Saturday, April 20, 2013

In The Chalk Circle, Part 1

ately I’ve begun to notice something extraordinary: as I begin to drift off to sleep each night, I have been increasingly able to pinpoint the exact moment when sleep begins. I become aware of the distinct line between waking and dreaming thoughts. The key to achieving this is to be acutely attentive to the nature of the thought: a dream-thought is readily identifiable because of its irregular and irrational nature. As an example, a few nights ago I dreamt that I was in the vestibule of my grandparents house—the old one, that used to stand way up at the top of the hill—and my grandmother was speaking to me. Aha! Impossible! Because I know that she is dead, and the old house was sold decades ago—therefore this was clearly a dream-thought! 

    The impact of such a realization often causes me to snap awake immediately, triumphantly proclaiming to myself: “This is sleep!” But the next step is even more extraordinary: the trick is to not let yourself be jolted awake by the revelation of the initial dream-thought, and to continue to dream, but with the conscious awareness of doing so! This is a kind of inner alchemy—a discipline—that should be practiced and cultivated in order to unlock the mysteries of each nocturnal flight. The dreams can even be influenced and controlled with this method, and extraordinary powers might become available to the practitioner of this occult method.
    I will begin an experiment: I will keep my journal by my bedside and try to locate the thoughts that occur directly on either side of the sleeping/waking divide, and then try to hold on to them in my memory and write them down when I awake the next morning.


Wednesday, July 8, 2007
3:46—Washington Square Park, NYC
On the rim of the Old Fountain: High Summer in the park—beautiful afternoon in the Sunken Amphitheater—my thoughts trail off with the fountain spray...

The pen moves hesitantly...waiting for instructions from it’s master, who has succumbed to the dissipations of the mighty Doldrums. The Great Torpor has me in its grip and the Fatigue stretches for miles, coloring the sky and trees and faces, while holding me motionless...
    On certain days, the Fountaineers have been known to pump in water from the Sargasso which then sprays up from the old fountain and disperses into the park/crater, bringing with it the spirit of the Doldrums: of ships’s masts standing motionless and perfectly perpendicular in the dead calm—of sailors sprawled on the bleached decks under a monstrous sun. On other days, perhaps on a whim, these same Fountaineers will divert waters from a tributary of the Congo, and bringing with it all the characteristics of that terrifying and mighty river...


/// supernatural fiction ///  Washington Square Park /// lucid dreaming

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Reprieve

From Journal #32 

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Gazing at the fountain through a humid haze... still feverish...
Last night was exceedingly strange...
Coming home from a long, hot, and exhausting ride on the F-Train—I saw a man break down in sobs because he had been out of work for a very long time and couldn't support his family—
Then a long walk across a dark and dispirited Ditmas Avenue...

Finally arriving home, I walked into the living room and noticed an insect in the air—flying in a strange and fluttering manner, making elliptical swoops and turns as it rose and fell, rose and fell, almost in the manner of a kite—and finally settling on my wall. My first impulse was to roll up a newspaper and smash it, but something deterred me. I couldn’t identify the type of insect, and looked closer at this strange creature—quite large, actually, and of a singularly aerodynamic design, graceful-looking with oddly-shaped and proportioned forelegs that stretched out and hinged back again towards the body and then outwardly again quite a good distance in front.

If I had to identify its color, I would guess Prussian Green of a quite beautiful shade.

The creature’s head was oddly-shaped and in the same aerodynamic mold as the rest of its body. A singularly graceful and pleasing proportion announced itself from every facet of its body. I abandoned all thoughts of destroying such a wondrous being.

I went to the kitchen and took a small glass jar from the cupboard and a postcard from the table. I managed to trap the creature in the jar without harming or damaging it, and then slid the postcard under the lips of the jar as the captive fluttered wildly about, hurling itself at the glass. I then examined it more closely and was further impressed at its fine design. I carried it into the kitchen and held up the open jar outside the window as the creature flew off into the humid darkness of the late-August night.

Reprieved! Saved by your graceful symmetry and good looks! Saved by your harmonious and pleasing palette! A close call for you—lucky that I happened to notice your charms before you ended up smashed and broken against my wall!


5—An engineering marvel—cantilevered and sprung in a delicate-looking stance

3—Dancing in the air, filaments trailing like the tail of a kite

4—All leafy-green and delicate—filaments hanging limply in the air as it swooped and dove in a little display of aerial grace

2—Irretrievably smashed and never again to mimic the swoops and dives of a kite—your delicate aerial ballet ended in one brutal slam of a rolled-up newspaper

1—Your body pressed into two dimensions like a mono-type into the narrative and fabric of the day's news—perhaps adding an ironic and graphic counter-point to a randomly chosen article

6—Perhaps serving as an ironic illustrative element to a random article and adding further meaning and dimension to the original intent.




