Friday, June 9, 2017

loss - the essay / gain - a sonnet


“of all the things I’ve lost, the thing I miss the most is my mind” - A. Nonymous

I came home yesterday after an unexpected trip into town involving multiple busses and colectivo taxis only to find my keys gone. I rent, and relations with the landlords had been at a low ebb - it was not a happy moment. Once inside, i learned that the visa i believed to be out of reach was much nearer. Having two such contrary experiences in such proximity to each other can be disconcerting - whether to “laugh or cry” comes to mind. Bob Dylan has written “When you think you’ve lost everything, you find out you can always lose a little more.” I will rue his passing, not so much for myself because my own time is not so very far away, but for the loss to the world of such much needed wisdom about our human existence. My home has locks and keys for every door and most of the windows contain bars. My landlords are caring people making the most of a frontier experience, and the wealth of locking mechanisms reflect their concerns. It is not nice to have things taking away from you. However this is running counter to many things i am trying to understand about attachment and what is important. After my father passed away, i was in deep denial about the effect his death had on me. Nearly a decade later i am only beginning to recognize my impulse to repress many feelings, not just grief. It is as though the pain finds a way to be felt, regardless of any brave homilies one might evoke to get to the other side of discomfort. Yet with awareness and acknowledgement of pain comes growth. It is as though by the act of embracing discomfort one gains possession of a ghost, or more accurately light in a dark region of the soul.

According to my understanding Buddha said life is suffering, and that the cause of suffering is attachment. I admire Buddha very much, but do not consider myself a Buddhist - i’d be afraid of the attachment. Nor am i enamored of “things,” preferring a warm hearted woman to any cold beer i’ve ever had. G_d in her tender mercies made sure i learned attachment to a warm heart can be as lethal as any cold beer, only more so. The confusion of this lesson still resonates in distant parts of my being. The only solution i’ve found as yet is to be the warm heart for those still seeking what cannot be owned. Anymore, i’m losing confidence that anything in this material plane can be owned, including the mortal coil we all shuffle off. So how is it we as humans have dug ourselves this bottomless pit of violence and despair based on ownership? What is discernible about those who have achieved great possession, be it wealth, power or skill is the tangible sense of fear. It is as though beyond all appearances to the contrary the kernel of emptiness from such a quest rises like a cloud of smoke looking for fire. In the news Tiger Woods the golf prodigy was shown in a booking photo for drunk driving looking forlorn and haggard; i empathize, for i know that look well. However, there is nothing i can do to reverse that tape back to the Mike Douglas show when 2 year-old Tiger father was paraded by his father like a trained seal. Were that possible, i’d be tempted to strenuously object to Tiger’s father hijacking what didn’t belong to him - the happiness of another. Nor is this any of my business outside of provoking thought about possession and loss.

Just now i offered cold water to the harried half of my landlord’s team - she is bushwacking the immense yard they have secured for themselves through dogged determination and great bravery. Where we live can be quite hot, and from personal experience at bushwacking i believe in the power of cold water during great exertion - she declined; i can only try to understand. She may not have been thirsty, or had other reasons to decline. If i was strongly attached to dharma, i could feel much different about her rejection and have on many similar occasions. Part of my neurosis is to give compulsively. It may be from what i feel is empty within myself - kindness in this case. In many other instances, it is a spontaneous urge to help, and it doesn’t much matter who. What does matter is why. I am constantly surprised how often my help is declined, for example my friend whom i accompanied to town (in order to lose my keys) bought 4 large spools of yarn for his weaving business, i offered to share the burden in our journey back to the village, which he declined. It could be the logic of interpersonal dynamics demanding that i help myself, or it could be that i am not seeing clearly the needs of others - I don’t know. Even this writing labor of love is tainted by the confusion of motivation. Do I press on paragraph after paragraph due to some vain effort to vanquish a self-imposed working solitude with an illusion of high minded purpose¿ If so, does that reflect my conflict with dharma, or a fundamental lack of understanding about “good works”¿ There seems to be a huge disconnect in logic between what i am willing to do of free will with that of circumstances where i feel manipulated into giving, and i am confused.

My same living circumstance includes a metal frame veranda that has been waiting 3 months for a bamboo covering. Initially, i was taken out into the local fields in search of bamboo after a weekly shopping excursion. I felt resentful and hostile that my time was being taken from me without consultation at a time when i was in a pitched battle with a drawing project - the insinuation that the bulk of this effort was to fall in my lap became apparent soon enough; i balked. Now 3 months later, the bamboo was cut and delivered to the lawn in front of my casitas. 3 of us waded into the pile stripping stalks from the poles. I joined in, because that is how i’m built. It came time to break in the heat of the day; however three days later when there was no forward progress stripping stalks, i felt compelled to assume this responsibility, why is that¿ I’d convinced myself that it was for my domicile, so it was logical to contribute - but that is personally dishonest; invariably my willingness to extend myself in a fair fashion with this couple is not reciprocated. Is that loss or theft¿ What is it that i am attached to which is provoking such existential confusion, even motivating me to move elsewhere in the delusion that anything anywhere else will be different¿ Weeks earlier a new tenant and i were separated from the landlords during the weekly shopping excursion, i suggested she call them; she handed me her phone and i explained to the landlords we’d be too late for any rendezvous. When she and i returned to her car, she discovered her phone gone and became apoplectic accusing me of leaving her phone or worst taking it.

I liked this lady, and found myself shutting down to her, even to my living circumstances which prior to this had been tolerable. Meanwhile my sister introduced a logistical wrinkle for a family heirloom that soured for the time being - these are objects and buildings dislocating relations between people. Has it always been this way with humans¿ My last communication to my sister was asking if she knew our brother had, or was about to have major surgery - i’ve not heard back. How has it come about that inanimate objects have gained precedence over human emotion¿ Have we gained anything in a world of locks, heirlooms or attachment to conditions of success¿ Our wars increase and our future existence has become uncertain. Happiness has become a business and self knowledge a fearful domain remedied by more expense paid to professionals. What if there was no such thing as loss¿ What would happen if we listened to the wise, and trained ourselves to value nothing more than the ability to help another for no other reason than the certain knowledge that the only value of any worth is an open contribution to the wellbeing of another¿ There certainly was another time in our human existence that this was certainly true, otherwise you would not be reading for the simple reason our species would not have survived as long as it has. I cannot protect myself from loss, not by currying favor with strangers under the guise of dharma or amassing weapons, ammunition and impenetrable barriers between myself and others. The best thing i can see for me to do is gently mine the depths of my own confusion with whatever method or means that reveals more of the emerging self that remains warm and loving toward others under the broadest spectrum of circumstance.
  
