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Friday, October 18, 2002

First Poets Society

In chat transcripts that I collected, for research purposes some years ago, I ran into this group of web poetry enthusiasts slugging it out with one another in a bout of poetic impromptus. The palavers could go on for hours, interspersed by the voices of wandering poets joining the fray.
The transcript is a tiny excerpt from an extended collection of chatroom records and curiosa that I've gathered over years.


You have just entered room "Thirties Love."
Jana 766: I have one!!!!!!!!
JOJOG69 has left the room.
Jana 766: want it??????
AngelAmongU: yes he does
AngelAmongU: sure Jana
Jana 766: hang onnnnnnnnn
Ric1417 has entered the room.
ryermike has entered the room.
MyBadEmail: My Sonnet: I saw a flow'r like glue, and my eyes stuck / to its unnamed yet royal quality / and so i found that i was fully struck / by its poise and confidence so gently / i took that perfect flower in my hand / with all the care possessed by gardeners / and meant to pluck the flower from the land / but paused, as thoughts sprouted in my mind first. ......
MyBadEmail: If I, this flower pluck up fron the ground / and take with me in selfish want and lust / may cause a desp'rate and a painful sound / my ears would die to hear and so i must / hold the flower to my heart and pray / that at this ground i may spend all my days
Jana 766: OK ready for mine??????/
blondieb39too: go Jana
ryermike: yes Jana
DutchGenome: Go Jana, Go get 'm!
AngelAmongU: An angel of delight....I spread my wings to begin my flight.....a gentleman my eyes have set their
sight.....BTSA you bring this room to new heights.
ChanMan1964: go jana go jana go jana
carol64664: go jana
Jana 766: okkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
AngelAmongU: go jana.....go jana.....go jana
DutchGenome: HoHo
ryermike: Jana Jana Jana Jana Jana
Jana 766: Peace is found in slumber Memories begin to clear Her life unbound
Jana 766: Untangled her heart Familiar strength Touch of love.
Jana 766: He guides her soul To where they meet This place they know
Blueash63 has entered the room.
Jana 766: He teaches her spirit Allowance and trust She then returns
Jana 766: Will sleep find her rest? Or keep her content In the life she loves
Jana 766: When she wakes Aware she can speak The truth she has felt.
BTSAJim: As softly as a summer breeze She blew into my life.Laughing eyes and smiling face, She ended all my strife.To me she was the beauty, That captured all good things. And I her lowly puppet, Handed her my strings. She gently pulled upon the first, A smile grew on my face. The second brought me near to her, She knew this was my place.
ryermike: Bravo Jana
carol64664: the end
BTSAJim: Then with great care, she held me close. My strings no longer there. My eyes transfixed upon her, I now knew how to care.She tore down all my walls of fear, She made me whole once more.She gave me hope and love and peace, For now and ever more.
Jana 766: thanks
MyBadEmail: jana rocks
AngelAmongU: that was good Jana
carol64664: lol
Jana 766: thanks
BTSAJim: A lady for all seasons, A lady for each day.A lady that can make me smile,Each and every way.
NYcouple4bif: Is to look into my own
BMD000 has entered the room.
BTSAJim: Without reservations,I give to her my heart.And even though we were just friends,I knew we’d never part.She shares with me the part of her,She hides so deep inside..
NYcouple4bif: Mirrored souls are shown
BMD000: hey where r u?
BTSAJim: The part of her that most don't see,A soul that's filled with pride
BTSAJim: An angel in my mind, A goddess in my dreams.make me smile each day, A tenderness it seems.Genuine beauty is within, And on the surface too
BTSAJim: .I write these words to share,What I feel for you.You make my life so special, So special and complete.I love you in my own way, Because my dear you’re sweet.
Jana 766: NY???????
NYcouple4bif: Jana?
Jana 766: beautiful!!!!!
AngelAmongU: that's beautiful
BTSAJim: You give me many reasons To feel the way I do.And knowing you as I do, I know just what to do.I must take upon myself, A quiet emotional blend.And remind myself often, That I am just a friend. And as I do I look back, To times that we have shared. To think how you feel for me, To know you really cared.
BTSAJim: And though it hurts to sit and wait, For you to end a chat.I will wait until it ends,You know where I am at.My tiny little angel,
BTSAJim: You have captured my heart.I think about you all the time, Whenever we’re apart.
Jana 766: <MyBadEmail: i am in the presence of greatness in here
Hrt2Lov has entered the room.
Jana 766: This is awesome!!!!!!!!
Chrisee 32 has entered the room:
NYcouple4bif: Go for it Jana.
chrisee 32: Jana !!
PLZ69T2: Chrisee!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PLZ69T2: :-P
chrisee 32: hi everyone !!
Jana 766: Socken!!!!!!!
AngelAmongU: I could see you as a marvelous lover, kind, gentle yet strong and bold. So come and drink of my breast savor the richest of spices lying between them. Touch me as only a lover can and allow me to do the same for you. Awaken in me a dying ember....turn it into a roaring fireflies that light a dark summer's night, dance erotically with me.
chrisee 32: :-P
Sami McGee: wow
AngelAmongU: Come to my bed oh lover of upon my name. Summons me to please you....take mewith thy strength, claim me as thy lover.... Ask nothing of me and I shall ask nothing of you inturn. Ask everything of me and I will give you my body to eat from....I shall be like the finest of wines ready to quench your thirst. Your humble servant I shall be, oh lover of mine....
Sami McGee: deep today
AngelAmongU: : Draw forth from my love, allow our bodies to unite into an eternal that of a moth drawn to the open flame draw upon the heat of our passion.
PLZ69T2: yup
chrisee 32: lol
Hrt2Lov: very romantic
AngelAmongU: let our bodies mingle on into internity. As oneness within our vows of love for eachother...
Ric1417 has left the room.
BTSAJim: Angel your poetry shows much passion for life and love....
chrisee 32: yea....yea
AngelAmongU: Follow me into the babbling brook, allow me to take away the aching of your building desire. Oh lover of mine where are you? My body is this sweetness of fruit ready for your picking....come and taste of my sweet nectar....let me feed your hunger.
chrisee 32: Yea!


