Meditations of Philippe de Saint Maurice, which I have edited and transformed into haiku and haiku chains, will soon be published by Mad Bear Books. The Meditations offer insights into spiritual growth, and I shall be posting some of them in advance here, interspersing them with my other work.

The first is gulls:

since I first could think

I always thought that thought

would turn me mad


like gull-crawing skies

thoughts can sound portentous as though

from other species


voices like aliens

we think into being as

thought will think us mad


words crawl crazy like

lingual creatures who can fly

from our mind’s planet


whether in rage or

loving-kindness – we know no more

than if we were gulls


fly into the sun

illuminate a last thought:

they. we. light. are one




freddie omm

text by freddie omm – title pic by thought catalogue – footer pic by yifei chen

i burn for your love (lit lust) – may haiku

fresh spring rains pass by –

mist like smoke seeps up from earth,

buried burning warmth


i grow in your heat

pulse beats in the furrowed hearth

of this maykissed field


moist excited skies

spread out wide like heavy thighs

fecundating space


i burn for your love

lit lust lifts my loins my life

planting fresh new seeds




freddie omm

woke like song (haiku chain invocation) – for all the lovers everywhere


open up like song

let music play us sing us

melodising us


we two wrapped in heat –

loose entangled limbs like riffs

of carnal melody


interlaced and lit

lasciviously dangerous

lullabying life


our bodies pick up

the pumping of each other’s

heartbeat rhythms


in our love for us

we’re lyrical and languorous

climax in chorus


wild music wakes us

enchanting and shaking us

open like song


our skin pricked with notes

glissando licks quickening us

like a morning shower


in our love for us

in trust in truth we give tongue

to life’s loving song


II – envoi:


for all the lovers

who grew lonely as time passed

silencing their space –


music of the spheres

come join us close together

sing us woke in song!




freddie omm

may 2019


photo by spencer imbrock

veneralia (love changelings) – haiku chain

love is unchanging

but like the moon looks different

with each month coming


from bright new closeness

of a full worm supermoon*

illuminating us

transfiguring all

the sleeping world with budding

love awakenings


as each mood succeeds

mood and sad and happy mix

we’re changelings in love


our inconstancy

moves, begets us, forgot in

guiltless venery


our loves’ festival:

bathe in the pools of Venus

crowned with myrtle


rediscover the

endless beauty of new fresh

never ending loves





  • Veneralia was a festival held on 1 April in honour of Venus, Goddess of Love (Aphrodite to the Greeks). Women bathed together, crowned in myrtle, in the goddess’ honour. The festival was specifically focused on Venus’ attribute as Venus Verticordia – alluding to an aspect of the goddess as a “changer of hearts” – in this case, her ability to transform lustful love into chaste or platonic love. In this poem, the changing of hearts is seen in the context of a constancy of love that continues even when the love objects change.
  • *On 21 March 2019, the Spring Equinox, there was a full worm super moon. Looking from my window in The Hague, I saw an irradiated sky of swift moving clouds whose intermittent gaps opened a flood of stunning illuminations. They lit up everything like the flash of sudden universal compassion that can come with a new love, undermining cynicism and suffusing all in a bath of warm golden light.
  • Photos by Timothy Dykes and Guzman Burquin; Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

there’s something wrong with… (V)

#haiku by freddie omm; photo by saltanat zhursinbek

there’s something wrong with.. (IV)

#haiku by freddie, pic by david clode via unsplash

there’s something wrong with… (III)

#haiku by freddie, photo by charles via unsplash

there’s something wrong with… (II)

#haiku, photo by freddie

freddie omm’s Sicilian Haiku, illustrated by lucy henshall, will be published by Mad Bear Books this summer.

there’s something wrong with…


Freddie Omm”s Sicilian Haiku will be published this summer by Mad Bear Books.

valentine possibilities (haiku couple)

each love is a kiss

melting and mingling – messed-up

unmissable bliss


each kiss is a sign:

unspoken love awoken –

timeless Valentine




freddie omm

14 february 2019


(illustration by annie spratt via unsplash)

faults and good bits

photo by matthew rader on unsplash

we own our faults but

all those faults do not destroy

the good bits in us.



february 2019

ghosts of cheyne walk

one night in London

I saw the ghost of a child

behind my old house


dressed all in white

from another century

in the basement well


I watched a while

– she was absorbed in herself –

diffusing through light


a veil of darkness

her little body lit up

void translucent shades –


face expressionless,

quite absent, as if her spirit

had drained her hereness


flowing past in light

like the sun’s in moony night

shining chimera –


I could not read her

state nor story from her looks:

she stayed still, mute, slight,


radiating calm

acceptance between us. I waved –

then went up to bed.




next night, another

ghost came through the bathroom wall

into the sitting room


whilst I sat talking

with my ex-girlfriend’s mother

sure I was mad, drunk


visions and sirens

called me, but maybe it was

the ghost of our love


the evening after

I’d seen that blank ghost daughter

in not to be light.





freddie omm’s Sicilian Haiku will be published by Mad Bear Books later this year.

salle des pas perdus – poitiers

hall of lost footsteps

fugitive hot whispered words

scabrous ancestral songs


judgments from the court

of love whose lust-drunk troubadours

inspire my spirit:


a joy for living

a past that never passes

a loss yet unlost


in this hallowed space

– oak beams, flagstones, marbled walls –

still footfalls echo


I long for you much

as I listen to music

whose sadnesses touch


my heart still aching

from madnesses and rage that

haunt this rabid present –


let’s celebrate life

in songs of now, here, as in those

footfalls of the past


we find in absence

a beauty missing in presence

sometimes, timeless love





1 january 2019

here right now (lit like sparks in rain)

lost in your head

– a maze in shade, leaves in fall

blown autumnal memories


your mind’s lost and found

place of missed discoveries:

space to be, begin


become right here, be

fresh and free like that loved child

you were and yet will be


in this place of warmth

(this then’s the only way in?)

welling from your core


and you’re here right now

as these words flit through your brain

lit like sparks in rain


in our synapses

no unlinked unwoke spaces

no clueless faceless faces –


flaming in the flow

of watery reflections

you are here right now.





december 2018

gods glowing golden

warm lights of Christmas

cradled in the dark like faith’s

blessed, blissed mysteries



wonders in the everyday –

stars reflecting us


link us to each other

and our gods glowing golden,

lighting our lives in warmth





24 december 2018

canoes in the dusk

splintering sea – deep

troughs of sunset waves – shade, swell,

breathing dreams of sleep


lost in waking waves –

our canoes launch liquid lives

in limitless dusk.





grounded – a thing for me – split-line sonnet

not for me

those clouds that fluff the sky and

shift their shape like ghosts


haunting heaven,

inhabiting while whiting out

our snowy floating formless hopes –


not for me

the worn-in practised phrase

that targets


some soft weakness of our stricken hearts,

but always misses,



tittle-tattling flattery that bigs

us up

yet disses, disses –


o not for me

those chilled and flaky

trout-lipped puppet tendernesses


nor for me

those strung-out wants that need yet never do,

they’ll never do:


not for me a life that’s lost for lack of you.


for me then what is left to make my day?

for me your hand and head and heart and kiss


that permeate

the mark of love which others miss,



mashing us while world spins on around us in its feckless way:


but all those flakes

who flurry through the sky, who

flourish infelicitously


without a touch from you

to ground them cannot be

a thing for me.





november 2018

reignite – haiku chain

Night. A single star

Burns, smudged by smog, smokelike clouds

Then blotted out. Dark


As my mood when you

Are gone – warmth and light snuffed out

Like a single flame


As the waxing moon

Is smothered behind storm clouds

Passing blind below


We absent ourselves

In darkness, deep depressions

Hiding from the sun


We dig a hole in

The plot of our own story –

Gotta stop digging:


Look up, wrap ourselves

In glowing glory, endless



Sea, sky, stars and moon

And this solitary earth

Spinning round the sun


That storm seething past

Stokes our sluggish blood till time

Reignites the sky.





