Tuesday, July 17, 2018

magic - the essay / reality - a sonnet

mag·ic - ˈmajik/
noun: magic
1. the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces. 

You are poor, “they” are rich: ipso facto - magic; by this logic even your phone, your car, or your job could be considered magic. Just now, “they” took 10 minutes of my time, simply because the numbering format of the internet page from which i cut and pasted the definition of magic transferred to this essay; the computer would not release the format - that is unless you’re an expert in RTF; an apple genius, or wizard none of which i am. I was intrigued by the topic of magic, for when i researched the antonym for magic, there was but one - reality. This is to say, that all that is not reality is magic, or all that is not magic is reality - a pretty bold assertion, but sounds kind of dodgy to me. Today is my last wife’s birthday; that is kind of magical, most especially by her absence - what i believe is called white magic as opposed to black magic. The inference of meaning from black and white is even magical - but bullshit. I experience this dissonance much like a bell that will never be undone; whether i will ever reach a point of evolution that when someone attempts to blacken my name i would consider it a compliment, i cannot say, but a man can hope. I don’t know what flavor of magic removed that particular wound of matrimony from my life, but it is appreciated. She very much believed in the power of magical thinking, enough so that i donated 14 years of my life to her service, for a smile; that’s pretty powerful magic - or powerful pretty magic, depending on your perspective. The reality is that i loved her, and she not i. She left five days after my emergency appendectomy; the night of her soon-to-be surprise departure she stood over a kettle of vegetable soup stirring and muttering to herself, “i love this man, i love this man .  . .” In retrospect she was doing the most loving thing she could conceive - infusing meals for my impending solitude with her incantations. The fact is, that cauldron of vegetables was all the love she had to give, but it was not all she could take - that would come later when she kidnapped my dog.

If you hear any bitterness in this recounting, i apologize - that is not my intent. The weighted valence you sense may be the result of my staple diet which consists mostly of reality sandwiches, that while exceeding nutritious can be dicey to bite off. One of the problems with resorting to magic is that it undermines the actual workings of the world. For example, take the horseless carriage when Henry Ford magically made it affordable to most, not only was walking then curtailed, but the process of building those contraptions effectively enslaved an entire cohort of human beings to repetitive drudgery chained to an assembly line, that magically moved to them, thereby disallowing workers the simple pleasure of walking from task to task. That is the same sort of magic my last wife might employ, for she too was remarkably greedy - not unlike the wannabe fascist Henry Ford. My last wife was not an automotive fascist, she was a spiritual fascist preferring to surround herself with lackeys that could assuage feelings of remorse she may have felt for abandoning her convalescing husband a week out of surgery, or legitimize for her the act of stealing his dog. That is pretty powerful magic indeed. I wonder of she ever achieved her ambition of becoming a crone - if a vision from a camping trip in Colorado is sufficient to make it happen, then i guess i have my answer. It’s easy to poke fun at magic, but i’m not sure how real it is as a strategy for establishing a beachhead for logic in an illogical world. Yet by the definition of reality posted in the poetry section, logic is not intrinsic to reality, however whatever is “contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality” is adequate to confirm a state of delusion; ergo war is not delusional, though it’s sole role in humanity today is to maim and kill soldiers, and enrich profiteers - that’s pretty magical, for the profiteers. It was not enough to love my wife for her to stay, it may be i need to pay more attention to who loves me, than who it is i love - i don’t know. I do know that a firm grip on reality is inadequate to what’s necessary for our species to survive, and that is a little scary.

Nor do i believe my wife was deluded as she chanted “i love you” and planned her escape during our last night together, i feel she believed her truth at the time, however inconsistent was her subsequent behavior with my own humble understanding of love. The study of magic by psychologists is identified as metaphysics, as beyond the tangible. C.G. Jung, however was not averse to exploring this realm and even wrote an introduction to Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching. If foreknowledge provides the ability to influence future events, the I Ching would qualify as a book of magic. C.G. Jung was to be Freud’s intellectual heir until they had a falling out, how human can you get? So what good is any discipline: psychology, physics, astrophysics or metaphysics. Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays utilized his uncle’s concepts to become the father of all modern marketing techniques. Like christianity and war, knowledge does not necessarily evolve into service to mankind, just look at the scientists and engineers creating weapons of war, and single generational seeds for no other reason than profit. I can understand the want for magic; i felt it myself this morning searching for an escape from a numbering scheme not of my choosing, but it was not magic that intervened, it was persistence. Does that mean we cannot count on magic to rescue us from extinction¿ I don’t know; i do know that the Dalai Lama says that prayers are not enough, that we must make tangible our hopes for a better world - to take concrete steps toward alleviating the suffering of others, and as importantly alleviating our own suffering. Is that what my ex-wife did, take concrete steps to alleviate my suffering with a bucket of vegetables, and to then take concrete steps to end her own suffering by leaving? My sense is yes and no, the soup was good and did help, but i would imagine if i had to take a guess, whatever objections she had about me that drove her away still manifest to one degree or another in her life.

People generally object to violence as a solution to problems, especially where old people and infants are concerned. Yet we have never been further from worldwide peace during anytime in the human epoch. Does this mean that war is magic, or does it mean that the-powers-that-be have perfected Bernays’ marketing science such that if they can’t sell ice to the eskimos, they just melt the ice. I believe more in magic, than i do in reality mostly because i have great doubt about anything that is generally accepted as true, whereas magic remains me of a time in my youth when i would conjure  all manners of incantation to help catch the fly ball, or connect with the pitch or get her attention even if i had no idea what to do with it once obtained. Is this to say magic ever helped me become a better ball player, i don’t know - that is the magic. Reality was the hard-bitten Kansas plumber who made his son catcher, and me benchwarmer - who never had a kind word to say and after the single hit i ever made in little league snatched it away telling me once i scored it was just “fielder’s choice.” My oldest brother was a champion: little league, swimming - he was even on the Dating Game, i was not - those and all the manifest differences in our two lives could be reality; lack of delusion; or as easily be magic for all the good those accomplishments or lack thereof have done. Is it even possible to state what reality is much less know what it is not¿ If there is such a thing as magic, which given that magic is all that reality is not makes that a very real possibility can it be as easily manipulated as reality¿ My experience has taught me to not fuck with what i do not understand, but rather to try and understand what i cannot fuck with - put differently by the Dali Lama - “you have to know the rules, before you can break them.”

