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Saturday, August 22, 2009



I am the Empire as the decadence draws to a close.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.
No violence is sufficient to make my draperies fall in ungraceful folds.
I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my soul.
I am the Empire as the decadence draws to a close.


The dirigible balloon, one of the newest of the wonderful inventions of man gives us reason for patting ourselves on the back.

True, it cannot be denied that it presents a large target to artillery, and owing to the highly inflammable nature of hydrogen when mixed with air, there can be no escape if the gas containers are pierced by incendiary bullets or comets.

But how can I express the beauty of this placid realm of blue? Ambition has nothing into which to sink its teeth! Time never means a thing! I am lifted from the ground and led by a resistless hand.


We travel together, passengers in our little spaceship, preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.
Seated in wickerwork chairs by large sliding windows, passengers enjoy a panoramic view of the world few have ever seen.
How to find, and, having found, to kill, a lion is the unvarying theme of conversation.

Life has always poppies in her hands.


The zeppelin swings in space like a cradle, swaying gently to the lullaby of the winds on the silver canvas.
A lady of pleasing appearance, attired in a mollified Pierrot costume, stood before some Japanese screens and began to intone:
Look around you. A city is the frozen shape of human courage.
The world is wide, and there is Heaven also, and Hell, and that dim twilight house that lies between.

She turned on her delicate feet, her chiffon skirts foaming around her ankles as she stepped out of them.
To ease the tension we laughed at Mrs. Senior about her intense wish for a crocodile.

Ha ha ha. I wish to sip Napoleon's liquid. Ha ha ha.
That explorer grappling with the fire ants of his own blood.

Let us go to Cayenne, and take ship, and then we will see what kingdom we will buy.


Guests were invited to join us at Abendessen, and shared a generous fare of eggs boiled in brine, cold meats, ox tongues, and saveloys, washed down with Rhenish and Franconian wine and beer.

I nourished myself alone like a mirror gone missing deep in the forest. Palm readers, clairvoyant gypsies, and parrots fluent in Greek could be found in the pergolas, along with virile monkeys that pleasured their mates at the speed of the newly inaugurated railway.

Our next stop was Fortaleza in northeast Brazil.


The walk back to Panama was not as arduous as our journey into Colombia had been.
There were gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree. I collected rare Ornithtoptera and swallowtail butterflies. I acquired babirusa skulls.

Still half asleep at breakfast, I could see wild geese migrating through the surging mist.
I have now reached a point where I no longer find any written works that satisfy my secret desires.


The emperor had the imperial ornaments made by his goldsmith, Biennais, whose shop had a sign reading "The Violet Monkey."

One morning, while it was yet dark, he commanded me to be conducted into his presence.
Here, he said, take these treasures into your own keeping; they are no longer safe with me.

Every evening a fortune was stowed aboard, but there was another fortune waiting for the morrow—

an exquisite Faberge egg of a city on permanent display
revealing white, distant, miniature towers against a sky of pure blue,
medieval blue, embellished by volutes and cartouches,
pilasters and engaged columns,
shells and garlands,
draperies and lambrequins.

A vase bought in Peking is a beaker, shaped and decorated in the style of Chou bronzes.

In the torso of a youth every trace of archaic stiffness and angularity has been conquered.

To the right a man with a female companion is drinking wine. Two men are feeding birds, a parrot and a magpie.

I consented to the veil I could not lift.

We have arisen to the seventh splendor, where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers, footless and wild, like birds of Paradise.


The mask of an impeccable officialdom peels off like the powdered glove of a hand.
Transfixed and then unhinged, crazed with the wish to die and then with the fear the wish might be granted, we were about to see the Centaur’s birth, and, soon after, the first flight of angels!

We had the Equinoctial Line to pass under and consequently were in the very center of the Torrid Zone. The bright pagodas of Japan, the Great Barrier Reef, China, and San Francisco, all seemed impossibly remote now--kapu, forbidden.
Someone shouted: Behold, the powerful rivers we love are cleaving the world like the fine threads of the spider web!

Below us lay the empire of my dreams, with gigantic trees, exotic animals, and inhabitants grateful for my wise rule.
History is the course taken by changing illusions.


Languorous Asia and burning Africa—an entire distant world. Everyone has expectations as to what they will see when on safari.

The first day I shot one thousand kangaroos, one hundred tigers, three elephants, sixty bears, one thousand serpents and snakes, two hundred seals and sea-lions, thirty orangoutang, five chimpanzees, one hundred bison and buffalo, three gorillas, and three hundred antelope.


Our balloon floated over Paris for a half hour and then descended on the outskirts. There was music in the air.

The music was ingenious since if the composer be more than two years of age, he must have suppressed all he knew in order to devise it.

The Mona Lisa is much smaller than it should be. But arrangements have been made.


The commander of the vessel ventured his personal opinion that we are over-loaded to meet the calls of ambition, and that sooner or later we shall be caught by a heavy broadside wind and rendered helpless, or that we will make a headlong dive to destruction.
But this is mere transpontine nonsense.


The sky was overcast when we took off from Rangoon, and crossing the Gulf of Martaban we flew very low to avoid the leaden-looking nimbus clouds. To port I saw a moated fortress, defended by crescent-bearing troops with smoking cannons, besieged by an army with the cross on its banners.

But on the starboard side none other than maestro Arturo Toscanini, who had come from Milan with his wife!
An airship was never handled by more elegant gloved hands and more select personnel.
Gas lamps shone in the gardens and chandeliers glowed dimly inside.


I wish it were in my power to thank individually the members of the many East African households of which I shall always cherish warm memories of friendship and regard.
They view me as an emissary from the Island of the Blessed in which so many human beings still
believe in the innermost recesses of their souls.

I told them What is right is what works for us. When we’ve got our Kingdom in going order, we’ll let you know, and you can come up and help us to govern it.

They eyed me with admiration, but continued to conduct business as I took photographs.


Night of the golden tiger, and the dry flame in the air. The accidental destruction of so many dirigibles gives one pause.

Germany is scaffolding toward some moons; Tartar deserts are lighting up. I have lain upon hearth-rugs and eaten passion flowers. I have clothed myself in breeches of white samite and offered my friends yellow jonquils instead of afternoon tea.

When the time comes, the universe will be annihilated by the complete arrangement of the complete.
Yes—how I should like to be consumed in the flames of Valhalla.


An untimely consumption of custard, excessive gooseberries, often cover the mind with clouds and bring on the most distressing views of human life. Today the captain showed me a passenger. Allow me to introduce my most particular friend, said he. This is Professor Too Chin-in from the Temple of the Absolute.

This gentleman appeared sane, but never saluted any one. He said:

In more than one country we have hunted the savage and his little children and their mother with dogs and guns through the woods and swamps for an afternoon's sport. Now Woman is claiming to be released from perpetual tutelage, not only in her own name, but in the name of humanity itself.

Ideas about life and duty are rapidly altering, old notions disappearing.
We want to open out life and liberty to all the sons of men.
There are many humorous things in the world; among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages. Good day.

Well, an inability to understand a joke has never been an impediment to being amused by it. By Jove, what pantomime!

I procured a hookah and struck Oriental poses on a divan covered in Utrecht red velvet.
To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.


A battalion of lunatics has arrived in a lawless land.
To add to the deer, gua-gua, and monkey we had already eaten, at Lost City we ate armadillo, freshwater turtle, and squirrel soup.

In the aimless convulsion of Spanish balconies, a jade hand was feeding a jade canary.

The Egyptian embalmer latched the door to the lower chambers and flung himself on the corpse of a beautiful young noblewoman.

Frayed tempers managed to respect parliamentary etiquette until a mob swept into the chamber, led by a uniformed rogue who mounted the tribune, brandished his saber, and proclaimed: I am a high priest in the Brotherhood of the Dancing Anacondas!
The ship is staggering under the influence of the wind.


The ship is staggering under the influence of the wind.
Cloudless, and pierced by one solitary star, a copper-green sky gleams through the windows.
The flat and simple tones of the draperies achieve an effect of nuance and subtlety with a minimum of means.

Life at its best and healthiest, awaits the caprice of the bullet.

The raging squall in the background looks fantastic.


The ship is still staggering under the influence of the wind. Everything has begun to change its aspect. There are serious problems to be solved. We are 8,000 meters high; but my tongue is, as it were, paralysed. Earlier I closed my eyes, and, sinking down inert, became insensible.

What is the matter? asked Mrs. Halibut, putting her head up the companion way.

We can’t get down, even if we wanted, I replied.
The engine is out of control.
(How can she be docked? Steering is another problem!)

Her face was of the most astonishing whiteness; she wore a very large turban made seemingly of pink cashmere shawls.

One thinks of all the hands that are raising dingy shades in a thousand furnished rooms.


The earth has been for a considerable time lost to view, and the rate and direction of recent progress has become merely conjectural.

As the grounds for alarm rose, the crew gathered together in one close group.

For supper we ate oysters, a sauce of small turtles, and cheese. Champagne and some kind of peppermint drink with ice supported my sinking spirits.
Three hours later I was still plunged in the cinnamon oil with which the bath had been filled.

Then the crew said unto me, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

I said I am the empire as the decadence draws to a close,
and when I act, I create my own reality.


So late, Death o'er me has spread his sable wings, painted with fancies of malignant power.
I see the past is the result of what is happening now.

And so I attempt to drink from all the vessels at once, lest the savour of one of them be lost to me.

In the interior of a kylix is a medallion of a sphinx surrounded by a tongue pattern executed in charming miniature style.

The shadows on the wall have the same value and beauty as a painting by Rembrandt.


I shall come back, as constant and as changeful as the unchanging, many-colored sea.
The loud shouts of welcome, cheers and yells as we sink earthwards will be like the roaring of a hurricane.

I breathe, new shapes appear,

and the music of a Desire as widespread as Spring begins to move like a great wagon
toward pillared courts beyond the Milky Way.




1. Verlaine, “Langueur”, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999, Norman Shapiro, tr.
2. Jelaluddin Rumi, "Untitled," p. 14, Coleman Barks tr. The Illuminated Rumi, Broadway Books, New York, 1997
3. Cosmo Monkhouse, “Lord Leighton,” Scribner’s v. 19 #4
4. William Earnest Henley, “Invictus”
5. Verlaine


1. Unknown, “Airship Startles Primitive African Cave Dwellers,” New York Times, 2/9/13
2. George Whale, British Airships: Past, Present and Future, Ch. 6.,
3. “Love in Fiji,” Putnam’s Magazine, V. 32 # 6
4-5. W. E. Davis, Ten Years in the Congo, Reynal and Hitchcock, New York, 1938.
6. Sydney Dobell, Poems, “An Aspiration of the Spirit,” Ticknor and Fields, Boston, 1860, p. 109.


1. Adlai Stevenson, speech, 1965.
2. Douglas Botting, Dr. Eckener's Dream Machine, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 2001, p 53
3. Winston Churchill, My African Journey, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1992, p. 20
4. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dover Thrift, New York, 1993, p. 74


1. Douglas Botting, Dr. Eckener's Dream Machine, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 2001, p. 113.
2. James Huneker, Ivory, Apes, and Peacocks.
3. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Signet, New York, 1996, p. 473.
4. Oscar Wilde, "The Fisherman and his Soul"
5. Dora Levy Mossanen, Courtesan, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005, p. 168.
6. Kate Crane-Gartz, Travel Diary, Mary Craig Sinclair, Station A, Pasadena, 1929, p. 35.
7. Filler and Salvador Dali, 297-8 from The Secret Life of Salvador Dali
8. Andre Breton, "No Way Out of Here," Selections, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2003, Mark Polizzotti, tr.
9. Voltaire, Candide, The Portable Voltaire, Penguin, New York, 1977, Ben Ray Reedman ed.p. 281


1. Charles Sanford Terry, Bach, Easton Press, Norwalk, Conn., 1994, p. 109
2. Cesar Davila Andrade, “Origin,” The Invisible Presence, Mosaic Press, Oakville ON., 1996, Beatriz Zeller tr.
3. Dora Levy Mossanen, Courtesan, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005. (DOUBLE CHEC THIS)
4. Susan Butler, East to the Dawn, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachussetts, 1997, p. 391.


1. Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder, The Cloud Garden, Lyons Press, Guilford, CT, 2003, p. 273
2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”
3. Gavan Daws and Marty Fujita, Archipelago, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999, p. 80.
4. Robert Pack, "Going and Staying".
5. Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, p. 145.


1. Andre Castelot, Napoleon, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1971, Guy Daniels tr.
2. “Notice of a Life of Alexander the Great,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, v. 4, 1854, Dr. Justin Perkins tr. p. 402,
3. Mor Okai, The Nameless Castle, Paaver Cajander tr.
4. Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, Chapter 34
5. Philip Dodd and Ben Donald, The Book of Cities, “Monte Carlo,” Pavilion Books, 2006 and
Gjertrud Schnackenberg, "The Living Room," and Colin Platt, Marks of Opulence, HarperCollins, London, 2004, p. 163.
6. S.C. Bosch Reitz, Ming Porcelains The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 12 (Dec., 1919), pp. 260-261
7. Gisela Richter, Greek and Roman Accessions The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Jan., 1921), pp. 9-14
8. Joseph Breck, Four Seventeenth-Century Pintadoes Metropolitan Museum Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Nov., 1928), pp. 3-15
9. George Meredith, “The Amazing Marriage”
10. Dante, Paradiso, Vintage, p353 and
Coleridge, “The Eolian Harp”


1. Edmund Morel, qu. Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost, Mariner Books, Boston, 1998, p. 179.
2. Stan Rice, Singing Death
3. Marinetti, “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism.”
4. Daniel Defoe, Captain Singleton, p. 47
5. Alan Brennert, Moloka'i, St. Martin's Griffin, New York, 2003, p. 123
6. Jose Maria Arguedas, Ode to the Jet Plane, The Invisible Presence, Mosaic Press, Oakville ON., 1996, Beatriz Zeller tr.
7. Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost, Mariner Books, Boston, 1998, p. 175
8. Karl Jaspers, The Origin and Goal of History, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London, 1953, p. 217.


1. Charles Baudelaire, “The Hair,” The Penguin Book of French Poetry: 1820-1950, Penguin, New York, 1992, William Rees tr.
3. Franklin North, “The Taxidermal Art,” Century Magazine, v. 25 # 1 Nov. 1882


2. Filler
3. unknown reviewer on Rite of Spring.
4. Nic,
5. Generic


1. Frederick Talbot, Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War, Ch. 5, Lippincott, 1915
2. J.D. Jerrold Kelly, “An Ocean Steamship,” Scribner’s


1. Jean Batten, My Life, Ch. 4
2. Helmut Nickel, The Battle of the Crescent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Nov., 1965), pp. 110-128
3. Peter Demetz, The Air Show at Brescia, 1909, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2002, p. 88
4. Ibid
5. Dora Levy Mossanen, Courtesan, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005, p. 88


1. Theodore Roosevelt, African Game Trails, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1992, p. 271
2. Hugo Eckener,
3. Christina Sommers, “Are we living in a Moral Stone Age?”
4. Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King, Dover, New York, 1994, p. 49.
5. Adapted from ythian-castle-toledo.html


1. Ezra Pound, Canto XXI
2. Thomas Doremus, “Picture a Penthouse Way Up in the Sky,” Perspecta, Vol. 13. (1971), pp. 196-201.
3. Rimbaud, Historic Evening, BOA Editions, Brockport, 1991, Bertrand Mathieu, tr.4 and 5.Robert Hitchens, The Green Carnation.

6. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedeanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita, As It Is,International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Los Angeles, 1968, p. xxv7. Richard Wagner


1. Sydney Smith “A Little Moral Advice”
2. Isaac Holton, New Granada
3. Captain Marryat, Japhet in Search of a Father
4. Kim Man Choong, The Cloud Dream of the Nine, James Scarth Gale, tr.,
5. Asenath Nicholson, Ireland's welcome to the stranger: or An excursion through Ireland, in 1844
Gilpin, London, 1847, p. 126.

6. Mark Twain, Following the Equator, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1992.7. Mona Alison Caird, "The Morality of Marriage," p. 638.
8. ibid, p. 640.
9. Rev. Charles Aked, “Man and His Neighbor,” Appleton’s Magazine v. 12 # 9 July 1908
10. Mark Twain, Following the Equator, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1992.
11. Generic

12. Marcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, Viking, New York, 2004, James Grieve tr., p. 152.
13. Fergus Hume, Red Money, Ch. 6
14. Frederick Brown, Flaubert , Little, Brown & Co., New York, 2006.
15. . Walter Pater, The Renaissance, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, p. 152


1. . Ken, Emergency Sex p. 70
2. Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder, The Cloud Garden, Lyons Press, Guilford, CT, 2003, p 196.
3. Jorge Caceres, The Wonders of the Earth at an Altitude of Thirty Meters. The Wonders of the Sea Thirty Meters Below.4. The Temptation of St. Anthony, Gustav Flaubert
5. Frederick Brown, Flaubert , Little, Brown & Co., New York, 2006.
Leonard Clark, The Rivers Ran East, Travelers' Tales, San Francisco, 2001, p. 71.
6. James Wait “Through Waterspout and Typhoon,” The Century, V. 26 # 6


1. James Wait, ibid.
2. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dover Thrift, New York, 1993, p. 92.
3. “A Late 13th C. French Tapestry,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 7. (Jul., 1916), pp. 146-147.
4. –Winston Churchill
5. Rob the Badger,


1. James Wait, ibid.
2. Jean Jacques Rosseau, The Social Contract, The Faber Book of Utopias, Faber and Faber, London, 1999, John Carey ed., p. 131.
3. Frederick Talbot, Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War
4 and 5. The Dominion of the Air: The Story of Aerial Navigation by Rev. J. M. Bacon, Ch. 19.

6. James Lowell, “Yachting,” Putnam’s v. 32 # 6, p. 151
7. A.C. Doyle, The Lost World, Ch. 11
8. Generic
9. Frederick Talbot, Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War
10.Adapted from Thomas Doremus, “Picture a Penthouse Way Up in the Sky,” Perspecta, Vol. 13. (1971), pp. 196-201.

11. A.W. Kinglake, Eothen, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1992, p. 84
12. T.S. Eliot, Preludes


1. The Dominion of the Air: The Story of Aerial Navigation by Rev. J. M. Bacon, p. Ch. 15.
2. A.W. Kinglake, Eothen, Easton Press, Norwalk, 1992
3 and 4. Tchaikovsky, diary, qu. by James Fenton, “American Holiday,”
5. Gustave Flaubert, Salammbo, Penguin Classics, New York, 1977, A.J. Krailsheimer tr.
6. Jonah Ch. 1.8.
7. Unknown interviewee thought to be Karl Rove, qu. by Paul Krugman


1. Philip Freneau "The House of Night--A Vision"2. Alan Watts, “Taoism.”
3. Starkie, Rimbaud, p438
4. unknown, “Three New Greek Vases,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 1. (Jan., 1919), pp. 8-10.
5. Breyten Breytenbach, from On the Noble Art of Walking in No Man's Land,


1. Sara Teasdale, On the Dunes
2. Hugo Eckener, qu. by Douglas Botting in Dr. Eckener's Dream Machine, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 2001, p. 128.
3. Jelaluddin Rumi, (275)"Like This," (276-8) Untitled Coleman Barks tr. p. 78 TESand
C.S. Lewis, “Night”

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