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Saturday 30 January 2010



File:Manta birostris-Thailand3.jpg

Sacrificing to the limiting demands of the opus

is no way to start your day. The opus

itself is like a kind of canvas, with what

has not really been lived through, only idly imagined,

splattered more or less randomly

upon it. The frigging fjords

are no place to build your birdnest of dreams.

The instructions on the brain kit mean zilch.

The dreams are found there in the fjords ab ovo.

The ocean moves deeply in these dreams,

creating dark spots in the encephalogram

into which terror and the desire for beauty swim.

File:Regal angelfish.jpg

Manta Ray (Manta bisostris) among Neon Fusilier, Hin Muang, Thailand: photo by jon hanson, 2005
Regal angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus), found on north coast of Timor: photo by Nick Hobgood, 2004


TC said...

The Maoris call the manta ray Punga. It's a supernatural being. The god of everything dark, twisted and deformed. Punga means ugly in Maori. So if you say Te aitanga a Punga (the offspring of Punga), you are describing an ugly person. But I think the manta ray in the photo looks quite sleek and beauteous, myself.

u.v.ray. said...

I am reminded of the film Billy Bud in which one of the sailors describes the human mind as being like the sea:

"On the surface calm, but underneath a world of gliding monsters."

Such simple truths. Just as your poem expresses.

TC said...


On that ominous note... here is The Bloop, a mysterious undersea noise, possibly that of some unknown creature.

It was picked up at a remote point in the South Pacific west of the southern tip of South America, using the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array, US Navy equipment originally designed to detect Soviet subs.

It was determined to have originated from no known human, natural or geological source, and is several times louder than any sound ever recorded emanating from a living creature.

Cryptobiologists speculate it is emitted by a creature that roams another dimension, leaving for us only the occasional fleeting sound trace. This creature, it is speculated, has a very high level of intelligence, and little interest in us.

The recording is speeded up 16 times the normal.

It's said that if you listen at normal speed, you run the risk of being sucked into another dimension.

u.v.ray. said...

And it seems that The Bloop was never heard from again. I would postulate that this private, peaceful creature, once it knew humans had detected its existence, took leave of this world.

As for me, I've stopped wondering about anything, Tom.

All I know is I'm trying to cut down on sugar. So that's it for me: I'm just a man who's trying to cut down on sugar. Nothing more.

bill sherman said...

yes, rays are beautiful, and softer to the touch than you might think. you don't want to step on their tails though.

TC said...


I suspect you are right, and perhaps one can sympathize, nay even identify with this aversion to... us.

About sugar, I fear I am on an unhealthy opposite trend, sugar binges to replace sleep, so far it's working pretty poorly, have begun to experience curious sensations in my fingertips as though I'd been touching the tail of a...

And speaking of manta rays, Bill, last night an elderly fellow from Brooklyn (yet hardly so elderly as me, I should talk) described to me in tones of awe having watched a fisherman heroically wrestle a very large ray into a boat.

And then in tones of dismay, the subsequent slicing up of the manta ray for consumption.

"Disgusting! I'm a vegetarian!"

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous and fearful. Just like the white canvas we are supposed to paint on day after day.

TC said...


Yes, it's always a bit terrifying to take that plunge.

One always expects the water to be icy cold.

And then it's sink or swim.