Sunday, July 15, 2018

Burning Down The House

She stared into the fireplace with a look of dead tears, frozen by the sight of a pool of endless flames. The dimension of time had vanished. There was no "then", "now", or "ever". Irreversible. A thousand lifetimes and a thousand lifetimes after that wouldn't change a thing. The world has lost its meaning.

Her friend had let herself in the front door of the elite San Francisco mansion. She entered the room unannounced. "You have a fire going?"

No reply.

"Wait, what is it you're burning in there? Those are papers! Why would you burn so many papers?"

No reply.

Her friend sat down having ascertained the seriousness of the situation. This was a death of some sort. The friend sat in fellow silence. Until, finally:

"It's my manuscript..."

"Manuscript? Manuscript of what? I never knew."

The flames crackled, feeding off the permanence of their devouring deed. Her friend didn't like the knot crawling into her stomach.

"I don't get it. Why burn it? Why didn't you ever let me see it? What was it about?"

What did any of that matter now? Those are questions for when times existed. Why doesn't God take her life now? The possibility of meaning is gone.

Her friend settled into the luxury sofa. She felt her questions had been indiscreet but curiosity had gotten the better of her. A book! Who knew? Somehow, the act of watching it burn filled her with a wild desire to read the blackening words, to reach out and grab life from the fire. A camera crew should be here.

Hope is a cruel word. It keeps the toil of impossibility alive long after the certainty of demise. Appearances are for deceiving. Love stays out reach, always calling out, like a drowning victim. The manuscript writer faced the void of her love being a lie. Nothing left to do but eat, sleep, and wait to die.

"It was nothing," she claimed. "A dream you dream alone is just a dream. The illusion is gone."

Her friend watched her free-falling right before her eyes. The mask of success being slowly ripped away, hers was a stolen life and the thief could steal no more. Yes, she had all the signs of success but never success itself.

Her friend felt trite in saying, "But you have everything. This gorgeous house, your wonderful family. You've been married 25 years! Anyone would love to have all that."

It no longer mattered what other people believed of her. What does a thief really own? He has to give it back in the end. Then his true life is exposed.

The friend beside her began to understand. This wasn't a case of trying to cheer someone up. It was a case of a lost dream, a lost life. Money was a dream until her true dream was dead. Now all her prized possessions were mocking her. By seeking praise she lost it. The chickens had come home to roost. pecking her apart.

Her friend struggled for words. What do you say to someone whose life is irredeemably lost? To try and comfort her would be an insult. She'd been secretly living off this writing dream for years apparently, an entire secret life. But now was the time to speak truth to friendship.

"Sometimes the greater danger is in doing nothing."

Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. Those were cornerstones of her "success". Yes, that behavior is fatal for others - but not for someone whose dream is still alive. The only future now is self-destruction. No more pretending. Just get out.

"It's not me. It's God. God never wanted me to have anything I wanted. So I suffered through the things I didn't want just like a good person should do. Do you know this marriage would have ended years ago had I just done what I wanted? How responsible is it to suppress affairs? I tried to kid myself that I was something more. But how can I be? How can that book have been anything coming from someone hiding in her marriage her whole life? Better to burn it before anyone finds the damning evidence of my self-betrayal."

Suddenly, she was homeless. This house did not belong to her. It belongs to her dream. And that dream was literally a pile of ashes. She was once on the inside, now she's on the outside, doomed to forever wander in empty isolation peering only into the homes of others. She started to scream.

Her friend was helpless. She wanted to say "It will get better" but couldn't muster the hollow words out of her mouth. The screaming turned into full blown hysterics. Inconsolable.

"I'm dying! I'm dying!"

The friend tried to grab her, to give reassurance but the flailing of the arms and legs was too violent. Should she call 911? How far does this go? The agitated woman slipped off the couch onto the floor, the situation spiraling out of control.

911 was called.

As her friend sat on the couch waiting for the paramedics to arrive, she too had a slight epiphany. "I'll be damned. Dreams really are not optional."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Places In The Oasis

"You're never going to win the Mayor's race, you know."

Al was hearing this from everyone. Suddenly, everybody was an expert in politics - and everybody who claimed to be enlightening him did so with a smirk.

