Monday, December 11, 2017

will - an essay / acceptance - the sonnet


I was fired today (sort of - let go, asked to come back if .  .  .) from my volunteer position - nor was it the first time someone has told me that i don’t help. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with my willfulness. I don’t perceive impediments clearly and so become insensitive when my focus becomes willful. It is a character defect which falls into the category of paradox. I read this morning the indigenous people of Chiapas are being hounded into the forest by armed thugs - it is impossible to not object to such senseless violence toward other human beings, yet i may have just now called down the heat to my own, too close, orbit. Fuck ‘em - they is running dogs for the same thugs who have superheated our atmosphere just to own fast cars that gets them laid, or laughed at, depending on the sophistication of the lady. 

C.G. Jung - “Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking.”

I am finishing a drawing i’ve worked on for 4+ months; it would be a much different drawing, had i stopped at any number of times my flagging will had dictated. It is difficult to know when there is nothing more the work can yield, but i am finding my orientation toward my product does not fit many paradigms. The difficulty is in how to understand willfulness as it relates to the process of creation. When my schedule changed this morning, my assignment did not. I write once a week, and find, like most things, when you do something enough - shit happens. Structured time was recommended too me early on, and has been a boon to making shit happen. It is the yield, that puzzles me. Many of my brethren chose to have the work pay the freight - a choice i find fraught with conflicts of interest. I chafe at the inclination of patrons to believe they have any role in my creative process, and my hope is that if anyone ever buys what i have made, it will be because it contributes to what they understand about their world. My sense of the art market is that it is off the rails like most other commodifiable intangibles. The indigenous people of Chiapas are not understood as tangible parts of the economic paradigm and so like forested acres impeding the infinite growth model of modern economics, they are mowed down.

My concern about calling down the heat is a valid one during these days of eviscerating liberty - but is well worth any risk, for what’s one more extirpated malcontent. But before i’m spit out like so much grit, would someone please explain to me how the willfulness of a handful of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) became avatars for the human spirit seemingly through no more than ad fodder, while multitudes of humans are condemned for believing in the sanctity of our living world and its values developed over millenniums of human development. Jung believed in an archetype human state, once referring to our generations as rhizome:

C.G. Jung - “… Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux.  What we see is the blossom which passes. The rhizome remains” 

I believe human will very much resembles this notion, while philosophers have commandeered the model rhizome to assist the overworked, undereducated drone programmers formulating pathways for the ever enlarging computer framework which the more creative of the digital empresarios have deemed “artificial intelligence” - why not, fake intelligence - we got make believe everything else. The trouble being, is to whose will does this intelligence apply itself. I know for certain zucky has never given a fair ear to what i would like to see on fb, rather his conceit is what he thinks he can fathom from my clicks with which to compile some proximity of my intent - bullshit. The first thing i was taught about computer science is to find out what the user wants, but this was in the days before your keystrokes had been commodified. The rhizome of our world that is currently being nurtured is not predicated on the will of humanity, but the will those HNWI who can pay for what the computer apparatus is told to do. 

I am far enough along in my failures to understand some of the lessons which led me to begin doubting the worth of will, most especially the flawed concept of will over another human being. It is enough of a struggle just to attempt my own self-control to the degree i cause no harm to anyone, most especially myself as the ever apt D.E. Tuppins of Detroit remarked “after me, you come first.” Yet without will, i would not attempt this sharing with you. Yes, i hope to learn through the writing process more about will than i did when i began; and yes it is necessary to accept there is much about will, that i do not understand, so how am i to share with you what i don’t know myself¿

Lao Tzu - “People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning. Then there will be no failure. 

This value of perseverance Lao Tzu articulated so well has been misconstrued, and i would doubt seriously if it has found its way into any algorithmic wisdom. My sense of the drawing i now struggle with about when to stop, resembles more Lao Tzu’s admonition than any economic insight. Put differently, the best work is accomplished when it is only the pencil point and the paper surface, minus the ego interlocutor. Ego asks questions like “will they like it, will it sell, is it worthy etc., etc., etc.” When i feel present with what she was looking at such that i can begin to try and understand what she might have felt, it then becomes the beginning of the drawing and i am only concerned with a better understanding of my feeling about the person and place, not whether i can do it, but how can i do it?

Nor is the willfulness involved in writing much different; i sometimes have a vague idea about what to write, and then veer from anything that smacks of telling another what to think. It’s a method of leashing the internal editor while letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak. My issue with systems which do not account for the human in a respectful and considerate fashion exactly mirror my own struggles with will; i will move heaven and earth to learn self-control, but will wage eternal and protracted warfare with anyone who wishes to tell me what i must do - fucking paradoxes - can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t shoot ‘em. It is also for this reason war is an anathema to me, like not giving a shit whether you understand words i use or not - war is not my problem, yet my only problem. As long as humans are conned into believing that the chum you are in the foxhole with dodging incoming rounds is any less valuable to you than the person lodging incoming at you - we as a species are doomed. What is sad, is how close we are to crossing the threshold toward a mutual awareness of our common enemies - greed, hatred and delusion as well as those who would advance these self defeating values as helpful for our collective future. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influences, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

This was a the last republican to balance the budget and the supreme allied commander at the end of WWII, a willful man who was also black. At the time the Nazi economic model presented a threat to the emerging democratic paradigm. With 20/20 hindsight it is clear we quit that war just before success otherwise we might have been better positioned to survive the corporate putsch we are now facing. The problem is that our enemy is no longer the other guy, i have no problem with people being wealthy; i object when that silly ambition becomes justification for destroying my world. Mr. M.T. Suit is threatening to do just that, and i’m not even black, muslim, korean, indian or gay. The people who have conceived the treadmill on which our world is exhausting itself have no concept of personal will, otherwise they would have curtailed their avarice long ago. While those who side with humanity have been convinced if they could only be rich, and selfish and able to control others - existence would be a delight. 

I have found my peace, and sadly it more closely resembles war, except the struggle lies within my own heart. I will myself away from hate, from greed and i demand clarity from my purpose. I cannot know what another person is facing, whether they are more worthy of survival than i, or even whether they want my seat in the lifeboat, but i know that no one gets out a alive and i would rather my last feelings on earth be from the warmth of helping another, rather than that scabrous unrelenting fear of who else is gonna try and take my seat. We are a capable people, but only in so far as our personal ambition meshes with a grander design - one in which the openness of youth is honored with a learning environment that respects their hunger for personal growth and is not a foil to obscure some more sinister purpose of indoctrination into a consumer maze ending in addiction to objects that leech the very joy of life from the sinews of their soul - one where families are not torn apart by poverty or greed by ill-conceived social systems meant only to keep them serviceable as cogs in a factory - one in which the aged and infirm are helped in anyway that relieves the suffering inherent to such states.

