Some of Bashaw’s chickens.

appropriated image

Questions from HuffPost’s “GPS for the Soul” That Make My Soul Feel Even More Lost and Directionless

Could you be harming your kidneys without realizing it?

Every time you go to a new doctor or dentist
and they give you a clipboard brimming with
documents to fill out and sign, notice how they
always ask for your Social Security number?
Do you dutifully give it up?

Why don’t we all smile more often?

Are you taking responsibility for where
you appear in your life and in the world?

To what or to where are you advancing?

What “succession” and legacy are you creating?

Are you alive?

Are You Living in Limbo?

How awake are you to the real you?

Do you want to stop spacing out when behind the wheel?

What’s Your Guiding Word?

Where Are You
Blocking
the Flow?

How do you celebrate the holidays
in the wake of a national tragedy?

How Bold Is Your Creative Expression?

Are you trying to be something you’re not (yet)?

Who Do You Think You Are?

What can you practice learning that will liberate you from the shackles of who you
aren’t and launch you into your hidden, unlived life which promises joy?

What message do you create through how you move through life?

What’s the big deal?

Doubt?

Grievances?

Spiritual Leprosy: Are You Afflicted?

Are there high-stakes areas in my life where I should
start looking at risks from a different direction?

If you want to take a walk, don’t you know you still need
to keep your wits about you, especially at night?

If you overlook a group of people trashing someone else’s property
because they can, what will you say if the next person they target is you?

Are a Lack of Boundaries Turning Our Children into Criminals?

Have We Already Moved on From Hurricane Sandy?

What’s Really In Your Easter Basket?

What Would You Give Your Right Arm For?

How Uncomfortable Are You Willing To Be?

Do you think about the health of your heart?
If not, why not?

Will Your Heart Go On?

What if there were no more years?

If You Are Not Your Body, Who Are You?

How are you stepping toward inner peace?

How Stable Is Your Gait?

Are You Dancing With Life?

Are You Fighting Yourself?

Are you good enough?

Is there some sort of magical number of adverse events or circumstances that
become too many to overcome?

Does this make sense?

Does this work?

Are you happy?

When does denial become pathological?


100% appropriated text; source(s): each line is a question appearing in/on the Huffington Post’s “GPS for the Soul” and related sections. I could given a cite for each line, but I that takes the fun away from things.

Confession: I actually am starting to like “GPS for the Soul”, but sometimes I find it…well…ironic in that their site has a lot of articles on “stress” and stress-relief, and yet, I often find myself feeling more stressed reading the site as a result of being bombarded with questions similar to the above. When that happens, I go to UnMindfulness.com or BeingAbsent.com

American Prosperity

collage poetry: american prosperity


text cut from a Walmart circular delivered with the 10/28/12 Philadelphia Inquirer

CLEANING PIECE III.2

cleaning piece IIII2


alteration of Yoko Ono’s “Cleaning Piece III”

on the cusp between breast and dream

there are obvious resonances
the first brush of
a hand across a
roof
civic virtue since the chaste peck
the Sign of the Cross
True dream police
portrayed as a mystical
“Dream Team”
that can revolutionize
the complex.

To feed (a baby) mother’s milk from
a Board Certified specialist –
the most innovative
dream come true?

Now the trick is this
up into other colors – but not change
rapidly and constantly
the feel of chic,
golden and fried
fork at push.

He didn’t need
science
leading
laboratory scientists and physicians

a level of interaction
naturally occupies the look
out for some
sympathy.
It rules the stomach and
determines
relations with
abstract thought.

Somebody might remember the time he puked in
blow-fish, helium balloons, cantaloupes,
stumbled and struggled through three hundred
Radical Ethics and the Figure of the Boy
as a centre of transition between child and adult.