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gain - a sonnet
how did i come out ahead with such pain¿
who’d want to look a gift horse in the mouth?
why does so much strife accompany gain¿
do all freebies become vet bills going south¿

how is yoking the young to clocks worthwhile
when some take more walking to their cars than 
some earn in a lifetime lifting “the” pile?
-you paying for that last ride in the van¿

will any human become a star echo?
was your last great effort worth all the time 
it took away from watching your child grow,
or prevent your body from becoming slime¿

will words of any kind ever favor
what we have lost by our worst behavior?

  
jts 060917
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Friday, June 2, 2017

man - an essay / woman - the sonnet


Percy Sledge is playing and it is raining - likely the next 10 or so days. I find it difficult to publish my last essay on ma, not because i feel shame for what i’ve written as honestly as i know, but because i have concern that it may cause harm to another. I consider myself fortunate to have such reservations in a world seemingly gorged on blood. I will reluctantly post my thoughts about my parent, for that is what i have grown to believe men do - the difficult thing. It is difficult to know what is what criteria to apply when fulfilling such an open ended obligation, however honestly acquired. Do i, as is done every day by the U.S. Military, slaughter scores of innocents to protect the lives of a handful of aristocratic oil executives , or do i give up my life in the name of a principle i cherish, such as peace - as was done recently by very brave souls in Portland Oregon¿ Who is to say what is manly¿ Is it the father that beats his son senseless, because that is how the father was raised, and it is all he knows? Or is it that child who, when grown, understands the mindless stupidity of violence and like a blind person in a maze feels his way toward a different life without knowing where it will lead¿ Is that the essence of courage, to acknowledge a a wrong you know in your heart to be foul, and rather than adhere to a known condition, then strike out for untrammeled paths searching for a solution¿ I don’t know. I do know that if we as a species do not come up with a more benign appreciation for strength we’ve come to understand as “might is right”, then we are doomed.

I understand fear, so i know what it means to want to be scary like the hissing cobra with it’s hood, or the snarling dog backed into a corner with its dander up. That bluff has worked from time to time, though the damage it did to my deeper purpose may not heal before i shuffle off this mortal coil. Can’t say when i first understood the power of love, or that i understand it now. What i do know is the difference between love and hate, having been consumed by both at different times - sometimes for the same reason. Yeah, you guessed it, women - ain’t she magic - lucky men. Is luck enough, not by a long shot. Is work the answer¿ If it is, the advent of robotics is about to put a lot of us shit out of luck. Is it intellect that distinguishes us from the other species¿ Tell that to the whales and other marine mammals possessing beyond keen hearing having their acoustic capabilities blown to smithereens by technology developed by very, very smart humans. Once on a bus in Bali, i was holding forth with my reservations about the odds of human survival to an urbane French journalist who looked at me and quipped, “we will survive, because of greed.” For the longest time, i wanted to believe; his comment gave me hope. As many have learned, or hopefully have learned, the audacity of hope is not enough. It will require a resolve that we have not yet witnessed as a species. We must resolve to help the other survive. If we cling to the notion of survival based on the perfectly natural concept of self vs other, we like a tree comprised of a gazillion independent cells each working entirely on its own behalf will wither and die before it ever reaches the light of die - not unlike this evolutionary dead end at which we as a species have now arrived.

The antiquated notion for any manner of definition about gender which if understood and applied correctly will result in a life of ease, riches and abundant blessings is laughable, but not funny. My own father had very definite ideas about what it means to be a man, replying to my young question about how to know when a woman loves you - “when she acquiesces.” Like myself, he was a hopeless romantic in many ways; i do not share this with embarrassment, but to openly challenge the myth of fixed and immutable values - a gift from him that keeps on giving. However, it is important to distinguish between the circumstantial ethics all the rage in leadership circles today and the ability to openly and honestly examine one’s own beliefs. The cut-and-paste ethos permitting one segment of our civilization to ravage at will is a sleight of hand like the shell game with more the pee. When it came time for pop to reexamine his beliefs, he employed logic and fairness, acquiescing himself thoughtfully to a changing landscape; what he did not do was employ one set of values for himself and another for others - that to me is honor. When he was faced with injury or personal setback, he would look deeper into his core beliefs for understanding and awareness, rather than abandon personal responsibility which was for him the keys to the kingdom of personal development - a domain he occupied with gusto, reflected in his wry unrelenting embrace for fun laced with meaning - meaning being the key. So strong was his need to understand, and to help others, he’d grasp unwitting guest by the lapels and pull them close to ask “why are you here on earth?”

How many of us have come to terms with this question, much less inspired others to seek their own answer¿ I resort to repeating anecdotes from one i miss attempting to parse meaning from mayhem - it may not bear fruit for anyone but myself, and that is just enough. I’ve come to understand that the opinion of others, while helpful for that instant, has little bearing on the personal struggle for that discipline necessary to sift through any history, searching for bits and pieces of existence which when glued together become a collage recognizable to others as a useful part of existence. While effort can, at times, be too much fun, it still requires a persistence not unlike lugging a sled to the top of the hill for the thrill of riding down, or the repair of a flat bicycle tire knowing how much pleasure can be found in-between flat tires. The further i get from these pleasant activities, the less meaningful the youthful objectives of fame and fortune become. My sense is any appeal to ego for acclaim is the bait used by the ruling class to defang and attenuate the danger of the unrestrained creative impulse. What would happen if people occupied themselves with no other consideration than exploring the highest quality artistic product conceivable, devoid of financial concerns¿ What if criteria for greatness was no longer patronage, but the simple self satisfaction of confronting the tabula rasa unafraid or better yet - anything playfully¿ What if that same quality of application became the criteria for any endeavor, be it building a wagon, a house or even a civilization¿ I don’t know.

