divendres, de desembre 08, 2006

Beth yw Cymru i mi? (English / Welsh)

What is Wales to me?
fount of my soul spring
where the mountains roll down to the sea
where the song of an ancient language rolls and sings in the throat of the people
and clog dances across their lips
always bringing a knowing smile
there is no other song than a Welsh song
no other poem than a Welsh one
no one who does not know the land and the language will ever understand

Wales is the land that gives me hope
I leave its rocky shores
and long only to return
to wander its hills and valleys
its craggy slopes
its verdant, sub tropical coasts
to breathe in deep its perfumes

to be in Wales is to be in love
and lust

I long for Wales like I long for each breath
in no other place do I feel at home
no other place makes me weep
when I have to leave the border behind
a great sadness takes me then
and I
a godless man
a faithless man
I wish so hard
that when I die
if there is a heaven
that is is Wales

One especially beautiful summer
on a day not too hot, nor too cold
I drove the narrow lanes
my vision blurred by tears
hedgrows whipping the sides of my hired car
I did not want to leave
I wanted to stay there forever
and I prayed to whatever god may be
that were there a heaven,
it would be here
in this ancient place
with the mountains and the sea
y bwlch a'r môr
the monuments of ancient ancestors built from stone and earth
the language they sang in still clinging to the crags and dales
whatever Wales shall become
when I die
I want that Wales, that moment
with old Mary Jos and te coch
and cigarette smoke
and hay on the salty air
waiting for me

I drove
and cried
and prayed
"I don't know if there is a heaven, but if there is one, I want mine to be here."
I sobbed and weeped till I thought I would drive off the road

for all the darkness
the poverty
the hunger
the cold wood-stoked winters
the rough and hateful hands
the lovelessness
the deprivation
the ugly struggles
y gwacter
of my youth
of my present
and of my tomorrows
if there is any god to grant any favor
I pray he grant me this
take me home
not to the land that gave me birth
amid squalor and privation
but to Wales
where I have felt alive and love
where I felt hopefulness

My confession:
I live only to see Wales again
to stroll ancient shores
and hear my soul's language
all I do, I do to return to Wales
my dying wish, I declare it now:

I want to die with the Welsh language in my ear
I want to be carried into the unknown by Welsh hands
and hearts
I want the nurses to curse my death in Welsh
to imagine them cleaning my wretched remains
all the while swearing in Welsh

they will curse my passing no matter what
for strangers will carry me to the grave
but their sharp tongues in Welsh
will carry me to heaven
in English, I fear, only to oblivion

diumenge, de novembre 26, 2006

Late Autumnal Musings (English / Welsh)

I want to float forever on the blue waters of Annwn
always together in harmony with the three's..

y gorffenol, that which is finished
y presennol, that which is not finished, but still nascent
y dyfodol, that which is to come

Cylch yr Abred, the Circle of Change
Cylch y Gwynfyd, the Circle of Purity
Cylch y Ceugant, the Circle of Ultimacy

Annwn, the world of memories
Y Dwfn, the deep waking world where the Cunning Forest grows in the light of stars
Y Dyfnaf, the Summer Lands, where the ancestors dream and remember old love

Three worlds, nine vales, the number is complete and compelling
and old story borne by ancient Druids in white robes
from the throats of my ancestors
to the world of the tomorrow

I will not give up easily on this world of struggle, bydysawd
slowly, slowly the men in white lab coats today
piece together evidence
compelling, though incomplete
that maybe, just maybe, all this means something more

more than to live one's moment
to strut upon the stage and then take one's messy curtain call
amid a cacophony of coughs and baffling of bowels
more than the futile biological imperative to survive
since even the planet will be consumed by the lust of the dying sun
like Greek boys were consumed by wrinkled senators and decadent philosophers

perhaps it is possible in this quantum universe
ultimately to experience everything
and that my tiny life
lost in a tiny backwater
on a small planet
in an uninspiring star system
on the outskirts of the Milky Way
may not be the end of my story after all

that perhaps one day
in another time and place
I will have lived a life that will inspire another
as Chavela and Frida inspire and touch mine
like Millie and Helen have done
great stories that take lifetimes to write
if they are ever written
and even then the words are dead before the page is printed

for they can live only in our minds
and then perhaps carried forever on Theta Waves
along the blue waters of Annwn
forever always
and never really
into the uncertain embrace of the Question Mark

dilluns, de novembre 20, 2006

Sweet Memory of a Night of Fondness (English / Cornish)

I have a weakness for your kind
you remind me of a ghost that still haunts the fringes of my world
your dark eyes
your olive skin
your youth
your smell
opium to my peptide hungry body

You were the perfect lover
a century, two, even more might have passed
I would still have longed for your earnest lust
still savor the taste of your kisses
the tell-tale traces of cigarette smoke on your tongue
the scent of my own body on your face as you came close to me

And while we met just once
And we are unlikely to meet again
I relish in the memory
and take heart in the quantum present
where our embraces live in an eternal now

Like all those who have come before you
and those who may come after
while we are imperfect for each other
while our worlds will never fit together
I enjoyed you and will remember you fondly
even to my dying day

(Dhe "Dynek" a re dos dhymm a'n komolyow war nos ergh wlyp mys Du. My a vydh dha gara evel my a re dha gara an nos-henna ;) )

dijous, de novembre 16, 2006

We Live in a World of Doubt (further comments from my Linguistics course) (English)

Or: "Forgive the young, the tides have not washed enough of their days away..."
Of course, no one can predict the future, and I wouldn't attempt to, but I would caution anyone who puts his or her eggs all in one basket.

When I was in High School, we believed the Soviet Union would start a war that would destroy us all. In fact, being a mere 10 miles from a second strike target in Pennsylvania, we were even taught what areas of the county would be vaporized, what zones in the firestorm, what zones would have doors and windows blown out, and what zones would merely suffer radiation poisoning. I remember my biology teacher saying that when he heard the Soviets were bombing, he planned to take his wife and daughters to the army depot and wait there to be vaporized.

Yet, most of you who are younger than I did not know that world, or are too young to have understood it. The world was a different place a mere 20 years ago.
A century? None of us will recognize the world then really, not if we could see it from our seats behind our computers.

My aunt Arwilda was born in 1908. When she was a girl, Latin and French were the languages to learn, and the farmers in the countryside all spoke Deits (Pennsylvania German). There was no electricity in her town, nor were the streets paved. They had telephones, but no radio. She read the Sears Catalogue by gaslight. She could remember her mother renting a horse and buggy at the livery stable down the block to ride to a rather distant village (15 miles away) on a family emergency. She was in such a hurry, the buggy went up on one wheel as she rounded the corner on her way out of the livery. My aunt lived until 1994. She saw a gaslit, horse and buggy world evolve into a world with computers, color television and the very real threat of hot, atomic death.

I think you have all posited very fine thoughts, but many of you make leaps of faith and commit dreadful logical fallacies. The future is as mutable (changeable) as the past was varied, indeed, moreso. Perhaps English will still be important in 100 years. Certainly it will still be spoken.
But while it shall still be spoken, it won't necessarily be the first language in schools and in business meetings. One thing is relatively certain, the United States will not be the world's only power. This is new, and it won't last, no country holds power for long, and as I have pointed out in several places, there are many tell-tale signs of our decline. I suspect it is likely that we will still be an important player in the global arena, but we will be sharing top-billing with other nations, just as we have in the past.

Things will not always be as they are now.

Watch out, tomorrow will be exciting, thrilling, hair-raising, and nothing like any of us imagines ;)

dimecres, de novembre 15, 2006

Further Comments from my Linguistics Course (English)

So far, I think you've all added some really good contributions to this discussion, but I'm a little disappointed that not more of you caught on to the very different ways those who speak Mohawk and those who speak English view their world.

There are two concepts which I often share with my language students: Crossing the Bridge & Parallel but Incongruous Linguistic Universes.

Crossing the Bridge: this is a term I learned during my early years of learning Welsh and being, albeit marginally, involved in Welsh and Welsh language politics. Back in the 80's there was a movement in Wales called "Croesi'r Bont," or Crossing the Bridge. This idea was used to demonstrate how non-Welsh speakers could cross the bridge to the Welsh speaking world with time and practice. I remember Welsh Tutor John Albert Evans describing people in our class in relationship to the bridge (much to the glee of my own ego, I was described as having already crossed it!) Other students were described as setting foot on the bridge, or halfway across, etc. I tell my own students about this bridge and explain to them that when they finally do it, when they finally master their chosen language well enough to function comfortably in their new language, that they have now crossed a bridge to somewhere new...

...to a Parallel but Incongruous Linguistic Universe. No matter how close two languages may be, say French and English, the perception of everything shifts when you move from one to the other. You really do "see" the universe differently while wearing French colored glasses as opposed to English colored ones, and vice-versa. The same is true for any language. There are whole ideas, concepts, from the mundane to the profound that differ wildly from one language to the other.

It is indeed true what Noam Chomsky claims about language, that all human languages are equal, at least theoretically. In practice they do not exchange relevant concepts that are unique and different between them to make each complete. It is not just the concepts (semantics) however, but also the syntax, morphology and pragmatics that give each language a different perspective, each totally unique. As hard as it is to imagine, but when I'm in Wales, speaking Welsh all day, everyday, my universe is Welsh. China has a Welsh accent (there are Welsh speakers there having Welsh thoughts about it!). Quantum Physics flows like poetry through ancient concepts of the natural world, even if the math behind it is no easier in Welsh than in English (but in Welsh I get to talk about my numbers in base ten or base twenty, or for fun mix the two systems up!). World politics are colored by millenia old Celtic concepts of federation, tribal allegiance, freedom and fair play. It is not the world that I occupy in English, and because none of you speaks Welsh, you will never really understand what I mean unelss one day you do. However, some of you have crossed bridges into English or other languages, and perhaps, if you're proficient enough, and you're sensitive enough, you will perceive these linguistic differences in perception. French, Japanese, English, Mandarin, Wolof, Mohawk, Latin, Russian, Arabic, and all the other languages of the Earth occupy the same space and time, but do not share the same reality.

If you get a chance, go back and read the chapter on Mohawk again, and see if you can begin to appreciate what this means in relation to how Mohawk perceives reality.

dilluns, de novembre 13, 2006

Response to a Student Post on the Future of English (English)

Well, obviously you feel very strongly about the future of the English language, but some of the other students have already painted parallel pictures that show how the demise of English will come about. It is not, at the end of the day a question of if English will die, but when. If you asked a Roman citizen if he thought there would come a day when Latin would not be the language of the Empire, he would have laughed at you. And while Latin continued to be used as a language of many cultural endeavours after the fall of the Empire, the language that was being used in universities and in scholarly works would have been incomprehensible to the citizens of the Empire at its height. They could have read it, but would not have understood spoken Medieval Latin, since it had long ceased to be a community language.

That's one of the possible death's of English frankly, because it is so analogous to Latin. Global English will take on a sort of moribund life of its own, static and essentially unchanging (it could not change much if it were to remain an international language), while the local variations of English would continue to evolve into new languages. That process would be very slow and it would be generations, perhaps centuries before the speakers of the regional Englishes would begin to see themselves as distinct from Global English.

However that's assuming a lot of variables will not change. English has only been the international language for about 40 years (generously speaking). Really, it did not fully supplant French until the mid to late 1970's, and while many Americans are confused or bemused the persistence of French in the wake of the English language's rise to power, the rest of the world still uses French as a first or second international language (including the English!). What appears to be a meteoric rise to global domination is really the result of coincidences that no one is in control of. Currently, the world's largest economy is the European Union, followed by the United States and then by Japan, Germany, and China (using nominal GDP, the arrangement is a little different with PPP GDP, but you can poke about the data yourself to see what that really means). A number of other European Union countries fairly well fill in the other top ten slots, and only one of them speaks English. French and German are the mostly widely spoken languages in the Union and are the languages of its wealthiest and most developed (refering to HDI components as well as GDP) members. The playing field is still very crowded when it comes to economic domination. Yes, English is the big man on campus today, tomorrow may be another story.

The knives are out, of course, with a number of global languages [linguae francae] (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic) and some regional ones (Chinese, Hindi [actually relatively few people in India can speak English], German, Russian) struggling in the world marketplace not so far out of reach of English. These are all languages with more than 100 million speakers, all mega languages, and all serious contenders for the next world language. Will any of the supress English? Maybe, maybe not, but the economic and political variables are quite profound. Take HDI (Human Development Index). While the United States has the second largest GDP (the largest of any one country), it now ranks only 8 in HDI (better than China's 81 of course). This lower score in HDI while other countries increase in HDI and have high GDP's demonstrate a certain degree of volitility in the world in which all countries are playing.

Languages like French often remain on the periphery of the Anglo psyche because we really don't see Africa. More than 20 countries in Africa use French as an official, co-official or administrative language, and with the world's 6 largest GDP and an HDI of 16, France's influence in Africa is far, far greater than England's or the United States. Canada, our neighbor to the north, is effectively 1/3 French speaking (between first language speakers and speakers of languages other than English who also speak French and French and English bilinguals. Canada has the world's 8th largest economy and an HDI of 5.

Portuguese is the forgotten mega-language par excellence of English speakers. With 220 million speakers, and spoken by people in Europe, Africa and South America, the largest single country that speaks Portuguese is Brazil, the world's 11th largest economy (HDI 69). What will happen in 15 or 20 years? Will Brazil come to eclipse China and the US? It's not unimaginable. Brazil has already weaned itself from the titt of foreign oil by convirting to ethanol for fuel. Will China still be viable? Its growth rate is already slowing (among the other fastest growing economies currently in the world are abysmally poor countries like the Sudan [Arabic] and Chad [French and Arabic]; they are small potatoes today, but Chad and Sudan have lots of black gold...). What about the "Southern Cone" of South America? Chile, Argentina and Uruguay have always performed well (at one time Argentina had the world's second largest gold reserves). If they come to dominance, Spanish may well be the world's new language of the day.

What is good ot bear in mind is something my mother always says: "It's hard to imagine things ever being different than they are now."

So true, and yet, if we look back in our lives, we can plainly see things have not always been as they are, and so we know they will change.

Will there always be an English? Not likely. It will evolve and/or die off, some day. No, certainly not in our lifetimes, nor anytime soon. This is certainly a golden age for the language and the English speaking cultures, and we should enjoy the benefits of that place without hubris because one thing that history always teaches is that the mighty always fall! Whether we fall slowly and gracefully, or are clipped at the pass by a more earnest, upstart rival is yet to be seen.

diumenge, de novembre 12, 2006

Ich bin lustig, oder etwas ;) (English)

Your Lust Quotient: 73%

You are a very lustful person - and it sometimes gets the better of you!
You know how to hold back, but you hardly ever do.

dijous, de novembre 09, 2006

Almost Real (English)

the next ship is setting sail
the last one
a ghost ship?

the captain announces
yes, this cargo is all moribund

I shall go with it
since it seems I must
better to rest on rocking ballast

than to wait
and anxious on the quay

this is the last ship out of here at all
they say
no one will remain behind

why should I?
even though the journey a head is long
and largely aimless

while no love awaits
those who sail this Charming Nancy
at least perhaps, some frigging in the rigging

yes I am tempted
to wait behind
see if my lover comes to join me

the temptation is strong
but I think fruitless

from mother's water
to the sea's waves
to theta waves

always I am further from the point of origin
further from my dream of you
you are, after all, but a dream, no?

I dreamed of you along the Welsh sea
long, long ago
it was a strong, rich dream

like all dreams
a convenient, momentary, chemical
neurological fiction

you were born out of my pituitary needs
my addiction to meaning
to relevance

all those cells are gone now
and your magic a ghost of memory
but ghosts, real or perceived, still haunt...

should I embark with the vessel
will leaving the shore behind
leave you behind as well

I wish to know
haunted planted, or haunted travelling
haunted still

perhaps left behind in the ruined past
I could be free to dream only of you
and live only in my dream

thus I would not care
I could rot like seaweed and beached cockles
all the while dreaming

Last night I felt you close
almost real
tonight I feel I await a ship that will never dock

dimecres, de novembre 08, 2006

How I Came to My Languages

Thank you for your interest. To be wholly honest, I wish I could say that my relationship with foreign language had been born of some profound, adolescent interest in the world beyond my rather limited and rustic childhood. However, the truth is, it was born from pure, unadulterated spite. When I was in the 5th grade, I had a well-meaning, but utterly absent minded teacher, who, instead of keeping her class on track with their reading levels, got us off on an interesting, but entirely off-sequence civil engineering project, designing a small town (I think this did leave an indelible impression nonetheless, as I now am a fan of SimCity, but I digress...).

In those days, in Pennsylvania, we had a strict tracking system, and by the end of 5th grade, you had to be done with a certain "reading level." Sadly, due to her indulgence, none of us was able to get adequately far enough along our "track" and all of us were dropped multiple levels upon reaching the 6th grade. This was especially consternating for me since I was already reading Tolkien in the 5th grade! Imagine my chagrin when I was placed in remedial reading! Worse still, my 6th grade teacher was a thoroughly unpleasant person, who took no interest in any of us who were in "Catch the Wind," the remedial reading group. I had to suffer along an entire year in that group, being forced to read extremely simplified texts from out primer, all of which were printed with extra large typeface. Apparently, in those days, it was considered natural that people who needed remedial reading instruction, also were unable to distinguish small letters...

Near the end of 6th grade, all students in our school had the opportunity to take an exam to test out of further reading classes and hence be allowed to study a foreign language in the fall of our 7th grade. In order to take this exam, we had to get permission from our parents. My mother signed the permission slip, and I presented it to my 6th grade teacher, she smirked, and said, "I don't know why you're bothering to take this test. You're in 'Catch the Wind.' You'll never pass."
Spite, I said, was my motivation.

Of course, I was reading real novels by that time, so I passed the exam with flying colors; I got a 94. I was very pleased to see the look of dismay and shock.

That is when I began studying French, and in the same year, having discovered that, not only did I enjoy studying French, but was able to do quite well in the class, I began studying Welsh on my own. Two years later I also signed up for Spanish, and in my senior year I took Russian. Later on in college, to appease my growing interest in the Pennsylvania German side of my family, I began working with that language as well as High German. Since then I have studied many languages to widely varying degrees, including Latin, Cornish, Irish and Breton.

In her own, malevolent way, my 6th grade teacher opened up my world to foreign languages.
And yes, once you acquire a new language, and you master it, you do see the world in a different way. The language I'm closest to emotionally, and with which I most enjoying viewing the world, is Welsh, but I also enjoy my views of the world from Spanish, French, German, etc., and the small changes in my own personality that come with them, as I have learned to reinterpret my own orginal English speaking personality within the cultural contexts of my other languages!

dimarts, de novembre 07, 2006

Comments on a Student's Submission about Meaning and Deconstruction (English)

I really enjoyed this contribution, and what I like most about it is that it demonstrates how interdisciplinary approaches can be meaningful in more than one academic direction.

I think you hit on something with your Derridian comments about the non- compositional meaning in language. One thing that more science-oriented linguists struggle with is the very nature of meaning. The problem they arrive at is that it's incredibly difficult, within the subdiscipline of Semantics, to establish what meaning is.

Of course, the irony is that inspite of his apparent railing against "traditional" literary criticism, Derrida created a whole new nomenclature which is now repeated like Biblical rote throughout the circles of literary criticism among my colleagues who are a little bit older than I, and at times even among my generation and the younger generations of literature students. For some reason however, Derrida's work is rarely deconstructed with any seriousness (rarely is not to say never...), which I think he would see as a pity. "Derrida," professor David Wills of SUNYA said," only had one idea, but it was a big one." I would at least in part concur with Wills. Wills is, by the way, a Derridist, and was a personal acquaintance (perhaps indeed an actual friend) of Derrida before he died. To me, Derrida did have one idea, although it wasn't very big really.

Deconstruction has been inflated well beyond its origins, but is nonetheless an amazingly powerful tool for literary analysis. Due to is flexibility, it's also a great tool for other kinds of social analysis as well. Without a doubt, Deconstruction, in its essence, belongs in the realm of the cognitive sciences, as one of the many tools in the arsenal to coming to terms with the understanding of how the human mind works and what it is capable of grasping and creating.

To be honest though, I would have to side with the "anti-Derridians," by large an far in the same way that, while I more often than not agree with Dawkins and the other New Atheists, that reason and science are most likely to solve our problems and lead more humans to some kind of rational enlightenment, I feel that we would be foolish to throw out the spiritual baby with the religious bath water. Derridians and their ilk have a tendency to scoff at older forms of literary analysis, and at times even scoff at literature itself! Their adherence to their absolute ideals is no better or different than Structuralists or other traditionalists, in the same way that how the New Atheists approach their Work is no different from the zealots of any religious movement.

You will notice that I link my comments back to literary criticism when I reference Derrida because that is where I believe his work is best equiped to make meaningful (hehe) contributions. While Deconstruction can be (and should be) applied to many disciplines, the vast majority of Derrida's work beyond his one big idea is founded on very faulty knowledge. He often made forays into sociology, anthropology, theology and philosophy while having no real background in those areas, despite his self-proclamation as a philosopher, and his comments in those fields are often viewed by their respective specialists as specious and spurious. While there is a small camp of Derrida-fans in some branches of Linguitics, since one of the main projects of the discipline has been to move toward hard data and hard science whenever possible, a largely untrained literary critic and his novel idea haven't met many warm welcomes. It must furthermore be said that Derrida's rise to prominence was based more on whom he knew rather than on what he knew.

Finally, while it is true that Semantics struggles to define meaning, other subdisciplines of Linguistics (notably Pragmatics), when married with Semantics, do begin to define how we understand what each other is saying, even if the absolute meaning is still open to interpretation.

Oh, and why I titled this post "Derridian Nightmares".... your post put in mind of a nightmare I had a couple months ago in which Derrida was alive and well and had come to teach at the college. In the dream he conned me into helping him get a tooth imprint of a woman he was in love with, but was not sure of her identity. At the same time, he was dossing down in the Administrator of Technology's office, who himself was hiding from an irrate faculty because he had given us all ridiculous and mildly insulting email addresses. It was my perogative to find both Derrida in order to deliver this still spit-moist clay tooth mold and to give the administrator a piece of my mind. I never did find the administrator, but I did, as I mentioned, find Derrida fast asleep on a vintage 1970's sofa at the back of said adminstrator's office. We had words and many twenty year old copies of Of Grammatology some with the pages still uncut went crashing to the floor as I put my hands around his neck and began pushing him around. Sundry yellowing pages then went floating through the air as I used some WCW moves on him (he was surprisingly strong!). The dream ended as I gazed on Derrida sitting on the floor rubbing his throat amid strewn remains of Of Grammatology, a small piece of clay with the bite marks of his septagenarian love-interest laying atop one of the torn pages.

I would prefer that you neither deconstruct nor psycho-analyze that dream!

diumenge, de novembre 05, 2006

Noson oer Tachwedd

Roedd neithiwr yn digaloni.

Mi wnes i benderfynu o'r diwedd mynd allan i'r Noson Arth yn un o'r clybiau hoyw yma yn y cylch. Dim y tro cyntaf imi fynd i un ohonon nhw, ond roedd yn fethiant llwyr ta waith. Do, mi welais hen gariadon a phobl eraill oeddwn yn eu hadnabod, ond gadeais i fel y des i mewn, ar ben fy hun. Dwi ddim yn ffitio i mewn i'r sîn hoyw. Dwi ddim yn deall y rheoli. Dwi'n gallu gweithio o flaen twrf enfawr o bobl, dwi'n gallu dysgu, gwneud pob dim gan fod yn gymeriad cyhoeddus, ond yno, popeth 'mod i'n ei wybod am sut i drefnu pobl, am sut mae pobl yn behafio yn hedfan yn syth trwy'r drws. Minnau, dwi am siarad â rhywun, mynd ar ddyddiad bach gwych, ac wedyn os daw popeth yn iawn, mynd yn ôl i'w le neu i fy lle i, a gweld os oes rhywfath o chemeg yno, yn cofleidio a dal dwylo a chusanu.

Ond minnau, dwi'n byw mewn ffantasi. 'Sdim llawer o ddiddodeb ganddyn nhw yn y fath hon o beth. Maen nhw eisiau imi fod yn ffantasi iddyn nhw, i dynnu fy lle mewn byd ffug lle nad wyf i ddim yn gallu bodoli. Does na'r nerth na'r gallu gennyf i lenwi'r lle gwag yn eu bywydau nhw. Swn i eisiau dweud calonnau, ond dwi'm yn saf os oes calonnau ganddynt. Dyn pob dydd ydw i hyd at hyn, neb arbennig, a siŵr o fod, dim dyn sy'n cerdded allan o ryw fideo chwilboeth. Hyd at fy mreuddwydion perthnasol, dwi ddim ond eisiau rhywbeth syml, ond mor syml ag ydy, mae o mor ffug hefyd. Mae gen i anrheg syml i'w gynnig, efallai mor syml nad oes neb sydd amdano fo, oherwydd breuddwyd cyffredin ydy. Os hwnnw yw'r achos, mae'n well 'da fi atal y breuddwyd rŵan, neu, o leiaf, atal breuddwydio.

Yn anffodus iawn imi ac i'm breuddwyd bach cul, rwyf yn canfod fy hun ar goll rŵan, mewn coed du a dwfn, mewn byd sydd yn bodoli yn yr huis clos, ond y lleill sydd yn bodoli yn yr un uffern â fi, dydyn nhw ddim, eu hunain yn uffern im, yn bell beth. Y Cŵn Annwn ydyn nhw, a'u lleisiau yn gysur imi erbyn hyn fel rwyf yn dal at y daith wyrgam i'r bedd. Fel mae cyfarth y Cŵn Annwn yn uwch pan fydd dy farwolaeth ymhell i ffwrdd, mae lleisiau yr unau câr yn swyn imi rŵan, oherwydd rwyf yn eu clywed o hyd. Yn y chwedl am y Cŵn Annwn, mae eu cyfarth yn tawelu ac yn tawelu fel y maen nhw'n dod yn agosach atat ti ac at awr dy farwolaeth. Erbyn hyn, mae pobl gâr yn fy nghylch o hyd, ond maen nhw'n mynd y brin. Mae'r teulu bron i gyd wedi ymadael erbyn hyn; yn fuan dim ond cyfeillion fydd. Mae mam yn hen ac mae fy mrawd yn wael ac yn wan. Dwi ddim yn meddwl yn bydd o'n byw yn hen. Felly, fel y dringaf i i mewn i'r bedd bach oer fy huis clos fydd dim y bobl yn fy nghylch i, ond tawelwch eu hysbrydion pan fyddaf yn hiraethu am gyfarth eu gyddfau.

Fy nhynged: Byddaf yn marw yn hŷn, neu'n hen ac yn unig, dim ond fy nghofion fydd yn gysur imi wrth y munudau curus a phoenus olaf. Efallai mae bwriad yn y bydysawd angwybodadwy hwn wedi'r cwbl. Efallai rwyf yn byw trwy felltith, rhyw hen felltith wedi'w roi arnaf bywyd neu fywydau yn ôl. Rwyf yn ei obeithio, yn wir ac yn ddwfn. Dwi eisiau iddi fod yn bwynt i'r poen a chur sydd yn llenwi'm enaid. Dim hogyn perffaith oeddwn yn y bywyd hwn o bell ffordd, ond wnes i ddim byd i deilyngu marw heb neb i dynnu fy ngorff i'r amlosgfa.

dilluns, d’octubre 23, 2006

Llifo ar Ddyfroedd Duw (Welsh)

rhwng y coed a'r maes
y gwreiddion a'r dail a'r ffrwythau
mae heddwch
a thangnefedd

rwyf yn nofio ar lyn tegid
yn llifo dros y tonnau tawel
yn ddi-bryder
mae Duw yn cerdded efo fi erbyn hyn

beth bynnag y bo

y bydysawd efallai
a'i gerdd theta hir a chudd
sibrwd cyntaf y cwestiwn mawr
y gair gwreiddiol sy'n hwylio o hyd
ar donnau du y Bod Mawr

A dyma fi
enaid bach ar goll ar y môr mawr hwn
yn llifo ac yn aros i weld
lle bydd y teit yn tynnu fy llinyn arian
ar y daith fawr hon o fan i fan

Llifo, llifo rwyf
yn dal i obeithio
y bydd y tonnau yn fy nhywys i
o ban i ban
am byth

dimarts, d’octubre 03, 2006

11 Layers of Robert [Some silly ego stroking] (English)

An online friend from Myspace posted this on his profile there, so I decided to post it here instead and fill it out for me...

11 Layers of Robert:

Name: Robert
Birthday: 12/10/1971
Current Location: in my home office on the north side of Schenectady, NY
Eye Color: officially, according to my driver's licence, grey
Hair Color: Dark brown with hints of grey (August changing to September ;) )
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Zodiac Sign: Sagitarius

Your fears: none, really, but I would just as soon die neither young, nor alone
Your perfect pizza: Pizza? Please... Although if I must, pineapple, ham and cheddar cheese
Goal for future: Keep moving, if you stop, that's when "they" get you...

Your thoughts first waking up: Goddam Mother Fucking Sonofabitch, it's morning
Your best physical feature: Eyes
Your bedtime: midnightish
Your most missed memory: I look back a lot, but I don't really miss the past, just some of the people from it.

Pepsi or Coke: Pass
McDld's or Burger King: Pass
Single or group dates: Single
Adidas or Nike: New Balance, I'm getting old, sheesh...
Lipton Tea or Nestea: Nestea, who can resist a tea whose name means "almost" tea in Welsh, honesty in advertising at last!
Chocolate or vanilla: chocolate.
Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee, black and thick

Smoke: From time to time, and when I do, usually a stoagie, and I'm always three sheets to the wind.
Take a shower: Daily
Think you've been in love: Yes, goddam it, fuck all, love is a bleeding, rancid cunt replete with chancres...
Believe in yourself: Always; I'm the only one I'm sure is here for chrissake, the rest of the universe may well be a part of my diseased imagination...

Drank alcohol: Yes, of course, are you nuts? I'm drinking right now!
Gone to the mall: Eww, but, yes
Been on stage: Sage on a stage, baby...
Eaten Sushi: No
Been dumped: Quite possibly
Gone skating: No
Dyed your hair: No, but I should, Just for Men, take away my grey!!

Played a stripping game: No
Gotten beaten up: No
Changed who you were to fit in: nah, one reason I'm single (of the many)

Age you're hoping to be married: Marry, schmarry, only if I move to Québec

Best eye color: whatever, just no cataracts
Best hair color: dark
Clothing style: heh, who cares?

1 MINUTE AGO: This survey
1 HOUR AGO: having a slash (That's chav for shaking a weasel, having a piss, gitchyer minds outa the gutter for fucksake!)
1 DAY AGO: drinking scotch and chatting online
(at this hour, sheesh, but I had just gotten home from my night class.)
1 YEAR AGO: drinking scotch and chatting online
(at this hour, again, sheesh, but in general I was in my current job, my current home, etc, my life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation...)

I LOVE: the dawn on the autumn leaves as I drive to work
the taste of Penderyn on my tongue
the look of joy in another person's eyes because I have made some small,
postive impact
the company of friends while their hands and hearts are warm
the memories of my yesterdays and the promises of tomorrows yet unborn
the realization that all I have until I die is time to create, recreate and enjoy the
rose moments I find.
I FEEL: unrequited, time slipping away faster than I would wish, too damn much life to live
and not enough time to live it, old age lurking about the peripheries of my life, and
following it, the boogey-man of death...
I HATE: in reality, very little, although neo-cons don't inspire love within me
I HIDE: my porn, guests really don't need to find it laying about
I MISS: My dead loved ones
I NEED: Another glass of Single Malt, but other than that, I need very little. My life is full of many riches, and my wallet is rarely empty
I WANT: I hate the expression "I want." I would like a BMW 7 series, more room to buy more
precious treaures, and some sad fucker who's not too hard on the eyes to share it with
me. But you know what they say, you can wish in one hand...

Repost as: "11 layers of [Your Name Here]"

diumenge, d’octubre 01, 2006

Pennseythun Bras! A Great Weekend (English / Welsh / German / Cornish [in the title])

Such a weekend...

They should all be this way! This is why being alive, inspite of the dismal iniquities of life, is worth it after all.

Friday I returned home and planned, utterly, unabashedly, to do absolutely nothing. I drank beer and watched the season premiere of Dr. Who. I spent an evening being a total Whovian geek sliding with alcohol one inch closer to mid-life, and I'm not ashamed at all.

Saturday I woke as late as I could, and pulled myself together in a respectable manner to journey west to Johnstown for the local French club's Dégustation. It was lovely, even though the weather was rough around the edges. In Isabelle's back yard, under and assortment of canopies, we enjoyed fine wine, fine company, and fine nibbles. We had three reds and three whites to try, and my favorite of each was the "Enfant Terrible" and the "Domaines de Pouy" respectively. Among our nibbles were some mini-quiches, mini-samosas and caviar. A very genteel afternoon indeed.

After the dégustation, I went to Anna's house, and then we went north to Clifton Park, where we tried Salty's Pub. Although it's located in a little slice of suburban sprawl-hell, the place was great. They bartenders know how to follow instructions and make good martinis, and the food was copious, tasty, and rather cheap. Then Anna and I headed south again, and picked up a movie about a lesbian comic. I don't remember the title, but it was a decent movie.

Today, I woke rather early in the morn and popped a bara brith (see note below) into the oven. I had been thinking of going to church, but the lure of my bed was too strong, so once the bara brith was in the popty, I was back yn y gwely till it was done. It was lovely to awaken once again, but to the smell of bara brith baking in the oven. I got the bara brith wrapped up and made myself presentable. I had to leave my warm little loaf off at my friend Pam's house so she could take it to the Gymanfa (see other note below), while I was off walking in the rain at the Albany AIDS walk around Washington Park.

The weather really was crap, but the walk went on, and I found my church group and had a nice, but soggy puddle-jump. As we were assembling, Welsh Society member Darhon's husband, Paul, a Lutheran minister, found me in the crowd, and we both resolved to make it across town to Hamilton Union to get some Welsh snacks after the walk. Additionally I was pleased that FUSS had around 20 walkers present ranging in age from around 8 or 9 to 50-something. We must have been one of the larger church groups!

Due to the inclemency of the weather, the walk was abbreviated, but even so, as we approached the end, the skies opened up and nearly drowned us. Soggy, I wended my way back to my car, and put-putted up Western Ave. to the nucleated settlement of Guilderland and Hamilton-Union church where I met the Gymanfa halfway through. I knew some people in the Welsh Society would take ombrage that I wasn't there, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to be in two places at once, and so, having raised money for the AIDS walk, I had to make that a priority. Nonetheless, I was still able to attend at least part of it, and belt out a couple Welsh hymns, and especially the Welsh national anthem, which I sang as loudly as I could, well in the most socially acceptable way a person who sings flat can... since relatievely few of the people there could sing it at all, even with the words in front of them! Afterward, I made my way to the Social Hall, where I grabbed some of my own bara brith and an assortment of other goodies. One of the best things our current president Leslie has done, although she did it long before she was president, was make our te bach (light tea) more Welsh, setting a precedent where people would make traditional Welsh bake goods. I was happy to see that of the three loaves of bara brith, mine was the first to be gobbled up!

One of the people in attendance, much to my surprise, but also joy, was the Reverend Tim Lake. It was good to catch up with him and hear his news, although not all of it was excellent. One of the funny things about the day was even though I didn't go to church, I saw no fewer than four clergy whom I know personally: my own minister Priscilla, Sam from the Albany Church, Paul and Tim!

After the Te Bach, I came back home and changed my closed to go on a date in Saratoga! No reason to give too many details on that point now, but it was a lovely time. We had some nice martinis, and a nice meal, and a long conversation. No, poppets, no sex, but I do have a second date next Sunday, and being that next weekend is the Columbus Day (eg. The Lost Italian's Day(eg. The Lost Genoan's Day)) holiday, Sunday will really be like Saturday, and that means it should be a very nice date indeed!

All told, it was a most lovely weekend, ein sehr, sehr schönes Wochenende!!


Bara brith: a lovely loaf made with dark brown sugar, flour, an egg, and currants soaked overnight in a half pint mixture of strong black tea and whisky liquer. It goes wonderfully well with Irish butter and British Blend tea. I am of the opinion that I make the best bara brith west of Azores.

Cymanfa Ganu (also Gymanfa Ganu): A coming together to sing hymns. Begun in the 19th century during the religious revival in Wales, it's a tradition which has fixed itself solidly, and for this iconoclast, sadly in the midst of Welsh Americana. It is generally accepted as an obligatory event for most Welsh Societies, often called St. David's Societies.

dijous, de setembre 28, 2006

The Internet Is Dead, Long Live the Internet (English)

The night is quiet, sort of deathly quiet, like you just got word that Santa Claus was real, but he has now died of a massive myocardial infarction, and all that he had left at the end was a packet of cigarettes and bottle of gin. Cheap Gin, in a great plastic jug. Beefeaters. I'm sorry if that offends you, but if you drink cheap gin, you have no place to take ombrage.

Nonetheless, that's the kind of night it is. Emminently autumnal with the leaves slowly changing color and the ever pleasant smell of yearly herbal death wafting on the air. It is also, I realize, the end of an era.

I thought I was looking in the wrong places online, seeking solace in the intellectual stimulation I used to find here. Oh it's still here, like the small poetry section (two shelves) alongside the smaller literary criticism section (one shelf), which is above the half-shelf of books on quantum physics to be found in the typical American shopping mall mega-bookstore. There is still a place for thinking online, but its not growing nearly as quickly as the corndog fed, video-game addicted, over-indulged, exquisitely enabled minions of mediocrity and their demand on bandwidth.

Oh sure, the net is still a great resource, a great tool, and the world's largest mail-order catalogue network. I will still have my net presence. I will still watch Welsh television and peek in on YouTube, and Wiki-worlds galore. But I remember the day when you could easily meet intelligent people online, in your own town! The Gathering of this summer has put me in mind of this fact. We had to gather from the four winds for crying out loud. We all met by happenstance, as though "bumping" into each other in the Great Shopping Mall of the Internet, finding each other by accident amid the "Christmas Eve" rush of buying, seeing, and being seen online that never ends.

I can remember, in the old days, going into local online chats, and chatting, you know about something other than hooking up. Usually, in the old days, profiles didn't have pictures, so if you ever met someone in vivo, it was all a big surprise what they looked like. Now you not only get to see their faces, but the all mighty parade of genitalia. That's not so bad if you're looking for genitalia, mind, but when all you want is a cup of coffee, is the cock or beaver shot really necessary?

Of course everyone is "sexy" online too, aren't they? Just look at most of the Myspace profiles. I've seen more of some of my students than I really needed to, and in many cases, wanted to.

Oh, I do miss my old internet, clunky, slow, dial-up with compilers text-only web pages. In that internet we lived out fantastic lives on MUDs and MUSHes, all textually. There was a lot more thinking going on in the old Net. Today, thinking isn't required, it's all just "mouth and trousers" and "let's have a look at your knockers." I know, I know, you can't stem the tide of time, and I'm not trying. I'm just walking down memory lane; as my old aunty would say, "Thems was good times, but them times is gone now."

dijous, de setembre 21, 2006

Dydh da dhymm (English / Welsh / Cornish)

Dydh da ddhymm...

Today has been good.... classes went well, got all my corrections done (more than 130!!), the union meeting went well, as did the social hour. My back was a crank today, but better than it has been, and come home and whom do I get to see, but a longtime special friend whom I was longing to see.

Ac efo'r cyfaill: cusanu, cydio, cofleidio, diwedd da i ddydd da.

Dydy fy mywyd i ddim yn berffaith o bell ffordd, ond mae'n wych o dro i dro!

Fel y dywedir yng Nghernyw gâr, yn Kernow kêr: Dar!

PS: I know he gets these blogs, so I ask myself why Nathaniel bach was exceedingly something or rather....

dimecres, de setembre 20, 2006

Cerdd i Wacter Newydd (Welsh)

Duw, mae'n amser i gau y siop
Mae'r blydi pwll 'di cau
a sdim ond ysbrydion yn y dre erbyn hyn
wynebau llwyd, hir yn sbïo trwy ffenestri'r tai

Dwi'n cofio'r wynebau hyn
hen gariadon a hen berthnasau
nhw i gyd 'di mynd yn fy mlaen
yn gwacáu dyffryn fy serch mewn tân ymlosgfa

Sneb sydd am brynu fy stoc
Sneb i'w dderbyn am ddim
Mae olion y gorffenol yn llifo i ffwrdd
ar y gwynt fel hen bapurau newyddion

Dwi mor sych ag awel Awst
Mi nes i aros yma am amser rhy hir
Mae'n siŵr, aros am ddydd gwell
na fyddai dod byth

Mae popeth yn anodd erbyn hyn
bwyta, anadlu, gobeithio
Oerfel a phoen sydd draw yn fy nyffryn
yn trafaelio'n dynn â chofion llwyd doe

Mi nes i heneiddio'n ifanc yn y lle oer hwn
yn cynhesu 'ngobaith â llosgi breuddwydion ffôl fy ieunctid
A rŵan beth sydd ar ôl
ond cofion cyrff marw a lluwch

Rhywbryd, aeth fy llinyn arian i lawr llwybr cam
a des i ben yma, yn y dyffryn oer tawel hwn
sydd yn marw ac yn sychu
sydd yn sugno mywyd i i ffwrdd

A pheth sydd wrth ben y dyffryn hwn
ond dwrn mawr a chryf
fydd yn fy chwalu fi
fel y chwalodd pawb arall oedd yn gâr imi

Pwy fydd yn taflu lluwch f'olion i i'r gwynt
Pwy fydd achub cofion f'oes i i'r tragywydd angwybodadwy
rhyw ddieithryn
Na'n siŵr

Sneb sydd ar ôl erbyn hyn
ac yn fuan, yn rhy fuan
ar ben fy hun
byddaf yn cau'r siop

Fydd yn oerni
ac yn pydru
fel holl gofion a chofebion
bywydau enaid pob dyn a dynes

diumenge, de setembre 17, 2006

To J (English)

Tonight I hosted a poker party
and I drank
a lot
cos it was my turn to host
and at the end
whom did I think about
goddam it
and now
my fingers numb
you left me a text message
and now I think of you
and I want your body next to mine
I want to make love to you
like we have done
so many times
over the last three years
I want you dammit
I want you dammit
because for three years
I've held no one else as often
as I've held you

dimecres, de setembre 13, 2006

Our Victims (English [with guest appearances by Deitsch & Lenape])

I talk a lot about my Welshness, but I am more than my Welshness, I am also Pennsylvania German, Deitsch, as they say...

My German ancestors came to the land I was born on in 1752, on a ship called the Charming Nancy, and the Scotch Irish they married into and subsequently absorbed came sometime in the 1690's. At a minimum, My mother's family has been in what would become Monroe County, Pennsylvania, for at least 254 years. My ancestors settled a land where the Lenape lived, where they had lived for so many more generations. I was investigating them tonight, since probably, somewhere along the way, some Lenape coupled with someone in my family and passed his or her genes on to me, and I have long wanted to learn a Native American language.

I found this link:

Look at those pictures of those old women, dying embers of an ancient people. Imagine what is like to be those old women, the last of your kind, knowing that you hold the key to your entire people's history, knowledge, culture. Knowing that your interpretation of all the love, the sadness, the stories, the songs of your people will be memorialized in crackling voices on casette tapes, for all time, as long as casette tapes are turned to CDs and CDs are converted to mp3's and so forth.

If you go to this link:

Then scroll down to the sound file for the green caterpillar, you can actually hear the pain in the speaker's voice, one of those two old women, croaking out the words of the language she dreamed in, prayed in, loved in, hoped in.

It's painful to me.

Existentially painful.

My ancestors destroyed those people. That much is a fact. The blood, real or imagined, physical or cultural, is on my hands.

I benefit from that genocide, each and everyday.

I love my ancestors, my Celtic side tells me to honor them, and I do, and I want to, and still...

I'm sure it didn't actually have to be this way; it could have been different, and as I look at those two old women on lawn chairs (speaking to each other in their ancient language?), I remind myself how cruel my fellow ape descendants are, period, not can be, are, have been, are presently, and surely will be again, and reach out across time to two old women I've never known, realizing, but for the Grace of God, for the randomness of the Great Question Mark, coupled with the tenacity of my other ancestors, I would know no more of Welsh than I know of Lenape...

Unless you have crossed the bridge to understanding the world through another language, you will never know why the potential, eternal loss of Lenape, or any human language, bothers me so. You are trapped in a pale world of English-only. You have no idea of the colors you could see if you could see them in a different linguistic reality. You are limited by purloined French verbiage, a clutch of Germanic farm words, and some wildly radical and confused prepositions, mixed together like Polish bigos, in a tasty, yet sloshy jumble of largely fricative and affricate consonants that whore around with vowels that dangle their offglides like three-dollar hookers twirl their belts.

Language is all there is of us. Language is all that separates us from the Chimps.

No, it really is; if you believe otherwise, you are wrong. Sorry, just wrong, ignorant, foolish, lost, bamboozled. If you like the spell you're under, by all means, go forth and die that way. To be sure, the traces of Lenape will far outlive any memory of you or your foolishness, blessed be the Web...

I listened to the sound file on this page over and over and over again:

I found some small comfort in revivifying that artifact in particular.

Tonight I may whisper it as I sleep: kishelëmùkònk

Perhaps some tiny solace will come to me as I drift into yet another fitful slumber.

dimarts, de setembre 12, 2006

Don't they have enough sadness? (English)

Recently, a local state police officer was killed in the line of duty. He was only a couple years older than I, and he left behind a young child. By all accounts, his is a sad story. No one would wish to find themselves in the circumstance of losing a spouse, a friend, a father in such a manner, and for his family, I really do feel sympathy. I've lost friends, family, people who were near and dear to me; indeed, over the last 34 years I have lost many, as I have written about variously on this blog. Yes, I feel bad for his family. Yet, I was not one of estimated 7,500 people who went to his viewing or his funeral. Of course I wouldn't be. I knew neither him nor his family. I have no personal investment in his life, and of course, neither did the overwhelming majority of the people who went. So why did they go?

Have we become so bereft of real connections to our fellow countrymen, our neighbors, our friends and family that we now feel the need to mourn the death of a perfect stranger? This officer's story was no more compelling than all the other law enforcement officials we have in this country who lose their lives in the line of duty every year, nor more so than those who have died in Iraq. He was in a line of work where he, and his kith and kin, knew all too well the gross dangers he would put himself in every single day. It's tragic that he was killed, but it's not really surprising.

A couple weeks ago, 59 people died in a plane crash in Kentucky, and hundreds of people went to local churches to mourn. Additionally memorial services were held at the Lexington Opera House and a local arena. Hardly anyone on the plane was from Kentucky apparently. All these people went to mourn, but to mourn whom?

I ask again, what has happened to people in this country when they feel compelled to mourn so publicly, so overtly for people who made no impact on their lives. Do they not have loss of their own anymore? Is this a demonstration of a need to build more human connections with their peers, their families? Is it a sign that they spend too much time watching television and living vicariously through people who actually have real lives, and therefore real problems?

For my own part, I had to go to viewing, a wake as they call them in this neck of woods, last week for a secretary and friend from work. Her husband had died suddenly. While I had met him once or twice before, I knew her well, and her daughter had been my student, her son had worked on the college's SGA, and so I knew him from there. I went to express my condolences to her and her children, to show my empathy for their situation (I was only in my 20's when my father died). In this case, while I didn't know her husband, I knew them, and so it made sense for me to go. To be sure, the police officer who died here in New York was not known by 7,500 people, not even in passing, nor were his family. It seems like more and more people don't have enough sadness in their lives. Perhaps, implicitly they realize how sadness makes life worth living, and having never made many real connections with people, they will steal someone else's sadness to make their lives worth living. I really don't know, but in my valley, I have more than enough of the stuff to go around for this life time, I won't be purloining anyone else's...

dimecres, de setembre 06, 2006

Mae caru yn bwnc cas... (Welsh)

Y gwir yw, fydda'i fyth yn eu deall, y blydi cariadon a'r cariadon a fyddai...

Maen nhw i gyd yn dod o blaned arall, bell, angwybodadwy...

Dwy flynedd, dwy ffachan flynedd!

Dwy flynedd yn ôl, aethon ni allan i gael pryd o fwyd mewn tŷ bwyta gwych, enwog yn y cylch yma, os dim yn fras. Dewisiodd o, dim fi, roedd yn iawn, roeddwn i eisiau bod yn gyfeillfgar, yn groesawgar. A dweud y gwir yn onest, doedd y bwyd ddim mor braf â'r holl sôn, ac hyd yn oed yr oedd o yn ddigon neis y prynhawn hwnnw, ac roeddwn yn ceisio bod mor lyfli â'r wawr, o'r olwg, ffaelais i, y tro hwnnw fel nhw i gyd 'ta. Yn ei ôl o ta waith...

Heno, roedd StillNew arlein yn y stafell sgwrs. O, dwi 'di dweud rhyw hen beth wrtho fo dros y misoedd diwethaf, y gwir yw, heb ei gofio o gwbl. Ar ôl y dyddiad cyntaf, ar ôl imi ffaelu efo fo fel efo pob un arall, ar ôl iddo ddweud wrthof i (rwyf yn ei gofio rŵan 'mod i'n meddwl yn ôl dros y ddwy flynedd gas ddiwethaf yn y maes rhamantus...) pethau nad oedd yn orgyfeillgar, na, dim pethau cas oedden, ond doedd o ddim yn sôn wrthof i am ail dyddiad ychwaith, ac rwyf yn siŵr, fel rwyf yn sgwennu'r geiriau hyn ag awgrymes i wrtho fo y dylen ni fynd allan am geisiad arall...

Yr ateb?


Y noswaith honno, roedd yr haul yn gwenu o hyd pan adeon ni'r tŷ bwyta, felly roedd hi'n rhyw hanner awr 'di wyth o'r hwyraf, a roddodd mo arwydd o ddiddordeb eangach ynof i. Mae gynnon ni illdau gar bras, yntau rhyw BMW, a fi yr hen Jag, sef Blodwen, yr SJ6-Vanden Plas, ond naethon ni ddim, na fo na fi, ddod â'n ceir bras. Roeddwn, yn wir, yn disgwyl iddo ddod â'i gar fflach, oherwydd, arlein, roedd o yn siarad fel hen grach oedd yn well na fi, a hyn oedd un o'r rhesymau da nad oeddwn yn gwbl gyfforddus â fo y noson gyntaf honno) . Roeddwn i eisiau dod â Blod, ond doedd ei pheiriant awyr yn gweithio'n iawn, 'lly mi 'nes i benderfynu na fyddwn i: roedd y twydd yn boeth, o hyd, neu yn barod... rwyf yn ei ddweud fel'na oherwydd dwi'm yn cofio taw'r gwanwyn ta'r hydref oedd hi yr adeg'na...) . Aeth o yn syth, yn gyflym o'r tŷ bwyta i'w gar bob dydd heb roi ei law heblaw ei wefusau...

A heno, fi wedi anghofio'n llwyr pwy oedd o (does dim proffeil efo'i enw sgrîn, gyda llaw, heb sôn am lun...), am ryw reswm, ella, oherwydd y cwmwl bourbonaidd yn fy mhen, penderfynais i ddweud rhywbeth dwl wrtho am sut nad oedd o'n newydd o bellffordd erbyn hyn, yn benodol oherwydd mae'n defnyddio'r blydi enw sgrîn "StillNew", ac yntau yn son am sut nad oeddwn i eisiau ail pryd o fwyd!!

Pam rŵan, o'r holl adegau?? Ar ôl dwy flynedd o fethiad claf, ar ôl i mi credu yr oeddwn wedi syrthio mewn cariad, dim unwaith, ond DWY, a cholli illdau.. Pam fyddai fo'n dod yn ôl heno efo'r neges hon? A hyn ar ôl y clecs bach i gyd y cafon ni yn y stafell sgwrs, pethau bychain yn mynd yn ôl ac ymlaen tros yr amser'ma maith i gyd? Mae'n wir, anghofiais fo, mwy na lai. Ychydig o wythnosau yn ôl, roeddwn yn siarad ag Anna a mi wnes i son amdano oherwydd roedden ni'n son am dŷ bwyta arall oedd yn perthyn i'r un perchennog sy newydd gau, a mi wnes i gofio amdano am eiliad, ac yna fel ysbryd y nos, oedd o wedi ffoi yn ôl i gefn fy meddwl

Ond o hyd, rwyf yn dod yn ôl i'm cwestiwn gwreiddiol, pam? Pam rŵan? Pam heno, pan mae fy mhen fy mhlu dros y pwnc o garu, a pham daeth yn ôl i roi'r bai wrth fy nhraed i?

dimarts, de setembre 05, 2006

A Needling Good Time (English)

I have been receiving accupuncture now for around two years. When I first went to my accupuncturist, Gregg St. Clair, I did so at the behest of my clinical nutritionist and chiropractor, Dr. Richard Herbold. Dr. Herbold had recently invited Gregg to work with him at his Halfmoon Vitality Center in Halfmoon, just north of both Schenectady and Albany. I have variously described why had taken the path of alternative medecine in earlier posts. I was continuing to see Dr. Herbold for occassional chiropractic adjustments, and was frequenting his in-house Massage Therapist at the same time for a persistent upper back problem, which had been described by my traditional doctor as a chronic, pinched nerve. That actual location of this nerve is just to the right of my left shoulder blade, and rather than cause pain, per se, it causes incredible tension in my upper back, shoulders, neck and jaw. Periodically it causes symptons of "TMJ" and strange tingling sensations in various parts of my body. While strength training and yoga along with the chiropractic and massage therapy made it feel better, nothing really got rid of it. It was persistent, annoying, made driving excrutiatingly difficult (especially since I do a lot of driving), and just in general sitting anywhere, in any kind of chair, unpleasant. Standing was generall all right, but even then, from time to time, the long trapizius muscle, which runs near or through this area where the pinched nerve is, would tighten up very quickly, causing me discomfort even when standing. The only position in which I was truly comfortable was prone, preferably on a hard surface.

I was certainly unsure of Dr. Herbold's recommendation. I was still new to the idea that all this "mumbo-jumbo" (including his "mumbo-jumbo") would really do any good, groso modo. Still, my back was not really getting better, and after my bout with medications previously I was not ready to go back to that route. So I went, with much fear and trepidation. I mean, after all, they were sticking very sharp Chinese needles into my tender northern European flesh. I had done enough research online to learn that sometimes needles would go in an inch or more depending where on your body they were placed. I read some anti-accupuncture propaganda that decried it as dangerous and akin to witchdoctory.

Gregg was very kind, and patient. He explained that in the last 90 years only one person died from an accupuncture treatment in this country. I thought to myself that those numbers would be good, even if it had been 90 in 90 years, considering how many people die ever day from "traditional Western medications." Still with trepidation I lay on the table and experienced my first needling.

It is not, actually painful. The needles are very very sharp. Sometimes they get rather near a nerve and might pinch a little or cause some strange sensation of heat or cold, or tingling, but the accupuncturist and adjust the needle to help, and sometimes the effect is only temporary.

More importantly, it actually worked. I don't pretend to know the science behind it, but it does in fact help. After about a year and a half, I stopped going, until today...

Two weeks ago, I had an uncomfortable relapse, and so I decided it was time for another course. Most likely I was foolish to quite cold turkey. When last I had seen Gregg, last November, I was on a once a month maintenance schedule, but since my back was doing well, I let is slide.

Today was my first treatment, and I do notice a marked improvement in my muscle tension. I think it will be a few weeks till I'm up to snuff again, but I have little doubt that I will be. Gregg still has to be patient however. Positive experiences and all the intellectual reasoning in the world cannot erase years of neural pathway development that scream out emotionally at the idea of having more than a dozen very sharp needles poked into my body, but my experience with this ancient art has been nothing but positive and beneficial, and it has kept me away from allopathic medications, one of which very nearly killed me just a few years ago.

dimecres, d’agost 30, 2006

Reaching the Peak (English / Welsh)

Well, at times I have too much going on in this aging cerebrum to catch all the stimuli hurled at me.

So I did read what Nathaniel (you quixotically dear presence in my good port...) wrote when I was rambling on about my dead aunties. However, I missed something (one more admonition not to drink too much before blogging...) . This is what I missed:

"A metaphor I read last night: the peak of the mountain is simultaneously its perfection and the sign of its imminent decline."

Well, I won't really pretened to know why Nathaniel put this in his comment, perhaps he will tell me in a response to this one...

Ta waith, it got me to thinking, since soon, oh, within the next ten years or so, I will reach my own phsyical summit, and thence begin my decline. Probabilty, based on the current knowledge from the quacks, sawbones and witch doctors, tells me that I have not quite reached the halfway mark. My family is rather long lived, a couple notable exceptions notwithstanding. We lived long, fat, and happy (as happy as people from the oozing swamps of the Pocono Plateau can be, really). Chances are, I have many long years of suffering before me.

I remember when I walked with Lynn up yr Eifl on the Llŷn. She said, oh, well it will be a 30 minute hike. Three hours later, because she had chosen the wrong trail, we finally reached the summit. From there I could see where my own blood ancestors, and Mary's and Olwen's too, had watched as the silly, dark, little Romans scurried about for a few centuries, being ignored mostly except to trade. I could see way across Snowdonia, yr Eryri, deep into the heart, the cadarnle of Welsh speaking Wales, and beyond. I could see on the horizon, tiny dark mounds that were Ireland, 90 minutes away on a the highspeed Stena Line from Caergybi to Dun Laoghaire.

That mountain peak is still alive in my memory, the decline forever forestalled by the resplendant beauty of Wales, my Wales, my little blue-green heaven, below my own feet, reinforced by the conversation with the 20-something couple who acheived the summit of yr Eifl where, where the ancient hillfort of Tre'r Ceiri lies, a conversation automatically in Welsh about the beauty below us.

Mae'n hardd, 'tydy?
-ydy, 'wir.... 'Na'r olwg brydfertha' ym Mhen Llŷn!

Still, the walk back down was lovely as well, for the memory of the summit played in Lynn's and my mind, and the views down were so much more lovely than the steep, sheep manured inclines we encountered on our way up.

Still, I'm not sure where the summit of life is.

You know, when we were walking up that mountain, and we reached the moorlands laying covertly in a kind of cwm or bowl along one side of yr Eifl, just before, I said to myself, "Oh finally when we cross that last ridge we will be at the summit."

Then we crossed the ridge and a half mile of moorlands lay before us, with a gentle rise of a couple hundred feet, the ruined walls of ancient Tre'r Ceiri off in the distance, at that moment backgrounded by some mist off the sea that was slowly receding. My heart sank into my shorts. The hike heretofore had been too long, and now the goal plainly in sight, the very idea of continuing on to the ancient fortress was nearly too much.

Perhaps this is how life goes...

Perhaps, the obvious peak is not the moment of perfection. Perhaps the hike to the peak is potmarked by valleys and bowls not really planned for. Perhaps, when we finally get to what be believe to be the end, tired, bedraggled, shocked by those younger than we who get there the same time as we, and who moreoever agree with our evaluation of the view, the short trip down is not the so much the physical decline, but the reward. Surely the peak, physically, is not the end of the journey, and the glory of the journey is not merely the hike to the physical summit. On the way back down, when the hiking may be easier, even when the body is sore, the views are lovely and one has the luxury of enjoying the smaller details and the knowledge that rest is soon to be had.

It is then, maybe, that the real peak, the ultimate goal of the journey is the return to origin. It's a journey we are all taking. Even though the paths may be distinct, we all start, groso modo, in the same place, and we all end up in the same place. The real decline is not in the descent of the mountain, but that the moment when we reach once more the bottom where, due to circumstances beyond any real control, we part ways from the company, or at least the mountain, and contnue on into something else less well defined...

dimarts, d’agost 29, 2006

Breathe, one more breath (English)

Come on
Come on
just a little while longer
it shouldn't be long now
one more breath
then the next
ignore the off beats of your faltering heart
ignore the sobbing heaves of your chest
ignore the struggle between these sorry foes
one more breath
it won't be long now
and soon you will be free
let it die
let it slink off into a forgotten place
an oubliette of the soul
its ultimate irrelevance should be impetus enough
to breathe
one more breath
and let it die
you can feel it slipping
slipping from your embrace
from the sphere of your dreamspeak worlds
where there
and only there
it has ever been real
with your greying hair
the dissembling of your own feelings has begun
the neural pathways that fed this addiction are growing impoverished
your aging biology cannot replace the brain cells fast enough anymore
and besides
the succor of the magic of distillations is a greater boon than hope these days
the realm of what used to be is becoming more interesting than what may be
your identity has begun its slow descent into dissociating memories
the bend in the long road is nearly turned
with time
that heals all wounds
or causes them to be forgotten
all you will do is remember gaunt figures of former friendly faces
you can do it
hold on a little while longer
one more breath
and maybe it will die

dilluns, d’agost 28, 2006

Yr iaith fain [The Thin Language] (English / Welsh)

This was an email post to Clwb Malu Cachu regarding someone's use of the Welsh expression "yr iaith fain" to describe English. The Welsh expression means, "the thin language."

That's interesting Suw, I never thought of yr iaith fain as being pejorative to the English speaking people, although it may be a well deserved criticism of the language itself.

While yr iaith fain has basically addressed the phonetic differences between Welsh and English, I often think of it as addressing some other problems with English (any speech system has problems, so no, I'm not saying Welsh is perfect). My native language is English too (I come from England 2.0, ie. America), and since I'm in the language biz, I've generally come to agree that English is sort of squishy and sloppy. When compared to the precision of the French lexicon (the specificity of meaning related to names of things, not the ease at which one could determine inherent meaning, for that German does really well), or the the rich complexity of nuance in the Spanish verbal system (there are tenses and moods in Spanish that neither English nor Welsh can communicate), or when compared to the ability that both German and French have to be polite (German has levels of social grace that French can only dream of attaining and which are totally alien to English). German also has away of dealing with the specificity of spatial relationships that require hand gestures in most other languages. Welsh has a way with metaphor and sound that makes it excellent for poetry (no surprise) and actually conceiving of spiritual spaces and concepts that are generally alien to most other languages I've encountered. Also Welsh is really excellent in describing the physical geography of places and natural settings that English approaches but mostly fails except when borrowing words from Welsh (think on the English words related to valley for example).

What English does really well at is play with certain words like get. I love when my students will ask me how do you say "get" in Spanish (or French, or...) Of course, one only "gets" in English. Although some of my Spanish students have tried to "coger un frí­o," literally "gather (catch) a cold," but this makes no sense in Spanish. Sometimes the Welsh word cael approximates the meaning, as in, "I got a car," "Ces i gar." But I've yet to hear anyone in Welsh say something like "cael i fyny" unless they were non-native speakers. Of course there is semantic drift in all languages, and English is the most likely source of external influence on Welsh for such things, so we're bound to see more, not less of this.

The other wild thing that English does is with its prepositions. I've never encountered a language with wilder prepositions. German prepositions confuse the hell out of English speakers, but that's because they are generally uber-specific. I mean, I can say in English: "Slow down," or "slow up." I can say, "sit down," or "sit up," and here the meaning is different. I can say, "get over it," which can mean to physically get over an object, like a wall, or I can mean "get over your wingeing about your sorry romance." I've also concluded that real, everyday English is a very agricultural language. In spite of English speaking cultures now being at the fore of science, English isn't actually all that great when it comes to such specific concepts.

In fact, more oddly perhaps than any other language that I know, it has elected to construct two languages, two distinct set of codes in order to function, one for the everyday world, and one for science. A couple years ago I was at a friend's home, and he's quite an aircraft enthusiast. While stopping off to visit my aunt (hehe, there's a good Monroe County, Pennsylvania-ism for yas), I noticed he had a small reading collection there. So while perusing his magazines I encountered one that was about aircraft. I opened up to one article after another and realized that after more than 30 years of speaking English, I had absolutely no idea what was being talked about in those articles. The jargon was so specific that to the unitiated it was incomprehensible without a specialized technical dictionary. So, in essence, English has two very distinct sets of codes (which is to its benefit). The primary code is used in everyday conversation and is more Germanic in essence. The other uses only small syntactical and linking words from the Germanic past (by large and far) and depends heavily on an Anglicized lexicon coming largely from French (and therefore Latin) or from mots-savants constructed directly from Latin or Greek employing rules generally adopted from French.

Interestingly, this may also be the case of real Welsh, where the everyday is very Welsh and very natural, but where many other ideas are expressed with English code-switches moving right alone in otherwise Welsh sentences. English speakers don't think of themselves as speaking French a great deal of the time (even in the everyday English, which I'm using very much on purpose in this response, is still very French). Most English speakers however are not functional in the scientific/technicall jargon, and most people who are in technical and scientific fields are not linguistically sensitive enough to realize what's happening. Whereas in Welsh, many people realize the code-switching has gone on and view it as "bad Welsh" or even a deficiency in the language. Of course that's all social and subjective perception (and that would be a fancy way of saying hogwash).

Now it's true that most languages have jargon, but, the jargon in those languages is generally more closely related to the original language, even when the knowledge was appropriated from another language and culture. In French and Spanish for example, the jargon is Latinate, for obvious reasons. In German it still tends to be German, altho the influence of Global English (oh Lord, sit up, sit down, get over it, poor, poor planet Earth!) is changing that. In Welsh, there has been a long tradition of jargonizing loan words with a Welsh edge; so many technical words in Welsh are adaptations or translations of English words, and this process if still on going. I remember, since I'm old enough to (pah!), when the term "cympiwtr" or "compiwtr" was widely used in Welsh. It's been a month of Sundays since I've seen that word now. Everyone uses "cyfrifiadur."

Ok, all that long winded text to say that at the end of the day, as a native English speaker, I generally find my native language to be clumsy and squishy. Most functional speakers of English are unable to use, and are perhaps unaware of how the other code in English can be used, to be specific and eloquent, largely due to a lack of education and a generally global move to proletariat models of conduct and speech (one who uses big words is thought of as arrogant, yo) (wow, I managed that one with only one French word, hehe arrogant of course). Groso modo, the communicative potential of English when compared to other languages is rather poor in my opinion and in my experience. Yes, it's true that English is the big man in campus these days, but that is due to a huge set of sociological and historical variables, and not solely to its relative superiority or inferiority at expressing ideas.

And sadly, one of the things that gives English its unique charms, its earthiness, and down hominess, is fading faster and faster away. One thing we can do as English speakers to preserve what really is the saving grace in a squishy-name-oriented-of-weak-verbal-nuance-language is maintain the use of color colloquial and regional expressions in our English. Such idiomatic expressions tend to die out in urban cultures, and this, I feel, is a great loss. As Global English, by definition an urban language, takes over from real English, like Upstate-New York-Mohawk Valley-English, or Southern-Louisiana-St. Bernard Parish-English, or Cotswolds English, we, the speakers of the language actually lose control over it, being forced to choose between our regional vulgarities and a form of the language people in China will understand (personally, I see no reason to make it easier on the Chinese, or anyone else for that matter, but then I'm a bit possessive of my squishy English language even so...). That is very unfortunate. Of course, the march of development of English into other languages, I think, will continue on, but the exchange between regional Englishes and Global English will mitigate that development.

Ironically, Welsh may outlive global English, as the regional Englishes continue to develop and evolve down new paths, and Global Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, or whatever comes to replace a global English that will, there can be little doubt, be the "Latin" of the future.

divendres, d’agost 25, 2006

Thinking on Old, Dead Aunties (English)

It is now 3AM in the City that Used to Light and Haul the World. I just finished reading a preliminary copy of a new chapbook of my poetry.

Two poems are dedicated to Arwilda Elizabeth Hagerty, who lived from 1908 to 1994. She was a tiny woman with a funny name, and full of a thousand times more love than I think I will ever know again.

One time, in a séance at the Holistics Studies Institute, the Reverend Stephen Robinson (a man who does well and truly frighten me) was the medium. He began searching for someone in the room who had Scooby-Doo underoos as a child.

I had.

However some hoarse throated ne'er-do-well jumped on the clue before I could. That was the only connection she had to the rest of his reading. The rest I identified with. The rest of his message was responded to with throaty "no's" by this rough and uninspired woman.

He described in his reading that he saw a small woman with white hair and glasses in an old house with colonnades. He said that she pulled back a curtain across one set of said colonnades, and there were dozens of people in spirit. The message he sent on their behalf was that they were all still there.

Since the white-trash momma jumped on the the reading before I could, and since I didn't want to cause a scene in the Spiritualist holy place, I remained quiet. The Reverend Stephen Robinson was the only person to ever give me something I could believe in from "the other side" on any previous occasion, and I felt the message was for me, from Arwilda. I wanted to call out, but discretion got the better part of valor.

Aside from my own dreams of her, this was the only external confirmation, of sorts, that I had ever had of her, and she and her sister Margaret are the only two people from my family whom, to this day, I still hold in high esteem. I did dream of Margaret, Marggie even before she died.

I remember a conversation at my paternal grandparents' house, where the alcohol flowed even more freely than it does in my own house now. My father, who I think in his heart of hearts was a truly sensitive man, began talking about the paranormal. He brought up, in the same slurred speech that would dress down any driver who honked at him as he swerved his way from Stroudsburg to Bartonsville, the time when I, as a child, woke up screaming one night. I remember the night to this day as a matter of fact.

I was a small child, since I was only a few years in a real bed, and I wore footy pajamas, you know those one-pieces with plastic footies that children used to wear in the '70's. I woke up terrified, since across from my bed, framed by the window I had seen a skeleton in a green aura in my window. I remember the night so clearly because I called for my parents, not just my mother, who was to a small, frail boy his only succor, but for both of them. I insisted that my father, who I saw then as mean and cruel, be there as well. I had an important message for them both.

I can remember even now what I said to them.

Even on that drunken Sunday night at 615 Queen Street in Stroudsburg, in that tiny, 1953 prefab house with the thin wood panel walls, with my old man sitting in the "daddy" chair, next to the 1950's bi-level table and lamp, he being drunk and beedy eyed, slurring his speech, reminding me of it, then at the age of 13 or 14, chills still ran up and down my back...

I was sitting up in bed, sobbing. I clucked out to my parents, both of whom came to my wee bedside, a fact that surprised me then and now, because at that time the only compassion my father had for me was not to swat me too many times with the belt. What I said to them, and what my father reminded us all of that night on Queen Street, was, "Someone is going to die, but they will be all right."

Within in a week my most loved Marggie was gone.

She was round and had curly grey hair and had a great big smile and a button nose you could pinch. She was my lifeline. She and I would go to the park across the swinging bridge over the Pocono Creek as it wended through town, and we played in the kiddie pool. She and I laughed in a world with a manic mother and drunken father, and most of all to her, a stern sister. She even made a little red white and blue suit for me for the Bicentennial in 1976. She was my every wonderful thing.

And then she was gone.

And, I, the little frail boy from the swamp, I had made my mother and my father mind just a few days before, to tell them all about it.

As fate would have it, Marggie's death was the first in a decade long string of tearful good-byes.

And a decade later, on a drunken night soaked with Seagrams 7, my father, the lost soul that he was, reminded us of that very fact.

In the years since Marggie had left me... yes, she left many others too, but I was a poor boy from a poor place with only the love of ancient women, as far as I'm concerned, it was I whom she left. Nearly all those other people are dead now, just my mother is alive who remembers her I think, and I trump her...

In the years since Marggie had left me, Arwilda, Dee-Dee I called her, became my constant friend and solace. I never really trusted her when I was a wee child, when Marggie could deliver me to the park or to Lee's ice cream shop. Dee-Dee was stern. She was business. She ran the 14 room minor manse at 111 N. 9th Street (in those days it was a House, alas now it looks more like a hovel...). Marggie was all love and flowers, smiles and giggles. But then Marggie died. She died in the hospital, but began dying in the in the bathroom on her own vomit when her stroke began. Dee-Dee told me so.

I never got to see Marggie in the hospital because my manic mother thought it was a bad idea. She superimposed her own fears on me. I wanted to see dying Marggie. I wanted to kiss her fat little cheek one more time. I wanted to hold her till she came back to reality. I could have then, made her healthy. I was a child, full of magic. My mother, whose magic had died when she married her sullen man, refused such accomodation. She even refused to let me see dead Marggie's embalmed corpse laying orangish and content in its silver coffin.

I had the last laugh on my mother though.

My mother couldn't be bothered with her precocious boy too much, so she would send me down to town from up in the Pocono Creek valley where the Colonel Joseph Benjamin Barton made his home, to the aunties' house, only now it was just the aunty's house. Just a week or so after Marggie had succumbed to the question mark, there I communed with the sterm sister in her minor manse of many sorrows. Oh, many had died in that house since they had moved there in 1919. Many ghosts clung to the smaller rooms and the attic. I was terrified of the small front bedroom, the "dolls' room" and the attic even as the estate agents priced out every bauble and cloth, when Dee-Dee herself journeyed to investigate the question mark in 1994.

There, she and I, in that colonnaded dining-room-cum-sittting- roon, we did bond. I can still see her to this day, her tiny body, at 14 wracked by fever and so grew no bigger, but now in its late 60's, on the "davenport" beside me, my own frail and disease wracked body leaning into her, she asked me simply, plainly:

"Do you miss Marggie?"

No hint of sorrow, Dee-Dee was the one to command the brigade transporting the baby carriage across the muddy erstwhile parking lot in the middle of a minor huricane...

"Sometimes I do," I said in my little child's voice, the rounded television screen playing the "Guiding Light" in front of us. Now it was 1977.

"Well sometimes it helps if you just lay on your stomach and kick up and down and bang your fists on the floor. That's what I do sometimes."

So we did. She and I lay on the floor on our stomachs in front of the "Guiding Light" and we kicked and banged our fists on the floor, and we cried. We cried for a very long time. When we both stood up, we hugged each other, and, for the first time in my life I said, and I meant, "I love you Dee-Dee."

On that day the stern sister and I became best friends, until she died that cold March day in 1994

I know many dead people.

I sometimes nonchalantly ignore the deaths of acquaintances now, since there have been so many, and really, unless I love a person, why should I worry about their deaths? Their death is no more or less important than their birth after all, and life is for living, not showing up at someone's wake whom you barely knew...

Still, of all the deaths that stick with me, none are more compelling than those of Marggie and Dee-Dee.

I dreamt of Marggie shortly after she went away; it was on the night of her funeral. I dreamt I was at 111 N. 9th Street, and Marggie walked through the door from the little anteroom, what my aunties called the coobyhole, into the dining-room-cum-sitting-room, as though she had just returned from Jacobsen where she made lawn-mowers. However this was not my Marggie. In the dream her skin was darker and her eyes glowed yellowy-green, something like that skeleton from my dream shortly before. My mother and Dee-Dee were in the room as well, and I was far from the coobyhole door, near my giant toy box; both the other women made protective gestures, but the emotionless face of the Marggie ghost just said, "Don't worry, I'm all right."

The dream ended there.

A message from the real McCoy, or my own saddened brain longing for affirmation?

I have no idea. I was a tiny boy then, but even now I am still just a chimp looking for meaning in a jungle of branches that whip me about the face and body, and so I do go to the such tribal and ancestral places as the Spiritualist Church, even if they do call themselves by silly names. Even my aunties had a Ouija Board. I used to drive my toy cars on it...

All this to say that even now, as it turns 430 AM, I still remember Arwilda. Why her more than Margaret? That's not a fair question. Margaret and I had from 1971 to 1977, but Arwilda and I had from 1971 to 1994, twenty-three years of life and love and loss. I do not deny my love for Margaret, but I also exalt the love I grew to have for Arwilda, from that moment in front of the "Guilding Light" in 1977 until I went to see her on her last day in 1994.

She loved me. She said so. I still believe her to this day, and I suspect, if anyone could come back from the dead, it would be she, with a simple message from tu ôl i'r llen: we're still here. just look at all the people in the parlour..."

A little message back then, in the cybersphere, as close as most of us get now to the ephemeral...
I still remember you both, and the joy we shared, and I hope to meet you again, in this world or the next, and I still very much love you. If you were near me, I would hold you both close and pray you would never be apart from me. Until then, when the awen strikes me, I leave roses on your graves, even though I can barely go near them without crying.

dijous, d’agost 24, 2006

Odd Perfumes (English / Welsh / French)

There are odd perfumes on the breeze tonight
I smell basements
and fabric softener
and autumn

it's time to think on autumn
it's a new territory
new challenges
new faces

"This could be the one!"

"That's what she said," he said

But no matter
soon it will be time to be off to engage the enemy

"Af i gwrdd â'r gelyn!"

We were only thirty
all tired and wretched
the enemy numbered three thousand and three score
and still we bathed our speartips in their blood
the men who went to battle ignorance

now is the season of continental rallying
of laying up for cold winter's scurmishes
for returning from my fitful
oh yes, fitful
summer slumber

As autumn drifts into my nostrils
I must hang my head in shame
utter shame
this season's experiments have all been dismal failures

Yes, judges mine
(all in my head, you fuckers should shuffle off to some fine old place
and leave me be...)
there has been progress
Great Works are underway!

still the only work that has mattered
to me
to the little secret man in my heart
i ddirgel ddyn fy nghalon....
here there has been no progress whatsoever

The little momo makes claims about my heart
and damn him if he weren't partially right
but that, that envoy I fear is a lost missionary
wandering about in murking depths
so dark an atom bomb would not illuminate them

always, like you Santes Dwynwen
about whose scant remains I did bring the infidel this summer
(for that I send you my humblest appologies)
I put my heart in sorry places
and were I Christian man as you were a Christian woman
perhaps god would make so many more pillar of ice...

Nay, néamoins

Pas de mauvais souvenirs ce soir...

I will gather again with my bretheren
the story of the day will sweep me up and away
back into blisful martyred moments
where I can hone my disdain
and walk tall among those other resolute bastions of independence

And soon, oh the world around will chant its dirges
as the trees die for the dark half of the year
as the grass turns brown and the water sips on ice
and the ancestors, in real or imagined circuits, will tour the freezing, dying land

I love the autumn
for its promises of cleaning out the unwanted thoughts and objects
by its example that nothing
nothing made by man or god can stand in the way of entropy
for it's heralding the passing on of the old year
its natural massacre of beauty
and how it shows that even in destruction there is beauty
the panoply of colors before the White Lady arrives

I love the Autumn as Orpheus loved his muse
this is the time of reckoning
when Lady Rhiannon ended her burden
when she became the poem of Justice
now, long before the winter of anyone's discontent

soon it will the season of laying on blankets
of shivering on frozen nights
but before the Dark Half comes
before the White Lady arrives
there will be drinking and dancing
last furvent bursts of life before it's too dark too see
and this will be
as it has always been
my moment

Stalwart and soiltary
I will garner my shield and mail
I will paint myself blue and anoint my hair with lye
and I will face the certain arrival of our mistress' hosts
and Gwydion and Rhiannon as my awen
I will emmerge alive and strong on the Light Half


There is no more a Celtic moment than the approach of Fall.

Some new languages on Wiki (English)

I was just over to the old Wikipedia today and found some languages I hadn't seen there before, and which are of interest to me:

Deitsch (Pennsylvania German)

Scots Leid

Eald Englisc (Anglo-Saxon)

Gaelg (Manx)

Nouormand (Norman)

dimecres, d’agost 23, 2006

Accept Your Fate (English / Welsh)

Accept your fate; accept your fate...

The nagual repeats this over and over again in Carlos Castaneda's The Second Ring of Power. I'm in the process of accepting my fate, which, while I cannot see it before me plainly, I suspect will be as follows:

I will, as the famed Albany psychic Ann Fisher told me, probably live to extreme old age. This pleases me, as I have no desire to be dead. However, in the meantime, all the people whom I ever loved, and more importantly, those who have loved me, will have died. Surely I will find new people on whom I can lavish my attentions, emotional, spiritual, nay even physical, but those who express their love for me are so rare. There may indeed be many who love me, but so few who will confess it.

Therefore, if this were true, one must imagine some of these silent others may in fact love me. If I were to believe that come the end of my days, there may in fact be some who do, then in this I would be truly blessed, even if it were not true.The belief of their love would be enough to see me through to the fist at the end of the valley...

However, not only shall I die old, but unrequited. A former friend, a certain Tom O'Connor used to preach to me about self-fulfilling prophecies, that it is I who declare I will die alone. Well, that I do, but not of my will, rather from my observation. I do not wish it upon myself, but I do not wish death upon myself either! So I go along accepting my fate until I see my fate as something else.

Nevertheless, I can hope beyond hope for fresh water in a barren sea, and still no water will produce itself. Oh, surely the rain will fall, and in small puddles at the bottom of my life raft small quantities will gather. These would be the moments with N from N, or M from CP, or the confession of J from S. Oh yes, these rose moments where I felt the pulse of something more than banal sexual encounters given freely for orgasms would be as the small morsels that fell from Madame Eglentyne's lips to her smale houndes. And I have cherished these rarities so, since they keep me from dying of dehydration as I drift across the blue waters of Annwn in search of Iolo Morgannwg's elusive and perhaps counterfeit Gwynfyd where at last I will lust with Ceugant, the ultimate truth, in a complete way, as I have lusted with no mortal being, a pleasant if theoretical end and purpose to all this entropy and longing...

Ahh, these lovely fictions, portrayals of reality. I should learn to take my own advice, perhaps this is what some others do. Yes, I have a lover who is wonderful, and looks after me, and offers me gifts and ruts with me like a beast, yet remains nameles and faceless, like God.

Would that I were given to lies; my life would be simpler.

Yet as I look around me, all I see are knotworks...