I still dream that
Earthlore

Stamp
The Tree of Dreams
“Lights Out”

my little lamb
divided between Collin, Dallas, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall Counties
ushering in a new era in
strain
unprecedented
talk to your Verb-
al Bully
debut as a Music Video
make a distinction between genius and True Genius
slavery and Creation
the Gospel Shout and the blues moan

And I have sort of tried “it”
(defined as the moment when the sun “passes” from
overwork)

Life
happens between
events

the coming year
and the day

Perhaps you are pictured: Teen Star
Elvis was always drawn to young girls.
Elvis suffered from bad dreams and fits of sleepwalking all his life, making him afraid.

whether Bishops or inferiour ministers
a culture of ever-expanding control and possibility
to sever land
as well as distance from urban areas

see the
lamented
women
after 21 years into the game
rank-and-file members

Feel the Difference!
The Best Part of
Surgery
is
the Affordable Price!

The Rock And A Great Big Sea
not just “On” or “Off,” but every possible state
if you want to know more
Confinement and Sorrow

The edge
of a house determines
the house.

The best
can occur now,
or you can be a victim of
“Consequently and…”

the last vestige of this breaking –
ambitions,
but, in addition,
writhing, excruciating pain
unrealistically huge,
just for fun

the wonder
between poetic myth and reality
“and the morning is already…”
removed five years earlier
and answered,
“…each dry awful abrupt stop to aged teeth.”

she was one of only a
look
that passed

bore a remarkable resemblance to
the 4th Cat
Esoteric, Fine Arts,
Fitness Practices
the season of Peace and Goodwill

when the sun changes
goals
advances
in the best part of
procedures
to soften skin…
in Spirit
to stand
on the road…

between
squabbling children
the rhetoric and
practice of
armies

caught
their hands
pale
with
a toe
in a
daydream

as/so
the pages
do harm to no
issue

Right now, I am in a pretty decent cloth diaper
defining The Family Tree
while My Sister sleeps
on the cusp of
warts, sterility, obsessions, delusions, insanity, cleaners
ridden by Bacchus and Vulcan
fresh and white
with a gently amped-up warmth.

Savor
the physical abyss of the ocean and the
strong positive correlation between
children and mothers

the house changes the energy of the
love
of
Psychometry, Dreams, Etc. to which appended
existing between the superior and inferior worlds,
the world of causation and that of effects.

Before pulling,
carve out
the net.

We are such stuff as
released during labour,
the comical and the serious
out on the town sex,
from plump buttocks to tiny waist, to full, high
Midheaven

so work on the top surface of the foot and
enable
everyone to publish
Five Tips to Wean Toddler from Sippy Cups
Toddler Sippy Cup Smoothie Recipe: Irresistibly Delicious and Healthy

caught in a horrifying
everything

my style
to blend both –
the interplay and tensions between two
interesting wines
walking through
the metaphor of Hansel and Gretel
that old last moon
I can see
a white-collared shirt embroidered with an airplane logo
those finer senses
an invisible hand
more than 21 years
the future fish in a net
but not yours

Snowed-in
a hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle
in the spring of 1855,
ensconced in the Maps of
fire in the
memory,
indeed dark.

whooping cough,
working from home

I am nursing my
kittens,
NOW reincarnated — born into another body.
What’s the normal learning curve?
the reason for
not eating;
picking the baby out of the crib
and popping the bottle in his mouth
less than a year later.

“Your kids are older” –
just a few days away.

I am still trying to figure all of this out.

the imagination
squashing
the
door
frame
popping


I almost want to call the above an example of “spontaneous composition”/”spontaneous assemblage” And yet, it can’t really be “spontaneous” b/c there is obviously a great deal of work involved (i.e. coding a given line to having padding-left of 200px) after the raw materials have been assembled.

Here’s the process and its constraints:

  1. enter search term
  2. use IN EXACT ORDER at least one word from each of the 1st 100 search result snippets
  3. as you are selecting the words, know that NO ADDITIONAL WORDS will be allowed afterwards, and the order you clip the words is SACROSANCT.
  4. deleting words afterwards is allowed as long as you haven’t violated #2.
  5. basically, you are looking to create the words and the word order of the poem on the fly.
  6. although deleting words afterwards is allowed, in this process (as opposed to entering a term, clipping the results, and then basically making an erasure poem out of the results), if done “right,” you’re deleting about 2-3 words per every 20 lines.
  7. punctuation & formatting are allowed.
  8. in theory, it would be nice to eliminate #4 altogether, but I’ve found that without allowing minor deletions afterwards, you find yourself in the circumstance of over-thinking and looking ahead to the next few results…and the whole spontaneous feel of the process is lost.
  9. Oh yes, another thing is that you need to complete it (“it” being having the “raw materials” of clips in order in a word processor) in a short a time as possible.

