Sunday, November 29, 2009


Belief was a golden haired child born in the state of desire within the realm of the word. He had never been in the realm of the real, could never be, in fact, because nothing born of the word can walk in the realm of the real. In the realm of the real there would be no need for such a child as belief. Belief, as I have said, was born in the state of desire, a place where the urge to fulfil needs is transferred into abstract longings whose ends can never be met. In such a place, a place where yearning goes on and on because there can be no end to yearning, Belief is a necessary entity. Belief is a natural product of desire. Whereas a need can be met, a desire knows no fulfillment and so it naturally blossoms into belief, the notion that that which one longs for does exist, will happen, is coming eventually. But all of this occurs only within the realm of the symbolic order. All of this occurs because a symbol is not the thing itself. The signifier is not the signified. It is like a shadow, it refers to the real, it takes a shape that cannot be grasped, a shape that may take on a life of its own and birth new shapes with no correspondences to the real. These shapes, these shadows with no correspondences, are the makers of desire, the grandparents of Belief. Belief is a prince in the house of desire. He runs to and fro calling for some action or other in his name. People gladly indulge this spoiled child because it gives them Hope, his lovely sister. Hope and Belief offer justification to the house of desire. They are like the children that a couple that has become disenchanted with one another conceives in order to have a reason to stay together. They are the fantasies that make all of our fantasies okay. If we have Belief we will join God in Heaven and bring Tinkerbell back to life. With Belief’s hand in your own, it is okay to kill and take another’s land. His presence will make you feel better about actions which primarily serve some personal desire, his company will help to justify your actions. With Belief at your side, you will do any number of absurd things; set out cookies for an immortal in a red suit, or eat cookies and wine and call it the flesh and blood of your God, or burn a person at the stake, or drive your neighbors from their homes and push them into the sea, or destroy all of the natural resources available to you. There is nothing that can’t or shouldn’t be done when you can say that Belief is with you. No door can be closed to you when you come from the house of desire, frothing at the mouth with want of a satisfaction that can’t be had, Golden Belief and fair Hope marching at your side demanding that you take, take, take. Take what you want and say it was for Belief. Run amok under the shadowy banners of the house of Desire within the Realm of the symbolic. In the realm of the Real, Belief and Hope vanish like the ill spirits that they are, and you stand alone with blood on your hands, and it is not a Jihad, or a Crusade, or a Sacrifice, it is raw animal death and it is under your fingernails, spattered on your face, and shivering through your bones.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Moon Eater

The Moon looks so contemplative, so quiet and concentrated. The woman in the photograph beams outward rather than inward as the moon does. The woman in the photo is a sun painted white, a sun disguised as a moon. Big Cheshire cat grin. Didn’t the Cheshire cat disguise himself as the moon? His grin was the horned moon, or the horned moon was his grin, and he materialized around it humming a little “huma de hum de hum”. The woman with the white face is like that, a sun with the moon caught in her teeth. An eater of moons, moon shaped cookies downed with milk and honey, falling, cascading in sugar cookie crumbles down the dark well of a throat, chased by cool white milk, down down down to places our eye should not see. There is no light in there, down in the woman’s gut, in her moon belly. A tiny crumb being pulverized down in there would look about itself and swear that it was now in the abyss, in the terrible place outside of the world. But it is not the outside of the moon eater. It is the inside of the moon eater that is the strange and dark annihilation of a cookie. The cookie is the inside of the moon eater and within the moon eater there are many divisions, tissues and linings and cell walls. Everywhere of the moon eater is an inside of something and an outside of something else. But a crumb down there in the acid bath of the stomach’s delight would never know it. It would have no idea. It would think, most definitely, that it had gone outside. The interior of the moon eater is so dark, but from its dense surface, light is reflected and we are presented with an image. Ah! Just like the moon itself. A dense body whose surface reflects the light of the sun. The moon give off no illumination of its own. It baths in the sun’s radiance to be seen. Only a dress of light worn so that the children of the sun will know it is there. The children of the sun with their eyes for perceiving light could not recognize the moon without her disguise. The moon, like the moon eater, wears a disguise. Trixie things, moons and the eaters of moons. Scary white things whose insides are black. It would be better to be eaten by a black thing whose insides were light. But how likely would you be to make that choice? If you stood before two doors, one painted black and one painted white, which would you choose? And what if the doors were not the doors of houses but the mouths of lions opened wide, bottom teeth pointed up and top teeth pointed down? Would you prefer to be eaten by the black lion or the white lion? I will tell you a secret; the black lion is made of glass painted on the inside with all the colors of an infinite universe so that when you look upon it, it appears to be black. The white lion is made of plaster so that you do not see its dark insides when you glance at its clean bright surface. I am not going to tell you which lion you should choose. I think I will not even tell you which lion I would choose. I will say, that the white lion is the moon eater and that you are what you eat. Are you an eater of moons, an eater of lions, an eater of cookies, or garbage, or hash? What do you eat and what’s eating you, bite by delectable bite? I’m not saying I know. I’m not saying I don’t. It’s worth contemplation though, worth the quiet concentration of a lunar entity, hung as white horns in a black sky, singing, “huma de hum de hum”.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Sun

