ready for the incorporation of each next developmental step of the great journey.

                  On this so-called ‘Fool’s Journey’ linear assumptions first mark this commencement at the earliest stage of development, namely at Trump 1, The Magician.  The Magus, as prime mover, is believed to be the primary agent of human will and personal power.  His motivation is wizardly mastery of the phenomenal world through the  creative powers of self-transformation.   As The Fool enters The Magician’s chambers, such lessons will be studied at many individual points within Trump 1’s “spectrums of possibility”, for as the wise Hermit Emerson correctly observed, “Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.”    

            In a psychologically reflective age, perhaps one journey-maker discovers within this first door her own karmic pattern of victimization and is subsequently given to consider The Magician’s unique talents for self-creation and responsibility vi-a-vis existential choice.  Another traveler is taught to visualize desired outcomes or perhaps the imaging of charms through The Magician’s slender invoking wand.  Thus through countless cycles on the mythic journey, The Fool (our ‘Everyman’) will repeat this and every other challenge on the archetypal circuit until the time when, serendipitously, each lesson has become sufficiently absorbed and integrated.

            This is the divine myth of the rationalist. Developmental progress is then tracked through The Fool’s forward movement progressively and numerically, one door at a time– from door “number 2” to door “number 20”– up until the final door of the grand progression is entered, that being, of course,  The World card (Trump 21), representing the quaternity of wholeness aroused by transcendent celebration (“the dance of life”) and sublime realization.  The journey presumably ends there, where in principle, the final state is now fully opened, apprehended, realized, and complete. 

            Yet despite this final attainment on The Fool’s Journey, the primacy of importance is still accorded to the earliest trumps of the procession, the archetypal Mothers and Fathers, the Magicians, Priests and Priestesses of the primary trumps–the so-called ‘root’ cards– if only by their initiatory agency as first causes.  The World card, for instance, as number 21, reduces numerologically downward (2+1) to its earliest value, The Empress, Trump 3.  Judgment (Trump 20) reduces to The Priestess (2+ 0] or Trump 2, and The Majestic Sun (Trump 19) reducing first to The Wheel Of Fortune –Trump 10  (1+9= 10)– but then even more profoundly to its primary root in The Magician or Trump 1 (10=1+0=1).   In a manner of speaking, one must first achieve “root card success” much as the waning Freudian implores “Oedipal success” (or the Post-Freudian demands “object constancy”) before The Fool is sufficiently prepared to take on the greater demands of psychological maturity.      

            Number symbolism thus becomes crucial to the linear unfoldment of the process, as development conceptualized through a ‘past, present, and future’ now adds a progressive arithmetical dimension to Tarot’s numerology.  The Fool’s Journey is predestined from the beginning, out of which a hierarchy of sorts is predetermined.  For example, Trump 3 –The Empress is seen as “higher” (or at least, likely to occur “later”) on the evolutionary spiral than Trump 2– The Priestess.  But by what guiding principle exactly?  In all cases, does the insight and penetration of The Priestess always precede the nurturance and love of The Empress? 

            Some tarotists have ventured into thicker linear woods still.  Addition and subtraction become attractive operations once the symbolic magic of numbers reaches our calculating minds.  Through a simple arithmetic operation, Trump 2 may then be added to Trump 3 to create Trump 5, the priestly Hierophant.  Elaborate metaphysical formulae and kabbalistic rationales are then applied to justify such calculations.  I believe, however, that such seductive meanderings will soon lead The Fool to his early retirement.  Numerological entities have become “trumped up” to take on additional mathematical properties, in effect, mixing in one steaming cauldron both number quality and quantity.   Add a Priestess to an Empress and voila!  Out comes a Pope.  But does this truly make good sense?

            The linear formulation of The Fool’s Journey through progressive doors of growth and initiation is similar to contemporary Western theories of personality development; ironically, both are formulated within scientific (mechanistic) constructions of causation and evolution that were popular at the turn of the last century when much of the groundwork for psychology was laid.  The view  assumes a linear path of change and growth.  Even when framed within esoteric doctrine, Tarot paradigms have often carried structural presuppositions parallel to mainstream cultural and scientific perspectives.  Linear time, an essential feature of this worldview, is in fact a metaphysical assumption all its own.  No matter how matter-of-fact it appears to us today, linear time assumes that change flows like a line, independently of the events it supposedly contains.  It assumes The Fool passes through the successive doors of the Major Arcana with a predetermined script, following a developmental yellow brick road of sorts, independent of his own subjective inclinations to veer off onto various sidestreets or poppyfields.  But as we know, for all the hoopla surrounding his eminence, the great Oz of Emerald City was something of an embarrassment.

