ral's notebook …access to all of ral's online activities

CROW STREET

June 22

 

Out for the morning fast walk
I head for Crow Street as I call it
My name for the tree-lined block
On the eastern edge of the hospital
It’s home for a “murder” of crows
[An absurd name for a flock!]
When I arrive and head north
They begin their raucous chorus
I watch one move from tree to tree
I’m used to this now and soon
He’ll fly ahead and land facing me
And waits for me to catch up
As I do, he turns and hops
Alongside, looking at me
At the corner, I turn west
He takes off to the trees
I feel blessed. Blessed by a crow.

Breakfast for the Soul

May 23

 

An old man with cane stands
facing the curb intently looking
down as if to step but does not

“Sometimes a small curb is
Mount Everest,” whimsy taking
hold. “Need a hand?”

“No, sir, I need a foot that works,
That does what I want it to. You
got one of those handy?” He smiles.

“You vote for Mr. Trump?” I ask
not intending to, but out it came.

“Yes, I did.

“And what do you think of him now?”

“I think he needs a brain that works.
I’ll be long gone before that happens.”

These unintended interactions on
the street on my early morning
walks are breakfast for the soul

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A DREAM’S DARK IMAGE

May 7

 

Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby.

Some nights before, I had a dream. The dream was the first line of the following poem. Each successive line came through an imaginal state I enter into for writing dream poems, that is, poems based on dreams. This dream is dark, darker beyond any conscious intention and fully belongs to the Ragnarökean images of recent dreams and experiences.

The Night Mare

The night mare will never reach the finish line

It is not a race you know

There is nothing to win

Only the soul of everything vital

Trampled asunder

All the pieces scattered

This is the end of the line

We are finished

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Spectacle

April 2

 

 

An essential text for our time is Guy Debord’s "The Society of the Spectacle." We are all complicit in the spell of spectacle and it is making us sick. Debord’s idea of "lived time," points the way to why I believe dreams are so crucial as the medicine for the future. Debord’s book is available free at this link:

The Situationist International Text Library/The Society of the Spectacle

Self-proclaimed leader of the Situationist International, Guy Debord was certainly responsible for the longevity and high profile of Situationist ideas, although the equation of the SI with Guy Debord would be misleading. Brilliant but autocratic, Debord helped both unify situationist praxis and des…

library.nothingness.org

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Villanelle for Ragnarök

March 27

The villanelle is a fixed poetic form consisting of nineteen lines. There are five sets of three lines (tercets) ending with a quatrain. There is also a fixed line relationship. The first and third line are repeated and the poem ends with these two lines. The villanelle began as a rustic, pastoral song and dance of peasants and other “outsiders.” The most famous villanelle is Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night.” After nearly dying out, the villanelle has come back strongly and is popular among contemporary poets and lyricists. One of my favorites, is Frank Scott’s “Villanelle for Our Time,” made famous by Leonard Cohen [His YouTube version can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UzvVOy0Dq8].

My “Villanelle for Ragnarök” is a response to a dream that I initially recorded as a poem I called, “Welcome and toast, $5.99 a cup.” This dream-poem has haunted me as it points to a “final” Ragnarök, an image that becomes more and more compelling each day. Here is the dream-poem.

Welcome and toast, $5.99 a cup

The setting:

An anywhere, everywhere

living room middle crust

at best or no crust at all

The characters:

Strangers all, but known

to me; everyone friendly

not a party, but festal still

The hostess:

Black-gowned but all

eyes on the black earthen

cups, squatting on her tray

The drink:

Black too, Blavod it is

libation for night’s time

black clay holding black

The toast

She says it costs $5.99

a cup for this final toast

just drink up and welcome

Ragnarök

The dream tells me that the drink is Blavod. I did not consciously know this name, but in researching it, I discovered that it is black vodka—a triple distilled vodka infused with Catechu, an extract from the heartwood of Burmese catechu acacia trees. In legend, the acacia is associated with a number of Ragnarökean events, such as Noah’s Ark built from acacia wood as the world was engulfed in deluge. In a number of traditions, the acacia plays a crucial role in prophecy. It is often the wood of the “secret of secrets,” hence its use to construct the Ark of the Covenant. The burning bush from which God spoke to Moses, was acacia. So, in toasting the final Ragnarök, drinking vodka infused with burnt acacia feels apposite.

More recently, as part of immersing myself in Ragnarökean reflections, words came and formed themselves in lines and I saw that it was becoming a villanelle. I completed this in what I’ll call a Ragnarökean mood—a mood becoming more common. I may set this to a background beat and give it voice. Here are the words.