If, when you fluttered in my window—if I had been thinking of “X”, whose overbearing and arrogant manner can drive me into a rage:

 or “Y”, whose most potent weapon is mockery:

or even “Z”, a gentle soul who nevertheless possesses quirks that irritate and annoy me at times:
If I had had X, Y, or Z in mind when you happened to fly in my window, your fate might have been very different. I might have lashed out at you in a transference of rage and resentment and ended your poised and delicate life. Lucky for both of us that I had neither X, nor Y, nor Z in mind. I might have been remorseful afterwards and you would have had your juices staining the day’s news like green printer’s ink. Perhaps your crushed and flattened little body might have resembled a fossil image from the Devonian Period—or the impression of a Pterodactyl .

Or maybe you might have resembled an angel that had been celestially pressed into the receptive shroud of the tabloid.

Or maybe your expiration in a fraction of a second would only have been a messy and grotesque horror that would be tossed in the garbage as quickly as possible.

Maybe it was a combination of the late summer heat and the slight fever that I had that caused you to appear in an exaggerated manner that saved your life that night...


 4:01—Anxiety creeps in around the periphery of the park...

/// pterodactyl /// benevolence /// kites /// insects ///

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the Alfanoose

Journal #53

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
1:43—In an obscure and nameless restaurant on  lower Mott Street down where it reaches its southernmost conclusion. The entire interior: walls, ceilings, chairs, tables, menus, and waiters—are all evenly and delicately coated with a very thin film of blackened grease, giving the impression of an old painting whose glazes have tarnished and gone dark, and which slows down my sense of time as I must first travel through the intermediary of the layer of glaze before I can reach the image beneath it. (A slow read)

A not disagreeable feeling of resignation and weariness embraces you in the interior—as if the waiters, managers, and owners had long ago given up any pretense of competitiveness or entrepreneurship (which in fact, they had)—as I select a table midway down the aisle. Why do I patronize such an appalling place? Because I am an appalling man, and because the layer of grease in the interior drives away the more aggressive and intolerable of the tourists who swarm the area, (even though I myself, am a kind of tourist... my travels in Chinatown allow me to escape from the constant and eternal chatter that surrounds us all—but down here it is buffered by the intervention of the Chinese language—better not to know about the endless stultifying trivialities... )

Ordered “Chicken w/ Ginger & Scallion on Rice” from the portentous pages of the menu...

1:59—It’s become somewhat oppressive in here—gotta get back on the move.
Restless Man.
That dish was not fresh: slight rancidity detected...
Ready to get the hell out of here!

3:08—In the phantom interior of the cavernous Alfanoose!
On Maiden Lane, right around the corner from the crepuscular alley called Liberty Place. [One of my favorite streets, at least until they removed the scaffolding and renovated the Win Won restaurant—both of which ruined the Stygian gloom which was really the sole attraction of the street]

The Alfanoose [One of the rare establishments along my usual route that actually offers decent and reliable cuisine] wobbles between past and present as it floats uncertainly down at the bottom of the heaving city. Several lost incarnations [one of which used to be wedged into a tiny storefront up on Fulton Street, right off of Broadway] of the Alfanoose vie for dominance, until it settles grudgingly on a certain compromise—unsatisfying to all concerned.

Under the yellow-orange light of one of the hanging lamps, I watch as Journal #53 records something called: "Posthumous Impressions of Thomas Paine Park"

Trying to find my way back into the original Vision of the Park in a rotting half-dream.
[I cannot possibly convey to you what it was that I saw that night back in the now remote year of 2003, and I display the journal entries and accompanying photos merely as markers or place holders. But let me explain: I had momentarily stopped to rest in the park as I made my way down to Fulton and Nassau Streets that evening. I had been poisoned* and then rendered homeless in the year 2001—I was desperate and exhausted, and in a state of awe and wonderment at having been rescued and given a (temporary) place to stay down here at the bottom of the city. As I sat on a bench facing south and stared up at the courthouse buildings, the city seemed to rear up, the buildings achieving colossal and monumental proportions. They seemed to me to have taken on the aspect of symbols—a portal had opened up heralding my arrival down here and the buildings towered over the park at crazy angles—the black branches of the overhanging trees became scarecrows... I felt as if transported back to early childhood... and on the brink of hallucination I arose and made my way up the hill towards a new and unknown chapter of my life. But this vision was/is lost to me and the mundane "facts" of the park and the courthouse buildings intrude... obliterating the grand amphitheater... and where is the vision? Where does it exist now?
—B. Spaeth, from the thrice-removed and hopelessly obscure vantage point of April 11, 2013]

Conjure-Stone Mechanics:
On a spectral Autumn night as I made my way down into the Embarcadero...
While fleeing the lost street of Kenmare**, heading towards my new home.
I looked up at the towering sight of the courthouses at the top of the hill/magnificent/ghostly:
The Herald of the Dream at the bottom of the Old City.
Right behind the courthouse, down the ancient street called Nassau, and hidden from view at this odd angle, stood the mighty spectacle of the Holy Bennett Building*** [My destination!]!

Imploring, cajoling, summoning, I wind my way back down through the old streets—grown impossibly distant in the mere interval of three or four years... since I was driven out into the night of Fulton in 2005 by savage toxins and chem-solvent fury****!
But re-entry is almost impossible—I am denied admittance to the Interstitial City!
The city churns, fulminates, and breaks up amid mountains of dirt, dust, brick, and other psychic debris.
Old Cortex Street

In the fading light of the Alfanoose... still half-sick from yesterday’s poisoning.

3:26—Yearning for re-entry into the Old Dream: Apotheosis denied at Alfanoose.
A mocking calendar on the wall and the de-natured stares of husks passing by outside on Maiden Lane. Growing sleepy here in this banishment... dreams illuminated by strands of poisonous light bulbs.
We move through phantom routes, oblivious of our own demise: a dream observed through a poison scrim...
Monolith & Cadaver Streets

Tired, restless, afternoon frailties in Darkest Absentia.

I suppose that I should head up to the ruins of WSQ...

3:39—The fatigue holds me motionless.

Better to keep moving...

/// supernatural fiction /// phantom cities /// dreamscapes ///

* Poison-Fueled Literature, Vol. IV, Oak-Tag Press, 2001
** The Lost Books of Kenmare, B.F. Spaeth, Serious Ink Press, 2004  
*** A Tale of the Old Pastel Bennett Building, B.F. Spaeth,    Rexograph Press, 2005
**** The Fatal Renovation, B.F. Spaeth, Stat-House Books, 2003


Friday, April 5, 2013

Jazz-Tuning Innuendo in Egyptian Blue Turmoil

Journal #37

Thursday, June 26, 2008
3:26—WSQ! —In the truncated* park on a forlorn and fractious bench.

Fear turns to fatigue as a hollow afternoon rotates ponderously across an imploded solar chart.
Underside of the city as I retreat from fear and paranoia.
Comatose on the park bench as irrelevant thoughts sputter and expire in an over-stimulated nervous system.
Magnetic disturbance of a street as shadows walk through the haze of the late afternoon.
Clinging to obscure corners of the Memory-Park-in-Exile.
Dozing off on a multi-dimensional bench.
Husks shuffle through and around the de-natured chess circle [Re-located to the north-west quadrant against all laws of physics—and decency!]
De-camped on the very periphery of the chess quadrant—feeling too frail to be embroiled in the madness of that still-potent node of fractious contention.

4:33—On an even more obscure bench near the Baci court [Now ripped out and already forgotten!]

Brats continue to scream all through the pain/continuum.

Moved to an even more obscure location on the other side of the Baci court.
Now in the locus of two equidistant “jazz” bands, each playing in what I believe to be the style known as “free” jazz. This produces a music** that is perhaps superior to either of the individual bands alone. 
**Jazz-tuning innuendo in Egyptian Blue turmoil.

Dreams born on chemical mists and industrial solvents.
Tomorrow I have an interview for a graphics job at some horrible law firm at 12:00—it will be a miracle if they hire me and a mistake on their part if they do! I am an incompetant, a day-dreamer, and a slacker! Lord!

6:07—At yet another bench/location.
Jerking and twitching criminals skulk around the chess circle...
Early evening announces itself on a cool breeze from the south-west. Another day rotates sluggishly out of existence as we hapless creatures are whirled through outer space at unimaginable speeds. I wonder how fast the Earth is actually travelling in its crazed orbit around the sun? Perhaps 10,000 miles an hour? Much faster? Or perhaps slower? I’ll look it up tonight... why should I even be interested? I don’t know—anything to distract me from my misery and fears. So we are orbiting and rotating at the same time—and the sun itself is also moving around the galaxy. No wonder we are all confused and agitated: we’re orbiting and spinning and being dragged around the galaxy by the sun at the same time and it never stops! Why doesn’t everyone simply go mad at the very thought of such a situation? It’s like some insane carnival ride!
[The Earth travels in its orbit at approximately 66,000 mph, and rotates on its axis at a little over 1000 mph]

...A little later on an F-Train heading back to Ditmas Park—at least I got a seat...

9:40—Back in the Ditmas.
Vertiginous evening—thoughts are born and expire before I can examine them...

* In the midst of the great renovation/desecration—take your pick

/// wsq /// solar system /// alienation /// solitude

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Book of Disquiet: Trailer #2

O livro do Desassossego por Fernando Pessoa

In Portuguese with English subtitles. The second in an indefinite number of proposed trailers, intended to function as related/unrelated fragments of a theoretical whole perhaps mirroring in some ways the collection of Pessoa's journal entries—discovered in a trunk and written on scraps of paper—which was assembled (in a somewhat arbitrary fashion) and eventually published (decades after his passing) as The Book of Disquiet.

/// The Book of Disquiet /// Fernando Pessoa /// O livo do Desassossego /// Poems

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Albatross

From Journal #52

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1:42—No sun here in WSQ—
And it’s really too cold to sit here, so I guess I’m heading up to Union Square... feeling pretty bad... 
4:38—In the confines of the back room of the Unspeakable Albatross CafĂ©! [Now gone! All shuttered up and closed forever—I stood in front of the place in shock—I couldn't believe it—

I could only get a narrow glimpse into the dark and gutted interior through the slit between the doors—and I shot this ghostly photo: 
The interior didn't make sense: that window shouldn't have been there... I distinctly saw a woman walk quickly past my field of vision in the interior as I peered through the crack—and she made eye contact for a split second... impossible!]
I am today cursed* by workers who seem to follow me everywhere I go—with their buckets, mops, and overpowering stench of ammoniacal chemicals! [NH3(g) + H2O(l) ==> NH4OH(aq)] The sun has partially returned, but it’s still cold out...
Weakened & sapped by poison; I am skittish & nervous; any sudden sound can send me to twitching and starting... a sad state for the once robust kid. Absurd cacophany back here—a junkyard of the mind...

4:51—I have a mind to return to the park if it’s actually warm enough for such an indulgence.

... Escape from the Poison Trough of the City of Absentia! Snout-in-Trough! Heading to WSQ!

5:22—WSQ—On the Rim of the Circle...

6:02—The longer I stay away from that poisonous hell***, the better I feel.
Ideas flickering around the Circle and the benches.

Accordianist won’t stop—it’s really annoying me—terrible, repetitive “music” and off-key singing! [I am a crank. There was never any question about that.]
I looked at myself in the mirror in the bathroom at Barnes & Noble and I saw an unshaven and unkempt old man staring sheepishly back at me! The horror! Do I need to apologize about my encroaching old age? I really don’t f#cking care—I just want some God damn fresh air!

6:41—The sun goes down in the park, as it must...

* The Ten Thousand Curses and Their Explanations, B. Spaeth, 2008, Serious Ink Press (Unavailable at The Warner Library)

*** Unknown reference...

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Book of Disquiet: Trailer #1

Trailer #1 for my upcoming animated video of Fernando Pessoa's  The Book of Disquiet.
As my accumulation of video clips from this production grows exponentially and threatens to overwhelm both my computer and myself, I have decided to release this teaser in the interests of my own mental health.

The Flatlands

Journal #31
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

11:03—On a Q-Train heading to WSQ—
Have to scrape together the Ditmas rent somehow...
All the brouhaha with the band is meaningless because my hearing is worse than ever—I’m totally toxified* and weakened and my ears are ringing all the time. Impossible! Not an option! Academic! End of problem!

2:09—WSQ—beautiful day in a dream—soon to be nothing but a lost page in a barbaric book.
Lives squandered and turned to paper. I now realize that the toxins have seeped into my dreams and then overflowed onto these ghostly pages...
*Poison-Fueled Literature, Vol. I

Wednesday, July 4, 2007
The Fourth of July!
11:42—I quit the environs of Ditmas in a shroud of toxic fumes and walked along a certain version of Ditmas Avenue on the way to the F-Train on MacDonald Avenue.
Ditmas Avenue (between certain streets) possesses a sadness and weariness—I don’t feel that I am fully here—that I pass through (tenuously) a very late and debased version of the avenue—the absurd feeling that my version could never measure up to previous versions—that the heyday of the avenue existed a long time ago—or may never have existed... the streets are fluid and elastic and strewn with psychic debris...

MacDonald Avenue Station—
The elevated platform gives a view of a limitless Brooklyn—I lose myself—as the Flatlands of Old Brooklyn stretch off to the industrial horizon in an atomized haze...