Paganism

I’m becoming intensely interested in celebrating the old pagan Sabbats, especially the cross-quarter fire festival days which, except for Halloween and to a lesser extent May Day, have largely been forgotten in our culture.

Alright, say it. I’m going hippie. Well, if demarking the year in the spirit of honoring and sanctifying time in the spirit of love and adoration makes me a hippie, then damn it pass the patchouli and turn up the Grateful Dead. We only have a tenuous grip on space – Get on a plane and fly to London and then tell me how far it is to London in plain language, please – but we absolutely have no grip on time. Other than that it happens, constantly, ubiquitously, and there doesn’t seem to be any going back. And yeah cutting it up and demarking it and making slices of it discrete smacks of the very Cartesean thought which I occasionally rail against. I admit it. I answer in the playfully bullshiting yet playfully playful spirit of Walt – “Yes, but I contain multitudes…”

Why celebrate the Pagan holidays? Well, why the hell do anything? Why make a pie from scratch when I could just go to Bread and Cie and get an already baked one, a better pie at that? Why do anything with our own two hands when so much is available at market, preconfigured, preassembled, requiring no thought and no action and no interpretation. Why not be spoonfed?

I have no answer, other than variety and self-sustenance. In the back of every human mind is the idea that things were a whole lot worse not too long ago, and that if we all don’t keep our shit together, things could certainly slip back to that time at any point.

By the way, this is an important point to remember when reading for example about harsh parochial schools. All that cruelty wasn’t just Freudian release – at its core there was the idea of The Next Generation Must Or Else. Or else what? Or else it’s back to the apes. If even one generation fails in its duties, the race could slip back to Cro-Magnon era or worse. That was the driving force, better or worse. At least initially… I still think there’s a lot to be said for the dreams of sex and violence in the hearts of old men wielding whips and pandy bats.

Sleep

Columbus hadn’t slept for a month
When he came ashore on that bright morning
Do you think Neil slept much
On his way to the moon?

Our achievements have been made
By sleepy men, tired men
Wartime decisions made by men in bunkers
Who haven’t slept for four days

In the sixteenth century everyone went around drunk all the time

Our history is not awake, not sober.
Those moments when we have both
And read history books
We’re fooling ourselves
Silly

Poetry Scrap

Pooh Bear laid in the middle of the northbound 805
Run over all night, he wasn’t looking himself
Poor mottled and torn Pooh, stuffing everywhere
A poor Tijuana replica anyway, but still
Did some little kid reject his UnDisney Nature?
Or did some SDSU girls throw him out as a lark
Or was he on some overloaded truck and slipped?
I swerved to miss him, but the guy behind me didn’t
That sure isn’t our bear out there
That’s not our kind of bear.

Language is the ways and means of ideas

Check out Scott Adams’ story about overcoming his recent speaking difficulties. The idea that different speaking situations involve completely different parts of the brain totally clicks for me. Wow! The implications are huge… and the funny thing is that in retrospect it seems logical given my Chomsky-style model of the thought.

The most fascinating implication? To me, it’s that group speaking anxiety – you know, it’s the thing we fear more than death – isn’t just fear. It’s also a lack of ability to use the part of your brain that’s responsible for group speaking. By giving speeches, you map that part of your brain and gain the ability to use it. Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? I once saw a girl burst out in tears and run out of a classroom rather than give a 5 minute speech in front of 40 classmates. There just has to be more than fear at work in people’s irrational anxiety towards speaking situations.

I’m extremely comfortable with an inner dialogue. Sixteen hours a day I’m running on an inner conversation, sometimes with two or three distinct parties, sometimes with a single monologue. Saying that I’m extremely comfortable with this format is an understatements : in fact this is me, or as close as you can get to a Me. I have an excellent command of the language, I often edit on the fly or immediately after thinking of something, I use rich descriptive verbiage and I never stammer, stutter or stumble.

I’m next most comfortable with my writing voice. It’s close to the inner dialogue but there are significant differences. It’s slower, in fact it’s cadenced to match the speed of my fingers on a keyboard. If I’m sitting in a position that makes it difficult for me to type, I have trouble thinking as well. As I write more every year, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with my various writerly voices and prose styles.

Amongst spoken conversations, I’m most comfortable in a one on one situation or in a small group of friends, unless someone is trying explicitly to dominate or pressure. I’m also quite comfy in large group situations, whether I’m the presenter or a participant. I’m least comfortable in small groups, especially when I’m not expected or required to participate or contribute. It’s interesting, but it shows that I’m dependant on the authority of ritual not only for my sense of comfort but for my ability to think as well.

Fall

Last of the seventh eighth
Fog pouring in, a wall from Japan
Fedexed and delivered by a colder Pacific
While southbound migrations occur above
And below a horde of food moves down
Krill, shrimp, squidlings and baitfish
The lot of the foodband cruising with the warmth
Wholly ignorant of planetary revolutions
Relative position to Sol,
Sunlight
Fades
In
fall

Fall

Waking, walking, a honey cool morning, coffee, working, back to bed under the covers with my head buried in pillows.

Football on television, bare autumn mornings in eastern college towns – Champbana, South Bend, Charlottesville, Morgantown

Santa Ana blowing this weekend, warm sniffy nose San Diegan mistral making irritability all over SoCal

Apple season, root season, wild turkeys and fall yellows and fires, brown dessication after all summer

The earth cycling back to sleep, sun equivalent to February, San Diego far behind, 75 degrees today

Cold air settling south, high of 34 in Bismarck ND today, Mother Earth waiting for San Diego to catch up

Sitting in bed at noon writing poetry, “talking to the island” like the TV show says. Waiting for fall.

Cooking

It’s all about getting to the heart of what’s good. Take really good heirloom tomatoes. They don’t need an elaborate presentation, a fancy sauce, a bunch of needless preamble. They’re just fine – in fact they’re truly wonderful – sliced, topped with some salt and some pepper and some olive oil. A little chopped (fresh!) basil if you have it. Good (fresh!) mozzarella cheese is a bonus. If you don’t have it, it’s ok. Those good heirloom tomatoes in-season will shine on their own as long as you trust them to.

Same thing with good broccoli. You don’t have to spend an hour gussing it up or making a mornay sauce. Chop in florets, high heat, a little salt, a little olive oil, a little red pepper flakes. Maybe a little broth or white wine at the end to finish them. Delicious.

Pasta. Go easy on the pasta. You don’t need nor do you want to eat a half pound in one sitting. Make half of what you’d usually make and eat slowly. Make a cream sauce with some parmesan, romano or pecorino cheese. Or all three. Toss with pasta. Stunning stuff, and so easy.

What to drink with all of this? A good Sunday meal needs a good wine. Why not a ridiculously expensive Chateaunuef du Pape? This one is front and center with the fruit and perfume, yet meaty from the Grenache and mouverde. Really well balanced, and yet ridiculously out of balance in certain sips which pretty much reek of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberry pancake syrup.