Saturday, May 01, 2021

the ruined god

 



The sun rises over the rooftop of a building across the street and radiates blessings through the kitchen window.

A voice cries out and no one hears it and I’m not even sure I heard it, in fact, with my ears, or if the cry came from the wilderness of my soul machinery, triggered by a random neurochemical electrical occurrence. 

Or is it a message?


I return to my seat at the studio window and see the city become illuminated. The river and sky and buildings are brilliant, but what is this day showing me? 


That ridiculous apartment building that went up a couple of years ago obstructs my view. This is the building that is two buildings joined at the top. It looks like a Lego Colossus that was chopped off at the waist, its upper half thrown into the river and fed to the sea. The idol’s legs straddle what’s left of my view. On top of this ruined god of Late Capitalism is a big sign that can be easily seen by people driving across the Williamsburg Bridge to Manhattan: 


325 KENT

NOW LEASING


I attend Zoom webinars hoping to learn how to be an exorcist. We talk about casting out the demon of White Supremacy from our cities and our souls.

Why aren’t we able to cast out this demon? We ask.

This kind requires prayer, Jesus replies, implying that his disciples don’t pray.


You pray for your mind and heart to be opened, and you’re afraid they will be opened and that you will believe in the impossible transformation of yourself and your world and you are afraid you will lose the despair you cling to and lose the security of being dominated and you will have to confront the powers and the demons within and without you. 


You are afraid you will be called to war.

Stay awake. 

Make more coffee and stay awake. 

I stare out the window to see what is being shown and 

prepare myself for another voyage into the ocean of chaos.




Friday, April 09, 2021

the little apocalypse

The morning traffic sings,

accompanied by bird noise,

and I am on your threshold,

a dirty brown duffel bag over my shoulder,

and I walk in the door —

Behold these treasures I bring you,

collected on my lifelong sojourn,

picked up from the roadside along the way,

pieces of knowledge, smudged memories, blunted points of view,

and broken ideologies, all 

the contents of a lost mind,

and empty the bag in your comfort zone —

hey, where did you go —

down what drain do you flow?

Why do you seek the dead among the living?

It’s Easter Sunday. 

In an empty tomb I encounter your living absence,

and, seized with terror and ecstasy,

I ascend. 



Friday, March 19, 2021

XYZ

 

Alphabetization is a system of random organization.

Things that have nothing to do with each other are placed next to each other because of the spelling of their names. That is why I don’t alphabetize my books at home. Or if I do, they don’t stay that way when I read them again, because reading disturbs the order of things.


Alphabetization is helpful for filing documents, I guess, and filing documents is helpful when you need one of those documents. Some documents make it to the file folders and others go in a box with other documents and paper items that might have no use at all, and some documents don’t make it to the box and are on the floor in the pile of books and bank statements and letters and birthday cards and flyers from people running for Congress.


In my live/work bird’s nest, surrounded by paper and ink and paint and language and numbers and other materials, I fashion a meaning system in which to exist. Words and numbers are the stuff of our lives, stuff we own in common, because language is community property, but language is a cocoon, and thought is just a stage in our metamorphosis, numbering our days.


Some late afternoons I am visited by dread. I’m crashing, burned out, a zombie in a fog. I am afraid I wasted the day, and that I waste every day, and every week and year. I think about what I did this day, what I wrote or painted, who I talked to, what I read or watched. Did I invest the time wisely? Was I productive? Am I valid? Or am I wasting time?


I have existed for 67 years. Happy birthday, to me.


Excuse me, can you validate my existence?

Do you have your ticket?

My ticket?

Yes, you were supposed to get a ticket from the meaning machine when you arrived.


Hey, man. You don’t need THEM to validate your existence. You don’t need some machine to spit out a ticket for some cashier to validate when you check out. You’ve already paid everything you have. What is left to be valid? Is this system of validation itself valid? Who built the meaning machine that inhabits your soul? The idol that THEY built and named a god is a validation machine, man, and you don’t need it because you’re already valid simply because you exist and because you are the image of being.


But you try to validate your self to your self and it’s impossible because you forgot what the principals of validation are, what the rules are, and where the machine is that dispenses the ticket you yourself will punch, if you have time, before you check out.


Or you thought you were OK because you knew where the machine is and you got your ticket when you were supposed to get your ticket and even got it validated by someone authorized to do so and you confidently present it at the toll booth and the toll collector says,


I’m sorry. This ticket is void.


Your prophets are wrong, fundamentally wrong, their stories are wrong because they keep forgetting the central vision that lights the way, and ignoring

 

— but I’m interrupted by the phone before I finish constructing that thought.


This morning I watched two seagulls fly from the river over South 3rd Street, side by side, together toward the sunrise.


Life is worth it. The difficulty is that some lose it before they die, and can’t find it, and meanwhile, life goes on anyway. 


And so the psychonaut returns to our world bearing gifts of possibilities and imperatives, upending perspectives, happy to come down the holy mountain to just exist among the flat-landers again, but with the clear perception of one who has seen the whole Earth alive and swimming in the ocean of space.










Thursday, February 25, 2021

Unconditional


These are some of the conditions our condition is in:

Atlantic Ocean circulation weaker than it has been in 1,000 years, scientists say

Nurses are quitting due to the pandemic

Ex-Olympics Gymnastics coach found dead after being charged with human trafficking and sex crimes

‘Nobody came, nobody helped,’ says an Asian American victim in a community rattled by attacks

Battling the Mob, a Black Officer Came Face to Face With Racism

Militia Groups Want to ‘Blow Up the Capitol,’ a Police Chief Testifies

US carries out air strikes in Syria targeting Iranian backed militia structures

“Everything seems so tenuous and fragile in many ways,”


If I need unconditional love is it because I want a universal mother and heavenly father to take care of me? Help me, mama, Help me, daddy, I’m sorry I was bad, I’m too small and stupid and everything is working against me, dear lord we pray.

If you demand unconditional love is it because you are afraid to love unconditionally? — after all, what’s in it for you?

My needs are infinite and it seems I don’t even know what they are and I don’t know how to describe what would meet those needs.


We are used to hearing words like “unconditional” in contexts like “unconditionally guaranteed,” “unconditional surrender,” and “unconditional love,” which we see on the covers of self help books and inspirational pamphlets, and television sermons.


“Absolute” is a word absolutely misused by absolutely everyone and we can’t help it because we can’t really name anything that is truly Absolute or Unconditioned. Absolute Love would be Unconditioned and providing unconditional love, so we can use these ideas to name God, an English word, but that which God claims to name can’t be fixed with a name, caught in the net of our languages, which might be why some people won’t even spell the word “God” in its entirety, leaving out the vowel and writing “G - d” —

GEE DASH DEE

— and if this practice becomes commonplace “Geedashdy” will become one of the names of the Absolute, the Unconditioned, and “G - d” will be just another hyphenated name for the Void. Not some nihilist nothing void, but nothing we can pin down.


The Absolute is here, I think, but we aren’t. We are elsewhere.

The Absolute is Life itself and we are always running away from it or running after it, instead of living it, because how do you do that?


Is it the Devil asking these questions in this wilderness of elsewhere in which we wander on our vision quests or blind groping lostness?


Maybe not you, though, and we are only speaking for myself, and I am speaking to the unnameable Now — 

“I am over Here,” one of us shouts.


I went through an extended phase in my prolonged childhood where I thought that acknowledging my dependence on the Absolute diminished my humanity, as if faith is a psychological disability, but we do name some psychological disabilities “faith” or “God” so the confusion is understandable.


Try the word Reality since that has come into more favor as the ruling class lost touch with it, and we use it as if we have access to it. 

Reality is the inescapable blizzard of facts we wake up to everyday, that we push ourselves through, inadequately clothed, from one inadequate shelter to another, because something calls us from our beds and comforters to go outside where cold hard facts sting our faces and the way is slippery and treacherous and this is the condition our condition is in.


Cold facts of the monthly bank statements, the virus, the news, the family, the job you don’t have, the money you think you need, things you need to know or think you need to know. Facts you think you need to know. Facts you think are relevant and which you assemble into a theory of What the Hell is Going On, hoping it applies to the truth, but Truth is another capitalized name for the Void that shines upon us Now.



Friday, February 19, 2021

out there

 In the beginning, 

there was no beginning, 

because when and where would the beginning be, 

but you have to start somewhere, 

so in a beginning, 

let’s say an inconceivable seed is dropped into sweet oblivion and later, 

a hard to imagine, immeasurable amount of time later,  

many many generations later, 

the seed of a descendant of that seed is dropped by solar irradiation and penetration of our mother planet, summoning the seedling forth, toward the big daddy sun, but still rooted in the mother, nourished by mother, and powered by the distant father, 

if the solar system is symbolized as a patriarchy, 

and the planets are wives, 

but the universe itself is an inconceivable seed in a self-begetting egg in the womb that always is, I guess, and the seedling becomes who she is, the soul, drawn to the beloved, lover and beloved, joined and transformed, transcending, rising above, going beyond all limits, triumphing over all negations and restrictions, overcoming, beyond material existence, space and time, 

and so prior to the universe, even, above and below and away from all that, 

out out and out and out there, 

way, far, freaking, out there.


4:20 ante meridiem, Brahma’s time, the day after Ash Wednesday, some place in Lenapehoking, in a space carved out of air with dry wall and studs in a brick building that was a factory before gentrification, la noche oscura with city lights and the sputtering flame in my heart — I throw some kindling and caffeine on that flame and watch the universe burn down. 


Last night my late wife’s dream body appeared and began to make love to me but there was a distraction from, I forget, and I woke up and it was 3 AM, so I got up and made coffee. Some guru on YouTube says that Brahmamuhurtma starts 3:20 to 3:40 AM and you will wake up the right time, if you are an initiate, but isn’t life itself initiation? 


In the beginning, life is breathed into mud, Eve is breathed into Adam, form comes to the formless, and things begin to seem to make sense, as I assemble symbols into a pattern and maybe even tell a story or finish the painting, thanking the Creator that I don’t have to listen to the impeachment any more.








  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Call this a journal entry.

Splendour is lost in the splendiferous, is it not?

What is the word’s worth, Wordsworth?

And how much is your Woolworth,

happy Shepherd-boy?


I write lines that only mimic poetry, jokes that aren’t funny, or platitudes that are.


Monday morning I suffered from the specific melancholy that comes with the internet being out. Nearly my entire social life cut off, my news habit tormenting me.

What is happening now? Has anything blown up? 

Spectrum technicians are working on it. Neighborhood outage.


67 years ago I fell out of the sky and now reside in Brooklyn and it astonishes me because the trip from then to now seems so natural, like the drift of continents, geological time compressed into the lifespan of some tiny organism.

You are not alone, tiny organism, I shout to a passing paramecium, you are interconnected with the infinite space full of beings. But does it listen?

Cosmic changes as well as local cultural changes and macro and microeconomic disturbances are manifested in my mood this afternoon. The specific anxiety in trying to track the growth of the fascist movement in the USA while witnessing the utter dereliction of duty and abandonment of common decency in the Republican Party and among people who look like me. In November 2016 walking in Bed Stuy and seeing my reflection in a window and seeing someone who looks like a stereotypical Trump voter and a couple years before that, watching the uprising in Ferguson and re-examining my childhood in segregated Florida and my mis-education into a White identity. I was going to tell stories about being a five year old bigot tonight, but I am still ashamed, and maybe I was seven. Now I see White people claiming victimhood and cultivating resentment and mass psychosis, what used to be called demonic deception, a cloud of false witnesses, pathetic little liars who have attached themselves to the Big Liar like hungry little puppies to a dead bitch.

I’m plugged back into the information matrix and overdosing on the impeachment of Donald J Trump, choosing to watch the CSPAN stream on Facebook and sometimes reading the comments that pass by, mostly trolls just trying to provoke but also true believers. Reading these comments is like eating grains of rat poison.


True believers of a big lie are damned by their faith, at least in my mind. I want to see them suffer the humiliation of realizing how wrong they were and to see their noses rubbed in their own ideological mess, but I know I will never see that, and they will go to their graves with their beliefs, damned but never knowing they were damned, as they drop through the sketchier bardos, pulled by karmic gravity through the vacuum of their ignorance, tormented by hungry ghosts, or so I like to imagine. But if they are remembered at all, it will be as ancestors their descendants would rather forget, and they will be forgotten. They will not become statues on Monument Avenue.

So you see I’m not in a charitable mood all the time.

What is of good report? 

I learn about the work of an activist who worked for the homeless. He died last week, but a short film was made about his work and now it is a testament not only to his character, but to good work itself, and to the very idea of walking a path of righteousness.

What is my right path? Isn’t it the one that brought me here?

“Thanks to the human heart by which we live,

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,”

as Wordsworth said.


Here I am. What’s next?





Release

 I am here to release the captives who don’t know they are captives. I am here to release the captivated captured.

Here, take this key you can’t see and unlock the lock you can’t see so you can finally do what you don’t know that you want to do, because doing what you want to do is the last thing you want to do.


I am here to the speak words you can’t hear.

I am here to be ignored because I am not here to amuse the ignorant. Go ahead and ignore me because I don’t know if I can explain it to you, anyway.


Maybe I can explain it this way:

From birth we learn a conceptual world, both by instruction and experience. Culture begins with learning to say Mama and Papa, if there is a mama or papa, or however the infant names their caregivers, who ever cares enough to give enough care.


One’s experience of being cared for, is one’s experience of love as care, or caritas. If one has survived long enough to learn to more or less take care of oneself its because they received enough care, although this “care” is maybe always to some degree mixed with malice and what one learns is not simple caritas but rules for survival games taught to us with rewards and punishments or random carelessness and abuse.


What am I on about?

I wanted to say something about how we conceive the universe, how we learn to conceive of a universe that cares for us. We conceive of an indifferent universe or a universe that has made it possible for us to be here right now, which is something I admit is inconceivable, isn’t it?


Does the universe care? Yes, one’s care for oneself, and for another is proof of the universality of care. Survival of childhood is proof of the existence of care. God is a name given to our understanding and experience of care, a concept of care that enables us to conceive of care, and to give and receive care, to care enough to live another day, and to care for the survival and wellbeing of future generations.


Do you care? Do you care for yourself? Do you really know what you need? Are you afraid of what you want?

Can you conceive of care and so conceive the Godhead in your caring?


Can you see it? Am I making any sense? Or is the problem that I’m blurting obvious platitudes?  All You Need Is Love, say the word and you’ll be free, say the word and be like me, love is real, real is love — all that bullshit and who cares, tell me something new, something I can use, that I can buy or sell, you say. 


You don’t need this shit and you don’t care because you are free to take care of yourself and it’s all you can do to take care of yourself and your loved ones without trying to care for the whole world or care about an inconceivable world without countries or possessions or religion. You can't see it or hear it, and you’re not amused. You are trying to enjoy your lunch, so you ignore the crazy homeless man talking to himself in the park, a poor man holding out an empty paper coffee cup that says “We are happy to serve you” on the side.” Go ahead and ignore him. He knew he wouldn’t be able to explain it.


Thank you sir! God bless you! Have good day, Sir!




Thursday, January 28, 2021

How are you doing?

 Queen Anon, 

empress of chaos, who poisons information, who kills minds, who leads society into a shit pit.

Your Satanic Majesty, QAnon, consort of MAGA —

Fuck you, and the pigs you rode in on, 

shitting pigs shitting pig shit in the Halls of Democracy .

Your warriors, your Christofascist Crusaders, your lynch mob,

and your evangelists who wipe their asses with pages of the Holy Bible and feed it to their ignorant congregations as communion.

Holy consciousness give me adequate malediction, give me the profound profanity of Ezekiel to speak to White Evangelicals.

Never mind diplomacy 

with MAGA and his Queen, a Non-entity, 

Hey, she looks like Rudy Giuliani in drag!


How am I doing today? I’m OK, I’m fine, can’t complain ha ha ha

My vital signs are good

I’m trying to stay negative, Covid-wise

Do I feel alone and insignificant?

No, not remotely.

Despite uncertainty about my financial future, despite PTSD, despite compound bereavement, and being in quarantine for nearly a year and really no end in sight and despite hypertension and not enough good cholesterol and the neuroma in my ear and the torture chamber of rightwing social media and the corporate colonization of consciousness through these devices we are leashed to, I don’t feel alone and insignificant.

Not at all.

Not remotely, because I have remote control over my life.


I am a boomer, a white boomer blessed by our idol, our sick white idol formed from pig shit and paper.


Hey, boomer!

Boom boom boom boom

Dig the legacy of insanity passed down the generations

Boom boom boom boom

Our parents were driven insane by their war

Boom boom boom boom

Their parents were driven insane by war

Boom boom boom boom

Our parents’ parents were driven insane by war

Boom boom boom boom

Born of war, for war

Our civilization is a war machine, the empire of war, the empire of conquerors and Christo-fascist crusaders

Boom boom boom boom


Do I feel alone and insignificant?

The limits of my body

the limits of my self

the limits of my world

the limits of my perception of all that and anything

By the time my body disappears in crematory smoke, 

even before the loss of any memory or record of my existence —

more than I can say and less than I can say, because the microscope of my language can only see so small —

so, both more and less than I can say.

So I smoke

and throw ink at these walls of zen.