Tuesday, February 28, 2006

those cartoons

There is a traditional politics which I participated in of violent berzerker upheaval over the magic of symbolic representations. There are the iconoclasts, the sacred cow fun times and in Nigeria and Egypt the frequent mahdis rising up to hack down evil especially during changes of the moon involving burning hotels with beer and shooting at djinns.

This cartoon event was that and also an application of those mobilising politics organised by underground religious issue groups. There was an internationalising faction of Dutch imams travelling around and dining on their issues involving the famous movie. There were the Moslem Brotherhood clone groups in various countries getting voters and even poor Fatah trying to win back support through circus. Here in London the conservative Moslem wing of the labour party and MI5 used it to hijack support from the British pseudo fun-dementedism manufactured by the Blairite press as a justification for enforced globalisation as a poodle of Bushism.

But let us step back for a moment to consider the religious projection and experience of the self and soul. Or more crudely what is the religious high. This is different with different prisms.

I have been embedded in a few religions cultures in a few places. A religion resembling Hinduism seemed in one place to be educating the soul to feel an engagement with a cosmic story, a story endlessly running with fabulous characters, ones you could know and love yet promised at the same time a divine detachment from all anxiety and pain from self so the creation was enjoyed purely without feeling.

A traditional Christian religion, close to Coptic but which is more flexible on doctrine, allowing for greater mysticism for example, promised imminent redemption and love as well as supreme authoritarian forgiveness of the crappy but smug self. This promise is seasoned with present freeways of angels with messages travelling up and down in radiant streams as well as by an absolutely attractive spirit illuminating the whole material world.

The world I lived in resembling a fundamental Islamic sect created resonances through language and ritual with a timeless infinite thing. An unknowable thing that cannot be depicted. But when that touches the self it makes it part of that. You submit to the infinite and join it.

Some of these religions parallel political narratives in which the self can be absolutely certain. Certain of its place, it leadership and its analysis. All of this is certainty in relationship to opposition to the other. The only one in politics this atmosphere doesn’t affect is the leaders themselves.

Which brings us to art. Here the self and soul are educated to see things illuminated or darkened with delight or horror. So cartoons.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


They talk about God in

Assiut and themselves. Talk

talk. There is no Cairo.

They are cruel and eat babies

(that was the old kingdom though)

I am from much further south.

(appears in 'One Poem Forward, Two Poems Back', published by Blue Orange)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

eu nu sunt -- I am not

Eu nu sunt Trotsky.
De fapt îl urăsc.
Mi-a plăcut că a murit aşa
chiar idea lui.

Eram un profesor
ce învăţam copilaşii cum să scrie
o propoziţie atunci cănd o parte din pisica mea
era ţintuită in uşă,

Deci, hei, de nu? De fapt
ce înseamna lumea modernă?
Pro tennis, un fandosit poet milionar
o lesbiană nebună – am trăit!!
Comunismul modern a căştigat.

Nebunie! Nebunie! Nebunie?
Am trăit şi m-am convins.
Suntem calzi, avem o viziune bună!
Şi un miros super fin.

Prune şi friptură înnăbuşită
Şi dacă cineva intervine îi vom prăji.

Am un million
şi am trăit ca un miliardar
şi tu
eşti stupid.

Prune, carne şi portocale cu paprika şi usturoi
Multă ceapă tocată.

(Translated into Romanian by Ms. Annie Nadia Lungu. Poems appear in 'One Poem Forward, Two Poems Back', published by Blue Orange.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

blog of revelations X

(more recovered proverbs from Baba Bektashi)

The good natured bring out the worst in people.

Saints attract monsters.

Death's assistants are friends and family. Life is assisted by strangers.

The humble sinner says 'I am you, brother.' The brother says, 'You crook.'

The devil's second curse: 'May you see yourself in another's mirror.'

backchannel post

Dear Blue Orange,

I have followed the site a while. I have noticed that the archives are going backward in time and the new postings are done in advance. I also noticed that there is a thematic unity and even tight narrative structure from the first posting to the last and that it can be read both ways beginning to end and end to beginning and that it also can be read from the middle which keeps shifting. Is this an authentic blog?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

announcement of authenticity

Dear reader/surfer.

On reaching 1 000 hits.

