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Bukowski’s Bluebird August 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, poem, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Not only words in his mouth
but what look like feathers,
clamped tight in his teeth
like an anxious gambler’s cigarette.
Cat eyed and smiling at the bar,
he caught beauty perched on a stool
and swallowed it in one bite.
Now odd notes issue from his throat.
His words come out as songs.

Also published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Curiosity Killed May 29, 2016

Posted by The Typist in The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.

If you are curious why this blog is so quiet, I’m jealous. Curiosity is an active state, incompatible with a depressive cycle of Manic Depression II. I’ll be back. I always come back, or at least that is my history. I just got tired of posting up a Rothko black painting or some whiny tidbit of the “oh, woe is me” sort. Those sort of posts pretty much killed this as an actively read blog, although people still appreciate Odd Words judging from the number of Likes and Subscriptions those posts trigger. So after missing two weeks then getting a friend to assemble an Odd Words, it’s back. One small step for [a] man. No giant leaps. Not yet. Soon perhaps, but not today.

The Trystero May 8, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Turn Und Taxis

I Have A Theory April 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.
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At this point they throw open the discussion. Events, characters, settings, impressions are thrust aside, to make room for the general concepts.
“The polymorphic-perverse sexuality…”
“The laws of a market economy…”
“The homologies of the signifying structures…”
“Deviation and institutions…”
Only you have remained suspended there, you and Ludmilla, while nobody else thinks of continuing the reading.
You move closer to Lotaria, reach out one hand toward the loose sheets in front of her, and ask, “May I?”; you try to gain possession of the novel. But it is not a book: it is one signature that has been torn out. Where is the rest?
“Excuse me, I was looking for the other pages, the rest,” you say.
“The rest?…Oh, there’s enough material here to discuss for a month. Aren’t you satisfied?”
“I didn’t mean to discuss; I wanted to read…” you say.

— Italo Calvino If on winter’s night a traveler

One poet talks about science & poetry as if a poem were not a careful set of observations of phenomena measured against the control set of the reader’s experience from which is derived the only theory with any meaning, and that the theory of meaning.

Another announces her feminist and post-colonial perspective in a poem about Sir Isaac Newton, and I wonder what intricacies of intellectual spelunking are required to reveal these hidden facets of a man whose known life is mathematics. I am reminded of my own youthful, Trotskyist indiscretions and realize that Theory has answered the problem of endlessly energetic disputation that fractured that world closer and closer to an anarchic all entropy of individuals. The dialectic is broken (perhaps excepting the Marxians), and one can concievably compose something significant (not a well-structued term paper but certainly a poem) that embraces all the theories of Theory!

The third speaker miraculously rescues me, revealing a common interest in something so concrete in both your lives that she is writing a narrative history alongside her poems, and the same subject is the setting of your own childhood: the bayou with its old fortification, the disused locks and rotary bridge which have vanished into memory but which she is anxious to meet with me and hear about. There is, in her history and the long poem about the bayou I am writing, a story sufficient to itself without a theoretical construct. It is a place with its unique features. It has a story. There are characters.

The next several hours are coloured by this encounter between theory and life, and I find it difficult to concentrate. I skip the workshop I paid for, and after a few hours of poetry readings, leave early. That evening I finish one book and start Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler and find in its clever confusion precisely the idea that must be written about, an explanation to myself for yesterday, for skipping the workshop and leaving early.

For some reason I thought of Italy this morning, of cigarettes smoked at breakfast on the little deck outside the kuchë before a morning of graduate classes on Ezra Pound, a figure fit to be chiseled into gravel by Theory, by those who cannot see the shape in the stone. The memories of my studies in the castle are sentimental and nostalgic but after I come inside and read the quote above and the rest of the chapter I am reminded why I am tempermentally unsuited to pursue an M.F.A..

Coming Out Crazy April 14, 2016

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I have never shied away in this space from discussing my personal situation. It makes for a strange mix, the literary stuff–Odd Words the occasional poem, the quotes–and a personal journal I chose to share publicly, mixed with quotes and brief essays of a highly personal nature.

Today I took the 2013-2014 piece “Confessions of a Pill Eater” and published here as a page. posted it to Medium. Yes, writer ego played a part but I did it for the same reason I went through the process of reporting what I consider an accidental overdose when I went through a change of generic medications for spectrum disorder. I have a story to tell about mental health and Big Pharma and what that means to a creative person, and I am not afraid to tell it.

Fear is death to an essayist. No topic should be taboo, particularly if one tends toward the personal essay. Now I need to follow-up the 2013-2014 installment with the 2016 installment: the new diagnosis, the new pills, the accidental overdose, the constant struggle for a balance between suffering and the creative impulse. Big Pharma and Conventional DSM Psychiatry seek to kill the ups and downs, the necessary mania of the creative impulse as mentally unhealthy.

That is not an acceptable choice to make. It is no more a reasonable choice than suicidal ideation represents a reasonable choice. It is really no choice at all. I don’t believe in the myth of the suffering artist but I suffer and I create, and if I must suffer in some way to create then I need my doctor to understand that, to work with me to ameliorate the symptoms to the extent possible without killing my creative voice.

Trees April 11, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Once Upon A Bayou, quotes, Shield of Beauty, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Sacred Grove, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.

~ Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

The Wild Wood April 6, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Bayou Diaries, New Orleans, poem, Poetry, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In a row of canted half-drowned oblong stones
the park ends & the wild begins again.
Stand back in awe of the anhinga’s wings
drying in the sun on the horizontal branches
of a half-drowned fallen oak root-bound
to a spot of shore hard as planted rock.

The plans of scheming shovel men are toppled
but the oak is propped up on ship stuff
insists on its green camouflage
in which the anhinga unfurls itself
& mocks the thought of park, the bread begging
white ducks & quarrelsome geese

which draw the crowds up to the edge
of the collapsed rocky landing & no farther.
The anhinga asks who is master
& the oak’s broad-fingered reflection answers.

Fragments April 2, 2016

Posted by The Typist in poem, Poetry, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is the fragment of a song
the  symptomatic single verse
which best represents
mania stuck in its groove,
free from the ADD-inspired
pinball wizardry
of random light & bells
the silver balls of thought
ricocheting from bumper
to target & I bet you thought
it was all about needing
a chess timer for conversation.

in such a quiet moment,
alone with the tumbling
[what-the-fuck?] tumbleweed
one might enumerate
the reasons for staying,
not unplugging the machine
run amok:
                      first the children
(who frankly could use
the insurance for school)
and your lover, who says
she lives through
her fibromyalgia pain
only for you; & then
you are left wondering
if counting up why not
constitutes suicidal ideation?

This latter is the part
Jimi Hendrix’s mad guitar
doesn’t slow down to capture
in “Manic Depression,”
although “1983
(A merman I should turn to be)”
gets the morbid rumination part
rather nicely and the sea,
the sea is straight ahead, straight up ahead

the beautiful moonlight highway
into the motherly shushing of the waves
but remember the children and &tc.,
so many bright, shining worries
left to worry as the manic burning sun
breaks the spell in a palette of beauty
& leaves you with a moment
of poetic clarity & a pencil
and the suddenly welcome
frenzy of energy &
the day begins again,
just you, your thoughts
& the tumbling tumbleweed.

Gaudi’s Veronica March 25, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Dead, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Xian, Xianity.

Gaudi's Veronica

“Don’t get hung up about Easter.”

— Leon Russell

Veronica like Mary is simply a vessel. I believe that is the correct term from my catechism. Faceless before her savior.  Simply a womb-shaped amphora into which the power of the almighty father of the savior on a stick (r) is poured. Barely an amphora, really; more like a funnel, something faceless and transient, passed through.  A vessel, an object, the rape of Europa made dainty.

The Messenger Wind March 23, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The riverboat whistles echo from the wrong direction, bouncing off the two-story gutted shell next door on the Lake side, resonating perhaps in the neighboring emptiness like the body of a guitar. When this happens, I am always up and out the door to taste the weather that brings the distant whistles. The wind blows from the river, carrying the sounds over two miles, assuming I hear the Algiers Ferry. The ships on the river are guided by radar like aircraft these days, and the old signals are not used by the ships sliding around the blind corner at Algiers Bend. The ferry, however, always sounds its blasts before it enters the stream, and it is a river wind, a ferry wind I feel in the street just outside my door: heavy with water and chill, just the sort of breeze the ferry whistles up for itself in making the crossing. If I were standing on the railing next to my motorbike as I did 30 years ago, I would smell the earth in the water, the silt of dozens of rivers, with just a note of oil and creosote, and ozone churned up by the propellers.  The street breeze has no aroma but is thick with the feel of water, not a dampness on the skin as much as a weight, the sensation of the force that invisibly propels the sailboat even as it clocks and slows the wind. as it settles into its own particular, vectored wind. I listen. Unless they have reintroduced the steam engine, I know it was not a train. I know that not only from the familiar, deep and full-bodied Calliope note but I know it from the messenger wind blowing north west up Esplanade from the levee. If I don’t hear it again for half an hour, I will know it was the ferry.

