Monday, August 27, 2012

José Vasconcelos, from "The Cosmic Race," trans. Didier T. Jaén

In the opinion of respectable geologists, the American continent includes some of the most ancient regions of the world. The Andes are, undoubtedly, as old as any other mountain range on earth. And while the land itself is ancient, the traces of life and human culture also go back in time beyond any calculations. The architectural ruins of legendary Mayans, Quechuas, and Toltecs are testimony of civilized life previous to the oldest foundations of towns in the Orient and Europe. As research advances, more support is found for the hypothesis of Atlantis as the cradle of a civilization that flourished millions of years ago in the vanished continent and in parts of what is today America. The thought of Atlantis evokes the memory of her mysterious predecessors. The Hiperborean continent, vanished without trace, other than the vestiges of life and culture sometimes discovered under the snows of Greenland; the Lemurians or the black race from the south; the Atlantean civilization of the red men; immediately afterwards, the emergence of the yellow races, and finally the civilization of the white men. This profound legendary hypothesis explains the evolution of the races better than the elucubrations of geologists like Ameghino, who places the origin of man in Patagonia, a land which, it is well known, is of recent geological formation. On the other hand, the hypothesis of prehistoric ethnic empires finds extraordinary support in Wegener's theory of the translation of continents. According to this thesis, all the lands were previously united into a single continent, which has since been breaking apart. Thus, it is easy to assume that in a particular region of a continuous land mass, a race would develop which, after progress and decline, would be substituted by another, instead of having recourse to the hypothesis of migrations from one continent to another by means of disappearing land bridges. It is also interesting to note another coincidence of the ancient tradition with the most recent facts from geology: According to Wegener, the communication between Australia, India, and Madagascar was interrupted before the communication between South America and Africa. This amounts to a corroboration of the theory that the site of the Lemurian civilization disappeared before the flourishing of Atlantis, and also, that the last continent to disappear was Atlantis, since scientific explorations have come to demonstrate that the Atlantic Ocean is the sea of most recent formation. 

Although the origins of this theory remain more or less confused within a tradition as obscure as it is rich in meaning, the legend still remains of a civilization born in our forests, or spread to them after a powerful growth. Traces of it are still visible in Chichén Itzá and Palenque, and in all the sites where the Atlantean mystery prevails: The mystery of the red men who, after dominating the world, had the precepts of their wisdom engraved on the Emerald Table, perhaps a marvelous Colombian emerald, which at the time of the telluric upheavals was taken to Egypt, where Hermes and his adepts learned and transmitted its secrets. 

If we are, then, geologically ancient, as well as in respect to the tradition, how can we still continue to accept the fiction, invented by our European fathers, of the novelty of a continent that existed before the appearance of the land from where the discoverers and conquerors came? 

The question has paramount importance to those who insist in looking for a plan in History. The confirmation of the great antiquity of our continent may seem idle to those who see nothing in the chain of events but a fateful repetition of meaningless patterns. With boredom we should regard the work of contemporary civilization, if the Toltec palaces would tell us nothing else but that civilizations pass away leaving no other fruit than a few carved stones intersecting at an angle. Why begin again, if within four or five thousand years other new immigrants will distract their leisure by pondering upon the remains of our trivial contemporary architecture? Scientific history becomes confused and leaves unanswered all these ruminations. Empirical history, suffering from myopia, loses itself in details, but it cannot determine a single antecedent for historical times. It flees from general conclusions, from transcendental hypotheses, to fall into the puerility of the description of utensils and cranial indices and so many other, merely external, minutiae that lack importance when seen apart from a vast and comprehensive theory. 

Only a leap of the spirit, nourished with facts, can give us a vision that will lift us above the micro-ideology of the specialist. Then we can dive deeply into the mass of events in order to discover a direction, a rhythm, and a purpose. Precisely there, where the analyst discovers nothing, the synthesizer and the creator are enlightened. Let us, then, attempt explanations, not with the fantasy of the novelist, but with an intuition supported by the facts of history and science. 