Villanelle for Ragnarök

Toasting Ragnarök

Facing full on the ending

Join in or sleepwalk

This is the last shock

We know not what is coming

Toasting Ragnarök

Time has left the clock

Raise your glass, join the singing

Join in or sleepwalk

You miss the sweet talk

That covered over everything

Toasting Ragnarök

No time left to mock

Those who called for the seeing

Join in or sleepwalk

Do you hear the knock?

The Coming Guest is asking

Toasting Ragnarök

Join in or sleepwalk

2017 Reality Parade

March 19

2017 Reality Parade

They say that three’s a crowd, but not at a parade
Fewer floats this year too, serving only Kool-Aid
I hear the truth float didn’t qualify, nor did justice
But the lies float is out front, bannered with “trust us”
It’s followed by a bomb float, bedecked in flowers
The third and last float, declaims great powers
It’s loaded with women, all number tens
Their pulchritudinous abundance, announcing trends
Not for feeding babes, nor caring for the lame
Every value now trumped, by wealth and fame

They say…

March 12

They say…

            —make hay while the sun shines

            —money begets money

            —murder will out

            —fight fire with fire

            —only time will tell

            —waste not, want not 

and an endless stream of such

but I say, it’s all hearsay.

 

But Newtruth is coming like a train

Here’s a sample for your brain

            —A penny saved is a penny not spent

            —Lie with a smile and beget denial

            —Hack the facts and let the world end

            —Saying so makes it so for any so and so

            —It’s always darkest before it gets darker

            —It’s never too late to spin a lie

I dare say it’s not here say, nor hearsay,

but Newsay, moving along and gathering speed.

 

 

 

           

 

           

 

           

 

           

Reflections…

March 4

On Tuesday, February 28, I went for my scheduled cataract surgery. At the last moment, an administrator came in and announced that the surgery could not proceed because my PCP (Primary Care Provider) had not submitted a physicians’ clearance form as the required OK that my health was good enough for the surgery. I had spent a good bit of time and energy getting myself ready for the surgery, so I was upset, to say the least. In fact, I had not been this grumpy for as long as I could remember. It took me a long while to get it all sorted out and rescheduled for the following week. When you are my age, these things can be upsetting in the extreme.

Still, I knew enough from my own work that any “unexpected” or “unintended” consequence must be respected. The ego’s natural emotional reactions are never the whole story. Once I calmed down and sorted everything out and came to a better place, the first thing I decided was to not go ahead as if nothing had happened and do my regular things both for Tuesday and for Wednesday. I decided to go ahead and keep my “time out” and to see what sort of things would appear if I didn’t over agenda the cleared space. So, I relaxed into this “free” time.

What happened initially was a flood of memories, beginning with a very early memory of having my tonsils out when I was a kid. When I came out of the anesthesia, Dr. Dixon showed me my tonsils. I wanted them. He said no. I kicked his arm and he dropped the specimen jar, the glass breaking. This was followed by a memory of being in the hospital with mastoiditis–a complication of measles. I had taken with me a box of Hershey bars that I had won at a Saturday movie matinee. I put them on top of the radio. Radios in those days were powered by tubes and got hot. My Hershey’s melted. This flood of “medical” memories kept going. I noted each one down and then was greeted with several more streams of memories—long since forgotten, but now vividly recalled. This continued the following day as well. It has been quite an extraordinary experience and one I am grateful for in so many ways.

The most stunning result of my reflections was the realization of how invariable my medical experiences have been tied to new ways of doing art. So, as I prepare now for the procedure next Tuesday, I go into the experience with a whole different mental and emotional set than before. This seems like a gift from that work of pursuing something other than the ego’s emotional grump.

     Always pay attention to the unexpected and the unintended.

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Pistachio Owl

February 25

My "Pistachio Owl" … Pistachio’s have been around since 6750 BC. This may be the first image of an owl made from the Pistachio. I’ve told Mr. Pistachio in our various conversations that he is a culinary nut, not a botanical nut. He’s not much interested in bits and pieces from Wikipedia. Since making his image, he has appeared in a number of dreams, always with the feeling of urging me on to something that he seems to know about but I’m a bit slow in getting to it. He’s great to have around.

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From the Deeper Keep

February 22

Here’s a recording of my poem “From the Deeper Keep.” It tells the story of an experience I had on a plane flying back home from doing some lectures in New York. I was watching the film, “Honeysuckle Rose,” with Willie Nelson and Diane Cannon.

Here is the link: http://ralockhart.com/WP/fromthedeeperkeep.wav

Let me know if you have any difficulties with the file.

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This site is the access point for all the online activities of “ral” otherwise known as Russell Arthur Lockhart, Ph.D. I work as a Jungian Analyst, Writer, Editor & Publisher (The Lockhart Press), and Consultant. The focus in all my activities is the psyche as it expresses itself in dreams, imagination, language and culture. Your comments are most welcome and appreciated.