Reality has not helped all that much, especially given the “generally held to be true” clause that for me makes it immediately suspicious, but what has magic accomplished that a fifth of Jack Daniels and a couple bowls of hash couldn’t¿ Is there middle ground that might serve us in this our most desperate hour? Pema Chödrön - “Honesty without kindness, humor and compassion can be just mean,” however this quote as with all of Pema’s message is toward self. Magic thinking or real thinking we are stuck within the skins we were born to which means to me the limits of my what i can know for certain, and even then there is a question whether the pain in your neck is from the asshole boss who just laid you off, or the memory of a shrill parent who just won’t quite die - our only salvation is to listen to either voice; to feel the pain to struggle to keep the heart open and soft. It is an irony that our culture has grown so reliant on understanding something like reality for our existential bearings when the question is no longer even germane once we perish, and i can understand why others might be uncomfortable with the uncertainty of magic, not all that different from the impermeable barrier of life and death, a barrier similar to the one we face every time we speak with conviction about another person’s reality - i cannot ever know what is true for you, and all you can gather from me is what i share, minus the filters of fear, arrogance, loneliness, conceit, etc. I don’t play with magic like i do with reality, for magic is a little like the dark stranger that takes a strategic position in a crowded place and says nothing - it is wiser to wait and watch whereas reality is more like the buffoon who confuses an expensive car with the ability to drive fast, or women on his arm for love and compassion but mostly fun to laugh at when the time comes for his fall, and he surely shall fall. What makes either case more interesting, magical menace or glittering gluttony is when the unexpected occurs and compassion escapes from either into a world in much need of more - compassion. 


reality - a sonnet

re·al·i·ty - rēˈalədē/
noun: reality
1. the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

Reality says to water trees and why,
but today says cut ‘em all down as well.
which is which? Without trees, we gonna die.
Die we all do, but with trees, not in hell.

Friends will stay friends, that is until they’re not.
were they good friends when just a memory,
or better friends when smoking your last pot.
Friends, like birds do best when left to be free.

If we can’t know what happens after death,
how can we presume reality exists¿
what if our world’s what’s left of one’s last breath?
the mind insists, but what’s all defies lists.

What’s said of dreams, kind of fits reality,
you can be in mine, but it gets gritty.

jts 07/16/2018
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved e


Monday, July 9, 2018

old - an essay / young - the sonnet

"Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny ol' world that's a-comin' along
Seems sick and it's hungry, it's tired and it's torn
It looks like it's a-dyin' and it's hardly been born" 

- Bob Dylan

It is said, “you are as old as you feel.” - A. Nonymous - i am old, kidding sort of. I enjoy writing for that simple reason - its capacity to provide fun, for if you expect your audience to engage in a willing suspension of disbelief, you’d damn sure better be able to pull it off yourself. Besides in the scheme of things, my corporeal imprisonment within a 13.722 billion year-old mesh of some kind which the brightest amongst us are still struggling to explain would be somewhat less than a skid mark, not really even rising to the threshold of the alarm necessary to hit any brake: more like watching a kinescope from a great distance of some flickering slow motion train wreck. If you don’t want me playing with words, don’t read it. Nor do i particularly feel old, more weary of the needless fear which seems to be ever in balance against the reality of my picayune crossing of the time stream. My father’s poems lost in the ransacking of his carefully constructed house of cards involved bucolic memory’s of his youth. At the time, while supremely involved with my own calamities, his craftings always managed to open for an instant in time a vision of his past that was fresh and full with vitality. I would not likely feel quite so old if all i knew were as fortunate to possess such a memory: or it could the burden of guilt i carry for not having fought harder to publish his work, much less lose possession of his lexicon. In the end Pop did not carry much dead weight, which is not to say i did not witness some spectacular heartbreak watching his changing views on the progressive dismantling of his world. It is an odd postscript to his teachings that i would be wondering what he might feel about the cavalier approach toward humanity’s impending extinction. Toward the end Pop resorted to brevity - “screw the little guy” would likely be his sardonic quip. Is this what it means to grow old - wax nostalgic as a sop to personal grief, instead of penetrating the thorny conundrum of the aged¿ Have i lost so much virility in my headlong rush to death that i can no longer fuck an idea until something grows? I recently listened to “Hanoi Jane” give a TED talk exhorting the power of aging - for women - realizing, sadly, she is a chauvinist. Is that what it means to age - to be disabused of one’s delusions? 

If so, i’m game; where do i sign up? When i was young, i owned a baseball how-to book that was from an time when illustration was at a zenith. Cadres of artists who had illustrated everything that fed the WWII death machine, including the coastline for the Normandy invasion, all looking for work - including my cherished how-to baseball book. The quality of drawing in this book was like a Grey’s Anatomy for baseball fiends. I memorized every illustration; how to hit; how to field; how to bunt, swing away and snap one’s wrists when coming around. What it didn’t explain was how to normalize monocular vision such that i could hit a fast-pitched ball. That revelation took about 10 years off my life, but it was well worth it, if only to become a 22 year-old twelve year-old, aging fast. If i had known then what i know now, i may not have been in such hurry to become a “teenager,” though my older brother and sister looked like they were having fun. By fifteen Baker St. had lost a 1/3 of its population, by age 16, 1/2. With the wisdom gained from being so much older, the elder brother and sister followed Pop out the door, leaving me with a very angry 42 year-old divorcee, and a little brother doing his best imitation of Tom Sawyer’s brother Sid. I was then 16, by 17 i was alone in Europe. Not exactly alone, Pop had fulfilled his filial responsibilities and i was boarded, with a U.S. Army Sargent Major and his English bride. I’m now 63 scratching my head wondering what the hell this has to do with penetrating whatever mystery can be found in essaying “old”¿ It is a relief that i do not have any answer, or at least little more than the signposts put up by thoughtful forebears. Having a gift for avoidance when young, i survived learning which elixirs combined with which activities that would result in the haze which made those times tolerable, at least for those who were careful. Elixirs and behaviors do not work any longer, or their effects have joined the ranks of dead-end signposts, both having dubious value. Life is no longer a trailer for the main feature, as i draw nearer and nearer to my own death, the signpost i would like to leave takes on added weight, or if you will, needs become light as a feather. We are reaching a point in human history when if you cannot travel light, you may want to check your kit.

Are long hashed-over events from nearly 50 years ago pertinent? What if, as ancient Hebrew wisdom once described, each life is a universe, would my existence or its particulars represent useful data? I don’t know, but i do know if there was a way to have fun, my father would find it. What if as, some posit, our existence is all smoke and mirrors¿ I have read an entire tract by a neuroscientist suggesting our realities could be understood as icons on the computer screen - each a self-contained set of criteria and relatedness, but having no bearing to any other icon on screen. I find Plato to be more accessible, but then i never read “The Republic” cover to cover. My interest in this particular polemic was piqued when someone told me Plato allowed sculptors into the republic, but not painters. Apparently Plato objected to the illusionary underpinnings of perspective, whereas a lump of stone, regardless of the likeness, would be an acceptable surrogate for Medusa, or some satyr for that matter. I think it will be more useful for us to explore closely the relationship between change and history. For example, knowing my protoplasm is little more than a coincidence, it informs my miseries of their sheer insignificance, but also electrifies my heartbeat, for of all the coincidences, my particular miracle allows me to spell words and smell puppy breath. What is difficult to understand, is how if we could all be smelling puppy breath, or spelling words, why are we wasting time on killing what is going to die anyway? As a young turk, it was patently clear, at least according to my older brother, war is not the answer, and according to my sister, g_d is likely a woman - not a man. Armed with the truth as my family had explained it to me, i set out to seek my fortune; end war, while searching for the face of g_d in every woman i met. We as a species have been doing the same thing since the beginning, but just like energy - objects tend to remain in motion until acted upon by another force. Hanoi Jane talked about it in her sexist TED talk, “entropy” the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics which states more elegantly at absolute zero you cannot suck any more energy from the system to do anymore work.