I do know that if this concept of enjoyment was expanded to include the pleasure found in helping another accomplish a similar personal objective, we would become a transfigured creature pulled up from the bile and chimera of ceaseless war which our corporate overlords are using to keep us in a constant state of exhaustion. Don’t believe me, ask yourself where have you ever been well served by your hate, and if you’re feeling up for a real struggle, tell me honestly how that experience feels contrasted with the exhilaration of your first love, even 2nd or third if you’ve been as lucky as i. It is not the knowing that is of any use, that much is clear, for we all understand that Jesus gave up his life for our sins and that Muhammad is the only prophet and still we are at each others throats, killing under the guise of love - that is not love. Love is what provokes me to address strangers in vain, advocating that they look into their hearts and discover what it takes for them to feel good about what they do. Is it the best¿ Ask me if i give a fuck - i will not. The notion that one is responsible for the feelings of any other person is a false premise. If one chooses to torment and sow discord, that will become apparent soon enough, and why would i employ one second of my life to dissuade or even rebuke such an asinine objective - where would one begin¿ The very best i can accomplish is to assume my responsibilities toward the life so generously provided me to see what cannot be known about my essence by doing daily those things that bring me pleasure in the irrational but fondly held faith i may catch a glimpse of myself through the love of other.   

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woman - the sonnet
women - can’t live with ‘em, and can’t shoot ‘em
just as well ma taught me respect - beats jail,
besides cacti have a fragrant blossom.
though its thorny leaves tend to the frail.

it’s the middle ground that is so much fun.
laughing hard with a woman is as though
the world was rain and she was the first sun
crying too, one can learn - just watch her go.

please hear only questions i am sowing
to explain my solitary circumstance.
the only facts are dames themselves crowing-
“shit talking” just confuses balls with pants.

know this - if your game’s faking humility,
you'll likely learn the meaning of frailty.


jts 060117
http://stoneartist.com 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 


ma - the essay / pa - a sonnet


“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” - Oscar Wilde

I had decided on the subject of this essay as i woke, including the quote above. Just prior to writing, i received an email from my sister. She wants to arrange possession of a family heirloom for her son; that he didn’t invite me to his wedding still smarts; that he wouldn’t arrange his own acquisition is sad; the fact that she will provide movers to pick up and deliver is curious. Without information, i can only experience my feeling, which is toward a sibling who wants to take something from me without the courtesy of looking in my eyes. After one Thanksgiving dinner at a Joshua Tree home - a home which said sister subsequently procured from ma without any family discussion, save that between her and ma, i was preparing a plate of food to bring to Iceberg Slim’s daughter who i worked with in a Los Angeles brokerage office. My sister not so surreptitiously complained to ma, as though i was taking food out of my sister’s mouth. Ma rejected this objection - sadly i fear for the sole purpose of smoothing the way por moi avec un petite femme. However it may have been at just that instant my concept of ma began to deepen. Not because it might have been pity motivating her (fuck that), but for demonstrating an equity from her of which i’ve not seen enough. Ma has always been hard nosed with good reason. She raised four strong personalities during the fractious 60’s and loosed herself from what she had come to believe as a flawed marriage not in her best interest. Ma has always held her interests in high esteem, which in the era of June Cleaver, Father Knows Best and the Donna Reed Show had been more than confusing. Somehow ma and her finely tuned antennae had anticipated Gloria Steinem (CIA operative) and the real need for a review of modern gender roles. Ma saw opportunity in these shifting social dynamics to better her station and to that end, sacrificed much, though not without paying through the nose. She took on a grueling 10 year tenure as a middle school art teacher, which allowed me to leave home at age 15 (read as door locks changed). Her work included 5 periods of 50 pupils from Newport Beach, CA - the most privileged children in the country. It was, as i imagine now, as close to hell on earth as one might want to find.

The gamble was worth it, for she was delivered by the universe into a loving union with the CEO of an insurance brokerage firm - she had arrived in nirvana. At least as close to nirvana a woman could grapple with who spent her adolescent summers with her father, an itinerant miner in a dirt floor house to a service station he ran in the desert of Nevada circa 1940’s. I am sitting here trying to sift through conflicting emotions in an effort to understand this woman free of personal hurt and reservations one might learn as a boy going toe-to-toe with an understandably enraged self-actualizing adult. While she was teaching, i was just on other prong on the fork - a confused man-child. I feel great compassion for her through the lens of my own pain looking into the telescope of time. She had the gall to buck a system that was just then beginning to show the signs of the collapse which now surrounds us; that her early depravation seems to have informed her struggle more than any other factor is simply unfortunate for the world, for she was, and remains an incredibly intelligent, skilled and resourceful woman in a world of great need for such qualities. To see her today trapped in her gilded cage, under the protection of the eldest son. What figures more importantly for me is the effort to understand the flaws of my mother in terms of envy she expresses regarding my father. She had been duty-bound to disparage him for nearly the full of her post divorce life, lest her escape into abundance be noted by anyone as anything less than serendipity. I find common cause and commiserate her confusion at having gotten all she ostensibly asked for only to find emptiness, and still my admiration for her grows. All of the protections she had put in place to protect her from the elements, from me, from poverty, from all that was to blame for any misery in her life have only become mirrors reflecting the mirage of her own fears - a cage trapping her.

But the imprisonment of age has not daunted her, if anything it has provided her a sanctuary in which to plumb her own depths somewhat free of the vanities of beauty, though still shrouded in the trappings of wealth - glitter for those who remain yoked to such illusions. There is no question that my own reservations about wealth and power may be little more than envy - reaction formation of one shoved aside by family-order and greed; that my fascination for beautiful women could be the cloying residue of a rebuked younger brother; twisted yearning of a motherless child; or it may just be really neat to admire beauty through the viscera of art; i wish it were that simple, especially for my mother and sister. Ma has never given up hope i might improve even helping me to mitigate my intransigence - a character flaw i could do well without, but then that admonition comes from a woman who demanded that my siblings, or anyone for that matter, share her opinion regarding my stubbornness, or any opinion of hers for that matter - in a quietly intransigent manner; ironically it is likely her perseverance which i modeled. What is more troubling and difficult to distinguish is the role of disparagement in her world view. Her own father, my namesake, was largely absent from her life, though her mother made the very progressive decision for them to spend time together. Her mother a genteel southern belle married grandpa the much older miner, and then with three children in tow and few prospects on the horizon bailed for the greener pastures of life with my maiden aunt - the well-to-do career civil servant who had a dim view of my grandfather the “rough cobb” yankee. The further i remove myself from family, the more i subscribe to intergenerational pathology, which if true is remarkably encouraging, as well as damming in its mechanics. For example, were my failing to be merely intransigence, self loathing would not have become the demon to befriend in grudging admiration so as to become free. My siblings, i imagine, have been encouraged to see their strengths contrasted against my manifold faults, or illusionary exalted power depending on where one stands and vice versa. The confusion of such exaggerated capacity about anyone, impairs the ability to peer more deeply into cherished convictions about one’s own conceit.

