alone I languish

Love will take us to higher plaines
Love makes us feel alive
Love is painful
Love kills

One and Only
“You are the only one for me.”
Love lorn
Nobody Else
“No one else compares to you.”

Thou hast the keys of Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty Opium!

— Thomas de Quincey

There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.

— William S. Burroughs

When you stop growing you start dying.

— William S. Burroughs

📙 Confessions of an English Opium Eater

— Thomas de Quincey (1821)

Describing the surreal hallucinations, insomnia and nightmarish visions he experienced while consuming large quantities of opium, De Quincey waxes lyrical on the associated pleasures and pains. De Quincey arguably scrutinise his life, somewhat obsessively in an attempt to articulate and understand better his own identity. The work portrays a nervous (postmodern?) self-awareness, a spiralling obsession with the enigmas of one’s own composition and relative (in)significance.

Critics broadly agree that The Confessions forges a clear link between artistic self-expression and addiction. According to Martin Geeson, what makes the book technically remarkable is its use of a majestic neoclassical style to confessional writing (of the rather romantic kind). The Confessions is a work of immense sophistication and certainly one of the most impressive and influential of the autobiographies of that century. Moreover, there’s a general consensus that it paved the way for later generations of literary drug-takers from Charles P. Baudelaire — “always be a poet, even in prose” — to William S. Burroughs.

📙 Junky

— William S. Burroughs (1953)

Junky is semi-autobiographical work that focuses on Burroughs’ life as a drug user and dealer. It has come to be considered a seminal text on the lifestyle of heroin addicts in mid-20th c. America.

📙 Naked Lunch

— William S. Burroughs (1959)

Naked Lunch is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. These vignettes are drawn from Burroughs’ own experiences on the road and his addiction to drugs: heroin, morphine and, while in Morocco, majoun (which is a strong strain of hashish). The book was included in Time magazine’s “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.”

Man Alive!

(i.e., Good Lord!)

Oh My Word! All day I’ve been racking my brain to recall the name of a poem me and my man did analyse a semester or two ago. I actually wrote a post about this memory lapse earlier on today: Within the hour /, see how I began,

I’ll not lie… the poem that is obsessing my thoughts now… its name I cannot recall.

Well as the British do say in a non-literal way, “fuck me!” The poem I’ve been hunting is called: ‘The Lie.’ It was there in plain sight ( { [ Lie ] } ), it was on the tip of my tongue but my brain didn’t allow me to know so ( { [ LIE ] }.

The Lie

Go, soul, the body’s guest,
Upon a thankless errand;
Fear not to touch the best;
The truth shall be thy warrant:
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the church, it shows
What’s good, and doth no good:
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live
Acting by others’ action;
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by a faction.
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,
That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate:
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing but commending.
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;
Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it is but motion;
Tell flesh it is but dust:
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;
Tell honour how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
Tell favour how it falters:
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
Herself in overwiseness:
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;
Tell skill it is pretension;
Tell charity of coldness;
Tell law it is contention:
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;
Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
Tell justice of delay:
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming:
If arts and schools reply,
Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it’s fled the city;
Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood shakes off pity
And virtue least preferreth:
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing–
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing–
Stab at thee he that will,
No stab the soul can kill.

— Sir Walter Ralegh

This is sublime, fucking sublime. At first I thought what the fuck’s going on here, but — as we say — step by step, it all became clearer and clearer and then dearer and dearer to me. As I say here:

Literature, like other forms of cultural production, is not created in a vacuum. It is created in a specific context (time, place, and situation), and therefore it is a product of specific historical, cultural, and social circumstances. …it is widely argued that without an understanding of the given text’s social, cultural, and historical context the experience and significance of the work may well be diminished.

In short, this poem is about betrayal, about how everyone turned on Walter as he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Luckily for us, for posterity they allowed him to have and use pencil and paper whilst he awaited mortem eius.


“Wracking” or “Racking” Your Brain?
If you are “racked” with pain or guilt or you feel nerve-racked, you are feeling as if you were being stretched out to snapping point on a medieval instrument of torture: the rack. It isn’t surprising that ‘rack’ was adopted as a verb meaning to cause pain and anguish. You rack your brains when you stretch them vigorously to e.g., remember the name of a poignant poem. On the other hand, “wrack” has to do with ruinous accidents — meaning “to ruin or wreck” it is recorded in print from the 1560s onward and initially it specifically meant “to be shipwrecked.” — so if the stock market is wracked by rumours of imminent recession, it is wrecked. n.b., if things are wrecked, we can say they’ve gone to “wrack and ruin.”

"Yes, yes I confess!"
“Did I do that? Did I say that? Yes, yes I confess!”

Within the hour /

his power totally consumed me

( { [ Sir Walter Ralegh ] } )

I’ll not lie, I studied him several semesters ago and, the poem that is obsessing my thoughts now (a highly charged and thinly veiled critique of the duplicity of the powers that be), its name I cannot recall; it is in here somewhere:

…but that anthology’s at the house I dwell in and I am here on this hallowed campus, this poisoned chalice, where life’s been lived, where love was found and, alas, where love was lost. For now, for the right here and right now, I’ll post this (on love & loss):

Farewell, false love, the oracle of lies,
A mortal foe and enemy to rest,
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise,
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed,
A way of error, a temple full of treason,
In all effects contrary unto reason.

A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers,
Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose,
A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers
As moisture lend to every grief that grows;
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit,
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.

A fortress foiled, which reason did defend,
A siren song, a fever of the mind,
A maze wherein affection finds no end,
A raging cloud that runs before the wind,
A substance like the shadow of the sun,
A goal of grief for which the wisest run.

A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear,
A path that leads to peril and mishap,
A true retreat of sorrow and despair,
An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure’s lap,
A deep mistrust of that which certain seems,
A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.

Sith then thy trains my younger years betrayed,
And for my faith ingratitude I find;
And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed,
Whose course was ever contrary to kind:
False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.

— Sir Walter Ralegh

And this (on life & loss):

Even such is time, which takes in trust
  Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us nought but age and dust;
  Which in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days!
And from which grave, and earth, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.

— Sir Walter Ralegh

Dwell on his works awhile, they are profound and powerful. He was much more than a swashbuckling pirate with a crush on the virgin qween.


(artist, unknown) Inscriptions: on left — Raleigh’s motto ‘Amor et Virtute’ (“By Love and Virtue”); on right — Aetatis suae 34 An(no) 1588 (“In the year 1588 of his age 34”)


To engage in daring and romantic adventures with bravado or flamboyance. A swashbuckler is a heroic archetype in European adventure literature that is typified by the use of a sword, acrobatics and chivalric ideals.

Sod ’em

Where to begin? (Where to end?) Well to be blindingly clear (oh ox.) and to place my placard on the pedestal, I’m not a subscriber (and never have been) but I am a great believer in digging. Without further ado, I present to you:

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was NOT about homosexuality
— Cameron Modisane (2014)

Modisane’s article is replete with biblical references and, low and behold — suffice to say — there literally is no mention of homosexuality in relation to either Sodom or Gomorrah. In Ezekiel 16:48-49, Jerusalem (a.k.a.: القدس العربي‎) is compared to Sodom:

Sodom never did what you and your daughters have done… She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.

A week or so ago I wrote Odd tales (#1) which introduced me to Lot and his daughters who were residents of Sodom — a wonderfully deviant and debauched tale. Lot’s lot is tied to this tale in a damning way (damning to those who seek justification for their homophobic views in the bible) because he offered his daughters to the men of the town to rape at their leisure (sounds rather heterosexual to me and whilst here: why the hell didn’t he simply ask the angels to fly away? One wonders, one really does). Moreover, we learn from the scriptures that the reason for the wrath meted out by way of fire and brimstone (or was it sulfur and salt) against Sodom and Gomorrah was:

The two towns’ residents had switched theocratic allegiances.
[Ezekiel 16:48-49]
The two towns’ residents were uncharitable towards strangers.
[Genesis 19].

But, dear reader, please don’t damn me now, I concede and submit to you that the bible’s stories have been a godsend in that they’ve inspired so many classical paintings and formed the basis of so many fantastical works of fiction.


Dante’s Inferno
Shakespeare (especially sonnets XXIV & XXXIII).

But hold on too, I’ve read ‘n’ written about:

Winterson’s Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
— Repression as a consequence of religion.
Dawkins’s The Magic of reality
— Suppression of science as a result of religious superstition.
The pro-lifers (oh ox.) blessing of the most righteous Judge Kavanaugh.
— bashed barminess

But anyway, whenever did homo sapiens base fiat on fact. From the tail of Sodom we got words like sodomy and sodomite, phrases like “sod off” and, century after century of homophobic diatribe. This word, ‘sodom,’ is also part of the title of Sade’s notorious (😈), The 120 Days of Sodom which, like D. H. Lawrence’s titillating tale, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was long banned (forbidden fruit, as it were). Oh the irony, now it’s but a mundane Penguin Classic [sic].

Sade's Bedroom guide
^ now we are touching the subject of x, I’ll point you to another post of mine: Anaïs Nin’s “Delta of Venus”

Butt, back now to the now. The Marquis de Sade was born in Paris in 1740. He was imprisoned several times for his scandalous behaviour, and wrote The 120 Days of Sodom while in prison … By 1796 he was a ruined man … fittingly (perhaps), Sade died in an insane asylum in 1814.

According to Will McMorran, writing in The Guardian, the book — 120 Days — tells the tale of four libertines (a grand old duke, a bishop, a judge and a banker) who lock themselves away in a castle in the Black Forest with an entourage that includes two harems of teenage boys and girls specially abducted for the occasion. Four ageing brothel madams are appointed as storytellers for each of the four months, and their brief is to weave a 150 “passions” or perversions into the story of their lives.

woof woof
Woof, woof, what on earth’s going on here then!!

Thrill seekers beware though for, according to Lisa Hilton, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, anyone dipping into this intensely disturbing novel in the hope of quality erotica will be disappointed for Sade is a rotten pornographer. According to Hilton, Sade is entirely unconcerned with sensuality or erotica: his theme is power, and the violence by which power demonstrates its superiority. And I now quote Hilton verbatim:

Concealed by the shock tactics and the satire, there is an inconsistent, yet serious and often extremely funny thinker peeking from beneath the bedclothes.


Odd tales (#1)

🍿 “Lot’s daughters”

This is a story from several millennia ago. (I’ll just let you know, it’s been interpreted in various ways; I ain’t passing judgement so please, ladies and gentlemen, don’t shoot this humble transcriber.) In essence, it goes like this:

Act 1
While a man called Lot and his family were living in a town called Sodom (probably located in modern day Palestine 🇵🇸), two angels turn up and it just so happens that it’s Lot who provides them with some hospitality. However, the men of the town aren’t pleased with the visitors arrival (we ain’t really told why). They form a mob and crowd around Lot’s house and demand that he give them the two guests so they could rape them. In response, Lot offers the mob his two daughters instead, noting that they are virgins. The mob refuses Lot’s offer, and the angels strike them with blindness, and then warn Lot to leave the city before they go on and totally destroy it.

Act 2
Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt, but Lot and his daughters escape to Zoar, and end up living in a cave in the mountains. High up in the foothills Lot’s daughters got their father drunk, and over two consecutive nights had sex with him without his knowledge. They both got pregnant. The older daughter gave birth to Moab, while the younger daughter gave birth to Ammon.

difficult to make moral…

According to Esther Fuchs the Biblical text presents Lot’s daughters as the “initiators and perpetrators of the incestuous ‘rape’.” Adding context, other scholars have reasoned that Lot’s daughters may have feared that they were the last humans on earth and wanted to preserve the human race by, ummm, making babies with their father.


A frightful yarn.
Lot & co.
Lots to think about
Moral message??
Lots of mixed messages here
Hmmm 🤔
Lots of explaining to do.

Wheresoever I go

You are with me all ways.

We got a good dozen of those magazines (we roamed freely after dark, hunting for them, tracking them down and then bringing them back to our very own, private little world). Then they were utilised, little ones did browse them with black and yellow pencil in hand. Didn’t they? Did they not??

— see this post on the photography of Ansel Adams
— see this post on pencils: Priceless Graphite