September 2018

come to me – sonnet

Come to me in the blind and breathless passion of a night

Spent loving free full feral without thought

For morning – climactic darling hours that brought

Us here as one and yet so other, clasped tight


As here in bed between these warm and crumpled clinging sheets

We bask our bodies in the glow and gladdening glory of the sun

Each rapt and untamed moment which our lives have left to run

Each moment while in each of us our wild heartbeats


With that loping looping rhythm pulsing love

Outpacing secret cadences of time.


Charged with that beat, may tantric rhythmic rhyme

Flow through our coupling, energy-infused from high above


And let our inner powers grow and set us free:

May we become ourselves again, each time you come to me.





blessing for a child – haiku chain

open your eyes, love –

begin the unending day

of beautiful play:


ripeness of moments

fall into your lap like fruits

of bliss from the tree –


song and carefree smiles

wrap you in the warmth of love,

forever happy


together with those

whose arms hold you close and safe

wherever you are


and when your eyes close

may you see beautiful dreams

and wake to fresh dawn


whoever you be

come in your unending day

of beautiful play.

song of the morning muse – sonnet

Every morning I sing – the birds above

And earth below move in those dawning musings –

Those twists and turns of dream and thought, those swings

Of mood that drive us off course when we love


But when we think we have the lives we hoped we’d live

We sometimes see ourselves as creatures that we feared we’d be –

Monsters of imagination, whom we

Fed because of what we dreamed they’d give –


We travelled far through countries strange, and stranger time

Wore out our wishes, blotted all that dreaming shaped in rhyme:

Our vital hopes were blurred – still, half-asleep –

Although throughout it all our vocal passions stirred: racing deep –


Till one fine day (like now) we wake, we rub our eyes and then

Realise we’re singing songs of morning once again.




May 2018

holy ghosts – haiku chain

all our holy ghosts

live in us, and we in them –

love’s eternal haunting:

blithe spirits spook us

from deserted dunes – singing

sands, rustled by winds –

heartbeat-storms roil round

the beach, rouse stomping wildness,

clamour in our veins:

we are the children

– and parents – of the past

in love’s family

whose children succeed

give birth to generations

for eternity

mother father child

live and grow and give their love

timeless trinity

all our holy ghosts

live in us as we in them

we are love eternal


Spring 2018

the alien within us – haiku chain

we photoshop out

the alien within us

retouching our selves


to present profiles

that are shareable and bland

we become other

migrating exiles –

those aliens outside us

beyond the pale walls

and who am I then

an alien inside you

apt to be expelled

when you draw borders

for my refugee heart, we

live a little less

free to be as we

are in our core and essence,



inalienable us:

search for us in vain



March 2018

wake for the winter – cold front, february-march 2018 – haiku chain

we all have it in us

this dying for summer this

dawning in darkness


like buds at the tips

of february twigs we grow

and feel its stirring


springtime inside us

until a cold front snuffs out

our wake for the winter


a crocus-white chill

grabs us not from the grave but

its deep dark bed of earth


winter clasps us tight

anew and what we wished gone

we take it back again


like people waved goodbye

come back and kissed afresh our

winter wishes woke


we hug them to warm us

our needs and loves we never lose

we have them all in us



st valentine’s eve – anna and floris: 1270

at dusk she kisses him

mushymouthed and clinging breathless breast

to breast their smooth commingling

hard then fluid tender melting

cool hot creamy sex when two

so made so shaped for one another

couple up as one in one

dissolving her in him in her like milk in tea

and in the pearl-pale moisture bleeding from those honeyed lips

and in the sweet salt sweat of thighs and loins

she cries he too

for in that kindling consummate moment

they come consumed to be together

all thought given up

yesterday today no more tomorrow

she wonders how such mindless mindfulness surrenders


she wonders is that it then when valentine dawns

when is tomorrow then

when I and you become us

and she conceives as day in night is born

and fused and found forever lost that moment

when together now

we come as close as one can be to one

then is tomorrow and tomorrow’s past


valentine’s eve into day 2018

space in our mind

there is a space in our mind

where thoughts are formed

which we do not express

when let’s say you catch a glance of someone

in the street

who smiles and you smile back but pass by

and forget about them

although you’ve never known them to start with

until days later you wake

in the night

from the darkness of a vanished dream

about some other person and their smile

that passing instant returns like a flash

to you vivid as lightning and fades as quickly

in bleached black

yet has left its impression

as if imprinted on your brain

so when you look away a shadow

of it still is there smudged

in faded pigments

like the glimpse of a ghost

of something you don’t quite believe


or a déja-vu of such familiar oddity

that it’s unsettling and draws you close


as a lover lost from long ago

who seems suddenly close and wants to hug

you back from your absence to feel

the sort of things that you cannot describe



8 february 2018

twelfth night, 1296 – floris’ epiphany in the hall of knights – as if feasting

Floris V van Holland

Early in January 1296, Floris V leaves his court in The Hague for Paris, where – against his better wishes – he switches Holland’s ancient alliance with England to one with France. This sparks off treachery among some of Floris’ nobles, leading to his murder in June.


in his hall of knights –

mental topers, tumblers, ravers

– mad din of needy bingeing gluttons


smoke-shrouds cling to blackened beams

minstrels mock those braying, belching goblet-brandishers

ranting voices drunk


alone in that crowd

and at its centre, he sits

a silent moment.



thoughts like words unborn

in a womb of forgetting

flit through his spirit


scared of too much thought

(which drinking puts a stop to

– as if thoughts could drown):



sacred hopes, our wished-for dreams

float off like swans when we awake

they glide off on the glossy glassy lake


worn out by living

(which dying puts an end on

– as if our lives first wear, then strip us bare).


as if as if as

if, in drinking, sleep and dreams

and thoughts and words all drowned like shipwrecked memories


and yet and yet and

yet we live and breathe and feed our fates,

our lives float free of us.



he sits with his knights,

his ladies, fools, his dogs and serfs and clowns

one sated, bloated, slumbering moment


comes as if to himself

in the din of that great hall

on his island in the lake –


sees in that moment

the ghosts of future feasting,

woken when he wakes.



twelfth night, 2018



Binnenhof The Hague in about 1290

Hall of Knights (Ridderzaal), Binnenhof, The Hague in the eighteenth century

new year 1296, the hague – floris wakes in the binnenhof (five haiku)

fazed, floris looks out

across the lake from his tower:

chilled, sluggish morning –


his household sleeping

off the feast, he’s alone, but for

the stork and the swan


one roosting above

on the roof, one swimming below –

fog-filled sky foreboding.