In my family, personal expression is a verboten behavior if it doesn’t square with the party line. So like all myopic writers expressing eternal truths, i resort to impulse power - the harder they come, the harder they fall; or in this case the more you want me to shut up, the more i want to say. When all of ma’s self-made turbulence manifested in a collapse at her teaching position, i returned home from school as the medics were leaving; after some hours of knowing little more than ma had collapsed, my sister came out of the closed room and walking down the darkened hall telling me, “well I hope you’re happy now.” Ma’s collapse was not my fault then, nor is harm to her my doing now - that dialogue with this demon alone does not bode well for me, my siblings or our collective awareness; i hear now the cousin demon of my self loathing clenching at my gut screaming - let me out, let me out, and all i can do is reassure these kindly internal monsters they have not committed mayhem, and would they please come up with something more constructive than “y’all are fucks”. The people i’m describing are not evil, they are my family. I am, we, are not guilty of anything more than being confused humans doing their best. During this tumultuous time, ma was adamant that psychology would verify all she felt and went to great lengths to confirm her suspicions - not terribly different than this sanctimonious diatribe ostensibly written for the purpose of honoring a complex relationship with a parent. It is the hazy outlines of awkward moments coming into focus which keep me plugging toward a deeper understanding of ma’s being and the prism of light that is her family; for example there is a startled look in her eye after an embrace when i have asked “why does it feel like you are pushing me away when we hug¿” It is the difficult questions i ask, and which she accepts after a fashion, that give me heart, for without the ability to bring to fruition the integration of one’s feeling, what good are sensibilities?

Ma has come to accept that i will not accede to a delusional deconstruction of family, so when she bemoans the standoff my siblings and i enjoy by waxing nostalgic - “my family never had this kind of .  . . “ as a good son i feel honor bound to gently point out that she did not speak to her sister for 20 years. I’m altogether too certain it is the instinct of my siblings to attribute anything but kindness to such a remark. I believe they use their convictions about me as justification for feelings. I’m struggling for a different approach - ma is not a saint - a magnificent powerful woman, but no saint, anymore than i am as you can read in this scandalous expose. From this, i accept that i will never get all that i want or ask for from ma, much less, family or the world, but more importantly, if i am to learn how to love, it must be based on what is, not for some state of things to be. I have learned something; i can love ma. This one lesson in life is worth more to me than anything i’ve learned thus far. What i have found by this discipline is a woman of vast worth who is sitting beached by an unkindness of her own making. At a time in her life when she could be honing all the extraordinary skills she has gained tooth and nail during a long exciting existence, she sits weighted by some erroneous delusion that either her favorites are exalted without flaw, or she failed in some way; her children have failed, or her housekeeper is .  . .  Her sensibilities are delicate, and she has imparted much to each of us which, but great sensitivity is an odious condition without a free and open embrace of all it can achieve - good and bad. Sensitivity can be confused with reality; reality is flawed, it is intractable, relentless in its slog toward eternity. Sensitivity is dynamic, it can become an urge to quiet an infant’s discomfort, or provide the safe feeling of truth in the midst of lies, or even demand love toward siblings whose behavior doesn’t meet one’s high standards of excellence. Sensitivity can lead one to understanding or plunge one to the depths of delusion, whereas strength most often results in exhaustion. I hope as ma fades toward her destiny that she feels the understanding which her strength has encouraged me to learn and allowed her daughter to achieve.

post script: to anyone reading this as an indictment of people i know to be doing their best and who are not present to defend themselves - the fault is my own for not being more clear that the struggle i’ve attempted to describe herein is love and nothing more.

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pa - a sonnet


pa was a poet of finer meaning
than found in most amateur poetry.
he’d call bullshit like a judge in hearing-
heard enough times, you’d know what’s up a tree.

his feelings were deep and not always clear
so reading his soul was more than a treat,
it was a channel to one you held dear.
dumb luck he was left alone with just feet.

lines did not fill him enough in the end
the measure of his steps walked off the page.
but like some minstrel of yore; he’d just bend,
that, or i could not read his change of age.

matters not; what does - is you’ve read one more.
poetry for him was just life at the core.

jts 053017
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

self / other - the sonnet


Without referencing the reams of data available theorizing the idea of self, i shall try and share what i know of myself. For many years, i barely distinguished my own existence from that of my family unit - we was what i believed to be comprised of self and other. That is not to say my siblings and parents were not well defined or amorphous, but my boundaries did not consider their autonomy. This all changed as i was forced to integrate into a world that did not include my backup army. Nor did i easily relinquish my delusions of being an appendage of the home unit preferring to know myself as brother or son, rather than “i.” Eventually as family dissolved into the learning curve of post 1960’s divorce mania, i found myself rudely ejected from what i’m sure must have been experienced by my otherwise loving family as virulent clinging, not different from the amateur parachutist pushed out of the airplane on the count of two, because otherwise he’d have clutched the door. However like all strong manifestations, the flip side of my insular family identity was an intense hunger to individuate. My father was more than an amateur scholar, he read books like some people scroll screens today - interminably. Upon his death, i had occasion to select from his vast library - from witchcraft to obscure enlightenment philosophy. His avowed faith was Existentialism - “a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of free will.” While our disagreements could be at times violent, it was to my credit that i acquiesced to his superior forces - deference is not surrender, it is a choice.

Pot bugged pop, yet powerful narcotics allowed a cogent transition for him, broken ball and socket @ the femur and all; it was as though the universe allowed him to march out the door by existential choice. Recollection will not return him, yet lessons remain. Discipline was keen for him - a mark of many things, contrasting with his later stage enthusiasm on ice faisons-le maintenent. What cued me to my own confusion of self was the expression self-discipline. I had conflated freedom of will with authority; two vastly different issues. It is easy to be an outlaw, the culture fairly demands it of you with gangster glam and leadership examples; freedom of will as pertains to self is an entirely different matter. For example, just now to chew on this essay i determined to take a smoke break only to find the box of packaged tobacco needed to be disassembled so i may roll smaller cigarettes, and rather than practically suspending my decision to smoke and take care of business, i succumbed to rolling the one off, saying the whole way to my self “i’ll do it when i return; this is where it gets dicey, the ironies of such synchronicity were such, i postponed that chore for this more interesting activity - making a fool of myself. More to the point - have fun while ye may. What was that pale outline in the dark hankering from one hunger to the next, presuming its worth, or your interest in this narrative¿ That to me is fascinating - the question of what is addressing who¿ It is not clear to me why i would resort to tobacco at all after a 10-year hiatus - but that i did is more information than i had before; a question to me is more valuable than the answer, especially as it pertains to self.