Mystery in a Tree March 13, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I set out as soon as the rain stopped, two solid days of drenching rain, to return to my urban forest. What began as purely physical exercise has morphed into something else. My GPS tracker tells me my pace has slowed from a brisk three-plus miles an hour closer to two, more of an amble than a power walk. Power walkers, dog walkers, oblivious runners are all around me but I think they miss the fine details of the place, fail to notice the mystery in the trees. Even people I have seen stop and climb up on the massive root boles of the Grandfather Oak likely never look down to see His face looking up at them. (I name everything around me, transforming the space, making it a personal Eden and I its Adam).

Do tIMG_20160310_103754656hey ever notice the tree I call The Sisters, the slender trunk of another species I have yet to identify somehow grafted onto a pine tree? One can tell from the bark that there are clearly two trees here, one symbiotically rooted into the other. I can imagine a seed landing in the interruptions of the bark of the pine and sprouting, roots somehow intertwining with the trunk of the mother tree, providing the water and nourishment for both. This is not something one is going to notice if all of  your attention is on the song on your iThing as you pass with the distant stare of the jogger, or if you are primarily paying attention to your dog, pulling it to heel if people or another dog approach, bending to tend to its droppings. One must walk with intent to notice things like this and that has become the nature of my daily exercise, one as much spiritual and psychological and it is simply of the body. Walking slowly allows me to both flex and exercise just enough (I continue to lose weight) while simultaneously my urban forest nourishes my soul just as the pine nourishes its sister tree.

WIMG_20160302_162318770hat looks like sweepings or something blown together by the wind suddenly looks mysteriously intentional, a cryptic message left on the sidewalk by some other spirit of the place, human or of some other agency it really doesn’t matter. What matters is seeing it, being slow and open and ready to partake of the magic.

Friday after the rain I had to relearn the childhood skill of navigating what we called “the mushies,” threading the driest path through the flooded park lawn when the sidewalk was the center of a spontaneous pond. Again, it is a matter of slowness and attention, to pick out which of the crooked lines of tree drift washed up on slightly higher ground or grass beneath, and which are just collections floating on the water. I didn’t take a picture then. I was too intent on finding the driest path around the flooded walk, and I did. Where the path was drier and I was free to look up and around, the resurrection fern which had been grey with drought was bright green on all the oak limbs. IMG_20160311_163853763_HDR

I have come to trust this forest  as a living thing, believe that the spirits which reside in certain of these trees guide my feet around tripping roots and fire ant piles and this leaves me free to notice the fresh green on the trees in the quiet, dripping space in the hour after two days of rain have ended. There are few other people to distract, and a gaggle of geese foraging in the puddles pays me little attention, continues barely interruptedd by a glance my way, and I feel in their acceptance that I am one with the space, am as much of as in a liminal space between a public park and something deeper and older. It no longer matters to me to go for three and three, at least three miles at a speed of at least three miles an hour. My journey is of a different sort, not a distance crossed but a path into, a crossing of another sort, inarches in the forestto that space where the wild creatures do not flee at my approach but accept me as one of their own. It is a journey in which I find gateways in a receding set of arches leading to a space where a particular tree has grown down and enclosed a chapel of branches. The tracks and lamp, the works of man, are not a distraction but simply a high, dry path deeper into mystery.

The tracks



Redemption Songs March 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Irish, Irish Channel, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.

Now at the annual collision of our African, Celtic and Sicilian cultures, in this town where the African’s ripped from their villages and put into bondage were too valuable a property to risk so the hungry Irish were set to work and die digging the New Basin Canal, where the Sicilian residents of the French Quarter were lynched by practiced hands, the Mardi Gras Indians will come out even as the Irish and Italians stage their parades and the green beer and red wine will flow, and the streets will be lined with rotted cabbage heads, pork chop sandwiches and loose feathers, a celebration in the way only our entirely Creolized culture knows how to do best. In this one place God set aside like Nod for the rejects of Anglo culture and in which we have established (with a wink and a blind eye from God) all that the propaganda of the north promised in their lies, the true melting pot. It is time to to sing Redemption Songs.

The Clock Strikes Matches March 5, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.

