YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

January 2010

VOL XVIII, Issue 01, Number 201

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Mois Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Evan Light; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401



Chris G. Vaillancourt 
   Intellectual Space Tripper 


Chris G. Vaillancourt
   In The Middle Of The Beast 
   Chains Of Freedom 

W. Jude Aher 
   dare to dance

Miriam Moreno Perez
   The Dream’s Passage

Richard Fein 

William Doreski
   The News Today

Felino A. Soriano 

   Painters' Exhaltations
      —after John Atta Mensah’s Heading Home
   Painters’ Exhalations 746
      —after Emmanuel Tetteh Pecku’s Wonderful Days
   Painters’ Exhalations 748
      —after Israel Villanueva’s How to Invent a Secret
   Painters’ Exhalations 754
      —after Dale Wicks’ Big Blue
   Painters’ Exhalations 755
      —after William Lewis’ Seaside Cliff’s – Brittany 
   Painters’ Exhalations 756
      —after Shyrley Cabral’s At the Mercy of Colors
   Painters’ Exhalations 759
      —after Miriam Chipana’s Playful Space
   Painters’ Exhalations 763
      —after Made Agteus Widarta’s Play Kites


Felino A. Soriano
   Soliloquy of Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger 
   (Or St. Simeon of the Admirable Mountain) 


Chris G. Vaillancourt 

Intellectual Space Tripper 

If people were forced 
to eat what they killed 
there would be no more wars. 
If we were compelled to 
obey the words of Jesus 
there would be 
no starvation 
no aggravation 
no hatred 
We would live in peace. 
Our values are strange. 
You are not real until 
you have a piece of paper 
declaring that you have been born. 
As you grow older 
the pile of paper increases 
and indicates the control 
that is exercised over us all. 
We live in one large armed camp 
that devours the idealism of youth 
trapping us in credit and debts. 
We have possessions, but we do 
not have peace. 
Violence on the streets 
is blamed on the poor. 
The rich man hides in his 
fortress and complains about 
the race problem; the drug problem; 
the unemployment problem; 
the homeless problem. 
His answer to the 'problems' is 
to increase his home security. 
He lives in splendour but 
he does not know peace. 
The conservative element thinks 
the movement amongst people 
for peace comes from the enemy. 
The ideology of change is foreign. 
Instead it is preferred that chains 
be increased over the minds 
of the people under their feet. 
Exploitation of resources is known 
as economic security. 
The answer to anarchy is to collect the 
young men and send them off 
to fight in a war. 
They make speeches, but still 
we do not have peace. 
The moral code of the world 
has deserted into a state of anarchy. 
Chaos rules our cities and drugs 
inhibit our will to be free. 
Our universities have been 
conditioned not to educate, instead 
to turn out more drones for the hive 
The mindset is that a degree is 
only used to create employment. 
There is fear in educating the masses 
to their capability to be free. 
The entire game is to create divisions 
that set one group against another. 
Fight in wars that are not ours 
and dream of flags and medals 
as something to be desired. 
Preparations are underway to 
implant methods to destroy 
our collective will to breath. 
It is a strange sort of world 
that calls itself free 
when death 
stalks our cities. 
If people were forced 
to eat what they killed 
there would be no more wars. 
We would have peace. 

Chris G. Vaillancourt

In The Middle Of The Beast 

Work! Don't play! 
Your life will 
be measured 
by the controls 
you set on 

Study! Don't think! 
Compete to the 
point of 
frustration for 
a piece of paper. 

Obey! Don't ask questions! 
Asking 'why' points 
you out as 
an agitator, 
even though you 
are just confused by 
the apparent 
of most things. 

Fit in! don't stand out! 
It's better if we 
all look the same. 
It makes it easier to 
treat us all 
like robots. 
Lines and lines 
of empty eyes 
marching nowhere 
for no-one. 

Be straight! Don't take drugs! 
The fear being 
that a relaxed stated 
of mind towards reality 
may make you see 
the hypocrisies of 
the game. 
Even a game 
like 'Monopoly' 
makes more sense than 
the games played 
by the so-called 
'real world'. 

Make money! Don't make waves! 
Spend your whole life 
playing currency collection. 
Percentage and profits 
being the only things 
to make you 
a valid human being. 

Cry! Don't smile! 
It really is so easy 
to chase it all off. 
To let them 
enforce their 
restricting rules 
on somebody else. 

Think! Be free! 

Chains Of Freedom ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Where am I going? Isn't this the question that filters into most of our minds? I have spent my life questioning the borders erected around me. The chains of conformity rusted with the blood of the soul. Neighbourhood reflects the emptiness of the heart. Fences define property and keep out the unwanted. A dog is barking somewhere behind the house, its high pitched voice drowning out the solitude of being normal. There is an intensity in the animal that it out of place in the manicured lawns and much painted walls. Glistening skin that is permeated with the refuse of a million different commercials pushing forged versions of acceptance upon an unthinking world. I scratch my back wondering which cream will make me look younger again. I no longer hear the dog so I assume it has either been silenced or is dead. Yet, maybe it is I who have died as I drink a cup of liquid some commercial insisted I must love. It's good to the last drop, or so I am assured. I fear not drinking it all for if I do not do so perhaps I will not gain a prize. And of course one can buy a piece of paper littered with random numbers at any corner store. If these numbers are picked you can move up the ladder of life just a notch or so. But in truth I wonder if the ladder is firmly rooted in the ground. We live inside our cities, with our magnificent accomplishments all around us. Yet it seems odd to me that anyone can stop the whirling of the streets with just one cautiously purchased gun. When did I forget about the sounds of freedom I used to listen to with such excitement? At some point I put aside the marching feet of progress and settled safely inside the drone of survival. Lost for years inclined towards messages that were sent but not opened. Freedom of heart begins with a breath and yet to take this breath one must unshackle the chains of suppression that have been placed like ice around the ambition of sanity. Would I ever understand the point of view held so carefully by the members of the lower crust? Bored, I pick up a newspaper. I am reading stories of other boring people locked into their own sources of disdain. And somewhere I hear the silence broken by a television. I pick out the sounds of a popular diversion and realize that this is how we have been lost. Who has time to grow in mind when so many false images are available to be defined? Where am I going? I won't know until the corporate bonds of the media sets a path for me. Like everyone else I will rush to buy the latest toy and in this way shall hope that I will fit in. Fitting in is important, much more important than being me. I stop my thinking, for it has become counter-revolutionary. I close my eyes and look inside. I see only black clouds. Relief. This means I am normal. I can now progress to the next level of reality, empty perhaps, but at least assured of my place in the scheme of things. Like the dog, I am allied with the chains of conformity that have been carefully placed around the mind. I recognize now, with some amount of inner horror, that all the chains I blamed on society are actually chains I created for myself. I could break them and declare independence, but I fear I will not do so. If I did, I'd be alone and not normal and surely being normal is more important then being me. Sigh of relief, I have found my definition.
W. Jude Aher dare to dance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ do i remember so young i danced upon lamp lit streets and their dark retreats upon long earth carved highways where the wind screamed so silent so free before tomorrow do i remember when suddenly who broke upon the mirror so silent so alone and now before yesterday do i remember as i dare to dance in the silence of my dreams - jude water jazz salt green ocean sky ice mirror lies on a sudden bleed before you die speak whisper and sigh a soft dusk blood upon my lips sips try… - jude calls of the shadow deep within a dream deeper within a lost dance a woman falls a shadow as water beyond inside silence calls to the willow reasons upon an autumn light morning cold evening whispers they come alive deep within the night dancing in her dreams a woman and silver light daring to believe daring to concede calls of the shadow dancing between morning and night - jude autumn light lost if in the dark you still believe as you bleed in truth and time autumn light lost where shadows call will you walk your name dance in a dream-time refrain where before tomorrow does hide sweet mountain snow sorrow held deep wind on hard worn skin always just before in the dark if you still believe - jude sings the silence silent, silent deep in a dark behind the night lost my soul lost my light no breath no tears no walking no fears just for a moment for i dared to ignore my death and sip from the blood of truth and just for a moment i heard from where whales sing - jude i heard his refrain when the signal changed he was playing real good, for free. joni mitchell
Miriam Moreno Perez The Dream’s Passage ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. Imagine for a moment that every single night you had the same dream, and how maddening this could be; always the same castle covered in the same fresh blood; always the same roaring flames; the same frantic faces and decayed staring eyes looking as if they still had something to claim, or as if the dead, somehow, was coming back to life through your dreams; the same chanting; the same slain, victors and noxious, macabre horror.Imagine for a moment how despairing it would be if in your sleep you always dwelt through the same gloomy, cold and endless passage. My life has always been surrounded by intriguing findings and meticulous coincidences of such a startling nature, that even considering myself one of the most sceptical persons that I have ever known, somehow they made me believe in the supernatural.The story which I am about to tell you will surely explain what I mean by these words. Herminia Alonso Martin is my name, a quite typical Spanish name, as almost anyone could tell.My husband, Santiago, and I, met back home in Spain twenty-two years ago.I consider myself a very lucky woman, for by the time that this event took place we both had already lived for a significant period of our lives in a foreign country.For this reason, I believe that we have always shared plenty of similar experiences and even some sort of common understanding about the world which surrounds us.After not even a year of being married, our thoughts turned to the hope of a better life far from home.It didn't take us long to make the decision to move abroad and start our lives once again.We moved to one of the biggest cities in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh, where we have been living for the last thirty two years. It was during the cold autumn of two thousand and six, when we were living in the Leith area, on Duke Street, that I began to practice Transcendental Meditation again.I guess all that I wanted was to empty my mind of negative energies, clear it of fraudulent thoughts in order to welcome constructive thinking.To my surprise, one day I started my breathing exercises and experienced something totally new.As a visionary person gifted with some sort of divine vision or foresight, I quickly visualized something that made me very emotional and even burst into tears without even understanding why.When my eyes were closed, I saw a clear image in the darkness, a friend from my childhood, as a young boy, was smiling at me.I immediately linked my reaction to this image to the feeling of nostalgia, to the passing of time, to some sort of pessimistic resistance to move on, resistance to regenerate the old energies and give way to the new ones. In a way, this was not new since I had always been a very nostalgic person. Only a couple of days later I read in a book of Wicca that such visualizations could be naturally provoked by certain ways of meditation.It's strange the way the mind works, the tricks which uses to make us believe, feel or see what it wants; to make us believe that we are happy when we are not, or the other way around.One must pay attention and be aware of deceitfulness.Sometimes emotions such as pride, fear, sadness or sorrow might want to lead our way, and this is the reason why we need to be alert. Not long after this, late on the evening of Halloween’s, my husband and I were watching a film at home.Halloween in the ancient Celtic folklore, for who ignores it, was known as the Samhain, the winter feast, when it was believed the dead would return to meet the living.The film ended and it was late. I was nearly asleep when my husband clasped me in his arms and, all of a sudden, I lost vision.As when meditating, I clearly saw in the darkness the face of a man staring into my eyes from a very close distance. His eyes were watery because of his tears; his hair was not very long, curly and of a blond-reddish colour; his beard, of a similar colour, was not very long either; the high, tight neck of his robe was of a rufous colour; I also could see the graceful ripples which made his fringe, as well as if he were really standing in front of me in the same room. In a few seconds I opened my eyes.Santiago was talking to me while I, absent and in silence, kept thinking about the enigmatic image.The man's countenance I had seen was bizarre; he just seemed to belong to a very different period of time.I paid more attention to the image I had just observed in my mind, and decided that he was most likely a man from the dark Ages rather than a contemporary man. What I strained to see of his odd clothing resembled the clothing of kings since time immemorial, in which red colours always play the monarchist role in a symbolical way. He was staring into my eyes while he was crying, so I could perfectly see his bluish eyes and tears dropping down his cheeks. I knew nothing about such a man.All I knew was that he was clearly gazing into my eyes.But the question was, whose eyes was he really steadfastly gazing into?Unable to find the answer to this question, I finally fell asleep, and as in any of those nights in which one dreams, a whole new world made its appearance. 2. From a vanishing, murky voidness an ancient fortress is coming out of the darkness.In only a little while the scenery has turned into a castle surrounded by the stark landscape of sumptuous mountains, which is visible from a deceivable, delusive distance.The fortress stands against this background while resting right on top of a grand rocky ridge.The ridge, from where I can see it, resembles a sheer cliff and falls perpendicularly into a deep valley whilst majestically sustaining the fortress's walls.The old stronghold looks rather somber and eerie, and is fortified by the walls made of smallish stones one on top of the other, as in Roman fashion. It gives me a dismal and phantasmagorical impression.At the same time the rocky ridge gives the place a spiritual and even sacred ancient look. Surely the first natives saw it as a spiritual place, although with the passing of time, probably given its advantageous and defensive features, the great rock ended up holding a fortified settlement. All of a sudden, interrupting the visualization of the fortress, the image of a stone passage takes over.Its walls look as if they had been dug underground giving me the impression of being in an obscure and tenebrous tunnel.The place is visible due just to the light of a torch, which leads the way through it, but I can’t get to see who carries it.The passage seems long, and the steps move fast while somebody tries to keep the torch steady.All the steps appear to be following the ones leading the way.I can hear some men puffing and panting; it gives me the impression that they are carrying something along the passage, something of a considerable weight, but what I strain to hear and see makes me slightly dizzy and exhausted. The passage has disappeared and the early signs of fatigue start decreasing.The place I contemplate now looks different.The new landscape reminds me of the previous landscape's background, in which the green rough grass also covered the tops of the mountains.On a very small and steep hilltop between the mountains two men stand surrounded by a silent crowd, which honourably stare at them from the bottom.They are addressing an important social event that might be a ceremony.The two men standing on the hilltop are dressed in very different robes. One of the two men kneels on one of his knees right in front of the other.He has dark but bright eyes; also dark, long, straight, woolly hair and a moustache.His dark beard is slightly curly and covers most of his cheeks; despite his beard being bushy, his refined, long countenance shows a protuberant and very well defined jaw.His black-brown fur garments don't look any different to the common garments worn by the folks who observe the scene from below; so nothing really tells me exactly who this man is, or about his social status in the community.Nonetheless his prominence in the ceremony tells me that he is not just an ordinary man.He might surely be a noble knight or warrior. The other man's robe however, show his evident high religious social status among all the people present.His old body is facing the fine but robust man on his knee, while he opens his arms wide above his head, which is leaning backwards to behold the grey, dismal sky in a religious manner; he, then, closes his arms and eyes bending his head down and pretends to hold his shoulders with both hands before committing the same action again and again.He also wears a long white cloak and a headband made of bronze, a sort of headdress that resembles a crown. The headdress has an orb which contains two concentric circles, and falls straight onto the elder's forehead.The weird headdress has four stripes equidistant from each other, which link with a decorative motive on the top, shaped like something between the bishop of a chess game and the spire of a Gothic cathedral.The front stripe links the orb on the elder's forehead with the decorative motive on the top; its aspect is like that of a liturgical crown.The old man’s straight grey hair is of a woolly texture and looks much longer than the hair of most men.The two men stand next to a stone, which has been carefully placed on one side of the not so vast, steep hilltop. My dreamtime elapses in a bizarre, incalculable manner, when I see the old man again. He must be a high ranking member of a religious and archaic community, or a druid; and he is holding in his hands another sort of bronze diadem very similar to his own headdress, but lacking the stripes and peculiar figurine on the top; he lifts it up towards the sky as if it were a religious votive while he's still standing in the same position facing the warrior. Then, he places the prestigious ornament on the knight's head while he shouts a few words so loud that nearly everyone below can hear him; only the people I can see gathering together for the occasion, and those next to their kin, would know the meaning of the words the priest pledged. After what appeared to be the priest's final act, the new crowned man gazes into the opaque and somber sky as thunders start rumbling.But once again the actual scene fades away, when the light from that torch that led through the dim stone tunnel reappears. Whoever those men are, they sound as if they are trying to catch up with the rapid pace of someone's steps.The walls are far enough from each other; there seems to be plenty of space between them, but the passage must be going underground and there isn't the tiniest way out, so the lack of air or slightest breeze turns the atmosphere into a quite harsh and indomitable one down here.The feeling is rather suffocating, and even distressing, for the tunnel is so long, cold and dark that it seems to never reach its end. The steps have quickly stopped, and with them the men’s breathing; the whole and entire previous fortress is in flames.War seems to cry in the distance. Some men meet their doom at the bottom of the valley; their horrid screaming is heard as they make their way down from the top of the ridge.All I can hear in the uproar is yelling among the violent clinking of the swords, clashing and slaughtering. Some of the men, who have taken the fortress by force, leave the place singing ferocious poems of victory. They have attached to the necks of their horses the heads of some of their foes as booty; victorious they carry gold, silver and bronze twisted neckrigns, some of them of a significant size, and completely naked they ride their horses at a gallop.Everything is perishing among the bloody reddish flames.I can smell the smoke from the flames from a far distance. Blood and flames persist; blood and flames remain.The distant uproar, flames and the image of the fortress begin to sporadically vanish. Night falls; one more scene takes place in my odd dream; more flames continue with their mischievous dance as if trying to seduce the sane, while in a grove more blood is being offered with piety and devotion.This time, amongst the crowd's heartening euphoria, the flames come from big pyres distributed in circles; many people gather around them, some dance and sing, while others eat at big tables, which seem to have been carefully set up for the feast.Surrounding the joyous circle of people some dolmens stand in an upside down position.They look as if they have been driven into the ground in concentric circles; a ceremonial act is taking place within it. Among the mob some people seem to do the official work; some play a few twisted bronze trumpets with very intricate engravings, which can only be ornaments used for liturgical regalia.The trance the music delivers results in jolly and inviting.Next to them, at least eight or ten files of impaled men lie in front of an altar.Their remaining liveries are like those ones worn by the men slaughtered at the fortress at the beginning of the dream; many of the decaying bodies are beheaded and lacking one or two of their limbs, none of them by any means remain alive.I can also see a curious wooden, wheel-shaped object of not much height with a tenon pierced with a hole driven into the ground; it’s standing between the horrid spoilt corpses and the shrine's altar. Behind the same altar there is a deep pit where men, women, horses’ and dogs' cut limbs and heads seem to have been left in a pile to rot away.Many cauldrons merely decorate the altar, while people fill small vessels with the blood dripping from the decomposing impaled corpses; then, they start the act of spreading the blood from the vessels over any part of the sacred grove, which, I understand, is part of the grateful offering of thankfulness expected to be shown in the ceremony, for it is for the god's gratitude that they resulted as the victors of the battle. Dolmens; the sketchy wooden and already putrid representations of gods scattered within the mound; also the two peculiar pillars at either side of the gloomy altar, carved with multiple representations of heads, are now embellished for the merciful god with the fresh blood of the slain.The elders are chairing the ceremony.One of them is standing between the altar and the sacrificial votive to the god; he is wearing on his head a long and refined ceremonial gilded cone, which has inlaid decoration such as astronomical and geometrical solar wheels and orbs.Other men holding iron rods stand right next to him at either side, also dressed up in ritual garb.The elder in the middle holds a bronze wand, a sceptre, which has a sheet bronze binding with incised symbols wound around it.He is, persistently and relentlessly, reciting something that sounds like a poem. The holy pyres keep burning on; the grove is still lit in gratitude to the generosity and grace of the invoked supernatural presence.From the woods down the valley, I get to see the peaks of the green mountains above; and from up there, the sea.The dim, last moon of autumn has entirely waned, being now closer to its new rebirth.The black sea and sky bring back the shadows and the shivers, the damp and the rotten, when I can finally hear the rapid steps dwelling through the underground, dim stone passage coming to a halt. This was the dream; or, at least, what I could remember of the oniric, odd and inextricable world which, for some mysterious reasons, I would insist to welcome in my sleep every night.I could not understand what it had to do with my present life; but it was as if the departed wanted to return to our world to claim some sort of justice; and as if they had chosen me to carry this out. 3. In the end, time went back to normal, but not before I had woken up.I had the strange feeling that I had dreamt a long time before the dawn.However, I believed I could still perfectly remember my dream, so I decided to write it down while Santiago remained asleep.I have passion for writing, although I do not share the conservative values of Spanish publishers; owed to this, I have never tried to get any of my historical novels published.Nevertheless, I can consider myself lucky for having learnt how to read and write in my native tongue; let's not say in English, despite not being as skilful.For some reason, I finally decided to write the consecutive scenes or images of my dream in English. Surprisingly, as I said, the same images kept nigglingly coming back to my dreams for the ensuing days.I read the text I had written several times in search of an explanation, but I could not think of any link between the dream and my life at that very point. ‘’From a vanishing gloomy voidness an ancient fortress is coming out of the darkness…,’’ and I continued reading. ‘’The ridge, which from the south resembles a sheer cliff …,’’ then, I read it once more; again and again. ‘’From a vanishing gloomy voidness an amazing fortress is coming out of the darkness...’’ As the days came by, the images of the ceremony with the king and old priest; the stone passage persistently coming and going; the taking of the fortress and sacrificial bloodshed; basically, the same stubborn dream, kept intermingling every night in my sleep.Eventually, due to becoming a personal obsession, I decided to take the responsibility of finding out certain things about these obstinate, apparently, somehow, interlinked successive visualizations.For a start, who was the man I visualized before my sleep, whose appearance was alike that of a king?I presumed this vision was the main gate to the rest of my dream. Both, the vision and dream, belonged to the same period of time; by some means, they were both made of the same tragedy, sort of persuasion, tears and blood.Nevertheless, all I was certain about was that the fortress of my dream laid right on the same ridge where Edinburgh Castle, the most famous of all castles in contemporary Scotland, lays. I needed some help, and knew my husband could help me; what's more, that he would be glad to do so. The problem was how to make my story credible; how to detach it from dreams and all he would see as superstition and delusion. I loved Santiago, I said to myself, and he would make all he could to try to understand me; but I was afraid of showing a part of myself, which I could not even entirely believe or understand myself.He would probably linked my story to my Wicca's reading and friends, and never to a possible reality; although, I wanted to believe that only fear guided this idea. Santiago was a journalist.He wrote for one of the city diaries. He was born of a Spanish lecturer and a high class American lady in Chicago, and lived there until he reached adulthood.His father was one of the many who went to Spain to try to stop the advance of Fascism in the peninsula.Unfortunately, he got finally killed in the attempt.I believe it was Santiago's love for his father what led him to swap the American dream for a life in a sinister and decadent, post-war Spain.I guess, if it would not have been for this, we would have never met; this is how ironic life is. His mother past away, but he still has a sister in America. Many years ago she sent a picture of her daughter when the girl was about six. Santiago thinks she looks like me, and I suppose he’s right, although her eyes are plain blue rather than brown-green; and she wears fringe in the photograph, as the ones we used to identify in Spain with the French. Coming back to my dream, at last, I decided to tell everything to him.I am not sure about how seriously he took me.Maybe he saw my story as some sort of mental game which would stimulate my imagination and help me write.After this, he helped me just as he would have helped me with one of my novels.He brought me a few books from the Edinburgh central library, which turned up to be ingeniously relevant to the case; I made another pile with them.They were all about the origins of Edinburgh Castle, and the many kings who had owned it in the past.As soon as I learnt about this, I started to unfold the mystery that surrounded my dream.I eagerly read all I found about the castle in the hope that I could find the answers that would help me to restore my inner peace and to stop the incessant dream. Santiago who had an inborn passion for history helped me with the research too.He read my dream a few times and found it complex, but he agreed that the different scenes were probably, somehow linked; and that that was the reason for them to go always one after the other. ‘Café, my darling?’ he asked me one evening, while making himself his third dicaff of the day. ‘No, thanks, hon. I am reading now,’ I said while continuing immerging myself on the book I was reading. ‘Darling, I've been thinking about this odd dream of yours.’ He kept silent for a while and asked with curiosity: ‘Did you have it again last night?’ ‘Of course, I did,’ I answered as if I was suddenly irritated. ‘I told you I have it every night.’ Then I decided to let him know what I was reading. ‘Did you know that the Romans wrote that back in the Iron Age there was a fortified town built on the same hill where the actual Edinburgh Castle stands today? This was called Din Eidyn, which was the stronghold of theGododdin folk back in 638,’ I said while underlining my reading with my finger, ‘also known as Etin; it seems the Anglians besieged it in sixhundred and thirty eight.Yet,’ I remarked, ‘not a single stone of either the Goddodin's or the latter’s fortress, built by the Anglian's, who used to call it in British Celtic, Dineiden,’ which means, I added, ‘fortress of the hill slope’, nowadays remain.’ I finished reading and looked at Santiago expecting an opinion. ‘This is quite interesting; so, you are convinced that the fort you see in your dream is finally in the same place where the castle is now,’ Santiago said as trying to reach some conclusion. ‘I am absolutely certain about this. The ridge looks almost identical; no one would mistake it,’ I explained. ‘The place was first occupied by a native tribe before the first Anglians took it, and this is the beginning of a long dispute between peoples of a slightly different kind, I presume,’ I concluded. ‘I know that the Scots,’ Santiago added to my brief conclusion, while sitting on an armchair, next to the sofa where I was holding the open book between my hands, ‘specifically the first Gaelic-speaking line of kings, the MacAlpin,’ he pronounced and made a pause; accommodated himself on the armchair holding his coffee, and continued, ‘in about 930, made Dunedin, Dun-Eideann, in Scot-Gaelic, part of their own Kingdom, named the Kingdom of Alba.This kingdom was the new version of the old Kingdom of Dalriada, the Irish kingdom from which the Scots descended,’ he paused again and added; ‘Accorded to what I have read, the fortress, which lie where Edinbugh castle lies today, also known by the Scots as Oppidum Eden, was actually abandoned.’ He stopped talking, looked at me, and said: ‘sorry, my darling. I don't mean to disappoint you, but that is what the Gaelic chronicle of the kings of Alba, making reference to the reign of a King called Indulf, says,’ he pronounced these words without being aware of their importance and continued having his coffee. He, then, went into the bedroom leaving me confused and astonished. After a minute, he came back holding a book and read from it: ‘In his time,’ meaning King Indulf's times, Santiago clarified, ‘Oppidum Eden,’ the fort's name given by the coetaneous Scotts,’ he remarked, ‘was evacuated, and abandoned to the Scots until the present day,’ he paused and looked at Herminia when he read the word abandoned. ‘But the lyrical language of the chronicle and its unavoidably distinct and archaic literary resources may well help create certain confusion about this,’ I added raising my voice with a defensive tone.‘Yet, when the Scots first took it, it was maybe abandoned,’ and with a skeptical voice I added, ‘but not when Indulf had to retake from the Anglians, who had taken it from his own father by deceivableness and force,’ I calmed down after making my indisputable point. ‘What I am saying is that there are no proves that the Anglians still occupied the castle when the Scotts arrived.’ ‘Then, why so many more wars between Scots and Anglians for this particular spot before and after the occupation of the castle by this mysterious King Indulf?’ and I went on. ‘Why was, then, Indulf’s life the most mysterious and bloody of all Scot’s kings?’ I sounded and, in fact, I was convinced, that King Indulf and the Anglians had met in the past; and that, in a way, they both had something to do with my dream.Suddenly, Santiago interrupted my thoughts. ‘O.k., you could be right,’ he started to sound not as convinced about his part of the story, and realised how much Herminia had already found out. ‘The statement could have been wrongly translated, which is the case with many ancient and classic texts. We'll see what we can find about this,’ and hesitant he continued saying. ‘So, what's this going to prove? What has it got to do with your dream exactly, love?’ ‘Well, during the first part of my dream I see people taking the fort on top of the ridge. I’m sure this took place in a specific time, when the fort was actually taken by force. I need to know by whom?’ My voice sounded between frustrated and desperate, not just dubitative. I felt very embarrassed about all this, for I knew my husband could find history interesting; but there was a big difference between history written on a book, and a person like me telling what could see in her dreams. ‘Don't stress, I am only asking,’ he exclaimed with gentle tone and manners. ‘I am sure your sleep will come back to normality quite soon.But until then, let's continue the quest for the meaning of my love's dream,’ he changed seat sitting by my side; closed my book and sort of whispered in my ear. 'I mist you today.’ I felt at home as soon as he put his arms around me, and the feeling of being seen as a foolish old woman, a dotard, swifted away. 4. As my knowledge on the historical subject started to increase, I began to presume that I had come across the king that I was initially looking for.What's more, that one of the scenes which composed my dream, and which I visualized in it, was King Indulf's army slaughtering the English resistance at the fortress back in about 960; when, according to historical sources, the fortress was retaken. Moreover, the reign that I was searching for had to belong to a pre-Christian period, in which the diverse western cultures still practised and retained the faith of their ancestors through, for instance, in the case of the Gaels, the rite of human sacrifice to gods such as Teutas, Esus or Taranis.According to my dream, the slain in the battle at the castle were sacrificed and offered by their victorious enemies to a god in a grove.These types of sacrifices were described by Roman writers as being common between the Gaelic tribes.This was the usual case for the slain in battle among them, according to what the classic writers engraved for ever on the memory of history. I was beginning to believe in the possibility that the men who were sacrificed were the Anglians who had died defending the fortress at the beginning of the dream; also that the people invoking the gods during the sacrificial act were the victors of the battle in the castle and Scotts under King Indulf's rule. It was an undeniable chance; the chance that this particular king had of being the main piece of my puzzle.So I moved on taking this belief for granted.As I have already mentioned, the fortress fell back into Gaelic hands again under the rule of King Indulf.Even though most of this part of history lies in the shadows, and scarcely anything was handed down to posterity, what we know leads us to think that Indulf did not act under mere political interest but also under a personal, poignant one.The cause of what it seemed was bound to occur sooner or later, was the sorrowful memories that turned King Indulf's life into the most unknown and bloody one of all kings of Alba, although to share his sorrow we must go back to the times of Constantine II. Indulf was the first born of King Constantine II, Causantín mac Áeda.Constantine was the eldest son of Aed, and his ventures made him one of the greatest kings of his dynasty.His reign was the second longest reign of any Scottish monarch. He was the McAlpin king who first made the fort on the ridge part of his kingdom; and most likely who found it abandoned. He fought the Danish, the Norse, and the emergent Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of England, finding a significant rival only among the latter. The problem started as soon as the English appeared once again. This time King Athelstan united all Dane's foes with the sole purpose of resisting Constantine's forces or, maybe, just supposing a threat.But for reasons that we ignore, King Athelstan was also forced to improve his relationship with the Scots, and he even became godfather to one of Constantine's two sons.Not surprisingly, in only five years, the pretentious peace agreement stumbled leaving the two kingdoms with no choice but to clash with each other.In a perfidious act, Athelstan's troops spread up the north invading Scots’ lands and the main fort in Edinburgh; he even dared to demand Constantine's son as a hostage before he would withdraw. Inevitably, this event provoked a series of battles that eventually would end with the slaughter of the Scots, and also their respective Danes’ allies armies at Brunanburgh in 937, three years later.One of Constantine's sons died during this battle.Some say that Constantine never recovered from such humiliation. This proved, then, that the English took the fort again during this period; what explained why King Indulf had to retake it; and, possibly, why his life was the bloodiest of all kings of his dynasty. Santiago found out that Constantine always shared a keen interest in religious affairs.One of the most significant events of his life was the oath he took, under which Scots and Picts were united; what resulted from this unity would be known as 'Scotti'. The chronicle of the Kings of Alba recorded that King Constantine and bishop Cellach met at the ‘Hill of Believe’, maybe close to the regal city of Scone, and, ‘’pledged that the laws and disciples of the faith and the laws of churches and gospels, should be kept in conformity with the Scotti.’’ As stated by an anonymous writer.The Scots were profoundly religious inasmuch as their ancestors had been, and during this early period of time were only starting to get into contact with the Catholic faith.The Scottish were to become the first Christians in Britain, but I should think that it took a long time until they got to fully adapt the patterns of their believes to the modern patterns and laws of the new ones. One Saturday morning, Santiago and I went for a walk. We headed to the palace of Holyroodhouse, for we loved its surroundings more than anything else in the city. We went up the hills next to the palace, and there we found the same hill I saw in my dream; the so called ‘Hill of Believe’. There was a small and rather neglected chapel right there. I recognised the place where in my dream the bishop Cellach crowned King Constantine. It took place right there, on top of the hills, from where you have the sea and entire city of Edinburgh at your feet; it was also the same vista I saw so many times at the very end of my dream. I took a deep breath, and got some sort of satisfaction from my findings; at last, the dream was clear, disentangled, solved. ‘I know to where it belongs now,’ I said to myself. ‘So, what now?’ asks a voice that I try to silence at the back of my mind. Santiago held my hand tight as we walked down the hills, and I got the feeling that he was trying to keep control of the situation; a situation that seemed to be clear, although not as much as we wished yet. He seemed to be aware that there was still something missing. ‘Are my dreams going to go away now?’ Something in me tried to hold this question back; and told me that this was not going to happen, what made me feel mentally disturbed, fragile and unstable. 5. The following night was likely to be the worst night of my life. My dream slightly changed. I spent all night wishing one single thing, to wake up; but my wish was denied. The dream became more vividly sadistic showing me more of the horror in it: heads with staring eyes; rotten human flesh; noxious blood, which I could smell as if it were as real as my own; and the contradicting enchanting and gratifying people's faces during the sacrificial act, totally covered in blood. Lastly I woke up in the early morning. Santiago had not heard me struggling through the night; or maybe I had not been noisy enough.My panting and sobbing eventually awakened him, who quickly jumped out of bed; opened the blinds; and came back to bed to help me get hold of myself. ‘What happened?’ he asked concerned. ‘It was the dream, wasn't it?’ ‘Es horrible, es horrible...’ My words didn't come up totally clear. ‘Tienes que ayudarme...Cariño…Tienes que ayudarme.' I could not stop sobbing. I felt mentally drained; but, even concussed, I make an effort to try to tell him what had upset me so much. ‘The pale-eyed king in tears has become frightening; the usual mournful and disconsolate look in his eyes has turned into an atrocious and frenzied, wild one. He did not stop staring at me in all night, from so close,’ and I grabbed Santiago's arm tighter, ‘that I thought he was going to hurt me!’ In state of shock I got to say these words and kept sobbing in despair for a while. Before long I said, ‘I don’t know what he wants from me! But he wants me to do something!’ Santiago patiently waited for me to get better; he was sitting by my side, holding me while I was lying against a pillow that he had placed behind my back to make me feel more comfortable. After a while, I carried on saying: ‘The passage was so cold and humid; I went freezing through the passage several times, as I did the nights before, but the walls have become even colder; the atmosphere even damper.’ ‘You are very cold, love. You should try to rest today.’ Santiago said as he stared into my eyes, as if looking for some lucidity in them. ‘Rest, how?’ I tried to shout with feeble voice. ‘Perhaps some sleeping tablets would help. I'm not sure, honey. I just want this to end. Then, he asked. ‘Do you want me to get you some?’ He really sounded tired and hopeless when he said this. As I started to feel better, I decided to convince him to go to work.I used my best smile and promised to be fine on his return.He finally accepted; got ready and left while I was still in bed.As soon as he left, I got out of bed determined to find the way to put an end to my very odd sleeping disorder. I took to be more than trifling hints all the historical detail that corroborated my dream. I thought I had solved the mystery of the dream, but there was obviously something missing that refused to give in.There were still questions unanswered.For instance, where is the passage of my dream leading to?And where does its entrance lie?I had a hunch that told me that the passage was closely related to the actual fortress, Edinburgh castle; this made me realize that unless I went there I was never going to put an end to the exasperating and maddeningly obstinate dream. After such resolution, I decided to wait for Santiago to come back; when he did, I asked him to come with me. I could not do it on my own; and I was convinced that this was the only solution to my problem. I spent most of the day looking for the right words to say to him; I cooked myself dinner; got some strength back; and, finally, I found the very few words that he would have to understand: ‘Cielo, if you love me, you will come with me to the castle.' So, these were the words that I said to him when he got back.I explained to him that I had to go to the castle, and that I needed his help.Santiago decided to come along.He discretely concealed some tools by wrapping them beneath his coat.We took bus number twenty-two into Princess Street; then walked across the North Bridge and up into High Street and the Lawnmarket, from where we approached the entrance to the castle known as Castle Hill.Once inside we visited the castle just as everybody else was doing.We saw the legendary stone of destiny or of Scone, cited in the chronicle of the Kings of Alba, regarding King Constantine's oath in the city of Scone from where it's got its famous name.The stone has been used from ancient times to crown every new Scottish king. At the entrance to one of the castle's main exhibitions, there was a representation of all the Kings of Scotland, among them King Indulf and Constantine II.Both of them were the ‘spitting images’ of the two men that I had already seen in my dreams, which was unbelievable, in part, because it is not even known what they looked like.Indulf looked like the first man I had visualized crying, whereas Constantine looked like the man taking the oath on top of that sheer and tiny hill.As I was looking at them with astonishment, meditating on the similarities between the exhibition's depiction and the two men of my dream, my mind, started to feel bewildered and began to reveal the place where the entrance to the passage lay.I saw the views from up there, and they told me that the entrance to that passage had to be in the castle, somewhere within the castle precincts. I told Santiago all I could see, that the entrance consisted of a wooden door that would not be hard to break since it was thought to be rather rotten.I added to this, that I knew it was under an artificial mound of earth that had probably been made with the sole purpose of concealing it, right on top of the ridge, where we and the castle were standing at that very moment.We were next to the castle's main square.Santiago was paying attention to my words, when he looked thoughtful for a while and, eventually, pointed towards a spot not far from us.It was the place that I had last visualized; the only difference was its new surroundings, its contemporary outlook. ‘You are not talking about that mount next to the chapel, are you?’ ‘That is the entrance, darling. I can see it.I’m having a vision,’ I said this without considering what this sentence could mean to my husband.He seemed to somehow understand what it was going on in my mind; but, could he understand what was going on outside? Since I could not, not yet; he still led the way towards the mount. The entrance to the passage was hidden away next to the oldest building remaining in the Castle, the twelfth century Norman chapel built by David I for his mother, Queen St. Margaret, and the precious cemetery of Dog's Soldiers standing below on the opposite side, as if hanging over the hill.The spot itself was a man made hillock, a raised mass of earth like a pagan tumular burial mound laying on the highest peak of the huge ridge and, therefore, of the entire city of Edinburgh.Right there, at the entrance of the chapel, from where the views of the city are the best, the fake mound was standing, and underneath was the entrance to the passage.The last visualization clearly showed me the direction the gate was facing on the ground, so we dug over the side we found most convenient in order to find the easiest way to break through. We spent hours digging, from the early evening when the castle's doors were shut down to the public until nearly the dawn, with our hearts in our mouths, thinking of the possibility of the armed and uniformed vigilance catching us up during the course of such an immoral attempt.It was at that point, I clearly understood why Santiago had decided to take with him certain tools; they certainly proved to be very helpful.We presumed that the pit's width that made up the entrance on the ground would embrace the whole base of the supposed hillock, but we only needed space enough to get ourselves through and to breath inside. Finally we made our way in.The oak door we found beneath the ground was dozed as predicted, and although it was decorated with iron rivets that still managed to keep it together, the weight of the mound had crushed the timber into many pieces.Underground some steps covered by moss and lichen had been dug, although they were looking in the opposite direction, forcing us to have to jump into the pit, and leaving us without the possibility of getting out of there. By the time we got in, we could see the first beams of morning light breaking the horizon in contrast with the damp and pitch-black pit underground.We carried a small torch, which provided us with only sufficient light to see roughly a meter in front of us.At this point, I started to notice that we were not alone any more. I had been feeling bewildered throughout the day, I thought for trying to resist believing what was happening. The passage at the bottom of the stairs was exactly the same passage that I had seen so many times before in my dreams.It had the identical infinite, stone walls, and had been dug in the rocks and hills that slow glacial movement had shaped over the millennia.It seemed to wander down the very insides of the ridge nearly to the bottom in a zigzag geometrical manner.It felt so deep that it gave me the impression of being endless and, like in my dream, we moved fast.We were moving along, when I began to see the part of the dream that I was missing.I immediately had the feeling that we were approaching a chamber-grave at the end of the passage; a burial chamber that would lie at the very bottom of the hill on which the Castle was standing, and right at the other end of the passage's entrance. The temperature had dropped drastically, and we were starting to feel very cold.I presumed we were very close to the end, when I heard the people's steps of my dream.They indifferently passed by carrying a sort of sarcophagus made of stone.A man was leading the way while holding a torch above his head.They overtook me without taking the slightest notice.The only man I was sure to have seen before was the man holding the torch.It was him, the same man of my dream. The same man of my vision, with the same royal robe, with the same blond-reddish hair and pale, blue eyes.I was making an effort to come back to my senses, but we had already reached the chamber at the end of the passage.We all got in there, although I could not see Santiago for a while. Inside I witnessed an overwhelming scene, which I had already half seen in the past through my dreams.The king crying over his father's tomb.The sarcophagus had a statuesque relief carved on the top, which made it look not so different from other subsequent western medieval sarcophagus; it was King Constantine II, holding his sword over his chest.I saw king Indulf crying, while kneeling before his father's tomb, and staring into his father's eyes, which had been so masterly carved on the stone by the artist. In the end I finally came back to my senses, and realized that, certainly, not only Constantine’s tomb was there, but also his son's, King Indulf's tomb.Santiago came back into the scene in which I was beginning to slowly find myself and grabbed my hand.We were both standing in front of some of the two oldest Royal tombs ever found in the west.There it was, king Indulf's tomb too; in which the king had been depicted also holding his sword, which was lying on his chest, most likely as a symbol of eternal protection.In this symbolical language, what the Scottish ancestors got to undeniably transmit it was the king's wish for protecting his people, and for making the fortress, Oppidum Eden, finally part of the Scots; and, therefore, part of Scotland. ‘I thought I had lost you on the way,’ said Santiago while bewildered stared at the tombs. ‘I couldn't see you for a while. Then I realised you were coming behind. You looked totally absent; you could not even see me.’ ‘It's alright, darling. I'm fine now. I don't know how we are going to explain all this, but I'm fine now,’ I gazed at him and said, ‘thanks to you, love.’ After I said this I hugged him. I felt I had emptied my mind from endless worries, and eventually was certain that this was the final end of my dream. I did not know why; all I knew was that those tombs were the whole purpose of it Finally, history tells us that King Constantine was supposedly buried in the monastery of Iona.And he probably was, until the very moment at which his son decided to move his tomb to this secret, hidden place, which so many men had to built one day.I do not need to mention, that the people who witnessed the building of such royal grave kept the secret to such an extent that not even legend ever recorded it.
Richard Fein FLICKERING JOYS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Not Alzheimer’s but ministrokes each rupturing yet more capillaries, like a skyscraper after hours when one by one the lights go out, till finally late, late in a calendar day stands a dim silhouette of a building against waning moonlight. Or maybe a flickering fireplace smothering within its own paling ash. But sparks do fly from dying fires, and occasionally a midnight office neon turns on again. Her grandchildren assembled. And in her ancient eyes one of us would randomly come out of the shadow. A face bright in her sight as the glow returned to her eyes, proud to know she was blessed with yet another as if the grandchild were just born. She discovered and rediscovered us. We lost count But there were many flickering joys, her eyes bright like a comet at each brand new introduction. LEG CRAMP GENEALOGY From atop my dresser over my bed, the whole colorful crew stares down at me in black and white, all gathered in front of a well-worn 1926 Model T. And in the next photo smiles a young grandma Katherine, in a neck-to-ankle, make-a-Puritan-proud dress. But she was never a Puritan. Before she died decades ago, Katherine told me legends about my ancestors. Her horse-and-buggy father knew how to finger the reins of fillies. But he was also well suited for Model Ts, for she claimed he was the first to discover the now infamous use of an automobile backseat. And this knowledge must have been in the genes, an instinct passed from father to daughter, for she was born knowing the secrets of backseat contortion without getting cramps in her legs or sticking them out the window. And once my dowager grandma whispered to me that her daughter carried on the tradition. Mommy, my own mommy. I was part of a venerable line of auto-erotic acrobats and so was biblically begat in a Buick. I should get wallet-size miniatures of these photos and dangle them from the front mirror of my new Toyota instead of the rubber dice and St. Christopher. We all must be proud of having driven this far forward through the generations. But frankly with the new ecofriendly politically correct compact cars a bed is more comfy than a backseat.
BROKEN IDOLS, FALLEN GODS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the resoundingly large museum hall he told us to bow our heads and chant along with him. But he prayed to his ancient Mayan deities in a language none of us understood, yet we babbled along with him as best we could. He sat cross-legged like a Yoga master as he summoned phantom Mesoamerica in the once mysterious Maya, a language perhaps as ancient as Hindi. Shamans and priests seem to always beckon their gods in little-known tongues. And in Mayan the shaman invoked a fairytale of she wolves nursing orphaned lambs. For then In English, he lectured that Mayan cities had no walls and so no wars. Peace was granted by beneficent gods. But a decade after, deeper archeological digs uncovered the ash of ancient wooden barricades and butchered human bones. And finally the inscrutable hieroglyphs surrendered their dark secrets of Smoking Frog and his bloody conquest of rival kings. But on that guileless day before the bad tidings of truth were resurrected from jungle humus, the shaman spoke with childlike wonder and sung his nursery rhymes to a faith-hungry congregation. Ignorant shaman and naive audience chanting in harmonized innocence, while in that echoing hall our prayers for peace recoiled from bloodthirsty gods. OPEN POETRY READING If it were held in Hollywood a Julia Roberts lookalike would be at the next table. After my reading, thoroughly seduced, she’d come over to me. Later she’d come during our hot sex. But then I’d leave her for the sake of my art. If it were held in Bollywood ten maidens in saris would dance on the tables and a high-pitched female Hindi vocalist would sing my praises. I’d even get to kiss one of the maidens though it would scandalize half of India. If it were held in Moscow–If it were held in Moscow. Forget Moscow! There they scrounge for kopecks. They’d shoot my performance with used film, which would be an improvement for in the old days they’d have just shot me. If it were held—If it were held . . .. But this is Brooklyn, flat beer, dim lighting, and an almost empty room. And my only feedback is the screeching mike, except for a Julia Child lookalike. And she’ll come, surely she’ll come, oh god she’ll surely come, over to-ask me if I read already, she being too busy with her own scribbling to notice. MY BLACKMAIL NOTE TO ALL OF YOU I bought one for 45 bucks, a plain, planar lens, but with a tattletale opening on the side of the lens tube, and inside a privacy-piercing mirror placed at the proper right angle to reflect all you oblivious peripheral subjects straight into my sharp focus. Sometimes my camera points at garbage cans for it isn’t beauty I seek, but your faux pas beauts committed when you think no one is looking. With my make-believe-forward-facing lens all your venial embarrassments center in my vision. I’m the candid camera of public parks unabashedly pointing my peeping Tom lens at all of you— nose pickers, crotch scratchers, earwax scoopers, bellybutton lint pickers, navel ponderers, bra adjusters, food dribblers, sweaty underarm raisers, and egregious expectorating phlegm throwers. I also frame what holy zealots regard as mortal sins, lovers unzipping flies—girl and boy of course, but also male and male for a double uncoupling of zippered teeth. And even clearer naked truths are uncovered by my tabloid lens, bearded Moslems eyeing Orthodox Jewish girls draped in long denim skirts, and Chassids eyeing every blond shiksa passing by. (Mortal sin or not, maybe, just maybe hush-hush hankering might someday bring Holy Land peace.) A menagerie of piggish improprieties of the purportedly priggish played out at the perimeter of my perception all fall perpendicular to my presumed but pseudoline of sight and are then pivoted precisely to my picture-taking peepers. Listen, I’ve got all your gotcha moments ensconced on my memory card, perturbing pixels primed for planetary propagation via a grand upload to the worldwide web. Of course extortion is prohibited, but it’s permissible, constitutionally protected to photograph people’s private peccadillos performed in public places, and I’m not asking for even a penny from anyone. No, I’m asking for so much more from everyone. THE BODY HUMAN, mostly seawater, as salty as the ancient oceans. Sometimes seawater is also called a body, a body of water. It has many phases, at times steamy chaos, at times frozen stillness, but usually liquid flowing in between. Water feigns freedom of movement, seemingly active but actually reactive, an otherwise stagnant broth, a soup stirred by distant gravities— the sun, the moon, the mere presence of all other bodies. The lower depths are turbid, an opaqueness roused by deep currents and unseen leviathans stirring the sediments. Mostly seawater, the body human.
William Doreski The News Today ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In my closet lies a suicide, a man who sneaked into my room to shoot himself while I was out. Police examined the scene but refused to remove the body until the coroner returns from his third Bermuda honeymoon. The hotel’s too full to shift me to another room, so I lie as flat as possible, light on, and try to sleep despite the stink of gunpowder, blood, and despair. I doze and dream that the corpse has opened its eyes to assess me. The air hums as the steam heat trills the pipes. I awaken flat on the closet floor. A man with my features rises from bed and smiles that awkward smile I’ve caught in public restroom mirrors after evenings of pointless desire. I knew this would happen. I knew I’d exchange personalities with the corpse. He who was me staggers to the bathroom and coughs the ordinary morning cough. Be patient. This sensation will pass. I can feel the bullet snugged in my brain. It hurts like an ideology. The blood that no longer flows has clotted so densely it has fossilized every dream I’ve ever dreamed. He who was me has showered and dressed and now has gone to meet her for breakfast. They aren’t lovers except at their fingertips so she won’t recognize the death in his expression. But maybe this chiasmus will pass before breakfast concludes, and maybe I’ll replace myself with myself before I get used to the hole in my head, though which who knows what identities might escape. That Primal Sensation When I toted your groceries home to your apartment off Mount Auburn and you slathered me with beer and scattered our clothes on the floor you meant nothing as personal as the atomic bomb, nothing as subjective as the rumble of red line trains in the tunnel. These stock metaphors opened like your grandfather’s war wounds and exposed a mass of dead tissue, a failure to heal. Did you lust so criminally because you slit your wrists on every birthday? Did you pummel me with breasts as cruel as cantaloupe because your father had insisted no one would marry so wicked a witch? My head hurt for days. My friends insisted that I report you to the Freudians of the world but I wanted to honor the dust adrift in the sunlight sloping over your flat little body, the beer-smell gone stale in your hair. Besides, you repented. The next time, you waited for dusk to temper your two large rooms, then tied me to the bed with flimsy twine a child could have snapped. We savored the illusion. Later we lay as still as trout in a stream and let orange streetlight wheezing through uncurtained windows expose our bodies to themselves. You cried because we couldn’t remember each other’s name, but agreed that primal sensation rendered the personal touch redundant. By now you’re someone’s grandma but that creepy old apartment still whispers stale beer whispers to lovers as casual as we were and the sizzle of traffic outside still censures the pubic dark.