In my young life quest to learn that magic condition of self-discipline which pop so stridently advocated required knowledge of self - a complete foreign land for me then, now only nearly complete. There is an Australian variation of the septic (Yankee) “ok” gesture of thumb and forefinger aloft, the Australian exception being the “O” part is then brought up and parked unchastely on the nose - “fuck knows” - a fairly silent reply to an amazing number of different circumstances in this world. Who knows what one’s on about even in the most obvious circumstances. Do you think if you asked Mr. M.T. Suit if all the fear he has precipitated into a frightened world has anything to do with his own father, would Mr. M.T. Suit be capable of chirping anything¿ It’s a very plausible idea that he may not; when you can’t reasonably expect a cogent response from the leader of the “free world” about himself, it does not bode well for our collective future. It does, however give us a pretty good idea how rare self awareness might actually be, so i don’t feel so bad understanding my own self as little as i do. I am curious though and hoping that my own behavior yields more data. There’s an irony; in a world awash in data, i’m looking to my self for information - ‘da fuck is that all about¿ - answer class, - fuck knows. Initially i consulted my family appendages for answers. For the too longest time my siblings were avatars of what my self could be, for they each in their own way are fine examples of human beings. Oscar Wilde was to have said, “be yourself, for everyone else is taken.” Like most assertions this wisdom was derived from another source; according to the “Quote Investigator” website, Thomas Merton (1915-1968) wrote in an essay “Day of a Stranger” - 1967: In an age where there is much talk about “being yourself” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody els. Rather it seems to me that when one is too intent on “being himself” he runs the risk of impersonating a shadow.”

‘Da fuck is that all about¿ together class - fuck knows¿ How does anybody approach self but with enormous humility. It’s not like this writer monk was Joel Osteen “praying for dollars,” if a Trappist Monk don’t know hiself, who does¿ You can begin to see why questions are so important to me, especially about that which i know so very little - my self. My siblings functioned nicely as guideposts for a while, but to find validation in another’s approval is a little like aping the homies so as not to get beat up - regardless of how decent a puppet you might be, a puppet’s a puppet. A parent’s influence is far harder to disentangle. Especially if they are flawed, as all parents are. To separate out one’s flaws from another can be difficult enough, just with strangers - but parents - where to begin¿ Initially it was all my fault; then it was all their fault; then i began to wonder about fault. What kind reality contains the premise of guilt - all together class - fuck knows¿ Does Freud ? - his double nephew Edward Bernays, using Freud’s theories, was responsible for the Advertising war against humanity which has put the corporations in our driver’s seat to destruction. What about Jesus? he says i’ll assume your guilt, but you must live in peace. I’m game, show me where peace is in this world and i’ll go there and try to help. If as my father taught me, you believe yourself to be “a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of free will; one simply picks a poison. I choose love. Does this mean i have no guilt - not even close. But what i feel guilty about has turned 180 degrees. I feel guilty for feeling guilty, if that makes any sense. Doesn’t matter, because it is a whole lot easier to forgive myself for guilt than it is for murder or mayhem. But this is the key, i did not choose murder or mayhem, and if i did not choose either of those very popular but essentially ineffective behaviors, what’s to keep me from choosing anything else i believe to be worthy?

Like writing essays, or feeling happy? The internet is now off where i am, nor is it the 1st, 2nd, but 3rd day in a row. If expression of my self was dependent upon access to this , this , this apparition, this fiction of communication, i’d be silenced in its absence¿ No more so than if i believed that non smoking would quiet the part of me which picked up my last cigarette. All that i can hope to do is understand, it’s all anyone can ever do. By muting the voice inside, one does not become more pure, or kind, or even bloodthirsty (ask any one of the soldiers who’ve taken their own lives from little more than confusion). What we have available to us is an ability to peer into the recesses of our darkness to see what we are as seen through the lens of what we do. This won’t necessarily open a direct channel to our more unsavory impulses, but it might go a long way toward helping us survive. If you decide for yourself what you will do and accept the consequences of your choices, over time you will have a far better definition of that rangy enigma wrapped in a mystery shambling through your interior emerging as calamity or bliss or even fury than if you perceived your soul as a reflection of your family, affiliations, loves, hatreds, or even guilt. The law of attraction is a money making scheme - bad shit happens to good people, ask any of the refugees we are murdering with our mute consent to the overlords of war. What i have found is that if you like your self as much as possible knowing what a schmuck you can be, it is far easier liking the next person you meet.  


p . s . . . . now the power is out - bye, bye, (though why i’d care to preserve power without an internet connection will have to remain a mystery for the time being) .  .  . 5:00 o’clock somewhere on the planet .

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other - the sonnet

Self and other - other? what else is there¿
besides everything - don’t sound like good odds,
like finding out the womb was really air,
or learning home is only where one trods.

Ah well, ya’ meet lots of people that way,
and keep meeting others - stars in the sky.
Oh fuck, what if stars are just like a day, 
and they just go on and on; why oh why¿

Where’s one to fit amidst such density¿
Can "One" be an illusion - one big lie¿
Is truth also in that category¿
But truth says for certain i’m gonna die¿

“I am one, and you are he, and” .  . this blows!
Who do i ask? will they tell me “fuck knows”¿
  
jts 052717
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

balance / imbalance - the sonnet


I’ve taken up drinking and smoking after a 10 year hiatus - and enjoy all the calamity which comes from such dubious entertainment, including the personal responsibility for both balance and imbalance from such behavior. A painting instructor once opined “ya’ gotta suck on a little blood” after i had extolled the great virtues of a vegetarian diet. Of course i was too young to fully appreciate such wisdom, and he himself later gave up tobacco and alcohol as all wise spirits will. The fact remains there is a great need for balance in our hell-bent-for-destruction world and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco seems the equivalent of the Democratic Party’s acquiescent if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em strategy for staying employed by Wall St. Bruce Lee said the first stage of battle is to know your opponent, and Leonard Cohen sang “I fought the bottle, but I had to do it drunk.” Is it possible that from a political naivety, i’m missing the point for why the Democratic party has abandoned its roots and thrown in with the corporations. Is it possible that the leaders are simply employing a similar logic to my own - there is no purity only practical strategies for staying alive without being crushed¿ What i particularly enjoy about my bad habits are those moments when they are mastered and the utility of moderation has provided a simple pleasure that is the more satisfying for its forbidden nature. Is it possible that my vow of poverty is actually impeding my spiritual development, and Mr. M.T. Suit is actually the 2nd coming while my distorted view of purpose is clouding my vision of his worth¿ I don’t think so, “but what do I know” - Michel de Montaigne.

