I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them... Henry David Thoreau

Perhaps I most fully realized that this was primeval, untamed, and forever untameable Nature, or whatever else men call it, while coming down this part of the mountain. We were passing over "Burnt Lands," burnt by lightning, perchance, though they showed no recent marks of fire, hardly so much as a charred stump, but looked rather like a natural pasture for the moose and deer, exceedingly wild and desolate, with occasional strips of timber crossing them, and low poplars springing up, and patches of blueberries here and there. I found myself traversing them familiarly, like some pasture run to waste, or partially reclaimed by man; but when I reflected what man, what brother or sister or kinsman of our race made it and claimed it, I expected the proprietor to rise up and dispute my passage. It is difficult to conceive of a region uninhabited by man. We habitually presume his presence and influence everywhere. And yet we have not seen pure Nature, unless we have seen her thus vast and dread and inhuman, though in the midst of cities. Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what the Powers had made there, the form and fashion and material of their work. This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man's garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste-land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet Earth, as it was made for ever and ever, — to be the dwelling of man, we say, — so Nature made it, and man may use it if he can. Man was not to be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific, — not his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him to tread on, or be buried in, — no, it were being too familiar even to let his bones lie there, — the home, this, of Necessity and Fate. There was there felt the presence of a force not bound to be kind to man. It was a place for heathenism and superstitious rites, — to be inhabited by men nearer of kin to the rocks and to wild animals than we. We walked over it with a certain awe, stopping, from time to time, to pick the blueberries which grew there, and had a smart and spicy taste. Perchance where our wild pines stand, and leaves lie on their forest floor, in Concord, there were once reapers, and husbandmen planted grain; but here not even the surface had been scarred by man, but it was a specimen of what God saw fit to make this world. What is it to be admitted to a museum, to see a myriad of particular things, compared with being shown some star's surface, some hard matter in its home! I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, — that my body might, — but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan that has possession of me? Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?

primal sound... Rilke playing skulls, probing space.. !!!

it must have been when i was a boy at school that the phonograph was invented. at any rate it was at that time a chief object of public wonder; this was probably the reason why our science master, a man given to busying himself with all kinds of handiwork, encouraged us to try our skill in making one of these instruments from the material that lay nearest to hand. nothing more was needed than a piece of pliable cardboard bent to the shape of a funnel, on the narrower round orifice of which was stuck a piece of impermeable paper of the kind used to seal bottled fruit. this provided a vibrating membrane, in the middle of which we then stuck a bristle from a coarse clothes brush at right angles to its surface. with these few things one part of the mysterious machine was made, receiver and reproducer were complete. it now only remained to construct the receiving cylinder, which could be moved close to the needle marking the sounds by means of a small rotating handle. i do not now remember what we made it of; there was some kind of cylinder which we covered with a thin coating of candle wax to the best of our ability. our impatience, brought to a pitch by the excitement of sticking and fitting the parts, as we jostled one another over it, was such that the wax had scarcely cooled and hardened before we put our work to the test.

how this was done can easily be imagined. when someone spoke or sang into the funnel, the needle in the parchment transferred the sound-waves to the receptive surface of the roll turning slowly beneath it, and then, when the moving needle was made to retrace its path (which had been fixed in the meantime with a coat of varnish), the sound which had been ours came back to us tremblingly, haltingly from the paper funnel, uncertain, infinitely soft and hesitating and fading out altogether in places. each time the effect was complete. our class was not exactly one of the quietest, and there can have been few moments in its history when it had been able as a body to achieve such a degree of silence. the phenomenon, on every repetition of it, remained astonishing, indeed positively staggering. we were confronting, as it were, a new and infinitely delicate point in the texture of reality, from which something far greater than ourselves, yet indescribably immature, seemed to be appealing to us as if seeking help. at the time and all through the intervening years i believed that that independent sound, taken from us and preserved outside us, would be unforgettable. that it turned out otherwise is the cause of my writing the present account. as will be seen, what impressed itself on my memory most deeply was not the sound from the funnel but the markings traced on the cylinder; these made a most definite impression.

i first became aware of this some fourteen or fifteen years after my school-days were past. it was during my first stay in paris. at that time i was attending the anatomy lectures in the école des beaux-arts with considerable enthusiasm. it was not so much the manifold interlacing of the muscles and sinews nor the complete agreement of the inner organs one with another that appealed to me, but rather the bare skeleton, the restrained energy and elasticity of which i had already noticed when studying the drawings of leonardo. however much i puzzled over the structure of the whole, it was more than i could deal with; my attention always reverted to the study of the skull, which seemed to me to constitute the utmost achievement, as it were, of which this chalky element was capable; it was as if it had been persuaded to make just in this part a special effort to render a decisive service by providing a most solid protection for the most daring feature of all, for something which, although itself narrowly confined, had a field of activity which was boundless. the fascination which this particular structure had for me reached such a pitch finally, that i procured a skull in order to spend many hours of the night with it; and, as always happens with me and things, it was not only the moments of deliberate attention which made this ambiguous object really mine: i owe my familiarity with it, beyond doubt, in part to that passing glance, with which we involuntarily examine and perceive our daily environment, when there exists any relationship at all between it and us. it was a passing glance of this kind which i suddenly checked in its course, making it exact and attentive. by candlelight– which is often so peculiarly alive and challenging–the coronal suture had become strikingly visible, and i knew at once what it reminded me of: one of those unforgotten grooves, which had been scratched in a little wax cylinder by the point of a bristle!

Camp Fire Grlz Rule!

++ the graphics are ++++

gotta be... ≠≤ rapture rædy ≥

After becoming obsessed with google suggestions in my safari browser and screen-shotting them, I decided to combine them with my life-long obsession with religious kitsch and apocalyptic predictions. 

≠≤ rapture rædy ≥ was based off an online collection of articles about The Rapture (yes, double capitalisation), including, some of my favourites, survival guides for those who didn't make it. Will we all be damned? How can I keep from singing? 

orange-coloured fables

several short sweet stops 

and cheryl stops short

blazing trail of gypsum sand

all over her shirt,

whats more: orange-coloured fables.

She gorges sweets, sleeps.

Four fences and 55 reasons

Terry was a wino, I bet.

Blood for crypt's gold dirt.

Crept and bled through the lane

Home again, home game, home turf.

I burned for your peace... Confessions of St Augustine

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong – I, misshapen. 
You were with me, but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being, were they not in you. 
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness; you flared, blazed, banished my blindness; you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you; I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Capgras syndrome

Brockhurst; Adolescence + Freud

Skull transplants

Increasingly used in dentistry and facial reconstruction, the world's first 3D-printed skull transplant was recently carried out in Utrecht hospital, replacing a 22-year-old's malformed skull with a plastic cranium.


Designer steaks maybe coming your way thanks to US start-up, Modern Meadow, which has printed artificial raw meat using a bioprinter. It doesn't come cheap, though – a printed hamburger costs around £200,000.


Developed by open source firm Defense Distributed, the plans for the Liberator handgun were released online last May, and downloaded over 100,000 times in two days, before the US Department of State had them removed. The Victoria & Albert Museum now has a copy of the gun in its permanent collection.


Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has brought 3D printing to the catwalk, with complex geometrical outfits made using a multi-material printer, and clothing customised to individual body scans.


Nasa is planning to print satellite parts in orbit, and even build objects on the moon, while private firm Deep Space Industries has launched a project to print spacecraft parts using materials mined from asteroids in a “microgravity foundry”. Norman Foster has also been working with the European Space Agency to design a moon research base printed from lunar soil.

Sex toys

For that extra personalised touch, US adult novelty company, the New York Toy Collective, gives customers the chance to “scan your own”, while Makerlove offers open-source files for people to customise their toys before printing in the privacy of their own home.

a stillness that characterizes prayer... Saul Bellow

Your context is essentially that of the modern city, isn't it? Is there a reason for this beyond the fact that you come out of an urban experience?

Well, I don't know how I could possibly separate my knowledge of life, such as it is, from the city. I could no more tell you how deeply it's gotten into my bones than the lady who paints radium dials in the clock factory can tell you.

You've mentioned the distractive character of modern life. Would this be most intense in the city?

The volume of judgments one is called upon to make depends upon the receptivity of the observer, and if one is very receptive, one has a terrifying number of opinions to render—“What do you think about this, about that, about Vietnam, about city planning, about expressways, or garbage disposal, or democracy, or Plato, or pop art, or welfare states, or literacy in a 'mass society'?” I wonder whether there will ever be enough tranquillity under modern circumstances to allow our contemporary Wordsworth to recollect anything. I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness that characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction. 

The modern masterpiece of confusion is Joyce's Ulysses. There the mind is unable to resist experience. Experience in all its diversity, its pleasure and horror, passes through Bloom's head like an ocean through a sponge. The sponge can't resist; it has to accept whatever the waters bring. It also notes every microorganism that passes through it. This is what I mean. How much of this must the spirit suffer, in what detail is it obliged to receive this ocean with its human plankton? Sometimes it looks as if the power of the mind has been nullified by the volume of experiences. But of course this is assuming the degree of passivity that Joyce assumes in Ulysses. Stronger, more purposeful minds can demand order, impose order, select, disregard, but there is still the threat of disintegration under the particulars. A Faustian artist is unwilling to surrender to the mass of particulars. 

You have on occasion divided recent American fiction into what you call the “cleans” and the “dirties.” The former, I gather, tend to be conservative and easily optimistic, the latter the eternal naysayers, rebels, iconoclasts. Do you feel this is still pretty much the picture of American fiction today?

I feel that both choices are rudimentary and pitiful, and though I know the uselessness of advocating any given path to other novelists, I am still inclined to say, Leave both these extremes. They are useless, childish. No wonder the really powerful men in our society, whether politicians or scientists, hold writers and poets in contempt. They do it because they get no evidence from modern literature that anybody is thinking about any significant question. What does the radicalism of radical writers nowadays amount to? Most of it is hand-me-down bohemianism, sentimental populism, D. H. Lawrence-and-water, or imitation Sartre. For American writers radicalism is a question of honor. They must be radicals for the sake of their dignity. They see it as their function, and a noble function, to say Nay, and to bite not only the hand that feeds them (and feeds them with comic abundance, I might add) but almost any other hand held out to them. Their radicalism, however, is contentless. A genuine radicalism, which truly challenges authority, we need desperately. But a radicalism of posture is easy and banal. Radical criticism requires knowledge, not posture, not slogans, not rant. People who maintain their dignity as artists, in a small way, by being mischievous on television, simply delight the networks and the public. True radicalism requires homework—thought. Of the cleans, on the other hand, there isn't much to say. They seem faded.

the rest, in the Paris Review, hither...

it is like what we imagine knowledge to be... Elizabeth Bishop

An excerpt from At the Fishhouses;

The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown. 

secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned... Joyce, Milton, Blake


Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake's wings of excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame. What's left us then?

Had Pyrrhus not fallen by a beldam's hand in Argos or Julius Caesar not been knifed to death? They are not to be thought away. Time has branded them and fettered they are lodged in the room of the infinite possi­bilities they have ousted. But can those have been possible seeing that they never were? Or was that only possible which came to pass? Weave, weaver of the wind.

- Weep no more, woeful shepherd, weep no more
For Lycidas, your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor...

Fed and feeding brains about me: under glowlamps, impaled, with faintly beating feelers: and in my mind's darkness a sloth of the underworld, reluctant, shy of brightness, shifting her dragon scaly folds. Thought is the thought of thought. Tranquil brightness. The soul is in a manner all that is: the soul is the form of forms. Tranquility sudden, vast, candescent: form of forms.

He held out his copybook. The word Sums was written on the headline. Beneath were sloping figures and at the foot a crooked signature with blind loops and a blot. Cyril Sargeant: his name and seal.

Stephen touched the edges of the book. Futility.

Ugly and futile: lean neck and tangled hair and a stain of ink, a snail's bed. Yet someone had loved him, borne him in her arms and in her heart. But for her the race of the world would have trampled him under foot, a squashed boneless snail. She had loved his weak watery blood drained from her own. Was that then real? The only true thing in life?

Like him was I, these sloping shoulders, this gracelessness. My childhood bends beside me. Too far for me to lay a hand there once or lightly. Mine is far and his secret as our eyes. Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned."


"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom," Blake writes, and, "No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings." At the start of the passage Stephen Dedalus asks a boy about the battle of Asculum, where King Pyrrhus, although victorious, suffered irreplaceable casualties;

"- And he said: Another victory like that and we are done for.
That phrase the world has remembered. A dull ease of the mind."

Joyce has Stephen, who is teaching a history class to privileged but dull boys, referring to William Blake's description of history as allegory - "a totally distinct and inferior kind of Poetry . . . Form'd by the daughters of Memory" from the "Vanities of Time and Space." In his notes for the Vision of the Last Judgment, Blake insists that "Vision or Imagination is a Representation of what Eternally Exists, Really and Unchangeably." The romantic poet would destroy the edifice of past history because it contradicts pure imaginative thought. But if time collapses into "one livid final flame," Stephen asks, "What's left us then?"

Hyperion to Bellarmin... Friedrich Hölderlin & CG Jung

CG Jung's Red Book

Do you know how Plato and his Stella loved each other?
So I loved, so I was loved. Oh, I was a fortunate lad! It is pleasant when like and like meet in friendship; but it is divine when a great man draws littler men up to him.

A gracious word from a valiant heart, a smile under which the searing glory of the spirit hides itself, is little and is much, is like a magical password that conceals death and life in its simple syllable, is like living water that comes welling from the inmost recesses of the mountains, imparting the secret strength of the earth to us in its every crystal drop.

But how I hate all the barbarians who imagine that they are wise because there is no more heart left in them! All the self-important monstrosities who slay and desecrate beautiful youth a thousand times over with their dwarfing, meaningless discipline!

I had grown up like a grapevine without a prop, the wild shoots trailed aimlessly over the ground. You know how many a noble power perishes in us because it is unused. I wandered like a will-o'-the-wisp, caught at everything, was caught by everything, but only for a moment; and my unskilled powers wore themselves out for nothing. I felt that everything failed me everywhere, yet I could not find any goal. Such was I when he found me.

He had long applied all his patience and his art to his material, the so-called cultivated world; but his material had been and remained stone and wood, even if under compulsion it outwardly assumed the noble form of man; but that meant nothing to my Adamas.


The wild growth at St Cloud, the woods to the west of Paris. The small brass SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français) lock is more beautiful than most. Small, simple, and well-crafted, it closes off a small stone path that leads to one of the railway tunnels that run under the woods. There are flowers that smell like honey here.

By a Waterfall... Bodies, Busby Berkeley, & Brassaï