The Camel Saloon Gallery

Michael Cooper: That Tight

                   above me shiver lilies I reach I reach]   I know what every person on the street
                                                                         corner knows—that to sell
                                                                         oneself
           what is this last whispered place between us
                          deep in her plaited tresses locked
                                          the aerials hum blue   in oranges, alms or as the Other
                                       on their wood pograms
                                      coppered mimes thrown
                                                memories across
                       headlights who educate the unwary   exacts the pound of flesh
          spent uncollected shopping carts loiter under    cupped carrion in the hands
                                the misplaced pine bending     cadaverous but we must alive lip wind sprint
                               the sidewalk cleats with its
                                                       roots rose     lithe-blooded we see
              until it speaks in clover between the sap
                    scoured sheets the follicles that leap
                                between us lurid lear taste
                                                         yes like
                             cold mac and cheese—again    I want to tear
                                                                       you out
                                                                       of that white
                                                                       collar splendor Hy Rise—drag you
                                                                       to the curb naked—pumped
                                                                       up on bath salts to be beaten
                                                                       by four Peace Officer’s
                                                                       and a malfunctioning taser—said not one dish
                                                                       washer ever—in fact
                              easy clingy and cold we feel     he’s more interested in keeping
                                                                       the skin
                                            the empty spaces
                         with our ribbed fingers fill up
                                                 paper lungs      on his hands   and   his   wedding   band   
from leaping into the sink, though she left him  some time ago.  But I will, Puritan.   
I want to see you face down in her crotch the moment the John leaves.  85% of you don’t know what I’m talking about— 
                                       have you ever sat on    noses in a job unhindered by foodless
                                                                      Detriot?  I want your family to shatter—sit you
                                                                      alone on a park bench at winter time singing     
                                                                      those carols
                                                                      you love
                                                                      so much
                                                                      hug those tears Presentless
                     a fire hydrant?  What does blood
       taste like licked from corrugated aluminum? 
                                                 At first dew  nothing for your children or visit friends
                                                                    with pity rimmed eyes but I
                          in the chimney—what was it
                              seeking? Rainbird controls   would give you a present: a memory
                  sequestered in their cement bunkers
      as empty as congress, with the traffic control   of the first lesbian kiss I ever witnessed, wet and
          so easily breached by drunken bumpers? 
                                               Paycheckless    groping at Starbucks. I would give anything to be
                                                                    that tongue, or to be held like
                                                                    that, just once.  That tightly.
 [your dark face lowers in the ice cube filled tub

Amy Soricelli: Spring in New York City

Bird in Flight, the Bronx


Early morning, NYC


Fountain, NYC


Harlem History


Harlem Brownstone


South Bronx




Tim Gardiner: To Bee or Not to Bee

lush meadows
drained of colour
our bees are dying
the earth's future
looks black and white

tanka and photograph of tree bumblebee by Tim Gardiner



AE Reiff: Blood Moon

The Faerie Queene Comes to America.
The Third Harbinger Taxman Cometh

The Faerie Queene comes to America the same way Spenser offered it to Elizabeth. I love Spenser, but his  allegory was proud. He predicted Mary Queen of Scots was the Great Whore of Babylon. Pestering Britain with myths about King Arthur, Rome, Babylon and the Bible would be like our saying that when the stars threw down their spears means angels blowing their  imagined trumpets  at earth's round corners begins a long awaited series of judgments, which that, if so, it’s time to shop for a hole, even stranger than the Faerie Queene.

Daschle's Prayer
Taxman comes April 15 again this year, along with the Mars opposition and the first Blood Moon eclipse that day. No problem if you miss it, there will be four. Things much delayed. Blood moons more predict than trigger, they say. Of course the Mars opposition happens every two years and the cardinal cross coming April 15 is going to be as anticlimactic as when the third harbinger arrives. Not that anybody will say when that is, maybe next year, but those days will be shortened. If not, that Paul Revere who cries apocalypse will go viral. Hedging as Delphic as the moon, this Harbinger is like the Faerie Queene. That is moot, unless it toots.

Put on the brakes for this connection of America and Israel. Who wants to be in the Bible? If God sent a word to Jacob and it lighted upon America, how binding is that? A quote from Isaiah 9.8. We’ll find out holes for real. Nobody connected Jerusalem and Washington, Isaiah and America until Daschle. Then Edwards, Giuliani, Pataki, Obama, Kerry and untold others came out of the  rocks, put Isaiah on top of their heads, which is the same thing here as talking behind their backs like Spenser:

Some frounce their curled Hair in courtly guise,
Some pranke their Ruffes, and others trimly dight
Their gay Attire: each others greater Pride does spight.

If you wrote this in a Greek play it would sound contrived. I don't mean to go line by line, but Isaiah repeats over and over, "princes are rebellious and companions of thieves, where every one loves bribes" (1.23), the news media "soothsayers like the Philistines" (2.6), American economy "full of silver and gold, has no end of treasure" (2.7). "Their land is full of idols (2.8) from TV alone, not to speak of "the great man debased" (2.9). In other words, Anthony Weiner in the yard. Human pride shall be humbled (2.11), the lofty shall be bowed down (2.17). Boldness proves their character (3.9); they are as proud as Sodom, "they hide it not.” This crack doesn't have the sting that it did for Isaiah, who took Sodom as just the opposite case of Jonah's Nineveh, which changed its ways. Particular idols made of iPods, iPhones, laptops, and video games average 66 hours of screen time a week. Isaiah has them casting these idols to the bats and moles (2.20). But when laptops are too heavy and mobiles don't transmit, reception is poor in the tops of jagged rocks and apartment buildings, where they hide (2.21):

A stately Palace built of squared Brick,
Which cunningly was without Mortar laid,
Whose Walls were high, but nothing strong, nor thick;
And golden Foil all over them displaid;
That purest Sky with Brightness they dismaid:
High lifted up were many lofty Towers, (FQ I, iv.4)

That every Breath of Heaven shaked it;
And all the hinder parts, that few could spy,
Were ruinous and old, but painted cunningly. (iv, 50)

The judge and elder, lawyer and speaker are removed, shouted down. Not even my brother, says Isaiah, would rule in their place. Who wants to rule ruin? (Isaiah 3.7).  "Children are their tyrants" (3.12), meaning pueriles who train with moles, bats, cedars, towers and idols:

When the stay and staff are moved and helter skelter shortages of bread  (Isaiah 3.1), boundaries go down Then Tom Daschle speaks of a symbolic strike to  the heart. He doesn't realize George Washington's Inaugural and Federal Hall, first American Capital are four blocks from Ground Zero, in "the heart of the American community and the symbols and structures." Doesn't know it will be 14 buildings in all.

Into this mousetrap to catch the prey, engineered in advance by Al-Qaeda or a lucky strike like the cigarette,  come Daschle’s words: “I know that there is only the smallest measure of inspiration that can be taken from this devastation. But there is a passage in the Bible from Isaiah that I think speaks to us all at times like this. ‘The bricks have fallen down but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled but we will replace them with cedars.’ That is what we will do. We will rebuild and we will recover, the people of America will stand strong together because the people of America have always stood together. And those of us privileged to serve this great nation will stand with you. God bless the people of America.” Joint resolution, Daschle here.

The complete text  of Isaiah says:

“All that say in the pride and haughtiness of heart,
the bricks are fallen down, but we will build with dressed stone:
the sycamore figs are cut, but we will replace them with cedars,
shall have adversaries set up against them
enemies joined together; the Syrians before, the Philistines behind;
and they shall swallow them with open mouth.” (Isaiah 9.10)


Sycamore Root
Dressed stone and cedar to replace bricks and sycamore provokes alliances against them. Daschle's words come true after he speaks. The Sycamore at Ground Zero that sheltered St Paul's Chapel, causing it to survive with hardly a window broken, has its roots bronzed and its stump memorialized on the spot, to be replaced by a cedar! A large pine, cousin of the cedar, is lowered into the hole with the destiny of the world:

“I believe one of the first things we should commit to – with federal help that underscores our nation’s purpose – is to rebuild the towers of the World Trade Center and show the world we are not afraid – we are defiant. John Kerry, US Senate, September 12, 2001.

What happened to the bricks? Right again. The Governor of New York ordered a 20 ton block of granite quarried from the Adirondacks to be the new cornerstone at Ground Zero, but which was never actually used. A gratuitous symbol, completely unnecessary, puffery like John Kerry saying we will show the world we are not afraid – we are defiant Who do we defy anyway, for you only defy a power greater than you, and surely he's not saying that of Al-Qaeda? What's wrong with hewn, dressed stone? Answer, in Israel anyway, and now of course America is like Israel, cutting and polishing pollutes the stone, imparts pride and haughtiness of heart,

If you make a stone altar
don't make it of hewn stone
any tool that touches it pollutes it (Exodus 20:25).

Quibblers disallow the sycamore/cedar, brick/hewn stone analogy. They say the Isaiah tree was not a true sycamore like the one in New York, and anyway Pataki's foundation stone was disallowed by the builders of Freedom Tower. But once started cedar botany gets stronger and is tied to towers:  

"in the Last Days (Isaiah 2.2)...every one that is proud and lofty,
every one lifted up shall be brought low;
the cedars of Lebanon...and every high tower
...the loftiness of man shall be bowed down
...the idols utterly abolished" (2.12-18).

America has to get those towers back up, John Edwards said, and all Presidents echoed the bigger better theme. Isaiah 9 says signs come in a series of progressions, small followed by greater. People who resist the rising of  soft Shiloh in Rezin and Remaliah will get floods of the king of Assyria if they do not heed the warning. By implication, after the second, comes a third. To resist is to make worse. In Isaiah 9, "at first He lightly afflicted that land of Zebulen and the land of Naphtali, but at last he will deal hard by the way of the sea" (9.1).

Rest assured all this will be shown a farce, that Isaiah is anti-gay for his remarks about Sodom, anti-woman for those tinkling feet of the daughters of Zion whose secret parts are bared. Isaiah is the last place America would want to be, which the history of Israel proves. The trouble is, can you take the words back? Will the present speaker of the house and the senate leader renounce cedar and hewn stone? Wait for it. It might do some good to start retracting oaths. But Israel had the hedge taken (Isaiah 5.5), to be laid waste (5.6), "swallowed with open mouth." "Hell is enlarged, opens without measure,” he says, “their glory descends into it" (5.14)

But even though leaders invoke this 9/11 "blessing," Isaiah says it is the "people" (8.6) who refuse the soft waters. Aren't people given points off for the despoiling  mind control manipulation by corporate governments and military? Sorry. If they spoke up they would at least feel less a victim. Join a revolution against Monsanto? These progressions contain reversals, "associate yourselves and you will be broken...gird yourselves and be broken...take counsel and come to nothing...speak a word and it will be defeated (8.9,10). Help is not found in the usual wisdom of diviners (19). "Let Him be your fear." All avenues fail, "the living should not inquire of the dead." When the Assyrian flood comes, the conquered will be hungry and curse their king president senate deities. Instead of looking "upward for help" they "look to earth...and are driven into darkness" (21-22). One warning unheeded, followed by a worse. Shiloh, Assyrian flood, march to Babylon. By all means government does everything for our security, right up to the big surprise. 

House of Pride
Spenser’s allegory of Pride has a moral-religious and national-political nature. Lucifera and the procession of seven deadly sins (FQ, I, Cantos iv, v) is not far from the daughter of Zion with her "hinder parts painted cunningly." "Pride is an illusion with no basis in reality" (39), said someone echoing Chaucer's House of Fame that has the names of great men inscribed on the north wall but their destruction on the south. The leprosy (Isaiah 3.17) of the Daughters and their bared secret parts by the side of the road "in most wretched case" shows literature is good for something, to talk about the unmentionable, which Spenser did voluminously with the Tudors. The House of Pride, ready to crumble at any moment, for "every breath of heaven shaked it (iv, 5. 7), is inhabited by infinite sorts of people, that fit a diverse nation. The lords and ladies of government await Queen Lucifera but are only props to her appearance. To cast our male presidents into the roles they play as maiden queens denies the strict controls behind them. Lucifera is the light of pride whose carriage is pulled by the seven deadly sins, which if we wanted to extend the analogy, means gluttony surrenders along with pride, and lechery, envy, wrath

His ruffin raiment all was staind with blood,
Which he had spilt, and all to rags yrent (FQ, iv. 34. 1-2)

What are the seven deadly sins? After the six unholy pairs pass in review, we see Satan the lackey, riding on the wagon beam, lashing his beasts on as they pass through the mass of people, through a "foggy mist' that covers the land before they find the "fresh flowering fields' and the "solace of the open air." The procession tramples over the skulls and bones of those who had previously come this way, "whose life had gone astray."  Spenser himself could have had his own Isaiah (5.18):

Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords
of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope.

True and false are interchangeable in the Faerie Queene.  Una takes Archimago to be Redcross, Redcross takes Duessa in place of Una. Should we apply this technique to government? The dungeons of this palace hide the bodies of thousands overcome by pride.

 Google The Harbinger of 9/11 to get all the elaborate explanations of Isaiah 9.10 that get America into the Bible. It wasn't there before. Those who worried Russia and China and Egypt were can now feel better, but to drop America smack into chapter nine of Isaiah, as Tom Daschle does, when chapters two to fourteen of Isaiah are The Mother of All Threatenings (Edward Young),  and to act as if they're just words does exactly what Israel did in Isaiah, took every counsel of its own advising, which all failed, and continued doing so until finally, in chapter fourteen, guess who comes?

So it goes that Cahn says 9/11 was the first event in a sequence of increasing scale followed by a second, the financial meltdown seven years to the week after 9/11, leading to a third, projected until "the last," assuming the warnings not taken, putatively September 2015, says the fool.  Meanwhile America has entertainment patriotism to keep it warm, terrorist threats as if real. That was the year king Uzziah died. Isaiah saw the posts of the door move (6.4). Then he began saying, “you listen but you will not understand" (6.9). But Sheol did not have to expand, put up new towers, since there was "a great depopulation in the midst of the land" (6.12). Oh get out the Bible!

Young Knight, whatever that dost Arms profess,
And through long Labors huntest after Fame,
Beware of Fraud, beware of Fickleness,
In Choice and Change of thy dear loved Dame;
Lest thou of her believe too lightly blame,
And rash misweening do thy Heart remove;
For unto Knight there is no greater Shame,
Than Lightness and Inconstancy in Love;
That doth this Red-cross Knight's ensample plainly prove. here


AE Reiff operates a trading post neighboring the Diné with exchanges open on the remains of winter night. This particular remain, left by a bearded immigrant, took   pickup loads of manure from our stables in trade, which we were easy enough to part with, as well as cottonwood roots dug out of our mud bank, with remunerations to come, depending upon your further reference and consideration.


Amy Soricelli: New Views of New York City

View at lunchtime


Central Park Walkers


Don't stand in the tunnel


Spanish Harlem


Wall Art


St. Patrick's Cathedral under repair

Tim Gardiner: White Admiral


Butterflies at noon
spirits spiralling high
moths worship the moon




J.K. Durick: Taking Temperatures

It’s 43 in Rutland, 33 in Boothbay, 37 in St. Louis, and it’s only 45 in
Sunnyvale; I begin my day this way, taking the world’s temperature,
in London it’s 48, I can picture them all bustling through their partly
cloudy day, dressed for the weather, in Rio, a slower more colorful place,
it’s 89, 64 in Hong Kong, the same in Cairo, only 46 and raining in Paris,
and a warmer more welcoming 82 in Mogadishu.  I remember sitting up
in bed as a child with a thermometer jammed under my tongue and my
mother waiting patiently for the results, and the way this would set up
my day, ill or well, off to school or home again, groggy on medicine and
too much television; even today I play the parental part for myself, feel
my forehead, shake out the digital thermometer, and patiently wait to
determine what to do. There are private and public wars going on all
around, there are headaches and whole economies collapsing, there are
fevers and injustice, there are reasons not to go to school and there are
colossal misunderstandings, there are reasons to get out of bed and go
out there, and  still there are reasons to turn over and continue sleeping;
it’s all a matter of reading the temperature right and then deciding.


The Camel Saloon Gallery

This bar welcomes dromedaries, malcontents and jewels in the world. Which one are you?

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