It’s Not What You Think




Axial Music

report from the split : everything is speaking at once

George Quasha





“We All Need Someone We Can Lean On” (11/2008)

The Old Man of the Castle (09/2008)

The Veil of Isis

Hound and Fox

Before being plagued by the Sphinx, Thebes was plagued by a fox. It was the swiftest little animal there was. It ran like a streak through the city seizing whatever it wished, utterly unstoppable. To protect the city, whose seven musical walls were in sufficient apparently, each year the citizens were forced to offer as a forfeit to the fox a human child.But the Thebans had an ally in a certain hero from Attica, who was in possession of a hound, who in turn possessed this attribute: that whatever he set upon could not possibly escape. Unstoppable fox, inescapable hound. Thebes.

In the end, as if in expression or abhorrence of the paradox, Zeus turned both beasts to stone.
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 21.07.08

To whom does such ecstasy belong? I pass outside myself, outside the bounded (bonded) person, in my own right, outside the ritual circle that defines our unexceptionable paradise. There must be a recipient of all this enthusiasm, this eagerness, this color, beyond all happy optical spasms of our own recipiency, pure exuberance of somatic largesse, the richness of having discovered the intimacy and profligacy of Being that does not egress from its own happiness, is not divided-property not to be divided-into legacies of remorse and betrayal; cannot be annihilated because cannot be produced. Let him who understands, understand he understands-these utterly Eleatic propositions.


Baphomet at the steering wheel, “Hermes in dark glasses,” driving over the wine-black waters, the officiant of the rite attempting to stuff a certain miniature personage into the fuselage of some future century’s transdimensional sailing vessel, stuff our untoward inner parts away in a metal bottle, a bottle acquired from the evacuees of an as-yet-unhorizoned holocaust. That’s it: we are would-be evacuees from oncoming miseries: typhoon, tremor, or tsunami…

There ought to be no recourse to previous opinings or periphrasis. Our own way ’round midnight ought to be enough. And it is just such satiation that affords unanticipated happiness. We wrote the book on it.
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 20.08.08

Harsh colors mean heartbreak. Oracle of the Absent Hand. And a grid too. The swarming matrix teems with… life…not wonted of the matrix… due no doubt to an excessive perturbation, instinct within its underlying abstractions, or rather of the materium upon which its abstractions play, or rather of the abstract materium which, bound to the forms of the matrix, constitute substance in abstracto…yes yes, that’s the proper scholastic formulation, certainly. Too much disturbance of that-the roiling animal spirits, the “tormented” skies-and the matrix itself begins to emit its affect as color choice, and its infantile, checkerboard organization bleeds on through.

But do I not detect in this quasi-oracular symptomotology, something like the recrudescence of (some) Dark Lord, grimly triumphant, claiming to have commandeered the matrix once again? Our DL, in this place, however, seems himself to be subject to the disturbance that, though he would have us think he is the author of it, in fact is pitching him about with such vehemence, that his first order symmetries require dire measures to be installed herein.

In any case, wicked virtualities storm the blood of a certain creature, the absolute quality of whose activity, not fully determined, and being the source of the general puruturbation, the blues and reds and blacks of hematology, no doubt, tincturing the chromatological vagaries. (With the whites having been so diminished in the chemo that who know what alien objects have run on through. Not that the turbulence itself is heterological, rather than essential to the affected medium. Precisely that equivocation confounds the operation. Which waits on time and event, until the Will be known-the very stuff of this and any sorcery.
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 12.08.08

We Await Thee, IV (04/2009)

We await thee, V

We Await Thee, V (04/2009)

We Await Thee, VI (05/2009)

We await thee, IX

We Await Thee, IX (09/2009)

we await thee, X

We Await Thee, X

Deep surface once again. The critters diminish in the cracked tile. It was a long time ago. They were there, the whole world, or a whole world, there,

and the rest of us, wandering among interstices, happy among them; nothing excised, nothing ill-disposed.

The fabric out of which history first invented itself covers everything these days, but no longer satisfies. The images grow indistinct and we, disposed as images, grow indistinct as well. The issues surrounding our long ontological morbidity are no mystery. Each quarter of the (so-called) cosmos articulates with perfect clarity, its own frustrations, anticipations, crude solutions, readiness or lack there of, for the same demise.

If there is only one “empty set, ” death is the same for all, in all ages, whether enunciated under various historicities, or under whatever other ontological vagaries. But it turns out the uniqueness of the empty set was itself an historical rendition. Thus absence, mortality, impossibility–retain their mystery, their impertinence, their lure.

Meanwhile the ancient symmetries echo through the mists. Obscurity is no obfuscation. The darkness is palpable, and relieves all the gray mendacities of The Real.
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 16.06.10

Is not Being Herself so much the form of a Person, or IN the form of a Person, that the attempt to feel into the All-Encompassing or All-Pervading, finds persons and person-like morphologems just about in everything and everywhere? The little suckers will not be so readily importuned away. Banishing practices menace the greater Hegemons, but their former minions, liberated from hegemony, swarm in the fire-light, stick to the pigments and the pixels, express an insistence our boredom with them cannot quite allay. Eyes and armpits, shadows and shining windows, infinitely intricate surfaces and deep enticing orifices-and not only belonging to Her-and not only filling one’s Head. They remain, whatever the tedium (on the premise that Being is a Person) as the product of an inalienable practice expressing an essential dynamic functioning.

Conversely: Pound thought, regarding the number of deities a reasonable man might encourage himself to occasion familiarity with-a few would do. No need to expect of oneself the Knowledge and Conversation of ALL the gods, since in an important sense, each IS all, if each god in fact were a tincture of the whole. Hermes, Aphrodite (Terrestrial or Ouranian), Artemis (Pound’s favorite) Hephaistos, Hera, Hades, Persephone, Dionysos… On the understanding that these names survive the degeneration of the very pantheon that configured them: for each, as their reflection reaches further into our future, carries charges from epochs even the Greeks had forgotten.

But that Being were a Person is not uniquely posited. For the Person dissolves in the direction of Being, neither night nor luminosity, whose riches envelop all that fidgeting firelight, all the wealth of worldhood appertaining to these and all other gods. So the apparitional entities are less in a state of insistent emergency than suffering their own dissolution, and thus the magnificent monumentality of their theophanies solicit an uninterruptible state of contemplation, which the impossibility of ridding oneself of abject erotic thralldom postpones or intermits.

That such a playground remains, even as Thanatos Himself or Herself, (Hades, certainly, but a god whose most apt appellation is “The God With Many Names”) exacts, indeed, a certain color of tedium, if only on account of the grim and infinite delay of His Lordship’s arrival-that such a playground remains is astonishing. Astonishing also that there is anything whatsoever stuck in one’s head; that at such a season the form of our sweet goddess interposes anywhere but at the very summit of the Real. But there she is, with her lilac scent and her infinitely transitory attitudes, her quiet flesh awakening the interiority of one’s corpus, both nocturnal and luminous, as if there were ever-more life to be squeezed from the stone.


Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 27.07.08

I was there, or had been. Always. That is, I was and am; there with the stony jars, the strangely vertiginous bees, the door where the mortal souls go up and go down, the more strenuous portal where the gods… And those girl-like, goddess-like, creatures, infinitely welcoming, infinitely elusive, flickering where the wave breaks in sunlight, where the mist moves just before it is to clear, so that they seem beings of light, even though one cannot quite see them, palpable, so sweet to the touch, though they never draw perfectly near; and those from another deeply related venue, whose life-forms twin, each one, the life of one tree-immortal only as a tree is-where deathless being shades off from longevity merely. I was there. Almost. That is …

The Nereids-(that is)-the daughters of Nereus, one of three immortals Homer calls “The Old Man of the Sea,” and probably sharing the ability most famously attributed to Proteus, of being a shape shifter; a hermetic or mercurial being of the waters, such that though he seem to have a “true” form in the characteristics of a wise if crotchety elder, his only true invariant quality is that he belongs to the intermediate state through which he passes as he changes from lion to meteorological vortex to insubstantial flame-an intermediate condition of being that cannot show a form without belying its own essence. And yet this “matter” is not so quietly disposed as formless, essenceless (merely), any more than its enigmatic cousin the philosopher’s stone and its matter, philosopher’s mercury-can-having the power to generate and ruin all form, all essence whatever-the Nereids proliferate from one of the volatile marriages of this Old Man-and though said to “live” in a cave-and this cave is said to have a fixed locus in a harbor beneath Mt. Neriton on Ithaka-what possible sense can be given to such fixity?

