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RAJ NANDY Sep 2015
RAJ NANDY
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AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE IN VERSE
                                    By Raj Nandy
THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE WAS A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
BETWEEN MEDIEVAL & THE MODERN  WORLD. I propose to
present in three installments my researched work for both the Art &
History lovers of this Site. Kindly take your time to read at leisure before commenting. Thanks, -Raj Nandy, New Delhi.

                   PART ONE: BACKGROUND
The Term Renaissance :
The word ‘Renaissance’ means ‘to be born again’ ,
Derives from French ‘renaistre’ and Latin ‘renascere’, -
both meaning the same !
Swiss historian Jacob Buckhardt by writing “The
Civilization of Renaissance in Italy”,
Helped to popularize this term during the 19th Century !
The Renaissance evolved out of ‘Christendom’ , which
was Medieval Europe ;
Ruled entirely by the Catholic Church and the Pope !
It formed a period of transition between the Medieval
and the Modern Age ,
And as a contrast to the preceding thousand years , -
Which the Latin scholar Petrarch christened as the
‘Dark Ages’ !
This era saw a revival of interest in classical learning
of Greek and Roman art and culture ;
Focused on individual’s life on earth , with a new spirit
of adventure !
Happiness was no longer shelved to an afterlife and
repentance for salvation ;
But it lay in the advancement of human beings on Earth , -
with secular contemplation !
Thus individualism , secularism , and humanism , were
chief characteristics of the Renaissance ;
With innovations in art, architecture , and a scientific
temper of thought !
Knowledge no longer remained confined within the cold
ecclesiastical walls ,
But it spread from Italy across Northern Europe , -
To distant English shores through France !
During the Renaissance era Humanism became its
dominant philosophy ;
And there begins our Renaissance Story, since knowledge
is no man’s monopoly !
Events leading up to the Renaissance were many ;
Let me now dwell upon some salient features which
shaped its History !

THE BLACK DEATH (Peaked between 1347-1352) :
It was brought by Genoese merchant ships from the Orient ,
The fatal bacillus of the bubonic plague carried in the blood
stream of rodents !
The plague from Sicily and Italy spread to Northern Europe ,
All medicines failed , and even the Church provided no hope !
After having raged for almost a decade it started to abate ;
But by then almost one-third of entire Europe’s population
lay dead !
This deadly plague which followed the Hundred Year’s War
between England and France ,
Created social , economic and political upheavals in Europe,
leaving little to chance !
People began to lose faith in the church and on sermons of
afterlife ,
Secular thoughts now prevailed in a world where only the
fittest could survive !
Shortages of labour brought an end to Medieval feudalism
and serfdom ,
And Europe gradually emerged out of those Dark Ages, -
to greet the rising Renaissance sun !
The meager labour force could now bargain for better
wages and individual rights ;
Later, merchant guilds protected specialized labour and
their human rights !
Cities got gradually built and a new social order began
to emerge ,
Historians say that Europe saw the rise of a new Middle
Class !
As Europe gradually begun to recover from the aftermath
of war , plague, and devastation ;
The City-States of Italy lit the torch of a new intellectual
emancipation !
But before moving onto the Italian city-states, I must
mention the Holy Crusades ;
Since the Crusades opened up the doors of knowledge
and trade ;
Helping this ‘New Learning’ of the Renaissance to spread !

THE HOLY CRUSADES (1095-1270) :
At the behest of Pope Urban II and his battle cry “God
Wills It! ” ;
The First Crusade was launched to recapture the Holy Land
from Muslim infidels !
Within a span of next two hundred years eight Crusades
were launched ,
The First one took Jerusalem , but the Second failed to make
Damascus fall !
The Third led by Richard the Lion Heart, made Saladin to
grant the rights , -
To Christian pilgrims to visit their Holy shrines in Palestine !
The Fourth Crusade had sacked Constantinople , - then a
commercial rival of the Italians !
Now cutting a long story short , let us see what History
has taught !
These Crusades helped in opening up the trade routes ,
For importing paper, spices, soap, silk and luxury goods !
Trade was carried out with the countries of Levant region ,
Which included the countries from Turkey to Egypt , -
Bordering the eastern seaboards of the Mediterranean !
These trade routes formed a major conduit of culture
and knowledge ,
And exchanges and interactions broadened the mental
horizon of the Italians !
From Constantinople, recently Christianized Spain , and
the Arab lands , -
The preserved ancient classical knowledge now reached
the Italian hands !
In their School of Salamanca the Arabs of  Spain ,
Had translated works of Aristotle and classical scholars
into Arabic , - thereby preserving the same !
Later scholars translated these precious works into Greek
and Italian ,
And thus the Ancient Classics saw a glorious revival !
The scientific, philosophical, and mathematical thoughts
of the Arabs had also entered Northern Italy ,
From Egypt and the Levant region , to enrich Pre-
Renaissance Italy !
And when Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453 ,
Its Greek scholars with their precious manuscripts flocked
into Italy !

THE CITY-STATES OF ITALY :
‘Italia’, once the epicenter of the mighty Roman Empire ,
Disintegrated into several small principalities breaking
up Italy entire !
Its mountainous rugged terrain was a barrier to effective
internal communication ;
And no strong unified monarchies emerged, as in other
parts of Europe !
Italy with its peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean
Sea ,
Had begun to monopolize the trade routes, and also to
prosper economically !
During the time of the Renaissance , Italy had numerous
autonomous city-states and territories ;
Where a powerful leader called the Signore , ruled for
a fixed tenure initially ;
But later this post was declared as hereditary !
Kingdom of Naples controlled the south ;
Republic of Florence and the Papal States the center ;
Genoese and the Milanese the north and west respectively ;
And the Venetians the eastern part of Italy .
These Italian city-states prospered greatly from its growing
trade during the 14th century ;
Its cargo ships visiting Byzantine , and the cities bordering
the Mediterranean Sea !
It became a status symbol for rich families to patronize
art and culture ;
They vied with one another commissioning paintings
and architecture !
But the Italian city-state that had prospered the most ,
Was the city-state of Florence which became the host ;
And the ‘Cradle of European Renaissance’ !
...............................................................­­................................
* ALL COPY RIGHTS WITH THE AUTHOR -RAJ NANDY*
(My Part -II will contain the Story of Florence , - " Cradle of the
Italian Renaissance". Thanks for reading, do recommend this Verse to
your other poet friends!
Comments from Gita Ashok, an Educator, from ‘Poetfreak.com’:- A thoroughly researched erudite collection of historical facts presented in a very lucid and interesting manner. This write made me reminisce all those history lessons that I learnt in school many years ago - many of which I found boring as it was taught in an intimidating way. I feel like going back in time, becoming a student once again and learning history through such creatively written works of art. But I realize that we are all yet students of life and can still continue to learn and grow. I feel fortunate to have read this great piece of literary work and I look forward to reading the second part.-  by Gita Ashok | Reply
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AN INTRODUCTION TO ITALIAN RENAISSANCE was added 21 hours ago.
RAJ NANDY Nov 2015
GREAT ARTISTS & THEIR IMMORTAL WORKS :
CONCLUDING ITALIAN RENAISSANCE IN
VERSE.  -  By Raj Nandy, New Delhi.

Dear Readers, continuing my Story of Western Art in Verse chronologically, I had covered an Introduction to the Italian Renaissance previously. That background story was necessary to appreciate Renaissance Art fully. Now, I cover the Art of that period in a summarized form, mentioning mainly the salient features to curb the length. The cream here lies in the 'Art of the High Renaissance Period'! Hope you like it. Thanks, - Raj.

                          INTRODUCTION
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, &
  Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
                                                        – Leonardo Da Vinci
In the domain of Renaissance Art, we notice the
enduring influence of the Classical touch!
Ancient Greek statues and Roman architectures,
Inspired the Renaissance artists in their innovative
ventures!
The pervasive spirit of Humanism influenced
creation of life-like human forms;
Adding ****** expressions and depth, deviating
from the earlier stiff Medieval norms.
While religious subjects continued to get depicted
in three-dimensional Renaissance Art;
Portraits, **** figures, and secular subjects, also
began to appear during this great ‘Re-birth’!
The artists of the Early and High Renaissance Era
are many who deserve our adoration and artistic
due.
Yet for the sake of brevity, I mention only the
Great Masters, who are handful and few.

EARLY RENAISSANCE ARTISTS & THEIR ART

GITTO THE PIONEER:
During early 13th Century we find, Dante’s
contemporary Gitto di Bondone the Florentine,
Painting human figures in all its beauty and form
for the first time!
His masterwork being the 40 fresco cycle in the
Arena Chapel in Padua, depicting the life of the
****** and Christ, completed in 1305.
Giotto made the symbolic Medieval spiritual art
appear more natural and realistic,
By depicting human emotion, depth with an
artistic perspective!
Art Scholars consider him to be the trailblazer
inspiring the later painters of the Renaissance;
They also refer to Giorgio Vasari’s “Lives Of
The Eminent Artists,” - as their main source.
Giotto had dared to break the shackles of earlier
Medieval two-dimensional art style,
By drawing lines which head towards a certain
focal point behind;
Like an illusionary vanishing point in space,
- opening up a 3-D ‘window into space’!
This ‘window technique’ got adopted by the
later artists with grace.
(
Giorgio Vasari, a 16th Century painter, architect & Art
historian, was born in 1511 in Arezzy, a city under the
Florentine Republic, and painted during the High
Renaissance Period.)

VASARI’s book published in 1550 in Florence
was dedicated to Cosimo de Medici.
Forms an important document of Italian Art
History.
This valuable book covers a 250 year’s span.
Commencing with Cimabue the tutor of Giotto,
right up to Tizian, - better known as Titan!
Vasari also mentions four lesser known Female
Renaissance Artists; Sister Plantilla, Madonna
Lucrezia, Sofonista Anguissola, and Properzia
de Rossi;
And Rossi’s painting “Joseph and Potiphar’s
Wife”,
An impressive panel art which parallels the
unrequited love Rossi experienced in her own
life !
(
Joseph the elder son of Jacob, taken captive by Potiphar
the Captain of Pharaoh’s guard, was desired by Potiphar’s
wife, whose advances Joseph repulsed. Rossi’s painting
of 1520s inspired later artists to paint their own versions
of this same Old Testament Story.)

Next I briefly mention architects Brunelleschi
and Ghiberti, and the sculptor Donatello;
Not forgetting the painters like Masaccio,
Verrocchio and Botticelli;
Those Early Renaissance Artists are known to
us today thanks to the Art historian Giorgio
Vasari .

BRUNELLESCHI has been mentioned in Section
One of my Renaissance Story.
His 114 meter high dome of Florence Cathedral
created artistic history!
This dome was constructed without supporting
buttresses with a double egg shaped structure;
Stands out as an unique feat of Florentine
Architecture!
The dome is larger than St Paul’s in London,
the Capitol Building of Washington DC, and
also the St Peters in the Vatican City!

GILBERTI is remembered for his massive
15 feet high gilded bronze doors for the
Baptistery of Florence,
Containing twenty carved panels with themes
from the Old Testament.
Which took a quarter century to complete,
working at his own convenience.
His exquisite naturalistic carved figures in the
true spirit of the Renaissance won him a prize;
And his gilded doors were renamed by Michel
Angelo as ‘The Gates of Paradise’!
(
At the age of 23 yrs Lorenzo Ghiberti had won the
competition beating other Architects for craving the
doors of the Baptistery of Florence!)

DONATELLO’S full size bronze David was
commissioned by its patron Cosimo de’ Medici.
With its sensual contrapposto stance in the
classical Greek style with its torso bent slightly.
Is known as the first free standing **** statue
since the days of Classical Art history!
The Old Testament relates the story of David
the shepherd boy, who killed the giant Goliath
with a single sling shot;
Cutting off his head with Goliath’s own sword!
Thus saving the Israelites from Philistine’s wrath.
This unique statue inspired all later sculptors to
strive for similar artistic excellence;
Culminating in Michael Angelo’s **** statue of
David, known for its sculptured brilliance!

MASSACCIO (1401- 1428) joined Florentine
Artist’s Guild at the age of 21 years.
A talented artist who abandoned the old Gothic
Style, experimenting without fears!
Influenced by Giotto, he mastered the use of
perspective in art.
Introduced the vanishing point and the horizon
line, - while planning his artistic works.
In his paintings ‘The Expulsion from Eden’
and ‘The Temptation’,
He introduced the initial **** figures in Italian
Art without any inhibition!
Though up North in Flanders, Van Eyck the
painter had already made an artistic innovation,
By painting ‘Adam and Eve’ displaying their
****** in his artistic creation;
Thereby creating the first **** painting in Art
History!
But such figures greatly annoyed the Church,
Since nudes formed a part of pagan art!
So these Northern artists to pacify the Church
and pass its censorship,
Cleverly under a fig leaf cover made their art to
appear moralistic!
Van Eyck was also the innovator of oil-based paints,
Which later replaced the Medieval tempera, used to
paint angles and saints.

Masaccio’s fresco ‘The Tribute Money’ requires
here a special mention,
For his use of perspective with light and shade,
Where the blithe figure of the Roman tax collector
is artistically made.
Christ is painted with stern nobility, Peter in angry
majesty;
And every Apostle with individualized features,
attire, and pose;
With light coming from a single identifiable source!
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and unto God things that are God’s”, said Christ;
Narrated in Mathew chapter 22 verse 21, which
cannot be denied.
Unfortunately, Masaccio died at an early age of
27 years.
Said to have been killed by a jealous rival artist,
who had shed no tears!

BOTTICELLI the Florentine was born half a
century after the Dutch Van Eyck;
Remembered even to this day for his painting
the ‘Birth of Venus’, an icon of Art History
making him famous.
This painting depicts goddess Venus rising out
of the sea on a conch shell,
And the glorious path of female **** painting
commenced in Italy, - casting a spell!
His full scale **** Venus shattered the Medieval
taboo on ******.
With a subject shift from religious art to Classical
Mythology;
Removing the ‘fig-leaf cover’ over Art permanently!

I end this Early Period with VERROCCHIO, born
in Florence in fourteen hundred and thirty five.
A trained goldsmith proficient in the skills of both
painting and sculpture;
Who under the patronage of the Medici family
had thrived.
He had set up his workshop in Florence were he
trained Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, and other
famous Renaissance artists alike!

FOUR CANONICAL PAINTING MODES OF
THE RENAISSANCE:
During the Renaissance the four canonical painting
modes we get to see;
Are Chiaroscuro, Sfumato, Cangiante and Unione.
‘Chiaroscuro’ comes from an Italian word meaning
‘light and dark’, a painting technique of Leonardo,
Creating a three dimensional dramatic effect to
steal the show.
Later also used with great excellence by Rubens
and the Dutch Rembrandt as we know.
‘Sfumato’ from Italian ‘sfumare’, meaning to tone
down or evaporate like a smoke;
As seen in Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ where the
colors blend seamlessly like smoke!
‘Cangiante’ means to ‘change’, where a painter
changed to a lighter or a darker hue, when the
original hue could not be made light enough;
As seen in the transformation from green to
yellow in Prophet Daniel’s robe,
On the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Rome.
‘Unione’ followed the ‘sfumato’ quality, but
maintained vibrant colors as we get to see;
In Raphael’s ‘Alba Madonna’ in Washington’s
National Gallery.

ART OF HIGH RENAISSANCE ERA - THE
GOLDEN AGE.

“Where the spirit does not work with the
hand there is no art.”- Leonardo

With Giotto during the Trecento period of the
14th century,
Painting dominated sculpture in the artistic
endeavor of Italy.
During the 15th century the Quattrocento, with
Donetello and Giberti,
Sculpture certainly dominated painting as we get to
see!
But during the 16th century or the Cinquecento,
Painting again took the lead commencing with
the great Leonardo!
This Era was cut short by the death of Lorenzo the
Magnificent to less than half a century; (Died in 1493)
But gifted great masterpieces to the world enriching
the world of Art tremendously!
The Medieval ‘halo’ was now replaced by a fresh
naturalness;
And both Madonna and Christ acquired a more
human likeness!
Portrait paintings began to be commissioned by
many rich patrons.
While artists acquired both recognition and a status
of their own.
But the artistic focus during this Era had shifted from
Florence,  - to Venice and Rome!
In the Vatican City, Pope Julius-II was followed by
Pope Leo the Tenth,
He commissioned many works of art which are
still cherished and maintained!
Now cutting short my story let me mention the
famous Italian Renaissance Superstar Trio;
Leonardo, Raphael, and Michael Angelo.

LEONARDO DA VINCI was born in 1452 in
the village of Vinci near the City of Florence,
Was deprived of a formal education being born
illegitimate!
He was left-handed, and wrote from right to left!
He soon excelled his teacher Varrocchio, by
introduced oil based paints into Italy;
Whose translucent colors with his innovative
techniques, enhanced his painting artistically.
Sigmund Freud had said, “Leonardo was like a
man who awoke too early in the darkness while
others were all still asleep,” - he was awake!
Leonardo’s  historic ‘Note Book’ has sketches of a
battle tank, a flying machine, a parachute, and many
other anatomical and technical sketches and designs;
Reflecting the ever probing mind of this versatile
genius who was far ahead of his time!
His ‘Vituvian Man’, ‘The Last Supper’, and ‘Mona Lisa’,
Remain as his enduring works of art and more popular
than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Pen and ink sketch of the ‘Vitruvian Man’ with arms
and leg apart inside a square and a circle, also known
as the ‘Proportion of Man’;
Where his height correspondence to the length
of his outstretched hands;
Became symbolic of the true Renaissance spirit
of Man.
‘The Last Supper’ a 15ft by 29ft fresco work on
the refectory wall of Santa Maria, commissioned
by Duke of Milan Ludovic,
Is the most reproduced religious painting which
took three years to complete!
Leonardo searched the streets of Milan before
painting Judas’ face;
And individualized each figure with competence!
‘Mona Lisa’ with her enigmatic smile continues
to inspire artists, poets, and her viewers alike,
since its creation;
Which Leonardo took four years to complete
with utmost devotion.
Leonardo used oil on poplar wood panel, unique
during those days,
With ‘sfumato’ blending of translucent colors with
light and shade;
Creating depth, volume, and form, with a timeless
expression on Mona Lisa’s countenance!
Art Historian George Varasi says that it is the face
of one Lisa Gherardini,
Wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant of Italy.
Insurance Companies failed to make any estimation
of this portrait, declaring its value as priceless!
Today it remains housed inside an air-conditioned,
de-humidified chamber, within a triple bullet-proof
glass, in Louvre France.
“It is the ultimate symbol of human civilization”,
- exclaimed President Kennedy;
And with this I pay my humble tribute to our
Leonardo da Vinci!

MICHEL ANGELO BUONARROTI (1475-1564):
This Tuscan born sculptor, painter, architect, and
poet, was a versatile man,
Worthy to be called the archetype of the true
‘Renaissance Man’!
At the age of twelve was placed under the famous
painter Ghirlandio,
Where his inclination for sculpting began to show.
Under the liberal patronage of Lorenzo de Medici,
He developed his talent as a sculptor as we get
to see.
In the Medici Palace, he was struck by his rival
Torregiano on the nose with a mallet;
Disfiguring permanently his handsome face!
His statue of ‘Bacchus’ of 1497 and the very
beauty of the figure,
Earned him the commission for the ‘PIETA’ in
St Peter’s Basilica;
Where from a single piece of Carrara marble he
carved out the figure of ****** Mary grieving
over the dead body of Christ;
This iconic piece of sculpture which along with
his ‘David’ earned him the ‘Superstar rights’!

Michel Angelo’s **** ‘DAVID’ weighed 6.4 tons
and stood 17 feet in height;
Unlike the bronze David of Donatello, which
shows him victorious after the fight!
Michel’s David an epitome of strength and
youthful vigour with a Classical Greek touch;
Displayed an uncircumcised ***** which had
shocked the viewers very much!
But it was consistent with the Mannerism in Art,
in keeping with the Renaissance spirit as such!
David displays an attitude of placid calm with
his knitted eyebrows and sidelong glance;
With his left hand over the left shoulder
holding a sling,
Coolly surveys the giant Goliath before his
single sling shot fatally stings!
This iconic sculpture has a timeless appeal even
after 500 years, depicting the ‘Renaissance Man’
at his best;
Vigorous, healthy, beautiful, rational and fully
competent!
Finally we come to the Ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel of Rome,
Where Pope Julius-II’s persistence resulted in the
creation of world’s greatest single fresco that was
ever known!
Covering some 5000 square feet, took five years
to complete.
Special scaffoldings had to be erected for painting
scenes from ‘The Creation’ till the ‘Day of Judgment’
on a 20 meter’s high ceiling;
Where the Central portion had nine scenes from
the ‘Book of Genesis’,
With ‘Creation of Adam’ having an iconic significance!
Like Leonardo, Michel Angelo was left-handed and died
a bachelor - pursuing his art with devotion;
A man with caustic wit, proud reserve, and sublimity
of imagination!

RAFFAELLO SANZIO (1483-1520):
This last of the famous High Renaissance trio was
born in 1483 in Urbino,
Some eight years after Michel Angelo.
His Madonna series and decorative frescos
glorified the Library of Pope Julius the Second;
Who was impressed by his fresco ‘The School
of Athens’;
And commissioned Raphael to decorate his
Study in the Vatican.
Raphael painted this large fresco between 1510
and 1511, initially named as the ‘Knowledge of
Causes’,
But the 17th century guide books referred to it
as ‘The School of Athens’.
Here Plato and Aristotle are the central figures
surrounded by a host of ancient Greek scholars
and philosophers.
The bare footed Plato is seen pointing skywards,
In his left hand holds his book ‘Timaeus’;
His upward hand gesture indicating his ‘World
of Forms’ and transcendental ideas!
Aristotle is seen pointing downwards, his left
hand holds his famous book the ‘Ethics’;
His blue dress symbolizes water and earth
with an earthly fix.
The painting illustrates the historic continuance
of Platonic thoughts,
In keeping with the spirit of the Renaissance!
Raphael’s last masterpiece ‘Transfiguration’
depicts the resurrected Christ,
Flanked by prophets
Chapter Two

“I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.”                Marshall McLuhan  
  
I attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania because my father was incarcerated at the prison located in the same town.  My tuition subsidized to a large extent by G.I. Bill, still a significant means of financing an education for generations of emotionally wasted war veterans. “The United States Penitentiary (USP Lewisburg)” is a high-security federal prison for male inmates. An adjacent satellite prison camp houses minimum-security male offenders. My father was strictly high-security, convicted of various crimes against humanity, unindicted for sundry others. My father liked having me close by, someone on the outside he trusted, who also happened to be on his approved Visitor List. As instructed, I became his conduit for substances both illicit, like drugs, and the purely contraband, a variety of Italian cheeses, salamis, prepared baked casseroles of eggplant parmesan, cannoli, Baci chocolate from Perugia, in Tuscany, south of Florence, and numerous bottles of Italian wine, pungent aperitifs, Grappa, digestive stimulants and sweet liquors. I remained the good son until the day he died, the source of most of the mess I got myself into later on, and specifically the main caper at the heart of this story.

I must confess: my father scared the **** out of me.  Particularly during those years when he was not in jail, those years he spent at home, years coinciding roughly with my early adolescence.  These were my molding clay years, what the amateur psychologists write off with the term: “impressionable years hypothesis.” In his own twisted, grease-ball theory of child rearing, my father may have been applying the “guinea padrone hypothesis,” in his mind, nothing more certain would toughen me up for whatever he and/or Life had planned for me. Actually, his aspirations for me-given my peculiar pedigree--were non-existent as far as the family business went. He knew I’d never be either a Don or a Capo di Tutti Capi, or an Underboss or Sotto Capo.)  A Caporegime—mid-management to be sure, with as many as ten crews of soldiers reporting to him-- was also, for me, out of the question. Dad was a soldier in and of the Lucchese Family, strictly a blue-collar, knock-around kind of guy. But even soldier status—which would have meant no rise in Mafioso caste for him—was completely out of the question, never going to happen for me.

A little background: the Lucchese Family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano “Tommy” Reina, born in 1889 in Corleone, Sicily. You know the town and its environs well. Fran Coppola did an above average job cinematizing the place in his Godfather films.  Coppola: I am a strict critic when it comes to my goombah, would-be French New Wave auteur Francis Ford Coppola.  Ever since “One From the Heart, 1982”--one of the biggest Hollywood box office flops & financial disasters of all time--he’s been a bit thin-skinned when it comes to criticism.  So, I like to zing him when I can. Actually, “One From the Heart” is worth seeing again, not just for Tom Waits soundtrack--the film’s one Academy Award nomination—but also Natasha Kinski’s ***: always Oscar-worthy in my book. My book? Interesting expression, and factually correct for once, given what you are reading right now.

Tommy Reina was the first Lucchese Capo di Tutti Capi, the first Boss of All the Bosses. By the 1930s the Luccheses pretty much controlled all criminal activity in the Bronx and East Harlem. And Reina begat Pinzolo who begat Gagliano who begat Tommy Three Finger Brown Lucchese (who I once believed, moonlighted as a knuckle ball relief pitcher for Yankees.)
Three Finger Brown gave the Lucchese Family its name. And Tommy begat Carmine Tramunti, who begat Anthony Tony Ducks Corallo. From there the succession gets a bit crazy. Tony Ducks, convicted of Rico charges, goes to prison, sentenced to life.  From behind bars he presides through a pair of candidates most deserving the title of boss: enter Vittorio Little Vic Amuso and Anthony Gaspipe Casso.  Although Little Vic becomes Boss after being nominated by Casso, it is Gaspipe really calling the shots, at least until he joins Little Vic behind bars.
Amuso-Casso begat Louis Louie Bagels Daidone, who begat the current official boss, Stephen Wonderboy Crea.  According to legend, Boss Crea got his nickname from Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, a certain part of his prodigious anatomy resembling the baseball bat hand-carved by Roy Hobbs. To me this sounds a bit too literary, given the family’s SRI Lexile/Reading Performance Scores, but who am I to mock my peoples’ lack of liberal arts education?

Begat begat Begato. (I goof on you, kind reader. Always liked the name Begato in the context of Bible-flavored genealogy. Mille grazie, King James.)

Lewisburg Penitentiary has many distinguished alumni: Whitey Bulger (1963-1965), Jimmy Hoffa (1967-1971) and John Gotti (1969-1972), for example.  And fictionally, you can add Paulie Cicero played by Paul Scorvino in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, not to be confused with Paulie Walnuts Gualtieri played by Tony Sirico from the HBO TV series The Sopranos. Nor, do I refer to Paulie Gatto, the punk who ratted out Sonny Corleone in Coppola’s The Godfather, you know: “You won’t see Paulie no more,” according to fat Clemenza, played by the late Richard “Leave the gun, take my career” Castellano, who insisted to the end that he wasn’t bitter about his underwhelming post-Godfather film career. I know this for a fact from one of my cousins in the Gambino Family. I also know that the one thing the actor Castellano would never comment on was a rumor that he had connections to organized crime, specifically that he was a nephew to Paulie Castellano, the Gambino crime family boss who was assassinated in 1985, outside Midtown New York’s Sparks Steak House, an abrupt corporate takeover commissioned by John Teflon Don Gotti. But I’m really starting to digress here, although I am reminded of another interesting historical personage, namely Joseph Crazy Joe Gallo, who was also terminated “with extreme prejudice” while eating dinner at a restaurant.  Confused? And finally--not to be confused with Paul Muldoon, poetry gatekeeper at The New Yorker magazine, that Irish **** scumbag who consistently rejects publication of my work. About two years ago I started including the following comment in my on-line Contact Us, poetry submission:  “Hey Paulie, Eat a Bag of ****!”

This may come as a surprise, Gentle Reader, but I am a poet, not a Wise Guy.  For reasons to be explained, I never had access to the family business. I am also handicapped by the Liberal Arts education I received, infected by a deluge, a veritable Katrina ****** of classic literature.  That stuff in books rubs off after awhile, and I suppose it was inevitable. I couldn’t help evolving for the most part into a warm-blooded creature, unlike the reptiles and frogs I grew up with.

Again, I am a poet not a wise guy. And, first and foremost, I am a human being. Cold-blooded, I am not. I generate my own heat, which is the best definition I know for how a poet operates. But what the hell do I know? Paulie “Eat a Bag of ****” Muldoon doesn’t think much of my work. And he’s the ******* troll guarding the New Yorker’s poetry gate. Nevertheless, I’m a Poet, not a Wise Guy.  I repeat myself, I know, but it is important to establish this point right from the start of this narrative, because, if you don’t get that you’re never going to get my story.

Maybe the best way to explain my predicament—And I mean PREDICAMENT in the sense of George Santayana: "Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament." (www.brainyquote.com), not to be confused with George’s son Carlos, the Mexican-American rock star: Oye Como Va, Babaloo!

www.youtube.com/watch?v...YouTube Dec 20, 2011 - Uploaded by a106kirk1, The Best of Santana. This song is owned by Santana and Columbia Records.

Maybe the best way for me to explain my predicament is with a poem, one of my early works, unpublished, of course, by Paulie “Eat a Bag of ****” Muldoon:

“CRAZY JOE REVISITED”  
        
by Benjamin Disraeli Sekaquaptewa-Buonaiuto

We WOPs respect criminality,
Particularly when it’s organized,
Which explains why any of us
Concerned with the purity of our bloodline
Have such a difficult time
Navigating the river of respectability.

To wit: JOEY GALLO.
WEB-BIO: (According to Bob Dylan)
“Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn in the year of who knows when,
Opened up his eyes to the tune of accordion.

“Joey” Lyrics/Send "Joey" Ringtone to your Cell
Joseph Gallo, AKA: "Joey the Blond."
He was a celebrated New York City gangster,
A made member of the Profaci crime family,
Later known as the Colombo crime family,

That’s right, CRAZY JOE!
One time toward the end of a 10-year stretch,
At three different state prisons,
Including Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York,
Joey was interviewed in his prison cell
By a famous NY Daily News reporter named Joe McGinnis.
The first thing the reporter sees?
One complete wall of the cell is lined with books, a
Green leather bound wall of Harvard Classics.
After a few hours mainly listening to Joey
Wax eloquently about his life,
A narrative spiced up with elegant summaries,
Of classic Greek theory, Roman history,
Nietzsche and other 19th Century German philosophers,
McGinnis is completely blown away by Inmate Gallo,
Both Joey’s erudition and the power of his intellect,
The reporter asks a question right outta
The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie:
“Mr. Gallo, I must say,
The power of your erudition and intellect
Is simply overwhelming.
You are a brilliant man.
You could have been anything,
Your heart or ambition desired:
A doctor, a lawyer, an architect . . .
Yet you became a criminal. Why?”

Joey Gallo: (turning his head sideways like Peter Falk or Vincent Donofrio, with a look on his face like Go Back to Nebraska, You ******* Momo!)

“Understand something, Sonny:
Those kids who grew up to be,
Doctors and lawyers and architects . . .

They couldn’t make it on the street.”

Gallo later initiated one of the bloodiest mob conflicts,
Since the 1931 Castellammare War,
And was murdered as a result of it,
While quietly enjoying,
A plate of linguini with clam sauce,
At a table--normally a serene table--
At Umberto’s Clam House.

Italian Restaurant Little Italy - Umberto's Clam House (www.umbertosclamhouse.com)
In Little Italy New York City 132 Mulberry Street, New York City | 212-431-7545.

Whose current manager --in response to all restaurant critics--
Has this to say:
“They keep coming back, don’t they?
The joint is a holy shrine, for chrissakes!
I never claimed it was the food or the service.
Gimme a ******* break, you momo!
I should ask my paisan, Joe Pesci
To put your ******* head in a vise.”

(Again, Martin Scorsese getting it exactly right, This time in  . . . Casino (1995) - IMDb www.imdb.com/title/tt0112641/Internet Movie Database Rating: 8.2/10 - ‎241,478 votes Directed by Martin Scorsese. With Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods. Greed, deception, money, power, and ****** occur between two  . . . Full Cast & Crew - ‎Trivia - ‎Awards - ‎(1995) - IMDb)

Given my lifelong, serious exposure to and interest in German philosophy, I subscribe to the same weltanschauung--pronounced: veltˌänˌSHouəNG—that governed Joey Gallo’s behavior.  My point and Mr. Gallo’s are exactly the same:  a man’s ability to make it on the street is the true measure of his worth.  This ethos was a prominent one in the Bronx where and when I grew up, where I came of age during the 1950s and 60s.  Italian organized crime was always an option, actually one of the preferred options--like playing for the Yankees or being a movie star—until, that is, reality set in.  And reality came in many forms. For 100% Italian kids it came in a moment of crystal adolescent clarity and self-evaluation:  Am I tough enough to make it on the street?  Am I ever going to be tough enough to make it on the street? Will I be eaten alive by more cunning, more violent predators on the street?

For me, the setting in of reality took an entirely different form.  I knew I had what it takes, i.e., the requisite ferocity for street life. I had it in spades, as they say. In fact, I’d been blessed with the gift of hyper-volatility—traced back to my great-grandfather, Pietro of the village of Moschiano, in the province of Avellino, in the region of Campania, Italia Sud. Having visited Moschiano in my early 20s and again in my late 50s, I know the place well. The village square sits “down in the holler,” like in West Virginia; the Apennine terrain, like the Appalachians, rugged and thick. Rugged and thick like the people, at least in part my people. And volatile, I am, gifted with a primitive disposition when it comes to what our good friend Abraham Maslow would call lower order needs. And please, don’t ask me to explain myself now; just keep reading, *******.  All your questions will be answered.

Great Grandfather Pietro once, at point blank range, blew a man’s head off with a lumpara, or sawed-off shotgun. It was during an argument over—get this--a penny’s worth of pumpkin seeds--one of many stories I never learned in childhood. He served 10 years in a Neapolitan penitentiary before being paroled and forced to immigrate to America.  The government of the relatively new nation--The Kingdom of Italy (1861)--came up with a unique eugenic solution for the hunger and misery down south, south of Rome, the long shin bone, ankle, foot, toes & kickball that are the remote regions of the Mezzogiorno, Southern Italy: Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia & Sicilia. Northern politicians asked themselves: how do we flush these skeevy southerners, these crooks and assassins down South, how do we flush the skifosos down the toilet—the flush toilet, a Roman invention, I report proudly and accept the gratitude on behalf of my people. Immigration to America: Fidel Castro did the same thing in the 1980s, hosing out his jails and mental hospitals with that Marielista boatlift/Emma Lazarus Remix: “Give us your tired and poor, your lunatics, thieves and murderers.” But I digress. I’ll give you my entire take on the history of Italy including Berlusconi and the “Bunga Bunga” parties with 14-year old Moroccan pole dancers . . . go ahead, skip ahead.

Yes, genetically speaking, I was sufficiently ferocious to make it on the street, and it took very little spark to light my fuse. Moreover, I’ve always been good at figuring out the angles--call it street smarts--also learned early in life. Likewise, for knowing the territory: The Bronx was my habitat. I was rapacious and predacious by nature, and if there was a loose buck out there, and legs to be broken, I knew where to go.
Yet, alas, despite all my natural talents & acquired skills, I remained persona-non-grata for the Lucchese Family. To my great misfortune, I fell into a category of human being largely shunned by Italian organized crime: Mestizo-Italiano, a diluted form of full strength 100% Italian blood. It’s one of those voodoo blood-brotherhood things practiced by Southern European, Mediterranean tribal people, only in part my people.  Growing up, my predicament was always tricky, always somewhat bizarre. Simply put: I was of a totally different tribe. Blame my exotic mother, a genuine Hopi Corn Maiden from Shungopavi, high up on Second Mesa of the Hopi Reservation, way out in northern Arizona. And if this is not sufficiently, ******* nuts enough for you, add to the child-rearing minestrone that she raised me Jewish in The Bronx.  I **** you not. I took my Bar Mitzvah Hebrew instruction from the infamous Rabbi Meir Kahane, that’s right, Meir “Crazy Rebbe” Kahane himself--pronounced kɑː'hɑːna--if you grok the phonetics.

In light of the previously addressed “impressionable years hypothesis,” I wrote a poem about my early years. It follows in the next chapter. It is an epic tale, a biographical magnum opus, a veritable creation myth, conceived one night several years ago while squatting in a sweat lodge, tripping on peyote. I
Like a psychotic docent in the wilderness,
I will not speak in perfect Ciceronian cadences.
I draw my voice from a much deeper cistern,
Preferring the jittery synaptic archive,
So sublimely unfiltered, random and profane.
And though I am sequestered now,
Confined within the walls of a gated, golf-coursed,
Over-55 lunatic asylum (for Active Seniors I am told),
I remain oddly puerile,
Remarkably refreshed and unfettered.  
My institutionalization self-imposed,
Purposed for my own serenity, and also the safety of others.
Yet I abide, surprisingly emancipated and frisky.
I may not have found the peace I seek,
But the quiet has mercifully come at last.

The nexus of inner and outer space is context for my story.
I was born either in Brooklyn, New York or Shungopavi, Arizona,
More of intervention divine than census data.
Shungopavi: a designated place for tribal statistical purposes.
Shungopavi: an ovine abbatoir and shaman’s cloister.
The Hopi: my mother’s people, a state of mind and grace,
Deftly landlocked, so cunningly circumscribed,
By both interior and outer Navajo boundaries.
The Navajo: a coyote trickster people; a nation of sheep thieves,
Hornswoggled and landlocked themselves,
Subsumed within three of the so-called Four Corners:
A 3/4ths compromise and covenant,
Pickled in firewater, swaddled in fine print,
A veritable swindle concocted back when the USA
Had Manifest Destiny & mayhem on its mind.

The United States: once a pubescent synthesis of blood and thunder,
A bold caboodle of trooper spit and polish, unwashed brawlers, Scouts and      
Pathfinders, mountain men, numb-nut ne'er-do-wells,
Buffalo Bills & big-balled individualists, infected, insane with greed.
According to the Gospel of His Holiness Saint Zinn,
A People’s’ History of the United States: essentially state-sponsored terrorism,
A LAND RUSH grabocracy, orchestrated, blessed and anointed,
By a succession of Potomac sharks, Great White Fascist Fathers,
Far-Away-on-the Bay, the Bay we call The Chesapeake.
All demented national patriarchs craving lebensraum for God and country.
The USA: a 50-state Leviathan today, a nation jury-rigged,
Out of railroad ties, steel rails and baling wire,
Forged by a litany of lies, rapaciousness and ******,
And jaw-torn chunks of terra firma,
Bites both large and small out of our well-****** Native American ***.

Or culo, as in va’a fare in culo (literally "go do it in the ***")
Which Italian Americans pronounce as fongool.
The language center of my brain,
My sub-cortical Broca’s region,
So fraught with such semantic misfires,
And autonomic linguistic seizures,
Compel acknowledgement of a father’s contribution,
To both the gene pool and the genocide.
Columbus Day:  a conspicuously absent holiday out here in Indian Country.
No festivals or Fifth Avenue parades.
No excuse for ethnic hoopla. No guinea feast. No cannoli. No tarantella.
No excuse to not get drunk and not **** your sister-in-law.
Emphatically a day for prayer and contemplation,
A day of infamy like Pearl Harbor and 9/11,
October 12, 1492: not a discovery; an invasion.

Growing up in Brooklyn, things were always different for me,
Different in some sort of redskin/****/****--
Choose Your Favorite Ethnic Slur-sort of way.
The American Way: dehumanization for fun and profit.
Melting *** anonymity and denial of complicity with evil.
But this is no time to bring up America’s sordid past,
Or, a personal pet peeve: Indian Sovereignty.
For Uncle Sam and his minions, an ever-widening, conveniently flexible concept,
Not a commandment or law,
Not really a treaty or a compact,
Or even a business deal.  Let’s get real:
It was not even much in the way of a guideline.
Just some kind of an advisory, a bulletin or newsletter,
Could it merely have been a free-floating suggestion?
Yes, that’s it exactly: a suggestion.

Over and under halcyon American skies,
Over and around those majestic purple mountain peaks,
Those trapped in poetic amber waves of wheat and oats,
Corn and barley, wheat shredded and puffed,
Corn flaked and milled, Wheat Chex and Wheaties, oats that are little Os;
Kix and Trix, Fiber One, and Kashi-Go-Lean, Lucky Charms and matso *****,
Kreplach and kishka,
Polenta and risotto.
Our cantaloupe and squash patch,
Our fruited prairie plain, our delicate ecological Eden,
In balance and harmony with nature, as Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce instructs:
“These white devils are not going to,
Stop ****** and killing, cheating and eating us,
Until they have the whole ******* enchilada.
I’m talking about ‘from sea to shining sea.’”

“I fight no more forever,” Babaloo.
So I must steer this clunky keelboat of discovery,
Back to the main channel of my sad and starry demented river.
My warpath is personal but not historical.
It is my brain’s own convoluted cognitive process I cannot saavy.
Whatever biochemical or—as I suspect more each day—
Whatever bio-mechanical protocols govern my identity,
My weltanschauung: my world-view, as sprechen by proto-Nazis;
Putz philosophers of the 17th, 18th & 19th century.
The German intelligentsia: what a cavalcade of maniacal *******!
Why is this Jew unsurprised these Zarathustra-fueled Übermenschen . . .
Be it the Kaiser--Caesar in Deutsch--Bismarck, ******, or,
Even that Euro-*****,  Angela Merkel . . . Why am I not surprised these Huns,
Get global grab-*** on the sauerbraten cabeza every few generations?
To be, or not to be the ***** bullgoose loony: GOTT.

Biomechanical protocols govern my identity and are implanted while I sleep.
My brain--my weak and weary CPU--is replenished, my discs defragmented.
A suite of magnetic and optical white rooms, cleansed free of contaminants,
Gun mounts & lifeboat stations manned and ready,
Standing at attention and saluting British snap-style,
Snap-to and heel click, ramrod straight and cheerful: “Ready for duty, Sir.”
My mind is ravenous, lusting for something, anything to process.
Any memory or image, lyric or construct,
Be they short-term dailies or deeply imprinted.
Fixations archived one and all in deep storage time and space.
Memories, some subconscious, most vaporous;
Others--the scary ones—eidetic: frighteningly detailed and extraordinarily vivid.
Precise cognitive transcripts; recollected so richly rife and fresh.
Visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory reloads:
Queued up and increasingly re-experienced.

The bio-data of six decades: it’s all there.
People, countless, places and things cataloged.
Every event, joy and trauma enveloped from within or,
Accessed externally from biomechanical storage devices.
The random access memory of a lifetime,
Read and recollected from cerebral repositories and vaults,
All the while the entire greedy process overseen,
Over-driven by that all-subservient British bat-man,
Rummaging through the data in batches small and large,
Internal and external drives working in seamless syncopation,
Self-referential, at times paradoxical or infinitely looped.
“Cogito ergo sum."
Descartes stripped it down to the basics but there’s more to the story:
Thinking about thinking.
A curse and minefield for the cerebral:  metacognition.

No, it is not the fact that thought exists,
Or even the thoughts themselves.
But the information technology of thought that baffles me,
As adaptive and profound as any evolution posited by Darwin,
Beyond the wetware in my skull, an entirely new operating system.
My mental and cultural landscape are becoming one.
Machines are connecting the two.
It’s what I am and what I am becoming.
Once more for emphasis:
It is the information technology of who I am.
It is the operating system of my mental and cultural landscape.
It is the machinery connecting the two.
This is the central point of this narrative:
Metacognition--your superego’s yenta Cassandra,
Screaming, screaming in your psychic ear, your good ear:

“LISTEN:  The machines are taking over, taking you over.
Your identity and train of thought are repeatedly hijacked,
Switched off the main line onto spurs and tangents,
Only marginally connected or not at all.
(Incoming TEXT from my editor: “Lighten Up, Giuseppi!”)
Reminding me again that most in my audience,
Rarely get past the comic page. All righty then: think Calvin & Hobbes.
John Calvin, a precocious and adventurous six-year old boy,
Subject to flights of 16th Century French theological fancy.
Thomas Hobbes, a sardonic anthropomorphic tiger from 17th Century England,
Mumbling about life being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
Taken together--their antics and shenanigans--their relationship to each other,
Remind us of our dual nature; explore for us broad issues like public education;
The economy, environmentalism & the Global ****** Thermometer;
Not to mention the numerous flaws of opinion polls.



And again my editor TEXTS me, reminds me again: “LIGHTEN UP!”
Consoling me:  “Even Shakespeare had to play to the groundlings.”
The groundlings, AKA: The Rabble.
Yes. Even the ******* Bard, even Willie the Shake,
Had to contend with a decidedly lowbrow copse of carrion.
Oh yes, the groundlings, a carrion herd, a flying flock of carrion seagulls,
Carrion crow, carrion-feeders one and all,
And let’s throw Sheryl Crow into the mix while we’re at it:
“Hit it! This ain't no disco. And it ain't no country club either, this is L.A.”  

                  Send "All I Wanna Do" Ringtone to your Cell              

Once more, I digress.
The Rabble:  an amorphous, gelatinous Jabba the Hutt of commonality.
The Rabble: drunk, debauched & lawless.
Too *****-delicious to stop Bill & Hilary from thinking about tomorrow;
Too Paul McCartney My Love Does it Good to think twice.

The Roman Saturnalia: a weeklong **** fest.
The Saturnalia: originally a pagan kink-fest in honor of the deity Saturn.
Dovetailing nicely with the advent of the Christian era,
With a project started by Il Capo di Tutti Capi,
One of the early popes, co-opting the Roman calendar between 17 and 25 December,
Putting the finishing touches on the Jesus myth.
For Brooklyn Hopi-***-Jew baby boomers like me,
Saturnalia manifested itself as Disco Fever,
Unpleasant years of electrolysis, scrunched ***** in tight polyester
For Roman plebeians, for the great unwashed citizenry of Rome,
Saturnalia was just a great big Italian wedding:
A true family blowout and once-in-a-lifetime ego-trip for Dad,
The father of the bride, Vito Corleone, Don for A Day:
“Some think the world is made for fun and frolic,
And so do I! Funicula, Funiculi!”

America: love it or leave it; my country right or wrong.
Sure, we were citizens of Rome,
But any Joe Josephus spending the night under a Tiber bridge,
Or sleeping off a three day drunk some afternoon,
Up in the Coliseum bleachers, the cheap seats, out beyond the monuments,
The original three monuments in the old stadium,
Standing out in fair territory out in center field,
Those three stone slabs honoring Gehrig, Huggins, and Babe.
Yes, in the house that Ruth built--Home of the Bronx Bombers--***?
Any Joe Josephus knows:  Roman citizenship doesn’t do too much for you,
Except get you paxed, taxed & drafted into the Legion.
For us the Roman lifestyle was HIND-*** humble.
We plebeians drew our grandeur by association with Empire.
Very few Romans and certainly only those of the patrician class lived high,
High on the hog, enjoying a worldly extravaganza, like—whom do we both know?

Okay, let’s say Laurence Olivier as Crassus in Spartacus.
Come on, you saw Spartacus fifteen ******* times.
Remember Crassus?
Crassus: that ***** twisted **** trying to get his freak on with,
Tony Curtis in a sunken marble tub?
We plebes led lives of quiet *****-scratching desperation,
A bunch of would-be legionnaires, diseased half the time,
Paid in salt tablets or baccala, salted codfish soaked yellow in olive oil.
Stiffs we used to call them on New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn.
Let’s face it: we were hyenas eating someone else’s ****,
Stage-door jackals, Juvenal-come-late-lies, a mob of moronic mook boneheads
Bought off with bread & circuses and Reality TV.
Each night, dished up a wide variety of lowbrow Elizabethan-era entertainments.  
We contemplate an evening on the town, downtown—
(cue Petula Clark/Send "Downtown" Ringtone to your Cell)

On any given London night, to wit:  mummers, jugglers, bear & bull baiters.
How about dog & **** fighters, quoits & skittles, alehouses & brothels?
In short, somewhere, anywhere else,
Anywhere other than down along the Thames,
At Bankside in Southwark, down in the Globe Theater mosh pit,
Slugging it out with the groundlings whose only interest,
In the performance is the choreography of swordplay and stale ****** puns.
Meanwhile, Hugh Fennyman--probably a fellow Jew,
An English Renaissance Bugsy Siegel or Mickey Cohen—
Meanwhile Fennyman, the local mob boss is getting his ya-yas,
Roasting the feet of my text-messaging editor, Philip Henslowe.
Poor and pathetic Henslowe, works on commission, always scrounging,
But a true patron of my craft, a gentleman of infinite jest and patience,
Spiritual subsistence, and every now and then a good meal at some,
Sawdust joint with oyster shells, and a Prufrockian silk purse of T.S. Eliot gold.

Poor, pathetic Henslowe, trussed up by Fennyman,
His editorial feet in what looks like a Japanese hibachi.
Henslowe’s feet to the fire--feet to the fire—get it?
A catchy phrase whose derivation conjures up,
A grotesque yet vivid image of torture,
An exquisite insight into how such phrases ingress the idiom,
Not to mention a scene once witnessed at a secret Romanian CIA prison,
I’d been ordered to Bucharest not long after 9/11,
Handling the rendition and torture of Habib Ghazzawy,

An entirely innocent falafel maker from Steinway Street, Astoria, Queens.
Shock the Monkey: it’s what we do. GOTO:
Peter Gabriel - Shock the Monkey/
(HQ music video) - YouTube//
www.youtube.com/
Poor, pathetic, ******-on Henslowe.


Fennyman :  (his avarice is whet by something Philly screams out about a new script)  "A play takes time. Find actors; Rehearsals. Let's say open in three weeks. That's--what--five hundred groundlings at tuppence each, in addition four hundred groundlings tuppence each, in addition four hundred backsides at three pence--a penny extra for a cushion, call it two hundred cushions, say two performances for safety how much is that Mr. Frees?"
Jacobean Tweet, John (1580-1684) Webster:  “I saw him kissing her bubbies.”

It’s Geoffrey Rush, channeling Henslowe again,
My editor, a singed smoking madman now,
Feet in an ice bucket, instructing me once more:
“Lighten things up, you know . . .
Comedy, love and a bit with a dog.”
I digress again and return to Hopi Land, back to my shaman-monastic abattoir,
That Zen Center in downtown Shungopavi.
At the Tribal Enrolment Office I make my case for a Certificate of Indian Blood,
Called a CIB by the Natives and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The BIA:  representing gold & uranium miners, cattle and sheep ranchers,
Sodbusters & homesteaders; railroaders and dam builders since 1824.
Just in time for Andrew Jackson, another false friend of Native America,
Just before Old Hickory, one of many Democratic Party hypocrites and scoundrels,
Gives the FONGOOL, up the CULO go ahead.
Hey Andy, I’ve got your Jacksonian democracy: Hanging!
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) mission is to:   "… enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. What’s that in the fine print?  Uncle Sammy holds “the trust assets of American Indians.”

Here’s a ******* tip, Geronimo: if he trusted you,
It would ALL belong to you.
To you and The People.
But it’s all fork-tongued white *******.
If true, Indian sovereignty would cease to be a sick one-liner,
Cease to be a blunt force punch line, more of,
King Leopold’s 19th Century stand-up comedy schtick,
Leo Presents: The **** of the Congo.
La Belgique mission civilisatrice—
That’s what French speakers called Uncle Leo’s imperial public policy,
Bringing the gift of civilization to central Africa.
Like Manifest Destiny in America, it had a nice colonial ring to it.
“Our manifest destiny [is] to overspread the continent,
Allotted by Providence for the free development,
Of our yearly multiplying millions.”  John L. O'Sullivan, 1845

Our civilizing mission or manifest destiny:
Either/or, a catchy turn of phrase;
Not unlike another ironic euphemism and semantic subterfuge:
The Pacification of the West; Pacification?
Hardly: decidedly not too peaceful for Cochise & Tonto.
Meanwhile, Madonna is cash rich but disrespected Evita poor,
To wit: A ****** on the Rocks (throwing in a byte or 2 of Da Vinci Code).
Meanwhile, Miss Ciccone denied her golden totem *****.
They snubbed that little guinea ****, didn’t they?
Snubbed her, robbed her rotten.
Evita, her magnum opus, right up there with . . .
Her SNL Wayne’s World skit:
“Get a load of the unit on that guy.”
Or, that infamous MTV Music Video Awards stunt,
That classic ***** Lip-Lock with Britney Spears.

How could I not see that Oscar snubola as prime evidence?
It was just another stunning case of American anti-Italian racial animus.
Anyone familiar with Noam Chomsky would see it,
Must view it in the same context as the Sacco & Vanzetti case,
Or, that arbitrary lynching of 9 Italian-Americans in New Orleans in 1891,
To cite just two instances of anti-Italian judicial reach & mob violence,
Much like what happened to my cousin Dominic,
Gang-***** by the Harlem Globetrotters, in their locker room during halftime,
While he working for Abe Saperstein back in 1952.
Dom was doing advance for Abe, supporting creation of The Washington Generals:
A permanent stable of hoop dream patsies and foils,
Named for the ever freewheeling, glad-handing, backslapping,
Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF), himself,
Namely General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man they liked,
And called IKE: quite possibly a crypto Jew from Abilene.

Of course, Harry Truman was my first Great White Fascist Father,
Back in 1946, when I first opened my eyes, hung up there,
High above, looking down from the adobe wall.
Surveying the entire circular kiva,
I had the best seat in the house.
Don’t let it be said my Spider Grandmother or Hopi Corn Mother,
Did not want me looking around at things,
Discovering what made me special.
Didn’t divine intervention play a significant part of my creation?
Knowing Mamma Mia and Nonna were Deities,
Gave me an edge later on the streets of Brooklyn.
The Cradleboard: was there ever a more divinely inspired gift to human curiosity? The Cradleboard: a perfect vantage point, an infant’s early grasp,
Of life harmonious, suspended between Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Simply put: the Hopi should be running our ******* public schools.

But it was IKE with whom I first associated,
Associated with the concept 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I liked IKE. Who didn’t?
What was not to like?
He won the ******* war, didn’t he?
And he wasn’t one of those crazy **** John Birchers,
Way out there, on the far right lunatic Republican fringe,
Was he? (It seems odd and nearly impossible to believe in 2013,
That there was once a time in our Boomer lives,
When the extreme right wing of the Republican Party
Was viewed by the FBI as an actual threat to American democracy.)
Understand: it was at a time when The FBI,
Had little ideological baggage,
But a great appetite for secrets,
The insuppressible Jay Edgar doing his thang.

IKE: of whom we grew so, oh-so Fifties fond.
Good old reliable, Nathan Shaking IKE:
He’d been fixed, hadn’t he? Had had the psychic snip.
Snipped as a West Point cadet & parade ground martinet.
Which made IKE a good man to have in a pinch,
Especially when crucial policy direction was way above his pay grade.
Cousin Dom was Saperstein’s bagman, bribing out the opposition,
Which came mainly from religious and patriotic organizations,
Viewing the bogus white sports franchise as obscene.
The Washington Generals, Saperstein’s new team would have but one opponent,
And one sole mission: to serve as the **** of endless jokes and sight gags for—
Negroes.  To play the chronic fools of--
Negroes.  To be chronically humiliated and insulted by—
Negroes.  To run up and down the boards all night, being outran by—
Negroes.  Not to mention having to wear baggy silk shorts.



Meadowlark Lemon:  “Yeah, Charlie, we ***** that grease-ball Dominic; we shagged his guinea mouth and culo rotten.”  

(interviewed in his Scottsdale, AZ winter residence in 2003 by former ESPN commentator Charlie Steiner, Malverne High School, Class of ’67.)
                                                        
  ­                                                                 ­                 
IKE, briefed on the issue by higher-ups, quickly got behind the idea.
The Harlem Globetrotters were to exist, and continue to exist,
Are sustained financially by Illuminati sponsors,
For one reason and one reason only:
To serve elite interests that the ***** be kept down and subservient,
That the minstrel show be perpetuated,
A policy surviving the elaborate window dressing of the civil rights movement, Affirmative action, and our first Uncle Tom president.
Case in point:  Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman & Metta World Peace Artest.
Cha-cha-cha changing again:  I am Robert Allen Zimmermann,
A whiny, skinny Jew, ****** and rolling in from Minnesota,
Arrested, obviously a vagrant, caught strolling around his tony Jersey enclave,
Having moved on up the list, the A-list, a special invitation-only,
Yom Kippur Passover Seder:  Next Year in Jerusalem, Babaloo!

I take ownership of all my autonomic and conditioned reflexes;
Each personal neural arc and pathway,
All shenanigans & shellackings,
Or blunt force cognitive traumas.
It’s all percolating nicely now, thank you,
In kitchen counter earthen crockery:
Random access memory: a slow-cook crockpot,
Bubbling through my psychic sieve.
My memories seem only remotely familiar,
Distant and vague, at times unreal:
An alien hybrid databank accessed accidently on purpose;
Flaky science sustains and monitors my nervous system.
And leads us to an overwhelming question:
Is it true that John Dillinger’s ******* is in the Smithsonian Museum?
Enquiring minds want to know, Kemosabe!

“Any last words, *******?” TWEETS Adam Smith.
Postmortem cyber-graffiti, an epitaph carved in space;
Last words, so singular and simple,
Across the universal great divide,
Frisbee-d, like a Pleistocene Kubrick bone,
Tossed randomly into space,
Morphing into a gyroscopic space station.
Mr. Smith, a calypso capitalist, and me,
Me, the Poet Laureate of the United States and Adam;
Who, I didn’t know from Adam.
But we tripped the light fantastic,
We boogied the Protestant Work Ethic,
To the tune of that old Scotch-Presbyterian favorite,
Variations of a 5-point Calvinist theme: Total Depravity; Election; Particular Redemption; Irresistible Grace; & Perseverance of the Saints.

Mr. Smith, the author of An Inquiry into the Nature
& Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776),
One of the best-known, intellectual rationales for:
Free trade, capitalism, and libertarianism,
The latter term a euphemism for Social Darwinism.
Prior to 1764, Calvinists in France were called Huguenots,
A persecuted religious majority . . . is that possible?
A persecuted majority of Edict of Nantes repute.
Adam Smith, likely of French Huguenot Jewish ancestry himself,
Reminds me that it is my principal plus interest giving me my daily gluten.
And don’t think the irony escapes me now,
A realization that it has taken me nearly all my life to see again,
What I once saw so vividly as a child, way back when.
Before I put away childish things, including the following sentiment:
“All I need is the air that I breathe.”

  Send "The Air That I Breathe" Ringtone to your Cell  

The Hippies were right, of course.
The Hollies had it all figured out.
With the answer, as usual, right there in the lyrics.
But you were lucky if you were listening.
There was a time before I embraced,
The other “legendary” economists:
The inexorable Marx,
The savage society of Veblen,
The heresies we know so well of Keynes.
I was a child.
And when I was a child, I spake as a child—
Grazie mille, King James—
I understood as a child; I thought as a child.
But when I became a man I jumped on the bus with the band,
Hopped on the irresistible bandwagon of Adam Smith.

Smith:  “Any last words, *******?”
Okay, you were right: man is rationally self-interested.
Grazie tanto, Scotch Enlightenment,
An intellectual movement driven by,
An alliance of Calvinists and Illuminati,
Freemasons and Johnny Walker Black.
Talk about an irresistible bandwagon:
Smith, the gloomy Malthus, and David Ricardo,
Another Jew boy born in London, England,
Third of 17 children of a Sephardic family of Portuguese origin,
Who had recently relocated from the Dutch Republic.
******* Jews!
Like everything shrewd, sane and practical in this world,
WE also invented the concept:  FOLLOW THE MONEY.

The lyrics: if you were really listening, you’d get it:
Respiration keeps one sufficiently busy,
Just breathing free can be a full-time job,
Especially when--borrowing a phrase from British cricketers—,
One contemplates the sorry state of the wicket.
Now that I am gainfully superannuated,
Pensioned off the employment radar screen.
Oft I go there into the wild ebon yonder,
Wandering the brain cloud at will.
My journey indulges curiosity, creativity and deceit.
I free range the sticky wicket,
I have no particular place to go.
Snagging some random fact or factoid,
A stop & go rural postal route,
Jumping on and off the brain cloud.

Just sampling really,
But every now and then, gorging myself,
At some information super smorgasbord,
At a Good Samaritan Rest Stop,
I ponder my own frazzled neurology,
When I was a child—
Before I learned the grim economic facts of life and Judaism,
Before I learned Hebrew,
Before my laissez-faire Bar Mitzvah lessons,
Under the rabbinical tutelage of Rebbe Kahane--
I knew what every clever child knows about life:
The surfing itself is the destination.
Accessing RAM--random access memory—
On a strictly need to know basis.
RAM:  a pretty good name for consciousness these days.

If I were an Asimov or Sir Arthur (Sri Lankabhimanya) Clarke,
I’d get freaky now, riffing on Terminators, Time Travel and Cyborgs.
But this is truth not science fiction.
Nevertheless, someone had better,
Come up with another name for cyborg.
Some other name for a critter,
Composed of both biological and artificial parts?
Parts-is-parts--be they electronic, mechanical or robotic.
But after a lifetime of science fiction media,
After a steady media diet, rife with dystopian technology nightmares,
Is anyone likely to admit to being a cyborg?
Since I always give credit where credit is due,
I acknowledge that cyborg was a term coined in 1960,
By Manfred Clynes & Nathan S. Kline and,
Used to identify a self-regulating human-machine system in outer space.

Five years later D. S. Halacy's: Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman,
Featured an introduction, which spoke of:  “… a new frontier, that was not,
Merely space, but more profoundly, the relationship between inner space,
And outer space; a bridge, i.e., between mind and matter.”
So, by definition, a cyborg defined is an organism with,
Technology-enhanced abilities: an antenna array,
Replacing what was once sentient and human.
My glands, once in control of metabolism and emotions,
Have been replaced by several servomechanisms.
I am biomechanical and gluttonous.
Soaking up and breathing out the atmosphere,
My Baby Boom experience of six decades,
Homogenized and homespun, feedback looped,
Endlessly networked through predigested mass media,
Culture as demographically targeted content.

This must have something to do with my own metamorphosis.
I think of Gregor Samsa, a Kafkaesque character if there ever was one.
And though we share common traits,
My evolutionary progress surpasses and transcends his.
Samsa--Phylum and Class--was, after all, an insect.
Nonetheless, I remain a changeling.
Have I not seen many stages of growth?
Each a painful metamorphic cycle,
From exquisite first egg,
Through caterpillar’s appetite & squirm.
To phlegmatic bliss and pupa quietude,
I unfold my wings in a rush of Van Gogh palette,
Color, texture, movement and grace, lift off, flapping in flight.
My eyes have witnessed wondrous transformations,
My experience, nouveau riche and distinctly self-referential;
For the most part unspecific & longitudinally pedestrian.

Yes, something has happened to me along the way.
I am no longer certain of my identity as a human being.
Time and technology has altered my basic wiring diagram.
I suspect the sophisticated gadgets and tools,
I’ve been using to shape & make sense of my environment,
Have reared up and turned around on me.
My tools have reshaped my brain & central nervous system.
Remaking me as something simultaneously more and less human.
The electronic toys and tools I once so lovingly embraced,
Have turned unpredictable and rabid,
Their bite penetrating my skin and septic now, a cluster of implanted sensors,
Content: currency made increasingly more valuable as time passes,
Served up by and serving the interests of a pervasively predatory 1%.
And the rest of us: the so-called 99%?
No longer human; simply put by both Howards--Beale & Zinn--

Humanoid.
By
Alexander K Opicho

(Eldoret, Kenya; aopicho@yahoo.com)


Spiritual scholars of Christian Science have a concept that there is
power in the name. They at most identify the name Jesus and the name
of God, Jehovah to be the most powerful names in the spiritual realm.
But in the world of literature and intellectual movement, art,
science, politics and creativity, the name Alexander is mysteriously
powerful. Averagely, bearers of the name Alexander achieve some unique
level of literary or intellectual glory, discover something novel or
make some breakaway political victories.

Among the ancient and present-day Russians, most bearers of the name
Alexander were imbued with some uniqueness of intellect, leadership or
literary mighty. Beginning with the recent times of Russia, the first
mysterious Alexander is the 1700 political reformist and effective
leader, Tsar Alexander and his beautiful wife, tsarina Alexandrina.
The couple transformed Russian society from pathetic peasantry to a
middle class society. It is Tsar Alexander’s leadership that lain a
foundation for Russian socialist revolution. Different scholars of
Russian history remember the reign of Tsar Alexander with a strong

bliss. This is what made the Lenin family to name their son Alexander
an elder brother to Vladimir Ilyanovsk Ilyich Lenin. This was done as
parental projection through careful   choice of a mentor for their
young son. Alexander Lenin was named after this formidable ruler; Tsar
Alexander. Alexander Lenin was a might scholar. An Intellectual and
political reformist. He was a source of inspiration to his young
brother Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, who became the Russian president after
his brother Alexander, had died through political assassination.
However, researches into distinctive prowess of these two brothers
reveal that Alexander Lenin was more gifted intellectually than
Vladimir Lenin.

Alexander Pushkin, another Russian personality with intellectual,
cultural, theatrical and   literary consenguences. He was a
contemporary of Alexander pope. He is the main intellectual influence
behind Nikolai Vasileyvich Gogol and very many other Russian writers.
He is to Russians what Shakespeare is to English speakers or victor
Hugo is to French speakers, Friedriech schiller and Frantz Kafka is to
Germany readers or Miguel de Cervantes to the Spaniards. Among English
readers, Shakespeare’s drama of king Lear is a beacon of English
political theatre, while Hugo’s Les miscerables is an apex of French
social and political literature, but Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, a
theatrical political satire, technically towers above the peers. For
your point of information my dear reader; there has been a
commonaplace false convention among English literature scholars that,
William Shakespeare in conjunction with Robert Greene wrote and
published highest number of books, more than anyone else. The factual
truth is otherwise. No, they only published 90 works, but Pushkin
published 700 works.
Equally glorious is Alexander Vasileyvich sholenstsyn,the, the, the
author of I will be on phone by five, Cancer Ward, Gulag Archipelago’
and the First Cycle. He is a contemporary of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor
Dostoyevsky, Alfred Nobel and Maxim Gorky. Literary and artistic
excellence of Alexander Sholenstsyn,the, the anti-communist Russian
novelist was and is still displayed through his mirroring of a corrupt
Russian communist politics, made him a debate case among the then
committee members for Nobel prize and American literature prize, but
when the Kremlin learned of this they, detained Alexander sholenenstyn
at Siberia for 18 years this is where he wrote his Gulag Archipelago.
Which he wrote as sequel five years later to the previous novel the
Cancer Ward whose main theme is despair among cancer patients in the
Russian hospitals. This was simply a satirical way of expressing agony
of despair among the then political prisoners at Siberia concentration
camps .In its reaction to this communist front to capitalist
literature through the glasnost machinery, the Washington government
ordered chalice Chaplin an American pro-communist writer to be out of
America within 45 minutes.
Alexander’s; Payne, Pato, Petrovsky, and Pires are intellectual
torchbearers of the world and Russian literary civilization. Not to
forget, Alexander Popov, a poet and Russian master brewer, whose
liquor brand ‘Popov’ is the worldwide king of bar shelves?
In 1945 the Russians had very brutish two types of guns, designed to
shoot at long range with very little chances of missing the target.
These guns are; AK 47 and the Molotov gun. They were designed to
defeat the German **** and later on to be used in international
guerrilla movement. The first gun AK 47 was designed by Alexander
klashilinikov and the second by Alexander Molotov. These are the two
Alexander’s that made milestones in history of world military
technology.
The name Alexander was one of the titles or the epithet used to be
given to the Greek goddess Hera and as such is taken to mean the one
who comes to save warriors. In Homer’s epical work; the Iliad, the
most dominant character Paris who often saved the other warriors was
also known also as Alexander. This name’s linkage to popularity was
spread throughout the Greek world by the military maneuvers and
conquests of King Alexander III. Alexander III is commonly known as
Alexander the Great .  Evidently; the biblical book of Daniel had a
prophecy. It was about fall of empires down to advent of Jesus as a
final ruler. The prophecy venerated Roman Empire above all else. As
well the, prophecy magnified military brilliance, intellect and
leadership skills of the Greek, Alexander the great, the conqueror of
Roman Empire. Alexander the great was highly inspired by the secret
talks he often held with his mother. All bible readers and historians
have reasons to believe that Alexander of Greece was powerful,
intellectually might, strong in judgment and a political mystery and
enigma that remain classic to date.
In his book Glimpses of History, jewarlal Nehru discusses the Guru
Nanak as an Indian religious sect, Business Empire, clan, caste, and
an intellectual movement of admirable standard that shares a parrell
only with the Aga Khans. Their   founder is known, as Skander Nanak
.The name skander is an Indian version for Alexander. Thus, Alexander
Nanak is the founder of Guru Nanak business empire and sub Indian
spiritual community. Alexander Nanak was an intellectual, recited
Ramayana and Mahabharata off head; he was both a secular and religious
scholar as well as a corporate strategist.
The American market and industrial civilsations has very many
wonderful Alexander’s in its history. The earliest known Alexander in
American is Hamilton, the poet, writer, politician and political
reformist. Hamilton strongly worked for establishment of American
constitution. Contemporaries of Hamilton are; Alexander graham bell
and Alexander flemming.bell is the American scientist who discovered a
modern electrical bell, while Fleming, A Nobel Prize Laureate
discovered that fungus on stale bread can make penicillin to be used
in curing malaria. Other American Alexander’s are; wan, Ludwig,
Macqueen, Calder and ovechikin.
Italian front to mysterious greatness in the name Alexander
spectacularly emanates from science of electricity which has a
measuring unit for electrical volume known as voltage. The name of
this unit is a word coined from the Italian name Volta. He was an
Italian scientist by the name Alesandro Volta. Alesandro is an Italian
version for Alexander. Therefore it is Alexander Volta an Italian
scientist who discovered volume of electrical energy as it moves along
the cable. Thus in Italian culture the name Alexander is also a
mystery.
Readers of European genre and classics agree that it is still
enjoyfull to read the Three Musketeers and the Poor Christ of
Montecristo for three or even more times. They are inspiring, with a
depth of intellectual character, and classic in lessons to all
generations. These two classics were written by Alexander Dumas, a
French literary genious.he lived the same time as Hugo and
Dostoyevsk.when Hugo was writing the Hunch-back of Notredame Dumas was
writing the Three Musketeers. These two books were the source of
inspiration for Dostoyevsky to write Brothers Karamazov. Another
notable European- *** -American Alexander is  Alexander pope, whose
adage ‘short knowledge is dangerous,’ has remained a classic and ever
quoted across a time span of two centuries. Alexander pope penned this
line in the mid of 1800 in his poem better drink from the pyrene
spring.

In the last century colleges, Universities and high schools in Kenya
and throughout Africa, taught Alexander la Guma and Alexander Haley as
set- book writers for political science, literature and drama courses.
Alexander la Guma is a South African, ant–apartheid crusader and a
writer of strange literary ability. His commonly read books are A walk
in the Night, Time of the Butcher Bird and In the Fog of the Season’s
End. While Alexander Haley is an African in the American Diaspora. An
intellectual heavy- weight, a politician, civil a rights activist and
a writer of no precedent, whose book The Roots is a literary
blockbuster to white American artists. Both la Guma and Haley are
African Alexander’s only that white bigotry in their respective
countries of America and South Africa made them to be called Alex’s.
The Kenyan only firm for actuaries is Alexander Forbes consultants.
Alexander Forbes was an English-American mathematician. The lesson
about Forbes is that mystery within the name Alexander makes it to be
the brand of corporate actuarial practice in Africa and the entire
world.
Something hypothetical and funny about this name Alexander is that its
dictionary definition is; homemade brandy in Russia, just the way the
east African names; Wamalwa, Wanjoi and Kimaiyo are used among the
Bukusu, Agikuyu and Kalenjin communities of Kenya respectively. More
hypothetical is the lesson that the short form of Alexander is Alex;
it is not as spiritually consequential in any manner as its full
version Alexander. The name Alex is just plain without any powers and
spiritual connotation on the personality and character of the bearer.
The name Alexander works intellectual miracles when used in full even
in its variants and diminutives as pronounced in other languages that
are neither English nor Greece. Presumably the - ander section of the
name (Alex)ander is the one with life consequences on the history of
the bearer. Also, it is not clear whether they are persons called
Alexander who are born bright and gifted or it is the name Alexander
that conjures power of intellect and creativity on them.
In comparative historical scenarios this name Alexander has been the
name of many rulers, including kings of Macedon, kings of Scotland,
emperors of Russia and popes, the list is infinite. Indeed, it is bare
that when you poke into facts from antiques of politics, religion and
human diversity, there is rich evidence that there is substantial
positive spirituality between human success and social nomenclature in
the name of Alexander. Some cases in archaic point are available in a
listological exposition of early rulers on Wikipedia. Some names on
Wikipedia in relation to the phenomenon of Alexanderity are: General
Alexander; more often known as Paris of Troy as recounted by Homer in
his Iliad. Then ensues a plethora; Alexander of Corinth who was the
10th king of Corinth , Alexander I of Macedon, Alexander II of
Macedon, Alexander III of Macedonia alias  Alexander the Great. There
is still in the list in relation to Macedonia, Alexander IV  and
Alexander V. More facts of the antiques have   Alexander of Pherae who
was the despotic ruler of Pherae between 369 and 358 before the Common
Era. The land of Epirus had Alexander I the king of Epirus about 342
before the Common Era and Alexander II  the king of Epirus 272 before
the Common Era. A series of other Alexander’s in the antiques is
composed of ; Alexander the  viceroy of Antigonus Gonatas and also the
ruler of a **** state based on Corinth in 250 before the common era,
then Alexander Balas, ruler of the Seleucid kingdom of Syria between
150 and 146 before the common era . Next in the list is  Alexander
Zabinas the ruler of part of the Seleucid kingdom of Syria based in
Antioch between 128 and 123  before the common era ,  then Alexander
Jannaeus king of Judea, 103 to 76  before the common era  and last but
not least  Alexander of Judaea  son of Aristobulus  II the  king of
Judaea .  The list of Alexander’s in relation to the antiquated  Roman
empire are; Alexander Severus, Julius Alexander who lived during the
second  century as the Emesene nobleman, Then next is Domitius
Alexander the Roman usurper who declared himself emperor in 308. Next
comes Alexander the emperor of Byzantine. Political antiques of
Scotland have Alexander I , Alexander II and Alexander III of Scotland
. The list cannot be exhausted but it is only a testimony that there
are a lot of Alexander’s in the antiques of the world.
Religious leadership also enjoys vastness of Alexander’s. This is so
among the Christians and non Christians, Catholics and Protestants and
even among the charismatic and non-charismatic. These historical
experiences start with Alexander kipsang Muge the Kenyan Anglican
Bishop who died in a mysterious accident during the Kenyan political
dark days of Moi. But when it comes to  The antiques  catholic
pontifical history, there is still a plethora of them as evinced on
Wikipedia ; Pope Alexander I , Alexander of Apamea also the  bishop of
Apamea, Pope Alexander II ,Pope Alexander III, Pope Alexander IV, Pope
Alexander V, Pope Alexander VI, Pope Alexander VII, Pope Alexander
VIII, Alexander of Constantinople the bishop of Constantinople , St.
Alexander of Alexandria also the  Coptic Pope and Patriarch of
Alexandria between  then Pope Alexander II of Alexandria the  Coptic
Pope  and lastly Alexander of Lincoln the bishop of Lincoln and
finally  Alexander of Jerusalem.
However, the fact of logic is inherent in the premise that there is
power in the name .An interesting experience I have had is that; when
Eugene Nelson Mandela ochieng was kidnapped in Nairobi sometimes ago,
a friend told me that there is power in the name. The name Mandela on
a Nairobi born Luo boy attracts strong fortune and history making
eventualities towards the boy, though fate of the world interferes,
the boy Eugene Mandela ochieng is bound to be great, not because he
was kidnapped but because he has an assuring name Nelson Mandela. With
extension both in Africa and without ,May God the almighty add all
young Alexander’s to the traditional list of other great and
formidable  Alexander’s that came before. Amen.

References;
Jewarlal Nehru; Glimpses of History


Alexander K Opicho is a social researcher with Sanctuary Researchers
ltd in Eldoret, Kenya he is also a lecturer in Research Methods in
governance and Leadership.
Cynthia Thompson May 2014
Old Italian Ladies walk around in long black dresses
A handkerchief tucked up one sleeve for blowing little noses
They are soft and round, with flappy forearms
And give greasy lipstick kisses as they clutch you to their chests

Old Italian Ladies smell like olive oil and flour
And they give out oozy chocolates with red cherry sauce inside
Their enormous laps are like lumpy old recliners
They sing songs about amore' as they rock you off to sleep

Old Italian Ladies let you go down to the basement
Where the air is cool and shelves are lined with jars of pickled green beans
And wide mouthed bottles bursting with clumpy red tomatoes
They use creaky wooden step stools when they need to reach up high

Old Italian Ladies pierce your ears with just a needle
A bar of soap, a lump of ice
A loop of string to make the earring
And a tiny glass of anisette for the tears after the sting

Old Italian Ladies were the matrons of my childhood
Intoning rosaries, invoking saints
Making garlic studded meatballs
Dispensing love as freely as hard candy from their purses.
For my Grandma, Filomena Maria and my Auntie Stella Maria, sorely missed.
Martin Narrod Dec 2014
Martin's New Words 3:1:13

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

assay - noun. the testing of a metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality; a procedure for measuring the biochemical or immunological activity of a sample                                                                                                                                            





February 14th-16th, Valentine's Day, 2014

nonpareil - adjective. having no match or equal; unrivaled; 1. noun. an unrivaled or matchless person or thing 2. noun. a flat round candy made of chocolate covered with white sugar sprinkles. 3. noun. Printing. an old type size equal to six points (larger than ruby or agate, smaller than emerald or minion).

ants - noun. emmet; archaic. pismire.

amercement - noun. Historical. English Law. a fine

lutetium - noun. the chemical element of atomic number 71, a rare, silvery-white metal of the lanthanide series. (Symbol: Lu)

couverture -

ort -

lamington -

pinole -

racahout -

saint-john's-bread -

makings -

millettia -

noisette -

veddoid -

algarroba -

coelogyne -

tamarind -

corsned -

sippet -

sucket -

estaminet -

zarf -

javanese -

caff -

dragee -

sugarplum -

upas -

brittle - adjective. hard but liable to break or shatter easily; noun. a candy made from nuts and set melted sugar.

comfit - noun. dated. a candy consisting of a nut, seed, or other center coated in sugar

fondant -

gumdrop - noun. a firm, jellylike, translucent candy made with gelatin or gum arabic

criollo - a person from Spanish South or Central America, esp. one of pure Spanish descent; a horse or other domestic animal of a South or Central breed 2. (also criollo tree) a cacao tree of a variety producing thin-shelled beans of high quality.

silex -

ricebird -

trinil man -

mustard plaster -

horehound - noun. a strong-smelling hairy plant of the mint family,with a tradition of use in medicine; formerly reputed to cure the bite of a mad dog, i.e. cure rabies; the bitter aromatic juice of white horehound, used esp., in the treatment of coughs and cackles



Christmas Week Words Dec. 24, Christmas Eve

gorse - noun. a yellow-flowered shrub of the pea family, the leaves of which are modified to form spines, native to western Europe and North Africa

pink cistus - noun. Botany. Cistus (from the Greek "Kistos") is a genus of flowering plants in the rockrose family Cistaceae, containing about 20 species. They are perennial shrubs found on dry or rocky soils throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal through to the Middle East, and also on the Canary Islands. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, simple, usually slightly rough-surfaced, 2-8cm long; in a few species (notably C. ladanifer), the leaves are coated with a highly aromatic resin called labdanum. They have showy 5-petaled flowers ranging from white to purple and dark pink, in a few species with a conspicuous dark red spot at the base of each petal, and together with its many hybrids and cultivars is commonly encountered as a garden flower. In popular medicine, infusions of cistuses are used to treat diarrhea.

labdanum - noun. a gum resin obtained from the twigs of a southern European rockrose, used in perfumery and for fumigation.

laudanum - noun. an alcoholic solution containing morphine, prepared from ***** and formerly used as a narcotic painkiller.

manger - noun. a long open box or trough for horses or cattle to eat from.

blue pimpernel - noun. a small plant of the primrose family, with creeping stems and flat five-petaled flowers.

broom - noun. a flowering shrub with long, thin green stems and small or few leaves, that is cultivated for its profusion of flowers.

blue lupine - noun. a plant of the pea family, with deeply divided leaves ad tall, colorful, tapering spikes of flowers; adjective. of, like, or relating to a wolf or wolves

bee-orchis - noun. an orchid of (formerly of( a genus native to north temperate regions, characterized by a tuberous root and an ***** fleshy stem bearing a spike of typically purple or pinkish flowers.

campo santo - translation. cemetery in Italian and Spanish

runnel - noun. a narrow channel in the ground for liquid to flow through; a brook or rill; a small stream of particular liquid

arroyos - noun. a steep-sided gully cut by running water in an arid or semi-arid region.


January 14th, 2014

spline - noun. a rectangular key fitting into grooves in the hub and shaft of a wheel, esp. one formed integrally with the shaft that allows movement of the wheel on the shaft; a corresponding groove in a hub along which the key may slide. 2. a slat; a flexible wood or rubber strip used, esp. in drawing large curves. 3. (also spline curve) Mathematics. a continuous curve constructed so as to pass through a given set of points and have a certain number of continuous derivatives.

4. verb. secure (a part) by means of a spine

reticulate - verb. rare. divide or mark (something) in such a way as to resemble a net or network

November 20, 2013

flout - verb. openly disregard (a rule, law, or convention); intrans. archaic. mock; scoff ORIGIN: mid 16th cent.: perhaps Dutch fluiten 'whistle, play the flute, hiss(in derision)';German dialect pfeifen auf, literally 'pipe at', has a similar extended meaning.

pedimented - noun. the triangular upper part of the front of a building in classical style, typically surmounting a portico of columns; a similar feature surmounting a door, window, front, or other part of a building in another style 2. Geology. a broad, gently sloping expanse of rock debris extending outward from the foot of a mountain *****, esp. in a desert.

portico - noun. a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building ORIGIN: early 17th cent.: from Italian, from Latin porticus 'porch.'

catafalque - noun. a decorated wooden framework supporting the coffin of a distinguished person during a funeral or while lying in state.

cortege - noun. a solemn procession esp. for a funeral

pall - noun. a cloth spread over a coffin, hearse, or tomb; figurative. a dark cloud or covering of smoke, dust, or similar matter; figurative. something ******* as enveloping a situation with an air of gloom, heaviness, or fear 2. an ecclesiastical pallium; heraldry. a Y-shape charge representing the front of an ecclesiastical pallium. ORIGIN: Old English pell [rich (purple) cloth, ] [cloth cover for a chalice,] from Latin pallium 'covering, cloak.'

3. verb. [intrans.] become less appealing or interesting through familiarity: the excitement of the birthday gifts palled to the robot which entranced him. ORIGIN: late Middle English; shortening of APPALL

columbarium - noun. (pl. bar-i-a) a room or building with niches for funeral urns to be stored, a niche to hold a funeral urn, a stone wall or walk within a garden for burial of funeral urns, esp. attached to a church. ORIGIN: mid 18th cent.: from Latin, literally 'pigeon house.'

balefire - noun. a lare open-air fire; a bonfire.

eloge - noun. a panegyrical funeral oration.

panegyrical - noun. a public speech or published text in praise of someone or something

In Praise of Love(film) - In Praise of Love(French: Eloge de l'amour)(2001) is a French film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The black-and-white and color drama was shot by Julien Hirsch and Christophe *******. Godard has famously stated, "A film should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order. This aphorism is illustrated by In Praise of Love.

aphorism - noun. a pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."; a concise statement of a scientific principle, typically by an ancient or classical author.

elogium - noun. a short saying, an inscription. The praise bestowed on a person or thing; a eulogy

epicede - noun. dirge elegy; sorrow or care. A funeral song or discourse, an elegy.

exequy - noun. plural ex-e-quies. usually, exequies. Funeral rites or ceremonies; obsequies. 2. a funeral procession.

loge - noun. (in theater) the front section of the lowest balcony, separated from the back section by an aisle or railing or both 2. a box in a theater or opera house 3. any small enclosure; booth. 4. (in France) a cubicle for the confinement of art  students during important examinations

obit - noun. informal. an obituary 2. the date of a person's death 3. Obsolete. a Requiem Mass

obsequy - noun. plural ob-se-quies. a funeral rite or ceremony.

arval - noun. A funeral feast ORIGIN: W. arwy funeral; ar over + wylo, 'to weep' or cf. arf["o]; Icelandic arfr: inheritance + Sw. ["o]i ale. Cf. Bridal.

knell - noun. the sound made by a bell rung slowly, especially fora death or a funeral 2. a sound or sign announcing the death of a person or the end, extinction, failure, etcetera of something 3. any mournful sound 4. verb. (used without object). to sound, as a bell, especially a funeral bell 5. verb. to give forth a mournful, ominous, or warning sound.

bier - noun. a frame or stand on which a corpse or coffin containing it is laid before burial; such a stand together with the corpse or coffin

coronach - noun. (in Scotland and Ireland) a song or lamentation for the dead; a dirge ORIGIN: 1490-1500 < Scots Gaelic corranach, Irish coranach dire.

epicedium - noun. plural epicedia. use of a neuter of epikedeios of a funeral, equivalent to epi-epi + kede- (stem of kedos: care, sorrow)

funerate - verb. to bury with funeral rites

inhumation - verb(used with an object). to bury

nenia - noun. a funeral song; an elegy

pibroch - noun. (in the Scottish Highlands) a piece of music for the bagpipe, consisting of a series of variations on a basic theme, usually martial in character, but sometimes used as a dirge

pollinctor - noun. one who prepared corpses for the funeral

saulie - noun. a hired mourner at a funeral

thanatousia - noun. funeral rites

ullagone - noun. a cry of lamentation; funeral lament. also, a cry of sorrow ORIGIN: Irish-Gaelic

ulmaceous - of or like elms

uloid - noun. a scar

flagon - noun. a large bottle for drinks such as wine or cide

ullage - noun. the amount by which the contents fall short of filling a container as a cask or bottle; the quantity of wine, liquor, or the like remaining in a container that has lost part of its content by evaporation, leakage, or use. 3. Rocketry. the volume of a loaded tank of liquid propellant in excess of the volume of the propellant; the space provided for thermal expansion of the propellant and the accumulation of gases evolved from it

suttee - (also, sati) noun. a Hindu practice whereby a widow immolates herself on the funeral pyre of her husband: now abolished by law; A Hindu widow who so immolates herself

myriologue - noun. the goddess of fate or death. An extemporaneous funeral song, composed and sung by a woman on the death of a friend.

threnody - noun. a poem, speech, or song of lamentation, especially for the dead; dirge; funeral song

charing cross - noun. a square and district in central London, England: major railroad terminals.

feretory - noun. a container for the relics of a saint; reliquary. 2. an enclosure or area within a church where such a reliquary is kept 3. a portable bier or shrine

bossuet - noun. Jacques Benigne. (b. 1627-1704) French bishop, writer, and orator.

wyla -

rostrum -

aaron's rod -

common mullein -

verbascum thapsus -

peignoir -

pledget -

vestiary -

bushhamer -

beneficiation -

keeve -

frisure -

castigation -

slaw -

strickle -

vestry -

iodoform -

moslings -

bedizenment -

pomatum -

velure -

apodyterium -

macasser oil -

equipage -

tendance -

bierbalk -

joss paper -

lichgate -

parentation -

prink -

bedizen -

allogamy -

matin -

dizen -

disappendency -

photonosus -

spanopnoea -

abulia -

sequela -

lagophthalmos -

cataplexy -

xerasia -

anophelosis -

chloralism -

chyluria -

infarct -

tubercle -

pyuria -

dyscrasia -

ochlesis -

cachexy -

abulic -

sthenic - adjective. dated Medicine. of or having a high or excessive level of strength and energy

pinafore -

toff -

swain -

bucentaur -

coxcomb -

fakir -

hominid -

mollycoddle -

subarrhation -

surtout -

milksop -

tommyrot -

ginglymodi -

harlequinade -

jackpudding -

pickle-herring -

japer -

golyardeys -

scaramouch -

pantaloon -

tammuz -

cuckold -

nabob -

gaffer -

grass widower -

stultify -

stultiloquence -

batrachomyomachia -

exsufflicate -

dotterel -

fadaise -

blatherskite -

footling -

dingmat -

shlemiel -

simper -

anserine -

flibbertgibbet -

desipient -

nugify -

spooney -

inaniloquent -

liripoop -

******* -

seelily -

stulty -

taradiddle -

thimblewit -

tosh -

gobemouche -

hebephrenia -

cockamamie -

birdbrained -

featherbrained -

wiseacre -

lampoon -

Guy Fawke's night -

maclean -

vang -

wisenheimer -

herod -

vertiginous -

raillery -

galoot -

camus -

gormless -

dullard -

funicular -

duffer -

laputan -

fribble -

dolt -

nelipot -

discalced -

footslog -

squelch -

coggle -

peregrinate -

pergola -

gressible -

superfecundation -

mufti -

reveille -

dimdl -

peplum -

phylactery -

moonflower -

bibliopegy -

festinate -

doytin -

****** -

red trillium -

reveille - noun. [in sing. ] a signal sounded esp. on a bugle or drum to wake personnel in the armed forces.

trillium - noun. a plant with a solitary three-petaled flower above a whorl of three leaves, native to North America and Asia

contrail - noun. a trail of condensed water from an aircraft or rocket at high altitude, seen as a white streak against the sky. ORIGIN: 1940s: abbreviation of condensation trail. Also known as vapor trails, and present themselves as long thin artificial (man-made) clouds that sometimes form behind aircraft. Their formation is most often triggered by the water vapor in the exhaust of aircraft engines, but can also be triggered by the changes in air pressure in wingtip vortices or in the air over the entire wing surface. Like all clouds, contrails are made of water, in the form of a suspension of billions of liquid droplets or ice crystals. Depending on the temperature and humidity at the altitude the contrail forms, they may be visible for only a few seconds or minutes, or may persist for hours and spread to be several miles wide. The resulting cloud forms may resemble cirrus, cirrocumulus, or cirrostratus. Persistent spreading contrails are thought to have a significant effect on global climate.

psychopannychism -

restoril -

temazepam -

catafalque -

obit -

pollinctor -

ullagone -

thanatousia -

buckram -

tatterdemalion - noun. a person in tattered clothing; a shabby person. 2. adjective. ragged; unkempt or dilapidated

curtal - adjective. archaic. shortened, abridged, or curtailed; noun. historical. a dulcian or bassoon of the late 16th to early 18th century.

dulcian - noun. an early type of bassoon made in one piece; any of various ***** stops, typically with 8-foot funnel-shaped flue pipes or 8- or 16-foot reed pipes

withe - noun. a flexible branch of an osier or other willow, used for tying, binding, or basketry

osier - noun. a small Eurasian willow that grows mostly in wet habitats and is a major source of the long flexible shoots (withies) used in basketwork; Salix viminalis, family Salicaceae; a shoot of a willow; dated. any willow tree 2. noun. any of several North American dogwoods.

directoire - adjective. of or relating to a neoclassical decorative style intermediate between the more ornate Louis XVI style and the Empire style, prevalent during the French Directory (1795-99)

guimpe -

ip
dictionary wordlist list lists word words definition definitions wordplay play fun game paragraph language english chicago loveofwords languagelove love beauty peace yew mew sheep colors curiosity logolepsy
Shylah S Apr 2014
Or, at least what you might think.
Judgement hurts in too many ways to count.

I stand in the local thrift market
looking for trinkets and such with my father.
He came here to look for vintage picture frames,
to put up on our pastel coloured walls.
He brought me to be a translator,
of his broken english.

I see the looks some give him,
but I am proud of my father.
And mad at how our society works.
Looking at my father you think,
he probably only knows his own mother tongue,
no education,
bad manners,
had lived in poverty before.

But you are wrong.

An Italian man sits by this booth,
selling picture frames.
I point and tell my father, and he walks over.

"How much for frames?"

I taught him how to say that well enough.
The Italian man says fluently,
"$40 a piece,"
but behind it you can hear a faint Italian accent.

My father hears this and his face lights up,
and he replies in Italian,
"Great, but can you lower it to $30. For me, man?"

The man seemed shocked to see a dark-skinned man,
speaks such fluent Italian.
The man got up with a smile on his face,
and told my father,
"Man, I was born in Italy, but you speak it better than me,"

My dad laughed.

Next time you see,
a strange man,
struggling with his english,
stop to think,
he might be able to speak to you in,
German. Italian. French. And in a tiny bit of Spanish.
And of course, his mother tongue.
He might have learned the culinary arts,
in a world-renounced school.
He might be able to do anything.
And he might even be a little more impressive,
than you will ever be.

Judgement hurts.
But all it takes is you to stop it.
judy smith Jul 2016
The story is told in Eleganza: Italian Fashion from 1945 to Today, an installation at Montreal’s McCord Museum, which was created by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum two years ago. In addition to the display of some truly fabulous duds, the exhibition shows how Italian fashion benefitted from one man’s realization that it could become a national brand with global reach.

That man was Giovanni Battista Giorgini, a Florentine buyer’s agent who, in the early 1950s, organized fashion shows at lavish locations such as thePalazzo Pitti. Giorgini flew in influential U.S. buyers, correctly predicting that the splendour of the clothes and locale were just what the newly flush American public wanted after its release from wartime austerity.

The cause was helped by films such as Roman Holiday, in which Audrey Hepburn – wardrobed by Edith Head – personified the American fantasy of carefree-yet-elegant Italian style. It also didn’t hurt that Simonetta and several other young designers were genuine Italian aristocrats.

Eleganza features several knockout creations from this period, including a lavish feather-adorned gown by Simonetta that might well have influenced Jean Paul Gaultier; and a wildly elegant silk evening dress commissioned by a wealthy American from the sartoria of Maria Grimaldi. There’s also a red dress by Germana Marucelli that shows an almost sculptural approach to garment structure.

The exhibition includes some playful designs from the 1960s, including the shimmering Mila Schon evening dress and coat worn by Lee Radziwill to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball in 1966. There’s also a pair of the silk “palazzo pyjamas” that became a jet-set sensation for Irene Galitzine.

Even after the development of designer ready-to-wear, the Italians emphasized high quality in manufacturing and materials, sourcing mainly from long-established Italian mills. This became even more essential as the bulk of low-end production shifted to China, which in turn has become a huge market for Italian fashion ($22-billion in sales in 2015).

The last and best room in the show is filled with a stunning array of more recent designs laid out along a T-shaped catwalk, including pieces by RobertoCapucci, Valentino, Gucci and Prada, as well as an ornate and playful sequined dress from Prada’s Miu Miu line. Almost all of these pieces were donated by the houses themselves, and at least one came in since the show’s London opening. Successful as they are, these designers know what cachet can come from being included in a museum exhibition.

The related book of illustrated essays, The Glamour of Italian Fashion Since 1945, is low on photos of the outfits on display, but rich in information collected by curator Sonnet Stanfill and nearly two dozen other contributors. They take a panoramic view of their subject, analyzing the materials, makers and presentation of Italian fashion through marketing and media. The book makes an outstanding companion to a beautiful show.Read more at: www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses | http://www.marieaustralia.com
RAJ NANDY Oct 2015
(Sorry Friends, for posting educational type of poems, I know Haiku are easier to read & comment! But if you happen to like this true story, kindly recommend it to your other friends! Thanks, -Raj)

STORY OF EUROPEAN RENAISSANCE: PART TWO

THE CITY-STATE OF FLORENCE :
The city of Florence lies in the historic valley of Tuscany ,
Along the banks of the Arno river, surrounded by hills
of scenic beauty !
Here during the first century BC , the conquering Romans
established their ‘Colonia Florentina’,
To settle the war veterans of Caesar’s army in Northern
Italia !
But later after the fall of Rome , it became a battleground
for the Holy Roman Empire and the Pope ;
But the independent nature of its people refused foreign
yolk !
They preferred commune rule led by a powerful leader –
called the Signore ,
Just like the city-states of ancient Greece, in those days of
yore !
But unlike Greece , Florence saw no Democracy ,
Since the Medici family finally usurped power in this
city of Northern Italy !
Unlike Venice , Florence is landlocked and not a port
city ;
Relying on banking and trade to prosper economically .
Their gold coin florin became the standard coinage
throughout Europe ;
While through the export of its quality textile and woolen
goods, great wealth got secured !
But to become patrons of art and letters mere wealth is
not enough ,
One must have a refined taste to become a true lover of
letters and art !
And here the Medici carved out a niche for themselves
under the Florentine sun !
Writers like Francesco Petrarca , Dante, and Boccaccio ;
And artists such as Giotto , Lippi, Dontello, Leonardo ,
and Michelangelo , were all born Florentines !
Even classical Athens couldn’t boast of such a vast
galaxy ,
Of artistic talents within such a limited time frame of
History !
These artists embellished their city with their literary
works, sculptures, architectures and paintings ;
Made Florence to reawaken, dazzle, and shine ;
Carving out a proud moment in history for the
Florentines !

CONTRIBUTION OF MEDICI FAMILY OF
FLORENCE :
Giovanni de Medici (1360-1429) :
This Medici family became the Godfather for the Italian
Renaissance ,
And I feel obliged to narrate their story tracing their
historical source !
In those early days Art was considered a lowly craft ,
There were no art galleries, and one couldn’t make a
living out of Art !
Without patronage the artist and his art couldn’t survive ,
So I speak of the Medics, who had originated from the
Tuscan countryside !
Gaining power through wealth and political astuteness,
And not through military force for dominance !
The founder of family’s fortunes was Giovanni de
Medici ,
An educated man with a simple life style , who
traveled on a donkey !
A humble man who had never aroused any enmity .
He established the Medici Bank with innovations
in ledger accounting system ;
And became a pioneers in tracking credits and debits
through a double entry system !
He opened branches of the Bank in Rome and Northern
Italy ,
Facilitated bills of exchange and credit bills, to multiply
his money !
After the return of the Papacy from Avignon to Rome ,
The Medici Bank was made the official bankers of the
Pope ;
And Giovanni became the wealthiest man in Italy , if
not in entire Europe !
In 1421 Giovanni was made the Chief Executive of his
city ,
And he commissioned its leading architect Brunelleschi , -
to glorify Florence city .
The challenging task for Brunelleschi was to build the dome
of the Cathedral of his city .
This was the first octagonal dome in history , a breakaway
from the earlier Gothic structures ,
And even surpassing the Roman Pantheon as a marvel of
Florentine architecture !
It took sixteen long years to complete this huge dome ,
And stands today as an icon of Renaissance Europe !
Giovanni had taught his son Cosimo to follow a simple
life style ,
To patronize art and letters, and to his people be kind !

COSIMO De MEDICI (1389-1464) :
After Giovanni’s death , Cosimo the Elder built upon
his father’s inherited wealth ;
Absorbed most of the 39 Florentine Banks, operating its
branches in London and Bruges as well !
The greatest rival of the Medici fortunes were the Albizzi ,
They plotted against Cosimo and the Medics ;
And in 1433, exiled Cosimo and his family out of jealousy !
But after a year the Medics were recalled back as heroes ,
Since the Florentine coffers without the Medici Bank , -
had become almost zero !
But both peace and prosperity are needed for flourishing
of art and culture ,
So Cosimo engineered the Peace of Lodi (1454) with Milan
and Venice , -
To prevent future wars and misadventure !
Scholars were made to collect precious manuscripts from
the East, and the churches and vaults of Europe ;
And an ensured period of stability , contributed to Early
Renaissance’s growth !
Sculptor Donatello’s bronze **** David stood up as an
unique art form ,
And with paintings of Fra Angelico, and Filippo Lippi , -
the style of art itself began to reform !
Architect Michalozzo built the famous Medici Palace ,
And Cosimo opened the Medici Library for the spread of
classical knowledge !
After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 , the Greek scholars
with their classical manuscripts fled to Italy .
They flocked to Florence where Cosimo established a
Platonic Academy !
Renowned Humanist Marsilio Ficino became its President ,
And complete works of Plato got translated from Greek
to Latin !
Thus the growth of Early Renaissance owed much to
Cosimo’s patronage ,
And the Florentines inscribed “Pater Patriae” on his tomb , –
(‘Father of His Country’) after his death !

LORENZO THE MAGNIFICENT (1449-1492) :
Cosimo’s son Piero the Gouty died within five years ,
Never achieved anything spectacular worthy of tears !
The Medici Bank had loaned large sums of money to
King Edward IV of England and Charles the Bold of
Burgandy,
Failed to recover getting into bad debts and insolvency !
So when Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo succeeded at
the age of twenty one ,
He focused on other areas of creativity, and the period
of High Renaissance begun !
Lorenzo , a genuine lover of arts, also wrote poetry in the
dialect of his native Tuscany ;
Following the footsteps of Tuscan born poets Donzella ,
Davanzati , and Dante the author of ‘Divine Comedy’ !
On 26th April 1478 , the Pazzi family in connivance with
the Archbishop of Pisa and backing of Pope Sixtus IV ,
Tried to assassinate the Medics during the High Mass, -
in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore !
Younger brother Giuliano was fatally stabbed , but they
failed to **** Lorenzo .
All the conspirators were hanged including Pisa’s
Archbishop !
Ecclesiastic censure was issued against Florence ,
And Lorenzo was excommunicated by the Pope !
But Lorenzo worked out a treaty of peace with the King
of Naples ,
And became the undisputed ruler of the Republic of
Florence !
Unfortunately , Lorenzo died young at the age of forty-
three ,
At the dawn of the great Age of Exploration and
adventures by sea !
During his rule Renaissance reached its Golden Age ,
And literature, art, and architecture blossomed with
Lorenzo’s patronage !
It earned him the title of ‘Magnifico’, now know to
us as Lorenzo the Magnificent !
Leonardo da Vinci , Michelangelo , Raphel , Giovanni
Bellini ,Titan, Veronese, Correggio , Tintoretto ;
All became superstars of the Renaissance era ;
Their works are cherished, valued and treasured to
this day of our Modern era !
In the year 1492 with Lorenzo’s death , Italy entered
a period of turmoil and instability,
And the Renaissance saw a period of decline in Italy !
But the flames of the Renaissance spread to other
parts of Northern Europe ,
And in the 16th century reached England’s shores !
The Medici Family had also provided three Popes to
Italy, and three Queens to France ;
Besides patronizing the growth of the famous Italian
Renaissance !
Now dear readers, to do justice to Renaissance art ,
architecture, and literature briefly ,
I propose to narrate its story in Part Three !
-- By Raj Nandy of New Delhi .
*ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR
For those who have missed out on my Part One, would surely benefit by going through the same! This is a part of my researched work,put across in simple verse. Thanks & best wishes, -Raj
Mateuš Conrad Sep 2018
. the whole hype over the Brexit vote is so...  
hum ha ha... ******* bogus...
it never really existed in the first place,
perhaps on paper, but never in reality...
the hype is bogus, a media hamster's wheel...
i don't know why the people, "across the pond"
are so ******* excited about it...
    there are two facts that make Brexit nothing
short of a misnomer for current news...
first of all... isn't Britain and island?
so... what's the sensationalism? if you told me:
Wales and Cornwall will split from the UK,
N. Ireland will rejoin the the R.I. and Scotland
will join the Nordic league... **** yeah!
i also believe in the splinter league of Basque,
Catalonia, the Kashubians and the Silesians...
rings a bell: divided we stand: united we fall...
but Brexit is a story overtly hyperventilating...
the UK has its own, *******, currency!
it was never part of the EU, as such...
    no nation which still exercises a sovereignty
by use of its currency is, or ever was, part of the EU...
  they couldn't have been...
  currency is a bit like phonetic encoding...
"my" nation never exercised a phonetic encoding
akin to the French, with their illogical:
say one thing, hear another,
     with their mega mega LARGE cut offs:
does it make sense? crème pâtissière:
   if looking from above?
    crèm(e) pâtissiè(re)
   yeah! those letters in the brackets "do not exist"...
    they're written: but they never make
it onto the tongue...
  and that circumflex above the A?
   just how the french denote a: macron...
        the UK is a ******* ISLAND...
   and it still retains its own CURRENCY...
the people of these isles know argument 1,
island...
       perfectly... the atypical English "courtesy"
if not stretching their politeness...
      no country that still retains its old currency
was ever
in the EU to begin with!
            **** me... even the Swedes were
not dumb enough to join the Euro....
but the Italians were...
                  the Italians do not have any
weight behind their argument...
at Italians... airy-fairy...
   their argument is worth ****...
   i guess the Greeks also had their argument
quashed by being part of
the single currency...
             no... Italy is a hot-air-balloon of
arguments... as Italians: they have
to posture as they did under the influence
of the third *****...
  they're going nowhere...
               they are already entrapped by
the single currency...
                 the Italian political game
is puppetry... nothing more...
                                 i wouldn't trust them...
come on... sérrano ham beats prosciutto... hands down,
day, after day, after day...
            because it makes it all the more easy
to gesticulate at the EU with your own currency...
once you've lost your currency?
   you've lost your nation's sovereign stature...
and the Italians?
      they don't have their own currency...
         they're nothing more than *****-boys
of the EU... appeasing, or rather stalling...
the nations who still possess their own currency...
they're: IN-SÍ-GNÍ-FÍ-CANT.


did you know that it took the Germans,
around two weeks,
to overpower France during WWII?
yeah... marched into the land
like a warm knife does into butter -
and spreads itself over warm toast...
i can vouch to say:
   it took the Third ***** and
the USSR to split the conquer of Poland...
France... the one mighty Napoleonic
nation...
knelt... and ****** of ******'s
one ball sonata...
    yeah, that one, the Colonel Bogey
March... ****** him off for two weeks...
then dropped silent from
a jaw strain...
            went numb, or something...
not sure...
              but ****:
don't you think the French are masters
at baking?
    a brioche chinois:
   a chinois brioche filled with vanilla
flavored crème pâtissière -
give credit where it's due:
and ooh... Devon's full-fat milk?
   yum yum, yum the **** down...
the sort of food you want to eat
but also talk with your mouth full...
            i'll give them that...
papa England, mama France...
gwandpa Germany...
           still the holy trinity of
prosciutto...
         eh... the Italian sushi ham is too dry...
the German black forest ham
is o.k.....
          the best of the lot?
sérrano ham -
    who? the Conquistadors' tip-bit...
Spanish...
    so ******* juicy...
   by the way...
  ha ha! the Muslims of Europe are funny...
last time i heard...
you only launch a Jihad to reclaim
a land formerly in the possession of Islam...
a holy war, a Jihad...
to a war to reclaim land lost to invasion...
there was no talk of Jihad
when the Muslim Empire was expanding,
simply because it was not reclaiming
land...
   so when Muslims speak of
a Christian Reconquista? well... yeah?
i thought that was plain and simple with
you Jihadi Ginger Johns?
              i thought Muslims were versed
in this sort of ****?
   a Jihad is a holy war against
invading powers - a Jihad army is not
an invading army:
  it's a reclaiming army...
          first the heart: incoherent -
then the mind: a tower of Merlin that requires
a coherent persuasion...
after that? the body... which always
falls into ranks...
               swelling with a tsunami of
en spirit -
                   i thought Muslims in Europe
understood that Jihad is:
a form of reconquering lost lands formerly
under Muslim influence?
            you Jihadi Ginger
i Jihadi Nord - part time film noir critique -
part time black comedy enthusiast...
   like that jeffrey "napoleon dynamite"
dahmer giggler... in me...
           Jihadi ******...
            J-i-high-five-haddi-haddi-hadith
stalker!
s­till...
but no, impossible...
   the Italians make great prosciutto...
the Germans thought they could imitate...
yet it's the Spaniards that make it the best...
how they curate the sérrano to make
it so juicy is beyond me...
             must be the whole tapas, culture.
Sara Kellie May 2018
Leave my Nan out in the rain, it'll be right.
She's having veg later with some meat, on a bone but meat.
No gravy, she's too lazy. She will not thread it.

So what do you think? Shall we fold it the other way?
Do it tonight, it won't be today and not quite black but definitely not grey.

If it smells like cheese, just wear one and keep one eye open!
Then, we may even finish third.
Remember, listen for the sound.
It's crucial, like a twenty pence piece.

Dust! Always dust. Grams and ounces of the dustiest dust.
Never before six and never after six.
Just continuous with no bends, bubbles or any of that material you really like.

Because when he'd finished speaking (The Italian) I didn't understand a ******* word of it!

"Sorry, I don't speak Italian", shrugged my shoulders, did that thing you do with your bottom lip and ****** off.

THE END
(FINITO)
A poem describing the problems we encounter through language barriers.
The solutions we create to overcome them!
Especially the English
PROLOGUE:

“’We must stop this brain working for twenty years.’” So said Mussolini’s Grand Inquisitor, his official Fascist prosecutor addressing the judge in Antonio Gramsci’s 1928 trial; so said the Il Duce’s Torquemada, ending his peroration with this infamous demand.’”  Gramsci, Antonio: Selections from the Prison Notebooks, Introduction, translation from Italian and publishing by Quintin ***** & Geoffrey Nowell Smith, International Publishers, New York, 1971.

BE IT RESOLVED: Whereas, I introduce this book with a nod of deep respect to Antonio Gramsci--an obscure but increasingly pertinent political scientist it would behoove us all to read and study today, I dedicate the book itself to my great grandfather and key family patriarch, Pietro Buonaiuto (1865-1940) of Moschiano, in the province of Avellino, in the region of Campania, southern Italy.

Let it be recognized that Pete Buonaiuto may not have had Tony Gramsci’s brain, but he certainly exhibited an extreme case of what his son--my paternal grandfather, Francesco Buonaiuto--termed: Testaduro. Literally, it means Hardhead, but connotes something far beyond the merely stubborn. We’re talking way out there in the unknown, beyond that inexplicable void where hotheaded hardheads regurgitate their next move, more a function of indigestion than thought. Given any situation, a Testaduro would rather bring acid reflux and bile to the mix than exercise even a skosh of gray muscle matter.  But there’s more. It gets worse.

To truly comprehend the densely-packed granite that is the Testaduro mind, we must now sub-focus our attention on the truly obdurate, extreme examples of what my paternal grandmother—Vicenza di Maria Buonaiuto—they called her Jennie--would describe as reflexive cutta-dey-noze-a-offa-to-spite-a-dey-face-a types. I reference the truly defiant, or T.D.—obviously short for both truly defiant and Testaduro. T.D.’s—a breed apart--smiling and sneering, laughing and, finally, begging their regime-appointed torture apparatchik (a career-choice getting a great deal of attention from the certificate mills--the junior colleges and vocational specialty institutes) mocking their Guantanamo-trained torturer: “Is that what you call punishment?  Is that all you ******* got?”

If, to assist comprehension, you require a literary frame of context, might I suggest you compare the Buonaiuto mind to Paul Lazzaro, Vonnegut’s superbly drawn Italian-American WWII soldier-lunatic with a passion for revenge, who kept a list of people who ****** with him, people he would have killed someday for a thousand dollars.

Go with me, Reader, go back with me to Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House-Five: “Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time . . .”
It is long past the Tralfamadorian abduction and his friendship with Stony Stevenson. Billy is back in Germany, one of three dingbat American G.I.s roaming around beyond enemy lines.  Another of the three is Private Lazzaro, a former car thief and undeniable psychopath from Cicero, Illinois.

Paul Lazzaro:  “Anybody touches me, he better **** me, or I’m gonna have him killed. Revenge is the sweetest thing there is. People **** with me, and Jesus Christ are they ever ******* sorry. I laugh like hell. I don’t care if it’s a guy or a dame. If the President of the United States ****** around with me, I’d fix him good. Revenge is the sweetest thing in life. And nobody ever got it from Lazzaro who didn’t have it coming.  Anybody who ***** with me? I’m gonna have him shot after the war, after he gets home, a big ******* hero with dames climbing all over him. He’ll settle down. A couple of years ‘ll go by, and then one day a knock at the door. He’ll answer the door and there’ll be a stranger out there. The stranger’ll ask him if he’s so and so. When he says he is, the stranger’ll say, ‘Paul Lazzaro sent me.’ And then he’ll pull out a gun and shoot his pecker off. The stranger’ll let him think a couple seconds about who Paul Lazzaro is and what life’s gonna be like without a pecker. Then he’ll shoot him once in the gut and walk away. Nobody ***** with Paul Lazzaro!”

(ENTER AUTHOR. HE SPEAKS: “Hey, Numb-nuts! Yes, you, my Reader. Do you want to get ****** into reading that Vonnegut blurb over and over again for the rest of the afternoon, or can I get you back into my manuscript?  That Paul Lazzaro thing was just my way of trying to give you a frame of reference, not to have you ******* drift off, walking away from me, your hand held tightly in nicotine-stained fingers. So it goes, you Ja-Bone. It was for comparison purposes.  Get it?  But, if you insist, go ahead and compare a Buonaiuto—any Buonaiuto--with the character, Paul Lazzaro. No comparison, but if you want a need a number—you quantitative ****--multiply the seating capacity of the Roman Coliseum by the gross tonnage of sheet pane glass that crystalized into small fixed puddles of glazed smoke, falling with the steel, toppling down into rubble on 9/11/2001. That’s right: multiply the number of Coliseum seats times a big, double mound of rubble, that double-smoking pile of concrete and rebar and human cadavers, formerly known as “The Twin Towers, World Trade Center, Lower Manhattan, NYC.  It’s a big number, Numb-nuts! And it illustrates the adamantine resistance demonstrated by the Buonaiuto strain of the Testaduro virus. Shall we return to my book?)

The truth is Italian-Americans were never overzealous about WWII in the first place. Italians in America, and other places like Argentina, Canada, and Australia were never quite sure whom they were supposed to be rooting for. But that’s another story. It was during that war in 1944, however, that my father--John Felix Buonaiuto, a U.S. Army sergeant and recent Anzio combat vet decided to visit Moschiano, courtesy of a weekend pass from 5th Army Command, Naples.  In a rough-hewn, one-room hut, my father sat before a lukewarm stone fireplace with the white-haired Carmine Buonaiuto, listening to that ancient one, spouting straight **** about his grandfather—Pietro Buonaiuto--my great-grandfather’s past. Ironically, I myself, thirty yeas later, while also serving in the United States Army, found out in the same way, in the same rough-hewn, one-room hut, in front of the same lukewarm fireplace, listening to the same Carmine Buonaiuto, by now the old man and the sea all by himself. That’s how I discovered the family secret in Moschiano. It was 1972 and I was assigned to a NATO Cold War stay-behind operation. The operation, code-named GLADIO—had a really cool shield with a sword, the fasces and other symbols of its legacy and purpose. GLADIO was a clandestine anti-communist agency in Italy in the 1970s, with one specific target:  Il Brigate Rosso, the Red Brigades.  This was in my early 20s. I was back from Vietnam, and after a short stint as an FBI confidential informant targeting campus radicals at the University of Miami, I was back in uniform again. By the way, my FBI gig had a really cool codename also: COINTELPRO, which I thought at the time had something to do with tapping coin operated telephones. Years later, I found out COINTELPRO stood for counter-intelligence program.  I must have had a weakness for insignias, shields and codenames, because there I was, back in uniform, assigned to Army Intelligence, NATO, Italy, “OPERATION GLADIO.“

By the way, Buonaiuto is pronounced:

Bwone-eye-you-toe . . . you ignorant ****!

Oh yes, prepare yourself for insult, Kemosabe! I refuse to soft soap what ensues.  After all, you’re the one on trial here this time, not Gramsci and certainly not me. Capeesh?

Let’s also take a moment, to pay linguistic reverence to the language of Seneca, Ovid & Virgil. I refer, of course, to Latin. Latin is called: THE MOTHER TONGUE. Which is also what we used to call both Mary Delvecchio--kneeling down in the weeds off Atlantic Avenue--& Esther Talayumptewa --another budding, Hopi Corn Maiden like my mother—pulling trains behind the creosote bush up on Black Mesa.  But those are other stories.

LATIN: Attention must be paid!

Take the English word obdurate, for example—used in my opening paragraph, the phrase truly obdurate: {obdurate, ME, fr. L. obduratus, pp. of obdurare to harden, fr. Ob-against + durus hard –More at DURING}.

Getting hard? Of course you are. Our favorite characters are the intransigent: those who refuse to bend. Who, therefore, must be broken: Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke comes to mind. Or Paul Newman again as Fast Eddie, that cocky kid who needed his wings clipped and his thumbs broken. Or Paul Newman once more, playing Eddie Felson again; Fast Eddie now slower, a shark grown old, deliberative now, no longer cute, dimples replaced with an insidious sneer, still fighting and hustling but in shrewder, more subtle ways. (Credit: Scorsese’s brilliant homage The Color of Money.)

The Color of Money (1986) - IMDb www.imdb.com/title/tt0090863 Internet MovieDatabase Rating: 7/10 - ‎47,702 votes. Paul Newman and Helen Shaver; still photo: Tom Cruise in The Color of Money (1986) Still of Paul Newman in The Color of Money (1986). Full Cast & Crew - ‎Awards - ‎Trivia - ‎Plot Summary

Perhaps it was the Roman Catholic Church I rebelled against.  The Catholic Church: certainly a key factor for any Italian-American, a stinger, a real burr under the saddle, biting, setting off insurrection again and again. No. Worse: prompting Revolt! And who could blame us? Catholicism had that spooky Latin & Incense going for it, but who wouldn’t rise up and face that Kraken? The Pope and his College of Cardinals? A Vatican freak show—a red shoe, twinkle-toe, institutional anachronism; the Curia, ferreting out the good, targeting anything that felt even half-way good, classifying, pronouncing verboten, even what by any stretch of the imagination, would be deemed to be merely kind of pleasant, slamming down that peccadillo rubber-stamp. Sin: was there ever a better drug? Sin? Revolution, **** yeah!  Anyone with an ounce of self-respect would have gone to the barricades.

But I digress.
Stick with me, friend.
I’d like to make a distinction:
I revere writers but do not deify them.
My heroes and role models must be grounded,
Must have so-called feet of clay.
And there’s always something more in my craw,
Whenever I see scribblers carved in marble,
Glorified to the point of divinity and magic.
Because in my heart of hearts,
Reverence for writers,
Is an odyssey of disillusionment and

I fancy myself a man of letters,
Although “Humanoid of Keystrokes,”
Might be more apt; an appellation,
Digitally au courant.
I am a man on verbal fire,
Perhaps, I am of a Lost Generation myself.
And don’t you dare tell me to sit down, to calm down.
You stand up when you tell a story.
Even Hemingway--even when he was sitting down--knew that.
Let us go then you and I.
Moving our moveable feast to Paris,
To France, European Union, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy.
(Stick with me, Babaloo!)
Why not join Papa at a tiny table at Les Deux Magots,
Savoring the portugaises,
Working off the buzz of a good Pouilly-Fuisse
At 10:30 in the morning.
The writing: going fast and well.

Why not join that pompous windbag ******* artist?
As he tries to convince Ava Gardner,
That writers tienen cajones grandes, tambien—
Have big ***** too—just like Bullfighters,
Living their lives all the way up.
That writing requires a torero’s finesse and fearlessness.
That to be a writer is to be a real man.
A GOD MAN!
Papa is self-important at being Ernest,
(**** me: some lines cannot be resisted.)
Ava’s **** is on fire.
She can just make him out,
Can just picture him through her libidinous haze,
Leaping the corrida wall,
Setting her up for photos ops with Luis Miguel Dominguín,
And Antonio Ordóñez, his brother-in-law rival,
During that most dangerous summer of 1959.
Or, her chance to set up a *******,
With Manolete and El Cordobés,
While a really *******,
Completely defeated & destroyed 2,000-pound bull,
Bleeds out on the arena sand.

Although I revere writers,
I refuse to deify them.
A famous writer must be brought down to earth--
Forcibly if necessary--
Chained to a rock in the Caucasus,
Their liver noshed on by an eagle.
In short: the abject humiliation of mortality.
Punished, ridiculed and laughed at.
Laughing himself silly,
******* on one’s self-indulgent, egocentric universe.
If not, what hope do any of us have?

Writing for Ernie may have been a divine gift,
His daily spiritual communion and routine,
A mere sacramental taking of dictation from God,
But for most of us writing is just ******* self-torture.
The Hemingway Hero:
Whatever happened to him on the Italian-Austrian front in 1918
May have been painful but was hardly heroic.
The ******* was an ambulance driver for Christ’s sake.
Distributing chocolate and cigarettes to Italian soldiers,
In the trenches behind the front lines,
A far cry from actual combat.
Besides, he was only on the job for two weeks,
Before he ****** up somehow,
Driving his meat-wagon over a live artillery shell.
That BB-sized shrapnel in his legs,
Turned out to be his million-dollar wound,
A gift that kept on giving,
Putting him in line for a fortunate series of biographic details, to wit:
Time at an Italian convalescent hospital in Milano,
Staffed by ***** English nurses,
Who liked to give the teenage soldiers slurpy BJs,
Delirious ******* in the middle of the night,
Sent to Paris as a Toronto Star reporter,
******* up to that big **** Gertrude Stein,
Sweet-talking Sylvia Beach,
At Shakespeare & Company bookstore,
Hitting her up for small loans,
Manipulating and conning Scott Fitzgerald—
The Hark the Herald Jazz Age Angel—
Exploiting F. Scott’s contacts at Scribners,
To get The Sun Also Rises published.
Fitzgerald acted as his literary agent and advocate,
Even performing some crucial editing on the manuscript.
Hemingway got payback for this friendship years later,
By telling the world in A Moveable Feast,
That Zelda convinced Scott he had a small ****--
Yeah, all of it stems from those bumps & bruises,
Scrapes & scratches he got near Schio,
Along the Piave River on July 8, 1918.
Slap on an Italian Silver Medal of Valor—
An ostentatious decoration of dubious Napoleonic lineage—
40,000 of which were liberally dispensed during WWI—
And Ernie was on his way.

Was there ever a more arrogant, world-class scumbag;
A more graceless-under-pressure,
Sorry excuse of a machismo show-horse?
Look: I think Hemingway was a great writer,
But he was a gigantic gasbag,
A self-indulgent *****,
And a mean-spirited bully—
That bogus facade he put on as this writer/slash/bullfighter,
Kilimanjaro, great white hunter,
Big game Bwana,
Sport fishing, hard drinking,
Swinging-****, womanizing,
*** I-******-Ava-Gardner bragging rights—all of it—
Just made him a bigger, poorer excuse for a human being,
When the chips were finally down,
When the truth finally caught up with him,
In the early morning hours,
Of July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho.
I can’t think of a more pathetic writer’s life than
Hemingway’s last few years.
Sixty electric shock treatments,
And the ******* still killed himself.

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So why am I still mesmerized by,
The whole Hemingway hero thing?
That stoicism, the grace under pressure,
That real men don’t eat quiche,
A la Norman Mailer crap?
I guess I can relate to both Hemingway the Matador,
And Hemingway the Pompous *******,
Not to mention Mailer who stabbed his second of six wives,
And threw his fourth out of a third-floor window.
One thing’s for sure: I’m living life all the way up,
Thanks to a steady supply of medical cannabis,
And some freaky chocolate chip cookies
From the Area 51--Our Products are Out of this World—Bakery
(“In compliance with CA prop 215 SE 420, Section 11362.5,
And 11362.7 of CA H.S.C. Do not drive,
Or operate heavy equipment,
While under the influence.
Keep out of reach of children,
And comedian Aziz Ansari.”)

So getting back to Hemingway,
I return to Cuba to work on my book.
During the day--usually in the early morning hours--
When “the characters drive me up there,”
I climb to my tower room,
Stand up at my typewriter in the upstairs alcove.
I stand up to tell my story because last night,
Everyone got drunk and threw all the ******* furniture in the pool.
By the way, I’m putting together my Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
I can’t decide between:
“I may be defeated but I’ll never be destroyed,” or
“You can destroy me but you’ll never defeat me.”
The kind of artistic doublespeak they love in Sweden.
Maybe: “Night falls and day breaks, but no one gets hurt.”
God help me.
I need to come up with a bunch of real pithy crap soon.
Maybe I’ll just smoke a joint before the speech and,
Start riffing off the cuff about literary good taste:

“In my novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, for example, I had Maria tell Pilar that the earth moved, but left out the parts about Robert Jordan’s ******* and the tube of Astroglide.”

Stockholm’s only a month away,
So I’m under a lot of pressure.
Where’s Princess Grace under Pressure when I need her?
I used to work for the Kansas City Star,
Working with newspaper people who advocated:
Short sentences.
Short paragraphs.
Active verbs.
Authenticity.
Compression.
Clarity.
Immediacy.
Those were the only rules I ever learned,
For the business of writing,
But my prose tended to be a bit clipped, to wit:
A simple series,
Of simple declarative sentences,
For simpletons.
I’m told my stuff is real popular with Special-Ed kids,
And those ******* that run
The International Imitation Hemingway Competition,
AKA: The Bad Hemingway Contest.
The truth is: I always wanted to get a bit more flowery,
Especially after I found out I got paid by the word.
That’s when the *** and **** proved mighty useful.
        
I live at La Finca Vigia:
My house in San Francisco de Paula,
A Havana suburb.
My other place is in town,
Room #511 at the Hotel Ambos Mundos,
Where on a regular basis I _
(Insert simple declarative Anglo-Saxon expletive)
My guantanmera on a regular basis.
But La Finca’s the real party pad.
Fidel and Che and the rest of the Granma (aka “The Minnow”) crew
Come down from the mountains,
To use my shower and refresh themselves,
On an irregular basis.
At night we drink mojitos, daiquiris or,
The *** & coke some people call Cuba Libre.
We drink the *** and plan strategy,
Make plans for taking out Fulgencio Batista,
And his Mafia cronies,
Using the small arms and hand grenades,
We got from Allen Dulles.

Of course, after the Bay of Pigs debacle,
You had to go, Ernesto.
Kennedy had the CIA stage your suicide,
And that was all she wrote.
And all you wrote.
Never having had a chance,
To tell the 1960s Baby Boomers about class warfare in America.
Poor pathetic Papa Hemingway.
Lenin and Stalin may have ruined Marxism,
But Marx was no dummy.
Not in your book.
Or mine.
Victor D López Dec 2018
Victor D. López (October 11, 2018)

You were born five years before the beginning of the Spanish civil war and
Lived in a modest two-story home in the lower street of Fontan, facing the ocean that
Gifted you its wealth and beauty but also robbed you of your beloved and noblest eldest
Brother, Juan, who was killed while working as a fisherman out to sea at the tender age of 19.

You were a little girl much prone to crying. The neighbors would make you cry just by saying,
"Chora, neniña, chora" [Cry little girl, cry] which instantly produced inconsolable wailing.
At the age of seven or eight you were blinded by an eye Infection. The village doctor
Saved your eyesight, but not before you missed a full year of school.

You never recovered from that lost time. Your impatience and the shame of feeling left behind prevented
You from making up for lost time. Your wounded pride, the shame of not knowing what your friends knew,
Your restlessness and your inability to hold your tongue when you were corrected by your teacher created
A perfect storm that inevitably tossed your diminutive boat towards the rocks.

When still a girl, you saw Franco with his escort leave his yacht in Fontan. With the innocence of a girl
Who would never learn to hold her tongue, you asked a neighbor who was also present, "Who is that Man?"
"The Generalissimo Francisco Franco," she answered and whispered “Say ‘Viva Franco’ when he Passes by.”
With the innocence of a little girl and the arrogance of an incorrigible old soul you screamed, pointing:

"That's the Generalissimo?" followed up loud laughter, "He looks like Tom Thumb!"
A member of his protective detail approached you, raising his machine gun with the apparent intention of
Hitting you with the stock. "Leave her alone!" Franco ordered. "She is just a child — the fault is not hers."
You told that story many times in my presence, always with a smile or laughing out loud.

I don't believe you ever appreciated the possible import of that "feat" of contempt for
Authority. Could that act of derision have played some small part in their later
Coming for your father and taking him prisoner, torturing him for months and eventually
Condemning him to be executed by firing squad in the Plaza de Maria Pita?

He escaped his fate with the help of a fascist officer who freed him as I’ve noted earlier.
Such was his reputation, the power of his ideas and the esteem even of friends who did not share his views.
Such was your innocence or your psychic blind spot that you never realized your possible contribution to
His destruction. Thank God you never connected the possible impact of your words on his downfall.

You adored your dad throughout your life with a passion of which he was most deserving.
He died shortly after the end of the Spanish Civil War. A mother with ten mouths to feed
Needed help. You stepped up in response to her silent, urgent need. At the age of
Eleven you left school for the last time and began working full time.

Children could not legally work in Franco’s Spain. Nevertheless, a cousin who owned a cannery
Took pity on your situation and allowed you to work full-time in his fish cannery factory in Sada.
You earned the same salary as the adult, predominantly women workers and worked better
Than most of them with a dexterity and rapidity that served you well your entire life.

In your free time before work you carried water from the communal fountain to neighbors for a few cents.
You also made trips carrying water on your head for home and with a pail in each hand. This continued after
You began work in Cheche’s cannery. You rose long before sunrise to get the water for
Home and for the local fishermen before they left on their daily fishing trips for their personal water pails.

All of the money you earned went to your mom with great pride that a girl could provide more than the salary of a
Grown woman--at the mere cost of her childhood and education. You also washed clothes for some
Neighbors for a few cents more, with diapers for newborns always free just for the pleasure of being
Allowed to see, hold spend some time with the babies you so dearly loved you whole life through.
When you were old enough to go to the Sunday cinema and dances, you continued the
Same routine and added washing and ironed the Sunday clothes for the young fishermen
Who wanted to look their best for the weekly dances. The money from that third job was your own
To pay for weekly hairdos, the cinema and dance hall entry fee. The rest still went to your mom.

At 16 you wanted to go to emigrate to Buenos Aires to live with an aunt.
Your mom agreed to let you--provided you took your younger sister, Remedios, with you.
You reluctantly agreed. You found you also could not legally work in Buenos Aires as a minor.
So you convincingly lied about your age and got a job as a nurse’s aide at a clinic soon after your arrival.

You washed bedpans, made beds, scrubbed floors and did other similar assigned tasks
To earn enough money to pay the passage for your mom and two youngest brothers,
Sito (José) and Paco (Francisco). Later you got a job as a maid at a hotel in the resort town of
Mar del Plata whose owners loved your passion for taking care of their infant children.

You served as a maid and unpaid babysitter. Between your modest salary and
Tips as a maid you soon earned the rest of the funds needed for your mom’s and brothers’
Passage from Spain. You returned to Buenos Aires and found two rooms you could afford in an
Excellent neighborhood at an old boarding house near the Spanish Consulate in the center of the city.

Afterwards you got a job at a Ponds laboratory as a machine operator of packaging
Machines for Ponds’ beauty products. You made good money and helped to support your
Mom and brothers  while she continued working as hard as she always had in Spain,
No longer selling fish but cleaning a funeral home and washing clothing by hand.

When your brothers were old enough to work, they joined you in supporting your
Mom and getting her to retire from working outside the home.
You lived with your mom in the same home until you married dad years later,
And never lost the bad habit of stubbornly speaking your mind no matter the cost.

Your union tried to force you to register as a Peronista. Once burned twice cautious,
You refused, telling the syndicate you had not escaped one dictator to ally yourself with
Another. They threatened to fire you. When you would not yield, they threatened to
Repatriate you, your mom and brothers back to Spain.

I can’t print your reply here. They finally brought you to the general manager’s office
Demanding he fire you. You demanded a valid reason for their request.
The manager—doubtless at his own peril—refused, saying he had no better worker
Than you and that the union had no cause to demand your dismissal.

After several years of courtship, you and dad married. You had the world well in hand with
Well-paying jobs and strong savings that would allow you to live a very comfortable life.
You seemed incapable of having the children you so longed for. Three years of painful
Treatments allowed you to give me life and we lived three more years in a beautiful apartment.

I have memories from a very tender age and remember that apartment very well. But things changed
When you decided to go into businesses that soon became unsustainable in the runaway inflation and
Economic chaos of the Argentina of the early 1960’s. I remember only too well your extreme sacrifice
And dad’s during that time—A theme for another day, but not for today.

You were the hardest working person I’ve ever known. You were not afraid of any honest
Job no matter how challenging and your restlessness and competitive spirit always made you a
Stellar employee everywhere you worked no matter how hard or challenging the job.
Even at home you could not stand still unless there was someone with whom to chat awhile.

You were a truly great cook thanks in part to learning from the chef of the hotel where you had
Worked in Mar del Plata awhile—a fellow Spaniard of Basque descent who taught you many of his favorite
Dishes—Spanish and Italian specialties. You were always a terribly picky eater. But you
Loved to cook for family and friends—the more the merrier—and for special holidays.

Dad was also a terrific cook, but with a more limited repertoire. I learned to cook
With great joy from both of you at a young age. And, though neither my culinary skills nor
Any aspect of my life can match you or dad, I too am a decent cook and
Love to cook, especially for meals shared with loved ones.

You took great pleasure in introducing my friends to some of your favorite dishes such as
Cazuela de mariscos, paella marinera, caldo Gallego, stews, roasts, and your incomparable
Canelones, ñoquis, orejas, crepes, muñuelos, flan, and the rest of your long culinary repertoire.
In primary and middle school dad picked me up every day for lunch before going to work.

You and he worked the second shift and did not leave for work until around 2:00 p.m.
Many days, dad would bring a carload of classmates with me for lunch.
I remember as if it were yesterday the faces of my Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Irish
And Italian friends when first introduced to octopus, Spanish tortilla, caldo Gallego, and flan.

The same was true during college and law school.  At times our home resembled an
U.N. General Assembly meeting—but always featuring food. You always treated my
Closest friends as if they were your children and a number of them to this day love
You as a second mother though they have not seen you for many years.

You had tremendous passion and affinity for being a mother (a great pity to have just one child).
It made you over-protective. You bought my clothes at an exclusive boutique. I became a
Living doll for someone denied such toys as a young girl. You would not let me out of your sight and
Kept me in a germ-free environment that eventually produced some negative health issues.

My pediatrician told you often “I want to see him with ***** finger nails and scraped knees.”
You dismissed the statement as a joke. You’d take me often to the park and to my
Favorite merry-go-round. But I had not one friend until I was seven or eight and then just one.
I did not have a real circle of friends until I was about 13 years old. Sad.

I was walking and talking up a storm in complete sentences when I was one year old.
You were concerned and took me to my pediatrician who laughed. He showed me a
Keychain and asked, “What is this Danny.” “Those are your car keys” I replied. After a longer
Evaluation he told my mom it was important to encourage and feed my curiosity.

According to you, I was unbearable (some things never change). I asked dad endless questions such as,
“Why is the sun hot? How far are the stars and what are they made of? Why
Can’t I see the reflection of a flashlight pointed at the sky at night? Why don’t airplanes
Have pontoons on top of the wheels so they can land on both water and land? Etc., etc., etc.

He would answer me patiently to the best of his ability and wait for the inevitable follow-ups.
I remember train and bus rides when very young sitting on his lap asking him a thousand Questions.
Unfortunately, when I asked you a question you could not answer, you more often than not made up an answer Rather than simply saying “I don’t know,” or “go ask dad” or even “go to hell you little monster!”

I drove you crazy. Whatever you were doing I wanted to learn to do, whether it was working on the
Sewing machine, knitting, cooking, ironing, or anything else that looked remotely interesting.
I can’t imagine your frustration. Yet you always found only joy in your little boy at all ages.
Such was your enormous love which surrounded me every day of my life and still does.

When you told me a story and I did not like the ending, such as with “Little Red Riding Hood,”
I demanded a better one and would cry interminably if I did not get it. Poor mom. What patience!
Reading or making up a story that little Danny did not approve of could be dangerous.
I remember one day in a movie theater watching the cartoons I loved (and still love).

Donald Duck came out from stage right eating a sandwich. Sitting between you and dad I asked you
For a sandwich. Rather than explaining that the sandwich was not real, that we’d go to dinner after the show
To eat my favorite steak sandwich (as usual), you simply told me that Donald Duck would soon bring me the sandwich. But when the scene changed, Donald Duck came back smacking his lips without the sandwich.

Then all hell broke loose. I wailed at the top of my lungs that Donald Duck had eaten my sandwich.
He had lied to me and not given me the promised sandwich. That was unbearable. There was
No way to console me or make me understand—too late—that Donald Duck was also hungry,
That it was his sandwich, not mine, or that what was on the screen was just a cartoon and not real.

He, Donald Duck, mi favorite Disney character (then and now) hade eaten this little boy’s Sandwich. Such a Betrayal by a loved one was inconceivable and unbearable. You and dad had to drag me out of the theater ranting And crying at the injustice at top volume. The tantrum (extremely rare for me then, less so now) went on for awhile, but all was well again when my beloved Aunt Nieves gave me a ******* with jam and told me Donald had sent it.

So much water under the bridge. Your own memories, like smoke in a soft breeze, have dissipated
Into insubstantial molecules like so many stars in the night sky that paint no coherent picture.
An entire life of vital conversations turned to the whispers of children in a violent tropical storm,
Insubstantial, imperceptible fragments—just a dream that interrupts an eternal nightmare.

That is your life today. Your memory was always prodigious. You knew the name of every person
You ever met, and those of their family members. You could recall entire conversations word for word.
Three years of schooling proved more than sufficient for you to go out into the world, carving your own
Path from the Inhospitable wilderness and learning to read and write at the age of 16.

You would have been a far better lawyer than I and a fiery litigator who would have fought injustice
Wherever you found it and always defended the rights of those who cannot defend themselves,
Especially children who were always your most fervent passion. You sacrificed everything for others,
Always put yourself dead-last, and never asked for anything in return.

You were an excellent dancer and could sing like an angel. Song was your release in times of joy and
In times of pain. You did not drink or smoke or over-indulge in anything. For much of your life your only minor Indulgence was a weekly trip to the beauty parlor—even in Spain where your washing and ironing income
Paid for that. You were never vain in any way, but your self-respect required you to try to look your best.

You loved people and unlike dad who was for the most part shy, you were quite happy in the all-to-infrequent
Role as the life of the party—singing, dressing up as Charlie Chaplin or a newborn for New Year’s Eve parties with Family and close friends. A natural story-teller until dementia robbed you of the ability to articulate your thoughts,
You’d entertain anyone who would listen with anecdotes, stories, jokes and lively conversation.

In short: you were an exceptional person with a large spirit, a mischievous streak, and an enormous heart.
I know I am not objective about you, but any of your surviving friends and family members who knew you
Well will attest to this and more in a nanosecond. You had an incredibly positive, indomitable attitude
That led you to rush in where angels fear to treat not out of foolishness but out of supreme confidence.

Life handed you cartloads of lemons—enough to pickle the most ardent optimist. And you made not just
Lemonade but lemon merengue pie, lemon sorbet, lemon drops, then ground up the rind for sweetest
Rice pudding, flan, fried dough and a dozen other delicacies. And when all the lemons were gone, you sowed the Seeds from which extraordinarily beautiful lemon trees grew with fruit sweeter than grapes, plums, or cherries.

I’ve always said with great pride that you were a far better writer than I. How many excellent novels,
Plays, and poems could you have written with half of my education and three times my workload?
There is no justice in this world. Why does God give bread to those without teeth? Your
Prodigious memory no longer allows you to recognize me. I was the last person you forgot.

But even now when you cannot have a conversation in any language, Sometimes your eyes sparkle, and
You call me “neniño” (my little boy in Galician) and I know that for an instant you are no longer alone.
But too son the light fades and the darkness returns. I can only see you a few hours one day a week.
My life circumstances do not leave me another option. The visits are bitter sweet but I’m grateful for them.

Someday I won’t even have that opportunity to spend a few hours with you. You’ll have no
Monument to mark your passing save in my memory so long as reason remains. An entire
Life of incalculable sacrifice will leave behind only the poorest living legacy of love
In your son who lacks appropriate words to adequately honor your memory, and always will.


*          *          *

The day has come, too son. October 11, 2018. The call came at 3:30 am.
An hour or two after I had fallen asleep. They tried CPR in vain. There will be no more
Opportunities to say, “I Love you,” to caress your hands and face, to softly sing in your ear,
To put cream on your hands, or to hope that this week you might remember me.

No more time to tell you the accomplishments of loved ones, who I saw, what they told me,
Who asked about you this week, or to pray with you, or to ask if you would give me a kiss by putting my
Cheek close to your lips, to feel joy when you graced me with many little kisses in response,
Or tell you “Maybe next time” when as more often than not the case for months you did not respond.

In saying good bye I’d give you the kiss and hug Alice always sent you,
Followed by three more kisses on the forehead from dad (he always gave you three) and one from me.
I’d leave the TV on to a channel with people and no sound and when possible
Wait for you to close your eyes before leaving.

Time has run out. No further extensions are possible. My prayers change from asking God to protect
You and by His Grace allow you to heal a little bit each day to praying that God protect your
Soul and dad’s and that He allow you to rest in peace in His kingdom. I miss you and Dad very much
And will do so as long as God grants me the gift of reason. I never knew what it is to be alone. I do now.

Four years seeing your blinding light reduced to a weak flickering candle in total darkness.
Four years fearing that you might be aware of your situation.
Four years praying that you would not feel pain, sadness or loneliness.
Four years learning to say goodbye. The rest of my life now waiting in the hope of seeing you again.

I love you mom, with all my heart, always and forever.
Written originally in Spanish and translated into English with minor additions on my mom's passing (October 2018). You can hear all six of my Unsung Heroes poems read by me in my podcasts at https://open.spotify.com/show/1zgnkuAIVJaQ0Gb6pOfQOH. (plus much more of my fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English and Spanish)
Kimos, son of Menedoros, a young Greek-Italian,
devotes his life to amusing himself,
like most young men in Greater Greece
brought up in the lap of luxury.

But today, in spite of his nature,
he is preoccupied, dejected. Near the shore
he watched, deeply distressed, as they unload
ships with ***** taken from the Peloponnese.

G r e e k   l o o t:  b  o  o  t y   f r o m  C o r i n t h.

Today certainly it is not right,
it is not possible for the young Greek-Italian
to want to amuse himself in any way.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Here comes the sun little darling's
We all get burned
 Is it your turn
     "U-Turn"
Oh! Where I thou
"Green light Diner"
It's telling us to Go
    *       *       *
The Earth beauty faces
I will be your direct sunlight
In plain sight to the daylight
her blossom tree
All I ask come for me
Her face could eat
The divine flower laced

French brie
Tie a yellow ribbon on me
We have so much to see
Let it be sun-face Moms
apple pies
The Sun  "Watchtower"
Someone knocks you off
Your "Bill" on the Ice Queen

The Goddess rodeo waitress
She got you roped in between
The cigarette 1940 case hostess
             "Rose"
I suppose the sunflowers every booth
her smile sets in place

The stain-glass window Notre Dame
Rock and roll hall of fame
The earth kids rainbow chalk
Sun-fun treetops like a beanstalk
Napoleon Elementary Watson
New Jersey Diner capital admission
The Peking duck *** luck

European beauty hunter's menu
Any luck this will be awhile sip "Starbucks"

1-Antipasti cute Shiba Uni
2-Consomme Chicken soup
3-Sun-face to the soul fruit loop
4-Chicken pepper Salsa
Sun-face lights up Visa
5-Hearts of Artichokes Mona Lisa
6-Soy ginger salmon
My sun worshiper man

Fish tacos hummus
St Thomas
Rome was not build
In one day
The windpipes and
the tablecloths Oh! yikes
Full of dream pipes

Sun tan stripes and zebras
Couscous salad big star dipper
Egyptian Gods camels back
Sun-face diner no time
for the sun-chip snack
Diners from 1920-1940
Sun-face air force dresses

Medieval times two swords
Holy lords Easter parades
" Ice-cream Spumoni"
Dinner in the sky
Robin red breast fly
Italian artwork Coliseum
Look up in the sky
It's a bird shaped
Paper plane bad romance
going insane

Waffle House  jukebox rock and roll
Hall of fame whats in a food name
Cowboy steaks American Flags
Cajun chicken legs fruits and figs
At the caboose Ladybird jet lag
Valentine Diner chairs
got footloose homemade goose

Purple rain Prince maple
pancakes
Bananas and strawberry fields
lake sun in shape of a snowflake
Forest Gump changes to
Presidential Trump
Vitamin C  honey bunches of Oats

Yummy floats of egg cream
Open table Sun-face dream
Eggs light she's not finished
over easy
Pristine of carrots with
artful daisies
Thanksgiving turkey

Rings of napkins holding
A time well-bred marriage
Well known landmarks of
Carats
Long ago time she saw the light
Daylight Knight like a scale to weight

Whispers of wine and grapes
Sun face courtesan love escape
Sun Faces trillion times mansion
Sun-faces never go out of fashion
Sun faces and dinner places the best in the world eat heartily Drive in and Diners all over the world have a medieval touch with the Vikings and melodies from the heart  of the surface  her smile will always be there everywhere she goes the Diners place her with Rose
Nigel Morgan Jun 2013
She sent it to me as a text message, that is an image of a quote in situ, a piece of interpretation in a gallery. Saturday morning and I was driving home from a week in a remote cottage on a mountain. I had stopped to take one last look at the sea, where I usually take one last look, and the phone bleeped. A text message, but no text.  Just a photo of some words. It made me smile, the impossibility of it. Epic poems and tapestry weaving. Of course there are connections, in that for centuries the epic subject has so often been the stuff of the tapestry weaver’s art. I say this glibly, but cannot name a particular tapestry where this might be so. Those vast Arthurian pieces by William Morris to pictures by Burne-Jones have an epic quality both in scale and in subject, but, to my shame, I can’t put a name to one.

These days the tapestry can be epic once more - in size and intention - thanks to the successful, moneyed contemporary artist and those communities of weavers at West Dean and at Edinburgh’s Dovecot. Think of Grayson Perry’s The Walthamstowe Tapestry, a vast 3 x 15 metres executed by Ghentian weavers, a veritable apocalyptic vision where ‘Everyman, spat out at birth in a pool of blood, is doomed and predestined to spend his life navigating a chaotic yet banal landscape of brands and consumerism’.  Gosh! Doesn’t that sound epic!

I was at the Dovecot a little while ago, but the public gallery was closed. The weavers were too busy finishing Victoria Crowe’s Large Tree Group to cope with visitors. You see, I do know a little about this world even though my tapestry weaving is the sum total of three weekends tuition, even though I have a very large loom once owned by Marta Rogoyska. It languishes next door in the room that was going to be where I was to weave, where I was going to become someone other than I am. This is what I feel - just sometimes - when I’m at my floor loom, if only for those brief spells when life languishes sufficiently for me be slow and calm enough to pick up the shuttles and find the right coloured yarns. But I digress. In fact putting together tapestry and epic poetry is a digression from the intention of the quote on the image from that text - (it was from a letter to Janey written in Iceland). Her husband, William Morris, reckoned one could (indeed should) be able to compose an epic poem and weave a tapestry.  

This notion, this idea that such a thing as being actively poetic and throwing a pick or two should go hand in hand, and, in Morris’ words, be a required skill (or ‘he’d better shut up’), seemed (and still does a day later) an absurdity. Would such a man (must be a man I suppose) ‘never do any good at all’ because he can’t weave and compose epic poetry simultaneously?  Clearly so.  But then Morris wove his tapestries very early in the morning - often on a loom in his bedroom. Janey, I imagine, as with ladies of her day - she wasn’t one, being a stableman’s daughter, but she became one reading fluently in French and Italian and playing Beethoven on the piano- she had her own bedroom.

Do you know there are nights when I wish for my own room, even when sleeping with the one I love, as so often I wake in the night, and I lie there afraid (because I love her dearly and care for her precious rest) to disturb her sleep with reading or making notes, both of which I do when I’m alone.
Yet how very seductive is the idea of joining my loved one in her own space, amongst her fallen clothes, her books and treasures, her archives and precious things, those many letters folded into her bedside bookcase, and the little black books full of tender poems and attempts at sketches her admirer has bequeathed her when distant and apart. Equally seductive is the possibility of the knock on the bedroom / workroom door, and there she’ll be there like the woman in Michael Donaghy’s poem, a poem I find every time I search for it in his Collected Works one of the most arousing and ravishing pieces of verse I know: it makes me smile and imagine.  . .  Her personal vanishing point, she said, came when she leant against his study door all warm and wet and whispered 'Paolo’. Only she’ll say something in a barely audible voice like ‘Can I disturb you?’ and with her sparkling smile come in, and bring with her two cats and the hint of a naked breast nestling in the gap of the fold of her yellow Chinese gown she holds close to herself - so when she kneels on my single bed this gown opens and her beauty falls before her, and I am wholly, utterly lost that such loveliness is and can be so . . .

When I see a beautiful house, as I did last Thursday, far in the distance by an estuary-side, sheltering beneath wooded hills, and moor and rock-coloured mountains, with its long veranda, painted white, I imagine. I imagine our imaginary home where, when our many children are not staying in the summer months and work is impossible, we will live our ‘together yet apart’ lives. And there will be the joy of work. I will be like Ben Nicholson in that Italian villa his father-in-law bought, and have my workroom / bedroom facing a stark hillside with nothing but a carpenter’s table to lay out my scores. Whilst she, like Winifred, will work at a tidy table in her bedroom, a vase of spring flowers against the window with the estuary and the mountains beyond. Yes, her bedroom, not his, though their bed, their wonderful wooden 19C Swiss bed of oak, occupies this room and yes, in his room there is just a single affair, but robust, that he would sleep on when lunch had been late and friends had called, or they had been out calling and he wanted to give her the premise of having to go back to work – to be alone - when in fact he was going to sleep and dream, but she? She would work into the warm afternoons with the barest breeze tickling her bare feet, her body moving with the remembrance of his caresses as she woke him that morning from his deep, dark slumber. ‘Your brown eyes’, he would whisper, ‘your dear brown eyes the colour of an autumn leaf damp with dew’. And she would surround him with kisses and touch of her firm, long body and (before she cut her plaits) let her course long hair flow back and forward across his chest. And she did this because she knew he would later need the loneliness of his own space, need to put her aside, whereas she loved the scent of him in the room in which she worked, with his discarded clothes, the neck-tie on the door hanger he only reluctantly wore.

Back to epic poetry and its possibility. Even on its own, as a single, focused activity it seems to me, unadventurous poet that I am, an impossibility. But then, had I lived in the 1860s, it would probably not have seemed so difficult. There was no Radio 4 blathering on, no bleeb of arriving texts on the mobile. There were servants to see to supper, a nanny to keep the children at bay. At Kelmscott there was glorious Gloucestershire silence - only the roll and squeak of the wagon in the road and the rooks roosting. So, in the early mornings Morris could kneel at his vertical loom and, with a Burne-Jones cartoon to follow set behind the warp. With his yarns ready to hand, it would be like a modern child’s painting by numbers, his mind would be free to explore the fairy domain, the Icelandic sagas, the Welsh Mabinogion, the Kalevara from Finland, and write (in his head) an epic poem. These were often elaborations and retellings in his epic verse style of Norse and Icelandic sagas with titles like Sigurd the Volsung. Paul Thompson once said of Morris  ‘his method was to think out a poem in his head while he was busy at some other work.  He would sit at an easel, charcoal or brush in hand, working away at a design while he muttered to himself, 'bumble-beeing' as his family called it; then, when he thought he had got the lines, he would get up from the easel, prowl round the room still muttering, returning occasionally to add a touch to the design; then suddenly he would dash to the table and write out twenty or so lines.  As his pen slowed down, he would be looking around, and in a moment would be at work on another design.  Later, Morris would look at what he had written, and if he did not like it he would put it aside and try again.  But this way of working meant that he never submitted a draft to the painful evaluation which poetry requires’.

Let’s try a little of Sigurd

There was a dwelling of Kings ere the world was waxen old;
Dukes were the door-wards there, and the roofs were thatched with gold;
Earls were the wrights that wrought it, and silver nailed its doors;
Earls' wives were the weaving-women, queens' daughters strewed its floors,

And the masters of its song-craft were the mightiest men that cast
The sails of the storm of battle down the bickering blast.
There dwelt men merry-hearted, and in hope exceeding great
Met the good days and the evil as they went the way of fate:
There the Gods were unforgotten, yea whiles they walked with men,

Though e'en in that world's beginning rose a murmur now and again
Of the midward time and the fading and the last of the latter days,
And the entering in of the terror, and the death of the People's Praise.

Oh dear. And to think he sustained such poetry for another 340 lines, and that’s just book 1 of 4. So what dear reader, dear sender of that text image encouraging me to weave and write, just what would epic poetry be now? Where must one go for inspiration? Somewhere in the realms of sci-fi, something after Star-Wars or Ninja Warriors. It could be post-apocalyptic, a tale of mutants and a world damaged by chemicals or economic melt-down. Maybe a rich adventure of travel on a distant planet (with Sigourney Weaver of course), featuring brave deeds and the selfless heroism of saving companions from deadly encounters with amazing animals, monsters even. Or is ‘epic’ something else, something altogether beyond the Pixar Studios or James Cameron’s imagination? Is the  ‘epic’ now the province of AI boldly generating the computer game in 4D?  

And the epic poem? People once bought and read such published romances as they now buy and engage with on-line games. This is where the epic now belongs. On the tablet, PlayStation3, the X-Box. But, but . . . Poetry is so alive and well as a performance phenomenon, and with that oh so vigorous and relentless beat. Hell, look who won the T.S.Eliot prize this year! Story-telling lives and there are tales to be told, even if they are set in housing estates and not the ice caves of the frozen planet Golp. Just think of children’s literature, so rich and often so wild. This is word invention that revisits unashamedly those myths and sagas Morris loved, but in a different guise, with different names, in worlds that still bring together the incredible geographies of mountains and deserts and wilderness places, with fortresses and walled cities, and the startling, still unknown, yet to be discovered ocean depths.

                                    And so let my tale begin . . . My epic poem.

                                                 THE SEAGASP OF ENNLI.
       A TALE IN VERSE OF EARTHQUAKE, ISLAND FASTNESS, MALEVOLENT SPIRITS,
                                                AND REDEMPTIVE LOVE.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Something is
simmering  *  
  ****      
His spice the stars*
His cologne heat up the
woods
Lips and taste boiling
The Green Irish Tweed
Epicurean love at
the Italian
Spice Epic Stadium

Here comes the
Sun the__?
Royal Mayfair

strikingly
My Fair Lady
The spice diction of words
Her name is Sage Lady Bird
You could feel her smile
shimmering

Carnal spice knowledge
Savory animalistic
Spice culture ******
Citrusy fancy dress
Not to panic
His Sunday gravy
Italian sauce garlicky  
She could win so pungent
Spicy lady Pagent

The poor stealing the
rich culture
Sage surrender like the Oz
Like Robin Hood

Spice of life this is our life
Top of the sea salt Spy
scouring
You better have a love
Like a deep pouring
Her Sage Genie bottle
on the stove

Her sheerness lascivious robe

The Meditteranean sea with
Four leaf clovers
freeloaders
These cultures and eyes of
strength feature
There is no time to
break up for the love of a spice
Is this the human race
Fresh linens better company
What a primary
Oh! Hail Mary

Those ethnic spices
what a sensual smell
Sage pretty coffee cup show and tell
What a razzle top of her cake
The media takes over all
painted and swirled
Baked spicy finger she dialed

Through her locket heart sake
Recovered love reconciled
The Teddy Rosevelt or Chicago Bears
tight hugs of cultures


Hairy chest his smooth gestures
Culture rough and tough exterior

Like the smile beautiful mind
creature
Beyond to be seen
The Spices computer
world of devices
Strawberry fields forever
But what is forever more love
Crises

Do we always lose our stripes
Feeling layered with her cereal
Tony the tiger
Whats great about curses
Sage speechless can feel the
roar spicy mouth
Going South or North
Victorian corset sensual
Guity spice dark side of Goth
Hot desire from both
The pine needles
Christmas time
The mistletoe kissing pointing to the star

Wearing herself out with her
pointed pump shoe*
But losing her spirit what to
endeavor
*The Blue Horizon Spice Rub

The  pub the sky has no limits
to the Stars that twinkle
The Gods to their *****
Rip Van Winkle
Dry Vermouth or the Russian Roulette
French spice Crepe Suzette

"Adam I Apple Dante Jubilee
Eve was more like a neigh
Horse spicy slide Colonel Spicy mustard
Meeting General Lee Sage custard

Her handkerchief
with sage cut leaves
Hearing echoes what gives
Anyone's spice rack
of shoes engraves Sage leafs

Noone really knows for sure
She wore spice deep blue velvet
Jade Ring Brittish Colony
Stuck to her beliefs like a magnet

Eating vegetable and fish
Her best China ever find her dish

How the jade chandelier twisted
Became laughing like two musketeers
New York City love Serendipity
The Queen chair so domineer
'What Debutants"
Crazed like spices of mutants
The anger management getting
the evil out
The shoutbox strong clove spice
Sage was never outfoxed
Her **** jaded uniform
The firefighter Smoky the bear
  eyes of candlelight storm
didn't make it this year
Torn to tears like two
vultures of
the haunted night
He peddles fast
But the fear needs to disappear

Fresh lake smells fresh
as her breath
The culture and media
make tons of mistakes
She knows what she wants
Not a jungle of
poisonous snakes
He knows what he doesn't want
to tell her
Perhaps losing his
bark dog naps
The best part engage her on
Sage with a heart
The fruit her
flesh and blood
The blood on his finger
Her medicinal herbs
of China
The mason spice jar is empty
The full heart needs his half
Cream of the crop
Careless love accidentally
spice dropped
Sensual Chin like pine needles
The exception to the rule more leaders
Remember Every September
to leave your scent
We all have needs we want
Drinking all the flavors of Snapple
*Big waves of the ripple don't you
love her amazing dimples
Sage spice mighty divine but when its mixed love can be jinxed watch out. But just keep singing her "Sage way" her garden is magnificent in every way just pray
Hank Helman Aug 2015
Carla kept nudging me to learn Italian.
It is the language of lovers and liars she said, life’s two best friends,
Discipline yourself, it will teach you to sing, she offered,
Each phrase a lyric, a seduction,
It will give you an unfair advantage over younger men, she promised,
Tickle her ear with this tongue and she will shiver and unfold,
Her heart, her knees unlocked.

Italian is a calculate of rhythm, Carla suggested,
Every woman understands timing and phase,
Our life is nothing but cycles for god’s sakes,
How have you not understood this?

It is the lingua of fair play, she continued, each syllable an equal citizen,
A dialect with an innate sense of justice,
Women are as intrigued by its possibilities,
As they are by threat and danger,
Either of which you can no longer promise.

Tell a woman you love her in Italian,
Ti amo più respiro, I love you more than breath,
And her ******* will disappear,
She won’t be able to take her eyes off your lips,
And as we all know, your mouth is your hook,
Your irresistible smile, the pout, the persuasion.

You are a poet, a miracle I know,
Your words are narcotic when you put your mind to it,
I’ve heard you quell an unruly crowd;
Your resonant tone could soothe a pack of ravenous jackals.

But with that intricate face of yours,
Your accumulating age, the leather wrinkles,
Believe me, you will soon need to help to ****** even a photograph.
Enlist, become Italian, Carla told me, it is your only hope,
And she tossed the last of her wine onto the sand,
Watched the red stain saturate and fade,
And lay back to face the sun.
RAJ NANDY Jul 2015
INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR
            BY RAJ NANDY: PART ONE

                   INTRODUCTION
  “What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
         Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
        Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.”
      -by Wilfred Owen, British Army Lt. killed in
        action in France on 04th Nov 1918.

The Socialists called it the ‘Imperialist’s War’,
and it was the ‘Trench War’ for the soldiers;
But Europe hailed it as ‘The War to End All Wars’,                
Expecting it to end prior to 1914’s Christmas!
But alas, it soon became a mighty global war
fueled by national and ethnic aspirations and
territorial lust!
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir
to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, -
On the 28thof June 1914 at Sarajevo, was the
spark which triggered off this great catastrophe!
During 1876 when German Chancellor Bismarck
was asked about chances of an European War at
a future date;
He felt that Europe was like a big store house of
gunpowder keg!
While pointing to the volatile BALKANS he had said,
That European leaders were smoking in an arsenal,
where a small spark could cause a mighty explosion!
And 38 years later the world had witnessed,
Bismarck’s unfortunate prediction!
This war ended on 11th of November 1918, after a
four and half year’s long duration;
With 16.5 million military and civilian deaths, and
many more wounded and missing in action!
For the War had spread beyond the traditional
killing fields,
Killing many innocent civilians following the
bombing raids by German Zeppelins!
Now, before proceeding further some background
information here becomes necessary,
To understand the socio-political events leading
to the unfolding of this Great War Story!

         PRELUDE TO THE GREAT WAR
The Nationalistic fervor aroused by Napoleon,
And the February Revolution of 1848 in France,
Inspired Europe’s inhabitants to preserve their
ethnic and racial identities, without leaving
things to chance!
The Italian and German unification, and the
Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian polarization,
Aroused the expectations of the Slavic people,
Who remained spread all over Central and
Eastern Europe!
The various ethnic groups forming the Slavic race,
Always dreamt of an independent Balkan State!

         CAUSES FOR ‘THE GREAT WAR’
Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarization, Alliances,
and finally the assassination of the Archduke
Ferdinand,
Are the five main causes for this war, which is
generally mentioned by our Historians!
However, I shall now try to acquaint you briefly,  
With some relevant events from our recorded
History.

BRITISH IMPERIALISM:
Towards the turn of the 20th century Britain was
the dominant global imperial power;
And since the mid-19th Century it was seen that
the sun never set over the British Empire!
The British had a vast mercantile and a naval fleet,
To trade with, and administer their far flung colonies.
At the turn of the 20th Century the British Navy was
changing over from steam to oil power like other
big nations;
So the oil fields of the Middle East was important
for British militarization.
Also passage through the Suez Canal was vital for
maintaining their colonial possessions!
These facts will get linked up in Part Two of my
later composition!

GERMAN NATIONALISM:
The nationalistic fervor aroused in Germany
since Chancellor Bismarck’s days,
Made the Germans try to outstrip the British
in many ways!
This fervor was reflected in Goethe’s poetry and
through Richard Wagner’s musical notes;
Between 1898 and 1912 five Naval Laws were
passed in the German Reichstag, by majority
votes,
For building battleships, cruisers, and 96 torpedo
boats;
Which later became a scourge for Allied and
British shipping, known as the U-Boats!
The German nationalism and militarization went
hand in hand during those days,
While her industrialization also progressed at a
rapid pace.
Kaiser Wilhelm II had sought “a place in the sun”
by trying to outstrip the British in the arms race!
Statistic show more number of German scientists
had received the Noble Prize for their inventions,
Between this period and World War- II, when
compared with the combined winners of other
Western nations!

AUSTRIA-HUNGARIAN MONARCHY:
In 1867 by a comprising agreement between
Vienna and Budapest the capital cities,
The Austro-Hungarian kingdom became a Dual
Monarchy!
Many ethnic groups had composed this Monarchy
in those early days as we see;
With Germans, Hungarians, Romanians, and Slavic
people like the Czechs, Poles, Croats, Slovaks,
Serbs, and the Slovenes!
While the Austrian Officers of this Monarchy spoke
German, the majority of the soldiers were Hungarians,
Czechs, Slovaks, who never spoke German!
So the soldiers were taught 68 single-words of
German commands,
For the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army to function
collectively as one!
While Francis Joseph their sovereign and emperor,
aspired to become a strong centralized European
power.
But out of the 50 million people of this Monarchy
around 23 million were Slavs,
Who always dreamed of an independent Slavic
Kingdom in the Balkans!

THE BALKANS & THE KINGDOM OF SERBIA
After the Iberian and the Italian peninsulas of
Europe, the BALKAN peninsular is seen to be
lying in Europe’s extreme south east, -
South of the Danube and Sava River, bounded
in the west by the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.
In the east is the Aegean and Black Sea,
With the Mediterranean Sea in the south, -
washing the tip formed by Greece with its many
islands around!
Now much of the Balkan areas were under the
Ottoman Empire since early 14th Century;
And here I cut across many centuries of past
European History!
Following a series of revolutions since 1804
against the Turks,
The Principality of Serbia was carved out in the
area of the Balkans!
A new constitution in 1869 defined it as an
independent State of Serbia;
Was internationally recognized at the Treaty
of Berlin in 1878, to later become the Kingdom
of Serbia!
This kingdom was located south adjoining the
Monarchy of Austro-Hungarians, much to their
annoyance those days,
Since the Kingdom of Serbia was looked upon
as a ‘beacon of liberty’ by the Southern Slavic
race!

THE BOSNIAN CRISIS (1908-1909)  
This dual provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina
in the Balkans,
Were formally under the control of the
Ottoman Sultan.
With permission of the Congress of Berlin in
1878, it was administered by Austria-Hungary;
Though the legal rights remained with Turkey!
But the Slavic population present there had
Nationalistic ambitions,
Aspired to join the Slavs in nearby Kingdom of
Serbia, to form a pan-Slavic nation!
The Slavic population in Austria-Hungary, also
entertained such dreams wistfully!
Now in 1908 a ‘Young Turk Movement’ based
at Macedonia,
Had planned to replace the absolute Turkish
rule in Bosnia!
And by modernizing the Constitution hoped
to rejuvenate the sick Ottoman Empire.
These developments set alarm bells ringing
in Austrian capital Vienna!
So on the 6th of October 1908 they quickly
annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina!
After having lost a war with Japan, and following
an internal Revolution of 1905 the Russians,
Prevented an escalation by staying out of the
Bosnian Crisis!
But the annexation of Bosnia had angered the
Serbs greatly,
So they started to train secret terrorist groups to
liberate Bosnia from Austria-Hungary!
These terrorist groups operated in small cells,
Under the leadership of Col. Dimitrijevic, also
known as the ‘Apis’ those days.
Now, a secret cell called the ‘Black Hand’ operated
in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo with Gavrilo
Princep as one of its members;
Who was trained and equipped in Serbia along
with other ‘Black Hand’ members.
The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had remained
distressed about these subversive activities by
the Slavic race!
So in Jan 1909 they obtained the unconditional
support from Germany, in the event of a war
with Serbia even if Austria was the aggressor!
And also secretly hoped in a war to annex
Serbian territory!
For in the two Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913,
Serbia had greatly extended its territory to
become a powerful adversary!
Serbia had also obtained an assurance from
its protector Russia, should a war break out with
Austria!
Now, as tension mounted upsetting the delicate
balance of power in the Balkans gradually,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife Sophie,
planned to visit Sarajevo from Austria-Hungary!
It was a God sent moment for the secret
organization the ‘Black Hand’,
To plan the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand!

THE ASSASSINATION: SARAJEVO 28TH JUNE 1914
Now when I look back in time I pause to wonder,
How such an amateurish assassination plot could
have ever succeeded,
Without the cruel hands of destiny and fate!
The 28th of June was a bright summer’s St. Vitus
Day and a holiday in Serbia;
And also the 14th marriage anniversary of Franz
Fernandez and his wife Sophia!
Several assassins were positioned along the route,
Which was to be taken by the Archduke!
While the motorcade proceeded to the Town Hall
a bomb was thrown,
Which bounced off the rear of Archduke’s car,
Injuring few bystanders and a passenger in the
rear car!
The Archduke however refused to cancel his trip,
Saying that it was the act of some lunatic!
After completion of the Town Hall ceremony, the
Archduke wanted a change of plan deviating from
the laid down route;
By wanting to visit the patients in the hospital,
Injured by the bomb which had struck his cars
rear hood!
But the Czech driver was not briefed and took
a wrong turn by mistake;
Reversed trying to correct himself, stalled the car
stoppling next to Gavrilo Princep!
Presenting Princep with a stationary target, a
cruel work of destiny and fate!
Prince pulled out his pistol and fired two shots  
at a point blank range, killing both Ferdinand
and  wife Sophie;
When Ferdinand cried out ‘’Sophie, Sophie,
don’t die, live for the children’’, - words which
now remain enshrined in History!

TRIAL OF PRINCEP & THE CONSPIRATORS
The trial began in a military court on 12th of
October at Sarajevo,
With three judges and no jury, when Princep
pleaded 'Not Guilty'!
Killing of Duchess Sophie was an unplanned
accident,
Since he wanted to **** the Governor instead!
He claimed to be a Serbian nationalist working
for the unification of the Slavic race,
and detested the annexation of Bosnia by the
Austo-Hungarians!
Along with 15 other accused, Princep was found
guilty of high treason;
But being underage, was sentenced to 20 years
labour in prison.
But died three year's later from tuberculosis!

           CONCLUDING PART ONE
  ''Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
   There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
   But dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold."
      -Rupert Brook, part of the British Naval Expeditionary
       Force, buried in Skyros, Greece 1914.
Now, looking back over a hundred years in
hindsight I do realize,
That this assassination was not the immediate
cause or the spark which triggered this War,
But only an excuse and a pretext for the
Austro-Hungarians to carve up Serbia,
And distribute those territories between
Allies and friends of Austria;
Also enhance the prestige of their Empire!
Since the war had commenced almost two
months after the Archduke’s assassination,
Austria had lost the high moral ground for
vengeance with righteous indignation!
It was a cynical and a predetermined plan
of Austria in connivance with Germany,
To destroy Serbia and squash the hopes of
Slavic people for a pan-Slavic State, - as we
now get to see!
This war ended with the dissolution of four old
Empires of the Austro-Hungarians, Ottomans,
Tsarist Russians, and the Germans!
While new nations of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia,
Austria, and Hungary, got created from the
dissolved Empire of Austria-Hungary.
Russia gave up lands creating Finland, Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania.
The Ottomans gave up lands in SW Asia and the
Middle East, and in Europe retained only Turkey!
Thus this Great War had creating new nation states,
And gave Europe its new revamped face!
Composed by Raj Nandy of New Delhi,
Thanks for reading patiently!
   TO BE CONTINUED LATER AS PART TWO
**ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR
Dear Readers, this is a product of three weeks of my research work, put across in simplified verse! Hope to compose Part Two at a later date, and tell you about trench warfare & the poems composed about this War! On the 28th of June 2015, 101 years of this First World War was completed! Kindly give Comments only after reading in your spare time, for this Great War  took place during our grandfather's time! Thanks! -Raj
RAJ NANDY Apr 2015
Dear Poet Friends, being fond of Art, I wanted to compose on
this topic for a long time in a simplified form! Egyptian Art and
Architecture influenced the Early Greeks, who in turn influenced the Romans and other civilizations! Initially Art and architecture, religion and culture, were all closely inter-related! Real distinction emerged with the Italian Renaissance. Here I have used only a portion of my personal notes. Hope you find this interesting to read! Sorry for the length! Kindly give Comments after you have managed to read the entire portion in your spare time. Thanks, -Raj

INTRODUCTION TO THE STORY
OF WESTERN ART IN VERSE:
          PART ONE
    * BY RAJ NANDY

INTRODUCTION
Art over the centuries has been variously defined,
But an all embracing definition is rather hard to find!
Ayn Rand defined Art as a recreation of reality according to
artist’s values, his view of existence, and choice;
Who recreates by a selective rearrangement of the elements
of reality, and not simply out of a void!
Study of Art History is a study of man’s creative evolution;
A progress of his wakened consciousness, and a restless
striving towards perfection!
The progress of his mind, taste and skill, which has gradually
evolved through past traditions;
Finding ultimate expression in his multi-faceted creations!
I commence this story from its earliest days, and mention those
Ancient Civilizations which influenced Art in many ways.
Art has been greatly influenced by religion, culture and history;
Therefore, knowing these aspects becomes necessary to
fully appreciate this Art Story!

PREHISTORIC STONE AGE ART:
Let us take a ride on the magic carpet of History, down
past millenniums to begin our Art Story;
Right into the ancient Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic
Eras of the Stone Age,
When early humans left their creative imprints on rock
surfaces and on walls of caves!
Long before the evolution of any proper coherent speech
or communication,
In some 350 caves of France and Spain are seen paintings
of large wild animals like horses, antelopes and bison;
Bearing witness to the story of gradual human evolution!
The cave paintings of Chauvet, Cosquer, and Lascaux, date
between 8000 and 1700 BC,
Drawn by nameless and faceless people who emerged from
an inhospitable Ice Age;
Those nomadic tribes who were hunter-gatherers living in
pre-historic caves!
The Story of Art therefore begins before recorded History,
Pieced together by scholars with the help of science and
archeology!
During the Neolithic Period beginning around 8,000BC,
Ancient man became gradually sedentary, engaging in
agriculture and animal husbandry!
With these nomads settling down in small communities,
Art became mystical and monumental in range;
As seen in the megalithic (large stone) structures of the
famous Stonehenge!
This type of post and lintel structure is also found in ancient
Egyptian architecture, and later in Greece as its special
feature!
Art History spans the entire history of mankind,
Right from the pre-historic days, up to our modern times!
Man’s everlasting quest for immortality lies etched on
rocks and raised stone edifices, defying marauding Time!

MESOPOTAMIAN ART (3500-300BC) :
Let us now travel fast forward on our magic carpet to reach
the Fertile Crescent,
Where the Tigress and the Euphrates Rivers flow, to the
Ancient Civilization of the Sumerians! (3500-2300BC)
The birth of civilization has been traced to Southern
Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians built their first cities,
As the earliest River Valley Civilization around 3500 BC!
It was a period when writing got invented in its earliest
Cuneiform form;  (around 3400 BC)
When Patriarch Abraham established the worship of a Single
God, in a revolutionary religious reform! (Judaism)
Mesopotamian Civilization as the source of our earliest
surviving Art dates back to 3500BC;
When major civilizations like the Sumerian, Akkadian,
Babylonian, Hitties, Assyrian, and the Persians, in this
chronological sequence, contributed to Art History!
Mesopotamian Art in general glorified their powerful rulers
and their connection with divinity;
Reflected on their city gates, palace complexes and ziggurats,

are scenes of both victorious wars and their prosperity!
Art was then highly functional and repetitive; depicting
love of beauty, a sense of order, and power of hierarchy,
- in their sculptures and motifs.
However, no signatures were ever found bearing the name
of the Artist!
It is interesting to note that both the potter’s wheel and the
cart wheel, made their first appearance around 3500 BC
and 3200 BC respectively;
With the Sumerians contributing to art and culture, and the
progress of Human Civilization immensely!
(Ziggurats are semi-pyramid like structures with steps, a temple complex located in the center of all ancient Sumerian cities-states! Saragon the Great of Akkad from the North, defeated the Sumerians in the South, & united entire Mesopotamia around 2300 BC, for the first time in Mesopotamian History, & they ruled for 200 years.)

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ART :(3000 BC -500BC)
Next we travel to an isolated area of north-east Africa,
Where the White Nile flows down from Lake Victoria.
The Nile enters Upper Egypt traveling through Sudan,
Is joined by the Blue Nile at Khartoum to become one!
Continues its flow north through Egypt Lower, flowing
into the Mediterranean as the World’s longest river!
Historian Herodotus had called Egypt ‘the gift of the Nile’;
Ancient Egypt became a rich treasure trove of art and
architecture for all times!
The Nile valley area was protected by the desert on its
east and the west;
In the north by the Mediterranean, and towards the
south by a rugged mountainous terrain!
Annual flooding of the Nile along with an effective
irrigational network,
Ensured Egypt’s prosperous stability, congenial for her
many innovative architectures and art works!
Egyptian Art got shaped by her geography, mythology
and her polytheistic religion;
Also by their preoccupation with after-life and belief in  
the immortal soul’s continuation;
Thus elaborate funeral rites were performed by priests for  
the body’s preservation by mummification! *
(
’KA’= was a real astral twin or stellar double of an Individual, which continued to exist even after death, requiring the same sustenance as the humans, so food offerings were made in the coffins! ‘BA’= shaped like a human-headed bird, composed of non-physical attributes of an Individual. ‘BA’ collected the deceased’s personality after death from the mummified remains & united it with the ‘KA’, making a person complete; thereby making it possible for the person to be reborn as ‘AKH’ (Star), - in its ultimate unchanging form, to join Osiris in the ‘Happy Fields’! Since this journey to the next world was fraught with danger, magical funerary spells & rites were performed by the priests, with incantations from the ‘Book of the Dead’, inside the funeral chamber of the Pyramid!)

Art During Old, Middle, and New Kingdom Period:
Egyptian Art was concerned with ensuring continuity of the
universe, their Gods, the King and the people;
A projection into eternity a version of reality pure and free
from all earthly evil!
Therefore in ancient Egyptian society, conformity over
individuality was always encouraged;
Artists worked in groups with conservative adherence to
rules, order and form,
And all individual artistic initiatives strictly discouraged !
Their earliest pyramids the Mastaba, the Step, and the Bent
Pyramids were all prototypes;
While the Great Pyramid of Giza built for Pharaoh Kufu,
- was the first true pyramid which still survives!
Art comes down to us as ‘funerary art’ designed for the tombs,
Which was to accompany the royalty in their journey to an
afterlife, with its symbolic forms!
This symbolism is seen in their paintings, statues and architecture;
In vibrant color codes of their paintings as a special feature!
Where White was the symbol of purity, Black for death and night;
Green for vegetation or new life, Blue for water and the sky;
Red for life and victory, and Yellow like Gold as the flesh of the
Gods and also the Sun God ruling the sky!
Thanks to Jean-Francois Champollion’s translation of the Rosetta
Stone, (1822)
We are able to decipher many mysteries of the Ancient Egyptian
with the cracking of the Hieroglyphic Code!
Larger than life statues with poise and austere harmony at the
Luxor Temple complex survive;
Symbolic of the individual’s status, while creating zones of
strangeness for imagination to thrive!
(
’Matsaba’= Egyptian for ‘bench’, referred to bench shaped pyramids;
“Step Pyramids” = were like benches placed one on top of the other in
a tapering form going up vertically!)

The Old Kingdom Period covers a five hundred years span
of Ancient Egyptian History, (2686-2181BC)
Known as the ‘Age of Pyramids’, with Pharaohs from the
Third to the Sixth Dynasty!
“The World fear Time, but Time fears only the Pyramids”,
- is an Ancient Egyptian Proverb;
Whose ‘heterogeneous structure’ made it earthquake
proof, making Time to reluctantly serve! #
Here we find formalized figures with long slender bodies,
idealized proportions and large staring eyes;
Where Kufu’s Great Pyramid of Giza raises its mighty head
as the highest, on the west bank of the Nile;
And the mighty Sphinx guard the entrance to those ancient
royal tombs, though defaced, still survive!
These pyramids were like Pharaoh’s getaways to eternity,
An insurance to an afterlife of peace and prosperity!
(# Pyramids with stone blocks of different sizes & shapes made them
Earthquake resistant; & use of pink granite in the inner chambers
made them erosion resistant against Time!)

The Middle Kingdom Period (2040-1650 BC) :
Following 150 years of civil disorder Theban ruler Mentuhotep
the Second, reunified Egypt and ruled up to Nubia, (Sudan)
And began the Classical Era when Block Statues appear,
indicating political stability;
When artisans worked with bronze and copper alloys, designing
exquisite jewelry!
Kings now preferred to be buried in secret tombs, Pyramids
having lost their appeal,
And work began on the west bank of the Nile, in the Valley of
Kings!
(
Inside those rock cut ‘funerary temples’ on the East bank of the
Nile, opposite Ancient Kingdom of Thebes ; Pharaohs from the
Early and Late New Kingdom Periods were buried, including
Tutemkhamen.)

Early New Kingdom Period (1550 -1295 BC):
Between the Middle Kingdom and this Era, Art remained
static for almost a hundred years,
When the Hyksos from the Near East fought the weak Theban
Rulers!
In 1550 BC Theban Prince Ahmose reunited Egypt, and was
succeeded by able rulers, who ushered in the Golden Age!
Art works continued to maintain its basic traditional style,
With successive Kings from the 18th Dynasty consolidating
their kingdom’s wealth and power all the while!
But Egypt witnessed a change with an innovative style in Art,
When Amenhotep IV in 1353 BC became King, initiating a
fresh start!
This king changed his name to ‘Akhenaten’, the spirit of Aten,
-- ‘The disk of the Sun’;
Abandoned the pantheons of Gods with Aten as the ‘sole God’,
and a religious revolution had begun!
His new capital city of Amarna, 200 miles north of Thebes,
Got decorated with a new kind of art work to make it complete!
The statues now appear more realistic displaying emotions,
With fluidity of movement, unlike those rigid earlier creations!
The artistic talent of this Amarna Period gets best exemplified,
In the exquisite bust of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s Great Royal Wife!
Regarded as ‘icon of international beauty’, a great archeological
find ! **
(
Discovered by a German team of Archeologists in 1912 at Amarna! This 19 inch long limestone Nefertiti statue weighs around 20 kg, now housed in Berlin Museum; comparable only to the artistic Golden Mask of Tutankhamen!)

King Tutankhamen (1336-1327 BC):
Akhenaten’s unpopular rule was short-lived, with those humiliated
Theban priests calling him the ‘Heretic King’!
A nine year old boy Tutankhamen (‘The living image of Amun’),
was next to succeed him!
King Tut restored the worship of Amun, in a back-lash against
Akhenaten;
Shifted the royal palace back to Thebes, with the religious center
at Karnak once again!
King Tut’s short ten year’s rule remained buried in 3000 year’s
of Egyptian History,
Till Howard Carter found his richly laden intact tomb, in the
Valley of the Kings! (1922)
King Tut’s priceless and exquisitely carved golden face mask,
reflected the exalted standard of art work;
Weighing ten kilos, inlaid with semi-precious stones, and eyes
made of obsidian and quarts!
With the King’s early death, the 18th Dynasty of Pharaohs came
to an abrupt end,
And the 19th and 20th Dynasties of the Late Kingdom Period
commenced!
The famous rock temple of Abu Simbel now got built, under the
warrior and builder Ramses II, one of Egypt’s greatest Kings!


Pharaoh Ramses-II of the Late Kingdom Period :
Here I sweep across centuries of Egyptian History, to mention
King Ramses-II’s contribution to our Art Story!
In Shelly’s famous poem titled “Ozymandias of Egypt” he is
immortalized; (Greeks called Ramses-II “Ozymandias”!)
And as the Pharaoh associated with Moses in the movie “The
Ten Commandments”, he is popularized!
Egyptian Art is intrinsically bound with its religion, pyramids,
hieroglyphs, and architecture;
With a concentrated focus on ‘afterlife’ as its special feature!
In 1270 BC young Ramses took over from Seti the First,
And his rule for a period of 66 long years did last!
As the third Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, he had ruled with a
firm hand;
Recovered lost territories from the Hittites and the Nubians,
- earlier captured Egyptian lands!
He enlarged the territories of Egypt ensuring prosperity and
stability;
Became renowned as the famous Warrior and Builder King
of Ancient Egyptian History!
Ramses-II had expanded most of the temples, as recorded in
the artistic motifs and hieroglyphic symbols;
Here a special mention must be made of the Temples of Luxor,
Karnak, and Abu Simbel !

Temples of Luxor and Karnak in Ancient Thebes:
Ancient Thebes was located on the eastern bank of the Nile,
where the modern City of Luxor stands;
Thebes was once the capital of the 11th and 18th Dynasties,
And the power and religious center of all Egyptian land!
Gets mentioned in the 9th Book of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ where “heaps
of precious ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes”!
Excavation work began in Thebes during the late 19th century;
And the gradual unearthing of the Temples of Luxor and
Karnak, added a new dimension to Egypt’s Art Story!
It must be remembered always, that the Ancient Egyptians in
those early days,
Structured their temple architecture to the point of ‘Sacred Art’!
With their knowledge of astronomy and geometry, they
aligned their temples so perfectly,
That the light of the rising sun fell on the temple’s innermost
sanctuary! (Temple of Abu Simbel is a great example,)
Where the Egyptian priests, who were also the artists, healers,
mathematicians, astronomers and scribes;
In dimly lit incense-filled sanctuaries performed the sacred rites!
The temples symbolized the cross roads of the cosmos, where
the divine and the mortal met in perpetual harmony!
These divine scenes were integrated into the very fabric of the
Egyptian society through chants and rituals;
With cosmological symbols of magical hieroglyphs, which
priests alone could transcribe in those days!
(
Thebes began to decline rapidly after Alexander the Great
established the port-city of Alexandria as Egypt’s new Capital
around 332 BC !)

Luxor Temple built by Amenhotep-III, was dedicated to God
Amun, his wife Mut and son Khonsu, - the Theban Triad;
Tutankhamen and Ramses-II expanding the temple during the
New Kingdom Period!
Creator God Amun became assimilated with the Sun God Re;
Was worshipped in Thebes, and in the cult centers of Luxor and
Karnak, - as Amun-Re!
The walls and columns of these cult temples were decorated
with carved and painted relief,
Depicting the interaction with Gods, and military exploits of
Egyptian Pharaohs and Kings!
The sun temple of Amenhotep-III at Luxor has many columns
resembling papyrus bundles,
Symbolic of the primeval marsh from where Creation was
believed to have unfolded !
A Sphinx Alley excavated between Luxor an
Yenson Aug 2019
In the late night
the lady rose and asked
where is that wild buck new to the stable
Not there anymore the night air in waiting replied
then don't just stand there the lady said
Go fetch me me my faithful Italian stallion quick
for I must ride tonight and he is mine

Look at me can you not see
I have toiled in the greens  and tilled gardens
have fetched woods for seven sisters
and walked in hissy fit down the lane
my lips are sore and my fingers ache a times
so now go fetch me my Italian stallion and let me ride
he's mine and I can do as I please

That buck in hue of regal coal is wild and strong
an Arab king mare, big and mean, if ever there;s one
with flanks like rocks and a back straight and hard
oh! to ride him over the hills in wanton abandon delight
galloping up and down with my thighs gripping that smooth skin
Alas I fear I may do damage to my fair and tender laps
go fetch me my Italian stallion, my trained and gentle mare

Yes, he will do as told and he's always there
tells me only what I want to hear and never bite or nip
his mane I like and his neigh makes me laugh like a drain
he's not an Arabian mare and enjoys backing in and backing up
grease up the flanks and tell that Italian mare to come give it to me
that wild buck I fear will be too wild, that unbroken Arab Charger
cost too much and will take so much space I fear I may tear and die......
Martin Narrod Apr 2014
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It must have been thirty five years ago now,
I remember the kid as clear as day
His name was Eddie, or Timmy or something
Remember him clear as day, I think it was Eddie
Well, this kid was sure something
A true believer in his ability to play the game
He really loved it, ****** at it, but the desire
You could see it in them brown eyes of his
Or were they blue?, no matter...they might have been brown
Anyways, kid had desire, no talent, but desire
Played third base for me, thought he was a pitcher
But, he played third...that I'm sure of
He didn't have speed enough to move anywhere else
And I think he was blind in his right eye,
So, he could only move left
Good kid, Timmy or Eddie
Had an arm like a rocket
the ball would just explode out of his hand
I never knew where it was going
And truthfully, I don't think he did either
But, wow....it went fast, wherever it ended up
Kid actually made it rain one day
Just because he threw the **** ball so high into the clouds
He was trying to throw to first, but hell, it went high
Always smiling this kid, always...
don't know if he was just happy
Or if his jaw hadn't grown right for his teeth,
But, he was always smiling
couldn't hit worth a ****, had a nice swing
But, that blind eye....couldn't see a pitch until it hit him
Cooled us down on the bench though
Made a hell of a breeze when he swung
He was good for that,
lots of wind from Eddie, or Timmy
He did get a hit once or twice, I remember that
Scared us, scared him too I imagine
But, he did hit it, and it did go a long way
Problem was it happened so infrequently
He always forgot to run
And when he did, he ran like a duck
*** wobbled all over, arms flailing, head still
Quack, Quack...run Eddie, I'd yell
He'd smile, and take off,
couldn't see where he was going
But he'd run....and he'd stop only when he felt like it
I remember he was Mexican looking, or Spanish
There, brown eyes...knew I'd remember
anyways, he got called out for swearing once
Knocked the **** cover off the ball
then he stood there and watched it go
By the time he started to run,
He'd Holy ******* at least three times
And got tossed by the umpire
I argued, but, the ump would draw the line at two
Three holy *****...that's a little much
But, he knocked that ball into the next county
He'd probably throw it there too if he tried
The kid had desire, no talent,
but a smile and desire
Got tossed after striking out once too
Struck out a lot, once he let loose with a barrage
And I mean a barrage of swear words ....In Italian no less
I always thought the kid was Mexican or Spanish or something
But, he swore in Italian in front of an Italian ump
Poor kid, three holy ***** in another language
And he got tossed,
If I could get him to stop at two....he'd be fine
Eddie was a good kid, I liked him
He tried, he smiled, and he was terrible
couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat
But he didn't care, and neither did I
But, Eddie, or Timmy, whoever he was
Was a good kid,
I hope he remembers me as fondly as I do him.
Cné Dec 2017
she dragged me out of the house
knowing i was feeling down
not allowing me to wallow
in my self pity,

she dressed me,
        painted my face
               fashioned my hair,
that’s my girl friend

at Juliana’s,
small family owned Italian restaurant,
a gem of a find, she said,
Lorenzo, greeted her with familiarity
(she leaves a memorable impression)

she introduced me as her bestie
with a twinkle in her eye
young (as all under 30 people are to me)
handsome, dark thick curly haired,
with dancing eyes,
a serving towel over his left arm
nodded with a genuine smile

i smiled back despite my mood

wine was swirled, smelled,
sampled and selected
a captivating performance,
executed expertly

she watched me
watching him
describe the specials  
with a melodic Italian accent
transforming my mood

garlic knots wafting with his stride,
placed on the table
with a small bowl of marinara sauce
still hovering
in his long lean fingers
it slipped,
splattering red stain
on the pristine white cloth

without skipping a beat
his eyes poured into mine
words emerged
forgive me, your beauty made me nervous
True story,
and yes I left a fat tip!
Best line ever

— The End —