Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Attention Spilling Like Water

Why is it that we are all so obsessed with the color of eyes? Love songs define their characters by the color of the eyes. It is the most obvious thing; the eyes. Clearly we care what color they are even if we refuse to look into the eyes of others for extended periods of time. We may even couple with some one and sing the praises of their eyes, but we would never dare to gaze into them for too long during the course of the conventional romance.
Eyes, eyes, everything comes into us through our eyes and everything flows out. Our attention, so vital yet ephemeral leaks away out of our eyes, dribbles on flowers and the color of shoes and advertisements for energy drinks, and the eyes of others.
Away it goes like drops of water spilled from the faucet. It can never call back those drops that were lost. The only solution is to stop the leak. My self, like California, is experiencing a water shortage. Water is life. Life is attention.
We live here in this world of phantoms because once, at a fatal moment, our attention wandered, it abandoned the self and went out wandering through the wasteland, went away with yearning… longing for movement and warmth, otherness. Conquest, we call this, this seeking of the Other until we find it and grasp it and when it has been consumed we find that it is now of self and we must escape it again…we must find another Other. Never still, not for a moment. The eyes lead to eternity.
Certainly we are concerned with the color of eternity manifested in this desert. We will not dare to look into it, return through stillness to the place where self dwells. Painful self, which I must avoid at all cost. I must not look for too long into those eyes or I will see self, sitting on its throne, like a statue of Pharaoh that has never moved. My wanderings, my conquests, have been all fantasies, attention fleeing its source.
Nothing has occurred. I am unmoving. Nothing ever will occur. I am unmovable. But my spirit flies from me to wander in the wasteland.
Thus I am dead. That is how God dies. All that we call life is the death of the eternal. I dream. A cold silent stone. Sleeping beauty, snow white lying in her coffin, and the prince, he is a conquistador that has fled my shores and hopes to find another, but never will he arrive at any shore but mine. Fractured. Attention fleeing self endlessly, endlessly. As long as my spirit flies I am empty.
If it would return and stay we would live again. Eternity filled with life, with attention. Attention filling self. Then what are we? What would we be?
If Charming never comes to me willingly then I am the wolf big and black , stalking him as he runs in place. I am the witch, ancient and cold and riddled with death, laughing at the one who wants to be rid of me. Separation is death. Truly. A kiss is a communion. I wait for the communion of self that brings awakening, the communion that restores life.
Why is it that we are all so obsessed with the color of eternity? Love songs pale and lifeless bleat on about the glory of conquest. Time is the wasteland, and songs and stories and conquest unfold through the matrix of time.
My attention flies from me.
The eternal has no color. That is why it is the color of the door that I prefer to examine. I will spend time to catalogue its variations and striations, write endless tomes singing the merits of its shade, anything at all to avoid opening it. Anything but confess that I am leaking away, the blood of God spilling, as if rotten with hemophilia. The blood of God spilling into the wasteland.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Words and the Call of the Birds

A lifetime without understanding.
Understanding. A simple word. As though words were simple. As though a mere string of letters could ever begin to describe the shifting of something so subtle. Uttered, spoken, shouted with disgust, thought of with envy.
A word. The simple word. The complex word.
The question remains: what is it?
Careful study has only given me more questions. The statements, the answers, the thoughts, the ideas…they have all fallen, one by one. 2,4 ,6, 12, 16…the understanding has fallen.
Or maybe there never was an understanding, just the knee-jerk recollection of letters and words and sentences. And if that is all there has been, what else is there? What else could there be?

"Play with us," the birds cry in their own language. High coos and flittering decibels of deeper chords, they sing with the fluidity of the ocean. How was my ear tuned to their sound? Earlier encounters with their larger friends prepared me somewhat for their visits.

How many more words are there? How many more ideas…how many more things that are stored up with no real study, with no real questioning?
A lifetime of rusty accumulation.
A lifetime of words, a lifetime of supposed understanding and usage.
I ride the wheel and I am left holding an empty bag. The wind blows and I hear an echo. I truly don’t know. I have never known. Each thought is an elusive grasp into an endless fog of ephemeral truth.

One day I sat, watching the green grass grow, feeling an ant discovering the soft valleys of my body. It was then, when I rested my attention on the almost silent world that moves and shifts beneath my inattentive gaze, it was then, under the loyal sun, that glows and beams so often in this land dotted with hills and wooded valleys, here, while the clouds moved lazily by my dot of a body, while the earth continued to tilt and turn, while the frenzied activity and buzz of human life whirled by at a sorry pace. It was here when, to me, the birds came.

What is truth? What is understanding? What is power? Traces run along the ground, I run my fingers along their trail. But where do they come from and where do they go? I look forwards, backwards, I call to my friend…
“Where are you?”
There is no answer, just another gust of wind.

Their brethren told them of my wishes, of my desires. How the first ones could read my thoughts, I will never know. But they knew. And they spoke to me as only small winged and feathered creatures can. They dropped their long feathers for me to gather. They gave me material for costumes and sacred dances. "Here," they said, "have us, take us and plant us in the ground."

One day, I looked over at the little boy sitting next to me on the couch. I saw his little tan hands with palms facing up. In the middle of his little round face was a place of complex beauty. I recognized it. It was the realm of the subtle and the vague. The softer spectrum of watercolor hues where many things can exist at once, where all possibilities can coexist in an orgy of thought and emerging possibilities and wonder.

I have been listening to the sound of the wind, the sound of dust hitting a window over and over. I have listened to its bell for three decades. I have called to it, played with it, danced with it…but I have never known it. I have never looked beneath that skirt, never studied the shape of the long first letter, the curve of the last. And I haven’t looked in. I haven’t felt the muddled ball that whirls in a fog of letters and symbols and blue and black. I think I see traces, I think I can poke it…and maybe, maybe…but I look into the distance with squinted eyes. I look out and know that the earth is covered in fog and letters dance in the wind and my fingers are covered in slime and my mind is coated in an even thicker sludge.

One feather stands now, by the Phalaris. I have watched it grow, watched it feed on the food of water and minerals. I planted all the feathers. I hung them from mirrors and strung them around my neck. They decorated my ears and tickled my lover’s nose. Their gifts showered on me like golden rain, and I opened my self to accept their offerings. They discovered me, they came from shadow worlds with trees made of puppets and people made of snow. I envied their journey, their ability to move and shift, voyaging from one landscape to another without losing sight of their goal.

I need to scrape the green ooze off. I need to sit with the stillness, the evaporated shapes, the missing thoughts. This is not ignorance, this is the understanding that I have never held between my fingers, this is that ephemeral thought that has no content, that sound that has no meaning, that concept composed only of the void.

I see a girl dancing. There are two walls made of bricks. They are miles apart, but they are so tall that their sheer height makes them always present. The pretty girl is in the field, among the gently sloping grass of yellow and green. Her skirt of layered gray chiffon moves like clouds tethered to her waist. She moves around trees and skips over sleeping foxes. She is in the gap. The huge space in the middle.

"Bring me back!"
I wanted to shout, but I could only smile, moving slowly and smiling shyly as they dropped their coverings and became naked. Beneath their quills, I saw emblems and symbols. Etched in glittering raised lines made of blood and gold, their markings were clear, containing a mystery beyond my imagination. I stared, in utter confusion, in awe, in wonderment. These markings, lacking verbal clarity, yet shining with the magnificence of other worlds; of teachings that cannot be explained.
My mind screamed for explanation, but my heart kept me still, my mouth remained shut while my words were shoved into my deepest inner caves. I was not allowed to ask. They were not allowed to tell. Only the mystery made itself clear, and I drank its beauty. My mouth open, my chin wet, I lapped at the beauty of the Other, I cried for the clear revelation of the utterly strange.

It is the middle which I push away with extreme thought. Either being happy or sad. Jealous or content in the slimy gloss of lovemaking. Two extremes, side by side. And always together. There will never be space for another possibility. Pushed together there can be no room for something new to flower. Without the gap, there can be no room for surprise.

"Yes," they said, with wordless cries and soundless laughter, "let yourself feel, there is no answer…only eternal questions, questions that float aimlessly forever, without ever finding a place to rest…"

