Friday, May 29, 2009

Foundation of a Shadow

Give me your hand and let me take you into the tangled jungle of flesh, blood, and bone. Let me take you into those caverns where chest cavities gap wide open, making the walls that hold you and tangled indiscriminate masses of fleshiness make an uneven carpet of malformed shapes. The colors here are peachy and dripping crimson and veiny royal blue. Shredded muscle tissues hang like scarlet drapes, windows look into the hive-like interior of bone where the marrow rests maroon in its pockets. You will find that everything drips here, like melting wax. You needn’t move at all to journey through these chambers, they do the moving for you. Morphing, they collapse in on themselves as a new interior design emerges on the back of the old. We can walk through the catacombs of gore in their bright colors until deformed skulls emerge in the landscape, stark and white, being swallowed by blackness that eats itself until a new bright white set of bones bleeds into the forefront and strange vines of darkness reach like tentacles from every corner, weaving their way through the forest of ivory skeletal structures.
Vaguely, you think that this must be a bad trip, except nothing about it particularly bothers you and even that doesn’t bother you anymore, not the way that it used to when you wore little golden crosses on delicate chains around your neck and imagined that God dwelt in a palace of crystal surrounded by English gardens. Now you can tumble within the swirling black vapors like a sky diver through clouds, without fear of Gods or Devils that struggle over pure souls like Counts and Dukes over the young virgins of adventure stories. Now they are just these two things that give you the benefit of travel; shadow and light, and neither one loves you more than the other and neither one will hurt you more than the other. They are not your parents. They are your children, your toys, your tools. They are the tricks that make something out of nothing, motion out of stillness, form out of void, and whatever you are, wherever you go, you’re just passing through, crawling through sticky bloody hells as tantalizing to the senses as any heavenly field of lavender under a bright blue sky.
Crawl out into an office of clean white walls and blue Berber carpet and white laminate counter tops stocked with jars of tongue depressors. Slip up onto a cushy rainbow colored bean bag and make yourself comfortable, because you are a body now, a human that knows the words for “bean bag” and “laminate” but not the words that describe the other places where you have just been. The therapist arranges herself on another beanbag. Her coat is white, her hospital pants are powder blue. There are pens in her pocket and glasses on her clean friendly face, framed by straight auburn hair, fashionably layered to balance against the spectacles and make her seem perfectly ordinary, not too much of anything, nor to little.
“I like bean bags,” you tell her.
“Yes,” she says, “they do the job.”
“I’ve always meant to get one/ wanted to have one/ am meaning to get one soon/ saw some when I was little.” You say all of these things at once but it is organized into one concise sentence such as,
“I’ve always liked them.”
There are some juggling balls out on the floor. You pick them up because they seem to be out of place and you think that you are preparing the room and making her comfortable while she waits for the person she is going to help, so you tell her,
“I can juggle.”
“Really?” she is sincerely interested, but not overly excited, just right, like warm water.
You try to juggle but you don’t catch the balls. Apologizing, you try again. When you throw them into the air, you experience a temporary blindness. This shouldn’t hinder you because you know you don’t need to see the balls to catch them. You try not to look at them and focus on the woman’s face the way you were taught, but it seems that you are also throwing them out of pattern so that they spill onto the floor far from reach. Collecting and examining them, you notice that one is smaller than the other two. You explain that this may be the reason you are having trouble and trade the odd ball out for another that seems to be of the same size as the other two. Then you notice that all three are of slightly different sizes and decide not to throw them all over the room again.
You tell the analyst:
“I’m out of practice. I used to have a friend that I practiced with. He taught me how to juggle. I could juggle three when I met him…”
A vision of when you first saw a jester with jingle bells on his cap standing under a canopy within a circle of hay bails. You looked at the straw on the ground as he shows you how to throw the ball so that you catch it again. And you bought three little sacks, like tiny firm bean bags that were delicately furred and took them home with you.
“…but he taught me how to pass with a partner…”
You picture the different ways that you passed, sometimes facing each other and standing perhaps three feet apart, sometimes side by side with one arm each wrapped around the others waist, locked together like Siamese twins, your left hand passing to his right.
You describe the different methods to her and continue, “And he taught me to juggle four balls, and two in one hand so that I could juggle four that way.”
While you are speaking, you begin to suspect that she is here to listen to you. She is not waiting for anyone else. And you wonder what you will discover. You wonder what it means. And you decide not to finish the story because you are afraid of what it reveals. That is how the blackness eats itself here, how the scene falls away so that another will emerge built on the foundation of a shadow.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


How many days have passed that I have said nothing at all and let the opportunity slip away? Today I had the vision of snow melting on the branch of a conifer tree, the perfect visualization of impermanence, ice transforming slowly to water as it drips away. I thought of it in conjunction with falling, with forgetting, with taking two steps down one trail then loosing consciousness and taking up another and, with it, two steps in a new direction, over and over, so that I, like all my kindred, do nothing more than stomp in a confused circle.
I see it right now. I am a machine, a clockwork doll rotating around and around like one of those darling little wind up chicks that can manage to hop to the end of the table. The voyager is not like a passenger in a car, not like the cream filling inside of the Twinkie. The voyager at first is an observer. A person watching a movie, watching a little puppet show and becoming absorbed in the plot. Upon developing particular sympathy with a particular character, it soon finds that it has fallen into the play. It drips into the story like snow slipping off a branch, little, by little. The voyager forgets itself, becoming the puppet without noticing that a transference has occurred.
Etanna is nothing at all. She is a flea circus. A trap for an unsuspecting cosmic observer to become entangled in. It could be a good show if the observer remembers themselves and suddenly takes hold of the puppets strings and moves her around in accordance with the story line and in sympathy with the character while also remembering its true nature.
I can see a little withered old woman talking to me, the kind that makes me think of apples and gnarled forests and hand sewn dresses and curly hair. She was talking just now in the back of my mind and I could almost hear her voice although I could make out nothing of what she said, and when I noticed her, she evaporated. She was kindly. But that of course is how I remember her now. She was a dream I almost dreamt, except my pillow was missing and I was in the middle of saying something else.
Everything in me is rattling loose. Good things and bad things are welling up from within me within a matter of minutes. Forget what has gone unsaid for a day. There are things arising every minute to be lost again in the next and I am not quick enough yet to make anything of them.
While laying in bed or standing over the kitchen sink I experience Satori. During “enlightening time”, while I sit poised to type away and share whatever great vision makes me visionary, I go schizophrenic more than sage. I see shadows out of the corner of my eyes moving around. They move more than ever and without startling me in the least. They continue to move for a while after I’ve noticed and turned to look at them. That strange something that I saw out of the corner of my eye is still a strange something for a few moments while I regard it. I see it, but it fits into no category at all. I see this thing which is not anything as far as my brain is concerned and so, after regarding it and drawing a blank, it turns back into the shadow of a plant or even the plant itself. It doesn’t really have to be a shadow. It can be an actual object such as a stone or a shoe or a box or a chair which begins to crawl across the floor or otherwise move around and, when I look at it, it keeps going for a minute or two and doesn’t seem to be anything I know any name for, and then it goes back to being a stone or a shoe or a box or a chair or some thing which has a name and could plausibly be occupying the space that has arrested my attention.
I know. If you’re feeling friendly, you’re thinking. “Brain tumor.” And if you aren’t, you’re just thinking, “Cuckoo”. What if I did have a brain tumor though? Could you really say that it was the cause of the anomaly or couldn’t it equally be that the anomaly was the cause of the tumor? But that’s not what I really hoped to say. I think though, that telling you something was better than telling you nothing. How many days have passed that I have said nothing at all and let the opportunity slip away like melting snow? Lost days ripe with lost worlds diminished to fine vapor.
Today I did not have a vision.
Today the visions had me.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Binary Man

Here we go loop de loo, here we go loop de lie. Around and around like the waters spinning down a toilet bowl, spin, spin, spin. We will be back where we started again. One step forward, two steps back. Oh you pudgy balding little binary man. My hero, Binary Man, coming to slash through reality with his machete made of ones and zeros. Give him a yes or a no. That is your only choice. This was my hero? I have to confess that I also like Rorschach. I side with the deviant losers. *Sigh* . We are all going to get our hearts broken over and over in this sticky bubble gum web. Why did I make my baby wait every day after school? Just a little baby waiting for her mamma who’s off crying and fighting and sometimes running down the street alone to rescue her baby when the bus is late, and arriving disheveled and puffy eyed. And baby asks, “How did you get here so early?” But I’m a half hour late. I don’t know why baby, I thought I had friends, but then I had none. How did this all get rolling? I was standing in line behind a pleasant black man at the DMV. He was getting his motorcycle license. I was sixteen. This was the last day before my driver’s permit would expire, my last chance to take the driving exam and get my license. Sink or swim time. In line for hours. The gentleman explained to me, “People are either for you or against you. Sometimes it’s people you love, people who love you who are against you. But you have look past it all and see that they are either for you or against you.” The first incarnation of binary man. I thought he was right. My parents for example were against me, although they’d swear they were for me. But they were really for themselves and for their version of me which was not the actual me, but a me that served them. So I’d need to break clean. But I couldn’t do it properly for a long time. Soon I was alone. There is nobody here that is for me. I am not even for me. Damn you Binary Man! I think you were my father whispering in one ear all of the time, extreme and righteous, bending me, bending me, bending me until I was tweaked. The data that comes in is always tweaked as I process it. They are all against me. There is a distinction, however, between everyone being for themselves and everybody being against you. They are not all automatically against you, they just aren’t for you. There is a subtle difference. It is not a one or a two yet, not a yes or a no. There is a big gray forest that we may abide in, a shadowy place from which many shapes and possibilities may be plucked, raised, lifted, conjured. Yes and No man is coming with his machete. His goal is deforestation. He wants us to join him or die, twisted and alone in the desert he makes for us. Fuck you Binary Man. You are no hero! You are a mediocre Villain. I’m not going to join you. And I’m not going to be alone. I’m gonna fill my pockets with seeds of ambiguity and Johnny Appleseed it across the globe. You can loop de loo all you please, but you won’t get me. I’m gonna run up, up, up the holy mountain planting these little seeds. Like Luke Skywalker, I can still see the good in you father, but you are mostly machine now. It you come any closer I’ll lop off your machete hand with this gardening spade and watch you twitch. You are not a magick man, you are just THE MAN, taking names and asking, “Are you with me?” *chalks an x on your skull and slowly guides the machete to the mark for practice* “Or not?”

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Thursday, May 14, 2009


We are immersed in a culture so afraid of dying that it’s only purpose is to live, at any cost, in any way that one can manage. And yet each one of us will die eventually, despite our best effort to outmaneuver death. In the end, we have not lived at all, we were always avoiding death and doing things based on whether or not they might lead to our demise or to bodily harm or to shame. We might long to see the step pyramids nestled in the pulsing wet bosom of Central America but choose not to take the trip because the politics of the region are unstable, there are scorpions and snakes in the jungle, there are thieves and murderers waiting for victims outside of the airport and the plane might crash before they can even get you. You might be sold into white slavery, your organs might be traded in the black market, you might be arrested due to a minor misunderstanding and rot away in a third world jail cell where you may contract a life threatening disease.
So, for all of these reasons, you do not do the thing that you long to do. Instead, you go to work and come home and pay your taxes and change the oil in your car and watch the movies that Netflix delivers to your mailbox, like some crawly thing creeping in the shadows hoping that the hungry crow won’t find you. But she will eventually, she always does, no matter how skillfully you avoid living, you can never avoid death.
One day you will go for your routine checkup and the doctor will tactfully announce that they have detected something abnormal and would like to run more tests and after more tests he will solemnly explain that you have cancer but might recover if you undergo chemotherapy. You’ll agree, clinging to the idea of complete remission, a full recovery, so the treatment will begin and it will make you feel sicker and your hair will fall out and you will have trouble paying your medical bills and, within three years, you’ll finally die with a bad taste in your mouth, hooked up to an IV in some hospital, leaving your family buried under a mountain of debt.
You will be dead without ever having seen those pyramids where kings and priests plucked beating hearts from warm bodies and held them out before the eyes of the mesmerized crowd below, before rolling the now cooling body down the steps and bringing out another hot screaming live one. You will not know what it is like to walk in the jungle listening to the monkeys scream and the insects hum and catch a glimpse of the vivid plumage of the quetzal bird before she flies away after the blue butterfly. You will not know what rich heart you sacrificed when you opted to stay safe and comfortable rather than embrace an experience of the real, will never receive the secret communication that was meant for you alone and might have been transmitted to your deepest being, coursing from the ancients stones into the soles of your hiking boots and up your legs until it bursts in your chest and washes over every cell of your brain like waves crashing over a breaker. You will die without understanding why you should have gone, without guessing why you should have spent your days under the hot brilliance of the glorious sun without fear of the hungry black bird that circles perpetually over head.
You will die without ever having lived.
Staying alive is not the purpose of life and death is a doorway which you will definitely cross.
In both life and death, keep your eyes wide open and place fear aside, like an old battered hat.

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