he rises from the bed

behind the banqueting hall,

kisses his lover –


blessing his domain

– his folk, that mindless morning –

his dark fate untold.


new year’s day 2018

evening, munsterkerk roermond – seasonal remnants: four haiku


round the munsterkerk

the Christmas market’s dark, stands

and stalls shuttered up:


seasonal crowds withdrawn

– spaces of singular silence –

no one left but us


contemplating change

in the temples of our heart

where gods die and live


lamps hung from abbey trees,

spotlit abbey walls, cast light

over us remnants.



december 2017

winter solstice: christmas blessing – five haiku

this winter solstice

as I love you, love me –

our Christmas blessing:

living loving both –

 if life means anything

let our thing be love.

longest, darkest night,

while Wodan hunts with ghosts all yearning

through skies of glowing spirits

may that night purge us all

those ghosts be at peace, in love

again with living


in shadowlands of love:

as I love you, love me

this winter solstice.



winter solstice 2017

scatterseeded love – a sonnet


because I am a poet I love words
that cover up as much as they discover
my otherness, my flights so fanciful to you, my lover
whose wit and song and thought fly free like bees, like hummingbirds –

because you are my lover my true words
close in zooming close-up on our love, which uncovers
inborn lusts, carnal nectars nestling embryonic deep in us – we lovers
so innerly loved – when up we pair in passion, flock as birds

to cling and fuck and flick like flames all through the sweet warm night
like lit, scatterseeded sex, love’s godlike joy’s in flight –

because our gods come multiply, we lovers
– synthesizing each in one, seedlings whose flowering recovers

lush, latent lyric life – transplant into our words
love’s being, life’s meaning – innate and fecund like nectar, bees and hummingbirds.



sex and being (three haiku)


pulsing passion fills

our veins – our bodies

cleave together, one.


now in our oneness

grows a seed of otherness:

each of us is both


oneself, and a part

of another being born

of us, though not us.



 hollywood kilonova

in hollywood, our

sublunar gutter-cosmos,

the walk of fame shames


collapsed stars, black holes

collide, merge – an afterglow

of platinum, gold


counterstellar dust,

like that brute shapeshifter’s lust

ravishing Leda


rapist in swan’s form:

sky father, king of gods, power

launched in Helen’s face


engendering revenge –

Iphigenia, Clytaemnestra

and Argos dead (the dog…)


this darkwebbed media:

supernova’d starfuckers

named, shamed, bollocked up


chorus of neutron sleaze:

lost starlets – tricked-, sucked-, fucked-up –

patriarch swansong


now mobs bay and rip

lives apart in shitstorm tweets

of #metoo fascism


in our black hole of fame

everyone’s-got-it-infamy –

carry on hollywood.



october 2017

zuiderstrand, the hague

from boardwalks buried
in the bed of that steep dune

you step on the beach –


sandscapes shift, air-borne,

you’re a visitor here, as

timelessly moving


as sea waves wash off

infinite fictions of earth –

mere specks on a spot in space.



october 2017

1989 – everything is now – 2017

Photo by Filipe Almeida via Unsplash


our summer of love:

high on hope, hardcore uproar

remixing our lives


dance in those muddy tribal fields –

surging acid nights – wild orgasmic waves

entranced, crowdy hazy drums


all one together

when sunset shades to sunrise –

stay up forever!


heaven in a rave

morphing bodies, spaced-out time:

starstruck eternals


raucous, thrilled and chilled

travellers, mutating beings

stagger on the stars’ stoned threshold


in love’s euphoria:

kiss our forever lovers –

softcore love hardwired in all of us


heartbeat to heartbeat

ecstatic, loved-up pulses

– everything is now –



summer 1989 & summer 2017

         Photo by Muhammed Fayiz via Unsplash

sun, sand, sky and sea – haiku chain

sun, sand, sky and sea:

here i sit and write my words


as my dog chasing birds

– or their chatter when they flee –

sense is to words

seeking expression –

while we too might seek release

in sweet sensation

loving inner peace,

our minds, our bodies set free –

revel in release

merge into ocean

like a riff of poetry

in tidal passion

shore’s simplicity

sweet edge of comprehension:

sun, sand, sky and sea

zuiderstrand, the hague – 6 may 2017

misty snowy easter – zell am see-kaprun – a sonnet

every time I glance out of the window, love,
grey clouds slink down into our valley deep

and filter out all colour: grey above,

below, and grey behind our balcony when sleep
creeps up like time on light, and all around our space

the mist coils spreading from the glacier

of kitzsteinhorn, and river salzach’s waters race

and roil beyond the moor’s dark clumps of birch and alder
where wagtail, dipper, and sad willow warbler

chatter cross the fens beside the spa’s hot springs.
around us in the town, the fog clings

to the streets, a scattering of ghosts without a face –
we sip a schnapps, our spirits warm, and love

each other, smiling, dissolved into the place.


Mid-April 2017

la muse et la petite mort – a sonnet

la muse et la petite mort


i sometimes wish I didn’t love you yet

so much that I do I do for you but

nothing ever works for us both, and words mistook cut

us up and out of our connection, when we let them.
i always love the way you never get

stuck on stuff – some folk would fall into a rut

when hard and heavy tribulations put

their lives on hold – thoughts mired like fish in a net.
but you, you seem to blithely slip

through that wide open ocean of freedom

from all the drifting flotsam pains you ever met
setting sail on a climactic far-out trip

through wine-dark heavens, where you and all our friends can come –

loving, yet somehow wishing we didn’t love you, yet…

       April 2017

in our happy hour 

  in our happy hour

  blooming among wild tulips

   sappily sprung in spring –


   fresh April showers fall,

  sweeten earthy sluggish veins –

    riffs of birdsong wake


       liminal lovers

    on the season’s bare threshold,

     shivering off the cold –


    shed our chrysalis clothes,

      winter’s pale accessories,

        emerging nude, fresh –


    limitless like love

    shaken from hibernation

        in our happy hour

freddie omm , april 2017

sexy, slightly scary (her sweet self)

She’s sweet like a friend

Yet sexy, slightly scary

Like no one other


You like her. She smiles

The smile of one who knows that

That liking you feel


Likes her for her self

Like she wishes she could too

But she doesn’t like


Like herself… She says

She can’t explain how she likes

What she likes in words


She has this dream

In which she merges in her

Lies of love with others like


She’s living some truth

Neither selfish nor selfless

– Like her to be both –


Sweet, wholesome, love-scarred

And sexy, exposed – scared that

She’s just like herself


But is not herself –

Like no one else is oneself:

We’re like each other.

soho sunday


Ganton Street Soho.
In a café called Sacred:
Small blue sky crossed

With pink, white lightbulbs,
Old facades of painted brick.
The dog is panting

The poet is waiting
On the pavement footfalls pass
By shops, tourists snap.