Michel de Montaigne - “Of all the virtues life confers on us, contempt of death is one of the greatest. The premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty. He who has learned to die has forgot to serve”

There is an irony that the promise of everlasting life held dear by the waring factions of our world has never, to anyone’s certain knowledge, justified the taking of one life over another. Even if it were true that the right adherence to the right idea would guarantee a seat in the life raft of “ever after”, who is to say that the person you just whacked wasn’t g_d’s own child - it’s happened before, and from my experience - what happens once, happens twice and so on and so forth; or better yet, your theoretically appalling violence just split a demon into two demons - each twice as venomous as the original - talk about your conundrums. Creating art or writing does not deliver me from strife, rather it helps me to understand the limits of my own will, for no matter how clearly i may perceive a beautiful thing, i have learned that any effort however determined will fall short of depiction; and however logical an idea may seem to me when attempting to formulate a way to express that idea clearly enough to be easily shared - it all sounds like gibberish until long after the fact when the panic of expression has folded its way back into the dull suffering we are all searching to control - somehow, some way. My will may not have been entirely beaten into submission yet, but it certainly is more mindful of what it nurtures and what don’t, for if you ain’t loving - you ain’t payin’ attention - good luck to us all - invest your assets wisely.


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acceptance - the sonnet

acceptance is never just happenstance,
by definition it’s a decision
always the right one, and never by chance
though times it results in devastation.

is Mr. M.T. Suit the one leading?
i don’t know where he’s going - we won’t meet
mostly because i do not serve a king-
that he’s a rich fool, just makes it more sweet.

i accept the miracle of what’s next
having no idea what that’ll be is fun;
pretty sure it won’t be found in a text,
might be from the business end of a gun

i won’t pull that trigger, it’s the wrong end-
our future will be made by how we blend.

jts 12/11/2017
http://stoneartist.com 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

you are nothing - an essay / and everything - the sonnet

The expression “you are nothing” could be understood as a harsh condemnation of all for which you believe about yourself, yet according to the scientists in our midst, our universe is comprised of 99% dark matter - a substance which they are at a loss to describe. Having suckled at your mother’s tit such information may be more than unwelcome, but if your have been bombed day and night for the better part of your life, this idea may not seem quite so foreign. The conceit that our world, our homes or even our ideas are at the center of the universe is easily forgiven when contrasted with the enormous distance between each of us or between the object of our desires and our satisfaction. I have sought refuge from the isolation of my own skin by attempting to understand what another might feel; my hope of course is to find something in common. However, regardless of how much i have found in common with others, i have yet to meet someone who is content with being nothing. This is not to say my ambition in life is to become nothing, but rather to understand more fully the implications of being what i am - nothing. Many reading that statement might be motivated correct such a heretical self opinion, but i would have to wonder why. I can appreciate the despair of emptiness but am more curious what it must be like to feel kinship with dark matter. Clearly the leaders of the planet have good reason to keep the mass of humanity apart, but that hasn’t stopped many to seek common cause if only for our mutual survival, but what does that mean - survival? What makes capitalism so attractive to the lazy amongst is its plug and play aspect, find what others hunger for and corner the market - you’re set for life. The razor’s edge which the capitalists walk, however means they must somehow convince you they care about what you hunger for, that or convince they know better than you what you are hungry for - which is currently the sorry state of our economy.

A pretty amazing feat for a planet comprised of 96% dark matter, but when you think about it 96% of what is bought can hardly be explained - sort of like we are buying nothing for everything. Maybe the capitalists are not as dumb as they appear from a distance. They damn sure have a lot of nothing, and clearly want more. What i’m not so sure about is spending the better part of my life struggling to acquire something that i don’t understand. I like the idea of being happy, and choose to do so at every turn. Writing for example - the process can be quite disconcerting, but to go back and read something you felt deeply enough about to take the time and formulate what you hope is a cogent discussion which others might understand - that can be quite nice, most especially if it makes sense when reading through the lens of time. Lao Tzu says to be content with what you have and the whole world belongs to you. That is an enormous prospect, certainly much greater if you subscribe to the expanding universe model of our world as opposed to the various beliefs based on end-of-life concepts mostly favoring the preservation of self. I distrust any state of mind feverishly clung to, but rarely enjoyed, put differently “insanity doesn’t run in my family, it sort saunters.” So what is it about nothingness that feels at once compelling as though swimming in it, but simultaneously repugnant enough to provoke Blaise Pascal’s remark “all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. Is there such a thing as boredom, part of the charm of human indoctrination is having convinced the multitudes that quietude is really the sin of sloth. I dam sure have a hard time doing nothing, but i have never claimed any recovery from my very special indoctrination. I’m not sure i’d even want, what would i do without all my petty grievances and petulant slights to nurture like some metaphysical elixir delivering me from - something better.

What’s to say that this instant in time isn’t the apex of the expansion for our universe and each passing second of our existence is only leverage keeping the whole scheme of things from collapsing back into one of the multitude of black holes, with each subsequent black hole collapsing into its predominate neighbor until there is nothing left to happen but another big bang. Like i said, insanity doesn’t run in my family, it just sort of saunters. Is our purpose such an exalted state fraught with meaning and design that we must evaluate ours against that of others, like little boys comparing their penises with others when they think no one is looking, or women tearing each other apart believing success will yield the best man DNA or whatever other comparisons we make that generate insatiable hungers rendering us vulnerable to influence. What is influence, besides social gravity, does this answer how we have become immeshed in the lives of leaders whose only pedigree is defined by the numbers of otherwise thinking human beings clinging to that orbit? What i don’t understand is the dissonance of isolation, as though it is a physical threat to others to be alone. I like people; they are fascinating and amusing. But like hard liquor too much of a good thing can be stupefying. The difficult part of human relations for me is to know what is helpful, this could be a blindspot from my own confusion or an inherent flaw in our human capacity to identify and express clearly what we need - i don’t know. Bob Dylan has sung “ya’ try and help someone sometimes and end up making things a thousand times worse” - and damn if that ain’t true - ask anyone of my last three wives. Is there a secret to knowing what is helpful, or is it like tying shoelaces, you can only succeed after x number of tries? I was lucky, i had Heidi there to teach me, so i really wasn’t looking at my shoelaces, but she was smart too, not just good looking; so when she caught on i was back on my own - see what happens when you try and take advantage of a good thing.

