Monthly Archives: November 2016
This is a cute but silly little story about Betsy, Christmas, Pagan Gods, and the Vatican. Enjoy!
Heavens to Betsy! A Christmas Story!
It was Betsy’s thirteenth birthday, which was a bittersweet day for her because it was also Christmas Day. Her parents always told her they gave her twice as many gifts as they would have if her birthday was any other day, one for her birthday and one for her Christmas present.
But their hypocrisy always became apparent when they gave her a pair of shoes, that is one for each foot they said, or a pair of socks, or the weirdest gift of all—a pair of babies. Imagine her surprise and chagrin when Bob and Rob popped into her world on her birthday, which had been upstaged already by Baby Jesus. Now her birthday party and gifts would be divided between two more, and probably it would be much worse because their family was already poor and they claimed it was a stretch of the family finances to even get her some new shoes.
And for Betsy even the word “new shoes” was a cruel joke because those new shoes for her were always the old shoes that were now too small for Jesús, the boy next door named after the original Jesus. Christmas was always boo-hoo day for her.
They lived on an ancient street named for the old Roman god, Saturn. There was still a statue plinth where it was claimed Saturn once stood, but that was removed long ago and put into The Vatican, just a short walk from Betsy’s home. It was squeezed into a display room full of other old Roman gods. There they could be safely ignored, or occasionally on special days like Christmas simply mocked with little gifts placed at the foot of the statues.
Red is the color, there’s no other, red velvet tap your veins
Red is the color, red is the lover, red as drippin’ stains,
Red as the lips the wet tongue licks, red as the eyes that weep,
Mmm the bridegroom’s red-devil cake, red as love,
Red as hate, red as anger, red as rage, red as playin’ games,
Red as comin’ home, red as poppies, fire and pain,
Red as you and she, red as ecstasy, red as racing cars,
Clinic cards, nirvana, red as a rose, a barfly’s nose,
Back alabama roads, the Grand Wizard’s robes, red as china,
Rubies, leather bridles, stirrups, red as sticky gooey syrup,
Red as caviar, mars, red as hell, red stripe, life,
Red as Jack the Ripper’s surgical knife… (“you’re better red.)
Red as cherry, power, armies, jelly, red as Kahlo’s Birth, mud,
Sand and dirt, red magenta, Georgia clay, placenta,
Red and black-venom lack, red as snakes-i’m crawlin’, down
Your back, red as a clown, Circus Mort, red as your way out,
Red abort, red as pleasure, traitor, red flavor, red as walls,
Smog, red silos, red stone, red sheets, read Keats, red sunset,
Nuclear accident, red sleep, red wings, red emergency,
Red candles, insects, trance, cannibals, red sea, pussy,
Red shock, executioner’s block, red as laughter, red slaughter
Eaten by carrion, Sharon Bateman, fate, and Al’s hair,
Red sardonyx, red fingernails, lil’ Red Ridin’ Hood, MATADOR,
Crucifix, red is good, red as red, red as stop, red prick…
(“you’re better red.) red as party, sacred altars, Lola’s dress,
Rubber halters, red as war, red Xmas, red as a temple,
Red as your next meal, red prostitutes, red preachers, suits,
Red mama’s boots, red alert, red sex, red dessert, red hex,
Red as crimson, scarlet, vermillion, red cactus,
A virgin’s mattress, red as sin, red as ink in Ted and Norman’s
Skin, red candy, toys, red box, munition, red as flesh whipped
Into submission, red as wounds of Christ,
Bluebeard’s wife, red as meat is, red as Foetus…
(“you’re better red…)
-RED by JARBOE
Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,
And over the mice in the barley sheaves;
Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,
And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves.
The hour of the waning of love has beset us;
And weary and worn are our sad souls now;
Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us,
With a kiss and a tear and dropping brow.
– W.B. Yeats
This is an old story about The Dagda, one of the most prominent Gods of Celtic Mythology. If you’d like to read more about him, here’s a link: The Dagda
The Dagda sat with his back to an oak tree. He looked like a workman, and his hands were as hard as the hands of a mason, but his hair was braided like the hair of a king. He had on a green cloak with nine capes, and along the border of every cape there was a running pattern embroidered in gold and silver and purple thread. Opposite The Dagda sat his son, Angus Og, with his hands clasped about his knees. He was in rags, and his hair was matted like the hair of a beggar: a bramble had scratched his nose, but his eyes were smiling.
“If you only knew how ridiculous you look in that cloak,” he was saying to The Dagda, “you would not wear it.”
“My son,” said The Dagda, with dignity, “it is the only cloak the people of the Fomor have left me, and the evening is cold.”
“Why don’t you keep yourself warm by working?” said Angus. “It’s what I would do myself if you had brought me up to a trade.”
“Angus,” said his father, “remember I am one of the gods: it is not necessary to talk sense to me.”
“O dear! ” said Angus, “a bramble scratched me on the nose this morning–it’s all because you have lost your Magic Harp and the Cauldron of Plenty! Soon even the snails will make faces at me. I can’t go wandering round Ireland in comfort any more. I’ll change myself into a salmon and swim in the sea.”
“The salmon must come up the rivers once a year, and when you come the Fomorians will take you in their net, and it is likely Balor, their king, will eat you.” Continue reading
Douse the lights, douse even the candle
Speak to her gently; she’s been shunned
so long, she runs away.
Suggest, don’t expect
Let being fill up the space
So that what you’re doing
Let the message emerge
from the sea of understanding
like a mermaid singing her seduction,
Think fishes, flying through dark waters,
Think night, moonlit seas, and
no moonlight at all.
Think water. Think depths, dampness.
Think subtle. Think subtler.
Your wis-dame, your wisdom,
is an archivist. She knows what happened.
She isn’t afraid, she’s been here before.
Another kind of clarity, silvery, not stark, emerges.
Your wis-dame is your oldest ally,
Without her you are less than half yourself
with her you are whole and ready.
Like a dolphin she is beside you
when you are goalless
and seeking only to satisfy your higher yearning.
Be attracted, addicted to life
and life’s deeper demands.
Love, don’t curse, the blind alleys
the red lights and lost luggage.
Without guessing there’s no game.
Not “no pain no gain”
but “no love no gain”
your wise dame
The sage speaks in patterns and pictures,
a scatter tongue. Catch as you can
her butterfly dust
But if you treasure her treasure
For eons she has been wooed in the dark
and spurned in the sun.
If she was with you then
She’s with you now.
and then, of course,
Welcome to my world,
where magic dances lightly
and winds of luck
will fill your sails
if you just know
just where to go
and what to do
to open eyes so wide
and then another pair of eyes
that show you more,
that show you
all there is to see,
and what there is
and beauty and a harmony
of wild perfection,
interlaced and intertwined,
love and logic
all combined and dancing,
laughing with the power and delight
of the day and of the night,
it is here,
it is now,
and you can come to it somehow,
just know that if you wanted to,
you would begin to know,
to really know
and really feel a calling
and it isn’t far away,
it’s every night and every day,
and every breath you take –
“I find no comfort in the shade
Under the branch of the Great Ash.
I remember the mist
of our ancient past.
As I speak to you in the present,
My ancient eyes
see the terrible future.
“Do you not see what I see?
Do you not hear
“The mournful cry of Giallr-horn
shall shatter the peace
And shake the foundation of heaven.
“Raise up your banner
And gather your noble company
from your great hall,
Father of the Slains.
For you shall go to your destiny.
“No knowledge can save you,
And no magic will save you.
For you will end up in Fenrir’s belly,
While heaven and earth will burn
in Surt’s unholy fire.”
— Doom of Odin,
from the Book of Heroes
This story comes from China. It begins with a giant egg. The egg was filled with chaos; in fact, the egg was so huge that it was filled with absolutely everything. Darkness and light were mixed together inside the egg and everything was in so much of a muddle that nothing was anything at all. Sleeping in the middle of all this was a giant – Pan Gu.
Pan Gu slept for thousands of years, but eventually he woke up and stretched himself, as he did, he broke the egg. The darkness and light separated from each other and poured out. Part of the egg drifted downwards and became the earth and part floated upwards and became the sky. The world had begun.
Pan Gu lived on the earth for many years making the world safe and beautiful. When he’d finished he was tired again and lay down for another short nap. While he slept his body changed into a whole mountain range covered in forests and rivers, his breath became the wind and his eyes became the sun and the moon. (If you’re not careful, this is what can happen to you if you stay asleep in bed for too long and don’t get up for school in the morning)
The world stayed this way for thousands of more years until, one day, it was discovered by Nu Kua. (noo-kwah)
Nu Kua was a strange and beautiful creature: her upper body was like that of a woman’s while her lower body was like that of a snake’s. She wandered around the world and was very happy. She watched the animals and roamed through the forests. Everything was so beautiful; she was enchanted with all that she saw.
The world was a wonderful place, but after a while, Nu Kua became lonely. Then, one day as she was sitting by a pool gazing at her own refection, she suddenly had an idea; she reached down into the pool and took a handful of yellow clay. Skilfully, she lovingly modeled a small figure that looked very much like her self, except that it had legs instead of a snake’s tail. When she had finished, she breathed life into it, placed it on the ground and the creature magically came to life; the first human had come into being.
Nu Kua was so delighted with the small creature, that she made many more and loved and cared for them all. At night while they slept, she would whisper secrets in their ears and sing to them softly so that they might sleep blissfully and awake in the morning with joy in their hearts.
All was well for a long time, until one day: disaster struck. In the heavens above the earth Gong Gong the lord of water and Zhu Rong the lord of fire were fighting. They fought so fiercely that they fell to earth where they continued to battle, causing terrible destruction.
It is a strange thing, when I feel most fervently and most deeply, my hands and my tongue seem alike tied, so that I cannot rightly describe or accurately portray the thoughts that are rising within me; and yet I am a painter; my eye tells me as much as that, and all my friends who have seen my sketches and fancies say the same.
I am a poor lad, and live in one of the narrowest of lanes; but I do not want for light, as my room is high up in the house, with an extensive prospect over the neighbouring roofs. During the first few days I went to live in the town, I felt low-spirited and solitary enough. Instead of the forest and the green hills of former days, I had here only a forest of chimney-pots to look out upon. And then I had not a single friend; not one familiar face greeted me.
So one evening I sat at the window, in a desponding mood; and presently I opened the casement and looked out. Oh, how my heart leaped up with joy! Here was a well-known face at last—a round, friendly countenance, the face of a good friend I had known at home. In, fact, it was the MOON that looked in upon me. He was quite unchanged, the dear old Moon, and had the same face exactly that he used to show when he peered down upon me through the willow trees on the moor. I kissed my hand to him over and over again, as he shone far into my little room; and he, for his part, promised me that every evening, when he came abroad, he would look in upon me for a few moments.
This promise he has faithfully kept. It is a pity that he can only stay such a short time when he comes. Whenever he appears, he tells me of one thing or another that he has seen on the previous night, or on that same evening. “Just paint the scenes I describe to you”—this is what he said to me—“and you will have a very pretty picture-book.” I have followed his injunction for many evenings. I could make up a new “Thousand and One Nights,” in my own way, out of these pictures, but the number might be too great, after all. The pictures I have here given have not been chosen at random, but follow in their proper order, just as they were described to me. Some great gifted painter, or some poet or musician, may make something more of them if he likes; what I have given here are only hasty sketches, hurriedly put upon the paper, with some of my own thoughts, interspersed; for the Moon did not come to me every evening— a cloud sometimes hid his face from me.
Last night”—I am quoting the Moon’s own words—“last night I was gliding through the cloudless Indian sky. My face was mirrored in the waters of the Ganges, and my beams strove to pierce through the thick intertwining boughs of the bananas, arching beneath me like the tortoise’s shell. Forth from the thicket tripped a Hindoo maid, light as a gazelle, beautiful as Eve. Airy and etherial as a vision, and yet sharply defined amid the surrounding shadows, stood this daughter of Hindostan: I could read on her delicate brow the thought that had brought her hither. The thorny creeping plants tore her sandals, but for all that she came rapidly forward. The deer that had come down to the river to quench her thirst, sprang by with a startled bound, for in her hand the maiden bore a lighted lamp. I could see the blood in her delicate finger tips, as she spread them for a screen before the dancing flame.