Nor need we be satisfied with the later-day, Alexandrian readings of the anomalous Homeric passage in The Odyssey, describing this cave, in which Odysseus stashes his treasure before descending upon the people of Ithaka, themselves in a state of disarray on account of his absence-readings that find the Cave of the Nymphs placed in the zodiac rather than fixed on Ithaka, and understanding the souls’ ascent and descent, at once the declension of matter from form and the itinerary of the soul at the gates of Cancer and Capricorn, from ethereal regions into corporeal states and the reverse of this. We think we are no longer equipped with a sufficiently fixed metaphysic to do so. Yet the nymphs remain.
Charles Stein, Barrytown. NY, 29-07-08

The Cave of the Nereids, II

I wasn’t there. How could I be? I was a virgin in wolf’s clothing, a bird above the sensual fray, with a thorn twig in my saw-beak and a song in my heart, but in my throat, only an ominous catarrh and a wicked clotch of animadversions. No Nymph would console or tease me. Until one night.

On the other hand, I see no nymphs here. The cave is empty. These translucent spheres and twirling, intersecting lights are the traceries of absences, one half, anyway, of the nymphs’ true spiritual character-even in being around, they were half away-(but oh, that pale flame of a being you were, and even now, are, my Kore, my fleeting possibility, my lure to so many elsewheres-

A nymph is a fragile lure, one to each elsewhere, surely. And the only elsewhere worth calling to is the one that is the shock of what is, in spite of it all, right here right now ever and for always at hand. Or not at hand, but beneath the veil of the transitory, if only what is at hand be grasped in its intricately passing translucency, its twirling lights and the rigor of its evanescences; for only what evanesces (and vibrantly so) conceals/reveals Possibility Herself-that which no anidmadversion can ward off or hide away.

Until that night. We had retired to a vacuole in the social cytoplasm, a report of a haunt where rain was filaments of light, where I myself were evanescent, “and all thought of existence itself / drift toward the luminous.”
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 25.08.08

Lebadaian Mysteries

how far down under
the temple floor into
the cave

the earth itself
dug out or opened up with hollows

and the walls
and rocky up-juttings
and down-pointings
orange hued or composed
of white slabs
of gold

I’ve been down there twice
(at least twice)
in recent
dream life

cruising down the river
on a Saturday afternoon’s
incubation in the dark

(My “teacher”
is taught
by a flock of birds
beating their wings
to sustain their “posts”
as a flock of birds about
my master’s head he had
to find the one bird that was
the oracular informant from among this
hovering set
of beating birds)

and avoided the snakes
of Asklepios and Trophonios until now
I read of their appearances
in the cave of Lebadaia
where one goes
supplied with honey cakes
to stuff their angry mouths and pour out libations
of honey from the hive bees
to appease these snakes

But there is business
cut away
in the earth to such
localitites Chthonian
and the gods
that subsist in the hollows of rocks
even now unexposed to
Olympian inquiries …

It is not
that something more pressing
takes precedence over
the noises I had not attended
with sufficient credence when they
proffered themselves easily to me
in the turbulence of youth now all
that’s washed away/ and will come again
only in the noise of pain and
decrepitude presences and
informations from the other side
of the curtain that protects and
the curtain that divides
the regions of calculation from the

stronger waters angry waters
waters with typhoon walls
sucking them up into the typhoon
walls of a consciousness
with no compromise every hair from its
folicle exuded by the Three Brains of God
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 14.08.08

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