Saturday, February 24, 2007


There's a ten year drought going on in Australia somewheres, rivers drying up, and the ones still flowing are sluggish with salinity. Our president doesn't believe in global warming. It snowed in Texas this year-- just a tiny bit. Pieces of an ancient glacier broke off of Canada, permanently altering the landscape. The Bay of Fundi's temperature has risen steadily over the past quarter century. It's global warming now. Bush 41 doesn't believe in it. We used to call it pollution.
We studied pollution in school. We broke up into teams, went out and took
pictures of factories with their smokestacks. We weren't allowed out at night and we didn't have the camera equipment for it anyways. We were young, idealistic. The smokestacks worked overtime throughout the nighttime. We were young but we jaded younger back then. We knew about the smokestacks. We didn't know about the poison inside of our refrigerators. We didn't know about the rain.
No one cared much about acid rain until many years later when
the expensive cars sitting on a dock in Florida started pitting from it.
No one cared about the fish getting killed off or the lakes up north going belly up or the rising mercury counts or any of that. It took the possessions and the outcries of the rich. Then, suddenly we cared. And we gave. And we are still giving these years later. Has anything changed?
Our snows have changed. Used to be we had snowpiles along the sides of
the roads over our heads. There was no place for the plows to put it. The winters were bitter cold.
Our winters have become warmer. Less snow. This winter we've had one
huge snowstorm and that was it. (Snowshoeing is better without the
bitter cold.) We used to have five or six. The black ice alone made for
nasty driving. So did the panicking dog who had to have a window open
a crack in all kinds of weather. He was practiced at the art of head-butting.
Our lawn mower got stolen last year. It won't matter though once our
grass lays brown and dieing from the excessive heat.I'm waiting for palm trees to show up in front of the house here. Any day now. I can feel them coming. I fear I will have to sell my snowshoes.
Until the palm trees do show up, I will have to content myself to fighting off a bit of cabin fever. Last year I bought some paper whites and forced them to bloom. That caused a small crisis of consciousness. Did the ancients engage in that practice? I didn't know. I immediately consulted with my more scholarly friends to find out.
This year I am going to buy some sand and throw it all over the house.
I can't risk ripping the time-space continuum again. So I'm making a
beach instead.
Welcome, I will say to anyone who calls. Care for a cool drink? Some
fruit? I'd offer you an ice cream but the ice cream truck is no longer allowed to ring its' bell. I missed it today. We finally care a little bit. The ice man is making his rounds again.
* * *
Time dances, twirling pirouettes. Shadows of a day fading beyond.
Butterflies cling on, defiant in the face of metallic blue atmospheric
forces. Long after all becomes due, I will remember.

sapphoq on life

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I remember singing "Ring-Around-the-Rosie" when I was in nursery school with the other kids. We were in the park cut in half by a road traveled by cars into the open windows of which I dropped ice cream cones into when I got older from a bridge.

I remember in Kindergarden knowing that "London Bridge" had to do with a faraway place called England.

I remember singing along with Jerry Jeff, "And even the London Bridge has fallen and moved to Arizona and I know why..." or words to that effect.

I remember knowing Major Thom was a Junkie and knowing Mardi Gras first-hand in New Orleans and Fat Tuesday.

I remember not knowing anything about Fat Tuesdays when I was growing up and getting those mysterious smudges on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. We were supposed to be thinking of Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust. Somehow though, Major Thom's a Junkie rips through me when I see those ashes on the foreheads of other folks now.

I remember any sense of my old self been burnt away sometime between hitting my head repeatedly on the ceiling of that car "which I never liked much anyways" [as I told the ambulance lady] and tearing a new hippo-asshole of a hole into the cement foundation of a white house. The white house for once was an innocent bystander. I had been a somewhat soiled but naive driver until that microsecond when the multiverse in my brain tore into shreds.

We all fall down. Some of us float up. Some of us become Major Thom, others the London Bridge. Some of us find pieces of our old selves and try to reformat. The rest of us chuck the ashes into a gutter or a mass grave and get on with life.

sapphoq on life

***** ***** ***** **

Where Does The Catholic Ash Wednesday Originate From?
by Wes Penre

Every Catholic in the world "knows" what Ash Wednesday is; it is the
Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten
fast. This is the day when Catholics put ash on their forehead as a
religious tradition. The question is; how many devoted Catholics know the
REAL story behind Ash Wednesday? How many know that this tradition has clear
pagan roots? I found an easy-to-follow explanation on Hour of the Time

"It [Ash Wednesday] was taken from Roman paganism, which took it from Vedic
India. Ashes were called the seed of the fire god Agni, with power to
forgive sins. Ashes were said to were a symbol for the purifying blood of
Shiva, in which, one could bathe away sins. During Rome's New Year Feast of
Atonement in March, people wore sackcloth and bathed in ashes to atone for
their sins. As the dying god of March, Mars took his worshippers sins with
him into death. The carnival fell on dies martis, the Day of Mars. In
English, this was Tuesday, because Mars was identified with the Saxon god
Tiw. In French the carnival day was Mardi Gras, "Fat Tuesday," the day of
merrymaking before Ash Wednesday.

Ashes are the residue of fire, and just as fire is regarded in mythology and
folklore as something which purifies and also regenerates, or brings new
life, so the same properties are associated within ashes.

The ancient Jews sacrificed a red heifer by fire, the ashes being used to
purify the unclean. The ancient Egyptians burned red-haired men, not as a
purificatory rite but so that their ashes could be scattered on the fields
to quicken the seed in the earth. At the root of the custom of burning
living creatures in sacred fires to fertilize the soil lies the conviction
that ash is the soul of fire and so bring renewal.

An entirely different way of looking at ashes is found among medieval
alchemists, who saw them as the dead body of a substance. If you burned a
piece of wood, the smoke rising up was the "soul" of the wood and the ashes
left behind were its corpse.

Cremation of a body comes from these beliefs. - Rob T."

C Copyright Illuminati News. Permission granted to re-send, post and place
on web sites for non-commercial purposes, if shown with no alterations or
additions. Excerpts from the article are allowed, as long as they do not
distort the concept of the same article. This notice must accompany all

THE DOCTOR 2/20/07

When I was a kid, we had a family doctor. He was a drunk and people knew it. He showed up drunk at my step-grandfather's funeral. The doctor's office was on the first floor of his house and he had a driveway with a parking lot in the back. He had a wife and son too, although I can't put names or faces to either one. The doctor flooded his driveway and parking lot once on purpose so his son could ice skate. Something like that at any rate. Somehow the reason for the iced up lot doesn't seem "correct" to me now. I remember cutting through his lot one day and thinking I "broke it", not realizing that it was in fact just a layer of ice that was breaking up. I was used to indoor skating rinks and a very small local pond that the community used for skating. Layers of ice in a parking lot for whatever reason-- no.

sapphoq on life

Monday, February 12, 2007

SNOWBALL 2/12/07

Out on the school playground, a kid hit me with a snowball right in the face. He was not a particularly malicious kid. He just happened to have true aim that day.

This was no ordinary snowball. It was an iceball and I bled. Yuck. I had a scab from it. The scab fell off and the small wound healed up.

My dad had a couple of friends who had a couple of kids and the kids had a samoyed whose name was Snowball. I can still see her running in their yard. A big happy thing she was with far more fur than skin.

The year I discovered joints, I also discovered Frank Zappa. Don't eat yellow snow. Nanook the eskimo.

My dog likes to bite snowballs as I throw them to her.

sapphoq on life

Friday, February 02, 2007


As soon as I could read well enough to read on my own, I became an avid fan of the obituaries. Every Sunday morning, I would purloin the obit section from the family Star Ledger and run my finger down the columns proclaiming death. First I would hunt for last names I recognized.

Then I would carefully read each one, absorbing such odd tidbits as age, family members, and arrangements. I did this throughout my childhood and adolescence fairly consistently with occasional breaks. I was not a particularly morbid child in any other respect. I didn't run off torturing animals or ripping leaves off of trees or sucking blood. I liked reading about death.

Perhaps it was a natural outgrowth from my interest in biographies. The grammar school librarian-- she had lost one leg to cancer and got along on crutches-- used to allow me to help her put the books back from the returns and the stacks. I liked doing it and got good at it. I found the biographies that way. I can still see the school library quite clearly in my mind's eye and where the biographies were located. It was a series designed to stimulate interest in the sciences perhaps. I remember I read Marie Curie's and I went on to read Thomas Alva Edison, and Louis Pasteur. There were others too which I cannot recall.

Some years later when we had gone off to our separate hells in high school hallways, I was visiting a couple of friends from those days. One of them told me that Miss Davis was dead. They had cruelly kept this from me, deciding somehow that I had been too delicate to share in the mourning that they had been privileged to. Odd that.

Looking back, I was probably the kid most acquainted with death. I certainly had dealt with it. My maternal grands had a retirement dairy farm where life, sex, and death were routine. My step-grandmother had dragged me off to the wakes of her dead friends with no trouble. I truly didn't mind the rituals associated with death and even enjoyed them. I understood something about the value of public mourning and was offended when it was denied to me by the well-meaning conspiracy of two friends who really didn't know me well at all.

sapphoq on life