Not only are the hits recorded on this blog genuine, but because of the real lives of the real readership where they are each hit may record several people looking at the screen at once or coming back to it a lot in the same session. Real people in strange places. The idea is not to atomize or inflate. Get that fox/google/Macmillan/you udder guys.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

four games for poets

1. Poetic Whispers/Selected Works

Start a blog. Find a poem by a living poet who also has a blog and select it. Put it on your blog. Ask that poet to select someone else's and put it on his but only if he will select someone else's and keep the chain going. Link the blogs. The selected poems make an expanding book which can be analysed by blocked academics to find the real state of poetry.

2. Ultimatum

A game especially interesting for critics and observers of Popular Culture. Can be played with above.

This is a variation on economic gaming theory which will model the degree of elitism, corruption and denial of access involved in hierarchies of poets and academics chained to the wheel of diminishing grants, occupation of chairs by cronies and so on where a thousand poets fight over every three available footnotes like rats in a sack over shit. This is where short term memory of friendship and comradeship is so dysfunctional as not to take them back to the beginning of their own sentences -- all this while the consciousness of the nation rots.

Anyway. Form two teams of poets. Those published a lot and those who aren't. The first is team x, the second is team 'why'.

Accumulate enough money (called 'GrantCant') so everyone in x can have $20 (or pieces of silver). Design a book so that everyone in x has two publishing spots (called 'Patron Places') to decide on as to who will fill them. The book can be called 'Critical Community'. Tell each person in team 'why' they can award one 'GrantCant' and one 'Patron Place' to a person in team x. That person can share them or not. Then watch what happens. Can be played at the same time as below. If this game took place with Ugandan poets they would share the silver and the places.

3. Prismers of Parochialism

Find someone around who speaks say arabic or farsi, maybe welsh gaelic or mandarin. Or write to someone who does.

Then, if you don't know anything about that language look it up. See how it goes.What it does. It may even be something like Nigerian English.

After that, find a poem or a something you did that you think might sound good in that language as it is described as being like and which might become animated with that cultural charge ( maybe one yours doesn't have, like national weeping). Get it translated and try it out on the person you have picked. Or get the person you have picked to do it. I found that didactic things come out very lyrical in arabic when translated by Palestinians, or so I'm told. Imagistic things in mandarin of mine are minimalist.

But they are coherent. I was afraid to try Polish but I'm doing a fat chapbook in Albanian. That'll show them. Anyway, after that get a poem back. Change it around. The one you get back is their choice. Don't push for poems about the war. And so on.

There you go, the beginning of world peace. Reverse Babylon. If the other guy wants and needs and if you are linguistically dysfunctional help them with one in English (one thing I found out doing this is that I translate ok into American, better than in Oakville Ontario. Except in West Virginia.)

This game can be played alone or as part of

POETS without BOUNDARIES projects.

These projects are designed to help capacity building of groups of writers in developing countries so that they have their own support organisations to promote access and copyright right and freedom of speech and so on. They do income exchange, joint work, events in-country. The traditional epic writers of West Africa for example or the poor guys who used to be corralled in Stalinist associations but now have nothing. Ask me if you are interested. I have the project description and grant application.

4. The rules and objectives of game four can be found in the Blue Orange novel called The Borderline: Casebook Translations.

blog of revaluations IX

(from Baktashi essay on self)

Of Apostles

Only Judas


Prophecy, value

Acting well

And redemption.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

blog of revelations VIII

( recovered from the front lines)

I have described you Hank as a ‘textist’. You are found out.

So now since you have been outcloseted, let me elaborate.

Your blog is obviously an intertext. It is a space where different imaginations of the present blend and contend. It is where identities tell of their actions and the resulting formations tell of their thoughts.

But where is this intertext located? It is located in the decline of America.

The declines of places are characterised by the attempts at official generation of ever more grandiose myths to recapture the past. Also with ever more bizarre behaviour. America seems to be in a badstink decline, worse and of less weight than Rome but with greater potential for bloodshed. This, despite the fact that America's whole cycle is not even one hundredth the time cycle of Rome although it includes it. And its imaginative territory is not as wide as and no deeper than Mickey Mouse in his fading celluloid grave.

