Samples of recent Writings: China, Korea, and Japan.
The Dialectics of Love is when Care defeats Infatuation in the fated battle of the Twilight of the Idols of Limerence. Love qua Care shakes the heart at its Qalb; love qua Infatuation shakes the heart at its Qlipah.
The Pyramidic Model of Amorostrata goes as follows, ascending level by level from the bottom up: Puppy Love, Crush, LIKE Like, Infatuation, Limerence, Love, True Love.
True Love amounts to the highest form of Care.
Lust is a subcomponent of the various Levels of Amorostrata; it begins as a friendly trickle at the level of Puppy Love and steadily magnifies to a crescendo in heat as it reaches Romantic Love; from Romantic Love to Romantic True Love it steadily “decreases” as it graduates to meld with and become one with True Love, or the highest form of Care, which parallels Dveiquth in its behavior.
Of the Truths Attendant the Levels of the Pyramidic Model of Amorostrata:
Who experiences Puppy Love is an immature being realizing for the first time his existing Capacity to be a Romantic Being.Who deeply Crushes is not in love, as he proclaims, and employs himself as a butler of his heart for a LIKE Like.Who LIKE Likes is not in love, but is indentured as a servant of his heart for an Infatuation.Who is Infatuated is not in love, but is bound as a slave of his heart for a Limerence.Who is Limerent is not necessarily in love, but is a girlfriend of his heart for a Love.Who loves is in love, but is a fiancée of his heart for a True Love.Who attains True Love is necessarily in love and is a bride of his heart for G-D; and not a concubine of his heart for himself.
A Limerence is a fear and an animal decadence qua felt need. Love qua Care can stave off the founding Fear which follows Limerence where it culminates in Love. Where it unravels in heartbreaking bathos, the terrors of jiltance, and drawn-out hells of irrequition, the founding Fear is matured into a dialectical Wisdom (rather than absorbed and naturalized for its original purpose by Love qua Care---which militarizes it as monogamous Jealousy) and the animal decadence is graduated to a precedent of instinctual identity in the newly growing repertoire of Reason (rather than tasked with monogamous sexuality and romance in requition). The Pyramidic Model of Amorostrata goes as follows, from the bottom up: Puppy Love, Crush, LIKE Like, Infatuation, Limerence, Love, True Love. True Love amounts to the highest form of Care.
*Prepatory notes for a video interview on “Love” by two Chinese Visual Arts Collegiates, Shenyang ’10:
True Love does exist, but, it is not what you think. There are many kinds of Love: Ancient Greek, for example, had at least 4 different words meaning ‘Love’---though each one had a special sense. Agape usually had a feeling of general affection or True Love; it was later adapted by Christians to refer to religious devotion or divine love. Eros had a feeling of sensuality and great passion and was sometimes of a sexual nature to mean lust. Philia generally had a feeling of loyalty and friendship and was used as a basic term for love, ranging from love for family to love between lovers. The American city of Philadelphia is also called “the City of Brotherly Love”. Storge mostly described relationships within the family and means something like “affection” in Modern Greek. Additionally, the Greek philosopher Plato believed that Love did not have to include physical attraction; thus in modern times,“Platonic Love” means love without physical intimacy being involved.
Ancient Biblical Hebrew also had several words which might be understood as Love, including “Ahav” or “Ahavah”, “Khesed”, and “Racham” or “Rachamim”---meaning general or spontaneous love, decided lovingkindness, and compassion or mercy, respectively. These words could be used to describe relationships between people and also between people and G-D.
True Love does exist. All types of love, like that between family members, that between friends, that for oneself, that for one’s country, that for one’s people, that for life in general, that between lovers, that between Man and G-D, are defined by some combination of two primary elements: Selflessness and Selfishness. When these two primary elements are properly balanced---this is where there is True Love.For example, for True Love to exist between a husband and wife---both must be Selfish enough to want each other just for themselves, but not so Selfish as to force each other into this capacity---and both must be Selfless enough to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the other, but not so Selfless as to become as a slave to the other.
Modern Science generally treats “Love” as a biochemical phenomenon---a drive which is like thirst and hunger. However, Psychology defines “Love” culturally and socially. “Love”, it is thought, is influenced by hormones (like oxytocin), neurotrophins (like Nerve Growth Factor) and pheramones.
Philosophy and Religion usually treat ‘Love’ as a mystical or moral phenomenon.
True Love amounts to the highest form of Care.
Now, let’s take a moment to discuss Romantic Love, specifally. The kind that breaks hearts and sometimes puts them back together.
There is a popular saying: It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”
This is true.
Love is not one thing---it is not a monolith. It has many layers and many faces. It is a composite; which is why, contrarily, G-D is One. Here is a pyramid to illustrate:
[Here there is a colored model of a triangle in 7 layers, from base to apex as follows: Puppy Love (earth brown), Crush (hot pink), LIKE Like (spring green), Infatuation (neon yellow), Limerence (grape purple), Love (navy blue), True Love (gold & black); a gradually dilating light ochre arrow pointing UP the left side of the pyramid until it rethins at True Love, reads: Lust; a thin black arrow pointing UP the right side of the pyramid reads: Number if Experiencers]
For those inexperienced with Love or otherwise ill-equipped to precisely interpret their experiences of its less “true” compositing proto-instantiations, incorrect ideas of what Love is, are quite common.
Often, we see “Puppy Love” among pre-school and primary school-aged children up until about 8th grade. These are the first romantic feelings that people who are inclined to love feel in their lifetimes---excluding postulative psycho-romantic phenomena in the womb or in infancy. This feeling can be quite strong, but is usually short-lived and invariably “innocent”---though this does not preclude its sexuality. Occasionally, Puppy Love may be experienced in adult form by mature individuals well graduated from middle school. A Crush is stronger than Puppy Love and is usually experienced by high school-aged adolescents and older. Feelings of attraction may be fairly intense, but the factors that influence these feelings are often insubstantial and superficial, such as perceived ohysical beauty or amiable charm. LIKE Like is yet more powerful than a Crush. This romantic state is generally where experiencers begin to seriously desire some way to substantially satisfy their attraction to someone. Infatuation is like obsession, but more controlled. Experiencers of Infatuation often report not being able to sleep because of images of the person he or she has feelings for keep emerging in their minds, heart palpitations, and extreme feelings of wanting to be with that person romantically. Perceived actions of the person whom an experiencer is infatuated with may mahe the experiencer high one momentand in despair the next. This romantic state is highly intense, but it is too Selfish to sustain a relationship. Limerence, a term first popularized by the Love Theorist Dorothy Tennov, is very often misidentified as love by the people experiencing it. Limerence is a set of extreme feelings of a romantic variety that are experienced by serious adult couples or individuals---this pre-love starts out warm and peaks within 6 months to 2 years at most with immense heat and urgency. In some unusual cases, Limerence can extend for more than 50 years, according to some reports. After the initial period of extreme feelings, there is a sharp decline in the intensity of the feelings. This is what leads many people to mistakenly believe that they have “fallen out of love.” Love, of a romantic kind, is actually fairly unusual. It is a mature deep care between two persons---and a far more evolved set of feelings than Puppy Love, Crush, LIKE Like, Infatuation, or Limerence. Love, of the romantic kind, often begins as Limerence and later matures---even after the extreme feelings of Limerence have since faded away. Romantic Love may not always be as emotionally intense as other lower romantic states, but it is the first one where Selflessness begins to really balance out Selfishness. In the lowers romantic states, Selfishness is always the dominant element. True Love is rare. It is experienced by relatively few people on Earth. It is the culmination and te highest point of Care in a romantic form. The extreme ups and downs of Infatuation and Limerence are nothing compared to the deep and profound connection between two people who have found True Love. If you see a very old man and a very old woman who have clearly been married for many decades, and they are walking down the street holding hands---this is like True Love. This is a transcendent romantic state where instead of the immature madness of the lower romantic states, there is a mature feeling of wholeness and completeness of romantic union. This is the final romantic state---where Selflessness and Selfishness have become perfectly balanced. Let me close by quoting from the TaNa’’Kh, or the Hebrew Bible; specifically from Shir HaShirim, or The Song of Songs: “Ani LeDodi/VeDodi Li”---“I am for my beloved, as my beloved is for me.” This quote shows that True Love is real---and when Selflessness and Selfishness join in perfect balance much like in the Yin-Yang.
[Below there is a pen-drawn rendering of a Yin-Yang]
True Love is the perfect balance of Selflessness and Selfishness.
[Below there is a pen-drawn sketch of a scale with two weight, equally balancing each other on the level: the weight on the left reads “Ani” and the weight on the right reads “At”, both in Hebrew Script]
TRUE LOVE is the highest form of Care.
Final Note: Romantic True Love is ONLY possible in STRICTLY monogamous relationships and Romantic True Love is ABSOLUTELY impossible in ANY kind of polygamous relationship. This is revealed in the Toldot Ya’aqov, Rakhel, and Leah. Marriage between two people , PERIOD, is the only way Romantic True Love can actually exist. Otherwise, some other lower romantic state is in effect.
[The following Model is the last page of prepatory notes for the “Shenyang Love Video-Interview”]
Model of Drives and States as Defined by Selfishness and Selflessness by Percentage
Need for Sleep: Selflessness=5% Selfishness=95%Thirst: Selflessness=10% Selfishness=90%Hunger: Selflessness=15% Selfishness=85%Crush: Selflessness=20% Selfishness=80%LIKE Like: Selflessness=25% Selfishness=75%Infatuation: Selflessness=30% Selfishness=70%Limerence: Selflessness=35% Selfishness=65%Friendship: Selflessness=40% Selfishness=60%Love: Selflessness=45% Selfishness=55%True Love: Selflessness=50% Selfishness=50%
Note: These ratios are not to be taken literally, but are meant to illustrate the invers relationship of Selflessness and Selfishness in their definition of drives and states.
The low percentages of Selflessness attendant to the baser drives can be explained as a representation of self-preservation for the sake of dependents; however, this is a simplified representation because the drive to produce and acquire dependents itself contains elements of Selfishness.The model above of base survival drives, lesser romantic states, social states, familial states, and the final culminative state of Pure Care is not bi-directional, viz., an experiencer does not progress and regress up and down these drives and states as his or her “levels” of Selflessness and Selfishness fluctuate according to their placement in the model; instead each drive and state is auto-exclusive and does not “spill” into the one below or above it; and indeed the final state, where Selflessness and Selfishness are perfectly balanced is emergent with regard to the ratio of these two compnents and is transcendently more than their “sum”.
Sexual Lust is not included in the above model because it is a sub-component of Crush, LIKE Like, Infatuation, and Limerence, and the romantic instantiations of Love and True Love.
Who thinks he is one with his situation and born twin with default,
Worships the idol of “Whatever-will-be-will-be“ and loves as his lord whatsoever should befall him.
Who Is with Intent serves HaShem.
Who is without Intent serves false idols, one of which is himself.
Who serves HaShem not and this with intent Has built an altar to Meaninglessness for his selfish lucre-of-heart
Who serves HaShem and this with Intent has paid the bail of Cosmic Meaning
And reclaimed it from where it was once imprisoned in Human Atheism
And the Lonely Existentialism of the Bareness of Being At-All.
Time is atemporal simultaneities
And is constellated together by these
By a web of synchronicities of pure occurrence.
Time is an emergent composite of the Essence of Pure Occurrence.
Space is defined by the Accidents of Pure Occurrence.
Pure Occurrence is a finite Existential Instantiation of Infinite Nothingness as Lived Moral.*
*in the sense of both: ‘moral of a story’ and ‘Mussar’ (‘Discipline’), (and whether by Man, other being, astrological happening, or object); (or “Exemplified Moral”), (“Exemplified Quality” or even “Quale”), in the sense of: “Life is more a skill Learned/than a process undergone,/a moral one has BEEN/than a precedent one has LEFT”---from Shenyang afternoon lunchbreak alonenesses, post-Shavuot 5770.
‘Al haKherut ve’Al haMitzvah
(Chong Shan Xi Lu, Shenyang 5770)
Beware the Jew who performs the Torah merely because he has been enjoined to,
And rejoice the Jew who parallels in indigenous intent what the Torah enjoins him to do---
For the former can worship only to the extent that the state of Following can permit,
And the latter can benefit from the fruit of the former state while not falling short,
For he can worship to the full extent, also, that Personal Initiative can permit;
And worship from one in whom Following and Personal Initiative have wrestled Yaakovianly And been bridged like Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai Is as a mirror who reflects the Authority,
But also the Love of Liberty of his Master.
For the Following of Man is a Reflection of the Authority of G-D
And the Personal Initiative of Man is a Reflection of the Love of Liberty of G-D.
For G-D has left gaps in Good
For Man to fill them
And Contiguities in Evil
For Man to deconstruct them.
Following is only justified if it
Accords with Personal Initiative;
Authority only if it Accords with Love of Liberty.
Electronic Technology is an At-Best
Set aface the wilder World of Toollessness;
Psychospiritual Technology is Sine qua non
Set aface continued existence at-all.
It is in engagement that we truly live,
In idleness that we truly die.
Such that idle life is like death,
And idle death like something even less.
Remember T’hilim, Ava’’Q, for surely: Sheqer haKhen. I call me, and please do call me:Ava’’Q---Alon ben Qeini, for I am but Dust. VihaleLUhah bashe’arim ma’aSEIha.-Psalms
May every Eshet Khayil be remembered thus
And every Ish Mitzvah.
We have manned cold tools
Not planted warm flowers
Activated clammy machines instead of raised sunny vegetation
Filmy-eyed puzzles have we obsessed
Not kept in mind revelations with light in the eyes
We have Enslaved and Deified technology
Instead of Raising it like a child and Respecting it like an elder.
The Rhyme and Reason of Method is initially Intuitively Causo-Effective,
But in Maturity is Causo-Effectively Intuitive.
The brain is a magnificent boat
For it can hold a great number of conceptions before it sinks into the undredgeable depths.
For the folds of a brain hug idea tight
And only go down when every spongish hole has been filled by the heaviness of suggestion.
For a brain is more a sponge than a computer.
It can soak up and contain chamber by chamber (though memory is their shared walls and halls)But it cannot faultlessly automate and blemishlessly untaste data from its Conscience
A brain can remember and retaste,
A computer can sequester data behind facades and retrieve it.
A sponge squeezed will drip water without---that its preciousness may live on,
An automation wiped clean will cancel data within---that it may be irretrievable.
