Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Chupke Se" music video from "Saathiya"

A song from the film Saathiya by Mani Ratnam (2002), music by A. R. Rahman. Sung by Sadhna Sargam. Picturized are Rani Mukherjee and Vivek Oberoi.

This is in reference to the Hindi chupke se (चुपके से) used in the poem Evil Mood Fib in my previous post.

Actually, though, I had not thought of this song when I wrote the poem, but only of the literal meaning of the expression, which is secretly. And this is part of the lyrics of the song Chalo Na Gori (चलो ना गोरी) by C. H. Atma, an Indian singer popular in the 1950s, I was listening to when I wrote the poem.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The evil mood fib

an eve,
I’m in an
evil mood. Doctor,
take this evil mood off my soul.

lin, light
scratches, now
clarinet come in.
To music I fain make appeal.

my eyes,
my senses,
I’m fighting evil
mood with uncomprehended words.

se. With
stealth. To get
at them. Them who get
to me through clever evil stealth.

– Leonard B.

Some fairly cryptic poetry served as a statement of feeling and mantra-like speech to combat same.

Talked to N. before. She was in one of her down moods, where she is not amenable to uplift and wants to punish herself – and her surroundings – by looking at bleak things and keeping it that way.

Then my dear M. called to tell of all the cruelty committed against her, laying on more.

Sometimes I get irate with these efforts to load me up. I cannot possibly be the horse to pull all these carts out of the mud. Especially when they attempt to tether me to horses moving in other directions, tearing me apart with conflict.

I’m playing C. H. Atma to combat it, to not be dragged down; this is what I’m talking about here.

Fib not centered to show the sawing process that's going on here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Goodbye Juan, goodbye Rosalita

When I used the word "aeroplane" in my previous post, it was not without reason. For the last 2 days I've had Woody Guthrie's poem Plane Wreck At Los Gatos in my head. There is a Wikipedia article about the incident that caused him to write it.

The article lists a number of cover versions, but not the one by Odetta, which is hauntingly beautiful and marked my first encounter with the song some time in the late 1970s. Her version starts with "Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita," and she distinctly sings "aeroplane" instead of "airplane."

I was at an Odetta concert much later, perhaps in 2003. She had difficulty walking and had to support herself while singing, but she was as stunning as ever.

Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee)

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"

My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?

– Woody Guthrie

Weather report: shiny, shiny, shiny

The weather I can report on with some lapse because it is stable, near-term surprises are not to be expected. It's the big baby-blue out there, with white streaks from aeroplanes.

The sun is shining down, and this should make me happy, just like everyone else.

Everyone else has been shedding layers.

I'm sitting in my office, feeling cooped up and nervous, as if on crystal lithium*.

Don't worry, I don't even know what that would be like.

Except that I have a nervous feeling. It feels like I should be doing something speedily, lots of things, in fact, to ameliorate the situation, to solve problems, to get rid of work, to no longer procrastinate with the breadless arts.

Don't worry, I won't go into the problems to be solved.

– Yours Lenny B., doggedly trying to remain cheerful in spite of it all


*Borrowed from James Schuyler. He published a collection of poetry titled "The Crystal Lithium" in 1972.

The title derives from the fact that he had to take lithium for balance. There had been imbalances that forced hospitalization.

These imbalances included the incident where he washed money in the bathtub at Fairfield Porter's house, if I remember correctly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

First cuneiform results

Hittite is proving ultra-resistant. I hope I didn't promise more than I can keep.

However, to give my eclect audience a foretaste, here are the first fragments of the promised pastoral elegy translated from that very old and long extinct Indo-European language:

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? bemourn ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? mourn grief ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? lament cry? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ‘is flute ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? Hattupsilitas ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? fields of barley? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? onion ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? finest of minds of his? ?
? generation? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? moan grief cry? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? so cruelly blown away ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? moan grief cry? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? bemoan oh muses*? ?
? ? ? ? bemoan? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

* “Muses” is a later Greek concept. However, the divine beings appealed to here seem quite related as far as I can make out.

