No rain

I see the underbellies of birds, dark and undistinguishable feathers below the bursting but blue clouds.
The sky is without sunlight, the colour wrapping it is like the old womb of industry, revolutionary but past, the iron furnaces are gone. The air is untainted and silent. There is no chill or heat, neither fire nor ash. Only unwavering pleasant swirls of gusty drafts, painting the motions of a storm but never reaching one.

Heaven & Earth

Never marked by sunbeams glancing off hilltops

Shower after shower leaving behind greenlight

Hiding their crests in dishevelled tree tops

Lurid shimmers behind the tresses of clouds

Steaming vaults of black and blue serenity

The dense tide of a coming monsoon

The mire dallying in water and an older season

Unseen

The closed eye is a part of everything

It is in the sky and the sea

It is in the dreams of children at night

It is all that there is forever

On my own

I don’t even know

Any colours anymore

Wist

Immeasurable legions of white clouds close rank

Leaving a clear blue path the size of a fist

What wonder the heavens hold, we thank

Neither Buddhists nor Neo-Realists

The Stand- A review

Warning- I hated this book and will spoil it, if you’re a fan please don’t read this because it will only make you angry

In 1949 George R. Stewart wrote Earth Abides a pioneering work of science fiction that even today impresses with it’s rigor and curiosity. After a global pandemic wipes out a majority of the earth’s population, the remaining people band together but notice all too late that their grip on the world was never firm.

What makes the book an evergreen classic is Stewart’s exceptional attention to detail. Following what becomes a single tribe of white survivors, Stewart dons many hats. His keen eyes detail the slow decay of the great American cities without specialists to run them, he notices the flora and fauna rebound and the farm animals run wild. While our tribe gradually runs out of things they can scavenge they notice the cattle, livestock and dogs grow- generation after generation- to suit their new roles in the wild. While the third generation of children finally breaks away from the shadow of their grandparents’ memories they slowly begin to develop their own priorities of pastoralism and gathering while their parents struggle to inform them of a world that has passed. Dregs of the old world remain in what is shaping up to be a sort of priestly class. Across the mountains and on the plains other tribes, black and native rebuild in their own way. Slowly the tribes of men flourish, raiding the abandoned cities only for metals, and coins to turn into arrowheads.

The book closes on a man of science, a biologist, a teacher who slowly realises the profound capacity of the earth to change, the limitations of modernity and power. So great a novel written in a promising age for the USA, when they were on the cusp of empire. Admirable intelligence, restraint and vision colour the novels many subjects. Yet here I am pissed about “The Stand”. The Stand is King’s perhaps King’s worst work with his usual over indulgence, over production, excessive sentimentality strewn over a thousand pages too many.

King was always what political scientists may call a “shit lib”. Never has the man been able to consider society as something capable of producing it’s own villains. It’s fine when he’s writing about alien clowns or crazed dogs but woe befalls any reader caught in his web with a few characters too many. There’s a reason he hated Kubrick’s “The Shining”. In his boring book a psychic child has psychic powers while his dad is driven insane by a hotel. Kubric elevates this wasted premise encapsulating in the hotel the brutality of colonialism, the genocide of the Native American’s, the callous and negligent stewards of empire handing over responsibility to a violent man who hates his family. The hotel did not do anything to drive him crazy, he always belonged in it’s madness. It is an utterly boring movie but it has got substance.

What happens in King’s attempt to encapsulate the epic spirt of the Lord of the Rings? What happens in a novel that critics praised as being believable and captivating? Middling, guilt ridden white protagonists who could have easily appeared in his million other books drive Vespa’s around the country in search of a magical n***o while an early prototype of an Incel and a guy called the “Trashcanman” attempt to foil their nascent all American republic/theocracy. Seriously he’s called the Trashcan man and he takes down the Sauron archetype with a nuclear bomb. Were the editors tied to bed by over zelous fans? In a talent exclusive only to new American author’s King sails through an apocalypse with no curiosity, eyes firmly closed to any new possibilities arriving at the same old vices with a post-apocalyptic aesthetic. It’s incredible how easily it fits in with the exhausted zombie movie craze that refuses to die.

If you’re ever looking for a good lead onto the decline and fall of the US empire, something like the Sopranos but for literature, look into why something like this would be successful while a novel like the Earth Abides is banished to obscurity. King has always leaned close to campy-ness but this is just the slop they feed hungry pigs.

Devine Confetti

Avid followers of this blog might remember my dream with Apollo, which left a tantalising if not inexplicable puzzle for me. Soon after I found myself reading and enjoying a great deal of Orphic poetry. There’s an unexpected depth and unknown wealth of mythos behind the Greco-Roman pantheon.

Athena might have once been an axe-wielding savage goddess before her rage was soothed. The God of wine was once a horned God of death and trance. The Createan Gods were ancient and mysterious even to the Greeks. Not much remains of these Thracian mysteries other than fragments of poetry. Interestingly well informed members of these cult for respective Gods or Goddesses would have been part of groups known as mysteries. There’s an inherent curiosity to it which I think makes faith a bit more soothing.

I don’t deny that an certain aversion to mass beliefs makes these traditions more appealing. The ambiguity makes faith more appealing. I moved on towards the Jewish Kabbalistic traditions, with it’s spells and invocations. There’s also a curious bit of later spell casting probably created by esoteric Europeans in the 18th century but attributed to Solomon. I added in a bit of Hermetic magic just for some flavour. As you might expect you find a lot of cultish thinking, cults and edgy try-hards. I can report with confidence, though, that nothing I’ve read up on actually works.

My recent perusal of recent Daoist rituals has been more rewarding however. The stuff actually has you feeling more relaxed faster than actually meditation. I’ve also began a bit of reading into the Phoenician pantheon recently. Let’s see if Tanit is more receptive.