Summer 2016

on ventura beach: haiku chain

ventura keys bay

ventura keys bay


borne on a loose-tongued tide

when dolphins sang in our bay,

i swam alongside.


learning my english

in california, oh yeah –

i dug those endless sands


west of ventura keys

soaked up the lingo in waves,

loghorreic seas,


chilled long days drunk down

so deep, my first summer of love,

synaesthetized like


a child of the sun –

honey-skied strands, peacemeal love,

kool-aid cookied, fun!


like surf out of reach,

lyrics drift through smoke-tinged breeze

on ventura beach.


kool-aid cookies

kool-aid cookies



shoredays, yoredays: seven haiku on a beach


now, then, soon – shoredays,

wave-lapped hours, wind-spun and warm

like summer kisses


blown in midwinter

distillated on our lips

blissed out, oh! timeless


yoredays – flown, but here

with you forever, come spring

and the buds and birds –


skies drunk on light, blue

till blacked-out, then flopping blank

on a spinning globe


summerled like myth,

tripping out on dewy toes –

yoredays, yours, mine, theirs,


the only sure thing

left is love in all our lives,

strewn along the dunes


days of sun, shoredays –

all transilluminated,

hewn in memory


who am i (lana wachowski)

for lana wachowski


… who am i, and when

wachowski to wachowska


was there a moment

before i became me? – no,

and yet i wonder…


what turns us queerly

recast in a different film

to act against type?


(type?) (without a face?)

life’s not some single screenplay…

(type?) (without a cast?)


we ask ourselves this

not knowing if an answer

ever was, will be:


never yet someone,

neither a nonentity

nor quite nobody


mostly we don’t ask

for fear of wondering, lost

in rapt selflessness


one eye on the road

which tears our lives inside out

one hand on the wheel


and we become one

body, not anybody,

don’t ask who am i…


22nd January 2014


i admire lana wachowski’s work a lot and also her general attitude to stuff (as far as one can make out from her few public statements) – she combines humour with intelligence and experimentation – artistic bravery, openminded energy, a sense of inspirational anarchy…

i wrote this poem in one go last night just after i’d been thinking about her life so far.

(it is likely to get edited, tweeted and played with, being in the nature of an experiment, one of my haiku chains…)

endings & beginnings

my new year’s message this year is this quaint little ditty. i was writing out the fair copy this morning when i was interrupted not by a man from porlock but a mother-in-law from neuss bearing presents. so i had to finish it on a fresh sheet of paper which i then stuck together so you can see that the interruption came at a pertinent point:

endings & beginnings31122013_00000

for those who cannot decipher my writing:


                                                                  endings & beginnings

                                                                  (in a winter’s garden)

BEGIN with the word that comes first, like light

from a twilit winter’s garden, when soft rainfalls

drop on dewy, leaf-pocked grass, showering bright

like a sudden flow of MOMENTS through the calls

of a goosequilled V tooting past, this starry night…


I sometimes try to freeze TIME, so it stops

and in an INSTANT feel and think all blend

and merge within MOMENTS—consciousness drops

like heaven’s rainfall in a winter garden—

inconsummate, unbegun, word without END,


but now SOMETIMES I forget such somethings,

and in your love I’ve found SEASONS to care

about the here, NOW, not some perfected place where

there are no more ENDINGS and BEGINNINGS.

                                                                                              freddie o

                                                                        viersen, 29-31 december 2013


love became a lonely land: autumnal haiku chain

leaves on loam

leaves like love let go

spiral down to snoozing earth,

dark, russet-brown loam.


when fall took those leaves

love became a lonely land—

warmth withdrawn, wan sun’s


waning light bled slow

blind trails of mud and sodden

footsteps veined with ice


wan sun's waning light bled slow blind trails

where ghosts shadowed past,

skulked all through that leafless land

to haunt our autumns…


stark, unfelled, strange-boughed—

love’s remains in lonely land:

bare old beeches, clumped,


storm-ridden and gaunt,

sheltering our homeless hearts,

winterblown—like us,


love’s a vagabond

wandering to a nameless place

of endless leaving—


on tracks untravelled

from fall to spring, we will see

leaves, let go, return.

leaves, let go, return

leaves, let go, return


 – I originally wrote this haiku chain on Twitter — a bad habit of mine — poetry on Twitter being so hit and miss, nobody’s looking for it — but I find it a good place maybe for knocking out a first draft.

– When I’d written it I thought Love is a lonely land was a new phrase but then I checked and I saw I had actually lifted it (subconsciously…) from an old, sweet song.

–  This was Billie Holiday’s beautiful, mournful Deep Song (by Cory and Cross), which includes the line:

Love lives in a lonely land

and ends:

Love is a barren land, a lonely land/A lonely land.

–  That’s a song I must have listened to more than a couple dozen times since childhood (my parents also loved Billie Holiday).

– At any rate, my haiku chain has ended up as a sort of retort — a positive echo if you like — to the somewhat bleak sentiments of Deep Song

– So thanks to Billie, Cory and Cross!

– And here’s their song in all its glory:

Billie Holiday: Deep Song

earthgrazing haiku

moon and bay

moon and bay

In Dorset last month one evening after tea – and till well after midnight – there were some excellent meteor showers.

Spread out on our backs, on a tumulus on the clifftops above Higher Eype, we watched them.

I wrote this haiku chain about it:

(meteor showers over the dorset coast)

peckish at tea-time:
pot warmed, kettle on the boil
as the light draws in

around the cottage –
fog furling up from the sea
all this moist evening

our minds soaked, softened
in warm cups of reflection,
dunked choccy biscuits –

scones with clotted cream
and jam, gentleman’s relish
on hot buttered toast.

we climb up the hill
to the clifftop tumulus,
sheep and cows around –

the sky inking in
those unscrolled constellations
crawling with time’s myths,

scanning heaven for
asteroids and meteorites,
bright trails clustered in

radiating lights,
mirrored waves, blank deep waters
where night takes a breath,

and then we look out
– wide-eyed, longing no longer –
appetites replete,

scattered meteor showers
sketch the intermittent sky
with points of parting:

radiant perseids,
earthgrazers, cosmic debris –
while we watch, starstruck,

and only the dog
is still on the hunt for more,
chasing her own tail…

dorset, august 2013

coco looking for her own tail

coco looking for her own tail

(“earthgrazers”, by the way, are meteors which fly close to the horizon, slowly, in the early evening… i like the way it could just as well describe us humans – and animals, too – grazers all upon this earth)



Van Gogh’s First Literary Appearance Discovered

starry night, by van gogh, 1889

starry night, vincent van gogh, 1889

Van Gogh is often seen as the epitome of the tortured artist – misunderstood, rejected in his lifetime, and only slowly building up a posthumous reputation after his early, self-inflicted death.

This supposed obscurity has been shown to be a myth before. But that legendary image still clings to Van Gogh, helping to make him one of the world’s most popular, iconic artists.

vincent van gogh

vincent van gogh

Now Dutch journalist Sander Brink has unearthed the first mention of Van Gogh in a piece of fiction. It throws up some fascinating insights and surprises.

Because Van Gogh’s first appearance is startlingly early – 1903, in a novel called De Winkeljuffrouw uit Oiseau d’Or – Chapeaux pour dames et enfants. (translation: “The Shopgirl in Oiseau d’Or – hats for ladies and children”)

The novelist, Cornélie Noordwal, far from being some kind of avant-garde writer at the cutting edge of modern art, was a hugely popular writer of mainstream (arguably middlebrow) bestsellers, romances and childrens’ books.

Van Gogh’s fleeting mention in De Winkeljuffrouw will thus have formed the first exposure thousands of readers ever had to the artist…

cornélie noordwal, turn of the century blockbuster writer

cornélie noordwal, dutch blockbuster writer in the 1890s and 1900s

What interests me first is the relative standings of Van Gogh and Noordwal.

In 1903, Noordwal was a famous, rich, successful writer (albeit one many critics despised), whereas Van Gogh, thirteen years dead, was only just beginning his phoenix-like rise from obscurity.

In the 110 years since, of course, their positions have radically reversed. Like most middlebrow blockbusters of bygone ages, Noordwal, for all her merits, has lapsed into relative obscurity, while Van Gogh has become the elemental incarnation of genius, whose works sell for hundreds of millions.

The second thing which interests me is the nature of Van Gogh’s fictional début. Because he is sketched in terms remarkably close to his alienated, self-dramatising self-image (as expressed in his own letters), which has driven another core aspect of the Van Gogh myth.

In the novel, Jan, a poet, is writing to Nora, his beloved, and he mentions Van Gogh as being similar to her:

Of course you won’t know who that was. He was a man who was nothing but soul, like you, and his life was violently troubled by it; he painted and drew things, considered laughable and insane by laymen, and yet showed himself more of an artist than a mass of famous painters who create impeccable landscapes and  pictures.

(translation, by Freddie Oomkens, from the Dutch quoted in Sander Bink’s piece of 3rd July 2013)

The third interesting thing is that this figure of Van Gogh already seems fairly close to being a stock character, a Romantic literary archetype of a sort popular in the period. Think of the Les poètes maudites (1884), or D.H. Lawrence, or Leonard Bast in Howards End (1910), or a host of others.

It may sound fanciful, but it is almost as if literature, by means of this dainty little novel, were co-opting Van Gogh to join this gallery of characters whose noble sensitivity ejects them from society…

The final interesting thing, one which also intrigues Sander Bink, is the part played by letter-writing in this story.

Van Gogh’s letters had been published well before 1903 – indeed Albert Aurier’s famously influential article about him (Les Isolés, published in 1890) was heavily influenced by Van Gogh’s letters.  Noordwal, who lived in Paris (she died there in 1928), may well have read the article, which appeared in Mercure de France, a magazine popular among lovers of modern art, as well as extracts of the letters which appeared in Holland and France throughout the 1890s.

All in all, a fascinating insight into how consistently, and from its earliest days, Van Gogh’s iconic international image was shaped by literature, as shown in his very first (so far!) fictional entrance.

Jackals and Arabs

This little parable, like a fairy story, is utterly unlike most people’s idea of Kafka, reading like an enigmatic tale for children:

Jackals and Arabs

a place where jackals and arabs might meet

a place where jackals and arabs might meet

Reading this story to his daughters – and seeing their delighted reaction – inspired Matthue Roth to create My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs, which is published this week.

The idea is long overdue – for almost a century, Kafka has been imprisoned in a Kafkaesque prison not of his own making.

It’s high time someone set him free.

translating keyserling

eduard von keyserling’s masterpiece of literary impressionism, waves (wellen), has never been translated into english before.

it is now being attempted over on oomkenscom

the bay of puck on the baltic sea, setting of keyserling's "waves".

the bay of puck on the baltic sea, setting of keyserling’s “waves”.



The Great Gatsby (the novel) Flayed

Great Gatsby movie poster

Hilarious debunking, by Kathryn Schulz, of The Great Gatsby.

If I don’t agree wholly, it’s because I think the novel’s iconic stature is deserved. In persuading us of its greatness, its shortness helps, too – allowing readers to supply a lot of the thematic power Fitzgerald merely sketches in.

Having said that, Schulz does land some telling punches – “third person sanctimonious” is good as the narrative voice Fitzgerald gave Nick in Gatsby – and this was something which someone just had to say roundabout now, with the umpteenth (well, fifth) Hollywood treatment  hitting the screens.

Schulz: Why I Despise The Great Gatsby — Vulture.

4 years’ prison for stabbing sister in Swedish ‘honour killing’ case

swedish honour killing victim

Her brother was only 16 when he stabbed her more than 100 times, in April 2012.

She’d returned to Sweden a year before, fleeing an arranged marriage in Iraq.

Knowing the possible consequences of her brother’s concern for the family “honour”, she always slept with a knife under her pillow.

Local authorities, terrified of upsetting sensitivities, ignored repeated warnings from the anti-honour-killing group Tank.

The boy duly killed his sister. Originally sentenced to eight years, that sentence has been halved in light of his age at the time of his crime.


Court slashes sentence in ‘honour killing’ case – The Local.

david foster wallace on planet trillaphon

david foster wallace–lavishly admired depressive and novelist who killed himself eight years ago–is the subject of three new books now reviewed by thomas meaney, who concludes, in a mixed metaphor of baroque exuberance, that:

to be the master distiller of the times for a generation is no small feat. It requires a willingness to dirty your hands in the culture to a point at which most novelists would flinch. It means being willing to swallow boredom whole.

wallace’s greed for drugs was, apparently, as epic as the taste for tedium meaney ascribes to him, but neither could numb his life-consuming depressions.

he poured his preoccupations with modern life’s minutiae into knowing post-modernist prose, intellectually flashy, emotionally absent.

his reverential treatment of items which used to be thought unworthy of such (TV pre-eminent among them) is getting tired and dated today, but his books are beautifully emblematic of his time.

David Foster Wallace on Planet Trillaphon | TLS.

she lifts her veil: a vision – three rondelets


I was in the Musée d’Orsay last week and took this picture of a striking sculpture by Barrias (Nature Revealing Herself to Science).

(From this angle her limpid marble eyes have a disconcertingly full, yet vacant look, brimming compassion yet somehow indifferent – although that may be a fanciful not to say pretentious notion…)

Coincidentally, I have been working on a poem called She Lifts Her Veil.

It consists of three rondelets – a charming medieval French lyric form.

The subject of the poem isn’t medieval exactly nor is it really about the grand Victorian personification of Nature Unveiling Herself to Science. It’s more about modern men and women and how they see each other:


she lifts her veil –
a vision: blank, dilating eyes,
she lifts her veil.

you breathe, the smell of her inhale,
flushed lips mouth fire – as flames chastise
brazen flashing immodesties –
she lifts her veil:


they see her face –
fragrant and nude, beyond the pale:
they see her face

itching to put her in her place –
frustration makes them bluster, flail,
so helpless – lewd and sexed and frail –
they see her face:


she drops her veil
lets it float, fall, fade where it lies…
she drops her veil

to speak her peace – a piece of tale
embodies what she prophesies,
when in the mirror of our eyes
she drops her veil.

freddie omm, spring 2012

My Novel "Honour" Published

My best-selling thriller “Honour,” published by Mad Bear Books, is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon stores worldwide:

(USA AmazonUK Amazon)

Paperbacks are also available from Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace e-store: Honor (USA edition) –  Honour (UK edition).

Shocking, darkly funny, edgily post-feminist, “Honour” is about men who kill for honour, the girls who “drive them to it,” – and love in an age which consumes it…

the enemy within

Paul Berman, in the New Republic, reviews Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea.

It is a disturbing book showing how Islam is being corrupted by an aggressive and intolerant ideology.

The late Abdurrahman Wahid, once President of Indonesia, described radical Islamist political and terrorism as the product of an “extreme and perverse ideology.”

This ideology, as Berman notes, contrasts with

other, more tolerant and traditional currents of thought within Islam, more compatible with modern liberal ideas—such as the peaceable Sufism endorsed by Wahid, together with sundry humanist currents that descend from Islam’s medieval Golden Age.

Yet it is the radical Islamists who are making the political running in Islamic societies worldwide.

They wage a campaign of violence and intimidation whose most high-profile events were gruesome – the hacking to death of Vincent van Gogh on an Amsterdam street, the murder of Salman Rushdie’s Japanese translator.

But less high profile victims (Christians in Egypt, Somalia and Algeria, for example) abound, and the campaign’s success is partly the silence in which less spectacular events pass us by:

Incidents in which artistic or intellectual presentations have been cancelled without any accompanying violence or arrests have become fairly common: the sandblasting by the Dutch police of a mural in Amsterdam protesting the murder of van Gogh; the removal of artwork from London’s Whitechapel Gallery in 2006; the cancellation of a display at the Tate Gallery; the cancellation in Geneva in 1993 of a production of Voltaire’s play Fanaticism: or Mahomet the Prophet (followed, a dozen years later, by a minor riot when Voltaire’s play did receive a French production); the quiet removal of artworks from display by the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2010 (though I wonder how Marshall and Shea would judge the Met’s ambitious new wing of Islamic art); the removal in 2009 of the Danish cartoons from a scholarly Yale University Press book about the Danish cartoons; the cancellation in 2009 of a German mystery novel about Muslim honor killings; the flight underground of a threatened cartoonist, Molly Norris, of the Seattle Weekly; the decision by eight hundred newspapers in the United States not to run a syndicated cartoon by Wiley Miller. And so on.

 Meanwhile, campaigns against “hate speech” and “Islamophobia” proliferate, often based on quaint paranoia about Western intentions:

 The doctrine postulates a conspiracy theory, according to which Crusaders and Zionists have been plotting to annihilate Islam for many hundreds of years—in the case of the Zionists, ever since the Medina controversies of the seventh century.

 The legal systems of the West have been instrumentalized to silence Islamism’s critics. Geert Wilders in Holland and Mark Steyn in Canada are well-known Western victims of these bizarre and shameful prosecutions, but many more are from Muslim backgrounds:

 the Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who converted to Christianity; the brave and morally precise Italian-Egyptian journalist Magdi Allam, who also converted (at the hands of the pope, no less, such that his middle name is now Cristiano); the writer and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Holland, until she left Holland; Necla Kelek, a German feminist from Turkey; Ekin Deligöz, a German Green politician from Turkey; Souad Sbai, the head of Italy’s Association of Moroccan Women, and too many others to list.

 Finally, perhaps most fatally, the campaign is leading to self-censorship of a kind which cannot bear even to acknowledge itself – a literally self-effacing cowardice.

umberto eco flayed for anti-semitism

in daniel johnson’s hatchet job in standpoint, umberto eco is accused of flirting with anti-semitism.

johnson says eco tries to pass off a chesterton quote as his own (When men stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing: they believe in anything) – a moot point, given chesterton himself didn’t actually write it…

johnson has no time for eco:

His novels are case studies in postmodernism, which elides all categories of truth, beauty, morality and politics into an esoteric game.

the article’s payoff:

The doubts sown by the book fall on fertile soil, for ours is a culture that long ago lost its bearings, thanks to the prestige of postmodernists such as Umberto Eco. He stands for the intellectuals of the 21st century who, like those of the last century, commit trahison des clercs by flirting with anti-Semitism when their duty is to take a clear stand against it.

if postmodernism truly is nothing more than a futile, meaningless game, it seems harsh to accuse it and its practitioners of fanning the flames of anti-semitism.

poetic parataxis

robert moore’s article in n+1 explores the e-book from its inception in 1971 to future adumbrations, including interactive texts and those which rearrange themselves anew with every reading.

impressive and involving as a lot of these are, the future of linear text and storytelling is still (- i think, and i think robert moore thinks so too -) bright.

as moore puts it: Writing is a miraculous technology all its own—a code that, when input through the optic nerve, induces structured, coherent hallucinations.

blurbs, blaps and blovers – one hell of a ride

article by alan levinovitz (in the millions) looks at the history of the blurb from roman times to now.

the template was set by erasmus of rotterdam’s puff for his friend and fellow humanist thomas more:

“All the learned unanimously subscribe to my opinion, and esteem even more highly than I the divine wit of this man…”

george orwell excoriated blurbs, describing them as:

 “disgusting tripe,” quoting a particularly odious example from the Sunday Times:

“If you can read this book and not shriek with delight, your soul is dead.”

the ubiquity of blurbs by generous writers like (say) salman rushdie makes some readers wonder about their sincerity.

even so, a blurb from a famous writer for a new one must increase sales, otherwise no one would bother.

James Patterson Swallowed My Goldfish… And the Bowl With It!

a goldfish
james patterson

Rumours about James Patterson and his voracious appetites take on increasingly bizarre forms.

Patterson shifts more books than anyone on the planet (14 million copies in 2009, says the NYT).

His books straddle the thriller, YA and romance markets.

With his co-authors, he publishes 9 or more new titles a year.

If he didn’t invent this “studio” approach (it’s reminiscent of Rembrandt, Van Dyck, et al) he certainly practices it more successfully than anybody else..

But he always wants more:

When sales figures showed that he and John Grisham were running nearly neck and neck on the East Coast but that Grisham had a big lead out West, Patterson set his second thriller series, “The Women’s Murder Club,” about a group of women who solve murder mysteries, in San Francisco. (quoted from NYT article)

 When he heard that he was a key player on five of Hachette’s six imprints, he asked which one he was missing. Told it was the religious imprint, he said, “I can do that.”

Patterson’s aggressive branding and marketing supports books which millions happily devour. And he gives back, too, with his ReadKiddoRead platform to encourage literacy among the young.

Combining his unquenchable hunger for success with his intolerance of others’, however, it can surely only be a question of time before the headline James Patterson Swallowed My Goldfish – And the Bowl With It! appears.

Because Patterson doesn’t want to be the biggest fish in the bowl. He wants to ingest the whole bowl – gravel and plastic props included – into his insatiable maw!

postmodernism is dead

Edward Docx says Postmodernism is Dead – in this article in Prospect.

Appropriate that the announcement should come via an exhibition, at the V & A no less.

Docx gives his definition of Postmodernism and says its death is heralded by

three ideas, of specificity, of values and of authenticity, (which) are at odds with postmodernism. We are entering a new age. Let’s call it the Age of Authenticism and see how we get on.

“Authenticism” (to me) sounds rather too worthy but it’s a persuasive line for all that.

Although I sometimes wonder whether there isn’t as much of value in the concept of Trash as Authenticity. Put another way, what, au fond, is more authentic than trash?

But maybe those are post-postmodern questions?

lovelife mutations

life is a ghostwritten script
a half-heard whispered soundtrack
of cues and quotes we’ve ripped
from old remastered notes, unverified facts…


life is an unwritten message –
never sent, unborn, undead,
relating a world without age
where words merely babble, only read


to alter their sense
and scatter random clues which give
us relics of self, and change the tense –
a poem of birth to live.


and we retrace our poems of birth
alive in love in every time
and every breath
whose heartbeat pumps our rhyme –


our poetry mutates
us and those who heed
our words in altered states
wake love out of need.

                                june 2011

darkness fades: equinox (villanelle)

saturn at equinox

when darkness fades, and dawn lights up your eyes,
deep in the morning silence we make love –
melt in the dream of a day as night dies.

i come to life in your love, and realize
you’re the sun-cusped girl i’ve always dreamed of
when darkness fades, and dawn lights up your eyes.

you turn me on each waking hour, sunrise
to sunrise, all radiating love –
melt in the dream of a day as night dies,

as earth tilts, night and day merge, and we rise
at the equinox – emotion’s axes move
when darkness fades, and dawn lights up your eyes.

spectral in the shadows, dark matter flies
while we explore each arc of our subsolar love –
melt in the dream of a day as night dies.

we find ourselves – feverish fantasies,
bodies in ethereal motion, orbiting love
when darkness fades, and dawn lights up your eyes –
melt in the dream of a day as night dies.


who knew when they loved how to love?

this is the third and final part of this triptych of easter poems.

i mean to illustrate them with a tasteful and beautiful picture of easter eggs.

who knew when they loved how to love?
wasn’t love being the same as the loved
one – one – one could never disentangle?

and being apart, wasn’t it not like life
at all, unwhole, the atom split in two,
something alone no one could do?

so this undoing was a way to become whole
when they loved – but who knew how to love?


who knew when they lost how to lose?
wasn’t losing it all the only way to find your
self: self – selflessness being everything to have

in nothing, and to gain by giving it all
away for a kiss of the air
and find our heartlove beating everywhere –

we love and feel our lives a universe
which when we lose, who knows what we lost?


who knew when they lived how to live?
or be the one that wasn’t just alone to
live: live – live recording loops unending

until the next verse overwrites us?
to be reborn is to think other lives fakes
being we alone have got what it takes –

maybe another life to be the ones
who knew when they lived how to live?

easter 2011



i dreamed a dream of life, and lived it in my sleep
and when i woke i saw through a ghost’s eyes:

a scrawling world of vacant cemeteries,
queasy seas of memory, reflections deep,
and muffled beyond purple coral banks, skies
unfathomable as eternity…

… i thought it was the vanished i could see –
void significant nothings, truth-packed lies,
unrisen suns, eclipsed in tenseless space.

for i was a poet of when
and now and then
saw written in your face
love stuff that words forgot to write –

while palpitating in our hearts tonight
are words in blood which leave no other trace
but of another self, another place
whose vanishings recur, but always out of sight.


we live a poem of when, but otherwhere
and othertime – like ivy spread on vines –
creep through our veins: chance, undeciphered signs,
runes and symptoms of things which are not there.

like shadows in a maze of moonshine
we black out, eyeless and pale in the night –
but when cold dawn dissolves us, hold on tight
together, two syllables that overspilled the line.

being alive at all
even hearing quite another call
is being blessed
in incomprehension, indifference;
and inner reflections on our innocence
are inattentive to our interest –

all to the good – beyond reason and rhyme
we live a poem of when, that otherwhere and othertime.

                                                                            easter 2011

happy snaps – easter haiku

i snap happiness
and in an easter egg-hunt
i happen on it.


i happen on it
like an egg under a bush
in springtime hatches.


snip-snap-happy now
a shutter on opening
floats in reflections.


float on in a flood
sun seasoned petals swirling
butterfly wings past.


i happen on you
no matter the season when
happiness i swap.

                                      easter 2011

the vase of soissons

skim, scan and scroll

nicholas carr, in the shallows, says the internet saps creativity.

by altering neuroplastic highways in our brains, it erodes our memories: thanks to google, we don’t have to remember anything anymore.

it is a sinister form of cortical re-mapping.

for, if creation is combining cognitive fluidity with intuitions and memory, a dependence on surfing is bad for it.

carr’s book is well reviewed by jim holt in the london review of books.

Bunny de Neude

bunny de neude is a burlesque artiste in the thriller i’m writing.

by coincidence, there’s a square in utrecht called de neude, on which stands this statue, thinker on a rock, by barry flanagan.

it is a cross between rodin’s thinker and bugs bunny.

Bunny de Neude (Thinker on a Rock) by Barry Flanagan

the cold lady drops by to warm herself at the fire

i’ve loved les tres riches heures du duc de berry, by the limbourg brothers (in dutch: de gebroeders van limburg) since i was a kid.

here’s february:


(this is the first poem i wrote on my bebook)


can’t feel – no sound, no birds
here in the verbosphere
there are no stars
(except as four-letter words)
nothing rough nor nothing blue
no knives to hack you scars
no coldnesses of words untrue
uncut the story clear
(we are all a missing clue).
but what could be more dear
when we is me and me is you
than this silent verbosphere?

the wisdom of old folk sayings (1)

angel, by melozzo da farli, c. 1480

“… be satisfied with your Lot.”

 a highly unfashionable, heretical notion in our age of aspirational discontent.

(and yet, one would do well to ponder what one’s Lot was…)

i’ve recast the line for a cult-leader character of mine:

“… take your Lot lightly.”

in line with g.k.chesterton’s curiously new-agey:

“Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

(which, in turn, was given a spin by our current pope, benedict: “Die Engel können fliegen, weil sie sich leicht nehmen.”)

chesterton was brilliant with that idea of lightness and not taking oneself seriously:

“For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity.”

past lost love (procrastination)

i have been tinkering with the poem, past lost lies, i put on this blog last week.

i remember when i started writing it, it was with the intention of writing a sonnet

(and maybe it is fanciful but as i posted it, it did seem truncated – the truncation however, being somewhat apt to the subject, didnt jar too much in my head.)

but now having tinkered, it is duly a sonnet, and completes a procrastinated teenage impulse, a true embodiment of what it is about…

here’s the text:

past lost love (procrastination)

… i have spent my life procrastinating
each hour postponing the next, so sad

to be without the love i want so bad
as my past lost lies, insinuating…

a sense of wantonness into my head,
her warmth between my sheets –

                                       – i remember
fucking and kissing in cold november…
the smell and feel of her fresh in my bed

and she so unexplored, driving me mad
with lust to be once again without lust

to lose her, let her go in timeless trust,
the best i had, or ever dreamed i had…

… but you today are all that time postponed
and past lost love deferred but not disowned…

              freddie omm

particles of light

this review (god’s equations?) by john leslie of new books by roger penrose and stephen hawking/leonard mlodinow, deals with penrose’s theory of cosmic cycles:

 “…infinite time doesn’t look infinite to photons, “particles of light” without mass (more technically, without “rest-mass”). To a photon, traversing an infinite distance seems to take no time at all. Particles possessing mass are tiny “clocks”. The photon isn’t. It doesn’t “tick”. And, immense ages after all black holes have evaporated entirely through the process discovered by Hawking, the universe may contain nothing that could act as a clock. Particles possessing mass may one and all have become massless very, very gradually. Well, in Einstein’s world clocks are crucial to measuring distances. If eventually there were no clocks, just any distance could readily be traversed. Not only could the universe stop getting older and older; it could actually lose its vastness. This would allow things to carry over smoothly into a new Bang.”

leslie also discusses hawking and mlodinow’s ideas about the many-branched universe:

All branches are equally real, for despite appearances superpositions never collapse. They instead grow to include whomever observes them; any observer develops seemingly incompatible properties. In a complex sense, the observer splits or branches. Well, scientists in the “quantum cosmology” community mostly accept this. However, they would typically reject the book’s idea that all branching depends on observations. Suppose your double, your “other half” with seemingly incompatible properties, inhabits a universe-branch where a cat is alive. In your branch a double of the cat is dead. Looking to see which branch you inhabited needn’t, most of them would say, be what killed that cat.
The book’s ideas about creating the past render matters worse. “Observations you make on a system in the present affect its past.” This is proved, the authors say, by “delayed choice experiments” where any question to be asked experimentally is decided at a late moment. Yet couldn’t you instead claim that past events merely looked as if they’d taken particular forms, or else that they took them, but only in a universe-branch into which the experimental decision helped to place you? Either way, nothing ever reacts to a choice which hasn’t yet been made.

in limiting our consideration only to dimensions which are known, however, we must all be missing a few tricks (not that i think theories should be built on unknown dimensions…).

past lost lies

past lost lies, by f.k.omm

it’s an old poem i wrote back in the day.

it is an octet and goes like this:

. . . i have spent my day procrastinating
each hour postponing the next, so sad
to be without the love i want so bad
as my past lost lies, insinuating
each one into my soul, driving me mad
with lust to be once again without lust
to lose you, let you go with timeless trust,
the best i had, or ever dreamed i had . . .

twisted algorithms – amazon

books, by ian britton

this article by onnesha royschoudhuri sets out a familiar tale about amazon’s aggressive marketing of books as if they were cans of soup.

twisted algorithms recommending “books you might like” lead you to books whose publishers have paid for the privilege, it isn’t based on previous purchase or personal interest alone.

publishers who don’t play along and give amazon the discounts it demands are delisted or have their books’ “buy buttons” removed.

it is a depressing, predicable tale of market dominance and the arrogance it spawns.

although happily for consumers, writers and publishers, of course, such arrogance tends to lead to its own destruction.

link to the full article on the boston review.

narrative – the story of our selves

page from prelim draft of “the dark gospel”, by f.k.omm

our selves are narratives written out of (or into) our experience.

neuroscientist michael gazzaniga writes: These narratives of our past behaviour seep into our awareness and give us an autobiography .

 the left hemisphere’s language areas draw on information in memory  (amygdalo-hippocampal circuits, dorsolateral prefrontal cortices) and planning regions (orbitofrontal cortices).

damage to these regions disrupts narration, leading to such things as unbounded narration (our narratives are unconstrained by reality) and denarration (we are unable to generate any narratives, external or internal).

john bickle and sean keating suggest the narrative self is written by “our little inner voice”. they specualte that as traditional narratives are joined by digital ones, our sense of self may see a corresponding change:

Digital technologies… are producing narratives that stray from this classic structure. New communicative interfaces allow for novel narrative interactions and constructions. Multi-user domains (MUDs), massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), hypertext and cybertext all loosen traditional narrative structure. Digital narratives, in their extremes, are co-creations of the authors, users and media. Multiple entry points into continuously developing narratives are available, often for multiple co-constructors.

even so, they concede that “Unbounded digital narratives, unconstrained by familiar temporal, causal ordering, seem psychologically implausible as sources for enduring, communicating selves.”

defining the self may still be a matter of projecting our experience onto “classic” narrative templates.

link to bickle and keating’s article in new scientist:

ampullae of lorenzini

in my new book, the dark gospel, the main character has the skill of psionic projection.

lorenzini pores on snout of tiger shark (pic by albert kok)

this has set me thinking about electroreceptivity, a related function channelled (in sharks and other elasmobranchs) through the ampullae of lorenzini.

The ampullae of Lorenzini are complicated and extensive specialized skin sense organs characteristic of sharks and rays…electroreceptive units in sharks. They are jelly-filled canals found on the head of the animal which form a system of sense organs, each of which receives stimuli from the outside environment through the dermis and epidermis. Each canal ends in groups of small bulges lined by the sensory epithelium. A small bundle of afferent nerve fibers innervates each ampullae; there are no efferent fibers (Murray, 1974). The ampullae are mostly clustered into groups. Electroreceptors enable the elasmobranchs to search and locate prey and navigate through the earth’s ocean and seas. Electroreception allows these animals to sense the presence of their victims long before the victims have the chance to see their predators. This awesome advantage has made these animals into one of the most threatening predators on earth.

(faramarr samie, “electroreception in elasmobranchs”, full article here:

beer good for babies


thanks to via sandie zand.


lilith, by john collier

lilith was created at the same time and from the same earth as adam, according to 13th century rabbi isaac ben jacob ha-kohen.

she left adam to find herself, mating with the archangel samael.

to stop lilith and samael’s demonic children lilin taking over the world, god castrated samael.

today she is often associated with demonoid lore and with the kabbalah.

the dark gospel, by f.k.omm

i am in the middle of writing an alternative opening for my thriller, the dark gospel.

lex, the hero of the book, has recurring dreams which come true, and this opening describes one of them at the moment of becoming so…

i’m rather down on prologuey type openings usually – it can spoil unity and flow – so i may yet discard it.

as i am interweaving past and present throughout the book, though, it may work better than usual.

burning books, silencing words on campus in the usa

an article about speech codes and hate speech and the notion, quite established nowadays, that

to be really tolerant, to be really multicultural, you… suppress hateful, mean, cruel, discriminatory thoughts and speech. To ensure civility you… suppress harsh or hurtful speech…

‘I always like to put the Buddhist argument for freedom of speech’, says Lukianoff. ‘Buddhists believe life is pain and they have a point. You do someone a tremendous disservice if you teach them that pain in life is a distortion of life. Because as soon as you start seeing hurtful things as being aberrations rather than part of normal human existence, then you start to see robust debate and disagreement as a distortion of the human experience rather than a part of the human experience…

Lukianoff says we have to move away from the idea that ‘words are like bullets’, that speech is a form of physical assault, and recognise that being argued with, even vociferously, is not the same as being beaten up. However, he says, ‘maybe words should wound. What’s so bad about that? The fact that words can hurt feelings, the fact that they carry emotional charges, is all the more reason for protecting them from censorship. Because the whole point of free speech is to have deep, meaningful, robust debates. We have to have deadly serious discussions about deadly serious things – and we can’t do that if everyone is listening out for potentially offensive words rather than thinking about and responding to the ideas being expressed.’

link to the full article in spiked:


mr wind reminds me there was once a calvin klein be, too!

a long time ago

lady with lapdog – beret vs toque

rereading lady with lapdog again (in translation) i was struck by the brilliant omniscience of chekhov’s narrative, and then enraged by the inconsistency in the translations of the lady’s hatgear.

in constance garnett’s translation it is a béret, in david magarshack’s penguin translation it is a toque.

berets are fairly ordinary working class items; toques are much more glam – napoleon replaced crowns on family crests with a nicely codified system of toques:

a Napoleonic Duke used a toque with 7 ostrich feathers and 3 lambrequins, a Count a toque with five feathers and two lambrequins, a Baron three feathers and one lambrequin, a Knight only one ostrich feather. (wikipedia)

i wonder what made constance prefer the beret over the toque?

be… by f.k.omm

my new novel is

by f.k.omm