There is some hope however that a constellation of new compact national imaginations and one or two more efficient empires will replace America like happened with Rome. I have called for America's dissolution in order to save it. I have looked forward to the Principality of Buffalo and the Spiritual Republic of California. These could be more bizarre than boring and less exploitative.

Perhaps like with Venice's imperial fall the decline from glory (as middlemen of crusades, liquidator of the children's crusade, drug dealers) may yet be characterised by a much later flowering of municipal arts and releasing of frozen mythic and classic imaginations into psychological insight, intrigue and mannerist fun. A kind of renaissance. A pre-terminal euphoria.

Like with Florence America's decline could result in more furious networking with incompetent and murderous rulers trying to justifythe domination of their phoney republic sleazy culture capital and furious marketing of the human spirit (by falsifying everything including those big lies by undeservedly placing the rulers themselves into an ordered deification of intellect while at the same time selling their people to the devil and to the French). This could be the next ending of history. Or like the Holy and apostolic church there could be an archiving of all sins and glories into catacombs of information too voluminous to be grasped and the conversion of all institutions into secret squirrel clubs of vile sinners, landlords and usurers conspiring and reconspiring to keep the truth game going. A clean slate eternally. Or is that already happening?

Your blog, Hank, represents at this moment of decline a tension expressed from the parochial in the midst of universal disintegration. It is voices and images from some different places and times. One Hundred and Fifty Mile House for example (how far is that from Horsefly?). From Vancouver (in the Canadian Imaginaire the opposite in the inter-text from Toronto). From Toronto, from the sixties, from exiles, from America and from BaAmerica. (Ba is the proto Bantu word to say something is culturally not. For example there is a notorious tribe in Nigeria reputed to be thieves named Chamba. The proper tribe next to them is called Bachamba. The Bachamba hosted the British District commissioner and regional government. The Chamba killed him.)

The present intertext however projects an opposition to the military and imperial dreamworld of continuous mystification, permanent and reoccurring reaction, compulsory public anxiety and constant and progressive training in docility. It is against normalcy of banality and constant surveillance which are the two main politics of the age.

What is the main identity of the age? Like the decline of America, it creates the story and plot of the individual in it through the alienation its official culture expresses for itself, the individual associated with it is in flight.

I know of some such individuals. They wouldn't like your blog. They sought to be giants by imagining a world in which all the things they had fled from were thought out of existence. The family, the locality, the duty (usually to confront responsibility and death), race, religion and so on. One by one flight. Just as America flees reality with its official fantasy so paranoid, so shallow and so without theory and culture, they had fled from nationalities so called for a new nation, had fled from their own cowardice and so called for a cataclysm that would never take place in which they were martyrs, had fled from their own naughty infantilism and so called for purity. One has written `the greatest event of 1969 was the Saskatchewan Student conference’ saying that the stand taken there would lead to the changing of the world. Look up 1969. Therewere other things happening as well. But these individuals attract as America attracts. They attract their own authors who wish to fill the void they occupy with snappy little myths, reworkings of former texts, Rome, Venice, Mao. Tragedies into farces. Empires into Parishes. Another I knew, a terrorist, died in despair on the basis of apocalyptic ecological slogans that described actions which were later undertaken by municipal re-zoners. But enough of that.

Let us cite the Greeks. There was an official called the Theoros. This was the detached non-participatory witness to civic events. Then there was the Proxenia, the advocate in places where they were not from who was also a spy and reporter from the outside. Usually they were poets. They were both necessary in the midst of all the public chaos and contending imaginings of the governing drama for the formation of the objective, that is the momentary and quite concrete truth. Our group is both that.

It is not the voices of a world city or from too many airports. It is not the voice of acceleration, resistance or repulsion. It is an intertext of decline. Therefore exhilarating.

You can provide your own quotations to illustrate the passages above from the recent blog postings.

Or you could argue it is instead the voice of the Decentralised Intelligence Entity which like the CIA wishes to rework the public mind and fill the public eye. But in a different way.


Corporal B.M McDonald

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

blog of revelations VII

(from Fatima in Translation.)

Mind from senses, soul from mind

To intellect trained by creation

With spirit and suffering

Sees god but self

Even hero, even martyr

Is limited.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

announcement: new site

A Blue Orange writer has a new WEBSITE:


announcement: new site

A Blue Orange writer has a new WEBSITE:


blog of revelations VI: Profetësi (from the Beak)

Kur fëmijët
dhe zgjedhin ç’të shkatërrojnë

është koha e vdekjes
dhe kohë e harruar
kur fëmijët marshojnë

e shkruajta këtë përpara se ta përjetoja
por më mirë që e jetova
midis palmave

kur zemra flet me fjalë të ftohta
dhe zëri dridhet, dhe kur
gjithçka shkon më thellë se
ligji i gjykimit

dhe ty, ndonëse i ri, të duhet të vdesësh ndërkohë
fëmijët fillojnë marshimin

shiu vështron qënie të deformuara
humbet objektin e tij
dhe shkatërron të njohurit

e shtegut të zymtisë

gjithçka e ndarë

këtu në këtë çmendi
një jetë e re fillon dhe vdekja triumfon
frymëmarrje, bukë, dashuri, emra të rinj

dhe gjak për të ushqyer
atë që është tharë

e kam jetuar
fëmijët marshojnë

por rilindja nuk është mënçuri

(from 'The Beak's Poems', translated by Iris Rathwell and Evis Carcani)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

blog of revelations V

(a fragment from Fatima)

The signs are around to signify the seventh kill-off.

Disappearance of memory. Demise of identity. Increased drowning in empty metaphor.

Plagues of stereotypes cause blind dementia.

Ice caps melting while narratives form of oil free futures.

Practical things to create abstractions.

Imprisonment for freedom, wars for peace, reasoned genocide.

See gated churches of virtual worlds.

Freer right and market as elect ascend.

Ungodly selves burn.

Friday, February 10, 2006

blog of revelations

The Blog of Revelations

I suggest you join with me to write an essay. I am going from time to time on this blog to illustrate my bits of this proposed collaborative effort. I would especially like professors of popular culture and sociologists. Also folks.

1. Most of the blogging and chatting going on has as a meta-theme the decline of America (perhaps into something nicer like grassland and small kingdoms).

2. There is both an intra-text and a market developed around this. There is monopoly, poverty, addiction and madness. There are rules and laws. There is syntax and tax tax.

3. There are features of the phenomena that resemble events in Venice after their empire collapsed or events in Florence when their civic policy became networking and loans. That is, there is a renaissance going on.

4. Like most renaissances this one has become mannerist. Myths are becoming psychosis, history is being rolled over into modern dress, carnival and burning. We will renew the classic. We will know we are there by the beautiful synthetic colour.

5. The blogs and chats atomise culture. The post modernists hit the retro modernists, those who know it all hit those who are just developing the new retro modernist stereotypes. Then there is the war to blog about. And culture. And celebrity. Then there is too that rapid American Balkanization to component landscapes and narratives. As usual memory is what didn’t happen, tradition is the newest thing and reality is the obligatory cliché. Then there is resistance, nostalgia for artificial worlds. Writing oneself as a cartoon.

6. This occurs in an age of surveillance to enforce normalisation.

7. A word about the narratives of other nations. Take Canada for example. Canadian prisms have always been parochial. This is a sub-narrative to the great winning of the world by American folk. The faux parochial is commercial parochialism. The faux memory is memoirist. These are political stances that serve the master in the decline, serve in the generation of the new panoptic, the invisible Ultreye, gatekeeper of the access to the fruits of this morbid decline.

8. The blogs and chats are an accumulation of associations in short triggers. Because of this they check off phenomena, the phenomena are covered. That means it will burst out again seeking to be grasped. The hole gets bigger, the wind howls.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

blog of revelations IV

Uninterpreted and partially translated fragments from Baba Bektashi:

When the soul hears its song, it stones the gypsy.

The dancers leave, the holy return.

A cradle falls, a killer dies.

Doubly love the Sultan as his reign may be short.

Egoist, permit no problems in your world; saint, no solutions.

If you have seen it all before, you are blind; if you have heard it, you are deaf. As for knowing...

A dervish can fart.


blog of revelations III

Proverbs from Baba Bektashi:

Panic brings worse consequence than its cause.

Being dissolute puts one beyond criticism.

It is easier to imagine people than to know them.

It is easier to report dreams than to see truth.

