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Me and a lorikeet (February 24, 2008)


Jeremy's journal

What word will be spoken that will give meaning to all this?

José Saramago

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Some recent poetry

The moment of the poem, by J. Osner

Poems you read, they shape you – watch the singsong of their syllables chase images of darkness and light down syntactic tunnels. Follow the syllable along the corridor to where it leads; act out solemn ritual of determination.
The poem (if it's successful) always functions on some level as a metaphor for time: the reader's memory will integrate the poem (if it's successful) so its meter and its rhyme make up a cauldron through which filters reader's vision of experience: the moment, just off-kilter, just opaque enough to shadow (just concrete enough to straddle) future and the past which bubble up through the poem (if it's successful) and comprise the self you narrate to the world.


There is no calculus of consciousness.
The moment that you dwell in is no delta t,
no limit;
its kaleidoscopic boundaries recede.

posted Saturday afternoon: Respond
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Walking down the path

Seen lately in the READIN family garden --

posted Thursday evening: Respond
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Sunday the 20th

Altazor: from Canto III

Basta señora arpa de las bellas imágenes
De los furtivos comos iluminados
Otra cosa otra cosa buscamos
Sabemos posar un beso como una mirada
Plantar miradas como árboles
Enjaular árboles como pájaros
Regar pájaros como heliotropos
Tocar un heliotropo como una música
Vaciar una música como un saco
Degollar un saco como un pingüino
Cultivar pingüinos como viñedos
Ordeñar un viñedo como una vaca
Desarbolar vacas como veleros
Peinar un velero como un cometa
Desembarcar cometas como turistas
Embrujar turistas como serpientes
Cosechar serpientes como almendras
Desnudar una almendra como un atleta
Leñar atletas como cipreses
Iluminar cipreses como faroles
Anidar faroles como alondras
Exhalar alondras como suspiros
Bordar suspiros como sedas
Derramar sedas como ríos
Tremolar un río como una bandera
Desplumar una bandera como un gallo
Apagar un gallo como un incendio
Bogar en incendios como en mares
Segar mares como trigales
Repicar trigales como campanas
Desangrar campanas como corderos
Dibujar corderos como sonrisas
Embotellar sonrisas como licores
Engastar licores como alhajas
Electrizar alhajas como crepúsculos
Tripular crepúsculos como navíos
Descalzar un navío como un rey
Colgar reyes como auroras
Crucificar auroras como profetas
Etc. etc. etc.
Basta señor violín hundido en una ola ola
Cotidiana ola de religión miseria
De sueño en sueño posesión de pedrerías

posted evening of the 20th: Respond
➳ More posts about Altazor: The Journey by Parachute

Friday the 11th

Back from vacation with some new books

We went to Europe! Stayed with Jacki in Amsterdam, at airbnbs in Gerona and Barcelona, and back to Amsterdam. A wonderful time! As always, a new city for me brings with it the compulsion to visit bookshops -- we were traveling light so I kept my acquisitions to a minimum however. My two favorite bookshops in Barcelona are Librería Antiquaria Studio on Carrer d'Aribau, a seriously old-school antiquarian bookshop where I bought the first book to catch my eye, fortuitously it was Pere Gimferrer's Primera y última poesía; and Laie Librería y Café on Carrer Pau Claris, where I bought Maimónides' Guia de los perplejos and Pedro Salinas' Poemas inéditos.

Also: picked up Bonsái by Alejandro Zambra at a small used-book shop on the Ramblas; and had my interest in Infinite Jest renewed when I opened the copy that was on the shelf of the apartment we stayed in in Barcelona -- I leafed at random to p. 755, 11 Nov. YDAU, and kept laughing for hours. The first thing I did this morning was head over to Words bookshop in Maplewood and buy a copy, and start it from the front. An employee at the salon where Ellen was having her hair done asked what the book was that was making me laugh so hard, and put it on her reading list.

posted afternoon of the 11th: Respond
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Working on another chapbook -- this one is tentatively titled "The moment of the poem: Extensions".

posted morning of the 11th: 1 response
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Sunday, June 22nd


The latest desktop wallpaper chez READIN:

posted afternoon of June 22nd: 1 response
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Monday, June 16th

Another analogy for time

"The Cauldron of Verse" by J. Osner,

The poem (if it's successful) always functions on some level
as a metaphor for time: the reader's memory will integrate
the poem (if it's successful) so its meter and its rhyme make up
a cauldron through which filters reader's vision of experience:
the moment, just off-kilter, just opaque enough to shadow
(just concrete enough to straddle) future and the past which bubble
up through the poem (if it's successful)
and comprise the self you narrate to the world.

posted evening of June 16th: 1 response
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Saturday, June 14th


The teaching is the bow, devotion is the arrow. Brahma is the target.
The second teaching in this collection is Mundaka Upanishad, a short dialog between Saunaka and Angira on the subject of meditation. Meditation is "the form of knowledge through which all other things can be known." Through meditation we can give birth to reality, "like a hen brooding on her eggs."

The "universal person" appears to be synonymous with "Brahma" and to denote the consciousness which is reality, the universal one-ness. Meditation is the path to becoming the universal person, as an arrow becomes one with its target.