Being nothing is not such a bad thing, certainly not bad enough to convince a planet to destroy itself if you do not possess that quality. One of my greatest anxieties today is centered around a storage unit. The only items of any real concern are statues i scraped out of stone believing that act would create something when i still believed there was a there there, but Gertrude was right - “there is no there.” Is my life’s work nothing? This is an existential cul-de-sac i’d have rather not walked down, but while we’re here - what of it. I have a brother who once asked me once “Why stone carvings, do you want to be immortal?” A question like that is why i never really feel alone. In his absence i have gravitated to others who have also posed questions that are impossible to answer. I admire that capacity to pose good questions - enough so to emulate. However, if i have been successful, please don’t mention it - t’was nothing .  .  . For my money, our world is far too full of answers; questions yield a much better Return On Investment (ROI) than any of the marketplace miracles with which the wizards of wall street are ransacking the planet - besides questions are more fun, and we all like to have fun. Take for example what if next time you were about to reply to some hateful post using all the bile you have been hoarding because who the fuck wants to be a hater - and instead of mimicking the rancid invective so much the rage today, you were to just ask why? Children know the wisdom of this question, that is until it is beat out of them by the fear of not knowing the answer, but until that happens can there possibly be any answer more correct than a question¿ Does if follow that to know nothing is a worthy ambition? Ask me when i have figured out how to get there, if there is any there there.

What would our world look like if instead of striving to become somebody, we became nothing - i read today that our environment will be uninhabitable by 2100. That is a grievous thought if only for the galling stupidity that is bringing that about, yet it may present perfect conditions for us to consider what it might be like to be nothing. There was also available on the “information super cul-de-sac” an article on Perceptronium, a supposed new element that is comprised of our consciousness. Is that even possible¿ If that were true would questions be the dark matter within that lattice? just askin’. How much further along might we have gotten had we simply accepted our deaths as the indigenous people do - a deeply moving experience that is part of the great cycle, rather than our tedious conceit that with the right combination of certainty and persuasion we can all be around just like we are now forever - euwwh. “if you are the dealer, i’m out of the game” - Leonard Cohen. The charm of being nothing is one never has far to go to get home, sort of like Dorothy clicking her heels “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. I laugh, but only because i’m not entirely prepared to live as the real heroes of our epoch do - homeless. It causes me consternation to not have a door to lock on all the somebody’s in our world who seem fascinated by the possibility of establishing that certainty with anyone within earshot everywhere they go. Nor am i prepared to extinguish my own infernal flame within my soul that prompted me to fantasize in stone about an immortality which all but a blood relative have been too timid to ask me about - but i’m getting closer. Here’s an irony that i cannot or will not parse aside from this exercise in exorcism of personal demons, i am compelled to help people believe themselves well in every meaning of the word, it pains me to know of anyone who believes themselves less than the most exalted and conceited amongst us - our leaders. Am i externalizing an inner conflict or reading correctly that being nothing is a little like being a working class hero - something to be? i don’t know the answer, and don’t care . .  . 


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and everything - the sonnet

". . . not a drop in the ocean; the ocean
in a drop” - Rumi - paraphrased for this
sonnet - i do not have to, but i can -
remembering the universe can’t miss.

so why all the turmoil about the end
when near as we know there’s no stop, no start.
sort of like chicken and the egg, we tend
to believe all we see - which ain’t too smart.

unable to perceive from much distance
we pretty much guess at what’s past our nose.
were you deaf, would you be able to dance¿
good then - though it made you not, you’re a rose.

you are that flower, that mountain - the sea
whether you flourish or perish - just be


jts 12/04/2017
http://stoneartist.com 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

closed - the essay / open - a sonnet


Moments ago my mind closed itself off from the word “hernia;” At the time i was in the process of sharing a drawing with the proprietor of a gallery where i volunteer. I was in the process of searching for a place to frame that specific drawing, so i may then lend it to an 80 year old man who just had a hernia surgery. The drawing is of a French maiden standing at a shore in Thailand. She is quite frank in her pose of openness which can become, at least for me, wicked away with the injuries of life. My fantasy is that having the allure this scene close by my old friend could serve as a balm to one cut where he use to play. Various sundry impediments of the day, run counter to the quiet success i felt after yesterday’s successful labor. I can see no purpose in listing the insults, rather i choose to thank you for attempting to understand my struggle to remain open. For too long a time in my life after having suffered one manner of defeat or another, be that physical assault from injury or psychic wound from one failure or another, i retreat. While a very practical strategy for defining one’s own healing process, if the calamities are frequent or without end, there comes a point where one is no longer seeking sanctuary, but simply closed. It is at this point which my critical wants to articulate, yet here i sit pouring my guts out as honestly as i know. The irony being that due to my outspoken astonishment with the quality of leadership mankind now enjoys, my only audience may very well be the spooks sifting through all of our public profiles attempting to discern friend from foe, or in the vernacular whether or not we have been radicalized. Sister/brother if you ain’t radicalized by now in this time of monumental stupidity, cupidity and culpability you just might get someone to take your pulse, for you may have already died and nobody texted you to say as much. What does it take to live openly in a world that seemingly does not care for each other¿ Thich Nhat Hanh in his weakened condition took the loving care a post on fb to caution about the contraptions which ostensibly are in our lives to facilitate closer communication but have since become little more than a bivalve straw with which the ruling class either sucks your brains out or fills your consciousness with whatever fashion sauce is all the rage in the free kitchens of silicon valley/madison ave/langley virginia or moscow russia - wherever the precipitous center of balance rests for our top-heavy about-to-topple bubble-of-civilization. Small wonder i feel closed.

When i was still full of piss and vinegar, communication was the highlight of any day. To engage in a searching conversation about all the events accelerating through our lives was a blood sport. People then had not been so neatly divided, at least that is how it appeared through the myopia of youth. I sit and think now how terrifying it must have been to an aging population to hear disheveled youth shouting “kill everyone over thirty.” So even the mythical memory of some idyllic time of love and tolerance is fraught with deceit and fakeness - is there nothing sacred, or is everything sacred and we are just to closed-minded to accept that simple logic¿ I can say from my own experience that shutting oneself off from anything has consequences, nor do i have any clue about how to remain open against all odds. I understand that aggression is an empty victory. There is no power or force that will not pollute the spirit by its application. The only battle i have found worth the fight is that one which resides within my own heart and mind. It doesn’t matter to me much that closeted in some darkened chamber, trolls might be siting scratching their heads attempting to equate what i write with radicalism; what matters to me, is that i might have just hurt their feelings calling them pencilneckgeek trolls. I believe what Sr. Lama said “if you cannot help, at least do no harm.” However, one does no one any favors when forgetting D.E. Tuppins - “after me, you come first,” even Walt Whitman said to take your hat off to no one. So how does one develop and nurture a healthy self respect in this age of greed and cruelty? Pema Chodron said “In a nutshell - in times of joy, think of others, in times of burden, think of others;” The Bhagava Gita says the secret of human freedom lies in doing good without any attachment to the results. I am destined to be free, if only as a result of “shuffling off this mortal coil” - master WS, but how to find that bliss of ignorant youth - the joy of wonder, or is that what her apple was all about - just some fucking poetic metaphor for the pain of awareness.