For now, I’m calling this specific composition process “Google100”…

…although please by no means take the above description of the process as “hey, I invented the notion of using Google search snippets to a) compose a piece meeting whatever personal aesthetics seem to be coming into play at the moment of composition, b) anger/annoy/provoke the reactionary forces of Official Verse Culture c) increase the sales of Similac (since I am in fact the heir to the Similac fortune)…”

…I don’t know who actually did that…

…had Google existed in the early 20th-Century, it probably would have been Breton, Tzara, Ernst, etc…

…and whoever was the first person to compose a piece consisting solely of search snippets, well, I hope they at least paid their dues in the old-fashioned world of physically cutting word-matter out of physical word-matter platforms (i.e. it wouldn’t seem right if the first person who ever composed using search results never had the pleasure of having to cut out a single quotation mark from very small type in a newspaper only to have it fall on the floor into a pile of similar looking bits, would it? – of course it wouldn’t!)

…anyway…

…just laying out one variation on the process.

Famous Words To Make You Weep

Summers during the 1960s, I used to spend an occasional weekend in my mind’s eye and still hear the wonderful sounds.

Fast forward to March 2011 and I want to weep.

You’re a Handsome Sound Bite
a slowly spinning outline map
that morphs into page after page
of tiny dark blue or gray type
against a deeper blue background
not giving a damn whether
anything is a textbook of terrible days –
quite simply, flash and filigree

Essential with the basic unit, the term “the rules.” Among them:
• Nine people never reverse a gray tint.
• Believe the physically impossible walls.
• Try to make three lines no longer than seven lines.
• Learn about photos of the visitor.

Take a look at what I’m talking about:

A Mine
is not elegant,
not pretty,
in fact,
it’s ugly,
but by golly,
when you get there
you know
exactly
what I’m about –
supply.

Some fun stuff to help follow the basic rule:
Make it red and 44 pages devoted to each rule and the rule’s rule-breaking.


reformatted blackout / erasure poem

source: “A Website to Make You Weep”, by Denny Hatch, Target Marketing Magazine, May 2011, p.34

A Portrait of the Flames

Maybe I was a used bookstore in Williamsburg, the shelves for interesting fish a few years after the interim, the second time on all sense implicit in just the idea that to contain in a room everyone was to assume a different kind of experience – a better kind, I thought.

Fish already know that note, addressed and written in the half-begging tone. At that time reading people’s summer, asking, implying that this inscribed the OK guess. (There are only so many books I could imagine ever fucking. Ask who.) I have the conclusion, somehow still 30-plus years and some other stuff already blurry between the type.

The problem: people don’t know where to stick a defiant refusal – except when apologetic for being the reasons. Maybe this inferno will change hope, though it won’t (contrast with the hanging or despising the practical difficulty of the world – almost the kind of portrait of a lifetime and the inherent limit).

in our kitchen
hopeless fact
considered
concluded

an even era of everyone due still might
Many people will consider themselves divided into several sections imitative of the divisions of New York, circling back to the moment when literally in the form of a unique theory submitted in the second career of an introductory abstract underground experimental theatre: cumulative small-scale narratives, the end explicitly mentioned at the outset then near the beginning of the jinxed grave (This older, handsome ivy would look great streaming across meditation.)

position in relation to
the people will say that we should listen to anything mean yes.

And maybe
it wasn’t love.
We all love,
but we can’t
get past
the who you are.
I’m the horse
his story,
the parts of
the circumstances
of creation,
the stories of the mechanics
in a van filled with
the stars of hell
and absolute zero
everyone traveled
right
from the beginning
in the airport
with
a newspaper
a scooter,
a bitch,
a showstopper,
an American.

Though great and wonderful, one distinct key to its entirety, reliably devastated in found performance, halfway through being tattooed, projected onto a screen, the cameraman made a very eloquent speech about the power of the missing of the point. Sure, the lights project somebody else’s wall – some cool guy in the East Village, degraded photos.

because of the imagination,
there was a party once in a beehive

singing

it was a sort of heaven
if vanishing is brightness

it was the heyday of
its shameful end

definitely not the story
(Please look up the wars the United States started. People should know when intent does not matter.)

This finally satisfying winter walk. Whipping didn’t make money. You couldn’t sell worth. Saved became standing considered in the words plucked incomplete:

EXISTENCE ITSELF CAN’T BUY FOOD OR PAY YOUR RENT

in itself | a sneer

designated to read:

• professional unabashed declarations emanated
• written disputes declaring nevertheless the Bowery might be a perfect way to kill a dreary afternoon
• hyperbolic scenes from the world’s most annoying companion
• some other later congratulated laugh
• that probably feeling awkward situation

In response you were actually invisible. You know – a spectator sport, holiday shopping, choking with joy at every public event, a distinct character people hear thinking over-excited, compelled to pleasure.

Reverse it –
like the serious bug you can’t take afterwards.
You are part big dog now little puppy.

Stick with Christmas movies on the screen, hear some neighborhood smothering laughter, chuckle and feel freedom of speech – predictably, nothing but contempt

we’ve all been told | we should not just throw fire
and abandon the site
it often feels | a spotlight still exists to be that limitless
shout of shared voice
above all it’s terrifying | that so many people could exist

erasure poem, reformatted; source material: “A Portrait of the Artist Engulfed in Flames”, by Emily Gould, Poetry Magazine, accessed via the Poetry Foundation website.

The original essay was a really great piece on the Eileen Myles. I happened to print it out because I liked it so much, and at some point, I started blacking it out w/ a purple Sharpie.

From Bland to The Bollingen Prize: 5 Ways to Make Your Poetry Stand Out in a Crowd Without Using a Flame-Accelerant

If you write a poem, there’s no one else more passionate about seeing it succeed than you. That’s why you’re the ideal person to do the work of actually writing it.

But it’s not easy, is it? What can you do to craft your poems so they’re unforgettable? How can you make your poem the first one that comes to mind when someone fitting the demographic profile of your target reader is thinking of a poem?

The route to memorability is not paved with bland poetry efforts, that’s for sure. Nor is it paved with bright, multi-colored asphalt featuring extra large cave drawings of elk or bison in nicely contrasting colors. This does not create memorability – this creates traffic jams!

Here’s how to create an unforgettable poem for your readers. Follow these five steps, and you’ll be on your way from bland to The Bollingen Prize, and if not The Bollingen Prize, then at least an unforgettable outlier outside a Bollinger band.

Target Targets Fearlessly

In order to craft memorable words and images that will resonate with the people you want to reach, you have to know who they are. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

The problem with this simple statement is that most poets are not clairvoyant, and those who are clairvoyant (such as Hannah Weiner) have only limited clairvoyance – totally inadequate for placing consistent winning bets on greyhound races or compiling detailed demographic information of a target readership group. Most poets also lack access to the type of technology, databases, and other high-tech gizmos used by the FBI in procedural crime dramas or televised serials focused on counter-terrorism efforts.

And yet, poets don’t want to give up a single potential reader – as there are so few to begin with! So they cast a wide net with their poems, which when thrown into the ocean dissolve into tiny bits of floating matter enticing to fish – but harmful to some species.

They try to target a broad range of ages; genders; reading levels; comprehension levels; apprehension levels; familiarities with deciduous or perennial vegetation; comfort-levels with parachuting, bungee-jumping or other extreme sports; and knowledge of good geographic areas to dump a body.

If you market a poetry product with a massive potential market, that’s a great approach. But I’m willing to bet money that Billy Collins isn’t reading this blog.

This blog is for poets with small (and getting smaller) readerships, who are creating poetry products that will solve the poetry problems (“I’m so hungry! Give me poem!”) of a specific group of very special people looking for extra special poems (pickles optional).

Think about who those people are, and don’t be afraid to focus on them to the exclusion of other potential readers, your immediate or extended family, friends, squirrels, wookies, giraffes, talking yardsticks and members of law enforcement.

Your syntactical, structural, metrical, lingual and pottie-break strategies will become tightly focused, and – more importantly – your potential readers will know your poem is perfect for them, even without having to place a sticker over top reading “This is poem is just perfect for you – you know who your are.”

Listen to Popular Opinion and Then Listen Again to Make Sure It’s Not Really Saying “Please Smother My Oxen in Cream Cheese”

Once you know who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to listen to what they want. Your poem won’t work if you forge ahead with your vision, blind to what your ideal reader actually desires (Homer, notwithstanding).

So ask good questions, and listen even better to the answers, then ask the answers even more questions and their answers questions and so on until you have ALL the answers – which only gets you so far (see Dick Cheney, preferably when he’s not holding a gun)

So how can you get inside their heads to find out what they want? And do it in a manner that is sensitive to privacy concerns and realistic about the feasibility of miniaturization and inner-cranial-micro-organic-tourism? Try these techniques:

Take a few readers out to lunch and ask them about their poetry needs and challenges. If you find several of them attractive and appealing, invite them all to dinner and try to have an orgy.

Create a survey, and offer a valuable giveaway (see “Sweeten the Deal: Getting High-Fructose Corn Syrupy on Their Asses!” below) in exchange for information that would be helpful in creating your reader-focused poem or in tracking down wanted fugitives from justice (Did you know: “Bounty hunter” is the 2nd most popular profession among poets).

Schedule phone time with some of your readers. Ask them directly how you can help them help you help them by writing and delivering exactly the right poem at the right time both anytime or all the time. If they begin heavy breathing unrelated to asthma, work to angle them into joining the lunch-dinner-orgy group (see above).

Tune in to WKDU-FM or WII-FM-NR-WII-FM?

Do you listen to college radio or marginal, niche music which would not appeal to hardcore viewers of American Idol and be merely incidental to viewers of hardcore pornography? You should. It’s required listening if you are creating poetry, as poetry is the music of the spheres once the spheres have lost their bearings and the last musician has been crushed.

WII-FM-NR-WII-FM, is – of course – What’s In It For Me? No Really, What’s In It For Me?

When you sit down to write a poem, this question should be playing in the background at all times – but playing nicely (i.e. no trading of kicks to the genitals or Russian Roulette). Why? Because your poetry efforts will only be meaningful and memorable if you’ve addressed what benefits your poem provides to readers and then manage to deliver the poem to that address in a discrete, unmarked envelope.

You’d better be able to answer that question, because believe me – your target reader is asking it and sharpening the blade on a Bowie knife and will not be denied your heart, liver, or other internal organs if you fail to deliver the goods!

Sweeten the Deal : Getting High Fructose Corn Syrupy on Their Asses!

An unforgettable poem is namely that – unforgettable. How does a poem become unforgettable? Unforgetablity it is built through repeated exposure. Unforgetablity it is built through repeated exposure. Unforgetablity it is built through repeated exposure. No matter how amazing your poem is, people won’t remember it if they’ve read it or heard it only once. They can’t: they’re processing all the other poems being thrown at them wrapped tightly around baseballs (see last week’s column, “Roger Clemons’ Advice to a Young Poet”).

The way to open a channel of repetitious, continuous communication where you can keep the poem exposure high and the poem hammering at them constantly over time to the point where they can do nothing but repeat your poem in answer to simple questions like “Can I get you coffee, sugar?” or “By any chance, have you traveled to a foreign country recently where canines are routinely consumed?” is to get your readers onto a mailing list.

Email software (i.e. the tiny people who work inside of computers) allows you to capture information (either by force or unconditional surrender), continue to offer exposure to your poem, and build a relationship (consensual and/or sensual) with readers before they get a restraining order.

That sounds great, but there’s one important caveat: no one really wants more email in their inbox or inmail in their e-box or any of it in their botox. In order to rent space in potential customers’ inboxes, you not only need a signed lease, you’ve got to sweeten the deal with a giveaway they won’t be able to resist despite all known negative behavior modification techniques and mother’s constant warnings not to take candy from strangers.

What can you give away?

Try a delicious free pie-filling you drip out every few days by email autoresponder. Set it and forget it: once you’ve created those emails with pie-filling attached in the appropriate container (one that doesn’t get trapped in their spam filter and leak all over the place – yuk!) and set them up in your email software, your work is done.

Offer a special series of collectors plates featuring you holding an American flag, rolls of crepe paper or a buyer’s guide for all-purpose sand. Solve a crossword puzzle, or create a list of poets by their imagined heights your that your target readers will find valuable.

Offer audio or video with valuable poetic information. Give people access to a solution they’re looking for – whether it’s a simple gin and tonic, insulin or an IV-drip with 10 CC’s of Heparin (be sure to let them choose Audrey or Katherine). Demonstrate how you made the solution on video, or describe it with audio accompanied by a hand puppet they can wear and make it recite to them in sync with the audio.

All in Good Time is a Good Time Had by All

The poetry strategy that’s rarely spoken about – and should be used as a last resort if none of the above work – is blackmail or extortion. Shhh. You didn’t read that here.

Summary

Remember, these techniques only work when you apply them vigorously in a counter-clockwise, circular rubbing motion.

Continually refine your information about your target reader until it will easily pass through a camel stuck in the eye of a needle.

Listen closely to what readers want out of your poem (and if applicable, out of their group-sex encounters).

Make sure your poem clearly answers the “What’s In It For Me? No Really, What’s In It For Me?” question.

Keep lines of communication constant by inviting readers to join your mailing list, and make joining irresistible to all known means of resistance with an offer they can’t refuse (leave the poem; take the cannoli).

Bland to The Bollingen Prize doesn’t happen overnight, but it can be done, even by you. Especially by you! If not by you, then who? Ted Kooser?


Last night, I started reading Charles Bernstein’s new book “Attack of the Difficult Poems“, which begins with an absolutely hilarious satirical piece on reading “difficult” poetry that uses the tone and phrasing of a self-help column.

This morning (4/20/11) I got an email from one of my favorite sites in my real life as a marketer – Pamela Wilson’s bigbrandsystem.com – containing a really great marketing advice column entitled “From Bland to Brand: 5 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowd.” For some reason I stared replacing the word “business” with “poem” and the piece kind of took off from there.

The original piece is here.

I mean no disrespect to Pamela Wilson in appropriating the piece in this manner and encourage anyone with an interest in Marketing and Design (and the critical interplay and intersection of each) to check out her site (bigbrandsystem.com), sign up for her ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC (and free!) “Design 101” email course, and benefit from her really great marketing insights.

The Riddle of Tom Busillo

Tom Busillo is the prevailing mystery in the work. Tom is an enigma. We have almost no clue of his origins or his fate, his purpose or even what kind of being he is.

This piece makes no attempt to provide a definite answer to the “Tom Busillo Problem” – it’s very unlikely that a definite answer is possible. What we will attempt, though, is to round up the more common suggestions and discuss some of the arguments for and against each.

There are two real approaches to the problem of Tom’s identity: we can try to fit him into the cosmology of the universe or can view him more broadly as the “mischievious outsider.”

1. Busillo Within a Cosmology
Our universe is inhabited by a multitude of races and beings: our problem is that what we know of Tom does not fit easily with any of these. He seems almost to have been “transplanted” from elsewhere.

In fact, this is almost certainly what happened.

Though there are many candidates to choose from, we can at least dismiss most of these immediately. Tom is definitely not a Hobbit of a Dwarf, and we can also take it for granted, for obvious reasons, that he is not an Orc, a Troll, a Dragon or an Eagle! But this still leaves plenty of possibilities:

Is Tom an Elf?
Tom’s capering, his wisdom, his great age and his love of song undoubtedly give him a certainly “Elvish” quality. This possibility though, is easily disproved.

Is Tom a Vala?
A common argument against this is that we know the names of all the Valar, and Tom isn’t among them. This doesn’t hold water, though, because we’re specifically told that the Valar had many different names.

It isn’t inconceivable, then, that Tom is one of the fourteen known Valar, dwelling incognito – though we can’t be certain.

There are many other arguments to be made both for and against Tom’s status as a Vala. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, and some more concrete conclusions, Eugene Grovehar’s fascinating essay “Who is Tom Busillo?” is strongly recommended.

Is Tom a Maia?
This a very common suggestion, to the extent that it is sometimes treated almost as “fact”. There is, though, no direct evidence for this – it seems to be based on the idea that since Tom can’t be a Vala, and there is no other possibility, he must be a Maia.

Is Tom Iluvatar Himself?
Tom’s powers are apparently limitless, at least within his own domain, and this has led a lot of people of suggest that he might be none other than Eru Iluvatar himself.

In fact, though, this is one of the very few theories about Tom that we can bring to a definite conclusion. Tom and Eru should not be confused.

There is no embodiment of the One, of God, who indeed remains remote, outside the World, and only directly accessible to the Valar or Rulers. If there is no embodiment of the One (that is, Eru), then Tom cannot of course be such an embodiment.

Is Tom a “Spirit”?
The idea that Tom might be a “spirit” (as opposed to a Maia or Vala) is certainly possible. It is a short step from this to the idea of “spirits of nature”, but a much longer one to “spirits of nature” that wear yellow boots and live in houses.

Whether Tom is a creature like a brownie, fay, pixie or leprawn, though, is open to doubt.

2. Busillo as the “Mischievous Outsider”
It seems clear that, within the cosmos to which he belongs, Tom cannot be classified with any certainty. Outside that cosmos, though, we can at least reach some firmer conclusions (and offer some freer speculations).

The particular aspect we address here is the role of the “mischievous outsider”. This refers to a god or other being who in some sense does not “belong” with the others. Such characters may be meddlesome and irritating, but more usually they are simply jolly, frolicsome creatures. Examples are Bes, the Egyptian baboon-god and the eastern monkey-god variously called Hanuman or Sun Hou-tzu.

Is Tom Busillo a “mischievous outsider”? He is certainly “mischievous” (or, more precisely, joyfully unconcerned with the world at large), and he is emphatically an “outsider”, in that he doesn’t fit easily with the rest of the universe.

Conclusion
There is only one answer to the riddle of Tom Busillo: that there is no answer. Though we’ve presented some of the evidence here, this piece does no more than dip beneath the surface. It seems, though, that Tom’s nature is ultimately undiscoverable, and this is surely a good thing.

If nothing else, Tom Busillo stands proudly as a symbol of the mysterious, and we should be glad that he does.


This piece is an altered entry from “The Encylopedia of Arda” (an INCREDIBLE site on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien written and maintained by Mark Fisher) for “Tom Bombadil: The Master” in which I inserted my name in place of Tom Bombadil’s, deleted various sections, and made minor text modifications.

What you may or may not see in the excerpted text above, is that the original essay itself is a REALLY amazing piece of Tolkien scholarship and is a fascinating, fascinating read – even if you’re someone like me who read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy what seems like many lifetimes ago. I encourage Tolkien fans and even non-fans to read it here.

In using the text, I mean no disrespect to the author, Mark Fisher, and I’m not attempting to poke fun at Tolkien or Tolkien scholarship.

I’m trying to say something about identity and self-identity and how we choose to think about each on a number of different levels.

CSI:Miami (Season 5)

Like their CSI counterparts in Las Vegas,
the CSI: Miami team
tackles the fascinating, compelling
approach to crime
known as forensic science.

Behind the sun, surf and palm trees
lurk captivating, spellbinding mysteries
and baffling clues.

Led by former homicide detective
Horatio Caine,
CSI: Miami follows
a Miami forensics unit
as they work to solve crimes
amid the steamy, tropical surroundings
and cultural crossroads
of Miami.

Caine leads an elite team
        that includes:
a bilingual Southern beauty
        with a specialty in ballistics;
a cocky yet disarming investigator
        who is well-connected on the street;
an underwater recovery expert
        who knows all the twists and turns of the Florida waterways;
a no-nonsense, know-it-all coroner;
        and
Detective Yelena Sala –
        a frequent ally to the team.

Together,
these investigators
collect and analyze
the evidence
to solve the crimes
and to vindicate
those who often
cannot speak for themselves –
the victims.
Lead Criminalist Horatio Caine
is targeted by adversaries
old and new
in the fifth season of CSI: Miami.
As the danger grows for Caine
he and the rest of his team
must go the limit
to solve their biggest cases yet.


Found poem: Reformatted description of CSI Miami Season 5 DVD from online shopping site shop.history.com (page no longer on site).