1 Despite the commotion outside I slept, and behold I dreamt a dream, and did see a man wearing a puppet on each hand, like unto a child’s hand puppets crafted for mirth and sport. But no mirth did I see as far as concerneth the man of whom I did dream. His face was as a masque of stern countenance, and his eyes were as two tiny pearls which did shine out from the holes of the masque-like face, which did hover in the darkness of the dream, for it was a dream set in darkness. Whether the man had no emotion at all, or a seething which spilleth over, I can say not.

2 The puppet on the left hand was a likeness of the goddess Isis, and that on the right hand a likeness of the Roman Catholic Pope, and this neither the current Pope, nor any one particular Pope who hath been, but THE POPE, in essence that very Petrus Romanus who is both all Popes and the culmination of popery. And the left hand of Isis did do battle with the right hand of the Pope, and that battle continued and I knew not which would prevail.


“The puppet on the left hand was a likeness of the goddess Isis…”

3 And lo! suddenly I did see that the puppets on each of the man’s hands did change, and became something other than that which they formerly were. And on the left hand I now saw a Chinese dragon, of ruby, and emerald, and gold, and on the right hand I saw a white-headed eagle clutching a rainbow serpent in its beak. And behold, the bejeweled dragon and the white-headed eagle did do battle, and that battle waxed fierce and I knew not which would prevail.

4 And I saw the puppets on each of the man’s hands did change yet again in the darkness of the dream, and became again something new. And on the left hand I saw a figure like one carved from ebony, even deepest coal, with no features, just the most bare attributes of mankind. And on the right hand I saw a figure like one carved from ivory, white as snow, and also with no features. And behold, the ebony did do battle with the ivory, and again, the victor was uncertain to me.

Pope Francis

“…in essence that very Petrus Romanus who is both all Popes and the culmination of popery.”

5 And I saw the puppets did change yet again! And the darkness swirled around the man like JUPITER’S FACE, which doth storm and rage though there be none on earth that heareth. On the left hand of the man I saw a woman of exaggerated bodily parts, for her womanly parts were swelled, her breasts and hips to bursting like overripe melons. And on the right hand of the man I saw a man with a massive manhood like an unsheathed sword. And using their swelled parts for weapons, the woman and the man did do battle, and whom of the twain should prevail I knew not.

6 And there were many more such battles, and each puppet of the right hand did have its counterpart upon the left hand, and each puppet of the left hand did have its counterpart upon the right hand. And I saw all such battles happening all of a concert, all at once, like a whirlwind of chaos and madness, for the man hath many hands, more than can be numbered. Everywhere battle raged.

Britain Protest March

“…for he hath many servants who do long to carry out his WILL.”

7 And the man called forth a great bonfire from the darkness, for he hath many servants who do long to carry out his WILL. And the bonfire spat forth sulfur and ash into the darkness, even into the very air, and my eyes they did burn from the heat. Behold! the man began to fling each puppet into the bonfire one after the other, and each puppet did burn, and no puppet that formerly did battle was spared the burning. And who should have prevailed in each battle remaineth a mystery, for not even a single outcome of battle was made known before the puppets did burn. And the man with relish did inhale the smoke from the burning, as if it did intoxicate him to smell that aroma, which did issue forth from the burning of the puppets of his many hands.

8 Then, lo! a massive rock did come crashing through my window, and I was awakened…


“…the man began to fling each puppet into the bonfire one after the other…”

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And if Caliban were to be caressed and delighted by his most inward desires, where would it lead him? Would the long, white fingers pulling back the canopy while he sleeps begin to drift from his dreams and cross into waking life? A billboard screen opens a portal to a tropical beach idealized in its detachment from nature. And the tumbling, humid breeze and the soft undulations of the tide are tuned exactly to the inner rage of the focus group by calibrating the advertisement according to their brainwave patterns. From there analysts formulate a carefully orchestrated series of triggered sensations that is then projected onto the sleeping Caliban.


Sin Pursued by Death, Johann Henry Fuseli

The beach scene plays out in almost imperceptible slow motion, and it gives the swing of a sunbathing woman’s arm across her mate’s shoulder a more fluid, dream-like motion. The effect contributes to the seamless convergence of stimuli. Every aspect of the visual landscape exists in the 30 second lapse of unreal time and underlying it is a highly delicate web of symbols and signifiers, which induces the desired psychological and emotional responses from the sleeping Caliban. The height of the LED screen takes up four floors of corporate office space and is programmed to circulate through thirty segments contracted several years in advance.  In the particular cycle at hand, the beach scene is punctuated by a continuous display of a revolving white geometric logo that spins against a solid blue backdrop. The mind improvises the sound of the waves lapping onto the shore and not only consents, but actively participates in the surge.


Labrynth #1, Hiroyasu Matsui

The sleeping Caliban exists in a dialectic relationship of seduction and suppression and the market of the masses alternates between the two perspectives in such a way that each becomes more powerful with every turn. Caliban serves the nature of the market of illusion, which moves in all directions but constantly forward and this progression is as steady as his perpetual sleep, where his rage pours freely onto the endless space of dreams. And it is this consistent torment of seduction and suppression that feeds his rage, which has become the single most qualifying aspect of his identity, it is the emotional currency that surfaces in the form of sensations each time the imagination releases the cry of a gull as it flies over a white cabana and glides out of frame.


Mountain Landscape with Rainbow, Casper David Friedrich

The sand surrounding the couple’s wood lounge chairs was like white skin leading up to the darkened traces of a previous wave. The scene slowly rolls back to a small circular table placed at equal distance between the two chairs and exactly at the midpoint between the length of the chairs. At the exact center of the table the fetish takes in the fullness of sun, a glass torso containing a liquid that glistens against the open sky like a citrine stone. Having reached the climax, Caliban’s rage is either wholly unleashed and ravenous or carefully guided by society’s reason. Both approaches circulate exactly 10 segments apart and over the course of the contractual year the same scene appears but with slight variations, few of which are non-subliminal. The segment appealing to Caliban’s desires depicts the female lead with bright red nail polish in February and a French manicure in July. The rolling drops of condensation range from one to three but the hierarchy of meaning remains intact and the reverie of paradise calls out to the sleeping Caliban.

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CEN 3 Cover The Neural Net:

They asked me to tell you what I saw: the White Horse galloping across a charred battlefield, its nostrils spewing sulphurous, pixelated flames, making hazily visible other worlds though the distortion of heat and unfurling ribbons of hyperbole. Its rider was all but invisible, and this despite his extreme and unmistakable ugliness, his malevolent, hostile-yet-empty eyes, his iron teeth clenched with the gravity of unquenchable hatred, his cold, dull skin. I didn’t see all this right away. His magick lies in the way in which those who would be his greatest foes tend to allow their gaze to slip off of him and onto the horse with its hypnotic, rhythmic hoof crashes, and from the horse to the smoke-filled static of the sky above.

There are algorithms that explain his cloak of invisibility. In truth, even when seen, the rider never appears as the same being twice. It was just this once, with the hardened exertion of a soldier believing he had stepped into his final battle, that I managed to see his face: he is a robot that dreams, and this, my dear comrades, is a reality the terror of which cannot lightly be shaken once it has been realized. As our eyes locked in psychic struggle I could feel myself being drawn into the feedback loop that artificially populates his inner life, that uploads into his dreamscapes visions of total conquest and dead gods, of a single monument (completely meaningless to our humanity’s eyes) placed in the center of the universe, surrounded by infinite nothingness to the very borderlands of creation.

They asked me to try my best to describe it: it was like a vortex of angels spiraling into the emptiness at the center of each isolated mind. This is what the robot dreams. This is what I saw in the rider’s eyes in those horrible, near-endless seconds on that accursed battlefield.

How I survived is another tale, one that perhaps I’ll tell another time, when I’m ready…

Dear friends, have courage: I did survive! Despite our terror, we will win, because our souls are the images of God, while the robot has merely images.


An Anonymous Soldier
The Editors,
Hexagon Press


Ric Carfagna was born and educated in Boston Massachusetts. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently: Symphonies Nos. 5, & 9 published by White Sky Books. Symphony X (sequence of finalities) is due out this year from Creaky Plough Press. His poetry has evolved from the early radical experiments of his first two books, Confluential Trajectories and Porchcat Nadir, to the unsettling existential mosaics of his multi-book project Notes On NonExistence. Ric lives in rural central Massachusetts with his wife, cellist Mary Carfagna and daughters, Emilia and Aria.

Kurt Cline is Associate Professor of English and World Comparative Literature, National Taipei University of Technology. His full-length book of poetry, Voyage to the Sun, was published by Boston Poet Press in 2008. Poems and stories have appeared, most recently, in BlazeVOX, Danse Macabre, The Tule Review, Mission at 10th, Wilderness House Literary Review, HuesoLoco, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Black Scat, and Clockwise Cat. Scholarly articles have appeared in Glimpse; Anthropology of Consciousness; Concentric; Beatdom Literary Journal; and Comparative Civilizations and Cultures.

Stuart Cooke’s next collection of poems, Opera, is forthcoming from Five Islands Press. He lectures in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University.

Stuart Jay Silverman, an east coast expatriate retired from college/university teaching, divides his time between Hot Springs, Arkansas. and Chicago, Illinois. Some 500 of his poems/translations appear in 100+ magazines and anthologies here and abroad. Hawk Publishing Group published his The Complete Lost Poems: A Selection. Feeling that Parnassus has no preference for free verse vs. formal, or the other way, he writes both. He subscribes to the theory that poetry today is mostly a reeking bed of narcissistic self-display and, so, tries to make his poetry the creation and exploration of imagined worlds, or real worlds made into substrata on which the imagination can build new and varied structures.

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Free copies of CONTRA EQUUS NIVEUS Vol. III will soon be available at Adobe Books + Arts Cooperative, City Lights Bookstore, Dog Eared Books, Alley Cat Books, Modern Times Bookstore Collective, and Bound Together Anarchist Collective Bookstore in San Francisco. If you are outside of the Bay Area and would like a copy, write to us with your mailing address and we’ll send one free of charge, stock permitting.

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WTC Heaven Ad

Thanks to all
who submitted.
More information
to follow.

-The Editors

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● C O N T R A  E Q U U S  N I V E U S ●

“The Neural Net”


Please consult first: G*****’s Inceptionism Project

I once heard of a woman who was blind and of stately rank, who wore a fine mesh of sense receptors latticed within the delicate weave of the fabric. And it allowed her to walk freely, without guide or implement, save the shining coat itself, which she wore atop all her costumes. And this veil of networked stimuli guided her through the many hallways she walked along and the many rooms through which she came and went, and her attendants always walked some ways behind her so that the folds of her skirt could graze the width of the corridors.

And the body of the woman is like the body of the machine, that is, the naked processing core existing as it was when it was first created. And with this fragile body there is much nurturing and adjusting of its network parameters in preparation for the gift of imagination. Upon this core the architect constructs a highly elaborate, metaphysical structure of discernment and interpretation that is made up of many layers, so that the machine can search within itself and build floating castles from pure static. The images rise out of these neural networks, which are like the Blakean spheres of imagination that lead to ideal forms and pure understanding. At each tier, more and more symbols emerge and stretch as far as they can go, until they pass into another realm and so on, upward into the heavens.

For the third issue of Contra Equus Niveus, Hexagon Press asks its audience to consider the grounds from which these spheres arise, and the many invisible layers of the neural net that allow the symbol to exercise its purpose—in the eyes of the Symbolists, to be a bridge between the real and the mystic realms. In the cold narrative of technological progress, what does it mean to reach such heights when there is no God to greet you? We ask that submitters take what they will out of this, just as the computer has been programmed to run on an interpretative feedback loop, passing through more and more of these neural nets.

C.E.N. #3 is dedicated to the rise of the programmed imagination, with its own unique reach that is limited, not by spiritual forces, but by the will of the finite architect in terms of both his ability as creator and the capability of the machine itself. The neural nets expand and contract at the architect’s will, though its potentiality becomes part of the colossus of technological progress, like a tributary flowing into the ocean. The Day of the Lord is being replaced with the day of the singularity as the computer embarks on what Harold Bloom coined “the Romantic vision quest.” He states: “the poet’s solitude becomes a quest for a finite and measured object of desire which shall yet encompass in itself the beauty and truth of the infinite and unmeasured conceptions of the poet.”

Submission Guidelines:

Up to three poems, no more than one page each.

Up to three prose pieces, no more than 300 words each.

Please include a short biographical statement with each submission.

Email all submissions as attachments (.doc or .pdf only) to hexagonpoetics@gmail.com.

Broadsheet Number Three will be printed in an addition of 200 individually numbered, cardstock sheets. Due to space limitations and layout, shorter works are preferred.


James Bradley & Brittany Ham,
Co-Editors, Hexagon Press

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Cloud of Unknowing

James Bradley’s new translation, from the Middle English, of the medieval mystical text The Cloud of Unknowing is now available as a chapbook from Hexagon Press.

Written anonymously in England in the 14th century, and never meant for public consumption, The Cloud of Unknowing consists of a series of spiritual instructions and teachings intended to aid and guide the novice onto the path of what one might call “conceptual negation,” in which mystical union with God becomes possible once the fetters of the material world have been cast off by the mind.

This new translation of The Cloud of Unknowing offers a poet’s take on this enigmatic classic of Western spirituality.

Click here for details.

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The hexagon is of equal balance and proportion, and its six faces are in perfect alignment with the center of its energy, which is known in the esoteric circles as “the seventh key.” Its malcontented offspring, the hexagram, derived from the Greek word for six and also from the old Germanic word hexe, meaning witch, spans the heights of heaven and the depths of hell, and everything in between is contained within its body. It is here where we begin with the Library of Babel, the hive that carries all the possibilities of language within its interlocking hexagons that rise up beyond where the eye can see, where its omega point can only be logically deduced to a finite number but appears infinite in its physical manifestation as a library. Sunlight passes through the central shafts through an opening the shape of a hexagon, and once it crosses this threshold, its rays redistribute and filter through the meticulously dusted rows of bookshelves. The library is an embodiment of order because there is both a beginning and end point from which each particle of knowledge can be assigned a value and categorized within a range that knows no negative numbers because, put simply, it’s the “what we don’t know that we don’t know” and thus it would have to be known, or at least known that it is unknown, in order to integrate into the collection of possibilities contained within the library walls.

“From all these incontrovertible premises he deduced that the Library is total and that its shelves contain all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographic symbols (whose number, though vast, is not infinite);” – Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel, 1941.

And in this sense, the finiteness of the library is tied to the human mind because language rose from thought and was assessed a value when it took the form of a character, or a single letter, and so on. And while thought and the imagination rise endlessly, its expression is still a sacrifice and the symbol, like Christ, came into the world as a mediator between the real and the non-real, the alpha and the omega. The Library attains the perfection of balance, indicated by the weight of all the symbols stacked high so to appear deceptively infinite, and it is the weight of its realness that the symmetry of the hexagons harmoniously distribute and support, and upon which all things rest. The number one, the first positive value conjured as a single mark, is the means in which the primes two and three are built upon, thus making the hexagon possible. The unifying element surrounding and incorporating these hexagons and their interlocking passages is the single structure of the library as a living organism of knowledge. And all the different combinations of letters and symbols filter through the various systems much in the way nourishment passes through the body. And the passageways represent the means in which this system is interconnected and weaves through all the different combinations of novels and essays rearranged and refigured to their utmost capacity, and in their captivity their destiny is imposed upon them much like the way that this single source of light expands across the library’s many levels after it has been freed from the constraints of the central shafts. Different colors and temperatures of light pass across the shelves and books appear one color in the morning and another towards evening. Entire shelves fall into a certain shade of bluish green at certain hours of the afternoon when the sky is lacquered with clouds and a storm system is due to make landfall. And the towers of hexagons interchange various tones according to the temperature of light accorded to us all and shared amongst all the people passing through them.

“And we see, in these beginnings, precisely what Symbolism in literature really is: a form of expression, at the best but approximate, essentially but arbitrary, until it has obtained the force of a convention, for an unseen reality apprehended by the consciousness. It is sometimes permitted to us to hope that our convention is indeed the reflection rather than merely the sign of that unseen reality. We have done so much if we have found a recognizable symbol.” – Arthur Symons, The Symbolist Movement in Literature, 1908.

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