What if that promise of relief is just leverage the capitalists have used to hock our souls and the souls of any future generations who might survive the coming reckoning¿ I can say for myself, Buddha was right “life is suffering,” however, closing oneself to suffering do no more than close oneself off to all things - with numbness as the defining vision of one’s life. Thanks, no. To my mind there is little difference between the blur that characterizes today’s media stampede and the numbness which comes from just the right combination, which for myself consists of two meals, 6 cigarettes and dos caballos of Mezcal. At another time in my life, i had begrudged myself the latter indulgence, but realized i was killing myself as surely with an obnoxious sanctimony i’d still like to kick to the curb, but still hangs on like the glyphosate hangover. How does one even do good anymore. Unless someone actually says to you “will you do this for me?” every other gesture of kindness is pure fiction, a fantasy of compassion that one overlays on others and is based solely on one’s own imagination. That’s fucking nuts. One could always goose the process and ask, “can i help¿” But even the most innocent frontal assault is often as not, not well received, i know, i’ve tried. Is that what it is to remain open - simply wait for occasions where one is asked for help, or not even asked but demanded, “help me, i have no legs and you do.” Is this what the Dali Lama means by being of service, were that the case he could maybe get more bang for his buck washing everybody’s feet - especially given the nexus between mosquitoes, death and dirty feet. Delusion is one of the three poisons, along with greed and hatred. I find without a persistent consideration of ones own self awareness the world’s actions and reactions take on an overwhelming claim for attention. Whereas when i am mindful of what i do and why, the world itself becomes more clear and what is of service makes more sense. . .

. . . as well as what path to take, for the idea that we are acting out some predestination is an anathema to me. What i have difficulty reconciling is the scratch that wants an assuring itch - perhaps the same itch that prompted Mr. Einstein to quip “god does not play dice with the universe.” Pop, rest his soul, would mutter to himself when encountering one or another of my interminable questions about life, “there is no one way.” I did not realize how much an affect his good advice would have on me until just now sitting here searching for ways to understand the natures of open and closed. Maybe the crutch i employ characterizing my behavior as closed is one of those delusions one must embrace if one gives a rat’s ass about self awareness. The challenge gets to be, am i a drop in the ocean, or the ocean in a drop as Rumi conjured? That same information derived by the quest to know oneself could be understood to mean all we now know to be the universe. If that were true it would be nearly inconceivable to be anything but humbled by breath itself. Talk about your delusions, the human conceit that it is even possible to not be connected to every other human, living organism or even the physical plane we all seem so morbidly afraid of reverting to. Today i had no idea what i was going to write while simultaneously absorbed by penny ante conceits, but now feel relieved to have retrieved a perspective one can never really escape from. This is because i had thrown myself into a circumstance where i must write, based on a promise i had made to my father. I miss the confidence i felt toward him as a human being - warts and all. We fought, hammer and tong, tooth and nail - i said to him things for which i would feel great shame had he been a stranger. How can that be? Because he knew his truth, he was invulnerable, and as his son my expression is an outcropping of that self awareness. He would no more blot out, or curtail our mutual influence on each other than he could give up a limb. 

He was a searingly honest man and compelled that same candor from me. If that is openness, then lucky me, if that is vulgar narcissism - i’ll thank you for your good opinion, and your bad opinion as well. But honesty without compassion is just cruel and there’s no sport in that. I have no ambition to be feared - an accomplishment which i consider personal growth. I was alone at an early age and that is as close to prison as i’d care to get, but it is also true that the only bars you need to be afraid of are the ones on your own mind. Just like my hyper vigilance is a two edged sword that aids mindfulness, but impedes awareness when viewed through the prism of criteria. If you haven’t independently come to the conclusion that the other guy’s welfare is in your best interest, then there is not fuck all i can say that will dissuade you from your poverty. Half of the land i hail from is shackled by not understanding this precept “the wellbeing of each of us is interconnected with the other.” At this crucial point in history, half of my countrymen are joined at the hip to a fog of greed which has robbed them of their souls, if not their pocketbooks. I do not know how to alter that fact, and i am open to suggestions. All i can figure at this point, is to be the best human being i know how - warts and all. Unfortunately for the salacious amongst you, those youthful exploits of wild monkey sex and blood soaked vanquished lands are not what i consider worth sharing; be not disappointed - most of those misbegotten adventures turned out badly - some from my own incompetence, but most because there was no good foundation of purpose - satisfying the maw of public opinion is a long road to nowhere. Once i began to ask what makes me happy, much of my life has simplified, nor do any results matter much, because there is no one i must please, except that part of myself with whom i’ve managed to wedge open sufficiently to be 

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open - a sonnet

each one of us is hiding from something
or so the story goes - hence encryption.
but why, from whom for what? i have a thang,
so what, i’ll die - what’s left - putrefaction.

two taboos in one quatrain - open heart
a third taboo, i’m on a roll - stop me
before you find out i am an old fart
and dismiss my singing for being off key.

what if there is really no place to hide,
and what we are hiding from is ourselves¿
wouldn’t it be better to just abide
and live with those demons - like they were elves?

before we can ever know another
let’s search our caverns for our own flower

jts 11/27/2017
http://stoneartist.com 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 



Monday, November 20, 2017

simple - the essay / complex a sonnet


There was an expression from the early days of computers - “they are our friends.” Having spent a large portion of my working life in technology, i can guarantee you that was coined by a hipster doofus geek agog with the potential of “his” new toy while talking to the “money man”, who at that time was skeptical and ignorant, but rich and smelling blood in the water. Today our lives are consumed by this exchange because all of the innovation that has followed has been dictated by a single maxim, “how do we (read captains of industry) make money with this contraption. Until that myopic vision is returned back to the will of the people, our lives will never become as simple as the computer technology owners would have you believe. We are now simply data do be modeled for whatever outcome is selected from the myriad of possibilities by who ever has their finger on that trigger. Nor do i use the word trigger without due consideration. Computer technology is now more dangerous to the survival of the free people of this planet than any anonymous nuclear incineration, for from that likely event - eventually scalded, irradiated creatures would emerge and repopulate or re-mutate the planet. The only outcome from humanity’s blithe infatuation with the narcissist screen is a world full of M.T. Suits echoing whatever chamber they emerge from. What technology does today is what the thumb on the scale use to do to working to stiffs trying to buy food, it (computer technology) stiffs us all - all except the rulers. All that technology has allowed for is fewer to take more from larger segments of the population, all the while convincing them what a good a deal they found. Compared to what could have been accomplished with semi-open hearts programming for the good of all, computers are little better than stone hammers cutting basalt; try it sometime and you will know from what i speak. What is simple has changed very little from the first time our species wandered into a grove of fruit trees with fat dumb animals grazing in tall grass, one moves away from loud obnoxious others and gravitates toward quiet loving others. If you don’t believe me, review your blocked list. Is it possible to live a simple life, or at best include simple activities in a complicated life, i am certain. It begins the minute you quiet your mind and ask yourself “what do i want?” . . . 

. . . not as in what don’t i have, but as in the memory of planning how to achieve a cherished hope - be that a full spring day of baseball and cool grass or the look on her face when you had surprised her with candy from the wedding you had to attend for your cousin. I remember as a child running for bed to find out what happened in the story i had been reading the night before and then hiding from the lights out command by sneaking a flashlight into bed - i was naughty then, i am naughty now, but far more comfortable having accepted there are consequences for every behavior. It is the same for our world and we are behaving very poorly - there are, and will be vastly more severe consequences which we will encounter them as they arise. If there is a supreme consciousness gazing over our flock, she has demonstrated adequately that hate is a cesspool which when lived in, by or around will cause illness and calamity. The opposite is as irrefutable - love grows from love and every kindness you have ever shown to another has elevated your life and calmed your anxiety, most especially when that act remained anonymous; call me a pollyanna do-gooder if you must, but do so with examples and logic otherwise i will attribute your fuzzy thinking to computer contamination, or cruelty from others for which you have yet to find forgiveness. Just like our earliest predecessors migrating in search of the simple life, we gravitate to calm; our bodies yearn for stasis from good nutrition, right thinking and lots of sex, or exercise if that is all you can find. How we have reached a point in human development where we are pointing fingers at each other screaming “it’s all your fault” as blowback from the miracle of modern technology. As long as you are blaming every other person on the planet for your misery you remain vulnerable to the exhortations of the merchant class - “buy this snake oil, it’ll make your woman horny and your boss a pussycat, more so if you get them to drink it too”.

“I choose to be happy; it is better for my health” - Voltaire

What makes me happy is woman flesh; it is so soft. However, i have also learned that until i became comfortable in my own skin, no matter how much, or how many of her, i made love to she did not feel it. Without learning to show kindness to your own heart all you will ever be able to touch is emptiness. If you cannot find pleasure in the success of another all you will ever feel about your accomplishments is a deep profound sense of lacking - a lurking dissatisfaction - a suspicion that somewhere, someone is having more fun than you are; earning more than you - sleeping with your wife/husband: etc., . etc., etc., . Yet once you have accepted there is no future, no past, no nothing but where you sit picking your nose, your friends - but not your friend’s nose the world is your oyster - literally. You become surrounded by abundance, people’s fury becomes their own and your mistakes and transgressions become your classrooms full of lessons and pretty little girls with freckles named Patsy Donohue who like you because you can swing effortlessly like a monkey, and exactly what in the hell is so wrong with that? We have become so twisted by things and screens that the pleasures of a world without some reflected inducement divined by our previous keystrokes the world has become gray to our eyes, not because the sky has changed, but because we have voluntarily taken up blinders which without the corporate switch having been toggled is not animate or wiggly or shimmering or any of the other bells and whistles the boy blunders of silicon valley have stuffed into the pandora’s box of our age. Harsh you say, no more than working your twenty years to then become a pharmaceutical annuity for a physician class that has sold its soul to Monsanto. Sorry, but in the vernacular - fuck that noise. What is needed for a fulfilled existence? The answer cannot be found through the psychiatric handmaidens to the ruling class - neither of who have a clue. You know what you want, it becomes a question shedding the consumer oriented socialization from our souls however well intentioned - the same emotional straightjacket which facilitates this essay, but frowns on my dancing naked in the moonlight on a beach by myself.

What is left? There is a long haul from cradle to grave during which it is best to fend for oneself, because relying on others for anything other than the joy of human companionship and cooperation is weak and unmanly, or unwomanly depending on your squad. All of the great lessons are only as great as you are able to understand, but the best are those which elude your certainty - like why are we here¿ - explain that to my satisfaction and i’ll treat you to a weekend in the Bahamas, albeit during hurricane season, but a weekend in the Bahamas is a weekend in the Bahamas. Do what you like, and learn to like what you must do. It doesn’t hurt to be well compensated, but that comes with a hook and always will, just ask Mr. Obama. What does it mean to be compensated? If i spend an hour out of my day to stitch a tear in a pair of my favorite shorts, am i more compensated for the satisfaction of keeping a farthing for myself and having my favorite shorts just that much longer than i would be if i succumbed to the implicit threat that if my apparel doesn’t match what i see on the screen, then so too my life will never resemble the Arcadian glades of “OC;” to drive or be driven through my pitiful existence in the powerful machines found on every other page, screen, billboard, sidewalk .  .  . all nothing more than vast hours of commute and endless reams of bills for those things which showed promise, but ultimately cost more in storage fees or the bother of protracted wars with in-laws over inheritance or association fees for the aging rich person in all of our lives. If it’s not the rich aunt, it’ll be the rent-controlled apartment or family photo 3 generations removed. The only real success you will ever find is the comfort of having done your best to help everyone you’ve ever met without harming the most hated of your enemies - not as simple as it sounds, but what is. The face i am drawing now is one of the saddest, yet open and determined expression i’ve ever seen. To imagine her in full bloom joy, if only within the vivid terrain of my incorrigible imaginations is one of the kindest things i’ve ever done for myself - and now i have either spoiled that feeling for eternity by sharing it with you, or multiplied joy enough to save the world - your call.

How you feel about anything is the only thing over which you have any control, regardless of how powerful you declare yourself to be from chronic media indoctrination. Mr. M.T. Suit was played by his homies into fronting for his tribe, and it is not going to end well - possibly for all of us. But if you can picture the gyrations that it takes for Mr. M.T. Suit to reconcile the slights (the magnitude of which he is only getting a glimpse of because he is too stupid to know better) with his vacuous conceit you might then be able to teach quantum mechanics to kindergartners, so clear would be your thinking. To attribute any reality to powers other than what you have in front of you is my lack of clarity, not yours. What you do next that moves your heart closer to comfort is your power, that it also happens to lighten another’s burden is testimony to your wisdom. I will write a sonnet about “complex”, which happens to have been parsed by the mental health industry to conjure logic about our minds. 

“The pendulum of the mind swings between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” - C.G. Jung

What is complex, seems to be “nonsense” from the two poles Dr. Jung spoke of, for if we need to resort to things complex to make sense of the unexplainable that is just busy work. Exactly why there is no correct word for dawn at a beautiful waterfall you had hiked five hours the previous day to sleep near - that feeling is yours forever and indescribable. Albert Einstein had said to “make it simple, but not simpler”, but he may have also been able to teach quantum mechanics to kindergartners. We are possibly the last of our species - a species whose unfettered leaders, at the apex of its civilization believe an algorithm, however elegant, is capable of comprehending the inexpressible. We could have been great friends with computers just like we all could have been great friends to Mr. M.T. Suit had there been the proper programming, but as William Shakespeare said so well “aye, therein lies the rub.” If you got an itch, scratch it; unless of course the itch is some punk ass mosquito whining for attention. In which case, just like commercials and mute buttons they fit hand and glove, frick and frack - splinter and knot head, we decide to scratch or not until the next itch demands a decision from us to love or love more.

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  complex - a sonnet

complex is what is not simple.
everything’s simple or complexs’ a myth;
But then your complex was cured by a pill,
or found someplace that it should not end with.

why bother making what is hard harder¿
alias - “dollar waiting on a dime.
it gets down to the gut - what is hunger?
if it does not feed you, why waste the time¿

time is all you have - another fiction.
what’s then left to you from cradle to grave?
Time does nothing but create more friction
in lives that end being “one more thing to pave.”

we are just passing through what seems complex
but’ll never be explained by scrolling text . . . 


jts 11/20/2017
http://stoneartist.com 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Friday, November 10, 2017

sound - the essay / silence - a sonnet


I was 11 or 12 when a thrown firecracker ruptured the eardrum of my right ear. The Dr. recommended waiting to see if it would grow back - it was summertime and we were a beach family, i was not allowed in the water. Years later still trying to adapt to the hearing loss of a resewn eardrum that never really readapted to water in the ear canal, i was told by a kindly ENT former olympic diver that the hearing in my left ear had sharpened in compensation for the hearing loss, but he could do nothing about the ringing in my right ear that has not ceased for the past 50 years. I am very sensitive to sound, especially the white noise which accompanies so much of our modern world. Like the loss of any one of our senses adaptive compensation is a miracle of life, ask Helen Keller. One might imagine that a person subjected to the sensory depravation she endured for nearly the full of hear life, it might be expected that she would be pliant and easily led by those around her, yet her political observations include some of the most explicit denunciations of the ruling class and its ploys to maintain the world on a war footing. Her influence has been sufficient to establish an institute in her name in a small Mexican city where i live whose population is just over 250,000, nor certainly not her only namesake in this world. This from a woman who due to a childhood illness lost her sight and her hearing before she had learned to speak. Through a combination of luck, determination and human compassion she was able to learn language through touch - enough so that she completed a college education with the help of her lifelong companion Ann Sullivan. What were the sights and sounds in Hellen Keller’s heart that allowed for such remarkable determination, achievement and horse sense about a world she could neither hear nor see using conventional senses. I found with my own experience the effort necessary to distinguish between the constant ringing in one ear and the multitude of sounds from the other ear resulted in a definite preference for Howlin Wolf’s “Killing Fields” to Led Zepellin’s ripoff of the same song. Noise is noise, and the less you can hear the more important that awareness becomes.

The world we now live in could be understood as the equivalent of Helen Keller trying to read the language from Ann Sullivan’s hands riding down a bumpy road in a big bus with bad shocks; the main difference for us while riding in same bus - we can hear, but there’s 10 megawatt speaker announcing full blast all the items you can buy at each store on your left and on your right as you go down road, and sitting beside you always is your perfect romantic avatar who just happens to have their hand in your wallet or your purse extracting earnings you might have with bills you will pay - and our bus is without brakes heading for a cliff. Pretty sure, i’d rather be riding with Ms. Keller. Leonard Cohen describes in one song how “the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold and overturned the order of the soul.” Having to readapt my hearing, has altered my ability to gauge the timber of my voice - this drives my brother wiggy, but he didn’t have that far to go. I really only began to understand this distortion after the iPods came out and i was passing through my music addiction. It didn’t of course matter that i was working in a commercial real estate office and the level of discourse vacillated between naked greed and trembling fear dressed up in the costliest threads being-in-hock-up-to-your-ears could buy. To make a long story short, when called to my broker’s desk with my music baffle turned low, i would be invariably told to lower my voice. It wasn’t until much later that i understood i’ve had a noise baffle with me since i lost one side of my hearing and have likely been shouting at the world from an early age. The flip side of that equation are the adaptive strategies one employs to hear, like turning one’s head to the voice, or trying to speak quietly to elicit a higher volume from the other. In the end though one simply becomes more careful about what to try and hear. I fear this does not work the same for background noise often euphemistically referred to as white noise. My blue tooth phase informed much of that, for many of my last conversations pop were terminated after he grew bored trying to hear my voice on the freeway and would just hang up - i understand this inclination due to the barking dogs outside my closed window.

They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbors,
And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace and grow old and die. - Lao Tzu

That same technology which caused my boss to tell me to speak more quietly had given me countless hours of running in the most varied of environments while listening to my music addiction/consumer blind spot. It would have never occurred to me what i might be missing while running through Death Valley alone with my music had i not left my iPod on the top of my car just before running a Big Sur half marathon. It is not actually Big Sur, but winding Carmel coastline miles from where my aging aunt was listening carefully to the sounds of her memory delaminate that i was forced by circumstances to reemerge from my audio cocoon to the throngs of a panting humanity. I would consider giving up a body part to be able to run again with my music, but all loss provokes new sound - her death; my father’s death; and my mother’s impending death all shout with the sound of one’s own existence. If one cannot begin to hear the quiet places of one’s own soul as we are catapulted into the void, what can be said about the sounds of our lives? I am fortunate to have had so many maladies that for simple survival, much less the capacity to find some quiet spot to work i have been forced to listen carefully to what i had once been so foolish to believe as indestructible - my own anatomy. Everything changes, and to believe otherwise is a missed opportunity to hear more carefully the grinding pace of the universe. One affect from hearing loss is a morbid preoccupation with what others might be saying, or more accurately - what one is not hearing. It can be bizarre how lessons are delivered, aside from having to learn the hard way, it’s none of my business to learning that sleeping with your deaf ear to the world can be remarkably handy late at night in many airports of the world.

Besides parsing the pertinent from the extraneous in an overloud world, the focus one gains from such exercise is translatable across the whole spectrum of existence. I am learning a new language, which from discussions with an expert about which i concur, successful learning comes mostly from hearing, rather than the spoken word. This is is a dichotomy for me, being loud and articulate and coming from a family where communication is a blood sport, but fuck - what ain’t a dichotomy in Bob Dylan’s “funny ol’ world that’s a commin’ along. Seems sick an’ it’s hungry. It’s tired and it’s torn. It looks like it’s a-dyin´an´it’s hardly been born.” It fascinates me to have been born at a time when so much mythology is changing places with so much reality. There are conservatives who would accuse the above passage as part of a liberal conspiracy at the same exact time in which the newly released “Paradise Papers” categorically document the actual conspiracy is not left wing agitprop, but a timeline of the transfer of the world’s resources to a handful of actual traitors to the species - a tale of greed consigning the world to egregious inequality up to and including the possible grafting of human capacity to an army of androids entirely subservient to these same ciphers who have bankrolled their success on the blood of war, most often with the consent and blessings of the families of the fallen. “You hear these funny voices in the tower of song” - Leonard Cohen. If it is possible to train my ear to a new language at my advanced age, i wonder then whether it is also possible to hear the voice of the archetype Carl Jung spoke of. Is it possible just as i used an iPod, (made by what is now one of the world’s most vile and avaricious multinationals leading the charge to our doom) to baffle the shrill greed of working knee deep in commercial real estate muck, that i can find a baffle to the blizzard of this world and find a whisper which will lead me back to place in this world before i die¿ just askin’

From my experiences, i have learned much about the relationship of vibrations to sound. There are also the shapes sound which come directly out of Nikola Tesla’s quote “if you want to learn the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” We are not simply creatures capable of writing music without the ability to hear, such as Ludwig Von Beethoven, or to perceive the larger machinations of society without the ability to see or hear such as Helen Keller - “the most pathetic person in the world is one who has sight, but not vision.” Our leaders are pathetic today - i speak of those hooligans who are loading AI into the the economy for no other reason than to increase their bottom line. I have nothing against technology or wealth, but i despise those who cannot hear the screams which they invoke either through malice, indifference or sheer stupidity. We are living on the cusp of our deliverance to our better angels - what Albert Einstein described as “All that is valuable in human society depends on the opportunity for development accorded to the individual.” Or we are never going to leave our iPods on the roof of our car to find out we humans can still run great distances without the artificial cadence foisted on us by the commercial chicanery of a handful of pompous buffoons. There is much to listen to in this universe, be it the red or blue of shifting constellations or the snarky contempt of one who holds the leash of that offshore account choking your baby’s future to death. I have found that what we pay attention to can be very powerful, far more powerful than the plaintive wails of any fading celebrity or petulant whines from some pissant billionaire giving the thumbs down to your favorite gladiator whose only disgrace was to acknowledge his own dignity.

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  silence 

what is the sound of a wiggling atom
besides the grinding of your own pea brain
“just kidding” - laughing at his witicism 
- or listening to the sound of his pain

what’s quiet, besides the baby sleeping?
a red rose pedal landing in the sand?
is that pain from her broken heart screaming?
or making love out to sound like some brand?

what of the last breath we take - does it float
or crush our lungs to dust that blows away?
is dust mute, will it wake a starving goat?
what is the sound at the end of a day?

are we hearing, are we just listening
to sound so loud - silence is deafening

jts 11/10/2017
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

beauty - an essay / the beast - a sonnet


This day began by locking myself out of where i live at 6:30 am and then waiting the hour and a half + for my hosts to wake; it is their one day of the week to sleep in - the error was mine, not theirs. I then lost 5 hours of the first version of this essay in this bitten off conflagration of a techno world, so why do my hosts seem hostile, or am i projecting my day’s frustrations into a mutable reality? Life is beautiful and everything to the contrary is pushing the rock up hill. I’m oddly at peace, given the violence to my day’s ambitions by my own hand - and there are books written about “intention.” Maybe i should be reading rather than running off at the keyboard. I don’t know what beauty is, even though with my training i’m supposed to be an expert. I do know enough to search for it, as well as be very wary of those who are certain about it and can describe its various states ad nauseam. I’m thinking that somehow it is connected to the empty feeling of recreating a day’s lost effort without loving encouragement - save my own, because sitting here rewriting this lost essay at the end of the kind of day i’ve had is about as beautiful as i have felt in a long time. Excuse me while i go and smoke the last cigarette of the day twenty minutes early - i am weak, but not too ugly to share what i feel; while it gives me great personal satisfaction smoking no more than six cigarettes a day, the beautiful delusion of non-attachment is simply postponed to each of those long awaited moments until the next fix. I will not take the time to finish this piece just now, for i have found it is necessary to impose a period of rest and distraction on myself so i may continue fresh each day with this dubious pursuit of the unknown, or attempt at understanding what cannot be understood; what i strive for is absorption into that egoless state where time does not exist. Speaking of which, where i live has a tradition of honoring the dead, and i find just now in the midst of my self pity, it is a very attractive idea. There are many i have known and lost and many i have lost and never known they were gone, but they all seem closer to me now than those i am surrounded by - more delusion. I wish much succor to all present as well as those in the aether, or wherever it is that we return to after this moment in this miraculous orb of vaporous molecules we call home.

During this festival of the dead, i am finding the honor, respect and awe brought to the process. Based on what i can see from my vantage point it is by and large far truer than any commercial versions available from the media. It is for me a privilege and honor to try and help confirm the beliefs i find and to fortify and enlarge the culture of those who believe. I find beauty in the faith of what is not knowable or quantifiable. Perhaps because i remember as a 2nd grader being brought into the multi-purpose room to witness the launch of John Glenn in the first extra-terrestrial launch from our then oh-so-abundant and powerful home planet. Unfortunately this passing magnificence was soon to be dwarfed by increasingly urgent and doubtful projects intended to punk one nation after another rather than augment and aid the unquenchable expansion of the human spirit. I also find beauty in this myopic limitation, for the alternative is to despair from the mindless arrogance of our species - the real challenge is to parse whether my observation is accurate or another delusion of a defective character and its hunger for aggrandizement. My heritage is an odd admixture of the best and worst of our species which provides me textbook manic/depressive exaltations from the grandiose to basest loathing of self, yet i live in this time which seems to increasingly demand clarity and purpose, not with just each step forward, but each breath - isn’t that beautiful. If happiness can be defined as the absence of greed, hatred and delusion would this logic not also apply to beauty - find what is not ugly and presto, you are in the midst of beauty¿ Therein lies the rub, available scholarship includes the too apt observation from Oscar Wilde - “Ugly may be beautiful, but pretty never.” Syntactically this can be construed to mean ugly can be beautiful, or pretty can never be beautiful - either case is useful, for William Shakespeare said it best (as always) “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Yet to know true beauty one must possess the capacity to embrace the most repugnant of images as worthy of the same fascination one finds in the glint of light off the most sublime of cheeks, or the spectacle of human architecture in the dome of her forehead - whoever “she” may be.

On the morning after the first night of the Dia de Muertos celebration, i stepped outside just prior to dawn; the typical bustle of a city-on-its-way was absent, and in its place lining three of the four directions at my corner as far as the eye could see, were cups every meter or so containing candles - all lit. The quiet impossibility of such an unexpected sight still awes me, though i have learned how much effort and waste was involved for the sake of greeting spectres who may or may not wish to be present at this earth-centric collective prayer. Is it the hunger of our species that defines the essence of beauty, rather than an immutable universal truth, more a dynamic of blossoming and decay inherent in the very physics of our universe - entropy. What is this hunger of ours to possess, either the manifestation, definition or source of that which one’s eye deems beautiful¿ Is it more indoctrination from the wizards of Silicone Valley; are they merely piggybacking on the church’s previous monopoly of all that is sacred with beauty at the core, whip in hand, shouting its cadence “Row, Row, Row!” Isn’t there chapter and verse for the “Beatitudes” in christian dogma? Would humans still be “oppressed by the figures of beauty” - Leonard Cohen, were they devoid of museums and the japing underclass of artists jockeying for a seat at the patron’s table? What concept would replace the sublime joy of waking up to the still sleeping face of your heart’s affection? As a man who has devoted his life to understanding the meaning of beauty, i find myself much less of an authority than i’d have ever imagined, that or not knowing is far more beautiful than i had been trained to believe. I am slowly becoming aware of beauty i never knew existed? What of the duality, is that concept itself an effort to codify the ineffable feeling one gets viewing lit candles at dawn after having comprehended the environmental degradation; the sleeping face of your heart’s affection though you know she’s about to leave; or the dichotomy of inconsolable joy that the death of a suffering loved one has provided them relief, while leaving you in grief? Is this why we proffer knowledge about the unknowable, to allay that sobering doubt that we exist, or that we do exist, but will never know why?

Is there any use for beauty, besides a tax dodge for the egregiously wealthy investor class? I can only speak for myself, but i would not have changed a thing in my life with respect to my own fixations of beauty, including the learning curve arcing from the cruel weight of ridicule for mine own and other’s earnest “pursuit of beauty to its lair” - Arundhati Roy. Is it simply a matter of degree, and the delusion of valuation from a pittance to “priceless” is more a function of what the market will bear, devoid of any valid measure or meaning¿ Do I know more about beauty for my efforts than the man who sweeps the streets of debris exuding from “the hole in our culture” - Leonard Cohen. Michel de Montaigne preferred the wisdom of the working class believing they had not suffered from learning how to think, and we can all see how much ‘merica’s chief exec, Mr. M.T. Suit has benefitted from his ivy league education. I now sit in a gallery whose exclusive purpose is the propagation of things beautiful, but i don’t feel improved, or necessarily relieved from my suffering. Possibly a result of my own discursive thinking; the objects themselves may not adhere my stringent, albeit arbitrary esthetic level of excellence, or Picasso was wrong and art whether understood properly or not, cannot cure the toothache. Cezanne had posited that in the future “a carrot when freshly apprehended, could cause a revolution,” but there is double entendre when one parses apprehend; i’m betting that Mssr. Cezanne as an ironic banker’s son was addressing the “getting and having” aspect of the produce market, more so than any assertion of a universal standard of beauty for objet d’art capable of fomenting worldwide revolution. The captains of industry have indoctrinated an entire planet on the fiction that time is money, yet i can honestly include moments spent in the company of Paul Cezanne’s paintings as amongst the most valuable in my life - go figure.

Then again, i’d jail the bankers; provide universal free health care; cradle to grave free education and a lifetime guaranteed income; not only because it is feasible and practical, but because in my mind’s eye it would be beautiful. Nor am i sure i would ever want to learn the meaning of beauty according to the patrons. No small irony there - i have spent a lifetime working toward a standard of beauty i’d hoped to be irrefutable and of value to the monied class, but have now precluded from ownership those same exemplars of taste and breeding because they represent for me the most base and vulgar in our civilization. It may be from luck or the intersection of perception and experience, but my creature within who knew me to be worthy of the cruelest self contempt has left the building, or like some existential “transformer” is now just a confused old man wondering where his friends and family have gotten to; mine is not really a pitiful condition, but certainly not worthy of contempt, at least i would hope not. Of all the ambitions i have come to know in my life, i feel remarkably fortunate to include the hunt for beauty uppermost in my quests. I don’t know if it is the etherial nature of beauty that i find most attractive or the immutable pleasure it provides in its presence. Nor am i much closer to the ability to create beauty than i was when i first caught its scent oh so long ago, yet anymore i’m not sure who is the hunted and who is the hunter, or whether it much matters. I am certain that our world would be much smaller without beauty or our ability to imagine it. Try as they might, beauty cannot be faked, or as Buddha had remarked “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. Maybe truth and beauty are synonymous, i don’t know. 

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the beast - a sonnet

I use to avoid my beast like the plague
now we just homies; it comes, laughs and leaves
but not far- close enough to hear, but vague-
one enormous tree where wind rustles leaves

though it never ruled, it made its voice heard,
loudly enough to drive others away,
or smart enough to keep me from the herd.
beastly nor fearsome- t’just seems to sway.

how long it had laid waste to so much
for little more than to just have been seen
an extrovert bigfoot wanting to touch
others, but knowing they are not so keen

past tense is fiction as much as future
tense; so love your hate minus the nurture 

jts 11/03/2017
http://stoneartist.com 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved