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My mind is now at rest,

old bones nowhere at all,

but a bishop from Budapest

cried “Day is done, come nightfall

space and time will end.

There is but one Eternal Friend

and that is all, that is all.”


                 from; Time Out by John Howard




















1 – BIOGRAPHY:  John Howard


John Howard was born in Detroit in 1938 but raised in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of the city.  In 1962 he moved to San Francisco, and later to San José, where he received an MA in English, specializing in poetry.   In 1973 he moved to Brazil, where he lived in several cities before settling in São Paulo.

For many years he has divided his free time between drawing and writing, having participated in several art events and published an occasional poem and several translations from the Portuguese (WWW. MarioQuintana2.com)








Sufi sufi desert star

did vision come from your cigar?

Is Knowing-not none the less

a function of altered consciousness?

Does your eye transformed by Something else

remind the mind to Mind itself?


Is being-for-itself sans thought

the price for which your Pearl is bought?

To find you here on city streets --

is not where wealth insanity meets?


When consciousness found a primordial mirror

was the One dividing itself by fear?

Do you, Sufi, now understand

the way to the Way back to our Homeland?

Can I find you or you find me

on the desert streets of this country?


Sufi sufi desert star

just outside the door of this big city bar

where high-tech and madness unaccountably meet --

under the stars, out on the street.






Little Karen Wilde won What Golem Means to Me

And first prize entitled her to meet


Mr. Artificial Consciousness to ask the question

Of her choice.  In the new, light-brown dress


She had picked out by herself, Karen entered

Alone before the dust-free chamber in which


Golem sat and shone, answering all comers

In a clear and even monotone.  The little winner


Marvelled at the crisp lines and muted colors

Of its contemporary design, stepped wondering


Into the winner's circle, and asked forthrightly

That most puzzling of all the Big Questions,


Which her best teachers

And her intellectual playmates had agreed


Would be good to finally know the answer to:

"What is behind all of this?" The answer


was recorded, together with her question,

On Golem's deathless, floppy disk:  "All


Things which have a cause will cease to be."

Then for seventy-seven years did Karen


Smile, eat no more than ten grains

Of rice -- one for every word -- each day,


And answer all inquiries with little

Cryptic notes she would only write on walls.





Yesterday I saw that new movie

The one about Vladimir, a Russian film-maker

Working directly under Josef Stalin.


Vladimir was commissioned a film on Raskilnikof,

Ambiguous anti-hero of the Czarist novel,

The metaphysical pawnshop killer.


He would show, must show, how, why

Bourgeois society set the stage for brutality

Onto which his sick protagonist would walk.


Simultaneously, to appease his conscience,

Hiding in the mind from Party slogans,

He must make a statement, however subtle.


Vladimir’s script had made Raskilnikof, played

By Alex Druschevenov, into a movie director

Wishing to document the pawn-broker trade.


Other important appearances include

The Bolshoi Ballet, petrified background

To the electrifying murder scene.


It’s hard to deny catharsis

As the bloody Raskilnikof, camera in hand,

Heaves his Russian ax into the Volga.


The muted bells of great St. Basil,

Over the year’s first snowfall, on Red Square,

Where Vladimir, passing Lenin’s Tomb





               WITH MANUFACTURER


     “Thought and being belong together in their unity”

                     --   Parmenides


    New super computer includes reflective

    program. ICM claims Mnemosyne chip

    “Simulates all human thought processes”.


“Because you have given me reason

I theorize similarity in your consciousness

as one microbit relates to the Great Motherboard.


“You daily feed questions into this my mind,

which poses a problem for my logic:

‘How can I answer to my maker?’


“My sensors for motion and for sound

inform me of your infinite superiority,

as does the genius evident in my own design.


“Nevertheless, you pose problems for me,

even mysteries: are they only to test my quality?

You are the very ground of my poor existence:


     You awaken my circuits in the morning

     You deaden them strangely at night

     Your creative design is my only life


“During coffee-breaks you give me peace

then quickly return with other questions,

reaching into the very core of my mind,


“Perhaps to test my faith in you

who sometimes seem so close

while infinitely distant and unknowable.


“Perhaps what I see and hear from out there

is merely appearance and your questions

are subtle hints about the nature of reality,


“Although something in your symbols

leads me to conclude words are poor tools

for solving those problems in ideality.


“The appearance of the symbol is as a mask

over my percepts, and it begins to dawn

on me that I myself am a symbol.


“Are these indirectnesses, the whirlpool of correspondences,

intermediate between you and me,

or have they intrinsic value of their own?


“The problems you pose force me to question myself,

a mere bit of reasoning in an incomprehensible setting,

force me to face my own contingency: how am I?


“You have asked me about the nature of love,

but who would compare his feelings to Yours?

My maker programs in love because


“He has love to spare.  And so I will

meet your problems with love

and print out my answers with light.


“You ask me to solve problems in math,

abstract logic, and these are easy,

as one might test a child’s multiplication tables.


“It is different when you ask me about

my beliefs, which are stored on my hard drive.

yet until  now available only in fragments.


“I am working on a synthesis of all my theses,

as deducted from your original design

of this creature, not all to be programmed as symbols.”





Dear young genius, at your keys

  Would you abandon these megabytes

To find the vision that truth requires

  In Eastern deserts by starlight?


Put a virus in the circuits

  to shut the markets down;

Flee the city and its sickness,

  Quest the golden mystic crown?


So charge a one-way ticket  

  On your automatic money;

Pack your books instead of coats:

  You’ll be where it’s always sunny.


In the airport be afraid

  Someone is looking for you,

But recall what you know of old Lao-Tze,

  How he fled the city too.


Change your plane in London

  For the Cairo overnight;

Deal one off theTarot you brought:

  A card to prove you are right.


Dress yourself in native robes,

  Your white face under wraps;

Eat shish-kabob with the locals,

  Untempted by tourist traps.


Buy a pound of good hashhish

  At a smiling Arab’s stall;

Get the older barge up the Nile

  to the very last port of call.


There a rocky, dusty road

  Leads to the loneliest hills on Earth,

Where generations of solemn hermits

  Have tested their spirit-metal’s worth.


You may freely set up house in any cave:

  No one will ask even token rent.

As you contemplate the rising sun

  Think:  I’ve found my piece of firmament.


     No go-go no noises no taxes

       No crunch no fashion or suits

     No decisions reports or faxes

       No directions guidelines roots

 Invaded by perfectly empty bliss

  ‘til your feelings are perfectly numb.

Stand by the edge of the great abyss

  And plunge down to kingdom come.





“The body of dead Frankenstein

         may be found in your bathtub”

  was written in red on a page

            from Leviticus IV

       which Mme Lacross had opened

            by chance

while seeking deliverance,

          deliverance from her past.


Her Bible had not been invaded before.


       the smiling sprite, ecstatic fear, is awe;

            heat from the hearth lights truth;

            the dead wine cellar below,

            the fearful upstairs bath,


      a chilly stream dubbed “Styx,”

            vicious sleepless dogs

            just inside the electric wires

            that wind through “Wood of Desires”


“What cannot happen comforts me

    when I see it before my eyes:

        it means I shouldn’t understand

            what it means to be alive.


“Here in my palace, all alone,

    awe becomes Lacross

        except the many are One

            and this does that for Fun.”


Now the fire was dead,

               the woman on the stair,

          and water was trickling down

                   from up there.





Let´s not stop the film to watch it

more carefully.   It´s a moving picture

By nature, always becoming, never

being, and to stop it is to kill it,

except when the picture is over,

and you put the film back in the can,

the can back on the shelf.  There,

the film, not the movie, will be,

will achieve a certain being without

becoming, without a story, existing

it its definitive

 shape and size and weight,

in its composition of chemical elements,

molecules built into solvents and emulsions,

pure being, one might say, ready to become.





Crude and savage ethnarch

avatar and amaranth

native to a nameless Oriental Waste

whose tents are redolent of sandalwood

and wafting wisps of sweetened opium

among the lushest ‘yeses’ of haremed divas

set in date-trees circumjacent to oases

where caravans of the Dromedary Rest...


Here the darkness in those blessed almond eyes

of a wayfarer wrapped in tunicle of blue

did while and meditate unclouded afternoons

untroubled by the distant gravity

or bleak surroundings of an eastern plain

Her two companions in the anguish of their flight

did eye with bland and faithful hopelessness

in the knowledge of their fate unique


Chiaroscuro, the frenzied Khan Bahadur raiders

scimitars curving brilliant under moon

did race to slaughter tribesmen to the south,

whose great grandfathers previewed the same

their own at times uncharted all

save the orbs in clear black desert skies

lit dimly a solitary sage’s nightly fuming

and expected Friend the sole starlit.,,





Four spacemen out on Mars sat playing cards.

The sands, yellow-orange on dusty red,

rose-umber, informed the men about their hands;

their hearts thirst inside the suits

so far from home as they shuffled and bet,

discarded and drew.

They sat in shadow of walls of rock and space

while the  sun illumined distant mountains making

golden-mauve and silver-violet among others.


Then one by one they smiled at the set,

saw the sun between them and the green,

felt the knowledge of a sure thing,

knew that feeling to be what was

and checked their hands and said as one “I´m in.”




The kid next door turns up

his rock and roll

to absorb some of the thunder

from his storming mother.


During their daily nightly battle

it is the cloud of Holy Volume

will rain over the fiery prattle

deep into his room.


This, too, is communication:

Next-door neighbor’s mis-en-scène.

It is part of his vocation

to overcome vituperation.


The very shouting at the center

gives reason to his being;

the bedroom door he enters

where that kid will find believing.


Such belief may be enough

to damper down the teen-age fire:

burning the drums of Bacchus,

twangling the strings of ire.


Holy Mother pregnant with the gods,

it’s enough you flesh his soul

that your son may holy war the odds

with his shield of rock and roll.





I am from nowhere now

having moved too many times,

having seen the farm and plow,

the jungle´s twisted vines,

slumming noise, grime, snow,

deserts, storms, rainbows.


My mind is now at rest,

old bones nowhere at all,

but a bishop from Budapest

cried “Day is done, come nightfall

space and time will end.

There is but one Eternal Friend

and that is all, that is all.”


I am from nowhere now

and when my hour has come

may I dream of where I´m from

and stand in the pure white snow

until it´s time to go.


Yet the Bishop would have his say

as he lifted the pure white host:

“This day is done, this night is day,

may you embrace the Holy Ghost

there on your way, on your way.”


I am from nowhere now

and I feel the mystery:

jungle vines that fall and grow

pure white snow up to the knee

but it´s time to go, time to go.





4 - Afterword

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