Insomnia keeps its own counsel
leaves me alone with my own thoughts
matches flaring & vanishing
in small puffs of smokes of which

I have none. I’m done with them
my old companions  in solitude
leaving me to brood over
whether it’s too early for coffee.

Sleep is not on the horizon.
I am low and mercurial
befitting the aimless hour
spent dreading sunrise.

Not even a streetlight mockingbird
for company; the damn cat’s asleep
on my cool pillow & P. breathes
gently against my restlessness.

Old enough for aches & pains
that wake, young enough to worry
the small hours like handkerchiefs
into twisted knots of insomnia.

If you were expecting some ringing resolution
you are obviously dreaming August popsicles
of childhood deliciously dripping but you’re

only drooling,  mouth open, on your pillow
not your best look & morning’s bright
mirror horror awaits your yawning hour

while I silently  wait for nothing,
an empty can left out overnight
without so much as a racoon

for company. The moon set last afternoon
leaving me alone in the dark, lighting
matches with no excuse for madness.

Pedestrian I: The Old Man in the Oaks February 29, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Pedestrian I, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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The Old Man in the OakWalking with intent, without the distraction of an iThing and ear buds and with attention to my environment, I find the most interesting things in the grove of oaks and other trees along the south side of Bayou Metairie. Among yesterday’s discoveries was The Old Man in the Oak. No, I’m not going to tell you where to find him. You will have to join me in walking with intent through what I have come to think of as the Sacred Grove.

Of course, when intent and attentive, one also notices certain vistas of great beauty. I make a habit of leaving the sidewalk and going cross-country as it were through the grove of live oaks, stepping over and through what I think of as gates made by the pendulant branches that come down and touch the ground only to ascend again. Below is a view I found particularly striking on Sunday. I call it the Lady in the Grove.

The Lady of the Woods

Finally, while wending my way through the gates (think walking straight ahead above toward the fountain, although the particular path I thread usually involves a much smaller passage), I found a rose stuck in the ground, framed by (and appearing to glare at) a green bottle cap with a bit of gold twist tie you can’t easily make out laying nearby.

Rose & Bottle Cap

Walking with Intent. It’s the only way to travel.

Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia February 27, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.

“Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia” (“I am I and my circumstance”) (Meditaciones del Quijote, 1914).”

For [Jose’] Ortega y Gasset, as for Husserl, the Cartesian ‘cogito ergo sum’ is insufficient to explain reality. Therefore, the Spanish philosopher proposes a system wherein the basic or “radical” reality is “my life” (the first yo), which consists of “I” (the second yo) and “my circumstance” (mi circunstancia). This circunstancia is oppressive; therefore, there is a continual dialectical interaction between the person and his or her circumstances and, as a result, life is a drama that exists between necessity and freedom.

The Triumph of the Shills February 26, 2016

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

He did not expect a rally when he stepped out for coffee. The sidewalk was clocked by a feral collection of people in their office clothes, an angry mob that frightened away the homeless, gathered in front of one of the last small electronics shops, a window filled with televisions.

The mobs’ man was giving a speech, and every set in the window was locked to Fox News. Their man railed against the man selling vegetables across the street who wisely decided to close up for a while, and went inside to light a candle to the Virgin Guadeloupe for protection. Their man bellowed against the old woman with her EBT card who had come to the now-closed stand hoping for bananas, who shuffled in hunger slowly back toward her tidy if tiny one room home. Their man called for war and the mob cheered, mindless that their own children were the ones who would be sent to some foreign land most could not find on a map.

He needed coffee and to get back to work, but the storm of emotion stood between him and Starbucks, a gauntlet no thinking person would dare to pass. He stood for a long time, smoking his break-time cigarette, then turned back towards the bar on the corner. There was a television there, but he was certain from experience it would only show the afternoon’s double header, a gentle, Black peanut-man bit of a different America he remembered fondly from his childhood.

I Can’t Get Started February 23, 2016

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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No going back to sleep for the Insomnimaniac. It’s just going to be one of those days. Time for a slouchy hat, brim snapped low, and to pick up a pack of smokes. Where can I get Chesterfields? [Cough]. Gotta put a quick spit shine on my shoes, find my cleanest shirt and squint out into the painful sunshine of another instant coffee day in the city of broken sidewalks.

First, slink over to the bank, the teller lines snaking around the slumped customers in chairs that would shame a bus station, all waiting for some good word that will not come. Sign my name, wait my turn, close out the big account, and shake the dust of Downtown off my shoes as I walk out the door. Take that fat check somewhere people smile and remember my name.