The race that we have agreed to call Atlantean prospered and declined in America. After its extraordinary flourishment, after having completed its cycle and fulfilled its particular mission, it entered the silence and went into decline until being reduced to the lesser Aztec and Inca empires, totally unworthy of the ancient and superior culture. With the decline of the Atlanteans, the intense civilization was transported to other sites and changed races: It dazzled in Egypt; it expanded in India and Greece, grafted onto new races. The Aryans mixed with the Dravidians to produce the Hindustani, and at the same time, by means of other mixtures, created Hellenic culture. 

Greece laid the foundations of Western or European civilization; the white civilization that, upon expanding, reached the forgotten shores of the American continent in order to consummate the task of re-civilization and re-population. Thus we have the four stages and the four racial trunks: the Black, the Indian, the Mongol, and the White. The latter, after organizing itself in Europe, has become the invader of the world, and has considered itself destined to rule, as did each of the previous races during their time of power. It is clear that domination by the whites will also be temporary, but their mission is to serve as a bridge. The white race has brought the world to a state in which all human types and cultures will be able to fuse with each other. The civilization developed and organized in our times by the whites has set the moral and material basis for the union of all men into a fifth universal race, the fruit of all the previous ones and amelioration of everything past. 


Only the Iberian part of the continent possesses the spiritual factors, the race, and the territory necessary for the great enterprise of initiating the new universal era of Humanity. All the races that are to provide their contribution are already there: The Nordic man, who is today the master of action but who had humble beginnings and seemed inferior in an epoch in which already great cultures had appeared and decayed; the black man, as a reservoir of potentialities that began in the remote days of Lemuria; the Indian, who saw Atlantis perish but still keeps a quiet mystery in the conscience. We have all the races and all the aptitudes. The only thing lacking is for true love to organize and set in march the law of History. 

Many obstacles are opposed to the plan of the spirit, but they are obstacles common to all progress. Of course, some people may object, saying that how are the different races going to come to an accord, when not even the children of the same stock can live in peace and happiness within the economic and social regime that oppresses man today. But such a state of mind will have to change rapidly. All the tendencies of the future are intertwined in the present: Mendelianism in biology, socialism in government, growing sympathy among the souls, generalized progress, and the emergence of the fifth race that will fill the planet with the triumphs of the first truly universal, truly cosmic culture. 

If we view the process panoramically, we shall find the three stages of the law of the three states of society, each one vivified with the contribution of the four fundamental races that accomplish their mission and, then, disappear in order to create a fifth superior ethnic specimen. This gives us five races and three stages, that is, the number eight which in the Pythagorean gnosis represents the ideal of the equality of all men. Such coincidences are surprising when discovered, although later they may seem trivial. 

In order to express all these ideas that today I am trying to expound in a rapid synthesis, I tried, some years ago, when they were not yet well defined, to assign them symbols in the new Palace of Public Education in Mexico. Lacking sufficient elements to do exactly what I wished, I had to be satisfied with a Spanish renaissance building, with two courtyards, archways, and passages that give somewhat the impression of a bird's wing. On the panels at the four corners of the first patio, I had them carve allegories representing Spain, Mexico, Greece, and India, the four particular civilizations that have most to contribute to the formation of Latin America. Immediately below these four allegories, four stone statues should have been raised, representing the four great contemporary races: The white, the red, the black, and the yellow, to indicate that America is home to all and needs all of them. Finally, in the center, a monument should have been raised that in some way would symbolize the law of the three states: The material, the intellectual and the aesthetic. All this was to indicate that through the exercise of the triple law, we in America shall arrive, before any other part of the world, at the creation of a new race fashioned out of the treasures of all the previous ones: The final race, the cosmic race.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

René Char, "Mumbling," Trans. Mary Ann Caws

Not to surrender and so to take my bearings, I offend you, but how in love with you I am, wolf, wrongly called funereal, molded with the secrets of my back country. In a mass of legendary love you leave the trace, virgin, hunted, of your claw. Wolf, I call you, but you have no nameable reality. Moreover, you are unintelligible. By default, compensating, what else could I say? Behind your maneless running, I am bleeding, weeping; I gird myself with terror, I forget, I am laughing under the trees. Pitiless and unending pursuit, where all is set in motion against the double prey: you invisible and I perennial. 

Go on, we endure together; and together, although separate, we bound over the tremor of supreme deception to shatter the ice of quick waters and recognize ourselves there. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

D.H. Lawrence, from The Plumed Serpent

Mexico! The great, precipitous, dry, savage country, with a handsome church in every landscape, rising as it were out of nothing. A revolution-broken landscape, with lingering, tall, handsome churches whose domes are like inflations that are going to burst, and whose pinnacle towers are like the trembling pagodas of an unreal race. Gorgeous churches waiting, above the huts and straw hovels of the natives, like ghosts to be dismissed. 

And noble ruined haciendas, with ruined avenues approaching their broken splendour.

And the cities of Mexico, great and small, that the Spaniards conjured up out of nothing. Stones live and die with the spirit of the builders. And the spirit of Spaniards in Mexico dies, and the very stones in the buildings die. The natives drift into the centre of the plazas again, and in unspeakable empty weariness the Spanish buildings stand around, in a sort of dry exhaustion. 

Ah the conquered race! Cortés came with his iron heel and his iron will, a conqueror. But a conquered race, unless grafted with a new inspiration, slowly sucks the blood of the conquerors, in the silence of a strange night and the heaviness of a hopeless will. So that now, the race of the conquerors in Mexico is soft and boneless, children crying in helpless hopelessness. 

Was it the dark negation of the continent?

Kate could not look at the stones of the National Museum in Mexico without depression and dread. Snakes coiled like excrement, snakes fanged and feathered beyond all dreams of dread. And that was all. 

The ponderous pyramids of San Juan Teotihuacán, the House of Quetzalcoatl wreathed with the Snake of all snakes, his huge fangs white and pure today as in the lost centuries when his makers were alive. He has not died. He is not so dead as the Spanish churches, this all-enwreathing dragon of the horror of Mexico. 

Cholula, with its church where the altar was! And the same ponderousness, the same unspeakable sense of weight and downward pressure, of the blunt pyramid. Down-sinking pressure and depression. And the great market-place with its lingering dread and fascination. 

Mitla under its arid hills, in the parched valley where a wind blows the dust and the dead souls of the vanished race in terrible gusts. The carved courts of Mitla, with a hard, sharp-angled, intricate fascination but the fascination of fear and repellance. Hard, four-square, sharp-edged, cutting, zig-zagging Mitla, like continual blows of a stone axe. Without gentleness or grace or charm. Oh America, with your unspeakable hard lack of charm, what then is your final meaning? Is it forever the knife of sacrifice, as you put out your tongue at the world? 

Charmless America! With your hard, vindictive beauty, are you waiting forever to smite to death? Is the world your everlasting victim? 

So long as it will let itself be victimised.

But yet! But yet! The gentle voices of the natives. The voices of the boys like birds twittering among the trees of the plaza of Tehuacán! The soft touch, the gentleness. Was it the dark-fingered quietness of death, and the music of the presence of death in their voices? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Antonin Artaud, from "Concerning a Journey to the Land of the Tarahumaras," Trans. David Rattray

The Mountain of Signs

The land of the Tarahumara is full of signs, shapes, and natural effigies which do not seem to be mere products of accident, as if the gods, whose presence here is everywhere felt, had wished to signify their powers through these strange signatures in which the human form is hunted down from every side.

Indeed, there is no lack of places on earth where Nature, impelled by a kind of intelligent caprice, has carved human shapes. But here it is a different matter: for here it is on the entire geographic area of a race that Nature has intentionally spoken

And the strange fact is that those who pass this way, as if stricken with an unconscious paralysis, seal their senses so as to know nothing of this. That Nature, by a strange caprice, should quite suddenly reveal a man's body being tortured on a rockface, one might at first suppose to be a mere caprice, a caprice signifying nothing. But when, day in and day out on horseback, this intelligent spell is cast repeatedly, and Nature stubbornly manifests the same idea; when the same pathetic shapes recur; when the heads of well-known gods appear on the rockfaces and a theme of death emerges of which man bears the burden -- and in response to the drawn and quartered form of the human, there are, becoming less obscure and more freed from a petrifying substance, those forms of the gods who have forever tormented him, -- when a whole country develops on stone a philosophy parallel to that of men; when one realizes that the original men used a sign language and that one rediscovers this language enormously magnified on the rocks, then indeed, one can no longer suppose this to be a caprice, a mere caprice signifying nothing. 

If the major part of the Tarahumara race is indigenous, and if, as they claim, they fell out of the sky in the Sierra, one could say that they fell into a Nature already prepared. And this Nature wanted to think as man thinks. And as she evolved from men, likewise she also evolved from rocks. 

I saw this naked man they were torturing, nailed to a rock, with certain forms at work over him even as the sun was evaporating them; but I don't know by what miracle of optics the man beneath them remained complete, though exposed to the same light.

Whether it was the mountain or myself which was haunted, I cannot say, but I saw similar optical miracles during this periplus across the mountain, and they confronted me at least once very day. 

Maybe I was born with a body as tortured and counterfeited as that of the immense mountain; but it was a body whose obsessions might be useful: and it occurred to me in the mountain that it might be just useful to have an obsession for counting. There wasn't a shadow but I had it counted, when I sensed it turning, hovering around something or other; and it frequently happened that in adding up these shadows I made my way back to some strange hearths. 

I saw in the mountain a naked man leaning out of a huge window. His head was nothing but an enormous hole, a sort of circular cavity, where successively and according to the hour, the sun or moon appeared. He had his right arm outstretched like a bar, and the left was also like a bar but drowned in shadows and folded inward. 

His ribs could be counted, there were seven on either side. In place of his navel, there gleamed a brilliant triangle, made of what? I could not really tell. It was as if Nature had chosen this mountainside to lay bare her imprisoned flints.

Now, though his head was empty, the indentations of the rock on every side imposed on him a definite expression, the nuances of which changed with the changes of hour and light. 

This forward stretching right arm, edged with a ray of light, did not indeed point in any commonplace direction... And I questioned what it portended! 

It was not quite noon when I encountered this vision; I was on horseback and rapidly advancing. However, I was instantly aware that I was not dealing with graven images, but with a predetermined play of light which had superimposed itself upon the stone relief.

This likeness was known to the Indians; to me, it appeared by its composition, its structure, to be governed by the same principle by which this fragmented mountain was governed. In the line that arm made, I saw a rock-girt village. 

And I saw that the stones all had the shape of a woman's bosom with two breasts perfectly delineated. 

Eight times I saw the repetition of a single rock, which cast two shadows on the ground; I twice saw the same animal head holding its own likeness in its jaws and devouring it; I saw, dominating the village, a sort of huge phallic tooth with three stones at its summit and four holes on its outer face; and I saw, according to their principle, all these forms pass little by little into reality. 

I seemed to read everywhere a tale of childbirth amid war, a tale of genesis and chaos, with all these bodies of gods which were carved like men, and these truncated human statues. Not one shape that was intact, not one body that did not appear as if it came out of a recent massacre, not one group where I could avoid reading the struggle that divided it. 

I found drowned men, half-nibbled away by the stones, and on the rocks higher up, other men engaged in driving them off. Elsewhere, a statue of Death loomed huge, holding in its hand a little child. 

There is in the Kabbala a music of Numbers, and this music which reduces material chaos to its prime elements explains by a kind of grandiose mathematics how Nature orders and directs the birth of forms she brings forth out of chaos. And all I beheld seemed to be governed by a Number. The statues, the shapes, the shadows all yielded a number, -- such as 3, 4, 7, or 8, -- which kept recurring. The truncated female torsos were 8 in number; the phallic tooth had, as I have said, three stones and four holes; the evaporated forms were 12 in number, et cetera. I repeat, these forms may be assumed natural, granted, but their repetition is far from natural. And what is even less natural is that these forms of their land are repeated by the Tarahumara in their rituals and dance. And these dances result from no mere accident, but they are governed by the same secret mathematics, the same concern for a subtle play of Numbers which governs the entire Sierra. 

Now this inhabited Sierra, which breathes a metaphysical system into its rocks, has been strewn by the Tarahumara with signs, signs which are perfectly conscious, intelligent, and concerted. 

At every crossroads one sees trees deliberately burnt into the shape of crosses, or of beings, and often these beings are doubles, and confront each other, as if to express the essential duality of things; and I saw this duality reduced to its prime elements in a sign... enclosed in a ring, which struck me as having been branded on a tall pine tree with a red-hot iron; other trees bore spears, trefoils, acanthus leaves surrounded with crosses; here and there, in sunken places, corridors choked with rocks, rows of Egyptian ankhs deployed in files; and the doors of Tarahumara houses displayed the Maya world-symbol: two facing triangles whose points are joined by a bar; and this bar is the Tree of Life passing through the center of Reality. 

Thus, as I was making my way across the mountain, these spears, these crosses, these trefoils, these leafy hearts, these composite crosses, these triangles, these beings which confront and oppose each other to signify their eternal war, their division, their duality, awakened in me strange memories. I recall suddenly that there were in History certain Sects which had incrusted the rockfaces with identical signs, and the members of these Sects wore these signs carved in jade, hammered in iron, or chased. And it occurs to me that this symbolism hides a Science. And it seems strange to me that the primitive Tarahumara people, whose rituals and thought are older than the Flood, could have already possessed this Science long before the first Legend of the Graal appeared, long before the Rosicrucian Sect was founded. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Antonin Artaud, "The Indian Culture," Trans. Jack Hirschman

I came to Mexico to make contact with 
             Red Earth
and she stinks as she smells sweet
and she smells good when she is stinking.

     Aboriginal urine down the slope of a 
                                             tight vagina
     that objects when you grab it.
     Urinary camphor from the eminence of a 
                                             dead vagina
     boxing your ears when you spread it,
     when you gaze from the height of Mirador 
                                                            of Pitre,
     the studded tomb of the terrible father,
     the hole hollowed out, the tart sunken
            hole where the cycle of red lice boils,
     that cycle of solar red lice
     all white in the network of veins
          of one of the two of them.

But which two, and which one of them?
What two
          at the time
          slandered seventy times over
          when man
                             crossbred with himself
          giving birth to a son
          by the sodomy
          of his own
          hardened ass.
So, why two of them
and why, in the first place, TWO?

     Pitiful clown of a papa's mimicry,
          filthy parasite mountebank in the hollow
     mamaloaf pulled from the fire!

For all the round suns spending around you
are nothing next to the clubfoot
with its immense articulation of the old
gangrenous shank where
a buckler of bone ripens,
a war-like underground rising up of
the bucklers of all the bones.

                         What does that mean?
It means that papamummy stop buggering
                                                           the innate pederast,
                         the filthy bucker of christian orgies,
                         the interloper between ji & cry
                         who was contracted in jiji-crycry;

and that means war
will replace the fathermother
here where the ass built its barrier
against the nourishing plague
of the Red Earth buried
under the corpse of the dead
who was afraid of going through
the periplum of the serpent
that bites its tail from up front
while papamummy make
little fanny bloody.

     And looking at it from up close,
     within the cankered shank of a slice of
               the old blotchy femur,
they're falling this way and that way, stinking;
     and the old warrior rises up
     with his insurgent cruelty,
     with that unspeakable cruelty
     for life without there being
     existence to justify you;

     and into the fixed hole of earth
               seen from above and within,
all the enlightened tips of tongues are falling
     which thought themselves souls one day
     without even being volitions;

and they are raising all the whipcracks of
                                                my dead hand
     against the uplifted tongue
     and the sexes of desire,
     who are only verbal dice
     powerless to seize existence;

yet they're falling brighter than the suns
     beamed into the cave where
     papamummy and fairy son
     have been killing each other since
     before it all started stinking.

When the solar jackass thought himself
                                                                     well and good.

          And when is it
                                   the heavens are in
                                                                   their circle?

When one is
                     outside it,
     supremely dumb
                                   to smell it
                                                    in his cunt,

with nothing to stand as a barrier against
                                       the void,
where there is neither horizon nor upright,
nor surface
nor height,
and everything puts you back in touch with the depths,
        when one is straight all the length of him long.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jaime de Angulo, Letter to Gui Mayo (Nov 8 49)

little birds who sing in the night
little mice of the fields, little mice,
stop nibbling, listen to me, the Poet,
I'm talking about a faun, a faun who was crying...
                                                      they aren't listening!
little frogs, charging little frogs,
the color of baby crab, so pretty, so charming
cease for a moment croaking at the edge of the pond
listen to the story of a faun, a lycanthrope...
What's a lycanthrope?
He is a were-wolf, and this one...
but please listen to me... I'm a Poet
couac couac kwissli croak
what is it a poet? Is it good to eat?
They don't listen to me! Moon, oh, beautiful moon,
round as a golden tittie, more beautiful than
                                                      the mistress of Solomon
moon my mother listen to me, I'm a Poet...
Mother, mother, bring me my balls, i left them in the drawery
yes darling and be quiet your forehead is all sweaty
I'm the moon
I'm listening to you

Monday, August 6, 2012

Robert Duncan, interviewed by Bob Callahan, "The World of Jaime de Angulo" (1979)

So I had heard about this man who lived on the Sur, and who lived like an Indian shaman. And in the '30s they still talked about how extraordinarily beautiful Jaime was. He was certainly a very beautiful old man. In one of the ironies of the time, in a treatment for cancer, Jaime took female hormones. And I remember coming into what is now your kitchen-dining room, and Jaime was washing himself stripped to the waist, and he had female breasts, of course, because he had been taking female hormones for some time. It came as a great shock at that point; I mean, he had become a hermaphrodite in that sense. Another aspect of Jaime was that he was also a transvestite, and he liked to put on Nancy's clothes and go to San Francisco and seduce young girls, who never discovered he was a man because his sexual activities were not of a kind that would display that little secret to them.

But I think the transvestite role was certainly keyed to Jaime's constant fascination with what was a shaman. I have a very pronounced pelt on my back and neck, and Jaime told me that I would qualify in the Sur community as a were-bear, and he was fascinated because in my poetry bears had already appeared. Since I spent my childhood at Yosemite, why of course bears appear, along with snakes, but Jaime's very immediate fantasy was, and very seriously, yes, [that] exactly.

In Jaime's generation's writings on the American Indian they had noticed immediately the homosexual shaman, and Jaime's transvestite was a male lesbian, which means that you cross sex lines. I think that the crossing of sex lines meant to the Indian that you could also cross between the living and the dead. One of my observations of the shamanism of Gary Snyder is to raise this question—he seems to be a very straight character compared with the shamans we read about. Jaime's shamans have not only crossed sex lines but crossed every line entirely. They rob, they break the law, don't they? This is like that movement in the Jewish world in the eighteenth century in which you simply break all the commandments, turn them upside down. You are still related to the tribal commandments, but you break them all. And that means you have a kind of magical relationship with them, because you have transgressed, you've gone across. And of course the central idea in shamanism is going across.

Jaime, when he was dying, wanted more and more to tell about what he thought was the reality that was going to be there when he died. And he said he understood what it was the Indians were talking about. the model could be found in contemporary physics. Jaime would draw a parabola that went out into endless space, and say this is it: "I pass into this, and go back into the universe." So he had an Orphic conception of the universe. In its prayer of death Orphism says: "I return myself to the universe, out of which I came."


I said that Jaime really hated Jung. This also means he didn't read later Jung at all, and he never reflected very much on what Jung came to say. He'd tell only certain very scornful stories about this German guy listening to these Indians. But he had another very personal reason in doing this. I think before I say a little more about Jung, one should bear in mind that Jaime's picture of what happens when you die is very different from Jung's need to have a center with a circumference. This of course is a great figure in the Christian Judaic ego relation to the universe, i.e., "I am the center wherever I am."

Now Charles Olson always kept that. His death figure was "I am the center." I said: "I've come to see you die," and he said: "I'm not dying now." As if his "I" was the Center. His "I" had become identical with It, the Center of the Circle. But also Charles was devoutly Jungian; Jung had given him his whole replacement for the Catholic. So he had retained that Catholic figure of God as the Center of the Circumference.

Jaime, on the other hand, was profoundly not Catholic at all. His figure was a parabola going out to no center. He proudly showed me: there's no center, there's no center in the universe, he said. Get it out of your head. Look at contemporary physics. There's no center...

I'm more a Jaime-kind. It does not interest me that I might be the center of a circumference. I play with both of these views, and tend to be mercurial with coexisting possible universes...

And Jaime remained intensely interested in contemporary physics, and would read it over and over again. And yet he was always angry when a physicist like an Einstein or a Bohr or a Max Planck would try to put his model together with the Judeo-Christian concept in which the universe assumes a personality. Because for Jaime he was already a great personality, and that was quite enough personality to have around. Here he comes in line with Olson; like Olson, not being a physicist, Jaime searched the mythology of what is our physical universe. He died before we have our picture, our contemporary picture of merging realities at the particle level. But it was there, the great questions were there, and they excited him, because he could enter the ground of great questions. To die, for Jaime, was a very great thing. To die, for Jaime, was a very great thing.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jaime de Angulo, "Werewolf," with a letter and two translations attempts by Ezra Pound (the second published in Pavannes & Divigations), and one by de Angulo, along with his glyphic rendering of poem

                  je l'ai surpris
                           á la lisiére d'un bois
                                    á l'aurore
le lycanthrope qui changeait sa forme

         étendu dans les feuilles il dormait encor
              et je vis un visage si plein de peine atroce
                       que je m'enfuis

*     *     *     *     *

DamB , thiz  th  best  I  can  do  fer  th/  b'r's  who  cant  read
  frogische.  At  least best   hv/  got  so  far    but  hv/  had  to twist his

 Werewolf   in  selvage  I  saw  ,
In day's  dawn  shifting  his  shape  .
In leaf-fall  he  lay  but  in  his  face
such pain  , I fled agape ,
 Tho'  he  slept  yet.

                           DAMB/  too  many  in's  left  in  it ,  and I dunno
if can unkink  the  tail  and  keep  any  sort  of  lock.

*     *     *     *     *

Werewolf in selvage I saw
In day's dawn changing his shape,
Amid leaves he lay,
and in his face, sleeping, such pain
I fled agape.

*     *     *     *     *

                           I came upon him in the dawn
                                    at the edge of the wood
                  the werewolf moulting his form
                  half buried in the leaves he turned over
                           and showed a face so full of pain
                                                      that I fled crying

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jaime de Angulo, "The Seal"

I a seal lie on the rocks warm in the sun.

I remember the Esselen, the Mukne,
The Saklan, all the tribes that lived
From the Sur to San Francisco Bay.

I dive in the water, and my head looks like a man
Swimming to the shore in the dusk.

I like at night to wander along the bright streets,
In the crowd.