Note that this is far from final. The poetics and modes of thinking and expression in this ancient language were quite different from today's Indo-European or other modes.

Experience burnt into memory this morning

of big
coconut : Mister
Burnt Bronze exits tanning saloon
in yellow shorts and white tee in anemic April

– Len Blumfeld

Faithful poetic razor edge fib reporting as always.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Let's go and see if such things can be true

The Miracle Man

That doctor's amazing! They say the old sinner
Puts food in his mouth when he's eating his dinner,
And also feels hungry if starved of his bread,
And closes his eyes when he sleeps in his bed!
He walks with his feet always treading the ground,
His eyes can see things, and his ears can hear sound.
On his shoulders, they tell me, his head you can view:
O let's go and see if such things can be true!

– Sukumar Ray

(Translated from the Bengali by Sukanta Chaudhuri)

Sukumar Ray (1887-1923) could be called the Indian Lewis Carroll. His nonsense verse is as known in Bengal as Mother Goose is in the English-speaking world. His son was the great film director Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), also a writer; the third generation in a family of multi-talents.

More on Sukumar Ray at At Home, Writing.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Playing St. Francis again

"What's all the twitter about?" I asked up into the air.

"Oh, Shruti tells me the nest is comfortable now.
Near finished.
Nothing better than a job well done."


"Have a good day."

"Chirp on then."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Work in progress announcement

To all those holding their breath for additional pastoral elegies from the antique world:

I am currently working on the translation of a Hittite pastoral elegy about a shepherd (what else!) and archer against his will named Hattutaswili. The problem is that the cuneiform tablets it's on are in very poor shape, so that a lot of text is missing or blurred.

Their condition is nowhere near as good as the one shown above.

For consolation, I'm posting a quote from the Hittite Lullaby John Ashbery discovered:
More letters from the Sphinx
About what it was like [...]
All aspirations in the teeth
Of some pedantic ritual.
(from John Ashbery, As We Know, 1979)

The longings of a remote espresso bar

so bar on
the lonely planet’s
shoestring that needs more business now

– L. Blumfeld (copyright & you know what 2007)

Uninvited note
This came about as the result of an MSN search for "espresso bar at lonely planet" from somewhere in the Philippines executed on this blog. Whoever searched was probably disappointed in World So Wide. I suspect that they wanted someone like Douglas Adams, not Len Blumfeld.
Just in case, and to prevent any eventuality of more disappointment in the future, I simply had to add appropriate content.

In a trough

If this is all you have to complain about, you're doing great.
– Playdough, ca. 333 BC
I'm in a writing trough right now.

Might change any minute. Hopefully will.

Triggered by:

  1. Too many calls from an ageing parent who has excelled in laying guilt trips on people for most of her 86 (soon to be 87) years.
  2. Overload & exhaustion, including from having been exceedingly "creative".
  3. Back pain.
  4. General Unlust*.
Now would be a good time to write something Bukowskiesque. He always managed to milk the most blabla situations for something marketable.

*A wonderful German word for which there is no exact match in English. Perhaps "disinclination" would not be so bad.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Perhaps it's not such a bad idea for a blogger to once in a while muze over whether blog objectives have been reached or where things are going. An unedited interview with Jackie Shannon from the Bloggo Times sheds light on these and other issues.

JS: With a pretentious title like "World So Wide" your blog definitely invites scrutiny.
LB: I didn't intend it to be pretentious. Just wide.
JS: What? Oh. Haha. ... Let's see. Yes: With a title like that, one would expect something comprehensive, something that covers lots of areas. One thing that seems to be missing is razor edge reporting on political events.
LB: Sorry. I live on the edge of town, and the razor cuts off the news before it gets to me.
JS: What? Oh. Haha. I see.
LB: Also, I must say that there are lots of people out there who do a terrific job of reporting. There's no need for another poor job from me. Take, for example, Quirky News from Ananova. Where they recently reported on a swan in China that is friends with fish and regularly feeds them.

JS: You read that column regularly for news?
LB: No. Discovered it just this morning in search of quirky news.
JS: Thank you for these kind words, Mr. uh ...
LB: Blumfeld. That's all right, sometimes I forget it myself. Thanks for stopping by, Jackie de Shannon.
JS: There's no "de" in there.
LB: Sorry! Confused you with somebody I used to listen to.
JS: Anyway: toodleloo.
LB: One last thing. I do cover a wide variety of topics that are both pertinent and relevant. Like pastoral elegy, going back to Old Greek times. If you want me to, I'll go back even further. Babylon, Atlantis, you name it – I'll deliver the pastoral elegies. I do fibonaccis, that's leading edge technology.
JS: That's all nice and well, but –
LB: I mix (up) classical Indian music with poetry I write, report on the weather sometimes. Perhaps not often enough. But in sharp edge fashion. I write about coffee, warm-ups, rumors, sighs, wind-downs, even quoting García Lorca and Robert Bly.
JS: Gotta go. Bye!
LB: I added a haiku in Hindi the other day, for God's sakes! That's India for you, an old and upcoming nation. It's a wide world out there, and I take my nibbles. By the way: I can report that the weather looks very promising today! Blue sky, cherry trees in bloom, lots of pollen in the air making me dread hay fever ...
JS: (sound of door slamming)

Fibbing Fats

Come on
and let the
good times roll, forget
Blue Monday. Kansas City here

meets whipporwill calls
in his blue heaven walking to

leans to
see red sails
in the sunset when
his dreamboat comes home. Ain’t it a

black fingers
no longer pound the
piano. The moon did stand still.

– Lenny Blumfeld (cprt. 2007)

Brought about by Tad Richard's Fats Domino fib in the comments of Gregory K.'s The Fib: "Perhaps you shouldn't try to write Fibonacci poems while listening to Fats Domino."
*Just can't leave the notes alone, can I?

A Hindi haiku

अमावस कि रात
मदिरा में चांद डूबा
पेई सुंग शिव जगेय

– Richa Dubey (copyright 2006)

Originally posted by the author in transliteration on her blog khwaab-i-fursat, where this haiku can also be read in her own English translation.

Open letter to the author

Dear Richa,

Your poems are wonderful. Unfortunately, your blog has been inactive since the end of last year, and there is no link with an e-mail address. Otherwise I would have asked for your kind permission to post this haiku in World So Wide.

Please get in touch if you stumble across this posting.

Kind regards,

Leonard Blumfeld

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mareike condensed

crumb is
to remain
unaltered. This all
is our purpose on this planet.

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

This afternoon in her kitchen, Mareike in a few sentences summarized our obligation to the mineral world. She specifically quoted “crumb” as a member of this world.

Please let me sleep

A fibonacci poem based on raag chandrakauns (late night)

me sleep
the sleep of
with the world’s tendrils unfurling

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

The idea behind this one is that the world's (or universe's) forces seeping into sleep are behind sleep's regenerative or healing effect.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Four-letter fib

puzzle: four-
letter word with fif-
teen letters. Which one would that be?

– Len B.

(© 2007)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


no more
math than the
syllable counting of
fuddy duddy poetry days.

– Lenny B.

In prose continuation: So if you feel like writing R&B fibs inspired by Beepop Alula that's just great. Let 'em rock!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Tired night fib

kind of
that a fib can be
squeezed out of this exhausted mind.

This might be one last mind prick-up
of the ears, one late

to the

– Lenny B. (cprt. 2007)

Female part of diamond revised at daylight the next day.
That's OK, I think.
I am the master of my blog.
At least that – one kind of freedom.

Ode to loneliness

is an ode

It has
an anode

nor, you
guessed it,
a cathode
– Leonard Blumfeld (copyright 2007)

Invitable note
Written in an attack of musing about loneliness and its pain and omnipresence even in the presence of others, and using or mis/abusing the 3-part form of the ode (strophe, antistrophe and epode), see Wikipedia.

Invitable afternote
This "ode" could be simply read as a joke, but it might possibly invite further speculation along the lines of what should preferably happen between anode and cathode and what the result is if nothing happens or if these two movers are removed. Enough said!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Upside down

Narrowed-down basement search reveals:
Unguent is scarce.
Too much sci-
ence. So

– L. B.

This may be more an exercise than anything else.
My son looked at some of my fibs and called them "pyramid poems", which is straight geometrical observation based on the fact that I usually center them.
It occurred to me to do an upside down pyramid. I suppose it could also be called a stalactite.
I found this quite difficult to write, with some physical discomfort in my brain due to the required end-to-beginning thinking. In fact, the last 2 1/2 lines were what popped into my mind first. The basement at the very top is in reflection of the reversed thinking process of this inverted poetic form. This was quite different from the diamond (see There is a house), where the stalactite was predefined as an inversion of the preceding stalagmite.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Rule breakers


up dull heat.

– Lem B.

Inevitable note
A 4-line fib double pack in contravention of the “do not a or the rule” (see previous post).
The dull heat, at this time of the year in this particular geographical region, is not reality but wishful thinking. May come to regret this wish later on in the year.

The more intricate fibonacci rules

that fibs do
not get to start with
a or the. Well, frankly speaking,
who gives an air-borne copulation about that rule.

– Yours truculently Len B.

Read Rule breakers for fine examples.


merrily mirthfully very

– Lenny B.

A few days ago I read in some aspiring or already aspired writer’s blog that he or she hated adverbs. So I was prompted to write a fib in defense of this threatened**, frequently underrated species that has got a right to live just like any of the major breeds.

I propose the following rule:

*I suppose everybody is used to my notemania by now.
**In American lingo, the adverb is already being replaced by the adjective, as in, for example, "He spoke English real good."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Kafka's Gallery

First it was a short paragraph of black on white called a short story in a Kafka story reader, then it became a steep old cinema with thickly padded plush folding seats, and my senses were up, close to the projector, darkness and the dust moth-flecked conical beam pointing. It was an empty theater, not even I was there, really. And no movie was playing.

– Leonard Blumfeld (copyright 2007)

Unappetizing happiness rumor

It has been said by Ernst Jandl
that many faces read
but that his diarrhea, caught
and smeared in his face,
might serve as the same kind
of “identification,” as he calls it;
we, who don’t have to take his word
for it, can safely call it “shit-faced.”

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

The reference is to Jandl’s poem “der ausweis” (“the ID”) from the 1982 collection "der gelbe hund," which is quite faithfully retold in English in the statement part of this rumor.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pretend plain silly

(instructions for use included)

and sigh!
The end ap-
pears to be near, said
the sunny pink plastic rabbit.
To be read aloud repeatedly for full effect.

– Yours silly or not so silly Len B.

This 7-line fibonacci has, of course, its reasons and associations, as anything I write. (Don’t know whether this is always reason for pride.)
The “shiver and sigh” is in assonance with Javed Akhtar’s book of poetry called “Quiver” and my recent poems written in the form of the “sigh,” as well as in remembrance of Barbara Guest, whose idea was that the lines of poems vibrate (which is why she left a lot of space in some of her later poetry). And they do; one just has to develop a sensitivity to feel it. It occurred to me just now that this likens them to atoms, around which there is a cloud of electrons in rapid motion. Also note that the first line may be construed as an appeal to the Hindu god Shiva.
The sunny pink rabbit is from a completely different memory – on my daughter’s fridge there is a cartoon showing a pink rabbit which cheerfully declares “The end is near!”
What holds the two parts together?
An enigmatic magnetic sound system of purposely chosen vowels and consonants.

Concrete poetry reports on today’s unpromising state of weather

cold as to the weather it was
as to the cold weather it was
to the cold weather as it was
as to the weather it was cold
to the weather cold as it was
as to the cold it was weather
cold it was as to the weather

– Yours playfully Len B.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Razor edge of time

Have to report that my back aches.
Too much sitting lately,
including last night's meeting
at an Indian restaurant.

Too much sitting,
yoga neglected.

Will have to kick myself in gear again.

Nice weather out there. Went short-sleeved for the first time this year, under a coat, though.
No head for politics this morning, otherwise I'd analyze the world situation.

Late morning fib

Raag alhaiya bilaval (late morning)

has he
gone? A quick
stride into a sur-
prisingly obstructive morning.

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2007)

The “Which way has he gone” part was the description for raag alhaiya bilaval on the Raga Guide page.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The grainy eyes fib

are! Hard-
ly usable
any more, shot from
screen gazing, not looking at stars

– Len Blumfeld (© 2007)

Rumored beauty

It has been said
that beauty is a vessel,
but, like any vessel,
it should be filled.

Another rumor by Leonard Blumfeld (© April Fools 2007)

Federico García Lorca: Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.

I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.

When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.

Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

Translated by Robert Bly

This is not the translation recited by Joan Baez on Baptism. (Cf. my previous post.) That one was translated by Stephen Spender. I know I have it somewhere. Must look for it.

The Stephen Spender/ J.L. Gili translation can be seen at steer forth! along with the Spanish original.

Old Welsh Song

I take with me where I go a pen and a golden bowl;
Poet and beggar step in my shoes, or a prince in a purple shawl.
I bring with me when I return to the house that my father's hands made
A crooning bird on a crystal bough and, o, a sad, sad word!
– Henry Treece

Recited by Joan Baez on her 1968 album Baptism.

Henry Treece/Joan Baez trivia
Baptism includes a total of four poems by Treece (1911-1966). In addition to "Old Welsh Song," these are "Who Murdered the Minutes," "Oh, Little Child" and "The Magic Wood." J.B. must have really liked this guy's poems.

Out of the window, sharply

I've been sitting here on Sunday morning editing tags.
What a thing to do on Sunday morning, without even having had breakfast.

When I caught myself at this (after approx. 20 min of it),
I, for some reason, remembered through the past darkly,*

and that it was probably a wise idea to situate myself
in the world I live in consciously,

by looking out the window sharply. The world is out there
all right, it consists of thinly white clouds and baby-blue sky,

of quiet houses, grey walls, red roofs and spiky antennae.
Not a whisp of smoke out any chimney. Has it all died on me?

Now don't get rhetorical, I admonish myself. If it were dead,
my dear, you'd know first hand, because you'd be dead yourself.

– Len B.

* Apparently a song by the Rolling Stones. I'd thought it was the title of a poem by Henry Treece, recited by Joan Baez. Will have to verify. The world-so-wide web has failed, I'll have to revert to my empirical means.

Will let you know the results soon, like in about 5 minutes. This is, once again, blogging on the razor edge of time.

I'm back!
  • Empirical means have failed. That Joan Baez record is not among the ones I have in my living room. Probably in the basement, where some of her stuff has been banned. My first record ever was Joan Baez' "The first ten years." Living in the country with no access to music stores, I'd mail-ordered it. Anxiously checking the mail for it every day for weeks. It took an awful long time to arrive. That was in 1970. I was 14.
  • The poem by Henry Treece I remembered is called "Old Welsh Song" (I'll post it soon).
  • I may have possibly and wrongly been thinking of García Lorca's "Gacela of the dark death", which Joan B. also recited on the same record. (To be posted as well; this is turning into a thread.)
  • I'll have to listen to that Rolling Stones number.
Back again, some 10 minutes later:
  • Riddle solved. The Joan Baez album is called "Baptism," and the piece on it I'd actually been thinking about was "Of the dark past" by James Joyce. There you go.
Oh the tricks that memory and association can play...