Sunday, March 1, 2015

Turing machine and its wholes

A Turing machine is a Beta-0  machine, and it can do calculations,  and an infinite variety of numbers which are themselves finite.  But in the spaces in between these logical points,  there are  an infinite number of other points,  which go on for ever. In these points,  which we will number Beta-1 there are the spaces between  the whole numbers and finally fractions.  These points are what is to be found in living machines,  and that is why living machines can do a variety of tasks which computational machines as of this point cannot do.  Think it of it as an Apollonian gasket or Sierpinski triangle .

Canto 33 - The Lobby to Grand Hotel

The need demands, the need demands ones
full  attention span, and more than that, more than.
 each moment of time distilled into  a seething  bioluminescence
 that crystallizes into form,  and then is gone.

Across the street,  wafting in to view on this soot and  smoke
 was  a hotel,  which was the only one of its kind.
 across the Hurley burly of the railroad  crowd,
 was the delightfully refined sense of elegance.

Glistening with things never seem,  accept at the hotel,
 everyone else here did not use such things,
Because mama don't want no swinging round in here
 and you might as well become used to that desecrated fact.

Red,  of the richest kind was hanging floor to ceiling,
 it was indeed a medley lamentable course between rich and richer
 the way that a pocket garden of clarity ensues
 when it's course is to corrupt the  rich and furnish  the poor.

There were sparks of  purple around the room,
 to suggest that something was magical about the place,
an   warranting as was determined deeded and done
 by some larger   quiescence which had not shown it self as yet.

Added table with his stool next to a piano,
 there was a man cooped up by himself playing what he could play,
 for you know that mama doesn't want no swinging round in here
 so he pinked  a tune which was mauding  in  it's movement
 and so really corrupt that one could not tell what it was based on.

My eye gravitated towards this figure,
 because he seemed like a rock,  amissed all  this frippery
 so I stood next to where he sat and twinkled
while his hands did their work,  glistening on the keys.

He barely mentioned my presence,  but considered his station
 while the murmured that mama don't want no swinging around in here,
"What can I do for you,  Herr Boss,  we don't get your kind around here."
 you must have had some  twinkling in the eye,  though I might have issused.

"It seems that mama does not want swinging around in here."
 and without any breath he nodded that that was the rural,  strictly enforced.
"Is that all you would like  know,  or is there some reason for you to ask?"
 again without murmuring or stuttering out the phrase.

 I fiddled with the envelope to Don DeDillo,  but put it back,
"I am from the outside,  and want to know what people are summoned here for."
 he arched way up to the treble  notes and down to the bass,
"I thought you'd know why you were called round here."

 "I have no idea,  not at all,  I was just summoned and went, that's all."
 I paused thinking was there any control in the pattern of mine existence,
 but could find no clue as to its whereabouts,  and I gently shrugged.
"Then you'll just have to  weight like the rest of the troop." he said.

 East of the   Eden and West of the Sun,  that was my task it seemed,
  in a barroom,  which was left for souls not having a place in this world,
 but to dance to  modeling delight as  it seemed as if
 readers turned the pages over what was read.

Reader was held hostage by Beethoven on Beethoven,
 and it seemed as if he was in by the look of things.
 one man read Raymond   chandlers book,  though he seemed like Daschle  Hammett,
 and now to think of it the other man at his table,  was reading the Maltese Falcon.

All the riffraff of the room conjoined in this one place,
 a den of  iniquity concentrating on authors, composer,
 and the rest of assorted riffraff  in one place.
 then over in one corner I saw a book by  Ackerman.

There were two books on the pile, one proclaiming "Foundations"
 and the other "Transformations",  while he was writing a third book
 who  title in its frigidity I could not discover,
 and then I reached into my mind and discovered the name Bruce.

And then it hit me that he was still very much alive,
 as alive as a preamble bush,  as a life as an Orchard ticket,
 alive to be free,  which meant that dead was not where I thought it was,
 but alive or dead,  which was it,  or was  it some state in between?

I missed was the clock until it was six,
 and out came Qian Zhongshu,  who was confessing of surplusage
 and ordering drinks for everyone,  until decorously was everyone served.
 and then he went back to the bar to get everyone  lubricated.

"You can see that the place runs well for those who drink it."
 quickly commenting on the situation  announce the piano player.
 there was something about the piano player,  adulteress in the eye,
 but I could not place where he was from.

Then I looked over to see "Washingtonian"  on his name,
 and then I realized he would become  a person, of some note.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Agonist: Mandrin seekers use more of the Brain according to one survey

Canto 32 - A whistle stop campaign

Canto 32

"A whistle stop campaign"

 Rush of steam boils out of the plate
 and makes noon all of the new  egressive,
 that exploding like that exploits all who wander past,
 and engage in an asexual reproductive cell.

Is steaming cups peaked in fruition,
 to join in fact a  pique  whirligig
 upon a  harangue  etiquette that mediates
 upon a single node,  which is a crooked line.

Splendor of splendoring,  he looked back and forth
 to see what other passengers alighted from the train.
 mostly they were old men,  and a few young ones,
 only one group of rather tawdry women were among.

Mischief making he could see at a glance,
 while there clothes  looked petite,
 they were embroidered with wastage and want,
 not the same thing as Bloomsbury commands.

Amidst  the  clinging,  clawing cadavers notions,
 was a gentleman,  like the others in gray and black,
 who was fiddling with  ardor and abandon
 with a musical toy of his own devising.

Wafts  of steam inverted everything,
meaning that everything was stamped in  effulgence.
The  odious  not verdant flow of  poison thorns
 which quick  as you spray from view.

No winds would take you is from the calm,
 the moon and all the stars seem hung
 not as if the fixed to distant sky.
 the air is rich with moisture,

Movement  made every there by
 it is August, and these regions without,
 summer, autumn, winter, spring - there are
 only seasons of wind -  become trade storms.

"Are you of the Raj, British Indian the Regime
like The New Regime by Isser Woloch
Gave Order in 1789-1820s, in France
wrought  by undeniable  blood of that past."

The elder gentleman regaled me with a flourish.
"The  opportunities of Mr. Disraeli are to my liking,
 I have never been hurt of his Indian adventure.
 allow me to introduce myself,  I am the  quavering dissomatic."

"What is your name, good sir, what may I ask your name?"
 a guffaw came out of juicy  lips and formed:
"Yes,  my name is Darwin,  and I was playing
 with a form most perpendicular,  and translucent."

Now everyone has heard of Darwin,  and people
 do not realize that there is a fight between ultra-Darwins
 and mere Darwinian think there is more to Darwin then Darwin.
As Darwin is so Woese does.  but most people have not heard of Woese.

 I was shocked by meeting Darwin,  as Darwin is Darwin does,
 and more so because I thought he was dead,
 and then I chanced to know something about myself,
 that wretchedness aside,  I was in living,  death.

 And that all that I thought I saw
 were signs that I was in some sense  feigning
 a living death,   since I came in to this slaughtered land
 that somehow I had been marked as distrustful to the slaughter.

So I took my chances and be led it known:
" I thought you were a phantasm of my imagination,
 and I thought as one who is dead."
 he replied: "Of course I'm dead,  aren't you?"

His peace was innocent of every guile,
 be nine and just in feature and expression,
 though only Dante through Ciardi could say that in just the same.

"No",  I rasp,  "I did not know that I had mortalized."
"It happens to us in very many ways,  all of life
 divides in to 3,  before we are born,  life,  and afterlife."

This division of life confronted me with a parody,
 because life is all too fleeting a grip on reality
 and then it is soon to be gone,  as a dream,  and nothing more.

 Then the gentleman waved ado,  as if nothing had been exchanged.
"Good by my good man hence,  look me up at the  discontinuity,
 and we shall have some tea and scones."

 And with that he retired,  and left me  to  fend  for myself
 where men are men:  and all is for not.