It would seem the inside-the-box thinking of the ruling class has determined, not only do they not want absolute zero, but if they can heat the whole world up, does that mean, we the suckers, will yield more work¿ Clearly logic is not something they teach to trustfund babies. But if we look deeper into human history, prior to when the experts told us history was over, one can find substantial models for successful cohabitation of this world, not only successful, but thriving. Bali was able to create such surpluses from their water management that they grew the first three crop yield of rice in Asia. This provided their culture with adequate leisure to develop the highly evolved artistry which sustains mama Agung to this day. Unfortunately for the world, the yahoos steering the fracking train are still sinking 8% of oil extraction into the manufacture of new plastic, a lot of which ends up on the shorelines of Bali. Greed, is as old as dirt, but who’d have thought it would swallow the other 6 deadly sins? Have we learned anything as a species¿ Back to the analogy of a single life as macrocosm, or is it microcosm - have i learned anything other than how to spell and have fun, and spelling i don’t do so good at? I have learned that it is truly better to be happy; not the fake baubles of Disneyland or owning a Maserati, (truth be told, i’ll have to revisit the Maserati idea after i’ve owned one), but the happiness that comes from an absence of greed, hatred and delusion. The sort of happiness that allows one to follow the sacred thread into the happy hunting ground bravely and calmly. I have learned to veer from dishonesty, for it is so important to preserve brutal candor when trying to express the wonder and beauty of this world. I have learned that war is not the answer, it’s not even part of the question because the only war that is winnable is the one inside oneself. There are no other enemies than the ones conjured by one’s own fears and cowardice. The odd thing is that i knew this to be true as a young turk and still waded into the fray, whether from cowardice at the prospect of battling such a noble adversary as myself, or the delusion of thinking myself the only sanctuary of righteousness in an indecent world? I don’t know.

What i’d like to learn is how i allowed myself to be flimflammed out of knowing my own heart. Was it necessary to fight fictional battles against imagined adversaries to know what Leonard Cohen meant when he wrote, “Love is the only engine of survival.”? Is it possible our old world has simply had to get to this point in history to understand the paucity of groveling for every legitimate joy. Were we given the temporary security of a loving family just to develop wings with which to fly our own course¿ I don’t know, but i do know what it feels like to live 63 years, and i have some idea how limited my understanding of time is against a universe i have no reason to believe is not 13.772 billions years older. Now that i have wasted much of my 63 years, it might be a good idea to try and understand better the world i live in. Not the planet, for it will be here, plastic and all, long after we’ve expired. Just like waging fictional wars with fictional adversaries for fictional objectives does not bear up well to scrutiny, perhaps the veil of delusion will yield understanding to simple questions - How can i help you? How do you feel¿ What do you want¿ Albert Einstein - “make things simple, but not simpler.” Doctor Einstein did not participate in the development of the nuclear bomb outside of confirming the theoretical underpinnings. He did not participate as a scientist of conscience, would that the computer scientists blowing up the world today shared his principles. How can we understand any other time in our history, when we can barely understand the times in which we now live? It is more than a rhetorical question, for if we do not learn more of whatever our much older and wiser world can teach us, we like any child that ignores its parents about playing on the freeway, may find ourselves splattered all over hell and gone. (yes as a matter of fact, when bored - Pop would offer us a quarter to go play on the freeway - why do you ask¿)


young - the sonnet

thank g_d young is much more than not being old;
one can be infantile but wise as time;
others have years, but lacking hearts that are bold.
i’d never trade what i’ve learned for a dime.

i have nothing left to me, but to learn.
nearly from where i started - same lessons -
If lucky, served fresh when it comes my turn,
from lower east side delicatessens.

if i must learn, i hope it’s as much fun
as it was learning to tie my shoelaces.
Heidi Mueller taught me this, and to run
when she started making funny faces.

i can recall her happy confidence.
but also saying, “you are too damn dense.”

jts 07/09/2018
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved e


Monday, June 25, 2018

work - the essay / play - a sonnet

Today is writing day, and i had errands to run. The journey ended up with a blockade by the teacher’s union which i support, however the diversion took my ride far from my destination. I have been struggling with pain while walking and it is beginning to resolve itself, i hope. The remedy has involved diet, exercise and continuous work, over years. What makes me believe that it is resolving itself, is simply because the pain is different, so whatever i am doing is having an effect. Still, today’s unexpected walking mileage was work; as is starting this writing later in the day; as is sifting through existential detritus for useful analog to share in a digital wasteland. I like to work, mostly because some of the must fun i’ve ever found flowed directly from a work site. Picture a huge warehouse with stacked 4’ high pallets of 20 gallon plastic buckets; each wall of the warehouse is lined with pallets stacked 4 high and 3 deep with just enough space for a single person to pass. Then imagine a thousand lids for those 20 gallon buckets used as flying discs; now picture 100 young working men equally divided between those two rows of pallets on opposing walls of this warehouse - paint ball will never be as much fun as that war was. Life cooking soup in a factory is dirty, hot, and dangerous - but one learns not all adages are true; for example a watched pot will actually boil. I use to equate work with gainful employment, but found most employed people do the least to gain the most - a logical strategy when the owners of most jobs seek the same. Early in my aerospace career, i had accomplished a change order that was very involved. The owner of the company - a friend who magnanimously provided me a career path - was taking a walking tour with the customer (air force); wanting to impress on my friend how hard i was working. i proudly displayed my dense change order. I could not have imagined at the time, i was essentially telling the customer we have a flawed product that needed much work to make it right.  One of the greatest difficulties we face surviving the next 100 years as a species is we are not working toward a common goal - the single greatest flaw, fatal flaw of capitalism.