"You're just too extreme," lectured Al's executioner. "People have to move to the center. You need to unite people, both the polluters and environmentalists. It makes the polluters feel dumb when you say the environment matters. Stop calling them stupid! Don't you want to win?"

"Don't you want water? How is that an extreme position? You can't take a position based on what sells best. It actually has to tie to reality. Otherwise, why bother? You die anyway."

"Well, the reality is you're never going to win! Stay out there with your fringe element and see what happens!"

Al was unmoved. "I'm not changing my stance one whit."

"That's because it's witless to begin with! Go ahead and lose! See if I care!"

The would-be guru stormed off in a huff. Al thought to himself what he always thought in these situations: "Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth."

But he was still confused. His opponents were so sure, speaking completely without self-doubt, so matter-of-fact in their approach it made it hard for him to understand how they could be that way if he were, in fact, correct. Al also knew that to be right meant death for every man, woman, and child living in the oasis.

***

It had once been paradise until the Banana Men came to power. No longer were the bananas to be shared and evenly distributed but they must be "earned". "People are horrible, selfish and lazy. This is the only way to prevent that. In blackmail we trust!"

But it turns out those who instituted these new rules in the name of morality were in reality the "horrible, selfish, lazy people" of whom they so loudly chastised. They giggled in their treachery and deceit, gathering up all the bananas to themselves, forcing the worst tasks on those with the fewest bananas while also driving them into the worst parts of the oasis to live.

Stupid is as stupid does. People saw how the Banana Men led lazy and luxurious lives and sought to emulate them, suicidally turning their backs on the egalitarian ways that had sustained them before. A sense of guilt and self-loathing crept in, mistakenly leading them to praise "our new moral system" as a way to compensate in their perverted minds. But that only cemented a growing sense of despair.

But in order to keep the banana system going and growing to reach ever greater heights, the trees were laced with growth enhancement chemicals which then drained into the water, slowly poisoning it. Al made it his platform that this behavior had to stop at once. In vapid response, he was called an anarchist, a traitor, and a destroyer of civilization.

"Al is an alarmist. Sure, we should be doing better of taking care of the oasis. But getting rid of the banana system is not the answer! Griping about it is enough."

Al came in dead last in the voting. Exit voters complained he was "boring", "a buffoon who doesn't understand greed," and "out of touch with reality." No one wanted the party to end and the idea Nature herself would end the party was to provoke a murderous outrage among the oasis dwellers. Their lies were more precious than their lives.

Al's tormentor returned to gloat after the election. "Not so smart now, are ya? Hahaha! Last place! How embarrassing. Everyone's laughing at you. How's life in your fantasy world where you're right and everyone else is wrong?"

"You have put the devil in charge."

"Then praise be to the devil for the devil has come to rule. Show me a man who defies him and I'll show you a fool!"

"Are all your replies going to be in verse? You idiot, the devil will betray you! Tell me how that benefits you."

"Our betrayer is our savior! The devil fights for us! You do not! He doesn't go around criticizing everything like you do. He makes us feel good and says we're doing great, Mr. Negativity. It just shocks and amazes me on what goes through your head on possibly thinking you can win."

"Back at ya. Speaking well of evil doesn't make evil turn out well. I just wish I didn't have to live at the mercy of mindless maniacs and murderous monsters who ruin everything for everyone else."

"You're the monster! You're the maniac! You are the one who wants to ruin everything. If you had more bananas you'd be talking different, yes sir. So don't give me all this high and mighty bullshit. You're no better than anyone else. I'm outta here. I don't have to stand here and be insulted."

"This isn't about me," quietly replied Al to no one.

***

Over time as the wrongness of their path became more and more apparent, the oasis dwellers began to turn on one another in anxious blame. The presence of Al became unbearable and he was lynched in the name of all their woes. Each leader in succession was angrier than the one before as the death rate from the poisonous water skyrocketed. Even the poisoned dead were blamed for "being weak and not favored by God." This continued until there were none.

Years later the oasis was discovered by a caravan. They were astounded to find a people who had voluntarily poisoned their only water supply. "These were a possessed people!" And as such, were despised for all time.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Tending The Dead, Part II

I had seen the error of my ways.

"In life, if you are not growing then you are dying. It's either one or the other with no in between. And I ask you: is there ever a reason why we cannot grow? Never, I say! Never!"

My audience erupted with great applause. I was the new "it" politician, the flavor of the month - hoping to last much longer. I had a firm grasp of the situation and spoke my mind. My diagnosis was spot on and my solutions inarguable.

"We must let go of the past and embrace the future. If not, we'll be led down the garden path to doom. Our hopes and dreams will die, leaving us only to tend the dead."

I knew of what I spoke. My garden is dead. Who am I to speak of life? But no one seemed to notice and I got the love and approval I craved - coin of the realm to us politicos. I had read once that politics is what happens when you stop running your own life and start trying to run everyone else's. I knew it was wrong but I couldn't stop myself. When the applause stopped I was thrown back into the pit of unbearable emptiness. That I could not stand.

"Life stands before us with open arms. Are we to embrace it or fall to our forever ruin? This is not a joke or a game. This is life and death. Love is the future and love is all there is!"

Another applause line. It's true that only love exists and what we see in our daily lives is the insanity of blocking it or perverting its course. But like a tree that blocks water or diverts it away, that can only happen for a time then never again. The dead flowers in my garden can testify to that.

I fear this political journey will not end well. The only way I can keep it alive is with ever greater ambition. After I reach the top I'm finished. On this perverted path I travel I decry every sin I commit, the morality of self-hate. That does well on the campaign.

But what happens when I see those who actually do what I espouse? I hate them. I'm filled with a raging burning envy. They must die! Afterwards, in sobriety, I wonder what kind of monster I really am.

Salvation. Where can it be found? This thought is my constant companion. What do I want? I want to come clean. I wish to tell every believer I'm a fraud whose garden is dead. That my heart is broken. That I betrayed my soul and should keep my ever-loving mouth shut. But if I do that I'll never get elected - and I've already publicly declared myself good.

Everything is the opposite of what is, isn't it? The dead declare the need for life and the living need declare nothing. What law can I pass that will save me? What election can I win that proves I'm a good man? People look at the world around them and say something must done. No doubt. But that something is to heal yourself. To find a way to like yourself after you've let everything you love die.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Ambroz Of The Street Speaks

Ambroz is an impromptu speaker of the street. Unlike a "proper" preacher, he speaks only when moved to do so. This makes his words carry more weight - even with his Czechoslovakian accent. Of course, what matters most is that he knows he's rightly fucked living on the streets. He has no delusions of the world working and his speaking inspires hope that you won't hear anywhere else.

"I don't care what you say in your proverbs. Don't want to hear it! America, all hypocrite money. You see nothing else. You think it make you holy but only make dirty. This I know. This I see. Tell me I'm wrong!"

"Anger in hearts. Very much anger. You say outsiders do you wrong. But insiders do you wrong! Keep to say good things about things you do wrong? This can never work ever. Only make angrier. Tell me I'm wrong!"

"Can't make heart from computer. You say yes but I say no! Worship technology like a religion. But this I tell you: no matter anything else, good hearts make a future, bad hearts make no future. No way around this. Tell me I'm wrong!"

"All your guns won't save you. Make all you want! Make all bombs you want. More you thinking that make you safe more danger you in. Tell me I'm wrong!"

"I can see you pretending. So much pretending! Why think no one can see? Is our Maker fooled? Never! Get your fake friends to pat you on back. Mean nothing! Mean only you die alone. Revelation come to all. Tell me I'm wrong!"

"What is a man without love? He is lost. I hear speaking men on TV. If they had love, no speak the way they do. In truth, their arguments are on why they should be loved. Love me, love me, love me! That only thing these lonely men say. Listen, and you will know. Tell me I'm wrong!"

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Tending The Dead

"Dude, them flowers is dead!"

"Mind your own business," I denied, stooped over in the garden that is in every person's life.

"What you wasting your time for?"

"I'm not wasting my time. I've got special fertilizer and nutrients on the way."

"Dude, fertilizer is what you be shoveling!"

"I'm not listening to your negative attitude. Being negative is what got them killed in the first place. Now I've learned my lesson."

"Don't seem to me your learned nothing at all."

"You don't understand. These were once the most beautiful flowers in the world. Beauty the likes of you cannot comprehend."

"Maybe so. But you just be dreaming now."

"I've always been a dreamer."

"OK, you keep on lying to yerself then and see where it gets ya. Makes no matter to me. Just figured you'd have somethin' more important to do with your life."

"Just don't get it, do you, you fucking moron. Do I have to connect the dots for you? Of course I'm tending the dead. Because I obviously did not tend the living."

Saturday, June 23, 2018

He's Not A Victim

In order to have hope for a future we must be reasonable and rational. If we are without reason and irrational then there can be no hope. You can't vote your way out of that or pill your way out of that or religion your way out of that. It's simply an inescapable law of Nature. God won't help anyone who thinks otherwise.

But the longing for hope can be overwhelmed by fear and so when we see a monster about whom we can do nothing, we start ascribing human qualities to it so we can then go back into a state of hope - albeit a false hope. So I ask you today to jettison your fear and false hopes and face the beast for what it is: something with which we cannot live.

The beauty of identity politics is that is throws all facts out the window. Make up whatever you want just so long as it justifies me. Sure, I know you're lying, but who cares? It makes me feel good, that's all that matters. Make people feel good and they'll vote for you. Fiction becomes reality (for a time).

The fiction that's been gaining the most steam over the last few years is that the victimizers are the victim and the victims are the victimizer. "How dare all you unarmed darkies get in the way of my bullet and then have the gall to die on me later just to make me look bad! You black bullies!" I could go on but the refrains are endless. Like a gold rush of yore, everyone's climbing all over each other to claim the victim moniker.

So it stands to reason that in this perverse equation, the biggest victimizer claims to be the biggest victim. But our Victimizer-in-Chief is not a victim. Those who support him support him to the degree they believe he is a victim. You hear the halftards say all the time, "Yeah, he does bad things but people are being mean to him." And the full Trumptards justify his deranged behavior fully, granting wholesale absolution. That's how identity politics works in its treachery.

Those without hope love to destroy hope for others. That is the true war we're seeing today. Regardless of what anyone else may choose, the goal is always to preserve the hope within oneself. Do that, and you will defeat the world.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Goupil Papers: I Am The Monster

I'm writing from the high point of hiking trail. No one approach me from here I cannot view. Car half mile away in neighborhood nearby, not in parking lot easy to spot. Cell phone in Faraday bag like always. I'm looking for something. I'm looking for me.

There is something I been afraid to do. In gradual way I been getting closer and now, in my safe spot, I let it happen. For just a moment I stop hating myself. What most strange about this is it feels right thing to do. How can this be? After many terrible things I do, lives I destroyed, I should always be hating myself. Is right thing to do, no? If anyone find out I'm not hating myself, what would they do? What would they say?

So I have to be all alone to let this thing happen. Voice inside me say "Yes!" when I do this. Does the Maker not know what I've done? I have huge urge to let it keep going, to surrender to this feeling and path. But how can I trust it? How can I be deserving of forgiveness and life?? It makes no sense! To never forgive myself is my only hope, yes? Inside me is war.

This liberation also give me something else. I see something I not see before. I stepped through looking glass like I never dare before. That's when I see me through other's eyes. They just see my actions, what I do. They don't hear what I tell myself when I pull the trigger. I feel pity for me, victim of the world, still running from rough docks of my long lost France. I know what you see now: You see a monster.

You are right.

The ones who saw me, who let out death scream when they see what coming, see I have no feeling. I was robot on a mission, angry at life. If my life have no value, no life does. If my dreams mean nothing, no dreams do. But you did not see it that way, did you? You see monster in your midst, a black beast, taking away light and life. This more terrible than I ever fear. I am nightmare. No wonder I destroy all relationships that good.

Maybe this be price for that moment of peace, to see what I was really was. My head say nothing I do can bring people back, that I punish myself for no reason. But if not punishing myself is right thing to do then why tsunami of guilt drowning me when I stop? If punishing myself wrong thing to do shouldn't I feel guilt then??

Yes, I was the monster assassin. I don't know how to live with it. I will probably implode and die in a fit of rage [Editor's note: He does]. I see this now. I didn't see it then. Not ever want to. What would I have done if I had?

But this scare me most of all: Why I so madly stubborn refuse to believe I can have anything good.