Monday, March 12, 2018

home - the essay / lessness - a sonnet

Ma changed the locks when i was 15, i am now 63, and that still hurts. She, however, is not responsible for my feelings, or my behavior - i am. It may be for this reason that she changed the locks; she may have wanted me to be responsible for her feelings. I asked her once what is the meaning of “home?” Her reply was “someplace you go and they can’t turn you away.” Her father was an itinerant miner. He was estranged from my grandmother for many years; my mother was periodically left with him for extended period, as was my uncle. At the end of my grandfather’s life he was taken back into the family home in Los Angeles where he died from cancer. My sense is that these events affected my mother deeply, along with many other equally confounding dynamics one might find in many homes on our planet. My idea of what constitutes home is complex, where what i really need to do is make it simple. One of the difficulties for me, is being welcome, without which i find it very difficult to feel that i belong. That is an irrational and largely useless strategy for making oneself to home. I can only imagine what it means to children whose homes have been bombed out from under them, witnessing their family members shredded into corpuscles. In a larger sense, we are all family and the only home we have is mother earth. We are not doing a very good job respecting where we came from - were our bones are supposed to come to rest. Rather than fighting about where we live, it might be a good time to re-evaluate how we live; what is our definition of home, and what it means to be a human being.

Ma is not, nor has she been a bad mother. She provided for herself and her family to the limits of her capacity; the struggle between her and myself must have been a lesson we both needed to understand. She is aged and nearing the end of her life on earth. I would be at her side, but the changed locks are of a different nature now - she is still a good mother doing the best that she knows how; i am at a loss for how to help her, it seems i’m at a loss to help most of those i wish to help. The irony is when there is a chance for me to help, like answering the door for the upper two floors where i live, i resist. I don’t mind when someone asks me for something, and i have an opportunity to say “yes” or “no.” But i find myself unwilling to have things taken from me, or expectations assigned to me, like “you live on the ground floor, you will answer the door.” That is cognitive dissonance running contrary to my instincts for happy living today - minimizing suffering and helping where i can. If i were truly a worldwide citizen, one would think there would be no limits to my willingness to help, though i find the following true as well: Bob Dylan - “try to make things better for someone, sometimes, you just end up making it a thousand times worse”. Over the years with composite families of my own, the idea of home has undergone various changes, from being willing to give up my life protecting my family, to solitary escapes from scabrous environments. Today, that which is suitable determines where i live; if i can work quietly without disturbance, it is suitable. As with most things, definition is all. But is there more; is there an intrinsic meaning to hearth and home, or is the essence more metaphysical, having something to do with the limits of our skin?

I don’t know, I do know many have striven over generations to lay down roots, which by some calculations is a measure of belonging. These same people have been driven from their communities by changing demographics, war and other calamities, and the trend toward upheaval is only going to rise with the tide - 40% of the planet’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the shoreline. Many of these communities are ancient, reaching back into the dawn of our human history - the roots run deep. I know in my own country the pace of change has inspired virulent fear, often fed by the same unscrupulous characters that would try to sell desert lots on the promise of California falling into the ocean. However in the United States, there are more vacant properties than there are homeless people. That circumstance describes a twisted system that is not out of kilter but intentionally flawed to the core. The problem is that the same mania for profit that glutted the housing stock has been exported as a business model to an amazing percentage of the world’s leaders who are emulating ‘merica’s shameful exploitation of the natural human instinct to want to be at home. I wonder how easy it would be to sell that bullshit, if our children were raised to see themselves as members of the human species rather than factions of waring tribes fighting for fewer and fewer resources? What would it take to convey such logic to larger and larger segments of our world¿ Education is no longer a viable conduit for promulgating wholesome citizens - the smart money is, and has been for a long, long time choking off the concept that people are valuable ingredients to a civilized world, rather we have been encouraged in some gladiatorial delusion that if one can excel enough at ______ fill in the blank, security will be provided. They don’t say by whom or how, but the careerist shills are reassuring in their zealous encouragement that with the correct combination of correct skills ________ fill in the blank, you will meet with rich success.

The truth is excellence is not expected, nor is it tolerated outside of an extremely narrow spectrum of accomplishment. That spectrum of accomplishment is entirely controlled by computer models of what will generate the maximum revenue stream to a smaller and smaller number of people. The days of any child in the United States believing s/he can grow up to become president ended with the birth of Barron Trump and the election of his father. Though it actually ended much earlier with the beginning of the “Industrial Revolution,” which was neither industrial nor revolutionary. The meaning of industrial was simply a perversion of “industry” which means - hard work. As to revolutionary, orgasm might be a more accurate term - The Industrial Orgasm. Prior to this juncture in history, snake oil salesman were marginalized hucksters spiking cod liver oil with sour mash, making enough scratch to get the next village drunk. But when revolutionary industrial empresarios got wind of how much snake oil could be manufactured by machine for next to nothing, the greed race was on. It has never been a question of if, but when the banksters would simply muscle the middle man out. Prior to the Industrial Orgasm, when a man received a home, or enough property to build on, hard work was an asset; today hard work is defined by the number of hours you can clock on the account to which you’re assigned - the battle cry is “work smarter, not harder.” There are pockets of entrepreneurial low hanging fruit left, but just as the snake oil salesman was subsumed by the empresario, who was then shouldered aside by the banker, excellence in the modern era is not well tolerated. Ask Aaron Swartz, all he wanted was to share digitized knowledge with as much of the human population as possible; his fatal mistake was not including a coin slot in his technology.

The world’s billionaires do not care, not one of them - to want to control a billion dollars does not describe a personality that cares for anything but its own ego. The problem for the billionaires is that collectively they are dumber than they are individually. Because of this anomalous social throwback to their fraternity heyday, they remain largely oblivious to the havoc they have wreaked being more concerned about the opinions within their well insulated cohort than aware of the consequences of egregious stupidity. While the balance of the population is having to become more and more resourceful and creative in their growth for literal survival within the world they were born, be that suburban Costa Mesa, or Ubud Bali. The inclination to resist the phenomenal pace of coming change will impair dynamic creativity for a time, and nationalist rivalries will erupt, but the temporary infusion of disaster cash will only remedy so much and fewer and fewer problems which the havoc created by the smaller and smaller, ever more identifiable portion of the population will be held accountable. “When the shit comes down, there  will not be walls high enough to protect them” - Edward Colver. People want to cooperate, it is in their nature and when left to their devices they will build peaceful communities full of the human drama that characterizes our species. The extent of travel enjoyed today will be become evermore restricted for a variety of reasons, from ecological impact, to the cost of security necessary to shuttle the wealthy from compound to compound. Much like i had to reconcile my own behavior with its consequences about what i understand is home, so too will humanity have to come to terms with unrealistic greed and the role it has played in its own dislocation from what it had once believed to be home. The delusion that there is an app that can substitute for what it means to belong to one’s own world will collapse with the myth of home being where the heart is. The only home left to any of us is made up of the soil, water and air we have through our greed and cowardice allowed to be become polluted, possibly beyond repair. If we are serious about fighting for our homes we’d better enlarge our concept of where we belong - quickly. 


lessness - a sonnet

I had a stuffed animal, a long time;
where it was, i was at home - home is gone.
finding my way back, has been a long climb.
made much richer by all that i have drawn.

