Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unconscious Insight

N: I dreamed of you last night

S: That's odd. What did you dream?

N: We were swinging and talking and lying in the grass.

N: In my dream you were struggling with your faith. Not as in you were questioning God, but you were having trouble being close to people who didn't have the same ideals & morals and you felt alienated.

S: Wow. Sounds about right.

N: So now I understand why I dreamed you.

S: Thanks for not letting that thought die away when you woke up.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


In Order of Appearance:

William Blake
Samuel Coleridge
William Wordsworth
John Keats
Arthur Rimbaud
Charles Baudelaire
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Walt Whitman
Emily Dickinson
Ezra Pound
William Carlos Williams
Marianne Moore
T.S. Elliot
Langston Hughes
Sterling A. Brown
Jean Toomer
Charles Olson
Robert Duncan
Robert Creeley
Denise Levertov
Paul Blackburn
Ed Dorn
Jack Kerouac
Allen Ginsberg
Gregory Corso
Charles Bukowski
Wallace Stevens
Frank O'Hara
Kenneth Koch
John Ashbery
Alice Notley
Harry Matthews
George Oppen
William Bronk
Susan Howe
Diane Di Prima
Amiri Baraka
Jerome Rothenburg
Diane Wakoski
Nathaniel Mackey
Victor Cruz
Jimmy Santiago Baca
Tom Mandel
Frederico Lorca
Gustaf Sobin
Geoffrey O'Brien
Leslie Scalapino
Eileen Myles
John Yau
Ann Lauterbach
Ed Foster
Leonard Schwartz
Andrew Schelling
Joseph Donahue

Locations Used:
Rochester, New York
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Gloucester, Massachusetts
NYC, New York


These are the people I'm studying over the next few months, and the places I'll be visiting if all goes according to plan.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Organic Soul

Selected (+ rearranged) pieces of an article written in the 1950's about the Cherokee beliefs about souls, and their passing on after death. The author was an anthropologist named John Witthoft, who apparently wasn't very well remembered after his own death, except for a couple articles and contributions here and there concerning Native Americans and their bones.


"....Will explained to me a multiple-soul concept involving four souls and four stages in death.

The First Soul (Consciousness)
"This soul is located in the head, immediately under the front fontanelle. This soul is conscious, self-conscious, has personality, memory, continuity after death, and is unitary, not quantitative in its essence. It creates or secretes the watery fluids of the body: saliva, phlegm, cerebro-spinal fluid, lymph, and sexual fluids. Will called this and the other the three souls "Askina," and also used the word for a ghost. This is one of the puzzling cognates to northern Iroquoian, where the word (phonetically identical!) is a rare and nearly obsolete root. It means "the soul of the bones," and is thus also used as a term for the substance of deer antler.

The soul of conscious life left the body immediately at death and continued its personal life, sometimes remaining nearby for a time, often seen as a ghost, harmless and powerless. Will believed that this soul eventually followed the "trail of Kanati" to the western land of the dead, but insisted that no one had any knowledge of that land or situation. Some people believed that this soul went into the river and followed the river up to a spring-head when it went down into an underworld. This soul might continue to communicate with a loved one until death rejoined them, and "ringing in the ears" was a sign that a deceased loved one, usually a mother, was calling to the living person to join the soul of the dead one. (This is usually a symptom of approaching old age.) Will was experiencing this when I knew him."

The Second Soul (Physical)
The second soul, that of physiological life, is located in the liver. This soul is a substance, is not anthropomorphic in any, has no individuality, and is quantitative, there is more or less of it. Its secretions are yellow bile, black bile, gastric juice, etc. Destruction of the liver substance produces lassitude, the "yellows" (jaundice or hepatitis, or cirrhosis) or the "black" (deep depression or gall bladder attacks or acute pancreatitis). Exhaustion of the liver substance (absence of the soul) produces physiological death.

When the animating soul of conscious life leaves the body at the moment of death, stopping all life processes, the other souls begin to die. That of the liver is gradually diffused back into nature as a life-force and it takes a week for all of it to disappear from the body, if death has been normal.

The Third Soul (Life Blood)
The third soul, that of the circulation, is located in the heart, and blood is its secretion. This soul is non-individual and quantitative; it takes a month to die, its substance gradually diffusing back into nature as a life force. 

The Fourth Soul (Foundation)
The fourth soul is located in the bones, and I don't understand its secretions. It takes a year to die, its essence gradually returning to nature. Will said that the grave should be tended, weeded, etc., for a year after death, but was neglected and forgotten after that, because there was nothing of any significance left in the grave. All mourning ended a year after death, because the processes of separation of the dead from the world of the living were completed. This, of course, is true of many other tribes as well, and many details in other parts of the four-soul systems are matched in the fragmentary data of other tribes. I think the basic system was much more widespread than just among Cherokee, but the recorded data is so incomplete."