We do not enjoy the luxury of leisure time to discover adjustments to capitalism such that the naked lust at the core of its success could be attenuated down to simple sperm donor. I’ve seen rooms containing less than a dozen people discussing simple engineering choices deteriorate into screaming matches of a nearly violent nature; watched community meetings devolve into tribal posturing of check and checkmate and families steal from each other for material gain. I am at a complete loss as to what common denominator would inspire a species to care about each other. The logic is all in place that the most enlightened have basically shared the same wisdom with varying degrees of success. Nor do i believe any lack of success on humanity’s part is simply from laziness. I’ve seen women empty dump trucks of sand using nothing more than wicker baskets held tight by their bowed heads; i’ve seen men pour asphalt roads in 100º F. Sadly in either instance the purpose for such effort is most likely pay, remuneration, scratch, share, cut - all still wage slavery. I wouldn’t be so bold as to equate this effort now with what it took from the women in Bali carrying bricks on their heads for the two-story homestay built next door, but it’s not far off. The at least were compensated. I write because my father wrote, and i admired those principles he found from a life in words. My writing has taken me through many topics, from flight manuals to city plans to prospectuses for commercial real estate. These experiences have given me a profound regard for the capacity of statements and assertions to affect the thinking of different people. It has also given me great caution for the abuse that comes from subterfuge and chicanery when unprincipled people are given a voice. When you are talking eye to eye, after enough times bullshit basically just up and says to you point blank, “this is bullshit.” Written words are more difficult to decipher without the scent that comes with a spoken lie. Take “Cool Hand Luke” for example; if you read the book, you know there is a scene where the prisoners are faced with shoveling sand on poured tar for what seems like forever, but because Luke wanted to have fun, he turned the chore into a game and in so doing gained 4 hours of rest for the entire crew - no one expected they could complete the task in half the time.

I’m not suggesting Donn Pearce, the author of “Cool Hand Luke,” is a liar and a cheat by convincing you with the written word that tossing sand on hot tar in sweltering heat could be transformed into a noble act by virtue of defiance, but the net effect is no different than the influence a dead dictator has had on the current ‘merican administration in the guise of ‘ole mr. m.t. suit. By many accounts Mien Kampf was bedtime reading for m.t. suit for decades. It is an irony that a personality so inimical to worker’s welfare could apply such a work ethic so assiduously and continuously as to bring a nation to the brink - but there ya’ have it. What is missing from this entire discussion, is purpose as it pertains to issues of work. My purpose in writing is to lift others, to encourage personal achievement by sharing examples of my own discoveries and humor about my legendary failures. I’m pretty sure the main reason i am able to pursue my purpose as it relates to work is because money is not the reason is not the reason i write. Nor do i have any other formula for anyone wanting to pick and choose what they turn their hand to, work like hell and buy your time back. For decades, i worked weekends carving stone, and i’d be lying if i wrote that much of that activity didn’t include the fiction of “discovery and acclaim.” My luck is holding and i remain obscure and more than able to meet any demand for my labor intensive product. The discipline i have acquired while shoehorning carving time into my employment schedule informs my choices about time. “Time is a created thing; to say I don’t have time, is like saying I don’t want to.” - Lao Tzu. I approach my mortality with more appreciation than when young and possessed by delusions of grandeur, it is no longer issues of legacy or fame, but the quality of each exertion and why. Part of the confusion about art and my devotion to it developed when i began to understand the market never wanted the best that i could do, but that which would would generate the most income for its owners - indistinguishable from any paid employment to which i’ve ever subjected myself.

The mythological greatness that capitalism holds up as its enduring legacy is no more than a paragraph in the book of human history. The reason is a basic function of logic, for any market activity based on “buy cheap, sell dear” can only result in lower quality and higher prices. Once i wakened from my dream of fame and fortune, it became clear i would have to ask myself difficult questions about my own creative conceits - could i accept anonymity as the end product of my life’s work? This line of questioning cut to the core of my motivation - do i labor for recognition, from who, for why¿ Do i work for the pleasure it gives me to accomplish what only i and my cumulative experiences can yield. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. I take great pleasure when i am understood through the lens of my work, but it gives me much greater joy when i learn from a subject that they feel understood in my work. I had a therapist who used to laugh at me for carving stone, he equated it to grandiosity, mostly i’m sure because he had never carved stone - itself a happiness no one should leave the planet without having tried, but i digress. This therapist was soothing his anxiety about fucking with people’s thinking by believing his guidance could help me be more practical in earning a living - a perfectly rational strategy as i’m sure some employees being paid with tax dollars to warehouse kidnapped children rationalize their occupations. Until our civilization is capable and determined to develop the capacities of every human being on the planet to his or her utmost, we are a doomed species. I don’t say this with hatred or contempt or even all that much angst, but because it is a logical truth. To believe that a handful of human beings can be worthy of more wealth than 3.5 billion human beings combined is not simply injustice, it is a distortion of the truth which is we could be 3.5 billion times more powerful as a species if our focus was on developing each other rather than overcoming each other.

The notion of overcoming the other guy in this dog-eat-dog environment serves not the dogs, but the dog owners - less dog food and less dog shit. To think because you have a job, home, car and family you are successful, does you disservice only because you’ve never given yourself permission to do what you want - to start with a blank state and create whatever life you choose with the those skills you acquired with love and affection. If you are like me, it is not a simple path to have questions which only you can answer, and mostly after enough others have given you wrong the directions with the best of intentions, but wrong directions nonetheless. My telling you to do this or that does nothing for the personal journey you are on before death, but my saying there are questions to be found may help you in a world full of answers all of which are usually designed to separate you from your money, or seize your time for service in somebody else’s empire. Profit for me is ability to lay my head down and die knowing i did my best to learn something about myself and what i was capable of while harming as few as possible on the way - and that has been work enough. I have learned that for some things there is no amount of intention or willfulness that will accomplish a successful end - love for one, death for another. Some will never love you, regardless of how hard you work, and death is going to get you, no matter how hard you work. So i’m very specific about what i do and why - i work at what makes me happy, for it is more likely i will enjoy some happiness doing what i enjoy. As a wage slave, especially in the days before computers were roboticized to accomplished mundane tasks the exhortation of the managers was work smarter, not harder. In retrospect they were telegraphing their next punch when we humans are put out of work the final out come of “buy cheap, sell dear” manifest. So again my luck has held out and i am content to continue working, only now i only work at what i want to work at, but at the end of patiently saving enough to buy back the only thing i have worth owning - my own life.


play - the sonnet

Mezcal and poetry - what could go wrong,
besides everything - enough to stop?
It would be if i wanted to live long,
i’m no turtle - my stock’s a dumber crop.

We live to die, ignored by those who’d cry
and instead scream all the while - look at me.
We’re taught to ignore who we love - to lie
to ourselves, so we may become more free.

One problem is we learned most as children,
whose lessons aren’t forgotten or lied to.
Kids can’t lie, and know who’s kith and who’s kin
inspiring stories like “Winnie the Pooh.”

- into a world that’s mostly concerned with
“fuck any cost, we want another myth.”

jts 06/29/2018
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved e


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

change - an essay / preserve - the sonnet

Yesterday Mexico upset Germany in the World Cup 1 - 0; Germany was heavily favored - not a bit unlike Humanity vs corporations . . . 

