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Babou passed from this world last night around 9:15, Shabbos rosh chodesh Shvat, with all of us there with her.

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It's the coolest grayest Beltaine-tide in a while, but I'm not complaining [while bracketing whatever chaos factors of anthropogenic effect probably shift our weather systems this way alongside more harmful changes]--- it seems peaceful, and dreamy, and a suitable cauldron for all the big gentle changes and creative work in my life right now.

For those who don't know: I've been working on my own Tarot deck, a deeply magical, elemental, Jewitchy deck with a zinester aesthetic. It's called the Hidden Light, and if you want to preorder a deck and make a pledge to help get it into the world you can do that here:

Today is my last day teaching at Stony Brook (and also the last day of my retiring feminist philosophy prof/diss. committee member with the lemon meringue hair who's seated next to me on the bus, typing away after our conversation about the imagined Retired Itinerant Philosphers' E-ssociation), last day schlepping out there 'til diss defense (if I can't do that in the city) and graduation. My final paper for my last bit o' wags (women&gender) coursework is a zine that I'll finish pasting and photocopy at school. A good time to end.

Then, this month I'll finish my last diss. chapter and send it out, start revising, write an intro & conclusion, defend in the fall. The end of an era (called what, institutional student? I'm always learning but this is something else, a shift to the other side).

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Like the annual books-read lists of Finn and Lisa, my dirty laundry of unpaid library fines over the years-- half as long as it should be cos at some point I broke down and paid a bunch so I could check out/put books on hold again.
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Can anyone fully inhabit a gender without a degree of horror? How could someone 'be a woman' through and through, make a final home in that classification without suffering claustrophobia? To lead a life soaked in the passionate consciousness of one's gender at every single moment, to will to be a sex with a vengeance-- these are impossibilities, and far from the aims of feminism....[T]here are always different densities of sexed being in operation...
(--Denise Riley, 'Am I That Name?')

& also

Feb. 21st, 2016 12:55 pm
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I think I've just been exhausted. Took a good long walk with Critter and felt that burning-edges-ache of not enough sleep. I might take notes today instead of writing, do my taxes, work on more major arcana. The diss. writing will come.

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"The religion that one discovered on one's own was a story of the earth, the cosmos, creation itself; and whatever 'Good' one wanted could be found not down the long road of eternity, but right in one's own town, one's home, one's country. This world. After all, since this world is a planet spinning about in the sky, we are all of us in heaven already! The G-d discovered on one's own speaks nothing of turning the other cheek. Of rendering unto Caesar. But only of the beauty and greatness of the earth, the universe, the cosmos. Of creation. Of the possibilities for joy."

(--alice walker, the temple of my familiar, p145)
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Still reading my aunt Effie's Durrell book:

Cerulean sky touched with white cirrus-- such fleece as grows between the horns of nine-day goatlets, or on the cocoons of silkworms; viridian to peacock-tail green where the sea threshes itself out against the cliffs. Prismatic explosion of waves against the blue sky, crushing out their shivering packets of colour, and then the hissing black intake of the water going back. The billiard-green patch edged with violet that splashes the sea below Lindos. The strange nacreous bones of cliff at Castello. But to paint Greece one would have to do more than play with a few colours. Other problems: how to convey the chalky whiteness of the limestone, the chalk-dust that comes off the columns on to one's fingers, the soft pollen-like bloom on the ancient vases which makes so many of them seen like great plums of pure light. And when you had done all this you would still have to master the queer putty-mauve, putty-grey tones of the island rock-- rock that seems to be slowly cooling lava...

(--reflections on a marine venus
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([29] from 'The Walls Do Not Fall')

Grant us strength to endure
a little longer,

now the heart's alabaster
is broken;

we would feed forever
on the amber honey-comb

of your remembered greeting,
but the old-self,

still half at-home in the world,
cries out in anger,

I am hungry, the children cry for food
and flaming stones fall on them;

our awareness leaves us defenceless;
O, for your Presence

among the fishing-nets
by the beached boats on the lake-edge;

when, in the drift of wood-smoke,
will you say again, as you said,

the baked fish is ready,
here is the bread?