Friday, February 27, 2015

(Databases) machines that count

A new poem from Ishmael

Canto 31

The  Castle ( or is it a Palace?)

Canto 31

A very ordinary man typed a very ordinary view
 to a distant friend named Don DeLillo
 explaining how this very ordinary trip
 was the sulfation of his life,  so far,  as he knew.

He looked out the window of the very ordinary train
 at the very ordinary plants,  especially one
 which bloomed yellowish blooms,  each one ordinary
 in such  profusion and delight,  as to be extraordinary.

He was hypnotized by its  splendor,
 and seemed to think what a wonder it was.
 blooms scattered on to blooms
 in ever  Myriad that it was copacetic in nature.

As I said,  he was an ordinary man,
 thought he was on a very ordinary trip.
 little did he know this was not the case,
 and disturbingly it would creep up.

It would creep up that untempered gold
 untampering with  indisputably granted fact
 eruption momentary though it was,
 lamentable though it was,  a true and obvious fact.

Thus,  he sighed,  because in the back of his mind,
 though he may mistrust the mind of man,
 wanting all  proud ambition,  he knew that
 it was a succession to the inheritance
 that was calling his presence,  and would would mean

No, it must, through all prevarications and lies,
 that the story he was told,  was a transference,
 to involve in some other scheme,
 and their first site was a star.

But he brooded on this accidentally,
 trying to breathlessly form a more voluntary
 banishment of the eye,  so as not to come to this
 peace be upon peace,  or what it will.

But restless was and retraced discontinued
 was his nature stilling at your command,
 his eyes were such by trees that had come in to being,
 and  new that he was going down into the valley.

He thought he was like Lyndon Johnson,
 all gruff and he here as a master of the Senate
 whipping and routing  with the means of ascent
 till at last he would stand at the passage of power.

You that that was truly not the case
 but a poor vagabond rending  with vestment
 over his  shattering beams  asundered,
 with a quaking  detachment that was unnerving.

Thinking about Amartya Sen  and how he wrote
 of the  unintended consequences that economic policy
writ on  the history of the world,
 and we who try to decipher  a recapitulation.

It was metadata,  applied upon meditate  Joseph Stiglitz,
 and Noam  Chomsky was his name,  in better fights,
 for the application of what  data really  meant -
 he was a philosopher,  or so he thought,  in his day.

A myriad track through Kuhn  unconvinced him
 with his  Classics in Game Theory,
 that that would not be the case,  pronounce  irrepressibly
 born my and bred  mine,  it was not to be.

Eclipsed outside the window,  and saw the thickening
 of trees,  because now they were truly  lackadamition,
 and the trees were conifer not deciduous.
 how truly dense they were in the round.

Then have of the corner of his eye,  he saw the tower,
 of the castle,  strutting outwards over all it possessed.
 it was not medieval in torque and kind,
 but Baroque leaping from point to point.

It was a scene out of Gödel Escher and Bach
 with each of three managing to draw intricacies
 which were not meant for any eye to see
 presumed by the archenemy, to  declares repugnant  to vision.

He fixed his gaze at the tower,  realizing that have was  medieval,
 and have was   Baroque,  depending on which time of day it was.
 he could not decide whether that was intentional,
 or just an illusion brought  quickly to the floor.

He wondered what was inside the house,
 how many wonders could fix the naked eye,
  unmitigated  though they might be,
 voluminous though they are,  but with a vision.

If  he knew then,  what he knows now,
 he still would be completely befuddled and his nature.

I am getting started on the fourth Canto

 I knew most of you out there do not care,  but so it is.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bad News from Cyprus

Kepler

Doubt discussed -
The distant in its logic as decision
 towards divinity denied
 that no in the day or night
"All planets revolve in the ellipse,
 with son had one  focus."
 faith finds solace then
 in God the geometer -
 in the shape even if
 Unexplicable  the shaper.

A disturbing picture...

Canto 2Z - Wallace Stevens

0

He pauses, and then begins again,
rushing for the present and but a line through it
as it to say that there is a pause,
that he stops over a moment thus to pre-consider
is if there is something in that moment some
that he wishes us to reflect upon
before the moment captures thus
and then perchance to dream
to sleep.

1

If it stops and joins within
this time that was never was
realize it was most ascended
when every hour had stopped.

It paused as if it would
crinkling over every pass
without a pause to anoint each victory
because what is victory without a cynosure,
a pause he was death by trying
to ease a bit around the edges.

2

A delightful felicitous eve
Herr Doktor, and that is enough
though Amie would be better
it sounds more felicitous.

Though Aix on Stockholm was bitter breath
of vibrancy that would not make principally
this way and that

because each syllable that was created
in sound and stand of to be misled
transparently connected

to whatever sound it has
to whatever sound it accomplishes
a grotto in the mist,
stands quietly as a Cyclops
estranged by tender godolphin,
its brightness burned the way good solace
adorned with generations
the mast of thousand pardons to us all,
solace.

Farewell to an idea, a cabin stands
forlorn and forgotten reminding
all of us to return
a mothers face
the purpose of the poem fills the room
and they wait for dinner brunch and other things
less to be forgotten

3

A geranium withers on the window sill
and I have not gotten that a transformation
stands alone into the darkness,
etching every miraculous multiplex
the essential complex of the poem,
a compositional inerrant order
that yet alone seeths with anger
that an altitude here restored
a meditation of a principal.
A beneficiary, a repose but most propose.

4

In space and the self that touched them
formation microsize, as is its want
a deliberation which composed of death
is the same principle of shither-shade
that reveals and reviles the pragmatist burned
and tell its dust.

The pensive man sees that Eagle flood,
for which the intricate Alps our a single nest.

5

Book around brand name brand bird as you rise to fly
think away grounds of zither quailing
attend not.

This is where the serpent lives, the botanists
his head is air beneath that tip that night
eyes open and fixed upon every sky

or is this another wriggling out of the egg
another imagine at the end of the cave
under the bodiless for the bodies slough?

This is the form golfing after formlessness,
appoints a man in music, say, today,
which the priests desires. Which the philosopher desires.

And all it is madness muses grow mad
with monastic man myosotis
being for vernal and stale of moonlight, amidst shabby sleep.

A primitive like orb, the cuckoo's flaw dewily
the arias that lords asunder along this clandestine,

he ultimate elegance the imagine lands.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Canto 29 - Qian Zhongshu

围城

1

To a smile  discovered,  and  line that was untrue,
 from a mission  that was misspoken,  to an error that was blue,
 from a place that was  ungovernable,  to a land that was clear,
 it was a place it was a time that clearly had been misspoken
 and buying misspoken it was true.

 I am famous for a trifle,   the creamy center
 from a warm summer night,  which has as its center,
 a quipe  from Francais  about
how everyone who was in  wanted out,
 and everyone who was out wanted in.
 though it was talking about marriage,
 anything would do.

 Their are three parts,  a ship,  a train,  and then
 dissolution as everyone knew that he hadn't really
 gotten a degree in France or the United Kingdom.
 Fortress Besieged indeed!

 Over the Red Sea,  and under the Indian Ocean,
 from the last 10 day period of the month,
 it seems like a terrible year in a cabin under the deck
 he went in to exile with the Jews and the Indians,
 as if to play cards and to chase after women,
 though the Hong Kong women had departed,
 and they were the best,  because even the fiancés
 had a sort of hither to expression.

 But hometown  was the best to managing  a mate,
  but you had to get her away from the manager,
 and speak to her of love,  saying you'd called off your engagement,
 because of the father in law,
 you'd expressed condolences and sympathy,
 as any good son in law would,
 pretending you studied philosophy and foreign currency
 because in that time Europe was a strange place,
 and London was the place to go,
 but Paris and Berlin,  by degrees, attracted
 foreign investment  studying with high sending
 but nonsensical Carlton investment schemes
 that thought by correspondence. it was a diaspora
 by any other name.