posted by Walter at 10/18/2002

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Bear with me
-All things Russian-


‘Yeltsin called the President on Inauguration Day in 1993 to say congratulations. He was drunk. And he got pretty roaring during the first summit meeting they had in Vancouver and when I went to meet him at the airport in September 1994. He could barely get off the plane. That was the night that he was staggering around in his underpants shouting for pizza. It was a huge problem and we did our best not to add to the public embarrassment.’

-Strobe Talbott- US Deputy Secretary of State, during the Clinton Administration


It is said of the Russian people that they love the past, hate the present, and fear the future. The intricacies of the Russian soul are complex and paradoxical. The city of Amsterdam, my city of residence is seeing an influx of ever more Russians, visiting either as tourists or staying more or less permanently, legally or otherwise.
Astrologically, the Russian people resort under the Pisces sign. They constitute a special breed of ‘Passion fish’, maladjusted to the zodiac, requiring fishbowls filled with dedicated substance, living in a bubble of their own. Judging from recent news reports the Russians are good company, who possess of a great sense of humor..

The first known vodka distillery in Russian history was built in Novgorod in 1147. This event heralded the beginning of industrial production of alcoholic beverage in Russia. The Novgorodians called their brew ‘Vodya’, and introduced- and organized the first production of vodka in Moscow, that the Moscovites would eventually call ‘Vodka’, meaning ‘boiled wine’. Today annual alcohol consumption per capita in Russia amounts to 14 ltrs of pure alcohol per annum.1200+ factories are engaged in supplying alcoholic beverages in Russia, distributed by 3000 wholesalers, of which 196 operate in St Petersburg alone.


-Beer instead-

Moscow- A quiet revolution is under way, playing out in bars as well as on the streets. The country famed for its vodka swilling is turning quite dramatically to pale ales, stouts and their cousins. Consumption of beer per capita has nearly tripled in the last six years. And marketing firms predict sales of beer will outpace sales of vodka this year for the first time in Russia.

‘People are switching from stronger drinks to beer,’ said Maria Vanifatora, director of the Business Analitica marketing agency’s retail index, which estimates that Russians will spend $6,5 billion on beer this year, compared with $6,3 billion on vodka. In Russian history every attempt to limit vodka consumption by decree has failed spectacularly, from the czars and Lenin, right up to Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol program in the 1980s. Yet what the Kremlin failed to achieve, modern breweries have begun to accomplish.

‘The Russian character, the Russian nature is not changed by this fact,’ sniffed Nikolai Krivomazov, editor of Russian Vodka Magazine. ‘Strong character, strong drink. That’s the Russian character.’
‘The Russian soul is a mystery,’ said Alexander Boyarkov, 52, who has owned the ‘Russian Style Bar; since the end of Communism in 1991. ‘That’s how we drink. If you’ve got a problem, you drink. If you’re happy, you drink. If you go on a picnic, you drink. That’s how we have fun. But now in Western market economy, we don’t have as much time. Everybody’s too busy, and you can’t drink as much.’

Source: (abridged) – Washington Post


-From Russia, with love-

Vatican City- The Vatican expressed outrage Monday after a church property in Moscow was turned into a brothel, saying the incident was part of what the church sees as a long-running smear campaign against the Roman Catholics in Russia. In a statement the Vatican said Franciscan friars in the Russian capital had rented out one of their apartments to a private individual who had assured them it would be used for ‘charitable purposes.’ Instead it became a brothel with prostitutes dressed as n u n s, the Vatican said. Pope John Paul’s spokesman, Jaoquin Navarro-Valls, branded the incident ‘a despicable operation’ designed to discredit the brothers ‘and through them the Catholic Church.’

Source: (abridged) – Reuters


posted by Walter at 10/16/2002

Monday, October 14, 2002

The Return of a Man without qualities

Being There-A story of Chance


-In 1971 Polish born writer Jerzy Kosinski (who died in 1991), published the novel ‘Being There’. Soon afterwards he received a telegram from its lead character, Chance the Gardener: ‘Available in my garden or outside of it.’ A telephone number followed and when Kosinski dialed it Peter Sellers answered. For years afterwards, Sellers would try to get this film made. ‘That's me!’ he would tell people of the Chance character. He hawked the idea of a film to whomever he could find. Finally, in 1979, with the clout he had gained from the Pink Panther series, he was able to fulfill his dream.-

-Asked to describe Peter Sellers, his ‘Dr Strangelove’ star, Stanley Kubrick replied, ‘There is no such person’.
The actor, himself once told an interviewer, ‘I don’t know who Peter Sellers is, except that he’s the one who gets paid.’ Spike Milligan, his co-star from the hugely popular ‘Goon Show’ in the 50s provided the perhaps most telling description of Peter Sellers, one of Britain’s most elusive great actors: ‘He was the most complex simpleton in the world.’-

-Excerpts from ‘Mr Strangelove’ – A biography of Peter Sellers- by Ed Sikov, Hyperion Books


Two movies that rate among my all-time favorites featured the actor Peter Sellers as its main star: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr Strangelove’ 1964, and Hal Ashby’s ‘Being There’ 1979. Both movies were perfect vehicles to Sellers, the prolific actor-savant, gadget freak, consummate mime, and perplexed wanderer.
Peter Sellers possessed a poor health and was plagued by a series of heart attacks in the 60s, partly inflicted by his disregard for exercise. In a conversation on the set of ‘Being There’ with fellow co-star Shirley MacLaine, he would elaborate on an out-of-body experience that occurred to him in 1964, when he was declared clinically dead, while aware of seeing ‘A bright, loving light.’


-Well, I felt myself leave my body. I just floated out of my physical form and I saw them cart my body away to the hospital. I went with it ... I wasn't frightened or anything like that because I was fine; and it was my body that was in trouble.’
‘I looked around myself and I saw an incredibly beautiful bright loving white light above me. I wanted to go to that white light more than anything. I've never wanted anything more. I know there was love, real love, on the other side of the light which was attracting me so much. It was kind and loving and I remember thinking 'That’s God.’
‘Then I saw a hand reach through the light. I tried to touch it, to grab onto it, to clasp it so it could sweep me up and pull me through it.’ But just then his heart began beating again, and at that instant the hand's voice said: "It's not time. Go back and finish. It's not time.-


The near-death experience strengthened Sellers’ conviction that he was a reincarnated soul whose power of mimicry sprang from memories of past lives. Jonathan Miller said of him ’He was a receptacle rather than a person- whatever parts he played filled the receptacle, and then they were drained out’

Sellers developed an obsession with this experience causing the repeated ‘act of dying’ to become an explanation for his lack of personal identity. Close friends would remark of his behavior after the out-of-body experience, that it donned Sellers the start of a new introspectiveness. ‘A sense of not ‘being there’ in spirit, though present in body.’
His then wife Britt Eklund, saw her once restless husband transform into a most quiet person, ‘Sitting still over lengthy periods, saying nothing, but staring at her with his thoughts inward.’

In his later career Sellers would take up Yoga, but complained that it did not stop his heart-disease, in 1977 he remarked of his struggle: ‘What did it do for me? I obeyed all the instructions. I said my prayers regularly. I did all the exercises for peace, tranquility, and happiness. And all that happened was that I got steadily worse.’

Richard Henry ‘Peter’ Sellers was born in 1925. Bill, his father was a piano player, and a ukelele teacher, who also taught his son how to play the instrument. Peg, Peter’s overbearing mother was a dancer in his father’s ‘troupe’.
Peter Sellers started out as a drummer, playing with several bands prior to his enlistment in the Royal Air Force. After joining the Royal Air Force entertainment section Sellers developed his talents as an impressionist. His career accelerated in the early 50s after a series of radioshows in which he further honed his talents for impersonification.
On May 28 1951, Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe appeared for the first time in a program called ‘Crazy people’, soon to be renamed ‘The Goon Show’, a radio show that would ignite Sellers public career. Parallel with his 50s radio shows he acted his first movie parts with early successes as ‘The Ladykillers’ with Alec Guinness, and ‘The Mouse That Roared’, the first movie to exploit Sellers’ talent for multi-character impersonification, showing his exceptional ability to handle three parts at once.

In the 60s Sellers would star leading roles in ‘Lolita’, ‘Dr Strangelove’, and ‘What’s New Pussycat’ next to less significant movies. In the 70s Blake Edwards selected him to play the main character in the ‘Pink Panther’ comedies that would make Sellers a mass audience icon, playing the doomed, blundering jerk Jacques Clouseau. A feat that would be repeated four times. Sellers career waned in the 70s, his films remained entertaining but lacked the zest and quirky brilliance of his earlier work. Also his health had further detoriarated, so when the fullfillment of his greatest wish, the production of ‘Being There’ finally got underway, Sellers was elated and would develop an obsessive sense for detail, (i.e. none of the participants in the movie were allowed to wear green or purple, since Sellers considered them unlucky colors) for what he was convinced would become his last movie and greatest part of his career.

The movie would eventually earn him a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award Nomination.


Some scenes from the original script of “Being There’ written by Jerzy Kosinski and Robert C. Jones shed a light on the vacuous personality of Chance the gardener:



A large-screen color TV dominates a room sparsely decorated with expensive furniture of the twenties. There are no
books, magazines, newspapers to be seen. A man, CHANCE, is in bed, sleeping. His eyes slowly open, and, with no change of expression, he sits up and turns on the TV with a remote control. He reaches for a pocketwatch on the bedside table, and, as he looks at it, the watch chimes. He gets out of bed, crosses to the closet, his eyes never straying from the TV. Chance puts on a bathrobe and leaves the room.



The furniture in this room is not covered with sheets - but the Old Man is. There is a knock a the door, then
Chance enters the room. He stands by the bed for a moment, Then reaches down and pulls the sheet back from the Old Man's face. He touches the man's forehead, briefly, then replaces the sheet. Chance moves to the the TV and turns it on. He sits in an easy chair next to the Old Man’s bed and watches a movie from the early forties. Chance puts an arm out, rests it on the Old Man's covered body. He becomes absorbed in a scene in which a gentleman tips his hat to a lady. The scene seems to have 'sunk into' his mind.



As Rand sinks into the chair, Chance approaches the President with both hands outstretched.

Good morning, Mr. President.


Oh, Mr. President, I'd like you to meet my dear friend, Mr. Chauncey Gardiner.

Chance and the President exchange a two-handed handshake.The President reacts.

You look much smaller on television, Mr. President.

(a beat)
..Oh, really...

You will find that Chauncey does not bandy words, Mr.President.

The President gives Chance a look, then laughs.

Well, Mr. Gardiner, that's just fine with me - I'm a man that appreciates a frank discussion... Be seated, please, Mr. Gardiner...



The President is still reading Rand's quotes.

CALDWELL, an executive:

...Up to this time, he hasn't said anything that could be used against him.

NELSON, a corporate chairman speaks:

The response from his appearance on the 'Burns Show' was overwhelming; mail and telephone response was the highest they ever had, and it was ninety-five percent pro!

CHARLIE BOB BENNET, a Texas oil millionaire:

Well, I'm certainly open to the thought - it would be sheer lunacy to support the President for another term.

LYMAN MURRAY, a banker;

Exactly. That is why I agree with Ben's final wishes, and I firmly believe, gentlemen, if we want to retain the
Presidency, that our one and only chance is Chauncey Gardiner!



Chance happens on a tree with a cracked limb, hanging to the ground. He stops, inspects the break, runs his fingers
along the split of the bark. He looks to the ground, notices that an end of the limb has fallen on a seedling, bending it
double. Chance pulls the limb away, then kneels beside the seedling. He removes an expensive pair of suede gloves, and, with gentle fingers, brushes the dirt and snow away from the seedling. Chance glances up to the remaining limbs of the larger tree which could fall and threaten the emerging tree. He unfolds his umbrella, places it over the seedling in a way to give it protection, yet still allow it to receive light from the winter sun. Chance stands, and is putting his gloves on when Eve appears, running towards him.

Chauncey! Chauncey!

Hello, Eve.

(holds him)
Oh, Chauncey, darling. Where were you? I've been looking for you.I was scared.

Yes. I've been looking for you too, Eve.

She hugs him one more time, then leads him back from whence she came. The President can still be heard reading quotes.

(in the distance)
I've lived a lot, trembled a lot, was surrounded by little men who forgot that we enter naked and exit naked and that no accountant can audit life in our favor.



posted by Walter at 10/14/2002