Monday, January 9, 2017

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Randall Garrett


PERFORMANCES
  
In the Shadows (2017)
Performance Video
  
Shiva Shakti (2016)
Performance with Spoken Word

  
Dystopian Dreams (2016)
Performance with Spoken Word

Performance and Artwork

Performance

Performance

Performance

Performance and Artwork

EXHIBITIONS

Deep Ellum Windows, Dallas

WRITING
  
Writing (2017)
Dream Journal Stories:
Love, Loves, and Half a Love, Frontiers of Flight,

Unto the Sepulchre,, Buster Keaton, Tower of Shiva Tower of Shakti
  
Writing (2016)
Ten Days, Sweet Honey in the Rock, The Temple of My Heart,
Litany, Paradise is Burning, Round the Fires by the Shore,
Explosions in the Sky, Rainbow in a Black and White World,

At Water's Edge, Flowers on My Grave, The Aesthetics of Healing,
Nightshade, The Taste of His Love

incl. Graveyard Swag, Can I Get an Amen, Club Yamantaka, 11:11 (Listening)

incl. Apocalypse Poem, Deluge Refuge, Maya on the Midway

incl. Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen (Love, Alienation, Lust)

SPOKEN WORD

Dallas, TX

Oak Cliff, Dallas
    
Randall Garrett is an artist, writer, instructor, and performer. His performance works explore questions of identity, both personal and collective. Using ritual and mythologies of the self, he navigates identifications based on gender, class, sexuality, and other cultural overlays. His works seamlessly mix performance, video, installation, costume design, sound, and spoken word. He has exhibited, curated, and performed in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, New York, Miami, and Santa Fe. In 2000, he founded the critically recognized Plush Gallery, organizing over 75 exhibitions, and has worked as Gallery Coordinator and Instructor of Art, Humanities, and Multimedia for the Dallas County Community College District since 1998.

Writing (2017)

WRITING (2017)
 
Love, Loves, and Half a Love
 
Hillside adventures, sitting on a stone wall, he listens to her talk as she takes off her clothes and showers with a water hose, turning toward him nonchalantly as she continues the conversation. They lay on the ground, her head on his arm, then she gets up to go to her house on top of the hill. Erotic intrigue, wearing only a green football jersey as he follows her, tangling herself in a long mesh curtain, as he takes a pair of scissors to cut her free.
  
Laying in bed, he watches her walk across the room, lithe and tanned, fascinated by the white tips on her cropped black hair. Music plays and a shower runs in the bathroom, billowing in with warm steamy air. Fully opening the sliding door, he walks in to an orgy in progress, white guys naked behind frosted glass in the steaming shower. Closing the door into the darkened living room, he bumps into someone on his way in.
  
Through the dim light, he sees groups of brown and black men and boys lounging on sofas and chairs in the dark. A young man with curly hair and a mustache catches his eye with interest as he walks by, headed back to the bedroom. Finding her there kneeling on the white bedsheets, they embrace, ready to make love in the misty fog from the shower. She stands up, pulls on some riot gear, and playfully attacks him with a baton. He grabs it and wrestles her onto the bed atop him, as they smile and laugh. Forcibly pulling off the gear, he slathers with white muddy clay, looking like icing on her naked body, and notices the strange way she looks sexy, like an indigenous zombie girl.
  
Moving to the table, together they sit. He stares at the wet clay against her skin as she puts a leg under the table, touches his and says, “I’d really like to spend some time together, I think we’d enjoy that”, looking him flirtingly in the eye. He pauses, leaning forward and says “that would be fun, we could watch some movies, or just…” his voice trailing off. Reflective, he says, “I like my highs deep not shallow”, and pictures her flowing like a fountain as he begins to sing “deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide”.
  
Later, asleep, the riot gear strewn across the floor and bedsheets caked in dried mud, he is awakened by a string of licorice dangling on his lips and begins to chew upward. Opening his eyes, he sees her upside down face smiling at him, chewing her way towards him, their lips almost meeting. Her baby girl is at her hip, as she places her on his stomach and the child squeals with delight. She picks up the girl, and they walk outside to the gazebo to her daughter’s birthday party, and he turns to hug her when she says, “let’s do this, on the lips”, as they come together in a tender and extended kiss.
  
He has a vision of his true female self looking back at him, poignant but coy. Brown skinned face and piercing eyes in the flickering light. Sitting at the edge of the pool, she motions and he swims over to her. Looking in his eyes, she pulls him close once more and says “kiss me”. Closing his eyes, they embrace, then separating, she looks at him again, and points down toward the water between her legs saying, “I meant here”.
  
Frontiers of Flight
  
(Past) Driving an old wagon through wooded country dirt back roads, he slows down as they approach a group of natives walking in the middle of the road and pass through a huge puddle where they are ritually bathing in the muddy water. Pausing, he notices their long black braided hair and the bones they hold, and horses standing in the water with them.
  
Leaving the puddle, they come upon a huge train of tarnished silver, and a mad engineer who talks about how he is going to take a group of unsuspecting people on one last horrific train ride. They approach the large stockage wall of an old fort, and the gate opens for them to leave.
  
Sensing the train on the other side of the wall, he realizes that if they stay, they will be killed when it fires up. They pass people loading onto the train, sitting in open compartments, and realize they are going to their deaths. The train powers up as it prepares to leave.
  
(Present) Watching as a line of soldiers moves across the rolling desert plateau, under fire from blue tracers. They move parallel to the soldiers at a distance, the two of them, into enemy territory, and find a stash of shrink wrapped cassettes and two amber crystals. His partner says, “you should take those”. He sees from an inscription that they belong to a teenaged Palestinian girl, so he leaves them there.
  
Now, climbing a high mountain pass, they watch as down below Nazi troops come near. Holding his rifle and waiting for a signal from his partner to attack, he looks for bullets but finds none. No signal comes as the troops advance on the high plain, and he makes his way alone, passing invisibly through a wave of attack dogs and their soldier handlers, who don’t see him as they rush to battle. Free again, he runs back toward the border, climbing a steep canyon wall of overhanging stone terraces to get back to his own land and safety.
  
(Future) In the space suit, he fumbles with the pants, pulling them down to take a leak in front of the craft’s window, noticing a circle of people standing outside in the sun looking his way. Embarrassed, he pulls up the bulky pants vowing not to do that again. Still wearing the protective suit, he goes under a misty chemical spray bath. The zombies are taking over. His team is preparing the handmade space vehicle to pilot and capture a metallic moth in space to end their invasion.
  
He prepares to leave his woman behind for the journey, thinking of the seaside cottage perched on the rocks, where they walked hand in hand on that sunny day, the air salty and warm with the spray of water as the surf pounded the rocks. On board now, in a seventies style room, with vintage mood lighting, on the wall a poster of that cottage by the sea. Leaving his fellow astronaut in the next compartment, he flips the switches on a bank of blue lights under plexiglass.
  
Looking outside, from the confines of their ship that they are in some type of alternate reality. He is hooked up to an intravenous robotic killing machine made from a video game console or cable tv box. Pulling the needle out from his arm, he stomps on it, smashing it to pieces as it attempts to skitter away. He grabs its flywheel brain, tearing apart the multitude of tiny memory chips, scattering them in all directions as his partner yells for him to stop, madness possessing him.
  
Suddenly, a high powered weapon seemingly controlled by an angry being shoots methodically, hitting random targets nearby. He sees that it is a rogue fighter jet of immense scale, maneuvering along above the ground firing blasts from its nose, causing great damage. Now just a couple of hundred feet away, it turns toward him as he moves the craft obliquely, throwing his unsuspecting partner to the floor, and begin to ascend rapidly, moving skillfully into the air, quickly putting distance between them and the killer weapon. High above the earth and holding onto a four leaf clover as he pilots their craft, he descends lightly and faraway landing into a lush green expanse, feeling free and safe.
  
Stepping out, he looks up at a strange evening sky as a blue white asteroid skims by, watching as it crashes into the planet in the distance, a huge dust cloud rising and spreading his way, peacefully considering that it may be the end of this world they have just discovered. Looking down, he sees that the cloak on his suit has a design showing that very same trajectory of the planet crashing down, in some weird kind of prophetic design.
  
Unto the Sepulchre
  
Pushing an old cart along a rough cobblestone street, you stop and goes down into a decrepit cave like courtyard of a haunted church or grotto. You are scared and intrigued as you walk up toward a stone shrine lit by candlelight with creatures embedded on the wall. An open crypt is there in the wall, carved concave into stone. You walk in, thinking to yourself “I came in here to dream a peaceful dream”. Time passes and light shines through a hole at the top of the space, as you remember the dreams of the night. Kneeling on the stone cave-like floor, you look through a small opening down unto the sepulcher of deep water where an agitated sea creature, some kind of shark, is down there looking for prey.
  
Walking along, you notice the floor undulating, as though it is breathing. Fascinated, you walk along its ivory surface, which feels like skin and bone. Kneeling down, you peer into a furnace glowing fiery red, like the mouth of an angry monster. Looking back you see a tall monster approaching in the misty darkness. Heading rapidly toward a stairwell, you see an opening that leads somewhere unknown. Diving in, you float and turn through space to look upon a vast underwater city, of abandoned antiquity, bathed in an amber glow. You float over the building tops, like rocky outcroppings, as though flying above them. Diving deeper, the waters darken and there are more swimming sharks. You see a word seeming esoteric and arranged in a circle on the ocean floor, but can’t recognize it clearly.
  
Warm bright sunshine hits your face as you swim up through billowing ocean waves, other swimmers in the water nearby. You tell them no matter what they see, to keep moving and it will be ok. Moving fast across the smooth waters, you pass quickly through turbulence, and then across the path of a large snake, who rolls across and over as you pass, leaving it behind. Nearing shore and touching the ground below, you walk forward, neck deep, as it gradually becomes more shallow. You feel the warmth of the water, noting the blue color and white foam of the surf, and taste the extreme saltiness of the water as you head toward the shoreline in shallow rolling surf.
  
Buster Keaton
  
Watching a beautiful film that he made twenty years ago. It begins with a fallen native kneeling on the ground, struggling to hold onto the reins of a horse above him as he tries to calm it. In the next scene, he pulls a dead tree across the frame from left to right, wearing only a swim suit with American flag trim, contrasting against his skin.
  
Set in black and white, it transforms into a swashbuckling theatrical production. He slides down a sheer fabric and drops a long distance, but knows he won’t be hurt because it is illusionistic, a story. He unfurls a long white flag with a field of white stars. A young girl grabs, pulling the flag and breaks it from its pole.
  
The camera pulls back, revealing him now as a clown in ruffles standing blurred in the distance and dancing in slow motion. His hips shake and shimmy, an exaggerated open mouthed smile in black lipstick on white face paint. It pans to reveal a row of clowns all dancing freestyle in a row from tall to short, in blurry black and white grainy film stock.
  
Hundreds of people watch the film in the auditorium. From the top row of seats, he sees himself on the screen, and then, opening a bottle of soda, pours it over his head in a meaningful symbolic way. He does it just for laughs, and the audience applauds.
  
Now, the film is over and the crowd disperses outside. Walking home, he notices red flames of light on the dark horizon, and silhouetted bodies dancing before the huge fire, as though performing some type of ritual. Zooming in to the illuminated dirt lot, a basketball player dressed as an African tribesman holds a shaker gourd in his hand as a tribal drummer plays. Sizing up the over the back shot, he concentrates, closing his eyes and tosses the gourd over his shoulder from a half court distance, a perfect shot into the basket.
  
Walking onto the ball court, he shoots hoops with a dark skinned boy and girl. Arcing the ball high toward the basket, it doesn’t come down. Looking up, he sees that it is balanced atop a power line. The line moves slightly in the wind, and as the ball falls downs, he catches and shoots it again, and once more it balances on the line, as the boy plays a special guitar made in a Mexican village high in the mountains. Its metal body vibrates, feeling like magic.
  
The boy and girl put white paint on themselves in some kind of performance. He walks up and joins them, slathering paint on himself. Now, two heavy set men, old time comedians stand on stage in suits. One of them, the straight man, is covered in black paint. He takes a spray can and begins to spray black paint onto the other comedian’s suit, the fall guy, who is visibly upset. “All in or nothing!” he exclaims, and continues to spray his frowning companion, who flails at the air in protest.
  
The children’s mother walks up, and pulls the boy and girl away from the chaotic scene, as he follows them. Together they run along the open landscape, as the atmosphere takes on a peculiar quality of intense light and storm clouds roll overhead. He senses that lightning is about to strike and tries to stay calm as they come to a cleft in the ground, and drop down into the crevasse for safety. Finding a sofa there, he reclines with the mother and children as the storm passes up above, and she says to him, “let’s do something creative”.
  
Finding a mic stand and guitar stashed behind the sofa, she puts on a black fur coat and begins to play crunchy slow heavy metal style chords, as he dons a silver metallic face mask and channels dark lyrics “unto, unto the sepulcher” into the mic with a growling voice. The boy and girl watch, as he continues to sing, now dressed in a pirate costume. “Well this looks familiar”, she says, unplugging the guitar as they walk through an opening in the rock into an underground cathedral with huge stained glass windows.
  
It is an ancient indigenous church, carved from stone, and at the altar an old woman performs blessings for those waiting. The young girl walks up to her, past those in line, and drawing an object to her face inhales, moving the smoke from the pipe over the old woman’s body in a ceremonial ritual. Pulling incense or sage from a basket, she gently blows it toward a blind baby, held by its grandfather in the line, as a sacred act of healing. Stirring now, the baby crawls toward the basket as coals glow a low fire inside it.
  
Watching the baby, he gets the distinct feeling that he is on fire and burning, but in another dimension, like a ghost or spirit being that cannot be easily seen. Falling to the ground, he yells out, “help me! help me!” as someone walks through and passes over him. He wakes up in a hospital bed, next to a black man wrapped in bandages. His friend, a hoodoo healer man, walks up and lays hands on him, as bright lights begin to flash in his field of vision. Getting up from the bed, he pulls the sheets and mattress away to reveal an arrangement of objects underneath, small tin milagros, swords and hearts placed in the shape of my body, and realize they are amulets placed there by his former lover as a form of protection.
  
Tower of Shiva Tower of Shakti
  
Cascading waterfalls of pink light against a dark sky as irregular orbs rotate sunlike above the horizon from left to right backlit in the distance. Shimmering blacklight shines your way, rotating like a searchlight beacon at the end of a long undefined field in the dark. In the distance, a tower rises, columns of light stacked haphazard into the night sky, shimmering vision fields of indigo splattered star freckles strobing upward into spiraling magenta ghost flowers that unfold petal by petal, a black diamond sparkle hidden among the creases.
  
At its base, you see a set of stairs winding upward without rails, and wondering how you might have the courage to go up. You stand there, picturing yourself climbing up the spiraling form as you sing “close your eyes, close your eyes, close your eyes…”, confident that you have mastered the performance. And somehow you do, ascending the spiraling tower staircase, where you see a majestic lioness guarding the top, and slip around the other side to avoid her. Climbing onto a structure atop the roof, you survey the landscape below. The lioness appears before you, her gaze staring into and through you, brightly colored lights all around her, as she holds her legs out from her body like a tantric deity.
  
Black kaleidoscope facets of light envelope you, rapidly overlapping, as down below you run through alleyways, scenes spliced one into the other, images spiraling fast in sequence, grasping to hold onto one, but they slip through your vision in pulsating fractals so you surrender to the onslaught of sensation. Figures vague but familiar pass quickly in shadow silhouette as though running through a crowd in the darkness. Blurring and indistinct form gives way to neon chakra mandalas illuminating the night.
  
Colors like a rainbow flag hanging in the air just in front of you, bleeding and dripping onto the ground. Feeling light and free, you rise into the air and move through the ethereal rainbow colored space.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Writing (2016)

WRITING (2016)

Ten Days (River of Tears)
(October)

Ten days of tears.
Tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of remembrance, tears of anger.
A rosary of teardrop beads, each one a prayer that says just keep moving,
take one step then another and you'll get through.
Floating on a holy river of tears washing away your resistance
to what is, your attachment to what was,
the salt water taste of both your denials and dreams
dragging you under with the currents.
Tears mixing the bitter and the sweet.
Standing in the checkout line at the grocery,
the thought of her clouding your eyes and burning wet cheeks.
Washing dishes in the kitchen and that song comes on,
yeah that one, and the muscle memory it invokes brings a torrent.
For ten days heavy clouds cover the sky a dull aching gray.
And then, on the eleventh day, your breath it deepens,
you feel the space around your heart begin to open, and the sky appears.
Just a little, but you know it is there, blue and clear up above the clouds.
And for a moment you smile, for the first time in quite a while,
just the hint of a smile, and your eyes begin to clear,
as the confusion rolling around in your head recedes
with those clouds and all they carry away with them.


  

Sweet Honey in the Rock

- for Noah -

(September)
Sun shines bright in cool air skimming across a sunny desert landscape, to a we are swimming through the depths of the cool, green water. I stroke the surface with him on my back, as we swim into shallow water. Tiny pebbles massage my feet and we come to a rocky overhang, a smooth bluff looming above us. Lifting him up to stand on my shoulders, he reaches into the recessed spaces of the bluff, and pulls his arm out covered with golden honey. Tasting it, lingering and basking in the deliciousness, the honey cascades down his face and onto his body, dripping down to the water and me below. 
  
The Temple of My Heart 
(September) 
  
If my heart were a temple, 
What kind of pilgrim would I invite in to pay homage? 
The ones who drop in from out of town, unannounced 
Lighting a candle and crossing themselves before they leave? 
  
Or the holy day crowds, stampeding in coughing and sneezing 
Kneeling down to receive me, their minds distracted by the week ahead? 
  
Or the mystic, deep in ecstatic contemplation of my glories, 
Exchanging blissful energies as they wave incense before my altar? 
  
What kind of pilgrim would I open my doors and reveal my glory to? 
To one and to all, in the outer courts they could kneel,
  
But to the holy of holies only a few I'd reveal. 
  
Litany (verse i) 
(September) 
  
I love Andy, the way we collide like kids on a schoolyard playground. 
I love Kimberly, her voice sultry and seductive lifting me to another time and space. 
I love Ernest, when we dance it feels like being in the arms of an angel. 
I love Monica, a deer in the forest leaping through the fallen trees just out of reach. 
I love David, my twin star brother, wise and deep in the ways of the tantra. 
I love Stephanie, lost in the safe space of her loving heart, laughter and acceptance. 
I love Patrick, a hot mess of creative inspiration, intellect and worldly passion. 
I love Nero, though we’ve only met once, in her eyes I see the searchings of my own restless heart. 
I love Reuben, riding high on the waves of conceptual knowledge and self-deprecation. 
I love Bethany, feeling her creativity, innocent and loving heart, especially in her absence. 
I love Noah, engaging the wisdom of the shadow self, funky bass, self-love and soul healing. 
I love Vanessa, wild child tossing my hair and taking me into the mosh pit of her energies. 
I love Bill, playing a fool to absurdity, and lifting my spirits as his guitar gently weeps. 
I love Melissa, doe eyed with words soft like molasses pouring through my ears and brain. 
I love Luis, his face framed in eyeliner and jewelry, passionate as Shiva the destroyer. 
I love Malika, holding hands as we watch the world burn to the ground outside our window. 
I love them all with a love that is true, and I love me, and I love you. 
  
Paradise is Burning 
(September) 
  
In my paradise, a stream of water it flows, 
through the garden and out from the tree of life it grows. 
There, on those lovely shores I recline, 
with my yogis and yoginis, my deities and dakinis. 
Together we talk and we pray, we dance and we sing, 
And spent we collapse on the shores of the stream. 
And then from outside the walls, a cry we heard, “burn it down” they said, 
before they take us over, deceive us and our children are dead. 
A flaming arrow was shot, first one and then two, landing amidst the resplendence,
they battered down the walls, and with steely resolve pushed through the gate. 
Smoke and the sound of carnage arose from the garden, 
until nothing but ashes smouldered on the shores of the stream. 
And all grew quiet as the hordes moved on to other conflicts unresolved, 
In the garden nothing stirred, but raindrops fell like tears on the ashes there. 
And the yogis and yoginis, the deities and dakinis, 
Were nowhere to be found among the ruins. 
As up through the ashes a green shoot emerged, one and then two, 
and the rain and the sun it nourished and they grew. 
  
Round the Fires by the Shore
- for Noah -
(August) 
  
circumstances they ebb and flow, 
the waters have been like this 
as long as anyone can remember 
people yeah they come and go, 
wearing away at the shore 
putting lines and stories on its face 
but high up on the beach sits a 
temple not made by hands where 
the flames of the true self reside 
i see the kids round fires in the night 
exchanging bottles and stories there 
a still place a refuge inside
they go out and surf those waves 
where the waters they crash 
and find new stories 
to bring back to the shore 
some stories of loss, 
hopes dashed on the rocks 
and others of gain, new 
treasures brought back 
to share with their friends 
in the lights that flicker 
you can see in their eyes 
the experiences they've had 
as together they laugh 
and sit round the fires 
of the temple by the shore
  
Explosions in the Sky
(July)
  
Lots of great conversations around freedom these last few days, all the differing perspectives and observations revealing so many varying realities.
  
From his experience, freedom revolved around autonomy, creative expression, and finding the confidence and safe space to express himself openly. He had learned early on the safety of practicing invisibility in a normative environment. And the judgement of others when he let his guard down.
  
But expression can never be happy in seclusion, for it is social by nature. And thus, to his point of view, freedom is expansive, challenging him to ever greater transparency and openness, not only with himself, but more importantly, with others.
  
All this crossed his mind as they got on the elevator, the mostly white guy with tattoos and a glossy new pedicure, following his black friends Dez and Trey, and the cute queer mixed race girl from the Indies.
  
RIding up to the roof to watch the fireworks, midway a white couple gets on, headed toward the laundry, the woman saying to her man as though he and his friends couldn't hear, "we should have taken the stairs".
  
Trey looks down knowingly at his friends, wry smile on his face, familiar with experience as the couple gets off, taking their dirty laundry with them. He and his friends ride up one more floor, walking out onto the deck, explosions in the sky as patriotic hymns play from the bandstand down below.
  
And he remembers someone saying one time, "freedom don't mean nothing until everybody's got some". He sings along with the songs in an exaggerated voice, "for where'er you go, you will always know, that those caissons go rolling along", sincere and parody all at once, and looks into his friends smiling faces in the colorful glow of the rockets red glare.
  
Rainbow in a Black and White World
(June)
  
White, white, white, white, white, white, white. 
White is the color of the new-fallen snow. 
  
Black, black, black, black, black, black, black.
Black is the night of lovers under a new moon sky.  
  
Brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, brown.
Brown as the river mud squishes between your toes.  
  
Anthropology, criminology, ethnography, phrenology,
Oppressors and oppressed dance in revolutionary fervor.  
  
Separations, reparations, declarations, inhalations,
Fictitious fictions of nineteenth century pseudoscience flags unfurled.  
  
Boy, boy, boy, boy, boy, boy, boy. 
Flags on a rocket ship shooting to the moon. 
  
Girl, girl, girl, girl, girl, girl, girl.
A meadow full of flowers shining in the sun. 
  
I'm a boy, I'm a girl, I'm a boy, I'm a girl.
I'm a rocket ship shooting from that meadow in the sun. 
  
Black clouds cross the sky, white hail stones dropping down,
Brown earth, crushed flowers, scattered petals on the ground,
  
The ice it melts, the clouds retreat,
A rainbow springs from mud beneath my feet.
Bereft of nuance and without sight, the world sees things in black and white.
Yes, I'll continue to expand my view, and maybe even challenge a thing or two.
  
Along the way, like Marvin Gaye, singin' "What's going on? What's going on?"
I tell you what's going on. A rainbow is forming above this stormy land,
A rainbow made up of us boys and us girls, and us boy girls too,

But you my friend and me it's true we see the rainbow, an expansive view.  
The black, the white, the brown, the me, the you.
  
At Water's Edge
(June)
  
working hard, harder than you should.
but that's the price you pay to dream,
the realization of imagination's spark.
a funeral pyre burns at water's edge,
the steps you take to enter the stream,
and before you know it the flow is become a holy river carrying you away
caught up in something good for once
something that feels like an old habit
from way before those distractions took hold in the back of your mind,
a corner turned a dark alley left behind.
your jewelry and makeup on point
as you slip into the water's invitation,
sadhus and temple dancers,
elephants and tigers adorned in sacred garments
follow you in procession along the muddy ghats
chasing yourself, rest in the stream
your truth your realizations your dreams.
  
Flowers on My Grave
(May)
  
Holding on tightly as the bouquet falls apart in your hands, petals dropping to the ground, those moments of caring too deeply. Yet nature is true to its calling, calling lost sinners come home.
  
A gandharva’s voice sings softly somewhere from the great beyond, “lay down all thought surrender to the void”. True nature says let go, let all return to the elements from which they are made. All of it, the memories, the joys and especially the pains.
  
Remember thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return. But until that day, I'm gonna boogie, I'm gonna boogie oogie oogie til I just can't boogie no more.
  
You see, here's the thing. No matter how hard I try, this time around, I know you'll never love me just for who I am, in all my crazy, freaky goodness. And I’ll never be that man created in your image. It's taken forever, but I've learned to love myself, to water the flowers on my own grave, watching them bloom, wither and fade, and bloom again, and again.
  
So thanks for all you taught me, I guess this is where we leave it, leave it, leave it, nature having its way with us, scattered in ashes here on the charnel grounds. And love, love it goes on in those ashes blown to the winds. I will always remember you, until life picks up those pieces and makes them into something new.
  
  
The Aesthetics of Healing
(April)
  
The aesthetics of healing. 
The ascetics are reeling. 
Lip gloss and eyeliner in the mirror, 
Lips that say to yourself, "you're beautiful". 
The thrill of lust without sex. 
The ecstatic space of unresolved desire. 
The lure of the dance floor 
When you're feet won't follow your heart. 
The sound of blood in your veins, 
That rushes like water to the sea. 
The taste of a drink on your lips 
As you spit it out like poison. 
The comfort of a hand held close, 
An exchange of trust, eyes open now closed. 
The reverie of a long lost memory 
Dropping down as though from heaven. 
A beautiful voice from the dead 
That sings love songs in your head. 
Om shanti shanti, hallelu hallelu, 
The words unspoken are the ones that are true. 
  
Nightshade
(April)
  
Full moon hangs there in the chill night air, lighting the scene as though in a dreamlike haze. Its light piercing through to hidden places of the heart, a wound that deepens knowing naught else than to speak words sincere, words both open and true, saying fear not the motives of revelation toward that which you love. Like the nightshade which opens its flower only to that light, revealing its strange beauty oft kept hidden there in the darkness. It knows no other path nor calling than to be true to its very nature, which beckons it bask in that love which is its font of inspiration. What other face could turn its gaze other than that which calls its name? Open flower! Reveal thyself.
  
The Taste of His Love
(March)
  
I imagine him falling, stumbling there on the rough stone path, the weight of the world on his shoulders.
  
Sweat glistens on his skin in the mid day sun as he struggles back to his feet, shifting the heavy load he carries.
  
And I see her too, brown skin shining in the sun, watching her watching him, love in her eyes, magnified through my gaze.
  
I don't know how to love him, what to do, how to move him. But, Jesus loves me, this I know.
  
I see them, before the world took him away, back in the darkness, lying in a soft embrace, tender is the night.
  
Now I hold him, and he looks lovingly into my eyes as I stroke his face and kiss him softly on the cheek.
  
He draws me near and time dissolves into tears on my brow as I lay my head upon his bosom.
  
I don't know how to love him, what to do, how to move him. But, Jesus loves me, this I know.
  
For a moment I am his, music plays and time stands still, shadows dancing in candle light.
  
And just as sudden we are back in the hot sun as I struggle to regain my senses, caught between ecstacy and delirium.
  
People pushing to get a glimpse, I see him through the crowd, hanging there, suspended between heaven and earth.
  
I don't know how to love him, what to do, how to move him. But, Jesus loves me, this I know.
  
His body glistens as I press through the crowd there at his feet, and look into his eyes once more.
  
And I remember that night, washing his feet with my hair, tears mixing with the smell of precious oil.
  
Leaning toward him, I hold and kiss those feet, as sweat mixes with blood and grime, the taste of his love on my lips.
  
(Outro) Close your eyes, close your eyes and forget all about us tonight.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Writing (2015)




 
Graveyard Swag (v. i.)

https://soundcloud.com/plushgallery/graveyard-swag-v-i


Trying to say something smart when there's nothing to add to the conversation.
Trying to practice equanimity, to remember this illusion, our own creation.
 
Beginning to hate, questions and doubts, beginning to love, more questions, more doubts.
Beginning again, again, again, twist and shout, echo, echo, faint, ever fainter, fade out.
 
Swagger wearing a scary mask, that hides a lack of self-confidence.
Swagger inspired to the task, that loves to flaunt it when you notice.
 
There is no need for you, for true, when I see my flag in the wind unfurl.
There is no me, there is no you, no place for art in this righteous world.
 
Power that pounds on your door, complicit, no sense of irony.
Power that gives itself away, that hates its place in history.
 
Violence, a pendulum that swings faster, in an ever quickening cycle.
Violence that cuts through flesh, through blood, words slicing, a revival.
 
Love that looks its enemy in the eye with an open heart and a smile.
Love from the sweet bye and bye, ready for the kill, or to hold you a while.
 
Can I Get An Amen


“Put away your mobile devices this morning and for a moment contemplate the potentialities of this world unfolding before you. White supremacist bigots toting guns outside of mosques signify the dying gasps of an historically monolithic power structure. The people will not remain silent to such foolishness.
 
“Like the politician demagogues they court, their voices becoming more shrill as its grip gives way to the future, a land of ethnic complexity, governed by the oppressed and open to the entire spectrum of all the magnificent colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and indigo. A rainbow shining down that asks, will the royal road to the future be a smooth one?
 
“Brothers and sisters I cannot say, but that these are moments of clarity. For every time a voice is raised in hatred it will reveal itself for what it is, and every time a little baby is born into this land, it will breath the air of change and new life as sure as the sun rises in the morning. Can I get an amen?”

   
Club Yamantaka

Heavy rains subside as the full moon rises high above the landscape, littered with bottles and cans in pools of mud standing outside the club. Like used up bones and blood of some charnel ground, where stacks of the dead are offered in exchange for the living.
 
Your companion looks back your way, a fierce glimpse that for a moment seems the most wrathful of the Buddhas, fearful destroyer of death itself. "Come", he says, taking you by the hand and stepping through the muck along the broken sidewalk toward the scene ahead.
 
You pass by hordes, costumed in the half light, swept up in the mass of flesh and sensation, feeling the pleasures and pains all around as they press into you, pulled along imperceptibly toward the gaping mouth of a dark tunnel that swallows all takers. "What... what?", you ask as he pulls you along.
 
Entering, in deep shadows your guide puts his hand to your chest, and you feel your own beating heart, and the subtle beat of love that loosens chains, entanglements of fear and desire and attachment. He looks you in the eyes and whispers, "Trust".
 
Pulled into the darkened mouth of the club, propelled along by the mass of bodies, laughter and whispers give way to the struggle of bodies dancing and writhing through the sweaty haze and fiery hot lights of the club. You lose his hand, loose your way in the crowd.
 
Caught up in the insistent rhythm, your mind drifts along on layers of memory, traversing inner landscape of loves gained and lost, a revery of emotions until suddenly you feel yourself pulled down into the dancers, more piling on now a mosh pit of people sinking in, ploughed down into the earth itself, and as you go, wondering if you will sink in forever.
 
Then from above you feel the firm hand of your companion, lifting you up staggering through multitudes of those dancing, struggling, sinking past you into the miry clays of blood drenched earth opening up below.
 
And you grab their hands too, climbing up and pulling them along with you, a human mala chain, like the steady recitation of a mantra, coming up out of the pit below, as it continues to swallow the swarms of dancers.
 
He pulls you and the others out and away from this abyss. Your ferocious guide leading the way through the hazy dreamlike space, the lights and beats of the club pulling all around into the concluding death spiral of the dance floor.
He pulls you and your new companions out through the chaos of the club, through a back door into the alleyway, shrouded in fog but glowing as though lit by some internal light.
 
Seeing him clearly for the first time, his wide eyed intense expression framed by spiked hair horn-like in silhouette, you ask his name. "Yamantaka", is his reply.
Yamantaka, fearsome guide to free those of the ultimate and fearsome illusion, the jaws of death itself, slips back into the night as you and the others watch, and you gaze around, everything looking different in the new light and untold adventures that lay ahead.
 
Waves Breaking on the Shore
 
Swimming through the rolling surf, others bobbing there in the waves, buoyed up for a moment he tastes the wet saltiness in his mouth. White foam billows in the warm blue waters and then washes over him.
 
Touching ground and stepping on tiptoes, he eases forward, the waters becoming gradually shallower, as the brightness and warmth of the sun's rays permeate the scene all around.
 
Feeling the sand beneath his toes, he notices the little creatures that usually nibble at his feet are absent, and wonders what else about the scene has changed. Waves breaking on the shore as he turns and walks in, the surf rolling gently across his feet.
 
His steps take him through the shallow water, toward a concession stand across the way, people leaning on the counter ordering snacks and standing aimless in ankle deep surf, a young grill chef in sideburns and wearing a folding paper cap takes their orders.
 
Nearing them, he stirs, tossing like the waves and rolling over wakes up, pillows strewn about in the disheveled bed. His eyes adjust to the dark stillness of the room, and listening closely, he hears the fountain splashing outside in the courtyard downstairs.
 
Change is in the Air

This morning another of the funky old frame houses in my neighborhood bites the dust. A lifetime of memories gone in a couple of hours as the demolition crew clears the lot, making way for the next oversized modern McMansion, no doubt.

I haven't seen the diverse crew of bballers out on the court in the last week, their raucous moves punctuating the night air, mixing in with the sound of crickets chirping and frogs croaking.

They've been replaced by cop cars patrolling the silent streets, shining their spotlights to and fro, and into my eyes as I walk through the darkness, casual authority inquiring as to whether or not I belong.

I enjoy the quiet, the night streets, the sound of basketballs bounced on concrete courts. Change is a constant, I understand. I also know it's alright to love what you love. And to enjoy it while you can. Change is in the air.

Notes on Suffering

To a greater or lesser extent, we all suffer. It's a natural aspect of existing in the material world. When in pain, we can choose whether to inflict our suffering on others, or to let it go and practice compassion. That's a choice which is available to us all.
 
Another choice we have is whether to remain ignorant to the suffering inflicted on others that is structural or institutional in nature. By cultivating ignorance, or worse yet silence, we support that collective suffering. Personal suffering is a by product of existence itself. On a collective level, however, it is a compound creation of all the solidified anger and retribution that has built up within the systems that perpetrate it. 
 
I don't know if, or how, these collective forms can be dismantled. However, I think there is a clue in how we respond to individual complaints. The only way I know of to understand another is to enter, as much as you are able, into their own perceptions and life experiences. In that way, you can begin to understand their point of view, in terms of both pleasures and pains.
 
You can also do this with yourself and your own suffering. Enter in, but without identification. Identification generates karma. You begin to identify with and believe that "I am" the pain, or "I am" the history, the distortions. Experiencing the commonality of suffering without identification brings liberation. You feel the sensations, whether of pain or pleasure, but also begin to let them pass through you like waves in the ocean, with the understanding that it is temporary, like all other phenomena.
 
Of course, I don't want to suffer, anymore than the next person does, or make light of how difficult it is to gain the perspective necessary to step out of it. I only hope that I can do so in peace when and as it visits me, and also to stand with and alongside those who have been stigmatized on an institutional level, and with my own experiences, too.
 
Tonight (Intro)

Tonight the park is quiet, the ball court well lit but empty, ghosts of the raucous nightly ballers echoing in the silence of the evening. And out on the edges in the darkness, locusts, crickets and other creatures of the night make percussive music with their own bodies as instruments. And walking through the grasses as though struck blind by night, you move faster, perhaps impelled by fear, struck by the whole dreamlike nature of waking moments such as this, or exhilarated by the terror of the unknown, a spiritual thrillseeker calling out the spirits to play hide and seek with you there. And raising your arms you chase them, caught up and pulled in deeper to the dream, even as you relish the cool breeze, pausing there for just a moment between two worlds.
 
Looking, Smiling, Laughing

Looking at this form, I laugh at how it is so particular to a certain time and place, and how earnest I can be about playing that role, sometimes to the point of being lost in it. But that's how it works, the immaterial taking on form to find expression, to play with all this physical and mental stuff, with each other. Being born into this world, into this body, with this history, this sex, and ethnicity, and genetics, and cultural conditioning, and privilege, and karma. Today I'm gonna try and remember that, and smile at the absurdity, and at all the others having their own variations on this same experience, and at myself looking back at me in the mirror.
 
Late Summer (Lucky)

Out walking this evening along the dry expanse of sun scorched grass, you feel the faintest hint of coolness in the air, mingled in with the otherwise solid wall of heat hanging there.

And looking back, you see an almost identical post about the same cool air from a couple of summers ago, and reflect on how lucky it is to be here right now, doing this again.

How lucky it is to be breathing this air every day, whether it's good times (yes indeed), bad times (thankfully not now), or sh*t times (times past) they all carry their own wisdom and beauty.

And even the scorching summer heat billows on with the subtlest clues of its own undoing, gusts of constant change and of rhythms repeated, and all one has to do is walk and breathe and feel its tingle on the sweat of your skin to know that yes, you are lucky indeed.
 
Destroy Our Nations

Many nights, maybe most nights, he dreamt of apocalypse. Sometimes he watched as massive storms, dark clouds moved in low over the horizon, or as cities on a mountainous landscape sat engulfed in flames. Other times it was human violence, tribes attacking one another, fighting to the death, or more personal, being taken hostage and watching third person as they finished him off.

He remembered the dream from a couple of weeks back, his car lights shining through the darkness as police lay face down on the asphalt parking lot, and swerving to turn away from the scene, lights illuminating through the glassed in entrance to the store, more bodies piled up just inside. Yet waking up each morning, somehow it always felt clean, a chance to start over, to begin again, like fresh snow covering a ruined landscape. He knew it was all ego play anyway, and the violence just a reminder of impermanence, how death continually swallows up form and choking on spirit, spits out the immaterial.

Tonight, he channeled that energy, and standing there dancing with the mic in his hand, it felt exuberant, a celebration. Singing "destroy our nations... destroy our nations... destroy our nations... destroy our nations!", his friends joined in, the four of them shouting and pumping their fists in the air as the rest of the bar crowd looked on, bewildered at this interruption to their otherwise innocuous Friday night happy hour revels. Raucous, they left the scene behind, blasting out into the night, their chants growing louder and trailing off into the darkness and beyond.
 
  
Apocalypse Mask

Apocalypse cults wearing a mask
for fear of oppositions, of attractions
to the unknown, always taken to task
for seeds of the other that are sown,

For myths...
of heroic traumatized warrior savior deities,
of grown men killing in the name of god,
of a god that would kill all in retribution.

In the hope of prophetic usherings
of the destruction of an entire world,
seen by the apocalypse mind
unfurled and unready,

To let go of its tight grip,
to let go of racism and gender hatred,
to let go of narcissism and nationalism,
for fear can grip so tightly.

And fear can seem so real,
or fear can bring destruction,
but only of its own illusion and stature,
and only of its own illusionistic nature,

For illusion and fear are the mask,
and but a subset of reality and love,
of what is real and beyond concept of sin,
of what is hidden deep within.
 
  
Moon in Virgo

Symbols that show
the heart as it feels,
the throat as it speaks,
the head as it understands,
how it is now and always
a time of whispered endings,
of compassion and letting go,
of new beginnings, new adventures,
new learnings, new trusts.
And in the dim light, luck is smiling.
 
  
New Moon (Aquarius into Pisces)

Tonight the moon is an invisible disco ball against the night sky,
Moving from the air of Aquarius into water and Pisces.
Watching below, the Nagas, bearers of hidden wisdom,
And with them the children of the New Year, playful and laughing.

A smoky trail of sandalwood rises upward, to summon the deities,
And signify what if not new life, glamour, and attraction.
Moving across the waters, glowing green in the dim light,
Rippling up the chakras unto the fourth, Anahata.

Green malachite and quartz there for cleansing and clarity,
As eyes closed, you scry into esoteric darkness.
Visions coalesce and disperse in indeterminate space,
An image takes form, a woman determined, gazing out across the blue sky.

Her braided hair flowing, it gives way to a translucent heart of stone,
And now a lovely and playful dog, jumping, contorting joyously into the air.
As the visions fade into the warmth of a pot of lavender tea, and reflections,
On love, effortless and free, of giving and receiving and basking only in itself. 

 
  
11:11 (Listening)

New moon hanging there taunting,
Haunting saying what, what? Are you done?
Reflecting on his fatal attraction to that
Which is but distraction and the neglect
Of his own garden, and quickly gathered up
And rather rushed, all he can carry now
Throwing onto, into the fire and dropping
No hesitation no stopping, the bottle breaking
And his son calling, caring, the fire it burns,
Inside he yearns he yearns to speak
But listening is a such a special skill
For real for real they don't teach it now,
Cut deep, on broken glass and bleeding,
Seeing, it's 11:11 and there too, they see
Such is the nature of this tragicomedy,
That these, these angels those blessed ones,
Such listeners are they, from fathers to sons.