Maiden’s Rescue – Poem by Asad Jaleel


Maiden’s Rescue

Image by flo-moshi of deviantART



I ran through the red palace

Searching for Scheherazade

Hoping the stories she sweetly sang

Could lull me to an untroubled sleep.

Traitorous traps stood in the way

And cool courtiers bargained for my favor.

Never did my brown eyes see those of the Caliph

Though his painted proxies abounded.

When I found her I called out

In my black armor, my helm in hand

First she glared

Then she laughed a throaty laugh

“You think me the captive and he the captor?

My dear, you’ve got it backwards.”

It took me years to understand her meaning.

But in that moment I stared blankly.

The eunuch guard confiscated my arms

The vorpal blade that fears no God.


I left crestfallen

Though thankful for my heart’s blood.

The sharpest tool left to me – an axe

I whittled the rest of my wearied life.


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Sawatdee (Hello) to my Thai Readers

thailand flag

Thanks for stopping by from the Kingdom of Thailand. Feel free to read, comment, and subscribe by email. Tell your friends.

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Poem Analysis “To Achieve Reality” from The Book of a Thousand Eyes -Lyn Hejinian

1000 eyes

To achieve reality

Lyn Hejinian, 1941
To achieve reality (where objects thrive on people’s passions),   enormous effort
and continuous social interactions are required, and I can’t get  started
without you. Not here—over there’s a better place to begin a funny story.
History with its dead all shot through with regularities in the   woods
and following what looks like a cow-path
is part of a creature’s sexual magic. Its recorded words
now are just a small memento meant to trigger memories
which will give us energy when the right time comes.
Every afternoon high in a tree
the forest vagabond naps while time hangs
like a swarm of midges, trembling on. It might be female
but it has a phallus’s tendency to jump up. How lonely it is
to think that I can only think what I think even while he is thinking—our
just our respective working body’s hum. And while the warlords of Mycenae
          were storming
Troy the foundations of their own societies were crumbling, too.

The poem is full of remarkable imagery. Look at history following a cow-path, the sexual magic of a creature, the napping wanderer, time hanging like a swarm of bugs and the phallus (penis) jumping up. This is a poem to return to, over and over again, with eyes  
made fresh by time. 

The pièce de résistance is the ending. It's an allusion to Homer's Iliad. My interpretation is that it's fruitless to look for a     Golden Age. For Ancient Greeks, the period of the heroes Achilles and Hector was the Golden Age. But even then, there must have     been major problems crippling society. We hear people saying "The End is Near" and we imagine that we are in a unique moment of      history. The opposite is true. The sense of impending doom is     one of history's great clichés.
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Thank You from The Heart of My Bottom – Scratch That, Reverse It

Thank you. WordPress tells me as of today, I have 91 subscribers. Your support means the world to me. It’s been a struggle to post lately because of law school, but I should be coming into some free time soon. Your patience, your praise, and your gratitude floors me every time.

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Painting Analysis – The Treachery of Images – Rene Magritte


The translation of the caption is “This is not a pipe.” (Ceci = this; n’est pas = is not; une pipe = a pipe).

One reading of this painting involves just saying that “It’s not a pipe; it’s a picture of a pipe.” But if that’s where you stop, you haven’t given this painting the attention it deserves.

One aspect to notice is how stereotypical the pipe looks. It’s very clearly a tobacco pipe. It’s not as if this is something that sort of looks like a pipe and sort of looks like something else. This is the classic pipe. You could say it’s the Platonic pipe, i.e. the representation of the ideal pipe. If you’ve ever known anyone who smoked a pipe like this, you recognize this from life. But even if that doesn’t apply to you, if you’ve watched movies or TV for a reasonable length of time, you’ve seen this pipe. For example, Detective Sherlock Holmes is one character that filmmakers often depict smoking a traditional pipe.


Another aspect that is interesting is how much this looks like an elementary lesson. Think back to elementary school. Either your own or that of your children will do. Think of how flashcards and textbooks show images of objects with obvious captions. Here is a flashcard that teaches children the English word for apples:

apple card

Notice the similarities between the flashcard and Magritte’s painting. The image is vivid and apparent. They are two apples and cannot be seen as anything other than two apples. The caption below is in simple black lettering. There is plenty of white space in the image. There is nothing to distract you from the single image and caption.

Magritte’s painting is a vivid and apparent image. It is one pipe and cannot be seen as anything other than one pipe. The caption below is in simple black lettering (though cursive). There is plenty of white space. There is nothing to distract you from the image and caption.

But can you see how Magritte’s painting is subversive? It’s subtly saying, “You’ve been told all you life this is a pipe, but now I’m telling you it’s not.” It’s saying you have to unlearn the idea that the image of a thing is the same as the thing itself. They’re very different. First off, the image is flat but a real pipe has three dimensions. An image can be weightless (think of a jpeg file). A weightless pipe cannot exist. An image is virtually indestructible. How could I ever destroy the image of a pipe in your mind? An actual pipe can be broken quite easily.

Also notice the perfect tension between the image and the words. The image is telling you “This is a pipe” while the words are telling you “This is not a pipe.” What should a person do when words and images conflict? Should there be a default rule that words trump images? Should there be a default rule that images trump words? Should we assume that where words and images conflict, the message is meaningless and ought to be ignored? This has ramifications far beyond this one painting by a Belgian Surrealist. Don’t the images on TV often conflict with the words broadcast at the same time? Consider how people interpreted the video footage of the Twin Towers on 9/11. The words of the reporters indicated that a plane flew into a skyscraper, causing a catastrophic collapse. Yet many critics claim that the video suggests explosives were detonated at a set time and the plane was either a hologram or a PhotoShop effect. This is not about who is right. It is merely about recognizing that words and images can conflict. That conflict is inevitably confusing because we look to both words and images for information.

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“Aeneas in Adidas” – Original Video

My passion for Ancient Rome led me to write an action story. Here’s the beginning. Aeneas Video: via @YouTube

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Architecture and “The Fault in Our Stars”

“The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.”

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

This line comes in “The Fault in Our Stars” when the main character Hazel, comes to her boyfriend Gus’s house and he’s arguing loudly with his mom. I thought this line was profound because it seems right to me. As long as a house is well-maintained, the outside gives the impression of peace and serenity. Looking at a symmetrical exterior in fine brick amid a manicured landscape makes me fell calm. And yet, how much peace is there really in our homes? Imagine a technology that matched the exterior of a house to the current mood of its occupants. When they were mad, it would turn red and garish. When they were calm, it might be a pacific blue. When they were in love, it might be a soft pink. It would be cool to have for about a day, but then you would lament the loss of privacy.

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What I Learned from a Surfer

“In every part of the globe it is the same! Hatred, fear and unreasoning hostility have possessed men’s hearts! But the Silver Surfer will have no part of it!” 
“Silver Surfer #1 (1968)” 

What troubles me about the state of the world today is how much hate, fear, and prejudice I see. I like this line because it sums up how I feel. No matter how much hate I see, I will not embrace it. 

(Image courtesy of deviantart’s Kryptonite-Kid).

Silver Surfer Descending

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Change the Culture Vlog4: Is the Internet Trying to Kill God?

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Change the Culture Vlog3 – Learn About Malcolm X

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