Jul. 8th, 2014 09:36 pm
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In addition to the ush' (4 or 5 t-shirts, ditto on undies, spare tzistzis, passport etc), I am folding into my backpack:
-"gentleman's" mirrored compass (both from my Daddy-o)
-Tarot pack
-siddur, tehillim & tefillin
-comp for diss writin'
-Ethics& folder o' essays for ditto
-Seferides poems
-salt-worn brass clips
-green bandana, spare kippah(s)
-dop kit consisting of karpouzi sunstick, toothbrush, t etc
-whale sweatshirt
-anchor hat
-special kosh wine Hunter gave me for my bday, wrapped in my hooded beach towel
-travel wallet w/Rebbe card and tzedakah from my hevrusa (so "[I] can be shliach mitzvah")
-borrowed travel guitar

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I have so much to write and share with you guys, but since I'm about to go to bed for now it's just my eerily-spot-on horrahscope:

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I expect your zest for life has rebounded with abundant fervor, Gemini. These couple weeks offer you easy access to some of the most effortless happy-moments you'll experience in 2013… and hopefully without the pressure to ensure they are also the most profound, meaningful, goal-oriented and/or life-changing. Too often, we sell out or trade away the smaller treats and treasures of life, wagering our whole wad instead on the kind of legendary jackpots that only come around once in a very long while, if at all. And what do we have to show for it? A constant waiting-and-wondering that leaves us ungratified and unappreciative, even as countless opportunities for passing pleasure and mutually stimulating interchange are left squandered or unremarked-upon. In other words, don't let the ultra-advantageous sentiments of this horoscope leave you hunting feverishly around for whether this or that will prove to be the big 'Happy-Moment': If you're hunting, you're already trying too hard. So much of what you really and truly desire is already here, hoping against all hope you'll simply acknowledge it.

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Last night Di came over and we cleared the air by virtue of a bro'down, him kinda talking me into the ground a bit but eventually me too stoned to care too much, glad to be sliding back into more normal friendship with its conative powers. I woke up on too little sleep (completely tore up by that boxing fight that was on last night blaring out someone's window, tons of yelling and street noise into the night, Critter getting into it, ugh), Di already left the sofa to go surfing, prayed and had a nice walk with Critter and then off to a family lambroast for Greek Easter out in Brooklyn at a cousin Markos' place. The sky was azure, lots of family scattered elsewhere but my cousins down from Cambridge, my dad's Cousin Stephen manning the lamb which I couldn't (or, at least, wouldn't) eat, my great-Uncle Yannis the patriarch of the family (in good health despite oxygen) and his partner Kristina, spanikopita and touropita and choriatiki with dressing Yannis made and koulourakia, dry red wine and a keg in the corner, little past-toddling-age bebes everywhere, so much beauty and family joy. I was a little nervous 'bout showing up the sole representative of my more "immediate" family, bearded and all, but instead I just got the warmest love (& Yannis, white-bearded himself, complimented my beard, in a way that made it no issue at all). Now I'm home body aching, impending doom about work but at this point I'm inclined to just enjoy the evening and banch it out later this week.

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how to walk between the worlds. how to keep each foot each center solidly in each realm, simultaneously, while living in and enlivening the loamy starry space between.


Feb. 7th, 2013 09:13 am
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GEMINI (May 21-June 20): One's public-world calling isn't always the position the self-absorbed ego would prefer it to be. Sometimes, Gemini, the role we're called to requires us to work harder than we'd like, to put ourselves in situations that make us nervous or bashful, and/or to sacrifice certain immediate comforts on behalf of a more consequential prize that doesn't arrive until much later. Such difficult realities are often a deal-breaker for many folks, especially those who don't see themselves as bearing any responsibility for assuming this or that particular chair in the orchestra of our cosmos, for the ultimate betterment of the universal tune. Let me be clear, there is nothing objectively wrong with choosing your own outer-life path based on what will make your life easier or more prosperous… though, if such a choice comes at the expense of persistent inner-voice whispers about 'what you're supposed to be doing' (not to please or impress other people, mind you, but to express a god-given talent and/or fulfill a special duty to the collective), you may be unconsciously creating an undercurrent of discontentment which, at the end of the day, may not be worth the lower-hanging perks. Be on the lookout for events that poignantly symbolize where you are now, relative to your unique calling… and how it may be impacting your well-being in indirect, though very, relevant ways.

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GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you're not grooving on any of the pre-designated choices being offered, Gemini, by all means create a better option. Your current astrology too swimmingly favors your embrace of bold door-opening approaches for you to lazily settle for the same predictable slate of possibilities. If you are unable to tap into the wider-lens view necessary for seeing what else is possible, your top priority should be stepping back from the day-to-day grind (which your close-up immersion in is obviously blocking your creative process)… and taking part in whatever sorts of vision-questy, self-explorationy, life-question-askingy activities might crack open your fruitlessly closed-mind perspective on this matter. This could include working through workbook-type exercises, speaking to a spiritual counselor (or your preferred version), taking a quick day-trip retreat, journaling, meditating, or any similar such involvement specially intended to broaden your thinking. What you don't need to do: indulge that voice who wants to play back what's already happened, trying to convince you that's all there will ever be.