A fool has great honor in his own village.


blog of revelations II

My grandfather-in-law (baba) married three times and in between he went to Chicago where he was part of a secret society. This society published an underground journal of news. It may have supported itself in traditional mountain brotherhood ways. Baba travelled and worked all over North America. He sent home money. When he came home he lived on the family mountain top but he travelled down from there often selling secret and magical antique charms and ancient painted Icons to both Moslems and two varieties of Christians throughout the nation. The charms and paintings came from within three steamer trunks he brought back from Chicago.

Baba himself was a Bektashi. His lodge, and perhaps his own great grandfather, had hosted Byron when he was in the valley below Limon, my grandfather's village. Bektashis are a large mystical order of active poets celebrating the redemption, melancholy and life of creation. They attempt to get through the veils of cant. Byron discussed their outlook with them when he was in the area and there is a folk memory of this and a few contemporary poems. Some of these are referred to in a manuscript I have from my father-in-law which is by several generations of family poets stanrting in the 16th century.

Did I say Baba had at least seven known children? The Greeks tried to steal some of them in a Balkan war to be used on their farms and for worse and in so doing wiped out most of Baba's small village. No one will say if any of their children were taken or their wives raped.

Fifty years later, just as the Communist regime collapsed, as an Aid official I investigated this area of my Grandfather's birth and death as well as a few other mountaintops and also some pestilant marshes. I was checking for certain individuals in the emptying prison camps that had been constructed for dissidents and their families and also in the attached so-called 'orphanages' which had actually been filled with bastard sick and starving kids and which still had quite a few naked down's syndrome children chained to the walls, and also other people that had been said to have been impossible in an authentic socialist state.

I kept updating my Red Cross list of the missing which kept growing day by day. 400, 500, 600. 'The Greeks are at it again' explained the orphanage administrators fat with baklava bought with the money they had got from recent sales in the newly free and uncontrolled labour market.

Did I say Baba was Albanian? Yes he was. From his many sons and daughters known about, two are buried on the hill of the martyrs, they were gunmen against Nazis, one is a retired general and one other, the youngest known ,who is still living was the one who married a pre-revolutionary princess. Her father had saved the revolutionary leader from death in his youth as the party was forming but that is another story. One only recently considered true although it was known for thirty years.

The youngest known son of Baba did become a ranking party official, a professor of applied ideology who in the famous 'affair if the cows' contributed to the cleansing of the party of an enemy clique and is one of the reason's Hohxa's ninety something year old wife who now lives in a state beyond memory in a small bungalow is not in prison. It is easy to visit her if you have the right credentials. The youngest son and the dictator's wife (the guide's closest true comrade) notoriously enthusiasticly supported the declaration of atheism as the state religion at a private party. The dictator was said to be in China at the time.

All grandfather's sons were classified by the party apparatus as peasants from the mountain and therefore to be trusted in party posts and in the final analysis in their ideology as long as they didn't dis the leadership whether that leadership, apparently alive, was dead or not.

But, if you have been following the narrative so far, you would see that they were actually Americans, children of a suspected gangster, perhaps one who had his name anglicized to 'Clinton' at Ellis island. They could be siblings to Greeks or perhaps Canadians.

They are Moslims now, true believers (but some belong to a secret order).
Me, a grandson-in- law, restored a church of sacred mediaeval icons. A blessed event in national history. Which is how I may be remembered.

All of the above is true and I can prove it. I got the evidence on my last trip.

So we get to the discussion on identity. This is of course a process. Identity is an activity. It engages and disengages. What it cannot be confused with is image. That can hold identity. Or it cannot when it is not authentic.


Tradition is the thing least old. Authenticity is the thing least true. Nation is the thing least ethnic, territorial or ideological. Origins are definitely where we didn't come from. Memory is definitely what didn't happen.

Did your grandfather piss in the snow?

What did he write there?

is there a parochial art? should there be?

Why did a black panther supporter try to shoot a Vancouver communist? Or were either of them that?

Who is my favourite American?


What is all this dreaming?

Ask Baba:

Bektashi Fable # 1 :

According to the traditional Muslim belief, when one fell sick, one called upon the prayers and the good wishes of those considered god-fearing and pious. In a melancholic state, a man whose son was very sick called on a Bektashi Baba from the mountains; he asked the Baba to come to recite prayers in order that his boy be cured.The Baba, grand-dad, who cannot get out of this duty, accepted the plea and soon arrived at the door of the townsman. Standing near the child, he opened his hands towards the sky and prayed, 'My God, make it so that this boy dies immediately.'

The horrified father grabbed the Baba, beat him and threw him out of the house. Many days later the man came across the Baba on the street and continued his abuse of him, saying, 'Do you remember when you came to recite prayers for my son and, contrary to what I asked of you, you asked God to take his life? Well God did not listen to you and, El-Hamdulillah, my son is cured!'

The Bektashi laughed and responded, 'It is for that reason that I cursed the lad. I have been on bad terms with God lately and He has been giving me the opposite of what I ask for!

Bektashi Fable # 2:

After collective prayer in the lodge and reading of poetry, a Bektashi was praying by himself in the Mosque and demanding more money from God so that he could buy a bottle of raki. A traditional religious man next to him was also praying by himself, demanding more personal faith from God.

The imam noticed this situation and yelled at the Bektashi: 'Look! Do you see what others ask from God, and what you ask for? Alcohol! Aren't you ashamed of yourself?'

Baba replied, 'Everyone asks for the thing he doesn't have.'

Sunday, February 05, 2006

blog of revelations I

Ultaeye! Ultraeye!
There, not there
round in all directions
filled with mysterious judgement
striking out. Invisible, but the main thing
proving sight.
I have connected all this travel
in the moment between old death
and new birth
when things are strange
and clear hungry
as moonlight
(Risk, guaranteed risk,
is life because you feed, live or are
not satisfied because I am settled
like my father and father
before that
the ones who decided in shadow
not to shoot everybody out there
because of a face growing old
last night on a pillow
like chocolate
in the dark


Poem on the fiftieth anniversary of
the founding of Canadian tire
(and to Jack Spicer too)

The mighty git
gee! manitoba!
sent angel tires instead.
(Cheese and ice, so they did eh!)

Four by fours, their light
cars grew him (and hymns)
and wand ring huntresses
hired him (yes they did!)

Cheese ice, urKing is bourne!
UrKing is bourne!
In ex-hell's house!
Glory us.

I say to you!
For easter there was a mad woman shivering in my garbage can.
No eggs.
For christmas there was a cat frozen on the doorstep.
No presents. No cards.
On Baden Powell day I was stabbed, knifeless
defending my sister
from the godless
frozen blood, thank goodness!
no scars
everyone identically evil
in stiff clean green uniforms
no guns.

Fields of ice to play on
Wolves to take your sandwiches.
Stupid snow jewelling
and covering up everything.


Three secret curses
I get emails from Jack Spicer
And three secret obituaries
I may have been a Stalinist but you are always a cuckold.
From the living poet
blitz bits obits
You're asking am I
the right guy
to finish Babel
poem returning
obituary burning
swearing voice



...I wasn't in Khartoum. But I was in Gulu where I interviewed the leaders of the 'Raped Women's Collective' trying to hustle me for a grant in return for their plaster frogs. They hadn't sold a lot as there weren't many tourists. One in fact over a year. Me in fact. Except for the aid guys who thought of the frogs with a project reading 'Gulu Raped Women's Collective'.

But the delegation were there for a day and I was there for a week trying to write a poem and find a plan for the town council (many of whom were related to the rain queen in the bush 100 meters beyond the hotel). I was a consultant. She was an armed prophet.

My room was fine but the guy with me from my delegation from Salmon Arm, Canada, who was a town planner had a room which the mortars of last week had opened the walls of, wanted to complain because of the mosquitos, he said, 'Listen, Hank, I know you like this all and are romantic but I think I am reacting badly from my anti- malarials and something, a jigger you say, has just bitten me so I want to go home,' and I said relax, but when he saw a guy with a big Kalasnikov outside the window was unsure because of the size of the shadow, I said there are small guys too with our towels just outside the window, then he screamed so I got Acholie Annie to comfort him from the bar, which still had a roof. He claimed her on the city council claims form. But they used chemicals anyway on everything. We were trying to start a university but because of the illness he forgot.

So go there poets. Find out.