This is not an informative blog regarding the hagfish. It is, instead, an autobiographical work by me, Ann Murray. I am not a fish. Sorry. This in one form or other, is the story of my mishaps, and also, some of my haps. Fair and Balanced and all that.



Thursday, December 22, 2005

In honor of the season

This photograph is of a total eclipse over Africa. Photographer unknown. Our world is very beautiful. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to realize that. In this season of sharing, I wish all of you, peace, good health, and prosperity in the coming year.

My warm regards,

Click on photo to enlarge.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My Love Is Like To Ice

My Love Is Like To Ice
by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
It seems that we have always burned,

And frozen within icy glance,
Yet reach for love as fools will do;
Ever hungering for the dance.
A. Murray

Please click on image to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If I...

were to lean toward you with unknown intent, but with a look that has implications, what would you do?

Would you bolt deep down into your hole like a rabbit scenting a fox on the prowl, with it’s glorious tail a plume of certain victory, and wait in trembling silence for the wind to say I am no more?

Would you slither snake-like into a rocky crevice to watch me in action? Safe and invisible, a stalker of the reptilian order…sssssilent, and amused, finding old warmth in the stone, settling in for the duration, and hoping for the beast to best beauty.

The word slither is so unsexual.


Or would you lean toward me with a look of your own, and watch me fly away in alarm?

Ah, but we think too much, and vaporized heat dissapates in the chill of this room too soon for contemplation to bloom, while rain pounds at the place like a giant's tears of rage because his hand is stuck in the chimney, and he hungers for me as a snack.

The bitch goddess has her way with me tonight. There is no moon to guide me, and random thoughts are full of error and eros despite the cold draft that reminds me of impending doom, or an empty bed.

Images of dangerous anti-heroes, and mythic monsters full of warm breath and flame flood the mind with perverse pleasure.

A twist of something not quite right in absinthe, please. I need some oblivion to settle the ashes of yesterday.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

To My Friend Ara

Te amo.

In my eyes, you are strong and beautiful because you continue to live with such an immense stone across your soul, across your heart, and across your mind. You carry that which would break the so-called strong who are never so challenged by life as you are.

I make this statement publicly.

You are my beloved loyal treasure. You have understood it when I have fallen from grace. You have cared enough to send me Neruda, and to give me your gentle loving hand to hold in my own darkness.

Humanity lives in blindness Querida. They only see what is safe. You look into the pit of hell, and come back scorched to tell the story of what you have seen.

My sister Ara, I salute you. You are my honored friend.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fantasy Shoes

Reality makes me sick.

After coming to that conclusion, I decided to quit reality. Reality on the other hand, likes me and follows me like a dog.

So, I started watching movies I've seen before, while waiting for a shipment of more movies to come by mail from a dealer. Thirteen new ones to watch over and over.

Last night it was Bram Stoker's Dracula. I fell asleep just before they chopped Lucy's head off to give her peace, and to prevent her from eating more children than she may have eaten already. Coppola glosses over how many children she may have eaten before decapitation, which probably makes sense for the sake of theatre. We're sup
posed to feel sympathy for poor Lucy in spite of her shallow nature.

At 5 AM today, I chose Mississippi Burning. I stopped the tape before they found Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman. I remember that day. Too much reality. So next I'm on to Wayne's World if I can find it. Not much danger there.

If movies aren't the answer, maybe I need fantasy shoes.

Fantasy shoes are colorful. A woman came to see me yesterday wearing green shoes. It was St. Paddy's day, so of course they fit in with some sort of reality. She assured me she only wears them for St. Paddy's day, which means that she might well be buried in them if she happens to die near the 17th of March, even 50 years from now. It all depends.

The fantasy shoes I concocted today are in shades of blues and greens. The greenest being chartreuse. They can take me anywhere away from all this, away from all that, all the way over the rainbow.

I can't think of any solution for the world as it stands on such shaky ground. Fantasy shoes have become the answer. You put them on your feet, and turn four again. You never have to leave there.

When I was four, I knew there was evil, but I believed in good.

[Original publication date March 21, 2004
at The Dream Tigers]

A. Murray

Click on image to enlarge.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005


In the best of situations, we do not belong to each other. There is no tinge of ownership, of thralldom. Each is separate and apart. This is essential to clear thinking and rational relationships. It is also Utopian, and not easily achieved.

Convention has caused so many mismatches in marriage. They are the answer to an overabundance of heat in the loins. They are the avoidance tactic of the tribe that has no wish to raise children resulting from too much heat. Ergo, promote the family unit as desirable, and at times inevitable, lest scandal ensue. It is financially sound.

Humanity reproduces itself and an endless supply of mismatches.

Occasionally though, like a streak of light passing through the early leaves of spring…a minor miracle of life occurs. A good match comes to pass.

But because life tends not to be kind, things happen, pieces that do fit very well get broken. Important words fall into dark cracks and are muffled by disapproval, covered by small stones, and twigs dropped by birds. Lovers dissolve, and invisibility is the fate of the glowing vision of forevermore.

So, this had come to pass, it seemed, in her life.

Time moved like a balloon filled with water, incapable of speed. The cheap clock on the wall ticked away seconds.





She played Solitaire.

Have you any idea how long a game of Solitaire can last? Oh, you think you do. A few minutes, you say. There is a game that involves four suits of cards laid out in ten rows. Lunatics and widows play this game. And what a strangely non-apropos term. Play. It is not play, it is the second-to-second quest for oblivion, and were it possible, it should measure itself out in moments which are uncountable, therefore making it last forever.

When involved deeply in moments of Solitaire, it is almost impossible to think of anything else but the Red Queen seeking the Red King from so great a distance… resolution is very difficult. A difficult pastime dedicated to smoothing out hours. The removal of jagged hours being the ultimate goal. Many hours become days, although some get lost in the shuffle and are never found again.

The jagged hours come though. No matter how many Red Queens find a Red King, no matter how many black nines find their black ten, the one that fits perfectly…the jagged hour of that day will come.

This is the time of the rusted knife, the scimitar gone too dull to perform, that succeeds only in letting one know they will live in a mangled half state. No clean surgical assassination. It is full of blood and howling. It is performed in the secret places of the heart. It is life extended to massive proportions, to be plodded through one thick step at a time, via the process of thought.

The question that is not asked for fear of the answer rings like a bell.

What an incongruous sound.

The loss of a good match leaves one halved like an apple cut cleanly down the center, the perfect symmetry of seeds on either side of the core, beautiful, but irreparably altered, and soon corrupted by the inevitable oxidation that spells ruin.

Solitaire n. 1. a game played by one person alone, as a game with marbles or pegs on a board having hollows or holes, or any various card games. 2. a precious stone, esp a diamond, set by itself, as in a ring. [L. solitarius - alone]

My Captain

Oh my Captain, you went so quietly,
I never heard the sound of your
step as you crossed the threshold
to that door I left hanging open
in my idealist's distraction.

There's a mist of sadness
that clings to me like the fog
I got lost in that year, when
the world became a
precarious pile of teetering
bricks that I tried to catch
when they fell without

I miss you my Captain.

My Captain, my shipmate
of the long life sea we
cross over in our fragile
boats---separate, and
saying little in the
long run,
after saying so much.

Captain, I thought I
could change things,
I thought I could matter
somehow on this troubled
Earth. I thought some
word I spoke would
turn a tide, save a life,
make the lunacy stop.

It was futile Captain,
and I lost you in the trying,
and I fall silent now
beneath the swollen
waters of too long
a time wasted.

A. Murray
For Alan Bok
September 21, 2002

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Flower in Winter

Flower - Brooklyn Botanical Garden - New York
Taken in a greenhouse during a very long cold winter.
Outside, there was deep snow.
Click image to enlarge.

The Mystery Solved

More or less…

I owe more than a passing explanation to those who cared enough to keep checking in, so here goes:

This is more blog-like than my usual posts, and it’s a thing I tend to avoid. At this time though, it seems appropriate, as I am still not really up to writing personal letters. Please bear with me here.

Most specifically to Ara, Don, Rich, and Rivi (Listed alphabetically.)

Directly after the earthquake/tsunami, I fell into a deep, almost fog-like depression. I believe it was also in a good part due to my reaction to the election results here in this country.

I have long held the belief that it is far better for me to cope with my depression without resorting to medications. This is for myself only. I do not think that all depressed people should follow that dictum. I realize that in many cases psychiatric/medical help saves sanity, and perhaps life itself.

In my case, I have viewed my depression as a time of rest and introspection, since withdrawal is the rather extreme symptom for me, and was the strongest symptom of the recently past bout.

Depression is a demon. I understand that. It is not poetic, or romantic. It is a good idea to avoid it when possible, but there are times, for me, when the overload on my mental circuits becomes so great, I have no clear way out but to remove myself from the cause(s), through the means of slipping into the mental void of depression. I don’t elect depression consciously. My subconscious does that. The causes themselves do not go away e.g. the tsunami victims are still suffering horribly although they now lack the glamour to attract the news media here in America, and the election results…oh well….

In order to flee the causes, I shut my life down. I stopped listening to newscasts, and I also stopped reading news on the web. I stopped reading any blogs because there was always the danger of too much reality hurling me deeper into my private abyss.

During this stage of my mental obliteration, I suffered from a physical condition that made it very difficult for me to sit for any length of time at the computer, or anywhere else for that matter. There was a lot of swelling and pain in my legs, and wisdom dictated that I stop all harmful activities, such as prolonged, almost obsessive computer devotion. (Computer devotion is a chronic disease.)

In defense of my body and soul, I left the world of the computer. It was only turned on briefly every couple of weeks, and the web barely accessed at all. This explains such deep silence on my part. I didn’t have a pen to write with.

In early May (the 2nd to be exact) I had an accident here in my home. I fell and hurt myself very severely. I injured my left knee so badly, I was unable to even think about walking, or sitting, or doing anything other than sleeping when I could. The pain involved was beyond description.

I injured my upper body also, and as a result of this, there were other very unpleasant physical situations that developed like dominoes falling, involving my shoulders and arms/wrists/hands that made typing unbearably painful.

I did not tell anyone of this, with the exception of Rich, who is a deeply personal friend, and who had a good working knowledge of my situation since I tend to complain to him about nearly everything. He is to be lauded for his infinite patience with my vapors. My notes to him were extremely brief because I could do no more than that.

It seemed ridiculous to burden others with this information. They could do nothing to help me. I was off the web. And please understand that depression distorts the process of thought to an astonishing degree. We believe we are irrelevant a lot of the time; that we could disappear without leaving a single ring on the surface of the water we sink into. There is a major obliteration of basic ego.

I am tired now. I want to state that I am recovering at last though, so that you will stop being injured by my silence, so that you will feel better knowing that all this was deeply personal, and that I was alone in it, as I needed to be.

I know I was very rude by being so silent, but when you’re crazy, you really don’t see anything too clearly, and depression is a form of madness for me.

I do not ask for forgiveness. That is a matter of personal choice for you. If I ever told you I loved you, I did, and I do today also.

More when I feel a little better. My arms are beginning to hurt now. I don’t want to start the problem(s) up again.