It could be that work has become my home
- a place i cannot be turned away from,
i have fun, does that condemn me to roam?
- sounds odd, like marching to war to a drum¿

i like what i do, liked my animal;
don’t like war, but i like drums - like the beat.
I can’t play for shit, just not capable.
- everywhere might be home, t’ain’t all mama’s teet

if there is any truth to “less is more”
will having less get us back to the core?

jts 03/12/2018 
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Monday, March 5, 2018

wrong - an essay / right - the sonnet

“When goodness is lost, it is replaced by morality” - Lao Tzu

We live in a time when goodness, if not lost, can certainly be difficult to understand. Not because we are not surrounded by good people, places and things. However from the love of profit, the unscrupulous amongst us have monetized as much as they can lay their hands on, including each keystroke i make now - however faint. Whether that is right or wrong, i cannot say, but i know it is not moral. In a moral world, ideas and the communication medium within which they wander would not bear a cost, for they would be recognized for the benefit which those concepts would provide a curious public: information about how to grow with purpose, how to raise happy humans, or even how to prepare nutritious meals would be freely developed and exchanged. Prior to the “civilized” model of human existence, people lived and survived well, within a vast spectrum of environmental conditions, but without the conceit of good, better and best. The early humans knew that when the game was not killed, or the crop did not yield, hunger would follow. Today, nearing the latter part of my existence - my bigger concern is not if i can find food but whether the units of measure i use to buy what i need will evaporate as result of governmental fraud, or the complete collapse of the “economy” from mismanagement and bad faith. I have done as i was socialized to do - worked, married, bought houses & many things along with paying taxes: on all my bank accounts beginning in the 5th grade, on my wages beginning at age 14, on all purchased items through sales tax, (for cars alone a figure that numbers in the 10s of thousands), for automotive registration, for licensing, for insurance .  .  . etc., etc., etc. We live in a world dominated by computer power, but there is no application that i’m aware of which easily distinguishes what you spend and what you pay for in tax. Why is that? I think it is because Mark Twain was right, “There are lies, damnable lies and there are statistics”. Statistics, like corporations and the ruling class are not given to scruples.

It is difficult for me to conceive what that state of mind might be like. Once i began to wonder about why i was paying for a home which i had to leave daily, plus the cost of storage space for items i might need but couldn’t fit where i lived, i then began to doubt the wisdom of my socialization. Sadly there were many years lost while i blamed my plight on ________ fill in the blank. Whether that was right or wrong, i cannot say, but i can say it was not a morally defensable position - if guilt is a valid condition, the responsibility was and remains mine alone. What i cannot fathom is what it means if the government steals my contribution to my own social security, or the bank fails which with great moral reservation i allow to utilize my deposits. This is a conundrum of personal responsibility, for to rectify either of these precarious conditions requires i do something to protect what is mine - in the parlance of late stage survivalists - self reliance. That is a paradox; if i use a bank believing the fiction of an “economy”, and capitalize on my political franchise as a citizen - the roles i was raised to believe in and support would result in my independence, but by all accounts these same entities are not not only not keeping faith, they are actively participating in the impoverishment of my wealth and the disenfranchisement of my freedoms along with apparently the entire population of the world. Ironically these same mooks are doing the same to all those sellouts they have on FuckTheWorld Inc. payroll. I can’t say whether this is right or wrong, but it is definitely not moral. Morality as i understand it includes the kindness one pays to a dying human being, the gentleness one gives to an infant or the care of all that protects our fragile organisms in this bubble of air we call home. What is not moral is beating a man on the ground, stealing from those who have nothing or wrecking the world that is all we have to leave the unborn amongst us.

How can we as a species, who can build a pyramid that aligns with galaxies we cannot see; peer beyond our toenails to the very  molecules at birth which dictate the color and length of those toenails; or pluck from air the vibrations of a Mozart piano concerto, not restrain the wholly destructive behavior of a handful of human beings from our population? That is a question. I do not believe it is enough to simply refrain from destructive behavior, it is very important to propagate non-destructive loving behavior indiscriminately. We are beyond the point in our extinction where we can pick and choose those with whom we will share our concept of morality. The first human being you have a moral obligation to, is yourself. Hatred, greed and delusion have been proven to be destructive states of being to the fragile cellular membrane we occupy, yet the number of other people i know, and i know a lot of people, who could be said to be free of these self-destructive conditions are 0 - 1, the one includes myself in the count. The most evolved people i have ever read or known of can only have learned the benefits of living free from these limitations of the human condition by confronting their own capacity for such. “There is no eradicating evil, for every new solution creates a new evil” - Sheldon Kopp via The Eschatological Laundry List, or phrased differently “The meaning of life - one damn thing after another” - D.E. Tuppins. The delusion of a saintly human being might be a good starting point for the liberation of our collective spirit. Does this mean we have a license for mayhem, clearly we do, otherwise we would no longer entertain war as a means of improving our world. Even the “awakened” ones amongst us use the metaphor of spiritual warrior to characterize their otherwise benign efforts to save us from ourselves, so deep is our love affair with war. Nor is enlightened self-interest an adequate enough concept to to avert the coming cataclysm, how could it in a world able to coin the expression “disaster capitalism” faster than people are able to comprehend the meaning of the word - disaster?

Hatred is a far more complex feeling than the cartoon pejorative we have been carefully cultivated to rely on. It is at its root - aversion. By this definition to my chagrin, i remain a hater at heart recoiling down the street, sometimes bouncing away from people, places or things for no reason at all - but powerfully, just the same. How can that be? Is there such a state of existence where, minus the silly shit-eating grin one finds on the faces of acolytes, there is such a thing as steady state attraction? Oddly that is how i picture the megalomaniacs, sort of like sharks who are also unable to back up because the design of their gills would suffocate them. Corporate CEOs contain one of the largest demographics of sociopaths, oddly opposite the logic of the CIA bureaucratic org chart which according to one optimistic analyst has the sociopaths occupying the operative lower rungs, while managers lead - possessing the more wholesome mental makeups - whatever that means. Any of these considerations discussing our moral decay neglects the only really important point - what’s it gonna take for mankind to survive¿ It would be so easy if this were a novel, or movie - you just plug in Deus ex Machina, and presto the skies open; a miracle occurs; our heroes and heroines are back alive and there’s a chicken every pot. Yet, our world is accelerating the production of plastic at a time when it is projected there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish within the next twenty - thirty years - an ocean which since 2011 has received 300-400 tons of radioactive water each day - with no end in sight. Yeah, instead of Deus we get Shakespeare - “Hell is empty, and all the devils here.” This might be a good time to accept the fact that our characters are not angelic, and dying ain’t gonna change that fact. What then? I say we peer deeply into the abyss and be as Ben Franklin had described himself, “perhaps i’m an optimistic pessimist - prepare for the worst, but when the very worst doesn’t happen, i’m pleasantly surprised.” 