I was fortunate to be raised by parents where the father, who i am sure for purely perverse reasons, ever favored the underdog. This upbringing encourages hope from me in a hopeless world. It has become very popular to accept the forgone conclusions spouted by the highly paid talking heads parroting the ruling class party line - resistance is futile. The irony and the paradox is that were they - the-powers-that-be - to take their own advice, there could be hope for our world. Instead, we enjoy a dystopian decay of a wondrous environment remarkably adept at providing all that is needed to sustain life in a vacuum nearly full with dark matter, about which nobody seems to understand much. We are unable to see dark matter, but we are able to extrapolate its existence. Change is not all that much different; humans have a tendency to believe only what is in front of them and so give little credence to the ceaseless manifest transformation occurring as you read this. Take for example, your body, the one you were born with has, with the exception of the corneas, changed cells completely on average every 7 years. Yet many find it difficult to forsake, the religion they were born into, their nationality at birth, or even shake certain convictions held by those who allegedly know you better than you do yourself by virtue of early family experience. Muhammad Ali - “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20, has wasted 30 years of his life.” Our world culture is schizophrenic with respect to change. Smart money has no qualms about tearing out entire forests simply to provide space to produce palm oil, yet will commit genocide defending a 2,000 year old memory. I am oddly resistant to change, though i’ve lived on four continents in as many years. It is not clear yet whether my travels are in quest of change or a vain effort to preserve my conceit of a creative life. Having spent years in therapy, i have been indoctrinated into the faith of personal growth. The dilemma is what criteria constitutes growth - if it is simply a developing capacity for self awareness - what then is left for the agency of free will. If all therapy is designed to strip away the sham of ego and stand naked in the shimmering light of the unconscious what sanctuary on earth is safe for morals? However, if it is self that determines morals who would dare to presume what is right for another¿

Are there actually timeless values - immutable truths which if followed will gradually lead our species toward the light, or inexorably drawn to the dark matter depending on your team? Does everything depend on perspective - is there some clause to truth that could actually reconcile the kidnapping of children from their parents, and to not only exonerate the culprits, but pay them handsomely for their evil acts¿ I planted a tree on the street i live and felt great for it; two hours later a local vendor failed to return with my change - my choice is to treat both events the same. Any other response seems impractical, i am the host of my feelings, and if i am as willing to take pleasure in the possible growth of a tree, why would i not gamble on the growth of my friend the vendor to eventually come to grips with her greed? I could waste a lot of time chasing her down to chastise her dicey ethics - would that affect any change in her beliefs¿ Yet what of the greater mayhem exacted by the same greed motivating my friend the tortilla vendor by those deflowering virgin forests for the sake of your nutritional hipster doofas exercise cookie¿ Is it only a question of scale that animates my outrage, or is it that destroying the habitats of orangutans augments my strenuous objection to the rank of righteous wrong? What amazes me is how resistant to change such assaults on our species remain. War has afflicted us from the first pissing contest between rival brutes, brutes who lacked then the cajones to do their own fighting and so employed the easily led - no different then military recruiters to this day. Let us not forget the paradox of heroism within the microcosm of armed conflict - how many lyrical exhortations have been made, honored and repeated with the intent of inspiring greater atrocity¿ “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day who sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother, be he ne’er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition:” - William Shakespeare. We are in a state of war according to Warren Buffett, the question remains who determines the battlefield and what are the objectives¿

Often i’ve thought it must be through cooperative effort upon which the tide of battle will turn - the more i watch of mobs and bodies of people surging the less confidence i have in change based on mass. Nor does it follow the model for subverting the public will so successfully employed thus far by the ruling class. Can it be that the individual efforts Ms. Rand advocated and with which so neatly seduced the barely post pubescent intellects of today’s conservative baronets can yield the Neitzchean googol androids on which their chief scientist Dr. Frankenstein wants to compile humanity. Talk about your change, remembering the author of the good Doctor Frankenstein was a woman so enamored of her dead husband Percy Bysshe Shelley that she kept his dead heart wrapped in one of his poems - i don’t consider Kurzwell’s hubris as quite so innocent. I do remember a feeling about a chica in a science lab early in college just when “Hotel California” was first released. “Hotel California” is playing just now as i write - i can still feel the mystery of that young woman, though i cannot recall her features. I can understand people wanting to preserve such feelings, there are even some hearts i would keep - some i would take from their beating chests - kidding, sort of. Change is awkward contrasted against those elements of our world that are relatively stable - rocks for example. We used to have the capacity to relate to our physical world reflected in expressions like “The Rock of Gibraltar” for tower of strength, now however the simile for strength has morphed into tera-whoopdeedoos reflecting one’s relative bandwidth capacity. I have found with my work, if i am unrelenting something will happen eventually. This strategy runs counter to the inspiration-based art industry startled out of position by the dot.com economic tsunami every self-respecting over-achiever on the planet paddles in place hoping to catch, which we all know is coming because Siri tells us so.

What i have found in my dogged pursuit of what makes me happy is one; it ain’t all good, but if you keep trying some of it becomes so. The paradox is in part according to who; anymore, i am the arbiter of good taste. This is a serendipitous happenstance i did not see coming. By excising myself from the fiction of art as a product, i suffer. And again, according to who¿ As a young turk i fully expected the world would be as easily conquered as art school - many battles later, no one is left standing except me. After so much struggle, the only one on the top of the heap, is me. But the passion of my previous generations is not so easily pacified. Because i have no one else to overcome, i am am compelled by blood to better myself - once again, according to who, or more accurately - how¿ Of the myriad things i’ve turned my hand to as wage slave, drawing provided the best use of my unique perception - a cyclops possessing supernatural 3 dimensional acuity; i think it has something to do with being half-deaf, or it could be because vision for me is a constant alternate between the view from one eye and the other. Change does not seem as bizarre to me as it may seem to others, and vice-versa, i’m sure. Being free of the yoke of market is the key to changing the pace of industrial art. This meant subjugation to the “twenty years of boredom” - Leonard Cohen sings about, but also a narrow window for the happiness i find in an unencumbered creative existence. My current project is a closeup selfie by a very petite, very determined, very bright, and from what i can see from the photograph, very determined young professor. I met her at Occupy LA and so understand the barest outlines of her struggles in a foreign nation as an academic. I share this because for the first month and a half of the project, all i could find was discoloration of the paper. Paul Cezanne said “try to ignore the outlines;” i have found him a difficult spirit to ignore. Were i less driven by insatiable hunger for change like an adrenaline junkie, i might have had a chance to enjoy the changing discolorations longer - patience has never been my long suit. What makes the wait worthwhile is when the problems and possible solutions present themselves in exponentially increasing increments - that is the best place i’ve found to get lost in a world altogether too busy telling me where i am. 

When i defeated the last of my foes, the creative battles got much better and the terrain more lush. A blank page is no longer empty and injustice is just one more opportunity to improve. I cannot say what goes on in the mind of a human willing to kidnap a child from its parent, but i have control over what goes thru my mind. This means also freedom to determine what i do, not easily gained freedom, nor much - but enough for me to stare into discolored paper as long as i can hold the gaze looking for meaning. As a young turk willing to .  . . i had no idea that the real battle for freedom was to fight for my own - then, i wanted to liberate the world. For many decades, i struggled to learn how, however most of what i managed to learn was how to be happy. This included faking it in a lot of places with a lot of people - the resulting surprise is a longstanding habit - do something long enough and like magic - shit happens. Literally, be wrong long enough it’ll bite you in the ass every time. But again, who’s buying - who is selling? On my lonely summit, the only customer i cater to is my own self and that fucker wants to spend nothing on everything, and still drive a caddy - live on easy street taboot. So i did the next best thing, i’ll never see enough of a lovely woman enough to satisfy my cheap ass lord-of-the-manor self, but i can draw, or try to using my cyclops dimensional dyslexia. The win-win upside of my twisted plan is even if i fail a drawing, i’ve just spent an ungodly amount of time fathoming the beauty of woman. It’s a paradox that my patience, or lack thereof is what has given me the confidence that even if nothing ever comes of the hours of fathoming, or worst yet that what north/south light i’ve scrounged together at the time is no longer suitable, prest-o change-0. There are many north/south light windows on this planet filled with 7 billion + human beings; i simply move sideways and try to understand someone or something else with my pencil. As long as i seek it out there will always be more discolored paper of one kind or another to provide puzzle and wonder until something understandable can be found.

addendum: the tortilla vendor eventually provided my change, but i have a sense she felt cheated in doing so - a sense that reflects my shortcoming, not hers.


preserve - the sonnet

Ma is more than fond of marmalade 
and no matter who’s around, that won’t change;
how much she gets comes from who’s there to aid
and why - for her, for them - that’s quite a range?

If i don’t change her water, my fish’ll die.
More preserve would save ma - she’s old as dirt.
They’ll both be dead whether or not i lie,
i’d mostly want that neither suffer hurt.

Were it my power to change anything,
i would not; to change their joined destiny
would describe more of what it is i cling
than any knowledge of their destiny.

i use to shape stone for learned amusement
now i look at stone for what’s pertinent

jts 06/18/2018
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved e


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

family - the essay / parent - a sonnet

I live with the parents of a family in an old house in an old city; i am not a member of the family; it is not my home town, but i call it home. There is nothing i can do to change those facts. They are a good people doing their best to be decent human beings, and i consider myself lucky. When researching this essay, i discovered (according to the internet) the only antonym to family is parent - that struck me odd. Family is for me fraught with meaning and the subject of much powerful feeling - happy and sad, however, it is unusual to find a word with a single opposite; the word “parent” is not what i expected to find. Maybe i was searching for some clue about my own family history - to learn whether there was something i was missing, or if my expectations were exaggerated. I can see the logic of parent as antonym to family, but don’t quite see how parent can be integral to family, though entirely apart and opposite. Perhaps it is not dissimilar to “army” having a unique definition, but still consisting of leaders and followers¿ My family was for me at one point the source of all that was worthy in the universe; it was inconceivable that there could be a better world. The more i learn of the world, the more i discover that my family is very much like every other family in the world. My parents, rather than having been flawless raising flawless children, clearly left a legacy to the world for all the faults available to humans, most of which are well represented in my flawed character. What i wonder is how many others of our kind have grown to accept the reality of imperfection, as opposed to carrying that time honored cross - “do as i say, not as i do”? It was my dumb luck to be born to parents who did their best to live their “talk”. 

As a brother to my siblings - i must be as much a wonder to them as they to me (not discounting their indifference). What is sad is how little room there is in our opinions to wonder together. I have read that friends are g_d’s way of apologizing to us for our family; i damn sure am not interested in any apology from g_d. Once i realized there was no one coming to my rescue, no one to chastise my family for their obvious shortcomings and blatant cruelty, i had to accept there was to be no justice; it became clear to me the only person i was able to change was myself, my family henceforth took on a whole new complexion. The indifference from them i fought against for so long has become something in my own character to which i refuse to give ground. I can only hope mine is not some reaction formation in an unconscious effort to rise above, for striving to be “better” than them would rob me of the chance to know and accept them as clearly as i can perceive who they are. If you are thinking about me, “sanctimonious fuck” i can appreciate that, i feel way too much the same toward my family. But that does nothing to break the cycle of emotional violence that is at the root of much of our suffering on the planet. Too often i witness videos of uncommon cruelty, especially to children and it turns my stomach as much for the helplessness i feel being unable to aid or alter such injustice as for my lack of understanding as to why it occurs. It is unclear to me whether my sensitivity is an outgrowth of being unattractive and loud in a family of quiet, pretty bullies, or is my resistance instinctive to injustice generally. If my feelings are based on the former, it would suggest everyone should be raised in Hollywood by narcissistic minor stars just to gain an appreciation for decency; if i am motivated by the latter, from where does my resistance spring - what is it that motivates me to tempt the powers-that-be with such an obvious target as my interminable antics?

Appetites are cultivated at the dinner table, and in a world so full of greed, it would seem this might be a good place to search for answers. I had two brothers and a sister - there was never a day where my parents did not manage to put food on the table. I do, however remember endless discussions about the difficulty of achieving that feat, as well as formative struggles about what i would and would not finish. I can’t say which had a bigger effect on moderating my behavior, watching all the food disappear in a whoosh, or admonitions about starving children in China. Family is also not all about food, the meaning of belonging and order are learned in the bosom of the family. If your sibling use force to effect their desires, there is a good chance you will resort in kind, if a sister pleads vapors after throwing her weight around, one may learn to mistrust the sufferings of another. The obverse is equally true that values are instilled, honored and upheld within the same cauldron of conflict that determines who cleans what when. As estrangement crept into the recesses of our evolving ancestry mine own family has sought sanctuary in surrogate family warmth. However, this strategy is the same as g_d bestowing friends for an apology - de facto family cannot be parsed nor “blood is thicker than water” be diluted, the only problem being that we all do - bleed. Initially i thought of the fertile soil in processing specific family members using essay, and it would write itself, yet the more the ghosts that haunt my waking hours assert meaning the more current does one’s activity become - almost as though the two activities were mutually exclusive. Where i live revers the family in ways that preserve comfort and safety. My family are ghosts that wander close enough to me to be remembered, but not so close as to cause harm.

It would be important for you to know that where these ghosts of mine inhabit would very much resemble where i live and what i see from watching children laugh and old men with canes taking old women’s grocery bags to lighten her load. I know this because of where, how and with whom i was young. There is no amount of emotional trauma that will dissolve that sort of learning. My parents planted olive trees - “The Wonder Years” missed some of what mid-60s suburbia was like. Picture these trees, climbable and overburdened with ripe bursting purple ammunition, white t-shirts and somewhere in the background loud enough to hear “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield playing not softly. That these same trees i’m sure were planted in honor of the end of WWII would become the Castles in a Tom Sawyerish full-on post-pubescent war with colorful wounds and all just a short time before those same able-bodied however naughty lads were led to slaughter for the profit of what has become the undoing of the last gasp of liberty on a planet preparing to spontaneously combust is no small irony. My family tends to the ironic, can you tell¿ What i’m learning from being with many different families in search of the door my key fits. At first it was confusing when my door key no longer fit, but when i saw the broomstick sitting where we’d “jimmy” the sliding door open when we lost our key, i knew i had just moved. For the longest time, i believed it was they who had left me. As i find out more, i’m not so sure. Part of what i value about learning the reality of domestic collapse early on is it can be very acclimating to a more rational view of change than the picket-fence-fantasy about a chicken in every pot, fighting for democracy in a world full of dictators and tyrants, or perfect job and address fiction that anybody can be assimilated into the dream on your screen with the right portfolio.

If we are the family of peoplekind which i fictionalize in my frontal assault on the future, when anyone on the planet hears a baby laugh, they know everything is okay. Our neglect to this manifold capacity of our species to thrill in the joy of an infant cannot be desensitized. This loving inclination, however can be hijacked. When the sanctity of human warmth toward those in need becomes a key stroke, read that as “money in the bank,” we are in dire jeopardy. Your very capacity to reason and feel is being programmed; there is no amount of being “hooked-up” that can protect you - except yourself. My concern is my own memory of the influence my family held for personal choice. When a boy, as i recently watched, bends down at the wonder of a flower in an estuary looking up at his mother trying to hold his hand but too engrossed in a phone call to see his glance much less understand in his eyes she had preferred her funny box to his miraculous discovery - it makes me wonder what he might be learning from others in his family. My status as to non-member most places i go has given me a deep sympathy for what some endure to enjoy what i perceive as “as close to heaven on earth as anyone is gonna get” - the bosom of the family. They say to those much is given, much is asked; “they” seem to have forgotten the ciphers in the larder stealing the wealth of the commonweal, but that is another essay. Members of any family are the heroes of the world and on whose backs our kind will survive, and there is strength in numbers. Unfortunately for the equations of survival, logic doesn’t favor large families, but many families together - kind of like life in non-warlord populations. War within families is the worst form of war. When there are sides taken - the sanity of family generosity withers. Nor does a war between families harvest much though “Romeo and Juliet” keeps bringing ‘em through the doors, go figure¿

A sixth paragraph to the 5-paragraph from : 5.6 if you will. Just now in a quandary over the end of this family oriented essay. The old woman selling pork rinds until her death passed by. There is a tradition in the town i live to offer water to strangers - i assimilate as i can and give what i can. The fine line between giving and taking is something of the elephant in the living room nobody wants to address. She just looked at me with baleful eyes and my heart clinched; it didn’t close, just clinched. She is angry with me because i do not offer her water each time she passes. But nothing has changed; that she is angry with me is not different than if she was angry with everyone who had ever given her water but not always. Where this is a challenge is how to keep my heart open, or i am bullshitting my way to a fake-it-’til-ya’-make-it ending? i don’t know - what i imagine are throw backs to ghosts of a family gone and someone threatening with baleful eyes - if you don’t comply, you don’t get any porridge. There is no point to giving if you have not conceived the kindness yourself; this may seem at odds with non-attachment? Does non-attachment apply to consequence¿ Clearly not for those in the kleptocracy ransacking our future. It is a paradox to me that what is right for one is not right for all? This paradox of individuation may be what Jung perceived, yet justice is born at the hearth. How is it correct for me to offer to one and not to another? What limits can on want would resolve such a question¿ Via Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, Gurdjieef - “Bread for yourself is a material question, bread for your neighbor is a spiritual question.” I do not know the answer but pretty sure if we don’t start asking questions about such things soon, our answers will likely be more than moot. (look it up)


parent - a sonnet

father - a poet; mother - a painter
got siblings, but we’re far from family.
ma was a goofy kid, beauty hurt her;
pa - goofier - together grew a tree.

each has been a puzzle for a lifetime.
pretty sure each have said the same - once, twice?
But would never presume to know their rhyme,
for they’d cut their teeth on dreams, paying the price.

- the same price i am paying, though childless
who exacts this standard - one size fits all¿
“we be your ancestors - obey or else”
at this turn, i do wish we’d take their call.

fuck it all, ideas spawn and music grows
which came first: chicken / egg . who the fuck knows ? 

sonnet 5.6 : who the fuck cares : ¿

jts 06/11/2018
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved e


Monday, June 4, 2018

discipline - an essay / chaos - the sonnet

One spring Saturday morning when young enough to treasure baseball and green grass, i was tasked with vacuuming my room i did so in the most cursory manner possible. It was to become one of those formative moments that only makes sense much latter in life, like about now. Pop wasn’t impressed with my effort and told me so, and i did not possess sufficient respect for his opinion. It became a contentious pattern of “irresistible force and immovable object” that would also serve us each much better later in life, drawing us closer. However this particular saturday morning, the normally immovable object clasped its hand over mine and patiently vacuumed into the nether regions under mine and my brother's desks, and along with other grosser oversights. This same man, exacted a solemn promise from me before he died that i would never stop writing - ergo. From this seemingly retentive indoctrination i wandered into the infernally sacred world of integrity, however my own efforts toward meaning in an inchoate atomic vapor have gradually massed - lucky you. I know for certain my life would have been far more vacant without my dogged struggle to understand the meaning of that Saturday oh so long ago. Today, i’d rather be drawing than tearing my heart out of my chest using letters to make sense for a reader already fraught with altogether too much guilty pleasure of reading with so much scrolling left to do in the day. But here i sit pondering how to advocate ideas about responsibility to people whose thinking i’d rather not change¿ It has become painfully clear to me that where i live has an expectation with it that the “1st floor respond to the front door - i resist; not because i don’t wish to be of service, but because i am here on the 1st floor to work, i feel compelled to do just that. Sometime recently a statement made to me by an old love “nobody is going to do for you, you have to do for yourself;” this kind quote drove home the question of in whose interest is help. It has also heightened my awareness of how important it is to honor those who have shown kindness by returning kindness back out to the larger world.

Dorothy Parker - “I hate writing, I love having written.”

I’ve wandered past the point of noreturn and placed the eyes in my latest drawing, and it doesn’t help that her lips are what can only be described as a luscious red - most of the guideposts prior to the point of noreturn consist of a blind faith that if you piece together enough marks, eventually they begin to seek each other out and one who can follow begins to find paths. - depending entirely on one’s capacity to follow anything. My weekly postcard to ma has been moved out days by the drawing - the dissonance of which is complicated in ways a 5 paragraph essay have not yet explained. So the steps necessary to comply with a dying man’s request are part of what’s at stake when i hear any knock on the door. I dropped my last phone on a rooftop in Uruguay, and before it hit the cement, i had decided not to replace it - talk about your knocks on the door, +5v zzzZt -5v zzzZt +5v zzzZt -5v zzzZt +5v zzzZt -5v zzzZt . . . the loss of bandwidth has been well worth the convenience of boycotting bezo’s amazon without breaking a sweat. Dissonance demands disclosure in the temple of the soul and issues of self-discipline need be laid bare. I just listened to Johnny Cash sing “Satisfied Mind” written by Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes; one the manifold benefits of self-discipline is supple flexibility - fucking paradox: ya’ can’t live with it, and ya’ can’t shoot it. It comes down to pussy - the eternal yin yang, even Leonard Cohen’s “delta of the alpha the omega” - Pema herself - “things come together; things fall apart”. Even moderation has its limits and from “time to time, shit just gets crazy.” - A. Nonymous. So i resort to activities which lead to happiness, having written, forexample - is it possible that ignoring spell check long enough the morphed version is embedded in the library? I ask because in reviewing my text i joined no and return to find it was a single word no different than forexample, you see - two rings on forexample, DING, DING DING . . . 3. Who knew editing AI could be so much fun, if only people were so amenable - said no lover to each other ever .

The birds are whiffling outside my window, and i’m on schedule to even get some drawing in today - i learned from stonecarving - another wannabe one word miscreant: “wannabe” already having been absorbed into the errorless spellcheckaether. Eroticism can be inflaming to the spirit, yet love is the engine of survival according to Mr. Cohen. Where is the demarcation where passion is not destructive, or selfish? I wonder at times if rigidness of purpose is an interloper to the world of logic. Is it sufficient to accept constancy is a fiction and wander to Johnny Cash sing or try to describe impossible things which somehow coalesce, if done enough times, like pluck fastic¿ How many time in polite company have you wanted to drop some truth on someday, but shied away not wishing to give offense? I feel ya’. Is there really anything that should not be spoken of -¿- have we collectively shamed ourselves into believing that war on humans, drugs or even war on mother earth is anything but a moral evil, but to rail against such is disallowed and dangerous. That the monster monsatan named its poison roundup is an irony even i cannot resist. The dissonance provoking this try on the topic of discipline could be as simple as guilt - an entirely self-imposed rebuke born of moderate excess. Bob Dylan - “I’m okay with chaos, not sure if chaos is okay with me” The point is whether discipline is a worthy subject, but whether discipline is worthy. I can say for certain it has; my father allowed no arms out the car windows, and to this day i have all my limbs; i have sonnets; i have stonecarvings, and now i will possess an essay devoted to the subject. I guess you have a pretty good idea about what good i am at devotion - more like plodding - step lightly has taken on remarkable changes in meaning of late. I’m pretty sure that issues of “core” are at stake in the temple of the soul - core dump taking on a whole new meaning in the cybertronics fantasyland of todays rulers. This dystopian take on technological advance is born of long chawed thoughts on integrity from a saturday morning with Pa years ago.

I may be hypersensitive to 1st floor expectations from being a conscripted concierge at a pensiones in Monte Video, or is that one does something until it is done and then moves on to something else. I was unable as a child to paint by numbers, a failure which haunts me to this day. If only i could decipher the codes - the world would be safe and ‘merica gr8 again - not. There is no code, we are not going to be rescued, and as she-who’d-been-queen said once, “nobody is going to do for you, you have to do for yourself.” It seemed like a good idea at the time, like so many good ideas, “yeah, that’s it! i’m a ‘stonecutter’ - what could go wrong¿” kidding, sort of. At the time it was one of the few times i can remember feeling if it all ends now - i will not be condemned for what i was then doing. Just now the man making his living hauling castoffs parked his well laden truck over 2-day old cement patch - This patch of the commonwealth only required eight days to cure for it to last centuries as well-cured cement in our overly cemented world bears out. It reflects the lack of collective discipline we have come to today where to muster barriers bar traffic for the good of all is fraught with controversy. As it happens - barriers have become a hot topic for it is obstruction of traffic the opposition is using to make its point in the city i reside. Nor is it unique in the annals of protest - having taken 5 hours one day to move a rented car 1,000 yards at the airport in Marseilles. I swear solidarity must be at times sister paradox laughing at her favorite fool. It is difficult enough to make my cigarettes back to 6 again, how would it be possible to distill the world’s protest into a single voice? My struggle with language has not been so much to curtail, as to make the unexpressed - expressed. Given ours may be the last voices having witnessed some part of our fascinating future, it would seem so sad to have left one i love you unexpressed, even though “i love you” might sometimes come out as “fuck you.” - “ambiguity, the handmaiden to sister paradox.” - A. Nonymous.

The clock is ticking and i can feel time front of hot lips receding - is it discipline to plod on, or is this scribble a variation of Pavlov’s Dogs and thoughtlessly mimic a family variation of today cellular +/- 5v zzsZt prod? How many in the audience knew the french meaning of essay is “to try”¿ I did not try to replace the barriers that were thoughtlessly removed, i did not delve into the darker aspects of discipline; is discipline also the ability to refrain from action? If ambiguity is paradoxes handmaiden, then certainly ambivalence holds the whip. I liked skateboards when my frame matched my affections, it was the fluidness of rolling foreign to walking and its compressions that drew me in before competition and its tricks distracted me. Lao Tzu apocryphally describes thoughts as monkeys swinging through the trees - fun to watch. There are many civilizations that have crashed and burned for as many reasons as there are scholars, i’d be willing to bet the metrics will prove out that the social systems which failed correspond to metrics reflecting a loss of self-discipline. And as anyone who has quite smoking - discipline doesn’t have as much to do with it as desire - a moral question even - do you honor the temple you occupy to pray in for a short time in this domain. I’ve had occasion to be around severely disciplined individuals but the landscape is a tad stark for me. I wonder if i have restricted my own being in the process of hewing out time and resources to do what i have found yields small happiness if practiced long enough. I can’t say how you spent your afternoon, but i have found questions about an activity i believed myself to have mastered - self control. The release i have found in allotting my days to what i do provides the patience to not do anything. When we are in a target-rich environment of must do’s as this world is clearly, the youngish tendency is to muscle through, but the more practical truth is to not waste ammo. The most powerful weapon we possess today is our minds, so fuck success or fail - find your bliss and apply your potty training.

@ the event horizon of discipline - this "try" has been semi-selfreviewed . . . read at your own risk . .


chaos - the sonnet

some fridays where i live are close to chaos
as i’d care be, struggling free from order.
watching the calle can school one on loss-
mythologizing gain at the border. 

humans die based on the color of skin
i barely see color from light or shadow
how could i ever know from kith or kin
much less which shoulders off whose heads shall blow

death is not chaotic, war is very.
“the that way to hide leaders
i would ask “they” to make “it” less scary
“they” could make some places with fewer fears.

“she” said you can befriend uncertainty!
could it be so simple - be and let be?

jts 06/04/2018
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved