Friday, December 4, 2015

Writing (2015)

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.

No comments: