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.