Lunch. Fuck doctors. I want it medium rare on a soft white bun. Ketchup yessir mister and mustard you bet. A nice sour pickle to suit my mood, and a draft beer with a famous shame. If you’re looking for me, ask Otis. He knows where I slink to drink when afternoon’s a thunderstorm and my raincoat’s at home. Somewhere in Metairie where no one knows me, there’s an ashtray on my table, and the kitchen smells like last night but tastes like Kansas City.

Tonight when the shit storm is blowing outside: whiskey, Prez and Lady Day, a broad brush sadness that brings a smile to dump the cigarette ash on your pants. Well, fuck. Laundry tomorrow.

An Imaginary Genocide The Cause of Which Is Unsupported by Fiat by Any Government Funded Science, or Your Tax Dollars At Work February 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in fuckmook, FYYFF, je me souviens, New Orleans, postdiluvian, The Dead, The End, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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And so the end begins, a slow-motion genocide as a byproduct of The American Way and Dream, swallowed by Moloch the infant-feasting god of Capital, a land poured into the tank of your SUV, a people’s way of life devoured to supply you with an endless supply of plastic-wrapped things.

And I chose that word carefully, and mean it.

The individuals will mostly survive. nly the multiple, unique, World Heritage cultures of the place will be diluted until untastable. Their children will be assimilated and the great machine will move along, consuming them in the more convention ways. Except of course the very old who cannot manage the transition, as they died in the thousands after the Federal Flood and the Great Evacuation of 2005, the largest forced movement of US citizens in history. The old could not cope. Their deaths ride shotgun with you, are the faint dark spots you sometimes spy in your high-riding review mirror.

Have A Nice Day, Fuckmooks.

As if February 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Pedestrian I, poem, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Poem cross posted from http://poetryisnot.wordpress.com

it didn’t winter enough
for them to stop
& think to take
the time to

February 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“But can we not help but marvel, at least every now and then, at the scandalous beauty of existence, what Robinson Jeffers called the “transhuman magnificence” of the world?”

— “The Love of Destiny: the Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism” by Dan McCoy

The Spectrum February 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.


The Spectrum

Reproduced from the Disorder Service Manual of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

When the going gets weird February 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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the weird mark their days by songs of Pink Floyd. There are your screaming “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” days and your quiet or soulful (or even depressive, the B-side of “Careful…) days of “Great Gig in the Sky.”

Today…today we shall be Fearless.


Wandering February 11, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Pedestrian I, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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When I first came home to New Orleans, 469020_10151593918210138_253649131_oI was working out of a converted kitchen cum office. I would often take a lunch break to step away from the massive monitor to bathe myself in sunlight instead of the cracklin radiation of the CRT. As it was closest, I often found myself wandering the groves south of Bayou Metairie.

That is where I walk today with more purpose: briskly for exercise, sometimes for distance, often just to be among the great trees, to catch a glimpse of the anhinga that haunts the west end of the cutoff remains of the Bayou.

Anyone who lives near this end of the park knows the air whistle of the miniature train that wends its way around the south end of the park. It has been a fixture of my life since childhood, when the trains were a streamliner style engine and cars, and an Old Smokey engine with false pistons tied to the wheels, a Smokey Mary stack, and most incorrect confederate flags flying at each side of the cow catcher. Those trains are gone. I miss the Old Smokey Mary (but not the flags), the actual tie-in of the decorative pistons and arms to the driving wheels, the antique look of it.

It does not run all of the time, only weekends and the long Celebration of the Oaks. What is always present is the line’s curving tracks wandering among the trees, another path I sometimes wander along the ballast or stepping gingerly along the ties.

Fire, ashes and garlic soup February 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Time to twist up a wicker sin man and put him to the torch, and wash the taste of ashes out of my mouth with a big steaming bowl of garlic and leek soup. To rest the aching brain, I can dredge up this now traditional post and return to an intent contemplation of Brownian motion in dust motes.

At the conclusion of Carnival in Nice, France, an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval is burned, the ancient story of the burning man, the sacrifice in fire. As told by Mama Lisa’s World Blog, in that rite Monsieur Carnaval “is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year. At Carnival time in France, Monsieur Carnaval is judged for his behavior throughout the preceding year. Usually he’s found guilty and an effigy of him is burned.”

Accompanying the ritual is a song, and I offer the lyrics collected by Mama Lisa below, both in Occitan (the language of the Troubadors) and in English. I suggest you click the link to open in a new tab or window so you can follow along as far as the MP3 goes.

And so, from New Orleans, Adiu Paure Carnaval.

Adiu paure Carnaval

Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
Tu te’n vas e ieu demòri
Adiu paure Carnaval
Tu t’en vas e ieu demòri
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Per manjar la sopa a l’òli
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval

La joinessa fa la fèsta
Per saludar Carnaval
La Maria fa de còcas
Amb la farina de l’ostal

Lo buòu dança, l’ase canta
Lo moton ditz sa leiçon
La galina canta lo Credo
E lo cat ditz lo Pater

Farewell, Poor Carnival

Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
To eat garlic soup
To eat oil soup
To eat garlic soup
Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival.

The young ones are having a wild time
To greet Carnival
Mary is baking cakes
With flour from her home.

The ox is dancing, the donkey’s singing
The sheep is saying its lesson
The hen is singing the Credo
And the cat is saying the Pater.

Yorick February 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, The Dead, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist.
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Yeah, I knew him. Nice guy, what kind always finish last. Or first.


Carnival February 9, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist.
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The soft flutter of a fan
In Venice piazza
Blows chaotic tropical salsas
Across the Atlantic.

The drums rumble the earth
The dancing triangulates
On all the instruments
Far to the north

(Trombones most of all)
Registering ecstasy
Riotous in the Old Quarter
Of New Orleans.

Wyrd Synchronicity February 5, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Imbolc, New Orleans, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.

It is Imbolc, typically thought of as Brigid’s feast day. Somehow, I found myself at Yule falling into the myth of Frau Holle. Instead of simple decorations, I used the shelf that hosts the Shrine of Jazz and Heritage to erect a small altar to her. At Carnival, I stumbled through a link that took me past the usual matter on the pagan roots of Carnival and into the realm of the goddess Nerthus, one of the Vanir of Germanic (Heathen, if you will and as most prefer) goddesses. It seem as if at a point in my life when it is most necessary, my Germanic ancestors are calling me to a path of responsibility and righteousness. In spite of my acquired, indolent Carribean ways (perhaps because of them, the need to overcome them at this moment, to tend to what is necessary, to my kith and kin), the pull is in fact a specifically Wyrd synchronicity.

As I last posted, the parallels between Nerthus drawn on a cart by white oxen and our own, modern Carnival traditions struck a chord with me. So instead of twisting up a Brigid’s Cross as my friend Bart did today, over the last several days I have assemble on my public altar (born one long Jazz Fest ago as The Shrine of Jazz and Heritage) to Nerthus, who is like Brigid a goddess of fertility honored at this eighth-point of the earth’s orbital compass, the winter cross corner.


If it seems strange to honor a goddess of fertility when in much of North America the ground is frozen hard as a rock, consider the lighting of bonfires (a tradition still well honored here) at the dark of Yule and New Year’s, calling back the light. it is not so strange to call upon a goddess of the earth and fertility to return. Am I ignoring the old Biblical injunction about praying in public by putting this on the Shrine of Jazz and Heritage shelf? I don’t think so. I’m not a biblical person, anyway, and why not start a discussion with someone about alternate ways to honor our ruling and guiding spirits? My new neighbor up the street from Germany was  much impressed by  my small altar to Frau Holle this past holiday season.

Ay any account, that strange January of blooming tulip trees is behind us and we are back into our New Orleans winter just as we reach the winter cross corner. The pot of daffodils I found at the home center store seem to like this current weather just fine, and I hope to walk out of my girlfriend’s front door one day soon greeted by my favorite flower, long before the snow drops burst through in the higher latitudes. I love daffodils (and tulips, and all the bulb-borne flowers) because there is something so damned right about them in spring, the perennial bulb sleeping through the long winter in the earth, and then as the earth itself is awakening the daffodil emerges as Her messenger of the brightly painted tulip days to come.

Nerthus and Carnival February 2, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, cryptical envelopment, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.

Ever wonder why there is a white bullock at the front of Rex? Below is an image of Nerthus, a Germanic deity whose worship involved a sacred cart pulled by white bullocks. Nerthus, close cousin to Freya, is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania.

The word ‘Carnival’ is of uncertain origin … Usener drives “carnival” from currus navalis, the ship car, and finds its origin in some ship procession similar to that which figures in the cult of the goddess Isis. Certainly in the Middle Ages ship processions were held as spring celebrations in England, Germany and the South of Europe [and] the procession may take place either at Christmas or at the beginning of Lent; for the resemblance between the Kalends and the Saturnalia is paralleled by the resemblance between the Twelve Days and the Carnival.

