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Witching Hour

s-l300The witching hour was nearing to cast its spell on the night under the aegis of Artemis, the goddess of the moon, and the passengers on the last train to East Ventura were inwardly invoking the power of Patience for a high hope for a low heaven – they all just wanted to go home after a hard day’s work, and no more. These aggregates were all bound by the same fate of being held up as hostages to the less practical and more unnecessary delay due to their inapt handling of one unruly passenger on board at Moorpark Station. The force of one unruly passenger carried the aggregates over the edge of their collectively simulated sanity and suspended their precious time to be spent at home. This nightly act of daily drama in the life of a commuter was in fact a repertory regularly put on stage by a company entitled Metrolink. It was performed yet again last night for an hour. Without Applauds, of course.

Since I moved to California last October from New Jersey following the footsteps of the nineteenth century emigrants from the East to the West via mules-driven wagons on the Oregon trail, I have been trying to make myself adjusted to the Californian way of life in every sundry aspect. But the most Promethean challenge to overcome is commuting to and from work via train, and my whole life now seems to be run by train schedules operated by Metrolink, the Southern California’s commuter railway company. It takes about three good hours round trip to and from Union Station in Los Angeles without delays, so basically my free time after work during weekdays is to be spent on the train without much personal time at home in the evening. Let’s say the commuting time is agreeable at will due to my economic activities, but any such delays, including the aforesaid and waiting for an Armtrek train to pass by on the trails for about thirty minutes, are hard to receive my magnanimous understanding. And it seems that the last East Ventura bound train in the evening is set for giving me a series of trials by ordeal that I need not anymore. Woes to those who are already burdened with the yoke of needs.

Call it a commuter’s blues or soliloquy, but whenever I am faced with another ordeal of habitual delay that seems to become part of my Immigrant Song in the Wild West, I think of the following Shakespeare’s quotation tinged with wits and pathos that speaks of our moments in life, such as last night’s episode of “Unruly Passenger at Moorpark Station”.

And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe.
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.

Sound and Fury – Two

 

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She is always waiting, and it seems like it is her forte. Like Clytie yearning for Apollo’s love, Iris pines for love as a sublimation of sensuality that is the union of Eros and Psyche. It is different from the religious sense of Agape love that is of spiritual element only. Iris knows it all, and she is a student of the Nietzschean school of thought believing love is the surrendering of herself to the other in consummation of desire so pristine and unadulterated of knowing and understanding of the flesh and the soul of her lover. But the tragedy is that she has read all about it, not experiencing it for real. She lives in the reality of her books and thoughts, and it is there she feels safe and comfy without a fear of rejection. So, her world of love dwells in her maiden meditation to fancy free, giving her imagination free rein to the extreme extent without the violent ends of such violent delights. In her mind’s garden, Iris lets her wild horse run her chariot without the goad because otherwise it would rebel against her order of severely restricted movements, which is unnatural to the beast, and drive her into a high cliff and then push her into fathomless Sea of Shadows.

She seems to speak an infinite deal of nothing, but the feeling of existential Cul-del-sac Iris is having weighs as heavy as the celestial heavens that titan Atlas was holding for eternity. People said, “Beauty is only a skin-deep,” but that’s just a lame, piteous excuse and empty consolation for being unattractive, unwanted, unloved. For that matter, at least Oscar Wilde was honest in saying that a woman’s beauty was a form of genius that needed no explanation because it’s like sunlight. Love looked not with the eyes, but with the mind, so said Shakespeare, but it does not seem so to her.

It is the attractiveness that makes people interested in the soul of the beheld. That’s why Iris wants to go to Aphrodite’s Beach somewhere in Cyprus, where it is believed that goddess of love Aphrodite used to bathe. For it’s said that a woman in want of fairness will be transformed into a beauty if she swims naked alone at the beach with no spectators around. Her fierce desire of fairness attests that all women should be told they are pretty and beautiful, even if they aren’t; they have no other reason than being women. Like a madwoman who has such a seething brain that sees beauty as a paradigm of goodness, Iris dwells on the beauty of life, watching the stars and seeing herself running with them in beauty.

Malaise – chapter ten

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‘Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t I?’ Iris, the interrupted woman whose inverted elitism outed her of the quotidian pleasure, was finally on the verge of private rebellion against the lofty isolation from the world that beckoned her yonder with an alluring panoply of all things sensuous, tactile and visceral, like the tempting fruit from the tree of knowledge. The more she thought about the mysterious man’s Byronic face and Olympian physique, the stronger the flame of her heart grew. It’s really a foolish heart, thought Iris, but when she had no other than a woman’s reason and thought him so, who could berate her? Call it the affair of the heart or whimsical infatuation of the beauty that looked so patrician, so elated, and so untouchable. Yet, her heart was telling her that this time she should surrender to the power of the human nature by letting the force of desire besiege her solitary castle and infiltrate it in all corners without mercy of the inter-cultural code of ethics built on puritanical dictatorship of the body and the soul.

Consumed in the flame of passion, the soul of Iris was in communion with that of Dido, who loved Aeneas more than he loved her. Poor Dido- She deserved a better man who could return her love, for she was beautiful inside and out. Silly Dido- She should have moved on even after her lover deserted her for the glory of his predestined royalty in a new land. Dido was a woman of passion, and so was Iris. They lived on the idea of love and must have figures of love, for that’s what gave them perks of life. But at least, Dido had Aeneas, and her love was consummated in the cave on a stormy day, albeit it was all staged by Venus, the goddess of love and the mother of Aeneas, and Juno, the ever-jealous goddess. Dido’s love was actualized even for a short period of time when she was alone together with Aeneas. Alas! Poor Iris, I knew her, my dear readers. It all seems to me now that Cupid’s arrows took aims at her, but not the figure of her love. Her love was alone, her existence was always invisible, and she was not allowed the joy of love. Iris was dissociated from a parliament of Love, a congress of lovers.

It was said that the idea of love to the classical Athenians was primarily erotic, rather than platonic, instinctual rather than spiritual, physical rather than mental. What we now understand about love was no more than a close bond between family members or a master and a horse or a dog. What Iris was feeling now was a combined love of Eros and Agape. She wanted the wholesomeness of love, as in the union of Cupid and Psyche. People would think that she was disinterested in love because of her beautiful but austere look that prevented people from being jovial with her. She never told her love to anyone but let concealment feed on her damask cheeks. She pined in thought with a green and yellow melancholy with solitude as her steady companion.

two by two – Chapter 8

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He wanted to talk to her but didn’t know how to begin. He did not want to look overtly anxious, and yet he was obviously anxious. Part of it was his urge to find out if she was the right one that matched his gossamer imago, and more of it was his untamed machismo that even his arete, the harmonious combination of moral integrity and physical discipline, could not surmount. In the age of Amazonian resurgence of matriarchy on the crest of #MeToo campaign, the subject matter of indomitable feat of virility could be highly volatile, incriminating even. But Hector was being none other than a man himself and going against the nature would turn him into a closet monster or a spectacular hypocrite.  Besides, Hector was an artist who was unafraid of following his heart according to the True North of Nature. He belonged to the race of the untethered, the bold and the beautiful, and he knew it. All of it, all that he had was working toward his wish to speak to her, the mysterious woman sitting three seats away from him.

 When it reached the zenith of the urge, Hector couldn’t hold it any longer, and it finally erupted from his lips: “Excuse me, miss. I forgot to bring a pen with me. Do you have a spare one by any chance?” It was the best excuse he could think of because the woman was writing in her notebook. She seemed startled at first by a strange man’s request for a pen, but soon her fear of a stranger relented at his polite manner handsomely juxtaposed with his sonorous voice and beautiful eyes that radiated both warmth of the soul and allure of the flesh. Iris was always sagacious of people’s characters, which was her gift and curse of the Fates, and she saw genuineness in this strange but beautiful man’s eyes in an aura of charisma, a mythological power ascribed to the Olympians and select hybrids of mortals and immortals. In a phantasmagorical display of the Greek heroes and gods, Iris was filled with mysterious confidence that gave her a status which fuses the capricious power of a fairy with the sensuous charge of femininity. She finally fished in a pen from her pencil case and gave it to him. “Thank you, Miss. These days people do not seem to carry around a pencil case.” Hector thought that he talked too much and instantly regretted it. But it was a reflex of his heart that knew better. It was working slowly, the kindling of the amber that was beginning to grow. No, my dear reader, it wasn’t that usual playboy’s antics, that sleek glib of a smooth operator because Hector wasn’t the sort. Nothing namby-pamby about Hector’s sensitive nature, nor the supra-abundance of the embryonic courtship that might not even develop with fanfare. But nothing could be further from the truth – the truth that both Hector and Iris were votaries of aesthetic pleasure, the cult of Psyche and Eros, the seekers of Eleusinian Mysteries in their own rights.

Iris wanted Hector to go on, to take her on, to lead her on. Despite her instant bestowal of confidence, she was still wrapped up in her own clock of anonymity and invisibility like a fairy who was visible to the mortal eyes when she wanted to. A fairy whose sentiments were different from the mortals and who could be both impish and angelic according to her whims and caprice. For a fairy by nature was amoral and could fashion in whatever forms she would prefer. Thenceforth, Iris was lamenting that a fairy at the time of her birth did not bring her a gift of beauty that could captivate a man of her heart. Surely, she was told beautiful, sultry even, but her resemblance to Cassandra was the sine qua non of her solitude, although she would like to insist that it was her voluntary choice. The grace and the harmony of her features would make a beholder think that they were aesthetically proportioned, yet she wasn’t exactly a Helen of Troy for whom Paris, the prince of Troy, left his nymph companion in distress and for whom thousands of ships launched to win her love. Alas, poor Iris! I knew her, my dear reader. I commiserated with her spiritually. I should have cast glamour spells on her so that she could be instantly gorgeous at that time. But would it be a kind of beauty she really wanted?… I wondered. I questioned: then, would Iris- a lesser beauty, a confused fairy, and a distressed Cassandra- make this mysterious man interested in her soul until they became two by two and about went they? In this fey meditation, her spirit was pivoting ecstatically from the mind’s castle and swiveling in wonderment. Iris was secretly invoking the power of all the fairies in the limine spheres, the slice of seacoast between low and high tides, a deepening foliage between field and forest, and the slope-land between plains and mountains.

spring, spring, spring

 

“Old Winter back to the savage hills
Withdraws his force, decrepit now.”

Goethe pronounced the arrival of spring, which Vivaldi translated into “La primavera.” Spring seems to have finally arrived here in earnest. It really is. People come out of their domestic world to bask in the sun, in the glory of the beautiful weather.

To add more pleasing news to the celebration of the new season, the opening of “Bonnie’s,” a new ice cream parlor in town that serves prime quality ice cream and other refreshments in pleasingly prim atmosphere brings the grist to the mill of local business promotion and lively cultural landscape.

Proprietress of the store Bonnie is also an aficionado of the Arts, especially music, so she gladly and graciously let the Hollies hold a little recital in front of her new establishment. Thanks to Bonnie’s cultural sophistication in harmony with humanity, the recital of the Hollies made every spectator’s Sunday afternoon delightfully impressive and sweetly bright.