Mundaka Upanishad contains the parable of the two birds, which is my point of entry to this reading.

Two birds, inseparable friends, perch in the same tree. One eats the sweet fruit, the other watches but does not take a bite.

The man is sitting in the same tree, and is suffering; he is confused by his own impotence. But when he sees the Lord and understands the Lord's glory, his heart is filled with happiness and his suffering vanishes.

When the seer sees the glorious Maker and Lord of this world, and recognizes Him as the Person whose wellspring is Brahma, that man becomes wise, for he has drawn back the veil of good and evil and attained the supreme unity. He is free of desire, for in him resonates the breath which arises from all being. Who understands all this becomes truly wise, no longer a charlatan.

Mundaka Upanishad is also called Ksurika, or "Razor," Upanishad, as it is used for shaving away false consciousness.

posted morning of June 14th: Respond
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Wednesday, June 11th


Naciketas replied to Yama: "All these things you're talking about are ephemeral, O Death; they will only last until tomorrow, for their power is born of the senses. Even the longest life is but fleeting. So keep your horses, your festivals, and answer my question."
The Katha Upanishad is the first one in the collection I'm reading. (Totally uncertain as to whether there is a standard ordering or a standard selection -- I definitely get the impression that this book is not all the upanishads there are.) It is a dialogue between Naciketas, the young son of Gautama Vagasravasa, and Yama, god of Death. Naciketas is granted three wishes; the third, which makes up the body of the teaching, is to know whether a man's soul continues to exist after he dies.

Death's reply is divided into 5 sections.

  1. The distinction between pleasure and good: this is pretty standard stuff, the wise man chooses good over pleasure, the fool is seduced by pleasure. Longing for wealth is foolish. Yama teaches Naciketas the Sacred Word (om), which is eternal.
  2. Yama compares the body to a chariot driven by the mind and pulled by the senses; in order to master the horses, to be a skilled charioteer, one must be firm and strong of mind. Here the wheel of births and deaths is introduced, and the idea that one's goal is to get off the wheel. "Beyond the senses are objects, beyond objects is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect, and beyond the intellect is the Greatness of Being. Beyond the Greatness of Being is the Hidden, and beyond what is hidden is the Person. Beyond the Person there is nothing: this is the Highest Path."
  3. Through the senses turned inwards, it is possible to know "what exists inside us -- the thing you have asked me about. The wise man knows that what allows him to perceive objects, whether awake or dreaming, is the omnipresent greatness of Being; and his suffering will end." In order to leave the wheel of births, one must recognize the universality of being. There is no difference between here and there, between Creator and creature. 'As pure water poured into pure water remains the same, thus, O Gautama, is the Self of a thinker who knows.'
  4. [I do not understand this section]
  5. Knowing Brahma is how you achieve immortality. Failing to understand this dooms a man to the wheel of births. "When all of the senses and the mind are under control, a wise man will attain the highest state. This is what is called Yoga." On hearing this teaching, Naciketas is freed from suffering and death, and attains the state of Brahma. That will be true for anyone who recognizes all that is referred to as the Self. "May he protect master and disciple! May he take delight in both! Let us be strong together! Let us be illuminated with Knowledge! Let us forever leave our strife! Om! Peace, peace, peace! Hari, om!"

posted evening of June 11th: Respond
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Monday, June 9th

Prophetic readings

Brahma fue el primero de los Devas, el hacedor del Universo, el preservador del mundo. El reveló el Conocimiento de Brahma, la fundación de todo conocimiento, a su hijo mayor Atharva.
I stumbled on an old blog post this past weekend which prompted me to take a look at the Mundaka Upanishad. Something about the reverent tone of the prophet who wrote the upanishad seemed very familiar -- it sucked me right in in the way some of my Bible readings have.

In keeping with the Bible readings, I'm going to follow the Upanishads in Spanish, prophetic tone seems to come through a little better. But I think I'll try keeping a journal of it in English.

From him comes Agni (fire), the sun being the fuel; from the moon (Soma) comes rain (Parganya); from the earth herbs; and man gives seed unto the woman. Thus many beings are begotten from the Person (purusha).
Last night I read most of the Mundaka Upanishad a bit haltingly in English, focusing mainly on the part about two birds, inseparable friends which is what had brought me to the text -- quickly realized I would like this better in Spanish! Reread in Spanish and going back to the beginning of the upanishad and found a very familiar voice. This is like reading prophets in the Bible, a bit. Plus it has the ring structurally of a couple of my poems in Intenciones extendidas. Is that a tone in common with Old Testament? Not sure -- I tried to model those poems on an OT voice but did not feel like I succeeded, quite.

This testament ("upanishad" is, if I understand correctly, a Sanskrit term with the meaning of looking up to, as to a teacher -- and just now "testament" seems like a good term for Upanishads though I think it is a bit shorter than NT) also seems to bear quite directly on recent musings on self and reality.

"Toma este Upanishad como el arco y coloca en él la flecha afilada de la devoción. Si así lo haces, tu mente permanecerá sujeta y darás en el blanco, que es el Indestructible."

posted evening of June 9th: Respond
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