The Court Masque
– By Enid Welsford

Hail & Farewell, Commander Kantner January 30, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, je me souviens, Remember, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“…and we commend his body to travel forever in the depths of space. Farewell and Hail, Commander Kanter.” The thin, silver death vessel is launched to voyage forever among the family of stars.

Requiescat in Astrorum Paul Lorin Kantner: March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016

Asperity in the Cosmos January 29, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, science, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In episode five of Cosmos, at 15:30, Neil Degrasse Tyson gets it wrong. He is not communicating with us as the speed of light. Every device in the production and distribution of electronic media from the time of the telegraph, be it analog or digital and including television, radio, internet, our telephone calls phone calls relies on circuits constructed from copper wire. The signals that arrive in our homes traverse the “last mile” which is almost universally still copper wire, not glass fibers transmitting light. Electrons travel through copper at normal temperatures at 2/3 C.

I think this is wonderful, evidence of what the Japanese call wabi-sabi, the imperfection integral to any great work of art. It enhances Tyson’s message of the inevitability of mistakes, of the need to question everything, the very bones and tissue of the scientific process. It is not a mistake so much as a badge of his own humility as a frail human standing before the greatness of the Cosmos, the moment at which the series most closely approaches perfection. It illuminates Tyson’s own wonder at the ability of humanity to strive through all our limitations, to learn to learn from out mistakes, and so arise to the level of understanding we have today, to be–as the Grateful Dead song has it–the Eyes of the World.

Agraphoria January 28, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Crappy to report that the lexical selection terror on this knew medication is much butter. Going to try not to drink about it, and go watch something mindless (like me), like Disney’s Dysphasia. I love the part with the element ballerinas. Agraphia me a beet while your up, will ya?

— Benzo the Clown

Hello, Cruel World January 27, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Bring it.


Floating January 26, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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floating away

“I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.”
Author: Khaled Hosseini

S’no Thank You January 24, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Fargo, literature, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist.
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I was in DC in January ’87 and remember the wonder of my first sled ride  a few weeks after my arrival just after New Year’s. I left New Orleans New Year’s eve for the three day drive, knowing an early start New Year’s morning not very likely.  The first city-closing snow a fellow roomie and I stole our hostesses clothes moving boxes for rude sleds and trudged to the other Washington Monument, the Masonic one, and tried to slide. Children took pity on us to learn we had grown well into our twenties without ever having sledded down a hill,  and cheerfully lent us sleds and disks for  turn or two. As we trudged home we watched a lone police car struggling along, and first heard the sound of snow chains.

My only prior experience of winter was a trip to Western Massachusetts with my girlfriend one year, driving the turnpike through a fresh snow wonderland, rural houses back up toward the low mountains along the road with their great stacks of wood and smoke threading up from their chimneys, that turnpike verse of James Taylor’ Sweet  Baby James ringing in my head, the idealized winter of nonsectarian holiday cards. Somehow in the years between then and my arrival in D.C. I had forgotten the lesson of being blown off my feet on an steep and icy Boston sidewalk.

That memory came back to me in the terror of the Washington, D.C. Super Bowl Day storm that first year. We rode the train in from Arlington and walked and slid on the prior storms melt ice  slick from Union Station to the park at the far end of East Capitol in our Southerners’ idea of winter coats (a lined London Fog is not a winter coat) and regular shoes, sneakers chosen for traction, but without so much as rubber mucklucks to put over them.   We preceeded to drink much beer throughout the hours of the Super Bowl party as the storm rolled through, dumping a massive slush of most unfluffy wet snow. We proceeded to try to walk back to the station in the howling dark, wading through the wet cold stuff which quickly soaked our shoes and everything exposed below the knee. There was not another soul or a moving vehicle in sight. As we began to lose all feeling in our feet and consider whether we would actually make it to the station alive and if pounding on doors begging admittance might  be our only hope of survival, a heaven-sent DC Metro bus came slip sliding sometimes side to side  but mostly forward down East Capitol, struggling to get back to the garage, which picked us up and took us to the station.

By the time I arrived in NW Minnesota for the horrific winter that in melting drowned Grand Forks (whose officials rushed to New Orleans’ aid with their experience in ’05) I had learned winter’s lesson well. “Been in the ditch yet?” was a common question, but I could always answer, “nope.” Detroit Lakes was small enough I could have snow-shoed to work in a pinch, and I remembered my first nerve wracking drive back to the airport from my future in-laws small North Dakota  town through a ground blizzard. A ground blizzard is something like what we southerners know as a ground fog, if that ground fog were being run to ground  by the hounds of hell. The invisible road was a matter of long pratice, muscle memory and the steel posts with reflectors that marked the shoulders. I  had no intention of going that native, although later I was required by the local work ethic to venture out and wind up in fear of my life more than once. When in Nome…but here is a fine line between dogged and stupid, as deadly hazardous as driffing over the highway’s center line, as a few proud and hardy northerners learn every year in spite of the winter survival kits in their cars. Thankfully I survived my few crossings over that boundary into white-blind peril.

When people asked why I would take my family to a disaster zone and risk future hurricanes, I reminded them that people went back and lived Grand Forks, where the Red River of the North–not much of river to the eyes of anyone from south of the Delta–is bound behind dikes as massive as those that front the Mississippi in New Orleans to contain Spring floods. And  that in North Dakota the weather can (and routinely does) kill folk–most often for stupidity–six months out of the year, not once in a generation.

I have fond memories of that idyllic drive through the wedding cake Berkshires, of snow shoeing in old fashioned beavertails the woods along the Red River on  a perfectly windless and sunny ten degree Dakota day , mastering the yogic art of turning around in the brush in those beautiful,  clumsy things and discovering the mystic beauty of an ice whorl on the river, and taking my children sledding down those massive river dikes along The Red of the North.  Still, from now on I’ll take my Blizzards far out on Airline Highway in one of New Orleans’ few Dairy Queens. With lots of crushed Oreos, putting out of my mind the resemblance of that muddy gray treat to the exhaust-blasted sides of a suburban D.C. street in February.

What Rough Beast? January 23, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Say OK, I’ve had enough. What else can you show me?

I do not wish, Doc, to be healed
lose everything that is revealed
to those who turned away and kneeled
their backs turned to where bells are pealed
& chose to keep their eyes wide-peeled
to witness the world burning.

Trois! Douze! Merde!


Understand Me January 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.


Tumblr is the new opium January 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist.
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Facebook is a flourscent-lit formica bar, with sports televisions on three different events while the juke box blares and  everyone is approaching that state of drunken, irreproachable brilliance of opinion while the cruisers check out each others profile photos.

To wander through Tumblr is to drift in and out of other’s dreams, through scenes of beauty natural and bizarre, ideas both silly and serious, an unlimited hallucinogenic pass into the collective  unconscious through a strange synchronicity of connections. 

Persona non gravitas January 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“Temporal bandwidth” is the width of your present, your now. It is the familiar “Δt” considered as a dependent variable. The more you dwell in the past and in the future, the thicker your bandwidth, the more solid your persona. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more tenuous you are. It may get to where you’re having trouble remembering what you were doing five minutes ago, or even— as Slothrop now— what you’re doing here

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

poetry is not January 15, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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that monster under your bed.

That exercise in writing is my latest project, and seems to keep me from a more “serious” manuscript in revision. Still, there is nothing unserious about poetry is not. It is a conscientious attempt to explore the borders between versification, best (?) exemplified by Hallmark and a poetry deeply serious about its business but at first glance simple–and most of all accessible to the general reader. Then again, shouldn’t all poems aspire to be as simple as possible, to pare away every unnecessary word as an engineer builds to spec and budget, an economy of material and forces which at the highest produces both beauty and function, the Golden Gate Bridge golden in the morning? There is nature, the echo of haiku, and a playfulness to it, and a music. It is often self-referential, confessional even, but without the bottle or the oven. If assonance and consonance are a bother, brother, don’t go there. It is a chamber orchestra of penny whistles. It is my attempt to produce a poetry that resonates with a public ruined for poetry by modernism and post-modernism, poetry written for other poets and to please professors of creative writing, a poetry that is swallowing its tale, a Rosicrucian arcanum to which the reading public is not admitted.

Give it a look. Open the door, and let in a bit of sunshine and birdsong. Go fearlessly into the simplicity of snowflakes.


Black Star Man January 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Shield of Beauty, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“. . . I am going to put a shield of beauty
over the face of the earth to protect us.”

— Sun Ra

They are the gods we the godless have invented to replace the old inventions, the godly models we follow and when they die a piece of our souls leaves with them. We are that much closer to the darkness and our sadness for the great ones is not abstract and remote, an ancient crucifixion or a one-shot starlet’s moment. It is a priceless fragment of our Adamic world the god clock has ticked off the list.

Damn the darkness. We must burn brighter.