Tag Archives: tragedy

Jamaica

~ 0 ~
SFO in the early morning
MtVC
sleep
triple couple brunch date
SFO in the afternoon
work
packing
eating
yellow fever film
SFO late at night
Japanese, Mexican, American, or Chinese?

~ 1 ~
Hank Williams on the
turbulent red-eye
flashlights in the early morning
United Club at IAD
hella babies on the
flight to Jamaica
the first Jamaican woman to speak to/about me:
“it’s not fair. he’s not even using it,”
referencing my hair
all customs agents are the same stern
accosted by taxi drivers
one is hella chill so we go w him ($15)
he walks slow as hell
“we grow up w weed”
tried to sell me some but his guy is out
Caribic House
gentleman clerk
third floor balcony view of the sea
buy weed from souvenir shop ($20 for crap)
Pork Pit
buy weed from random vagrant (J$200 for crap)

~ 2 ~
breakfast at the Mocha Cafe
Knutsford Express to Negril
buy Blue Cheese from taxi driver ($5 for quality)
Yoga Centre
stroll and smoke along the beach
the German dude
yoga in the evening
shower and drinks
Alfred’s Ocean Palace
couple drinks and cricket at the Sunrise

~ 3 ~
smoothies and breakfast at the YC
chillin on the beach
spring rolls and papaya salad
Natalie naps / Americanah
drinks at One Love bar
curried conch w rice & peas at sweet spot

~ 4 ~
goodbye YC & Negril
KE to Kingston
wild winding ride east
the big city
the Spanish Court,
free rum punch on arrival
walking in the rain to
Devon House
coffee for her, coffee i-scream for me
walking in the lightening rain
Natalie goes chic in the city
divine Indian at Nirvanna

~ 5 ~
free breakfast: eggs, platanos, festival, bacon, fruit, coffee, water
taxi drive with a former yam farmer to
the National Gallery of Jamaica
walk through saturday downtown market
taxi to the grocery
Tashanna the angel
Natalie runs on the treadmill, i walk to KE
sunset swimming in the freezing infinity pool
hot bath w love
shower the hair
dress and small dinner
last home drink
up up up the hill to
dub club
smoky dub music in the clouds
danced
saw fireworks
and popcorn
and dancing
circles, circling back to a
champagne glass next to the drivers seat
flask of herb wine next to mine
slowly, slithering back to New Kingston
in the nighttime of a new day

~ 6 ~
free breakfast: kitchen sink omelet, fruit, coffee, water, festival, platanos, and a complimentary mimosa
walking to the banks, several failed withdrawals
packing up
waiting for Robert
red shirt, tan truck, big smile
cash out
ride up
the treehouse
the tour
the pool and trail
dinner at 6?
acki and shellfish, peas and rice, greens not calaloo
reading and drinking
scrabble in bed under the net
never ending music for a wake, then an end

~ 7 ~
wake up puffy eyed a little before 9
shirtless on the balcony
big rainbow across the sky
Chef says breakfast is on the way
coffee, scrambled eggs w veggies, fried plantains, breadfruit (looked like dry pineapple slices), slices of mango, a peeled orange, everything fresh, juicy, lovely
more coffee, Bobby and Chef smoking
prep
driving to Holywell
the waterfall hike
smoke at the falls
kiss on the hills
walk to David’s coffee plantation
the Chinese crew, little kids giggling and playing games, the two big dogs loafing and eyeing everyone, the coffee man deeply darkened by the sun yet profoundly lightened by endless cups of coffee
walking back home
Natalie’s forgotten R1: the run
gap cafe too fancy
walk thru the military yard
flask of clear rum, water, cheese puffs, and chocolates at the bubbles stop
walk home
cold shower (Ginger on drums)
wifi, soup, and dinner (more Fela)
seafish, fried carrots and greens, potato, yams, plantains
greasy spliff
drinks and reading

~ 8 ~
up a little earlier, round 830
coffee and breakfast on the taller balcony
acki and fish, breadfruit, fried plantains, papaya, orange
reading reading reading
the ride to Craighton
the $25 tour w Jerome
280,000 coffee plants—arabica not robusta—the latter 52% of the world coffee, the former 48%—though like the #1 most traded good (oil), the #2 (coffee) is often adulterated as there’s no standard nor authority—and Blue Mountain arabica is something special, with 70% of its sales going to wealthy Japanese—Jamaicans themselves drink instant coffee—unless they’re like Robert—usually Arabica ripens in 5-7 months, in Blue Mountains it takes 9-11—juicier, sweeter—Twyman and other north side farmers get less sun so their harvest is shorter
three cups of coffee after the lesson
walk to red light
bananas and coconut snack from the roadside rasta
walk from red light
Natalie loses her shades
hitching a ride w the 33 year old who spent 20 years living in Kingston before moving to London, comes back to visit family every xmas, warned us of the dangers of hitch hiking
eits cafe
walking up and a ride w David, bobby’s coz
walking to prince valley
glasses for a drink and phone
meeting, laughing, smoking w omero from Oakland and Tazia from near Kingston
drinks and dinner: beans, greens, and pumpkin rice, perfection
sunset
beer and adieu
reading, reading, hearts, reading

~ 9 ~
up a little earlier, around 815
Ovid on the balcony
coffee and breakfast in the usual spot
acki and fish, plantains, coco bread
packing up and paying
peace
dj dale down the mountain
bob Marley museum
best dinner (fried chicken, beef stew, pork stew, or curried goat?) plus rum
two wedding episodes of friends

~ 10 ~
coffee, toast, and fruit on the balcony
Mahogany Beach
food and drink on James (same menu)
crazy dance boat party TV
Turtle Beach
souvenir shopping i
drinks on James
moms restaurant (fish stew)

~ 11 ~
coffee, toast, and fruit on the balcony
souvenir shopping ii
passage to passage to India (naan, South Indian chicken, chicken tikka masala)
chilling at KE
KE to Mo Bay
El Greco, cocktail on arrival
cocktails and joint on the balcony (Half Pint)
bellboy escort to room, J$400
atm, the old walk
1/2 lb ribs at pork pit
the walk back
another round

~ 12 ~
up around 8
finished Herzog
breakfast: one American, one Jamaican (mine is fried fish, greens, small banana, yucca, dumpling, and Nat’s French toast)
old white retired everywhere
blacks go J, whites go A
down to the street, rum up
packing, Brilliant Corners, checking out
smoke on the cliff side
delayed flight
walk down to the park shade
bk fries
taxi to airport
lines, lines, food court, hearts
exit row flight
chaos at CLT Continue reading

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selections from Sadhana: The Classic of Indian Spirituality by Rabindranath Tagore

Mind can never know Brahma, words can never describe him; he can only be known by our soul, by her joy in him, by her love. Continue reading

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siesta

they fell in love in the early morning
the sea rippling golden red
the horizon green as their affection
radiant violet skies overhead.

robust and mighty, they stretched their wings
and took off for the west.
“wherever we’re together,” they sung,
“that wherever will be best.”

they left the sea and traced the rivers,
worshiping the water’s ways—
its springs produced a thousand greens,
dark mossy rocks and verdant glades.

vast forests gave way to vaster plains
and these, in turn, grew rocky.
until the land swelled up to heaven,
which the lovers flew over, cocky.

gliding down, at last, they gazed upon
the desert—endless, empty, eternal—
imagining it wide enough for their love
but ignorant of the sun, infernal.

“siesta!” she cried, as she landed
and down in the dirt she lay.
and there her lover hopes and weeps forever
of her rousing, even as stars fade away. Continue reading

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selections from Electra and other plays by Sophocles

And I am as you see me now. Continue reading

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selections from the second volume of Parerga and Paralipomena by Arthur Schopenhauer

SCHOPENHAUER. Essays and Aphorisms. Penguin Classics. Translated with an introduction by R. J. HOLLINGDALE. Continue reading

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selections from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

If a pistol appears in a story, eventually it’s got to be fired. Continue reading

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selections from Oedipus the King and Antigone by Sophocles

sure, i’ve read them before, but this one has a different translator (Peter D. Arnott), so here are some of my favorite selections.

OEDIPUS THE KING

For city walls without their men are nothing,
Or empty ships, when once the crew has gone. (56-7)

Words will not scare a man when actions do not. (286)

My strength is in my truth. (345)

I am what I am. (425)

It takes men and money to make a revolution. (523)

I prefer not to talk about things I do not know. (550)

For time alone can tell an honest man
While one day is enough to show a villain. (595-6)

Hasty thoughts are dangerous. (598)

OEDIPUS: “Kings must still be obeyed.”
CREON: “Kings, but not tyrants.” (608-9)

And man turns his face away from heaven. (876)

When a man is old his life hangs by a thread. (927)

What has a man to fear, when life is ruled
By chance, and the future is unknowable?
The best way is to take life as it comes. (943-5)

Oh, oh, then everything has come out true.
Light, I shall not look on you again.
I have been born when I should not be born,
I have married where I should not marry,
I have killed whom I should not kill; now all is clear. (1144-8)

Time sees all. (1174)

Tears, ruin, death, disgrace, as many ills
As there are names for them; not one is lacking. (1243-4)

Oedipus is no more. (1301)

Nothing can kill me now. (1409)

There must be moderation in all things. (1468)

When I do not know, I do not speak. (1473)

That is why we wait until we see the final day,
Not calling anybody happy who is mortal
Until he has passed the last milestone without calamity. (1481-3)

ANTIGONE

Anything is better than to die a coward! (99)

Nor have I time for anyone who puts
His popularity before his country. (176-7)

The state keeps us afloat. (183)

CHORUS: No man is fool enough to ask for death.
CREON: That is what you would get. But hope of gain
Has often led men on to their destruction. (214-6)

Of all the institutions of mankind
The greatest curse is money. It destroys
Our cities, it takes men away from home,
Corrupts men’s honest minds, and teaches them
To enter on disreputable courses.
It shows them how to lead immortal lives
And flout the gods in everything they do. (290-6)

It’s in the hands of fortune now. (323)

The world is full of wonderful things
But none more so than man,
This prodigy who sails before the storm-winds,
Cutting a path across the sea’s gray face
Beneath the towering menace of the waves.
And Earth, the oldest, the primeval god,
Immortal, inexhaustible Earth,
She too has felt the weight of his hand
As year after year the mules are harnessed
And plows go back and forwards in the fields.

Merry birds and forest beasts,
Fish that swim in the deep waters,
Are gathered into the woven nets
Of man the crafty hunter.
He conquers with his arts
The beasts that roam in the wild hill-country,
He tames the horses with their shaggy manes
Throwing a harness around their necks,
And the tireless mountain bull.

Speech he has made his own, and thought
That travels swift as the wind,
And how to live in harmony with others
In cities, and how to shelter himself
From the piercing frost, cold rain, when the open
Fields can offer but a poor night’s lodging.
He is ever-resourceful; nothing that comes
Will find him unready, save Death alone.
Then he will call for help and call in vain,
Though often, when cure was despaired of, he has found one.

The wit of man surpasses belief,
It works for good and evil too;
When he honors his country’s laws, and the right
He is pledged to uphold, then city
Hold up your head; but the man
Who yields to temptation and brings evil home
Is a man without a city; he has
No place in the circle of my hearth,
Nor any part in my counsels. (327-64)

Nothing makes you happier than to get yourself
Out of trouble; but it’s quite another thing
To get friends into it. But there’s nothing
I wouldn’t do, to keep myself from harm. (425-8)

CREON: And yet you dared to go against the law?
ANTIGONE: Why not? It was not Zeus who gave the order,
And Justice living with the dead below
Has never given men a law like this.
Nor did I think that your pronouncements were
So powerful that mere man could override
The unwritten and unfailing laws of heaven.
These live, not for today and yesterday
But for all time; they came, no man knows whence.
There is no man’s resolve I fear enough
To answer to the gods for breaking these.
I knew that I must die–how could I help it?
Even without your edict; but if I die
Before my time is up, I count it gain.
For when a person lives as I do, in the midst
Of evils, what can death be but gain?
And so for me to happen on this fate
Is grief not worth a thought; but if I had left
My mother’s son to lie a homeless corpse,
Then had I grieved. I do not grieve for this.
If what I do seems foolish in your sight
It may be that a fool condemns my folly. (437-58)

In his wisdom, someone coined the famous saying
That when a god leads a man’s mind on
To destruction, sooner or later he comes
To believe that evil is good, good evil,
And then his days of happiness are numbered. (607-11)

Two heads are sometimes better than one. (670)

So wear an open mind; do not suppose
That you are right, and everyone else is wrong.
A man who thinks he has monopoly
Of wisdom, no rival in speech or intellect,
Will turn out hollow when you look inside him.
However wise he is, it is no disgrace
To learn, and give way gracefully.
You see how trees that bend to winter floods
Preserve themselves, save every twig unbroken,
But those that stand rigid perish root and branch,
And also how the man who keeps his sails
Stretched taut, and never slackens them, overturns
And finishes his voyage upside down.
Let your anger rest; allow us to persuade you.
If a young man may be permitted his opinion
I should say it would be best for everyone
To be born omniscient; but otherwise–
And things have a habit of falling out differently–
It is also good to learn from good advice. (688-706)

There is no state, when one man is its master. (720)

Love, whom we fight but never conquer,
Love, the ravager of proud possessions
Who keep eternal vigilance
In the softness of a young girl’s cheek,
You go wherever the wide seas go
And among the cottages of country-dwellers.
None of the immortal gods can escape you,
Nor man, whose life is as a single day,
And, to whoever takes you in, comes madness.

The minds of honest men you lead
Out of the paths of virtue to destruction.
Father is at odds with son
And it is you who set this quarrel in their hearts.
One glance from the eyes of a ready bride
Bright with desire, and a man is enslaved.
On the throne of the eternal laws
Love has a place, for there the goddess Aphrodite
Decides men’s fates, and there is no withstanding her. (764-81)

To err is human,
But when we err, then happy is the man
Who is not stubborn, and has sense enough
To remedy the fault he has committed. (974-7)

No human being can defile the gods. (994)

Truth is always best. (1230)

I am crushed beneath my fate. (1268)

To be happy it is first of all necessary
To be wise, and always remember
To give the gods their due.
The measure of a proud man’s boasting
Shall be the measure of his punishment
And teach him late in life
The nature of true wisdom. (1269-75) Continue reading

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my favorite Metamorphoses

And now the measure of my song is done:
The work has reached its end; the book is mine,
None shall unwrite these words: nor angry Jave,
Nor war, nor fire, nor flood,
Nor venomous time that eats our lives away.
Then let that morning come, as come it will,
When this disguise I carry shall be no more,
And all the treacherous years of life undone,
And yet my name shall rise to heavenly music,
The deathless music of the circling stars.
As long as Rome is the Eternal City
These lines shall echo from the lips of men,
As long as poetry speaks truth on earth,
That immortality is mine to wear. Continue reading

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notes from volume 199 of the Greek collection in the Loeb Classical Library

notes on Aristotle, Longinus, and Demetrius. Continue reading

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Dorian mode

when i was around 13 years old, my parents gifted me a drum set for Christmas. even today, i can confidently say it was the single greatest physical present i’ve ever received from anyone. it officially made me a musician.

a decade later, a man now bound for Boulder urged me in the moment to strum guitar with him. though it may have been a bit premature, it (within a few months time) urged me down the path to the bass guitar, the more carefully footed step up from drums. so now, over a decade into my drumming career and only a couple years into my bass, i wonder whether i’ll pick up guitar when i turn 33 and then eventually drop all material things and simply croon when i’m 43.

one can dream. even in linear mathematical dimensions. but let’s be honest, exponential probably makes more sense, so i’ll probably play guitar when i’m 36 and sing when i’m 53. not too different. what the hell am i talking about? well, i can’t explain the math stuff, because i’m no Randall Munroe, but i will explain this theory i’ve been thinking about in regards to music and the body.

consider dance. in its simplest form, dance is simply the act of feet striking the earth. indeed, in truly transcendent dance, the mind is shut off entirely, and the human hops and heaves and swings and swirls like a dizzy flower, often to the rhythm of a beat… but this last part is unnecessary. all that is required for dance are feet striking the earth. that is, percussion. drums. by virtue of this, i consider drums not only the root of rhythm but also the thing that roots us to the earth–our feet and legs.

next comes the sister of percussion, harmony. that is, bass. and what comes after our legs but before our vitals? the genitals. consider: striking of the snares and booming of the kick raise us from our seats and urge us to stamp the ground beneath our feet, but what is that part, that irresistible, sinewy part that prevents our hips from staying still? the bassline curves through the air like a fire-breathing dragon, charring the asses of those who are free.

sidling up the human body, we next reach all those vitals but the brain. among others, this includes stomach, lungs, and, most importantly, heart. here we find melody, for is it not in our heart where we feel the joyous springing of the major scale as much as the miserable lament of the minor? heartbreak can kill a man, and it feels like suffocation… perfectly conscious suffocation. so too, love can induce the growth of wings, and so too can the guitar.

finally, we come to the head. inside one’s skull, chemical electrical thunderstorms rage producing the most unmusical and yet most human aspect of all: lyric. with the aid of a thinking brain and a humming nose, singers let leak through their gaping mouths their words of confusion, fear, and wonder, striving to know and for others to know… themselves.

just because you just read over a hundred pages of criticism on Sophocles Oedipus Rex doesn’t mean you know a goddamn thing about writing criticism yourself. you’re out practice. go to bed, you’re drunk.

truthfully enough, i’ve been reading some heavy shit. besides aforementioned criticism and the single perfect play upon which said criticism is based, i’ve also recently devoured John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and almost all the works of Oscar Wilde. (i’ve yet to tackle his poetry. in general, i’ve been reading poetry more slowly because i can’t read it on muni because i refuse to read poetry without reading it aloud and i don’t think people on morning/evening commutes to and from the city would necessarily enjoy my twice daily poetry readings.) next up on the list? The Ananga-Ranga, “an Indian sex manual written in the 15th or 16th century,” according to Wikipedia. maybe i’ll learn something.

maybe, by the time saturday comes, i’ll be able to put into practice whatever reading i get in tomorrow, friday. i can probably knock out a good chunk in tomorrow’s two hours, sleep on it, and then awaken in the weekend yellow sun streaming through my bedroom window and flag, rise to shower, dress in cool clothes, descend the stairs to the gray pantyflasher–back in action–to speed just a bit north to scoop my half-Indian love to speed even further north to spill our completely exploding hearts.

i’m not actually drunk. i’m completely sober. i’m listening to my body.

check out my melody: my thorax and abdomen as of late have been complaining of acid. ’twas a sensation i had only felt momentarily on a couple occasions in the past, but lately it’s been an ever-present pang, heightened especially by my partaking in the most pleasantest of life’s servings: alcohol and spice. so, for as much of the month of may as possible, i am, as much is possible, cutting the two lifeless loves out entirely. i’m a couple days sober and i’m feeling good. it’s hard to avoid acid in food (tonight i made up some sloppy joe), but i think cutting out two intense variables should suffice.

what a mysterious wholesome. abstaining from alcohol. learning to cook. taking bass lessons. riding public transportation, hardly driving. consuming literature like a lava. and i’m about to sleep before midnight.

peace and love to you, universe. Continue reading

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