Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Spirit Andromalius: Part 2

Part of my deal with Andromalius was that I paint five stones with his Seal and give them to magical folk who would be likely to use them. The first of these stones I gave to a friend who runs a café-bookshop. She accepted it happily and said she didn't really have any problems losing things at home, but that things got lost in the shop. So she put it up on a high shelf in the shop, for the benefit of anyone who wanted to try working with the spirit.

I mentioned that anyone who wanted to do that would have to form their own relationship with the entity - just the obvious basics to start with, like asking nicely, and thanking him if you get a result.

The next day, she texted me to say that her assistant in the shop had found her debit card, which had been missing for some time. Great result!

Then the day after that, she texted again to say that her assistant had forgotten to thank the spirit and had lost the card again. IT seems that the card never turned up again; it would be hard to imagine a more pointed message about how to deal with spirits!

The second painted stone I gave to another friend, who has a little experience of working with spirits. He loves a busy life and had no plans to get close to the spirit in the near future.

However, the next time we spoke, he told me that he found something he didn't even realise was missing: a pair of socks appeared under his bed mattress.

I think we can all agree that that was a low-value find. But one way to look at what happened there is to see this as a low-level demonstration by Andromalius of his powers and his readiness to relate to my friend. This is a friendly spirit, along the lines of, 'Here, I can help with that.' But like any human helper, he expects acknowledgement, he wants to be appreciated.

And he expects a bit more than some publicity on Facebook, and some painted stones. He expects me to change.

To be continued...

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Composting For All; the enigmatic poems of Hubert Tsarko

This is less an objective reviewer's review and more a plug for a friend's book. But my friend John, the man behind Hubert Tsarko, really is a decent poet, and worth a look if you value mysterious wordcraft.

John has been growing as a poet for the thirty-odd years I've known him. This is his first collection, which goes to show what a long time poets take to mature. I travelled with him back in our youth, through the South of France, picking grapes and drinking their pressed fermented product, talking about writing and occasionally doing some.

On our way to castrate maize in Riscle (the title of one of the poems in this collection), in the wake of an ill-advised Mercury invocation intended to speed up the hitch-hiking, we got our lift, with a man who stole our bags and papers. On the table in the café he left us a plastic diary, which I took up and used as my own diary until it was full. I still have it somewhere. That summer and autumn was a richly interesting chain of experiences, but I never took up la vie routiére as a lifestyle the way John did.

This is a collection of the realistic alchemized into the thoroughly dreamlike. Or more accurately: the inner world as it is painted upon towns, lovers, bars, rooms, arguments. Poetry as something embedded in the immediate sensory world and yet existing outside of time, in some more real realm. An incredibly private world made by skill into something enjoyable for certain others.

The titles of these poems give us some idea of what to expect, but not everything: Places from the wanderings of a full time artist, tiny incidents such as 'The Cat Sat On My Glasses' (which in itself contains an unexpected glance into a world that may be either burglary or bondage), ironical or dreamlike detournements of stock phrases and titles, such as 'The Life That Lives on Man' or, invoking loathing, 'Final Solution'.

One of my favourite poems is East. I love the ending, and somehow it fits the tone of the whole collection:

There must be an attic

somewhere he could
fill with paraphernalia
and solitary intentions

Bless your solitary intentions John.