I am dying

May 3, 2017

I am dying
because you have not
died for me
and the world
still loves you.
I write this because I know
that your kisses
are born blind
on the songs that touch you.
I don’t want a purpose
in your life
I want to be lost among
your thoughts
the way you listen to New York City
when you fall asleep.

Leonard Cohen

Reasons to Live

May 3, 2017

For Arlene
The guy with the beautiful waist-length Byronic hair
stands braced in black fish-nets, silver tutu, and high heels
playing his violin without a trace of irony
at the entrance of 24th and Mission
where I’m elbowing through the suits and prostitutes
to get on the 5:13 to Richmond.
Ruby music spills like the blood I’ve been carrying in test-tubes all day,
sweet as raisins and almonds at a Jewish wedding.
That, too, is a reason to live
even when the long tunnel feels endless
and the months stretch out between real kisses.
All of us commuters read so we don’t have to feel
tons of dark water, pressing down on us,
and the steel-lace bridge arcing impossible miles above,
carrying a million cars, a million tiny drivers
like a battalion of sperm aimed at the ovum of evening,
slivers of sun shooting into their tired eyes,
making them wince with beauty. Music is the day’s blood,
it weaves under and over the roar of the train,
the way thought plays its sweet percussion in our wrists and throats
even while we sit so quietly, we can hear the small sounds our hearts make
when they have finished breaking themselves
against the rock of the impossible and the beautiful.
Mother-in-law, musician, friend~ you know how hard I tried
to make a bridge, to make a tunnel
between one man and one woman
or between the human and divine in both of us,
between spirit and animal. That I failed is beside the point.
Now I struggle to make the daily trek
between Oakland and the Mission,
and I’m ferried along, I’m even helped
by these currents of invisible music
and the humans who strive in the city—when I turn
to find something beautiful, it is always at my side.
Greed is also a saving grace. I still
want more, you know; another love, another
go-round, and in the meantime more
light, more freedom,
more music that gives the feeling of flying

Alison Luterman

Cornwall was indeed home to many folk-magic practitioners, a tradition that reached a climax in the 19thC. Such practitioners offered a range of services mostly involving the work of healing, curse lifting, exorcising of evil spirits, protection, love and the restoring of lost or stolen property. Clients were often provided with magical substances in the form of small bags of earth or prepared powders. Written charms are also a common feature of Cornish folk-magic, intricately folded and sewn shut inside small square bags.

Some Cornish practitioners achieved a certain degree of fame, two of the most notable perhaps being Tamsin Blight and Granny Boswell. Tamsin Blight, or Tammy Blee as she would have been known, lived from 1798 to 1856 and was perhaps the most famous historical practitioner in Cornwall. Plying her trade within the Helston area, she earned a well respected and feared reputation, for Traditional Cornish Witches have always maintained the ability to cure and to curse. Clients were known to have travelled great distances for a consultation with her, and at certain times people would queue outside her small house in considerable numbers to purchase new charms or have old ones re-empowered, particularly in the springtime when, according to Cornish tradition, a Witch’s Powers are renewed. We know that she would provide the traditional written and sealed charm bags, as well as small bags of grave earth, bones and teeth, as well as magical powders, most notably ‘Witch powder’. She also had a strong reputation for removing curses and healing, working with not only people but cattle and horses. Her powers of sight were also held in high repute for she would be consulted on the whereabouts of lost or stolen money and the identity of malevolent Witches and would work with spirits, making use of hallucinogenic substances, to aid her visions and communications. She had a husband, Jemmy Thomas, who also claimed the powers of a Witch but for the most part enjoyed a fluctuating magical reputation for magic, although his obituary celebrated his abilities in providing cures for people and animals and taming the unruly behaviour of cattle and of horses, a skill traditional among Cunning men across Britain.

Gemma Gary
Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways

When I was seventeen I found a man, or maybe he found me. Away from home for the first time, out of reach of my father’s archaic restrictions and my mother’s culinary insistence, I cut off my hair, dropped my Christian name, wore black and toyed with anorexia, passing incognito among the city workers, just another ant in that vast heap.

Nell Grey
Solitary Pleasures

Diary 3rd May

The first of May it rained all day. We didn’t much care. Once at home we battened down the hatches and watched DVDs; in the evening we played “Cards against Humanity”, great fun.

Tuesday, App and Wal visited us in the evening. Mild bondage games with lots of laughter, an amateur porno movie, and mutual teasing during the hour and a half duration of the film. I’m still a little sore from our Beltane eve celebrations.

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Thoughts of the Reverend John Ruddle. The year is 1665 and Ruddle the incumbent of St Mary Magdalene, Launceston, is called to the home of the Bligh family resident near South Petherwin; they tell him of their young son, who claims he is regularly accosted by a ghostly apparition on his way to school.

Ruddle interviews the boy who recounts a most convincing story. The apparition, a woman, dressed in flowing robes, keeps gliding towards him as if to speak – but the boy can’t understand what it is she says. The boy is obviously very scared by these unpleasant experiences.

The Reverend arranges to accompany the boy and his father the following morning on his normal route to school. He records the following:

“We went into the field, and had not gone a third part before the spectrum, in the shape of a woman, with all the circumstances he had described the day before, so far as the suddenness of its appearance and transition would permit me to discover, passed by. I was a little surprised at it, and though I had taken up a firm resolution to speak to it, I had not the power, nor durst I look back; yet I took care not to show any fear to my pupil and guide.”

Convinced the ghost is a disturbed spirit, Ruddle visits his Bishop who agrees an exorcism. The Reverend duly arms himself with bell, book and candle and proceeds to again confront the specter. His account continues:

“Soon after five I stepped over the stile into the haunted field, and had not gone above thirty or forty paces before the ghost appeared at the further stile. I spoke to it in some short sentences with a loud voice; whereupon it approached me, but slowly, and when I came near it moved not. I spoke again, and it answered in a voice neither audible nor very intelligible. I was not in the least terrified, and therefore persisted until it spoke again and gave me satisfaction; but the work could not be finished at this time. Whereupon the same evening, an hour after sunset, it met me again near the same place, and after a few words on each side it quietly vanished, and neither doth appear now, nor hath appeared since, nor ever will more to any man’s disturbance…

“These things are true and I know them to be so, with as much certainty as eyes and ears can give me.”

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The local hunt were out on Monday. Were they ‘accidentally’ killing foxes or have they found new quarry to pursue?