Sunday, January 27, 2013

Billy Budd Cliff Notes (Spiritual)

"Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life will preserve it."

There was a war. It was the same as the war before, same as the one after: somebody somewhere wasn't happy. And like all wars, men felt the guilt of it. (Or was there war because they were guilty?)

Not all men were in the war. Some men were glad of that. But the guilty men hated the men glad not be in their war and made rules allowing them to force the unguilty into the fray. The guilty men were oh so ashamed and feared to be cast out.

Billy had no guilt, so when the guilty men spotted him they knew right away they must make him as they were and to fear the reaper. For this, Billy was put aboard a ship of war.

Old man Claggart had wasted his intellect and life and sought refuge in the sea where cruelty was still condoned. He'd allow no man to touch him with his Pilgrim's pride but lived for the lovely lashings on Billy's ship of war. The men on the ship hated Claggart's injustice and the thieving of their lives but Billy only saw the loneliness Claggart's cruelty wrought himself.

Claggart was humiliated by Billy seeing him as anything but the evil monster he wished to portray. Billy did not have the black heart like the rest of the ship's crew and Claggart knew in time Billy's pure heart would expose Claggart's pathetic existence as inexcusable. Panicking, afraid, desperate and a loser, Claggart fictionalizes an accusation of mutiny against Billy.

The captain uses Claggart as his sledgehammer to "maintain order" but realizes his sledgehammer has gotten out of control, creating chaos. But his guilt from using him in the first place stops him from directly confronting Claggart. Instead, the captain plots and waits until Claggart goes too far and the almighty law can be invoked. Claggart's obvious libel against Billy gives the captain just such an opportunity.

But Billy is not prepared to face such outright evil the captain has prepared for him to confront, for Billy sees no reason for it in this lovely world. Unable to speak, he strikes Claggart and accidentally kills him. The men, the officers and the captain are all happy and cheer Claggart's death. But they too fear the reflection of Billy's pure heart. Billy has drawn one man out into the open, only a matter of time before he exposes them and their guilty war.

Coming to realize this, it is decided Billy is to be hanged under the pretext of maintaining order to preserve the illusory sanctity of their war. How can they fight if they're revealed as simple fools? How obvious they fight in the end only to hide their love, just like Claggart did. Billy did not betray himself as the rest of the ship had. What is the purpose of any act outside of love?

When their ship is attacked the men cannot fight back. They know their own truth now and feel its peace. But they soon reject that peace, destroying life in the name of saving lives, and the war resumes after this singular pause to live.

Guilty is as guilty does!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Morning Sniping

"You people really think there's any living with you? Really?? You cannot possibly think that! You're out of control without any sense of reality. Worst part is you think you can lie your way out of it. Make people think what you want to think. I'm here to set the record straight!"

High in the ivory tower he could see for miles - much more than his mortal, myopic friends on the ground. He focused the targeting laser light on a stroller beside a mother talking obliviously on her cell.

"You know, you look like an undecided voter. You're too fucking stupid to live! I can't let that kid grow up in a household like yours!"

With the flick of a finger terror reigned from the sky and the stroller exploded. The former mother screamed in bone filled agony.

"Ha! Not so goddam oblivious now, are you? Pay attention next time and maybe bad shit won't happen to you. Oh, look at her and her self-pity. 'Why did it have to be my baby? Why did this happen to me?' Quit your bitchin', lady! Get over yourself. Grow the fuck up!

"Who else is wandering around that's a threat to me the people? Oh look, an actual tree hugger! Asshole! There's no political profit in saving trees. People need jobs, not a bunch of stupid plants. Time to compromise. Prepare to meet your Maker!"

Both the tree hugger and the six hundred year old oak he hugged went up in flames as once again terror from the sky struck in precision doom.

"You people think I'm just going to stand here and let goddam radicals criticize me when they've got no idea what they're doing! I've got the power! I've got the right! You bitches going down, not me, you professional know-it-alls! HAHAHA!

Peace through blood. Duh!

"Oh hell, look at redneck Jesus there with both him and his kid dressed in camouflage. Let's see how he likes it when I point a laser beam on junior's head. Oh boy, this is going to be funny!

"Yessss! Zap! Incinerated! Look at daddy dum-dum drawing his gun. That ain't gonna save ya, moron! Who ya gonna shoot there, Dirty Fairy? Think you're a real bad-ass with your gods and guns, don't ya? Might makes me right and you da bitch!

"Now let's see...who else in need of dying? Who do I see that disagree? Oh, perfect! Look at that! An oil pipeline protest! I'll blow the black Jesus out of them! I'll blow those cardboard sign across three counties. Time to recycle!

"Aw, look at them poor baby protesters running and screaming. Not so sure of your convictions now, are you? Get a job, you white pussies! You really think you know what's best? You really think you have my pragmatism? Get a grip. If you were right I wouldn't be able to blow you up. Think about that!

"Whoa, look at that. Some old couple is giving that banker an earful! He must have gambled away their savings without their consent. Gawd, that's hawt! What's the matter, Pops? Hate working as night watchman in your "golden years"? Whatever in the hell made you so goddam important? Who the fuck you think you are to tell off anybody?

Would you take your top off if you knew it would save lives?

"Boom! Bye-bye, old fuckers. Probably did them a favor anyway. I should get a peace prize for that! We're nothing without the banks. They are the only people that count. They give us our way of life! Just cuz you got shafted don't ruin it for the rest of us. This whole damn country would go right to hell if I let these banker haters have their way. Free thinking anarchists!

"Whew, what a morning! I'm must be the hardest working man in the assassination business! Gonna sass a nation with my assassinations! Hot diggety, it sure is fun being pragmatic. I kill without question, I'm a patriot! Dear God, bet You wish You were me! You just sit on Your ass. I'm doing real work! Death to non-believers! Death to infidels! Time to go out and greet my gratefully adoring public."

As the assassin stepped out of his ivory tower, the usual conversation could be heard.

"You sick son-of-a-bitch! You out of your ever-lovin' mind? What sort of worm of a lie lives in your head that makes you get away with killing like that?"

"He's a psychopath! He thinks only he knows what he's doing!"

"He'll get us all killed! He's out of control!"

Got another one! Giggle!

A fearmongering whore begged in dissent. "You idiots! Stop spreading fear. Those were drone strikes. That's what makes us safe!"

A parrot of power mindlessly repeated the same old mantra. "He's got super secret knowledgeables what make sure he a-kill people what a-derservin uv it!"

"Don't make no matter if it wrong or right! This is OUR country! Gotta trust them people we put above us or we look like a buncha morons!"

Even Dirty Fairy applauded and lauded. "I've got another kid at home! Please kill her too. I'm a super patriot! All's fair in war! Yeeehaw!"

Then policeman, made perfect by removal of their eyes, arrived to beat the assassin's protestors to death in order to preserve the greater evil. The assassin laughed. "I'm untouchable! If you want to be a hero then just follow me!"


Hey kids, be the first on your block to get the new third person shooter game "Drones Away!" Where you can make your own Kill List! Kill for reasons only you know about! Practice looking serious while your hands remain blood free! Now everyone can be President!"


Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Reflections Japanese (w/Haiku!) (Photo Essay)


After seeing a photo of a reflection in the waters of the Fort Worth Japanese Garden I was inspired to try my own hand at a series of watery reflections. I picked a mostly overcast day with the sun only occasionally peeking through to give me the best light. There was an unusual serenity to be found in the garden's lightly ruffles water. I hope I captured some of that feeling.



Reflections62 Like a Rorschach test!





I couldn't resist a few traditional shots.


Reflections44 The inscrutable Great Heron who makes his daily visit.


Gracia I never fail to visit Gracia

With my new long range lens I hoped to get some shots not possible before, trying some different angles and zoom shots.








As the speakers announced the imminent closure for the day I found myself wishing to bed down and surrender to the stillness away from a world gone mad. On a planet of stranded and disconnected souls nature provides her strings and strands inviting us to reconnect once again. It's not our military that can protect us, only reconnecting can do that.


Fall leaves lay hidden,
Silent, lost treasures slumber,
Life's ancient secrets.


Click here to view the entire set

Monday, January 07, 2013

Diary Of A Well-Married Mad-Woman

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty"
- that is all
Ye know on earth,
and all ye need to know.

Suddenly, it all seems so meaningless. Everything. Why do I get up, why even move? Why do I write? Where does anything lead but to more emptiness, more uselessness, more screams I dare not let out? For so many years I battled to prove my case. Now, I cannot bear to even see my swindling smile on vanity vacations. I thought I was winning, but the more I won the more lost I became.
I won the argument for my life but lost my life. I thought one the same as the other. So much anger! Always fighting, preserving the precious facade. But now, when I feel I've reached the mountaintop, there's nothing here. What was I fighting for! How wrong have I been in my life? This is a fear I've never known before, a fear of myself. Now where do I run?
The Ogre is gone. Did I need the Ogre to keep giving me direction? It wanted to destroy me! Even now my heart burns in flaming fury at the intolerable thought of It! But is there something I missed? Was I lying to myself? Oh, how easy it was to see It as the enemy. I fought and resisted, clinging to my husband and family, twenty years of dutiful crucifixion.
So what does this mean? My argument was true: a family is a good thing. But does a good thing suffocate you? Does it rip your desires in two like a torn Van Gogh painting? I can feel the knives piercing within me - the same very knives I thought to escape from the Ogre. My God, what have I done? To what did my anger blind me?

I just woke from a nap. My heart was pounding! Panic surrounds me like a ring of fire. I hate being here. I hate doing my damned wifely duties. My life is nothing but chores! Is that any reason to live? Would the gardener ever suspect this is my life? His life will be chores till death. I watched him through the window, envious, feeling him more free than I. Does he feel humiliated pulling the weeds of another's garden? I feel humiliated in all things I do.
Even the Bible harbors me no more. I use to love study class, but when Becky spoke last night it shattered me to my core. "You know what an unclean spirit is, it's when someone doesn't come clean!" NOOOOOOOOOO! Can't be! Coming clean is the wrong thing to do! It destroys the family! Oh, dear God, Jesus, this hurts. It's a pain so deep I dare not seek its bottom.
Still reeling from Becky with that enthusiastic voice of hers. Never was I so desperate to lie, exposed before everyone in Bible study! Part of me wishes now I had cried out and let my pain be known. Would they have loved me regardless? Would anyone have understood? So much fear! It surrounds me like tall cliffs. I'm screaming now when it's safe and no one hears - or knows why.
I'm wishing for the Ogre. I know it doesn't make sense. I feel like It's the only thing that knows me. Its message of doom can be no worse than the hell I live now. These words I write, is this good or bad? They sustain me in my woe but expose me to woe if exposed. My first instinct is always to lie - even when I don't need to, or even want to. I'm out of control!

I snapped at my daughter and she won't speak to me now. I was completely in the wrong. But she does not "know" to lie like I do. She was being open and honest and I jumped down her throat for it. I've turned savage. I can hear Becky's voice again. "And you know what they say about unclean spirits in the Bible!" All my churchly activities and charities and sermons are useless in my salvation. But I dare not stop or they'll know something's up.
I just don't want to talk anymore. What's the point? It only digs the hole deeper. I did womanly things without ever becoming a woman. I want a man to take me, force the lies out of me and tell me I'm beautiful. The Ogre only came to mock me, or so I thought. But since I know I hurt It, I know It only has revenge upon Its mind. What a mess I've made of my life. All the heavens must be moaning.
Me again. Can I die now? I feel nothing. Am nothing. My mind is slipping from overwhelming disinterest. I almost want any fate possible other than the one where they find out I'm a liar. I've been secretly searching on pictures of women in chains. They excite me. If I did that would I then be free?
I thought I believed in God but I don't. Not one single bit. I can't believe in anything if I can't be free. Is this what You want? For me to die? For everyone to die? Can You tell me there was another way? I'd sure like to know. Why hide it? Why can't I know?

Oh shit, it was me. I ran from the Ogre. I remember it coming towards me, terrified, seeing the end of everything, but excited and hopeful. Hopeful! Why did I run? What news did it bring me? To make myself feel better I claimed it was news of the worst sort. News of pointed finger and final abandonment. But that's what I have now. Would the Ogre have saved me?
I may not write again. I'm trying various self-punishments to atone for my living in sin. Wow, I used to say that on my high horse, about people living in sin. I'll never say those words again. I'm finding it hard to look down upon anyone anymore. I feel lower than the people I see on the news. At least they are known criminals.
I thought of going up to a suited man I passed on the street and asking to suck his dick right there in the middle of the day. Then I imagined it being one of my husband's co-workers and that excited me more. How can I come clean to these things? As I went down I would tell him I want to swallow all his lies and hope he'd be proud of me. Oh hell, I don't want all my morality to be a lie!
More images, more urges. The sky weeping and tired, the cliff inviting me to drive off. I just want to rest. My body decays daily from the stress. Who would believe a woman in a half million dollar home who does not work has stress? They'd call me crazy. And my stillborn pride is screaming not to give out. Would I be more moral to suck every dick in town? Or is that just another dead end too?

Whither honesty? Whither truth? My body aches for the black capsule of death. I almost want to do it just to see the looks on their faces finding out life is not what it seems! Face the truth! But first, I must burn this before I go. I don't want them standing over me in judgment. Who the hell are they?
With the courage of death I at long last opened the Ogre's letter. I'm sorry to report my first reaction was my usual reaction: burn and deny. It's a politician's life I lead. Yes, at first he mocked me. "Well, I see at least you lived up to your (fat) potential!" Funny, but I was fine with him saying that. My physical body has bloated just as my spirit has bloated with truths kept inside. No one else has asked the truth of me.
It was only the Ogre who believed in me. I was too scared to believe I had talent. I don't want anyone to believe I'm anything but a housewife! That's how he was going to expose me. A life wasted. I'd rather they believe me a slut and whore than that. What kind of fool am I to want to be known as UNtalented? What kind of journey have I been traveling? Now the ringing words are clear in my head: "Anything but truth". I cannot even face the stars at night.
Are there any options left? Have I left myself a way out? I have faced the truth - a little truth - but only in secret. In the movies some miracle always happens when someone pays the price for speaking out. What am I to believe? That I have talent that can sustain me? That I should bet my life on that lottery ticket? Every day is the same: a little bit older, a little bit colder...

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Anarchist Cookbook Roadshow

"The future's uncertain and the end is always near."

It was another lost, black, nightmare weekend, battling the demons of the day and the wispy dreams of night that vanish like midnight elves if ever attempted to remember, moments never to be shared. The storm cleared - God knows why - late Sunday and I went to inspect the house from when I slipped into my stupor. My house is large and sits on the side of a hill. In the upper rooms a radio was playing I never turned off. When the demons hit life stops dead.

Down in the lower back part of the house the door was wide open much to my horror. Outside were thug boyz in mascara, taking their cues from the news of the day. Finding my door unlocked and unattended gave them free reign to make themselves at home in their angry minds. I screamed at them telling them they had no business in my house but the leader screamed back, incensed at my gall in questioning him. I slammed and locked my door shut deciding to clean up the litter they left later.

Is that what life is truly about, exploiting any weakness you can find?

Then the doorbell rings and it's Cindy Sasquatch, tall large and overbearing, storming through my front door followed by her blind entourage of militant mutants. "Oh no, this will never do," she presumes, looking up and down my entranceway. "Start ripping this out, I don't like it at all!" I exploded at this new invasion. "I don't give a fuck what you like! Get the fuck out of my house!" Sasquatch squealed like a stuck pig. "He's being mean to me and I'm only trying to help!"

That set off the militant mutants who lived their lives for moments of mad executions and other witch burnings, always waiting for the New Witch of the day. They tackled me and held me down, acid spit dripping from their fangs as it stung my helpless skin scarring me. "Goddam you! This is outrageous! You're over the top! You're out of control!" But the mutants only knew - and wished only to know - what the Sasquatch wished them to believe.

The Sasquatch monster rampaged throughout my house making judgements and snide remarks. "Oh, you drink that kind of tea? I never drink that! You need to drink what I do. I've got The Answer!" The beast - like all beasts - believed in the triumph of the will despite the fact of it never having triumphed. Bend reality to your will! Suffer no doubt! Rule with an iron heart that cannot be hurt. The creature threw me out and seized my home, saw no reason not to and pled its case as savior to all it met. I was roundly booed for denying a beast who only "came to help."

Shattered by the deranged acts I staggered down the street. Most every house had a beast at the door pounding to get in, clutching onto an Answer for all problems as these vampires demanded the lives of those inside. Who can stop them? They used to wear swastikas but now wear the suits of a businessman's tailor. Creeps put other creeps in power to annoint them with the declared righteousness of the world. Setting themselves up as Communist Capitalists they proclaimed to be the best of both worlds. "When we have losses then all should support us, when we have profits it's every man for himself to pull his own weight!"

Bold were these demons knowing this was their day - and time was short. Collars and chains required for every human who dare breathe! "There are no beasts, there is no evil. There is only love," preached the priests of numbing pain. Children rejoiced in their cool, new collars. "The corporation sasquatches are going to save us!" The responsibly irresponsible crowed of a New Dawn of Enlightenment, pouring kool-aid into the public water. "Don't be betrayed by your heart! We are the clever ones who can be communist and capitalist both, greedy yet sharing we are!"

Fearing to be pinned with donkey tails, many of the newly homeless like I was applauded the Communist Capitalists and their creepy ways. The Sasquatches love this like nothing else, calling the applauders with loving approval onto the front porch. There they hugged these good little children - children who looked back at my refusal with an angry eye. "Moron! See? We get all the love! Get with the program!" Then the sasquatches would laugh and beat them like useful idiot baby seals. "I always wanted to be useful," murmured one seal before death.

Confusing billboards popped up as I wandered in search of shelter. "Only the evil or righteous are angry!" "Shoot the shooters and praise them!" "You can only make a difference when you can't!" Unloved, I sat as the fool on the hill, the world burning and turning around me.

In my mind I saw the distant lands, visions understood only when chosen to be seen, never conveyed. I hear the silent screams in the wind begging to be loved. I see bullets in their chambers praying for release. I smell the stench of decaying marriage infecting families. I taste the acrid air vowed to be clean by those with foul breath. I feel the sun upon my face, waiting for the day it cleanses the earth. It's only us here.

"People talk about "responsible greed", "regulated greed". It's absurd! Greed's a sin like any other no matter how we may paint it. It's like saying "responsible murder", "regulated murder"  - as if that were something we could live with. You can't. It's an either/or situation. Choose greed or choose life, it's that simple."
Philip Cronkite on Bill Maher Show