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Ο Στρατής Θαλασσινός ανάμεσα στους αγάπανθους

Δεν έχει ασφοδίλια, μενεξέδες, μήτε υάκινθους·
πως να μιλήσεις με τους πεθαμένους.
Οι πεθαμένοι ξέρουν μονάχα τη γλώσσα των λουλουδιών
γι' αυτό σωπαίνουν
ταξιδεύουν και σωπαίνουν, υπομένουν και σωπαίνουν
παρά δήμον ονείρων, παρά δήμον ονείρων.

Αν αρχίσω να τραγουδώ θα φωνάξω
κι α φωνάξω —
Οι αγάπανθοι προστάζουν σιωπή
σηκώνοντας ένα χεράκι μαβιού μωρού της Αραβίας
ή ακόμη τα πατήματα μιας χήνας στον αέρα.

Είναι βαρύ και δύσκολο, δε μου φτάνουν οι ζωντανοί·
πρώτα γιατί δε μιλούν, κι ύστερα
γιατί πρέπει να ρωτήσω τους νεκρούς
για να μπορέσω να προχωρήσω παρακάτω.
Αλλιώς δε γίνεται, μόλις με πάρει ο ύπνος
οι σύντροφοι κόβουνε τους ασημένιους σπάγκους
και το φλασκί των ανέμων αδειάζει.
Το γεμίζω κι αδειάζει, το γεμίζω κι αδειάζει·
σαν το χρυσόψαρο κολυμπώντας
μέσα στα χάσματα της αστραπής,
κι ο αγέρας κι ο κατακλυσμός και τ' ανθρώπινα σώματα,
κι οι αγάπανθοι καρφωμένοι σαν τις σαΐτες της μοίρας
στην αξεδίψαστη γης
συγκλονισμένοι από σπασμωδικά νοήματα,
θα 'λεγες είναι φορτωμένοι σ' ένα παμπάλαιο κάρο
κατρακυλώντας σε χαλασμένους δρόμους, σε παλιά καλ­ντερίμια,
οι αγάπανθοι τ' ασφοδίλια των νέγρων:
Πώς να τη μάθω ετούτη τη θρησκεία;

Το πρώτο πράγμα που έκανε ο θεός είναι η αγάπη
έπειτα έρχεται το αίμα
κι η δίψα για το αίμα
που την κεντρίζει
το σπέρμα του κορμιού καθώς τ' αλάτι.
Το πρώτο πράγμα που έκανε ο θεός είναι το μακρινό ταξίδι·
εκείνο το σπίτι περιμένει
μ' ένα γαλάζιο καπνό
μ' ένα σκυλί γερασμένο
περιμένοντας για να ξεψυχήσει το γυρισμό.
Μα πρέπει να μ' ορμηνέψουν οι πεθαμένοι·
είναι οι αγάπανθοι που τους κρατούν αμίλητους,

όπως τα βάθη της θάλασσας ή το νερό μες στο ποτήρι.
Κι οι σύντροφοι μένουν στα παλάτια της Κίρκης·
ακριβέ μου Ελπήνωρ! Ηλίθιε, φτωχέ μου Ελπήνωρ!
Ή, δεν τους βλέπεις;
– «Βοηθήστε μας!» –
Στων Ψαρών την ολόμαυρη ράχη.
(-----Γιοργος Σεφεριδες)

* * *
Stratis Thalassinos Among the Agapanthi

There are no asphodels, violets, or hyacinths;
how then can you talk with the dead?
The dead know the language of flowers only;
so they keep silent
they travel and keep silent, endure and keep silent,
past the region of dreams, past the region of dreams.

If I start to sing I'l1 call out
and if I call out –
the agapanthi order silence
raising the tiny hand of a blue Arabian child
or even the footfalls of a goose in the air.

It's painful and difficult, the living don't meet my need
first because they do not speak, and then
because I have to ask the dead
in order to go forward any farther.
There's no other way: the moment I fall asleep
the companions cut the silver strings
and the pouch of the winds empties.
I fill it and it empties, I fill it and it empties;
I wake
like a goldfish swimming
in the lightning's crevices
and the wind and the flood and the human bodies
and the agapanthi nailed like the arrows of fate
to the unquenchable earth
shaken by convulsive nodding,
as if loaded on an ancient cart
jolting down gutted roads, over old cobblestones,
the agapanthi, asphodels of the negroes:
How can I grasp this religion?

The first thing God made is love
then comes blood
and the thirst for blood
roused by
the body's sperm as by salt.
The first thing God made is the long journey;
that house there is waiting
with its blue smoke
with its aged dog
waiting for the homecoming so that it can die.
But the dead must guide me;
it is the agapanthi that keep them from speaking,
like the depths of the sea or the water in a glass.
And the companions stay on in the palaces of Circe:
my dear Elpenor! My poor, foolish Elpenor!"
Or don't you see them
– 'Oh help us!' –
on the blackened ridge of Psara?
(------Giorgos Seferides)
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I'm in a weird headspace. Three+ hours sitting here at the kitchen table working on hardly-touched Greek homework for tomorrow morning, and if I were to do it all, at this pace, I'd need another six hours. Somehow time evaporates throughout the day and even when I draw up and even almost stick to schedules, there's not enough time, for this and all the stuff it's not leaving time for. Even though it's cool out it's schvitzy here in the kitchen and maybe that's part of it, the blues, plus weird traumas over the past week or so concerning people (a friend, a rabbi) I care about, somatizing it. Plus my heart hurts, the beginning of the Three Weeks and my micro-cyclic reminder of its permeating relevance (breaching the walls, exile...)
in my own life since it's a year now since T. left. And I am longing for so much, the ocean and tight knots and parties and lovers hell put it in the singular, longing for what I need in my life now what I pray for with the trees and sky and dirt and starlight, longing and instead of creating it I am sitting plodding through homework.

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GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In case I have not made this clear in past weeks' horoscopes, let me reiterate: The most formidable enemy of an otherwise very advantageous astro-climate for Geminis is any broken-record script inside you that steels you to expect continuing heartache instead of novel joy. You probably have perfectly good reasons why your inner emotional guardian initially produced such a script: as a coping mechanism for surviving a difficult period, as a familial ensnarement to ensure you don't break the dazing patterns, as a self-protective method for anticipatorily heading off potential disappointment before it manifests. That's why you'll want to thank this story-loop for having kept you safe at an earlier point in history… as part of the process of bidding it adieu, and creating the beginning of a new plotline that will carve out a brave narrative departure. I use the word 'brave' purposely to honor the challenge in walking away from habitual pain, grief and/or dissatisfaction—and to inspire your most courageous acts of daring to claim authorship once again. Rarely, over the last many years, has your slate been so ready for cleaning and rewriting upon.

(---from astrobarry)

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GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In any and all contexts, if given the choice between (1) 'yeah! why not? you only live once and I've never really tried that in quite this way before, so I might as well give it a shot (even if I haven't quite decided whether I'm totally "on board"), as long as I make sure to orchestrate my involvement so that I reserve myself an easy exit, with relatively few adverse consequences (just in case I should require a quick escape), because I totally possess the quick-wittedness to get myself in and out and still look good in front of the crowd (though, by this point in the game, I could really give a rat's-ass whether anybody approves of the thrill-seeking I've earned myself)' and (2) 'hmm, well, I'd better not, since I'm not altogether certain about it and I don't want to step on any toes or court controversy in any way (though, damn, I'm hungry for a bit of adventure), and what will So-and-So think? and will they get mad if I change my mind midway through? and it's been so long, anyway, maybe I've just outgrown that crazy way of being in the world, and besides, isn't there a new episode of Two and a Half Men on?'… I urge you to go with choice number (1), Gemini. This advice, by the way, applies with stunning power during the few weeks ahead, continues to be madly relevant over the coming few months, and remains a recurring theme well into 2013.
((---from astrobarry))
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Last night I got to go see Kaia and Amy at the Bell House in Brooklyn; I took Hunter with me and it was unseasonably warm and light out. Since it was still Pesach and since I knew T. was gonna be there with his new boy I dealt with it like a grown-up by draining two plastic cups of tequila on ice with lime before Kaia had even finished her opening set. That, combined with the gorgeous music and wide net of friends there to love up on me, made it totally doable. Kaia's songs hit me in the heart of course ('remember those times you stole the breath from my gut') even when she sang about puppies and sea-turtles and Amy was amazing, her puppy-print shirt and pure joy in playing. It was so good, accidental Butchies reunion on stage and all. And friends even friends I'd made through T. had
my back and held me in all the ways that count. Then drunk I got to go home and hang out and bake and eat Thai food with Hunter before catching a late train home in prep for roommate interviews this am. Now I'm hazy half-hungover more from sleep dep and a bad nap than anything, settling in at MaxCaffe to wrap up my Irigaray paper G-d willing though I really just wanna lie on my back and listen to Kaia.

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Sometimes akresis is so much more appealing than taking care. I rode my bike to the train today in hopes (in part) of kicking up my bodily/cardiac capacity as I gear up (whatever) to quit smoking. I already don't really want to but there it is on my calendar, mockingly cheery in purple ink. It's the equinox today, Rosh Chodesh on Thursday. Today the river stank beautiful and brackish, eddies or whirlpools gathering speed and running upstream it looked above 96th, huge ships docked and polarized clouds. Yesterday I lay on the warm grass up on a hill in Morningside with Critter, felt the mana pour in, springtime.

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