Thermopylae ~~~~~~~~~~~ A highway scythes the battlefields. A frozen bronze Leonidas maintains his theatrical spear-thrust above our picnic of crackers, retsina, and rubbery cheese. Stratis looks up at the Spartan, a hulking metal thug, and agrees his ancestors weren’t as firmly planted on both feet. Better to farm the islands, savor grapes, encourage the sexual prowess of one’s favorite goats and sheep. We doze in lackluster winter glare, the roar of trucks headed north easeful as sermons. I’d dream of those who died so famously but a clutch of images occurs— concrete pipes, a rush of river stumbling down sandstone ledges, children splashing in the shallows. We wake with a jolt of chill. The day’s collapsing around us. The scabby hills look uneasy, and far to our right the bay slops like an overfilled tub. While we pack the picnic things, Stratis describes a dream of pure Attic marble, an erasure as perfect as the blizzard of ’78. Leonidas points his spear at our hearts to encourage us to leave. His stance refuses us the very ground we stand upon. The highway grumbles like digestion. So much traffic between Istanbul and Athens. Learning of this link between Asia and Europe Xerxes would smile that absolute smile otherwise saved for his brother’s wife. We hustle to the car and agree to drive into Macedonia before stopping for the night in some village obscure enough to allow historical dreaming without mistaking the landscape for the insistence of the id. This Way to History After Christmas break my office has turned its back on yours, the door opening into a corridor sloping up to the roof. No wonder you shied away with eyes opaque as ore and mouth a vampire’s slobber. Everything inside has deranged itself as well, the computer scrolling obscenities in green and purple italics, a cat snoozing in my favorite plant, boxes of ancient National Geographics cluttering the rug, crack vials smashed in the ashtray, cookbooks crowding the shelves once occupied by Eliot, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, and Henry James. You meet me on neutral ground and try to slip your arm around my waist but find me too fat so shy away again, this time with a sneer edged like swordgrass. I slam myself in my office and toss the cookbooks out the window and discover behind the shelves a trapdoor labeled “This Way to History.” I pry it open and crawl down a dusty angle and cough myself up a ladder to emerge in my old office where you’re lifting a silver cup of vodka and smiling the old smile, the one that hurts a little less. Now you can reach around my waist and my computer screen is blank and expectant, and my volumes of Eliot and Whitman grimace that familiar dusty grimace— but even as we sip our vodka the walls collapse and the air sickens that ugly gray sick and the corridors writhe and choke and you laugh that snake-headed laugh I love to suffer and love. The Fire You Started in the Closet The fire you started in the closet has burned for days without spreading. It has consumed the Christmas gifts we hid ten Christmases ago, scorched the stairway to the attic where Grandpa’s bones tarnish like brass and blackened the family name kept in a box we thought fireproof. For days we taste that carbon slur and smell pouty blue curls of smoke and expect the fire to burst into the conscious parts of the house and destroy our book-club library and Chippendale coffee table and collection of pornographic woodcarvings from Guatemala. Why did you ignite this blaze? Because I deflated the plastic Santa you placed on the lawn? Because I fed cookies and milk to the friendly Mormons who claimed their god demands I marry Janet, Nikki, Gloria, and Nan as well as you again and again? Because your favorite TV show rewrote its scripts and became a comic cop show burdened with expensive Polish jokes? You set that fire because cries and whispers from that closet have caused blood clots and hernias in people who listen too closely to the voices in their heads. I attack with the extinguisher and stifle the lonely blue flame. Not much damage. The Christmas gifts had gone unloved for a decade, the family name’s a Polish joke, Grandpa’s bones hardly rattle, and the scorched attic stairway, which we almost never ascend, needs only a fresh coat of paint.
Felino A. Soriano —after John Atta Mensah’s Heading Home Says dragonfly beneath her haloed wind. Her the walking vendor softened steps of silent homeward. Curtains of lofty grass curtailing view into horizon’s truest meaning: call to farthest table housing gifts of the insatiable mania, a happiness divine of interpreted elation.
Painters’ Exhalations 746 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after Emmanuel Tetteh Pecku’s Wonderful Days Market place pattern happy rhythm talk, peruse. If avifauna acclimated to scenery of eyes’ beholding beautiful, much of same applications with man in folding bodies into malleable emotions curious of cuisine, candles, colors of national desire. Such days as these are magical renditions revealing music in trying times delving those of participatory themes into ritualistic rising minds, copacetic prototype.
Painters’ Exhalations 748 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after Israel Villanueva’s How to Invent a Secret Birth head first syllables of collocated hiding pleasure. Mind’s many hands construct hallways of the leading virtue, alabaster-walled rooms, locked behind structural genius. Pat its softened back. Feed with nurturing music teaching rhythms of outer-dimensional crevices. Following fabled maturational happenstance, unlock paused wanting of required freshness in the simultaneous mode of masking every precise location of physical’s facial features.
Painters’ Exhalations 754 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after Dale Wicks’ Big Blue Dirt’s scattered fingers. One dons red fingernail facing sky’s opposite membrane, wears turquoise wrapped in flame-blanket’s conjure of reciprocating warmth, jewel of contemplation, shine of even wither maintaining luster beneath skin of masterful patina.
Painters’ Exhalations 755 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after William Lewis’ Seaside Cliff’s – Brittany Mountain’s eroding shoulder conn ec ting years’ history jargon of past green with now’s manifest of dedicated absence. Attached, [open inhale] widened palms leading into home of swimming minutes never into exit of continuous end, here movement walks in parading music splashing into cymbals’ reconstructed echo on hardened aggregation.
Painters’ Exhalations 756 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after Shyrley Cabral’s At the Mercy of Colors They hang, they of beautiful symptoms hang on secondary rope used of tying time and air’s various spines, copacetic intertwine of neoteric spoken words, esoteric explanation. We may vocally see aerial sacredness full mid-flight, stained glass version of metaphoric formations, and within this hanging physicality, notion of nuanced protection akin to umbrellas’ infamous halos disallowing rain’s slanting sculptures audience applause in the making of counterexample concepts.
Painters’ Exhalations 759 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after Miriam Chipana’s Playful Space Save the child. Disallow allowed function of playtime deities dolls darkened globular tears on waterfall function draping shelves sans their rhetorical books. Allow imagination’s unhindered purpose, shape-watch shadow of turquoise halo floating in protecting fashion, hoping purposeful form reinvents eyesight, collaborative function of inhaled compositions.
Painters’ Exhalations 763 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ —after Made Agteus Widarta’s Play Kites Kites disrupt nap of various angles. Angles awakened through prosperous algebra. A priori to the hitherto darkness of specialized naiveté, aerial reinterpretations galvanize meaning of wondrous smiles, watching figurative density relocate within weightless mentions of decorative plumage.


Felino A. Soriano

Soliloquy of Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger 
(Or St. Simeon of the Admirable Mountain) 

My hermitage is a tall pillar
Standing upon a high mountain.
Elevated in living benediction, alone
And solitary among the highest places.
Escaping worldly temptation in my solitude,
Floating somewhere between earth and sky,
Tree and cloud, mountain and plain,
I stand as a witness to my God.
When the sun blinds my eyes


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these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2010 by 
Klaus J. Gerken.

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