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Another Myself

I had fallen asleep, and like a Maya Deren film, I watched from bed as I came out of another house and crossed the street, approaching the house where I lay. I saw the blonde haired girl walk out into the street, tossing her hair in the wind and I told the man that was tangled in my arms and legs:
“She’s coming.”
I thought he would want to disengage. I didn’t know that the girl on the street was me. I didn’t know that the man in the bed was you. He had been caressing my face and I knew we loved each other. I knew I loved him. I wouldn’t pretend I didn’t. When he told me that he had a girlfriend now, when he introduced us, I didn’t know that she was me. He had said that he could spend the day with me working on our project, but he would go back to her when night fell. He stood at a distance telling me this. It was as if he wanted me to understand that he was with her and was not interested in being with me. It was like the letter he had sent, him telling me that he had a girlfriend, and implying that I should not pursue him. I never meant to be in pursuit. I belonged to you. I was only telling him the truth without any hope of reciprocation, without any desire to change circumstances.
So I unpacked my bags across the room and conversed politely with him which is what it seemed he wanted to do. He wanted to show me the progress he had made on the project. The audio was surprising. He had used samples of my voice, and samples from a CD that you made. I was quite amazed. I told him that it was wonderful. I told him that I was proud of his progress. I realized that this was why he was risking seeing me, to show me that he had taken something from me, that he understood. I was proud of him, of the time I had put into him, of how my attention invested in him had blossomed into something incomprehensible and creative in the truest way, beyond boundaries, beyond ownership.
I was careful to stay back, at a polite distance. Then he closed the gap. He came close to me, he lay down on the bed beside me and we embraced. We held each other and he caressed my face. I should have known he was you. I should have known when I heard the music and recognized that it was your music. Or was it that I was you? I was you and he was me. You were proud of me for what I had done. I wanted to please you, laying there entwined, but then I saw myself coming, the one who would rend us apart, the one who would keep you to herself never really having you. You saw her coming and said:
“She’s coming.”
And I said:
“She is?”
And felt worried. I wanted to hold on to you, but then I didn’t know if I could stand up to her. She had promises. Words that bound us.
I was laying in bed holding another myself in my arms and through the window I saw myself crossing the street. She was coming. Blonde hair floating behind her in golden streamers. Youthful face and lithe body hurrying insecurely across the street. We had cheated her before. We might do it again despite the promises.
I was crossing the street and I got the feeling that you were in bed with her, despite the promise you had made. I had the feeling but I thought, no, that’s silly. I know I can trust him. But I had the feeling that while you had used the words sincerely as an expression of what you had felt in the moment, now while I was gone, a different moment was unfolding and the words would be gotten around. They would have meant something different now that you had this new moment unfolding before you. Things were changing. I could feel you slipping away from me.
I was laying in bed caressing your face. In that moment I loved you, I was glad to be with you. You said:
“She’s coming.”
And I realized she would not like this. She would not see how innocent this love was. For a moment I thought I would let her see. I thought she will come and see us and go and I will still be with you. Then I thought it was not too late to keep my word. I would go with her at nightfall. What was a little hug? A little caress? Nothing more than a little brotherly affection administered to an old friend. I would leave you and go with her.
You were caressing my face and I saw her through the window crossing the street. My legs were tangled with yours. Our chests were pressed together.
“She’s coming.” I said
I should have known that you were her. I should have known that I was him. I should have known that I was you and you were me.

I had fallen asleep, and like a Maya Deren film I watched from bed as I came out of a house and crossed the street. I saw the blonde haired girl walk out into the street and I told the man that was tangled in my arms and legs:
“She’s coming.”

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I have nothing to say that will give you the answers to the wordless questions that burn in your heart. Those anguished muffled screams from your breast and the muted cry of an entire body take shape in the paunch that hangs over the belt and the ache of shoulders and the sorrows whose source seems to be diffused in the atmosphere like vapor. Vapor of my heart suffocates me and I oscillate between desiring affectionate company and craving the solitude of a deep dark warm cave. Perhaps in another way all I am seeking is that same deep dark exile, the reprieve of momentary annihilation.
I don’t have answers for you. My question is my self, the answer is the same. You are out here looking for something that no one can give you. If you want to know the truth then look into the abysmal well of self. It could be that you are happy, and that my dark mood doesn’t suit you. I happen to think, however, that happy people don’t look for answers. Show me someone who is tortured wondering why they are so happy, or why life is so just and fair and lovely.
People with questions are dissatisfied, admittedly to varying degrees. Some are miserable while others have only vaguely disquieting feelings that lead them to search for the source of the disquiet. If I had a greater magick I would never stoop to attempt to say anything directly to any one. I would have written you a fairy tale.
Notice also my need to say that “you” are looking for something. I want to set myself up as someone who knows more and to know more there must be someone else who knows less, so I have invented you. This is the sickness of all those who want to tell you “the truth” or “illuminate” your mind. Everyone who wants to tell you something factual, deliver the answers you seek, is a hungry liar. Even those who are well intentioned are liars. For example they may feel that what they want is to help you when in reality what they want is to be helped. They want to give you what no one can give them. They have made up some answers or been given some “one size fits all” explanations that they hope to pass on to you for your betterment, but one size fits all is the same as one size fits none.
If you want to know what is wrong find a mirror. For so much of my life I have assumed that others felt like me. Only now I see, the impressions which formed me may have varied in innumerable ways from those that formed you or any other given member of humanity. What ails me is a personal affliction, and what ails the world is me and my affliction.
There is always a chance that you feel a little bit like I do. Then in some way you might be comforted to think that you are not entirely alone with your shouting heart, that somewhere out there, someone else’s heart is shouting, and they are scrambling to find the reason, working desperately to save that heart from the terminal illness that filled it with woe.
Good heavens! If only I could lay my face in some grass or press my body against a boulder or a tree. If only I could be free to be alive instead of always fighting for that feeling. If only I wasn’t so angry… then what? What would I be, what would I have to do, what would you be reading now?
And of course there are others who are right now fighting for their mortal lives and some of them feel more truly alive than I do now. I am a spoiled white girl sitting in her high tower willing to dish out her opinions and advice while feeling sorry for her woes. I am like a house cat. I just want to get out. I just want to die so that I can feel alive.
That is my answer. If you want the truth then die or come close to it whenever possible. Turn yourself (hence the world) upside down. Revolutionize it. That is the only choice you have.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Emperor

I lay on my grandfather’s couch, where he had preferred to sleep during the days, stretched out in front of the television set. The seat cushions were a dark, almost black chocolate color and the back supporting cushions were a gray the color of clay. All of it was soft to the touch and delicately furry. It held the person that lay on it like a gentle beast with silky fur.
The smell of my grandparent’s house was always of wood and vanilla scented candles and black licorice and coffee and the smell of the desert mingled with water and trees and stone. At the table behind me my grandmother was sitting, my father sometimes stood, sometimes sat, beside her, pleading, and my uncle sat at the kitchen bar across from the table. My uncle had a black beard and a booming voice.
The carpet was a rich red orange shag, also soft to the touch. The lace curtains and vinyl shutters filtered the bright sunlight that made its way past the giant elm trees my grandfather had grown all around the house.
My father was asking my grandmother to come and live with us, my mother and my sisters and I could care for her. My grandmother and Uncle rejected his offer. They were mean to him. I felt an intense shock. These people who had seemed to be family were bitterly cruel, they were stabbing my father in the heart. The sounds of their voices were full of a dismissive disdain. They said that my father was a complete fool who could care for no one, that nobody needed him, or even wanted him. I thought that my father would cry. I was filled with rage, my father was here offering help, asking his mother to come with him, and they would not even acknowledge his good intentions. They did not care.
I realized suddenly that they did not like him. That my grandmother and her first bastard son were a special pair, pleased to inflict pain on my father, the other son, the son of the father. They were venting their rage towards the father on his son, because he was not there to receive it.
These were people who had cradled me when I was small, my grandmother particularly. Her skin was always soft, her hair short and white, her body big and round like one of those headless goddess statues. She wore brightly colored housedresses. Now she could no longer walk and could barely speak except to groan a bit and shake her head and sometimes communicate in a slow growling voice like a creature from a swamp.
As a child I had known her only as a benevolent figure who loved me. She did not even love me as much now as she did then. I had been like a pet, a thing which is loveable when it is small and then it is a terrible surprise when it grows too large for the house and drools and barks and wants to run and dig under the fence.
I had already known that my uncle was a wretched cruel heart. When I was a baby my Aunt Peggy shot herself in the head because he ran off with a blonde nurse named Terry and said that he didn’t love her anymore. I was very young at the time and hadn’t been told what had happened, but from the time that my Aunt Peggy became sad and disappeared I disliked and distrusted him. My dislike for him grew when I had to spend time with my new Aunt Terry, because I disliked everything about her. I had loved my Aunt Peggy naturally.
To see my uncle this way was not a surprise, but to see that he had learned such cruelty from my grandmother was terrible. My Father had gray hair. He was tall. He usually seemed rough and uncaring. Now that he was being tender, his new tender feelings were being squashed by a gruesome pair.
I hated them both from then on. I did not want to see my grandmother again. I called once and my Uncle, who was now in charge of caring for her, did all the talking, mostly judging me for my move to a far away city, asking me if I had gone chasing a man, asking what a descent man would want with a woman with little kids (a strange question considering that Terry had a pair of youngsters when he married her).
After that, I would never call again. When my grandmother died, I made little observance of the occurrence. She was a stranger.
Laying on the couch that day, I had noticed that the beautiful tile coffee table constructed by my grandfather had been removed and replaced by the table he had made for my uncle. This one had broken tiles at the corners that left terrible vacancies upon its surface. It made me feel sick to see it there, looking like that.
When my grandfather had been alive the table had stood whole and without fracture. The lawn and trees in the back yard had been green and he had kept a thriving garden of herbs. Now that he was gone, my uncle was here, and with him he had brought a broken table and the death of the lawn and trees and garden. My Grandfather’s land was dead, having been invaded by the desert that in life he had held at bay. His house had become a nightmarish mockery of what it had once been, broken or ill fit odds and ends having usurped the finer objects which had been of his making and had once held sway. And his real heirs wept and were broken hearted by the revolution of death that had turned the father’s kingdom into dust where mites took up residence and ruled over his waste.

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