Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Facing our face

The fearful self says I hope you fail, because I can hide my failure behind your failure, but if it is only I who is to fail, my failure will be much more visible

If someone were to offer me a million dollars so that I could stop working for a few years and indulge / act out some of my creative fantasies/aspirations, and I had to choose between them giving me that money or giving it to save lives in some distant place like Darfur, I fear I might very well choose the former...they'll die anyway, sooner or later, I'd say, and at least my own life wouldn't have been a waste...isn't this how we mostly are???

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chaymo the fox and some truthful thoughts

Hello children. Today I'm going to tell you a story about Cheymo of Woolhara

Here is a dad who has just come home from his work. His name is Sam Brown

Here is a mum busy cooking supper

Here is Daniel, who is playing a computer game

Here is Shelley, who is doing her homework

Here is the whole family having supper together. They all love each other very much. But chaymo must watch out, for if they see him they will have him trapped, or gassed, or killed with a lethal injection.

Here is Chaymo hiding in the bushes.

Here is Chaymo watching Shelley take Buckley, the family's labrador, for a walk.

Buckley is well looked after. He goes with the family on holiday. He gets fed chicken and meat from animals slaughterd in an abbatoir.

The other day Chaymo killed and ate a pigeon that had a broken wing and could not fly away. He was very hungry. He hadn't eaten for four days. In the morning Delilah found the bones of the pidgeon and was horrified. It ruined her day. She couldn't stop thinking about it, even as she was crumbed the veal for the evening meal.

Chaymo usualy dines late at night, from the rubbish bins. He finds lots of food there. He also finds things that are not food in there. Here is Cheymo with a plastic ring around his mouth. Unless Cheymo can work out how to remove the ring from his mouth he many not eat again. then the Brown's will not need to have him trapped and killed.

Foxes are vermin and dogs are pets. If you are a pet you may be well looked after or abandoned when your owners get bored with you. If you are abandoned you may be rescued by groups of people who look after pets and try and find them new homes. If you are designated vermin you may be shot, or poisoned. You may be caught in a a painful trap. You may be electrocuted. If any of these things are done your suffering will ed.

Authority is not something you have, its something you do - do you want to do it?

There is something undeniably heroic about heroism...

True to my coward nature I would like to die quietly and painlessly in my bed ( im neshikat elokim ve nashim - by the kiss of G-d and the kiss of women)
True to my hero nature I would like to die bravely defending the children
Due to my Bhuddha nature I would like to die the death I die

Ribono shel olam
Taaseh oti amitz vegibor
taazor, taazor, taazor

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pliz hulp

Tattered Beggar sits outside the plate glass window of a suburban bank branch.:
"Hulp meee pliz"
"Hulp meee..."
When a coin lands he mumbles something only semi-intelligible:
"tank too, may yussus bless you garbeshe, help me pleez"
As people pass he has a pathetic mumbled conversation with himself.
"Manish babelas nitrogen mfundi baaskap nee wat..."
Another coin gets tosseed into his hat, he squints at the giver
"I need to go Braaspruit, the tsotsits, 5 rand , just for the bus, tomorow I come your house master, I pay, even sis rand I pay you... "
A cellphone rings. From under a pile of rags the beggar extracts and flips open a state of the art cell phone and answers in a clear lucid voice, completely different from the one we have heard from him 'til now.
"Shasta, how 're you doing...yes I'm about to knock of work now....nah..that'sa dump. Lets do cocktails at the diplomat...ok, 5:30? 6:00...ok 6:00. See you ."
He flips it shut, closes, the phone puts it under the rags, takes a moment to suitably discompose himself and then begins again:
"pleesh...halp me"

Johannesburg sports:
Some Dutch tourists drive up to an intersection where a horribly twisted spastic child drools through the window at them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Genius of Natan Alterman

Natan Alterman was one of Israel's greatest modernist poets. Here is my translation ( a WIP) of one of his poems that is almost impossible to translate and yet preserve the original prosody: Note the poem is written in atbash format - that is the first verse (verse "Aleph") parallels the last verse (verse "Taf"), the second verse (verse "bet") parallels the penultimate verse ( verse "shin") and so on....with the middle verse acting as a bridge betwen the two parallel sections.

The Foundling

My mother laid me at the foot of the fence
on my back. Quiet and wrinkled.
and as if in a well, I gazed from below,
'til she fled as one who flees from a blow.
And I gazed at her, as if from in a well
and the moon, like a candle, raised above us on high

But before the dawn's light
that very same night
I slowly arose
at the appointed hour
and returned to my mother's house
like a ball returning
to one who kicked it away
I return to her house, like a ball rolling back
and caress her neck
with hands of shade

In the sight of the Supreme
from her neck she tore me,
as if I were a leech
but when night came down
I returned as before
and this has become our pact:
as before, at night-fall, I reurn
and nightly she bows to the yoke

and the doors of her dream are wide open to me
and no person is there but I
because the love of our souls remains taught
like a bow, from the day I was born
because the love of our souls remains taught
and can never be given or taken away...

Thus 'til the end, God has not moved me
from the heart of my protesting parent
and I- who was severed without being weaned
will not be weaned or cleft
and I- who was severed without being weaned
enter her house and lock the gate

She aged in my jail and grew barren and shrank
and her face grew folds like my own
then I dressed her in white with my tiny hands
like a mother dresses her living babe
then I dressed her in white with my tiny hands
and carried her off without saying to where

And I placed her at the foot of the fence.
Gazing quietly on her back
and she looked at me, laughing, as if from a well
and we knew our battle was done
and she looked at me, laughing, as if from a well
and the moon, like a candle, raised above us on high

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Notes for a script called "cycle of life"

Interview (sincere yet psychophantic) with devotee of the Dalai lama. How great he is, how humble and gentle and clear
Second interviewee (female, if first was male) tells a haggiographic tale illustrating how great is the dalai Lama.
CUT TO third similar interview.
Fourth interview - the first tiny crack....
By the 20th interview there is a violent debate between the followers of Dorje Shugden and the followers of the Dalai Lama, and the DL's unassailable universally revered and on a pedestal position has been toppled - yet another magnificent hope bites the dust in a swelter of humans yapping at each other pettiness
20 seconds of black screen, and out of this cosmic blackness emerges the first signs of new life...praise for a resistance hero who exemplifies one or other kind of nobility

See http://rabbirami.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-08-14T13%3A32%3A00-07%3A00 from which the excert below is taken:

"The current Dalai Lama used to be a fan of Dorje Shugden but changed his mind, now believing Dorje Shugden to be a demonic protector who does not deserve the veneration accorded him. This is not a new battle. The Dalai Lama has taken on Dorje Shugden in at least two other life times (the fifth and thirteenth of this fourteen incarnations). I don’t know what caused the Dalai Lama to take on Dorje Shugden this time around, but I do know it is never a good idea to piss off a god or a demon, especially if they have followers. Dorje Shugden supporters hound the Dalai Lama and protest at his talks and appearances. They claim that the Dalai Lama is seeking to spiritually cleanse Tibetan Buddhism of Dorje Shugden worship, and is thereby causing millions of Dorje Shugden worshippers needless pain and concern.The prayer to Dorje Shugden that the Dalai Lama wants to eradicate seems benign enough: “As a devoted practitioner, I request you from my heart to overcome all unfavorable conditions, obstacles, and maras (evils), and increase my life span, merit, resources, good fortune, qualities of scripture and realization, listening, and renown.”The problem seems to be with Dorje Shugden himself. To the Dalai Lama’s credit, he actually believes that Dorje Shugden worship is demon worship, and wants to end it. To my dismay, the Dalai Lama actually believes in demons. I thought he was all about science and stuff like that. At least that is what his followers, and by his followers I mean his Jewish followers who think they have escaped the irrationality of Judaism by following the Dalai Lama instead, always tell me. Of course Dorje Shugden isn’t the only angry god on the block. Read the Hebrew Bible; when it comes to wrath Dorje Shugden can’t hold a candle to YHVH. Or read the Christian Book of Revelation where the Prince of Peace is one pissed off deity who makes His Dad look like a wimp. Anyway, I wish the Dalai Lama well. If he can defeat the angry gods of Buddhism I am going to sponsor a worldwide Jewish tour for His Holiness and see if he can help us out with YHVH as well."

Saturday, September 13, 2008


In my world
I would walk around
dressed in white
grow my remaining hair long
pin medals on the T shirts
of large breasted women
found a chain of vegetarian restaurants
that would outsell macdonalds
plastic bags,
the use of the word "lady"
and other baited hooks
and thinking
(but not thoughtfulness)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Institutionalised religion as a support for unconscious living

My version of the world goes like this. The majority of humanity lives unconsciously, driven by motives they are only dimly aware of that lead to the insanity of our daily lives where we search for peace, contentment and tranquility as we create war, dissatisfaction and dis-ease. A tiny minority of people have begun to be aware of the contradictions they llive and deal in every day, and to observe these contradictions in an attempt to discover the real, as opposed to the rhetoric, and to draw closer to some kind iof intergration of the seemingly warring elements of the self. A third even tinier minority have attained self knowledge, and live effortlessly and truly without mistaking the details of their "life" for their real life. This being my world view, it brings me to a chicken and egg question. Does people's collective unconsciousness manifest institutions which are expressions of this unconsciousness, or do these institutions have a life of their own which helps create and maintain the unconsciousness that I witness in people who define themselves as Jewish, Christian, Moslem or Hindu, for example. To be continued...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The past has no value

A shared past has no value unless it allows for the deepening and enriching of the experience of now

moonbeam of love

When I go
with my dad
and the moon is full
and the night is clear
the ride is so smooth
it glides like a moonbeam
of love

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Poetry as a function of economics

I write poems (in itself a statement which may ultimately not reflect reality) partly because, as a harried householder who is able to identify very much with Virginia Woolf's "a room of her own" thesis (although I am male), I cannot afford the time and space to experiment creating in other formats and other media...admittedly in my puppy years (other people's twenties and thirties) I did experiment with chasing my tail, but did not produce much that did not seem laboured and derivative - but now I might be more playful and able to flow internally more - so who knows what I could create given the space. But for now 'man must wek' and so my creativity (is it "mine"? Or is it on loan??) must express itself in teaching for the most part, with the little forays into poetry that weekends or late nights will allow me here and there....

im eyn kemach eyn mayim, veim eyn mayim eyn kemach
im eyn mavet eyn chayim, veim eyn chayim ayn mavet
im ayn zayin ayn nartik, veim eyn shadayim ayn chalav

lishtof et haaretz zavat
im ayn perach eyn dvora, im ayn dvora ayn oketz
im eyn avar eyn atid, ve yesh rak et haachshav
im eyn milim eyn chafetz, im eyn chafetz ayn tshuka
im ayn olam ayn al ma leheyatzev


if there is no flour there is no water, no water - no flour
no death, no life, and if no life, no death
if there is no penis-sword, no vagina-sheath,
no breasts, no milk
to flood the flowing land
no flower to bee, no bee to sting
no past no future,
then only the now
no words, no objects, no objects, no desire
and if there is no world
then no reason to be sad

Reminder to self: A precondition for creativity is knowing that even if you don't write a single word, you and the world are already whole and complete. Now you are free to add to that fathomless completion.