My physical balance is actually abysmal, given to vertigo close to precipitous drops like the Grand Canyon. It may be reaction formation that i dally with unsavory habits, ideas, in some cases - people; or it could be that the whole cannot be predicated on a single valence - yin and yang of existence so to speak. As i understand the cosmology of Balinese Hindu practice, there is a constant struggle between the sacred and evil with humanity’s behavior tipping the balance. I try to be mindful of this daily, but have found appearances can be deceiving - most especially my own delusions which i so desperately cling to. After some surgery to my core, it became necessary to relearn my physical balance which due to visual anomalies had never been that keen. Just like the sublime pleasure of waking after enjoying my poisons in proper proportions relocating the locus of physical balance can be a particularly rewarding experience requiring mindfulness not unlike the attentiveness required to listen to one’s thoughts without a moral checklist. It is those moments of quiet when i’m able to see the sky Pema Chodron refers to as self minus the clouds. What of the clouds - the harangue of society to conform, an unfair suspicion of others which experience confers and doesn’t seem to relinquish without a very determined higher purpose. How can we as people honor our higher objectives without trampling those same emerging desires in others however they are manifested¿ What does it mean to take a position, and to what extremes does one go to see that purpose realized¿ 

What distinguishes conformity from solidarity¿ All or nothing doesn’t seem to be a valid strategy for much of anything, yet the examples of its virtue are rife in our collective consciousness from “The African Queen” Shakespeare’s “St Crispin Day” soliloquy. I know i’m guilty as hell having burned so many bridges for often ill considered reasons. The more dangerous inclination is the righteousness of such gestures, for i can honestly say the instances where my motivation was entirely for the wellbeing of the other could be counted on a single hand. That is not an easy defect to own and it is clouded by unexamined, or at best, misunderstood motivation. What is the balance between self care and unqualified openness which i consider a fundamental keystone for human understanding - myself and others¿ Much is made of fear in the world we inhabit, as something to fight, something to own, something to use. Does it make sense to believe an emotion so deep in our collective heritage can be understood, when it can be provoked by something as faint as a whiff of perfume from a past love¿ Is it a rational emotion if it can be employed by unscrupulous leaders to divide and conquer from within as well as without¿ Is there any useful purpose to tame such a biological tool which certainly saved more than one early hunter from being stomped to death, or are our more noble objectives reached when fear is transmuted into action such as those seen in “African Queen” or Agincourt and the “St Crispin Day” speech¿ I don’t know; i ask because the days we are living are filled with great fear and great demand for change. 

What is the balance between action and inaction¿ The tao says to heat things, become active - to cool things, become inactive. The question remains how to determine what should be heated and what should be cooled. Our leadership is entirely subsumed by greed. Venal considerations seem to animate thinking from the high to the low: if you have it, you want more, if you don’t have it, you want some; i don’t see any shift in the horizon. If anything the discussion of values has been so truncated that a person can bamboozle nearly half of an entire nation in the space of Twitter’s 140 character limit. There does not seem to be much deep thinking, and what there is of it is being seduced by the relentless application of resources which the uber rich seem to have been saving for just such an occasion; gazillions of dollars can clearly buy a lot of friends, professors, politicians, judges, lawyers, thugs, wannabes, etc., etc., etc. How does one balance the despair resulting from such odds¿ Even the audacity of hope has been bought and sold, so where do we go from here¿ I am always leery of the first person pronoun - we, for it construes perimeters of inclusion and exclusion i don’t have much truck with. My efforts toward solidarity have been reduced to these plaintiff wails only because doing nothing is not an option. Is it possible to balance my pathological independence with the very real need for concerted action against a handful of emotional ciphers driving starship earth like a bunch of drunken frat boys with their daddy’s car¿

My balance is based on the ease with which i face death. I make every effort to honor the uniqueness that each other human brings to the equation without sacrificing my purpose or good will in the process.

If a cheerful disposition is offensive or provocative to another, i find myself like snow melting away from that company, and it is my defect. People are sensitive and know when they are not being loved. Is unqualified love the secret to both personal integration as well as harmonious group dynamic? I believe hate is nearly useless for anything but corroding the person who chooses it as a companion. There is very little to balance between these two polar opposites, yet here we sit on a razor’s edge; one side is that beautiful morning waking refreshed with a faint memory of forbidden fruit, but otherwise physically strong and emotionally invigorated for having faced down the devil and won; the other side is the sick feeling of poison oozing from your pores while remorse throbs in your temples for having desecrated your temple. Could the answer to life be as simple as personal restraint¿ If that were true all the cowed spirits of the world would be much happier for their surrender. Can it be as William Blake described in the Marriage of Heaven and Hell - “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”¿ Then maybe surrendering to the superior forces of hate and greed running amok in our world might the answer. What i’m convinced of is this, without forsaking war and plumbing the depths of our own commitment to a meaningful life our species will be hewn in half by the razor’s edge before we gain our collective wisdom from our mindless excesses.

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imbalance - the sonnet

I’ve been convicted of being imbalanced;
my jury didn’t contain a single peer.
My crime - thinking without being well financed. 
i was sentenced to a long walk on a short pier.

Of course, i tripped on my way off the plank
somersaulting into a belly flop.
That didn’t kill me, it was the shallow tank.
Unreported - useless as a psy-op.

Justice is blind - kill or die - we all go.
The inbetween of life is where to stay.
This moment was given you not to blow
on reciting what others say to pray.