 

TIME SPENT

            Rather surprisingly, notes psychologist Brent Slife (1993), the extraordinary success of the relatively recent paradigm of linear time owes its greatest debt to nothing more temporal than the Industrial Revolution’s introduction and marketing of mass produced, affordable wristwatches.  Imagine–our brave new world invented by the precursors of the Timex!  Now every citizen could confidently point to their timepieces as proof that their hours, and indeed their lives, were fastly ticking away.  What we have since taken for granted as “time” in many ways is no more than a modern invention manufactured in the 19th century.  The full ramifications of this point are obviously larger than our brief mention here.   But Slife makes a clear and I think critical differentiation:

Time is distinguishable from linear time: Time is a concept having to do with  change.  Linear time is a concept having to do with the organization or interpretation of that change.2

 

            The fact is, linear time remains today so confounded with Time (the overall concept) that the two are virtually indistinguishable for most people in Western culture.  The progressive stages of The Fool’s Journey mirrors this Newtonian paradigm of ‘Time’s arrow’: an absolute measurement of change that moves progressively forward towards a future, but is independent of the events that are contained.  While subjective accounts are variable, the path itself is predetermined.  Effects are linked more to the influence of previous causes than to parallel events, or future possibilities.  Inferred in this premise is the placement of primacy to the past.  Ontologically, the past is thus considered the ‘mother of experience’ as the linear premise attributes greatest weight to the earliest events; the “first” in a sequence is the temporal entity that supposedly starts the process. Slife notes:

The metaphor of the line means that the present and future must remain consonant with the past.  The past is thought to be the temporal entity with the most utility.  The present is less useful because it is just a stopover on the line of time, and the future is even less useful because it is not yet known with any certainty.  Only information from the past is viewed as substantive and certain enough to be truly known and understood.3

 

THE FOOL’S ITINERARY

           Often this so-called journey through the Majors is further sub-divided into three parallel lines of seven trumps, corresponding to the 3-fold Hegelian dialectic of change (thesis/antithesis/synthesis), the laws of becoming, or psychological process.  Such sub-groupings give the Fool’s itinerary a new set of hierarchies.  Depending on the theorist, the first row of seven may signify the stages attending the development of consciousness [Magician (1) through Chariot (7)], the second those attending the features of the unconscious [Strength (8) through Temperance (14)], and the third, those attending the collective unconscious or transpersonal realms [Devil (15) through World (21)].  Presumably, this procession through grade levels of psychospiritual education guides the soul’s initiation into higher consciousness. 

            Variations on the theme are sometimes suggested to conform to related philosophical/metaphysical theories.  Richard Roberts (1982), for instance, contends that the Major Arcana makes more sense when divided into two rows of 9 [Magician to Hermit] [Wheel of Fortune to Moon] (with the remainder of 4), owing to the hermetic properties of the Magic Number Nine which show “the ability to preserve the original archetypal meaning of the number to which it is added, and yet transforms that number as well.”4 

            Still other Tarot commentators have suggested splitting the Major Arcana into two parts, separated at the midpoint of The Wheel of Fortune and Justice.  In this division by halves, The Fool’s Journey is marked off by central oppositional cycles in the lifespan, such as the ascent/descent of spirit and matter, the first half/second half of life, the structuring and deconstructing of reality, or even the personal/transpersonal stages of individuation.  However, implicit in each of these models remains the presupposition of linear development and change, one which I believe ultimately places unnecessary limitations on experience and possibility. 

            As a curious reminder of the inherent problematics that can spin away from an over-reliance on linear laws, Tarot historian O’Neill (1986) to the chagrin of many tarotists, has discovered early evidence of significant variance in the numbering system of the Major Arcana.  For example, a 16th century variation of the deck inverts trump 7 and 8 and furthermore reverses the sequence of trumps 9, 10, 11.  Purists beware!  Noting up to eight variations of the traditional Tarot de Marseilles (circa 1567) not including Waite’s well known modern inversion of trump 8 (traditionally Justice) with trump 11 (Strength), followed almost religiously by contemporary designers, O’Neill notes:

But even if we argue successfully for the ordering of the Tarot de Marseilles…we still have problems with numbering.  The sequencing of the cards causes little problem for the interpretations developed throughout our studies.  But variations still cause problems for our study of Numerology.5 

 

            By Qabalistic tradition (Hermetic), the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet describe in their sequence the entire cycle of existence, and in combination, the infinite units of creation.  The 22 images of the Major Arcana appear to be an attempt to convey symbolically the essence of each letter.  The Fool’s Journey (from Aleph to Tav–Fool to World) can certainly be viewed as 22 episodes in the life of the universe, or of a man or woman, or of an enterprise, or perhaps even a course of analysis.  Sequences can be divided into groups such that they reveal a myriad of operating formulae fixed within this universal structure. In the final analysis, writes Lon Milo DuQuette, in The Tarot Of Ceremonial Magick:

It is not the Fool’s Journey but the Fool’s Story  (illustrated by the infinite combination  of letters to form words) that affords us a mind-boggling peek at the workings of the divine mind–a creative consciousness in which patterns and formulae play a secondary role in a cauldron churning with the potentiality of all possible possibilities.  This would explain the desirability to transfer the concept of each letter to cards that can easily be shuffled and grouped in nearly infinite combinations. 6

 

            In search of his divine innocence, The Fool must remain free of all calculation, operating, instead, “like a  complete fool,” one might say.

 

Notes

1   O‘Neill, Robert V., Tarot Symbolism;  Fairway Press, Lima Ohio, 1986.

 

2 Slife, Brent, Time And Psychological Explanation ;  SUNY Press, New York, 1993.

 

3 Ibid

 

4 Roberts, Richard, and Campbell, Joseph, Tarot Revelations; Vernal Equinox Press, San Anselmo, CA, 1982, pp. 59-80.

 

5  O‘Neill, Robert V., Tarot Symbolism;  Fairway Press, Lima Ohio, 1986, p. 298.

 

6  DuQuette, Lon Milo, The Tarot Of Ceremonial Magick, Samuel Weiser Inc.,  1995.

 

TO ORDER: TAROT AND PSYCHOLOGY: SPECTRUMS OF POSSIBILITY directly from the publisher:

http://www.paragonhouse.com/Publicity/tarot.htm

 


 

 

 

                          

 

 

WHO IS THE GODDESS?

July [26] 2008

(Poem)

We walk these pebbled paths

through time processions of morning suns

like scuffed stones off the boot.

To count our slow ascent in steps

or mark mountains by flecks of dust–

our bucket’s rot would better mark

a mound of rust…

 

                  O Goddess of Earth

                  Cauldron of Night,

 

in shadows I sputter and cringe,

as the path grows thick

I feel the breath

of a bogsnake

at my thigh.

 

The heart cries long–

where is the Goddess?

I have vanished.

 

                  In distant light

                  chimes and flute echo.

                  My moccassins touch black sand.

 

I leave myself

to a unicorn

quietly chewing grass

in the warm rain.

 

A city is coming near

I hear cellos through the rain

and can see a red temple in the mist.

 

The musk of damp pine

blends with loud river torrents,

I shiver for hickory tea.

 

                   I know that you are here

                   O Goddess,  let me come.

                                                          (1978)

(Poem)    degas-beautiful-woman  

It was our topic of discussion.

A man by the aisle said

he dated one once,

at great expense,

and wasn’t quite the same since.


Are they as good as they look?

Everyone raised their hands

and a lady stood up to speak:

“not morally,” she said,

“manipulative bitches,” said a college student,

“it’s anybody’s guess,” said a bus driver.

Tension was rising.


A man in the back asked why

you always see them in sexy sportscars

if they were just like the rest of us,

“why don’t you say something about money?”

someone yelled,

“they’re whores of the fat cats,”

yelled someone else,

and the lecturer put his hands up

to quiet the crowd.


He pointed to the curtain

and out walked an exquisite young woman

draped in a lowcut gown that clung

to her radiant features.

“Now,” said the lecturer,

“we’ve all indulged in generalities, but

would anyone care to address their comments directly to the lovely lady we have here today?”


The lecturer waited for five whole minutes

of silence until the bus driver stood up,

took a few moments to regain his composure,

and sweetly asked if the lady wouldn’t be

more comfortable if she had a chair,

“just to lighten the load.”

                                                 1979

   (Poem)                        

While discussing with Peter

the missing of a certain Reydeen Brooks,

my euphoria assembled

into a shiny, spiraling image

of a folding,

highly portable,

(and convertibly suitcased) 

bicycle,

no doubt the final freedom for my wayward fantasies–

wheels to go anywhere,

so little fuss,

the possibilities were staggering.

 

Whereupon a point of comparison occurred to me,

specifically, that we have the engineering capacity

to send pig-fed astronauts from Norman Oklahoma

on star voyages beyond the rings of Saturn,

but we can’t build the folding bike.

Peter asked if this related to the missing

of Miss Brooks?  

And then I saw it–

young Reydeen herself,

her firm, sleek wheels a delight to carry,

so well-hinged for convenience and gyration

and, all in all, some sort of wild,

sprocketed adventure!

 

Peter commented, bodhisat that he is:

“Quite possibly sending stinking astronauts

from Norman Oklahoma may very well be

an easier feat than the folding bicycle,”

and THIS from my very own friend–

it was coming perfectly clear now:

How truly grand was

Love…

but then again, 

how supremely lame is Man?

With the perfect folding bicycle

our lives could be forever changed, 

imagine this my friends–

The Quintessential Free Ride!

 

Somehow in all this pedaling,

the image of Ms. Brooks herself,

in,  of all places, a hot steamy shower, 

took hold of my fleeting mentations.

 The detailed beads of running water

cascading off her muscle-toned flesh,

I strongly suspected in some meaningful way

related to the folding portable bike, but

when I looked up and noticed

that my wise friend

Peter,

(God bless him),

had fallen asleep,

I was quick to concede that

as with all large and insurmountable ideas,

the mind fastly tires

in close proximity to grandeur.

 

But then I hesitated briefly–

(and this is somewhat embarrassing to admit)–

with the ridiculous afterthought

that perhaps this mirage,

this folding bike  thing,

was simply my own hallucination,

and quite inconceivable to others–

maybe even

a spoonful goofy?

 

But fortunately, this did not last.

The perfect folding bicycle is everyman’s desire,

and I, for one,

will never settle for the rings of Saturn.    

                                                              1987

          

THE UNREPLENISHING GEISHA

July [26] 2008

 (Poem)  


  

Her rose wet lips

sink in the soft hairs

of his bulging nipples

 

as shimmering waterbeads

drip off the black marble

above the redwood beams,

and an everslight drizzle

patters the mahogany bench beneath his back;

 

in the misty fragrance

pink and watery

as Japan,

 

the lovely geisha massages her man.

 

And like the little fisherman

floating on strawmind,

 

she barbhooks into his heart

leaving the hunted marks

raw fish have before cleaning.

 

Her soft geisha mouth

like cherry blossom plume

puckering red pictures on rice paper

silk-screens decay in his chest.

 

She prepares for the rubdown,

and he, in his finest geisha’d hour,

leans back in the hot hot-tub.

Her floating pelican fingers

sponge suds from lilypads

as she circles

with the calm of her palm,

 

and like the water-polished sheen

displayed in an ornament of jade

on him

she creates

soft, silent repose.

Now wide as two watermelon

his lungs

and his skin

standing proud

in half-inch

octagonal goosebumps,

He climbs up the tub’s starboard side

like a rescued sailor overboard.

 

And throughout his each and every open pore

she adorns snow-capped Mount Fuji

on a terry-cloth towel.

The scent of slapping talcum

brings him to arouse,

geisha puckers

geisha bows.

 

His green dreams

arise with the steam

out to the evening air,

 

and as naturally as seasons come and go,

green dreams vanish like Fuji’s snow.

 

Bowing once more,

but without a pucker,

the geisha steps into her private shower.

1979

RAIN WATCHING

July [26] 2008

(Poem)

rain-garage-roof1

When the rain shoots down like ice

I’m six years old again

watching

from the open garage.


I study brown puddles

and the red worms of the driveway

wishing my shelved wooden sled

were a small boat in large waters.


Across the concrete floor

I drag my would-be skiff

until all front runners are pushed out

beneath the quenching storm

and only the very stern

remains safe under roof.


Rain hits down harder now,

it’s river cold and loud on wood

like BBs on the aluminum siding.


I take my seat into the storm, and

anxiously begin the ritual snapping

of my removable hood

and all seventeen buckles

of my slippery yellow poncho–

then I straddle the wooden sled slats,

rubber galosh to each rudder;


It’s cool outside and the shrill wind

on my cheeks

thrills my spine like a wild river lion.


In harmony with the rain

I seize upon a chorus

of crusty old pirates

chanting like galley slaves

within my hooded ears.


Transfixed by this perfect music

I wait solemnly up on deck

as the garage,

and all my bearings,

start to flood into the cold drink.


Still, my outward gaze

remains immovable,

steady as a seasoned captain,

and eager

as his ranting, toothless, crew

to be swiftly lifted like a paper kite

in a winter’s gale…

up, out and away!


(1982)