The sun dazzles in yellow over summery aqua skies reminding me of lemon drops and vinyl wading pools. When I was a child my grandfather had a wondrous supply of balloons decorated with smiling suns wearing sunglasses. This sun startles me so, not smiling, very serious, bordering on mysterious with those almond eyes boring into me. So alien it seems. How it reminds me of the moon. The sun and I regard each other. Do I dislike the sun? No of course not I tell it, but that is not all true. I do associate the sun with qualities that are my enemy. The domineering world of men, of light, of lances and other surgical instruments, prying, demanding, and superficial. The night always comes. The winter always comes. The sun laughs at me and argues that the sun always rises, the summer always returns. It sends its emissary, a friendly little naked baby on top of a white horse, his crown capped with a red feather, a red flag waving, sunflowers bursting to life behind him. Yes, you make warmth. You make things live. I would perish without you. Are you not your sister’s captor then? You are her support, her twin, different but complimentary? Yes. Of course. And the photographer with his bright lights, he is testament to the artistic creative use of light. There he is capturing an image with lights. There he is concentrated on the invisible other, bringing her to life just as the sun concentrates on the moon and endows her with some of his own light. She is his reflection. He was first, like Adam in the garden, lonely in this cold garden, so he called some others to come orbit around him, including his wife, the earth, Eve, and he made for himself, from the collision of two larger planetary bodies, a little moon to be his mistress. But the moon was cold and barren, a Lilith for this Adam, while the Earth gave him all the children he could want. Now she hangs around Eve and her children, making them mad and delirious, desirous of a life eternal, a life a sun and an earth cannot offer. “Something else,” she whispers, “there must be something more.” Cruel little mistress. But the sun continues his great labor with the earth, and perhaps that mysterious look on his face is the key to it all. What he won’t say to either Earth or Moon, his great secret, is that they are all three the makers of life, and that those other companions drawn into his orbit are also involved in his labor. And if no one understands the nature of that labor, it matters little. So long as they orbit around him, they help his work. So long as he labors to pull them round and round, it is good for his work. Life, the real thing, is a process more than a state, and the sun knows this. He knows that it is through the combining of things, many different things pulled together, crushed together until they burn and melt and change, that the process is furthered. Like the photographer, he can work his magick without the others knowing what exactly he is doing. The serious mysterious sun glitters and dances mischievously over all, as it did when I was small, coming down in rivulets of light to line my face and shimmer over the water’s surface. The sun and its many flowers blazing in warmth and glory, red banner waving in a sigh of the earth’s warm breath. The sun and I regard each other. Do I dislike the sun? No of course not I tell it, but that is not all true.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Remember those early days when sitting in a porcelain tub of warm water with the rubber stopper on the silver chain keeping it all from going down the drain, the world seemed so wigglly squiggly, so barely there and ghostly. Mother and father seemed to change and the others did too, and sometimes you had a sister or two and sometimes you had none and sometimes your aunt was called Robin and sometimes she was called Betty. All these people all these sounds and shapes seemed to shift around in a way that was neither significant nor lacking significance, just a bit of nature dancing for my developing powers of observation like leaves caught in a little whirlwind on the side walk, turning round and round so that the configuration is different in every moment. This is the reason that carousels hold so much appeal for young children, because they turn and turn in a circular fashion and there is no way of telling whether your lion is in the lead or taking up the rear or somewhere in the middle and meanwhile you bob up and down and with the mirrors there is no way of telling if you are the real child on the real sculpted lion or if that other child and lion are the originals. Bath time, so warm and pleasant and wet, with the water jiggling around your body, so like the womb and so like the sea from which all life arose, back when it was still hot and red, the perfect melting pot for this and that to come together in amoebic ecstasy. The wash cloth is soft and squishy and you can put it in your mouth and bite and all the water squeezes out and dribbles out of the corners of your mouth and down your chin in the most delightful way. The water moves when you move, jiggling slightly. All of life is like that when you are a baby. Every time you move you are somewhere different, with a different crowd, strangely familiar, familiarly strange, forever and ever. Then slowly, the waters of life start to cool and freeze. Things seems steadier, thanks perhaps to the magick words you have been learning. Mother and Father are almost always the same, you generally have the same set of siblings, an aunt whose name remains the same. Perhaps it’s because of the magick words, because when you say “Mamma” this is the one that you mean, the one that you invoke. It’s a tricky thing, because Mamma taught you the magick word, so really she taught you how to invoke her, and the other Mammas, the ones who didn’t teach the words for things, they don’t get called, so they never come again. Only this one, the one that tricked you with the word of power, and now you are here with her, stuck in the frozen world and your legs have grown long and stiff and you no longer bathe, but instead stand in the shower. You no longer ride the carousel, but instead read the books and do the homework and watch the world materialize around you like steel bars. A steady, stable place. Gone is the shifty watery world of infancy. Gone is bath time with all its jiggly wet wonder, and gone too is baby, and all that is left of it is a word for what it was.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Between

Something stuck in between worlds is lurking in the halls of dream. Something shapeless that takes shape, whatever shape is handy. Something that has been waiting through the abysmal lurching of time, growing colder and lonelier, now reaches out a twisted hand to grasp at something other than itself. Something warm to cling to. Something warm to crawl through, to devour slowly from the inside. A new shape to take with the force of Princes and warriors and beasts of the wild, those things beyond morality, those
things which take what they need without asking, without hesitation or remorse. Something that glides between the waking and the dreaming moment, a silent thief, a beggar, a suitor, a seducer. It offers you the cold run of eternity in exchange for the hot fleeting passion of a moment. “Let me have your moment.”, it begs, “And I will give you forever.” The stillness, the quiet, the darkness of eternity, for a glaring flash of heat and movement, a wild cacophonous dance through the temporary. If you take that twisted hand, if you take your place as one of death’s concubines, one of those many shapes it penetrates for a moment and is then left as cold and wanting of heat as ever, you join in that torpid waiting, the waiting of the spider for the next wriggling thing that may pass your way. You, now the something in between. You, now the emptiness. You, now the loneliness, the cold. You waiting through the abysmal lurching of time, waiting for some hot live other to submit to your ravenous kiss. Longing to inhabit that ephemeral world of the dream which melts under your caress like vapors of steam blown away by a wind. When you touch it, it becomes as you are, real, emptiness, vast and cold. Still you cannot be without it, you, neither wholly of one state or another, are doomed to lurk in the mist, taking whatever shape is available at the time. Seeking heat, seeking movement, seeking that which you lack, wriggling your way slowly, one conquest after another, through the world of shape, color and form like a worm through an apple. You cannot touch the mists without changing them, you cannot be without that touching, that taking. An eater of dreams, an eater of life, a shape shifting something making its way desperately through the myriad of forms as the infant wriggles through the birth canal, or the soldier over the charred and blood soaked battlefield. You will take what you need. That is the only law. You will be whatever you have become. You will struggle to exist and you will change shapes as necessary. You will be forever longing, forever reaching, forever struggling.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Moths And Hobos

My experience with hobos and moths has taught me that it is a mistake to be attracted to warmth and light; these are the real death traps. These are the places where there are walls that hold the warmth and light together in stagnant pools allowing virulent strains of consciousness to engage in a frenzied process of growth and replication. In the cold, endless, dark, night where there are no walls, your own radiance is all that you have, all that is required if you prefer freedom to entrapment. You may shiver and come to know death’s pale face in the wide endless wood, but you will have lived unfettered. Uncontaminated.
The life in the light is like no life at all. It is the life of chimps in dresses and lions behind bars and baby elephants in clown paint. It is no life at all. Where everything is chained in certainty, in safety, in comfort and doused in fluorescent splendor and halogen homeliness; on the inside.
It can be so tempting as you flit by in the night, a solitary lone entity, a one that has no other, no assurances, no desires to lead you from one unsatisfactory chamber within the labyrinthine city walls to the next and the next, sampling the buffet offering of colored lights; trying the red light, the blue light, the green light, the yellow light, the orange light, the violet light and even the white. It can be so tempting, the promise of something to warm your cold skin, the promise that death will no longer be able to look in on you and leer at you so.
You can leave her behind, outside the walls. You can be warm and full of the same stuffing the rest of the may hens and Christmas geese of civilization have been stuffed with. You too could be filled with the disease, the warm disease. No longer alone. No longer unique. No longer alive. One of an assorted variety of creatures fastened by steely pins to a white back drop, carefully labeled, preserved beneath the glass, made brilliant under the light.
It is so tempting. I know. I know.
We shiver and run barefoot through the blackness and ascend invisible mountains and tumble from great heights never knowing what we are doing, or where we are going, only doing it with style, somersaulting on wings the color of soiled doilies or whirring by in a drafty box car over the clickity, clack, clikcity, clack, or strolling by the glittering glass display windows without peering inside. It is so tempting because death has gone all mad, or always was and always will be and whispers all sorts of things through her broken teeth and the gaping black holes where they used to be.
She is always out here with us, hanging on our arms, or walking five paces behind, and sometimes she’s a gay old time, but sometimes she makes you shiver, or rather something in you switches around and makes you shiver, because people are hot and cold like that. Sometimes we are repelled by the real deal and sometimes we accept it, all depending on which of our masks is doing the driving just then. And when you are one of those “I's” that can’t stand her rancid breath and wailing cackle anymore, then you might start looking for the nearest well lit window, looking for a crack to slip in.
But then you might remember, Rome always falls, and when it does she will be waiting and feeling scorned, and you might even think for a moment how lonely she would be if you weren’t out here turning summersaults down her black cape. And you might remember that moths get trapped in brightly-lit kitchens and die under lampshades and behind curtains, having battered themselves to death against the confines of the oppressive walls of the labyrinthine city. You might think, as I sometimes do, that hobos are wiser than the moths, trying to get outside instead of in, and you might take a step backward, away from the open window or door, away from the light and the warmth and sickness of the living dead and not enter Rome with its comfort and delights.
Those things, they come with a price, so you see, you can sell yourself to Rome or give yourself to the wild, and one you do to escape the pain of living and the other you do for love, because mad as she is, death is your companion, your immortal beloved, and maybe you can help her to carry the burden of eternity and give her a shoulder to lean on in the wilderness.

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Friday, November 06, 2009


I come from the earth and to the earth I will return. It’s no wonder that I should chase after the horned God of the underworld. I remember springing from the dirt. I come from the land and the land comes from me. I never was, I never will be. And still the grass grows and the worms crawl beneath it’s yellow coat and the earwigs creep into the cracks of the houses that men built. The black widow hides in the cedar. Death resting quietly in the shade, spinning her scattered incoherent web.
My father showing me the creatures of the earth, holding the black widow in his vice grips, calling me to come and look. Frightened, I hover at a distance. He assures me that it’s safe, come closer look at death so that you will know her when you meet her. He shows me her belly with its red hour glass. This is how you will recognize her. Stay away from her, don’t touch her, don’t play with her, and be careful in the dark places, she is there.
Another time he calls me and, when I come, he is holding a brilliant green snake in his hands. Again he tells me to come closer. This time he shows me the beautiful snake glittering in the sun like a length of new garden hose and tells me it won’t hurt me. This is a good snake, it helps the trees to grow. It kills the gophers that nibble their roots. It may bite you if you frighten it, but no great harm will come of that. It is a beautiful snake and I feel happy looking at it in my father’s hands and happier still when he sets it gently down. I laugh excitedly, watching it slither away, disappearing in the green of the grass as though it had never been there.
I come from the earth. I’ve carried it under my fingernails and in my hair. I’ve felt it under my bare feet. Its thorns have buried themselves in my flesh, its barrel thorns and fox burs have embedded themselves in my clothing. I’ve crawled around in its strong wooden arms and plucked its fruits and danced naked over its grassy back. I climbed to the tops of the trees and balanced above the deep dusty green canopy and drank in the sight that surrounded me; blue sky, yellow sun, dull golden grass like a head of blonde hair, the old broken fence of a brown so dark it is nearly black, sloping and falling, letting its planks return to the earth in broken rotted bits, the white house with the red tile roof, tall and proud and frightening and sad and hopeful, the mountains dark and round, mysterious and menacing and inviting.
I knew as I looked around me that I must remember the sight, that it was an important moment to be so high and see it all. I knew it was more beautiful than anything I was ever likely to see again. I knew it, but was at loss as to what should be done with such knowledge. I tried to hold it inside of me, but could feel it slipping even as I grasped at it, like sand through my fingertips, thoughts of school and playmates and my parents in the shape of words formed inside of my mind, washing the sight from my eyes even as I beheld it and, eventually, I climbed back down into the dark shade and silver branches below.
I nursed a black goat with a white star on her forehead from a glass bottle and a smelly rubber nipple and called her baby and watched her grow, the little nubs of her horns slowly working their way up just as the teeth in my own mouth would do from time to time. The goat disliked the smell of the awful rubber nipple and refused to take nourishment until my grandmother took her into her soft wrinkled hands and doused the nipple in milk and insisted, her old steely blue eyes shining mischievously. Then the kid drank and wagged its black nub of a tail and flicked its delicate furred ears.
I remember earth. Even here, sitting in my plaster box over the concrete and asphalt that reaches as far as I can see, I remember the untamed earth. The dirt and insects and serpents and death and horns which push to the surface where once there was nothing. One day I will return to it. I will be home. I sprang from the earth and to the earth I shall return.

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