Charlottesville

We wash the children and let them drown.

Unity withers under a dim and Balkan sun

As “passionate intensity” seizes the helm.

 

The virtue of peace cannot stand

In the thrill of blood’s release. The weak

Are faggots, wood piled high as books

 

In a black and white nation’s birth.

Familiar salutes, shaved heads,

Masked faces, and public brawls

 

parade about our home on glowing

Sets as another over cooked meal

Forces its path down our throats.

 

Greatness has a price and our

Credit stretches so that next month

We must choose which child to not feed.

 

The bulbs burn out in the house,

And it will be darker than darkness

Before relief even begins

 

a slow, unenthusiastic march

Through the days. Cold in the heart

Cuts the skin. If we cannot feed

 

Ourselves, perhaps it is best

To begin the dreadful, nauseating

Ritual we have avoided

 

For so long. In the past we have,

And will again, consumed each other.

Though this time, we may not

 

Have the luxury of exchanging

Our children with neighbors.

We may, in the end,

 

Be forced to eat our own.

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Cults, Poems, Nightmares, and Truths

When I was a younger man taking a survey of poetry course in college, I began an unseemly obsession with the occult. It all started with a light interest in the writing of H.P. Lovecraft and the now cliche stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. All Science Fiction and Horror fans owe it to themselves to read a collection of Lovecraft, as the entire Sci Fi cannon can be connected to his writing in some way. Even Stephen King has taken huge notes from Lovecraft’s world building. The story that caught my attention was “The Dunwich Horror,” and to be honest, it’s not exactly the most groundbreaking piece of short fiction. But the actual description of the monster that emerges near the end absolutely captivated me. The creature was a mass of tendrils and unsettling images with a human face at it’s center. It was escorted by a cloud of whippoorwills wherever it went.

It was a bizarre image to say the least, and I thought back to my childhood listening to whippoorwills cry out late at night at my grandmother’s house. Later, as a young student of literature,  the similarity of the Dunwich Horror and the Lion creature of Yeats’ poem: “The Second Coming” set me upon my first real obsessive literary chase. I suspected that more hid behind this coincidence and hoped to find evidence that Yeats and Lovecraft had somehow met or referenced each other in correspondence. My instructor at James Smith allowed me to embark on the wildest of Whipporwill chases, likely knowing how insane and fruitless this path would be. To this day I am thankful for his patience and willingness to let me chase some ghosts.

The search was not altogether pointless as I discovered one more creepy clue. Sometime in the 60’s or 70’s a forgery of The Necronomicon was published by an anonymous author that went by the name Simon. The book was an obvious hoax, or at least that was my assumption when my spells to summon some ancient evil from beyond The Gate of Walking failed. One page in particular inspired my obsession to flare into a near fever pitch. This image is taken from the Simon Necronomicon 1980 edition.

 

necro

This is Nergal’s symbol, the glyph used to summon the God of War. I include it here simply for the impressive way that Simon makes the marks look convincing. A reader could get lost in the fantasy that recreating this bizarre marks in a ritual could somehow alter the universe around them or summon an ancient power. The text describing this deity includes a few more than curious images. “He has the head of a man on the body of a lion, and bears a sword and flail.” His ceremony is to be done far from prying eyes and is to be kept a great and dangerous secret.

When we look at the text of Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” the similarities are uncanny. A menacing figure makes his way across a desert, approaching the city of Bethlehem.

 

…a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A Shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of indignant desert birds. (Finneran, 187)

 

This quote tied together the Simon Necronomicon, Yeats and Lovecraft in a triad of occult beauty. One of my proudest moments in life was achieving a raised eyebrow of James Smith in a private conference concerning my modern poetry research assignment. He wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it, and I could tell he fought with the urge to dismiss the whole thing as absurd.

But he didn’t. Instead he told me “This is more the basis of book than a paper.” I am now writing that book!

To be fair, after years of research and obsessive digging through the personal notes and lives of both Lovecraft, Yeats, and the historical figures both lives drew into their bizarre circles, I can confidently say Yeats drew no notes from Lovecraft. It was quite the opposite. Lovecraft was an avid fan of Yeats and drew inspiration from his poems. Simon, our pseudepigraphic friend, likely drew upon both Yeats and Lovecraft in his silly, but convincing effort to produce a real Necronomicon. The real story, and the real discovery goes much deeper. As one explores the occultic backgrounds and practices haunting Yeats and the texts that inspired his own mystical writings, a strange story begins to emerge. It is my hope to now use this story to shed new light on the Christian tradition and make a new appeal to the once lost philosophy of religious Gnosticism.

We will begin our quest with Yeats and explore the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. A brief discussion of Madame Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley will lead us to the Jewish Kabbala and it’s relationship with ancient Egyptian mystical symbols. We then unite these traditions with the Chaldean Sumerian, and Zoroastrian themes that evidence now shows INFLUENCED both Jewish and Christian thought. After a discussion of the Yazidi and Richard Carrier’s new theories of Christ’s MYTHICAL character, we can begin to make large extrapolations to the nature of religion, it’s role in our lives, and the true origin of the Gods we worship today.

There is no magic here, no power to save, condemn or destroy. There is only wisdom older than perhaps our entire species. There will be a death and rebirth of faith. There will also be a new exhortation to Unitarian Universalism as the realized panacea of Madam Blavatsky’s hopes. I pray (to whatever deity started this entire mess) that some will share this adventure, and find some measure of peace in a world where multitudes claim truth but have no clue to the true nature of their mystical pursuit. Let’s make the world a better place.

 

D.Bailey

08/02/17

 

Steel waters

happy pictures

Forever he sails on a blue sea, silent and cold as steal. He chases an endless red sky and a sun that never sets. The dock is far, but his ship is true and the water shines with no wake or wave.
When he gets there, the journey will end and he will rest. There is no more to be done. No repairs to be made, no haste to unload, no pain in his wrists or legs. He will settle onto a bench and drink tea sweetened with lemon. Two black dogs settle at his feet and a breeze blows from the north east. It doesn’t worry him.
He is waiting there for us. Looking to clouds and taking long breaths into his now clear lungs. He is happy to wait.
When we get there it will all be well. He knows.

Whiteness as a Liability in Publication

I have several observations about the state of poetry publication in 2017, and I want to start by acknowledging the FACT that these practices are unfair in very clear terms.

 

  1. Being a man puts a poet at a clear disadvantage. Entire events are organized in favor of women writers. Entire magazines market their content upon sharing the work of female writers. Males have no such representation, at least not from what I have seen.
  2. Being a Caucasian also puts many poets in the bargain bin. Whiteness has almost begun to decay into a new sociological cliche. Even if the writing itself is not expressly dealing with whiteness as a concept, the lack of cultural markers and a poetic link to a minority tradition almost disqualifies aspiring poets from representation in many poetry magazines.
  3. Being heterosexual (mostly…I do believe in a spectrum) also locks out a great portion of verse from publication.

 

Now that I have those hard truths out of the way, let me explain why NONE of this bothers me.

 

What we are seeing can be described as a kind of discrimination in its simplest definition. But I accept these conditions as a necessity for a much needed CORRECTION in representation within literature and the arts in general. It is a positive movement that these subjects and writers should exist at a premium, while writers of mainstream views and identity should, by their very nature, experience a content filter.

 

As a poet, I have a few ways to respond to these “unfair” requirements. I can be a snowflake and complain about how the cards are stacked against me. I can become bitter and walk away from the field as a whole. Or I can man up and work to differentiate myself from other poets in new ways.

 

The latter is the most sane and genuine. It is a writer’s plight to struggle against an adverse field. Writing should not achieve acclaim due to a “fair” system. It must fight, fail, die and resurrect. The challenge itself should drive the writer forward in search for unblazed trails and views that transcend identity. The wall is a blessing. I have an obstacle to overcome.

 

I welcome my brothers and sisters in humanity who have suffered in the shadows and now emerge to a VALUATION in the free market of ideas. Thank you for making the world a better place. Thank you for your struggle. Thank you for demanding more of me.

Check out my poetry here!

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