On The Brain as Shetl Eruv:
Each Memory is in the Connection of the wires and posts of an intricate Shtetl Eruv
Not inside the Eruv itself.
If one wire is snapped or one post toppled
The Whole is at that moment rendered unKosher and unShalem
For Memories are the very Contiguities of Current Reason
But with a simple rewiring of extant wires and a simple re-erection of extant posts
The Kashruth and Shlemut is restored
For the Memory was stored in the Connection of the wires and posts
Not inside the Eruv itself.
I had a dream with Rivkah in it. We later spoke that day for the first time in a while.I had a godge with Yoel in it. Later, I saw he messaged me on Skype meanwhile.Sisters and Brothers are as if our Mothers and Fathers and yet Daughters and Sons.O Universe, so lonely am I as the vast distance between stars, so hopeless am I as regolith;Whereoever shall I find like company amid this receding canopy of far-off lights, I only a tiny star burning out my final, yearning gases.
To vary is to strengthen,
But to be inconsistent is to weaken;
To diversify is to fortify,
But to divide is to dissolve.
To make to conform is to plateau,
But to standardize is to ascend;
To put in uniform is to keep level
But to put badge upon is to raise up.
The Work we do balances the Prayers we pray
The Prayers we pray balance the Work we do
For were the Work we do to surpass the Prayers we pray
We would come to humanize Slavery
And were the Prayers we pray to surpass our Work
We would come to dehumanize Gainful-Engagement.
An explanation is an abstract of the cosmos no matter how absurd, silly, profane, or sacreligious. However, it is a smattering of perceptions of the Universe of perceptions of itself, for we are as if an eye gazing into another in the same face when we gaze into the Abyss.
Control that was a broken down car I left behind back there on the road
Loose parts I salvaged and remachined into a new life
Full Wit Riskage like air in the flat tire and popping out the ding
The strength to move on needed to clinch tons and tons of me out of the ditch.
Reality is Gross Profit
Consciousness is Net Profit.
Consciousness is, and THEN, is a Totality of Omissions.
-Written on Hash, Shenyang China, 5771 (by whatever these are in Hashem’s “Years---or in secret hidden senses including or excluding our Bereishit from the Necking and Making Out of the the branes of the Multiverse, which HaShem is behind creating, in Married Union his aspects of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, which is masculine and the Shechinah, which is feminine: Many are in love with the Feeling more than the Person they supposedly love.Few are in love with the Person they supposedly love enough to love them whenThey are no longer in love with the Feeling or the Feeling is felt to be gone.
Hate is a Privilege of those who can take being ignorant of the Other while knowing of them
Indifference is an Excuse of those who can’t imagine the Selfness of Others while exploiting it as Anonymous Use
Love is a Morality of those who force themselves to grasp the Selfness of Others
While celebrating it as Identitied Relationship and who are not so privileged as to be able to be so Ignorant while knowing of The Other that they are capable of not Loving them.
I miss her. The truth is that the Missing soggies the more memorious membranes of my brain like a flesh-eating bacteria leaving of my wounds stinking, gangrenous trenchers of gore. My fear has always been that I will fall in love with her memory post-love and not with her herself before I even knew that I loved her at all. Well, it’s over now and hopeless like a war orphan hiding amongst rubble nibbling wax for dinner believing that prewar idylls await him after this nightmare ends. He might be saved and raised right, but some troubled and traumatized adult he’ll be---so in love was I once.
Some face from among all men I gazed
That perfect oval floating like fogs
Along the curves of the verty moors.
Some face from among all men I gazed
A sorry pareidolic excuse for a being
Slinking ghostily over the slaloms of this life.
The Revel of the Meek is Rights
The Revel of the Ubermenschen is Brute Force
But Rights are Hegemony
And Brute Force is Wreckless
The Meek are subject to the Punchline of the Joke of the Will to Power
Ubermenschen are the butt of the Joke of the Will to Power
A Revel is the Will to become one with
And the Will to become one with is the Revel of Greats
But the Will to become One with G-D is the Revel of the Greater
So the Will to become Zero with G-D is the revel of the Greatest.
Doing the right thing once and for all
A revelation like a blast of sunshine into the eyes super-concentrated radiating from the
Narrow crevice between two skyscrapers as one passes quickly by in a whirring motor-car.
Doing the right thing all and for once
Death Given Meaning---not even a single meaningless
Vanity of Life was in vain.
Farewell my beautiful Shan Qian Hui
You Rose in the Rough
Whom I have plucked away like dregs
Like a Rose amidst the ice
Far frozen in my heart
When it was you whom I have loved
In days of sleep
You were a dream
From whom I’ve dreamt I’ve awoken
In days of waking
You are a waking state dreamt
Into whom I’ve refallen asleep.
Even if not really, in dream, I love you.
For I believe that’s just so how you love me.
Maintaining one is Perfect where one’s Friend
Falls Short is A Transgression against Humility and against
The Sanctity of Friendship itself.
The Basis of Friendship is in the Mutual Need to Conquer and Transcend what forbids it.
Not in Base Resolve to accept Victimization and Misery together.
For these are the Subjections of Enemies, not the Common-Interests of Friends.
For True Friendship defeats Death
But Death defeats Insincere Acquaintanceship.
A Friend will be Forever
But an Acquaintance is for Now.
A Friend is as Truth in all his obvious Imperfections---Perfection
An Acquaintance is as Lie in all his mysterious Perfections---Imperfection
For Truth has no fear revealing its Embarrassments---it is a Blessing of Coming Clean
But Lie has all fear revealing its Embarrassments---it is an Abomination of Covering Up.
The Basis of Friendship is in the Mutual Need to Conquer and Transcend what forbids it.
I am forced for the sake of my own soundness of mind to regard the apparition yesterday from out of nowhere of Shan Qian Hui, as a “glitch in The Matrix”.
Though, knowing thus, I should nip the nostalgish déjà vu in its blistery bubbly bud and run like all hell for the hills; for a glitch in The Matrix is not mere déjà vu, but an indication of imminent ambush by the powers that be that have imprisoned my Subconscious in the mental transcendency of Memory.
For well were would I pathetically beg for the conscient decadence of Immemory, like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well would I implore Moksha from this Remembrance, Nirvana from this memorial Disbliss.
But our lot is Memory and it is our Mitzvah to Keep
So we must Observe it in our Brith with the Deep.
China believes it can join modernity by adopting its commercial accessorizations, like Harley Davidson, Gucci, Dialectical Materialism, cleanly-shaven jowls and but-for-hair bare scalps. Once upon a time, Chinese men cultivated pogonomicons and bore skullcaps. Not for the same reasons as Jews, no; for reasons their own. But this is not the point. The point is that China has come to regard the rewriting of history and the dismissal of tradition to the honorary backburner (like TV historical dramas and blatantly irreligious skeletons of old rites during the festivals) as proof of Evolution.
The tendency to regard Rites as indispensable, but somehow subject to the ascendency of State Philosophy is apparent even in the Analects of Confucius.
Damned horrors of the Nth kind,
Torrents, howling nudes washing ashore,
Shipwrecks fermenting in foaming ocean,
Deserted, marooned, islanderized,
Reborn beached abelly coughing up brine
This is the damage to Man and World
Done to him and it, by him; he has
Run his vessels aground and sabotaged
His modesty, wildly gyrating his arms
Like a drunken windmill,
His garments flying off like bats
From a night cave.
Man has attempted to punk out his Conscience, though he has failed.
The practical jokes and the japes he has played on his sense of good and bad
Have only made more apparent the festering inassurance they were meant to distract
Its attention from grasping.
Like a naughty child who has spilled milk across the table and floor
In a nasty dairy spread of cowy cream.
Then dancing burlesque and glam atop a chair, singing a bonobic croon before his decidedly unFreudian mother, her physiognomy in a displeased lurch, hands ahip, arms akimbo, thumbs twitching, her hair afrizzle, lips aspread to deliver a life-changing reprimand to her mischievous son.
Does Man think he can distract the attention of his Conscience to his misdeeds, and so clumsily at that? He can not, for his Conscience is one his greatest emulations of G-D.
And just as Man can never beat G-D, some emulation by Man of Man himself (Indulgence) can never beat an emulation by Man of G-D (Conscience).
Spring O come sweetest glee of field green
Summer O come hottest entreaty of sun-scorched sands
Autumn O come mildest agreement of leaves colorful
Winter O come severest roar of snow-stained soils.
Drinking rose petal
Extract deeply Hashish-high
Garden of the Stoned.
Voices flow like waves
Rhythms beat like pulses
Lines spoken Space-Time
Are morally collapsed in
In these infinite
Densities, these tight-packed grains
Weight of the Moral.
Doing the Right Thing
Blackholed into one small speck
DeTzimtzum’d to One.
[In Hebrew script]
Kol Toldot Zman BeGar’in
Bein Etzba’ot Ha’’Sh.
[The following stanzas are a composite of “Originally 3 text messages to Dereau, June 2010, Shenyang, China” and later notes written while watching the World Cup in a hole-in-the-wall dive]
Instinctual Morality is inferior to Learned Morality And Learned Morality is inferior to Empathic Morality; For Empathic Morality is assured by being felt, And true Empathic Morality is taughtFor intuitive Empathic Morality is an Instinctual Morality.Empathic Morality then, is inferior to Systematic-But-Dialectical Morality, Which may be felt, As Empathic Morality, But is moreover instructed and informed, As Din*. Thus, the highest Morality cannot accord with mere instinct, As instinct accords with drives which we are liable to ride; Not with mere learned protocols, As these accord with authorities which we are liable to contest or concede; Not with mere empathy, As empathy accords with sentiments which we are liable to indulge and trust over SObjective* Cognition; But with that which is instructed and informed, As Din, Not free of bias, but biased to the Right, For we are not liable to escape Judgment.
*1 (Hebrew) ‘Judgment’, ‘Court Law’, often with a clerical or divine sense in Yiddishkeit*2 Subjective+Objective (a term I have been using since high school to reconcile the S and O)
Instinctual Morality is akin to breathingLearned Morality is akin to walkingEmpathic Morality is akin to embracingSystematic-But-Dialectical Morality is akin to praying.
[the third verse originally had “kissing”, was changed to “hugging”, then changed to the current “embracing”]
The first is the consistency of air
The second is the consistency of flesh
The third is the consistency of humanity
The fourth is the consistency of awe before what-is-more-than All.
Din, as Judgment, demands each.
Each in their order as in ‘Aliyah LaTorah.
[In the middle of this note is a caricature sketch of a big-bearded, black-hatted Jewish man with tsitses hanging out, holding a siddur in his right hand and laying the palm of his left hand upon a slab in a section of haKotel haMa’aravi---for haKotel signifies the Body of Dvequt in Yiddishkeit but Divrei HaShem signify the Soul of Dvequt Unconditional][In Hebrew script, a caption:] R’ Khayim Etzsel haKotel haMa’aravi Birushalyim.
There is only one Sin
Greater than Immorality---
And that is Amorality.
-Shenyang, Khoref, 5770-------------------------------
The Energy Residue is the Tattoo left on the Thing that is deeper than Time and Space,
And deeper indeed than Time-Space; remembering to Eternity what happened there.
[In Hebrew script]Shirayim MeHaRabi Meretz.
Crime Scene Blood Spatter
Forensics of Broken Hearts
The minutiae of Matter are contained
By the husk* of happenstance
While the Import of Matter Escapes it.
On Theology and Existence
The song of Being is sung by happenstance
But composed by that-which-So-is-not, that-it-Is,
And so-Is, that-it-is-Not.
-inspired by the Chinese film Zi Ri, Coheed and Cambria’s “Everything Evil”, beer, and hole-in-the-wall digs third-worldery of real humanness felt and real life beat out like a drum of day and a cymbal of night.
And didst thou meet the girl beauteous, coy, & sure
Of a thousand & more splendors, courteous, adroit, & demure
And didst thou imagine her goodly & pure like Ossianic dame
An emblem of Creation brighter than the Sun & Eve but tame
Did manacle your senses shocked her auburn locks
Did turn thee out to pastures of woolen flocks
Her curvaceous bod and monument of kohled eye
Minute tremor of pinky at jokes & her laughter sans sigh
Didst thou wander amongst verdant blades tall
Amidst blimpy, unsheared obesities of cloud-like sheep
An ant-like fear-all, hider in humble dirt mounds
A diminutive specimen in the lab of the Objectifier?
Didst thou fear discovery, thine extraction from
Didst thou indulge reverie, thy dreams in
Didst thou like her, thy secret out
Didst thou resent her, thy disappointment with
Uneasiness & an uncertainty of lights
The morning sunshine is deeply late
Unsureness & a verity of mights
The day has finally come for her to tell us her decision.
Who are we in this world all Wow
What are we in this womb all Wet
When are we in this while all Weened
Which are we in this war all Waged.
Give us over to a Life
Peaceful as a Proverb
In is just not so common in China that one meets a dame half-urbane!
The girls and boys of the modern Chinese are raised to be dependent and infantile.
Their parents are charged wet-nurse and babysitter
The Party comes back for them like Pharaoh’s daughter for Moshe Rabbeinu
Only would y’all be like Moshe Rabbeinu when y’all should grow up!
Lead your People out of this Egypt, and leave behind the courts of your Pharaoh
To be prophet to lead your desperate many to the Promised Land of the Deep-Down
And the Sea of Reeds be parted in half, go y’all through, The Party be drowned.
Belief in G-D can not be a simple matter of faith
In cycles, patterns, and archetypes,
As in astrology, theology, and the sciences
But takes perfecting our conception of what G-D isn’t
And imperfecting our misconceptions of what G-D is.
If Judaism is not a liberal vision, it is a liberating one
If it is not a free vision, it is a freeing one.
Here a house in Gold
There a field all in Silver
But nothing will grow.
-Bus, Shenyang-Dandong, Jan.24, 2011
Tang Ling Tunnel we
Ride through your heaving deeps
Like a uterus.*
With my heavy packs
Bleeting from weight, creaking tweaks
Circus of Journey
My rucksacks, the world, and me
A clownish juggle.
O fripped, prissy school
Of English I’ve left behind
“Gun Yi Bi Er Qu!”*
*1 “Get the hell outta here!” in Dongbeihua
This morning I left Busan, Korea on the ferry to Fukuoka, Japan---taking the lightly-peopled Busan Metro only one stop. The ferry was a bumpy ride, but swift. The professionally dressed staff bowed to us departing passengers, continuously smiling and waving from the dock, three abreast. So different from China, where staff would not be caught bowing a pinky to you (that said, in China, a lot more can be gotten away with and there is an innate humor in the everyday). Arriving in Japan, the roughest of dockmen bowed nobly before us. At immigration, we newcome scoundrels had to give our fingerprints on high tech touch screens and submit to an auto-mugshot if we wished not to be immediately deported from Japan by the authorities. The immigration lady gave me an unusually hard time, asking me for proof of onward travel and all that madness. The customs man was polite, but made me unpack everything. He even saw my drawings for kids classes back in China---to his amusement. I took the bus through Fukuoka to the train station, amazed to see palm trees swaying in rows along promenades. Before getting off the bus, the driver wanted me to pay a few hundred Yen of extra coins.I fished through my pockets, only bringing up Korean Won. He just waited patiently, other passengers waiting to ride. In most countries I have been in, the driver would just wave me on, after a few seconds of my nervous fishing for small change, and let me off with some sorry excuse for a disclaimer & a tip of the hat. This time however, no cigar. Getting money changed at the bank, I had to sign papers and submit my passport; they even asked me the address of my final destination in Japan. I was surprised to see that the Japanese were such shticklers TO FOREIGNERS---namely because, I had been told foreigners get a way with a lot that locals do not. This has certainly been my experience in China---and in Korea to a degree.Japan, however, it is true, has long been isolationist in aesthetic, if not in praxis. So, I can see how foreigners might be treated strictly---if they are to be here at all. “They really wanna be here? Fine; then do as we do---or at least do as we say”. I have ridden the Tokyo Metro all over. It is “jellyfish tentacles” if I ever saw such a subway set-up. I rode it like the louse the Lion’s mane. My scalp is itchy like mad and my forehead is irritated, from the “afterglow” of shingles. I am finally in Japan, from half-hoped wonders in high school in Alexandria, Virginia---to beer-bubbled worknights in Manzhouli, China, itching To Be In (not just “see”) more of the beast Asia, high on isolation like nowhere and neverelse before. Japan is an astoundingly beautiful country. Verdant tree-veiled hillocks rise suddenly from low wetlands and gingko-darkened miniFujis from flat honey-colored fields. The bullet train shot a shell through my wallet. & the shrapnel’ll surely roll & rivel like debt in banks of my gut for years to come. Over 21,000 Yen. That’s a 4th of my months’ pay in Shenyang.This first night in Japan, I find myself missing Korea, & moreover, China. Not that the feeling won’t pass, as I acclimatize to this bewilderingly pop-trad Nipponaea. Lastly, a stripe of clear tear blipped like an object on a radar screen down my cheek from my left eye, reflecting on its watery, saline skin a mythological-looking landscape of honey-colored fields giving way to sudden uprisings of verdant tree-veiled mountlets, with smallish, quaint wooden houses dotting the foothills like cutish freckles the cheeks of summer’s perfect girl. & what was it? The beautiful scenery---for it is a fact some sensitive Yefeh-Nefesh is liable to get all teary-eyed at mere topography---no---not just this.In fact, Matisyahu’s “Jerusalem” was playing in my ear. “Jerusalem if I forget you, let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.” As the train sped in protracted, undefinable leaps and untrackable bounds forward on the tracks, and all of us aboard went about our separate business like ants, but to some great, unknown togethrant culmination of work, & the Pure Land drove back behind us, I remembered Yisra’el and especially Yerushalayim.& even more especially how I need to get there. A Menorah within a Magen David impressed in deep impressions on my scarlet heart, like a Seal on an urgent envelope forged in steaming red wax.
Here a house in Gold
There a field all in Silver
But nothing will grow.
-Bus, Shenyang-Dandong, Jan.24, 2011
Tang Ling Tunnel we
Ride through your heaving deeps
Like a uterus.
With my heavy packs
Bleeting from weight, creaking tweaks
Circus of Journey
My rucksacks, the world, and me
A clownish juggle.
O fripped, prissy school
Of English Iกฏve left behind
กฐGun Yi Bi Er Qu!กฑ*
*1 กฐGet the hell outta here!กฑ in Dongbeihua
Iกฏll miss ye in parts
Like life; but not whole like Love;
I lived you, not loved.
Sam miDrAกฏกฏP of laughs
Heกฏs in Beijing; I Dandong;
Our calls prolific.
On the morrow morn
I wend off by ferry for
I recall red-haired
Classmate James from grade school days
---Brother car crash-dead.
He and highschool friends
Flew oกฏer seas like Denial
We were all wondrous
With wow, envy, and glazed stun
When they all got back.
Now years later lone
Not a friend at my side aught
It is now my turn.
Propped up typing bones
On this Dandong hotel bed
The fleshกฏll wrap round.
Remembrance is a
Resolution to relive
Learn, or say กฐGoodbyeกฑ.
-Shenyang-Dandong, Jan. 24, 2011,
Korea & Japan come.
Just like Mongol Steppes---
Seoul, Tokyo merely dreams
For me; years repressed.
Now I head for them
Their moonlit and sunbeat bays
Wishes fulfilled in
The Shadow of a mount; O
G-D---I hope this counts!
A History is a telling of Events
A Legend a dedinging of the Dents.
-Dandong, China, Jan. 2011
I currently sit atop a bunk in a low-ceilingกฏd ferry cabin, the aromas of Kimchi and Soju wafting through the still air, the cozy mew toasty and feebly furnished; a Korean man with whom I am able to lightly converse with in Mandarin bunks beneath me, offering up pastries. The waters at this port in Dangong---which is outside of Metro-area Dandong---are iced over in some strips and coldly rippling under wintry maritime sunshine in others. I took a shared taxi to this port town, worried I would not make it for boarding at 13:00. In fact, it turned out, 13:00 was the suggested กฐcheck-inกฑ time (although this consisted of nothing more than standing around waiting while the non-chalant hostesses behind the counter walked in and out of frigid doors in dirty, old walls of Maoist disdecor---of an arrestingly anonymous
Dreariness and fearsome tedium of shmutz-smeared, peeling off-white)
And the hour of embarkation is 16:00.
In China, there is plenty of time for boredom. Not, however, if one has Torah to study. So, now, finally in this big Korean boat, in this close-walled den of a mere 3 bunkbeds, equipped for 6 small Asiatiform human anatomies, I rest---the sea freezing but frothing before us---the mass of the Peninsula Korea ahead---waiting, the Island Japan salivating---ready to land my feet in its teeth. Demon of the night pond swallow thy light-legged gnat and smugly belch a กฐthank you for dyingกฑ,
The throes and the struggles down your esophagus of the little creature will assure your nationalism and conjure my tourism.
Qerakh กฎAl HaYam
Maกฏboret Tat-Regel Stam
Dam Ufrozdor Kham.
Shkhaqim Shkhorim Gam
Tzafim, Meกฏofefim Ram
Maกฏal Kol Adam.
Shehu mitakhat lifqaq
Mei Oqyanos Raq.
Anu shomกฏim, Qolkha
BeกฏOzneinu, Kmo Polka
O glorious shield
Bar from upon us their wield
Park us far afield.
But if so it be
That we must fight fearlessly
Donกฏt let death agree.
I holler fro thกฏislands
Oกฏ my sulking miseries
Gravestones in these seas.
Golden crowns and the
Bloods of Kings glimmer and run
Through their fingered rings.
Pacemakers in stars
Implanted, their hearts beating
Bombs, life so granted.
That we straddle on
A bell, loaf lazy upon
An alarm, our time.
Sounds of Altaic
Tongue remingle with mine ear
So long in my head
The Sinitic tonal fugue
Untangled brains loose.
Weกฏll cross ye yet Sea
Thine ice sheets cracked like crackers
Like thy ripples flee!
Ye may have questions
For us your bold crossers we;
Thกฏanswers in thกฏHeavens.
Donกฏt blame us our Will
We joined---กฐCorpus Callosumกฑ---
To dreams of the Free.
These Koreans more
Hospitable with food than
I have in long seen.
More like the Mongols
Than like the Chinese; Yet to
See the Japanese.
Why G-D do I go
Rounding as I do the Earth---
An apple, the worm.
Koreos sit กฎbout
Round tables, card games for Wan;
On this drunk ferry.
Poker faces on
Even without the card games
Expressions rock slabs.
Back Chinaway they yell
Boisterous cackles atrain
Calling me to play!
Here respect is more;
But at thกฏexpense of friends or
For some reason this Alphasmart, and rather old is it, keeps spontaneously shutting off as I write on this ferry from Dangong, China to Incheon, Korea.
I fear this will affect the transfer of documents onto computer for later printing. I hope these be some failsafe device against its shutting off during tranference.
Watch! The values of a stranger
Can be more righteous than
The bigotries of a countryman.
I am in a tiny กฐmotelกฑ room in Seoul, Korea with my กฐHasidicกฑ garb and beard, my ukulele, with wads of redback Renminbi and limeback Won in envelopes.
Ryan Eisely back in Shenyang used to live in Seoul. He advised I come here to Itaewon, which is where all the foreigners congregate. There seems to be an American military base nearby.
I am always and continually, but jadedly amazed, how unfriendly กฐWesternersกฑ are to each other, even when they meet in the most out of the way places. They act like it ainกฏt no thing to see a fellow countryman out in the jungle halfway around the world.
My own Jews are just a little better than this veritably lowly hospitality to the กฐrelated strangerกฑ. What would Avraham Avinu say!กฑ Korea as a country and the Koreans as a people are immediately understandable as distinct from the Chinese upon entering the land. According to the Chinese, the Koreans copy everything and claim credit for inventions Chinese. There may be a limited truth in this. However, the honorifica in Korean culture is astounding compared to that Chinese. I was told the Koreans will more leave foreigners alone than some of the rowdier folks in China. This has proved remarkably true so far. The ferry boat from outside Dandong to Incheon was about 14 hours. The bunkmew turned into a hotbox halfway through the night and I was sweating swimming pools. I prayed in the lobby.
A Korean man gave me tiny oranges---clementines perhaps. So did a Korean mother of two kids, the night before. The Koreans appear to be generous and hospitable more than I have experienced in Asia in some time. I took a bus through Incheon in the cold, maritime morning, suuny-bright. Hangul script racing across signs in little ovals and circles, lines and squiggles. I was able to decode over a dozen letters on the train from Incheon to Seoul---which is actually a metro, as in Englandกฏs train system. I got off at Seoul Station in the middle of this city where this Georgia State Alex, a Vietnamese-Caucasian co-ed back from VCU lived a year---but according to Masha she has returned to the States since. A Canadio-Russian Jewish poet who lived in Seoul, and whom Ryan referred me to, has gone to Amsterdam on vacation. As soon as I got out of Seoul Station, I emerged onto the sidewalks of this great Altaic city. It is a world-class city with all the name brands and it is profoundly globalized. I saw a taco bell here---which I have never seen outside of the States save for one in Guatemala City. I presume it is here due to the American military presence. I took a really nice taxi---which reminded me of the spotless black sedan types in Hong Kong---to the Chinese embassy up a great winding hill. I know about 2 words in Korean and was having hard time communicating on the ferry and the bus. Thankfully, a few people knew some Mandarin Chinese and we thus had a lingua franca. It is times like these that I realize my Chinese is not all that bad. For, when I know no Korean and a fellow knows no English---but yet we are communicating well enough in Chinese---I feel a little proud to be talking in a lingua franca other than English. Namely, because I feel guilty speaking English as a native speaker to those who have another mother tongue and have had to work hard for a grasp of lingua franca.
At the Embassy a woman in the descending driveway spoke to me in Korean. I did not know what to say or how to explain. So, I took a chance and asked if she understood Chinese. She said she did. Thus, we were speaking Chinese. I commented in my joy---กฐZui Lengกฑ---which means กฐvery coldกฑ in Dongbeihua. She understood. So, surprised I asked where she was from, she said she was a กฐDongbeirenกฑ---from the Northeastern part of China---from Haerbin---which city I have ridden the train through at least 8 times. Plus, many of my former students were from Haerbin. Plus, the Israeli prime minister! She told me that the embassy wasnกฏt processing today. She said I should come tomorrow. I explained that I just wanted a simple L visa---about which there was some doubt---as on the internet it was claimed by one visa service that the Chinese embassy in Seoul was only issuing visas to persons with Korean residence permits. The Haerbin lady took a sort of local camaraderie with me---as if we were both Chinese in a sense---and ushered me to a little office where they immediately took my passport and said they could issue me an L visa in a few days. The girl there was from Shenyang!
So, I am stuck in Seoul waiting till February 1st---it is now January 27.
When I could not read Hangul on the ferry, filling out the customs card---there were Chinese characters, but no English. To my amazement, I was reading the Chinese somehow! Not everything---certainly great swaths I did not know.
The generalities, though, I could grasp after these two years in China. Apparently I have picked up a decent number of critical characters having barely studied them at all. Now, I sit in this cold tiny room, which has enough room for a bed---which takes up the whole room---save for a miniscule strip for a night stand and TV. There is a small bathroommette. I quite like such a daintily small quarters. Itกฏs good for writing. I hope to head for Busan and then take a ferry to Japan next week. I hope to hit Tokyo and stay in a capsule hotel as was a little dream of mine long ago when I first saw it on TV in the States in high school.
Then, I will take the ferry back to Korea. I will take a bus or train back up to Incheon and take the ferry back to China. I intend to stay in Shenyang in Sam miDrAกฏกฏPกฏs apartment, while he is in Beijing, for a week or two until the Chinese Chunjie (Spring Festival) ends and the trains free up. Then I will hit Beijing for the dozenth or so time and see Dereau if he is back from the States and Sam. Then I should take the train down to Kunming and then go to Laos and begin heading for Israel.
BeEzrat HaShem. Oh, and the floors of this little กฐmotelกฑ room appear to be heated from beneath. So now I am sitting Amerindian on the floor.
Weird and schizopsycho
Glib & Kawaii.
Yet I mull are these
But local distillations
All too Japanese?
Well, youngblood far-come
Yid you have yet to see กฎbout
This is unbelievable. I venture out from my hotel into evening Seoul.
What do I see but restrained bustle and modern city light. I hear Middle Eastern music blaring from an alleyway kebab joint, a hole-in-the-wall offering international phone cards, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, and innumberable native Korean kimchi spots. In the convenience store nearby, it is quite like the ease and modernity of Hong Kongกฏs; there is readymade Inari and decent range of beers, bottled teas, coffees, and juices.
It makes anything I have seen in mainland China look like a dollhouse imitation of world-class modernity.
Borrowed life is a
Bogey in sight, missiles fired;
Life is equipment.
Of Imitations and your
Own twists on classics.
Your supreme genius
Divinely surreal creole
Script, Values, & Tech.
Imported from heaving beast
Qin, tamed Altaics.
Made of Hollywood tschotchkes
And Japanกฏs Kawaii.
Could we damned heathens
Ever understand you, who
Invented new Church?
Awesome & prophetic; much
Like กฎAm Yisraกฏel.
Hoi Ish Meกฏarot
Qadmonai Mefakhdim; Ot
Kday Ish Meorot.
Once on a green field
In Savannah, Georgia; rains
Made dew look sand-dry.
O you frustrated
Poet pray just wait some more time;
Your muse-bomb to burst.
Now the Koreans
Have employed gel-spiky hairกฏd
Blonds to Hangul ads.
The new graduate
Teary eyes of her mother
Daughterกฏs Youth---her Age.
Burst of gold sunshine
Effusion of saffron rays---
Tokens of Awe and Fear
Are mere radar blipabeeps
To Yirกฏat HaShem.
Why writers drink so; do
But moreso Big Dreams.
-watching the film Hancock starring Will Smith, Seoul, Korea, 2011/1/07.
Who can be careful?
Whoกฏs loved can be careful; and
Whoกฏs unloved, readyกญ
The wet eyes of a
Trusting, believing child will
O Aliens be ye out
There ensconced so UFO
Pray you prove your who.
On Korean TV, a UNICEF public service announcement to donate to impoverished African children---dubbed over speaking pathos-inducing Korean---I burst into desperate tears---where and when have I seen such sympathy even merely aTV in China. My eyes warm & wet.
Bloodhounds in the park
The goateeกฏd dandy with leash
& leatherbound cane.
Gemกฏd Shrines to the loved
Unmarked graves of the unloved
Shrines idols, graves fate.
Seoul you wired pop wilds
Yet so faint and so restrained
Soju, kimchi, bows.
Loved ones grab & slap
Loved ones in a coded bid
To show love and care.
The grabbed and the slapped
Look away unresponsive
Collapse cries tearless.
Grabber and slapper
Yells some rushed gibbericon
กฐGrabbed-slappedกฑ comes around.
I have observed these
East Asian variations
On a theme for years.
Whatกฏs this ritual
Got to do with Love?
-Seoul, Korea Jan. 27, 2011.
& Koreans Altaics
From being single Wholeness
In marriage its Completion.
From loneliness the truth about love
In being together its Culmination. *
January 27, 2011. This morning I davened Shakharit in my cell of a room, whose กฐclaustrophobiaกฑ I quite aesthetically fetishize muse-wise---its spatial shrimpiness and roomly smallfryishness much apostrophying my ancient idea of the กฐelucubration closetกฑ---a self-imposed exile cubicle I would one day inhabit for hours at a time to expedite revelations and poetic prophesies. Today I explored the cold Itaewon area of Central Soul. I saw many antique shops with names like กฐSothebyกฏsกฑ and กฐMedusaกฑ---claiming on their signs to be affiliated with London high auction. Their quaint look was almost Londonesque in fact---for East Asia. I was alarmed by the near approach to authenticity, at least compared to the monstrous parodies of
It I have witnessed in the Land of Flagrant Chinglishisms. I photographed face-pianted Korean soldiers trooping down the sloping, icy street. And this at a time when North Korea and South Korea are threatening war against each other---the last กฐCold Warกฑ frontier on Earth quite nearby to this modern metropolis. I went to a local กฐWang Barกฑ to check emails and send some to concerned family members---my sister Rivkah visiting Israel right after my brother Yoel. Ryan Eiselyกฏs Canadio-Russian Jewish poet friend emailed me back and has apparently returned from Amsterdam. He welcomes me to meet him---he lives right outside of Seoul. He gave me his phone number. Perhaps I will try calling him tomorrow. A กฐYacov Landsmanกฑ. I sent several emails to Ryan, he in Shenyang. He had requested I do so. Well, the internet timer kept spontaneously timing out and I lost my great email chronicling my experience of Korea so far and how I feel it compares culturally to China. I recounted bits and pieces in กฐpost-apocalypticกฑ re-emails, but I could not really capture the verve and naturalness of the original. I was able to visit Facebook for the first time in a while and I saw new pictures of Yoel in Israel---wearing a Kippah, riding on a camelกฏs back in the Negev! What a proud moment in Seoul to see my brother doing thus in Israel! And to know my sister is there now right after! As I came back to my room at the กฐmotelกฑ in these noodlish Seoul alleys---up these dirty, carpeted, cold, narrow staircases---to the metal door of my กฐcellกฑ, an entourage of white foreigners walked by in the close and one said, กฐLeChaimกฑ. It took a moment to process. I said, กฐLeChaimกฑ as they walked on.
Emails from students
Pattison kids กฐmissingกฑ me
Mothers beg return.
Meimei & Shunshunกฏs
Rich, fripperously dressed mums
Say their kids miss me.
Type me an email
Am I back home; come back teach
Our babes till 18!
In caution is the lust for captivity
In recklessness the lust for liberation
In willing is the lust for doing.
In feeling is the lust for being.
Champion of charms
Win now, sex & กฐloveกฑ with ease;
Lose later, at life.
The dream of a whore
Sketched in graphite on a pad
Drawing breath, a lad.
Hey boys, Warกฏs over!
Hooray! Hurrah! Our dayกฏs come!
SNAFU---So now what?
Bottle of dark beer
What do you see? Microscope,
Telกฏscope, gunกฏs Aim three.
Your boys came home pine boxes
War knows; you กฐwonderกฑ.
Your boys fell กฐDoeกฑs on home soil
We know; as do you.
Flee Yank, Split Rebel!
Implants in the brains
The Tentacles of trauma
Embedded from deaths.
Killer for Nation
You have done a proud honor
---Philistine to Man!
Jizz shot through pussy
Contracting, squirming one
With the cock inside.
Hey Khabash Tef-full
Falasha amongst the stalks
Israel, here comes!
And me too a Jew
So diffกฏrent from you & yet
Weกฏre one, G-Dกฏs stem cells.
Ferry across Seas
Side-winding wave and Maelstrom
Pray retch us Jonahs!
Your bellied captives
Balled up praying heaves; weกฏve our
The quest of fingers
Planing smoothly the length of
A flower---young girl.
Night is golden, Moon
Cuz of you and your co-stars
But we know its Sunกญ
Death Row Jury
Murderer why kill
Itกฏs a release we donกฏt get?
Your deathกฏs one we do.
O Japan your whole
Pop Culture---mod, adapted
กฐFloating Worldกฑ redux!
A disturbing eruptive inflammation has arisen on my left temple since before Shabbat here in Seoul, Korea, as I have stayed day and night in this tiny กฐmotelกฑ room. It is painful and tingles. It crusts and is bothersome.
I feel concerned and alone.
Jan. 31, 2011, Itaewon, Seoul, Korea.
The affliction of yellow-crusting, red sores, scabbing over black like clotted blood, did not stay localized on the far side of my left temple. It fanned out in a pink swelling of the left side of my forehead with some irritated bumps and an inflamed character. Now my left eye is exuding tears and is irritated in constant wink and strain, a watery yellow-coloured discharge at times leaks on to white tissue like water colours soaking a canvas slowly.
I went to St. Maryกฏs Catholic Hospital last night in the Gangnam area of Seoul on recommendation of the local writer Yacov Landsmanกฏs Korean girlfriend. I went to the Emergency Room. However, my symptoms were not nearly as severe as today. I was grateful this happened in Korea, rather than China; higher cost, for higher quality of care. Well, in the ER, a young assistant with a slightly hanging bulb of middle upper lip shoved an instrument into my ear.
I had no time to protest, to tell her to change the disposable plastic cover.
I also had to instruct her to properly dispose a dab with a speck of blood on it into the biohazard bin. The young doctor finally saw me and said it did not appear a life-threatening emergency upon taking a cursory look. He suggested I come back the next day for foreigner outpatient services, especially because the ER would require blood work and I do not have Korean national healthcare insurance. So, I came back the next morning with a smashing headache and a swollen eye, my eye red like photographic กฐred eyeกฑ, and an inflamed pink raised left forehead. I was in serious pain for hours waiting. It was all I could do to keep myself conscious. I cradled myself in meditation. Though conservatively.
Much later I saw the dermatologist upstairs who knew some English. He took a look and diagnosed me with shingles. He asked if I had had smallpox as kid---to which I was bewildered. I realized, กฐOh---chickenpox?กฑ He said, กฐYes.กฑ I said I had. He told me that they were the same virus. He told me it was likely that the shingles was triggered by fatigue. He prescribed several medications, including antivirals and painkillers. I also saw an ophthalmologist who prescribed me eyedrops. Altogether, I spent about nearly 400,000 Won. After all was finished, and my aching, half-there golem of a trudging self was led from department to department and even within departments by an 18 year old volunteer for little tests, as if I were a tired little boy following his nanny from attraction to attraction at the kidsกฏ fair, I finally got my medications and scheduled an appointment for next week---so I am stuck here in Seoul for another week, survive I through the nights. The amount I have spent was an unexpected expense and now other costs will build upon it. I do not know what this will mean for my unicycle plans. It may well compromise the finer points of my quest---so I shall have to stick to some basic challenges and forgo others. I may therefore get to Israel faster than thought then. Which is best anyway.
It is about time. It has occurred to me HaShem is showing me something---which H-E always does---but in this case---quite frankly.
This morning I had to retrieve my passport with its newly issued L Visa back to China from the little agency in the Chinese Embassy enclave. The left side of my forehead was crusted with yellow-golden anti-manna, perhaps manna for bacteria and was inflamed red and risen up, my skin the consistency of a Persian rug. My eye was naturally winked shut. I had to struggle to open it. I showered and washed off the crust and other nastiness. I dried off and applied anti-bacterial cream topically.
I felt pretty unwell, and my head ached like a carrierกฏs hull cracking on the high seas, the waters of the deep, fizzling and shorting the electronics of the pumping machinery. I covered the left side of my face with the length of my hair and placed my black hat over my yarmulke. I went to the internet cafจฆ to check out more on shingles and its relation to genital herpes---they are not the same virus---though of the same family. I thought I knew this---but was feeling paranoid---not that I have had sexual relations in the longest time anyway, Nazir as I am. I sent an email to Emoh and chatted with Masha in real time for a few mintues, seeing with one eye only. Often mistyping. I realized I might be infectious and should not be typing. Masha told me to come home---Feng our Chinese friend from Suzhou at VCU had gotten shingles around her graduation and her boyfriend Bobby had nursed her for a month. Masha said, back home, there are people to care for me, my mother---and she, Masha, is a few houses away. I said if my condition should get worse I might consider it.
I took the subway, avoiding contact with people. I went from Itaewon and changed lines at Yaksu. I got off at Chungmuro. I got my passport and visa, no problem. Just feeling terrible inside, though acting as normal as possible outside---save for the hair cascading over one side of my face.
In Yaksu station there were some books in Hangeul for sale. One was a little volume which read, กฐTalmudกฑ. At the Catholic hospital yesterday, there was a childrenกฏs book in the waiting room which was based on the Jewish folkloric classic of the poor man who lives with his large family in a one room hut and he asks the rabbi how to better the bickering and family struggles---the rabbi tells him to bring his poultry in the hut, next his goat, and then his cow; finally the rabbi tells him to remove the animals from the hut---that night there was no bickering or family struggle, and everyone soundly dlept that blessed night. I have a headache quite uncommon skull-cracking and กฐintraneuricกฑ and must stop typing for my life.
O so กฐAZNกฑ Seoul
Land of my shingles; mine eye
Plant matter, dirt, sedกฏment are
My bod on this bed.
Sickbedling! Thy shingles turn
Thee to primal stuff.
And I am imprisoned here:
A Myth of Commodity
Lie that uses People.
My eye has reopened though pink & slit
My left forehead a scarlet Afghan rug
Jeweled with scabs & crust-gilded
I can see again as if Iกฏd been blind
A walking cyclops these Seoul days
My left eye swollen shut
Now reopened both eyes now seeing
O Seoul shingles what fit are thee
That thou epicize thyself & bepetty me?
The other day, before the extent of my shingles had become oh so apparent, grislifying my face to Hunchback of Notre Dame proportions, desymmetrizing it to make Blakeกฏs Tygerกฏs กฐFearful Symmetryกฑ shudder in disgust, I was beckoned of Central Asian brown hand and curious, but weary face to enter a cell phone shop as I walked by. Before entering the shop, I peered behind me to make sure the shopkeeper had not been motioning to someone else.
There was no one. I entered the shop and the Pakistani accosted me. Do I need a phone? Where am I from? Europe?
I told him America, but my family is originally from Israel. His face was priceless. A mix of chagrin and despair. I wanted to use a phone to make a local call. He let me use the shop phone. He looked at me suspiciously, but would not let me pay. I shook his hand. I pray I did not expose him to shingles. I had not broken out yet in the apparent fixings at that point. I am amazed by the propaganda ciculating about Israel around the world, and especially in the Middle East and in countries with any Muslim presence. Israel has committed great evils as a Modern State---some of which were unavoidable unless the Jews should listen to the world at that time and just submit to be, as Artaudกฏd out it, be กฐsuicided.กฑ Why Jews would you not just submit to be กฐsuicided!?กฑ So, lo! It is observed that so many from the Middle East and Muslim Countries believe กฐIsraelisกฑ which can include กฐJewsกฑ in some less fine conceptions in my experience to be like suspect imps or sinister Jinns on the loose. That, at least, is how I am eyed.
I have spent nights and days whole without leaving this tiny room in Itaewon, Seoul, Korea. Three reasons compel it. 1. To keep exposure of this plaguelet to others as low as possible (though I have to venture out for food and a modicum of sunlight for a few minutes some days---the scabs have not been crusting yellow lately, so for the time being I think my contagiousness is lower---I try to hand over money as discreetly as I can in low contact),
2. To medicate myself in dead rest and bedridden whiling, Hitpalalti mitakhat laRofe Kol Basar meMitah haZoh.
3. To follow to the T the doctorกฏs orders (as it is said, I shanกฏt live in a town without a physician) concerning this strict regiment of the administering of medications to neutralize this unhappy scourge Shingles; venturing out, if I were able, might compromise the timely taking of proper pills and application of creams.
One thing I have really come to feel great pride in as an American since I have been in China these two years---for all the sick apathy and base inaptitudes that have infected the American pioneering spirit through capital and rising ease of commodity---
Is the fact that even the กฐrich kidsกฑ back in the States are liable to learn a moral lesson about the poor and the suffering at some point, because of the freer flow of information. In China, the rich kids are highly unlikely to ever be exposed to even the concept of poverty. In fact, it has been kept from them quite purposely---by their parents, their schooling, and the regime for reasons of purity and กฐharmonyกฑ. Even in the deepest recesses of the apathy of the deteriorated dream of the American Dream, there is a thread that runs through the sinews of every American and it makes men who are more than likely to tell a story with a moral around a campfire to his children and woman who are more than likely to tell their child a wise advice before wending off to school with their friends---even be they rich fu$#s.
In China, the trend of feeling that exploitation is more or less doable because of its กฐinevitabilityกฑ is abysmally deep-seated in the Sinitic psyche---which allows for the exploiters to exploit without question the exploited who let themselves be exploited without question. The กฐright thing to doกฑ is all too often crippled by the cultural need to กฐsave faceกฑ or preserve กฐsocial harmonyกฑ at all costs.
Whereas, what I now love about America is that the กฐright thing to doกฑ all too often cripples กฐsaving faceกฑ and the กฐsocial harmonyกฑ only to better it through reconstructive alienation.
Now it is not proper to needlessly embarrass others. However, it is proper for lessons to embarrass others INTERNALLY just so much that they might change their unbecoming ways for future social harmony. In China, there are rebels, but they are brutally suppressed---beaten, arrested, กฐvanishedกฑ without a trace, imprisoned for years in solitary, and outright executed. The officials who order and allow for this conduct are rarely if ever questioned, much less censured.
In America this is also true---but the public is much more likely to suspect its politicians as criminals rather than, as in China, to take for granted that its politicians are epic heroes of the Nation that were appointed by the Mandate of Heaven even though their very regime says, Khas veKhalilah elef alfey Peh, กฐg-d is deadกฑ.
Here I am stuck with shingles in Itaewon, Seoul, Korea over Korean New Year. There is a whole local television channel dedicated to delivering Korean Buddhist teachings---largely in English---in which a highly derisive-sounding American narrates over images of nature, กฐI prostrate in repentance for all that I have thought in I-my-me mindกฑ and like mantras. Some of the mantras advise environmentalism, which is greatly commendable. However, this revilism of กฐattachmentกฑ and the regard of this world as an illusion I find to be an infantile and primitive cop out.
Buddhism has many great teachings concerning Bittul---especially as relates to NOT following the heart, as so many folk faiths continually command. But attachment to worldly things insofar as doing so is in the service of the unworldly---this is righteous. Desire can teach one the woldlyกฏs desire for the unworldly and the unworldlyกฏs desire for the worldly. This world may be an illusion, but that does not make it unreal, or any less a reality. We must learn the rules of this illusion AS IF it were a fully authentic reality and thus may be released the unworldly from the hiding places in the worldly. We must take on the worldly for the sake of the unworldly. For we cannot properly reach the unworldly through renunciation of the worldly---for this will reveal only the most basic of mysteries. We can reach the unworldly through the worldly and quite properly, and this will reveal even the deepest of mysteries.
Take breathing. Breathing is not to be regarded as a functional illusion, but as a necessarily misunderstood reflection of a deeper secret of aerobic biotica. Furthermore, it is indicative of the exchange between G-D and Man of Nature as a loved and valuable creation, which Man has been charged with by G-D to care after, as with himself as Nature. Breathing is the breath that G-D gave Adam and Khavvah and who knows who ere the Beth,
But also the interconnectedness of Nature and Creation with itself---for as Man and Beast breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, plant and algae กฐbreathe inกฑ carbon dioxide and กฐbreathe outกฑ oxygen. No illusion is merely an illusion, no matter how deceptive. It is always a metaphor for the mastermind behind it.
Many experts today say that when we see a good-looking person we associate him or her with good attributes. Not me; when I see a good-looking person I immediately suspect him or her. This evens things out. One should actually treat people equally regardless of look---but suspecting the pretty is a veritable device---as the pretty are likely to be cradled and spoiled by life and the people who have peopled it, at least moreso than the ugly or the average, and this leads to a certain self-entitlement and like idiocy. Suspect the pretty, but do not give unquestioning impunity to the ugly. For the ugly develop great tactics for manipulating their fortune for the better. All men of any look are guilty of sins. And many men of any look are righteous of deed. Do not judge someone based on looks, but if you do, suspect, rather than let.
For one who is ugly but good---his goodness will soon shine through his ugliness and make him handsome; one who is beautiful but bad---his badness will soon black-out his beauty and make him ugly. These are the outcomes of suspecting, rather than letting, based on looks. As for the ugly and bad and the beautiful and good, they too shall be suspected and prove their true quality. For no thing is reliable untested. And no man.
To ride the metro
By city and by country
I have ridden thus in:
D.C., NYC, Boston,
& Nawlinsกฏ Trolley
I walked down the station steps
In Buenos Aires,
London, Paris, and
Athens, Beijing, Hong Kong and
[now add Tokyo Metro & the Busan Metro]
Koreaกฏs Kawaii all-placed
Just less than Japan.
Mascot for grim, stony-faced
TV ads blast these
Adorable liกฏl ditties
Food wrappers, bottles
They are hued cute with flowers
And little kittens.
Hang, Kawaii is Queen
Confucian plus Altaic
The Horizon is
The Smile of all Outer Space
Earthกฏs roundness its frown.
Letกฏs going, Letกฏs gone
กฐGet thee to russet cavesกฑ said
Jack Kerouac back.
Terraform, Man! Haste!
Gardens of solar systems
Plant! Germ our future!
Build! Great Space Arks engineer!
Ready your gear! Now!
Man your stations! Energies
Harness star as horse
Planetary system as
Letกฏs make the great weight
Motion or a grain.
Letกฏs crack Time, Space code
Subspace a Metro.
Why move Earthling race?
Irremovable ball from
Chinese Lionกฏs mouth?
Our so carbon, watery
Legacy since birth?
Why? It is in the
Blood, in the DNA swirl;
To Emulate G-D.
Lehitmogeg Et Daกฏat
Eich Qashah Ahavah.
MY voice crying out floss-skinny beam
Hurling กฎcross thกฏUniverse lonely pin
Struggling back up the quicksand trap
Knuckle oกฏer knuckle, grains stinging กฎtween/
The Quicksand trap of History
& sunk legacy,Wrecks of treasure& waste
My voice clawing back up the pit A man now long-dead Speaking to you
This Alphasmart 3000 Keyboard has it
Reached the memory banks, the archives
Of your starship, are you reading this or other literatures higher than this dross on planets or habitoids other than Earth 1? Keep knowledge, even which knowledge seems a nuisance to keep; store these treasure chests of the memory of all that came before you in data crystals, encode it into the programming of Forever.
My Shingles-swollen eye is still pink and its upper lid stretched---but it is seeing again and almost full openable. Even for quirk of spasm and blurriness.
My throat feels dry and hardened---perhaps this is a side-effect of one of the medications I am taking. I strummed a dulcetragic chord-song on my ukulele in this claustrophobic Seoul rented den. I had a fantasy that I had healed and made my way at length to Goa, India and had come in with an Israeli goa trance master DJ and a loinclothกฏd Indian fakir, serengi virtuoso, and we recorded strange fusion hits in the กฐกฏHinduกฏ Complexityกฑ of India-na and the กฐHealthy Squalorกฑ of the anthropocosmological sprawl of it all.
Inspiration or Revelation is much like
A tickle or an itch on the skin, only it is felt in the folds of the brain or in the convolutions of the mind; & the the only way to satisfyingly scratch is to write, paint, dance, sing, build,
Film, record, sculpt,pray, preach, teach, learn, love.
Here in the night, Itaewon, Seoul, Korea, on TV, as I am trying to recover from a bad case of shingles, there is a tourism special on Cambodia, which country, incidentally, I had been planning to visit imminently---and hopefully Ryan Eisely, my friend in Shenyang would show up. The show highlights the stay of a young American couple as they are guided by a young Cambodian lady tour guide. When they showed the Killing Fields and a survivor who is now a caretaker of a museum of the Pol Potกฏs Cambodian genocide, the caretaker was weeping---and I thought of what I knew of this Holocaust and burst into tears; the lady tour guide was choked up and said she wanted to move on and that she was proud to be a Cambodian. I burst into further tears and wept. Tears are falling from my eyes right now as I type. How do we do these horrible things to each other? I do not ask กฐWhyกฑ! I f&**ing want to know how!
How one man will raise up his hand to pull the trigger & defather a son,
Release the gas & demother a daughter,
How does the brain tell the fingers?
How does the heart cry กฐEnd his life!กฑ
Some time ago, before I had become more properly Shomer-Shabbat, though I still have many shortcomings in this sector, as I am a writer who gets actual itches on the flesh of his brain, writing to scratch, I am compelled. To write a very short note once, I placed a pen, tip wallwards, between my knees as I sat, and squeezed my knees tight. I OUIJA Boarded a scrap of paper around in the shape of letters to write the note. I henceforth regard this act as breaking Shabbat. It has been stated by some that non-permanent writing is permissible---such as with ink which disappears in 3 days. I once placed toothpicks in the shapes of Hebrew letters on the floor to write a note on Shabbat. These are questionable acts.
However, it is worthwhile exploring what it allowable and what is not on Shabbat that we do not Khas veShalom hurt HaShemกฏs expectations with the Modern Age, but rather fulfill them.
Once I plucked a rose
For my true love and it said
กฐYour days are numbered.กฑ
So much of my hard-earned money away!
Work-a-day wage & pay wasting away!
Pining to be out of Shenyang away!
From the nouveau riche imbeciles away!
Why is it worth it though closer!
Because it was a dream closer!
Korea & Japan, singulars so closer!
Devour my 2 yearsกฏ savings even closer!
In my tiny mew,
Spacelet nigh unwalkable,
Room only for a bed and TV,
With a minifridge under the latter,
I have founded my own personal Sanatorium.
That is why it is worth it.
Money is a small price to pay for Health.
Brushing off depth for
Wing-clips welfareกฏs dove.
Turn minds to mush & stewed glop
& vast fan out Pain.
Spirit of lightness
In all things heavy, spider
That eats fly alive.
I have spent my 2nd Shabbos alone here in this tiny Seoul motel closet of a room, convalescing from these shingles.
I take the pills and spread the cream,
And say brachot even over those. My eye left eye is open, but pink and its vision is blurry, like peering through cloud forests. I prayed as best I could in pain and exhaustion with my Siddur.
I studied Torah Parashah and Mishnah commentaries on Yaกฏaqov, Rakhel & Leah---though I am out of proper order with the rest of weekly Jewry world-wide.
I am very impressed again by its not being กฎthe way of the Torah to moralizeกฏ on events directly, but to show the consequences of morally questionable acts in peopleกฏs lives down the line. I am thankful for the Torah. An American who claims his brother is Jewish, who runs a taco joint across the street and whom I met the other day with my hair covering one side of my face, he knew I was Jewish and said I could make a deal with his restaurant so I would not have to pay for food on Shabbat. I did not accept, but was thankful for his decency. He said there is a synagogue on the local American army base. When I ran into him tonight after Havdalah at the market, he was surprised I was still in town. I had not left for China. I told him I had had a rash on my face and was waiting for a doctorกฏs appointment---hence my half-covered face. He said it makes me look very strange. I agreed and said it was not how I would like to walk about in public. He said he had thought it was a rebellion of mine as a Jew within my religion. Perhaps he hit upon something deep within me, but it isnกฏt my hair which is the Tabernacle of my rebellion.
Is patriotic nationalism
A matter of mere convention
Or does the obligation to Group
Have a universal moral basis?
Well, an obnoxious WASP prof
Holds forth from Mahogany at Harvard
Wet in thกฏeyebath of spoiled undergrads & speaks of Justice like its Civil Law.
The Group and the Nation, the
Family and the Clan are necessary
Nodes in an Anastomy of Agreements and Contentions in the Neural Network of
The Brains of all Realities in the polybrane multiverse inside and กฐunderกฑ
BeMeกฏayei Beit HaMiqdash Shlomo
Haitah HaSod Bein Avraham UVein
Yitzkhaq BaYom HaกฏAqedah BaHar
Yihyeh Keกฏev BeYirกฏat Shamayim
Madaกฏei Yahadut Bimei Kol Toladot
Ki HaMussar SheMeshaneh Kol Raกฏ Tov
Hu Lo Qal, Hu Qasheh.
Once a man stepped out
Of a time machine: From the
Future made of Dreams.
What is the case change context
The meaningless mean.
Rather blurry sight
In my left eye from Shingles;
กฐScarsกฑ are sexy, right?
As I grow older
Out in these far off lands my
Body slowly goes.
Head I like Jacob
To Paddan-Aram to find
A bride กฎmidst my kin?
Will I like him be
Blest, look back a gramps grateful
What he dreamt in Luz.
Morning, good morning
More we meet, old friend, old foe
Shake hands or draw guns.
Parent- & spouse- hood shirker
Lifetime hide & seek.
Guilt is Justice inwards;
Comeuppance is Justice outwards.
Templar largesse, stuffed with tastes
Deep-fried shell, beans, cheese.
Texas your mother
& Mexico your father
Filling mouths content.
In Seoul, I watched The Book Of Eli
On television. It was in English.
It is the story of a black man wandering Westwards in a post-Apocalyptic America. He has a กฐbookกฑ in his possession, which he reads over and over again. He feels that a voice spoke to him telling him to go West to deliver its message. Apparently, many such books were destroyed. It turns out the book is a King James Bible. Later, it seems to be in Braille. The man meets Mila Kunis on the road West. Many desperate men are fought against for dear life. Finally, the two reach San Francisco and Alcatraz, where there is a small colony dedicated to restarting civilization. There are กฐantiquesกฑ records and a library. The man dictates from memory the King James Bible as a white-haired fellow writes down every word. It is committed to a newly set up old printing press. At the end of the film, the newly printed Bible is placed on a shelf in the room full of กฐantiquesกฑ---next to several other volumes whose titles could be made out.
I could see in English, กฐThe Torahกฑ to the left and a กฐTaNaกฏกฏKhกฑ in Hebrew further to the left and a กฐHoly Quranกฑ to the right. Tears came to my eyes
And shivers to my body. The folds my my brain expanding like clouds across the sky.
Today, with my hazy eye, I staggered a haggard sickling amidst the weary losses of awareness and comings to of my ragged convalescence back to St. Maryกฏs Hospital, Gangnam, Seoul, Korea.
The ophthalmologist re-examined my eye and said the pinkness of the white of the eye and blurriness of sight would better with time and that the eye was not infiltrated by herpes zoster and is thus intact. The dermatologist took a look at my dried shingles, saying they would fall off within the week, but scars will remain and neuralgia may persist for weeks or months; otherwise, I am returning to health nicely and am free to resume my travels any time I wish. I sent many emails from a local internet cafจฆ, letting my worried Emoh know the doctorsกฏ words. Rivkah tells me over and over to come to Israel and meet her. She will return to the States soon. I posted two video clips on Youtube and one on Amoshimasha.blogspot.com of me teaching the 3 year olds Mei Mei and Shun Shun in Shenyang, China---the kids laughing hysterically at my interactive antics, as they pull on me and tell me, กฐSit down, baby!กฑ and I instigate a กฐfollow the leaderกฑ game around the room including the children, their mothers, and myself. Elfin, who is filming, is giggling at the cuteness in the background. Surfing for information about Saigyo, the great Waka poet, & Matsuo Basho, Kobayashi Issa, Buson, & Masaoka Shiki, the great Haiku poets, whose work has influenced me deeply years, Saigyo being the man who helped save my life during Loveกฏs Apocalypse, HaQayitz HaRatzkhani, Spring-Summer, 2006, Richmond, Virginia, after Chanson-de-Dzhess and I broke up and moved to separate apartments---she relocating in The Fan with her sister and I to the ghetto of Lakeview. I bought Saigyo and read it. I wrote a note in it, bookmarking it with my heart, and slipped it through a slot in her door.
The haiku poets I used to dreamily read in summers long ago, watching ants crawl across the sun-sparkling cementage of the sidewalk in Lorton, Virginia, in high school, and I read Jack Kerouacกฏs Pomes All Sizes in all my classes, & the Big Sur Haiku Beats.
Later, I developed the Haikishu
(กฎ-ish-กฎ infixed into กฎhaikuกฏ) to write The Alexandriaed (or กฐA Poem for Dzhessyeกฑ) and The Dzhesuiaed, both to be joined in one eventually, linking Haikishu after Haikishu into กฐepishicกฑ poetics. I finally found out, after various searches on lonely Shenyang working nights under blankets alone, who invented the Hebrew post-Haiku form the กฐKimoกฑ, RoกฏI กฐChickyกฑ Arad, which is also 3 lines, at 10-7-6 syllables per line, respectively. Earlier, I went to a travel agency, where I booked a ferry from Pusan, Korea in the far South of the country, to Fukuoka, Japan. I have to take the Seoul metro to the Bus Terminal tomorrow and take a bus to Pusan. BeEzrat HaShem, I will be in Edo (Tokyo), by the 10th for Shabbat.
LeAnshei Kokhavim Holekh HaOr
Khoshvim Makhshavot Or.
The trees are screaming
In broad gales of awful night
Get away from me!
Episode of unfit ties
The sun womped quite out
Womp was the deafกฏning, numbing
Sound it made dying.
Once a frozen lake
Wintry flapped wings of aged drakes
Whynกฏt ye flown South!?
Why, kind-to-ask sir,
We are all but too old now
This is our funeral.
Hey Guilt you blame me;
Hey Comeuppance you punish;
Hey Justice make just!
Let go damn-mounted
Criminal to do more bad.
Waka and Haiku
Enflamed my youth; Iกฏll pay my
Respects in Japan.
O Basho in your
กฐOku No Hosomichiกฑ*
I wallow like pigs.
*1 กฎNarrow Road to the Deep Northกฏ,
Bashoกฏs seminal work
You are my shadow which follows me---even when the lights go out you join me again.
-a love declaration I suggested to Sonya of Texas when she was writing an กฐ8 month anniversaryกฑ card for her boyfriend; Sylvia of Shenyang, flirty rich girl, but who later showed some emotional substance liked it---it being very unusual for her to show earnest feelings, being as ironic as she was in the habit of being.
-Seoul, Feb. 2011-2-19---
Rainy, grey-skied town
Only three long metro lines
Mist breathed in Busan.
Hellishly itchy on my scalp and forehead from Shingles, though the swelling has gone down. I have spontaneous กฐshootingกฑ itches in the affected area. Of course, as is commonly reported for shingles, the affected area also กฎfeels like somebody elseกฏs skinกฏ. I took the bus from Seoul to Busan in less than 5 hours. It was rainy and misty and cool. The steep green mountainlets were misty heaps in the foggy distance. Great verdant hills with gnarled, wavy-grown trees of the กฐOrientalกฑ look that Orientalists dream rose on the hay-hued agriplains like huge walruses surfacing from the deeps.
Now in a 30,000 Won motel room in Busan. Terribly shingles-itchy and empained. The irritation lives in the itch. Sometimes, the itch is within the area where it กฎfeels like somebody elseกฏs skinกฏ---so it is somewhat numb to scratch. The responsive areas are too aggravated to be itched the more.
Itching wounds. Tomorrow in the early morning, the ferry for Fukuoka, Japan departs. And hopefully with me on it.
Great Heavens, in time, lift this itch!
Disembind me from the slithering itchiness of electric serpentlets swirling in orgiastic snakepits beneath my shingly shudders.
Wow, Busan, Korea is blindingly weird.
I went out into the alley from this inn to get something to eat. There is Cyrillic everywhere, covering signs up like ivy over building-sides. Russians speaking hurriedly in the lit-up shadows under lamps on the white-slabbed walk. Filipinitas ask me to come inside their little shops to chat and have a cold beer, but I politely decline even as they insist. I cannot tell if this is just a Filipino mercantile-social protocol, or some kind of restaurant-front trick-turning.
I went into a 7-11 in my shingles-bother, just wanting to be in and out. Some mini-bananas to eat. An old woman with a shrill, cartoonish voice whined continually from a perch on the floor of the 7-11. A street urchin kind of young man accosted me oddly---in that กฐWhat, Iกฏm innocentกญกฑ sort of way that only bad hustlers have time to perfect, and as I got real used to in Latin America. He kept involuntarily rolling his tongue in bizarre frontal-dorsal spasms as he spoke to me in Korean. He said, กฐHungry.กฑ So, I handed him a bill from my pocket. Later, I saw him working behind the register. I quietly put my items down and left the store, because I felt freaked out by the weirdness in that shop---it made me very uneasy. The people were laughing at me too. What a strange place, this Buson.
Only a world away from
The cosmic penance
Of a simple goofy smile
Yields her forgiveness.
Were your passions pulled
From stock, rote, copy, & pretense?---
Who feels sacchกฏrinelyกญ
Zombified sissy of Sense
Who lives กฎSweet & Lowกฏ.
Were Las Vegas
With Edo together mixed
Slot machine haikus.
Pop-easy Earth floats
A lonely bubble against
Lonelier black space.
China girls say: กฐWeird!กฑ
Korea girls stay quiet.
Japan girls: Nothingกญ
I lived in your womb
Dirty whore Shenyang, my queen;
Thighs stained with my birth.
I have grown up
From mod Seoul to wet Busan;
Grow old in Nippon.
Let me retire in
Laos, India, Kazakhstan;
Die in Israel.
Meditate on a
Grain of minute desert sand
From which winds shape mounts.
Weary soldier War
Fighting on shines your boots black
The rest of you red.
I recall how Masha and I used to parody what we, in America, understood of Japanese fusion pop culture---one party at her house I calligraphied a theme sign of my voice character กฐMr. Yamamotoกฑ---whom I thought might be a Japanese game show host---saying กฐHappy Happy Yes Yes No No Timeกฑ---a silly, bizarre rendition of Japanese English, better known as กฐEngrishกฑ. Now these years later after oh so bold and audacious youth, I head to Japan tomorrow an old man. To justify or embarrass my youthful dreams of it.
Hineni. Here I am. Lounging relaxed, freshly showered and soapกฏd & shampooกฏd, in a light bathrobe, no socks and no shoes, loafing in a bone-floatingly soft chair, my feet propped up on a plush footrest, in The Akasaka Capsule Inn in Tokyo. It has been a little dream of mine to one day stay the night at a capsule hotel in Japan. & here I am. Doing it. I can barely believe it---after so many years of foolishly daydreaming, here I am living dreams the days. The atmosphere is so tightly relaxed, for it is pensive, but it is still Japanese, it is as if todayกฏs capsule hotel is odd heir to the old กฐFloating Worldกฑ of Edo. Here overstressed businessmen and test-crammed youth can come to steam off and get some respite from their sociopersonal hells of unrest and ever-swallowed smiles and tears left uncried, if never dried. Sometimes the patrons are so drunk they are too confused or embarrassed to go home to their families the evening, so stay at a capsule hotel to sober up, others come just to relieve themselves from the unalleviability of the giant pressure cooker that is Japanese schooling, working, and social life, if only for a few sweet, syrupy-slow hours of basky repose. Check-in is at 17:00. Check-out is at 10:00. The actual capsules themselves are stacked in twos in long rows in rooms on most floors of this 8 floor establishment. Most of oneกฏs belongings are kept in separate lockers. In this lounge, it is all quiet except for a big TV. One fellow sits back comfortably reading a novel. Another is complacently flipping through an Anime graphic novelette with his feet kingly up on a plush pedestal. All of us are dressed in light blue robes. & it appears to be frequented by men only hereabouts.
This morning I left Busan, Korea on the ferry to Fukuoka, Japan---taking the lightly-peopled Busan Metro only one stop. The ferry was a bumpy ride, but swift. The professionally dressed staff bowed to us departing passengers, continuously smiling and waving from the dock, three abreast. So different from China, where staff would not be caught bowing a pinky to you (that said, in China, a lot more can be gotten away with and there is an innate humor in the everyday). Arriving in Japan, the roughest of dockmen bowed nobly before us. At immigration, we newcome scoundrels had to give our fingerprints on high tech touch screens and submit to an auto-mugshot if we wished not to be immediately deported from Japan by the authorities. The immigration lady gave me an unusually hard time, asking me for proof of onward travel and all that madness. The customs man was polite, but made me unpack everything. He even saw my drawings for kids classes back in China---to his amusement. I took the bus through Fukuoka to the train station, amazed to see palm trees swaying in rows along promenades. Before getting off the bus, the driver wanted me to pay a few hundred Yen of extra coins.
I fished through my pockets, only bringing up Korean Won. He just waited patiently, other passengers waiting to ride. In most countries I have been in, the driver would just wave me on, after a few seconds of my nervous fishing for small change, and let me off with some sorry excuse for a disclaimer & a tip of the hat. This time however, no cigar. Getting money changed at the bank, I had to sign papers and submit my passport; they even asked me the address of my final destination in Japan. I was surprised to see that the Japanese were such shticklers TO FOREIGNERS---namely because, I had been told foreigners get a way with a lot that locals do not. This has certainly been my experience in China---and in Korea to a degree.
Japan, however, it is true, has long been isolationist in aesthetic, if not in praxis. So, I can see how foreigners might be treated strictly---if they are to be here at all. กฐThey really wanna be here? Fine; then do as we do---or at least do as we sayกฑ. I have ridden the Tokyo Metro all over. It is กฐjellyfish tentaclesกฑ if I ever saw such a subway set-up. I rode it like the louse the Lionกฏs mane. My scalp is itchy like mad and my forehead is irritated, from the กฐafterglowกฑ of shingles. I am finally in Japan, from half-hoped wonders in high school in Alexandria, Virginia---to beer-bubbled worknights in Manzhouli, China, itching To Be In (not just กฐseeกฑ) more of the beast Asia, high on isolation like nowhere and neverelse before. Japan is an astoundingly beautiful country. Verdant tree-veiled hillocks rise suddenly from low wetlands and gingko-darkened miniFujis from flat honey-colored fields. The bullet train shot a shell through my wallet. & the shrapnelกฏll surely roll & rivel like debt in banks of my gut for years to come. Over 21,000 Yen. Thatกฏs a 4th of my monthsกฏ pay in Shenyang.
This first night in Japan, I find myself missing Korea, & moreover, China. Not that the feeling wonกฏt pass, as I acclimatize to this bewilderingly pop-trad Nipponaea. Lastly, a stripe of clear tear blipped like an object on a radar screen down my cheek from my left eye, reflecting on its watery, saline skin a mythological-looking landscape of honey-colored fields giving way to sudden uprisings of verdant tree-veiled mountlets, with smallish, quaint wooden houses dotting the foothills like cutish freckles the cheeks of summerกฏs perfect girl. & what was it? The beautiful scenery---for it is a fact some sensitive Yefeh-Nefesh is liable to get all teary-eyed at mere topography---no---not just this.
In fact, Matisyahuกฏs กฐJerusalemกฑ was playing in my ear. กฐJerusalem if I forget you, let my right hand forget what itกฏs supposed to do.กฑ As the train sped in protracted, undefinable leaps and untrackable bounds forward on the tracks, and all of us aboard went about our separate business like ants, but to some great, unknown togethrant culmination of work, & the Pure Land drove back behind us, I remembered Yisraกฏel and especially Yerushalayim.
& even more especially how I need to get there. A Menorah within a Magen David impressed in deep impressions on my scarlet heart, like a Seal on an urgent envelope forged in steaming red wax.
Drab stress relaxกฏd out
Condensing awall like drops---
This Capsule Hotel.
Silent Siren sings
For such sullen sailors us;
Exhausteds, come near!
We want thee right here
People our enchanted isle
Freshly showerกฏd clean---
Soft zephyrs blowdry thine hairs!---
Yet soilกฏd with our curseกญ
Thy fervent, loving
Stare, statuesque devotion
Itกฏs too much to bear.
So, why dontcha jist
Pay us up ye street-come freaks
Whose ears crave our song!
With Things and the ironic
Knowledge itกฏs Conceit.
Dry-cleaned dream of Pop
Jack-In-The-Box music box
-Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 10, 2011, capsule hotel in the Akasaka area. ---
January 11, 2011. I slept in a capsule last night, comfortably enough; though ever since shingles became me, I have not slept soundly. At check-out time, I cleared out. Hazy in my left-eye, I hobbled down clean, classy streets past upscale cafes, noodle bars, and chic sushi retreats. I came across a branch of the Bank of China---which oddly, in my aching, lonesome heart---called like a beacon to me. The doorman greeted me, กฐNi Hao!กฑ---I was nigh overcome with emotion. I waited for over an hour to get my Chinese Yuan changed to Japanese Yen. The teller spoke to me in Chinese, after seeing I was able to write my name and the address of my hotel in legible Hanzi. It felt a balm on my sore, frotted, scraped, and chafed existence. I was supremely concerned, in a very child-like fear, how would I reserve a bus ticket---which I needed to do if I were to avoid riding the Shikansen again---the exorbitant bullet train. I trudged back to the capsule hotel, already closed to patrons for the day hours; though the desk clerks remained. They looked through a phone book for me and gave me a number to call---which was certainly considerate.
However, in other countries clerks would not hesitate to pick up the phone and enquire on my behalf in their fluent mastery of native tongue. I called the number from a payphone. One fellow happened to speak a little English & I was able to book a bus ticket from Tokyo to Fukuoka on Sunday.
I got terribly lost on the Tokyo metro today, hours and hours spent trying to free myself from the tangles of these green, red, and purple lines. I finally found my way and visited---after a strain of will---the tiny, modest Basho Museum near the river. I viewed original manuscripts and scrawled Hanji. I could understand very little---but was able to pick up bits and pieces from the minute Japanese I know and the slightly better understanding of Hanzi, I have. I could understand something concerning: mountain, water, moon and land. & the Japanese syllabulogram กฐNoกฑ---to be a possessive particle. I felt very happy and strange to be standing there amidst the memories of Basho, that tremendous poet of old. To see relics, his personal affects, his scrawled haikus on yellowed books in glass cases, was a mystery and a blessing to me.
All alone in this capsule hotel lounge, here a second night. The memories of loved ones in the Americas haunt me in a tight space, & I am stripped of defense or excuse for my being so away.
O Fevered Tokyo thou clutchest me in thy crazed zest camouflaged as reserved
Intent behind unrevealing Altaio-Malay blood. Or Sinitic as say the Chinese?
Thou feedest me to the warped fist of thy claws and drivest me in the tautness of that grasp, haltingly & heavingly respiring, bolting past Reason, to crown the glory of thy push, resting on the Laurels of the Faith in Nation. A throne that only plummets when the clouds clear from beneath it.
Wet, white cloud of most
Green mount---cotton on spinach,
Drops of milk on grass.
Basho, inspired brush,
Thou sawกฏst the swift, sharp lightning
Of the mere Spider.
Nippon, misty isle
Of honey-hued fields, green mounts
Precious beads strung on.
Staying for many days at this Akasaka Capsule Hotel, venturing out into Tokyo via the subway after mandatory check-out at 10 AM, the hardened scabs of the shingles on my forehead dessicated to cornflakes, detached, and fell off, and made a muscly meal for the unseen, but teeming, swarming, salivating scavengers of the microus world. The affected area is terribly itchy still and occasionally stings. I donกฏt scratch, but dig my fingernails into my scalp until I command myself not to a second longer, gathering the fallen hairs from my face, as I had sunk my head in the horror of the itch-scratch pleasure-torture. I spent one day at the Nezu neighborhood Tokyo public library---viewing picture encyclopoedias in my quasi-feverish discomfort from shingles recovery. Understanding the slightest gist of some of the simpler Chinese characters amidst the senseless spell of Katakana and Hirigana, peering at entries in my shingly misery, I was bitterly comforted in my diseased state. Somehow, I found it in me to write some Haikishus---one of the main objectives of mine in visiting Japan finally; after these years of only imagining. They are as follows, as I wrote them, in that small public library, that rainy, then slightly snowy, February day in Tokyo in 2011:
Haikishus inspired by an Insect Picture Encyclopoedia in the Nezu-neighborhood public library Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 13, 2011, ere Shabbos.
Low, dense rain cloud, you
Look about ready to dive
And bellyflop Earth.
Pretty red flower
Bees fly in & out of you,
Teens the Burger Joint.
Glow blue jewels---like gem-snatching
Hands---Splash! Feet plop in!
Two butterflies crashed;
A mid-air collide---flew from
Swing their swarthy, dripping arms
Through stalks like windmills.
Ant on dewy leaf----Meanกฏst thou
To take on Nature?
Bugs that look like leaves?
How many of you have I
Tossed in my salad?
Once I cast a die
Snake Eyes; I rolled again---a
Ladybug flew off!
1. One caterpillar
Didnกฏt become butterfly
And cried---till wings grew.
2. One caterpillar
Didnกฏt become butterfly
But a tear I cried.
You look like a 4-legged
Banana tree trot!
Principle is a
Love that disagrees with thกฏHeart
Agrees with the Hands.
Winds of tiredness blew
Rains of resignation pourกฏd
Sun on calmness rose.
An old man snores high
Sitting, newspaper in hands,
In this library.
These grey men Japan
Statly gentry New Edo
Fidget & let him.
MEMORY OF MEXICO, 2003
El Templo Del Sol
Climbed up, held my knees, did
Cumin & Masala
Gangbang me some gram.
Life is peopled by
Demons & spirited by
Coeurกฏge to defeat them.
Freckles on pale cheeks
Faintly dotting the Heavens
Snowflakes in Tokyo.
Winds of tiredness blew
Rains of resignation pourกฏd
Sun on calmness rose.
-Nezu Public Library, Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 11, 2011.
Here in Tokyo, Japan I realize, it will be exactly 5 years since Chanson-de-Dzhess & I broke up in Richmond, Virginia, in about 10 days---& I havenกฏt been with another girl since.
Not girlfriend, nor lover---though I suppose from time to time there was the opportunity---as with Yvonne or Kimberly กฐKrishnaกฑ S. Knott, Xiao Hou, or even Shan Qian Hui. These girls, had I pressed them hard, a กฐreal manกฑ; I might have gotten them to กฐuse the bedกฑ with me. However, I am interested in finding out if the girl is Eshet Khayil material first, & then marrying on such grounds. Then intimacy will be that much more intimate. For even a divorced marriage is holier than a mere love affair.
Even Koreans shed tears---
Not the Japaneseกญ
They prefer the sobs
Of teeny-bopper break-ups
---The soaps on TV.
The pen that strikes Plenty
Is unheeded & its quicksand is the book; but the pen that strikes Poverty becomes a relic of the hand that wrote & its elevator is the book.
In Tokyo, I wrote to Tyler Bass via Facebook, กฐin Tokyo writing drunken haikusกฑ.
The Metaphor of Sushi & Life
Wad of rice wrapped tight
In a tofu skin---genes in
Great grey whales beaching
In the boneyard from the sea
This isle Abilene
Sushi---servกฏd in schools.
Bass whimperกชWhale Songs your
Last Will & Testกฏment.
Nippon high school girl---student
Or Senseiกฏs fetish?
The clock ticks, lonely
Poet!---whatกฏll it be: last
Word or last person?
Writerกฏs Worry & Ancient Alphasmarts
And Beingกฏs Concern & The Body
I spend hot, steaming
Sleeps, hoping thกฏatoms of this
Old machine stay put.
And spend hot, steaming
Sleeps dreaming thกฏatoms of this
Old machine but donกฏt.
Lookกฏst thou a stately
Ambassador O Junebug
Loafed on the doorstep.
True hellกฏs where there are
Tele-Atone Booths but all
Read: OUT OF ORDER.
-กฐWell Beกฑ Capsule Hotel, Fukuoka-Hakata, Japan, writing inside a sleeping capsule, Shingles largely healed, but furious itchiness of skin about the eye, left forehead, and scalp remain, and left eye vision is blurry, tomorrow morning my ferry back to Busan, S. Korea departs at 10:30.
No Tattooกฏds Allowed
Sign at this Capsule Hotel
If all Consciousness
Could be poured aflask like booze
Us drunks would be floored.
Real home fries, Miso
Soup with tofu, Inari,
Of fingerly travel &
Forks, spoons, knives, the like
Your venture is handly frump
The mouth in shambles.
Fujiyama No Amae
Bกฏruch กฎTah HaShem
Ulam Shokhen กฎTah.
8 rings 10 fingers
On is an expression of
The Shmonah กฎEsreh.
A Puppet of peace
A Liar for harmony
A Tory to war.
Donกฏt try to calm me
Woman though it so calms me
We both know I must.
Here Japan, thoughts of
R. Tagoreกฏs words---rising bกฏloons---
Buoy this isle float!
Inner wanderer now; lone
Basho, Buson, &
Issa & Shiki, thine isle
Nipponกฏs an Haiku!
What fears my fingers?
Great institutions might they
Type Dooms Days to ground.
The Penกฏs a flagpole
To wave the manuscript; Sword,
White-out to edit.
I watch a faucet
Drip droplets of H2O
Wonder where they go.
I watch a man gulp
Down shots of a girlกฏs deep love
Wonder where it goes.
Certainly both are
Recycled, but one in Space
The other in Time.*
*1-For water can be recycled in Space per The Hydrologic Cycle, whereas love can be recycled only in Time per กฐThe Energy Residueกฑ of all History. I may well drink at the same stream as Avraham Avinu, but my love will only be sister stream of his.
O left eye if thou
Never dost recover yet
Iกฏll see without you.
Az, Ani Ashem
Mah กฎAsiti HaSonai
Mah atem กฎomrimกญ
-Inspired by Synergiaกฏs กฐAshemกฑ, Fukuoka, Japan, Feb. 2011-2-19---
Remember to recheck out กฐIm Lavan Gartiกฑ by กฐJewsicกฑ on Youtube---NY Yeshiva boys singing to a techno backbeat, as so influenced you in Fukuoka-Hakata, Japan, Feb. 2011.
-oh, actually the music is by กฐLev Tahorกฑ.
Leo Fuld Yiddish Song
King; Der Yid กฎmongst the Dutch; your
Famกฏly Dutch-let dead.
You were engaged by
Haile Selassie I to
Sing daughterกฏs wedding!
Check out The Chevra, Tek Noy, and Lev Tahor---new hit Jeshish groups with a techno-a capella flair.
The band Beit HaBubot
Their fame was spread virally
Try to put กฐThe Girl Without A Nameกฑ, Etc. Online. Like Beit HaBubot, The Chevra, Synergia, & Lev Tahor, do something with your life you moom.
Being a Jew is, not KNOWING, but REALIZING anew, again & again, every morning & every evening, that G-D is One.
-Fukuoka, Japan, 2011.
February 15, 2011. Busan, Korea.
The morn, no light hit
Eyes, but raucous snores boxed ears,
Bumped my head aTV
In the close nightly coffin
As in Tokyo eke.
Itch, & exhausted malaise
Blent to shock nerves.
Showered & hot springกฏd
In the complimentary
Dressed & took my leave
& a spiff cab to the docks
Ambled round soggy bends
Fog-seasoned rinds of depots
Me-Prints in the gray.
Boarded the ferry
Shingly bothered wretched mess
Eyes slept spite of day.
But I did not sleep
I have not slept in so long
Though these beat eyes have.
Waves กฎtwixt Korea
& Japan were turbulent
Ferry did ski-jumps.
Floundกฏring Will, itching eyelid,
Boat hopกฏd like a flea.
Busan ahoy! Grew
Sunny stalks down from Heavens
On buildings acove.
Passกฏd through like The Mexกฏcan Runs
Reloaded & hastened
To the Busan Metro; rode;
Got off at Nopo
Noting Tokyoกฏs now added
To Metros Iกฏve graced.
Here I am on a
Bus bound for Seoul the same day
Snow decks trees in pearls.
Of Misty green mountain &
Bright pine rear rare Qi.
The bus pullกฏd into Seoul Station
An awesome smoke-grunting, throttling
Beast; itกฏs humble homunculus bowed,
Smiled, and said goodbye & I, the last Passenger to dismount, thanked him,
In Korean. I picked up a very small amount of Japanese in Japan and a very small amount of Korean in Korea. I took the now familiar-feeling Seoul Metro back to my กฐold haunting groundsกฑ, Itaewon. I was taken aback to see so many myriads of Westerners. I have checked into the same กฐmotelกฑ of tiny mews for the night. Tomorrow morning I will check the schedule for the Incheon-Dandong ferry & submit my information to claim my passage back, which I have already paid. Coming back to Korea from Japan had a queer feeling of mini-homecoming, a phenomenon I have experienced before in my travels.
Which place is more familiar between two places abroad will become a base, should one return to it from elsewhere.
It is a step away from a home---or actually what I would call a กฐdanger homeกฑ. An unqualified home is harder to make than just arriving there more than once. I wonder how it will feel to return to China---having lived there for two years---I am somewhat used to it. Arriving back in Shenyang will probably be somewhat strange to my heart. I remember such a phenomenon returning to Manzhouli once from Mongolia & once from Hong Kong & Macau.
Japan & Korea are both lands of intense Honorifica & mod pop weirdness. However, Japan is somehow quieter and more restrained than Korea---for all its bizarre takes on international fashion design & workings of pop culture & technology. It is clearly a land snare-trapped between its traditional feudal society with like values & rapid, extreme modernization.
It is a land of the delicacy of the Haiku & the high-tech of the Shinkansen (Bullet Train), the subtlety of กฐThe Floating Worldกฑ & the Geisha & the modern pleasure dome of the Japanese Capsule Hotel, and the nuanced how-tos of Honorifica that dictate all manner of interaction amongst members of society, from the clerk to the executive, the trashman to the prime minister & the nutso-gonzo oddity of Japanese Telepop---gameshows filled with non-sensical boinking sounds and dizzying, winding displays of balloony Kanji, Hirigana, Katakana, and Romaji,
Strange clip-asides showing out-takes and bloopers of animals like mischievous chimpanzees and kangaroos,
And hosts in perfect black suits acting like slightly business-like & corporate lunatics with funny novelty glasses and spiked hair---the camera panning every which direction in a flurry of synchronized กฐding-dongsกฑ and กฐboinksกฑ.
Foreigners are generally taken care of, but if one does not look a perfectly กฐclean-cutกฑ foreigner per the East Asian imagination of Americana, one is treated with a certain level of deep distance, if the respect is still there---unlike in China. The Japanese are still profoundly isolationist, I believe, thinking their country its own planet and motherland of special cosmic race, amongst the worlds. They may not be far off. Korea, however, is full of Christian crosses across the land. From Busan to Seoul, throughout the countryside, you can barely traverse a field without seeing a neon cross atop a barn, shed, or other makeshift church. They appear to be there for the benefit of local townspeople and workmen at the factories. There is an American military base in Seoul, plus a huge array of foreigners from around the world. TV is filled with channels broadcasting mostly English movies and series with Hangeul subtitles. The Koreans do distance themselves from foreigners in a way, but their isolationism is far weaker than in Japan. Their pull to absorb and rework the way of the other is strong. Foreign culture is taken by many Koreans in stride and even gladly by some. In Japan, foreign culture is suspected and looked at without emotion---then the next minute one sees a bizarre reworked monstrositized version of it on TV.
I deeply respect Japan for its system of honorifica & honor codes, art, great inventions of poetry, and above all its capacity for subtle nuance in all manner of doings---except in war & political ideology in which sectors it is brutal and maniacal, fascist and sociopathic, unbanal and suspent from any show of empathy.
From Tokyo Bus Station, Feb. 13, 2011:
[In Hebrew script:]
Kmo Shir Zikaron
Dress so suggestively itกฏs
Thกฏone time more make-up
Was seen aface than Nippon
The Moulin Rouge.
Tranquil sand garden
Of this house by the sea---Whatกฏs
This?----A crabกฏs moved in.
Lifeกฏs a poetic
Term for what we do & how
Well before dying.
From Fukuoka-Hakata, Japan ferry terminal, Feb. 15. 2011, suffering from shingles:
Clocks unwinding like
Yarnballs & spools of fine thread
Sprawls of ticks distockกฏd.
My last Haikishu in Japan, high, turbulent waves; on the ferry back to Busan, Korea:
Isle of Zen, Nippon;
Society subtle as
My prize Haikishu from Nezu, Tokyo, Japan, that lightly rainy, snowy day,
Feb. 12, 2011:
Winds of Tiredness blew
Rains of Resignation pourกฏd
Sun on Calmness rose.
Fires grew through the streets
War glands pulsing mad.
Lilies กฎmongst the grass
Look like neumes upon the staff
Thou the treble clef.
It is seduced by Nature
But Courted by G-D.
Finite folds of all
In one act of Love.
Do one geste of Love
Thatกฏs true to one who suffers
& take on Tzimtzum.
Rivers rise to rain
Rocks roll back to volcanoes
Man---where to go? Forth!
-Feb. 16, 2011. On the ferry back to Dandong, China from Incheon, Korea.
Sitting at a round table in the shipกฏs mess area by a bunch of Koreo-Chinaman rowdies brandishing knucklefulls of Won around and belching grotesque exclamations of Oriental Machismo, chopsticking mouthfuls of Hei Mu Er (black fungus) and egg down their traps, Soju (Korean Bai Jiu) all around. I am here alone with beers and an กฎEtz Khayim. I seem to have lost my digicam somewhere in Korea---and all the pictures I took in that country and in Japan with it. I do not know if it simply fell out of my backpack----or if some prodexterous pickpocket snatched it on the Seoul Metro. I bought a disposable camera in Itaewon from a convenience store I frequented during my shingles-sick days in Seoul. I took some quick snapshots on the way from Seoul to Incheon. I bought a new digicam duty-free at the ferry terminal. I thought, better I buy a camera in Korea than in China, while I still can. It was a 980 RMB. 147 USD.
Feb. 16, 2011. Incheon-Dandong Ferry, at sea.
It comes as somewhat
Of a surprise, now my tongue
Sculpts shapely Chinese.
I know 5 words of
Korean, he no English
Our Sabirกฏs Chinese.
Ta Wen Wo Wenti
Ni Shi Zhongguoren Ma? Bu,
Wo Shi Meiguoren.
On this mammoth tin
Buoy with engine, hull, &
Floating like half a
Nutshell in a vast puddle
Bargaining for lift
Not to sink with wind and wave
Prom on a stretcher
Graduation in thกฏER
Career ad the morgue.
These Dandongren are more insidey & exclusive in their groups than the Shenyangese. Why if these were Shenyangren at my table weกฏd already being drinking beers together! & were they Manzhouliren, weกฏd be downing Bai Jiu arm in arm! & were they Yerusalanren, weกฏd be doing the Hora to Niggunim in circles round the room.
& were we fellow men weกฏd refrain from killing each other, which we have, so we are.
Rowdy, the Chinese
Reserved, the South Koreans
Revกฏrent, the Japกฏnese.
Could Downloads of all
Existence then Pirate its
Spirit---Byte for Byte?
Be uploaded computกฏrized
To certain sublime
Variance from all known life
Enigma of Chips.
The hard-drive vitals;
Odds in Robotics; Soft &
HaShem thy Torahกฏs
Packed by Shepherd & King, oกฏer
Meadow & Desert.
Time Capsule at sea
The Message In A Bottle
Life on land revised.
A century knew not
A millennium knows not
กฐReal Menกฑ, muscles, & ladies;
This rowdy ferry.
Thy Torah is acted
Out here in miniature
Bud nipกฏd for Bud nipกฏd.
Petals of flowers
Branes of realities, bloom---
Do they both then wiltกญ
Well, even if they
Do, pollen still hitchhikes on
Winds, pollกฏnates anew.
These Chinese who gathered round me
After they learned I knew some Chinese
All rowdily speak roundtable in Dongbeihua of some coastal variation & waterfall into synchronized hysterics,
Beer cans banged & lives toasted. I am largely excluded, as I write. Well, I welcome this exclusion some. Among Dongbeiren, inclusion can be perilous, exclusion safer, depending on the heat of the the night, and the passion barometrics of thกฏevening. A lovely barroom idyll with new friends is quite possible, but so is a glass bottle over the skull; as Sam MiDRaกฏกฏP learned firsthand in Fushun, outside Shenyang, Spring 2010. A bloody pate & a malflustered sense of well-being;
Muscling rowdies drunk & religionless
Spurring revenge fixed blood libels;
Digging pits in the ground where air was. Sticking beating hearts in the vacuum of outer space. Plucking love from the vine like child from the womb, premature, neither aged yet vinegar or wine. An Orphan of Dharma & an Orphan of Mitzvah; thกฏonly orphanage Love of Being (Ahavat Havayah); thกฏonly foster adoption Yirกฏat Shamayim (Fear of G-D).
Thกฏonly biological parentage, when the two were mixed, through Love & Sex (Ahavah UMin).
Here walks a low serf
There walks a high lord; behold!
They both walk; Legกฏd Men!
Even were thกฏhigher
To ride horse, itกฏd be legกฏd;
Who is a lord to
A serf in the kingdom of
As we traverse these
Sino-Korean high seas
Israel is dreamt.
This rowdy ferry
Is beasted by mad peoples
Clans of despกฏrate pawns.
Their oppressive boss
Is posthumous fart of Mao
& friends---กฐgladlyกฑ breathed.
Dawn & Twilight of Man
Beasts saddled, things graspกฏd,
Buttons pushกฏd, levers pulled,
G-D has requestกฏd
Special Gestures from his Man
Letกฏs act in accord.
H-S Promise is our
Keep, TabernacALL of ALL;
Heavens live* on Earth.
*1 with an กฎaiกฏ sound
That fruit is fibrous
That harp is so full of sound
That Ravกฏs a Tzaddiq.
These many half-curious Chinese sit around, talking; I type. Time to time, they engage me, & I speak with them as well as I can in Dongbeihua. They understand to my slight pride. There are strange, sly secrets between our foreign parties always, hidden pat between the eyes like noses, the real breathers of our lives. We are fellow men surely, but yet so-far-apart chasms of consciousness cleft; how can we bridge the gap? Through the Unconditional might we thus do;
& concresce to gether-web, nexty-depth,
We become true Triangulations of Togetherness yet sad Singularities of Too-Much-Touching.
We are Families a lot together
& a little bit apart;
Enemies a lot apart
& a little bit together.
กฐHow many syllกฏbles?กฑกฏs---how I
How we use Words to
Justify life to ourselves,
To our enemies.
How we use bywords
To justify life to our
Famกฏlies, to our friends.
These Chinese sit round
& urge each other on to
กฐGan Bei!กฑ---กฐBottoms Up!กฑ.
All these Chinese sit
Round & play Mahjong mad drunk;
Clacked tiles, chattกฏring teeth.
Game-den---machos, acrid cigs
Cultures are far strange
Essences of Man, if but
Axกฏdents of Nature.
Whilst plum-cheekกฏd Dongbei drunks
Chase กฎchกฏother with drinks.
The girls follow the boys like
-Incheon-Dandong Ferry, Feb. 2011-2-19
Copy of The Pan-American Runtur กฐWakishaกฑ [Waka + infixed จCish]
From around 2007---3 years after the Quest:
Struck down from the Grasp
Of Red Men, this soft earth; then
Jews came and bore me.
Plateaus and downsweep,
Yellow earth belching up maize,
La Raza sowing.
Drifting through British
Post-colonial haze, these
Ardent-eyed brown men.
Greased beans, Cliffside halts,
Corn, rickety bus, jungle;
Shacks like card houses
Poise dominoกฏd down peak-sides;
One home takes me in.
Verdant hillocks give
Way to wooden cities and
Drugged poor กฎmidst green slime.
Crashed bus in the road;
I ask, กฐSir, how many dead?กฑ
---Huts whirred past---กฐTodosกฑ.
Fiend befriends me---กฐprotectsกฑ---then
Holds me at gunpoint.
My limp spine slinks down
Colon wall, my teetering
Pate drools. Dengue fears.
Elysian Fields of
Uneven, sheer apices
Of vertical green.
Power thrones Chavez.
Plains; Guards knife my sack.
Humid stupor would
Waft across me as zephyrs;
Fast car, night jungle.
Grasslands, jungle; two
Days with smugglers Brazil
O ochre dust road.
This river ferry
Deathly angst, wood-rot stilt-dens,
Fragrance of moist fronds.
Motor canoeman ushers;
Off-Gaul French prim sprawl.
Scarlet earth, sunlit
Leaves, Amazon Riverboat;
Dead ill, floating by.
Freeway of Dust I
Stood, eats refused; gone meat washกฏd
Down with Guarani.
Field cows brayed sore, and
Sun-hell noon death-hike.
Combat boot blisters
Map Uruguay topographies
On my soles, Aires.
Sheer cliff bus lurch; desert piss,
Kenกฏd: Visions Anna.
Gold teeth and aged leather cheeks
Povertyกฏs glazed eyes.
Choclo Con Queso;
Busmate chuckกฏd Ziploc at trees
His job: กฐNaturalistกฑ.
Small Lad walking big kangกฏroo
Aleash through trash streaksกญ!?
Don Pepe & me---
His remote finca up mounts;
Stalkกฏd us Las FARC spy.
Hatched as from youthกฏs egg
At Questกฏs End; knelt down and KISSED
New York Cityกฏs streets.
[20 through 1.2 written and others lightly edited February 2011, Shenyang, China, fresh back from Korea and Japan, staying in Sam miDrAกฏกฏPกฏs old flat alone a few days to convalesce from shingles---this left eye now so faded blurred---and catch up on paperwork before rentกฏs up, to join him and Dereau in Beijing for one more hurrah, ere heading the long way to Israel, via SE Asia, India, Kazakhstan, if I can.]
Feb. 19, 2011, Shenyang. China. High on Hash. Remainders from ere I went to Korea & Japan
In Sam MiDrAกฏกฏPกฏs once pad,
Only across the street from my own pad of old,
The memories stir like strapped mad men in white, cast glad to padded rooms
Deep below intervening storeys in the dank, musty basement of the skyscraper-asylum of heart
Where old passions are admitted as inpatients and some oกฏ the most sentimentalest sociopaths
They are quite lockกฏd away for good only to run at large again upon a Prison Break release
Growing like brown subterranean roots the worms would detest sublings far beneath them
Reaching center of thกฏEarthwards where stretching tips bloom grapevines oกฏ nerves neath the skin
And the Future unwinds into a pile of loose string & the Present then reweaves it into donnables
Far be it for the Future to go dishabille, it coyly like a whore waits painกฏdly for Us
To modestly reclothe it with warm parental redress like a virgin who waits painกฏly for Us
Seconds & minutes & hours & days & years, Daughters for Lot, Incest of Underlappings of Time
The Future slyly gives wine to her Father Present & makes him drunk and lays & has sex with him
Her sister The End of Days slyly gives wine to her Father Present & does the same
The babe of Lotกฏs Daughter Future will be deformed in Form---
For no Man can see it clearly
The babe of Lotกฏs Daughter The End of Days will be deformed in Substance---
For the Knowers of Something in Space will learn to know Nothing in Time.
Man does not even
Know what he does; looks at his
Hands---says: กฐWas it me?กฑ
Well Iกฏm high on Hashish in China again See, Iกฏd left some Hashish riskily, but not quite likely
Stashed as it was amidst my gear As I gad about Korea and gallivanted about Japan
This is Sam MiDrAกฏกฏPกฏs old flat Now that heกฏs hit Beijing, here his stats are unknown
His passport, some bit doctorกฏd Nobodyกฏd know whoกฏd livกฏd here ere, save for Forensic Analysis
The rent is not yet up till monthกฏs end & Iกฏll figure here a lonely-be as to justify those paid days
Sam in Beijing now teaching The kids fallen in a sunflower of bodies for petals in laughter
In joyous hysterics upon the floor Parents raving praises and glories, begging & paying for more
Character is a
Great craggy brae, scrunchกฏd up with
Terrain, like a brain.
The following are transtyptions of assorted hand-written notes from the last two years in East Asia:
Feb. 2011. Iกฏd a dream in a capsule hotel in Tokyo, Japan. I was at a party in a house with a friend. A cutesy, kawaii---but vicious versionกชof Dzhessica was there, to my surprise. She looked very short and small. She kept flirting with my friend---& batting her lashes @ him---into a corner, to be sure. I went to them & as soon as I came near Dzhessica flew into a bitter rage & screamed at me, กฐStop Hitting On Me!กฑ & she kicked me. In fact, I had been trying to warn my friend discreetly, who she WAS. That wasnกฏt just any girl at the party. In the dream, I didnกฏt want her, I just wanted to warn my friend to stay away for his own good. Usually, I want Dzhessica in my dreams. Itกฏll be 5 years since we broke up, in about a week.
It amazes me that in a week
In the life of a mec like me
The 5 minute broken conversation
In bizarre disarranged renditions
Of English & Japanese
I have with an old taxi driver
On the few blocks
To the Basho Museum
From the Morishita Metro Stop
Is the happiest most emotional
Most precious & longest
Conversation Iกฏll have.