How to get that done, i have got no clue
save not caring if you cheer or you boo.


jts 052417
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Monday, May 22, 2017

on / off - the sonnet


Googol’s blogger analytic wants me to believe that the number of people who read these essays was, 1st inflated to 150-250 a day over the period of a year, and then dropped back to 20-40 a day on the turn of a dime - bullshit. As yet i’m unconvinced anybody reads these written explorations of mine as well as others, how shall i say this . . . ignorance - culling the wheat from the chaff. I hope this a practical approach to writing - especially if anything remotely resembling criticism is employed. As a Virgo skeptic, in rhyming slang - Virgo septic, i struggle with the stereotype of fussy, hypercritical and oversexed mostly because the conflict from my rational indoctrination which condemns astrology as voodoo occult superstition; yet that same rational indoctrination says the moon’s gravity is adequate to pull the tide in the Bay of Fundy 5 miles per day up and back; how can humans who are comprised of up to 70% water not be affected by the changing position of a planetary mass¿ Who is to say what is real, and what ain’t¿ That for me was part of the charm possessing a young mind during the 1960´s. Although there was no way to know at the time exactly how rigid the rules of conduct for hippies were, but the fiction of freedom was enough. The force of residual impression is no different than the tiger-by-the-tail the ruling class is occupied with convincing a nation weened on liberty and armed to the teeth that Mr. M.T. Suit is doing anything great by plundering the commons and jailing anyone who objects.

Fantasy is a difficult reality to maintain. When i first noticed the inflated numbers on my blog stats, my ego wanted to embrace the vain notion that there were readers telling other readers of my effort to find reason in this hall of mirrors we call the internet, soon to be renamed “Zuckerberg Informational Super Highway.” I was content to swim with the current, yet the surveillance-nurtured, neurosis-fed gift for hyper-vigilance in me attributed the cooked numbers to the NSA handlers assigned my supervision; i’ve worked in aerospace doing government work and know how freely dollars flow when it’s not your money. Yet even with the favored industry position of that firm, there were outages - a word i suspect our “civilization” is about to become intimately familiar with. As i understand the pathways of the internet it is predicated on endless cables of copper and/or optic fibers called the T1 Backbone. It is among the reasons why there is such an effort to yoke the population to the wireless technology - your handset is much easier to surveil, ask any drug dealer caught up in a Stingray dragnet. Now that it has become nearly impossible to conduct business without a cellular phone the ISP’s have begun their frontal assault on the T1 Backbone, and soon net neutrality will be a quaint memory of a time when the ruling class did not have its boot firmly clamped down on your throat. “You may say i’ve grown bitter, but of this you may be sure, the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor . “ .  .  

Leonard Cohen

.  .  “ . And there’s a mighty judgement coming, but I may be wrong, you see you hear these funny voices in the Tower of Song.” Something the ruling class may want to keep in mind: they reside on planet earth and as my friend Edward Colver so sagely observed “When the shit comes down, there will not be walls high enough to hide behind, nor is that meant as a threat - and certainly not an alternative fact. We as a species have wandered so far off track, as individuals, we barely stop to reason about what it is we are doing. Our greater concern seems to be who’s on whose side. We’ve lost so much perspective for the concept of a single individual’s worth that we’ve come to believe that just because those in power are able to buy whatever they desire, including human souls, that must mean only the ruling class can understand what is of value, i say bullshit. When i  was young i rode on the Grey Goose which was by some accounts John Wayne’s greatest love - i more remember the ice cream they served than the fact it was a converted mine sweeper that he docked in Newport Beach. When on our voyage back from Catalina Island, it made the obligatory pass in front of Mr. Wayne’s bayside mansion. I was struck by the realization he was old, fat, and bald, something i suspect is true for most of the ruling class - like the Wizards of Oz . I have nothing personal against John Wayne anymore than i care much about the men who are destroying our planet - it’s just at that time, i’d have traded John Wayne’s boat for the new skateboard that had rubber wheels and ball bearings which had just hit the market - a desire no doubt fueled by the emerging advertising technology that has since become the sacred text of consumer addiction. 

We are loosing our capacity to learn about ourselves; to plumb the interiors of our own minds and hearts; to learn what pleases us and what doesn’t; even to know the difference. Without this capacity for self-awareness we will continue to be at the mercy of unscrupulous, and greedy human beings who have no intention of sharing what they believe is theirs anymore than John Wayne would have thrown me the keys to the Gray Goose saying, “have a good time.” The difference is there are vastly fewer John Waynes today and ice cream is getting more expensive by the minute - genetically modified ice cream no doubt. The importance of knowing what you are on about cannot be overemphasized. The things which computers allow the ruling class to manipulate have grown exponentially to the point where “the powers that be” are predicting behavior of unborn children using computer models in all parts of the world. My young fantasy of becoming a Veterinarian was scuttled by my own lack of discipline and emerging awareness of an ethereal pull toward creativity, influenced i’m sure by my parent’s occupations. Today’s youth are not being provided that latitude. For far too many the choice is between the gang and police - both of which are criminal enterprises. “On track” anymore is shorthand for the rubric some institutional expert marked in your computer file at an early age describing your aptitudes and behavioral type with successive notes entered by underpaid overworked instructors only when there was a divergence from your trajectory. 

The tragedy is how vastly different our world could be were we raised to respect the differences of others rather than to fear the unknown. We are so cued to conform that even the non-conforming hippies were unawares, and possibly the worst offenders. The contradiction in terms is that without solidarity we are doomed. Until each human being on the planet embraces the right of existence, and rather than kill to that end, search for others willing to apply themselves to the greater good, we will continue to be divided and conquered. Today they have isolated us in front of the Godhead screen, scrolling through a virtual world that is little more than a neural programming language for what you must do in order to enrich a handful of people - BTW, you are paying them for the privilege. The fiction is that because you can see pornography at will; charge a new pair of Nikes delivered to your home via drone; or book a retreat in Bali to sanctify your wedding and do yoga at the reception, you are free and the world will continue on its merry way. What is not shared are the facts - people are starving, beaten and bombed to accomplish your convenience. It is only the luck of birth that you are not reading this in a war zone, and if you enjoy the conceit that somehow because you graduated top of your class and are working on the 17th floor of some building in Manhattan scrutinizing the reams of data separating the good from the bad arriving at this enviable occupation due to your own merits; you are not just deluded, but on a planet that is about to school you on how much choice you actually have. 


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off - the sonnet

“Fuck off and die” is an expression
i’ve heard more than once, much to my chagrin.
I’m learning to choose words with more caution;
knowing there are hearts with that opinion.

Harder though to know what provoked such words.
I’ve used them myself on some occasions.
usually, those believed to be turds;
usually, teachers of life lessons . . .

How can we be so off we would wish harm
to messengers of meaning; is it me¿
Am i so alone refusing to arm -
“Stockholm Syndrome” from slaughter of the bee¿

We’d better find more peaceful argument -
without peace we become the firmament.  

jts 052217
http://stoneartist.com 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 



Saturday, May 20, 2017

birth / death - the sonnet



I was a franks breech with unilateral triangular alopecia, as well as duane’s retraction, or 6th nerve palsy, depending on who’s reading what - that i spent 2 weeks in an incubator during my first year of life is just icing on the cake. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that i’m a weird as fuck adult with no regrets - a vain affectation in solidarity with the beauty of Edith Piaf’s song. Because i was introduced to life on its terms out of the gate, my inner world holds a special place for reality - yours, mine, or the inexplicable. For a very long time i was occupied with mastering the mechanics of movement using monocular vision; that distraction impaired my capacity to appreciate the struggles of others, or honed that capacity to a razor’s edge - to this day, i’m not sure which. It wasn’t until i was in school and the perfectly reasonable taunts from children about discrepancies in my appearance began to inform me of society 1) normal was not an option 2) no one much cared. As it is with all misfortune, regardless of one’s misery, somewhere someone is worse off - my siblings were cursed with great beauty, an impediment for which i wouldn’t trade one second of my life; if anything, and they asked nicely, i’d shave hours off from my allotment of life just to mitigate some of the pain i perceive them having endured for nothing more than a fluke of birth.

Were they to read that, my fantasy is of umbrage for having patronized their misery, the same as i rankle when they attribute victimization to any effort on my part to understand my uniqueness. You may begin to see why reality is so attractive to me - good, bad or indifferent. There is nothing i can do to change the circumstance of my birth except to accept as much of what i am as possible - that and develop gratitude for the throes of this existence in which i find myself. Having been blessed with semi-exigencies early on, i have little patience for the contrived variety, most especially my own, but perspective can be tricky as recent developments in amerikan democracy have demonstrated. What does it mean to you when someone caves in their own life, and then demands that you assume responsibility¿ My inclination is to be helpful in a way which that individual might benefit. Yet just like using poisons to cure, the prescription can be lethal. If someone is furious, and asks you to join in their fury by insulting you, or worse blaming you for their emotion, their reaction when you reflect back to them the logic of their request is one of confusion not dissimilar to birth. The womb of justification for the most scabrous of emotions is warm and inviting, otherwise people wouldn’t spend as much time as they do immersed in such discomfort.

Nor is delivery into the unknown a guarantee for bliss, i’ll attest to that fact. To be free of the yoke of blame can be a burden as difficult as making amerika what it never was - great, any more than i’m retarded for not seeing you with both eyes. The United States was predicated on genocide of its indigenous people and nothing short of accepting that fact and atoning as much as possible will alter that truth; a black humanity was transported as slaves to be owned in the land of the free and home of the brave, and again only by looking deeply into that flaw will the healing come that is required for we as a nation to truly become exceptional. Amerika has been at war for 222 of its 239 years - 93%, not an alternative fact. It is possible to change, but like like taking possession of one’s emotions and the responsibility for those emotions, if you blame anyone but yourself, you’ll never become the sovereign of your soul. “Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; G_d is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” - “. . . Surely Allah does not change the conditions in which people are in until they change that which is in themselves .  .  . (13:11) - “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or his foe that lures him to evil ways” - Buddha; - “He who knows others is wise, he who knows himself is enlightened.” - Lao Tzu; - “There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men” - Black Elk. 

What happens when there is no longer an external force to blame, or to which one prays¿ Awe is the natural condition of our kind. If it wasn’t from the expanse of desert after the horse, it certainly was the ceaseless landscape prior, or density of jungle without the aid of tempered steel. We have always been on the cusp of what is larger than ourselves; it is only a modern conceit that we have power at all. What would happen if the veil was lifted and our atmosphere shriveled to a wisp of oxygen as will happen when the oceans resist our arrogance and apply the logic of biological physics - kill things and they die. Do we really need the adversity required to surmount mindless destruction of a limited world in order to grow as a species? As people, do we really need to define ourselves by a capacity for destruction to resolve the fear in our hearts about loving that which does not love us back¿ What have we learned on our march into the unknown¿ I know better than to drive motorcycles, mostly because i’m not always sure which eye i’m looking through. I’ve learned that if i choose a companion who is unkind and lacking in feeling, there is nothing i can do to change that; i’ve also learned it is far better for my health to continue loving that human being regardless of whether we share parking places. The world is scary, but i need not be frightened, for that lizard reflex has as much to do with my safety as the number of combat deaths vs suicide in the armed forces has to do with reason.

We will be defined by how we lived, and the choices we made toward the greater good. It doesn’t matter if there is any record to prove that point, just as the dead spirits of Pompeii could care less about your opinion of their lifestyle. If they died happy that is all that matters. In today’s world, one can barely crawl out of bed without someone declaring exactly what you need to be happy, and those same interminable shills are the same fucking cowards that are surreptitiously collecting your keystrokes to confirm to you that they know you better than you know you. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they actually gave a rat’s ass about your happiness - they don’t, for if they did the world would reflect a vastly different set of equations. There would be more parks, free time, books, schools (not institutional warehouses indoctrinating docility); clean air, water, childcare, birth control, respect, peace - etc., etc., etc. However just as the person who’d demanded that you be responsible for their fury, failing or falsehoods - this is your life, and only you will be the one to pass through it. If you see the splendor of each day, the horrendous complexities in finding who you are as opposed to what is said about you and act in accordance with your evolving awareness of your own majesty, then there is no reason that this instant that comprises your existence within the framework of the vast unknown cannot be filled with meaning of your own design.

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death - the sonnet

My momma’s gonna die; my pop is dead.
How’s that possible, where i’m from’ll be gone¿
looking forward to ma’s death without dread,
more like the children’s play “when am i on?

Life’s been fun, mostly from what they taught me,
and a little from what i learned - be kind,
though it could feel like the sting of a bee.
Are dead bees, the color love to the blind?

Is life a lesson, graded at the end¿
“A’s through this gate, and you f’s down those stairs;”
Do we graduate to a place we blend?
What if there’s more awe, but no one that cares¿

Whatever happens will be by experts,
without care for who it is that exerts.
  

jts 052017
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved