Monday, August 31, 2009
At first glance he seemed like any other disconnected businessman, absorbed in his paper, the world his oyster. He paid no heed to the black man with his grey flecked beard who shined his shoes - and likewise the shoe shiner to his customer. The pair could have hated each other, known the other for years or simply be two ships passing in the day. It was a scene played out a thousand times a day in Manhattan. But a subtle and perceptive was eye needed to notice the difference here.
The suit was as fine as any in New York. Tailor made in London, its simplicity spoke of a timeless elegance but with a sharp sense of style. He loved the suit for occasions like this, when he had business dealings with those who'd be impressed by mere linen. To him it was an actor's costume, but to others it lent a meaning of credibility and social worth - at least in their own lives. And because he was in a suit but not of the suit it made him seem all the more imperious.
And that was an edge. "Always good to have an edge" he'd say, for he was a Mystery Man. He knew exactly what those around him were feeling because he felt the same way too. He had a different air, like he should be somebody famous, as if he were traveling incognito, an international spy at the least or a man of high art at the most. He watched the gears turning in their minds, trying to place their finger on it, never able to identify what that certain something was - but there was definitely something.
Yet it was a mystery even to himself, that magic feeling he radiated. Once in a while a brave or cravingly curious soul would smile and snap his fingers asking, "Say, aren't you...", trying to get him to tip his hand. But how does one tip a hand never seen? He'd smile shyly back, shrugging his shoulders, explaining he was nobody known almost as if he were apologizing. For outside of his sixty two million American dollars, what provable worth had he?
A shoe shine had at one time been the sort of pampering he'd never allow himself regardless of his cash. Giving in to such luxuries meant dropping your guard and besides, it surely was an act of affectation anyway, a superfluous taker of time. Comfortable men would have them to feel important or a pathetic sense of power, an illusion of control over the world. But over time he found it was not the giving in that was weak, but the denial of oneself was. This shine served a purpose in his life.
The routine of the shoe shiner was one of ancient practice. He was not cursory or sloppy or disdainful with his work. To him as well, the shine served a purpose. And even though he quickly surmised his client was not a talker, he did not feel the wall he usually felt - or worse, the false polite patter of a man who'd be horrified to have this blue color black man in his home. Truth be told, he preferred the blatant snobs to the subtle ones. But a rare bird this client be, and a sense of dignity and respect came over him as these two men committed this transaction of mutual competence.
What's this I'm feelin? It's like I'm a kid again, runnin' the streets when I was free. Back when I had hopes and knew nothin' 'bout life. I fer sher thought God loved me back then and there be great things ahead a me. I don't feel no rules comin' down from this man. Sorta like when I dun that famous actor - only I felt like him was just actin'. This be an old feelin', a feelin' that makes me wonduh who I am.
By the time he was done, the suited man's magic feeling had firmly embedded itself in the shoe shine man, filling him with anticipation for some final revelation. His client certainly didn't have the rushed air of a yuppie, or the bloated self-importance of a mid-level manager or the self-centered obliviousness of a lifelong New Yorker. And even without talking beyond the minimum, he'd gained an unspoken rapport with the man, even liking him. He trusted his instincts, there had to be a reason his defenses dropped.
Announcing the shine was finalized, he saw a crisply bent one hundred dollar bill proffered with instructions to "Keep the change." This offended him.
"No, suh." He waited for the man in the twenty thousand dollar suit to meet his eyes, recognizing him as a man of substance and style that cannot be purchased. "No suh, I don't take no charity. Don't need no handouts."
"Duly noted," replied the man as if he'd just been told the price of tea in China. The bill remained extended.
The shoe shiner's instincts told him it was OK to take it, but he just couldn't get his head around it. Both his insecurity and his pride demanded he not be insulted but rather treated as an equal. "Well, what do call that if you don't call it charity?"
The faraway look in the suited man's eyes spoke of a time before, a vicious time of unrepented cruelty branded upon his soul. This man's feet had touched the scorching earth, feeling the burn and caring for it not. So any chance he got to soothe the burns of the world, he did so. The eyes and the matter-of-fact sound of the voice relayed this story to the shoe shine man and he took the money as one club member from another trying to survive a world gone mad. They never saw each other again, but neither forgot the other.
Back in his swank east side apartment, Harry took off the costume of his suit and breathed deep. With a mirthful smirk, he muttered, "All the world's a stage" and donned the clothes of a street bum - clothes that let him breathe. His business deal at the hotel had gone OK that day but he was bitterly disappointed once again no one had recognized his alias of 'Edmond Dantes'. Actually, his true frustration was something else. The spark was gone. Matters of dead men's money could never interest him again. The incident with the shoe shine man sealed the deal.
It has been five long, quick years since he had won the lottery - an event that had both given and taken away direction in his life. Time has come for something different. Something new - and real. Something that explains this magic feeling with nowhere to go...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
This is you: It's 1991 in the sleepy town of Corsicana, Texas (pop 25,000). You're asleep in your home when you hear your 2-year-old daughter screaming in the night. You wake to find the house filled with smoke. You tell your 2-year-old to run outside as you desperately enter the fiery bedroom of your 1-year-old twins to rescue them. You cannot find them. Injured and burned, you give up. All three children die. So do you - in every sense of the word.
It's a year later. You've just been convicted of arson and charged with three murders of your precious children. It's a nightmare of small town Texas justice. You plead your innocence to no avail. A jailhouse rat testifies you confessed to him the crime. Finally, a witch doctor draws forth a lethal needle and injects you to death. Justice is served.
Justice of the insane. Justice of the blind and unhearing. Justice of men with hearts so twisted, they hope that in proving the evil of your heart, no one will see the evil in their own.
Once again, the Chicago Tribune has delved into Texas law enforcement and found it wanting:
In a withering critique, a nationally known fire scientist has told a state commission on forensics that Texas fire investigators had no basis to rule a deadly house fire was an arson -- a finding that led to the murder conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.
The finding comes in the first state-sanctioned review of an execution in Texas, home to the country's busiest death chamber. If the commission reaches the same conclusion, it could lead to the first-ever declaration by an official state body that an inmate was wrongly executed.
We like to be first in everything here in Tejas. Especially when it comes to killing people. It gets us all excited and bouncy. We brag about our love for law and order. "One thing about the death penalty: you know they won't do it twice!" Sound logic there! One thing is for sure: if we had the death penalty for those responsible for wrongful convictions it sure as hell wouldn't happen twice. Funny, but when I bring that up, they start singing a different tune. Life becomes far more precious when it's your own, huh?
Among Beyler’s key findings: that investigators failed to examine all the electrical outlets and appliances in the Willingham house in Corsicana, did not consider other potential causes for the fire, came to conclusions that contradicted the witnesses at the scene, and wrongly concluded that Willingham’s injuries could not have been caused as he said they were.
The state fire marshal on the case, Beyler concluded in his report, had "limited understanding" of fire science. The fire marshal "seems to be wholly without any realistic understanding of fires and how fire injuries are created," he wrote.
You see, in rural areas, competence is considered "uppity" and mean to the common folk, the salt of the earth. Xenophobia for them applies to anyone who lives beyond the city limits - or anyone who thinks differently. And the civil war is still being fought. Here we got them know-it-all Yankees sticking their damn noses in our bidness all over again! What do they care what the truth is? Why do they got to go stir the pot up fer anyways? Damn you Chicago fascist foreigners! I'm gonna believe what I damn well please!
Over the past five years, the Willingham case has been reviewed by nine of the nation's top fire scientists -- first for the Tribune, then for the Innocence Project, and now for the commission. All concluded that the original investigators relied on outdated theories and folklore to justify the determination of arson.
Eric Ferrero, spokesman for the Innocence Project, a New York-based organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people, said Beyler’s findings on the Willingham case "confirms what several experts have found over the last five years after reviewing thousands of pages of evidence."
"Every expert who has looked at this case has determined there was no reason to call it arson," he said.
We all know the supposed rationale for the death penalty: deterrence. But I guess I's jess a big ole dummy cuz I can't rightly figger out that with all this here deterrin' we got goin' on why we still gots to kill so many of mah fellah Texans. No suh! I doan get that atall!
We kill of course, because we are such caring souls. Nothing concerns us more than victims' rights, our bleeding hearts love them so! It's all part of our relentless pursuit of truth and justice, things to heal the human heart. That's what we're doing here: making the world a better place one dead body at a time. Just ask us.
"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red."
I know that feeling. There's a lot of tears in those words. In previous posts, I've asked, "Who killed Jesus?" It would be easier to answer who did not.
Was it the dutiful soldiers who followed orders rather than their hearts, they who actually nailed him to the cross?
Or the mindless sheep, clamoring for lies for their lives, that their truth is the truth?
Was it Pilate, the slanderous slick jurist who asked, "What is truth?" in a pretense of not knowing, perverting the meaning of blind justice?
Was it the Pharisees who gained acclaim by their forked tongues and staged debates, through whom sin came?
Yes, words alone can make you a murderer. So can silent hearts. On behalf of my resident state I hereby declare, "We killed in error, turning our backs on the truth. We are sorry for our lack of faith and judgement, and lack of heart. We must do better if we are to have a future. We confess to this crime."
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
That was me you saw driving down the road with absolutely no place to go, imprisoned by the same tired landmarks, my head thrusting in silhouette screams, my hands gripping the wheel in white knuckle rage, looking for someone to run over.
That was me you saw spitting up blood in the alley, a thousand unstoppable parasites nibbling on my back of bent paralysis, grinding my teeth with thieves eyeing my wallet and a silenced God observing distraught.
That was me you saw shooting flaming arrows at my friends, aiming to keep them away, fulfilling my own prophesies of doom, dodging the arrows that come in return, calling in empty echo to come back.
That was me you saw walking down the street stark naked, hands held out in Frankenstein pleading, begging to be held with throbbing erection rifling pain through my body, twisting my insides in mind warping agony.
That was me you saw peeping through your window to gain a glimpse, finding you buttfucking the duped maid, watching mommy beat her daughter in front of the neighborhood kids simulating the sextacy of her own midnight madness.
That was me you saw lighting my writings on fire, burning them before you could read them, knowing the good they could have done, withholding life from proven worldly abusers, denying me as you deny me.
That was me you saw in leash and collar, yanked before the world by the money god's victory, selling myself out, damning the world for following its rules, forced to eat dog food before laughing masses of self-destruction.
That was me you saw sneaking down the sacred sidewalk, talking to myself in consternation, throwing arms around in defiant gestures, frustrated and confused by my position, watching you turn away with eyes filled with hatred.
That was me you saw hiding in the corner having a nervous breakdown, seeing you thinking I was pretending, hoping it was an act, feeling superior by ignoring it, leaving only my death to prove you wrong.
That was me you saw measuring myself for the hangman's noose, sucking on the end of a .44, no way out because the real pleas you never acknowledge, failing to die with convenience, all of us vainly praying the truth not to will out.
Can you smell the death?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Waking in the sand, he remembered her vivid beauty
An involuntary smile comes to his lips
The grace of her words, the comfort of her convictions, her clarity of mind
What a woman! A port of calm harbors in a stormy world
Only in the human heart can true sanctuary be found
A shack by the sea their Secret Place, a Holy of Holies
Private little jokes among private little smokes
Sprouting between them: a Rare Understanding
In starry eyes they spoke of the velvety sea, gazing on its glistening waves
In outrage, they fumed of those who dumped their toxic troubles in it
In silence they spoke as knowing waves splashed gently ashore
During the day he whistled as he walked in happy rhythm
Carrying the shack within him like a fresh carnation
To friend and foe he showed off the delicacy of his new flower
"Have you seen one such as this? It's a beauty from the ages."
While others talked news of the world, he thought merrily of times in the shack
The shack by the sea, for friends meant to be
But his soul knew not truly the sacred sea
He loved the sea, revered it as all life and his faith was doubtless
But he refused to venture into its life giving waters
Was it pride? Was it fear? Or a vanity yet known?
She excitedly told her tales of oceanic exploration in wide eyed discovery
He parsed tales from the lives of others heard
Could he truly love the sea having never trusted it depths?
To fly with the angels, he manufactured stilts
And yet he knew the sky they created
"What to do? What to do? When there's no boat for you."
Forming in the shack's foundation, a rot of untruths
He told her he couldn't come anymore
But to see the shack and not go in...too much
Yet every return dripped further dread into the floor
He couldn't go in, he couldn't stay out...
She observed his growing agitation, saying nothing
She hoped he'd understood their covenant by the sea
"Be who you are in the world, be who you want with me."
This gift he could not give to himself
He wore a sailor's uniform having never sailed a day
As she spoke of distant shores, his guilty feet never left dry land
With grinding teeth he wondered her believing him, rarely she blind
He'd perfected the art of telling, absorbing his life to the task
On another road, his talents bring the wealth of the world
On this road, he twisted talent to buy friends
But ever taxing the perversion of purity
And in the end, all things revert to inevitable form:
His talents claimed by the world, his heart by a girl
In his soul a twisting typhoon, blowing the shack to pieces
Nature had spoken, Her voice only silent for a time
The pair never spoke again, the trusting boards all washed to sea
In haunted footsteps, to the empty spot he still walked
Hearing laughter of the past, feeling bright pain of the present
Strangers sneered as he sadly sat on the unmarked grave
Some sympathized, not knowing he'd authored the destruction
But he knew
He knew the Shack By The Sea
We were cool on craze
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Deified demon slams shut the cell door, asking, "Who wants to live? Who wants out?"
Anxious human hands stretch through barring bars, begging for release.
"Never!" laughs the demon. "Never to be free!"
Medieval stone sweats in ancient rot, the prisoners in a place long since standing.
The outside world moved on in ages past, seeking still life's glory.
Forgotten souls were they, doomed ever to live for the Devil's lacking.
Lying inept in darkness of yore, not a single ray of Living Light.
Like a fisherman scooping swindled souls, cut off were these floundering fools.
To the demon's domain whisks the wish for no love.
Time lasts not forever, but this time the demon's unbreakable own.
"Tell me your dreams! Tell me your talents so that I might tax them for my toilets!"
Clawing the sides of agonized cells, terminally trapped humans wail for their worth.
Faces turn grey in realized plight, flickering desires ghostly whispers in the night.
Back to the shores of slavery once shorn, the iron chain choking once more.
Bondaged bodies yoked to desires not their own, shackled thirsts die in the desert sun.
Toxic toiling seethes in fury of feeding the demon's despair.
"Speak ye of Heaven, speak ye of Hell, but this world is mine!"
In hope's mockery sit dignified demons of court, ruling against all appeals, decision final.
No hand stays the demon's hand, no heart holds it in check.
Pleasing prisoners plead prayers to the demon god, in words never heard.
Like lemons squeezed, bodies drag over burning coals to the humanoid scrap yard.
Thoughts of justice rob them of...
Thoughts of freedom rob them of...
Thoughts of love rob them of...
Defiant hands clutching bars in anger slowly melt into nothingness.
"Who are you?" taunts the knowing demon. "Who are you in the dark? Who are these children of God?"
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The intense throbbing pain never subsided, his energy bleeding unfettered into the universe - energy that would never be seen again. Floating out from him were dreams of paradise known and found, for his love had only grown brighter with time. His life had been one of mending walls and building bridges but now had come a time for washing all that away. There was a point to this?
Mixed among the pain: confusion. Yes, he knew the sorrows of sin would always be though having never broken his own fidelity. But why sin in the first place? How can illusion win the day? Where is the reward in killing me? Can I do their living for them and life still have meaning? I can find no sense in any of this.
His songs brought the joy of never-ending life. They danced in helpless bliss at the sound of his words, a healing light judging no man, cleansing dark hearts. Madly touched with desire and filled with frantic hope, crushing crowds followed the man from Galilee. But what of it now as they silenced his voice as a man who shutters sunshine from his home? Would they still kill him had he brought pain instead?
Who does not dream of it, hope for it, pray for it, live for it? Love rules all life from beginning to end, alpha and omega - no place stands outside of it. Who can not see to make love work? I led no one to the desert, only to life giving streams. Can hope be found elsewhere? Has anyone ever found death in love?
A human of the human race? One who lives in the world's mercy by choice? Have I done any deed beyond what can be done? Is not my own fate tied to theirs? Must I not live my own life? Can my love live without also giving it? Why don't they stop this before it's too late? Soon, I will be able to do nothing to prevent their pain.
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
And unstoppable tears streamed down the face of Jesus, he loving them more than they could know, a giving soul to the end. Please, oh please let me help you!
And darkness came over the land until the ninth hour, for the sun had stopped shining. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And when Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks split. When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and wailed, "Surely, this was the Son of God!"
I'd love to turn you on (but I didn't)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
He came rolling into town driving in Italian super suave style, an earthly god of spectacular virility and wealth. He had Rod Stewart hair and J Paul Getty disease. As his English custom shoes touched the ground, women competed bare-breasted to tie his Armani shoelaces. Men openly wailed in anguished jealousy and yet fearful rejection. Life would never be the same after the High Plains Banker stormed into town!
"Who are you??"
It was the one question no one dared ask him. After all, he was the Perfect Man, and what if he asked the same question of you, a lesser being? He pulled out his guitar, seducing them with songs of golden avarice and velvet ribs, fur-lined sinks and suicide sex on mountains of countless cash. "Baby, we were born to cum! Baby, we were born to fund!" In the end, no one really cared to ask him anything, they just knew his undeniable desires were their undeniable desires. To the High Plains Banker they could refuse no request - for his was a taking life worshiped from high to low.
Yes, the High Plains Banker wore his sunglasses a night - he saw the townspeople too well already. He himself had once been poor, working in a faceless fish factory with eyeless money guards and crippling crimes of the heart descended from a town who loved their god with all their heart and all their mind and all their soul. When they spoke, the blood of Jesus dripped from their tongues as they propagated His love for their misspent vanities. But this fisherman of souls claimed his worldly worth: a dreamer among zombies, a snapper of men's chains to kill the jackbooted joys of society's saboteurs.
Towering words of truth of the fisherman binded them with the light - and these ties they carelessly cut. Into the streets he was thrown, to proselytize to the dogs and cats and rats, for no human had ears. Wandering warlords of the street in fruitless hopes of ill-gotten glory and power-laden puke, chased him down every blind alley. "Pretty, pretty people we be!" Passing by in stolen Mercedes, believers of blight whipped the fisherman with god's own poverty, cackling as his speaking teeth dropped out and his healing heart dreamed ever fewer beats.
And for the fisherman's honor, no soul came walking in to hold the line. A Doubtless Decree was issued as Holy Law, giving its perpetrators godly goose bumps: "His is a death that must be, forever be and only be, so help us, god." For all of this time and any times after, this Holy Oath shall give a god's blessing of goodness. The last sounds of the fisherman were drowned by the victory clinks of crystal glassware and greed gone wild.
The Banker's vengeful eyes sparkled in champagne reflections, weaving wealthy woe with plans to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Men of proud paper found erotic ecstasy in such rapacious wrath. "After all, unprized peasants would rip our horny plenty if they could!" And of those of worthless work, the Banker religioned a credo of savored slavery sold as salvation, an honest day's work for a dishonest pat on the hollowed head. "Oooh, you make greedy fun!" squealed the piggly classless. Puffing on a succumbing cigar, the High Plains Banker blew sarcastic smoke on their spellbound sins. "To hell's home for all!" And the hearing ears grew nearer.
Vampires of the day they'd be - for not even the exposing daylight can kill such wonderful wickedness! Hateful howls are the word as the knifing knives shear the sheep but who can hear when so powerfully possessed? "Save my life I'm going down for the last time!" - but not even its victims dare refute the universal love for the Doubtless Decree, from which all goodness flows. In guilt's guidance, fleeing sheep line up for the hangman's noose hoping fiduciary fidelity prove them worthy in the Banker's eyes. The Banker laughing spreads his wings, "There's no answer but my answer! There's no voice but my voice! There's no dream but my dream!"
Fanned by fault-finding fiends, the Banker hangs the relished relic of a dangling dollar over the side of a hard-hearted cliff. Seeing this, the comely cattle dive off head first hoping to grab electric boots and mohair suits. Even as death became them, the puzzled participants wondered how the drifting Banker held such a godly grip on their silent souls - serving the Banker even unto defeated death. "What are words for when no one listens at all?" Only during the certainty of the fateful fall of folly does telling truth will out: the banker's ways are a deliverance to doom, an illusion of life. Giving up on the demands of good dreams that must be dreamed, the "pretty, pretty people" design their own demise.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
This whole healthcare reform debate is a microcosm of our society as a (w)hole. A serious issue addressed in a non-serious way. All sorts of mindless assumptions and assertions are being made both for and against reform. And it's not really about bringing a competence to the situation but rather winning the argument. Winning arguments requires no accountability - so that's where the fun is in most people's eyes.
You can find some really detailed columns on reform, breaking down the nuances in a very serious tone of a 1,200 page proposal. Some others take stances of absolutes of either it's all good or all bad. We talk of compromise and pragmatism and the politics of it all. Mostly, we contort the situation to fit into whatever fantasy we like most. One thing I hear very little talk about is actual healing.
When Johnny breaks his arm, are we then going to sit around and yap about "compromise" and "pragmatism" and "politics"? Judging by our actions, the answer is yes. And who among us when sick wants to be taken to an insurance agent for healing? Judging by our attitudes, everyone. So who wants to talk about a solution that truly provides medical care to all? Judging by our words, nobody.
And so it is when a silly people take on any issue of import: entertain us with suicide right on the stage. Tell us how the world is going to die and how you're going to prevent it. Tell me about your "insightful pragmatism" of how saving our environment is not economically feasible. Tell us there's a way to life without speaking the truth. Tell us we don't already know the answer.
Solutions That Do Not Solve® - never looking at the bottom line. It's all about the appearance of responsibility without actually taking any on. It's about making coherent, intelligent arguments that speak to the surface of a situation - but never question the fallacies of its foundations. It's not the words you say, but the conviction you say them with that counts. Bullshit, bombast and buffoonery hold sway in hearts that stand for nothing.
We are not a serious people. We are a silly people, a sad people, a sick people.
And I say this to you while sitting here buck naked, smoking a joint, with a raging boner and surfing the net for porn.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
As a planet dies, so does the social fabric that holds it together. It has forever been man's folly to believe in the power and force of his will. Leni Riefenstahl understood this very clearly in her Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the will". But it's not just Hitler who wanted his will to triumph over the world, there are many who follow in his footsteps to this day in one degree or another. In fact, I'd peg it at three out of every four. But that sort of bravado is short-lived in the time of the universe and at some point will vanish from the earth forever as we become one with said universe.
But the battle of wills is not one between man against man, but rather man against nature - a battle that cannot be won. We love to make defiant speeches and impassioned pleas that rally the crowds against what we perceive as nature's injustices. But that's sort of like leading a rally to make the earth flat. So until we realize our folly, war will be the norm and peace considered the insane. And the longer we war with our nature, the more it consumes us.
The siren of hysteria wails louder as we continue the hopeless struggle, drowning out words of reason - or compassion. It's not the man with the open heart we revere, but the man clad in black armor carrying the sniper's scope - for in him we see true salvation. "What would we do without him?" we ask. "His guns make us safe." Which makes a man of peace an implied threat to us all, one to despise and disdain - and ultimately to shoot. But I ask you, have you ever healed a broken heart with a cold, metallic gun?
"And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire."
Another part of our social fabric disintegrating is that of our daily interdependence on one another. I read the story of a woman suing her university for not providing her with a job after she had completed her courses. It's a ridiculous case but her contention points to a larger issue: we all make a social contract with one another in order to survive. If we fail to honor that contract, then what have we? Any society at all? Are we nothing but bribed savages waiting to show our true faces?
If we say a job must be required for living, then it is incumbent to provide that job. You say I must earn my food, therefore you create a de facto contract to provide food if I'm willing to earn it. But it doesn't work that way. We play a game of musical chairs: we require everyone to have a chair to survive but the number of chairs always comes up short. What sort of insanity is that? We bribed savages look the other way as long as the bribe keeps coming - but we sing a different tune when all the chairs are taken and are left in the lurch. Some plan, that.
As the illusion of an economic social contract ever existing comes to light and we reveal ourselves as the every-man-for-himself savages we are, the more blatant is our disregard for the suffering of our fellow man. We instead turn to the hope of the triumph of the will, that each person can make it on his own, needing no one. This puts all the blame on those who die. But I ask you, does a dog-eat-dog world truly serve the common good?
"With the beasts of the field,
"The birds of the sky
"And the creeping things of the ground.
"And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
"And will make them lie down in safety."
It's the illusion of love, isn't it? Love is the only true social fabric, all else destined to tear. Let me describe to you a people whose fabric is disappearing: they are increasingly edgy, growing in fear and hate and desperation (and their music sucks). They withdraw from reality into blind bubbles, hoping against hope the truth will never find them. Their hearts and minds become closed and conservative, never trusting in themselves or the life provided to them. Sound like anyone you know?
Though we fight to make the earth flat, a dominion of our will molded as we see fit, the truth of its roundness resides in us still. And though we know the one human overriding desire is love, we fight against that as well, failing to build on the one rock destined to last. I can certainly say - and others will loudly chime in - I have not been one to honor love well. But love is the only game in town, so what choice have I but to make it work? When we were first put on this planet, it was a paradise. That dream still exists as well.
In the end, it's the inevitability of love. The triumph of love. That which is the illusion of love and that which is truly love will be revealed forever, a shining truth no one can hope to deny. Dreams will be admitted for what they are: realities of love yet to be, unforsakable as water to a body. Hope will lie in the joy of knowing we work in mutual cooperation, never ordained but never disdained. And the future will be that of a flower that lives forever, the beauty of growth and self-discovery, unlocking ourselves as the planted seed. I ask you, do you truly have faith in anything which is not love?
"And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I'm in the parking lot of a cheap motel, the kind you only see on the edge of town, never on prime parcels. From long habit I've strategically placed myself with both an exit and a vantage point covering all incoming angles. Nighttime means nothing to the Terminator but it helps me feel safer with the cover of darkness. By virtue of my necessary positioning, I'm forced by the dumpster and the stench of its foul refuse forces me to tolerate it to the point I become one with it. How fitting considering the trash my life has become.
My hand shakes as I pour the nutrient powder into the half-filled glass of water. I don't try even try to stop it anymore after all these years. Especially after yesterday, having spotted the Terminator still on my trail of nineteen years. It's lone sentence to me echoes still in my disheartened ears: "Because I will never tire". Long ago, when the chase first started I asked it from the safety of the opposite bank of a river shore why it was so sure it would catch me. Its matter-of-fact reply has weighed on me ever since, dragging along like an increasingly weighted ball and chain.
Life on the run is the same as running from life. There's no settling down, looking to build a dream or start a home. Thoughts such as those are but a faint footprint on the shores of eroding sands of time. I can see the world, but never be a part of it. Sometimes when the cyborg was near, I mixed in with other human bodies to disguise my body heat from its infrared detectors. I can remember the smells of life and what old feelings it brought back and I wanted to stay with my planetoid compatriots in eternal harmony. But with a shameful Terminator on my trail, my place could never be among them - or anywhere.
It's 1:31 AM, waking after two hours "sleep" spent tossing and turning in fitful dreams with the Terminator's unstoppable hands reaching around my neck to finally choke the life out of me once and for all. I can't get these visions out of my head! I have no safe place to run to. No human can help because only those chased by the cyborgs admit the cyborgs exist and thus only we know their true destructive power. It's a secret that even if told cannot be heard. Foolishly, I did try long ago, hoping to find reasonable ears but mine was a story no one wanted to hear - a story of a force of death unacceptable to human aspirations of vanity.
There's a yin and yang to the run, times when you almost believe you're safe and times when you believe the truth. It's times like now, having spotted it still on my trail with my very eyes that shatter any idea I can escape its relentless pursuit. Stomach pains like dancing demons with manic pitchforks stab me uncontrollably. Food turns to acid, rising up in my throat, boiled and churned in my frantic worry. Over and over I ask myself, "Where is safety?" but the answer never comes. I tried praying to God, I tried hating God, I tried ignoring God - but the Terminator is the god in this world and its say is final.
I'm withered now, my youth sacrificed in the chase. I was an idiot to challenge the Terminator and its worldly masters. Does any decision made in anger not bring regret? But how could I have not been angry? How could I have not resisted to live in a world insisting on chains? I thought I could be free on the run, never realizing the running brought its own set of chains. In small consolation I note at least these chains are of my own making and not theirs - but it was a fateful day I ran from the Overlords' domain with no real plans for survival.
Here I am again, helpless and alone in the world with no ties that bind - and no ties of support. Looking back, I can see provoking the Overlords' anger was unavoidable if I were to grow. But where was my love? I kept it chained in my heart as well, crying for freedom just as I do now. I refused to give in and too late I see that was my only path to freedom. No matter how unjust the fate of the Terminator may be - no matter how cruel or sick and even eventually self-defeating for its makers - I don't see how I can escape its fate while alone.
Do you know what it's like to never sleep in the same place twice? To have every footstep always be one of trespass on another's property? To look over your shoulder in every meal, knowing the distraction of eating could be fatal? I'm more alone than can be explained, it is for me alone to know - even if never completely understood. This life is all I know but surely there's a better way.
The Terminators were invented to control the people. We were not to be trusted to do the right thing - a suicidal belief shared even by us. So in our wisdom we silently allowed the making of the controlling cyborgs, a "necessary evil" we vainly hoped. But whether for better or worse, all living things must grow and we found ourselves consumed with an insatiable need for more and more of the machines to keep our way of life going. Those still comfortable remain stubbornly blind, clinging yet to the religion of Terminator salvation - but it's not hard to see where it's going to lead us.
I see billions of humanoid skulls stacked as mounds in a landfill, the pseudo-sight of the Terminators undistinguishing between man, woman and child as eyeless drones slaughter the helpless humans. Fires will blot the sky in oily smoke to poison human breath. Rage will overflow into the streets decrying a death already chosen yet only then coming to fruition. The folly of human power will collapse in on itself in a dearth of love or compassion. As it's happening, the words "It must be this way, there is no other way" will be spoken and agreed to and the Terminator beasts hailed in last ditch desperation and fear. These things will happen because we said they could never happen - allowing us in our minds to then engender it.
What have I done? Betrayed by own mad hand yet again, pouring poison into the well of love. Only a deceived soul could do such a thing. The nightmare began with a lack of self-trust so maybe that's how it will end. Those who can trust themselves will survive, those who can not will not. We will see in the end whose decisions can be trusted. What is the path to self-trust? I do not know first hand, I see it only in my art. Like the cyborgs, I'm missing a vital human component. Maybe that's why we secretly built them: as one gigantic expression of our inner selves.
"If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Sunday, August 09, 2009
"Everybody gets something out of every transaction."
-Joe Mantegna in "House of Games"
In a previous posting I discussed Con Men and Religion, religion being defined as bullshit one makes up in order to feel good about oneself. Now, I certainly understand the desire to trust, it's a natural human instinct predators take advantage of. But one cannot safely trust in this world without an equal measure of self-honesty. If one insists on lying to oneself, expect your trust to be betrayed. A Fort Worth retiree learned that lesson the hard way recently.
The scam was a classic one and the perpetrators were professionals. An elderly Hispanic woman claiming to hold a winning lottery ticket said she had no idea how to claim her prize. She used the old "You look like an honest man to me" trick. The retiree even helped with his own self-con warning her to watch out for muggers. Now, who doesn't like to be told they are an honest person and then get to play the role of protective hero to boot? And in exchange for receiving the woman's compliments and good wishes, the man emptied his bank account.
An accomplice showed up dressed in a sharp and respectable manner. No rebel he but rather a man of good standing in the community, no doubt. Con men are always clean cut - that always means something to the self-deceived. He too wants to help: helping to "prove" the ticket is a winner and also to help cash it. In order to prove he wouldn't run off with the winnings the woman herself could not cash, he offered up good faith money of $12,000. This then made the retiree feel obligated to put up his own good faith money, the said $4,000.
Complaining of hunger, the woman had them drive to a donut shop. The retiree went in and when he came back out, they were gone. Variations of this con have been used for over a century now. It continues to work because there's never a short supply of people who need to feel good things about themselves - even if it's false. The clean cut con man repeatedly affirmed to the retiree they were doing the right thing and God had sent them to help the old woman in her hour of need.
The family of the retiree was deeply embarrassed by the entire episode but wanted the story publicized in hopes of avoiding further victims. I suspect they had no idea how long the "good faith money" scam has been in operation, though. But like Michael Jordan, you can't hope to stop it, only (maybe) contain it. There's lots of guilty people walking around - mostly capitalists looking to atone for their dog-eat-dog philosophy (but not to give it up, of course!)
Even if you don't like the answers you get, it's always best to be honest with yourself. There's never an advantage to lying about anything. All lies are destined to die.
Watch and learn (check out Part 5 to see the actual "short con"):
Saturday, August 08, 2009
When I first moved out onto my own I lived on the edge of town with a few other scattered trailers and Derek was my closest neighbor. Derek, though he had his faults, was a bit of a free spirit, which always appeals to me. And his favorite saying was, "Everybody's the same on the inside." It comforted me that he knew that so I wouldn't be alone with that knowledge. Little did I know then how rare that knowledge would be.
When God looks down into our reality, souls have no color. Nor do they have religion or nationalistic identity or any other rot we decide to make up and call real. We are just souls. Souls with different characteristics - and in different states of health - but the differences God sees are ones of beauty, like the differences from one flower to the next, each one unique in what it has to share. And whoever considered that beauty to be unimportant?
We did, of course. Because we're morons. There is only one race on this planet: the human race. So how the fuck can you be a racist with only one race?? Why do we continue to pretend that's even possible? It's beyond absurd for one human to point to another and say, "You're not of my race!" One may claim such a thing. One may even believe such a thing. But one can have no true sincerity in saying such a thing. It's like denying your own existence.
The term racism has become synonymous with the word hate and it's understood to be pretty much interchangeable. But labeling that hate "racism" somehow makes it more palatable, giving it an air of unwarranted legitimacy. "Oh, he's not just a regular asshole, he's understandably discomforted by someone outside his race." Wrong. He is a regular asshole because there is no one outside his race. The day we truly make progress on "race relations" is the day we stop using the word "racism".
We could get technical and try to pry open everyone's head to get the exact term. Terms like "skinism" or "culture-ism" or "you're-different-than-me-ism". But who's got time for that? Let's just call it what it is: "hate-ism". And I think that puts things in a vastly truer light if we start using terms like he's a "hate-ist cop" or someone's yelling "hateful slurs" or conducting "hateful profiling". I think the hate-ists would find it far more distasteful to be referred to in those more honest terms.
The reality is hate-ism is just a cover for insecurity - which makes us all hate-ists to one degree to another. Now, it's true if everyone thought just like me the world would be a vastly better place for me. (First off, no one would be trying to run my life and the necessity of trust would be realized as a vital founding component of any society - but I digress). But with no two people alike it leaves us awash in a sea of differences, exposing each of our own strengths and weaknesses.
It's no secret Texas is an unabashed source of hate-ism. Sure, we hate on blacks but hey, let your hair grow too long and suddenly you're of another "race". Say you're for peace and you're of another race. Or be a liberal and become the modern Jew. This is perfectly demonstrated in the clip below with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper discussing the hatred encountered while filming Easy Rider (yup, those guys in the cafe were sharing their unscripted feelings):
There's another term for someone who's insecure: loser. What classmates did you respect in school? Certainly not the insecure ones who never stood up for anyone (including, ultimately, themselves). And that's what hate-ists are as well, losers. Whether hiding behind a badge or a bible or plain ol' bullshit, we need to call these people out - even if we call ourselves out in the process. Truth - it does a (global) body good!
All I know folks, is in the end, I don't really care why your goddam fist is hitting my face, I just know that it is. And for that, I'm going to snap your fucking neck and break your goddam back - in the most permanent way possible.
This public service announcement brought to you by Mrs. Robinson (Jesus loves you more than you will know)
Friday, August 07, 2009
News of the Tate-LaBianca murders has spread outrage across the country. In response to a growing clamor for action, Charles Manson, the mastermind behind the deaths, and his "family" were called before Congress today. Congressional representatives vowed to teach Mr. Manson and his ilk a painful lesson by inflicting the severist possible of tongue lashings. Rep. Barney Frank was quoted as telling the monster, "There's a great deal of anger in the country, much of it justified."
Mr. Manson seemed to mollify legislators by admitting, "It is abundantly clear that we are here amidst broad public anger."
Rep. Michael Capuano pulled no punches, boldly declaring outright his thinking Manson's acts were "illegal " and "cannot believe" Mr. Manson had not been prosecuted for them. Some observors did detect a suppressed smile on Mr. Manson's face when Rep. Capuano stuck out his tougue and bluntly informed Mr. Manson, "America doesn't trust you anymore."
Rep. Brad Sherman also frothed with righteous rage at Mr. Manson's use of private aircraft, which created a sonic boom during the funeral of his victims. In what had to be a very painful moment for the family, Rep Sherman unequivocally fumed to Mr. Manson, "You could sell them."
After the gruesome and bloody murders were committed, Rep. Paul Kanjorski seethed with news Manson Family members had rifled victim's pockets. In a most urgent tone, Rep Kanjorski admonished, "Please find a way to return that money before you leave town."
Fiscally concerned Republican Rep. Gresham Barrett seemed mildly upset at the Manson Family's implied selfish behavior with the money taken, timidly suggesting it might possibly be donated to help the victims' families. Clearly noting he was not speaking for himself, but rather his constituents, Barrett complained they "simply have not seen the evidence that the money you were given is working or making their lives better."
At this point, Manson chaffed under the heavy criticism (which many pointed to as a sure sign change for the better was on the way and absolutely no need existed for passage of choking and restrictive laws to prevent further seemingly criminal acts like those committed by the Manson Family). Mr. Manson indicated in a quite factual manner the need for a highly rewarding bonus structure to prevent future egregious acts, regardless of the behavior or harm his family may inflict.
Rep. Barney Frank sharply repudiated that claim? "This notion that you need some special incentive to do the right thing troubles people."
Mr. Manson dismissed the obvious ignorance that only a non-Family member could hold, thusly explaining the need for a bonus structure: "It's complicated."
In a surprise appearance, Bette Midler, who lost her entire fortune in the California real estate crash, sang these words to Mr. Manson and his family:
It's the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance;
It's the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance;
It's the one who won't be taken
who cannot seem to give;
And the soul afraid of dying
that never learns to live.
Ms. Midler's singing visibly disturbed Mr. Manson who stormed away from the table decrying what he called a ridiculous furor over a few dead bodies and it wasn't as if he created a global economic crisis damaging the lives of millions, throwing families out into the street, saying only true monsters could do such a thing. Manson declared his support of family values was self-evident.
Troublemaking protesters intent on debasing the very foundations of the rule of law were arrested, tasered and dragged from the proceedings. These vicious and wild-eyed monsters having the temerity to point out the passing of Congressional acts repealing the "Murder for fun" statutes, which some fringe elements assert may have had some slight and inadvertent influence on allowing Mr. Manson's murders for fun. Although many legislators present voted for said repeal, they did not let that diminish their outrage - with many highly paid and comfortable-for-life pundits declaring this to be brave acts of integrity on the congressmen's part.
In final statements, several congressmen also claimed to be "Shocked! Shocked!" at news of gambling in the back of Rick's Cafe Americain. Mr. Manson's lobbying firm - who called the grilling of their clients "unparalleled in American history" - also passed out videos explaining and defending the unforeseeable consequences of sticking a knife in a human body. As a fair and balanced, non-judgemental human and all around non-thinking good guy individual of the blameless media, this reporter has included the video below:
You can trust us now!
Thursday, August 06, 2009
You've never been there for me before, why should You start now? But I got nowhere else to turn. Do all roads lead to death? I can't see what You're good for, God. I really just can't. Is there something I'm supposed to figure out that my brain just can't know? I've been working on it me whole life and it ain't come to me yet. Maybe I just can't figure out this puzzle. Maybe this has all been a waste of time. Truth be told, I don't think it would be right to call it anything but that.
Pop said I had to get a job even if it "kills ya". He said he wouldn't stand for having any bums in the family and if I died in the street then that's what I deserved. Can't be no other way, he always said. So I always had me a job even though the job was never me. And funny thing is, now I look back on it, Pop always hated his jobs too. He just passed that on like all parents do.
I've always been a working man cuz of my Pop. If I had tried something else and it failed, he'd a killed me and not thought twice about it. And when I look around me, I sees more people like me Pop than I see otherwise. First time I really settled into a job was when I was sweeping out the newspaper building. I bought me a beautiful car with that money, finest kind. But when I found out my boss was lying to me and stealing money from me and I went to get it back, well, I didn't have a job no more. See, that boss man was just like Pop, he knew I had to have that job, and I was just supposed to look the other way cuz the job is king.
Where was You then, God? Should I have let that man cheat me? Is it really a sin to stand up for yourself? Tell You the truth, God, it sure do seem that way. I lost my car and had to buy this old Beetle with no heat or air. I found another cleaning job at night and when I drove home on those cold winter mornings I had no way to stop the ice forming on my windshield going down the road. I had to drive with me head out the window. Pop and the boss man and God all wanted it that way. You'd think one out of those three would like me.
I did everything after that. Bussing tables, throwing papers, cooking breakfast, back to cleaning again, driving a cab till I got robbed. See God, they told me that's what You wanted. That we got this world all set up just like God wants and if you don't tow the line you deserve to die then die again. I don't have no way of proving them wrong. I couldn't see no way of living without a job, either. Do You want me to die on the street, God? Is that Your plan? That's a mighty tough one. But it's the only one I can see You got for me iffen You want to disagree with Pop and everybody else.
I was hoping something somewhere along the way would happen. Now I think about it, I don't know why. There's just nothing here and never will be, will there? Just me and my fellow man and the hell we make. So I doubled down, stuffing down all my feelings like never before cuz I got to seeing they weren't of no use anyhow. I took one of them factory jobs, something I always fear'd cuz they steal the soul and put your mind in an iron cage with no hope of freedom ever again. But then, I figured, God ain't gonna give me freedom anyways so it must not be of any import.
Now it's nine years later. I got me those factory benefits and they gave me an official number they could call me by and I tried to represent myself as an upstanding citizen Pop and God could be proud of even though I was dying on the inside. Seems to me at that point, life was just about picking how you wanna die. But I made a good go of me act. Even latched onto a girl and we was gonna build our lives on my factory job and I had to pretend like I could keep on plucking them factory chickens till I die. None of any of that was real. The harder you try to do the right thing, the worse things get.
Lost my girl when gas shot up to $4 a gallon. We didn't have no extra money any more and we got to fightin' and hatin' each other so off she goes. That $4 gas changed me life. It let me know they can kill ya anytime they sees fit. Landlord at the apartment started billing me for his water. Insurance guy said he wanted more money and showed me how the city gonna take my car forever if I don't pay up. I hear everyone around me bitching about this, saying it ain't right, but then they get just like Pop saying this the way it gotta be. God don't love none of us.
But I'm at the end of me rope now, God. You be the most hardest ass person in the universe! Me hands are broken from all them years plucking chickens, making them birds so other peoples can eat 'em. My hands ain't no good for nothing now. The factory lawyer said I'm a bad man for trying to take money for my hands. The deciders just looked at the car he was driving and the car I was driving and just knew he was right. I can't hold no job now. I'm more tired than I ever been before. I tried hard. Harder than You ever did, God! Harder than Pop ever did too!
I don't want to die like this. Me hands all mangled up and never knowing love. I can't live doing what they say. Can't live doin' otherwise either. I don't get this. Round and round it goes in me head, never stops, trying to figure out what this is all about. If You gonna talk to me, God, now's the time to do it. I don't expect You will. You ain't seen no cause to do it before and Lord knows I needed You then too. There's never been a crumb of meaning in anything I done. All I wanted was just to be left alone, to breathe and feel like a person. But I don't know how to make money at that. And money is the real god ain't it?
This girl told me once the reason a person suffers a meaningless life is cuz he was one of the soldiers that put a nail in Jesus. So if You just put me here to suffer, God, all this makes sense. But if You tell me You wanted me to live, I don't get it. I don't get how You can say You wanted anyone to live...
God is a concept by which we measure our pain