I don’t know what is right anymore, for i am unsure of the bumptious aversion meter that has guided so many of my steps through this world. I do know it would be very wrong of me to not do my level best to try and aid the refugees from the coming collapse of our world as we understand it, if for no other reason than i am a refugee; we all are. Simplify Simper Fi might be a good start, rather than “always faithful”, we might become “ever skeptical”. Let us actually rely on ourselves once again for our perceptions - the screen is fake, the puppeteers behind the screen are fake, the person in front of you, sneering, leering or leaving is more real than anything you will find here or out there. Look to your insides, tend to your wellbeing - does that friend resemble an ad, or flawed family dynamic, then embrace that, fucked up feelings and all - let the discomfort soak in. There is no place else for us to go. If we do not discover a way to protect our planet before we protect ourselves there will be no lives to protect, for we will have perished from the face of the earth, all of us - 7 billion souls, just like anyone of the species we have destroyed since the beginning of the “industrial revolution” which just like all revolutions promised much and delivered little. The revolution that is left to us is the battle of the two wolves from Indian lore. One benign, generous and loving for our world and all that is in it, the other vicious, selfish and hateful. They engaged in a lifelong battle for your soul - the one that wins, is the one you feed. Only the stakes are no longer for your life alone, we are now all of us making decisions that will determine whether there will be a continuation of our species. It is said that Jesus returned from the great beyond, and from this return we have justified one war after another, never coming close to applying his lessons. If that is the end product of immortality i think i’ll take my chances on finding friends here on earth and having some fun doing the best i know how - if that is wrong, at least i had a little fun doing it. 


right - the sonnet

I was right once, for about a second,
then i was born to ma for a lifetime -
to hear her tale, two lifetimes, she’d reckon.
It’s just like her to double a good time.

I once had rights, ’til i learned otherwise.
“True” they said, but you do this, this happens.
Too often, what i’ve wanted was not wise,
though it depends on how you use the lens.

I was just told i was delirious,
nor would he be wrong, for i’m more than not,
and much more “left” then i am dexterous.
Ma’s dilemma, me the gordian knot.

i can’t cure her illness, for it is age
but can honor her life and burn some sage. 

jts 03/05/2018 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Monday, February 26, 2018

insane - the essay / sane - a sonnet

Yeah, you’d be right - one has to be a little insane to write an essay on such a topic, however, no more so than waiting until a certain hour to do a certain thing for a questionable pupose - waking up at 5:30 AM to shower and drive to work, so you can pay for your bed, your shower, your car. I have spent the past 5-6 months drawing a woman who died old and deprived of hope by the same culture that has given hope to me. Of course in the process i was subjected to mind control in the form of “therapy” - extremely expensive therapy. It was not as expensive as the very wealthiest amongst us pay to gain resolution for the insanity of their behaviors of greed, megalomania and delusions of grandeur in the form of anrchistic capitalism. Of course those i mention would be the sparse population of the upper echelons for wealth and power - those with guilt enough to wonder about their behavior, and so are not textbook sociopaths devoid of conscience or affect. You think i’m kidding? Guantanamo Prison used torture programs designed by mental health professionals to debrief prisoners of little military value, while the persons who profited most from war are investing their booty in offshore accounts - accounts whose sole purpose is economic gravity to yield greater wealth. Talk about your insanity, go ahead. What did all my therapy provide besides the ability to sustain 5-6 months of effort for a drawing which i will never sell for any figure approaching its cost to me. That is insane. Please don’t tell anyone; it might get back to my family and they are already afraid of me for being crazy - never mind we were all fairly similar in intellect and physical attributes, brought up in the same environment by the same parents - they are not crazy - but i am; some guys have all the luck. I’m teasing mostly, they are all decent well-intentioned human beings, and if you had one as a neighbor, you’d likely agree with me. The trouble is, most people are decent and well-intentioned given enough context in which to disentangle the idolatry of ambition from the deeper instinct of commonsense - one of the first things to go in school: “Teacher, i have to pee” 

“Raise your hand.”

Socialization is an important component for our survival, and there is no harm in helping a child learn boundaries, if anything the capacity for restraint is what gives breadth to a character. What has become a mental health issue is to whom does the character belong? Are we vassals of a civilization ruled by cowards not brave enough to show their hand and declare their royalty¿ When someone without the courage to declare their intention attempts to control me, i lose all respect. Oddly i am nearly certain that resistance is from my own upbringing wherein every time i attempted to control my environment by having others do my bidding, i was called on it. Manipulation is the expression used to describe my behaviors. In retrospect and through the lens of a doctor’s manipulation i am getting better about asking directly for what i want. Though when i asked a doctor when will i know that i am cured of my mental illness, his smarmy remark was “when you wake up from a dream and you are ejaculating in her vagina.” Of course he was a Freudian, the same pioneer of mental health who was uncle to Edward Louis Bernays - father of the art of public relations - “ We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of . . . It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” - Edward Bernays. Yes as a matter of fact Joseph Goebbels the chief Nazi puppeteer was an ardent admirer of Freud’s nephew, as is i’m sure our own current Chief Executive ole’ mr. m.t. suit himself, that is if he could be persuaded to read something other than Twitter. I have read that happiness is not so much a spontaneous emotion, but more the absence of Buddhas’ three poisons - greed, hatred and delusion. Jung had also suggested a similar image in his “shadow” metaphor for human persona, and not to overtax the metaphor, DaVinci also commented on the role of darkness in describing form - “Shadow is the means by which bodies display their form.” Unfortunately for those aspiring to mental health there is a whole lot more defined by craziness than has been defined by the well adjusted. Plato - “Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.

So with the help of any good doctor we just describe people who do not parrot the party line as “crazy.” A neat trick, except that our survival as a species depends on all of us going a little bit crazy, crazy enough to stop believing the fake reality; that plastic is real; that you will ever succeed; own enough, or be loved because of what you are wearing/not wearing. I spent three years in a valley consumed by hatred - hatred of anything that was not deemed, _________ fill in the blank. However they are also very likely the same people exploited by the Russian bots for the election of mr. m.t. suit. All the bots had to do was fill in the blank and these otherwise rational human beings would be off and running. The dilemma we face as a species is not so much from craziness as much as a manipulated version of craziness. It is one thing to be so far afield as to not be able to distinguish between danger and one’s own fear, and quite another to believe someone else’s fear as your own. I am afraid, but i am not afraid of you. I am afraid of not having done my level best to rescue children yet unborn from the horrors of greed and stupidity because i was unwilling to speak up; to do my level best to help others be themselves and not consumer holograms exploited for other’s excesses without those others ever having had the courage to declare what they have been doing or being called to account for their dishonesty and cowardice. What is really insane is how powerless “they” are compared to the balance of humanity. I once watched a man in the dead of night dig up a drain elbow, yank the cup out that was blocking traffic and replace the drain and re-cement the curb by flashlight - i’d love to see Jamie Dimon come even close to such human accomplishment. Nor do i have anything really against Jamie, unless it is the sheer paucity of his vision, the same for Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Ray Kurszwell or Mark Zuckerberg these are human beings given an opportunity to lift an entire species out of the muck of war the slime of greed and the darkness of ignorance and all they could muster is vast personal profit - that is not insane, that is fucking crazy.

The really great thing about insanity is that it is all yours - your design, your misery - your glorious hallucinations. R.D. Laing viewed insanity with a compassion more resembling the indigenous people’s approach, and was coopted by the ruling class media during the faux 60’s revolution, not much differently than Nixon’s henchmen declaring war on drugs to legitimize their racist agenda. R.D. Laing was forgotten as soon as his effort to normalize insanity accomplished the ruling class’s real reason for giving him a voice - the shutting down of mental health facilities, creating the indigent subclass courtesy of Ronald Reagan, another m.t. suit-out-of-work-actor-turned-circus-performer - “the more things change, the more they remain the same” - old French proverb. Here’s the real problem: these mooks that have the world spinning like a top can’t do shit without your permission. You have total control over your being, whether you are incarcerated, married, in love/hate or insane. Anyone that tries to diminish that belief is not addressing your needs, but their own. I write because i am crazy and it amuses me to think someone might read a sentence i write and say “i know exactly what he means.” Were i to write for money, or audience or persuasion, i would no longer be writing for that isolated individual scratching her/his head thinking “i wonder how he knew that. i don’t feel so alone.” Isn’t that really better than playing somebody for stupid; using all your learning and compassion to convince someone else to think like you, or dress like you, or buy your product. The romantic equivalent is transforming yourself to suit your fiction of what you imagine your love interest wants. That is fucking crazy, for this reason alone: if i have not matured enough as a human being to accept my woman as she is, what is some patriarchal refrain about perfecting woman going to accomplish - a Stepford Wife¿ The inverse is more accurate as any BDSM aficionado might tell you, the dominant is describing their fantasies of submission far more clearly than the subordinate - Russia / water sports. Nor would i presume to judge any sitting president having no idea what he might be dealing with just now, but i do understand the Getty Museum refused the loan of Van Gogh’s landscape with snow, however willing to loan him a gold toilet - oftentimes crazy is our best friend.

My first wife was crazy, at least according to the psychiatrist who lived across the street. After the propellor blade went elsewhere, the psychiatrist commented to me, “you do know she is a paranoid schizophrenic?” Of course i asked him why he didn’t tell me this before i married her, he replied “you wouldn’t have listened,” and he was right. One of the paradoxes of psychiatry, something that can be so useful to so many is instead being used to socialize a humanity that understands very clearly it is getting screwed big time. The psychiatrists have signed up for the wrong team, or they are playing for the right team, but they will always be benchwarmers. The greatest thing about being crazy are all the shades of gray that can be seen. C.G. Jung - “Show me a sane man, and I will cure him” The worst thing about being crazy is not honoring the shades of gray you have learned to see through your pain and confusion. Any person who has taken the steps necessary to learn what it is they want, not what others have convinced them they want, but as honest a desire as one can find in the solitude of one’s own skin; and who does not then mobilize all personal resources and skill to accomplish that end is just another drone, doomed to a drudgery of existence that will only end with death. However, for all those who dare defy the demand by the sane amongst us to be helpless and mediocrity, that your only excellence is based on wealth or notoriety as defined by likes, numbers of friends or SEO savvy - i salute you. Your personal ideas created in the cauldron of your own passions and the reflections of your own deepest calm are what i search for in my life - even if that passion is to get enough sleep. I quest to find those who are indifferent to criticism because they know it cuts both ways - what others think about you is a prison without a key. However that prison is of your own design just the same as any future of peace and happiness you can imagine - which is what, according to my reading, all creatures strive for before they are diverted into mindless selfish ambitions reflecting little more than the demons possessing those who possess the channels of persuasion. Be crazy; it may be a terminal illness, but what a way to go. 


sane - a sonnet

Is anyone living, well adjusted 
what does that feel like to see babies bombed,
and then go to sleep? easily or drugged.
I pray for ways to help others be calmed.

I do not bomb, but have figured out how
others can; that shame is hard to forget
so i don’t; i am careful what i plow
knowing that what i seed is what i get.

Late at night the demons howl, i howl back,
thinking they must be lonely or crazy.
I’m both - me and demons on the right track.
You read this. Are you crazy or lazy¿

If you’re lazy you’re not crazy, i am
lazy crazy - not readable on RAM 

jts 02/26/2018 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Monday, February 19, 2018

dying - an essay / living - the sonnet

I once lived in a grand old house in Santa Ana. It had been divided into many rooms for rent, and rent it did. The house was located on a large lot, with a garage/barn/crashpad in the back corner of the lot. The manager was a Romanian who consisted of two entirely separate individuals, one sober - one drunk. Both were interesting individuals, but one was more dangerous - which was which i can no longer remember. I spent an unnatural amount of time clearing the refuse from the crashpad, believing as i still do there is a studio somewhere for me to work; all that my effort accomplished was getting my right angle grinder stolen from the basement. Among the tenants was a former boxer - once a heavyweight contender - then a massive black man who would cook rotting meat in the kitchen that was located directly below my room. He would then drive off in his still handsome Barracuda to his sheet rock job using his last force to his best advantage. Directly across the hall from my room was a former marine Master Sargent who for some reason allowed my spontaneous visits, where no one else would approach due to his surly manner. They were tempestuous times for me with much change, but none as vivid as the short period between when he asked me to buy him a six pack of beer and pint of Bourbon. It couldn’t have been two weeks later when i opened my door one morning to find him being escorted down the stairs with a paramedic on either arm. There was a long discolored “V” covering his lower extremities; its apex just below his belt, widening out over his two grotesquely swollen ankles. He was dripping shit all the way down the stairs, and died in an unknown hospital a week later. Many decades later i spent an afternoon alone with my invalid stepfather after his colostomy bag had burst. This man was an urbane, cultured son of a concert violinist who spent his working life terrorizing those with less business acumen, retiring as the CEO of one of the largest insurance brokerage companies in the country. Yet his grace couldn’t be known by many unless they had sat with him unable to articulate how to change his own shit bag, covered in his own excrement; our conversation was warm and boundless speaking of any and all things which might allay the odor and cruelty of being stuck. It was not long after this afternoon that he was able to pass quietly into the void. While such unsavory images might certainly run counter to the hilarity of our current existential straits; we are facing a nearly certain extinction succored with desperate entertainment, gorged on googahs guaranteed to fulfill our existence, if only we would buy them.

Some weeks back i was allowed to help a young woman pushing an old woman in a wheel chair up steps next to where i live. Later the old woman could be glimpsed sitting patiently in the entryway waiting for what my mind could not fully face - her death. She is now dead and the family is processing its grief, as all will, and have been doing so for as long as we have existed as a species. How much different are any of us from this woman sitting in the entryway awaiting her end¿ I have an old friend who when i was young gifted me with an “eschatological laundry list,” much of which remains tattooed to the inside of my skull; may you all have such friends. One line item of that list reads, “We are all already dying and we will be dead for a long time.” It is hard to know of the impact of such reality so simply stated can have on a young mind, but i feel particularly fortunate to have been able to chew on it for the past 4 decades; seems barely time enough to comprehend. I have recently taken a pet - a Beta fish - a breed itself that is fraught with meaning for me; like all helpful meaning mostly fathomed in the context of your current experience. So, each morning when i wake and parcel out food to the fish, i expect the little bugger to be dead - why is that? It could be that based on expediency when i clean the bowl i simply pour the old water out into the trees while “Tiburon” is still in the bowl; is that heartless? My reasoning is the physical perturbation of scooping him/her into a container so as to scour what will be dirty in hours balanced against the momentary rush of water from his/her habitat is a fair call. Certainly i remove his/her plants so as to not get entangled in the process, as well as her/his rock furniture - but still each morning i expect the little bugger to be belly up. The question is whether s/he is dying, or i. Clearly we both are, i know i have been for a long time. For certain, the brash young turk who would brave a frontal assault on the shut closed door of a sober curmudgeon Master Sargent has long since succumbed to consideration and vain attempts toward compassion. Yet again there is that fucking paradox; was my act of bringing booze to a man that close to death a self-serving design for companionship at a lonely place in my life, or a growing ear to the wants of others free of judgement? i don’t know. I’m pretty sure i knew everything at that time, even though i had not yet received the wisdom of the “Eschatological Laundry List.” Thank the stars above, i now know much less and growing more so daily.

Does this mean my current narrow concept of living and dying could radically change over the next decades, or few seconds depending upon one’s relative optimism? Having survived substantial physical calamity, i am a faithful believer in the body’s ability to mend itself. Does this mean that dying could be conceived as just one more of our weird realm’s maladies to be cured by medicine, philosophy or religion? Our uncertainty about this life passage has certainly been enough to justify wars of unimaginable carnage, were it not for the testimony of widows and orphans, or the egregious and exceedingly traceable profit of the most unscrupulous amongst us. Profit enough to destroy the planet - who’d have thought something as wholesome as self-interest could devolve into such a demonic delusion that it is possible to control an entire planet, and yet here we sit choking in our own plastic vomit while the barons of fossil fuel increase the production of single-use plastic bottles and containers with nary a peep from our “leaders.” Leadership, i fear is not only dying, but has long since been dead. A rather cruel taunt to any in the upper crust - which by any measure of introspection describes my own unmet needs masked as self righteous muckraking. That paradox again, whether it is sanctimonious projection or a voice crying in the wilderness does not make my commentary less useful to our collective survival. Dying seems to be some sort of passage forced on our organism to insure a vital root, one capable of transforming and thriving in what had once been a paradise, but now a lot of tree stumps and effluence from an extractive corporate blindspot gutting our ability to regenerate, not only the planet but our own souls. The chief scientist at googol is chomping at the bit (no pun intended) to upload digital data into the human mind, and i fear reverse the process for whatever nefarious reasons i can only imagine, but a vivid memory of Christopher Walken yanking his drooling son from the headset in “Brainstorming” is a good place to start. The diseased part of my makeup, suspects the computer models of our future have long since forecasted our certain doom. The hidden treasures of the ruling class/War Profiteers are now being thrown into any technology that can accommodate the hubris of those who would not only condemn all of humanity by arrogant recklessness, but somehow believe such power should be immortalized either as the Nazi wannabe - Walt Disney tried - cryogenics, or by the long ago forecasted shift from a carbon-based life form to that of a silicon-based life force. 

Talk about your reaction-formation to the dread of death, but what i don’t get is how they plan to account for feeling in their vainglorious headlong pursuit of digital immortality at the expense of an entire species¿ What grates on my last nerve, however is how the nature of such an upload will only reflect the pencil-neck geek’s concept of humanity. No one will know the despair of my friend the Master Sargent contemplating death by bottle. That has to have been one of the most complex of contradictions - a man whose life was devoted to feats of bravery and the training of warriorship to fall on his own sword alone and unmourned save the morbid curiosity of a neighbor man-child entirely absorbed in the mythical bubble of a creative “future” - a bubble that was dying even then. More Paradox - how can a creative bubble die - an inchoate dynamic constrained by no more than the flimsiest of membranes in a molten universe that seems itself slated to slip back into the event horizon.  I can attest my bubble was very real at the time, and remains to some degree intact; though now i march toward my raft on the river Styx crushed by my own ambition, rather than exalted and successful toward glimmering heights of fame. Will computers ever know more than an emulated (popular computer conceit) hope or crushed dream. It is here i part company with the wizards of intellect planning our immortal escape using some Rube Goldberg contraption emulating the human experience - without feeling of any kind. That absence of affect to me is just plain stupid. The closest our computer compatriots will ever achieve is a decaying power source gating smaller and smaller +/- 5v pulses until all that is left is an inert dielectric substrate - yes dearies, our computers are all dying, just like us - “Da’ Nile is more than a river in Egypt” - A. Nonymous. What if dying is more than the cessation of life¿ What if our quest for immortality that is being driven by the unknown nature of the beyond is also sapping the dynamic of living from our souls¿ Were we to accept the unknown nature of death as an instrument of our higher learning rather than an impediment to our vulgar conceits of possession and power, might we just find a measure of peace on earth? I have no clue, but i am the son of a woman who had confided a childhood “inconsolable” fear of death. Today she does not seem quite so afraid, but then she is also a pretty savvy spirit. I grieve still for the loss of my much older friend who shared with me the old indigenous adage “When you are born, you are crying and everyone around you is laughing, when you die all around you are crying and you are laughing.” 

My father was an indomitable man who sauntered through ridicule and abandonment with a keen curiosity and lively intellect. Even as he lay dying, he managed to set his own thigh knuckle and take 22 steps. But will is not enough to preclude the inevitable end of breath, anymore than a religious thralldom will stave off your own last breath. What happens after that is in someways akin to what other people think of you - none of your business. I am not sanguine about the future of our species when some of the brightest minds on the planet have absorbed their creative lives into the creation of an Artificial Intelligence devoid of feeling - after some reading - a not entirely accurate assertion. However, in so far as we cannot explain how after eons of evolution we can and do still take our power and use it to end the life of another does not bode well for those pondering the state of personhood for digital beings, anymore than it does for the child who has watched its family vaporized for no more than the greed of a “leader.” We as a species have not even answered the simple question of why are we here, how can we assume the responsibility of imbuing digital technology with purpose. Until we can better explain how aggression, greed, fear, love, courage are useful or needless within our species and to then take steps together to protect our fragile ecosphere and even more fragile human relationships from self-serving and tired traditions we are deluding ourselves from accepting the ultimate reality, there is no constant but change. We will have to find ways to embrace change rather than cling to each proffered fiction designed to impoverish our wherewithal and to enslave our willingness to feel the tenderest of love with all we meet. Those who deny this logic are the same misguided spirits who will not allow Huckleberry Finn to be read in a school, while providing weapons and ammunition to others who would slaughter in that same school. Our time is nigh, and as close to an immortal as i’ve known once said “he who is not busy being born is busy dying” - Bob Dylan - good luck to us all.


living - the sonnet

eating ice cream pop asked “Are we living?”
he is no longer living; i still am.
Yet you didn’t know him before as being,
now you do, if just from his son the ham.

there has to be more to life than ice cream
don’t know what - something is sure to turn up.
I try to stay away from things that scream.
without which no playing with a yelping pup?

Don’t tell me my life is a paradox.
I might have guessed, if i were i wiser.
But wise, i might have returned as an ox,
not some damn fool dressed as a wanderer

Descartes had said “Cogito ergo sum”
I wish he’d said, “i think, therefore - drink rum”

jts 02/19/2018 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

cooperation - the essay / competition - a sonnet

I imagine myself as mostly cooperative, yet i fear my mulish independence and three ex-wives would strenuously object to that not quite innocent assertion. If i was so all fired cooperative, this essay would not agitate my soul as it has, but rather pour itself from my heart into yours like chocolate pudding into a cup. I know this much, were i to resist the impulse to explore this topic, it would describe a serious lack of cooperation within my own being - just like peace cannot be found, until it is felt within. Nor can i claim freedom from cooperation’s nemesis - competition, otherwise how could i sustain an effort, however quixotic, of encouraging anyone about cooperation’s superior utility to humanity. It may be i am too old school, and ought to give ground by using one of the “popularity” apps push technology has so kindly provided our species. I could easily sample the heart of the internet, learning all there is to know about how you all feel about cooperation; then simply present the results - this essay might just write itself. Sadly the half-truths of that fantasy may sustain some lone developer despairing at his/her slog up the corporate ladder toward some corner office and that six figure income promised when s/he hocked a major percentage of her/his future earnings with which to purchase a degree in computer science and all the prestige such an education might provide. ironically, when i transferred to my final college in 1991, the only department allowing for transfers was Computer Science. Could it be i was not cooperating with the universe, when only to gain a toe hold at the college of my choice, i took advantage of that loophole, transferring then to the vastly more practical English major once in? What would my life look like had i simply gone the flow of the universe and remained in the computer science department? Is that even the nature of cooperation - to abandon one’s preferences in favor of a more convenient option¿ Could it be that the essence of a cooperative model for social adaptation is just a more vigorous version of competition - that the cooperative model was abandoned as a means of winnowing the best from the better, not because it was more namby-pamby, touchy-feely and liberal, but because competition was more expeditious, economical and easily managed by the shot callers; perhaps the process of cooperative selection might have winnowed those same shot callers driven by narrow self serving ambitions from leadership positions?

Exploitation is not nature’s way, even Darwin who is often touted as justification for the conservative war chant, “might makes right” declared that adaptability is a more powerful indicator of a species’ success than strength or intelligence. A good question might be: between the ruling class and the proletariate today, which is demonstrating greater adaptability¿ Certainly that mook surveilling your emails without a warrent, or schlep cozying up to Bezo’s administrative assistant in hopes of ___________ fill in the blank or even those sellout hackers selling their botskills to the Ruskies for gobs of _________ fill in the blank, might feel themselves at the pinnacle of some kind of mountain; it would be a push whether i’d call any one of those advantageous positions a corner office, pinnacle or precipice. Helping the man sweeping the street do his job more easily has more practical applications for the betterment of a larger percentage of humanity than aping for the puppets of power put in place by cowards lacking gumption enough to explain to the world why they believe they are worth so much. What would our world look like now if we, as a species, had opted for the cooperative model and vetted the leaders of today’s world based on their effectiveness, rather their happenstance of birth or luck or any variation therefrom you might conceive. Of my many difficulties, and one for which i’d like to find a better resolution in this essay, is the distinction between cooperation and accommodation. It may be that rather than being mostly cooperative as i have declared elsewhere, i am mostly accommodating. Cooperation and accommodation are not by definition mutually exclusive, however accommodation lacks the common purpose that is defined by cooperation. My personal experience would bear that out; every time i have abandoned an objective i knew to be correct in my heart in favor or deference to another, i have regretted it. This is not to say my objectives have always been pristine or even wise, only that as an organism when i have not stayed true to my interior, that decision has invariably bitten me in the ass. However, as the vixen on fb has pointed out, that is a misfortune that can, at times, be its own reward.  

Sexually, accommodation pales in comparison to the power of cooperation. A truth i believe in my heart to be entirely reciprocal, for just as procured sex can never provide either party the rich personal fulfillment of a loving fuck with total abandon, neither will the cowardice of rape confer masculinity, or the parceling of sexual favors beautify a woman. Men today clearly feel resentment for their lot in the sexual playgrounds of today, yet women have gained nothing by the cerebral text of feminism with its rigid definitions of something they can never know - what a man feels, except that which a man openly shares about himself as a result of a lovingly nurtured self examination; good luck finding that beast. We, all of us, have become little more than social network publications of our Madison Ave inspired avatars - our own personal advertisements. Sadly not so much different than that Computer Science graduate, Phd Candidate, or Masters in Business Administration new hire peering out over his/her escrowed cubicle at the window offices and their door locks wondering how much sooner s/he might pay off her/his educational debt once s/he claws her/his way passed that locking door. These are not very wholesome ambitions to my thinking, but that is only a personal opinion after 40 years in the labor market. Would i do it again¿ I would not, knowing what i know now; what would i change? I would take greater pains to understand the “common cause” distinction between accommodation and cooperation. Too often i have succumbed to the fiction which now has its own name - “careerism” - that idea that one’s contentment and personal fulfillment is defined by prestige of the perfect position. Some of the strategies which one contorts one’s self to achieve such nebulous lifelong pursuits might include: you love working on cars, so you become an automotive technician; you like sports, so you become a physical education teacher; you like working with numbers, so you become a bean counter, etc. On the face of it, perfectly practical recommendations until one begins to consider the vast spectrum of human capacity and achievement in terms of a career search that allows for “explorer,” “sailor,” “warrior,” “rock star,” “professional athlete”, “thug,” “President of the United States of America” etc., etc., etc. 

With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) coupled the push technology from our precious Wunderkids of Silicone Valley, things are not looking good for the rugged individualist of ancient and modern lore. If anything we are simply accommodating the mutation of the Roman Coliseum into what is now euphemistically described as “The Economy.” Here our dreams and hopes are deconstructed and plastered on viral screens asserting that just because we have been elected to the presidency we are now leaders. The problem is that we are still slaughtering ourselves for our better’s entertainment, nor have we grown much closer to answering that elusive question of what was on Mozart’s mind? Rather we have been forced to accept our most mediocre of efforts as fine art, possibly because some frustrated younger artist, rather than pay obeisance to beauty, elected to pay for a Phd in Fine Arts with which to became a vaunted art critic whose portfolio is now full with constantly upward-assessed estimations of contemporary artwork. Art value once depended on a solid provenance, now aesthetics are merely trails of providence. We do not seem to be captains of our mother earth ship any longer - a promise held up to humans over history under the periodic excellence manifested in “The Renaissance” “Machu Pichu,” “The Ming Dynasty.” etc. I am not proposing that the remarkable achievements of any period of human history were accomplished without some form of brutal inequality; consider the some 300 Zapotec nobles and priests who commanded a population of 30,000 (.01%) at the height of power for the Zapotec culture inhabiting Danibaan prior to 800 AD. While in today’s fake world economy, .01% is still a population figure bandied about as legitimate High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) contributing some manner of value or _________ fill in the blank, but the population numbers describing our plight today are a little more grave. Oxfam states that 6 individuals now possess greater wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population of some 7 billion humans or a percentage of (0.0000000017142857%) of the world’s population - a percentage which also seems to represent the level of responsibility which the very wealthiest on our planet feel toward toward the rest of humanity. A better explanation for that number might be if you imagined yourself and another sharing a dollar between you - the other feels you are worthy of 0.0000000017142857 of that dollar - you do the math. For my money, one of those two people is either not too very cooperative, or the either is way too fucking accommodating.

I benefited greatly from my personal upbringing which dictated that you pay as you go and be responsible for your own debt. To that end i am somewhat in the black at 63 years of age with 13 stone carvings for sale and sundry artworks that were never slapped together in the industrial art paradigm of sucking up to market forces. It is a paradox to me that in some parts of my life i consider myself too accommodating for my own good, while in other aspects i have impoverished myself by not being cooperative enough. Nor would i imagine my plight that much different than any other human who has taken more than a passing stab at what it means to live with purpose. I believe that a rising tide can better the lives of all, so i am willing to throw my lot in with any creative person or persons searching for a fair livelihood within the labyrinth of creative independence. Searching for a model/companion/business partner has proven a fruitless search for reasons i am at a loss to explain. My sense is the vocabulary of modern feminism does not account for a cooperative life such as i have proposed - that or i am a man out of time, ahead or behind is anybody’s guess. But as a species i can say for fact we have been far too accommodating to those alleged leaders who remain sold to the highest bidders, and altogether off-the-scale accommodating to those bidders with money enough to call the shots. Our only common cause as a species at this time is to preserve the bubble atmosphere within which we live and die. This bubble of air, by the way, is spinning on its axis at about 1,000 miles an hour, while orbiting our sun at a rate of 67,000 miles per hour - a sun which is itself moving in a spiral trajectory in the direction of Vega at about 43,000 miles an hour. This is a lot to ask of a bubble of air which owes its existence to a quixotic blend of sunlight, water, and plant life to support all of its inhabitants, which we as the dominant species are killing off - plant, insect, bird and mammal at a rate of 150-200 species every 24 hours; for the nay-sayers on the fossil fuel payroll, that number of extinctions is over 1,000 times greater than any figure prior to the industrial revolution. As an acolyte of Mr. Natural, my sense is that mother nature has been very accommodating, and just like myself being uncooperative about some aspects of my existence - she too will prove herself to be more cooperative than accommodating and will too soon simply throw her weight behind any phenomenon that proves it can share common cause with her wellbeing; i think it would behove us to find what mother earth needs, and help her to help us. 


competition - a sonnet

competition is mostly ignorant
especially those contests of others
often based on plans from a sycophant
sucking up to ghosts of other’s mothers.

it has been eons since we had to club 
our path to her heart, and still here we sit
one foot - a future in love, one a stub
left raw by fighting for some other’s snit

who would i compete with - for why - for what?
why fight to live in a world full of food
robbed from honest labor by a fake king tut
whose pyramid ain’t real and manners rude?

i will compete for any chance to live
with babies born to parents taught to give

jts 02/12/2018 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved 

Monday, February 5, 2018

robbing - an essay / stolen - the sonnet

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” - Lao Tzu

I had the good fortune, when young, to be taken for a big ride, losing both my drugs and my money. One would think that might be enough to learn one’s lesson - yeah me neither. A neighbor where i live, provisioned me once with a better than fair deal for artisanal mezcal. Being a creature of habit, i find a rut and dig it deeper. The error i made was not paying attention to business fundamentals, namely cash on the barrel head. This was over a month ago and there is no escaping the sometimes deadly reality of personal responsibility. What i cannot abide is having my nose rubbed in my own foolishness. There is time enough for my erstwhile mezcal merchant to learn the ignorance of beating up a steady client, but between now and then this foolish kind of behavior is as close to Mr. _rump as i care to get. The dilemma is how to tease from the tangled web of my friend's greed, my fury, his fury, or my greed a karmic weave that lives up to the worldwide mandate to “do no harm.” I was doing okay containing my self-loathing-masked as contempt for him, while trying to process myself into a more benign frame of mind. Then he began loudly yucking it up with his homies outside my window about the grand heist he had pulled on the pinche gringo. It was here the danger of our world was driven woefully home to the otherwise isolated crags of what is left of my heart. This man and his pain manifested, not in a rational living denunciation of his nemesis Mssr _rump, as my own never sanctimonious, always pure intentions declare, but rather mirrored with deadly accuracy all of the vile, clannish, knee-jerk reactions so skillfully foisted on the hapless hicks of my homeland by the grand snake-oil-salesman and his corporate muscle - mr. m.t. suit, AKA, President _rump. I don’t know what riled me more, to be the object of specific racial animosity after months of deliberate sublimation of all the contempt one faces living in a foreign land, or the frustration of not knowing how to effectively combat my own deeply ingrained white privilege? It is not white privilege that chafes at intentional cruelty, i was born cross-eyed and have encountered the repulsion of others from no more than an initial glance all my life, so much so my favorite halloween costume, has always been, and likely always be, Quasimodo - fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke, or is it joke ‘em if they can’t take a fuck (can never keep those two straight)

Having been taking so well by my betters, inspired me at one time to the fiction of a life of crime, but like any lethal game there is, and will always be that one just that much faster, or meaner or ________ fill in the blank. The fiction of a “dog-eat-dog” world was not fashioned by a dog. Dogs are pack animals and survived by throwing in with the human tribes attempting to rise out of the muck. Man has learned his cruelty at the hands of professionals such as President _rump; low-lifes lacking the testicles to do their own dirty work and who found with enough shells, or shills they could buy men’s minds using nothing more than lies. “Thanks, man for saving our bacon last winter. Let me take this piece-of-shit island off your hands for all these shiny baubles.” One Spanish word for advantage is “provecho.” Having been the loud ugly kid, the “soshes,” of school might have condescended to acknowledge my existence so as to gain traction with my more handsome siblings, otherwise me and the rich kids were like oil and vinegar. By that time in human history, The Beat Generation had morphed into a misbegotten psychedelic love child, a merchandising ploy i bought that hook, line, and sinker - including knee-high moccasins and Dashiki’s when i could find them. Times were good and being young meant one never had to look to deep into anything, just buy, buy, buy, as long as it confirmed your “counter-culture” allegiance. The problem, however, with all movements is, they are comprised of people who by their nature are contentious, peevish, proud, selfish, greedy, loving, fearful, generous, brave, etc., etc., etc. For many years, i was convinced that if i could only persuade whoever i was speaking with at the time, of the logic of altruism, the world would be rectified and set straight; peace would rain and fairness would become the law of the land. I then laughed off suggestions that i might be wearing rose-colored glasses and continued on my merry way - still do. Given the state of the world today my personal conviction remains that if people cared more about each other than they do for themselves - our world’s population might have a slender chance of survival. One dilemma to this end as i see it has been our inability to enlarge the concept of family to include all of humanity. For a time, you heard hippies calling each other brothers, but that was shouldered aside by the much more real exclamation from black men to each other - ergo the phenomenal murder rates within some communities, who else but a family member could have enough feeling to off another?

No, that is not meant as a snarky or offhand remark - this racially unique internecine destruction is the result of some careful efforts by those in power who would keep us all separated from each other, by hook or crook. I imagine we will see the very same behavior within the tight ranks of the ruling class once shit goes really south and the police begin jumping ship when food and water shortages raises the tide of humanity up to and upon the heady shores of conspicuous consumption. Watching the rats of privilege feed on each other is of no interest to me, for by this time in human history the steps necessary to right the ship of humanity from its bereft state will allow for nothing but the most concerted cooperation our species has ever known - i don’t see that happening. The computer technology that is supposedly saving us from certain doom, is also being used to create simulations of a wide variety of increasingly unsavory scenarios by the same unscrupulous cowards who have impoverished half the world selling useless baubles. These simulations allows the ruling class to make minor investments, or heap lavish praise with predictable results. But just like my hapless neighbor thinking he got the world by the tale on a downhill pull beating some stupid gringo for chump change, so too the ruling class is motivated by the unexamined fear of having oppressed a planet of dynamic, capable and determined human beings so much so - they can only be asking themselves - “what if these stupid motherfuckers find out what we have done¿” I myself was unable to expand my concept of generosity to refrain from commenting to my neighbor this morning when greeted affably by him - “who the fuck are kidding?” I will suffer further estrangement from the community i have tried so hard to become a member of; were i a more loving awakened soul, i might have said, “you took from me; is it because you are in need? Here, have some more provecho.” As it is, i may have to continue my wanderings in search of a community where to ply my trade free from aggression, but i am beginning to think that particular homecoming will have to wait until i die, or i reach nirvana. Having been entirely disillusioned by the messianic culture i hail from, i’m afraid the odds are not good that there is the community i seek in this world. What i am left with is the domain of my skin, and whatever peace i am to find will needs be found within my own skin.

Does this mean that i will cease my efforts to re-establish the dignity of existence, not likely. Just as i quest for a woman who will not sell me down the river for a better sperm donor, i will continue to make every effort to expose the divisiveness being wielded by the unscrupulous, or the more camouflaged, surrupitious, and clearly unawakened techno geeks selling their souls to amoral emotional ciphers for computer models of how to take advantage of their brothers and sisters on planet earth. What is so sad to my mind is how close we are to paradise. We as humans have allowed ourselves to be taken in by our own greed, nor does it matter how you dress it up - it is our own - all of us. For example, i contracted with my neighbor, because it was a spectacular value, just as i had bought my last three pairs of Chinese shoes off of an Amazon proxy, somewhat knowing how viscous Bezo’s business model is. To be fair, this was before it was announced Amazon had patented a bracelet capable of monitoring a line worker’s efficiency, but first before you condemn me, tell me how much better the world would be if it was the rulers who were wearing such invasive jewelry¿ Just as my neighbor lost more than a regular customer and a faithful admirer, so too those who are floating on the mere sheen of opulence wholly supported by untold workers, as well as increasing ignorant consumers of our fake world economy, my neighbor has lost valuable support. I will not sink so low as to impede my neighbor’s just efforts for a better life, neither can he count on my endorsement. It is the same for Bezo, i have no qualms whatsoever proposing a worldwide boycott of Amazon, for no other reason than to demonstrate the full force of actual exchange. There is no longer in what “they” call the economy for what the Australians describe as “Fair Dinkum.” Americans used to have similar colloquialisms: on the square, tit for tat, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander; but ‘mericans have now been turned against each other so effectively by a sinister Madison Avenue expertise that the expression “shooting ducks in a barrel” has become inadequate to describe their plight. As far as ‘merica is concerned all they have of any interest is to reach the next level on what ever screen which they are currently paying through the nose to subscribe - sadly not much different than the denial my neighbor used to denounce President _rump in one breath, and brag about the beating he gave the extanjero in the next.

Should any of this scrolling tripe stink of sanctimony - my apologies. I wish my neighbor well, minus enthusiasm and material commitment, just as i pray for the soul of mr. m.t. suit. That does not mean that i may not still move entirely away from where i have become comfortable if my artisan neighbor escalates his greed or demonstrates that he believes he took something he can repeat. Arundhati Roy has pointed out that “they” (the corporate overlords) need us a lot more than we need them. The logic of this observation is unassailable, but why it hasn’t gained better traction among the fractured resistance to our world’s oppression escapes me. I have recently proposed the establishment of a U.S.A. Inc. where instead of a voting franchise, we fight fire with fire, but now i believe that Plane Earth, Inc. would be a wiser business model. Clearly capital has no borders; why should the inhabitants on planet earth limit themselves to such quaint limitations? Just as the illusion that President _rump is not lurking somewhere in every human heart on earth, any effort to change the planet that does not include the warm heartedness HH Dalai Lama advocates, will be doomed. As long as the idea of preying on others has any credence as a business, personal or educational practice, there will never be prosperity on our planet. Prosperity is the capacity to have enough, and as it stands today the ruling class has aptly demonstrated they cannot get enough. However rather than as previous epochs have shown, there is no reform of power. They who have taken from you by any means necessary, can only be restrained by removing from them the source of their wealth - your cooperation. Were i to return to my friend and say, “let’s look past your shady business practices, i’ll buy from you again, and hope you won’t cheat,” i’d have no one to blame but myself - for certainly “once fooled, shame on you; twice fooled shame on me” is true for any neighborhood on the planet, including Wall St. So why do we return time and again to an illusionary economy or any concept that does not help make clear why we were born or aid us in the protection of the only home we can have on this material plane - planet earth?

addendum: i was just placed in possession of artisanal spirits by the same antagonist so sorely used for possibly commercial purposes of this self serving narrative, and/or all that lies in between. The delivery made, was not as a result of my own insistence and/or pressures of pique as i'd like to presume, but a combination of cultural lessons and pride of product (which can never be assumed by the powers of empire) live humbled or die trying. . . 

addendum’s addendum: an additional quantity of excellent mezcal was given to me by a friend who’s daily task is to sweep away our often mindless and unnecessary debris - “be careful what you wish for, you might get it” - Oscar Wilde


stolen - the sonnet

the world has been stolen out from under
our feet, and we helped them do it for free.
believing their lies “WE’ll share the plunder,
but to keep the loot safe, i’ll keep the key”

now it turns out that the vault is vacant
but just like Alice the key has been ours
and all that’s real value remains present -
pride, humility, love, kindness, working hours.

Things that cannot be stolen, never are.
Greed wants you to believe you can own trust;
life teaches that trust burns like any fire
or rots like old metal swallowed in rust.

having something worth stealing is foolish;
we leave like we arrived - naked and fresh

jts 02/05/2018 

reprinted with permission - all rights reserved