 The man who was supposedly the hero
 looked  sharp in his garb.
 he was intimate and clever
 but unconventional in lifestyle,
 and pretending that he was cold,
 since he left Saigon pretending to be a relative
 of the girl,
 though he sounded have footsteps in the night
 to calm her suspicions.

 He offered to use a franc,
 to Palm her hairpin,  it was the style  in France,
 and she was deceived,  while behind her back
 he noticed she was dressed up,
 and he wanted to accompany her.

 It didn't mean anything that Hitler was in power,
 he didn't matter that Vietnam was under the old name,
 the Qing  Dynasty had fallen,
 though it's manners had been set,
 because they were not formally married,
 and they said that they were informerly married,
 by which they meant they were screwing each other.

 And what else is there to marriage?'

2

 Came down to the clock
 chiming away the minutes and seconds
 until there was no woman
 to catch his fancy.
 just chiming and  rhyming
 of the clock.
 chime chime chime
 13 times
 chime.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Shaula Evan: the sci-fi and fantasy diversity Gap

Canto 2X - Laura (Petrarch)

104

 to Pandulfo Malatesta,  Lord of Rimini

Lo Aspect of virto,  which in you flowered
 when love commenced  daring battle,
 produces more fruit which flowed assured
 with which my hope  papered arrives.

-                             one chart assembled
 because of the sound of vivid names impassible
 which in part seems intangible

 credit Caesar or Marcellu
 or Paulus  or Africus   fashioned -
 including games or  martial games

Pandulfo  mind such hopeless is frail
 not long  to endore,  maligned  studio is source,
 which fine paper famed gives humans immortality.

103

Vicious  Hannibal!  but separate use  potted
 benefit of victories adventure
 therefore, signore mio,  carry

Ursa,  rapid  for Orsini  which were slain,
 who in trouble may gain acerbic pastor,
Rode sedentro,  her Don and  hunger endure
 for vindication screams he soprano noise

 meanwhile he knew dolor  like dimemed L'accora
 to not repost with honored blade
 and so sequite  seek  like Dove chase

 newer fortune:  direct and straight
 that virtu  dares even double death a new
 and mile  after mile at more to honor and to fame.

101

Alas,  being sought by undying predator
 denying in turn every human  pardon
 and rabidly makes us abandon
 the world and pics are time to  fame.

 every moment languished passing comes merciless
 oratv that ultimate day in my core thunders
 such iniquity,  love never means not sparing me
 how which usual tribute open eyes now shades.

 so come days,  come moments and hours,
  that portend going years never received again
 means force  assailing  more great than arts magical.

 lost viciousness and reason combat again
 seven and seven anniversaries either may lose,
 should signs that guide dane to presage.

102

 Caesar, when Ptolomy,  that trader Egyptian.
 lifted boldly an  on honour  head,
 concerned all gratitude manifest and
 pain played with faking eyes as chronilis  enscribed.

 And Hannibal when  Imperious affliction of
 vindictive fortune molested
 rise from lamenting gentles and made to
 put forth a fog of laughter, shredding acerbic despition.

 At cause every soul obscures,
 such passions should contain mantle
 reciprocal as vista blunt.

 Therefore all  I volta,  I ride,  I sing,
 forgive me because I know without question,
 I celebrate my anguished pain.

100

 which demonstrates on Sun to view
 which at her pleasure,  and the alternate  at noon,
 and windows that there frigid sounds,
 the brief days which Boreas fines  it.

 and on the stem over there pensively seeded.
 Madonna sustains and seeks reason
 with what lovely ...


197

 Laura celestial, which calls verdant  laurel.
 spiring,  when love fired flanking Apollo
 and on me possesses a sweet gamely collar
 that my liberty card early  restores.

 Medusa when to flint  the was transformed
 the sun surpassed not  Amber and all auric.

 Demitasse of locke of blended and crisp lash,
 which sauve legate  my heart strings
 allows which humility and no alternation arms.

 hombre shade strikes my core to glacier
 and blanches panic to my visage tinged
 but given her eyes the power to make it marble.

198

 Laura soft beneath son spreads and vibrates
 all or which love manually filled and try.

-

 my benign fortune and light,
 tranquil nights
 solved such aspirations and style
 which should resonate in verse and rhyme.
 suddenly turn to be and pining
 odious and mortalibe
 crude acerbic inexorable mortality,
 light
 pining
 nights
 rime
 style

 style
 mortality
rime
 light
nights
pining

246

 Laura which bear the plural and all auric hair
 softly but as suspicion moving
 animates away.

356

 Laura my sacred my  stains repose
 yet  suspiration  is ardent.

139

 specialists desire its wings spread
 and goes lately

6

 so lavished is my need desire
 it flees
 and lashes my
which  loves persuasive nature hits rested
 frenzy

 he remains my signature and Lord
      which death transports
  solely the Laurel and is captured
 acerbic fruit which pains
 gusto afflects  and conference


-
         sits under verdant Laurels
 viewed more bleached and more frigid than snow

           belle visage  and curls
 makes it can see such to die on with my orbs
 and ever shall hold should be on pond or river

 which finds verdance  not remaining  on Laurels
 when having quiet core remains on my orbs
           attendance annual

 maybe the time and  fleeing

52

 no sooner Paramore of Diana  piqued
 when perchance he ventured nude,
 he viewed her in the midst of glacial waters

 such  the perfection and
 post a veil and as lovely as a will
 called Laura like the wind hit from blonde From chill

 that she made me, eager as ardent sky,
 turning trembling with amorous gail

90

Erin heard here of Or,  and aura spiritual
 which miles of sweet knots glowing as
 a vision luminous measurementless,  ardent
 than well gilded eyelashes when measured scarce.

 a vision of  pity's color formed.
 by no not to or falsely, appending
 so escalated and amorousity  in my chest,
 what mall is it that I,  combusted as my arson?

 nor era land made such casing mordant
 but in angelic forms and they so perfectly
 sound she issues more pure than boys of humans.

 a spirit celestial,  a vibrant sun,
 which I viewed as forms a mended
 paying as  unrelenting as arc of an  arrow.



-

 go now on gentle traded floors
 which barely note the passing of thine the
 even though there missed,  even though they rise in aching
n
w
y
f
e
r

 Solomon is not your silence
 instead on a shining mirth
l
l
r
e
r
o
w
l

146

 oh Ardent virtu  ornate and scalding
 ah gentle who
  oh so about
 tower  planted valorous  of []
 low flame oh Rose Spurs on such suite full
 of vivid snow in which
 a pleasure on visage  I go
 to the your name if rhymes in tense
 find such languages Thule and Batto.

 the Don  and the Nile, Atlantic Olympus and Calliope
 which a pending parts and more surrendering  Alps.

144

 no cause belle  as sun's gay leaving
 as when celetia
 new view  celestial are
 open ear in colors touched various

 in quality of flaming transformation
 now pressing has  amours   incarnations.

-

 what ever animal abides on earth
 seated under  recordint Laura
 whatever animal upon on earth

 seeded valor burden or a these

238

Real Nature Angelic intellect
     prompt visions
 president to the  velocity
 and dignity

 send the lady
 to adorn the festival and perfection

79

 should principle respond to finish and middle
 of this 14th year of his suspirations
 such increases sent by my ardent desire
 Amore with me that governs,
 for death oppresses as the vibrant soujour flees.

76

 love with promises alluring
 the recounted me to the prison antique
 and the air gave  the key to my nemesis
 such again from  myself I am  banished

 now however avid alas
 fall in their force a great frantic[]
 when you see my color accordingly
 say: " should I ...."

84

" eyes pine  accompanying the core"
 which fell mortally sustained
             and not converse
 and alternate error
 prime entrance of love.

-

 and shall love day in and day out
 sweet location when planning returns -  love.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A New Poem From Ismael

Unforgettable Fire A8

-When the arrived at Siamak’s house, the found some shattered jars in the street and there was a terrible racket going on, Navid flagged down a messenger and sent him after Samir, meanwhile they knocked on the door, a tearful older wife looked out at them and closed the portal again, but would not open the door itself. They waited, there was more calling. They knew at some point the watch would be summoned, and then there would be trouble, the badly mauled old guard of the town was looking for such an indiscretion, Navid waited for the sounds to start up again, knocked, this time holding up a gold coin to the portal. This time the servant answered and opened the door. Before the old wife could do anything, they had slipped inside.

There they saw the lower level room in a frightful mess, with shattered ceramic and porcelain everywhere. The older wife was screaming at the younger wife, and both were cleaning the floor, while the two handmaids were busy washing blood out of bedsheets. Nothing large was broken. Navid made a semicircular gesture with his hands as a way of asking “where is he?” and the handmaid – who he knew to have been trained in the “silent speech” pointed upstairs.

They mounted the spiral stairs, and when the reached the bed room the sight that greeted them as Siamak, viciously slashing his papers, his normally well groomed hair in a terrible tangle. There was the distinct reek of coupling in the air, and he, himself, was naked and stank of sweat. His lean muscles were stretched tight, at first he did not notice them.

Stay away!” It was a voice that, if it were not rabidly close to a shriek might have been commanding, once. “You’ve come to ruin me! I can tell! With your foul spells and evil designs. Get out.”

Navid deflected away a weakly thrown ball of paper. “We come in peace, please be calm brother Siamak.”

You are,” and at this point he ripped apart a book with a madman’s strength “taking everything away from me! When I began here there was nothing! Nothing!” He stomped on some papers and was looking around the room, though for what they did not know.

They tortured me, they branded me.” Malakeh’s eyes searched his skin and saw a pentacle brand on his left buttock.

And now you want to take everything away from me!” He stopped stomping, and turned to face them, his eyes blazing. It was at this moment that he clutched at his heart, and stiffened, in an instant, he crumpled to the ground, and was gasping for air. Navid did not know medicine, they called down, it was a few more minutes before Samir arrives, who immediately pulled out some foul smelling liquid, and this seemed to resucitate Siamak for a moment. But only just, soon he was struggling again, and Samir and Navid managed to get him to the bed. He convulsed again, and then lay still, breathing only with the shallowest of breaths. It was all they could do to call a doctor, and then wait.

Siamak would hover near death for three days.

-

Late in the afternoon of the second day after Siamak was stricken, a rich lusterous afternoon, where light was deflected off of the late day haze, that no sea breeze had cleared away, a lazy, indeed hot afternoon, Navid was arrested, and taken to the gaol. The place for those accused of religious crimes, where such ancient rites and customs as had under the secular government were not recognized. It was a sign that the authorities were going to try and crack down.

It was nearing sunset that Malakeh received this news, she was on her west balcony, the shadow of the next building having reached the top of her table. She was discussing what to be done next with Ali and Bashir, when the messenger came, dropped off the note and departed. She read it quickly and handed it, by two fingers to Bashir, whose face reached a more somber tone. Ali then read it and looked at it in puzzlement.

It says the charge is adultery, but it does not say who, merely a ‘protected person’”.
Bashir: “That means a member of the government.”

With whom he is frequently seen.”


Malakeh, “It means me. I must go to see his wife immediately. I can’t let her be alone and have her wondering.”

With this she she dismissed them, and got her self ready to go out. She stopped by Siamak's house, and stroked his cheek and damped a cloth and wiped clean the forehead, and then left to Navid's house.

It was after dusk when she was on the balcony of Navid’s wife, she had just gotten there when the evening meteor shower began. The rain of them grew stronger and stronger, it was, in fact, the peak down of this shower, marked on the calendar as “al-Adara”, for its pure white streaks. There were, by this point a dozen each minute, she sat at the table across from Haifa, Navid’s wife, the two were engaging in that sort of close conversation that two women who have known each other for a long time. It turned out that Haifa had not the slightest doubts about Navid’s faithfulness, and as well she should not, slender and lovely, with bright eyes, a man would have to be a fool not to remain loyal to her. And Navid was not a fool. She was not worried, but instead glowed with faith that her husband would find some way through. She was to visit him tomorrow, and had already bribed the guards to treat him well. Navid’s personal forturn, thought Malakeh, gave her a certain freedom of action that was to be envied, and which Malakeh had only recently begun to feel herself.

They stayed and watched as the shower died down, trailing off into the night. Having mostly slept the night before, Malakeh had intended to stay away all of this night, and sleep only enough to be ready for the next day’s gathering at the mosque which Bashir was in charge of, it was a  preparatory meeting for the send off, where she would walk out of town to the port on the southern side of the peninsula, Al-Quareshi’s sister city as it were, on the Ocean Haram. She would walk that old road, with, what was hoped, would be a growing band. Mosques were told to send people, and the idea of Ali was to have them throw flower petals, since there would be a festival of roses two days before, and therefore there would be rose petals in abundance. It was an image that pleased her.

She talked about this with Haifa, and was pleased at the warm response, it was at this point there was heavy pounding on the door below. The leaned over the balcony – one slender almost willowy woman, and one shorter, but fuller one, and tried to see what was going on, all that they saw was a group of men, probably armed, all wearing some dark coloured clothing. It was hard to tell what in this light. But it was clear that their intentions were not friendly. Haifa almost instantly began calling out “Thief! Thief! Thief!” And there were heads popping from the windows up and down the street.

A rough voice cried back: “We are here to arrest you Haifa Shaheen! You conspired with your husbad to prostitute young girls and boys! We have witnesses who will swear to it.”

Haifa was never one to let an accusation go uncontested. And in a surprisingly loud voice for such a slender woman, she let forth a high pitched and equally rough rejoinder.

Lies, lies, lies. You were sent by the prince of lies.”


The voice below came back. “You will regret that, to which we now add blasphemy against the Talibeen.” This was the once unspoken word for the religious police, now openly spoken in the last few days only.

There was more bashing against the door. Haifa motioned quietly to Malakeh and lead her by the hand to the main upstairs room, and then not, as Malakeh had expected, up to the roof tops to try and make an escape, but to a panel on the wall, which turned after she unlocked it, and down a very narrow set of stone steps. Haifa went down first, and Malakeh followed, closing the door and hearing the click of the latch. It was at this point that Malakeh realized she had not seen any servants, nor either of their two sons in her visit. Clearly, this turn of events, if not expected, was at least prepared for.

The reached down into the dark, and there was an increasingly dank odor of water. What was not present was the almost universal garlic smell of Ishtar. Finally the reached a slipperly landing, where there was both a coolness and a dampness that suggested they were in one of the under canals of Al-Quareshi.

What now?”

We get in the small boat and let the current take us out.” At this point something happened which shocked Malakeh: Haifa lit something, and then a moment later had lit a latern, whose cool yellow and blue light made visibility possible. Open fire is Herron, forbidden, without special rites.

It is safe down here. But we will have to put it out before we go far.”


Malakeh spent a few moments to look, She was in a hemispherical tunnel, whose ancient stones fit together with great precision. She then noticed, under the algae, that there were pictures and designs, made of small tiles of ceramic, in a style which was clearly not from the faithful. Indeed, it was not of the Vedic kingdom, nor even of the Latin or Hellenic people, since these tiles were hexagons, and not squares, and they were not of the realism of the Hellenes, instead the shapes were fantastical, with winged griffons, women with animal heads copulating with men that were grotesques of man and beast. There were suggestions of waves, as long serpent like creatures, she had heard them called “wharls” with human heads wrapped their long bodies around women who were swimming, and whose tails suggestively poked between the loins of their victims. It was, in all, a shocking display. It was also clear that these designs were very, very, very old, from long before, when people worshiped older gods that represented the old angry forces of the world.

She shuddered from the cold as well as the images. Up above it must be near midnight, with half the city still awake, even in the darkness. Below, hear, she felt something stirring, but it must be imagination. Haifa extinguished the light, and Malakeh was grateful to be relieved of the images, though now they were in her imagination, and she thought she saw curling shapes in the darkness. Haifa used a pole to keep them in the middle, and indeed the current was soon pushing them along. The time below stretched out, as she almost felt sands of time slipping one by one away. Until finally there was a gloom of light ahead. It grew larger, and larger and larger. Malakeh finally breathed in great relief, when above was sky and star again, and the dome of heavan, whose blue illumination seemed almost unbearable bright after the darkness of the tunnel.

Haifa turned to her, the words seeming ghostly from a presence with barely visible features: “You must flee the city come dawn.”.

Malakeh, “But should I not stay, after all, I am one of the few protected people.”

No, you must make the Hajj, so that they cannot stop you from taking your seat.”

But I did long ago.”

They will interpret the rules to mean the Hajj, since your election. Navid received word that they were moving troops to the shrine, he thinks to occupy it.”


Malakeh thought carefully, she did not want to go, her position as a member of the Hajj was invaluable, but she also realized that if the religious court had been corrupted, then they would argue that she since she had not taken the pilgrimage since elected, she was not yet truly a member.

Very well, but we must also get the other members.”

Why not go separately.”

They will capture us alone, where as, I think, being bullies, they will not attack the group of us.”


It was at this point that wolf’s tail – the graying – began in the east. Clearly it was far later than she had imagined, the entire night had passed. Surely their conversation had not lasted so long, or perhaps it had, they had talked about a great deal, children, Malakeh's two lost sons, who had died in the wars in the south, and a third son, who was now fighting there. Yes, it had been a long conversation. It could be dawn.

But then she realized it was not. It was light from fire. The were leaving the canal and reaching the edge of the bay, and now she could see that the harbor was on fire, that what she had taken to be graying in the East, was glowing from fire. It now emitted more and more smoke, and was growing in both intensity and malevolence.

She took her eyes off of it, and she saw behind them a wider boat, with oars, sturdier than their canal skiff. She pointed to it, and Haifa took several moments to turn and look at it, she had been transfixed by the growing fire. Aboard this boat were two men, one rowing, the other half standing. The first was Navid, somehow one could tell even from the back in the reflected light, pulling at the oars, she realized why, he always wore silk, and the reflection of the light shined off of it in a peculiar way that was almost a gloss. The second was cloaked in a dark hooded robe that obscured any features. The boat approached, and Hiafa pushed the poll down into the canal bottom to stop their skiff.

When the two boats glided together, the hooded figure and Navid both secured the two. The first moment after standing he was greeted with a warm embrace by Haifa, and oblivious to all else they hung in that pose for a moment, and then he stepped into the skiff, it wobbled ever so slightly. Navid turned to Malakeh and with that smoothest of voices. “You should go in the boat, we are going back to deal with the chaos in the city. It is no place for queens at this particular moment.”

She did so, settled on the front end of the boat, and looked back at the figure, who settled himself between the oars. The two boats separated, drifted apart, she touched her forehead and bade the peace of God on Navid and Haifa, who were pulling away as he began to poll back to the canal. She could see that bubble forming around them, as they looked only at each other and began to converse.

The robbed figure pulled back his hood, and there she saw the particular features of Siamak Adarpadyavand. But there was a calmness on them that she had not often see.

The Peace of the God be upon you.”


She reflexively answered, “And his blessings with you.” A pause. “But I thought you were dead.”

I have passed through death. But you must listen. We were betrayed, by who I do not know. I have sent out warnings in your name to all, and rescued Navid.”

I know who it was who betrayed us. It was Samir. The adultery charge was what gave it away. Bashir, if he were of a mind to betray us, would not have also played such a card, but would have simply and directly charged us with treason. He believes in the old laws. It was Samir, I am sure of it.”

You are probably correct, I have much, yet, to relearn. Though Siamak left behind much. Your former husband is also arrested, but he is broken when we found him, and is of them now, certainly beyond my poor power to add or detract from his suffering or his turn of mind.”

Relearn? Left behind?” The addressing in third person was also disturbing.

He was poisoned, and drank what is called the water of forgetfulness. It drove him made, boiling up the anger and jealousy within him. He collapsed and was as near death.”
But the poison did not work. He lived, you live.”

It did work, it drove his soul from his body, and for three days his body lay there, waiting.”


"How did they give it to him?"

"He bought it as a love potion, the first half he was to take, the second he was to give to you. His was to open his mind to possession, yours would have merely killed you, according to the man who knows such things. It was a foul plot, concocted by someone who could see what was occuring in his mind."

"And you remember this."

"I am as if another person had lived his life, as if, I were a different player to pick up a hand of cards from the person who had been dealt them, and played half of the hand."

"And what happened? What was it like?"

"I remember coming, and seeing this body beneath me, I had spoken with an eternal angel, who pointed me at a silver stair that descended downward. But I had to wrestle with a firy spirit, whose face is long and drawn, redened like hot metal or the ripening berries of the hills. And I placed my hand against his, and he stood like a rock, and I pressed my hand against him, and he failed to move. And then again, and he failed to move, and then again. For those two days I wrestled with him, hour upon hour, and each time he failed to move. I felt myself all but broken. I was broken. But then I realized that that effort had been in vain, I was not here to defeat the devil, but deliver this one life from him, and so, as I wrestled, I reached and plucked but one hair from his head, and as he winced, I passed by him down the stairs, and awoke on the bed, as Siamak, remembering nothing else from before. I lay there for almost a day, until I could move the limbs and establish control over the eyes and breath and all the corners of the mind."

"And you sent Siamak free."

"He was bound in torment, what little of him was left. Yes. The first thing I heard though, was your voice, as you visited the house."

She looked carefully at the features. She had heard stories of possession, she did not know if it was that, or merely Siamak’s way of presenting a conversion, brought on by his experience, to others. She looked hard for some core of belief to hold onto, to know. But there was none.

They continued to slowly and steadily row out, they passed closer and closer to the harbor, and she could see two ships afire, and the warehouses as well. In addition, she saw other small fires had broken out in the town, and the roofs had caught fire and started to burn that black soot.

They must be setting on fire the homes of those that opposed the mayor.”


Siamack did not even glance back. “Fire is their only friend now. They have spiraled down into its embrace.”

So you awoke after three days.”

I came to this body after three days, and mended it. They had meant to open it to one of their own, and instead I came.”

An angel?”

No, I was once another, I do not know who. But I am Siamak Adarpadyavand now, and will be until my soul is separated from this body, and goes beyond to where ever the God has in mind for it.”


She looked at him. “I feel I have done so little, Navid was captured and escaped, you are back from the dead, others have organized, written, thought and spoken. I have done little, or nothing.”

Nothing? Who went to Navid’s wife to reassure her?”

But that is what had to be done, it was nothing.”


He shook his head between strokes. And then stopped rowing, the boot continued to move none the less, she assumed it to be a current.

But only you did it, and a thousand times, when there needed to be a hand to touch, it was yours. I will tell you plainly, if it had not been for your staying with this body, it surely would have been lost. It was your touch which held enough of his soul to fight off the flurry that surrounds us all, that blackens the air beyond the candle flame.”

It is nothing.”

It is the tie that binds, this anointing with touch.”


She listened, she thought, she felt the movement of the boat accelerate, and then looked over her shoulder, there was a large square rigged vessel, of an unusual design, anchored outside of the light of the burning town, she could see it because only in outline and by a dim reflection of the fire. No, that wasn’t true, now it was coming dawn, dawn behind it made the  silhouette stronger with each passing moment.

And so that is what I am, to wander through the world, protected by others, having others do, and not do, in my name?”

You are one of the healers of a sick world. Siamak knew it and resented it.”


His words were stiff, his eyes burned, not in the piercing way of old, but lit by some inner fire. It did not try to overwhelm or beat down.

And what now? What of Ali and the rest.”

Ali and Parvaneh escaped before you did, she knew that something was very wrong, and sensed it was time to take flight. He went with her, his affections now focused on her life above his own. He gave me this, to give to you.” He passed over a small scroll. She took it gingerly, half expecting him to judge her as she took it.


She looked back at the city, with the morning light now making the clouds seem even blacker, because they were more clearly defined in contrast to white buildings and green hills. They poured upward as dye flows downward into water. Or squid’s ink fills an aquarium.

And what now?”

I will do what Siamak should have done before – take defense of the town. You, and the others, must go on the pilgrimage, and then to the Hajj. For what has happened here is happening elsewhere.”


She nodded, it was her duty. And with that her spiritual legs gathered under her, as quickly as a cats do during a fall. She straightened, assumed a different mien. She was being born to a vessel, she had others who worked for her protection, because it was she who bound the parts together. Now it was time to earn this name that had been made for her.

And you?”

I am the Queenmaker, and having helped set you on this throne, I will help in the utmost to keep you there. Because it is what only you can do.”


The boat slowed, without obvious effort on his part, as they approached the ship, and it began to tower over them. The came to a complete stop on a boarding raft, and joined a cluster of other small boats there. She sat, and then stood up, and stepped her way on to the planks that bobbed slightly in the growing waves. Siamak gestured for peace to be upon her, and then turned the boat with his oars, and began pulling away, though far faster than should have been for the speed which he was rowing.

She looked about, and seeing no one here, turned towards the robe stairs that went up at a steep angle along the ship. She boarded up the stairs from the ocean level raft, there, too, were the other Hajj members, she imagined that they were as in shock as they. It was a stranged bedraggled grouping, and she felt pulled out of her cocoon, she had not bathed in some time, nor changed clothes. But then, the feel of sweat stiffened clothes, sandals that had been worn into, wasn’t that what made a pilgrim.

What shocked her is that each of the others did homage to her, and thanked her for notes that she had not had sent, and for a warning given by another in her name. She blinked, and realized that she had been given a gift, one that she would now have to keep up. She took each one in turn and embraced them, and then went with them to the stern of the ship, which rocked as the vessel now weighed anchor.

At first it seemed to gain speed slowly, and then she could see the few small boats left behind, their occupants now rowing south and east, away from the harbor, and to one of the small fishing villages up the coast, gradually losing distinction as people and becoming merely figures. She was transfixed, and she felt bathed by the warm breeze and the salt air seemed to scour her cheeks and run its fingers through her hair. It grew in strength.

The wind from south, from the Ocean Haram, now blew fiercely, as the town disappeared into the West, the fires from the harbor and the normal haze now blow north and out to see. She had never seen the air so clear, nor felt it so clean. She saw the buildings of the city, from minarets to villas on the hills, from the few ships still spired, now out at anchor in the bay, it was all etched with fine and acid clarity, while the background was hidden in the mixture of haze, smoke and soot that billowed black and then was forced away. It seemed a curtain drenched in dirt. The smell of sulfur was gone, and there was a brutal unimpeachable clarity, in this, her last memory for many months, she imagined, of her home and its environs.

(Database) I show you what work on

Its seems you need db practice....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

For Next Time... (Wagner)

1. Want is I - V - I? Why  is  it important?

2. Why is I - III - I  different from it?

3. Why does a German composer develop a  following among English speakers?

4. Why does 'musical drama'  mean something other than Opera  in the late 19th century?

5. Why does a composer mean so much to writers?  And especially writers in another language?


For Next Time ... (Databases)

1. Why are there many infinities? Why not one?

2. Why not get a Get a computer to answer any question put to?

3. Surely with all the firepower of modern computers,  either  they should be able to answer,  or at least be close to answering any question.

4. What's the difference between  finite and infinite anyway?

5. Why do we need an architect anyway?

6.  Who was Cantor?  Godel?  Turing?  And why do we have to know about this anyway? Can we get back to doing our hair or shooting a basket instead?  I mean I could look at a on Wikipedia if I really needed,  can't I?

7. Why haven't I heard about Codd  and Date? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codd%27s_12_rules )


Unforgettable Fire A6

Comet’s may announce the death of kings, but in this time and place of the Caliphate, the death of important people was cause for crackling of telegraph wires. By this measure, his death was not noticed. There was a funeral march in the town, the news noted that someone had been killed and the killers killed. It was only in party circles that the news spread quickly, it was several days before the last letter from his hand arrived in Siamak’s hand, and he he wept as he read it. But he was not a man to let grief get in the way of opportunity, he had long envied the power with the poor that Jalal had had, and sent dispatches to his followers in the capital to try and grab as many of them as was possible.

He also sent word to Malakeh, as even he was calling her by now, to come and talk to her, he wanted to break the news. He also realized that the advice was sound – members had to be in the capital as quickly as possible. He sent out letters to each, and, now that the sun was halfway down the sky sent out a messanger to pick up the papers that were now coming out, and prepared to meet with visitors as they came.

He was quite taken aback when the first of these was the lady herself – he had expected her to take her time, dressing and fussing as preparing, as his own two wives did – and was not prepared for her to simply arrive. More over, he had expected her in finery, and found her garbed only in the two layers of white linen which Jihadeen wore, though a refined eye would note that these were very pure white – indicating that they were very new, or very well cleaned, rather than stained yellow with use.

But he only allowed this to pass his face for an instant, and he was all firmly smiling control.

I am surprised to see you hear so quickly. I just sent…”


With a wordless gesture, she showed him the scroll she had received, not from him but from Jalal. Or rather, she showed him the seal, not wishing to reveal that it had really been sent by Jalal’s aid de camp, telling her to see Siamak, but not to trust him, and recounting certain unguarded words that Siamak had used.

She effortlessly lowered this into a white leather satchel she had had made, and waited.

Please, pray continue.”

Well it is The God’s will. I must tell you that Jalal, peace be upon him, is dead. He was murdered in his own house.”


She nodded, not saying anything. He started to look for a seat, to take the normal position of superior to subordinate, but it felt uncomfortable, instead, he motioned to go up the stairs – spiral, as was the fashion when the house was built – and they were soon seated on the balcony, drinking tea, flavoured with milk and honey.

He as usual, reclined and sprawled across his chair – this a great wicker one with a circular back that went well over his head – and looked at her.

I must admit, I have been, “ he searched for the right words, “less than trusting of you.”


She began calculating, clearly he was after something. Perhaps to consolidate Jalal’s following into his own?

She barely shrugged and sipped the tea. “Jalal’s death, peace be upon him, is a signal of the dangers we face. I will tell you,” and with this his entire posture changed, from reclining to leaning over towards her. She responded by leaning towards him, and holding her ear very close.

I believe he was murdered by one of our own, not by the other side.”


She looked at him, it was an admission, but perhaps one to cover his own complicity? She didn’t know.

You don’t say.”

I do say. And what is more.” He looked straight at her. “There was a time when I would have rejoiced in it.”


She was tempted to recline backwards, and put distance between them, but she felt that this desire to bring her in was lit like a fire in him, and that he would soon reveal more. Men, they talk either too little, or too much.

I think that you can consolidate our hold among his followers, if you would go to the city and make one of your grand entrances.”

And you would…”

And I would supply the manpower and backing for it.”


She stopped and thought. No, she did not want to be this man’s puppet.

She reclined back. She thought of leaving, but she felt that it was best to let him think that he merely had not offered enough.

I can offer you a better place in the Hajj.”


This she put on her slightly peevish face and looked at him. “My dear, we do not even know if the Hajj will be anything more than a vent in the government out of which will pour hot and useless air, befouled with odors.”

But it could be made into more.”


She stood up. “Very interesting, but I must be going. This is too speculative, too distant for me. I need more, concrete and specific things.”

He realized that, for a second straight time, he had let her slip through his fingers. Clearly he was doing something wrong. The desire to control her was planted in his mind, it was becoming as strong as a lust in his body, an urge to set his territory farther out than it was. Somehow, it would be done.

She walked to the door. “Peace be upon you, I must take my leave.” Having gained the admission as an equal, she was leaving with a powerful victory, she walked out, with a slow graceful sidle, her sandaled feet pushing her forwarded with seeming great force. His eyes could not help fall upon her hips, which were round as a wine vessel, and which seemed pressed like globes against the fabric. Mere intellectual desire was kindled also to physical desire. But the he put the fire out as quickly as he could, this woman had already played him too well. She had gone from being an annoyance, to a valuable vassal, to an equal, it would be too humiliating for him to fall down one more step of the ladder and become yet another of her male admirers, enspelled and ensared by her round liquid eyes, honey voice and particular movements. She left, with the maid servant showing her way out. Siamak would bed with his second wife that night, but in his mind, all he could see was the round hips of Malakeh.

The next morning, when he bathed, he reclined in the tub along time, and stared down at his naked body, stirred, still, by something. He sighed and realized that she had, indeed, gotten the better of him, and he would simply have to make the best of it.

Men are not haunted by women that the do possess, only ones that they cannot possess, either because the woman is in the past, or the woman is in the future, or as with her, forever out of the grasp, beckoning like the ripe figs and pears heavy on the tree. And the time when a man can have a woman, enter her, is like a country unto itself in a man's mind, a land a region, hanging misty with magic. For Siamak, she was that mythical country over the next mountains, where could be visible the moon, that body which is said to shine in paradise for the most faithful of the faithful.

Hung ripe the heavy she is, The moon of the holy book, Low above the horizon's turn, shinging bliss upon the devoted In their splendor unclothed before The God, there, in the land of paradise, it is nigh, should you enter it.

He remembered the verse from years before, he did not know the source of it.
Paradise is a dangerous desire, he went back to bed, and took his first wife, and still, the hunger did not leave him, for it was not to enter the gates, but to breath the air itself that he longed for.

-

Malakeh left Siamak with distaste in her mouth, she felt it was he who was too small for her, and she disliked the perpetual sense that he thought she was a pawn. She felt he was too small for her, because he was, distinctly, a minor player, one who was good at manipulating and pushing, but who was out of his depth in his grasping for higher power. She realized that it he might be useful, but was not yet, entirely, sure how. He was, however, weakening, she could feel that.

But her thoughts turned to other things, not least of which was how to make use of his suggestion of making a grand entrance into the city of Kentaurus. She had a vision of landing in the port of Haram, walking through the Morerla, gathering more and more people to her, and then taking this throng over the hills and into the “inner city”, that rill between the slab hills that housed the government and the watchworks of the human cogs that made it up.

She could see it in her minds eye, and as she went back to her small home – once her second “city” house, now merely, “hers”, she allowed it to embellish itself in her mind as a visualization. Wouldn’t that be grand. Now the question was how to pull it off. An idea struck her. She reached her home and dashed off a quick note, and handed it to a messenger.

By late in the day she was doing the customary reading of news, and assembled around her were her close circle of advisors: Imam Bashir ibn Fakih, a broad man, who had clearly lost weight from exertions, whose wide bespectacled face radiated openness and kindness, the young poet Ali Ibn Masuk, who had come to write more and more of her words, or rather, as he called it “crafted” her ideas into words, a phrase she liked, also there was Samir al-Saqr, who immediately set himself off as a man of action next to two men of words. Where as Bashir was mature, filled out and soft, and Ali was thin and just more than a boy, Samir al-Saqr’s features seemed carved from stone, and impassive. He was her expert in what he called “security”, and organized a growing body of young men who had taken up marching behind her, some armed with clubs. It had been necessary, when the mayor had tried to threaten many into silence with the police. Finally there was Navid Shaheen, his distant cousin, who looked neither like a man of words, nor a hardened man of combat, but instead between them. He was “the money”, the man who had stepped into the void that her husband had left among her backers, by providing advice and counsel, as well as a sharp mind. The two cousins, on whose practical advice she had come to rely. Many years before she had thought of Navid as merely, “the man who recommended my lawyer to me”, but found out over time that he was well acquainted, and often knew the right person for the job.

These four men shared differing degrees and kinds of devotion for her. For Imam Bashir, it was a long civic association, helping the poor, providing religious instruction, and being, in general, among that group of people who are the ties that bind a community together. For Samir, it was clear that he saw this as the channel through which flowed a way to a more reasonable future, not rational, for his business did not thrive on rationality – but instead that the way of the present simply did not work. He was a smooth man, who shaved his face smooth, and he liked a world that moved that same way. He regarded the present with contempt, in that way that men who know their business do about men who do not. For Navid it was as an intellectual equal, as an opening of new horizons. He had known everyone, but she excited him by making the wheels turn. Often he knew all the people who were needed for some action, but had never thought to coordinate them. It also amazed him how much was done in her name without her asking, merely by her suggesting a direction, others followed along it. And to some extent, it was the last of the four who was responsible – for Ali Ibn Masuk’s devotion was even simpler, it was passion, physical, spiritual and intellectual passion. She had not intended to let this passion become an affair, and in her mind it had not – they had coupled once near a garden shrine, and she had one other time drawn his body into her, this time in her own bedroom, and without any disguise of night or clothing, she had expected him to react differently, but it was clear his attraction for her was undiminished by seeing her, past the prime of her beauty, in the early morning light of dawn. Dawn which had flooded her curves as it floods the valleys, highlighting them in shapes which exist, only for a moment.

She looked at these four, with there differing expressions, having just read the letter which had told her of Jalal’s death, and recounted her conversation with Siamak.

It was Samir who spoke first, he often spoke first. “It would seem that Siamak has forgotten the important idea, this is to restore the land to glory, not to glorify individuals. I would advise having nothing to do with his plan to make you a priest-queen. We are already running tremendous risks to protect you as it is.” He then set his thin mouth very hard.

At which point his cousin embraced him, as his muscles rippling, not in tense worry, but with optimism. “Cousin, cousin! Of course she can be anything the people need, and they need new heroes, I am as good a friend of Siamak as any here, perhaps I can talk to him, bring him back in.”

The Imam Bashir commented dryly, “That is the problem, it is he who wants to bring her in, not aware that the role he wanted, of great spokesman, is not available to him. He had hoped, I think to mold the Hajj to his will.”

Ali almost said something, but stopped himself, cleared his throat with that nervous tremble he often had, as far and away the youngest. “I say we sweep him aside, yes, aside, it will be a poem of movement, to hold a vast rally here, and show him what winds are blowing now.” Samir was shaking his head, but it was Navid who replied. “We have the city, Siamak will come along with us, we have the provinces, the walks out into the country side that Malakeh has been doing, the speeches that you have been writing have already done that work. We need something larger, marches and Jihadeen grow tired quickly. I would suggest that, as fascinating as putting this town under our complete control might be, that Malakeh has larger work to do, and Bashir and I should stay here to manage the affairs of the town. It is urgent she be to Kentaurus, Jalal was more influential than people imagine.”

Malakeh had relaxed and watched the men battle for her attention and judgment, while, emotionally, the idea that Ali had was appealing, the execution of it might be difficult, even dangerous. And getting to the capital was where the power was.

The conversation went on for sometime, with no resolution, but an agreement that getting to Kentaurus was of primary importance. She dismissed all of them and went upstairs getting to bed just in the darkness. She looked to the doorway to the balcony, and waited. It had been arranged for Ali to return, she could feel her pulse in her finger tips.

Then, not long afterward, she heard two sets of footsteps leading up the stairs, the first was light, and she knew it to be her maid servant’s the second had that delicate heaviness of a young man who is more at home behind a desk than walking up stairs in the middle of the darkness. She pondered, for a moment, what to do. On one hand, she trembled in expectation, this part of her wanted to remain still, have him come to the bed, and peel off her cloths. Another part of her wanted to prevent anything from happening, break off whatever, clearly, had been started – an admission she only just made to herself – and a third part wanted him to come, and find her in the nude, willing and drawing him into her, with her hands on him, guiding him. So, two votes to one, she did not peel off her clothes, but she stayed there, waiting. She had intended to draw her self up, and be seated against the pillows that would establish distance, but she found she could not move as she heard the footsteps against the floor, softly, with sandelled feet touching the marble, and then there was a distinct pause, and the next foot fall was not with sandels, but bare. Then there was another, and another, far less awkward.

She could see out of the corner of her eye a few stars to the south, through the doorway to the balcony, there were shooting stars, they came one at a time, in a kind of rhythmic wave. She turned to watch them, and saw his thin frame fill the light with a darkness, a darkness that implied both menace and heat, for she could feel, even from this distance the heat from his skin – or was it her own?

He said nothing, she opened her mouth to start a conversation, but it was dry, there wasn’t even a croak. She could feel hands moving up and down her thighs and then sliding up to remove her gown – she found herself merely lifting her arms upward and allowing it to continue, as those hands slid up her sides, along those same arms, and over her hands.

She was breathing far more heavily than she had first expected or noticed. Finally, he spoke.

And then he came to undiscovered lands, and felt a warm wind that was from a new sea, Touching it to his lips he named it holy, Rememberance was made that moment. That every lingered onward”


It was from an epic poem of the conquests in the early years of the Faithful on Ishtar, but he did not have metallic combat, nor dry journey on his lips, but spoke with pauses as a pilgrim might, having finished the devotion, and begun to put to his mouth what he beseeches the God for.

She waited there in the darkness, hearing only her own sharp exhales and long in hales, his own breath almost held as he waited, waited, for some sign, she could feel his gaze on him, though it was quite dark. And then his hands moved under her back and down to her hips, and with a strength she had not realized they possessed she found herself being rolled over, onto her chest, her breasts pressed against the smooth bedding, her head raised by the pillows – staring out into the meager light that came from the western window.

Before she had felt almost maternal in their lovemaking, as if she was embracing him, and enfolding him into the softness that was her body, which had felt the passing of almost 6 trisdekads, well into what might be called “middle age”. But this time was different, she had been more ready than could be resisted, and this time, she felt him move through her, as if his life was passing through her, she felt, for the first time, taken. Penetrated. Her vision began to dance and blur, until all was merely the feel of his thrust over her hips, which rolled with it, and that sensation which cannot be described in words on this side of paradise. At first she arched her neck away from the bed, but then turned it to the side, her cheek resting on the pillow, her hair fallen about her face, her breath captured by the pillow and reflected back so that she could feel it as starkly as anything else, the sensations from her body each, in turn tingling with the flow of blood.

This went on, her body rocking like the waves that reach the beach in a gentle wind, each one coming after the next. She fell asleep after he had subsided, and sobbed. Sobbed because she had been taken, sobbed because she knew it must end, that she could not have this, sobbed because she had not felt this way in so long.

When she awoke later, it was already that greying time that says that dawn is to arrive, when slowly the dimmer stars leave, and there is a colour to the sky that is not merely blue, but has gained the almost impossibly frail taint of red. She hated awakening alone, and this precipitated in her the desire to end the affair, because she did not want to awake alone. But she sat up, hugged her favorite pillow to her, and cried dry tears.

This, however, did not last long, her feet were on her slippers on the floor, and she drew some warmish water down from the roof, where she had, of course, a water heater powered by the sun. She bathed, a thorough, but not luxurious bath, she did not want to luxuriate in this feeling, but instead, wanted to wash it off of her, like a place one has visited, only to have been there, and then gone home. The light was filling her bedroom, the tub being in it, and with each moment she regained her composure and resolve.

Malakeh was not, by nature, manipulative, but few women, and only a few more men, can resist the temptation to match make. After all, the easiest way to put down a candy is to hand it to a child, the easiest way to put him out of reach, was to find a suitable match for him. She could then see the results, without the difficulties intervening, which, while not as satisfying were enough. She would, she assumed find another outlet for her energies. 

“And after all,” she reminded herself stiffly, “it is not as if I am going to have endless time to feed my desires.”

She dressed with her maid servant, she noted that one one advantage of this mania for white was that it simplified one step of the process. She placed a white band to hold up her hair, which left the crown of it flowing free and down to her shoulders, had her maid servant lace up a pair of sandals in the Latin style that went all the way up her to the top of her calf, and then was ready to face the day.

By the time she had gotten downstairs, she already had her first visitor, it was Siamak’s daughter, Parvenah. Who was, like her name, delicate. She instantaneously knew that this was personal, and not political.

The girl was on the verge of tears, and out of deference, Malakeh dismissed her hand maid. She was still of sylphan youth, and garbed in a long white dress sashed at the waste. In it was a small knife, as many of the whites, particularly the young ones had started to do, because it had “been that way in the old days”. Malakeh noted this only briefly, but instead swept up to her and embraced her.

Now tell your aunt, what is the matter.”


With only a short sharp drawing of breath in as preamble. “Oh you must not repeat this, but it is my father, he stormed about last night, and I heard the most desperate sounds coming from upstairs this morning. It was terrible. He has always been,” - Malakeh unconsciously added “prone to fits” for that is what she had heard – “taken by moods, but now it is much worse than ever before. I have never seen him like this.”

Malakeh’s thoughts condensed on a clear road. It was obvious that Siamak needed a rest, that she needed to go to Kentaurus, but after having had a large send off in grand style, and that Ali needed to meet Parvenah. All could be solved, by just keeping her wits about her.

Dear, dear. Let met tell you that all will be resolved. Your wise uncle Navid is going to help work things out.” She pulled the girl back from her, “But I shouldn’t call him that, because you are no longer the young girl I met when I first encountered your father.”


She sniffed only a little and looked. Malakeh cleared her teardrops, and began. “Would you stay with me for a snack?” And before Parvaneh could answer, she had reached out, rung the bell, and was guiding her over to the small corner table, made of woven reeds with a richly died table cloth. As they were seated, there was a ringing of the bell from the outside, and Malakeh went to answer it, on the way by directing her handmaid to get fruit and draw off some rice milk for Parvaneh.

She reached the door, and there, armed with bundles of paper wrapped haphazardly in leather folios, was her “breakfast cabinet”, including this time, her solicitor, and two of the other members of the Al-Quareshi Hajj deligation. She had two more tables rolled out, and soon a boisterous meeting was going on. She made a point of sitting Ali next to Parvaneh, and began.

I have made some decisions since last night.” Ali blanched guiltily, but no one else was looking at him “And my first is that I am going to take your advice.”


Navid interjected: “About going to Kentaurus?”

Yes, that and Ali’s advice to have something visible. I shall make my leave taking on foot, and make it an event, with speeches and a vigil. We must leave the city with a sense of destiny. Ali, I need to craft some words for me, and could you find someone to help you with providing that ‘touch of lightness’ as you call it? I shall be busy.” Ali nodded, and Parvaneh leaned over and whispered something to him, but her attention had turned elsewhere.

I shall let all of you make the arrangements, and I will follow them to the letter. Let me speak to Navid.”


The group began discussing how to do this, and it was swelled by two of Imam Bashir’s people arriving with messages, and one stayed to help organize the march.
When she had gotten Navid alone, she looked at him. “I have heard from the daughter that Siamak is having fits. We should go over and see him.”

On this they agreed, and went out, leaving Bashir in nominal charge of affairs.