Thursday, March 25, 2010


Nice decolletage... Image of a Khmer apsara, garbed in skin-tight algae, from a temple complex near Siem Reap, Cambodia.Dear Gentle Reader,

It's 3WW time, again.

This week the prompt words (for prose or poetry) are brazen, hunger, and nuzzle.

...I think I know what Thom, keeper of the words for 3WW, was thinking about this week...

Your starter is a titled picture with, as always, a description if you run your mouse over the image.

Then, as usual, I serve up three haiku/senryu, each with an American Sentence title.

Sometimes the poetry is annotated, in green (sometimes heavily, sometimes not).

For dessert, a musical offering.

If you're like me, have dessert first and enjoy it while reading.

So, away.

...I have to get back to unpacking...

...And rebuilding furniture...

...And moving boxes only to move other boxes in a maddening, real-life Tower of Hanoi puzzle in Hong Kong...

We are in the midst of moving and we have too much stuff.

At least the Internet was reinstalled today...

And, with that, let the games begin with brazen, hunger, and nuzzle...

Glance, gaze, hunger; eros pants, desire trips up logic, andweleavequick

...and the night's still young...

Better than a cup of no tea is a breast with no cover; pop Zen.

Tantric zen hunger;
Zen--bra or no bra (zen-ness).
Nuzzle breasts. Or not.

I have had fun playing with (the ideas of) religions for the last few years, and am heading off, shortly, for Japan, land of Zen and Zen koans.

The Japanese, like your humble scribe, have been known to enjoy both fleeting moments and the expression of ideas regarding those moments.

From the Zen practice 'The Art of Tea' we get the famous Japanese saying "Ichi-go ichi-e" which relates to the idea that every moment is transient and that mindfulness is important as after a moment has passed it is gone forever.

Even the art of drinking tea allows a Zen adept to found schools of thought devoted to simple moments, like making or consuming tea... the Art of Tea.

After all, mindfulness allows one to find beauty and awareness in everything, even in the preparation and enjoyment of tea.

The Japanese love their tea; one Japanese proverb is that "If a man has no tea in him he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty".

In Japanese zazen philosophy, words are encumbrances to the expression of thought. The idea itself is considered central and physical experience can no longer be adequately expressed by words--or be as powerful as the ideas about that physical experience.

This is where I, sometimes, part ways with Japanese zazen philosophy.

The concept of ideas trumping experienced reality is why zazen monks extol the virtues of drinking, and savouring (in their mind), a cup of no-tea.

These monks are concentrating on the essence of tea without worrying about the minutiae of actually drinking tea.

I know that these are monks, but what would they think of sex? This is what I want to know.

So, I started wondering, as one does, and as I was playing with words for 3WW, what tantric Zen sex would be like.

Would Zen monks even need to touch?

Would they enjoy the idea of sex as much as the Zen adept enjoys his cup of no tea?

And how much enjoyment would that really provide?

Would the idea more than compensate for the actual experience?

I, Gentle Reader, know that I would never accomplish this--I like the real thing.

I know my limitations.

I would play with Zen but stay with sophistry and try to trick girls out of their bras, insisting that the Zen bra, the idea of a bra negating the need for a 'real' bra, was sufficient.

(I think that a young Plato might have appreciated this idea in the dark cave of his mind...)

And, then, I would likely leave the monastic life once I had convinced young women of the beauty of no Bra.

And that was the sole point of this particular haiku.

Much ado about nothing, some would say.

Or about everything, as I might say.

I might not be mindful of every moment, but some... well... enough said.

Every day, every hour, desire consumes, hunger wracks mind, soul, body...

Clean Hunger. Honest
greed, desire. Brazen nuzzle.
Sucks teat, milks Mom's love.


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Detail of a stained glass window from a Church in Normandy. From Caen, I believe.
Dear Gentle Reader,

It's 3WW time, again.

This week the prompt words for prose or poetry are pulse, shard, and weary.

Your starter is a titled picture with, as always, descriptions if you run your mouse over the image.

Then, as usual, I serve up three haiku/senryu, each with an American Sentence title.

For dessert, a musical offering.

If you're like me, have dessert first and enjoy it while reading.

So, away.

I have to get back to packing.

We are in the midst of moving and we have too much stuff.

So, sorry if I try to store some words here, on the web, but there is no room in the stables tonight...

And, with that, let the games begin with pulse, shard, and weary...

On safari, the carnivore rules over all--- ROWRRR... (sob) ...CruNCH ... ... ... ... ... ... ( pulse...)

shards of meat (and bone)
but, no pulse (legume, bean, pea)
weary vegan pales...

The origin of glass, a Western, or a Near (not Far) Eastern, tale...

Pliny's Phoenicians
found proto-shards where weary
sailors' fires throbbed, pulsed.

What is this poem all about?

Well, Gentle Reader, a circuitous explanation ensues. Sorry.

You ought to know, by now, that your humble scribe is (currently) based in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is right beside China.

Hong Kong is even in China, if you believe the Mainlanders rather than your visa requirements.

Hong Kong is certainly within the media orbit of modern China.

Recent Chinese 'historical' pop culture movies (Red Cliff, for example) extol the fact that ancient China invented almost everything.

Like soccer. (A specious claim, at best).

Your humble scribe and Heroine find themselves amused to note that almost all things are Chinese these days.

Surely Chinese.

CERN and the Higgs Boson?
Surely Chinese.

The alphabet?

Vice? ...

...Well, those are obviously foreign.

...Especially when you read or hear the news, in China...

But, glass?
The beach at Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France, as seen through transfigured beach... the medieval glass of Mont St-Michel

Glass is definitely not Chinese.

Glass is one of those areas where, if you are a Westerner, you can hold your head high on the origins of innovation front because the ancient Chinese did not invent glass.

The Chinese 'discovered' glass only from overland traders sometime in the end of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese dynastic history (770 BC - 476 BC) or in the beginning of the Warring States period (475 BC - 221 BC).

Pliny the Elder (23-79), however, gives us the historic/mythic origin theory that Phoenician sailors (Phoenicians are those Fertile Crescent trading folks whom most Lebanese claim as their forebears) discovered glass sometime around 5000 BC.

Pliny's Phoenician sailors/merchants were cooking their meal of reconstituted pulses in pots over fires on the beach as they rested their weary bodies...

Those Phoenician pots, in turn, while cooking the pulses, rested upon blocks of nitrates which the sailors/merchants were carrying.

And, as those blocks of nitrate melted, from the heat of cooking fires, the melted nitrate fused with silica, the sand on the beach, to form 'ur-glass'--the original man-made glass.

This originating glass was not only clear(ish) but, when the half-melted nitrate trading blocks were forcibly removed, this proto-glass would have resolved into shards of glass...

...which would have engrossed the attention of sailors, weariness forgotten, with sharp shards of a novel, transparent solid in front of them and their bellies full of reconstituted pulses.

See how easy this fit into today's 3WW words?

3WW even allowed me to point out Western technical/innovation prowess.

Even Mesopotamian prowess.

For, despite Pliny's tale of the Phoenicans of around 5000 BC, the first archaeological record of glass comes to us from pre-Bronze Age Mesopotamia--from the pre-Sumerian Uruk Period (4000 BC - 3100 BC ).

Sure, this is almost a thousand years before my beloved Akkadians spring to prominence in Mesopotamia, but, for once, I can write about something that was not invented first in China.

Thanks, Thom (Keeper of 3WW and provisioner of words).

Words like these make my day.

(Although, Thom, I would love the challenge of an x, y and z themed 3WW, too--as you suggested on your prompt page...)

To the victors go the spoils, and thanks, of royalty; to the writers...

lacking heroes' pulse, courage.
Weary shards of men...

(Of course, today, the writers get royalties.

But, not if they publishes on the web...)

There you go, hepcats.

Maybe when I am less bone weary the haiku will pop out easier.

Tonight, well, this is better than nought.

I hope.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Beauty wants to be seen. It needs to peek out! But, is this gecko seen? Or unseen? Veiled or viewed? And I cannot believe that Thom, of 3WW, did not know what he was hoping for when he came up with the 3WW word, this week. Good on him.Dear Gentle Reader,

It is 3WW time.

This week the prompt words are modify, obedient, and veil.

Your starter is a titled picture with, as always, descriptions if you run your mouse over the image.

Then, as usual, I serve up three haiku/senryu, each with an American Sentence title.

For dessert, a musical offering.

If you're like me, have dessert first, and enjoy it while reading.

So, away.

Let the games begin with modify, obedient, and veil...

Please, Sir, up or down, in or out, fast or slow, ..., do you like it, sir?

A veil keeps sin out.
But, modified, with shimmies...
...obedience in...

** Bearing in mind that not everyone speaks English as a first language, all my poems are meant to be read aloud.

The last line of this haiku has a greater effect, I think, when these two words are in the same eigenspace of comprehension as their oral/aural equivalent...

...'obedient sin'...

...then shimmy the two in your mind...

...obedient sin/obedience in...

...then tell me what is obedient, and to whom, and you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Sarkozy wants her to be strong (obedient); "Modify thy veil!"

Obedience or
Obeisance? Try my veil./? It
modifies me?/. Thee?/.

** With a Gallic shrug, and a governmental tug, her veil could be gone... ...Sarkozy, President of France, declared that the burqa, the full body 'veil', is not welcome in France. Six months later, a French parliamentary committee recommended banning full veils from public buildings.

Now your humble scribe is not going to be drawn into a discussion of the nuances between purdahs and burqas, hijabs and niqabs.

One bottom line is that either people have freedom to choose their elements of expression in apparel or they do not.

And, of course, properly, both sides of the debate can argue that they are for the
freedom to choose elements of expression in apparel and that the other side is against the same proposition.
Which, in a way, is part of the wonderful duality of life. Long live the differences.
Point and counterpart sometimes produce harmony, but, today, in France, they produce dissonance. And the score has not even been finished--it is certainly not settled.
I've tried, in the poem, to shimmy between the interrogative and the declarative and it is meant to feel dissonant.
I'm just not so sure that it works.
Like France's policy.

At 'de Ent o' days, when 'de Taliban come, sleepin', not fightin's, sin!

Oh Bee, 'de Ent' comes!
Modify 'dose bad ways quick!
I won't wear no veil!


Click to hear 'At an Arabian House Party' by Raymond Scott and his Orchestra


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Detail of a ceramic frieze atop the Dragon Mother's Temple, Guang Dong Province, China. People lean over the upper balcony to tuck money into the sculptures to help lubricate the passage of their wishes to reality.Dear Gentle Reader,

It's 3WW.

This week the prompt words are amaze, frail, and sacred.

Your starter is a titled picture with, as always, descriptions if you run your mouse over the image.

Then, as usual, I serve up three haiku/senryu, each with an American Sentence title.

For dessert, I close off with a musical offering.

So, promptly, away.

Let the games begin with amaze, frail, and sacred...

Amazing Grace, Newton's sweet sound--though he'd sold men, bound, in slavery...

frail prayers waft up,
borne with sacred incense swirls;
plead amazing grace

** True, John Newton (1725-1807) did end life campaigning with John Wilberforce for the abolition of slavery, but he started life as a slaver, and, though he had changed careers to become a curate, he had not denounced slavery when he penned 'Amazing Grace' in 1779.

The British Slave Trade Act of 1807, which Wilberforce and Newton campaigned for, became law little more than 9 months before Newton's death and abolished slavery in the British Empire.

Britain would take until 1833 to determine that slavery as an institution was inherently illegal.

That said, the Western world would not see slavery as being a jus cogens, an international legal wrong, or, more specifically, that a jus cogens itself could exist until the conventions for drafting the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties were commenced in 1949 and the text finally adopted in 1969 (see Article 53). It would still take until 1980 for the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, to enter into force.

This whole 'aside' merely is my way of pointing out the frailty of some prayers, especially those implicitly contained within 'Amazing Grace', penned at the time by an unrepentant ex-slaver and slave trader.

Forget storge, philia, and agape; give me eros each day.

frail hearts quail, tremble.
love is sacred? hah! Violent!
stunned, amazed, we pant.

** Storge, philia, agape, and eros are the four forms of love in Classical Greek thought.

Storge, στοργή, refers to loving, familial affection.

Philia, φιλία, refers to friendship--the love between friends.

Agape, αγάπη, refers to an abiding, deep love and contentment.

Eros, έρως, finally, refers to passionate love. Eros doesn't have to be sexual, but Plato's modification of love, Platonic love, a non-sexual love, is a modification of eros--which point to the importance of sexuality in the non-Platonic eros.

Crowds queued (Paris-style) for her; Quasimodo tried to save her; she died.

frail Esmeralda's
sacred sanctuary fails;
amazed Q's heart breaks

** If you haven't read Victor Hugo's (1802-1885) 'Notre-Dame de Paris', or, 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame" then this little piece will surely fail. The only thing I will point to here is the ambiguity of 'Q' in the last line.

Normally this 'Q' would clearly refer to Quasimodo, but, with the title of this poem, 'Q' could also be the Parisian crowd which 'queued' outside of Notre-Dame to show its support of Esmeralda--fabulously misread by Louis XI, the King of France, in the book....

*** As per queuing 'Paris-style', don't think Paris of Hector, or of Helen, think French Revolution.

Think Eugène Delacroix and 'La Liberté guidant le peuple', or, 'Liberty guiding the people'...

Image of painting by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) entitled ' La Liberté guidant le peuple', or 'Liberty guiding the People'. This image is in the public domain and is sourced from the Wikimedia Commons.

An aside and a query. Does "to hector" in English come from Homer's Iliad?

Hector (eldest son of King Priam [of Troy] and Hecuba), who berated his brother, Paris, with lines like "Paris, you pretty boy, you woman seducer, why were you ever born? Why weren't you killed before your wedding day"...


Ah... and the music for today is...

Hmm. My data storage site appears to be down...

I'll have to try to add the music later...